Friday, April 29, 2016

Five on Friday!

Happiest Friday to you all! It's been a good week but I am so ready for the weekend! Caroline's Mickey Mouse birthday party is next weekend so you can find me gluing things, running errands and making grocery lists this weekend in between our scheduled events!
- one - SASSY WATER! I was reminded last weekend how much I love Sassy Water! The weeks leading up to my wedding I diligently drank Sassy Water to shed some last minute water weight. I had kind of forgotten about this tasty beverage until my friend May brought out a pitcher for us to drink while we were getting ready and told me she'd been drinking it all week too in preparation for the big day.

Why it works: Cucumber is natural diuretic, contains anti-inflammatory properties and helps the body release stored excess water. Ginger boosts metabolism, helps cleanse out your system and soothes your GI tract. Lemon juice also helps to cleanse and alkalize the body. Mint helps settle your stomach and aids in digestion.
This recipe also happens to be one of my top 5 most popular pins on Pinterest!
Sassy Water Recipe
original Carolina Charm post

Step 1. In a large pitcher combine:
8.5 cups water
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 medium cucumber, sliced thin
1 large lemon, sliced thin
12 mint leaves

Step 2. Refrigerate overnight.

Step 3. In the morning strain and drink entire pitcher throughout the day.

Step 4: Repeat for 4 days in a row, trying your best to avoid other beverages!

Note: If you want to skip the hassle of straining your ingredients, try using an infusion pitcher instead! Also, I re-use my ingredients twice before I refresh them. 

Print recipe for Sassy Water.
- two - We celebrated Supper Club at Cristina's house this month. For dinner she created the most incredible salad bar of all time...
Overachiever!
 
 24 toppings. Unreal. And if that wasn't impressive enough, Cristina provided cute to-go containers for each girl to take a salad home too!
She knocked dessert out of the park too. A whole buffet dedicated to dessert. I'm so glad I've already hosted Supper Club this year so I don't have to follow hers! You can find her 2015 Supper Club set up (here)!
 - three - Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week and I am ahead of the game for the first time in my life! In fact, I think I'm still feeling guilty from forgetting about Teacher Goody Day a few weeks ago so now I have an insane amount of calendar reminders set to prevent that from happening again. 
Each day next week requires some kind of gift - flower day, treat day, card day, etc. and with SEVEN teachers to surprise it can get expensive pretty quick. So I usually resort to thoughtful or clever ideas. This one goes down (in my opinion) as the most clever idea I could find on Pinterest that didn't cost a fortune. The original idea I stole had a tag that said "I won the LOTTO" but I changed it to "jackpot" since it seemed more appropriate with a scratch off instead of a lotto ticket!

So "treat day" rounded out to about $15 total which is a real win (pun intended) in my book -- 7 one dollar scratch offs ($7) + 2 packs of fun size 100 Grand candy bars ($4) + 2 packs of fun size PayDay candy bars ($4). Lucky me (again with the puns!), I already had the bags, twine and made the tags on PicMonkey. Although this gift only cost me a little more than two bucks a pop, ya never know, one lucky teacher could walk away with $7K! Ha!
- four - On Wednesday Thomas and Caroline's school hosted "Muffins with Mom," one of my favorite mornings of the year! We started in Caroline's class, split a muffin, split another muffin, made a huge mess and then visited Thomas's class for round two. 
Thomas actually out ate us both in muffins. He is such a machine these days which is a stark contrast to his picky sister.

We usually drop Caroline off to her class first but on occasion we let her come with us to drop Thomas off first so she can hug her old teachers and visit with the babies. This of course adds at least 20 minutes to drop off. Also, you can't wear shoes in his class so she always knows to stop and put on her blue shoe covers first. So funny.
- five - For anyone looking to purchase the best gift ever for a two year old girl, look no further! Caroline is absolutely obsessed with her Little Cosmetics Makeup Set that Grandma and Grandpa gave her last weekend for her birthday. The makeup looks so real so she totally loves it. I keep it in my makeup drawer so we can "get ready" together in the mornings.
Thank you mom and dad for saving me from any more cracked bronzers and chewed up lipsticks!

Wanna join April, Natasha and I on the Friday fun? You can link-up on any of our four blogs every Friday! All you have to do is...
1.) Write your post about five things you're lovin' this week (or any five things you want to share!).
2.) Share the logo on your blog and link back. 
3.) Link-up at the bottom of the post so some new readers can check out your five things and say hello!
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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Surviving Summer (with Toddlers)

I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that we'll have TWO very wild and crazy toddlers this summer to entertain. 
The one thing my kids absolutely hate is being stuck inside on the weekends so we usually do our best to be out and about or try to spend as much time as possible outside playing. We're currently trying to spruce up our backyard in preparation for lots of outdoor entertaining and play time. We also just power washed our tried and true favorite toys from last summer and it got me thinking that I should share our top 10 items (in no particular order) with y'all today. Most of the toys are inexpensive and we'll get mileage out of them for years to come...
Surviving Summer with Toddlers
1. Mini Pool: We picked up a plastic pool last year and have filled it with water for some activities and sand for others! An easy way to cool down, we get so much use out of this pool!
 
2. Sand Tools: To go with your water or sand play in the mini pool! Caroline also uses hers to "garden."

3. Contigo Water Bottle: Pretty much the kiddie version of the Yeti.
 
4. Tree Swing: The popular and most fought over backyard toy for our kids. 
 
5. Radio Flyer Grandstand 3 in 1 Wagon: Y'all know my love for the wagon so I won't even go into a long explanation as to why it's worth every single penny. See this, this, and this.

6. Water Activity Play TableA gift for Caroline's first birthday that has been one of our favorites!
 
7. Gazillion Bubble Hurricane Machine: Cheap entertainment!!! Bubbles are always such a hit.

8. JJ Cole Picnic Blanket: We've used this at the beach, at the park, in the backyard and more! See this previous post for more information! 
 
9. Velo Balance Bike:  Caroline is just starting to get the hang of this but she loves her bike. Right now she's still just walking with the bike between her legs but by the end of summer I foresee her going 15 mph down the sidewalk. 

10. Pop Up Play Tent Set: This toy is so versatile. We love busting out the tents inside the living room on rainy days or popping them up outside for play time. I love that all 3 pieces fold up into a tiny circle for easy storage and transportation.

-----------------------------------

Also, not toy related but I wanted to share a game changer popsicle my friend Lisa introduced to us last year - Slow Melt Mighty Minis. These popsicles stay frozen longer than regular popsicles which helps cut down on the number of destroyed shirts, sticky fingers and stained furniture around our house. I stock up the second these suckers go on sale at the Teeter. They are also a wonderful bath time bribe tool for us.

And one more thing - Natives! We love Natives shoes for daycare, outdoor play, splash grounds and more during the summer! In fact, I wrote a whole post on these shoes here and am always getting questions about Caroline's pink shoes! Keep an eye on Amazon because they run sales all the time. Sometimes as low as $11!

Oh, and a question for you! We are in the market for a little outdoor play house for the kiddos. I'm looking for used ones that I can easily spruce up (hello, Pinterest project) but they sell ridiculously fast in all my mom groups. I would love to know which play houses any of you have purchased and your feedback!
Now tell me, what are some of your mini's favorite outdoor toys?! We are always looking to add to our collection!
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Florida Wedding Weekend!

We are back from a beautiful long weekend in Florida! My best friend, roommate and sorority sister from college got married and the wedding festivities could not have been more perfect!
 
We arrived on Thursday afternoon so I could spend some time with my family before the wedding events began. Also, the kids did surprisingly well on both flights (despite delays) so I feel they deserve a shout out for good behavior.
Within seconds of hugging Grandma and Grandpa (G&G) this little fishy was begging to go swimming in the pool. In typical fashion G&G had purchased one of every pool toy from the store for the kiddos so they were in absolute paradise for the weekend.
Uncle Ian was so pumped to see the kiddos.
 And so was my bestie Shannon.
Moments before bedtime Grandma surprised Caroline with an early birthday cake. They won't be able to make it to her upcoming birthday party but still wanted to have a little celebration with presents and dessert. Of course this meant the kiddos went to bed waaaaaaaaay later than normal but it was totally worth the few extra hours of high pitched squeals from tornado-Caroline. 
SO MANY ICING FINGER DIPS.
Caroline loved all of her presents but her absolute favorite gift from G&G was the Toddler Cosmetics Set. Oh my goodness, Caroline is SO in to my makeup these days so this gift totally stole the show. In second place was a new set of Chef Cookware for her kitchen.
On Friday morning Lindsey, Ryan and Jackson arrived and joined in on the fun for the rest of the weekend while I was off doing wedding things.
It was a crazy, loud weekend at G&G's house but my parents were just so dang happy to have all their grandbabies under one roof. And we were all very thankful to have dad HOME for this visit instead of the hospital. I don't think he stopped smiling all weekend.
 Aunt Lindsey & Uncle Ryan with all the babies!
For real, is there anything cuter than babies in a sink tub? No. The answer is no.
Meanwhile, back in wedding land I was busy having the best time with the girls. On Friday morning we got manicures and pedicures, lunched together at Prato, rehearsed for the big day and then celebrated with dinner at Cask & Larder.
It was so nice to be able to break away with Matt both evenings for fun wedding events too. On Friday night we had such a great time at the rehearsal dinner.
Bright and early on Saturday the wedding prep was in full force! May surprised us all with the sweetest rompers to wear while we got ready.
 Such a stunning bridey!
{the dress}
It took three of us to put her veil in...backwards. Oops. She was the most chill bride of all time though and wasn't even phased when we announced to her that we needed to fix it seconds before we walked down the aisle.
Such a beauty.
Finally married (after dating for longer than a decade)!
The wedding venue was unreal - right on the water with the most gorgeous sunset.
And there is almost a full can of Big Sexy Hair Spray in my hair.
One of my favorite wedding details was the place settings. Each seat had a picture of the guest with the bride and groom. I loved it. The photo for our seats was from the time May and Justin came to visit us and we went hiking (post here).
The perfect finale to a great weekend!
(May promises to send more wedding detail pictures as she receives them from her talented photographer so stay tuned for an update to this post)

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