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Five on Friday

Happy Friday.

What a week.

The kids have been home from school 3 days this week (including today) so it’s been a little crazy around here between sleepovers, play dates, cheer camp, a sick dog, our school’s Veteran’s Day concert (super cute, by the way) and parent-teacher conferences on top of our regular chaos.

Mabel is slowly on the mend after being sick for a few days with what her doctor believes to be a stomach bug. It absolutely breaks my heart and stresses me out to see her so sad and uncomfortable but she’s finally starting to get back to herself. I am very thankful for antibiotics from our vet, Matt’s sister for recommending pumpkin puree, my green machine, and this highly effective stain/odor eliminator.

Let’s see, what else?

This weekend we are hosting a chili cook-off party! I’m really excited to have our neighborhood friends over for a night of chili tasting. I’ve been party prepping all week (running errands, grocery shopping, de-webbing/cleaning our folding tables, designing printables, ordering prizes, etc.) — it’s been fun to see everything starting to come together. I’m going to enter my White Bean Chicken Chili into the competition!

Lastly, by some miracle I was able to get 3 gift guides (plus a fun holiday cocktail) out this week! If you missed them, I hope you check them out and find them helpful for your holiday shopping! I’ve got a few more guides to finish and then I’ll be done!

Alright, let’s get down to the reader best-sellers…

Top 5 Reader Favorite Items This Week

  1. Piggy Bank Safe: Top seller by FAR! Y’all LOVED this bank — and we do too! Santa brought both of our kids these banks last year and they have eliminated a lot of theft in our home. The safe requires a 4 digit passcode and is really secure.
  2. Thymes Laundry Detergent: This detergent smells ahhh-maaaaziiiiinngg — like a Christmas tree! I love washing our blankets in it for the holidays. I purchased a bottle 3 years ago and it’s going to last forever since it’s so highly concentrated.
  3. Light Up Marquee Letter: The best-seller from the Tween Girls Gift Guide, these color-changing letters come with a remote, 4 flashing modes (as well as speed control), and a sleep timer.
  4. Pine Garland: Lots of you scooped up the holiday garland I shared in last week’s post! This gorgeous garland is excellent quality (it looks so real!) and sold out on Amazon by Halloween last year, so I’m surprised to see it in stock still!
  5. Laser Tag: The best-seller from the Tween Boys Gift Guide, this rechargeable set includes 4 guns and vest sensors. Features two weapon modes and 150-reach. This has been one of the MOST USED toys for Thomas. He hosts friends for laser tag almost every weekend and always packs this set for sleepovers. NOTE: We’ve purchased several cheaper sets and they have all broken quickly. This set is worth splurging on and has held up well.
Piggy Bank Safe

1. 12 Years!

Last Sunday Matt and I celebrated 12 years of marriage!

We usually try to get away for our anniversary each year, but this year we decided our pool was our gift to each other and spent most of the day tackling house projects (see #4!) while the kids had a bunch of friends over.

Caroline and her friends ended up surprising us with the sweetest work of art on the driveway using her sidewalk chalk paint kit!

We had planned a family steak dinner, but Thomas ended up sleeping over at his friend’s house and Caroline had a “late over” at one of her friend’s houses, so dinner ended up as just the two of us! We opened a nice bottle of wine and I made my favorite restaurant style steak with loaded potato wedges and bacon wrapped brown sugar glazed green beans! It was SO good!! And for dessert we had cake! Since getting married, every year I have had a little anniversary cake made that is fashioned after our wedding topper and it was wild to see 12 on it this year!

2. Faux Orchid

I want to be a good orchid owner, but have never been able to keep them alive.

I recently swapped out my sad set of orchids with these faux stems and cannot get over how REAL they look! The pack comes with a set of two orchids (for a price way better than Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, etc.) and the quality and texture is top notch! The stems are a dark green and I read that the trick is to use the existing pot with the real leaves and just pop the stem inside (and clip to the stick).

Faux Orchid + Pendant Lights

3. Community Group

Last week Laura hosted Community Group and everyone really loved the values exercise we did! We used a Live Your Values Deck to sort through 78 cards to help us each determine 10 core values and then discussed over dinner.

It was really insightful and I loved the exercise so much that I ended up buying the deck so Matt could also do it!

4. Thanksgiving Hosting Hack

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving and need to feed your guests breakfast, I have a tip for you! Purchase your bacon pre-cooked from the hot bar at the grocery store! Not only does it save you from cleaning up bacon grease, it’s cheaper too!

5. Florida Gators Sweatshirt

I had lots of requests for my vintage Gator sweatshirt I wore last weekend for Game Day! It runs oversized (wearing a small) and is currently on sale with free shipping.

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