It's no secret that I am obsessed with books. I don't know if it's the teacher in me or the fact that my mom read me a bedtime story every night as a kid but I just can't get enough of them. There's truly nothing I love more than to curl up with a good book whenever I have a free moment. I love the getting lost in a book and gaining new friends and family in the characters. I'm one of those people who will read a whole book series in a week and feel lost when it's over. But let's be real here, as a mom with a toddler the opportunity to read is pretty slim these days. Long gone are the romance novels. Now it's Farm Animals or Curious George. Whatever makes Harper happy. 

But while on vacation last week I had the opportunity to read quite a few books thanks to all the many hands and super large hearts! While Kevin's family spoiled Harper rotten I had the luxury and privilege to catch up on quite a few books by the pool and I'm not gonna lie... It was like a small slice of heaven. 

Several months back I came across  Bookbub. Bookbub is a website online that will share daily book deals with you. It's super quick and easy to sign up. You simply type in your email address and then take a small survey that asks about your book interests. After you submit the information and like their Facebook page they'll send you three daily book deals a day by email that cater to your interests and will work on your reading device. One book is always free, another will be $0.99, & the third usually runs between $1.99-$2.99. Occasionally you'll luck up and can purchase a whole book series for $0.99! The email always shows a picture of the book's cover as well as a description which helps you decide whether or not to download/ purchase the book. For me, I rarely buy the books because the free ones are usually sufficient enough. But a few capture my attention and I find myself clicking to get the deal regardless if I have to pay. The only downfall is that the deals usually only last for a few days so if you don't check your email regularly, some of the deals have already expired when you do. But on the bright side you'll have a new email with another day's deals! If you're a reader you should definitely check it out! I'm so glad I did. The majority of the books on my kindle are ones that I've downloaded from Bookbub and so far all of the ones I have read are definitely to my liking! And the best part is I haven't had to spend a dime :D

* This is not a sponsored post. I was not contacted by Bookbub to write this post. All opinions expressed are just those of my own. 


Guest Post: Amanda from A Sweet Simple Southern Life

Well ladies, it's Wednesday which means our vacation is halfway over. It makes me sad. Sometimes I just wish I could make time stand still. But since that isn't possible I'm going to make the most of the rest of our vacay and soak it all in with my little family. Which leaves me with my guest poster. Today my lovely friend Amanda from A Sweet Simple Southern Life is sharing a post with you ladies. Amanda happens to be one of my few blog friends that I actually know in real life. Amanda and I grew up in the same town but attended different schools. But that's the thing about life in a small town... everyone knows everyone and your lives will inevitably cross :P Amanda got engaged recently and actually made news headlines for her proposal... which happened to take place during a hurricane. How cool is that story for the future grandkids?! 


Hey y'all!  I'm so excited to be guest posting while Sara is on vacation! I know they are having a great time with that precious family of hers. I can't wait to hear about it when they get back. 

I'm Amanda from A Sweet Simple Southern Life. Sara and I share a few things in common like the fact we are from the same hometown and we both teach! I typically blog about anything and everything that happens to be going on in my world at the moment. House hunting, wedding planning, things that make me happy and most of all.. random musings that I find entertaining throughout my day. 

Speaking of random... today I thought I would share some of my confessions with y'all.. Sit tight, don't judge (I'm normal, I promise!) 

I confess.. 
It took me about 10 minutes to find a picture for this post of me by myself. I have more pictures I know what to do with of me and friends or family but none of just me. Note to self-- ask someone to start snapping pics of me to share with my blog friends. 

I confess.. 
I spend all of Novemeber until May wishing for summer and dreaming of summer outfits. Then summer gets here and all I can think about it fall! Boots, pumpkin dip, scarves, I'm ready for it all. 

I confess..
That I'm having SO much fun planning my upcoming wedding! I'm loving every minute of making my dream day come to life. But.... I also confess I have completly let the stress of it get to me one or two times, resulting in tears and thoughts of elopment. 

I confess..
This little guy fills my heart with so much happiness. Can I have him, please?!

I confess.. 
I'm tempted to NEVER buy a house again. Going through the financing process has been an absolute nightmare. We hopefully should close on our house in exactly 3 weeks. I have no intentions of going through this process again any time soon! 

I confess.. 
I let six year olds peer pressure me. Y'all.. I try so hard to eat healthy. I just started this new nanny job though where all those sugery "kid foods" are oh so present and oh so tempting. Pudding, chicken nuggets, berry crunch cereal, oreos... It's all there and I can't stay away. 


Guest Post: Laurie from Disney 'n Diapers

Happy Tuesday ladies! I hope your week has started off wonderful. Today one of my newest blog friends, Laurie over at Disney 'n Diapers will be holding this blog of mine down. Laurie has an older son in middle school as well as a daughter that is close to Harper's age. Laurie is super creative and really values education in her children's lives. As a teacher and a mom she inspires me with how much time she invests in her kid's lives. I love following her Make-It Mondays, Water Wednesdays, Thinking Thursday and Field Trip Friday posts. One day I hope to be half as good a mom as you Laurie! Now I'll let Laurie get on with it and share some of her amazing activities with you ladies. I'll be trying these when I get home. You can bet your bottom dollar on that :P


Hey guys! I'm Laurie and I blog over at Disney 'n Diapers. I was so honored when Sara asked me if I would be interested in Guest Posting on her blog. Sara is the sweetest and our daughters are almost the same age! I've had a great time getting to know her and her family. 

Today I'm going to share with you one of our favorite sensory play activities! It's super simple and only requires 2 ingredients. That's right. TWO. For at least 10-15 minutes of play depending on the age and interest of your toddler;) I'm going to be honest and say I don't like to do things that require a ton of time and effort on my part, mostly because Savanna doesn't really stay interested in things for long periods of time! I'm sure as she gets older this will change..unless she's anything like me of course. 

The two ingredients you'll need? Cool Whip & Food Coloring. 

That's it. 

I used a muffin tin to make mixing up the cool whip with the food coloring a little easier, you could use baby food jars if you have those handy and I'm sure those would be fab also. I liked the muffin tin honestly because it gave Savanna easy access to the "paint".

I just taped some finger paint paper onto a pampers box so she had a good surface to work on. You could also use parchment paper which works good too.

I set up our paint space and then we didn't waste any time getting started!
Her big brother even joined in the fun..Pj's and all! (You try getting an 11 year old out of his jammies in the summer..)

She played for a little bit, until she realized that this particular paint was edible.

But our masterpiece at the end was pretty picasoish..
Don't ya think?!

It is now hanging in our "art gallery" in Savannas playroom. 

Some people might be concerned about the mixed messages with eating the paint, but we don't ever buy store bought paint our playdoh, I'm always finding new recipes to try to keep our play natural and clean. Not only is it better for my kids, but it's cheaper and inspires us to be creative. 

Hope you enjoyed! 
And feel free to stop over and share ways you have fun with your littles!! I'm kinda sorta obsessed with meeting other blogging Mommy's! :-D


Guest Post: Jessica from The Newly

Happy Monday ladies! I am currently soaking up the sun and hanging out in the sand with my little family at the beach. Jessica over at The Newly volunteered to take over my blog for today and I couldn't be happier. Jessica and I "met" when we were both pregnant with our precious babies and have bonded through our journey of motherhood.  If only we lived closer to each other I know we'd be "real" friends and our babies would have a blast together. After all, we have a lot in common...including our addiction to an ice cold Coca-Cola... which I need right about now so I better run! Hope you ladies had a great weekend! 


Hi there, sweet readers! I'm Jessica, and I share a little bit of this and a little bit of that every day over on my blog, The Newly.

I've known sweet Sara for a while now through our blogs. We met while we were both pregnant, and in fact, my handsome little man, Caleb, was born just one week after Sara's little princess, Harper. It's been so fun to have a friend to navigate motherhood with since our kiddos are both hitting the same stages right around the same time. When Sara asked if I'd guest post for her while she and her precious family are away on a beach vacation, I didn't hesitate to say yes!

I thought I'd keep in theme with the idea of a beach vacation, so today I am sharing my makeup favorites for a beach trip. I don't know about you all, but when I'm at the beach, the last thing I want to worry about is a full face of makeup. So, I try to stick with just the basics. That way, that 'suntanned beach glow' can still shine through. Here's what I pack when we head for sand and sun.

Makeup Must Haves (Beach)
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 67

What type of makeup do you prefer when you're on vacation? Any go-to's that I should know about? Anything that will make this mama's makeup routine shorter - and my life easier - and I am all ears!


Birthday Celebrations

This week we had the privilege of celebrating two very important people in our family. On Monday we celebrated Brooke's birthday. Brooke is my brother-in-law Bryan's girlfriend. Brooke and Bryan began dating back in January and we couldn't be happier. We absolutely love Brooke and she fits right in with our family. Fingers crossed that they'll be more than just girlfriend and boyfriend in the next year or so. Just sayin' (; hint, hint Bryan! To celebrate her big day we headed to Greensboro for Japanese food at Kabuto.

Yesterday we celebrated the hubs birthday. He turned 31. He's getting old people, getting old (; At the hubs request, both of our families got together and headed to Greensboro for dinner at Texas Roadhouse. The food was delicious as always and they were so nice to accommodate both of our large families!

Have a great weekend ladies! I'll be vacationing next week but I have a great group of ladies who will be holding my blog down until I return! 


Christmas in July Wishlist

While this month doesn't exactly scream Christmas like it does in December, Christmas in July is right up my alley. I love watching the holiday movies all over again on Hallmark and ABC family. It makes me long for the days where I can curl up on the couch with my little family in a pair of sweatpants, with a blanket, a cup of hot chocolate, and a holiday movie on the television screen. I can see it now...But if I was honest, when that time gets here again, I'll be talking about how I long for the days of sunshine and summertime, tank tops and shorts, and dinners on the porch. Any of you ladies constantly wishing for the opposite weather or is it just me?

Anyways, since today technically marks "Christmas Eve" in July I thought it would be fun to put together a little wishlist per say. I've been lusting over these items over the past few months and hopefully come Christmas when I do my real Christmas wish list, I'll have already added most of these items to my closet :P But then again, that's just wishful thinking (;

Christmas in July Wishlist

Click on picture for links! 

London Fog Dome Handbag- Despite not being a huge fan of the color red when it comes to my wardrobe, I am in love with this poppy colored handbag. It's the perfect late summer/ early fall color. Among that the size is perfect for both my things as well as few of Harper's. You know you mamas carry sippy cups and snacks in your purses as well (; 

Black Gloss Hunter Boots- I love, love, love these boots. I've been wanting them for over a year now and this year I have to have them. I just don't want to fork out the $100+ dollars for them. But as my coworker stated, my feet won't grow anymore in my lifetime (at least I hope not) so why not splurge. After all the black isn't trendy and I can wear them year after year in rain or snow. Right? 

Monogram Half Zip Hoodie- Hands down the perfect piece to pair with my leggings in the early fall. I can see myself wearing it every Saturday!

* Monogram Rain Jacket- I carry a coat every where I go. No lie. The problem is I don't really have any lightweight jackets so I'm thinking this would be absolutely perfect for those warm summer days that transition into cooler nights. 

* Kendra Scott Earrings- I'm beginning to fall in love with statement earrings and I think these are the perfect ones to start my new collection! 

Elephant Monogram Bracelet- I have a slight obsession with elephants. By slight I mean I only buy every other thing that I see with elephants on it. When I saw this bracelet and saw that it was also paired with my other obsession of monograms, I knew it had to be for me! 

Well that's whats on my Christmas in July wish list. What's on yours?


Weekend Recap

Good morning ladies. It's another Monday which means the weekend has came and gone yet again. However this Monday doesn't come so dreadfully because in just six days we'll be making our way to the beach. So let's get this week started shall we?!

I had Friday off and spent most of it cleaning. Our house was in definite disarray and needed a major cleaning and hauling session. I let Harper sleep in until shortly after 9, fed her breakfast, then took her to daycare. From that point on I cleaned, and cleaned, and cleaned some more. By 2 the house was looking much better than it had before. I even managed to tackle cleaning out a few drawers, cabinets, and closets. woot woot!  Friday night we met up with part of our Friday night gang for dinner at a local pizza place. In the summer months with everyone being so busy we don't get to do dinner as much together so it was great to catch up with them and see what they've been up to. When dinner was over we finished the night up with some ice cream from a local dairy bar. A small cup of butter pecan hit the spot!

Kevin had to work Saturday so it was just supposed to be Harper and me for the day. Around noon we decided to surprise the hubs with lunch but before we could get out the door my sister popped by. She ended up spending the rest of the day with us just hanging out at the house. It was nice to have some company and Harper loved having her auntie home. After Kevin got home from work on Saturday we took Harper over to see her grandparents. My mother-in-law volunteered to watch Harper so we could go grab a quick dinner and run a few errands. We were supposed to leave as soon as we got to their house but Kevin's brother and his girlfriend had just started watching Non-Stop and I got into it. We didn't end up leaving until the movie was over...at 8 o'clock. Needless to say we had a late dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant that stays open late on the weekends then ran a few quick errands before stores closed for the night.

Kevin had to work Sunday as well so Harper and I took him breakfast on his first break. It was such a nice day that we decided to just sit in the car and eat our breakfast with the windows down. Since Harper wanted to dance, we turned on some music for her and let her shake her little booty away. Unfortunately when I got ready to leave my car wouldn't crank. Apparently Harp's hour long dance session made my car battery die. Boo! Thankfully Kevin swapped cars with me and one of his coworkers volunteered to kick my car off later.

After our morning adventure, Harper and I headed to church with my family and then headed back to my parents house for our weekly lunch date. Mom fixed taco salads and they were delicious as always. After lunch Harper headed outside with her papa and played in the front yard. They ran around, waved at the neighbors as they came down the road, picked flowers, and gobbled up doughnuts in the driveway. Harp was in heaven.

Last night when Kevin got home from work we grabbed dinner and headed to his parents house. Harper spent the better part of the evening running around outside and blowing bubbles. The kid loves bubbles. Seriously, that's all she ever wants to do. By 10 o'clock the kid was knocked out from an eventful day and we made our way back home to start another week.

Hope your weekends were just as fabulous!


An Afternoon Date

Well ladies, it's my Friday! I mentioned earlier in the week that I was returning to work for the next two weeks to teach summer school and I'm happy to report that I'm halfway there. Summer school in our county runs from 7:45-1:00 each day and is only from Monday-Thursday. It's nice to have Fridays off to get my house straight. You can best believe that's what I'll be doing all day tomorrow. I'd be embarrassed for anyone to see the current state of my house right now. I'm just trying to keep it real. It's looking rather rough ladies.

Yesterday afternoon when I returned home from work the hubby and I headed to Greensboro for an afternoon date. Over the last few weeks with me being on summer vacation it's allowed us to go somewhere once a week for a "day date" while the babe is at daycare for a few hours. It's been a lot of fun hanging out just the two of us! We usually catch lunch at a nice restaurant and catch a movie, take a walk, hang around the house, grab some ice cream or doughnuts, etc. With me working this week it's put a little dent into our plans so Kevin had prearranged for his mom to pick up Harper from daycare so we could have an afternoon to ourselves.

While Harp was at the park playing with her grandma, Kevin and I did a little shopping. We picked up a few things for our beach trip in a few weeks and I grabbed a few things for my classroom. Afterwards we headed to Texas Roadhouse for a steak dinner. Their steaks are hands down the best ever! Take my word for it and go get you one with extra seasoning (;

When dinner was over Kevin took me to Swoozies to get my new Lilly Pulitzer planner. I saw the tusks in the sun pattern a few weeks ago and fell in love with it. I've been dying for it's new release and Kevin was thoughtful enough to take me to get it since they were in stock there. Though I'm not going to lie... I spent fifteen minutes debating between it and the most adorable black and white stripe Kate spade planner. I loved the simplicity of the black, white, and gold and it went great with my new classroom theme but in the end the elephants won me over. They're my favorite animal of all time!

We got home shortly after 6 and took the dog for a walk. With Harper around he doesn't get as much attention these days. By the time we finished walking the neighborhood my mother-in-law had returned with Harp. She was anxious to see us. She shared a few hugs then wanted to go outside. We hung outside for an hour or so and let her ride around in her Cozy Coupe that she got for her birthday. She's obsessed with climbing in and out of it! By the time it was getting dark we had to force her to go inside and she wasn't happy about it and was quick to let us know it. But the sight of bubbles on the kitchen counter changed her mind quickly! It's most definitely the little things in life!


Four Years Ago + A Garage Update

Four years ago Kevin and I signed a million and one papers and closed on the place we'd call home. It's amazing how fast four years has flown by. Check out this picture taken at the attorney's office? Don't we look like a bunch of little teeny boppers? Hard to believe I was just 21 and the hubs (fiance at the time) was just a mere 26.

My hope was to share an updated tour of our home today since the one I shared last year (found here) looks quite a bit different. Over the last year we've done quite a lot of home projects. We've ripped up carpet and installed hardwood floors, taken down wallpaper and painted, added crown molding to new places, gotten new furniture, redecorated a few rooms and various other little projects here and there. We're currently fixing to update our master bedroom and convert Kevin's "man cave" to Harper's playroom. Once those projects are complete I'll give you guys a sneak peek into the current state of our home.

But before I do go I would like to share a project we just completed recently that was sooo unbelievably cheap and super easy. For years I've admired carriage style garage doors and hoped that one day our home could have one too. Unfortunately replacing a perfectly good garage door with another visually appealing one just wasn't in our budget. But in came Pinterest to save the day.

A few weeks ago I just happened to be on Pinterest and one of the very first pins on the page happened to be an easy garage door update with a garage door before picture that looked like mine and an after shot that looked just like what I had envisioned. Intrigued, I clicked on the link and read this article. When I found out I could create the same look for less than $20 I was hooked! A few days later I made a quick trip to Home Depot and picked up this set of black traditional crown bolt hardware for our garage door for less than $19!

My dad was super sweet and swung by to drill these bad boys in for me. It only took him about 30 minutes. The back of the box offers several different options for looks as well as installation directions for each so it made it a relatively easy process to install.  We went with option 1 for a more traditional look and I couldn't be happier with the outcome. 

We took off the window panels last year as you can tell from the next picture! 



Weekend Recap

Good morning ladies!

This weekend came and went pretty quickly for our little family despite that we didn't really do anything too exciting. Since Kevin had to work all weekend, he'd say that was a good thing that it flew by but considering I go back to work this morning I'd say I disagree. Yes, I said that right, I'm going back to work. Back at the end of the school year I volunteered to teach summer school for two weeks to make a little extra spending money for my little family. I felt like it was weeks away from when school let out and I'd have tackled my to-do list by then. Ha what a joke. Three weeks later and I've done nothing and summer school is here. But to say I wasn't excited would be a lie. As much as I've dreaded having to return to being a working mom for the next two weeks, I am actually super excited to return to my other passion of instructing precious kiddos. There seriously is no better or rewarding profession. But that's a story for another day so back to our weekend..l

Friday morning I fixed Harp and me a pancake breakfast. We ate and played a bit then I took her to daycare to hang out with her buddies for a bit so I could run some errands. After dropping her off I made a Target run and stocked up on diapers since they were on super sale. Seriously if you didn't go this past week you missed out. You could get 4 giant boxes of Luvs for $60 or less if you had coupons! When I was done there I swung by a few education stores in search of a few items for my new classroom theme. I've been hunting for new classroom ideas since spring and finally decided on the perfect theme that works for both girls and boys...sports!  Unfortunately I didn't have a lot of luck on finding decorations or supplies so it looks like I'll be perusing online education stores for the next few weeks. But I did finally have some luck at Hobby Lobby when it came to finding something for our entry wall. Since we moved into our house four years ago I've been looking for the perfect art work or mirror to hang above a small entry table. Friday was my lucky day because I saw the most adorable rope mirror ever and it was on sale for half off. This $20 beauty came home with me! I got home shortly after lunch and immediately went to work on hanging my new mirror.

After my new mirror was hung I decided to take a few hours to myself and curl up with my Kindle which is something I haven't been able to do in a long time. Having missed it so much I got so engrossed in a book that I'd downloaded from Bookbub that I seriously read the whole thing before going to pick up Harper. Mom fail but it was honestly worth it to have a little "me time".

Kevin got home from work shortly after 6 o'clock and by 6:30 we were heading out to meet my parents and some friends downtown. The second Friday of every month our city holds a cruise in. Locals bring their antique cars up town for people to admire. Local businesses stay open longer and a concert is held at the Market Square. It's amazing. The streets were packed with people. It took us almost a solid hour to just walk two block downs the road because we ran into so many people we knew. It was like a reunion. We hit up a local cafe for some croissants and homemade vegetable soup then headed down to the Square to hear some beach music. It was the perfect Friday night in a small town.

Saturday morning Harper and I woke up bright and early. On the weekends we usually don't eat breakfast till 9:30 or 10 but since we were both hungry I decided to split a fresh Krispy Kreme doughnut with Harp to hold us over. She clearly couldn't have been more excited! 

Since Kevin was working Saturday, Harp and I headed over to my parents' house to spend the day with them. We started the day with some real breakfast at The Farner's Table, a local family restaurant we love. Harper devoured a biscuit, an egg, and a bowl of grits! She has definitely hit a growth spurt. After breakfast we headed back to my parents house where Harper spent the majority of the next few hours running around outside and climbing up and down her Nana and Papa's steps more times than I can count. Sometime after 1 o'clock we headed to Danville to have lunch at Chick-fil-a. When we got back it was shortly after 3 so Harper and I said our good-byes and took a trip to Kevin's work to surprise him on his break.

Saturday night we went to Kevin's parents' house. His parents volunteered to watch Harper so we could have a quiet dinner alone since Kevin was working all weekend. We hit up our favorite Mexican restaurant and then made a few stops before heading back to pick up our sleepy head.

Yesterday morning Harper and I got up and got ready for church. Since we were both ready earlier than usual we swung by Hardees and grabbed a few biscuits and took them to Kevin's work to have breakfast with him. We spent about an hour there before we headed to church with my family. When church was over we did our usual lunch with my side of the family and spent the afternoon reading the newspaper and chatting. Around 4 Kevin text me and said he'd welcome some more company on his last break of the day so Harper and I headed back to his work. She was in heaven because one of Kevin's coworkers was celebrating her birthday and shared some red velvet cake with her. Needless to say, she missed her afternoon nap from the sugar rush! It had to be the sugar rush or the thrill of "driving"! 

Kevin got home from work around half past 6. Knowing I'd been craving a pizza all weekend he swung by our local Pizza Hut on the way home and got my favorite. Best husband ever! We spent the evening playing with Harper then watched a little television after she went to bed. By 10 o'clock we were calling it a night! 


{Recipes} Banana Pudding

It's no secret that banana pudding is by far a Holt family favorite. After all, we do live in the south and whats not to love about cookies and fruit topped with whipped cream and pudding? I mean... seriously? You can't say no.  Over the weekend I was asked to make a dessert to bring to a family cookout and immediately banana pudding came to mind. It's the perfect summer dessert. I have a trusted recipe that I usually rely on but at the last minute, as in I was actually in the grocery store buying supplies, I text my best friend and asked for her mother-in-law's recipe. At Aly & Clint's rehearsal dinner they served banana pudding as a dessert and many of the guests went on and on about how it didn't compare to Clint's Mom's recipe. Since there were so many rave reviews on it I had to try it and thankfully she didn't mind sharing it. And y'all... it was to die for and super easy to make so I must share it with you guys!

Regular size box of instant vanilla pudding
2 cups of cold mix (for pudding mix)
Large tub of Cool Whip
Box of Vanilla Wafers
4 Bananas

- Mix in 2 cups of milk with pudding mix and let it set in refrigerator.
- Once pudding has set, mix half of Cool Whip with the pudding mix
- In a serving dish, place a layer of cookies, a layer of bananas, and then half of the pudding mix.
- Repeat layer of cookies, bananas, and pudding
- Place another layer of cookies and bananas and top with remaining cool whip
- Top with crushed vanilla wafers

It is by far one of the easiest recipes ever and the most delicious. Take my word for it and go make it now!


{Weekend Recap} 4th of July Fun

Happy Monday ladies! I'm hoping you all had a fantastic 4th of July weekend. It was wonderful that it fell on a Friday giving all of you working moms an extra long weekend. Sometimes that's just what you need when you have a weekend filled with fun! We in the Holt household had a perfect 4th of July weekend filled with good food and fun times with family and friends. It seriously can't get any better than that. 

Sadly Kevin had to work Friday so it was just Harper and I for the majority of the day. We woke up early and since we didn't have anything on our agenda for Friday morning we packed up the car and headed on to the lake to meet up with my parents despite that their cookout didn't begin until 2. While my mom and aunt prepared lunch for all of our family Harper and I hung outside on the porch with my dad and uncle.. but not before sneaking a few tastes of the deliciousness that was being prepared inside. By 2:30 all of our family had arrived and we dug in. The rest of the afternoon was spent on the porch rocking in chairs and cutting up and carrying on with the rest of the family.

Harper and I left the lake around 5:15 so we could meet Kevin at home when he got off work. When he got home he had just enough time to change before we had to head out to his cousin's house for a cook out. They hosted some family and friends over for some hot dogs, homemade ice cream, and fireworks. We took them up on the hot dogs but passed on the ice cream and fireworks because as soon as we ate we had to leave to head to Kevin's brother's cookout.

Brooke and Bryan hosted a small cookout for some close friends and all of Kevin's family. Brooke, Bryan's girlfriend, has a little cabin down by a private lake and it couldn't have been a better place for a private little get together. By the time we arrived they'd all devoured their hot dogs so I came bearing banana pudding. It was delicious and got gone fast. I'll be sharing the recipe tomorrow.

When it got dark, the guys lit off some firework that Bryan and Brooke had picked up in South Carolina earlier in the week. For a do-it-yourself kind of show it was spectacular. The fireworks were gorgeous and they had enough to last for about 20 minutes. I'd love to say Harper was a fan but she just wasn't. At the beginning she admired the pretty lights in the sky until they started coming down at her. Thankfully my mother-in-law was there and volunteered to take Harper in so we could enjoy the show. When it was over we lit sparklers and took photos. Harper was a bit hesitant at first but then they grew on her.

Saturday Kevin had to head back into work again at 6am so Harper and I spent the morning sleeping in until 9 or so. Since we didn't really have anything to do my sister came over and we decided to hit up the Tanger Outlets in Mebane. They always run some great sales during the holidays so we figured what better time to check them out. The sales did not disappoint. Gap, Banana Republic, and J Crew had most of their merchandise 50-70% off. I ended up with two new pair of jeans for $30. It was a shopping trip well spent.

Before heading home we stopped by Texas Roadhouse for lunch. Harper loved it and was quite a hit. We sat pretty close to the bar so she could hear the music. She danced in her high chair for pretty much the whole time we were there and stole quite a few laughs and smiles from people sitting around us.

Kevin arrived home from work Saturday afternoon shortly after six. He walked in hot, sweaty, and exhausted. In the summer his work can push 120 degrees inside and it drains the life out of you. But despite the intense temperature Kevin loves his job and looks forward to going every day. But since the heat had gotten to him more so than usual he wanted to lay down a few minutes before dinner. Since he hadn't seen Harper any though he wanted us to lay down with him. I don't know if it was the late night we'd had the previous night or being on the go shopping all day but apparently Harper and I were tired too and ended up taking a nap as well.  By the time we woke up it was time to meet Kevin's brother and his girlfriend for dinner.

We hit up a local Japanese place for a quick dinner then called it a night.

Kevin was off yesterday so we woke up and headed to church as a family. When church was over we headed to my parents' house for our usual Sunday lunch. Having tired quickly of hot dogs and hamburgers with the holiday this weekend Mom fixed a simple lunch of chicken tender salads and lemon meringue pie. It was the perfect meal for such a hot day. We spent most of the remaining afternoon at their house. While there Dad and I worked on planning a vacation to Charleston for the family while Mom rocked Harper on the porch and Kevin took a nap on the couch. I'm telling you, I had some tired babies on my hands.

Sunday evening Kevin and I headed to his parents house for dinner. Kevin's been dying for some of his mom's lasagna so she fixed it for us and had his grandparents over as well. It was delicious as always and I left filling unbelievably stuffed. I also left with a huge plate of leftovers that will be completely gone by lunch today!

Overall we couldn't have asked for a better weekend. I hope you ladies can say the same!


Friday Confessions

Since I'm getting back into the blogging routine after blogging pretty sporadically this past school year, I decided I'd jump back into the 5 on Friday or Friday Confession posts. Since 5 on Friday is taking a break for a little bit that leaves me with a good ole 'fess sesh for you ladies today! Which is even better because I don't know about you ladies but it's always hard for me to narrow it down to just five. What can I say, I'm a talker! Anyways, on with the confessions...

I confess...

1. My biggest goal for myself this summer is to organize our house from top to bottom, inside and out. For the last few months I've been dying for summer to get here so I could get started. I just knew I'd start on this big task as soon as summer started. But yet, two whole weeks have gone by and I've done nothing. I wake up every morning saying today is the day I'll get started and then I spend hours reading a book, checking all my social media apps, browsing pinterest, or blogging. By the time I find the motivation it's too late in the day. I'm convinced that this will probably be on next year's summer to do list as well... Fail.

2. I am ashamed to admit it but I am addicted to the show Mistresses that comes on ABC on Monday nights. It's risque to say the least but for some reason I can't change the channel. Even the hubs has gotten into watching it with me despite that he'd never admit it. If you haven't seen it, go check it out. You'll be hooked. 

3. I have already started working on Harper's Christmas list. On the top of the list was a Kidkraft retro kitchen and we were so lucky to score a brand new one on Craigslist for less than half the cost. Problem is I got so excited about it that we gave it to Harper the next day. Hopefully she'll tire of it before then and we can put it away and pull it back out on Christmas. haha

4. Last week I had to have my car towed because all of the oil had drained out of it on my in-laws driveway. I found out that the previous place I had my oil changed at put the wrong oil in it and my line had busted. Since finding out that last Friday it's all I've been able to do to not call and demand they pay for the expense to fix it. But I'm reminding myself that everyone makes mistakes and I'm sucking it up and forking out the cash.

5. I am currently obsessed with redecorating my home. I want to redecorate our living room, bedroom, and get started on Harper's playroom. Unfortunately, most of it's going to have to wait with the exception of Harper's playroom. Which I'll be blogging about soon (or I hope).

6. I had to get my first filling ever on Wednesday. Not because I had a cavity (which I've never had by the way) but because I have a receding gum line. To say I was nervous about the whole ordeal was an understatement. I am pretty sure having a baby wasn't as nerve-racking for me. 

7. I am obsessed with all things monogrammed right now. Thanks to Harper stretching out my sunglasses while playing with them recently, it gave me an excuse to add these monogram sunnies to my collection. I scored them on Groupdealz for less than $14... shipping and all. They should arrive just in time for our beach vacay!

8. Kevin and I discovered last week that we're getting a donut shop less than five minutes from our house. We may or may not drive by every day to see if they've opened yet. Can you say fatties?

Anyways, that's enough with the confessions for today.

Hope you ladies have a fabulous 4th!


Burdened & Brokenhearted

Ladies this morning I come to you with a broken heart. A heart that is heavy and burdened. Three weeks ago a former student of mine, whose mother also works with me, was placed in the hospital. Three weeks ago we had no idea what that would mean. You see just days before being placed in the hospital Spencer complained to her mom that she wasn't feeling well. She visited the school nurse and I gathered it was chalked up to being the end of the school year blues. Everyone was feeling kind of blah at that time. EOG's were over, kids and teachers both were DONE. Everyone was just ready for school to be out. But over the weekend Spencer continued to not feel well so her parents decided to visit Urgent Care to just double check that everything was okay. After a quick visit, they were told it was just a virus. However, they made plans to take Spencer to her regular doctor the next day. Only they didn't get the chance.

When my coworker went to get Spencer up for school the following morning she continued to complain that she didn't feel well. Moments later she collapsed to the floor. Her mother had to do CPR until the ambulance arrived. From my understanding on the way to the hospital Spencer coded and a trach had to be placed to allow her to breathe. Hours later she was rushed from our local hospital to a children's research hospital. While there the doctors discovered she had Sepsis, an infection of the blood, that was caused by Strep. They knew Spencer would have a long road ahead of her but there was hope. Over the last three weeks, Spencer showed progress. She would move her feet, open her eyelids, cough, and even began to breathe on her own again so much so that her ventilator was removed just last week. All of her friends and family were encouraged and felt like she was truly on the road to recovery. But something happened, something went wrong.

Yesterday afternoon, she went to be with Jesus. I don't know why God would take such a young, vibrant eleven year old who had her whole life ahead of her. He took an only child from two amazing parents who loved and served Him with all that they had. So many prayers went up for her all morning, all day, and all night. People begged for her healing and her life and God said she was better with Him. I don't understand. I can't help but ask God why. But I know why. It's part of His ultimate plan even though we don't understand it right now. 

This morning I will meet on the front lawn of a local church where my coworkers and members of the community will humble ourselves and pray for this family. At this time there is nothing we can do for this family other than pray and I ask that you pray for the Springs Family as well. Their pain is unfathomable to me. I can't imagine having my precious baby ripped out of my life so suddenly. My only child, the one I prayed for for years. Today they will pick out their daughter's casket. Just the thought causes the hot, fresh tears to stream down my face.  My heart breaks all over again. Never in Laura and Kevin's wildest dreams did they imagine they'd be planning their daughter's funeral before they planned her wedding. Life changes so quickly.

Today hug your babies a little big tighter. Savor the good and the bad because in just an instant they could be gone. Remember the Springs family in your prayers in the days and weeks to come <3 nbsp="">