Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Mermaid Shell-abration

Olive has loved mermaids for a couple of years now so it was easy to pick a theme for her 4th birthday.  We went to Florida over Spring Break and I got some really cute pictures of her at the ocean.  I was able to use one for her invitation and then printed several others to decorate with at her party.  I didn't spend a lot on decorations.  I used her mermaid toys, grabbed our shell collection from all of our past trips to the beach and then picked up some paper party products.  It turned out really cute and she was thrilled!

We celebrated her birthday with Kevin's family, my family and then back at our house on her actual birthday.  We are lucky to have lots of family members just two hours away so we always travel to be with them on the kid's birthdays.  We also enjoy visiting with everyone so we spread her parties out a bit instead of having one large party.  It works for us for now :)

Welcome to the Mermaid Shella-bration!!

I try to always make homemade cupcakes for birthdays and found some fun supplies to use.  These Wilton bubble sprinkles were from Easter and the Betty Crocker cupcake liners were perfect.

I picked up two $4.97 bouquets that Olive decided were the prettiest ones at Wal-Mart and they went perfectly with our colors.

We had her party at Kevin's parent's house first.  It's a great place to host a party :)

 My MIL surprised Olive was a fun new birthday outfit.  She loved the sparkles and the tutu.

 Fletcher wore his shark shirt from Old Navy and I love that he put his arm around her when I stood him next to her.

 Olive loved helping me decorate before the party.  Kevin grilled burgers, everyone brought side dishes to share and it was a fun evening.

Last year Fletcher slept through a good chunk of her party so it was fun to have him participating this year.

 She kept telling everyone she was THREE because technically she was still three for a few days.

She later told me that she used her birthday wish to wish for a pet unicorn :)

We had another fun lunch party with my side of the family on Sunday.  Kevin ordered pizzas, my mom chopped up fruits and veggies and we got a big cookie cake from the mall to share.  My mom and SIL made the cutest mermaid tail bread sticks and I brought some fish food.

 Life is better with cousins :)

 We used a Fancy Nancy book for Olive's birthday book this year.  She loves the Mermaid Ballet so it was perfect.  It's so fun to look back at her birthday books and see how much her little hand print has changed.

I ordered these sticker sea creatures and fish masks from Amazon.  The stickers were great - I'd peel off the white background to make it easier for little kids to get all the stickers off.  The masks were fine, but seemed small.  So I'd only recommend them for little kids.

 I think I've tried for almost 4 years for Olive to wear a party hat and this is the first year where she asked for one :)  And then pesky little brother was super interested in it.  haha

Fletcher & Papaw

These sweet cousins are all FOUR right now!  They play so well together and it's sweet to see their friendship grow as they get older.

 Thanks to all the aunts, uncles, my family, Kevin's family and friends that came to celebrate Olive.  She felt super loved and special all weekend long!!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Surprising Ways to Save Money

I'm excited to share some new ideas with you this month on saving money.  They're super easy and you'll notice the savings IMMEDIATELY.

// 1 //
Cook for your friends
Invite them over to your house for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner and it'll be TONS cheaper than going out to eat.  It'll also be nicer because you won't have to rush or worry about your kids being too loud.  I love cooking so it's fun for me to fix meals for friends.  We still go out to eat with friends, but I usually end up enjoying the meals at someone's home more.  Here's a picture from a little brunch with friends from this month.  You don't even have to make everything from scratch - pick up some delicious things at your grocery store, put them in pretty dishes and you're set.

// 2 //
Check your bills for any reoccurring payments
Look over your monthly statements to ensure that they are correct.  Make sure you aren't unknowingly paying a monthly fee from subscription services.  This one is super important!!  I would have guaranteed that we were not being charged monthly fees from any subscriptions a few weeks ago, but to my dismay, we found TWO things that we were being charged monthly for that we didn't realize.  One for each of us.  We quickly cancelled the services and contacted customer service.  Apparently, you rarely can get any compensation even though they do not email you statements or let you know they are billing each month.  Shady!!

// 3 //
Look for markdowns
My favorite markdowns are always in the meat and produce sections.  I LOVED this power greens lettuce mix and loved getting it for 40% off.

// 4 //
Use the samples
I realized that I had almost an entire drawer full of make up samples!  So I've made an effort to add them into my regular make up routine.  It's fun to try new products, I take a picture of the packaging if I like it and then I can purchase it at a later date.  If I don't like it, then I've just made some progress in clearing out that drawer.

// 5 //
Stock up during BOGO sales at your local stores.  Meijer and Kroger have a great BOGO options and these were my recent finds.  I used to say that I'd never freeze bread, but that was only because I hadn't tried doing it.  Lately I've bought cinnamon bread for the kids and then Kevin's favorite Healthfull bread.  I've frozen both and it's been great.  I let it thaw and get back to room temp before serving.

// 6 //
Talk about where your money is going
We've started having regular conversations about money, bills and paying things off.  We also have started challenging each other to look for new ways to save money.  At dinner we will often ask the other if they found a way to save some money that day.  It's a stress free way to keep the conversation going and we are enjoying finding new ways to save.  Some fun ways we've found to save money: ordering a free cup of water vs buying a water bottle, digging through my craft closet instead of just going out to buy new supplies, limiting Amazon orders and asking neighbors to borrow a tool instead of buying our own.  All those little things add up!

How do you get creative with your money saving??

It's time to link up with my favorite ladies for Tuesday Talk.
Be sure to join us with a recent post..

Monday, May 29, 2017

She's FOUR!

Happy Birthday, Olive!!
She turns FOUR at 4:45pm today.

Olive was the first to call us mom and dad, taught us how to be parents and has become the best big sister this year.  She adores her brother, loves animals and loves to play.  She's making new friends, learning new things and growing up so quickly.

I thought it would be fun to ask everyone their four favorite things about Olive today.

Mama LOVES these 4 things about you:
1. You have strong opinions and favorites.
2. Every time I see something purple I think of you.
3. You have a great imagination and tell really good stories.
4. You like to travel and go on adventures.

Daddy LOVES these 4 things about you:
1. Your imagination.
2. Your playfulness and silliness.
3. Your desire to help out.
4. Your confidence.

Fletcher LOVES these 4 things about you:
1. You make the funniest faces.
2. You hold my hand in the car.
3. You wrestle with me.
4. You love to play in the water with me.

We are lucky to have you in our family!!

A little birthday flashback:




May Recipe Round Up

Happy Memorial Day!!  I hope you have some fun plans to celebrate with family or friends.

I know I say this often, but this month flew by!!  We had a lot of fun stuff on the calendar and I did a lot of cooking.  Can't wait to share my favorites with you.  As always I try to make budget friendly meals that don't require hours in the kitchen that my family will love.

Hope you find a new recipe or two to try for yourself.

We enjoyed a lot of breakfast/brunch type of meals since we all love that.

// 1 //
Breakfast Casserole
I love any variation of breakfast casserole.  It's great right out of the oven and delicious for leftovers all week long.  This one turned out delicious.

1 bag shredded potatoes
1 c sliced, pre cooked ham
1/2 green pepper chopped
1/2 red pepper chopped
1/2 onion chopped
salt and pepper
8 eggs
3 T milk
1 c sharp cheddar

Saute peppers and onions until browned.
Scramble eggs and milk.
Grease 9 x 13 pan.
Dump in thawed potatoes.
Pour egg mixture over the top.
Evenly spread out veggies and ham.
Add salt and pepper.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until the eggs are completely set.
Sprinkle cheese on top and let melt.

// 2 //
Coffee Cake

1 yellow cake mix
1 c sour cream
4 eggs
1/3 c oil
1/4 c water

2 T flour
4 T brown sugar
2 t cinnamon
1/2 chopped pecans

I drizzled some homemade butter cream on top

Stir up cake mix.  Combine topping ingredients.
Pour half of cake mix into a greased 9x13 pan.
Sprinkle in half of topping mixture.
Pour remaining cake mix and evenly spread out.
Sprinkle rest of topping mixture.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until set.
Let cool and then drizzle the icing on top.

// 3 //
Sweet Potato Hash
An easy lunch - bake sweet potatoes, cut in half and serve with eggs.

// 4 //
Pancake Mini Muffins were great for breakfast and leftovers.

// 5 //
I tried to eat LOTS of salads for lunches.  My favorite ingredients this month were: match stick carrots, hard boiled eggs, berries and Olive Garden croutons.

// 6 //
The kids enjoyed some fun Spring themed meals.

// 7 //
 Mexican Pasta Salad was a great side dish for all of our grilling.

// 8 //
 The Cheeseburger Quesadillas were a big hit!

Have you tried any new recipes lately??

Now I'm starving!!  Which recipes are you anxious to try???
I'm linking up with 2 of my favorite cooking ladies today
and we're all sharing our best recipes from the month.

Linking up with Southern Plate

Katie @ Cup of Tea
New Recipes to Try

Whitney @ Come Home for Comfort
What We're Eating May

Head over to their blogs to see what delicious meals they are sharing this month!
 We've also started a Pinterest Board called
New Recipes We've Tried and Loved!
Be sure to check it out and get some great ideas for meals at your house.