Friday Favorites: birthday party part 2

Believe it or not, it’s already Friday! I posted about the kids’ 10th birthday party with their friends for Let’s Look on Wednesday. I thought I’d wrap up the week with a Friday Favorites post that focuses on party #2 (family party)…because birthdays are my favorite!

I figured while the balloons were still flying, we’d go ahead and host our family for a small get together for the kids.

After the slumber party cleared out, I threw a couple of meals in the crock pots. Both meals I made were from Mix and Match Mama’s Simmers cookbook. I made the Chicken Tortilla Soup and the Potato Soup. Both are easy, delish, and serve quite a few people.

I also made salami/cream cheese/pickle roll ups and spinach artichoke dip for appetizers.

We love Nothing Bundt Cakes, so I was going to pick up one of their bigger bundt cakes for the family party BUT we had so much cookie cake left over from the sleep over party, that we decided to serve that. I did take the kids to Nothing Bundt Cakes for them to each pick a mini bundt cake for us to put candles in and sing Happy Birthday.

Hadley’s always big help with the decorations. We already had the balloons, so she helped me put streamers up wherever the kids wanted them. She also helped me put up the birthday banner. I made the banner when the kids turned three, and we’ve been using it every birthday since then…not sure if this will be the last year for it or not?

Every year, I order the kids a new birthday shirt with their age on it (again, this is probably the last year for it, but it’s been a fun tradition!) I did a Flashback Friday Favorites post on it, and it’s sweet to see them through the years!

This year’s shirts came from a shop on Etsy called ShopPsychobaby. They were cute, great quality, and arrived quickly!

The kids are saving for electronic items we will most likely never buy them (haha), so we kept it simple with the family party, and they received cash and gift cards.

Traditional bday shirts and 1-0 balloons
The birthday banner is hanging on !
Homer was excited for cake. He was better behaved during this party and didn’t eat any candles or lick any icing off the cake!
Happy Birthday time!

We had family from both sides as well as friends who we consider family to help celebrate.

crazy and cute cousins

That’s a wrap on the birthday parties. Their actual birthday is next week, and there are a few more traditions and surprises up my sleeve… #thetwinsturn10

Don’t forget to check our Narci, Andrea, and Erika’s Friday Favorites!

Have a great weekend!

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Friday Favorites: Traditions

What a crazy busy week it’s been…and I’m so glad that it’s Friday!

With a busy family and lots of activities, it’s the time of the year where I pencil in some of our traditions in order to make sure they continue! This got me thinking about some of our favorite traditions throughout the year….so I thought I’d share!

Winter

In December, we visit the Southern Lights at the Kentucky Horse Park. Even when I was a kid, we’d visit lights at a nearby park, and I continued that tradition once Travis and I started dating…and of course continued it when we had kids. I may be wrong, but since 2002, I’m pretty sure the only year we missed driving through lights either in Missouri or at the Kentucky Horse Park was 2009….when I had one month old twins. Apparently, I was too sleep deprived and hormonal to ensure the tradition carried on that year. When we drive through the Kentucky Horse Park, the kids usually have hot chocolate and popcorn while Travis and I have coffee. We enjoy seeing the same lights each year along with new ones they’ve added in. Pro Tip: Go on a weeknight (it’s cheaper) but even better…a Monday night…less crowded. There are activities to do inside, but my kids don’t even realize you can go inside! haha.

A few Christmas traditions include seeing Santa (of course), building a gingerbread house (from a kit—I’m no over-achiever!), and we usually take one evening in December to go out somewhere and let the kids pick a Christmas gift out for each other (to be opened Christmas morning) followed by dinner out at a restaurant. We also go together to purchase gifts for kids on Lexington’s Angel Tree.

We typically visit my family in Kansas City for Christmas. During that time, we make our family’s traditional German waffle cookies. The waffle iron was brought to the United States by my ancestors, and it’s over 100 years old (and very heavy!) Also, we try to visit the Plaza Lights in KC which was a tradition my family had when I was a kid.

Since the kids were little, on the first snow day of the school year (we usually have at least have one—and some years ten!), I make snowman pancakes. We always have pancake mix on hand anyway as well as bacon and marshmallows (for hot chocolate), so I just make sure to have a pack of M&Ms for eyes, nose, and buttons. I’ve even used a leftover candy cane from the holidays for a scarf. The kids always enjoy this breakfast, and we are all excited when we get an unexpected day off from school!

Another favorite tradition we’ve been doing for years is tubing at Perfect North with two of our favorite families. It’s gotten a lot more fun now that the kids can lug around their own tubes!! 😉

This Santa is always the best…and there’s always a long line!
The kids are almost too big for Santa’s lap…not sure how many years we have left.

Spring

In the springtime, I always look forward to St. Patrick’s Day. Growing up, we’d always have cornbeef and cabbage as well as Irish Soda Bread. So, I make all of that each year, and we all love it.

There’s nothing better than Keeneland Horse racing in April and October. We used to have all the free time in the world to go with friends, tailgate, and make a day (or two) of it at the track. Now, a free afternoon takes lots of planning, but we try to make it happen.

And…Travis is always super busy with work at Oaks and Derby time, but I enjoy going to Oaks Day with him. The city of Louisville certainly comes alive during that week.

Just like I take beginning of the school year photos, I also take end of the year photos as well. I clearly remember the last day of school when the kids were in kindergarten…unprompted, they high-fived each other by the school sign. So, of course, now I make them do that each year…they love me (hate me) for making them do it. Only a couple more years of elementary school (insert sad face). Even the school’s crossing guard knows I’m going to take the beginning and end of the year photos.

Then, we always go out to dinner on the last day of school with one of our friends. Considering how busy we all are, I really don’t know how we’ve kept this tradition alive, but I’m glad that we have.

Summer

When I was thinking of summer traditions, I totally blanked. We must not have very many, but of course, we go on vacation and also have a neighborhood get together at the end of the summer.

On the 4th of July, I always make red, white, and blue waffles. Easy and delicious.

Fall

Even though it’s 90 degrees when it’s time to go back to school, I still consider that fall. Back to school means my back to school breakfast for the kids. Of course, that’s when I get the first day of school photo too.

In the fall, we always make a trip to the orchard to pick out pumpkins and get apple cider donuts.

The families in our neighborhood try to get together to carve pumpkins a few days before Halloween. We hosted this year. Chili, hot apple cider, and parents doing all the carving…what’s not to love?

Once November hits, it’s all things birthday for Hayden and Hadley. I buy their birthday shirt and we start planning the party.

One More Tradition…

One of my favorite traditions is the “You are Special” red plate. We had one of these growing up that my mom would use for our dinner when we accomplished a goal, had a good day, or had something to celebrate. A few years ago, she bought one for my family, and I love keeping this tradition alive. This week, the kids each used it for dinner one day to congratulate them on a successful cross country season as well as good grades on their report cards. I put Trav’s dinner on it one evening as a thank you from the kids for being their cross country coach as well as for working so hard during the horse sales this month.

Real talk: I used to be much better about using this plate for celebrations, but sometimes I end up using it to celebrate many things at once because time has slipped away.

I feel like I’m forgetting a tradition or two, but I love keeping these traditions alive for my family. What traditions do you have with your family?

Don’t forget to check out Narci, Andrea, and Erika’s Friday Favorites.

Have a great weekend!

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Flashback (Friday) Favorites

I’m smushing two blogging ideas into one…Flashback Friday + Friday Favorites.

It’s hard to believe, but my kids are about to be T E N !!! One of my favorite birthday traditions is that each year I buy them a birthday shirt with their name and age on it. I typically use the photo for their birthday invites. I’ve had great luck finding a new shirt each year, usually from an Etsy shop. I’ve used a variety of shops and have always been impressed with the quality and design. Admittedly, as the kids get older, they aren’t as into the shirts (especially Hayden), but my goal has always been to get them a shirt each year until they are 10…so this year, we will probably be wrapping up this tradition…and I’m ok with that…I think 😉 #Imnotcryingyourecrying

Here’s a stroll down memory lane!

This is their first picture together at 4 days old. Hadley was in the NICU for thirteen days, and we snapped this photo before taking Hayden home with us. It broke my heart to leave her, but I knew she was in great hands with the awesome doctors and nurses in the NICU.

4 days old.

For their first birthday, I splurged on their sweet little outfits. They still hang up in their closets. I can’t ever picture myself parting with them.

Two years old…I remember clearly that this was the hardest picture to get of them…they wouldn’t stand still OR look at the camera!!

I think the three-year-old pic will always be my fave. First of all, they sat still. Secondly, the smiled. Thirdly, pinchy cheek cute! *also the last time Hayden probably wore jeans!

Shirts from flyduds on Etsy

Four years old…also known as the last time they probably held hands. haha!

Shirts from myeverydaydesign on Etsy

Five years old and Hayden had lost a couple of bottom teeth!

Shirts from RiverImprints on Etsy

Six years old and Hadley caught up with Hayden in the losing teeth department (and looking like a big girl with her boots!)

Shirts from LittleHipsterTees on Etsy

Seven years old is probably my second favorite pic! They still look like they need their mama, but they are also so grown up at the same time!

Shirts from TinySocietyShop on Etsy

Eight years old! Big kids.

Shirts from PricelessKids on Etsy

Nine years old and ready for their last year in the single digits (and they definitely look like really big kids!)

Shirts from PricelessKids on Etsy

I’ve already taken their pic with their number T E N shirts on, but I’ll save it for the real day. November 20th.

Don’t forget to check out Erika, Narci, and Andrea’s Friday Favorites posts.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend. Our weekend includes trick-or-treating tomorrow afternoon as our trick-or-treat time was moved from Thursday to tomorrow due to weather.

Take care,

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Friday Favorites

It’s finally Friday…this has been a doozy of a week for a variety of reasons. All I can say is T G I F! #praisehands

I’m linking up with Erika, Narci, and Andrea for another Friday Favorites.

I’ve chatted with a few friends lately about nail polish…I always have my nails painted. Always. So, I thought I’d share some of my faves.

I paint my nails once a week, and once every six weeks or so, I treat myself to a gel manicure that lasts two weeks.

I’m pretty basic with my nail polish….for years, I wore Bubble Bath by OPI and would occasionally change up the shade of pink I’d wear. For the past six months or so, I’ve pretty consistently worn Funny Bunny by OPI thanks to Living With Landyn’s recommendation.

In the fall or winter, I will use a darker polish occasionally on my fingernails but more often on my toes…I like OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark, How Great is Your Dane? and Taupe-less Beach. I hope to try Krona-logical Order some time soon…another Living with Landyn recommendation.

My trusty lineup is below:

Bubble Bath, Let Me Bayou a Drink, Lisbon Wants Moor, It’s Pink PM, Beyond the Pale Pink, and Funny Bunny

Andrea at Momfessionals, shared about the Seche Vite base and fast drying top coat. I now swear by these. They definitely help my *at home* manicures last longer.

Pretty random favorites, but my mom is visiting, and she bought me this cute new travel coffee mug. #englishteachersunite and sent these cookies via my Grandma. When they last visited, my Gma brought these pumpkin cookies that she found at Tuesday Morning. She sent three boxes with my mom…and this box didn’t last long #IblameHayden

I heart school artwork ….especially artwork that involves pumpkins. Hadley painted this in class, and I just love it….certainly a favorite of mine.

A little 1:1 time with Boo while he did his homework was a favorite this week. I was able to pick the kids up from school one day this week which is a rarity….Thankfully, they didn’t need my help with math homework (haha), but he was supposed to read this story aloud to me, and I loved having the extra time with them.

It’s a miracle! Somehow, my friends and I have made a point to go out to dinner two months in a row…on a school night! #rebels I enjoy my much needed time with my girlfriends, and we tried a new(ish) restaurant here in Lexington…Agave and Rye. It was so good….I had the Easy Ranchero Taco – fried egg, salt and pepper tator tots, queso, aged white cheddar, salsa, cilantro, and I 86’d the sour cream (hashtag: I hate sour cream) This taco was out of this world (and the marg was great too). I honestly hope to go back as soon as possible. There were so many tacos I wanted to try!

That’s a wrap on this week….this weekend the kids finish up their cross country season at the state meet, Hayden has a soccer game, and Trav and I hope to go out to dinner one night since GG’s in town to stay with the kids.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Friday Favorites

Yeah for Friday! Linking up with Narci, Erika, and Andrea for their Friday Favorites.

Now that shows are back on tv, I thought I’d share a few family favorites that we can actually watch together.

Young Sheldon

We all love Young Sheldon. I watched The Big Bang Theory for years and the last couple of seasons, the kids would watch some of the episodes with me…especially Hayden. Hayden has some Sheldon-like tendencies, so it’s no shock to me he likes both of those shows. Sheldon is a hoot, and by being the smartest in his family provides for another layer of comedy. Besides Sheldon, his grandmother (MeMaw) played by Annie Potts makes the show for me. I love her, and she adds a lot of sass to the show. Young Sheldon is definitely a hilarious show that has something for everyone.

Goldbergs

The Goldbergs is one of my favorite shows. The whole family is hilarious. The show is produced by Adam F. Goldberg, and it’s based on his life and his family growing up in the 80s. They often show true footage of videos that he made during his childhood which are hilarious. The 1980’s references alone are enough to keep my attention. How they dress, how their home is decorated, and every part of their day to day life reminds me of my childhood. The mom, Beverly Goldberg, makes the show! She’s loud, overbearing, and embarrassing! She’s obsessed with her kids and often calls them by loving nicknames like schmoo….and now I’ve started doing that to my kids and Homer…but never in public 😉 . One time, I got fired up a Hayden’s basketball game, and my brother said, “Sit down Beverly Goldberg!” So funny! The seventh season just started, and I can’t wait to watch!

Fresh off the Boat

I’ve watched every season of this show, and the kids enjoy it too. It’s loosely inspired by the life of chef Eddie Huang (who apparently has an autobiography by the same name (I didn’t know that) thanks to the info on Wikipedia #bloggingresearch) 😉 The Huangs moved from D.C. to Orlando and opened Cattleman’s Ranch restaurant in the 90’s. #lovethe90s The kids are all very different but funny together and Louis and Jessica are opposites in parenting and personality. She’s the tough cookie to his softer side. Their neighbors as well as Louis’s mother Jenny provide even more comic relief. Like I said, I’ve watched all five seasons and feel like it’s a pretty good family show. My only complaint so far is with season 6, episode 1…we watched it earlier this week, and it was a little more “middle school” in content (for my liking while watching with two almost ten year olds). I’m hoping the rest of the season is like the first five seasons.

Kids Baking Championship

My kids (and myself) love all kinds of competition shows. The kids watch American Ninja Warrior, game shows, Top Chef, Food Network Star, Guy’s Grocery Games among others. But…Kids Baking Championship is one that we love and watch together. The kids always end up rooting for two different kids to win which amps up the competition from our living room! haha. I’m always amazed at what these kid competitors can do in the kitchen!! Also, my heart breaks each week when one gets sent home. I think Duff and Valerie do an awesome job both critiquing and encouraging the kids!

Just a few favorite shows that are pretty family friendly! What do you watch with your kids and family?

I hope you have a great weekend; we are still enjoying our fall break (and fingers crossed, I think the temp is starting to drop this weekend!)

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Friday favorites

For today’s Friday Favorites, I thought I’d share some of my favorite Instagram accounts. Admittedly, I can get sucked into Instagram…especially Instagram Stories. I give myself time to hop on Insta in the morning and then in the evening, and I even set a timer on my phone, so I don’t let it consume too much of my time! Instagram is all about the pretty pictures, and these ladies do post some pretty ones, but what hooks me in to their accounts is the fact that they also keep it real and their Instagram Stories are so engaging, funny, lighthearted, (serious when needed), and real.

Living with Landyn

Listen. If you don’t follow @livingwithlandyn, you are missing out. She is so real. So funny. Such a girl’s girl. I would want her to be my sister, my friend, my mentor…and she seems so approachable and loves to meet her followers.

She lives in Nashville, married to a former NFL player (her middle school sweetheart!), has two kids, and is opening a Living with Landyn store in Nashville very soon. She always talks about “making pretty choices,” and it’s not a superficial meaning…she just means make a choice to be happy, adding some pretty flowers from your yard to a vase, help a friend, go out with your girlfriends, make time for yourself, etc.

She really is such a warm spirit on Instagram, and that just makes you want to know her, be her friend, and support her new business.

Pic @livingwithlandyn

Cotton Stem

I’ve been following Erin at Cotton Stem (@cottonstem) for a couple of years. She lives in Oklahoma, and is the mom to four sweet little girls. Her decorating style is 100% my decorating style. What I love about her stories is that she is super honest about how she handles life as a mom, wife, and influencer. She talks about how Instagram’s nine squares shows the pretty pictures of life, but her stories show the real life and I love that she’s so reflective and shares what she has learned on her Instagram influencer journey. For example, she sets boundaries like putting her phone away and staying off social media on the weekends. She’s had her home featured in magazines like Better Homes and Gardens. I also love that she’s not afraid to redecorate or rearrange and also shows how changing a few small items in the house, like a lamp or rug, can change a space in your home dramatically. Lastly, she often shows and explains how she creates wardrobe capsules for what she wears during each season, and I love this idea! She’s definitely an inspiring person to follow!

Pic @cottonstem

The Rambling Redhead

I started following The Rambling Redhead, Jenn, (@theramblingredhead) about six months ago. She is so much fun to watch on stories. She usually starts her stories with “Good Morning. Goooooddd Moooorrrrning!” (even if it’s 1:00 PM) haha. Her energy and positivity seem endless. Also, I don’t know how she gets it all done. She’s a mom of three, home schools her kids a couple days a week, is very present on social media, just opened a coffee shop with her husband, and now is filming a show for HGTV!! She also wrote a book a few years ago W(h)ine: 50 Perfect Wines to Pair with Your Child’s Rotten Behavior. #classic

Her clothing try on sessions are always so fun to watch as she continues to keep it real but is also the best at sharing codes and links to what she’s wearing as well as home decor.

Watching her stories, definitely puts some pep in your day.

Pic @theramblingredhead

Ellery Designs

I’ve only been following Ellery Designs (@ellerydesigns) for a few months on Instagram, but she’s yet another who keeps it real “life is hectic” department. Her home decor is so cute and I especially love her entryway and mantle as those are two areas she updates seasonally. The entryway has little touches that make that season special while the mantle is a bigger undertaking. She re-wallpapers the mantle a few times a year, and it’s always a bold design or pop of color as a base to then decorate for the season.

Ellery also has updated the outside of her home and decorated it to be so inviting for those who see her home. I love the huge wooden planter that she has on her porch that I believe she and her husband built. The flowers are so pretty, and she mentioned that the planter was featured in an online commercial for Menards.

I really enjoy watching her talk about her home, ideas she has, as well as a bit of her family life.

Pic @ellerydesigns

Bev Cooks

Bev Weidner of Bev Cooks (@bevcooks) is sooooo funny. I’ve been reading her blog for years and following her on Instagram forever. She’s a food blogger who lives in Kansas City. She started her blog while going through infertility struggles, and it’s turned into so much more. She has boy/girl twins who are so cute, and it’s fun to see her family of four interact.

I’ve made so many of her recipes throughout the years, and they never disappoint. On Instagram Stories, she shares recipes, but she is just so funny. Her personality and humor draw you in. She shares about her clothes, what she finds thrifting, what she’s reading, and she even has a show on Foodnetwork.com called Mom Wins where she shares quick recipes that your family will love. It’s been fun (and inspirational!) to watch her family’s journeys the past two summers. Last summer, her family spent the month of June in Connecticut and this past summer spent a month in Oregon. Such amazing experiences as a family with awesome views, activities, and food. Also, most Fridays she posts a “Friday Flotsam” of what she’s been up to, what questions she as for her readers, as well as random pictures. Her posts are always hi.lar.i.ous!! I always look forward to her blog posts and her stories, and she just seems like so much fun to be around.

Pic @bevcooks

Kristy Wicks

Kristy Wicks (@kristywicks) is just the sweetest person to follow. She is always smiling, always so encouraging, and always so positive. Her home is perfection and since it’s just her husband and herself at home, she’s honest about the fact that they purchased and renovated the home to be just what they needed even if it’s a smaller home. She’s so informative about the community in which she lives, shares so many stories about her girlfriends, her husband, her daughter, and their pup Maggie. Her husband, Jeff the Chef, as she calls him just seems to supportive of her (and she shares his recipes too!) They do so much together including travel to amazing places. As a former flight attendant, she shares her love of travel with her readers and viewers as well. My favorite part of her home is our backyard outdoor space. She’s so knowledgeable about her flowers and plants, and makes the outside space just as inviting as her indoor space. She’s certainly a friendly and inspiring influencer on Instagram.

Pic @kristywicks

Go check these ladies out! They will certainly add a little something to your day!

And speaking of inspirational ladies, my little lady is the best. It apparently was National Daughters Day on Wednesday, and well, Hadley’s been giving me a run for my money since 2009. I wouldn’t have it any other way. #GirlBoss #Whorunstheworld? #girls

This pic popped in my Facebook memories from last year!

Don’t forget to check out the others who link up for Friday Favorites.

Have a great weekend!

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Friday Favorites : Fall Decorations

It’s time for another Friday Favorites where Erika at A Little Bit of Everything, Narci at Grace and Love, and Andrea at Momfessionals host a link up for all to share.

For this Friday Favorites, I thought I’d share some of the fall decorations in my house. If you read my About Me Part 2 post, then you may have seen the part when I said, “I don’t play when it comes to birthdays.” Well, the same can be said for fall decorations. Like many people, autumn is my most favorite time of the year, and I look forward to switching out a few of my normal decorations for ones that are more fall like. I always love seeing how other people decorate their homes, so here’s a peek into my home.

I can never remember where I put certain decorations from year to year, but the mantle always just takes me a second. I switch out my normal white candles for the orange toned ones, put up the leaves I’ve had for yeeeeaaars, and then this year, I added the felt pumpkins from TJ Maxx. I tend to change the part up year to year, but the soft white pumpkins are a cute touch to soften the space.

This little corner of my kitchen is my fave. I found this pumpkin sign a few years ago at Home Goods. I usually have a cookbook in that holder, but I switch it out for the sign, add a few pumpkins from Kroger, and then we had the little jar of candy corn (Hadley added that to this corner, but real talk: the candy corn is already gone! I’m sure we will refill it soon.)

We got a new couch this past February, so I bought new pillows this year to match it for the autumn months.

True story. Travis said, “Oh did we get new pillows?” I said, “What?! We’ve had these for years.” Two days. haha

Found two of these pillows at TJ Maxx last week. They basically jumped in my cart.

This little space in front of our gallery wall in the kitchen is an easy place to add a few fall items. The stackable pumpkins I bought at Hobby Lobby a couple of years ago. I purchased the pumpkin plates from William Sonoma, I believe, a few years ago, and I just added some orange and yellow flowers to the metal vase in the buffet.

Last year, I found these fall plates at Target. They are a thick acrylic (I think) material plate, and there were a few patterns, so I picked up a total of 8, and they are what we use for most dinners this time of the year.

I wish Target had matching bowls, but they didn’t…so I continue to use my every day bowls.

I have two chairs in our office area, and a couple years ago, I purchased two “Morning Pumpkin” pillows from a former student of mine. These go with the colors in my house, and I love the little saying.

I hesitated to put any porch pics up as my porch is my favorite part to decorate, and it’s not complete yet…AND I’m very excited that we are getting a new front door (mailbox, and light fixtures) soon. I have two polka dot pillows I ordered from an Etsy shop about five years ago, but the “Hey there pumpkin” doormat is new….and only $11 (with coupon code) from JC Penney! I ordered it online with code, but picked up in the store. Then, I’ve been wanting a black and white plaid rug to put under the doormat to mostly use year round, and I finally bought one on Amazon.

I’ve had the Welcome door hanger for years…again, from an Etsy shop.

This tray sits out all year, but it’s easy to change up the decor with a pumpkin that lights up and I change out the decorations in my hurricane lamp to mini pumpkins and squash. Lastly, I hit up the buy one get one free sale last week at Bath and Body Works and bought a few candles. I’ve found that I prefer these smaller ones as opposed to the bigger three wick candles because the smaller ones can be set out just about anywhere. The candle in the tray is Pumpkin Pecan Waffles, and it’s one of my faves.

There are still a few other spots in my house with a few more fall touches, but, to be honest, I’m patting myself (Travis should too) on the back. My only new purchase for inside my home was the pillows for the couch (oh yeah–and the white felt pumpkins…) Outside, the doormat and rug are the new additions, but I know they will last for years.

I can’t wait to decorate my porch this weekend. The mums arrived yesterday, and I hope to buy the stackable pumpkins after school today to complete the porch.

I truly believe this is the most wonderful time of the year (and would love for Mother Nature to make it start feeling that way!)

Have a great weekend.

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Friday Favorites

I’m so excited to link up with A Little Bit of Everything, Grace and Love, and Momfessionals for my first ever Friday Favorites.

Four Day Work Week

My first favorite of the week is the fact that coming off of a three day weekend meant having a four day week of school. While my school year is off to a great start, I will take breaks as they come! It’s still nice to ease into this first month of school.

One Bars

We live near a Trader Joe’s and one of my favorite things to buy there are the ONE bars. I’m sure you can get them many places, but I just grab a few on my every other week trip to TJ. I also like the chocolate chip and glazed donut flavors. Surprisingly, I have the will power to usually just eat half of these bars. I think because they are rich in flavor, I just eat half one day, leave it in my lunch bag and eat half on the other day. It’s the perfect sweet to eat half of …even on my low carb days.

Packing Cubes

I’ve been using these packing cubes for at least two years, and they are certainly a favorite of mine. I was talking about them with friends the other day, so I thought I’d share them. While they are intended to help you fit more into your suitcase and I do believe that’s true, I just love them from an organizational standpoint. I’m a chronic over-packer, so these don’t help me pack less (haha!), but at least what I pack is organized. I’ve used them where each family member has a certain color for their clothes…or I’ve used them where everyone’s swim stuff goes in one, everyone’s dress clothes go in another, etc.

On our recent trip home from Florida, we were over by five pounds (this shocks no one who travels with me as I always fret if my luggage will be over in weight)…40 pounds adds up quickly. Anyway, just as Travis was about to pay the $50 (WTF?!) baggage fee, I whipped open the suitcase, pulled out one of the cubes, stuffed it in my carry on, and we made the second weight check. I looked at my family waiting for them to applaud me and confirm I’m a genius for making us use these when we travel…but let’s just say I’m still waiting for those accolades.

Fabulous Friends

Another favorite is a night out with these ladies. To say I’ve hit the jackpot of friends would be an understatement. Most of these ladies I’ve met through Hadley’s Girl Scout troop, but we all have kids that go to my kids’ school. They are certainly a blessing in my life…and going out to dinner on a Thursday night (we were missing a few ladies!) to celebrate Cassie and Estee’s birthdays was definitely something I needed.

The Flay List

One of my favorite shows to watch lately has been The Flay List on The Food Network. Bobby Flay has always been a fave of mine…and while he seems to have a tough exterior, it’s fun to see a softer side while he interacts with his daughter Sophie. The first few episodes had them sharing their favorite taco, fried chicken, and burger places in NYC. They seem to have a sweet relationship, and it’s fun to see her get him to relax and laugh a bit.

Side note: Flay is in the horse business as well, and we’ve seen him at the horse sales through the years…Hayden (who loves the show Beat Bobby Flay), spotted him when we were visiting Travis at a sale last fall and watched his every move. Hayden was star struck!

Friday Nights at the Pool

Friday nights at the pool have been a favorite. Sometimes we just go for a couple of hours, grab dinner and a drink while the kids swim, and cling to the carefree summer nights. (Real talk: the kids had to wake me from my Friday afternoon nap to convince me to go last Friday night…but so glad we did…it’s fun seeing friends, chatting, and letting the kids burn some energy)

Cross Country

Another fave is seeing the kids’ cross country team swag come in. They were so excited to see the shirts for their team, and the first race is tomorrow! We’re all excited to get the season rolling (or running?!) 😉

Homer’s Scarf

Homer, of course , is still a fave…although, I would love it if he’d quit knocking over small children with his enthusiasm. I definitely treat him like the third child I never had …complete with a new autumn scarf. September 1st = fall (y’all) in our house. I’ve ordered a few scarves from Golden Doodle Co on Instagram (thanks to a recommendation from my friend Natalie). The scarves are so cute and great quality…plus, he’s just too cute while wearing his pumpkin scarf!

Kindle Paperwhite

My Kindle Paperwhite is definitely a favorite of mine…so much so that I’m wondering what I did before I had one (besides read hardback books) 😉 Fun fact: I buy myself an end of the school year gift…basically because I survived that year…haha. So, I purchased mine from Amazon in May. I usually just check out books from the library (for free!), but have purchased a few on Amazon. Don’t get it twisted…I still prefer the feel of holding an actual book, but the Kindle is so convenient. It’s always in my purse, so I can read it while waiting on Hadley to finish dance class or if I have a few minutes before school starts, etc. I actually tend to read two books at once: one on my Kindle and one hardback book that usually just stays on my nightstand to read at bedtime. I never thought I’d do that, but it’s been a part of my reading routine for quite some time…and I tend to have two different kinds of books I’m reading to not confuse plot, characters, etc.

When I bought mine in May, it was on sale for $90 and definitely an awesome deal, and I bought the cover to ensure it would be safe when I kept it in my purse.

Hadley

Occasionally I find (52) Hadley selfies on my phone. They are always unexpected to find and always crack me up. She gives me a run for my money (on the daily), but I love her caring, outgoing, and silly spirit.

Another favorite has been seeing Hadley transition from only taking a hip hop class to also taking the combo tap/jazz/ballet class. I feel like this is next level 😂as she’s at dance for TWO hours on Wednesday nights. She comes home with the biggest smile on her face while plié-ing, prancing, arabesque-ing all over the house. I’m not saying she’s headed to Juilliard, but her grace, strength, and the five seconds she stands still to hold a pose amaze me. ❤️

Also- not to leave Hayden out but he’s been busting it on the soccer field…but Travis wins best dad award taking him to his practices while I take Hadley to dance…He’s on a team with lots of his baseball buddies, and the first game is tomorrow (followed immediately by the cross country race). #sweatyBoostatus 😂

Blogging

Blogging has become an absolute favorite of mine. I sooo appreciate all that take the time to read my posts. It’s been easy to think of content so far as I guess I’ve read many blogs for awhile…and I know what posts are of interest to me while also coming up with a few of my own ideas. I love sharing about my family, what we are eating, what I’m reading and other topics as well. It’s true that you find time to do things that are important to you, and blogging, so far, has become a part of my routine…and not stressful at all. Again, that’s so much for following along, and I hope there’s a little something for everyone!

Friday Meme

Lastly, this meme is a favorite that made me laugh out loud. Even though it’s been a great week, always TGIF!

I hope you have a great weekend, and thanks for reading my first ever Friday Favorites. Feel free to check out the other bloggers who linked up as well.

Have a great weekend,

Jen

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