Hello from Jacksonville! Our crew hit the road for Florida in the late afternoon yesterday and we’ll be here through the weekend for my parents’ Kentucky Derby party!
(Flashback to my parents’ Kentucky Derby party with teeny tiny Chase!)
We’re looking forward to the party and getting the boys all dressed up in their matching bow ties but I’m not going to lie, I am most excited to finally see my niece this morning and give her tons of love during our visit. We arrived after her bedtime yesterday so I’m anxiously awaiting the moment my sister calls and says she’s up for the day. (We stay with my parents during our Florida visits but my sister and brother-in-law live less than 5 minutes away from them.) It’s been waaay too long since I’ve seen Callie and since every month feels like a year in baby time I cannot wait to see how she’s changed in person rather than just FaceTime, videos and photos. Plus, Chase and Ryder are more than ready to play with their little cousin!
I’ll be sure to have a recap of our weekend in Florida up on the blog next week, but for now let’s stick to the usual shenanigans over here and dive into my weekly roundup of things I’m loving this week! As always, please let me know about something that made you smile this week in the comments section. Have a fantastic weekend, my friends!
Things I’m Loving Friday
I previously mentioned my desire to transition the boys’ cups, bowls and utensils away from plastic following this report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and we’re making progress! Chase is still loving his stainless steel tumblers and straws but since they’re not exactly on-the-go friendly, I’ve been on the lookout for non-plastic water bottles with straws that travel well. I tried two options I didn’t like but thankfully one of your recommendations turned me onto this 12-ounce stainless steel Thermos water bottle and it was an instant hit. It keeps Chase’s water cold and travels well but, most importantly in his eyes, it has a super cool button he gets to press every time he wants to pop it open. I don’t know what it is about kids and buttons but having a button to press on Chase’s water bottle is the coolest thing in his eyes! The 12-ounce size is perfect for our almost 4 year old but the 16-ounce version might be better for bigger kids.
The House on Tradd Street by Karen White
I have a few things to say about this book before I can recommend it to you guys. I liked the plot of this book… really, really liked it. I found it intriguing and different (it’s an easy read with a little mystery and I see dead people flare) but the conversations between the characters and the way the author wrote about the main character’s thoughts made me roll my eyes about 100 times. The story line was great and knowing that this book is the first in a series, I’ll likely read the next novel as well but if you read this book and find yourself annoyed by the cliches and preteen-like conversations and interactions, please know I felt the same way!
As for the story itself, it’s a good one! The book takes off when Melanie Middleton, a realtor who (much to her dismay) can see ghosts, inherits the historic home of a man she only just met. Along with the home comes a family of ghosts and a mystery that someone — or something — seems determined to prevent Melanie from solving. Melanie ends up working alongside Jack Trenholm, a writer obsessed with unsolved mysteries, who believes diamonds from the Confederate Treasury may be hidden in the house. As Melanie and Jack begin to work to solve the mysteries in the home, an angry ghost may not be the only one determined to stop them.
I haven’t had the best of luck when it comes to shopping for bathing suits online but I figured I’d give the crochet bikini that was calling to me on Aerie’s website a shot when I did a little shopping on the site last week. Well, let’s just say the tags are off and I’ll be wearing this bad boy all weekend during our Florida visit! I have a smaller chest so I gravitate toward triangle bikinis since they don’t flatten me out like a pancake and love the way this one is well-lined and the material is not thin or flimsy. (The positive reviews did not steer me wrong!) I also often look for bikini bottoms with side ties so I can adjust them and love the way the crochet bikini bottoms have decent booty coverage as well. I’ll be giving this one the swim test this weekend but I have high hopes!
Oh and just in case you’re wondering what else I ended up keeping from my most recent order, here are the goods: Cutout Jumpsuit (thin material but very flattering for a pear shape) / Double Ruffle Strap Sandal / Wide Leg Culotte Cover-Up (so excited about this unique bathing suit cover up! Planning to wear it with a tied-up tank for boat and pool days)
Adding Cauliflower Rice to Overnight Oats (Trust me on this one!)
This is a sponsored shout out written by me on behalf of Food Lion Website. All opinions are 100% mine.
I know this sounds strange. I KNOW. But when I saw Tina share this creative way to incorporate vegetables into a morning bowl of oatmeal, I just had to try it out for myself. I was honestly a little surprised by how much I liked the texture of the oats but I’ll be the first to admit that I really enjoy chewier/lumpier oatmeal, so if that’s not your thing, this combination may not be for you.
I loosely followed Tina’s recipe but since adding applesauce to my oats creeped me out more than adding frozen riced cauliflower (something about applesauce + milk = bleh!), I used a very-ripe banana in place of the applesauce for a little sweetness. In the end, my combination looked like this: 1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal + 1/2 cup frozen riced cauliflower + 2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk + 1/2 very-ripe banana (mashed) + 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder + a scoop of cashew butter (the drippy kind) + 1 tablespoon chia seeds. I combined everything in a bowl on Wednesday night and on Thursday morning, I added a little more almond milk to the oats before topping them with hemp seeds and fresh berries. It was surprisingly delicious! And shout out to Food Lion for the juicy organic berries I grabbed during their new Huntersville store’s grand opening event on Wednesday! I’m always on the lookout for ways to save money on organic produce and couldn’t say no to the affordable prices on their organic strawberries and blackberries. (Food Lion fans, you can also view weekly deals and save more and earn money back if you use their Shop and Earn app.) I am sooo ready for summer and berry season!! If you’re as psyched as I am for ALL THE BERRIES, check out these 10 creative uses for fresh berries from the Fresh Idea’s blog, which also includes a bunch of Food Lion recipes under $10 that take 30 minutes or less to make!
Jeopardy Winning Streak
Fellow Jeopardy fans, are you following along James’ winning streak with the same level of obsession that we are in our house!? For those in the dark, a current contestant on the show, James Holzhauer, is on a crazy winning streak and his total earnings have amassed $1.5 million! Isn’t that insane!? He’s completely dominating every game and it’s we’re way too invested right now. I am wondering if he’ll eclipse Ken Jennings’ winning streak of 74 games!?
Top Blogger Recipes (Some of my blogging friends share their most popular recipes in this roundup post!)
Question of the Day
What is one thing you’re loving this week?