Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bush N Vine - Pumpkin Patch 2016

It's week two here in the CLT, and things are full speed ahead.  With Hurricane Matthew giving us a rainy day on Saturday our pumpkin patch plans were washed out and we got some painting done.  Kenley now has a freshly painted pink room and the dining room is almost completed.   Since Monday was Columbus Day and school was closed, the girls and I headed off to the pumpkin patch sans dad to take advantage of their rain date pumpkin festival.

We headed to Bush N Vine in York, South Carolina and had an awesome time.  The weather was perfect, there were hayrides to the pumpkin patch, a bounce house, chickens, corn boxes in lieu of sandboxes, live music, a BBQ food truck, and strawberry ice cream.  We will definitely be back next year during blueberry and peach season.

I let the girls each pick one pumpkin, off the vine, and per tradition those are our carving pumpkins. Any others I pick up grocery shopping since they are usually a bit cheaper, then getting all the decor pumpkins from the patch.

  It was the perfect way to spend our day off!  The girls are definitely feeling Fall in the south.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Southern State of Mind

Holler, October!... or should I say It's Fall, Y'all now that I'm a southern belle.  Just kidding, no offense to my southern readers, but I'm not sure my yankee roots will pick up the twang.

We've been here in Charlotte for just about two weeks.  The settlement process on both homes was a breeze, but the travel from Pennsylvania to North Carolina was definitely an adventure.  Two adults, two kids, and two dogs in one Jeep, one seedy pet-friendly hotel in Virginia and another night spent in Charlotte, we finally were about to get settled in our new home.

We are loving our new house and our new neighborhood even more.  The girls have transitioned to their new school exceeding any and all expectations I had.  I truly thought it would be difficult considering how much we all loved their last school and teachers, but possibly as a testimony to how well they prepared them, they are excited to go each day and run off tho their classrooms nearly looking back to say good bye.

The house is slowly coming together and I can't wait to share some projects and changes we are making.  Lots to share as we get settled into our new routine, next up girls day out to the pumpkin patch ;)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Bright and Beachy Breakfast Nook

You guys, having both girls in school is insane.  My productivity levels are completely through the roof, it's like I completely forgot how much time running errands can be when you aren't buckling and unbuckling and holding hands in parking lots and putting kids into carts and out of carts and pulling off the side of carts or chasing down rogue children pushing carts, you get the picture.  I'm not going to lie, being out of the baby phase, and the young toddler phase for that matter, is kind of awesome.  I'm starting to feel like an independent being.  Of course, after those 4 hours of freedom, I can't wait to pick up those adorable smiling faces and get back to a day of good ol fashioned referee and short order cook, but for those of you in the thick of it?  It really does go too fast, and it does get better.

Moving on,  I'm currently taking a minute from packing boxes, donating toys when the girls aren't home, and making list after list of things to do before we move, so I thought I'd share some thoughts here.  Of course, I have so many things I never shared from summer, but they might just get lost in the mix.  I definitely need to do a sister update because we are in a real sweet spot, and the girls have some really cute and wacky quirks that are worth documenting.

However, I thought I'd share a little inspo board I put together for our new kitchen's breakfast nook.  The house has a open great room with awesome windows that stream the best light and high ceilings.  The kitchen is completely open and the 'eat in kitchen' area is definitely more of a nook since it wont fit a table much bigger than one for the four of us and is tucked in the corner.    The house is only 15 years old so the things it needs is some fresh paint and some tiny updates to reflect our style.

We will be using our old kitchen table in our dining room and getting a new one for the kitchen.  A round pedestal table is the best shape for the space and I've always loved the Serena & Lily bistro chairs, just not the price.  Especially when Kenley still has a terrible habit of standing on chairs while eating.  Thankfully, since the cafe chairs are all weather, I can just hose them down when they inevitably get gunked up with peanut butter and cream cheese.  I also will probably put a seat cushion on her seat to keep her from sticking her foot through the woven wicker.

paint - Benjamin Moore Lily White  

I'm hoping to find a solid wood table on craigslist once we get down there and we already have a few painters to come out for quotes right away.  Can't wait to share more!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Stitch Fix #11 - Redemption

It's been six months since my last stitch fix, and if you remember, I was pretty disappointed.  I've always been a fan of Stitch Fix, but routinely only kept one item, possibly two per fix.  This was generally based on budget, but typically I would only be impressed enough with one item to actually warrant paying the price (generally in my opinion, overpriced).   Add in some items that didn't last long term because of quality and I figured I was better off shopping on my own.

After pushing my fix back two or three times,  I finally took the plunge.  I still had a credit to use and figured I could get at the minimum a sweater or blouse to take me into Fall.  In my request form, I asked for another pair of DL1961 skinny jeans.  I love the dark wash pair they sent me, but my distressed pair that I purchased are getting a bit snug and I wanted another pair to wear that might be a bit more comfortable.  I also asked for casual fall sweaters or blouses that were washable and could take me from mom out with two kids to mom out on a date.  Also, no surprise backs - blech.

So imagine my surprise when I actually loved every freaking item.  To be honest, if the jeans were a poor fit, I would have been able to narrow down my selection to maybe two items to keep, but since the denim was $178 and keeping everything with the 25% off discount and my credit it was only a little over $200.  I'm definitely not mad as I needed a little closet refresh and I can already see every item in heavy rotation.

DL1961 - Cherise Skinny Jean $178

These are technically the DL1961 Margaux Instasculpt Ankle Skinny Jean (on sale here).  They are super soft and stretchy and almost the right length.  I always cuff my jeans with booties, so no big deal.  I'm not 100% how I feel about the whiskering, is that back??, but I assumed it probably was and with that and the lighter shade they are different my other pairs.

Paradigm - Vina Henley Top $64

This top is totally my style - navy, buffalo check, casual button front blouse.  It has cute embroidery on the shoulders and three buttons down the front.  It's really soft, and would look cute with a pair of boots.  Easy pick, although I think it should have been priced in the $48 range.

Daniel Rainn - Antona Crochet Detail Blouse $64

Another cute navy top, this time cap sleeved, which I'm sure will be more wearable living in the south.  It has nice crochet detailing down the sides of the button placket, across the front and back yoke.  I actually wore this top to dinner with my girlfriends on Saturday night, with the jeans, and my booties.  It definitely an effortless look, my fav.

Market & Spruce - Rowan Textured Pullover $58

Honestly, this sweater isn't anything special, but I like the color and it's comfortable.   It's something, despite not being very memorable, that I will probably wear frequently.  Easy for errands, shuttling the girls here and there, you know #momlife.  (just add a blanket scarf and sbux).

Market & Spruce - Alan French Asymmetrical Zip Cardigan $37

More mom wear.  This is so so so soft and cuddly, would be cute with jeans and boots or leggings and nikes.  Again, not the most stylish item, but something I need and live in during the winter months.

So there is my story of how Stitch Fix redeemed themselves in my book and I kept the whole fix for the first time.   If you are looking to try the service for the first time, please feel free to use my referral link!

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Two Weeks Notice

Hello??  Anyone out there?

We officially have two weeks until we say goodbye to our home here in Pennsylvania and make our way south.  It's so extremely bittersweet.  We are excited for our new adventure and the opportunity our family has been given with the relocation, and also that the girls are still young, but we also love the Northeast as it's where both of us have lived our whole lives.

With two weeks to go, I have the majority of things packed up, the rest set aside to donate or purge on a yardsale group, and a checklist of phone call to cancel and start services.  I'm hoping to actually get on here a bit more now that the craziness has started to subside.

I can't wait to get started making our new house a home and getting acclimated to our new town.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Under Pressure

It's been a long time, but summer has been good even though no doubt our world has been thrown upside down. 

While I did mention we would be making the move from Philadelphia to Charlotte, just about four weeks ago we were told it was happening much soon than we had planned.  Within one week, I had our house cleaned up, non-essentials boxed to keep the house non-cluttered and Purple Heart out to pick up boxes of donations.  By the end of that week, our house was listed, thirteen showings and ten days later, we are thankfully under contract and praying nothing falls through.  We are still on the hunt for our own new home, but we are confident we will find the diamond in the rough. 

In other less stressful news, we have been just having an amazing summer.  Ashlynn is becoming quite the swimmer and I am so thankful she has been taking weekly lessons at school.  I think being with her classmates really helps her succumb to peer pressure be brave and try things we might not be able to get her to do.  

Kenley started gymnastics earlier in the summer and Ashlynn has moved up to the Kindergarten class.  We will miss our gym so much and hope we can find a program just as great in NC.  Kenley also has started preschool.  Technically it's still the school's "Summer Camp" program, but with our move, I thought it might be easier for her to adjust to pre-school at a school where she is already familiar with the teachers, instead of waiting until their little lives are shaken up by the move.  She had a fantastic first day and even got to play with Ashlynn on the playground.  Ashlynn has had a blast with weekly trips to the pool and field trips to local farms, nature preserves, the movie theater, and playgrounds.  She's still only been going two days a week, but she is more than ready to double that.  It's amazing how she's is turning into a full out little kid who tells jokes, asks 'why' non-stop, and really just the sweetest girl with the kindest heart.

The girls had a dentist appointment last week, which was actually Kenley's first.  She jumped right up in that dentist chair and did amazing.  Being our strong-willed child, I was so proud of her.  Ashlynn followed suit and both had healthy teeth and great visit.  

We let the girls stay up late for a neighborhood party last weekend, and they were doing so great we didn't even realize it was 11pm when we decided it was time to get them home.  They danced their little hearts out and capitalized on the plate of cookies left out on the patio table.  The next day called for crummy weather so we took the girls and their two favorite neighborhood babysitters out for bowling.  The girls had a lot of fun, and Ashlynn's highlight was getting to take photobooth pictures with our teenage neighbors who are pretty much her idols.  With the upcoming move I know it'll be a special keepsake for her childhood memories of PA. 

I hope to return to this little slice of the internet more frequently when time calms down. Until then, we'll be off having fun, getting in a beach vaca, and hopefully finding the perfect house ASAP!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Christmas in July and Back to School

I guess most bloggers would consider the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Christmas in July, but there are some other really good deals going on right now.

Target always has a major toy sale this time of year.  It's not really the best or most in demand toys, but definitely great deals for squirreling away some extra toys to stick in stockings or to give as gifts to nieces, nephews, friends, or any birthday parties you might have in the future.  The girls were so good on our drive down and back from SC and while tagging along on my appointments to the doctor and getting new tires that I told them they could pick out a toy.  Of course they picked Doc McStuffin's Pet Vet (50%off), which is seriously the toy they beeline for when we kill some time browsing the aisles.  I guess because it has a few buttons you can push through the packaging, but they seriously are always playing with it.  Most of the toys are 30% off, but I did fine some My Little Pony figurines for 50%.  I also grabbed the girls the Doc McStuffin's doctor kit because most of the pieces from their's have fallen apart over the last 4 years, and at less $10 it would be the perfect gift to go with the Big Book of Boo Boos.

Kohl's is having a Christmas in July Sale for cardmembers with code SUNTAN30 and free shipping JULY4FREE on all orders.  Non-cardmembers can get 15% off their entire purchase with BIGSAVER and all Melissa & Doug toys are 20% off with PLAYTIME20.

And for those of you with the back to school countdown going, Pottery Barn Kids is having 20-60% backpacks and lunch boxes.  I swear every year their prints get better and better and I'm always itching to get the girls new ones.  Their stuff is still in really good shape, so I'll probably wait until A is in kindergarten to pick a new one, but definitely crushing on so many styles!

Am I alone or does anyone else play Santa in summer?  Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Our Backyard Campout with #kohlscampguide + Giveaway

 Thank you to Kohl's for collaboration on this post. I was compensated and received products from Kohl's Camping department for my review, but all opinions and experiences are solely my own.

Since this is our last summer in Pennsylvania, we've created a bucket list of sorts for things we'd like to do as a family before we make the move to Charlotte next year.  While the list is full of our favorite places and local annual traditions, we wanted to add in some activities we've always talked about, but never got around to doing - like camping!  Since we are definitely camping novices, we decided to take the girls for a test drive in our backyard.

We were so lucky to be able to partner with Kohl's to shop their camping department and get ourselves ready for our first camp out with little kids. We barely had any gear, so Kohl's really came through with a diverse camp and outdoor selection including tents, cookware, grills, coolers, sleeping bags, fishing gear, the list goes on.  With trusted brands like Coleman, Stanley, Columbia, and Stansport, we knew we were getting the right gear.

I was able to set up the tent, all by myself, in about 15 minutes, maybe less? It was so simple and I can't get over how spacious it is for having been packed up so small.  We decided on a Coleman Monterey 6-person Dome because the value at Kohl's could not be beat.  I had been looking online at a similar 4 person tent for a Christmas present for Pete and it cost just as much.  I love that we aren't cramped in there with the girls, and we have the ability to camp out in the future with family members or even the girls' friends as they grow older.

We packed up our Stanley Adventure Cooler with some juice pouches for the girls and some craft brews for us.  The 30 quart cooler is legit, tall enough to hold two liter bottles and be used as a makeshift seat.  It keeps items cold for up to four days!  I've seen other high end brand coolers tote the same thing, but cost more than twice as much.  We've already used it for a concert tailgate, to keep bowls of pasta salad and fresh cut fruit chilled on our drive to the cousins, and for all our drinks and snacks on our 10 hour drive to Myrtle Beach. It was also perfect for storing some watermelon slices and our overnight chia seed pudding, which was the perfect post camp breakfast.

We made some s'mores over at our fire pit, but the Stanley Adventure Prep + Cook Set (shown above), would have been perfect cooking a camp friendly dinner for when we finally venture out past our backyard.  The tiny sleek pot that can easily be stored in a backpack, and contains a pot with lid, two bowls, a spatula, slotted spoon, and lids that can double as a cutting board.

Afterward, we had the girls snuggle into their new Glow-In the Dark sleeping bags and we set up our ol' faithful air mattress to watch a movie on the laptop. The girls are obsessed with the sleeping bags, they pretty much pull them out every time I put them away and you've probably seen them as a dining room staple in my snap stories ever since they arrived last month.  They are super warm and made really well.  I love that they were only $20 each and from trustworthy camp brand, when cheap cartoon nap mats can cost twice as much. I know these sleeping bags will last the girls years.

The girls did a great job once they finally fell asleep.  The woke with the sun, which is standard for them, and then went on a hunt to find some bunnies.  We created our #kohlscampguide to help inspire any other backyard campers.

Now, the exciting news, Kohl's wants to GIVEAWAY a $50 GIFT CARD to one lucky reader! To enter the Kohl’s $50 gift card giveaway, click on this link to enter your information for a chance to win.  NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends 8/1/16 11:59:59pm P.T.  Open to legal residents of the US/DC who are 18+ yrs of age.  Official sweepstakes rules can be found here.

Good luck! Winners will be contacted on or about August 8th.

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