Inchbug Cup Labels

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What I love about Inchbug Orbit Labels:

  • They come in a wide variety of pretty colors
  • They can be used over and over again
  • They are dishwasher safe and can be boiled/sterilized
  • They are virtually indestructible and fit snug around the cup so toddlers can not remove them
  • They are stretchy enough that they fit almost any kind of cup or bottle (and as you can see here, we have way too many cups around here)

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Since I’m home with my kiddos all day, it’s mostly the church nursery that these labels come in handy for my family. One sign of a growing, healthy church is the state of the children’s ministry (they’re our next generation, after all). Our church is definitely growing because our kids ministry is booming and it’s so sweet, week after week, watching all the babies together. Raising my babies with the friends I grew up with since crib nursery at church is so special and close to my heart!

Inchbug Orbit Labels have given me such a peace of mind, especially during flu season, that Landon’s sippy cups and Harper’s bottle won’t get mixed up with all the other kids.

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Inchbug also offers many other unique personalized products to give Mamas a peace of mind:

Thanks so much to Inchbug for providing the Orbit Labels featured in this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

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Bloomies Handmade Bows

Harper has so many bows, it’s beginning to get a little comical. I found Bloomies Handmade on instagram and love the huge variety of patterns they offer. They are infamous for their .99 cent bow sales, so be sure to follow them on instagram and keep an eye out for their next sale! These are some of my favorites!

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Harper wore the black and white gingham bow with a little dress I found for her at a consignment store to the pumpkin patch and it was just a match made in heaven!

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In the spirit of complete honesty, I will say that the nylon on these bows is not as thick as some other bows I’ve shared, so they do cut into her head more than I would like. I’ve found a simple trick to remedy this – just stretch it out overnight using a book, and problem solved (just be careful not to stretch it out too much, because you don’t want it to fall off).

Thank you so much to Bloomies Handmade for providing the bows that are featured in this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

29

Today is a very special day! It’s my husband’s birthday! 29 years ago today, he was born and the world was instantly a better place!

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I’m so thrilled to celebrate his life today and everyday. If you know him, you love him. He has the biggest heart, a strong faith that is evident in everything he does, and is the most devoted, passionate man I’ve ever met.

Even more so than New Years, birthdays are a time that I always look back and reflect on the last year. When I look at all that’s happened in our life in this last year, I am amazed at how much Grayson has grown and challenged himself. This past year was life-changing for us.

Grayson left a job he loved and was very comfortable at and stepped completely out of his comfort zone to begin a new career, which he has excelled at and found a true “home” at. The CCS community has already blessed us beyond measure and Grayson has pushed himself, learned more and more, built new relationships, and just finished his first ever undefeated football season!

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I watched my heart triple in size this year, as Grayson became a Daddy for the second time – to a little girl who already has him wrapped around her finger. And I watched our little boy look up to his Daddy in a way that has healed a very deep hurt in my own heart.

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I’ve seen him work late into the night finishing grad school assignments, rub my back when it ached throughout my pregnancy even after often working 12-13 hour days, joyfully be faithfully committed to our church, and still find a way to always put his family first. I’ve watched him give his all day after day, invest himself in other people, and make time for what’s truly important, and I’ve never been more proud to call him mine.

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Grayson, loving you and building this life with you is the greatest honor of my life. You’re a gift I’ll spend forever thanking Jesus for. Happy birthday! Let’s make this last year in your twenties one for the books!

Alphabet + Number Puzzles

Landon is just starting to love puzzles. He sits in the floor and plays with them for a surprisingly long time (I’m continuously amazed at his attention span, as a two year old). These alphabet and number puzzles from HM-Tech have quickly become favorites and I love watching him hold up the letters and turn to me with a big smile on his face and say, “B” or whatever letter he’s extra proud of knowing that day.

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Most of you know that Grayson and I are both Appalachian State graduates, and we take Landon to a lot of football games. Because of this, Landon associates the letter “A” with football, and although he’s memorized “F” is for fish, “D” is for DaDa, and so on and so forth, he still says, “A… Football game!” It’s hilarious. I wish he could stay this age forever!

If you’re looking for a good Christmas gift for your little ones, these puzzles are not only educational, but they’re a great price and available on Amazon Prime (all the praise hands for free two day shipping!).

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

Chocolate Chip Coconut Toffee Bars

These are the richest, most decadent bars I’ve ever tasted and they are so fun to make. They are delicious with a glass of ice cold milk or steaming hot coffee, and one batch makes a whole bunch of bite sized squares. I had a cute little cowboy help me whip these up, and that made them even sweeter!

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Ingredients:

  • One bag of chocolate chips
  • One 2 cup sized bag of shredded coconut
  • 2 sticks of softened butter
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup Karo syrup (light or dark is fine)
  • 8 oz bag of toffee bits

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×11 baking dish with cooking spray.
  • In your mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, oats, coconut and brown sugar and mix on low until thoroughly combined.
  • Add in the butter and egg and mix on medium speed until combined.
  • Stir in chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.

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  • Saving about 1 1/2 cups of the dough (for the topping), press the dough into the prepared baking dish (this is easiest if your hands are a little wet).

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  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the sweetened condensed milk and Karo syrup, and pour over warm crust. Then, cover evenly in toffee bits.

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  • As evenly as you can, distribute the remaining dough mixture over the toffee bits.

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  • Bake for an additional 25-30 minutes.

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  • Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars and enjoy!

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This is not my original recipe. I found this recipe on Facebook and you can see the original post here

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.

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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!