Brew of the Day

19 10 2015

For the first time in years, we found ourselves with a free October weekend! October is usually filled with celebrations of fall – festivals, craft shows, races, and out-of-town trips, but we ended up having the whole weekend to explore the peak of foliage in our town. Normally, I would have been running my favorite half marathon, the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon. But sadly, the race featured a great white on their medal this year, and alas, I have a huge phobia of all things sh*rk – it’s no joke. So no trip, no race. Getting over endless sickness made us also postpone plans with friends to make our annual trek to what would have been a cold, crowded, windy apple orchard.

Instead, I stumbled across an ad for a local craft festival that featured all things vintage, handmade, and shabby chic – of course we had to check it out! (We loved their brick-and-mortar store, too!) From there, we walked around downtown, checking out a beer shop, grabbing a coffee, and poking in lots of small local businesses. It was so nice to chat with the owners of each shop – from boutique baby clothes to fair trade stores. So much better than big-box stores!

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E always insists on “coffee water” whenever I get coffee anywhere. It’s just free water in a to-go cup but I’m sure moms of toddlers everywhere are giving him the sidelong.

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After a full day of gallivanting and an impromptu family photo shoot in the woods, we stumbled upon a pumpkin sale benefitting the church that does so much outreach for my school community – we decided to spring for one of their pumpkins this year instead of a wagon-full from another local patch. Our pumpkin came from New Mexico!

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My husband and I both returned home remarking that Saturday had been one of the best days we’ve ever had!

Despite our week of sickness and sleepless nights, we didn’t want to miss out on a single gorgeous fall day (fall is so fleeting!!), so after church Sunday, we headed out on a scenic drive, stopping only for fresh kettle corn and breathtaking overlooks. We originally wanted to hike, but we were just too tired.

We visited my favorite trees on our way out of town.

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Gosh, my boys have changed since the last time these trees were red:

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We continued our scenic drive and climbed all over the mountain rocks! I took pictures in every possible light.

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Fall-themed blogs are my favorite kind to read – thanks for cozying up to read along with me!





Stitch Fix | September Review

15 09 2015

I was pleasantly surprised this fall to check my Stitch Fix account and see that I had a large credit to put toward my 4th fix! I had taken a long hiatus from Stitch Fix during my last pregnancy (although now they do offer a maternity line!). Last year at this time, I was super pregnant and wearing maxi skirts to work every day, so now I’m in need of new fall clothes!

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This is literally my favorite part. Opening the box. (Try it!!)

My stylist listened to my requests in my style profile and found clothes that would be perfect for work or weekending with my family. I had specifically requested a light jacket, work pants, and long necklace similar to one by Kendra Scott. She also threw in a shirt for a date night, but let’s be real… I have 2 little guys at home that need all the time they can get with us on the weekend after a long week of preschool!

So let me just tell you how the unboxing went down. Now that I have a new job, its new location makes it easy to stop in at home before picking up my kids from daycare. So that’s exactly what I decided to do when my husband texted me that my Fix had arrived. We had an appointment scheduled that afternoon before we picked up the kids, so I ran home after work and in the comfort and quiet of my newly-clean room, I scoped out the box.

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First glance: love olive, love all the stripes and neutrals. I only counted 4 clothing items, so I knew there’d be a jewelry piece involved. Stitch Fix always sends 5 items, and you can make your profile very specific as to what you’re looking for, what colors you love, and what types of pieces you’d like to receive. Being open-minded will allow your stylist to push you to try things you might overlook in the store that you end up loving!

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Kut From The Kloth Siena Cropped Pant

These olive pants were an instant win. Love the fit – stretchy and flattering, while professional enough to wear to work and in a flattering olive color that goes with many pieces in my closet. I had requested an olive army jacket, so this was the next best thing. The pants did have one tiny flaw, so I was given the opportunity to get 15% off or exchange for a brand new pair… I took the discount, and a few easy stitches by hand will fix them right up.

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Thrift store shirt, $2 🙂

Target is running a sale this week on their Merona skinny fit cropped pants (BOGO 50% off), so I’ve bought a few more pairs similar to these in other colors.

Mystree Jackie Striped French Terry Asymmetrical Jacket

I also loved this jacket. I was on the fence about it for the entire 3 days that I was allowed to keep the box. I even went to Kohl’s and tried similar asymmetrical jackets, but they weren’t nearly the same quality. I also found the same jacket on the Stitch Fix BST Facebook board in my size and almost snatched that one up. In the end though, I decided to be good and only spend what I had received in referral credits. Otherwise, I’d be wearing it right now!

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I heard a lot of feedback from other girls that this jacket was too short for them, but I have a super-short torso thanks to the spine surgery I had as a teenager, so the fit was perfect on me. I was a little weary of the busyness of the stripes but loved the navy and white. And the pockets! I could live in this jacket, so soft and thick. Alas, it was dry clean or hand-wash only, so… DEALBREAKER.

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Renee C Charle Split Front Knit

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Keeping an open mind… the first dolman I’ve ever tried. I loved the stretchy fit of this, the thin stripes, the navy color, and the uber-soft fabric — oh, it was cozy!, but that’s where the love story ended. I am personally not a fan of dolman sleeves and felt like I was swimming in this shirt.

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Photobomber ❤ I took this picture later when deciding what to keep!

Skies are Blue Galla Mesh Detail Sweater

Gahh. “Mesh sweater.” Whyyy. My stylist thought this would be “fun for a night out” paired with the long necklace she also sent.

First of all, KIDS. I had a vision of kissing my kids goodbye as I rushed out the door in this for an evening out with my hubby, their tiny fingers getting hooked in the fabric and literally tearing the sweater, fresh spit up seeping through each and every hole in the mesh, impossible to clean. It featured a striped pattern where one stripe was solid, one was mesh. Because of this, I’d need a cami, but then the straps would show. It didn’t seem one bit nursing friendly, either. The cut and fit were great, and my stylist’s intentions were good… but in the end it was a no-brainer to send back.

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Nakamol Benton Beaded Pendant Necklace

This piece was interesting, but not enough for the price point. I was also afraid the chain would mess up, since it featured tiny beads that wanted to move around.

IMG_5354 IMG_5365(Also: I think I could make this?!) I did like the length and the way it hit. She gave it a good effort!

In the end, I used referral credits to purchase the pants, which ended up being free with the 15% discount added in. I even have money left over for my next Fix! She was on point with the cropped pants and striped jacket and came very, very close with the dolman and necklace. But quite a bit off the mark with the mesh sweater. Too bad, because if I had purchased all 5, I could have gotten 25% off the total.

I’ve updated my profile and my Pinterest board for my next Fix. Want to try it for yourself? Answer a series of questions about your sizes, preferences, color choices, etc., and link your own Pinterest board to see what 5 items your stylist will send! Use my link to sign up, and then use your own link to refer friends to accumulate credits in your account! Win-win. Thanks for reading!

See my past Fixes!

Linking up with Crazy Together (Kinder Craze) blog!

Stitch Fix Button Kinder Craze

www.crazytogether.com/october-stitch-fix-28-review-giveaway-linkup





Countdown to Halloween | Scary pumpkins and 300 sorority girls…

21 10 2014
The Chronicles of We

Linking up with Sweet Turtle SoupThe Chronicles of WeCocktails & Carseats, and Tickled Pink for Countdown to Halloween! Today I’m recapping some fall trips we’ve made as a family. 🙂 We’ve visited a pumpkin patch and our local fall craft festival, and we added two festivals over the weekend.

On Saturday, we spent the day at our Christian radio station’s fall festival. Our plan was to stop by, drop off a food donation, meet the sweet DJs, then head out to visit a local farm. Our toddler wasn’t interested UNTIL we started leaving and he pointed back at the face painting tent and said, “I want to do that.” So we figured we’d wait about 10 minutes in line, get his face painted, order from the food truck, then finish out the afternoon at the farm.

UMMM… TWO AND A HALF HOURS OF WAITING IN LINE LATER… his face was painted, the food truck was gone, the festival was over, and the farm was going to close soon. Luckily we had friends waiting in line with us! We drove through Chick-fil-a on our way home, he fell asleep (thus ruining the face paint), and we called it a day!

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I think it was supposed to look like the skin being pulled off and a pumpkin was underneath…

After church on Sunday, we made it to the farm, which is considered an “agritourism” destination and is an attraction for field trips, families, and apparently, as we learned on Sunday, sororities. There were at least 300 sorority sisters there. They waited in line for hours at the one food truck, had a chapter meeting, then left. A lot of them also got little pumpkins. (We look pictures.)

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We spent the day riding trains, visiting the animals, sliding down a 60-foot hay bale chute, braving the longest, fastest  carousel ride EVER, visiting “Pumpkin Hollow,” playing in a corn kernel pit, gallivanting on the playground, eating yummy snacks, and watching pig races. The only thing we skipped was the corn maze because after everything else, our oldest was ready for a nap. Plus, last year, the corn maze took us 2 hours.

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Baby’s first official ride. If you don’t count Space Mountain, Expedition Everest, BTMR, et al. at Disney while I was pregnant.

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I wish we could do these things year-round!





oh hey | Five on Friday

17 10 2014

Linking up for Five on Friday with DarciChristinaApril, and Natasha, and oh hey, Friday with Karli and Amy

one | Last night, the rain finally cleared and I was able to take the boys out for an evening photoshoot and a romp around the park at sunset. The weather was perfect, the sky was spectacular, and the leaves were nothing short of stunning! And now I have hundreds of photos I need to go through!

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two | On Saturday, we braved a misty morning to attend our town’s annual fall festival, where crafters line the downtown area and food trucks set up on the plaza.

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three | Ever since I started my maternity leave, my husband has been coming home for lunch to help out. It has been sooo nice to be able to pop out for a quick errand or two while he stays with our kids! Errands like picking up contacts I ordered from the eye doctor – which could take all day with kids – take about 10 minutes roundtrip. I did, however, successfully take both kids to the pediatrician this week unscathed.

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At all of his little brother’s appointments now, E has to get checked for ear infections.

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Up over a pound in 2 weeks!

four | One rainy morning this week, E and I made pumpkin mousse! The recipe was pretty much identical to the pumpkin dip recipe I followed a couple weeks ago. Oops!

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five | I’ve also taken some indoor pictures with the baby this week and will be sifting through these pictures for a loooong time!

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Happy Friday! I’m planning to enjoy another gorgeous fall day outside! 🙂





Countdown to Halloween | Linkup

14 10 2014
Sweet Turtle Soup
Linking up with Sweet Turtle Soup, The Chronicles of We, Cocktails & Carseats, and Tickled Pink for Countdown to Halloween! Here are snippets of all the whimsical fall festivities we’ve enjoyed so far this October!
Dressing the Part
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Having a baby born at the end of September pretty much guaranteed that we’d get all sorts of adorable Halloween newborn outfits… too many to even picture! He has 3 pumpkin hats and at least 3 Halloween costumes already, plus a crocheted pumpkin onesie and several of Old Navy’s Halloween graphic onesies.
Comfort Foods
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We’ve been so blessed by our friends who have dropped off meals all week so that we could savor extra cuddles with the baby in the evenings. Other than their delicious meals, we’ve been partaking in pumpkin bakery items, food trucks (2 of them), and brewed-at-home pumpkin beverages. We’ve also made pumpkin bread and pumpkin dip, as well as warm comfort foods – pork tacos, stuffed peppers, chicken/broccoli/cheddar soup, and more!
(Running season will commence on November 10th!)
Crafting
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Most of our crafting lately has been spent making sweet baby keepsakes and Christmas ornaments while the baby is still teeny-tiny, but we have squeaked out a few seasonal projects – I made an autumn burlap wreath and my kids painted their handprints on (fake) white pumpkins that they’ll add a new print to as the years go by. I also finished my maternity Shutterfly photo book and my fall bucket list (middle picture) and have been keeping the baby book up-to-date (no 2nd-child syndrome here!)
I’ll save fall decorations, festivals, costumes, and seasonal books for another week!




oh hey | five on friday

10 10 2014
THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

Happy Friday! I am loving every minute of my maternity leave! I am so lucky that my boys seem to be on the same sleeping schedule. One day, they both napped for 5 hours (in separate rooms). Another day, they both slept in til noon! But when they’re awake, we’ve enjoyed getting out and about to take advantage of the fall weather.

Also, I’m linking up with darciaprilchristina, and natasha for their Five on Friday Fall Giveaway!

Five on Friday Fall Giveaway

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one | This little guy turns 2 weeks old tomorrow! I’m doing a variation on the monthly sticker onesies that I used for his big brother and using this tree scrap (with rings) for size perspective.

2012 - 2014 E and S just born

two | I love having friends over to meet the baby! And one of my friends set up a Take Them a Meal site for us, so we’ve been blessed to have a handful of meals dropped off in the evenings. I’ve been reading Blue Eyed Bride’s 31 Days of Breaking Bread series, which has also given me a simplified perspective on entertaining guests and putting people at ease in our home.

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three | While my husband was home last week (on baby leave), our family visited a local pumpkin patch. This one is really fun – you can load up a whole wagon for only $25! I’ve heard they sell out fast, so we went early in the season and on a weekday to avoid the crowds. Worth it. Recap here!

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four | Wednesday, I took my boys to run lots of errands and do some Christmas shopping. I had both in cloth diapers and wore my newborn in a carrier. (3 stores in 3 hours.) That night, I attended a major Board of Supervisors meeting about whether the aging school where I work will be getting a new facility. The meeting was 3 hours long, and the baby slept in my Boba 3G for the entire meeting with just one bout of sleepy giggles and one squeaky hiccup. It was fun to see my coworkers again.

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five | Every month, I recycle 10 ink cartridges (that I purchase in bulk off eBay with my in-laws) and get $20 to spend at Staples. This month, I intended to pick up more fabric cube bins for toys in E’s new toddler room, but they don’t carry them anymore. One of the managers offered to sell me some cubes that were part of furniture floor models for $1.99 each! I wish I had bought all of them, but I only got 4. And here is the before/after, which will probably last about 5 seconds:

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Linking up for Five on Friday with Darci, Christina, April, and Natasha, and oh hey, Friday with Karli and Amy





oh hey | Five on Friday!

3 10 2014

This past week has been especially precious to me. I gave birth to our second son early Saturday morning! I’ll be posting my birth story and about our nursing journey soon, but for now, I will leave you with some sweet moments from our first week of getting to know our new little pea.

one | Fall is my absolute favorite season, and our plans and traditions will still continue with a pumpkin patch visit, apple picking, Halloween, foliage photography, and lots of fall festivals! We don’t have any fall races on the calendar, but we will have a new pumpkin in tow for all of our other seasonal favorites! He has already been to school picture day, Life Group, and his first pediatrician visit.

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| Target |

two | The first thing I noticed about this kid when he was delivered was his HAIR. My.word. For him being so fair, there was a lot of it! And it was perfectly styled into a little mohawk that lasted for days.

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three | I couldn’t have asked for E to be a better big brother (they’re 26 months apart). From the start, he’s been so loving and helpful. Sure, he’s said “mine!” a lot more this week, but at least he’s very black and white when it comes to his things and the baby’s things. And it’s precious that every morning, he asks about the baby as soon as he wakes up.

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And just for kicks, some side-by-side “oooo that face!” wrinkly forehead pics comparing the two of them. I can’t help it – it’s my favorite newborn face and I hope I never forget it. E is on the left (July 2012) and S is on the right (Sept. 2014).

Same swaddle.

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four | We put him in his first cloth diaper on Thursday. These are specifically newborn-sized (BumGenius), but the BG ones that his big brother E currently wears fit 8-35 pounds, so they’ll be sharing soon.

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five | This time around, I realize how quickly he will grow and change. I’m not saving cute clothes for special occasions – he’s wearing them daily. I’m taking pictures of everything, writing down as much as I can, and I did a Day in the Life post on Wednesday. I’m holding him all the time, rarely putting him down. I know in a week or two, he’ll look like a completely different baby. They’ll be subtle changes, but I know he won’t be as fragile or small as his wrinkly newborn frame begins to fill out. So I’m making keepsakes like this while he’s still so tiny:

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Happy Friday! Linking up with Karli and Amy for oh hey Friday and April, Natasha, Christina, and Darci for Five on Friday!





oh hey, Friday | Finally September!

5 09 2014

It’s finally baby month! (Unless baby waits til October – I have NO desire to induce, so if he waits, I’ll wait, too.) I have so much to do – I only have 4 evenings this entire month where I don’t have some sort of meeting/training/doc appointment after work, and baby gets here in 20(ish) days! I’m grateful for my 2014 Simplified Planner and that a friend was able to order me a 2015 weekly SP when they went on sale this week so that I can keep track of our messy, precious life!

 Linking up with Karli and Amy for oh hey, Friday!

oh hey ONE | In case you missed it, my little family of 3 went to a Safari Park for Labor Day! We fed all sorts of animals, including giraffes, and two zebras stuck their heads in my car. It was our one last hurrah before baby arrives.  

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oh hey TWO | I lied. I said it was our last hurrah, but then last night on a whim, we rode elephants. And by “we,” I mean the non-pregnant family members. Because I’ve already ridden a camel in my lifetime and wanted to be fair. We were actually at a free dinner for my husband’s work, and the elephants were in the parking lot right beside our car as part of a traveling circus. Why not? Plus, E would not stop demanding, “I ride on the elephants!!” – how could we say no?

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oh hey THREE | Before the elephants, we practiced riding on a much smaller scale, on a bike. (This hand-me-down bike used to be pink, sparkly, and Barbie — someday I’ll finish the blog I’ve drafted about how the boys ditched the glitz.)

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oh hey FOUR | I’m hoping to chisel out some quiet time this month to enjoy some reading and my favorite candle warmer, which I just pulled out after a 5-year hiatus. I reserved this book early in the summer and was #54 on the waiting list at the library. I know it’s going to be a tear-jerker… 

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oh hey FIVE | I created some 8×10 subway art as a festive fall printable to display in our entryway as part of our fall decor. I scoured tons of fall printables on Pinterest, but I like mine more personalized. Want to see it? You’ll just have to visit me when baby comes!





A Toddler’s Lens

27 10 2013

On Friday, we headed down to NC to spend the weekend with my sister and her family. I love spending time with them and wish we lived closer! The drive took longer than expected. For several days before the trip, my tire pressure light had been on, but it did the same thing last fall when the temperature dropped suddenly like it did this week. My hubby asked me about it when we were about halfway to NC and it had returned, and I waved it off, saying it had been on for a few days now because of the cold weather. He pulled into the nearest Sheetz and within seconds, let me know he found a screw wedged into my front tire. Whoops.  He was so incredibly sweet about it. We were able to patch it and continue on our way.

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We finally arrived around 11, and E was so excited to see all the toys at my sister’s house!

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Saturday, we gobbled up cinnamon buns, then headed to the mall while my sister’s family did the Color Me Rad 5k. We’d already done that race when I was 8 months pregnant, so we decided to bow out this time, especially since we were headed out for fall pictures with my sister that evening and didn’t want to be stained in colored cornstarch! We had so much fun playing and watching E ham it up for her camera.

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E did such a great job, and the sun behaved as well, presenting a gorgeous evening backdrop. Here’s a sneak preview!

NC Fall 2013

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Photo credits to my sweet sister 🙂

E got to spend special time with each cousin this weekend!

Playing drums with cousin K:

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Bedtime stories with cousin E:

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Nursery time in the movie theatre with cousin A:

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On Sunday, I woke up super early with E, then headed out for a long run before church. The combo of cold-weather running, a hot shower, no time for coffee, and standing to sing to the pulse of worship music made me feel like the movie theatre was spinning and my heart was racing, so we opted to spend the time hanging out in the nursery and playing with E instead. My sweet sister had to perform the Heimlich when E was choking on too many animal crackers — scary!! Did I mention she’s amazing??

He was so cute when he saw me holding a 4-month-old. He kept bringing things to the little baby and trying to put the baby’s paci in his mouth. Precious!

Our ride home was WAY more eventful even than the ride down, but those adventures shall be saved for my next post….!!





{Five on Friday}

11 10 2013

5 on Friday – here we go! Once again linking up with Darci and friends for one of my favorite days of the week!

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5 on Friday 02

{one} 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

This summer, I enrolled E in our library’s “1,000 books before Kindergarten” program, and we’ve been logging most of the books we read together, even repeats. My mom gave him “Ollie’s Halloween,” a board book by my absolute favorite kids’ book author, Olivier Dunrea! The pictures are cute, clear, and simple, and so is his text, and there is a similar rhythm to the way all of his books read. This book made me want to get out all of E’s fall-and Halloween-themed books! Sorting these made me want to change his books out seasonally. But he also has his favorites, so who am I to hide “Merry Christmas, Ollie!” in October??

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Crawling Crab 1

{two} Crawlin’ Crab Half Marathon

I ran my 4th (official) half marathon this week in Hampton, Virginia. (read my recap here!) It was a fun race, but it was incredibly HOT and I’m so excited that real fall race weather is finally kicking in! A group of friends from work and I are running the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon in one week!

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Pork chops

{prepped to bake!}

{three} Apple picking and a recipe!

After our trip to the local apple orchard, I was able to make baked pork chops with apples, a recipe I found from The Clever Housewife. And while I didn’t arrange the pork chops in a heart shape, it was really neat to be able to use fresh apples that we had picked together as a family! And it was such an easy recipe!

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Soap

{four} Soaps!

Fall always puts me in the mood to use yummy-smelling bar soaps! There used to be an old hole-in-the-wall bookstore in Harper’s Ferry where you could slice your own soap from large blocks. I also like visiting craft fairs in the fall and finding locally-made soaps. I usually prefer the fruity scents and the seasonal spices – not the floral ones. About 4 years ago, I delved a bit into making soap for party favors, but haven’t really tried it since!

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Duck Dynasty Day

{five} Professionally-speaking

This week has been quite out-of-the-norm at my workplace, where I am a School Counselor. For starters, we had a teacher workday on Monday. Beginning on Tuesday, it was SCA Spirit Week, so each day came with a different theme: Tuesday was “Hippie Day,” Wednesday was “Duck Dynasty Day,” Thursday was “Twin Day,” and today is “Red Pride [school color] Day.” Yes, our school had a Duck Dynasty Day. And most kids did not have to buy costumes; camo is the unofficial uniform at our rural school, along with cowboy boots and Under Armour hoodies. On Thursday, I attended a professional development conference from 9-4 with one of my favorite speakers, who is an expert in the field of brain research in education and in creating engaging classroom environments. This is the 3rd time I’ve attended a workshop of his, and I always leave energized with lots of strategies to implement immediately in my classroom. Anyone who can hold my complete attention for 7 straight hours (by “pressing” info into 7-minute chunks and interactive “releasing” breaks for processing and memory) is a stand-out teacher, and he modeled lots of strategies for us to use.

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And that’s all from me ’til next time… happy Friday!