Monday, May 31, 2021

Olive Kate is 8

Olive officially turned 8 on Saturday.  We had a sweet time celebrating her.  These are a few of my favorite pictures of her from this year.  She just wrapped up second grade and loved every day of going to school to learn with her friends.

Olive wrote an I am poem at school.  She said...

I am curious, artistic, bossy.

It's true.  She's sassy and sweet and she has always known exactly who she is.


Our current favorite things about Olive:


1.  You are brave.  You try new things from basketball, take care of things at school for yourself and have learned how to stand up for yourself.

2. You are always setting new goals for yourself - this summer you want to work on division, learning cursive, keep reading a lot, learn how to cook with me and you were thrilled when school announced that you'd be able to keep your Chromebook over the summer to do school work.

3. You're chattier as you get older.  You are starting to enjoy grown up things like talking and browsing at stores.  You're dependable, funny and your teachers always say that you are such a good role model for your peers.


1. Olive has an amazing memory.

2.  She's thoughtful.

3.  She is really brave and will try new things like giant water slides or basketball.


1. She's fun to play with.

2.  I like sharing a room with Olive.

3.  We get to go to the same school next year.  I wish I could sit by her at lunch.


1. You give me funny nicknames like Kitty.

2. You make me laugh and help keep me safe.

3. You can't resist my dark chocolate brown eyes.

We can't wait to watch her grow, learn and love new things in the coming year.

Friday, May 28, 2021

The Highlights

 Happy Friday!  Can you believe that we are already wrapping up May??  Spring sure flew by fast this year.  We had a fun week full of smiles and good times.  Let me show you the highlights.

1 // We got to celebrate Olive's birthday with family.  You can read all about it here.  We wore cat ears all week long to go with her kitty theme.

2 // Field Day.  Olive's school wide field day had to be postponed due to weather and it worked out great.  She had the best time.  It had a construction theme and 15 stations to rotate through.  Her PE teacher is an award winning amazing teacher.  I couldn't volunteer because no little siblings were allowed, but a couple of friends sent me these sweet pictures of  Olive.  She had a blast!  I'm thankful for moms who step up and be there when I can't.  It feels good to have a sweet community at her school.

3 // Target.  We don't have a Target in our city so any chance I get to stroll through the aisles at Target make me happy.  I picked up some summer sunnies for the kids, some pjs for the boys and this darling floral rug for my porch.  It's from the Opalhouse line.  I basically love everything the come out with.

4 // Ice Cream Sundae Buffet.  We did this for Olive's birthday party with family last weekend and have been enjoying this yummy mix of toppings all week.

5 // Jordan Bakery Box.  I had a busy week baking cookies for events and I got to cater my first big party.  I made charcuterie cups for a big party and they turned out so great.  I was really proud of them.  I've got a busy Memorial Day weekend of baking and building boxes ahead.

6. You are are special today plate.  We use this plate almost every day.  We rotate who gets it and explain why earned the special plate.  Everyone looks forward to getting it and now that the kids are getting older we are including them in taking a turn to pick who to give the plate to.

7 // Kid Art.  Fletcher brought this home from school and I just love it.  It's him and his view of Summer.  Playing outside with mom in the sunshine and rainbows and at the ocean.  Sounds about right.  It's already hanging up in the house.

8 // Our vegetable garden is growing like crazy.  We're excited to see if we can actually grow some vegetables to enjoy at home.

 Our lavender plants are also growing like crazy.  They smell amazing every time we walk past them and they get a little bigger every year.  We have 3 of them and people always comment on them when they stop by.  I can't wait to make some lavender bouquets to bring inside.

9 // Topher's whiskers were looking extra handsome this week.  Toph turns 12 this Summer and he's such a handsome guy.  He's had a hard year - losing his best friend of 11 years in January - but he's finally back to his nosey, loving self.  He's also the boss of all the cats at our house.  The kittens are trying to slowly win him over one group nap at a time.

10 // I opened my front door to this lovely sight this week.  I had to wake up early to take care of some things and what a lovely sunrise!

11 // Mountain Climbing Leo - he climbs every waking hour of the day and there might be a correlation between his love of climbing and me finding more gray hairs on my head every week.  He's wild!  I found him moving into the Barbie house, on the kid's table in the kitchen and perching himseof on the edge of anything dangerous that he can find.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  The kids are on Summer break after school today and we are looking forward to the Indy 500 this weekend as well as remembering all of the brave soldiers who have sacrificed so much for our country on Memorial Day.

Linking up with Momfessionals

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Olive's 8th Birthday: Let's Pawty!

Olive requested a cat birthday months ago.  Probably right after we got Penny & Pearl.  So I've had cats on my radar for a while.  I always look forward to collecting all the perfect party decorations and activities.  I think she's at the age now where she enjoys party planning almost as much as I do.  She picked out kitty ears for guests, crafts and decor.

I always make the invitations and text them out.  I used the make them, print and mail them, but texting everything out just works better for us.  Then we snail mail out thank you notes to everyone she got a gift from.  We snapped some pictures and had to include the kittens.  Look at these cuties!

Kitty + Rainbow + Ice cream Sprinkle Fun :)

We had a party with Kevin's family first.  We divide up the parties to make sure we get to spend quality time with each side of the family.  It's a lot of work to plan and execute to go parties, BUT I'm always glad I did it.  If we travel, then no one else has to.  They all live close so it's worth it to us for load up our van and go.  We grilled burgers and Kevin's parents are always so nice to help us host.

When the big kids are too busy running around playing, you snap pictures with the baby.

I was really proud of Fletcher.  He was so happy for Olive and handed her all her gifts to open.  He ooohhhed and ahhhhed over all her dolls and girlie things and new bike.  He's the sweetest brother.

We are always thankful when the GREAT grandparents can come... Nana & Olive.

Grandma & Grandpa

The weather was perfect and the sunset went perfectly with our party :)

The next day we did whatever Olive wanted - donuts from her favorite local spot, a trip to browse at Target, walk around the mall, arcade and a party with her cousins on my side.

These 3 pretty girls are all the same age for a few weeks every year.  Olive is the youngest.  And as of Saturday they will all be 8 until July.  They have a ton of fun together.

I couldn't wait to update the cousin line up picture with Leo.  I love this crazy cousin crew!

We skipped the meal and went straight to a giant ice cream sundae buffet.  It was so yummy!

We painted nails.

Opened presents.

Kevin picked out a pinata for the party.  I wasn't so sure about it, but it ended up being one of the highlights of the party.  I should have known - there's a reason we call him the fun one.  We sang to Olive before she took a whack at the pinata.  My brother got it all set up and I jam packed it with candy.

We loved celebrating Olive with our families!

Mimi & Papaw.  Thanks for always helping us host!

It was all hands on deck to wrangle this little cutie.  I appreciated all the extra hands and eyes to keep him out of trouble while we partied.

We made bracelets.

And hung out.

Oh and cat ears for everyone!!  They were so cute.

Olive officially turns 8 on Saturday.  We loved getting to kick off the festivities a little early.  She was so happy with how everything came together.  I'll work on a post with links of anything I can from the party sometime next week :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

6 Creative Ways to Save Money

I've been working hard to find creative ways to save money.  It makes me so happy to get a good deal and know that by saving money in one area, we are able to do more in other areas of the budget.  I also remind myself all the time that all these little savings adding up to big savings over the year.  So don't blow off the $0.50 coupons or the BOGO sales.  They really will make a big difference in your budget.

1. Grocery Store Bouquets

Kevin's gotten into a sweet habit of buying me grocery store flowers.  They are so much more affordable than sending me flowers.  A bouquet at Kroger costs either $9.99 or $14.99 and they are usually great quality.  They also clearance them out regularly so you can get them for even cheaper.

I wanted a big bouquet to use as a centerpiece for Olive's birthday.  I picked up a mixed bouquet of sherbet colored flowers and then trimmed several Boxwood stems off our bushes at home.  This large bouquet cost me $9.99 since all the greenery was free.  It lasted for 2 parties and the whole rest of the week.

2. Buy Gently Used Clothes

My mom's group has their own Facebook Market Page and I find the best deals there.  I picked up this set of clothes for just $13 for Leo for next Fall/Winter.  There are 18 items and they're all in great shape.  I washed them right away and put them away for the future.  One pair of these jeans would have easily cost $13 so I was thrilled to get great deals.  Check our local marketplace options, Once Upon a Child, Yard Sales and such.

I also sell the kid's clothes when they outgrow them.  I make a fair amount of money selling Olive's outgrown clothes as well as Leo's outgrown clothes.  I save everything Fletcher outgrows for Leo.

3. Reuse instead of buying new

I was looking at cat beds for the cats and remembered I had a baby Boppy that Leo was done with.  I opted to leave the Boppy out to see what the cats thought about it.  They all fight over this cushy spot and I saved money by reusing something I already owned.

4. Eat at Home

This may be my most unpopular suggestion, but it will save you the most money.  Eating out is pricey.  Eating out with a family of 5+ gets expensive quickly.  We love to have grilled dinners so we scope out deals on meat - figure out your grocery store's mark down day and stock up.  Kevin found a 4 pack of steaks for $14.99.  We explained to Olive that a steak dinner would easily cost $15+ a person at a restaurant so eating a steak dinner at home was much cheaper.

Also pack your breakfast, lunches, make your coffee at home and save eating out for a certain night of the week.  All of those things will really save you money and just take a little extra planning ahead.

5. Grocery Pick Up & Aldi

Utilize your local grocery pick up options to stick to a grocery budget.  It tallies your total as you add things to your cart and keeps you from wandering the store and adding lots of extras to your cart.  Walmart Grocery Pick Up is my favorite and it's free if you spend $30.  I'm also making an effort to shop at Aldi more.  Their prices are much cheaper on most items so it's worth the time to go to two places for me.


6. Haircuts at Home

Sometime this past year I started cutting all three boy's hair at home and I've always cut Olive's hair.  I asked for my own set of clippers from Amazon when Fletcher was little.  I made my money back right away.  I can cut all three boy's hair in about 20 minutes and Olive's only gets trimmed from time to time whenever she wants me to do it.  No scheduling hair cuts, no time traveling to and from them, no wait time and the boys have gotten good at sitting for me.  Leo gets a Dum Dum to eat while I cut his hair.  There's a little bit of a learning curve, but once you figure out your blade lengths and watch a youtube video or two, you'll be set.  Kevin trims my hair from time to time and I always cut Olive's hair.  I do haircuts twice a month for the boys.  That easily would be $30-40 at a salon every month plus tips.


Are you doing anything creative to save your family money these days?