Fantastic Fridays

There are few things I love as much as waking up Friday morning and knowing the weekend is ahead. A weekend with fun, relaxing plans where Justin, the kids and I can just hang out and not rush around with our heads cut off. This is one of those weekends.

After Justin was traveling last weekend (and I attended a wedding solo), it’s extra fun to have the gang back together.

Plus, with fall officially in full swing, it means a morning walk with the kids, playing outside, and most importantly…. sweatshirts!

I hope your weekend will be as snuggly as I hope ours to be. As you head into your weekend, enjoy my most fantastic finds from the web. Click the blue “Fantastic” link to go directly to the source page.

Fantastic Blend: If you’re looking for new smoothie recipes, this is your spot. So many recipes to choose, so few days in the week!


Fantastic Composting Steps: Our garden this year was a MAJOR fail. In fact, the word failure doesn’t do the flop justice. I’m not sure what the gal before me had planted, but I just could NOT kill it, and it in turn, didn’t allow anything else to grow. I miss our composted soil from our last house! We have TWO incredible 4×16 raised garden beds at this house. Things WILL grow next year. I’m determined. I’m also recommitted to composting. (We now have a composting bin, but we started with a plastic bin.)Composting-101-How-to-Make-a-Compost-Pile

Fantastic Winter Save: Dry feet are awful! One of my favorite essential oils is tea tree, also knowns as Melaleuca. It is a miracle oil and has helped with a variety of concerns in our house. This recipe looks like a great option for winter months. I’ve never thought of using it for this concern. Really smart.


Fantastic Reminder: A few friends have lost grandparents lately. The thought of that makes me sick to my stomach. I still have both Grandma’s and they are so dear to me. I lost one Grandpa when I was very young and another just before I graduated college. He was the kindest man I’ve ever known. This article comes to mind when I think of life… and death. It’s beautiful.Faith

Fantastic Lesson: We normally put gifted money in the kids savings accounts; however, as they get older I want them to learn how to both save and spend their money. My dad made my brother and I take “Personal Finance and Management” in high school as an elective. If we wanted to drive, we had to enroll. So I was #1 on the roster. I still remember the class. While I was certainly raised under the “save, save, save” mentality, my parents also weren’t scared to enjoy their hard work within reasonable limits. It was a great lesson in financial balance. This might be a great way to pass this along to the kids.

Give Save Spend

Fantastic Nautical: Navy. I just dig navy. Stripes. Boat shoes. Water. Bauble statement pieces. This is my kind of outfit.


Fantastic Flat: I’ve been lusting over these Tanya flats in Fennel for awhile now. What do you think? Pull the trigger? tayna

Fantastic Visual: I’ve talked to so many people recently who have felt the benefits of cutting gluten, and in many cases, all grains from their diet. For some people, it’s a temporary cut until their bodies heal from any inflammation, and for others it’s a permanent elimination. Whether it’s full blown celiac, an intolerance or just discomfort after eating gluten, this graphic gives great information about a gluten-free lifestyle. Check out the full link for the complete graphic.

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Fantastic Fast Burn: Justin was out of town last week. When he’s gone I’m not able to get into the gym so I crawl into our basement and do some quick workouts before the kids are up or while they are down for naps. (Once they are down for bed when he’s gone, this girl is firmly on the couch!) I did this workout last week and it’s a great quick workout that will work up a sweat. Just make sure you pick the correct weight that makes the workout difficult.

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Fantastic Reminder: It’s so true. Whatever your goal, you have the power. Power

Fantastic Elmo: I’ve been borderline obsessed with Elmo since Finn fell in love when he was 1. Elmo has firmly lived in my heart ever since. This video reminds me why. Elmo and Lupita talk about all the great things about their skin. Is this woman not a goddess? So beautiful.

Did you learn anything from Elmo? I just love that weird, red monster!

Finn Turns FIVE!

It doesn’t take much for time to fly by and our kids to grow. I seem to blink anymore and Finn grows an inch and spits out a new word.

Finn turned five earlier this month. We celebrated with our first “friend” birthday party, followed by a family BBQ and gift opening. Let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like a huddle of little kids dressed up to remind you how simple life should really be.

Finn Turns Four
Finn Turns Three
Finn Turns Two

Finn started his big day with new books…

Morning 1

… and a mom and dad who demanded a photo with their growing superhero.  (The stickers were a gift from Finn. I proudly wore them all day, even grocery shopping and to Evie’s library time. Needless to say, I got some looks.)




The rest of the day included school, presents, skipping quiet time to hang with mommy, pizza and more presents.

We also did our annual “question ask.” We started at three asking Finn the same questions each year. Finn wanted to get through this part quickly (presents were waiting), but I think someday it will be hilarious to go back and read his answers.  For instance, this year he’s certain he will be married at 10 :)

Birthday week continued with a family and friend gathering Saturday morning.  Finn invited his best pals over and asked them to dress up. Superhero, princess, ninja… we love them all! Evie, I kid you not, layered FOUR costumes on top of one another. Talk about super princess!

We played a handful of superhero games:

  • Bataring Toss – Each child got to wear the Batman mask and throw the Bataring through hula hoops. We had 4 different sizes of hula hoops. Each time they made it through, they had to try for a smaller hoop. (Cost: $4. Already had mask and Bataring. Hula hoops, $1 each, Dollar General.)
  • Catch the Villains - The kids chased and captured the 2 villains, Justin and my cousin Andy.  There were 4 streamer rolls (should have had more). The superheros wrapped up the villains to haul off to jail. Somehow Grandpa got thrown into the villain category! (Cost: $6, 4 streamer rolls and 2 black villain masks from Party City, each $1.)  And, yes, that’s my dad as Superman. What a sport!



  • Web Shooting - a silly string fight. Why not? (Cost: $14, $1 each silly string from Michael’s. They ran out rather quickly, but the ones at Party City were each $3. Eek!)


  • X-Ray and Heat Vision – Use your Superman skills (blindfolded) to guess what’s in each bowl. (1/2 tomato, grapes, peas, spoons, dice, noodles, etc.) (Cost: $1 piñata blindfold from Party City. All supplies were common household items.)


  • Bomb Hunt – We spray painted Easter eggs black so the kids could save the universe by locating all the bombs. (Cost: $2.99, black spray paint from Lowe’s. We already have a million Easter eggs and spray painted 30 as “bombs”.)

Bomb Run

There was more chasing of the villains and popping balloons which led to the most quiet time of the whole day: cupcakes and juice :)


Finn had a great time and was so happy to have all his favorite friends over to play and celebrate.  His friends picked an activity book from Michael’s to take home. We found Lisa Frank for the girls and the boys could choose from Angry Birds, Spiderman or Despicable Me 2.


Following the friend party, our families stuck around for a BBQ of hot dogs, brats, burgers, fruit, veggies and chips. We topped it off with cupcakes and cookie cake and ended the bash with the best time of day for any birthday boy: gift opening! Lots of Legos and superhero toys to last us awhile. (BTW: I forgot how much I love Legos!)

Although party hosting is not really my jam, Finn was in heaven so it was worth the near panic attack pulling it all together. Whew. Until Evie’s 3rd…

Have you done a themed birthday party with your kids? 

My Mommy Mind


  • My apologies. I got a little sidetracked last week, hence the lack of posts. Three words: Sons of Anarchy. That’s right. Justin and I have been binge watching SOA. Jax Teller. Gemma. Clay. JT. Who knew I would love a black-leather-wearing, gun-slinging, drug-pushing, biker gang so much? (No spoilers, please. We just got home from Ireland. Seal your lips!)
  • Finn just turned FIVE! In classic little boy style, he announced, “the best part about being 5 is all the presents!” (Superhero party post coming Wednesday.)
  • More and more, I am learning that children are who they are. When Finn and I attended library story time, Finn sat still, took it all in, and didn’t dare sing or dance. Evie, on the other hand, is the queen of the room. She sings the loudest (and way off key), jumps and dances around, and tries to bring the kids just sitting there in on the fun. Their personalities could not be more opposite, and yet, they tell each other they are best friends while hugging every morning, that is of course when Evie is in the mood to do so.
  • As a stay-at-home mom, few things are more perfect than getting the kids down for bed, throwing on my PJ’s and slippers and plopping down on the couch with Justin for 2 hours to watch shows in the evening. Fall programming is back. I’m actually kind of worried how I will devote any time to it with my Sons addiction right now. EEK!

What shows are you most looking forward to being back on air now that fall programming is back in action?