May 29, 2015
by Elbranch
3 Comments

Five on Friday

Happy Friday! I’m linking up with April for 5 on Friday and Karli and Amy for oh hey friday.

one // Cousin fun! Over Memorial Day weekend, we traveled to West Virginia to visit Mimi and Grandaddy and to spend some time with Will and Harper’s cousins who were in from Kentucky. Will and Harper’s cousins are seven and almost five. We also found out that my sister-in-law is having a baby in December! Yay! We are all so excited for them:)

two // Picnic season is here! I love picnic food and all the yummy salads, but I’m pretty much the only one in my family who does. My husband doesn’t eat salad and the kiddos aren’t too big on them either. However, I found one salad that hubby will eat. It’s this black bean and quinoa salad. My sister-in-law first made it for us last summer and paired it with grilled salmon. So delicious! three // Life on the farm…I picked up Harper and Will from Nana’s (our babysitter) last week and the kiddos were begging to take me to the barn to show me the kittens. I love how much they get to explore and be outside at Nana’s. The kiddos often go on walks to Maw and Grandaddy’s house (Nana’s parents), head to the barn to pet the horses and look at the sheep, and search around for the tiny kittens.

four //  I had to work on Memorial Day:( Boo. It was a snow make up day for us, which was no fun. At least I talked my husband into picking up lunch at Chick-Fil-A and bringing the kiddos to work for lunch and playtime on the playground. It was quite fun and the kiddos were so excited to be at “Mommy’s school.”

 five // Fun times outside! We’ve been enjoying temps in the 80s here in Virginia and we’re taking full advantage of playing outside and enjoying snacks outdoors. I can’t believe that school is almost out for summer! I need to start creating my summer fun list and figure out all the cool activities Will, Harper and I are going to do:)

Happy Friday!


May 22, 2015
by Elbranch
2 Comments

Five on Friday!

Happy Friday! I’m linking up with April for 5 on Friday and Karli and Amy for oh hey friday. I’m still not doing great in the blogging department. I’ve been averaging approximately one post a week, which has been Five on Friday. Maybe one of these days I’ll get back into it more. Right now, I just don’t have time.

Anyway, so here goes my weekly blog update!

one// My little preschool graduate! On Monday, Will graduated from his 4 year old preschool program. So.hard.to.believe that he will be in kindergarten in a few months! Both kids were so excited at his graduation that I couldn’t get a good pic of both looking at the camera. Will’s end of year program was so sweet…it was a farm theme and Will did well as a rooster!

two// Gifts for Will’s preschool teachers:) My husband bought some pretty flowers at Lowe’s over the weekend and I whipped up a pretty paper bag and ribbon to cover the flowers. I added a thank you note and voila, a super easy and beautiful gift for his teachers! three// Strawberry picking. Each year, we head to the same strawberry patch to pick strawberries with the kiddos. It’s become a fun, yearly tradition and I loved how much Harper and Will were able to help this year. While at the strawberry patch, we enjoyed some delicious homemade strawberry donuts!

four// Speaking of strawberries, I made a quick and easy shortcake to enjoy. Growing up, I always helped my mom make shortcake and we would pick strawberries from our garden. I remember having strawberry shortcake around my birthday each year…at the beginning of June. Fun memories! Growing up, we would put a dash of milk in our shortcake instead of whipped cream. The kiddos and I enjoyed a yummy bowl of shortcake with milk!

five// I found these fun summer buckets on Jenny Collier’s Instagram and want to do something similar for Will and Harper to celebrate summer! Such a fun idea! Now I need to find some cool summer toys for the kiddos:)

Happy Friday!

  

May 15, 2015
by Elbranch
4 Comments

Five on Friday!

Happy Friday! I’m linking up with April for 5 on Friday and Karli and Amy for oh hey friday.

one // Outdoor fun! We’ve been enjoying the wonderful temps here in Virginia lately. In the evenings, we try to take walks or go to the park. Earlier in the week, we headed to a nearby park for a stroll followed by some playground fun. Harper insisted on collecting an assortment of rocks, leaves, and pinecones to take home:) Sweet girl.  I’m amazed that the park still has this incredibly big (for a little kiddo) slide. Will loves sliding down it (and so does mommy, ha!).  

two// Will finishes up with preschool soon (yikes!) and his class is gearing up for their end of year program.  Each kiddo was assigned a particular animal and Will was selected to be a rooster. His non-creative, has to use Pinterest to find any creative ideas mommy slightly cheated by going to the art teacher at her school and asking for ideas. However, in my defense, I just went to her for some ideas. I didn’t expect her to actually make the rooster mask for me! But hey, I’ll take it! Anyway, our art teacher quickly whipped up the cutest rooster mask and I had Will add his own touches by glueing red feathers all over the mask.  Win-win for all of us! 

three//summer jammies! With temps in the 80s around here (so nice!), I headed to Old Navy to find the kiddos some summer jammies. I’m loving the cuteness of these summer pjs! 

four//I shared a few weeks ago how  I wanted to organize Harper’s closet by color instead of article of clothing. Here’s a before and after. I love how it turned out!

Before…

After… 

five//New reads. I’m in search of new books to read. I recently finished “Water for Elephants” on cd in the car and loved it! Such a great story. As I read blogs, I’ve been taking screenshots of any new book recs. Have you read the ones below? Any good reads you would like to share? Thanks!

Have a super weekend!

May 8, 2015
by Elbranch
4 Comments

Five on Friday!

Happy Friday! I’m linking up with April for 5 on Friday and Karli and Amy for oh hey friday. So.ready.for.the.weekend!

one // I have been trying to snap pictures of the kiddos after church each Sunday. Sometimes the pictures turn out better than others, but I just love this pic from this past Sunday. My sweet kiddos…I love them so much! (side note: all of Harper’s outfit is consignment and half of Will’s is! I’m just a little obsessed with buying consignment clothes…I love the cheaper prices, plus it’s a great way to recycle).

two // Speaking of my kiddos, I still can’t believe that Will is five! Check out his fifth birthday interview here. I love the tradition I started last year of interviewing each kiddo a series of questions about their likes and favorites. It’s so fun to see how much they change in a year:) What are some birthday traditions you have in your family?  

three // I have yet to even upload Will’s birthday party pictures to my computer and thus a blog post about his birthday has not happened.   But it will…I promise. Though it might be a week or two, ha! Anyway, he had a cute but very simple fire truck birthday party. The most creative I got at the party was to create some cute fire truck wheels out of oreos (actually, Trader Joe’s version called Joe-Joe’s) and stick some twizzlers in a mason jar to look like fire hoses! It was a very fun and small family party. 

four // Rhubarb…does anyone bake with this vegetable? And yes, I had to google it to make sure I was categorizing it correctly.  Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable but people often refer to it as a fruit. Anyway, my parents always have rhubarb in their garden and growing up I made all sorts of baked goodies with rhubarb. Rhubarb strawberry pie, just plain rhubarb pie, rhubarb muffins, etc. My mom and dad brought some over for me last weekend, so I whipped up a simple rhubarb crisp with a yummy oat topping. My hubby doesn’t like it, so I shared it with my babysitter’s parents, Maw and Grandaddy. It certainly has a unique taste and consistency and I can see how people don’t like it. However, to me, it’s delicious!

five // Essential oils seem to be super popular lately, so after talking to some co-workers who love their oils, I decided to dive in. Well, I should say I have gotten my feet wet. I’m not ready yet to buy the starter package, but I bought some lavender and peppermint oil to start. Earlier in the week when my allergies were so bad, my coworker asked if I had tried any oils to help. I hadn’t since I didn’t have all of the oils needed for the allergy relief, but she brought in her lemon oil, a carrier oil, and a roller. We mixed up some allergy relief using 10 drops each of lemon, peppermint, and lavender. I’ve been using it this week and it seems to work! Yay! I am learning more and more about the many uses of the oils and love how the peppermint works for my headaches.  I’d love to hear what you use essential oils for!

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Have a super weekend!

 

May 1, 2015
by Elbranch
2 Comments

Birthday Interview // Will is Five!

Happy fifth birthday, my sweet son! I still can’t believe that you’re five and will start kindergarten this fall…seriously, where did the time go? Before kids, people always told me how fast time would go by once I had kiddos, and while I believed it, I didn’t think time would speed so quickly by. It just seemed like yesterday you were born.

Last year, I started a birthday interview with Harper and Will. Check out Will’s 4th birthday interview here! He was so excited to be interviewed this year by mommy. In fact, he wanted to be interviewed back in March when I asked Harper the same set of questions. I told him he’d have to wait.        Will’s Fifth Birthday Interview:

How old are you? “Five” (holds up 5 fingers as well).

What is your favorite color? “I’m not going to tell you because you already know…orange and red.” (This kid cracks me up!)

What is your favorite animal? “Horse, cat, dog.”

What is your favorite book? “The Boy in Number Four” (this is a book about the hockey player, Bobby Orr…the only reason he picked this book is because he’s been having me read and re-read it every night for the past few weeks. His favorite book changes every couple of weeks!).

What is your favorite TV show? “Odd Squad” (he watches this at Nana’s…I’ve never seen it before).

What is your favorite movie? “Frozen.”

What is your favorite song? “Happy song and Let It Go, Uptown Funky Womp, What Does the Fox Say?” (yes, that’s what he calls “Uptown Funk”)

What is your favorite food? “Spaghetti.”

What is your favorite drink? “Juice.”

What is your favorite breakfast food? “Cereal-daddy’s kind” (which is Trader Joe’s vanilla almond crunch).

What is your favorite snack? “Peanut butter and fruit snacks” (hopefully not together…yuck!).

What is your favorite outfit? “My orange robot shirt” (yes, anything with orange is our fave!).

What is your favorite game? “Can it be on TV? Mario Kart. Poots and Ladders” (Chutes and Ladders!).

What is my favorite toy? “Can it be a stuffed animal? My puppy dog.”

Who is your best friend? “Lleyton and Noe, Audrey and Hunter and Jace.”

What is your favorite thing to do? “Everything…play outside.”

What is your favorite holiday? “Valentine’s Day. I love all of them.”

What do you take to bed with you at night? “Puppy.”

Where is your favorite place to go? “Split Banana” (a local ice cream place).

Where do you want to go on vacation? “To see Cousin O” (in Colorado).

What do you want to be when you grow up? “I don’t know yet…a police officer.”

What will you do on your birthday? “Be silly, open presents and have a party.”

Love you:)

May 1, 2015
by Elbranch
4 Comments

Five on Friday!

Happy Friday! I’m linking up with DarciChristinaApril, and Natasha for 5 on Friday and Karli and Amy for oh hey friday. It’s hard to believe that May is here…where did January, February, March, and April go?! Today is Will’s fifth birthday! Happy birthday, sweet kiddo!  Here’s what’s new around here…

one // We worked on Harper’s big girl room last weekend and have her settled into her new full size bed! How exciting! I hope to do a post about it soon, but here’s a picture of her closet. We moved her dresser into her closet to give her more room to play. I love how Jessica from Little Baby Garvin recently organized her daughters’ closet by color. I just might have to do that to Harper’s closet:)

two// I was in need of wrapping paper to wrap some gifts for one of Will’s friends and decided to recycle a paper bag from Trader Joe’s and let the kids decorate the paper. Win! Using paper bags would be super cute to wrap other gifts as well…maybe add some washi tape for color and some ribbon for a more sophisticated look than the paper below. The kiddo DIY wrapping paper works for their friends’ gifts!  

three and four//I haven’t tried either of these yet but  came across some fun new products at Target. The first is shampoo and conditioner from Not Your Mother’s. Have you heard of that brand before? My friend mentioned it to me a while back but before last week, I hadn’t seen it at Target. I’m excited about trying it! The other new product is the Hello toothpaste for kiddos. Harper selected the bubble gum and Will chose the blue raspberry. Each had a $1.00 off coupon, which was nice! If you go to their website, there’s a link for a $1.00 off coupon (*this isn’t a sponsored post…I just happened to see the link for the coupon when searching their website).   

five//And I can’t post without a picture of the birthday boy! Happy 5th birthday! We are getting ready for your big fire truck birthday tomorrow…I better get busy making chocolate cupcakes:) 

Have a super weekend!

  

April 29, 2015
by Elbranch
10 Comments

What’s Up Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday! I’m linking up today with The Larson Lingo for a new monthly link-up. Here goes!

What I’m loving…all the beautiful flowers and wonderful spring weather, though lately it’s been cold here in Virginia. We’ve been enjoying nice spring walks with the kiddos and love seeing all the pretty flowers.

What I’m working on…sorting through our endless piles of kids’ books. I pulled out all of our children’s books and sorted into piles. I organized and put away specific holiday theme books for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Halloween. I also made a pile of books that are not our favorites and will donate them. 

What we’re eating this week…I made some delicious grilled veggie burritos from The Pioneer Woman on Sunday. Yum! They turned out great and full of flavor! This week, I also made pasta with pesto (which the kids love) and roasted asparagus from Nana’s garden. 

What I’ve been reading…or actually listening to. In order to use my time more wisely, I have been listening to books on CD in the car on the drive to and from work. I’ve listened to a variety of books over the past few weeks, and currently I’m loving Water for Elephants. I recently finished Gone Girl, which was super twisted but highly engaging. Now I’m on hold for The Girl on the Train. What books do you recommend?

What I’m reminiscing about…my sweet kiddos and how fast time flies. I can’t believe how old they are getting! Harper turned three in March and Will turns five on Friday! Love my kiddos:)

What else I’ve been working on…since I have a slight addiction to buying consignment clothes on Instagram, I started selling my kids’ clothing on Kidizen (an app) to earn some extra money to put towards clothes. My shop’s name is Harper&Will’s Closet. Come check it out! Below are several of Harper’s outgrown dresses that I have posted in my shop on Kidizen.

April 24, 2015
by Elbranch
8 Comments

Five on Friday!

Happy Friday! I’m linking up with DarciChristinaApril, and Natasha for 5 on Friday and Karli and Amy for oh hey friday. It feels like I haven’t had the chance to blog much the past few months…just too busy with work, kiddos, and life in general. But that’s ok:) I have so much I want to recap but by the time the kiddos are in bed in the evenings, all I want to do is chill and visit with the hubby, read some blogs, and browse Instagram and Pinterest.  Hopefully I will have more time this summer when I’m off:)

One // My husband went with Will on his preschool spring field trip a few weeks ago. They visited a local creamery (that we visited last summer on our own) and a nearby airport. Here’s Will petting the calves. It was cool, but I guess we’re kinda used to cows since we live next to a dairy farm and frequently have cows loose on the run in our yard. Anyway, I’m so glad my husband got to experience a preschool field trip with our son. I went on Will’s fall field trip to the pumpkin patch and Will’s grandparents are coming over in a few weeks to go on his last field trip of the year.

Two // Bubble fun! We love our bubbles around here, but I’m in search of a good bubble wand/tool that little kiddos can use without spilling the bubble solution. Harper always wants to blow bubbles independently but the majority of the time she spills the solution, then gets upset and cries. Boo. Any suggestions?   

Three //We’ve visited our local farmer’s market twice so far this season and love it! We make it a weekend tradition to head to the farmer’s market, purchase some local produce, and stop by a coffee shop for drinks for the parents and a muffin for the kiddos. Oh, and always a stop at our local toy store!  

Four // Piggy Paint! I painted Harper’s nails earlier in the week. I’m amazed that she lets me paint them, considering she gives me the biggest fit when I try to put her hair up in different ways. While I like the Piggy Paint, it seems to come off easily. Any suggestions for other natural nail polish brands? 

Five // We broke out our water table last weekend! The kiddos were so excited to play with their water toys again, and I was glad it was warm enough to wear shorts! Fun times! We’ve definitely gotten our money’s worth out of the water table. I’m going to search Pinterest to see what sorts of water table activities we can try this summer. Last summer, I made a concoction of shaving cream and kool aid as a fun sensory activity. We dumped it all in the water table and let the kiddos play in it.   

Have a super weekend!
  

April 17, 2015
by Elbranch
4 Comments

Five on Friday//Around the House

Happy Friday! I’m linking up with DarciChristinaApril, and Natasha for 5 on Friday and Karli and Amy for oh hey friday.  For today’s post, I’m highlighting five items that I’d like to purchase for our home.

one // Recently at a friend’s house, I saw a cute picture that displays her family’s names and important dates. After a quick Etsy search, I found this picture (among tons of other variations of this print) that you can easily customize with your special dates and favorite colors. I’m thinking about getting a print with our important dates…we desperately need more pictures on the wall. I can no longer use the excuse that we just moved in (that happened almost eight years ago…and we still have lots of blank walls in our house), ha!

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two // I’d love to have a mudroom/entryway that looked like this Crate and Barrel room, but since that’s not the case in our house, I’d still like to have the Leigh Wall Mounted Coat Rack. Our small mudroom holds our washer and dryer, a utility sink, and a small closet. We have a wooden bench where the kiddos sit to put on their shoes, and right above it, there’s enough space to hold a coat rack. It would be much nicer to keep our coats there instead of in the closet under the stairs in the living room.

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three // We are (finally) slowly starting the process of turning Harper’s bedroom into a big girl room! Yay! It’s such a big milestone to be getting rid of her crib in exchange for a double bed…I can’t believe my baby is ready for this! Yikes! I’m planning on doing navy and coral in her room, to match the light blue/grey current wall color. In a Pinterest search, I came across a variety of cute navy and coral rooms, including this one from Centsational Girl.

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four // I’m loving these cube bins from The Land of Nod and especially love the handy tip from iHeart Organizing. She uses one bin per kiddo and tosses in their toys scattered throughout the house. It is their responsibility to put away the toys in the bin. I could really use this…

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five // While visiting my friend at her new house, I was also inspired by her adorable monogrammed towels for each of her four kiddos. Harper and Will are getting too big for the baby towels I’ve been using since they were born (plus, the towels are getting just a little bit worn out, ha!). I’m on the lookout for the best place to purchase monogrammed towels for each kiddo (without breaking the bank). Any suggestions? I love these from The Company Store, though they are not the cheapest.

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So there you have it! Five different things I’d like to do in our house.  What exciting items are you in search of for your house?

Have a super weekend:)

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April 10, 2015
by Elbranch
6 Comments

Five on Friday!

Happy Friday! I’m linking up with DarciChristinaApril, and Natasha for 5 on Friday and Karli and Amy for oh hey friday. Since I didn’t write an official Easter blog post, here’s a quick recap of our Easter and spring break.

{one} Harper and Will enjoyed dyeing Easter eggs. I had bought a natural dye coloring kit from our local toy store last Easter and didn’t end up using it. Instead, we dyed eggs using Kool-Aid (which works well and creates very pretty colors). So we dyed our eggs this year with the natural dye kit. As you can see, Will’s favorite color is orange.  Harper wanted all of hers to be blue and purple.   

{two}  Our Easter picture! We even set up the tripod and took a picture of all four of us, but I’m too lazy right now to actually upload the pics on our computer. So, this picture of three of us from my iPhone will have to do! 

{three}  Will’s preschool pictures this year once again involved cute ducklings! I snapped this pic of the proofs and think they turned out adorable, though Will really needs to work on his smile:) Ha! He loved holding the ducklings and enjoyed getting to pick out his own rubber ducky.  I ordered a copy of his preschool class picture and just a few pictures of the proof on the right to give to the grandparents.  Boy, the picture packages are pricy!

{four} Over spring break, the kiddos enjoyed some free ice cream at a local ice cream shop in exchange for drawing a picture to enter in their Easter coloring contest. Free ice cream=a win! My hubby and I also enjoyed some delicious ice cream (I got raspberry-a fave!).  IMG_0005.JPG{five} Last year, I started an Easter tradition of making brunch after church. This year, I made a loaded baked potato frittata, roasted asparagus, and a cream cheese danish.  Doing a brunch is so much easier than making a big dinner, especially when it’s just the four of us. IMG_0046.JPG

I hope y’all have a great weekend:)

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