Sunday, February 28, 2016

Carrot Cake

My in-laws were in town last week so BG and I decided to make a special treat for us all to share. My hubby chose carrot cake and I was thrilled! I saw this recipe in my Southern Living magazine last March and have just waited for the chance to make it! The brown sugar-cream cheese frosting was FANTASTIC!

The recipe doesn't include this but I highly suggest chilling the frosted cake before serving. We enjoyed a slice immediately after frosting it and then again the next day when it had been refrigerated. I couldn't believe how much better it tasted cold!

Ocean Isle

This was our view over the weekend - rough, right?

To make a long story short - a first date joke between two of our buddies turned into a birthday weekend getaway for all of us! 

We'd never been to Ocean Isle before so it was lovely to explore a bit of the beach in between cocktails and piñata hitting (btw that piñata was handmade by the birthday girls beau and full of mini liquor bottles - perfection). 

While BG was safe at home with my mom (being spoiled rotten) we got to let loose. I came back even more exhausted than when we headed there and my face hurts from laughing so much but boy oh boy was it refreshing to just worry about what cocktail I wanted next.

So thankful for these girls...they've listened, challenged and entertained me every. single. day. since I first met them...

Happy happy birthday sweet ANNIEEEE!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

JWV Art Show

This past Friday we were able to attend a truly unique art show.  I have been following Judith and her business, JWV Artists, for almost a year but was never able to attend one of her open houses before.  Thankfully this past Friday we were able to make one!  Not only did we have the chance to peruse local art but we also sampled food from a local caterer, Charlotte Veggie, and shopped jewelry created by two local ladies, Leela and Lee Designs! Judith removed almost all of the furniture in her home and then covered her walls with art from numerous local artists!  It was wonderful to move from room to room just enjoying our wine and chatting about what pieces really spoke to us.  Thankfully, we enjoyed many of the same pieces (we also side-eyed some - ha!) which makes me even more excited to start investing in pieces for our home! 

These are the pieces that my husband loved.  I could've taken any of them home with me!
This was my very favorite piece.  The artist is Allison Chambers and I adore anything that she does!
Not our typical date night and that is perhaps why I loved it so much!  Life can be so cut and paste these days...thank you, Judith, for hosting and inviting us to such a wonderful show!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


I've already mentioned here and there how I've made several goals for myself in 2016. I don't want to say resolutions because that's honestly NOT what they are; these are things that I want to really challenge myself with. One of my goals is simply putting myself out there. 

Two weeks ago a woman posted on a local Facebook group that she was in desperate need of cookies for a baby shower. At first I didn't think my cookies would be what she was looking for as she'd used professional bakeries prior to this but then I thought what the heck - I may as well try! So I messaged her and said I'd love to help if I could!


It's been two weeks...Seventeen DOZEN cookies, over sixteen "customers" and three more orders in the works for next week. 

I'm still in absolute shock that my cookies are not only loved by others but that complete strangers are now sending me messages asking for personalized orders!  This busyness couldn't have come at a better time for me personally - channeling my energy into something positive for others and opening my eyes to a new world of mothers has given me a great deal of satisfaction and confidence. 

There's nothing I love more than sharing my passion and joy for baking with others. In case you're wondering, my secret ingredient 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tuesday Tips: HD Workshop

A couple of weeks ago my cousin text me and said that I needed to get my boys to Home Depot for their children's workshop. Well let me tell you what...we have been missing out! The first Saturday of every month Home Depot hosts a workshop FOR FREE where children complete a little project. These projects range from tool boxes to fire trucks! Each month you receive a new badge to add to your apron - just like the employees of Home Depot have!

This month the project was fittingly a Valentine mailbox. BG was thrilled to be building with a REAL hammer. My husband was thrilled to be creating something special with our little boy. And I was thrilled to see both of my boys hard at work on such a sweet little project. 

We're already signed up for next months event and I recommend that any of you with a little one do the same! 

Thank you, Gret!!!

Monday, February 22, 2016

An Unusual Weekend

We had the best weekend!  Nate's parents were in town for a good portion of it so you know what that means...FREE BABYSITTING!!!!

Friday afternoon I snuck away for a bit to visit my sweet friend who just welcomed a baby boy.  I loved visiting with my girlfriend and her husband in peace - usually we have toddlers running amuck demanding our attention - but what I reallllly loved was snuggling their new bundle of baby blue.  I will say when I handed him back to his daddy I realized that my arm was dead asleep - newborns are tiny but he still got me good!

Friday night my hubby and I snuck away for an art show (I hope to blog about it in more detail this week) then we met up with this chica and her beau..  She was celebrating buying her first home and we couldn't resist cheersing to that milestone! Technically they were having a date night buuuuut I couldn't resist giving her a big hug and eating her leftover chips and queso!

We left the celebration aka datenightcrashing around 9:15 and headed to dinner.  That's right, we didn't go to dinner until 9:15.  Did I not mention yet, FREE BABYSITTING?? We felt like we were in high school again be-bopping around town to wherever our hearts desired.  Well, apparently our hearts wanted to eat at a raw bar.  Yummm.

Saturday we said goodbye to the grandparents and hello to a new Eagle Scout!  Our neighbors invited us to their sons Eagle Scout ceremony and we were truly so honored to attend.  (My hubby was just the Eagle Scout project away from this honor and didn't complete it.  If you were to ask him if he had any regrets in life I guarantee this is it!)  He spoke quite candidly about not earning his Eagle Scout many times with our neighbors and their son who thankfully turned his paperwork in just three days shy of his 18th birthday...he cut it close but turned it in and that's all that matters!  BG sat so quietly for the ceremony and I could tell that my husband just loved saying the Boy Scout salute on the other hand? I cried.*  How could I not though? My friends son was pinning her "Mother of a Boy Scout" ribbon as the Scout Master is talking about how much time, love and effort she gave to her son helping and hoping that he would one day become an Eagle Scout and then she turned to pin his Eagle Scout pin on him.  It really was an emotional moment..

And then.  And thennnnn. He gave a speech thanking his parents and asked his mentor to come up to receive the mentor pin.  His mentor? A wonderful man that I quickly recognized as his son was in my first grade class many years ago...and now that little boy was 16 years old and a Scout himself! So there I was boohoo'ing about our neighbors son and feeling so proud of all of them...seeing an old student (and his father) that I adored so many years ago...all while holding my sweet three year old boy knowing that one day he'd hopefully being receiving this honor. Amazing how our worlds can collide when we least expect it.

Sunday was a little less dramatic.  Ha! We had tea at a friends house (they are originally from Greece and France so "tea" meant Moroccan style tea service and a full meal!) so we were all still stuffed by dinner time.  We've been talking about getting Bojangles for a loooong time. BG believes that their slogan "It's Bo time!" was meant for him and everytime we pass one he asks if we're stopping!  Well, we pulled into the parking lot last night and instantly "Is it Bo time?" Perfection.  We really enjoyed portions of it but I'm not sure we'll be eating it again any time soon. 

After we put BG to bed I was searching the channel guide and found one of my very favorite movies on TCM!  Have any of you seen this before?  I basically serenaded my husband for the rest of the night...thankfully he's a good sport.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

If Gathering

I had the pleasure of attending the first annual If:Charlotte (a satellite of the If:gathering) last week. One of my sweet friends, Erin, was part of the team coordinating the event and her passion for it was just infectious. When she invited me to attend I knew I needed to make it a priority and boy am I glad that I did! 

The event started on a Friday night and I got to sit with my dear friend Theresa. (Do you have a friend in your life that inspires you to BE better and DO better? That's this gal for me. I always tease her that when I grow up I want to be her...she's the real deal.) I couldn't have had a better friend to experience the If:Gathering.  This was a picture we took when the speakers asked all of to stop and take a selfie to post on social media. I've been trying so hard to live life versus document it these past couple months but I'm so glad we were asked to take a picture!

Erin and the if:Charlotte gals thought of everything. Even the table settings felt like a beautiful wedding!

I had heard of this event in the past but didn't know what it was really about. Essentially the founder of this fantastic event, Jennie Allen, thought what if women gathered around a table and just really talked about who Jesus was to them and how they used his guidance in their own lives. (That is my paraphrasing obviously, not hers.)

If you weren't able to attend the event you can view all of the sessions online! The session that continues to move me even now was one in which we were asked to confess our sins.  I honestly felt such a rush and a relief during these confessions. At the end the speaker challenged all of us that had confessed our sins to move forward and live in the light of our confessions. It was a beautiful moment and one that still makes me teary even as I type this. Wouldn't it be wonderful to truly do not hold on to our mistakes and sins but rather to confess them and just live in the light that is created by doing so?  

I highly recommend watching the sessions online...and attending the gathering next year! 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Celery Stamping

A girlfriend of mine shared a sweet little project with me where children stamp using celery (Thanks Nina!)! I'm not usually a big fan of busting out paint with a toddler but (what a surprise) one of my goals with BG this year is to just have more fun! In his eyes, paint = fun. Soooo I invited all of his little buddies over for a casual play date on the first of the month to start the month of love off with this sweet little project. It was such an easy set up: sliced celery stalk - red paint - paper plate - white paper. Boom. 

We ended up doing it again with some friends last week. My girlfriend took pictures of me helping her son because she was convinced he would turn this project into an all out debacle and she wanted to photograph the chaos. Not so! Such an easy craft for even the wiggle-iest of wigglers!!!

BG made several cards using the celery stamp and they were the sweetest little valentines. (I didn't want to post about them until all were sent - hence the post Valentine's Day publishing!) I also had him stamp a small canvas that I plan to use each February with our other simple Valentine decorations. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tuesday Tips - Duck Bread

This tip is probably geared more toward those that have young children or a soft spot for feeding ducks in a pond...

This past Christmas I made a breakfast casserole as I always do.  It's just about the only time that you'll see me cutting the crusts off of bread...and I hated the large pile of crusts that I had needing to be thrown out.  BG and I were going to be walking with a neighbor a few days later so I decided to just save the crusts in a bag to feed the ducks at another nearby neighborhood that has a pond.  Well, the rain came and there sat the crusts.  Before they started to mold I tossed them into the freezer.  I slowly added the "heels" of other bread loaves and by the time we went on our walk we had a nice little collection of bread chunks ready for the ducks! 

Now I have a designated bag for "duck bread" that sits in the freezer ready for the ducks of the time we walk or drive to a duck pond from our house the bread has thawed making for a perfect little snack and entertainment for us! 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Our weekend

...started with snow flurries!!!! BG and I were on our way home when they started to fall and neither one of us could stop giggling while we tried to catch flakes on our tongues. 

Saturday we had the symphony! We become season ticket holders in 2015 and I honestly don't know which one of us enjoys it more! This particular performance (led by our very favorite conductor) was Disney themed and oh did BG adore it. Mary Poppins...Peter Pan...pure heaven for our little music lover.

Sunday during nap time our sweet babysitter and friend came over so we could sneak out for a little fellowship with friends at a local brewery. And by fellowship I mean non. stop. laughter. These girls and their Valentine's just lighten my spirit every time we're you girls...

Here's to the week could it not be wonderful when it started with so much love?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Making old new again

My grandma handed so many special pieces down to me when we bought our house.  I love using them as display pieces but I also love using them as functional pieces.  Recently I realized just how many types of tea bags I had to offer guests but looking at the half empty boxes just wasn't cutting it.  So, I took to the cupboards in search of a fun and festive container for the teas.  When I came upon my grandma's trifle dish I couldn't resist. 

This old piece isn't one that I use all that often so repurposing it allowed for optimal tea selecting with a little flair!  Don't be afraid to use items in your home in ways that they aren't originally intended for...the function and conversation that it creates make your home just that...yours!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

100th Post

What an exciting milestone...

It's taken a few years to get here but that doesn't make it any less exciting!  Having an outlet to write really is special...even if it's silly little posts about nothingness...and being able to share this space with YOU means so much.  Thank you for reading along in this ever evolving space...

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tuesday Tips - Kitchen Sink Bomb

 I absolutely love the way my stainless sink looks after a good all natural lemon bombing.  This is my favorite "recipe" to use and I hope that you enjoy it too!

You'll need:

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup vinegar
spray bottle

Combine lemon juice and olive oil in a bowl.  Stir to combine.  Add baking soda stirring rapidly until you make a beautiful pale yellow paste.

Using your hands (just do it!) rub the yellow paste all over the stainless surfaces.  By using your hands you can really get the paste into every single nook and cranny. 

Place the vinegar into an empty spray bottle.

Proceed to spray the entire sink area.  Make sure to start from the bottom and work your way up to the top for maximum vinegar spritzing versus dribbling. Allow to sit and foam for a minute or two.

Rinse the entire sink area with warm water.  Dry thoroughly with paper towls or dish cloths to really appreciate the beauty of the all-natural sink bomb!


Monday, February 8, 2016

(Healthy) Valentine treat

I know what you're thinking...gee thanks for another idea for a sugary sweet treat because I don't have enough of those already at Valentine's.  Alas, this is not a sugary treat but a naturally sweet one that we are loving at our house these days!

I decided to have a little fun last week when we entertained and it has spilled over into our everyday menu now.  BG can't get enough of fruit cut up with a heart cookie cutter or strawberries hulled just so.  It may sound simple (to the point of not even mentioning) but this simple addition to your fruit bowl can turn a healthy but regular looking side into a real treat for adults and children alike! I plan to do this with other cookie cutters throughout the year to spruce our fruit bowls up a bit...stars in July, etc.
We've been sharing plenty of these cookies with friends this month's not all fruit bowls around these parts.




Thursday, February 4, 2016

DIY Valentines

I toyed with adding the word adult to my title but I didn't want to end up on some unsavory google searches. Ha!

This week we celebrated Valentine's Day a little early with  a few friends.  One girlfriend even brought Valentine's for the adults that about made me wet my pants.  I thought I'd share them in case you have someone special in your life that got sucked into this Netflix series...they are just so wrong but so good.  My girlfriend said she just cut the pictures out of a People magazine and glued them on some cards she already had at home. 

Warning...again these are SO wrong but also oh so very funny!  Thanks for the constant laughs, L!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016


I survived another round of whole30! It's always a challenge to stay compliant for 30 days but it's also ALWAYS worth the effort! Especially at the beginning of the year after treat overload during the holidays. 

I celebrated with a smoothie for breakfast (buh-bye eggs and bacon...), lunch at Flying Biscuit with friends and the piece de resitance was the red wine I had for dinner with friends tonight! Delicious. My girlfriend requested a cheesecake and I was happy to oblige with a drizzle of fresh raspberry sauce (which never photographs well - apologies!). 

BG was thrilled to have dinner at his girlie-friends house...they are like siblings - they love to be together but shooo do they push each other's buttons! You can hear airplanes fly over their house from time to time and these two were desperate to see a plane despite it being pitch dark outside...oh and that it was just me making fake airplane noises. Anything to entertain these little stinkers...