Our family has been rather diligent with following our governor’s orders surrounding how to best protect ourselves and others during the pandemic and earlier this week, an announcement was made informing North Carolinians that we are no longer under a “stay at home” order and Phase 1 has progressed to Phase 2 with some more openings permitted. (Restaurants, salons and pools are allowed to open at 50% capacity and hotels and vacation rentals are open. Gyms remain closed.) We can also officially meet indoors in groups of 10 and outdoors in groups of 25. This feels like a big step and I’m hoping things will continue to progress in a positive way following these changes. How are things where you are right now?
We’ve been itching to see family for months and will be welcoming my sister, brother-in-law and niece into our home for the long weekend and I could not be more excited to see them. Reuniiiion! Unfortunately the weather looks pretty rainy which is a bit of a bummer but even if we have to spend most of Leslie, Ross and Callie’s visit in our house with three crazy kiddos, I don’t care one bit because I’m just so happy we’ll all be together.
Also, for those of you who have been isolated from family and friends for months and continue to be isolated and struggling, I feel so much for you and I’ve felt that strain, too. Even though it’s temporary, there is no denying it just plain stinks to not be with people we love so much and juggling everything with no help or real outlet is just plain hard. I’m not taking this weekend with family for granted for one second and if you’re in a place where things are shut down and no closures have been lifted, I hope a reunion awaits you soon.
And now let’s move on to my weekly roundup of favorites, shall we? Please see below for this week’s Things I’m Loving Friday post and, as always, I’d love to hear a little bit about the simple things making you smile right now in the comments section. I hope you have a good weekend and stay healthy and safe!
Things I’m Loving Friday
A Visit from Chase’s Teachers
Chase had the very best surprise this week! A drive by visit from his teachers! They arrived with a personalized graduation sign (this blew his mind!), a felt graduation hat, a folder of his artwork and a mini yearbook for him and it was just the sweetest thing. Chase is officially a graduate from the four-day four-year-old preschool class and my love for his preschool and teachers only grows every single year.
I also must admit I’m feeling extra grateful that Chase will be returning for the five-day five-year-old program next year because I don’t think I could handle sending him off to kindergarten just yet! (Ryan and I made the decision years ago to have him wait until he was older for kindergarten since he has a late summer birthday and we’re planning to do the same with Ryder.) Also, I must add that I feel so much for those of you out there with little ones or older children missing in-person graduation milestones this year because of the pandemic. I remember graduation and all of the activities surrounding graduation feeling like such a big deal and hate that so many kids and young adults are missing this right now.
The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson
I am hoping that the fact that I’ve read two back-to-back decent books means I’m out of my not-so-good book funk. Reading a few duds in a row only made me further appreciate The Gown because this book was such an interesting read. I looked forward to curling up in bed with this novel every night and honestly hate that I’m done reading it. For my fellow historical fiction lovers out there, please immediately add this one to your must-read list!
A brief synopsis: The Gown follows the lives of three different women who are all connected by the wedding gown worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her wedding nearly 70 years ago. Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin are embroiders at the fashion house of Norman Hartnell, the designer chosen to create the then-princesses’ wedding gown. As the women work together, they become close and learn about each other and face struggles from their past and present. Nearly 70 years later, Heather Mackenzie discovers the stunning embroidered flowers left to her following the death of her grandmother and realizes they’re nearly identical to the embroidery on Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding down. Her Nan never spoke of any involvement in the royal wedding and Heather quickly becomes determined to uncover her grandmother’s secrets as she sets off to London for answers.
I’ve mentioned before just how much Chase and Ryder love “helping” me in the kitchen and when I saw Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean mention her kids’ love of chopping things in the kitchen, I immediately went on the lookout for children’s knives so our boys could do the same. As it turns out, there are a lot of options out there and many are quite pricey ($50!?) but I found these knives for the boys and they’re both affordable (less than $10) and work well on softer fruits and veggies (pears, tomatoes, plums) and even some crispier produce like cucumbers and zucchini. (In the above photo they were actually cutting homemade Jello I made with juice + gelatin.) I still absolutely watch the boys closely when they use them but the knives have been a fun way to expand the way they help me in the kitchen. Big time bonus: I catch them snacking on raw veggies all the time when they use these knives to cut up produce!
I made a comment to Ryan the other day that I am feeling my age in my feet lately and have a hard time standing and walking around on our hardwood floors all day long without my feet bothering me. I need some cushion in the form of slippers or sandals in our house and recently got these $10 sandals that I’ve been wearing non-stop because they’re so incredibly comfortable. The quality is fantastic (especially for $10!) and they have good arch support and cushioning that make my feet feel a million times better than they do when I’m standing around barefoot. They remind me of Birkenstocks in appearance and they fit true to size. They’re going to be a spring and summertime staple for me for sure! (Also, full disclosure, I partnered with Academy Sports + Outdoors for Wednesday’s blog post but these sandals were not part of that collab and were separately purchased by me from Academy. LOVE them!)
One Degree Organic Sprouted O’s Cereal
This cereal was an impulse add to my latest Thrive Market delivery and I am a HUGE fan! Our kids love cereal and are pretty great about eating low-sugar cereals like Cheerios BUT when I’ve tried to purchase other organic brands’ versions of Cheerios, they never eat them as well. The reviews on Thrive Market for One Degree Organic Sprouted O’s were very positive and when I read one mom’s review that stated her kids loved them, too, I was sold and figured they were worth a shot. I’m happy to report that both boys gobbled them up with some whole milk but I’ve actually been eating them more than anyone in our house! They’re deliciously crunchy and have become a go-to afternoon snack for me this past week. I already placed another Thrive order that included these O’s as well as a couple more boxes of One Degree sprouted organic cereals and have high hopes they’ll be a big hit in our house, too!
Around the Internet
Weekend Sales: 50% off tees, tanks, shorts and swimwear at Old Navy (Their women’s swimwear is adorable this year with great basics — I ordered this ribbed rust-color bikini top to pair with these black bottoms / I love their henley tees for the boys and they’re only $6! / These orange-print swim trunks for boys are adorable and I also love this rash guard swimsuit for a little girl! / The unisex skinny-fit jeans I swear by for Chase are only $10 right now!)
Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Fudge (A great recipe to make if you’re craving something sweet but want a little protein, too.)
Bodyweight Tabata Workout (Keep this one in mind when you want to work up a serious sweat! It’s a great at-home workout option because it doesn’t require any equipment.)
Question of the Day
What is one thing you’re loving this week?