During this working from home phase in our lives, I’ve been using this cell phone stand at my desk and it’s perfect! You can put your phone long ways or side ways. I watch a lot of movies and shows during the day while I’m sitting at my desk, and it’s been great.
I bought this stack of rainbow bracelets to wear for the summer, and on our vacation. They are great to pick out one or two to match an outfit.
Ever since I had this eyebrow pencil, show up in my FABFITFUN box last year, I just had to buy another one I loved it so much. It’s perfect for filling in the “holes” in my brows. I’m not one for the dark dark brow look, it’s just the perfect color to fill in the empty spots.
Just about every single day, I wear sports bras. I just find them more comfy than the traditional bra that buttons in the back. I found these racerback sports bras and found they work awesome! I am fairly large chested, so I had to get the large size to make the girls a little tighter. They’ve been great!
I originally saw this hair mask on the Rambling Redheads Instagram stories. I bought it and have used it for the past two months. It makes my hair feel super soft and refreshed. I use it about once to twice a week.
My daughter just loves to try new hair styles out, so we found these clear hair bands to use. Little tip though, to get them out of the hair we have to cut them out or they will hurt.
I have this flip calendar on my desk at home, it’s very uplifting and inspirational. Some of the days are a little too jesus loving for me, but overall they’ve been very good for the soul. I love daily things like this to flip over and read.
We bought this UNO splash card game for vacation, and have been using it ever since. We love to play Uno in our house, and what is different about these cards are they are all plastic so you can play it around the pool, beach, lake, etc.
These two products I found watching the Today Show a few weeks ago. The apple cider vinegar shampoo/conditioner, have been great on my hair! I’m a huge fan of anything with apple cider vinegar in it, I think has so many benefits for your health!
Last one, these wire headbands are super easy to use and stay on my head! I found these from What I Shopped on Instagram. She shares soo many good finds and at reasonable prices. I’ve worn these a few times to work and they look so fun and festive!
Hope you’ve enjoyed these ten favorites for your Friday! Have a great weekend!
Today marks one year with this baby! The Kia Telluride!
I’ve been wanting this SUV for over a year before I got one. It had great reviews, better than my Dad’s SUV and that says a lot from a car guy. And now that I’ve had it for a year, I’m so glad I got this one!
The exterior color I originally wanted was a dark gray, but it was soo hard to find one! So I settled with white, I’ve never owned a white car before but I love it. You really don’t see the dirt as much as if it was a darker color.
The interior color I went with was black, that is one color I can’t go any lighter with on an interior car with kids. I love the captain chairs in the middle row, and then the row seat in the far back. Hadley’s favorite seat is in the far back, she loves it back there and can buckle herself up with her booster seat too! I love the large dashboard screen in the front seat, it’s like a mini computer. It’s all touch screen, and can move pages just like you do on an iPhone. And the best part is the Apple Car Play! It’s a feature in most newer cars that allows you to control and view certain iPhone apps through the dashboard in the car. You can send text messages hands free while driving, it’s awesome!
It might be hard to see, but shortly after I got the car I tinted the front windows! They aren’t super dark, but they match the back for the most part so it’s nice. I love the darker windows on a white car.
The model SUV of this Telluride is the “S” model, V6 and it’s AWD. It comes with a sunroof which is another feature I just love. The next level up has dual sunroofs which would be pretty awesome for the kids to have one in the back, but I didn’t need the next level up so one sunroof will do. It already comes with lots of “extras” that are pretty awesome. The multimedia system with touch screen, backup camera, Bluetooth, heated seats, and tons of USB ports. I bought extra charging cords just for the SUV!
I could’ve gotten the dark gray color I originally wanted, but would’ve had to wait weeks if not months for it. I had just sold my previous car, and didn’t have the time to wait. I’m glad I went with the color white, it’s very nice looking. Couldn’t be happier with this SUV!
As I say every year, Summer is my absolute favorite season! I’m sad to see it come to a close soon, as the weather has sort of started changing. Some days have been cooler, and some days are still hot. But regardless of the weather, the season is about over, which means that fall is coming.
I want to take a look back at Summer twenty twenty-one. And so from Summer 2021…
I want to remember making Hadley’s start of the summer special and fun!
I want to remember celebrating my Mom and sister-in-law’s birthday together at Agave and Rye.
I want to remember Hadley bumping into a metal pole outside at dinner, and having a huge bump on her forehead.
I want to remember hanging lights in her room, and using them as a nightlight for bedtime.
I want to remember Mattie eating a slice of watermelon as big as her head.
I want to remember Memorial Day weekend at the lake being the coldest, and wearing sweatshirts on the dock.
I want to remember Hadley and Mattie swimming in the lake on the cold holiday weekend and then wearing a sweatshirt on the boat.
I want to remember the new Gator and everyone wanting a ride on it.
I want to remember being with my cousin Becca so much this summer, and almost every summer nowadays.
I want to remember Natalie graduating 8th grade.
I want to remember Brady got a mullet for a haircut.
I want to remember watching him play summer ball and bringing an umbrella for shade.
I want to remember playing indoor volleyball at St. Dominic.
I want to remember Uncle Brian always bumping volleyball with Hadley in the gym.
I want to remember Hadleys first day at summer camp.
I want to remember Kevin treating the softball team for ice cream for the end of the season.
I want to remember how excited Hadley gets when she sees Daddy come home from the fire station.
I want to remember driving all over town, delivering end of the season treat bags to Hadleys softball teams homes.
I want to remember going to the fire department’s picnic at Stricker’s Grove.
I want to remember Kevin going on all the kid rides with Hadley.
I want to remember the hurt baby deer on our front porch bleeding all over it’s head.
I want to remember calling animal control and watching a lady pick up a deer with her bare hands and taking him away.
I want to remember going to a comedy club with my BIL/SIL.
I want to remember watching a movie on the floor in the dining room with lots of blankets and pillows.
I want to remember waking Hadley up for a tornado warning and going to the basement, and her not remembering any of it.
I want to remember tossing baseball at the lake in the gravel driveway.
I want to remember putting Hadleys hair in braids after her showers.
Each year, I’m usually feeling the opposite about the colder season coming upon us. I want Summer to stay for as long as it possibly can, but just this week I think I’m ready for Fall. Strange how we change our mindset sometimes, but it happens right? I double it will get seriously cold around here for a while, but September feels like the beginning of the beginning.
And SEPTEMBER. You are going to be a busy 30 days. Kevin is hoping for lots of overtime. Hadley is playing two sports, soccer and cheer which takes up days during the week, and most weekends. We might add in dance to that too. The big kids also play sports which is hard to juggle sometimes, but we manage. The days are long, but the years are short.
Some goals for this month: send out birthday cards, go to the Harvest Home parade, get the hair highlighted, decorate for fall, make a bucket list, attend our parish festival, continue on the house updating, start Turkey Day planning, and enjoy the season we are in.
Today marks the first full week of First grade for our sweet Hadley. All of last week, her school went half days only because of the heat. This week has been a little on the cooler temperatures compared to the high humidity of last week. I feel so bad for all the kids having to wear masks in this heat, just hate it. But like most kids, they all get used to everything.
Soccer practice was indoors last week due to the heat, again! The girls loved practicing inside and kicking the ball in the gym.
The first week of school is always a little rough, super tired and early bed times when we we’re not having sports or things to do.
Just like last year, she is still doing so great with homework. At the first grade level, they don’t have too much but she has gotten into an awesome routine with it. She comes home after school, washes her hands, sometimes changes her clothes, and does homework right away. Then she has the rest of the night to chill, watch TV, sports practices, etc.
She was such a trooper for her first week of school. She loves not being the youngest in the school anymore, and helps some kindergartners find their way around school. We are so proud of our big first grader!
Saturday morning we spent half the day at two high school volleyball games for Natalie. I have to say, they are way more exciting to watch in high school verses grade school. Hadley was a trooper sitting inside a gym all morning, and then when we got home everyone chilled on the couch. Welcome back Natalie haha
While Natalie and Hadley chilled inside, like a crazy person I decided to vacuum out my car and Kevin’s truck. He was outside with me cleaning the floor mats, it was gross hot out! But, we hadn’t cleaned our cars since before we left for our Destin beach trip and they needed it!
We are slowly doing some house updates! Painted the fireplace white, and it looks soo good! Got rid of the carpet in the family room, and put down hardwood floors. We ordered a new couch and ottoman also. Now I need to find a new rug, and things to put on the walls! We got rid of our kitchen table, well it’s actually for sale on Facebook Marketplace if anyone is interested, let me know! We replaced the table with this small white one with two chairs. It’s the perfect size for this space in our kitchen. The other table was too big and made the kitchen look over crowded. When all of the kids are home, we usually eat in the dining room anyway that has six chairs so we can all fit.
On Sunday, Hadley had her second soccer game in the hot hot heat! She lost 2-1. I love that she loves sports so much, and hope she continues to want to play. So far she has played indoor soccer, softball, outdoor soccer and cheer are happening now.
We had a busy weekend, now back to the grind of the work week and all that entails. Soccer practice, cheer practice, work, laundry, grocery shopping, yada yada yada!
We have an official first grader! She started school this past Tuesday. I just love back to school photos, and seeing all the kids in their uniforms, new school clothes, fresh gym shoes, crisp backpacks, just love it all!
Last week was meet the teacher night! We just love her teacher for first grade, super young and very on top of it with everything so far. I can appreciate all the little details that goes into setting up a classroom, and getting everything ready for the kids. I always make a point to notice the little details, since that is something I enjoy doing so much as well.
The night before school, we got all of her new things together. One thing that is super convenient about meet the teacher night, is you can drop off all of the school supplies then so the kids don’t have to carry so much stuff with them on the first day.
Fun little things for her first morning of school. Kroger was out of her favorite donut, chocolate with sprinkles so Dad got plain glazed. She’s usually too nervous to eat breakfast on the first day, but it’s always there as an option in case she feels like eating a little something.
Traditional back to school photo on the front porch!
No tears this year yay! She was a little nervous like most kiddos are, but no tears just all the feels!
While she was at school, Dad put up this board with hooks for her bookbag and things. It will help so much with the clutter that ends up on the kitchen table all school year. If their’s a place for things, it helps so much!
After school pickup, and all smiles from this little lady! I hope she continues to love school so much. She comes home and does her homework, then has all the free time until bed. Crossing fingers this routine sticks for the next ten plus years!
Happy school year to all the kiddos! You will do great things.
We spent last week at the beach! It’s been a few years since we’ve been to our happy place. We squeezed in lots of fun things on this vacation, and the best part about it all was we took our time! It was the most relaxed, chill, no worries kind of vacation! Ready for a photo dump?
Monday, Aug 9
The drive from Cincinnati to Destin is about 11 hours. With this trip being our six year old’s first long drive, we decided to stop at a hotel. Stopping was the best decision ever, we had no time constraint, we got there when we got there. During our drive, I had a few surprise car gifts for Hadley to break up the time. She had already had a bucket full of things to do already, plus her iPad, but these were extra things in case she needed some distractions. Car surprise #1 were the ever so popular pop-its! I don’t know a kid that doesn’t like these things!
We drove for seven hours, with a few rest area stops, and finally stopped in Birmingham, Alabama. The hotel was beautiful, and the staff was so polite! The general manager came out to the pool while we were swimming, and gave us bottled water!
Hadley was super excited to have a bed all to herself!
Tuesday, Aug 10
Woke up and worked out in the hotel gym. Ran on the treadmill for twenty minutes. Kevin and Hadley just chilled in the hotel room. After my workout, I hopped in the shower to get ready to leave for the next drive of our trip. Kevin and Hadley went down to get breakfast while I was finishing up. The hotel breakfast was amazing, they had everything you could ask for which was crazy, especially for a complimentary breakfast during a pandemic! Hadley sat with me while I ate my breakfast, and Kevin packed up the truck.
On the road again! We only had a four hour drive to Destin which seemed super short! We were all pumped and ready to see the ocean! The next car surprise was from Grandma Gail, she brought her a box of goodies for the trip.
We arrived! Hadley was soo excited, she wanted to run straight to the beach! But we had to check in and unload the truck. You know, the not so fun part of vacation. I wish I would’ve taken more photos of the condo, it was so nice. Hadley had bunk beds to sleep on, she slept on the top bunk every night. She loved having her own little area.
We took no time to unload, changed into our bathing suits, and hit the beach! The water was gorgeous! I couldn’t get over how clear it was! It took Hadley about a day and a half to get used to the salt water, and the waves that would almost knock her down as you walked into the ocean. We brought her life jacket which was the best idea, she loved floating in the ocean and not having to worry about not touching.
After the beach, Hadley and Kevin checked out the pool while I went up to the condo to freshen up a little bit. Hadley could swim in a pool everyday all day of her life. She loves the water!
Wednesday, Aug 11
Worked out at the condo gym, we had it to ourselves! Hadley was so cute and tried a few of the machines out while I ran on the treadmill. I hope I encourage her that exercise is an important part of life. After our workout, enjoyed breakfast on the lanai overlooking the beach!
First full day at the beach! We came prepared! Beach toys, life jacket, umbrellas, and beach chairs.
For dinner, we went to Fudpuckers Gator Beach. They had live alligators you could feed while you waited for your table. It was a long wait, but fun while you waited. Super kid friendly!
After dinner, we went swimming in the pool and hung out on the lanai just listening to the ocean. I could listen to that sound all day everyday.
Thursday, Aug 12
My little workout partner! I worked out 5 out of the 7 days we were there full days. Some days I would do the Nike app in the condo, and other days I would go to the gym. I didn’t make it to the beach to walk/run, but maybe next time.
Waking up to this view every morning was the best. I couldn’t imagine having a condo without a beach view.
Our little beach babe! She adapted so well to the beach life. We found her a hat to help with her face getting so hot, it helped so much with her little cheeks. She’s a hot box!
We had a routine for the most part, beach all day then late afternoon I would go up and get ready for dinner while these two swam in the pool.
Some nights, we would eat in the condo instead of going out. After we ate and showered, we headed out for some crab hunting! Hadley was most excited about this. Walking along the beach at night was so nice and peaceful, and the condo looked so pretty all lit up. We saw so many little crabs, and one huge mama crab! I shined the flashlight on the big mama one and it crawled straight into the ocean. It was such a fun night!
Friday, Aug 13
Today was the dolphin cruise! We were up early and ready to roll. We decided to do the morning cruise so it would be less hot, and we’d still have time to go to the beach afterwards.
Waiting for the cruise to start was hot hot, even mid-morning! And Miss Hadley wore her dolphin earrings for the dolphin cruise.
We saw the harbor, Crab Island, and along with the dolphins, we saw some sharks! It was hard to take photos of the dolphins, they were fast.
The water is just gorgeous, and so peaceful to watch. We loved the cruise, the breeze was just enough so you weren’t sweating your booty off.
After the cruise, we walked around a little bit and found this super fun activity to do for kids. We were soo surprised Hadley did it, but she did and loved it! She walked into this deflated giant bubble, they blew it up with her inside of it which she thought was going to be scary but wasn’t. Then the man walked her into the pool, and there she goes! Floating around with other kids in bubbles, and as you can see by the photos nothing but smiles.
After the dolphin cruise, we still had some time to go to the beach! We were so glad we brought her life jacket from the lake, she loved floating in the ocean.
Just like every day, pool time after the beach!
Saturday, Aug 14
Started off the morning with a workout in the condo, did the Nike app.
Clear blue skies, no filter! Another beautiful beach day!
For dinner tonight we went to Lulu’s! Out of all the places we went to eat, this was at the top of the list! Being Jimmy Buffet fans and all, we thought it was pretty neat that this place is owned by his sister Lucy! They had a live one man band playing, the entire place was open so you could feel the ocean breeze, had an outdoor bar area, with sand and access to the beach. It wasn’t very crowded outside, because a storm was rolling in. It was awesome though, and we loved it!
Sunday, Aug 15
Went for donuts for breakfast this morning! The line for this popular place, The Donut Hole, was very very long, like out the door long and this was before 9am. So we decided to do takeout and eat at the condo. They were delicious!
Beach day! Towards the end of our day, Tropical Storm Fred winds started rolling in. The winds were so strong the sand was blowing against our bodies and it hurt! Floaties and pool chairs were flying all over the place, so we headed indoors.
Since the storm turned our beach day short, we went bowling before dinner. This place was called Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl and Grill and it was so neat inside. Everything was ocean themed, and it felt like you were bowling inside an aquarium.
After bowling, we went to dinner at the The Back Porch! Food wise, this was our favorite place. The fish was so good and fresh. LuLu’s was great for the ambience, and the food was good too. But the Back Porch food was very good and another place right on the water. Just love eating with the ocean breeze flowing in! We loved hanging out on the beach while we waited for our table.
Monday, Aug 16
Our last full day before we had to leave, Tropical Storm Fred had other plans for us. They closed the beaches, and pools, it was a double red flag day. We took our time in the morning, I worked out, ate breakfast on the lanai, took showers, and took a long walk on the beach. The tide came up to where everyone sits on the beach!
We went to a Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park! This place was huge, and totally worth a visit. Side note, notice the surfers behind the last photo? Double red flag, and surfers were out there! The lifeguards kept coming by and telling them to get out, then they would get right back in. Anyways, we saw a show about seals, and dolphins! And saw so many other ocean animals. It was a very cool place!
After the Gulfarium, we ate at Rockin Tacos for an early dinner. On our last night, we stayed in so we could pack and get everything ready for the road the next day.
Tuesday, Aug 17
On the morning before we left, the beach was just gorgeous! I guess Tropical Storm Fred busted out of there in just one day.
On the road again! Car surprise was more pop-its! We decided to drive for eight hours until Bowling Green, KY. We stopped at Cracker Barrel to eat dinner, haven’t eaten there in ages. I loaded up on pancakes, my favorite there!
The hotel was not as nice as the one in Birmingham. It’s a long story, but let’s just say Kevin isn’t in charge of booking things anymore haha! The indoor pool was okay, we let Hadley swim for just an hour or so. It was already late enough, but she just can’t resist a pool. Oh, and I totally forgot to give her this underwater camera for the beach and pool in Florida! She used it in the pool at the hotel, and got the hang of it.
We had the best time on this trip! Would definitely recommend Destin, and we plan to go back again sometime! I loved how we took our time getting there, had zero plans while we were there, just went with the flow everyday and did whatever. I loved not having a real plan everyday. I did do some research and planning beforehand and had a few places in mind to check out, but nothing set in stone. Hadley loved the beach, and just like anything she does she adapts so well to whatever environment she is in and is such a happy easy going kiddo. Love these memories we’ve created for her and us as a family!
In two weeks, we are going on vacation to the beach! I always like to think of fun ways to do things around here, so I came up with a quick scavenger hunt. Hadley just loves them, they are so easy and you can make them super short too.
First clue: Girl, does Mom and Dad have a surprise for you! Where you get wet in the house is the first clue!
Second clue: Great job! World class swimmer! Ride the waves to where you eat dinner. (Clue was in the shower door).
Third clue: Grab your goggles and dive deep. Find the next clue where you sleep. (Clue was on a kitchen table chair).
Fourth clue: Let’s build sandcastles and play in the sand! Look for the next clue where you wash your hands! (Clue was on her pillow in her bed).
Fifth clue: No resting yet, you’re almost done. A surprise is waiting where there’s movie fun. (Clue was in the bathroom).
Last clue was the ticket to the beach! I made this in Photoshop, and cut it out by hand. (Last clue was in the TV stand / movies). Hadley is super excited! She’s been to the beach when she was around two years old or so, but obviously doesn’t remember at that age. So this will be her first real trip to the beach! We can’t wait to see her have fun on the beach, build sandcastles, swim in the ocean, and to just see this vacation through her little blue eyes! And of course, to just chill, relax, and breath in that ocean air!
We have lived in our home for almost three years now. When we first moved in, the front yard was super plain and no color. The yard consisted of lots of pine trees, boxwood bushes, and a ginormous ivy like bush. Don’t get me wrong, it was super low maintenance and all we had to do was trim some of it down occasionally. My husband and I wanted lots and lots of color, flowers, etc. Well, after almost three years, we finally got the front yard we’ve always wanted!
The before photo above was taken about a year ago, look at those huge pine trees, all the shrubbery by the front porch, and the gigantic bush on the side of the garage. You can barely see the house!
The after photo above is our dream front yard! It looks amazing! No more pine trees, and all those pine needles that fall into the mulch. And all of that shrubbery that was blocking the house is gone. It opens up the house soo much!
It took a lot of work to get the yard where it is now. We dug all of the old stuff out by hand, we had some helpers which made it easier. But it took lots and lots of work digging up thirty year old roots, and trust me when I say there were so many roots it was insane!
Next on our list was to remove the pine trees! Some people ask why did we get rid of them? We were just not fans, the pine needles that fell into the mulch, and how much the trees covered our house. These guys did four trees in one day, it was very cool to watch!
My husband put in the paver wall himself. It took many trips to Lowes, because you can never really be sure how many pavers you are going to need right? It took us awhile to decide how high to make the wall, and I’m glad we went with the curvy design versus a straight wall, things like that, but we are so happy with how it turned out.
Lots and lots of work with this wall. Some pieces he had to chip off to fit right, kept calling him Jesus with his carpentry tools!
Here’s a closer view of the flowers. The only pieces we kept was the three boxwoods on the far top. Everything else was all planted by yours truly! It was a chore to plant everything, because as I dug into the ground there were roots in every hole. Soo so many roots! We weren’t expecting the hyrangeas to bloom so fast, but they are huge and so pretty!
Vinca’s are my favorite, they do very well in direct sunlight.
Here’s the front view of the flowers. The tiny tuff stuff hydrangeas are smaller than the lime ones closer to the porch. I’m glad we went with the smaller ones in front so they didn’t takeover the view from the front of the house.
We have another hydrangea lime light bush on the other side of the garage. There used to be a huge bush here that took over the entire space. Hydrangeas are so much nicer!
The front porch is a large variety!
These need to be desperately trimmed down, they are growing so fast! I love the Vinca’s, and the shade combos by the front door. They are a mixture of ferns, coleus, and I’m not sure what the pink flowers are in there.
I’m not sure what the hanging basket flowers are, I’m so bummed I didn’t save the tag! I love how the greenery cascades down from the basket, and the yellow flowers are so bright!
And three months later, it’s so awesome to say everything is still alive and well. Nothing that we planted from scratch has died. It’s all doing so great! The front yard was a labor of love, lots of hard work, and lots of hours spent sweating and working very hard. I’m glad our vision came together, and so very happy with the end result.