{Weekend Recap} Kickin' Off Summer

Good afternoon lovelies! I trust you all had an amazing weekend. I know we sure did here in the Holt household. As I mentioned last week, Kevin and I spent the majority of our week recovering from a nasty bug that hit our household last weekend. It really wasn't until Friday that we finally started feeling like ourselves so we used the weekend to make up for lost time and to start our summer off with a bang!

On Friday after taking Harper to daycare Kevin and I headed out for a day date. We ate a quick lunch at home, made a Target run, then hit up a local movie theater. Kevin's been dying to see the new Transformer movie. It wasn't at the top of my must see list but I'm all for pretty cars and pleasing the hubby. The things we do for love, right?  haha But in all seriousness I really couldn't complain after he suggested we split a large Coke and popcorn. Who can complain when that offer is on the table?

Friday night Kevin and I tried out a new restaurant in our hometown with my parents. Unfortunately, I can't say it was a big hit. My parents' food looked delicious but what Kevin and I ordered just didn't hit the mark. But at least the company made up for what the food lacked. I'd like to say we'll give it a second try but I'm just not sure.

Saturday morning we started our day off with breakfast at home. It's pretty much the only meal I enjoy cooking...maybe because the clean up is so easy and it's the one thing I can cook. After breakfast was over I left Harper with the hubs and headed over to my parents' house. Mom, Dad, and I took a trip to Sam's Club. Kevin and I have started meal planning and it's easier and a lot cheaper to make a trip to Sam's once a month instead of popping in to the grocery store once a week (or every few days in my case). I arrived home shortly after lunch and swapped duties aka baby duty with the hubs so he could hit up the gym for an hour or two.

Saturday evening Kevin's mom came over to watch Harper so we could head out to see two of our friends say "I do". The wedding was at a local venue not five minutes from our house so thankfully we didn't have to go far. The wedding was held outside and it couldn't have been a more perfect day for it. Right before the ceremony began a cloud came over and provided just the amount of shade and coolness needed for what was supposed to be a super, hot rainy day. It couldn't have been nicer. We spent the better part of the evening there catching up with old friends and dancing the night away.

Sunday morning we opted to attend my church instead of making the hour journey to Kevin's family church. One of the missionary's that my church sponsors was speaking and I was looking forward to being there. He's an amazing minister and preaches by reading scripture as a narrative. It's amazing the difference in your attention span when the Bible is read as if it's a story. He uses that method to spread the gospel in Africa and I can see why it works. Church ran way over and I had no idea. Even Harper was captivated!

We did the usual Sunday lunch with my parents. We left sometime around 3 and headed home to walk the neighborhood. It was just such a beautiful day that we couldn't pass up the opportunity to get outside. Kevin walked Rimy while I strolled Harper. She loved every minute of it and we did too.

When we got back to the house we had dinner and watched a sappy love story on Hallmark. We're a sucker for those kinds of things if you can't tell by now. When it was over we decided to call it a night by making an ice cream run. It was definitely the perfect ending to an already perfect day and weekend!


{Recipes} Hashbrown Casserole

Good morning ladies! I wanted to pop in this morning and share one of my new favorite recipes. We in the Holt household are OBSESSED with Cracker Barrel's hash brown casserole. I'm by no means a Cracker Barrel cook but after hunting down recipe after recipe on Pinterest and tweaking them a bit, I've found the ultimate recipe that's almost identical! It's ahhhhmazing! Better yet, it's quick, easy, and makes a ton so that you can freeze some for later. 

Hash brown Casserole 
26 oz. bag of frozen hash browns
1/2 cup melted butter
1 (10 3/4 oz) can of cream of chicken soup
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 cup of onion
2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Salt & Pepper (you be the judge)

1. Mix all the ingredients above and place in a greased 11 x 14 in pan.
* I like to save some for later and split the mix into two 8 x 8 in pans.
2. Cook on 350 for 45 minutes 
3. Enjoy!

Take my word for it ladies, it's delish! Go fix some right now! 


{Weekend Recap} Aly's Wedding

Well ladies, I'm here. Barely. It's been a rough few days here in the Holt household. Last Thursday night I came down with a nasty bug and Kevin caught it right after. It couldn't have happened at a worst time with my best friend getting married this past weekend but we pushed through the events and made it. The last few days we've done nothing but lay around the house as the two of us still have no energy. It stinks and is definitely not how I planned to kick off my summer but oh well... In an effort to actually do something today I decided to share some details and pictures from this weekend and the wedding!

Friday morning I woke up still feeling sick as a dog but my Dad saved the day like a knight in shining armor by bringing over some ginger ale and some medicine. After indulging in both and taking quite possibly the longest shower possible, I managed to muster up enough energy to meet Clint, Aly, and Aly's parents at the nail salon to get a pedicure, manicure, and eye-brow wax in preparation for the big day. Thankfully the reclining massage chair, foot massage, and excitement from the events helped me get through the morning. After parting ways, I headed home for another nap but not before meeting a coworker of mine to pick up another Initial Outfitters necklace that I had ordered from her. How cute is this?! I had it engraved with Harp's initials. When she gets older I plan to give her the monogram charm on a necklace and I'll wear only the pendant. The best part of all...it was free thanks to a gift certificate from a lovely student!

Friday night Kevin and I got all dressed up and headed to the Grandover Resort for the wedding rehearsal. It was quick and to the point, just the way we like it. After practice was over, we headed over to the String and Splinter for the rehearsal dinner. Kevin and I had never been there before but we were quite impressed. The atmosphere was a bit fancier than we were used to but it was just right for the occasion. The food was to die for and that's saying something considering I still felt sick but couldn't put my fork down!

We spent the better part of the evening there. Following dinner, Alyson and Clint opened the floor for friends and family to share stories about the two of them. Several people spoke and every speech had us laughing. When the speeches were over, Alyson and Clint passed out our wedding favors. Hands down they gave the coolest gifts ever! Converse sneakers since we were "Allstars" in their lives!

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early feeling much better than expected. I packed up my bags, laid out Kevin and Harper's clothes, and hit the road to High Point. At noon we had our hair done, pictures followed at 3:30, and then it was a waiting game until the wedding began at 5:30.

When the wedding was over and we'd taken our pictures, I was anxious to get out to cocktail hour to see my little family that I hadn't seen all day. As I hugged and kissed all over Harper my mom asked me if Kevin had told me he was sick. Immediately I was like "what?!". Apparently he'd gotten sick around noon but had managed to get up enough energy to get Harper and himself ready, go to another friend's wedding at 4, then Alyson's wedding at 5:30... all with a smile pasted on his face. My husband is truly amazing yall! After closer inspection I could see he could barely hold it together. So I sent him to our room, told him I'd check on him later, and reassured him that I'd be fine with Harper because Mom and Dad were there to help me. Only my dad got sick not thirty minutes later which forced them to leave right away. But thankfully they volunteered to take Harper home with them and drop her off at my in-laws house so Kevin and I could have some time together.

Since Kevin still wasn't feeling his best, I left him in the room and headed back down to the party to catch up with some friends for a few hours until he could come back and join me. Thankfully after a little nap and a cold glass of Coke he was feeling much better and came back to join in on the fun. We managed to get in a few dances and even made it until the very last dance. 

By the time the party was over, Kevin decided he was hungry so we changed into some bum clothes and did what we used to do when I was in college. We hit up Steak and Shake at 1 in the morning. Just like old times!

Kevin and I planned on sleeping as late as possible Sunday morning since it was the first time the both of us were away from Harper. Only our bodies didn't get that memo. By 8:30 we were both bright eyed and bushy-tailed so we spent the rest of our time there admiring the view, laying around talking, and watching tv. 

After checking out of the hotel, we hit up a local Japanese place and had a lunch date just the two of us before heading home. It was the perfect way to end our little time together.

By the time we arrived home we were super excited to see our girl. Harper welcomed us with a huge smile and wanted to play right away. So the rest of our Sunday was spent doing just that. We read books, played in her tent, went up and down the stairs a hundred times, and blew more bubbles than I could count. But I wouldn't have had it any other way.


Aly's Bachelorette Party

Tomorrow my best friend is marrying her high school sweetheart, the love of her life, and my cousin. I couldn't be more happy for Alyson and Clint.  The two have dated for what seems like forever.. who knew how long eight years feels until you look back! But I'm so happy to be a part of their big day and I've been counting the days down to the event for as long as they have. I was so fortunate to be around when the two of them started dating, when they got engaged, and now I get to stand next to them as they say their "I do's". It's a huge honor and an even bigger blessing.

Tonight Kevin and I will be heading to High Point for the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. My parents so graciously volunteered to watch Harper for us so we could enjoy the night via no baby because lets be real...it's just easier that way. Since we'll have no baby in tow, I feel like we're going on a date which doesn't happen much these days. But I'm excited to be getting dressed up and spending an evening with our family and closest friends! I'm sure we'll take a ton of pictures tonight as well as tomorrow at the wedding so I'll be sharing them with you ladies next week. But before I share the pictures of those events I feel like it's only fair that I share events from Aly's bachelorette party that I mentioned two weeks ago. 

As Alyson's matron of honor it was my job to plan all of the events for the day but thankfully since we're so much a like it wasn't that hard of a task. At noon we met at Alyson's grandparents house for a bridal luncheon. Following the luncheon, all of the bridal party headed to a local spa to prepare for the night. The spa offered a variety of packages available for the day so everyone chose what they wanted. Alyson and I opted for just having our hair styled but many of the girls went for the full works... hair, make up, nails... the whole shebang. 

Following our spa day, the bridal party and the rest of the bachelorette party attendants met at Alyson's to primp, change into our little black dresses, and wait for the limo. After the limo arrived, we took a few quick photos, and then hit the road towards Raleigh. 

On the way we passed out the party favors. I purchased stemless wine glasses and Alyson's future sister-in-law hand wrote everyone's name on them. She did such an amazing job and they were a huge hit. If you're into calligraphy and hand lettering, check out her ETSY shop. She's amazing!

Before arriving at Cafe Luna, Alyson played the "panty game". Every one purchased a pair of panties that represented themselves. They were all put into a bag and Alyson had to guess who brought which pair. She only guessed one pair correct the first round but ended up guessing everyone's correctly the second time. It made for a lot of laughs. 

Dinner at Cafe Luna was eventful to say the least. It was a quaint little restaurant in downtown Raleigh that had a very quiet atmosphere. Needless to say, us eleven girls stirred up quite a bit of ruckus as we were all talking and yelling over each other. But the wait staff were super friendly and joined right in on our shenanigans. 

We arrived back to Alyson's shortly after eleven. She opened her lingerie gifts and then some people parted ways and some people crashed at her house for the night. I was one of the crashers. This mama just can't hang anymore. By midnight I was curled up in Aly's bed and was out for the count.

Sunday morning, I got up early and fixed everyone breakfast before heading out to church. It was nice to sit around the table with bacon, eggs, and fruit talking about the night and reminiscing about old times before parting ways!


Summer Bucket List

As of eleven o'clock today, I'll officially be on summer vacation. On Friday I said goodbye to twenty-three sweet little faces and I said hello to my precious little family. Over the last few weeks as the school year has come to a close I feel like I've barely invested any real time into the members of the Holt household. Sure I've fixed some quick dinners, read Harper a few books, and even went to the husband's softball games. But I haven't felt like I've really been there as my mind is always elsewhere. Needless to say, I've been looking forward to getting to spend some "real" time with my little family now that the school year is over. Lucky for Harper and I, the hubs scheduled his vacations around our summer and he'll be spending most of the summer at home with us too. Harper and I are pretty stoked about that!

Despite the fact that Kevin and I will both be home for most of the summer, we've decided to still send Harper to daycare. Harper's daycare requires us to pay for her spot regardless if she's using it or not. In order to not feel like we're wasting our money and to also keep Harper on somewhat of a routine, we'll be sending her to daycare part time, four days a week. Our goal is to let her sleep in each morning then she'll eat breakfast with us as a family. We'll take her to daycare somewhere around nine or ten then we'll pick her up shortly after her nap at two. During her time at daycare, it'll give Kevin and I some time together which I have to say I'm looking forward to. Despite the fact that we love our daughter, we love our alone time together as well. It's much needed and very missed. Our goal is to hit the gym together after we drop her off and then have a little day date... maybe catch an early movie, bowl a game or two, or work on some home projects together.

In our anticipation for summer we created a little bucket list for some things we hope to accomplish between now and August 19th when I have to return back to work.

1. Take Harper to the Natural Science Center
2. Take Harper to the Zoo
3. Take Harper to the Children's Museum
4. Hit up the pool
5. Get ice cream... lots of ice cream!
6. Take a trip to Ikea (it happens to be over 2 hours away from where we live!)
7. Go bowling
8. Host another game night at our home
9. Go to a ball game
10. Watch fireworks
11. Head to the lake for a weekend
12. Organize our home (it's been my goal for three years now... we'll see if it happens!)
13. Finish Harper's playroom
14. Eat dinner on the patio

That's it for now. I'm sure the list is going to grow longer as we go but I couldn't be more excited about marking things off and making more memories with the hubs and our little girl!

Happy summer everyone! 


Father's Day

Nothing too exciting went down last weekend in the Holt household. To be quite honest, it was kind of nice to not have anything to do or anywhere to be. The next few weekends hold weddings and events for us so it was a nice welcome to have some down time before the big rush.

On Sunday we celebrated a very special guy in our family. Being Father's Day it was super important to me to celebrate the hubs. Kevin is an amazing husband and an even better father. He deserves the world for how hard he works for our little family. After working a twelve-hour shift at work, getting in a quick workout at the gym, he'll come home and watch Harper until midnight if necessary so I can have a break and get some things done around the house. Some days he can barely keep his eyes open but still he crawls in and out of Harper's tent, chases her around the house until she gets tired, or throws and retrieves a plastic ball a hundred times with her until she's done without ever uttering a single complaint. It melts my heart. Harper and I are both so lucky to have him in our lives. 

Since he was working Sunday morning and left before either Harper or I were up, we surprised him at work with breakfast. Instead of eating in his break room we had a mini-picnic in my car. Harp loved it and she even worked on her future driving skills (; She's getting so big so fast!

When Kevin got home Sunday afternoon he had a few surprises waiting on him. The first being a cup full of candy that Harper got for him Friday at daycare. It was filled with all types of chocolate. In addition to his cup of candy, I gave him a handwritten card and a coupon book. Kevin's by far the hardest person to buy for as he always insists he doesn't want anything. The man rarely shops for himself or spends money on anything other than movie tickets. So in came the coupon book which happened to be a huge hit! Most of the coupons were for free services though a few would cost me a a little bit. Some of my favorite coupons were for dinner of Kevin's choice, a movie night of his choice, a car wash, free trash takeout (it's the only thing I ask him to help me with each week!), and an uninterrupted nap. In addition to the twenty plus coupons in the book, I included a few blank coupons that he could write in what he wanted. Not sure if I should have done that or not. It's no telling what he'll be asking for next :P haha


5 on Friday!

Happy Friday friends! I'm popping in today to link up with a few wonderful ladies for a quick little "Five on Friday" session. Hop on over to  DarciNatashaApril and Christina's blogs to link up as well!

One. Initial Outfitters
You may remember a few weeks ago I mentioned that I'd hosted an Initial Outfitters party for one of our close family friends who'd began to sell their products. Despite the small turnout I had that day, I had quite the party purchases. In the end I was able to choose over $100 worth of stuff for free and got to purchase three items at half price and one item at seventy percent off. I ended up making two necklaces, purchased two pairs of earrings, and a bracelet for Harper. I've been dying for them to come in and when they showed up at my house yesterday, I felt like a kid at Christmas. How adorable are all of these items?! In the end I only had to spend a little over $60 of my own money which I didn't think was bad at all! 

Two. Dad's Birthday
Yesterday my dad turned 67. He may seem older but he doesn't act it ;) Since his birthday fell during the week and we usually don't get together as a family except for on Sundays, I invited my parents and siblings over for dinner yesterday to celebrate. It was kind of last minute but it all came together fine. I made a quick run to the grocery store after work to grab some dinner essentials. I threw some barbeque, baked beans, and baked potatoes together and even had time to make a quick bowl of banana pudding. Despite my hastiness everything turned out delicious and got ate up pretty quickly!

Three. Disney and Dinner
Earlier this week Kevin's brother and his girlfriend Brooke came over to our house. In talking we discovered that Brooke and Bryan has yet to see Disney's Frozen. How that's possible I just don't know. It's hands down one of my favorite Disney movies. We may or may not use Harper as an excuse to watch it. Since neither of them had seen it, we suggested instead of doing Friday night dinner out that we order pizzas and spend the evening in and finish the night off with the movie. They were all for the idea! So that's whats on our agenda for tonight.

Four.  Burlap Wreaths
About a month ago a friend of mine asked me to make her a burlap wreath. I was really hesitant at first because I seriously had no idea where to start with one as I'd never made one before. But after twenty failed attempts, I figured it out. I was so excited by how it turned out that I had to make myself one. It also looked great so I decided that I'd snap a quick photo and post it to Facebook. I had no idea that that photo was going to open a whole lot of doors. Since then, I've had eight requests for these wreaths and it's given me an opportunity to make a little extra cash for myself. I've opened an ETSY shop per quite a few suggestions but I haven't yet posted any items to it yet as I'm waiting for school to be out. Right now I'm struggling to just find the time to make the orders I have but hopefully when summer gets here I'll be able to expand my business!

Five. Best Friend 
My best friend, Alyson, is truly the best friend ever. She surprised me at work this morning with a large sweet tea from Mickey D's, some hash browns, and a biscuit. Is there a better way to start my Friday?! And speaking of my best friend, we'll be spending the weekend celebrating what's left of her singleness. Tomorrow we'll be having our Bridal luncheon, heading to the spa, then hitting up Raleigh with some of our closest friends for her bachelorette party. It's going to be so much fun!

Here's to hoping you all have an amazing weekend! I'll be back Monday for a weekend recap!! 


{Pictures}: Family Photos

Happy Thursday ladies! It's been a crazy week here in the Holt household. The school year is coming to a close for my third grade babies and we've been testing most of this week. On top of that I'm in full party planning mode with the best friend's upcoming bachelorette party this weekend. All exciting stuff but it takes my time and I'm not left with much time to pop in and say hello. So while I had a few moments to myself I wanted to share our family photos that we had taken back in April.

As I mentioned when I shared Harper's one year photos, we met up with one of our favorite photographers back in April for some family photos, Harper's one year photos, and her cake smashing session. Despite Harper being under the weather that day, the photos turned out amazing. I can't wait to get some of them printed and placed around the house!


{Weekend Recap}: Lazy Lake Days

Hi ladies, happy Monday! I trust that you all had a wonderful weekend. Our weekend was full of fun and relaxation and it couldn't have been more perfect.

Friday afternoon my mother-in-law picked up Harper from daycare so I could head home after work to straighten up the house and catch up on laundry. That seems to be the usual Friday routine these days because let's be honest as a working mom I don't have time during the week to do anything other than the basics. When the hubs got off work he picked up Harper and headed home to pick me up for dinner with our Friday night gang. It's been awhile since the Friday night group got together. This time of year it seems that everyone's busy with spring cleaning, graduations, weddings, etc so our dinners are few and far between. Since it had been so long since we last got together dinner ran over much later than usual but it was worth it to catch up with everyone. 

After we all parted ways at the restaurant, the hubs and I made a quick run back home to load up the car and head to my parents place at the lake for the weekend. Lately we've just been so busy at home that we were just in serious need of some time away. We needed a break from all the things at home keeping us from truly enjoying our time together as a family. It seems whenever we're at home there is always something to be done whether it's cleaning the house, doing yard work, working on home projects or any of the other demands of being a home owner. But at the lake, we're free from all of our obligations, duties, and even our cell phones that create so much of a distraction for both of us. 

Harper was wonderful and slept the whole way to the lake. That kid just can't fight sleep when she's riding (;. We arrived shortly after 10 pm and my parents were still waiting up for us. We quickly unpacked our things and broke out Harper's pack-n-play. However, by the time we went to put her in it, she was wide awake and ready to go. Needless to say, it was a long night. Harper was fascinated by all of the new things she could get into. At 1 am she was going strong... however we were not. 

Since Harper chose to go to bed so late, we just knew she'd sleep in. However, we were seriously mistaken. I woke up at 6:45 to the sound of Harper just talking away. The hubs was still so drained from eleven straight days of work that I didn't have the heart to make him get up with her. So up I went to get Harper. We spent the wee hours of morning eating cheese puffs and playing patty-cake in bed... all while the hubs was asleep and completely oblivious to it all.

We finally started our morning around 8 when Harper and I went to join my parents in their room. Harper climbed right up in their bed and entertained them with all her words of wisdom, a few games of patty cake, and her favorite game of all... to stand up in the bed and fall back down like she's in a bounce house. The kid seriously needs a trampoline or a hammock....

Mom fixed us ham biscuits and cinnamon rolls for breakfast. When that settled, we made our way to the pier for some swimming. Harper is without a doubt a water baby. She loved splashing around in the lake, as well as riding in her cousin's inflatable car. When it was time to get out for a nap, she threw a huge fit. One minute later she was passed out in the swing with her Nana and Papa. The water really took it out of her and it didn't take but a few swings and she was gone. 

Mom and Dad were so gracious to offer to watch Harper during her nap so Kevin and I could spend a few hours swimming and getting our tan on. Brooke and Bryan (Kevin's brother and his girlfriend) came down and joined us. It was nice all hanging out and relaxing. We spent several hours down by the pier and didn't head back up until well after lunch. By that point we were starving but Mom was prepared with hot dogs, chips, homemade ranch dip, and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Best mom ever!

The rest of the day was spent getting some more sun and wading in the water. 

We ended our Saturday with a Target run and dinner at Olive Garden with Harp, Brooke, and Bryan.

We ended up coming home late Saturday morning. We had the intention of getting up early and making the hour drive to Kevin's church but it just didn't happen. We were exhausted from the traveling and the previous night's lack of sleep. Instead of heading to church like we should have, we spent the morning and afternoon hanging out on the couch, eating an oven-baked pizza for brunch, and watching Hallmark movies. Which by the way, if you haven't seen The Color of Rain you are seriously missing out. I cried more times during  that movie than I'd like to admit. 

By late afternoon we got ourselves together and went to pick up dinner. Instead of heading home, we made our way to the in-laws house. While we ate Harper played with Grandma and Grandpa. Since she was having such a good time, we left them there to make a quick grocery store run. It's so much easier to grocery shop without a baby in tow. You mama's know what I'm talking about. 

Harp went to bed fairly early so the hubs and I ended the night on the couch with Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. 

All in all it was a terrific weekend. Here's to an even better week!