First Tweetsie Trip

This past weekend, we took the kiddos to Tweetsie Railroad for the first time! The tickets were a birthday gift from my aunt and uncle (and I think it’s one of my favorite presents ever)! We had been looking forward to this trip since June, and I had been praying for weeks that the weather would cooperate, which it did (although the morning was very chilly, it was a much welcomed change from the unseasonal 90 degree weather we’ve been having at home).

Landon was a little ball of joy and wonder all day and watching him take in all the sights and sounds was truly one of the highlights of my life. He was so sweet and so excited, and I wished I could make the day last forever. He was so happy to be there, completely fascinated with the train (and kept saying “allll aboard!” in his cute little voice), and was covered in blue rock candy by the time we left at closing time.

It ended up being the perfect day. The weather was glorious, the park wasn’t too crowded (he hardly had to wait for any rides and got to ride everything multiple times), and we split a big pepperoni pizza for lunch.

If you’ve been to Tweetsie before, you know there’s nothing that smells or sounds quite like it. It was the perfect combination of sweet nostalgia (Tweetsie was a big highlight of my own childhood) and seeing it through new eyes this time – my boy’s eyes. After 20 years, so much is still the exact same and in a world where everything has changed so much, it was so fun sharing a piece of my childhood with Landon. I wouldn’t trade this day for the world, and we’re already looking so forward to taking him back next year!

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Our Favorite Toddler Plates

If you’ve followed me on Instagram for any amount of time, you know that preparing fun, nutritious meals for Landon brings me so much joy. I share pretty frequently what works, what doesn’t work so well, and all the little tips and tricks I find along the way to make feeding a toddler fun (instead of a chore). I get messages all the time from other mamas thanking me for the meal inspiration and I’m constantly looking for inspiration myself from people like Kate at Naptime Kitchen, Alana at On My Toddlers Plate, and Lou at Feeding Calvin.

If your toddler is anything like mine, you never know if they’re going to love a certain food or hate it (even if they’ve loved it a hundred times before… *insert eye roll emoji*). So, whatever I can do to make the most simple menu items “fun” enough to get him excited and willing to actually eat is a WIN in my book!

Landon was so excited when these darling car plates came in the mail and he asks for them every time I start preparing his plate at meal times. They come in a set of four and you can choose from several different color combinations (I chose the blue, gray, green, and pink set). They are made of a durable bamboo fiber and I love that they’re dishwasher safe. HM-Tech also makes cute owl plates, spoon and fork sets, and cups and they’re all non-toxic and made with natural materials.

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A typical breakfast for Landon: 1/2 an apple, 1 cutie, strawberry yogurt with granola, 1/2 a cinnamon raisin english muffin with maple pumpkin butter

Thanks so much to HM-Tech for providing the plates featured in this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Homemade Play Dough

I can still remember sitting in the little drawer beside the stove, helping my Mama make play dough when I was a little girl. The smell, the way the food coloring looked as her hands kneaded the dough, and the way it felt as I squished it between my fingers and cut it into all sorts of different shapes and pretended I was whipping up some sugar cookies is such a sweet memory for me. Now, I’m making it for my own little man and he has had the best time playing with it all week!

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It’s so much better than store bought play doh and it’s so easy to make. Not to mention, if they were to (God forbid) put some in their mouth, it’s non-toxic and made with just a few everyday ingredients. It lasts for over a month in an airtight container (and I keep mine in the fridge).

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups water
  • gel food coloring

Instructions:

  • Whisk together flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a pot, then add oil and water.
  • Cook over medium heat until a thick dough forms and sticks to your spoon (a wooden spoon works best for this) – this should take about 5-6 minutes.
  • Dump onto wax paper and wait until just cool enough to handle.
  • If making more than one color, separate.
  • Flour your hands (to keep the dough from sticking to you) and knead the dough well until it is the consistency of playdough and no longer sticky (this is the most important step).
  • Add food coloring and knead until the coloring is distributed throughout the dough evenly and you’ve reached the desired color.
  • Store in a ziploc bag or an airtight container in the fridge for 4-6 weeks.

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Hole-in-the-wall Grits

A few years ago, I went to Hoskins Restaurant in North Myrtle Beach with my friend, Meredith for the first time. It’s a little hole-in-the-wall that opened in 1948 and serves up delicious fried fish and country cooking, and is beloved by many as one of the first restaurants on the Grand Strand.

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You can count on waiting in line to get in, no matter what day of the week, but rest assured, it’s worth it. My father-in-law remembers eating there as a kid, and when we went back last month, he said it hasn’t changed a bit. As soon as you walk in the door you feel like a local. Aren’t those the best kinds of places?

They don’t just have delicious fish and out-of-this-world cheeseburgers. They also have a really good breakfast, and the star of the show is their pimento cheese grits. I don’t know why I’ve never thought to put a big ole dollop of pimento cheese in my grits before, but you better believe that now, every time I make myself a bowl of hot, cheesy, creamy grits with just the right amount of salt and pepper, a big spoonful of pimento cheese rests on top, just waiting to be stirred in and gobbled up.

Hallelujah!

Just wanted to share this easy, yummy breakfast and tell the story about how I came to love it so much. If you don’t have a friend who takes you to hole-in-the-wall places that you’ll remember forever, ya need to go find yourself one!

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Homecoming Weekend 2018

This past weekend was a whirlwind. We were so exhausted by Monday morning, we needed another weekend just to catch up on our rest! On Friday night, Gray had a game in High Point, NC and since I totaled my car last week (ugh) and didn’t have a way to get there, he swung by and picked us up and we rode together instead of him riding with the team. My mother and father in law met us there, and it was a good thing, because Harper screamed the entire time, which is very, very unlike her. She is almost always happy and smiley and just generally good natured, but Friday night something must have been hurting her (I’m pretty sure she’s teething) because she was belligerent for two hours. My father in law sat and watched the game with Landon while my mother in law and I did everything possible to console Harper and ended up sitting in the car. I can only imagine if I had been there alone and had to wrestle Landon to the car with him screaming because he wanted to watch the game AND try and console a screaming four month old in front of jam-packed full bleachers. Lord have mercy… that makes me cringe just thinking about it.

After the game, we went to spend the night at my grandparents house in the mountains so that we wouldn’t have to get up as early the next morning to make the drive to Boone for Homecoming. We didn’t get there until after midnight, and because we all slept in the same room, Landon woke up at 6:45 the next morning when I got up to pump. He usually sleeps until about 9:00 every morning and takes a three hour nap at some point throughout the day, so I knew Saturday was going to be hard when he was up at 6:45am. We got ready and went to the alumni breakfast, which is always so much fun every year. It’s at the alumni center and they cater in breakfast from Daniel Boone Inn (yum!) and then I drove around for an hour hoping the kids would take a nap (but of course they didn’t) while Grayson was at a fraternity meeting (Grayson helped start a fraternity in college and is now on the board of trustees). It was my first time back behind the wheel since my wreck and I was a nervous wreck (no pun intended).

After that, we met up with our friends to tailgate and as always, it’s so good to see them. I so wish we lived closer to our friends. They just had a little girl four days after Harper, and it’s so much fun being in the same season of life and walking through parenthood with them. Not to mention, it’s the best tailgate ever!

There is something SO SPECIAL about bringing our babies back to the place where our story began. My four years at Appalachian State changed my life. They gave me my husband, which in turn, gave me my babies, and I just couldn’t be more thankful for the story that the Lord has and continues to write in our lives. We can only hope that they grow to love those mountains and sweet little town as much as we do.

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It was Harper’s first game and I was a little nervous about how she would do with feedings and such, especially after the traumatic experience the night before. I nursed her before we left my grandparent’s house, right before we met up with our friends to tailgate, in the car at tailgate right before we went into the game, and then we left the game at halftime and I nursed her in the car before the drive home. Grayson wore her the entire time we were in the stadium in the forward facing carrier and she did great and Landon was surprisingly very well behaved even though he got up so much earlier than usual and didn’t have a nap all day!

We didn’t get home until late Saturday night, so getting ready for church on Sunday morning was extra stressful. It was Harper’s baby dedication, so I wanted us to all look our best, and we all four had to shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and I had to pack the diaper bag and keep Harper from spitting up or having a blowout all over her white dress. Whoever said “easy like a Sunday morning” definitely didn’t have to get two kids ready for church!

We made it there and although my nerves were just about shot, it was a really sweet service and our pastor did a great job making it personal and heartfelt. With the exception of Landon pitching a fit until we let him go sit on Grayson’s lap while he played the drums (and then he made Grayson drop a drum stick and he played the rest of the song with only one stick and somehow you couldn’t even tell) it went really smoothly and it is a sweet memory, just like Landon’s baby dedication was two years ago.

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We went to lunch with our family after church and then came home and took a much needed nap. Monday always comes too soon, doesn’t it?

Hope ya’ll have a great week!

Kindred Kids

Harper is four months old now and from day one, she has brought such an overwhelming joy to our family. She has developed quite the reputation for being the smiliest baby in town and I can only hope and pray that she never loses her sweet spirit as she grows.

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Ya’ll know that as a former small shop owner myself, I am so passionate about supporting other small businesses, and it’s so much fun dressing a baby girl! Kindred Kids, a small shop based out of Texas, specializes in darling headband style bows and I have only had them for a week and Harper has already got SO MUCH WEAR out of them! Lanay, the creative behind the shop, is a wife and mama to three and was just an absolute pleasure to work with.

You might be wondering what sets these bows apart, and I’m happy to say after seeing for myself, that it’s the nylon that makes all the difference. Lanay hand cuts the nylon thicker that normal, which keeps it from cutting into your little one’s head and it truly makes a world of difference! I can tell that they’re much more comfortable than other bows we have and I love the size of these bows, as well.

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Click here to visit the Kindred Kids Etsy Shop and Lanay is offering my readers 15% off with code “COFFEEDATEWITHKATE”

Other personal favorites: this navy pom pom bow, this beauty, and this cute little polka dot bow.

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Thanks so much to Lanay from Kindred Kids for providing the bows for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

(Fall)ing for Senegence

I’ve talked before about how much I love Lipsense. I’m sure you’ve heard of it – the smudge proof, budge proof, long-lasting lip color that everyone’s talking about. But, since then, my love for Senegence products has only grown. The first lip color I tried (Kiss for a Cause) was really not a good fit for me. I don’t wear a whole lot of makeup, so something so bright and shimmery was just not my style for everyday wear. But since then, I’ve tried three other lip colors and I love them all so much.

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First Love, Caramel Apple, and Bella are my three favorites. They’re perfect for everyday wear and can be layered for a subtle or more defined look. Not to mention I can kiss my babies as much as I want and never have to worry about leaving lipstick all over their cheeks!

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Another product I absolutely love is the CCTM (color correcting tinted moisturizer). It’s often referred to as the “holy grail product.” It only comes in three shades – light, medium, and dark – because it matches your skin color up to four shades. I wear medium and love the sheer coverage that lasts all day, unlike almost every other similar product I’ve ever used before. You only need one pump for your entire face, so it lasts for a good, long time.

They also make a foundation, which gives you a more full-coverage look and a concealer that I would love to try!

The shadowsense product is what I was most excited about trying, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Wow! I have Mocha Java Shimmer and it’s truly the perfect color for girls like me who go for a natural, everyday look and don’t typically wear a ton of makeup. It’s so easy to blend, literally lasts all day, and you never have to worry about fall out or smudging. Obsessed. Also, I’ve heard that the color Candlelight can also double as a great concealer, so I might get that one next!

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My friend Brittany is a Senegence distributor and she has so many great videos saved in her highlights on her instagram. She explains and demonstrates everything to help you feel confident in applying the product correctly, is great at recommending the right shade for you, and is so sweet, down to earth, and easy to work with! Not to mention, she is all the time doing awesome giveaways and packages your product in such a cute way – definitely makes mail day a highlight of the week!

If you don’t use instagram, you can find her on facebook here.

Brittany is offering a 10% discount to my readers, and all you have to do is use the code “KATIE10” – the code will be good through October 31, 2018.

 

Thank you so much to Brittany (distributor #557374) for providing the Senegence products for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Fall is here (kinda)

This past Sunday, we went down to The Peach Tree in Filbert, SC (where we go every Sunday to get peaches all summer) and now that peach season is coming to an end (cue all the tears), it’s been transformed into a pumpkin patch and it’s truly the most outstanding one I’ve ever seen. There are pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, colors, and variations!

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I got Landon’s little squirrel smock at a consignment sale a few weeks ago and I could hardly wait for him to wear it (all the heart eyes for smocked baby clothes)! Now, if only the weather would cooperate… it’s been so hot here and I’m just dying for scarf and boot weather! We are going to homecoming at our alma mater, Appalachian State, this coming weekend and I’m hoping for cooler temperatures and we can’t wait to see all our friends!

Labor Day Beach Trip

We just had a great long weekend in Cherry Grove, a little beach just north of Myrtle Beach, S.C. that stole our hearts a few years ago. It was Harper’s first beach trip and my mother and father in law’s first time going to the beach with their grandkids!

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We ate at some yummy restaurants (Hoskins for seafood, River City Cafe for burgers, and Gray and I took Landon on a little date to Nakatos – his first time going to a Japanese steakhouse where they cook in front of you!). My father in law, Grayson, and I went off shore fishing one morning (my first time ever fishing on a boat in the ocean!) and it was so much fun! I was a little nervous thinking that I might get sea sick, but it didn’t bother me at all! We didn’t catch much that we could keep to eat, but it was still a great experience. I reeled in a pretty good size shark, Grayson caught an octopus, and several lizard fish and sea bass were among the non-keepers. We did, however, grill the spanish mackerel and flounder we caught for dinner on our last night… and it was DELICIOUS!

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We listened to live music at Barefoot Landing and let Landon ride the beautiful carousel and little boats, I got up and watched the sunrise at the inlet with my friend Meredith, who was also at the beach with her family, and we just laid on the beach for the majority of the time (which is just how I like it). Landon loves the beach and had so much fun playing at the edge of the water with his sand buckets and shovels. Harper didn’t mind the beach one bit, either! We have already gotten so much use out of this tent that my friend Lee gave us when Landon was born, and it was a lifesaver once again on this trip.

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We were blessed with perfect weather every day and every sunset was just breathtaking. We took a few family pictures on the beach one night, which is no easy task with two babies two and under (a big thanks to my sweet mother in law!).

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Trips like this with two little ones aren’t always easy, but they are so worth it. Some of the best advice I can give new parents is to never stop going and doing just because you have littles in tow. You’re making memories that will last a lifetime and giving them the greatest gift!

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I hope ya’ll had a great Labor Day weekend! Now, bring on pumpkin spice, football, and sweater weather!

Anxiety Smells Like Boiled Eggs

It was 2am the morning of Grayson’s staff picnic and I was wide awake.

Everyone else had drifted off to sleep hours before, but my mind was wandering and I was tossing and turning.

Suddenly, I began to question my decision to make deviled eggs for the picnic, worried about what I would wear, and thought of every worst case scenario of two year old temper tantrums that could possibly happen in front of everyone.

But it wasn’t that simple. I had crossed the line from little worries to completely letting my mind and heart go on a bunny trail lit should have never followed. My mind was racing. Let me just give you a little glimpse of the chaos:

I bet all the women there are the kind of women that don’t even look like they’ve ever been pregnant right after they have babies.

I shouldn’t make deviled eggs… I don’t want to smell like boiled eggs.

It’s supposed to be so hot tomorrow… I’m going to be a sweaty, frizzy mess. I bet all the women there are the kind of women that don’t sweat and have perfect, naturally silky hair.

I bet all the other kids there will be so well behaved. Landon will probably pitch a fit when we try and get him to come sit down to eat, or say “ew” when he tries someone’s food and they’ll hear him, or yell “NO” in front of everyone and make me look like I’ve never taught him anything.

I don’t like the way any of my clothes fit. Am I ever going to lose this baby weight? Is this even baby weight? 

What in the world am I going to talk to these people about? I bet they all spent their entire summer in Bora Bora and have never tasted fried liver mush.

What if I get a hair in my deviled eggs? 

Will these people even like deviled eggs? What if no one eats any?

What if I spill my drink? Then I’ll be the clumsy, frizzy, awkward girl who smelled like boiled eggs and should have had a lid on her cup.

It seems so ridiculous now, in retrospect and after typing it all out, but let me just tell you the honest truth – at 2am, it didn’t seem ridiculous at all. I was gripped by anxiety, and it didn’t matter that I knew in the back of my mind that I was letting the Devil run away with my imagination, all that mattered was silly fears of a mischievous toddler and smelling like boiled eggs. All my insecurities came to the surface and the Enemy magnified every fear.

I was so worried about timing the babies’ naps just right so Landon would be well rested and in a good mood and timing Harper’s nursing schedule just right so I could pump and have a bottle to take with me in case she got hungry. I wanted to take a shower and look my best and give both babies a bath so they smelled good and dress them in cute outfits. I wanted the deviled eggs to be the prettiest deviled eggs anyone had ever seen and be the best deviled eggs anyone had ever tasted and put them on my prettiest platter. I wanted Grayson to be proud of me and for conversation to come easy and to just hit it off with a few of the other women there so I would know I had a place there and not have to worry about feeling like I don’t fit.

I finally fell asleep, and spent the entire day running around like a chicken with my head cut off. It was a miracle, but I got us there on time and we were all looking our best and I have to admit, my deviled eggs were pretty. Grayson introduced me to a lot of people, Landon said his funny little, “HAAAY” to everyone, and my deviled eggs were gone in about five seconds flat. I wished I had made more.

I sat at a picnic table and found plenty to talk about with several sweet ladies, one who nursed her baby discreetly right there at the staff picnic (I was so excited, like yes! these are my people!). There were a few with toddler age children who played with Landon, and several babies close to Harper’s age, so we all had so much in common. I was a hot, sweaty, frizzy mess, but so was most everybody else ( I told them I think they should have their next staff picnic in December instead of August).

As I drove home with two exhausted sleeping babies in the backseat, I realized how anxiety had almost stolen a sweet memory from us. I literally almost backed out.

Sorry, Landon isn’t feeling good, I don’t think we can make it this time. 

It’s really just too hot for the baby, I think we’ll just stay home.

I had already thought of every possible excuse, and if I didn’t want to support Grayson so much and try and find our place in the community there, I may have very well used one of them.

Anxiety is a thief. It wants to steal your memories, your confidence, your sleep. It comes straight from the Enemy, and we know that he comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). I wonder how differently this whole thing would have gone if I had nipped the thoughts that kept me up all night in the bud? What if I had preached the Gospel to myself and prayed through my anxious thoughts instead of wringing my hands and stressing myself out? What if I had a mindset of grace, not perfection?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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I share this very vulnerable story with ya’ll with hopes that you will be encouraged and that if you struggle with this kind of anxiety, you’ll know you aren’t alone. When our mind is at war, we have to lean into the One who we already know is Victorious! We have to permeate our minds and hearts with His Word  and then, just like it says in Philippians, “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.”


I will say that I am truly grateful that anxiety is not something I battle on a regular basis. I’ve noticed that since having babies, I’ve struggled with it more and it’s made me so much more understanding of people who deal with it on a day to day basis. I realize that this story may seem like “nothing” to those who do struggle with severe anxiety and I am in no way trying to pretend that I understand what that’s like, belittle the issue, or insinuate that I have any kind of remedy. I’m only sharing my experience with hopes that Jesus somehow uses these words He’s impressed on my heart in a way that blesses even just one reader.