baby girl eating watermelon

A Quiet Weekend with Nowhere to Be…

It was one of those weekends around here where we didn’t have anywhere to be or anyone to answer to…(my favorite kind of weekend). On Friday afternoon, we took a trip to the library and picked out some books and movies to enjoy a fun (and free!) Friday night at home. We let each kiddo pick out a movie and we ended up with Snow White, Happy Feet and Scooby Doo.

While the kids were watching their movies, Sissy wandered into my bathroom where I was painting my toenails and she plopped down right next to me and stuck her foot out. I didn’t think she would actually sit still long enough to let me paint hers, but to my surprise, she did! I just love these sweet, girly moments with my little love.We got up on Saturday morning and hit our local farmer’s markets for some fresh produce. I can’t believe we waited this long in the summer to go because we got the sweetest, most delicious cantaloupe I’ve ever had! It helps that the nicest farmer in his denim overalls sold it to us out of the back of his pickup 🙂 I’m telling you, country living just keeps getting better and better for us!It didn’t take long for us to get into our goodies when we got home. Jude and Presley would eat watermelon until their bellies ached if I let them…they come by it honestly though. And if you haven’t tried watermelon and cantaloupe with Tajín sprinkled on top, do yourself a favor!! So. Dang. Good.On Sunday, Jeff’s parents visited and we all went to church together. They came over afterwards and I made chicken tacos with rice & beans for lunch. We all crashed after that and were lazy the rest of the day. My kind of Sunday 🙂 P.S. This little wild guy is teaching his baby sister all about shenanigans and she is becoming QUITE the handful!img_0134-1I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!signature

Indoor Summer Activities

This Texas heat y’all. Woof. It’s so stinking hot outside. My kids would still stay outside all day if I let them, but mama can’t handle it. We usually play outside in the morning before it gets too sweltering, but then after their naps I try to get creative to keep them entertained indoors for a bit.I thought it would be fun to compile a list of some of our favorite indoor activities when we’re trying to stay in, and not go stir crazy.IndoorActivities

  1. Build a Couch Fort
    Prop up the cushions, throw some blankets over the top and there ya have it! This little setup entertains my kids for at least an hour.
  2. Shaving Cream in the Bathtub
    That’s right. Grab a few bottles of shaving cream, get your kids in the bathtub (without water), and let them have at it! Jude and Knox have the best time playing in shaving cream.
  3. Play Doh Activity Table
    I pull out all my cookie cutters, some kitchen utensils and a few jars of play doh, then setup their kiddie table with all the goodies.
  4. Play Centers in Unexpected Areas of the House
    I don’t know about you, but if I tell my kids to go play with their toys, it lasts about five minutes and then everyone is “bored” again. But if I grab a puzzle or a few specific toys and separate them in different parts of the house, they suddenly become interesting again. Put a few pillows, blankets and stuffed animals in the corner of your living room and it’s now a cozy little play hideaway!
  5. Put Toys in a Rotation
    One thing we do to cut down on clutter and prevent our kids from getting tired of their toys is put them in a rotation. We’ll box up some toys and put them in the attic for a few months. Then, when we bring them back out, put some other toys away for awhile. It’s like Christmas every few months!
  6. Movie Night in the Middle of the Day
    Why not?! It’s summer! Pop some popcorn, turn out the lights and put in a good movie. I introduced my kids to The Sandlot this summer and I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it more than anyone 🙂
  7. Visit Your Local Library
    Most libraries have different little events each week that you can attend for free! Plus, you can check out new books and movies to break up the monotony of story time at home.

I would love to know your family’s favorite summer activities! Do you just embrace the heat for the most part or run for cover?signature

Top 10 Aldi tips and products

Top 10 Aldi Shopping Tips and Products

AldiTipsIf an Aldi grocery store hasn’t popped up in your neighborhood yet, I’d be willing to bet there’s one close by. Since we moved to the country, I drive about 30 minutes to the closest one. I’ve been shopping at Aldi for a few years now, and there are certainly some quirks about it. I would definitely recommend checking one out if you haven’t already. The thing I love the most about Aldi is their prices! You will be amazed at the amount of groceries you can purchase when compared to what you spend at a traditional grocery store. Before you hurry out the door, here are some things to consider before your first trip:

  1. Bring a quarter! The first (and most important) part of your trip. You’ll need a quarter to get a shopping buggy. When you are done shopping, just return your cart and pop your quarter out.
  2. Go early in the morning! If you wait to go late in the day, a lot of their sale items and refrigerator staples will get low in stock. I think this probably applies to most grocery stores, but Aldi is quite a bit smaller than your average store and it gets cleaned out pretty quick on the weekends especially.
  3. Carefully select your produce before tossing it in your cart. Unfortunately, I’ve had produce go bad pretty fast when I bring it home. I’ve also had really fresh produce…you just have to really look it over. I’ve even called my local Aldi to find out what day of the week fresh produce is stocked.
  4.  Bring your own shopping bags. Aldi does not provide shopping bags, so make sure you bring your reusable ones. If you forget them or don’t have any, you can purchase paper bags for $.06 each.
  5. Don’t be afraid to try new brands. There are few store brands that Aldi actually carries. I can almost guarantee you, you’ve never heard of the brands they carry! We’ve tried tons of their pantry items (chips, cereal, crackers, oatmeal) and they are just as good as name brands.
  6. Some items are seasonal. You may find something you really love and then the next time you go, they won’t have it. Some of their items are rotated seasonally and only carry them at certain times of the year.
  7. Stock up when items are on sale. Even though Aldi already has great prices, they still have sales every week. For example, last week chicken breasts were on sale for $1.65/lb. When that happens, stock up! You can freeze in individual portions and save so much money.
  8. Save your money on household items. When it comes to Aldi, I would stick to food purchases only. They have a section of household items like laundry detergent, dish soap, paper plates, etc. You can get all of those items cheaper at Wal-Mart.
  9. Be prepared to bag your own groceries. When you get ready to check-out, the cashier will ring up your items and put everything right back in your cart. There is a counter you can then go to and bag up your own groceries. It’s a little bit of a headache, but if you like saving money it’s not too bad.
  10. Don’t fret over long checkout lines. There’s usually only one or two checkers so the checkout lines can get long. However, they move super fast! Since they aren’t bagging your groceries, the wait time is minimal.

Now that you know the basics, I wanted to share some of my favorite products from Aldi.aldi grocery items

  1. Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Caramels  They hit you with these as soon as you walk in the door, and I can see why. They are so dang good. The perfect little sweet bite after dinner.
  2. Gluten Free Pizza Dough  I’ve tried so many gluten-free pizza dough mixes and this one ranks at the top. It’s easy to throw together and tastes great.
  3. Organic Honduras Coffee Beans  We absolutely love this coffee! The beans are always so fresh and smell spectacular when you grind them up.
  4. Baking Items  Chocolate chips, walnuts, pecans, baking soda, baking powder and vanilla extract.
  5. Cheese Blocks  I’ve tried all of their cheese blocks (sharp cheddar, mozzarella, etc.), and they are great quality and so much cheaper than store brand.
  6. Frozen Haricots Verts Green Beans  You must try these green beans. They are the closest thing to fresh green beans you’ll ever put in your mouth.
  7. Organic Coconut Oil  There are so many uses for coconut oil, but I love it for beauty regimens the most. I also occasionally use it to bake.
  8. Tomato Sauce  Their small cans of tomato sauce go quick in my house! I use them to make pasta for my kiddos, pizza sauce and more. It doesn’t hurt that they are .29 per can.
  9. Fresh Strawberries A staple purchase for me at Aldi. They are almost always .99 for a pound! Crazy cheap.
  10. Fudge Stripe Cookies. Not the healthiest of the bunch, but still a yummy, sweet treat for my kids when they eat all their dinner 🙂

There ya have it! I would love to know if anyone else shops at Aldi and what items you purchase on repeat.signatureTop 10 Aldi tips and products

Family beach photo

Family Beach Vacation to Gulf Shores

Our last trip to the beach was so memorable. Our Presley girl got to stick her toes in the sand for the very first time! We absolutely love vacationing to the beach and wish we could do it more often. This trip we decided to have family photos taken, and holy cow! Family beach photos with three kids under the age of five is a complete circus show you guys. One needed a nap, one needed dinner and the other an attitude adjustment. Luckily, we had an amazing photographer who was very patient and so sweet. Now get ready for a ridiculous amount of photos!Family beach photo

Jacobs-1Jacobs-84And last but not least, this gem. Real life y’all! This is what it’s really like taking staged photos with kids!Jacobs-64I love these little beach bums so, so much and I cannot wait until our next trip to a white, sandy beach…even if it is chaos.signature

Affordable essential oils, how to use essential oils, essential oil tips, using essential oils

How to Use Essential Oils without Breaking the Bank (or Selling Them)

essential oilsEverywhere you turn lately, everyone is either selling or talking about essential oils. I first became interested in them when my little boy was still an infant and I was desperate to help him feel better from congestion. A co-worker who sold DoTerra essential oils told me about them and I bought a Respiratory blend from her. I about died when she told me how much one bottle was going to cost! I was desperate though and didn’t know any different, so I bought it. I loved that particular blend and still use it, I just wanted to find a way to use essential oils affordably. I know many people who use and sell Young Living and DoTerra so in NO way do I want it to seem like I am putting them down. I know they are of great quality (I’ve used both brands), I just set out to find a more cost effective alternative. I wanted to utilize essential oils more often, but those brands were not in my budget. After doing research on many different essential oil companies, I found one I really love…Eden’s Garden.herbshanging-essential-oilEden’s Garden sells direct to consumer, so the cost of a middleman is cut out and you reap the savings. Their oils are 100% pure therapeutic grade and they have a seriously massive collection to choose from. Also, one of my favorite things about this company is they have a line specifically for children, called Ok for Kids. I love using the Sleepy Head oil for my kid’s nighttime routine. I have the roller ball and my boys like to rub it on by themselves before bed. You can purchase all of their “Ok for Kids” in a pre-diluted roll-on which is so handy. Some of my absolute favorite Eden’s Garden oils are Lemon, Fighting Five (similar to Thieves), Lavender, Sunshine Spice and Frankincense.  Just to get you an idea of the cost difference, here’s a few comparisons:Eden’s Garden Lemon Oil  $16.95/oz
Young Living Lemon Oil    $30.26/ozEden’s Garden Frankincense Oil  $28.95/oz
Young Living Frankincense Oil    $198.68/ozHoly cow! Insane, right?! I just really love this company and wanted to help out my friends that are in the same boat I was. I also love that Eden’s Garden gives you several size options when you order. You can purchase all of their oils in a bottle as small as 5ml. They are super affordable and allow you to try multiple oils without spending a ton of cash. For example, you can get a bottle of lavender oil for just $6.95. It’s also a nice perk that shipping is free with every order and they send a little booklet with a ton of ideas on how to utilize your oils. So cool! I love reading through it and getting educated on how to use essential oils.Check them out and let me know what you think!signature

the best restaurant style salsa

The BEST Restaurant-Style Salsa

restaurant salsaConsider yourself warned y’all. This salsa is so addicting! I would recommend buying double the ingredients because it goes so fast. My sister showed me how to make this years ago, and I’ve changed it up juuuuust a smidge :)IMG_1672 (1)Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 jalapeño (seeds removed if you like it mild)
  • Half of a medium sized white onion
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 2 – 14.5oz cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 tsp sugar

But wait! Don’t just throw all the ingredients in the blender and call it done. If you want the perfect consistency, follow these steps:

  1. Chop the jalapeño and onion into large chunks and toss in a blender or food processor. Pulse a few times until it is nicely chopped.
  2. Next, add cilantro and pulse 3-4 times.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until the salsa is combined.

Pulsing the blender (as oppose to leaving it on to blend) is going to give the salsa great texture without becoming watery. I’ve also made this with regular whole tomatoes instead of the fire roasted, and it’s equally delicious. You could also try making it with yellow onions if you prefer a sweeter salsa…I just love using white onions in Tex-Mex recipes.I hope you love this salsa! Let me know if you make it and how it turns out. This is definitely a family favorite in our home.signature

summer fun

Life Lately: Summer!

It’s Summer! Even though it’s scorching outside, this is one of my favorite times of year. The relaxed schedules, swimming, cooking outside, fresh corn on the cob….ahhh I could go on and on. Jude and Knox finished up preschool at the end of May and I can hardly believe Jude will start kindergarten in the fall. This was their last day of school:IMG_0984.JPGWe’ve spent a little time here and there at our land letting the kids run free. It’s a great way to wear them out! The boys love to throw sticks in the pond and they got to take a ride in the bucket of the tractor with Papaw. I can still so vividly remember doing that with my dad when I was a kid.

At the end of May, the hay was bailed and the kiddos got their first look at what a “playground” looks like in the country. How do you like Jude’s outfit?! We’re still transitioning from ‘city folk’ to ‘country folk’. Ha!IMG_1265As much as we love the land, we also spend lots of time at Mamaw and Papaw’s pool! We are so lucky to get to spend many weekends in their backyard paradise. Knox and Presley are little water bugs while Jude prefers to wade in the shallow end. He’s always been my cautious boy.The summer wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Jeff’s parent’s in Abilene. The kids have so much fun when we visit and it forces all of us to slow down a bit. Life just moves at a softer pace out there. This last visit we got to watch our niece play softball, we celebrated Jeff and his twin sister’s birthday and toasted to their dad’s cancer remission!Even though it wears me smooth out, I try to keep the kids active during the summer. We play in the sprinkler, kiddie pool, wash the car, go to the playground, and occasionally pick up snow cones and head to the park.  We also got the chance to pick fresh plums this year and we made lots of yummy jam out of them. Don’t get me wrong though….some days they veg out on the couch and stay in their jammies pretty much all day! Balance. Right?I’m just so thankful for these days with my babies. My husband works his tail off so I can stay home and raise them and I feel incredibly lucky. I’d be lying if I said they don’t drive me to crazy town some days, but I still wouldn’t trade it! I hope you all are having a sweet, sweaty, memorable summer 🙂signature