{Five Favorites}

I had a perfect week...Wanna know why?  I got to go to Columbia to visit my family and celebrate my parents.  This Sunday marks their 40th wedding anniversary, and what a blessing it is to be the daughter of two amazing people who have given my sister and me the greatest gift of all...They taught us what true love is, and I'm so honored to call them Mom and Dad...Just typing all of that makes my heart all warm inside, and I'm counting down the days until I get to see them again.

Family pics will be coming soon...In the meantime, here are some other special moments from my week...
{The super moon caused a super high tide...So beautiful!}
{Kate loves studying herself in the mirror...Wonder what she's thinking?}
{Mani/Pedi...Oh so relaxing!}
{Story time with my angel is one of my favorite times of the day}
{Another great day with my two favorite girls!!} 

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!!


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{Family Time}

I'm in Columbia spending quality time with my sweet family, and I'll be back to the blog tomorrow. We're celebrating Father's Day and my parents' upcoming 40th anniversary, and that trumps anything else going on in my world. :)

Hope y'all have a great night, and I'll be back tomorrow!




{Five Favorites}

What a wonderful week it has been!!  We kicked it off by celebrating my husband's 1st Father's Day, and it was such a special and fun day.  The weather this week was perfect - not too hot with a nice inlet breeze - and we spent most evenings outside cooking dinner on the patio.  To top it off, I'm heading to Columbia this weekend to celebrate Father's Day with my sweet Dad and the rest of my family...Doesn't get much better than that!!

{Quality time with Daddy on Father's Day}
{Cooking kabobs & enjoying the beautiful weather}
{Hanging out with Bernie before we move}
{Kate's favorite mode of transportation...And a workout for Mommy, too!}
{Thanking God every day for blessing me with the most amazing Dad!}

I hope you all had a great week!!


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{In honor of Father's Day...}

People in my life who know me really well know that I'm super sentimental, a little sappy, often nostalgic, and I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I can cry at the drop of a hat, and any thoughts of my sweet family and amazing childhood memories always seem to tug at my happy heartstrings.

My emotions go into overdrive around special holidays, and I can't help but reminisce about wonderful memories shared with the people I love.  Father's Day was on Sunday, and this week has been one of those "emotional {in a good way} overdrive" weeks...I just celebrated the 1st Father's Day with my husband and the daddy of my daughter, and I'm headed to Columbia this weekend to celebrate my 31st Father's Day with the most amazing man I know and my daughter's Papou {Greek for Granddad}...My Daddy.

{College Graduation}
{No place I'd rather be as a child}
{Daddy teaching me how to build my first snowman}
{He taught me how to ride the waves.}
{He taught me how to fish, & I love going with him.}
{Our special dance.}
{One of the greatest moments of my wedding day.}

As if I hadn't already shed enough happy tears thinking about my Dad and Forrest, I stumbled upon this article today...50 Rules for Dads of Daughters.  As soon as I read it, I felt compelled to write and to share it with you.

I have read it over and over, and each time I do, my eyes fill up with tears.  I picture my dad doing ALL of these things with me...He truly did, and I feel so blessed to be able to read each of these and think "My daddy did that."  He did it all, and I get teary when I think that now Forrest will hopefully be doing these same things with our daughter...Teaching her the same lessons and being there for her...Just like my daddy is for me.  Yep...I'm crying again!!

{Forrest & Kate on his 1st Father's Day}

Be sure you read this...And to all you Dads out there, follow this list.  One day your daughter will look back and think "I'm the luckiest girl in the world to have the daddy I do," just like I do about my sweet Dad today.


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{Tips to Try: Fun Household Tips & Tricks}

I've come across more fabulous tips and tricks for you to try around your house that will hopefully save you some time and headache.  There are a few on this list that are new to me, and I can't wait to try them out.  Hope you have fun with these! 

  1. Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

  2. Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!

  3. Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

  4. Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

  5. To make scrambled eggs or omelets rich, add a couple of spoons full of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up.

  6. Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if you want a stronger taste of garlic.

  7. Reheat Pizza-Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy microwave pizza.

  8. Easy Deviled Eggs-Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up.  Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, continue mashing it up and mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg.  Just throw bag away when you’re done for easy clean up.

  9. Expanding Frosting-When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size.  You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount, and you also eat less sugar and calories per serving. 

  10. Reheating refrigerated bread-To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that have been refrigerated, place them in the microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

  11. Newspaper weeds away-Plant your plants in the ground, and work the nutrients in your soil. Then, wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go, cover with mulch, and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic, but they will not get through wet newspapers.

  12. To keep squirrels from eating your plants, sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it.

  13. Flexible vacuum-To get something out of a heat register or from underneath the fridge, add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum.  It can be bent or flattened to fit into narrow openings.

  14. Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip to eliminate static cling.  It works, and you will no longer have a clingy skirt or dress.  Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and…Ta Da!  Static is gone.

  15. Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup.  Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.

  16. De-fog your windshield-Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car.  When the windows fog, rub with the eraser.  Works better than a cloth!

  17. Re-opening envelopes-If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Voila! It unseals easily.

  18. Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs.  It's cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth.  It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair.

  19. Goodbye Fruit Flies-To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill ½ full of Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish-washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!

  20. Get Rid of Ants-Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it 'home,' can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed.

  21. Wash your dryer filter-Did you know that cleaning your lint trap with a dryer sheet can ruin it?  Dryer sheets cause a film over that mesh that burns out the heating unit. You can't SEE the film, but it's there. It's what is in the dryer sheets to leave your clothes soft, static free, and smelling great.  You know how they can feel waxy when you take them out of the box? Apparently that stuff builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen.  You can test it by running the lint trap under water. If the water filters through, you are good. If not, it's time to clean it. The best way to keep your dryer working for a long time (and to keep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out and wash it with hot soapy water and an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least every six months.

  22. Drop a small object on the carpet and can't find it?  Place panty hose over the end of the vacuum hose and start vacuuming. The panty hose will trap anything too large to fit through the tiny hose and keep it from getting sucked into the vacuum.

  23. Wearing a skirt or dress on a windy day. Cut open a few sections on the bottom seam.  Slip in some heavy washers or flat weights (anything small, heavy, and flat will work) then sew the seam back up.

  24. Need to cut some corn off the cob?  Use your bundt pan.  Place the ear on the opening in the center of the pan, and as you slide the knife down the ear, all the kernels will collect in the main part of the pan.

I can't wait to see how these work for you!



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{Side Dish Bliss: Cauliflower Mash}

If you've been reading the blog the past few weeks, you probably already know that my husband and I are on a mission to get fit.  I've been doing squat and crunch challenges that you can read about here and here, and I found this awesome workout that I do while little Kate naps.

In addition to exercising regularly, I have also altered our meal plan a bit to try to shed those unwanted pounds.  The first thing I did to aid in our healthy eating efforts was to eliminate most of our carb intake at dinnertime.  I love carbs...Always have, always will...But I have learned over the years that I can't get the body I want by eating too many of them.  In order to satisfy my carb cravings without wrecking my diet, I've decided to test out some healthy alternatives and substitutions for my favorite side dishes.

Who needs mashed potatoes when you can make cauliflower taste just as good?? :)  This picture caught my eye one day while I was perusing Pinterest, and I decided I'd test out my own cauliflower mash recipe.

{inspired taste}

I'm sure there are plenty of great ones out there, but here's what I did...


2 bags of frozen cauliflower or 1 large cauliflower
1 cup of Greek Plain Non-fat Yogurt {give or take a little depending on your preference}
1 cup of shredded cheese {give or take a little depending on your preference}
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add cauliflower to boiling water and cook 8
to 10 minutes or until a fork can easily be pierced through the
cauliflower.  Drain cauliflower then
throw back into the hot pot (off the heat) and cover with lid.  Let stand 2 to 3 minutes.

Mash Cauliflower with potato masher.

Add the Greek yogurt {I used Chobani Plain Non-fat Greek
Yogurt}, a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to the cauliflower.
Then, use your potato masher to achieve desired consistency.  {I made ours with more texture rather than too creamy.}

Stir in a couple handfuls {or as much as you'd like} of
shredded cheese, and then spoon mixture into a casserole dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  I topped ours off with a little more cheese
before serving.

As a stay-at-home mom with a baby on my hip most evenings, I'm all about EASY and QUICK dinner recipes...This one is just that, and it's so delicious and healthy.  Side dish jackpot! Enjoy!!


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{Mommy Must-Haves: Bath Time}

As soon as we started giving Kate baths, we quickly discovered that she loves the water.  She gets so excited every night at bath time, and she can't wait to splash around in her little tub.

We decided to go with The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe Tub, and I'm so glad we did.  We love it, and more importantly, Kate loves it!! :)
I have been so pleased with this tub, and here are a few reasons why...
  1. It fits comfortably in our kitchen sink as well as bath tubs of any size.  We have a jacuzzi tub in one bathroom and a regular tub in the other, and it fits perfectly in both.

  2. It comes with a machine washable sling that you can use during the newborn stage of your baby's life.  This was wonderful for me when I was bathing our delicate little bundle, and Kate loved resting comfortably in the padded sling while I bathed her.

  3. The sling can easily be removed when you're ready to use the infant position in the tub.  Since Kate can't quite sit up on her own, the infant side of the tub has been great because she is able to recline on the padded surface while still having space to kick her little feet and splash around.

  4. There is a compartment at one end of the tub giving you easy access to your wash cloths, soap, or any other bath supplies you may want to store there.

  5. There is also a toddler position opposite the infant side of the tub, which means this tub can pretty much grow with your baby.

  6. It's only $17.99!!  We got ours from Target, and you can find it here in pink or here in blue.
I hope this helps, and I hope your little ones love bath time in this tub as much as ours does! :)


Click here to read all posts from the "Mommy Must-Haves" series.
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{Five Favorites}

Another week has come and gone, and boy was it a busy one around here.  Our house recently sold, so it was moving time for our family.  Even though we spent our week packing boxes {no fun!}, there were still plenty of things that brightened my days...Here are a few of them...

{Enjoying dinner with this beautiful view.}

{Our first house has sold...So bittersweet.}

{Forrest & Kate taking a little break from moving.}

{Came across this picture, and it made me smile...The baby bump 2 days before our Kate was born.} 

{Waking up to this sweet face makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world!}

Happy Friday, friends!!



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{Washi Tape Craft: Father's Day Card}

I have always found washi tape to be quite intriguing, and I'm amazed at all the creative things you can do with this pretty little craft supply.  I finally picked up a few packs for myself while I was out shopping the other day, and I can't wait to experiment!!

I found these two packages {below} at Target, but there are plenty of other resources for buying some fun washi tape designs...Check out Cute Tape for washi tape bliss!! :)
{Four rolls for $4 at Target...Awesome!!}

First up on my washi tape DIY list...Father's Day cards!

{Madigan Made}

How cute are these?!  I stumbled upon this awesome blog on my washi tape travels through cyber space, and I fell in love with the idea of making cards with washi tape.  Check out the tutorial here, and have fun!!



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{Tips to Try: Dryer Sheets}

I love learning new uses for everyday household items {see 25 things you can do with coffee filters here}, and I'm so excited to share these great uses for dryer sheets.  I hope they come in handy for you because they definitely have for me.

{real simple}

Dryer Sheets

  1. Gym Bag Deodorizer. Drop a sheet at the bottom of your bag to keep your clothes smelling fresh.

  2. Sawdust Clearer. Use a dryer sheet to keep your work area clean. One swipe will tidy up a mess.

  3. Iron Cleaner. Great way to remove gunk from the soleplate of your iron.

  4. Shoe Freshener.  Roll up a dryer sheet to slide in your shoes to leave them smelling fresh.

  5. Pot Scrubber.  The softening chemicals in dryer sheets help loosen food
    particles stuck on pots and baking dishes.  Place a used sheet in the dish,
    cover with hot water, and let it soak overnight. Rinse thoroughly after cleaning.

  6. Diaper Bag Freshener.  Slide one in your diaper bag to keep those stinky smells at bay.

  7. Static Stopper.  This is my go-to method to stop static cling on clothes {and flyaway hairs}.  Just rub dryer sheet over problem area.

  8. Thread Detangler.  To prevent tangles, run a threaded needle through sheet before you begin stitching.

  9. Scum Buster.  Wet a used dryer sheet and scrub on glass shower doors to remove soap buildup.

  10. Drawer Sachet.  Slip a few dryer sheets between your folded clothes to leave your dresser drawers {and the clothes in them} smelling so fresh and clean.

  11. Book Deodorizer.  Slide a dryer sheet between the pages of your books to prevent them from taking on a musty smell.



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{Father's Day Treat: Dutch Pancake}

I posted this recipe years ago, and I wanted to reintroduce it to all of you since it's such a yummy treat.

With Father's Day quickly approaching, it's time to plan out Sunday's menu for the men in your lives.  I highly recommend you try this Dutch Pancake for breakfast or brunch.  It's such a simple, quick, and delicious recipe, and it looks beautiful on a plate...Perfect treat to serve your special Dad on Father's Day morning!  I know Kate and I will be making this for her Daddy and Papou, and I hope you enjoy it as well.
{photo courtesy of shopgirl}


4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter

Combine the first 5 ingredients; mix well.  Melt butter in 10 or 12-inch oven-proof dish in 400 degree oven.  Pour batter over melted butter; Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Serve immediately with your favorite syrup {I warm mine before serving}, a sprinkling of white, powdered sugar, and if you prefer, fresh fruit or preserves.

Click here to read my original post, and have fun making this in your kitchen!


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{Mommy Must-Haves: Car Seat}

Your little bundle of joy has arrived, you've spent a few days in the hospital recovering {see my hospital prep post here}, and now it's time to drive your precious cargo home.  When the day comes to leave the hospital, it seems as though the most important thing in the world is getting your new baby from Point A to Point B and that means having a safe and reliable car seat for toting your little tot.

We have been extremely impressed with our car seat selection, and I wanted to pass the recommendations onto you.

Our little Kate is already quite the traveler, and she loves road trips and daily excursions in her

It's safe, simple to install, and it's easy to carry when we're toting our girl all over town. :) 

{Read more about our Chicco car seat here.}

In addition to the car seat, here are a few of my other "must-haves" when traveling with Kate...

Taggies Toys

I clip these right on to Kate's car seat handle, and they always soothe and entertain her wherever we go.

Brica Day and Night Light Musical Auto Mirror

I have only traveled one time without this auto mirror, and I thought I was going to go crazy not being able to see my little one in the back seat.  There is something so comforting to me to be able to glance in my rear view mirror and see Kate resting peacefully, and this mirror provides me with the chance to do that in the day and night.  I love it, and I think you will too!

{Brica Day and Night Light Musical Auto Mirror}

Padalily Stylish Handle Cushion

Last but not least, I added this to my car seat handle to give a little added support and cushion when I'm carrying the car seat around all day.  It definitely makes the load a little lighter for Mama, and I love the Earl Gray design that I bought at Bumble Boutique. :)

 I hope these suggestions help, and please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.  Have a great day!!


Click here to read all posts from the "Mommy Must-Haves" series.
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{Five Favorites}

This past week was extra special because Kate and I got to spend some quality time in Columbia with my family.  I absolutely love being with them, and seeing Kate with my parents, sis, and nephew makes my heart so happy.

Here are some special moments that made me smile this week...

{Hanging out with Bernie.  Read more about our chicken here.}

{Admiring my table centerpiece.  Who needs flowers when you have this to look at?}

{An impromptu date night with the hubby.}

{Our little one learned how to roll over, & she was so excited to show her daddy her new trick!} 

{A perfect girls' day out with Mom and Kate that included this yummy lunch at  Cafe Caturra.}

How was your week? Hope it was lovely!



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