Friday, February 24, 2017

Five on Friday || Life Lately

Happy Friday! Five recent happenings...
one. The weather has been gorgeous in Charlotte lately so we've been spending a lot of time outside. Last weekend I picked up this adorable push car for the kids and they've been fighting over it ever since. I'm not sure why I waited so long to get one of these. It's way easier than pulling two kids in a wagon and it doesn't have pedals for the kids to get their legs caught in (I'm looking at you, evil tricycle). 
We also finally picked up the second seat kit for our stroller and are also kicking ourselves for waiting so long to do this. It's only been two weekends and there are no less than 2 boxes of raisins and 3 sleeves of crackers crushed in the bottom of the stroller already.
two. Triple Date Night! Last weekend Matt and I went on the most fun triple date with two other couples. We kick off the evening at Exit Strategy, a 60 minute puzzle you have to solve to escape the room! (Charlotte friends -- we did the Murder Mystery room and loved it). I am happy to report that our team of friends solved the mystery with minutes to spare! We can't wait to go back and do another room next!
 Afterwards we enjoyed a delicious dinner in a private wine cellar in the basement of an old church.
Matt and I started with fried green tomatoes topped with pimento cheese, followed by steaks and lots of cocktails!
It was an awesome night out with friends.
three. I love this little snap I took of the fam walking to church last weekend. Caroline has been loving Sunday School. And Thomas has been hating it. I swear he acts like we're never coming back for him when we drop him off. Also, a huge shout out to the nursery crew for catching Thomas's contact that fell out while he was there last week. I didn't even tell them about him wearing contacts so I was ridiculously impressed when I received a text during church saying "We think a contact just fell out of Thomas's eye?" This blew me away. In the almost two years that he has been wearing and losing contacts regularly at school none of his teachers have ever recovered a contact! So grateful!
four. While transferring my 235983405 photos from my phone to my computer I realized I forgot to post about our recent impromptu happy hour date night at Heist Brewery. Matt and I had an event to attend after work a few weeks ago and realized when it was over that our kids would still be very much awake. So we took a detour on our way home and ended up in NoDa for an early dinner. I am certain that happy hour dates are my new favorite.
five. Our daycare recently moved one of Thomas and Caroline's old teachers into Thomas's class! It has been super awesome because she is one of our very favorite teachers ever and loves our kiddos so much! It was an amazing surprise and we've already seen so much growth in Thomas in the past few weeks! He is drinking out of cups without spilling his milk everywhere, saying a lot more words and is now obsessed with books. So I'm wrapping up today's post with a few favorite pictures of Thomas that his teacher sent me this week!
 
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Monday, February 20, 2017

February Supper Club (& How It All Got Started)

One of the most common questions I'm asked anytime I post about Supper Club is "how does your Supper Club work?" So today I'm going to share about how we got started...
How it All Got Started
I've always been a people gatherer. Bringing people together (especially fun people) is a passion of mine and it always has been. In high school I loved hosting my best guy friends on the football team over for pancakes on game day mornings. In college I led bible studies for my sorority. On winter breaks I hosted annual pasta parties back home with my best high school friends. I've always been the party and vacation planner of all my friend groups -- and I love it.

After graduation I moved to Charlotte where I knew NO ONE -- and so the pursuit began for some solid girlfriends. Lucky for me, I made some pretty incredible friends right away through my new job. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't have met my husband! I also joined a bible study and made a few more friends there. And I made friends with their friends. Then Matt and I moved to a new neighborhood and made a few more friends. And so I was feeling pretty good about all these wonderful groups of people in our life and we found ourselves planning vacations with these friends, hosting them over for dinner, going out for drinks together and more.

And then I had a baby.

Shortly after Caroline was born I quickly recognized how much less time I had in my life for hanging with friends. Things changed so much after a little person came along and began monopolizing all my time not spent at work. Then my friends started having babies too and it seemed like getting together was nearly impossible. And honestly, it was a bit lonely. I missed my friends. And I definitely missed late nights of funny, inappropriate conversations over too many glasses of wine. My biggest challenge was making time for each group of friends -- work friends, bible study friends, neighbor friends, etc. It was difficult to keep up with them all regularly and still have time for my family.

Then one night I told Matt I was going to start a Supper Club -- and he loved it and encouraged me to do it. And it's honestly been one of the best things that has ever happened to me. 

So I approached each friend separately and asked if she would be interested in joining a supper club. Through these discussions I learned that I wasn't alone in feeling like regular fellowship with gal pals was certainly missing. And although some of the girls did not know each other well, there was a resounding "YES!" from them all to kick off the club. And so I did...

How It Works
Once I rallied enough girls together we flushed out the organization and the process: 

ORGANIZATION: At the beginning of the year each member selects a month she would like to host Supper Club in her home. We have liked using Sign-Up Genius to plan out the year because it's first come, first serve for grabbing a month and the website automatically sends reminders to the host when her turn is coming up.

We also agreed on the third Thursday of every month at 7 pm so the timing is consistent and the girls could plan accordingly (several of the girls have husbands who travel and need to secure babysitters for the night).

We have 11 girls in the club which leaves one month open each year. The past few years we've used this month for a girls night out. However, this year we're trading our open month in for a girl's beach weekend!

HOSTING: A few weeks before the next Supper Club the hostess sends out an evite so she can collect RSVPs and plan for the night. The fun part about hosting is you can literally do whatever you want -- create an ultimate salad bar, require pajama attire, make a large pot of chili, go fancy, celebrate babies, throw a party under the stars, grab takeout, celebrate birthdays, etc. The only rule is the hostess provides all of the food and each guest brings a bottle of wine. It's that easy!

If you aren't in a Supper Club, don't be afraid to start your own! I can speak for our entire group when I say that this club has been a blessing to each of us. So many friendships have evolved over the years -- from weddings to birthdays, we've celebrated countless events together, welcomed 11 babies (and have a handful more on the way), started a weekly play group for the kids to get together, share a group text that dings all day with mom questions or funny stories, been there for each other in the toughest of times and many of our husbands even get together on a weekly basis for beers and trivia. 

***
February Supper Club
This month I hosted Supper Club! I kept things as simple as possible with a crockpot meal and prepped far in advance because Matt had an event the same night. Thankfully, my bestie Mel came straight from work to help with the kiddos and last minute dinner prep. 
For the tablescape I threw a lightly shimmered tablecloth down and ran a $3 roll of pretty gold dot wrapping paper (from Target dollar spot) down the center of the table. Then I crammed as many gorgeous tulips as I could into 3 of my coffee mugs and set out some gold votives. Easy.
For fun, I sprinkled some fun TableTopics across the table. In typical fashion we were too busy chatting away about everything that we didn't really get through too many of the cards but they were still fun!
 
Sticking with my "easy" theme, I picked up a log of goat cheese, a round of boursin cheese and crackers from Trader Joes for an appetizer.
Caroline desperately wanted to hang "with the ladies" as she kept saying, so I let her party with us through dessert with only a few ear muffs along the way. Once Matt got home he scooped her up and put her to bed. But the very first question she asked when she woke up the next morning was "are the ladies still here?!" 
You're welcome, Lisa.
For dinner I served Sausage & Cheese Tortellini Soup that I slow cooked all day in the crockpot (adding the tortellini and the spinach in the last hour of cooking). Alongside the soup I served fresh bread I picked up from the Teeter and warmed in the oven for a few minutes. Then Mel sliced it for me while I put a screaming toddler to bed. Thanks Mel!
For dessert I whipped up some homemade ice cream sandwiches! I kid. I kid. I unwrapped a box of M&M ice cream sandwiches and arranged them on a plate.
And finally, may I introduce the cutest little new member to our Supper Club? To the right we have 6 days new -- baby Belle! She is pure sugar and enjoyed her first party with the ladies.

As is standard, my Supper Club ran late into the night, many bottles of wine were drank, dinner was devoured and I kicked the last 3 usual suspects out just before 11 pm and collapsed into bed. Another successful Supper Club in the books!

My Previous Supper Club Dinners
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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Toddler Talk

The things that come out of Caroline's mouth these days are so unpredictable and hilarious. A few things I want to catalog...
While handing my camera to me...
Caroline: Mommy? Can you take a smile with me?

In the car on the way to school while listening to our favorite CD...
Caroline: Mommy, can you please turn up the singing?
Caroline teaching Thomas how to make "soup"
Because even a lunch of just french fries is a win these days...
Mommy: Thomas, eat your french fries and you can have your rice krispy treat.
Caroline: Thomas, eat your french fries and you can have your rice krispy treat.
 
While chaperoning me using the potty (because all moms know you can't pee alone once you have kids!)...
Caroline: (Hands me one square of toilet paper and rubs my back) Great job mommy! You get a sticker! 
The newest night-night routine addition is Caroline reads Thomas a book. This activity was established by Caroline so her rule is she gets to pick the book and only she gets to read and only she gets to sit in the reading chair...(bossy big sister? yep)
Caroline: Come on, Thomas! I am going to read to you!
Thomas: ....
Caroline: (turns first page)
Thomas: nope!
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