Five for Friday!

It almost feels like it has taken me the whole week to recover from all of the Easter fun! Since SC had such a busy past few days, we have been taking this week slow with lots of blowing bubbles in the backyard, story time and the usual errands.

ONE
In addition to the Easter gifts that my husband and I got her, my parents also got her a pink polka dot tent!  While it's definitely not gender neutral, I love it and so does SC!  It's become a  cozy little reading nook for her.
TWO
One of my friends is having a baby in a few weeks, so I got the crazy idea to try to cross stitch a little something for her baby boy.  It's become way more time consuming than I realized, so I'll probably be talking about this again, but I've been hard at work trying to make progress on this thing! So far I've only finished the border and one of the arrows...
Via
THREE
I love sending cards, but  they can get pricey quickly. I can easily drop $15 on just a few cards, which is kind of insane.  Awhile ago, my sister gently suggested I try checking out the Dollar Store, and it has helped save a bit of money.  This week, I was able to pick up some for Mother's Day, so we are slowly getting ready for that holiday! May is a big month in our family, so I'm trying to start early because I always end up feeling a bit overwhelmed.
FOUR
While I've still made a few trips to my beloved Target, I have really enjoyed shopping at Aldi lately.  One thing that is a bummer is that they really rotate different specialty items quickly, so you have to jump on it.  I tried this flatbread a week ago, and was sad to see on Thursday that it was just a one-time deal.  At least it is fun to try different foods that way, but next time I'm stocking up if I see anything I think might be good!
FIVE
For some reason, I feel like our house is starting to feel a little more homey.  My sister bought me some prints that I finally hung in SC's bathroom.  My husband stocked up on frames when he stopped by IKEA last week, so we're hoping to get a few more things hung up this weekend.  It's funny how just having something on the walls makes such a difference!
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  We have a play date this morning, and I expect the rest of our weekend will be pretty low key.  After all of the excitement last weekend, I'm looking forward to it!

SC's First Trip to Busch Gardens!

A few weeks ago, we decided to buy season passes to Busch Gardens and Water Country, because tickets were pretty reasonable and we thought it would be fun activity for the summer.  We were a bit apprehensive how it would be at a theme park with an almost 18 month old, but it actually went pretty well, and we are already planning our next excursion.
As soon as we arrived, we headed to the Sesame Street Forest of Fun. My husband took SC on Bert and Ernie's Loch Adventure, which she loved, but the line seemed to get pretty long quickly while she was on the ride, so she only went for one spin.
It was getting pretty warm by then and the other rides seemed like they would be a bit much for her, so to the splash pad we went, which she absolutely loved. I think in the future, we might just go straight there.
In the next few visits, I want to check out Elmo's Castle, but the splash pad definitely made her day.
She also got to meet a few Sesame Street characters.  She wasn't afraid of them, but she didn't seem overly enthusiastic about them either.
We changed her, and then decided to head to the Land of Dragons, but got a little side tracked at the KinderCarousel.  SC rode three times and I think she would have gladly ridden three more times!
At that point, we were really pushing against nap time, and we were meeting up with my family, so we headed out, but it was a good introduction to the park. With that said, I got a bit overheated while we were there, and was sick the rest of the afternoon.  Next time, I'll be sure to actually fill the water bottle that we brought sooner rather than later.  We packed a decent amount of things for our little adventure (snacks,changes of clothes, sunscreen, towel), but we used most of it, so I think it will be hard to pack but so lightly.  Anyone have tips for theme parks with toddlers? It's not always the most efficient, but it is fun!

Easter Weekend Recap!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!  I know I've posted lots about Easter already, and I have to admit that I don't think I've ever so thoroughly celebrated any holiday before.  I think we will have to continue the Easter spirit for a long time around here (or at the very least the plastic eggs aren't going anywhere any time soon).
On Friday night, my husband got in pretty late from a quick work trip, and then a few minutes later, his mom arrived to help celebrate the weekend with us.  Everyone was pretty exhausted, so we visited for a few minutes and then headed to bed so we would all be ready for Saturday!

On Saturday morning, we decided to go to the library's Easter bunny visit, and it was a lot of fun!  They also had live bunnies and an egg hunt, as well as a little story time.
And SC had her final Easter bunny visit for the year.  I hope she likes him as much next year!
On the way home, we decided to visit a nearby farm, so my MIL could see it, and SC could also see some more bunnies (and chicks, piglets and baby goats too!).  After that it was nap time!
The husband mulched in the front yard, and we got SC's Easter surprise ready.  Since SC is absolutely obsessed with bunnies, we decided to get her a giant bunny from Target.  On the way back from my husband's work trip, he also picked up a few fun things for her from IKEA, so she had quite the Easter gifts!
She immediately "fed" her new bunny some carrots.
We also fit in a little Easter egg dying too!  They weren't fancy, but it was fun to do!
In addition to all of the Easter fun, we took a trip to Busch Gardens, which I'll recap tomorrow.  It felt like we had quite the weekend!

Weekend Recap: Easter Bunny Fun!

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  We had a fun one, but I made the mistake of wanting to watch Manchester by the Sea, which is a good film but so depressing.  Fortunately, on Saturday morning we had the joy of seeing SC meet the Easter Bunny!

Our realtor was holding an egg hunt, so we thought it might be a fun activity for SC.   She loves bunnies, so I had hopes that she might not be terrified.  On Friday, I started talking with her about the Easter Bunny and explained that he was a really tall bunny who hopped, which she seemed to understand.  As soon as we got there she immediately spotted him and was super excited.
After a few photos, we attempted to go on our way, but SC was determined to go back to have a little more time with her new favorite bunny.  Fortunately, he was very patient and there were no other children waiting to see him.
I love this picture because this is her quintessential look of delight. All of her bunny dreams have come true!
There was also an egg hunt, which SC enjoyed, but nothing could compare to the Easter Bunny!
After nap time, we decided to head downtown to a library close to my husband's work.  The inside is amazing and has so much for children.  The outside is so pretty too, isn't it?
SC and I will definitely be going back.  I know I'm always talking about the library, but I really have new appreciation for the ones in our area and feel they really cater to children.

Buoyed by Saturday's Easter Bunny success, after church and nap time we decided to go to another little Easter activity.  This time SC got to see a real live bunny, in addition to the Easter Bunny.
She also went on a little egg hunt and saw a fire truck, which she was mesmerized by. I think she wanted to touch all the knobs and buttons!
And now we are back to Monday, but I sure did enjoy my time with these two!
Anybody else start with the Easter fun?  I feel I've never quite so thoroughly celebrated the holiday before!

Easter Basket Treats and Decor!

I've been inspired by everyone's posts about Easter, so I thought I'd share a few of our preparations! One thing that I was really excited to do was pull out my Easter banner that I used to hang in the apartment.  I'm not going to lie, even though the mantle decor is very simple, it actually took me awhile.  At one point, SC was pulling down the banner and a vase fell (but fortunately didn't break).  After that I realized this was a better nap time project, and finally got it arranged.
I know this veers a bit into tacky, but I love these little welcome signs I picked up at the Dollar Store. While they definitely aren't going to become family heirlooms, they are so cheerful.
And of course I had to drag out my little wooden sign that I bought the first year my husband and I were married.  I remember at the time my sister thought it was a total junk purchase, but I really love this thing! (Just to clarify, it is a total junk purchase, but it is serving me well!)
Last year I almost didn't do an Easter basket for SC, but this year I know she will enjoy it.  I still didn't want to spend too much money, so I'm keeping things simple.  I bought this cute lamb at Walgreen's (SC has seen it and may have already laid claim to it), a mini book set at Home Goods, and some Winnie the Pooh flashcards and My First Prayer Book at the Dollar Store.  Her big "splurge" was a set of egg shakers from Amazon, which she is obsessed with from story time.
I made up a little Easter basket for my friend's son, and gave it to him when he came to visit.  Even though it was simple, (the bubbles, basket and chalk eggs came from the Dollar Store), it was a huge hit.
I am still working on putting a little basket for my niece, but we are getting ready for Easter around here!  What are your favorite Easter basket stuffers?  I find that the Dollar Store and the Target dollar spot have really had some tempting items!

Five for Friday!

Happy Friday!  We've had a quiet week with the only excitement from SC coming down with a bit of a cold on Wednesday night. I'm assuming she got sick from the toy carrot she licked at the library, but it could also have been her attempt to eat random things she finds off the driveway.  I doubt we will be cracking that mystery any time soon, so here are my five for Friday!
ONE
Aldi had a grand opening near us last Thursday, and I have high hopes that shopping there will help us reduce our grocery bill.  Our closest grocery store is Harris Teeter, which is nice, but I feel the prices can be absurdly high for a grocery store.  It is super close to us, so we are always going there for last minute items, but it drives my husband crazy.  I was impressed with Aldi when we went to visit, although I splurged on a few fresh flowers, so slashing the grocery budget could be a slow process. I think I've also mentally  "reallocated" the money we will save about ten times too!
TWO
I had two extra large picture frames lying around that I couldn't figure out a real use for,  so I decided to put some wrapping paper in the frames to see if I could use them for something then.  I felt kind of silly, but once I did that I realized that one would be a perfect little "tray" to use in my closet.
The other one was too big for the shelf to work as a tray, so I just set it in the background to add a little color.  Even though it is truly a small thing I was excited to make the shelves look a little more pulled together and also to eliminate random junk just sitting around.
THREE
Despite the fact that I did a pretty decent cleaning out of my closet last week, I still feel like I have nothing to wear.  It took me awhile, but when I was working, I created a bit of a "uniform" for myself with a pencil skirt, sweater, and scarf or necklace.  I can't seem to find something similar that works for me casually. In a moment that can only be described as a mid-life crisis I decided to buy (and keep) this top.  For some reason I actually like it, but the husband is not a fan, and I know it looks ridiculous.  Oh well, the other moms at the park can just stare at my ruffled disaster.
Via
FOUR
Something that isn't a complete disaster is this dress from Old Navy.  It's easy to wear for every day, and I added a scarf and wore it to church last Sunday.
Via
FIVE
To go with our pork chops on Wednesday night, I used this simple recipe to make baked apples and they turned out exactly how I had hoped!  My parents love baked apples, so I can't wait to make this for them.  In other cooking news, I also tried making the two ingredient banana pancakes for SC's breakfast.  While they weren't picture perfect, they turned out pretty good and SC seemed moderately enthused about them.
Well, that's all I have for this Friday, so I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!