Thoughts On Thursday

It's been a while since I've done a good ol' mish-mash of things going on in our life here, and I enjoy writing these sort of mundane but fun posts!

First things first ... I lost one of my rings on Monday. Sad face. I have a beautiful gold ring with rubies and diamonds set in it. I wear it daily. Every day I have the same routine -- shower, get ready for the day, put rings on, take them off before washing face at night. The other night I went to take it off and realized it was already missing. Who knows at what point it disappeared? My fingers have become a little bonier due to weight lost with nursing Charlotte combined with the chillier weather. Could it have slipped off as I was dumping toddler meal remnants in the trash? Could it be wrapped up in one of Char's diapers in the smelly diaper genie? Could it be outdoors in the grass, under a piece of furniture, in a parking lot, who knows? This morning Ian said "we will get you a new one." And while that is sweet (and it's not like it was an heirloom vintage piece or anything), it just feels wasteful to go out and buy a new ring when I had a perfectly good one.

How I stopped being a craft hoarder:
yeah yeah yeah. I KNOW

Next up ... we are about to pull the trigger on getting the skinny metal blinds out of our home and replaced with 2" faux wood blinds with nice crown mounts (and a little splurge on plantation shutters for the kitchen bay windows and above the sink). It's not the cheapest endeavor, but it's adding value in the home and one more step to making it feel like "ours."

Who's watching Westworld on HBO? We are hooked. We are saving this past Sunday's ep to watch together on Friday night. Hopefully over a huge cheesy pizza to plump my fingers up.

Image result for westworld

I am going to get my oil changed today.
I am GOING to GET my OIL changed TODAY.
Putting that out there in the universe so it happens.

And, I'm getting so excited about Halloween! Our first Halloween of really feeling like Camille "gets it." She and I have been practicing Trick or Treating. Literally. I go inside the pantry and she knocks on the door and I open it up and pretend to give her candy, making sure she says "trick or treat!" AND, of course, a big "thank youuuuu"!

Any guesses on what she's going to be for Halloween? Get it right and I'll send you ... something!

Okay, see you all back here for FIVE ON FRIDAY tomorrow!


Long Weekend In The Mountains

My husband grew up all over the place but spent a considerable amount of time being raised in Cleveland, Ohio (Solon area, if you're familiar). 

Last Wednesday, two of his best Solon buddies and their sweet families joined us at the mountain house for a fun long weekend! One still resides in the Cleveland area and the other lives in Davidson (north of Charlotte). 

Everyone gets along so well and it's crazy fun watching the kids play together. Here are some photos from our trip!

Highlights included: 

* A trip to scenic Grandfather Mountain (my ticket was $18 after the AAA discount, my girls got in for free) and white-knuckle walk across the well known swinging bridge. If you visit, I highly recommend plugging the CD they give you at the gate into your car's CD player. It describes everything you will see and gives you ideas of what to do there (nature museum, animal feedings, see where Forest Gump ran in a scene from the movie). 

* Matching pajamas for all of the girls (these from Gymboree, if you're looking for a great pair that comes in a large variance of sizes)

* A trip for the little ones to the Children's Playhouse in Boone with the moms (the husbands walked around downtown and the campus while everyone was tailgating for the ASU game)

* A walk around downtown Boone and letting the kids pick out a few pieces of candy from the Mast General Store (let's just say that a candy necklace rocked Camille's world)

* S'mores around the fire

* And after 8pm when kids were dreaming, adult bevvies, pool/darts, and catching up for the adults!

It was an awesome long weekend and we need to make it an annual trip.


Found In The Mountains: Geode Soaps

We went to a really cute gift store in Boone this past weekend (Artwalk) and I ended up finding the neatest little handsoaps for our downstairs guest bath. They are made to look like beautiful natural gemstones, no two alike! I just had to buy two of them.

How unique are they?!

You can pick these up on Etsy for a few dollars, and whether you use them for your own home, or for a fun accompaniment to a teacher gift or a family member's stocking stuffer, I think anybody would appreciate their beauty!

Here are some I found on Etsy:

Geode Soaps


Chinese Deliciousness

We returned from the mountains late yesterday afternoon and I really.really.really did not want to go to the grocery store. 

When I remembered that we had some frozen Chinese dishes from Trader Joe's in the freezer, I was one happy girl!

If you've ever been to a TJ's, you know that everything looks SO good and it could be tempting to bust your monthly grocery budget in one trip there. So I always love reading what fellow bloggers love to get there. I've been hearing for a while about their Mandarin chicken and we finally gave it a shot.

The chicken was delicious ... and easily prepared. I baked the chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet. I poured the sauce into a big glass bowl and stuck it right in the oven as well to warm it up. Once the chicken was done, I just slid it from the baking sheet to the glass bowl and tossed to coat.

We had it with a shrimp and veggie stir fry and steamed pork buns, all from Trader Joe's. 

Pork buns are .... sighhhhh .... YUMMY. I ate two.

All three components of this meal were right around $10 total, and we had enough for two dinners and leftovers for my lunch today. Much less expensive than take-out and just as delicious!


Saturday Sip and Shop: My Fall Staples


This time last year I was almost three months pregnant, so honeycrisp apple sangria was off of...:

Honeycrisp Apple Sangria
A fall favorite of mine!
Recipe HERE


Fall Uniform


And the perfect fall "uniform" ... my outfit yesterday!
Would you believe that vest is from the kid's department?!
I am wearing the size Large -- I'm 5'2". It also comes in an XL.


Five On Friday

Hello from the mountains! I'm spending some time with family and friends now so will save my five for next week. We are about to head into downtown Boone, walk around a bit, and grab burgers at our favorite spot. The leaves are falling all over and it's so beautiful up here!



Pumpkin Patching

Some girlfriends and I took the girls to Hunter Farms on Sunday to see the pumpkins and enjoy a hay ride!

Hunter Farms is just such a cute place to visit. It's run by a great family and it's so nice to have it only about fifteen minutes from our home. 

Part of the hay ride is a stop to see a cow get milked and visit a little petting zoo. Camille was in heaven!

At the end of the ride, you get to pick out a mini-pumpkin to take home. We picked one squat one with no stem and one skinny tall one with a stem. They look so cute stacked!


Date Night at SCarowinds

If you've been reading my blog long enough, you know how much of a Halloween nut that my husband is. I've always liked it, but he LOVES it. If the television is on at any given point in October in our home, there's an 80% chance that a Friday the 13th will be playing (well, you know, when no kiddo eyes are around). 

Two years ago, for Ian's birthday, I gave him tickets to SCarowinds ... it's the Halloween version of Carowinds where the lights go out, the spooky songs are blasted throughout the park, and there are actors dressed in costumes who wander the park, spooking the guests! He LOVED it, and we would have gone again last year but I was pregnant with Charlotte. This year was the perfect year to return!

We got our tickets and made our first stop to get our Fast Lane Plus passes. These are not inexpensive ($70/ea), BUT we consider them essential. They allow you to bypass the lines. My husband is not patient and not a fan of lengthy lines, so this is a no-brainer for us. We were also paying for a babysitter, so we wanted to spend our time at SCarowinds riding tons of rides and not waiting in line all night.

Next stop? Fury 325.

I don't like rollercoasters. Well, I didn't. I was PETRIFIED of them growing up. My middle sister rode them with my dad and I waited at the bottom, trembling. Sometimes I'd get in line with them and then the panic would set in and I'd have to maneuver my way solo out of the snaking line to find my mom and baby sister. 

But Ian loves them, and I rode one two years ago, and dare I say that it was a thrill ... and fun?! So as soon as we got our Fast Lane passes, we headed straight to Fury 325 (it's rather new and was not there for our last trip) and Ian asked for first row seats. I could have hit him. Heights reach 325 feet and it goes 95 miles per hour.

But it was also fun to knock the scariest ride out first. 

And we survived!

After a while, we sat down for a beer with a map and plotted out our roller coaster plan. Intimidator was one that we rode two years ago and really enjoyed. Afterburn, Carolina Cobra, and Carolina Goldrusher are three of my other favorites. Nighthawk is the one where you are laying down on your stomach, which I was really excited about, but it wasn't open on Sunday night. 

If you are planning a trip to Carowinds, here's a description of the roller coasters and rides so you can make your plan of attack. 

Remember to wear comfy shoes and have some sort of pocket that zippers or snaps for important items like your keys and phone. I wore my new military vest which had snap pockets and was perfect for the park (yes, it's from the kid's department, more on this later). 

SCarowinds is, I think, the perfect time to visit because you get all of the fun of the park with the added bonus of getting really excited for Halloween. But if you want to visit SCarowinds and do not want to be spooked by the actors in costume, they have a "No Boo" necklace you can purchase which keeps you safe from the ghouls and goblins that wander the park. SCarowinds is designed for those above the age of 13, making it the perfect date night spot. There's something about running around an amusement park together with your honey that is just so thrilling. Like turning the time machine back.

Rollercoasters ... do you do them?

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