thanksgiving in north carolina.

This may be belated, but I wanted to share a few pictures from Thanksgiving! I didn’t take nearly enough pictures, but here are a few at least! img_9705

We celebrated a chilly Thanksgiving break in Charlotte this year with Mike’s family. It was so fun to get all the (very active) cousins together again. The last time we were all together was this past summer at the beach! We didn’t venture out of the house for much other than fresh air in the yard. LOTS of food was consumed though. img_9765img_9750

Charlie on a plane was a different experience this time around as all he wants to do is run! He fell asleep after terrorizing everything for half of both flights. Happy terrorizing at least.

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We are so thankful for everyone and everything in this beautiful life!

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the friday post – vol. 15

It’s December! Finally, or already? I can’t decide. Either way I’ve been looking forward to this month for weeks and I’m so happy it’s finally here. Days of decorating, hot chocolate, cookies, and cheery music are here! We opened the first of our advent calendar boxes this morning and are headed downtown tonight for dinner and the Christmas tree lighting!

I was not ready to go back to school this week after our weeklong thanksgiving break. Charlie is going through a traumatic transition to the toddler room at daycare so nights have been touchy and mornings reluctant. He’ll get used to it all in good time, but the extra tears have been pulling at my heartstrings.

Our house is feeling awfully cramped lately with Charlie’s toys everywhere and only more to come. I feel like my nesting is kicking in hard this weekend. I’ve already cleaned the bathroom and have plans to rearrange bookshelves to accommodate some toy baskets. It’s been driving me batty to have everything out! Updates to come.

I made Chex mix last weekend which always makes it feel like the holiday season to me. My mom always had a tin of Chex around for holiday munching and I’m loving the salty snack at home and taking in a baggie for school. We have tons of Chex leftover so I’m making mike’s holiday favorite next – puppy chow.

And the weather has been perfect lately. Charlie only wants to be outside after school and has figured out how to open the door. Good thing we keep it locked!

What are you up to this weekend? Something nice I hope. Make some sweet memories this weekend friends!

diy advent calendar

img_9877I want so badly this year to really appreciate and make the most of every moment of this holiday season. It just goes by in the blink of an eye, and I feel like if you don’t try to enjoy it, then it seems to be over before it even began. Charlie is becoming a very curious (too curious sometimes!) and aware little person and it’s been so fun to see him watching the lights go up around the neighborhood, in stores, and in our house. To say he is interested in these little boxes that popped up on the kitchen windowsill overnight is an understatement.

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I can’t take credit for the design. I browsed Pinterest (of course) for ideas and found so many! I toyed with an calendar of envelopes on the wall, jars on the windowsill, but settled on a modified version of this cute one from Oh Happy Day that uses small boxes with trees hot glued to the top. I adjusted for what I found at Michaels (small boxes, a set of 21 holiday trees for $10, and bought some pinecones and bells to fill the last 4).

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I’ve been wanting to do an advent calendar to celebrate the season for the last few years, but while I could have done it, it seemed silly to make one for just Mike and I. I also still don’t feel like Charlie needs gifts of toys or chocolate every day like most traditional advent calendars, so ours is one of easy festive activities like drinking hot chocolate, watching a christmas movie, or taking a walk around the neighborhood to ogle lights. Some are activities for Charlie, and others just Mike and I, so it’s a nice little combination of holiday activities.

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A few are pre-planned weekend activities like getting our christmas tree, going downtown to our town’s christmas tree lighting, and taking Charlie to sit on Santa’s lap. I can’t wait for December to begin so Charlie can open up the first box! I love how it turned out, and am planning to make this an annual tradition that our kids will look forward to.

 

 

a recipe: granola

Do you ever feel like you go through phases with food? You’ll make something four weeks in a row, start thinking of it as routine, and then switch to something new? That’s granola for us. We go through phases with it. I’ll make it a ton, and then go a few months without making it once. Lately, it’s been happily put back into my weekend baking routine. We scoop it onto greek yogurt for breakfast and snacks, and Mike takes the occasional scoop directly into his open mouth for those moments when snack desperation strikes. It’s a sweet, but not too sweet, and crunchy, but not bone-crushing treat.

img_6651This recipe is customizable in a hundred ways or more, but this base is a great place to start. Dried coconut, flax seed, raisins, dates, and peanut butter are all things that we sometimes, but not always throw in. This time around we kept it simple and basic. So good.HOMEMADE GRANOLA

What you need:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups mixed nuts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil (like vegetable or coconut)

What to do:

+ Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

+ Mix oats, nuts, and salt in a dutch oven or large baking pan.

+ In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, maple syrup and oil.

+ Pour over oat mixture and stir.

+ Cook for 45 minutes or until oats are toasted, stirring every 15 minutes.

+ Let cool and store in a covered container. Will keep for about 2 weeks.

**If adding any dried fruits, or chocolate chips mix in after your granola has cooled. Coconut, peanut butter and flax seed can be added to the granola before baking.

Also pictured are cream cheese carrot cake muffins – recipe here! What have you been making on repeat lately? Anything good? I’m on the hunt for some new fall recipes to put on rotation.

pumpkin carving at home.

img_8755This past weekend was just the absolute best. Last year at pumpkin carving time I had a big postpartum belly with a newborn slumbering in his bassinet, but this year our one-year-old was fully awake and involved in our weekend festivities. The weather was giving us it’s very best Florida fall (60’s in the morning/evening and 80’s during the day), and we took full advantage by spending every minute we could outside. Saturday we went to the beach for the most beautiful day with a boy who is obsessed with the waves and sand. I finished up Charlie’s halloween costume with Hocus Pocus and hot chocolate after bedtime, including lots of help from Mike.

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Sunday though! Mike put Charlie’s new birthday wagon together, and we took him for some spins around the yard. Ah! He loved it. His smiles as we took very slow turns around the backyard were so good. After an afternoon siesta, we finally carved our pumpkins. They mold so fast in the heat down here and Sunday was the absolute last day we could carve with other things happening this week. After some adult knifework, Charlie got into it and dug his hands into the pumpkin goop. It was a MESS. Thank goodness for having a backyard. Mike and I ended the weekend with roasted pumpkin seeds, an honorary lighting of the pumpkins, and Ernest Scared Stupid (Mike’s favorite Halloween movie).

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It was just the kind of weekend I want to bottle up and keep on the shelf to look back at anytime I want a little burst of love for our family and for this season of life!

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What did you do this weekend? Something wonderful I hope!

the friday post – vol. 14

It was an eventful week at our house. Charlie’s birthday, a dinner out for Mike’s work last night, the Halloween dance at school for me another night, and Charlie’s one year check up complete with shots. Phew.

I’m also starting to feel very pregnant this week at 25 weeks. We go in on Monday morning for our anatomy ultrasound, so we’ll find out if this baby is a boy or a girl! I remember feeling like Christmas was coming early when we had our ultrasound with Charlie, and I’m starting to feel that tingle of anticipation that I had last year.

I can’t believe it’s Halloween next week!! We still haven’t gotten Charlie a Halloween costume, but he’s been wearing his little pumpkin outfit nonstop. Such a crowd-pleaser when we go out and about. This weekend we must get him something, or else he may have to be the paper bag prince.

In our entertainment news, I’ve been obsessed with listening to this podcast called Homecoming. It’s a fiction podcast, so it’s kind of a combination of feeling like you’re listening to an audio book and a tv show. So good. I’m saving the last episode for my drive home today after school.

Plans this weekend include the beach, laundry, a clean house and long walks around the neighborhood to check out everyone’s Halloween decorations.

handmade halloween cards.

We sent out these little handmade Halloween cards over the weekend. Aren’t they sweet?

I saw a tutorial on Pinterest a couple weeks ago and immediately put them on my crafting list. I love browsing Pinterest for ideas, and it always gives me a little burst of festivity around this time of year. Right now my feed is a a cornucopia of holiday crafts, decor, cozy foods, and baby things.

These cards were a fun little way to kick off the holiday season. I’ve tucked a couple away to remember Charlie’s tiny hand at one year old and sent the rest off in the mail to all of our nearest and dearest.

Click here for instructions for how to make some handprint cards of your own!

In other crafting news – I made this pumpkin yarn garland for the mantle a couple weeks ago, and started knitting a bright red, festive hat for a very special gift come Christmas.

charlie turns one!

I just can’t even believe it’s already been a year (and a day) since this little ragamuffin came into the world! In some ways I feel like he was born just yesterday, but in others it’s like he’s been in our lives forever. He has brought us so much joy, and it’s been so crazy fun to see him grow. They go through so many changes in the first year! He’s just such a real little kid now. I can see him starting to lose his baby-hood which makes me sad, but it’s a. He runs everywhere, always wants to be outside, loves Wendy and ,

We celebrated the little man with a small batch of cupcakes, a birthday crown, some presents, and lots of reminiscing about this day a year ago. I wanted to share some of my favorite pictures here from his first year.

out & about: at the pumpkin patch

We had the most glorious fall pumpkin filled weekend, trip to the pumpkin patch included. If I’m being completely honest, I was very distracted the whole trip by how hot it was. I couldn’t even look at the apple cider donuts! That part was unfortunate. BUT Charlie loving the pumpkins made it totally worth the trip! He also really loved picking up and examining every piece of hay lining the rows of pumpkins. His little face and the way he’s holding his dada’s hand in these pictures just makes me smile.

This place is always insane crowded when we make our annual exodus. I’m talking parking a mile away and walking kind of crowded. But we got smart this year and went right when they open at 9am. We got a reasonable parking spot, and only needed to eat one popsicle! We stayed just long enough for some pictures, a popsicle under the tiki hut, and to find the perfect little pumpkin to take home. It’s sitting in the middle of our kitchen table and will stay there until Thanksgiving – or until it gets soft. Whichever comes first. 🙂

In case you find yourself in the neighborhood: 

Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market

Hours

Location

More adventures in and around Florida, here!

the friday post – vol. 13

Whoa it feels like eons since the last one of these things, am I right? This week was a little wonky with our little bug going home from school sick on Tuesday and staying home to fight the virus for a couple days. Feverish babies are no fun, but it was nice to get some extra sweet snuggles, lounge around in jammies and to take in lots of disney movies on the couch. Today is a teacher professional development day, so it’s been an easy week school-wise. We’re in the thick of the school year now, and time is just moving along with no holidays in sight until Thanksgiving.

Charlie’s been doing some funny new things lately – pointing at everything, saying “dada” “mama” & “baba”, grabbing his hair with his yucky food fingers during meals, and running around everywhere on his own two feet. He’s obsessed with the backyard – especially butterflies and bougainvillea blooms, and turns ONE on Tuesday!

It sounds like we’re heading to a work thing for Mike on Saturday, but other than that, we’ve got not a thing going on. We’re planning to get Charlie (and us) a family membership to the Zoo for his birthday next week, so I’m thinking we might make a little early birthday trip there this weekend. Charlie’s at just the right age to start looking at all the animals.

Mike was in Denver for a bachelor party last weekend – solo mommy all weekend eek! But we survived! I’m just looking forward to being two parent strong this weekend, getting Charlie’s few birthday presents wrapped, and whipping him up a Halloween costume.

What are you looking forward to this weekend? Something wonderful, I hope!

xx, em