Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Naples Fun Part 1

We just got back from a week in Naples, Florida and I am excited to share our Naples Top 10 with you!  I missed you all and I've got so much to tell you.

We drove 18+ hours each way to get to Naples this year.  We're old pros and have a pretty good system for driving.  Kevin is the driver and I'm the organize, packer, kid helper for the drive.  Our return trip was harder than usual, but the kids did great both ways.  Maybe one day we'll get back to flying.  It just feels so complicated right now.  It's easier to load up the van with all the baby gear, car seats and go at our own pace.

This was our 8th trip to Naples.  We've been going since Olive was little and it's one of our very favorite spots.  We've been in March, June, July & November.  There really isn't a bad time to visit.  This time we got to try some new things, do some of our classic favorite things and dodged a little bit of rain here and there.  We made lots of great memories and the highs always outweigh the lows.  I hope you know that I'm writing about the highs, but there were lows, too.  I just focus on the positives and all the fun we had together.

1. We stayed at a new resort this year in Naples - Lely Resort.

We'd highly recommend it for the amazing pool, great golf, yummy restaurants and the property is gigantic.  There are tons of rental options and price ranges.  We would highly recommend upgrading the pool access to include this giant pool.  There are three huge pools, sand, hot tubs, tons of seating, waterfalls and restaurants with bar service.  The resort is about a 15 minute drive from the ocean.


2. Pool Days with Super Swimmers

Both Olive and Fletcher have become great little swimmers.  Thanks to swim lessons, lots of practice and great goggles, they are happily swimming without much help from us.  And the big pool at Lely was SO NICE.  You get free access to the smaller neighborhood pools and then can buy a pass to the bigger pool for your stay.  It has everything for everyone - comfy chairs, giant umbrellas, free water and coffee, zero entry pools, tons of space to spread out, waterfalls, fountains, tons of pool areas under 5 feet deep, hot tubs, sand and more.  We were there almost every day.  Sometimes more than once.


3. Poolside Restaurant

Lely has a poolside restaurant that serves delicious food and drinks.  We enjoyed the happy hours and the amazing food.  Kevin would highly recommend the fish tacos and I loved their berry salad.


4. Naps on the Go

Leo was a trooper.  He did not get quiet, peaceful naps at home every day.  He did get some pretty great poolside stroller naps.  Everyone ooohhh and ahhhhh over the sweet sleeping (giant) baby :)

5. We went to the Naples Zoo.

It was a cool, cloudy morning and all of the animals were so active.  It was really fun to see all of them out and about.  All of the unexpected animal encounters were our favorite: Close ups with the lions, feeding the giraffes, soft shell turtle strolling down the walkway and more.  They've updated the whole giraffe feeding area and the zoo is in great shape.  This zoo is one of the prettiest, accessible zoos we've ever been to.  There are tons of things to see and do.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our trip tomorrow :)

Friday, June 18, 2021

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I hope you've had a wonderful week.  It was a good one for our family.  Let me show you our favorite moments of the week!

1 // Circus - we got to go to the circus thanks to some generous friends giving us tickets.  We weren't prepared for the heat inside the tent.  We were all dripping wet when we left.  A huge storm also blew through mid circus that thankfully cooled things off a bit.  The kids got to see some neat acts, some daring stunts and they got to ride an elephant!  Both said it was scary and awesome.  I'm glad that they got to ride together.

2 // USA - we celebrated Flag Day, did some flag art and are wearing and eating as much red, white and blue as possible this Summer.  I ordered a big flag for our deck and can't wait to hang it up.  The kids loved these edible flag lunches I made for them.  I was having trouble finding the patriotic M&Ms in the store, but Sams came through for me.

3 // Geodes - Olive got a geode kit for her birthday and she had the best time busting them open this week.

4 // Jordan Bakery Boxes - I built protein packed Father's Day boxes several days this week.  They turned out so good!  I collaborated with a local vendor friend who sell protein bites and tried some new ingredients.  I think it's my best box yet.

5 // Charcuterie board dinner - My family LOVES having this for dinner.  It was an extra pretty board.  It felt like the perfect mix of salty, fruits and veggies, dips, meats and cheeses.

6 // Fowler Park - We met friends at a new to us park this week.  The playground was awesome!  We saw a couple of bald eagles fly over, walked over a covered bridge and explored their pioneer village.  We can't wait to go back with Kevin.

7 // Sweet trio - These two love Leo so much.  This week I caught them fighting over who was going to feed him his smoothie when he got up from his nap.  They compromised and took turns.  It's fun to see them figuring out their Summer routines of being together 24/7 again.

8 // Sisters - Penny & Pearl are the sweetest cats.  They're dilute Calicos and they are just so pretty.  We tell them that all the time.  They're best buddies and are loving to all of us.  They love the kids and love hanging out with me in the evenings when the house is quiet.

Linking up with Momfessionals

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  I'm signing off for next week and taking a real Summer break.  I'll be back at the end of June.  See you soon!

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

8 Simple Dinner Ideas

You know that I'm a big fan of feeding my people delicious food - right!?!  

I really do love making food they love.  However, I do not love spending hours in the kitchen.  Ideally, I like for the meal to take about 30 minutes to prep, eat and clean up that takes under 30 minutes.  I often prep/chop a little during Leo's nap time in the afternoon and that makes the actual dinner prep really quick at dinner time.  Kevin is usually home before dinner to hang out with the kids so I can cook solo.  He also helps out after dinner so I can close down the kitchen for the night.

Let me share some simple dinner ideas with you that we've eaten lately.  You'll notice that grilling season is in full swing over here.  That means that Kevin buys the meat.  I marinate it.  He grills it and I make the sides.  It's my favorite dinner season.

1. Build your own pasta bowl

Everyone makes their personalized pasta on their plate.  Pasta, marinara, meat and fresh parmesan cheese were the options.  Roasted broccoli and fruit as sides.  My kids said this is their favorite meal of all time.

2. Hammy Cheesy Eggs

Another family favorite.  Scrambled eggs topped with deli sliced ham and sharp cheddar cheese.  Roasted red potatoes and onions as a side and fruit.  The kids eat the potatoes with ketchup.  This is the perfect way to finish up the end of package of ham deli meat and a great way to use up your last potatoes.  A clean out the fridge meal that is still delicious.

3. Steak & sides.

Kevin grilled and I make all the yummy sides.  White & Wild Grain Rice from a box, fruit, homemade crusty bread and a big salad.

We were extra proud of our salad because we grew this lettuce.  I added feta, all the veggies and balsamic.

4. Taco Night

Ground beef taco meat on mall Street Taco soft shells.  Toppings - pepperjack cheese, lettuce, onions, salsa, sour cream and roasted veggies.  We all ate fruit and chips and salsa.

5. Breakfast for dinner

Waffles from a mix, bacon, scrambled eggs and fruit.  A winning combination that everyone loves.  I do plain waffles for Kevin and Leo and chocolate chip waffles for everyone else.

6. Steak & Sides

Kevin grilled steak and I roasted veggies, added fruit and made cornbread casserole.

7. Veggie Lo Mein

I love the veggie lo mein in the freezer section at Sams.  It comes packaged in single serve sizes.  3 of them work for us for dinner.  I add in tons of veggies and it's so good.

8. Taco Salad

This was SO SO GOOD.  My family ate soft shells or nachos and I made myself a big taco salad.  All the toppings and homemade pickled onions.  I think I could eat this every day.

Lastly, my friend Liz has the best free printable gift tags to attach to food you make for friends or family.  I printed off a bunch, cut them out and have them in a kitchen drawer ready to attach food that I deliver.  I took dinner to a friend over the weekend.  I attached a label to the top.  It looked so much nicer than a post it note or a sharpie scribbled note.  I added washi tape for a little extra something.

Head over here: This Little Home of Mine: Free Printable Food Gift Tags - you just have to enter your email and they will arrive in your inbox.  I am so excited to use these!

What's for dinner at your house this week?  Which of these meals would your family enjoy most?