Monday, February 29, 2016

Charlie's 70th Birthday Pawty

Charlie turned 70 on Saturday!
And he still doesn't look a day over three! 
To celebrate our original (fur) baby, we invited some friends over to drink mimosas, throw tennis balls, grill some burgers and of course, eat cake! It was the best pawty ever.
The kiddos had an absolute blast running around the backyard collecting rocks, picking up sticks and playing with bubbles. The weather was perfect and got us all so excited to do this so much more often once it really starts to warm up.
For lunch we grilled my favorite Cabernet burgers and some hotdogs for the minis.
John and Lisa are on a low carb diet so we skipped the buns and lettuce-wrapped our burgers. So good.
Lisa brought over broccolini which is my new favorite vegetable ever.
 
The big kids lasted all of 2 minutes at the kid table before they were crawling all over us begging for cupcakes.  So we ran outside to sing happy birthday to Charlie and broke out the cupcakes.
For the fifth year in a row we picked up a peanut butter doggy cake from Canine Cafe for Charlie.
Easily his favorite day of the year.

Caroline being the good sharer that she is offered Thomas his first bite of cupcake. In one bite he took the entire pile of icing right off the top just like his sister does.
And very stealthily these two polished off the platter of mini cupcakes. 

Happy birthday, Charlie! Even though our attention is split three ways, we promise we love you as much as ever! You are the most attentive watch dog, so protective of your human siblings, the cuddliest pup there ever was and the best toddler food vacuum! As much as we love celebrating you we can't help but also be extremely sad that you are TEN now. We cherish every day with you!
Previous Birthday Pawties:
Charlie Turns Nine 
Charlie Turns Eight 
Charlie Turns Seven
Charlie Turns Six
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Friday, February 26, 2016

Five on Friday!

Oh hey! Look who got her act together for Five on Friday this week!! 
one. These two. They kill me. So dang hilarious together.
two. I am so bad about cleaning my rings. I usually wait until a significant amount of random food and lotion particles have collected in the crevices before I do something about it. Over the weekend I used my mom's tried and true ring cleaning tick to get my sparkle back -- AMMONIA! In a tiny jar (far, far out of reach from the little ones who can usually be found climbing my counter tops), I pour a little bit of ammonia, a splash of water and then toss my rings in. Go to bed. Wake up to super shiny, cookie dough-free rings!
three. Last weekend we checked two new restaurants off our list - Kid Cashew and Summit Room. We invited our good friends John and Lisa to come with us for a double date and had the very best time. I'd say 96% of the time we spend with them usually includes wiping noses, filling sippy cups and being responsible, so it was fun to break away together for some fun, uninterrupted adult time. We started with drinks at Kid Cashew and it was such a cool place that I'm dying to go back and try it for dinner. 
After a few drinks we walked across the street to Summit Room for one of the best meals ever. The only time our table went silent the entire night was when the pimento cheese corn fritters arrived. We all agreed they were unbelievable -- the best corn fritters of all time. The rest of the food that followed was equally amazing. Lisa and I both got the potato gnocchi, John got the shaved catfish and Matt got the duck. Everyone loved their meal and we had the very best time.
four. My sister's birthday was last week and she loved her gift so much that I wanted to share it! I surprised her with an Xtremeglas Hydrate 32 oz Water Bottle. Now, you may be thinking "Oh cool, a water bottle. Lame." But this gift was perfect for her. She's a health nut and drinks a ton of water each day. I considered the S'well bottle and also the Yeti (which I got her hubby for Christmas) but kept coming back to this one because I liked that it is glass and has time and ounce/milliliter markings to keep your hydration on track throughout the day, perfect for a breastfeeding mama!

five. We are going on our fifth week of HelloFresh and are enjoying this incredible subscription more than ever! The meal of the (last) week was hands down the Caramelized Onion Burgers with Garlic Aioli and Crispy Cauliflower. Several of my friends are also subscribed to HelloFresh and agreed this was one of the best boxes we've received yet!!! Actually, I haven't had a box I didn't like.

Want to try HelloFresh? Use promo code MG8GKD for $40 off your first box! That means you can try out HelloFresh for $29 and then cancel after your box arrives or keep on going.

Also, from time to time I receive a promo code to give my friends a FREE box of HelloFresh meals! I've already shared this subscription with my friends and still have four free boxes left to give! I'd be happy to send the first 4 people to leave their email address in the comments a free week of HelloFresh to try! 

Wanna join Darci, 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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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

10 Fun Facts About Me + Two Truths & A Lie

I am a pretty open book and probably divulge more personal information than I should in this little space so you may be thinking "how can she possibly share 10 things I don't already know about her?" Valid thought. Hope you'll play along anyway...

10 Random Fun Facts About Me
 
one // My first car was a red 1994 Chevy S10 pickup truck. It was a stick shift and I drove the heck out of it until it bit the dust in college. When I got home my parents surprised me (and boy, was it a surprise) with a 2001 sparkly blue Buick Regal they bought from an old lady who was moving into a nursing home. Yep, you can read that full story here.
 
two // I've never had a cavity. This is probably because I brush my teeth for no less than 15 minutes while making bottles, cleaning the kitchen, picking up toys etc. Matt thinks it's so weird that I multi-task while teeth brushing.

three // Matt also thinks it's weird that I've worn a gold toe ring since middle school. My grandma always wore one and gave my mom and sister one too. We all wear them. Weird? Maybe.

four // I don't know how to whistle. Or do a cartwheel.
 
five // A huge pet peeve of mine is a TV playing in an empty room that no one is watching. I am always turning off the TVs in our house. Five minutes later I'll hear "Hey! I was watching that!!!" My parents are the worst at this too.
 
six // My Starbucks drink is a Short Nonfat Cafe Misto with 2 pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup.
 
seven // I am an exclamation point enthusiast. I use them way too much!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
eight // I've never colored my hair before -- a true redhead! And my hair cuts never cost more than $15.
 
nine // I drive past my wedding venue twice a day and my office sits 23 floors above my rehearsal dinner venue.
 
ten // I am a certified scuba diver.
Pretty much the exact truck I drove minus obnoxious Kappa Delta and University of Florida stickers.

Two Truths & A Lie

And for one more fun activity, let's play a game of two truths and a lie. Can you guess which statement below is a fib?

true or false: In college I backpacked Europe for a month by myself.

true or false: I am over 5 feet tall.

true or false: In middle school I broke my left arm and my left hip in a rollerblading accident.

The answer?
True: One summer break during college I took a 30 day backpacking trip around Europe. I went by myself but ended up making friends. 
 
True: In 7th grade I did in fact break my left arm and hip in a rollerblading accident. While wearing rollerblades, a friend on foot was pushing me while running. I was going pretty dang fast when one of my brother's friends jumped in front of me and didn't move in time. We collided and it was pretty much a disaster. 
 
False: I am 4'11" tall.
Thanks for playing along!
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Monday, February 22, 2016

Pancake Parties! {& Awesome Giveaway!}

This post brought to you by Carolina Charm sponsor Plum Organics.
It's no secret our family loves a good Saturday morning pancake party. Matt has always been a big pancake eater and when Caroline came along she quickly followed in his footsteps. Almost every weekend you can either find us whipping up a batch of pancakes together in the kitchen or we'll go out for pancakes if we're feeling adventurous. When we're out for breakfast we skip right over the kid menu and order Caroline her own adult-sized portion of pancakes too. And she usually polishes them off in their entirety.

So now that we're moving on from purées to the eat-what-we-eat phase, we decided to test out Thomas's love for pancakes. Over the weekend I got a little creative in the kitchen and created some blueberry, banana, apple, and sunflower seed butter with chia pancakes specifically for our little man. Those are some pretty impressive pancakes for a first timer, right? Took me hours to peel, dice, steam and purée all those ingredients. Kidding! I am a master of efficiency so I whisked some rice cereal, eggs, flour and a pouch of Plum Organics Grow Well - dha together!
Pancakes for Babies

Ingredients

1 cup flour (white or whole wheat)
1 cup rice cereal
3 eggs
1 pouch Plum Organics Grow Well - dha
1/2 cup blueberries
Water

Instructions

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together, adding small amounts of water at a time until you've reached a pancake batter consistency. Pour small amounts of batter into a pancake (or frying) pan, flipping when the bubbles form on the top. Cook until golden.
The verdict? We have another pancake lover in the family! Thomas happily crushed his pancakes.
And so did his sissy -- a successful pancake party all around!
As you know, we are constantly worried about Thomas' eye health so I love that I was able to sneak in18mg of DHA into some baby pancakes for him. From the crazy amount of research we've done on our cataract journey, we found that DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid) is essential for the growth and functional development of the brain and retina in infants.So when I learned the Grow Well line has a pouch specifically created with DHA as an ingredient it was a no brainer (pun intended) that we would incorporate this pouch into our baby meal planning.
We've been Plum Organics pouch-loving parents since Caroline was born so I was excited when they contacted me to test out their new Grow Well line. There’s nothing else quite like Grow Well on the market. It’s a line of organic baby food pouches that harnesses nutrients from yummy organic ingredient combinations I would not otherwise cook (like mango, chia, kale and lentils). Not only are these pouches great for adding extra fruits and veggies into recipes, they are magically tasty on their own too! Never in a million years did I think I could successfully get my minis to eat kale. But something about making it squeezable...
GIVEAWAY! One lucky reader will win 3 months' worth of Plum Organics! To enter, use the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway will run through Friday, February 26! A winner will be announced via Rafflecopter within 48 hours after the contest closes. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway  
This post is sponsored by Plum Organics.
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