Tips and Tricks to Being a Spook-tacular Host

By 7:56 PM , , , , ,
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Treats4All #CollectiveBias

As you guys know I am a busy working mom (with a toddler running around) who loves to maximize my time with my family when I get it. For that very reason I unfortunately often shy away from having guests over to our home as I automatically think, "how do I have time for that? Having people over is soo much work!" The thing is... I love having people over to our home. Whether it be family or friends I always want our home to be an inviting place to fellowship with others. Hints why I am always on the lookout for easy tips and tricks to hosting. 

We already have plans to host some friends over prior to trick or treating on Halloween and I have been on the lookout for what I could cook and do to host these friends since let's face it...we need (and want) to be focusing on getting the littles in costumes and all the fun stuff that comes with Halloween instead of sweating over the stove. Well I did a test run last night (yes I had someone over on a weeknight, aren't you impressed? Everyone please be impressed because for me this is a huge feat!) and came up with 5 simple tips and tricks to hosting a spook-tacular event. Easy-peasy. 

1. Have plenty of candy handy (you like what I did there?) displayed in fun Halloween dishes.

I purchased NESTLÉ® Jumbo Assorted Fun Size Candy from Walmart to fill my pumpkin dish and Halloween bowl. Something about candy in a bowl is just inviting, fun, and screams Halloween time.


2. Throw out some inexpensive, easy decor that you can keep up throughout the season.

For our house this is a giant spider with a "spider web" you can purchase at Walmart, spread out over our front bushes and a "Boo" door hanger form Kirklands. Welcome to our home ya'll! 

3. Light some fall smelling candles around the house.

Because nothing says fall and Halloween or welcome to our home like candles. 

4. Come up with a simple dinner idea that tastes great and takes little to no effort. 

For me this evening was a last minute event so I was thrilled when I opened my freezer and remembered I had purchased STOUFFER'S® Family Size EntrĂ©es: Manicotti during my last Walmart trip. It was delicious and SO simple. Literally all I I did was pre-heat the oven and stick it in the oven for an hour. I pared it with a bagged salad and garlic bread. YUM. It seriously looked liked I slaved over it all day but required no effort. 

Yum....making me hungry again. 

5. Have a fun drink for the kiddos.

I purchased NESQUIK® Ready to Drink chocolate milk from Walmart and served it in fun Halloween cups.  My little guy was thrilled! 

I hope these simple tips help you host a spook-tacular event! I was thrilled to host a nice party yet still getting to maximize my time on what matters most to me...spending time with my friends and family!

What are your simple tips and tricks to hosting? Happy fall ya'll! 

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Vacation 2015 Photo Dump

By 2:23 PM , , , , , ,

We had a wonderful vacation last week just the three of us at PCB. Although it was different than vacations in the past when we were just a family of 2 it was so fun to see our almost 15 month old experience the beach for the first time (well technically for the 2nd time but the first time doesn't really count since he was only a few weeks old and HATED it). This time around went so much better. He absolutely loved playing in the sand and the water. 

We had the best time just being together as a family. The highlights of the trip included: "E" learned how to high five, eat with a utensil, and say "boat" and "bird" while we were there. Now anything big that is really exciting is a "boat." Hence every 18 wheeler we pass on the interstate on our commute to school/work everything morning I hear a little voice say "boat!" His other favorite thing to say is "uh-oh" when he drops something or something bad happens. It is pretty adorable. Here are some of my favorite photos from our trip.

 when we first got to the condo the guys ran out on the porch to get a view of the ocean 

"What is this sand stuff guys?"

 first time trying a donut from Donut Hole

We had a wonderful time! Where was your favorite family trip this summer?

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Fall Bucket List/Activities in Georgia

By 11:02 AM , ,
Well, we are officially back from a wonderful week of vacation last week at the beach and now that we are back I am fully ready to embrace fall. Bring on the PSL and pumpkin everything! I have put together a list of fall activities (a fall bucket list if you will) for those of you who live in Georgia. 

  • Visit Ellijay, Georgia for apple picking. If you are from Georgia you probably already know that Ellijay has an awesome apple festival that happens the weekend of October 17th but did you know that you don't have to go on apple festival weekend to enjoy visiting an apple house and all the wonderful things Ellijay has to offer? Some of our best friends live in Ellijay and we already have plans to visit them in a few weeks to visit apple houses, eat in Blue Ridge, and get together for some fall mountain activities. Elljay is close enough that you can make a day trip out of it or go for the weekend. I have also heard really great things about the fall train rides in Blue Ridge if you head up there and want to make it a longer weekend. 
  • Have a pumpkin carving contest. We do this ever year with a group of friends. Get together, have some drinks, and get to carving. It is a blast and ever year we really step up the competition. Check out our last year's winner below.
  • Visit Rock Ranch. This is a great place to go if you have kids. They have all kinds of festivals during the weekends on the fall and tons of great activities for the kiddos. They also have a corn maze and a pumpkin shooter where they shoot pumpkins out of it across the lake. Here is a picture from us at the corn maze at Rock Ranch last year. 

  • Attend a college football game. If you really want a great experience attend a football game between in the Hedges in Athens, GA (not that I'm partial or anything). There is nothing like Georgia football. Make a day or weekend of it and be sure to pack a tailgate. There is so much to do in Athens. From rafting down the river to tons of amazing restaurants and fun night life to a free zoo for kids there is something for everyone! 
  • Attend a neighborhood yard sale. Just google your local town and you are sure to find some awesome ones over the next few weeks. If you live on the south side of Atlanta Lake Redwine, a big super nice yard sale near me is having theirs on September 26th. There are also lots of great neighborhoods in Marietta/Smyrna areas that have awesome neighborhood yard sales. 
  • Attend a local high school football game. Have fun reminiscing about when you were in high school.
  • Go campingThere are some great campsites in between Ellijay, GA and Blue Ridge, GA that are totally free! We went this past fall with some friends and had a blast! The sites are on a creek and there is a waterfall that you can hike to. They also have fire pits and tent pads at the campsites. The sites are very secluded so perfect for a romantic get away! Also, there is a drive-in movie theater in Blue Ridge that is a ton of fun and very affordable. You can easily drive there from your campsite.

  • Attend the Georgia State Fair in Perry, Georgia. If you haven't been you need is so much fun. They have all kinds of shows, exhibits, fair foods, and concerts. My favorite show is always the hypnotists. These people always amaze me and slightly freak me out, ha. 
What activities are on your fall bucket list? 

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Stories of "E"

By 1:09 PM , ,
You guys our 14 month old is off the chain. He is so sweet and so fun but totally crazy and acts like he is way older than 14 months old. He has done so many funny things in the last week alone it is mind blowing. My grandmother keeps telling me I need to document these stories because she promises me I will forget them if I don't. Even though I don't want to believe it, I know she is right. Just last night I had the opportunity to bring dinner to a friend of mine that just had a son, you saw his picture if you follow me on instagram, and was blown away thinking that my guy was ever that small. How quickly time passes and memories fade way to quickly.

That being said I couldn't think of a better place to document these stories than on my blog so you can all enjoy and laugh/cheer/groan along with here goes the first of what I am sure will be many installments of "Stories of E."

  • Earlier this week I had set the oven to preheat to 500 degrees. My hubby was sick in bed and E was starving so in an effort to distract him while the oven preheated I took him outside to play. I came back inside a few minutes later to put the dish in the oven and the oven was off. Of course I blamed my husband. "Why did you get out of bed and turn the oven off," I asked. O.k. saying it back I realize it doesn't make very much sense. Of course he told me he hadn't and I reset the oven to preheat. Then I went to fold some laundry. You guessed it I come back to find the oven off. This time I decided to stay in the kitchen and clean some dishes so I could monitor. It was the third time I caught him in the act. He walked right over to the oven and pressed the clear/off button. Busted. 
  • Yesterday my husband got half way to work before he realized he had forgotten his wallet. By the time he realized we had already left the house for work and so he turned around to come get it. An hour a half later he still could not find it anywhere. The problem (besides the fact that he was no very late to work) was that his truck only had 8 miles left to empty and he had no way to pay for gas. I had a very frustrated husband as you can imagine. I call my mom to see if she can meet him to borrow money for gas as he calls his co-worker to make sure he didn't leave it at his office the night before. A few minutes later I get a call back from him. He finally found the wallet. It was stuffed in the cabinet under my sink in the bathroom, the same sink we have a child lock on so it only opens 1/4 inch. Thanks, E. Daddy loves you, too. 
  • Last night I had put footie pajamas on E to go to bed in and he takes off running on our hardware floors. As he does he realizes that he can slide across the hardwoods so he proceeds to run and slide with his arms in the air yelling, "wheeee," over and over again until he falls. Then he wants to do it again. 
  • He loves to play tag and peek-a-boo or hide and seek. This morning he was "hiding" behind the blinds in our bedroom and wanted to play peek-a-boo. Every time he would peek out he would pull up on a blind slot so you could just see his eyeballs. It was quite adorable. Wish I could have gotten it on video.
  • One of his favorite things to do every morning is to bring Daddy his work shoes. When Daddy says E where are my shoes? He runs around the house looking for them and brings them to him one by one. The shoes are bigger than he is so it is really a funny thing to see. Anytime he does something for you he expects a big hug so we trick him in to 'helping' us so we can get our big hug from E man.
  • This morning he grabbed a decorative throw pillow off my bed, my slipper, and a hanger and was walking around the house laying on the pillow, cuddling the slipper, and covering up with the hanger. Then he would pick everything up move it all 2 feet and set it all up again. Here is a picture. 

Man I love this child. 

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My Pinterest Food Wins

By 3:28 PM , ,

I DREAD cooking everyday. I'll be honest. It is just not something I enjoy...the worst part to me is planning, grocery shopping, and the clean up. O.k. pretty much all of it...Haha but no really, by the time I get home from work I only have about an hour and half with my sweet little baby before he goes to bed and that time is super precious to me. The last thing I want to do is spend all my time in the kitchen cooking thus not getting to spend quality one on one time with my baby boy. 

Dinner is always a struggle because the little guy is already starving by the time we walk in the door so I need something that can easily be prepared and put on the table. Due to this my crock pot has become one of my best friends. Today I thought I would share with you some of my favorite quick, easy, and toddler friendly meals from my pinterest board which is where I store all my favorite recipes. Here are my top 10 favorite chicken and soup recipes on pinterest that are easy to make on weeknights. 

1. Two Timin Pasta Bake: basically Olive Garden but in your own kitchen. This not the healthiest of recipes but it tastes great and makes a lot so you can feed a crowd or have leftovers. Pair with a salad and some garlic bread and you are set. 

2. Carrot/Chicken Soup: this recipe came from a friend of mine who posted the recipe on instagram so I course pinned. It is now one of our favorites.

3. Crockpot Chicken: this has become our hands down favorite crockpot recipe. It is so great that I won a contest with it. We love this chicken over bow tie pasta. 

4. Italian Favorite: can you tell we like pasta at our house? Another easy, delicious pasta dish. Pair with a salad and some wine and you are set. 

5. Easy White Chicken Enchiladas: we add salsa and top with avocado. Yum. 

6. BBque Chicken and Cheese Rollups: this one is delicious and fun to let the kids help out with.

7. Barbque chicken in the crockpot: delicious and is ready when you get home from work. Makes a ton of chicken so you can have sandwiches for days. We also like to use the leftovers and stuff baked potatoes with the chicken. 

8. Caprese grilled chicken: this is one of those recipes that screams good weather to me.

9. Crockpot Potato soup: perfect for a cold or rainy day.

10. Tomato and Basil Chicken: delicious. 

What are some easy go-to weeknight meals that your family enjoys? Please share; especially if they don't include chicken ; )! 

You can find more great recipes from our friends at the Village Bakery.

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Hodge Podge Tuesday

By 4:42 PM , ,
It's Tuesday and that means it's time for my weekly hodge podge of my favorites this week.


Sorry to be mush gushy but God did me the biggest favor in giving me this guy as a husband. He is the best supporter and is over the top amazing to me and our little guy. This past Sunday morning I wasn't feeling so great, the bug has been going around our house, so he got up early with the little guy so I could sleep in and surprised me by bringing me heart shaped chocolate chip pancakes in bed and Micky Mouse shaped pancakes for E. Sleeping in + chocolate + breakfast in bed = the way to my heart. 

2. September 1st

It's officially the first day of September which means fall is right around the corner. It also means PSL is out and in full force and I plan to get one on the way to work tomorrow.

3. College Football Starts Saturday

Should I say it again?!? COLLEGE FOOTBALL STARTS SATURDAY! I am over the hills excited. And we have a new quarterback who is a transfer from VA so I am excited/anxious to see him in action. GOOOO DAWGS!

4. We will be at the beach next week

Finally, we get to take our family vacation. So excited to spend some much needed R&R with my guys at the beach. We are in full prep mode over here this week.

5. Parenthood

We have recently started binge watching this show on Netflix and I'm hooked. I think I cry every episode. So good. 

What is going on in your world this week?

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