Monday, June 27, 2016

Magnolia Plantation

We wanted to visit a Southern plantation while we were on vacation in South Carolina so we chose to visit Magnolia Plantation. It is known as the last large-scale romantic garden. We started out going through their nature center, which Aiden loved and then we walked through the gardens on their self-guided tour. Despite it being hot and humid, the gardens were beautiful and full of history.

*Traveler tip-If you go, allow 45 minutes to walk through the gardens!

Up next...3 Stops to make while in Charleston!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

31: My Birthday Wish

Today I am 31. Whoa.

Normally I make a big deal of my birthday. I make my birthday wish list weeks in advance and I like to plan all kinds of birthday fun. But this year is different and I'm not sure why. I still have some fun things planned, but I didn't make a wish list and when my husband asked what I wanted to do and who I wanted to invite. I said I wanted simple. Maybe I'm actually becoming a "grown up." Or maybe I am just learning new things about myself and my heart.

I've learned so much about myself in my 31 years, but lately God has been working on my heart and showing me that I have a long way to go before becoming the wife and mother I desire to be. But I'm thankful that as I learn and grow, those two precious faces up there in that picture will be with me.

I'm beyond grateful to be a wife to a supportive husband, a mom to the sweetest and smartest little dude, a granddaughter, daughter, niece and sister and a friend to some amazing, amazing people.

So my birthday wish this year is to live every day like the gift that it truly is and to have a desire to continue wanting to learn and grow so I can be the woman of God, wife and mother I'm created to be. So here's to year 31...

31 be kind to me. I'm not ready for wrinkles and I don't want any more gray hairs. Oh and the stretch marks could fade a little too. Thanks in advance.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Because family selfies on the beach are way more fun...

The title of this post says it all. Family selfies on the beach are way more fun! 
See more of our beach pictures here.

Monday, June 13, 2016

3 Easy Toddler Popsicle Recipes

Baby Popsicles
Thank goodness for summertime! My little guy loves being outside and it's always fun to take a break to cool off with a popsicle (especially for those teething kiddos, can I get an Amen?) Here are 3 tried and true kid approved popsicle "recipes" that you can whip up and throw in the freezer in less than 5 minutes!

1. Coconut Water + Fruit Popsicle: 

Ingredients: 1 small container of coconut water (I used Vita Coco) and chopped fruit. I used blueberries, strawberries and grapes. I also recommend using the Nuby Popsicle molds, but any popsicle mold will work!

Instructions: Chop up fruit into small pieces and put on the bottom of popsicle molds
Baby Popsicles
Pour Coconut water on top until popsicle mold is filled.
Baby Popsicles
Add handles of popsicles and put in freezer for 24 hours or until completely frozen.
Easy kid popsicles

2. Pouch Popsicles

Ingredients: Your child's favorite flavor of pouch. Aiden loves Ella's Kitchen pouches. We used the Apples and Strawberries  flavor to make ours.

Instructions: Open selected pouch, pour into popsicle molds and freeze. One pouch fits perfectly into the Nuby Popsicle molds with a sip or two to spare. These are almost too easy and are guaranteed to be a hit since you are using your child's favorite pouch flavors.
pouch popsicles

3. Mashed Fruit + Yogurt Popsicles

Ingredients: Your child's favorite mash-able fruits and 1/2 cup of plain yogurt (or more if using larger popsicle molds).

Instructions: See the recipe for my Toddler's favorite popsicle combination: Avocado + Banana Popsicles by clicking here and modify by substituting your child's favorite fruits!
Do you have any easy popsicle recipes that your kids enjoy?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Vacation is good for the soul {Seabrook Island}

We recently got back from our family vacation to Seabrook Island in South Carolina. We had the best time. I wish I could transport myself back in time to watch Aiden running up and down the beach with the biggest grin on his little face. (But that's what pictures and videos are for, right?)
I took hundreds of pictures so I'm going to break our vacation up into a few posts. This one...devoted completely to beach pictures and mostly baby beach pictures because as stated on Aiden's hat, I have the coolest kid ever.
Most of our days were spent packing for the beach, biking to the beach, walking the beach, building sandcastles and destroying them, eating lunch on the beach then playing in the water and searching for wild life, which we actually saw a ton of! (Horseshoe crabs, Blue Crabs, Hermit Crabs, Dolphins, Jellyfish, Sand dollars...)

Aiden was happy as a clam (see what I did there?) He ran up and down the beach and hardly sat still. He was in heaven! And Drew and I got our work outs in everyday trying to keep up! Thankfully we had a few extra sets of hands since my Mother in law and one of my sister in laws vacationed with us!

Kisses that involve licking are his new "thing." Haha.

I am already missing the beach like crazy!

More vacation posts to come...

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Healthy Toddler "Cookie" {Banana + Orange Oat Bites}

My Toddler definitely got his Daddy's sweet tooth. He sees something sweet and immediately says "more yum yums." While we do allow him to indulge in the occasional spoonfuls of Graeter's ice cream, we typically stay away from all that sugar. So what's a Mama to do when her toddler requests cookies on the daily? Enter these Banana and Orange Oat Bites. These "cookies" are so easy to make and only call for 3 simple ingredients. Aiden loves them and honestly, so do I.
1 ripe banana
1/4 cup Orange Juice (freshly squeezed from an orange is best)
1 cup Rolled Oats
1. Preheat your oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
2. Mash the banana in a bowl.
3. Add the orange juice and mix well.
4. Add the oats and mix until well combined.
5. Take one Tablespoon of the oat/banana/orange mixture and shape into round cookie shapes. Place on the baking sheet until all mixture is gone.
6. Bake in the oven 8-10 minutes.
7. Allow to cool on wire rack.

These Avocado and Banana Popsicles are another one of Aiden's favorite healthy treats!

*Original recipe found here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A day in the life {with an 18 month old}

Life with a toddler is full. Full of messes, full of outfit changes, full of stories, full of laughter and full of crazy. I love capturing what a day in our life looks like at different stages so here we are at a year and a half. And here's what a day in our life looks like...

6:30ish AM: Aiden is up. I go and get him from his crib, change his diaper and bring him out to the couch with his sippy cup of milk and his stuffed fox who we lovingly call, Mr. Fox. We usually cuddle on the couch and read books together for at least 20 minutes. I love this slow transition into our day. Sometimes the cats join in for cuddle time too. Aiden's favorite books right now are: Little Blue Truck, Trains, Goodnight, Construction Sight. Any clue what his interests are? Haha.
After we cuddle, Aiden plays in the family room while I fix breakfast. This kid loves chocolate chip waffles so that is his main breakfast entree on repeat almost every single day. I try to mix it up with oatmeal and yogurt or bananas and toast, but waffles are his favorite. My parents got Aiden this Thomas the Train ride on and he is obsessed. We take walks with him every day and sometimes he even joins us at the breakfast table.
After breakfast we get dressed and play outside because this child is a huge fan of the outdoors. Since I knew we would be getting in the water table later, we put on our wet clothes, but we had to walk up and down all our neighbor's driveways with Thomas and Mr. Fox first. 
I scored this water table at a Mother of Twins sale for 12 bucks. We have gotten more than our money's worth from it. 
After we play, it's time to cross some things off the to-do list so we put on some real clothes and head to a local market we like to shop at called Pipkins. They have tons of fresh produce and Aiden likes to run around in their garden area after we shop. Aiden likes to point out all the produce and "help me" put it in the bag. "More Nana!" "More Apple!"
12:00ish Then it's back home to eat lunch. Aiden's favorite lunch lately is an English Muffin Pizza, Veggie Straws and some type of Applesauce I make. Sometimes I mix in Sweet Potatoes, other times it's carrots, but he loves any homemade concoction I make and it's so easy.
This EzPz mat is a life saver for Toddler meal time! I wrote about it in this post.
After lunch, it's nap time. Aiden has never been a long napper so I'm lucky if he naps a solid hour, but I'll take what I can get. While Aiden naps I throw in a load of laundry, clean some dishes or meal prep. Or some days when I'm just plain tired, I sit on the couch and catch up on an episode of Nashville. After Aiden wakes up, he requests more "B" aka milk and we might turn on an episode of Thomas per Aiden's request. "Choo Choo on."
If I decide to actually cook a meal, this would be when I do some meal prep. On tonight's menu, an easy crock pot meal: Italian Meatball & Gnocchi Soup. So good!
Drew gets home around 4:30 and Aiden is in heaven. They usually run around outside if it's nice out so I can finish up dinner or we might take a family walk around the neighborhood. From our front door, Aiden usually heads straight to our neighbor's garage and "borrows" her kid's toys. Good thing we have nice neighbors. Then it's time to eat, play a little more and then around 6:30, Aiden is exhausted so the three of us head to his room to get ready for bed.
7:00 Drew and I read Aiden his favorite bedtime books, then I rock Aiden for a few minutes and lay him down in his crib. I usually just stand above him and watch him sleep for a minute or two. I always thank God for giving me my precious little boy. He brings our family so much joy! Every single day with him is a gift.

See my other "Day in the life" posts below...

What does a day in your life look like?