Charlotte is Four Months ... No, FIVE Months!

Charlotte, you are FOUR ... now FIVE (!) months old.

I missed her four month update, and am two weeks late in posting her five week update, but it's only because I've been staring into her sweet angelic eyes every waking moment -- and getting us settled in our new home. We are so busy these days!

Charlotte is a joy, joy, joy. Seriously a wonderful baby.

She is happy and relaxed and calm. I saw these traits in her little face the minute after she was born on April 14th. They placed her on my chest, she immediately calmed and snuggled, and I knew this would be my little snugglebunny sweetheart.

She is an awesome sleeper. Over the last few months, we've pushed her bedtime back from 9:30/10 to a more traditional baby bedtime of 7:30pm. I usually get Camille down at 7 and then turn to Charlotte -- nurse her, change her into jammies if she's not already in them, sing Twinkle Twinkle to her, and place her in her crib. She's sleeping through the night still which is so amazing. It took Camille until 6 months old to do that, and Charlotte started doing it around 3 months.

She's wearing size 2 diapers and 3-6 month and 6 month clothes.

She started rolling over at the beginning of August (right around 4 months), then sort of lost interest in it, and now is rolling back/front and front/back like a champ. This baby is on the move and life is about to get a little crazier!

She's not a loud baby in the least, but she's experimenting more with her sounds. When she wakes up in the morning, instead of crying, she just plays quietly and coos a little. It's the sweetest thing to behold.

She and Camille are getting along awesomely. Lots and lots of reminders to big sister about being gentle with her ... LOTS. But Camille can really get Char giggling, and vice versa. It's the best. Camille likes laying down next to her on a blanket or quilt and helping me during diaper changes.

Here are the items we are loving! Excited to see what the next month holds!

4 and 5 month faves

1: White noise machine
2: Taggies Elephant (ours is really similar but I couldn't find the exact one)
3: Levana Stella Video Monitor
4: A+A Burpy Bib (under $10 on Amazon, great shower gift!)
5: Hello Bugs black and white board book
6: Ergo Carrier

And a look back at third month favorite items:

Third Month Favorites

Third Month Favorites:
1: JJ Cole Agility Wrap
2: Sassy Links
3: Wooden Clown Rattle
4: Mustela Foam Shampoo
5: Bella Tunno Paci Holder
6: Bella Tunno Peplum Diaper Bag

And a look back at second month favorite items:

Two Month Favorites

Second Month Favorites
1: FP Cradle and Swing
2: Noodle and Boo Cleansing Cloths
3: Chicco Keyfit 30
4: Snap and Go Stroller
5: Magnificent Baby Magnetic Footies
6: Stim-Mobile

And what we loved at one month old.

one month faves

First Month Favorites


affiliate links used


Weekly Meal Plan and New Bags

Last week some of you seemed to enjoy seeing our weekly meal plan, so here it is for this week!

Monday: sauteed chicken (marinated all day in Greek dressing), Great Northern beans simmered with rosemary, kale superfood salad (from a bag - a Harris Teeter special!)

Tuesday: BBQ ranch chopped salad with grilled chicken

Wednesday: Girls Night Out (last Wednesday night's outing was postponed until this week due to riots)

Thursday: I host Supper Club here (also postponed from last week to this week). Will share the menu next week!

So, food this week will be pretty easy. Camille gets a packed lunch twice this week since she'll eat at preschool, and I'm going to take my friend Sarah's idea and spread hummus between two slices of wheat bread. The school is nut-free, so no PB&Js.

My friend Justine, who writes over at Full Hands Full Heart, has recently started selling Thirty-One. You're probably very familiar with this line of bags, totes, and accessories. She has been such a help to me with assisting me in deciding which bag suits my needs. Ultimately I went with the Large Utility Tote (and took advantage of their September special to get the stand-up insert for $15, reduced from $50). I see so many uses for this ... park picnics, packing for weekends away, car trunk organization, Aldi shopping trips!

Large Utility Tote in Ribbon Stripe for $35 - You’ll be amazed at how much this classic tote can hold. The structured metal frame keeps it open for bulky items and provides strength for durability. Use it to keep your closet in order, carry toys or groceries while you’re on the go, haul camping gear and so much more. It even collapses for easy storage! Via @thirtyonegifts
I love black and white stripes so this pattern was a no-brainer. But they also have a really awesome red and black check pattern that I almost purchased.

If you are in the market for some new totes, lunchboxes, teacher gifts, Christmas gifts - I know Justine would love to help you. She has been such a great friend to me and I know you will love getting to know her too! She's a mom of five, and therefore an ORGANIZING QUEEN, so she can really point you in the right direction! You can shop the whole line here. The September special I took advantage of is only good for a few more days!


Weekend Rewind

We had a great and full weekend.

Friday night, we had dinner with friends of ours at the local pizzeria. The pies there are huuuuge and delicious. The husbands wanted to head next door for a beer at the sports bar while we girls took the babies two doors down for frozen yogurt (who am I kidding, I was really the one who was craving some marshmallow froyo with Butterfinger and cookie dough on it). 

Crazy thing was, one of the biggest stars of the Panthers football team was also there with his family. We snagged a pic with Greg Olsen ... he was so kind.

Saturday we went to visit some friends to watch the ECU game. Camille loves their daughters (they are older than her) and had a blast playing with their Barbies! We munched on smoked wings, shrimp cocktail, a veggie tray, steak stuffed jalapenos, and (my favorite) buffalo chicken dip. 

That evening, Ian stayed at home with Charlotte and I took Camille to a fall festival where she got to ride on a pony and take a hay ride! She was scared at first of the hay ride but then really enjoyed it.

Ian scored last-minute tickets to the Panthers game yesterday afternoon, so I stayed at home with the girls and we played and watched the game on TV. 

I was worried about him being downtown yesterday with all of the unrest going on in Charlotte, but he said it was completely peaceful and safe. I think our city is on the upswing and ready to make some forward progress. It's hard seeing the city you love (and describe to others as being such a friendly, safe, Southern-hospitality spot) being highlighted on the national news for all of the bad and scary stuff going on. It was positively unrecognizable last week. 

Last night we got the girls in bed and relaxed with some lamb gyros from a nearby Greek spot. I made some oven fries and topped them with lots of oregano and garlic powder for an extra kick. They were DELISH with the gyros!

Hope your week is off to a great start. It's time for us to get ready for Camille's weekly ballet class!


Five On Friday: Skincare and Makeup Edition

It's time for another edition of Five on Friday and I do hope you'll join along!

Remember, all you have to do is post about five things on your mind, add our logo (found at the bottom of this post), and join the party using the linky tools below. Easy, and a great way to find new blogs and be found. :)

I have so many fun skincare updates today that I thought I'd share here under the 5oF theme!

So you know I've talked a good bit about Grove Collaborative. This is the company that stocks earth-friendly household products and ships them monthly to your door. I'm am Amazon Prime NUT, so why order from a secondary company? Well, their prices are awesome (just as good or better than Amazon in many cases) and I also love supporting a company that's taking active steps toward a better, healthier planet. I became an "influencer" with them since I love what they are doing so much ... if you are a blogger and are also interested in being an influencer, shoot me an email, I'd love to connect you with them.

Buying from Grove Collaborative has also turned me on to the Acure line of skincare products. More on that below. But I did want to tell you that if you're a new customer, you can use my referral link here to get $10 off of your first order and a FREE Acure shave gel.

Okay, so what did I order from the Acure line most recently? Here's what is currently heading my way (along with some paper towels, which is necessary but admittedly not as much "fun"):

Clockwise, from top left: 
Radical Resurfacing Treatment
CGF Repair Serum
Day Cream
Night Cream (already went through a tube of this and love it)

A few of you have emailed or sent me a chat on Snapchat about eyelashes. Since I'm nursing Charlotte, a lot of the REALLY fun options are currently out (ie, Latisse, which I used years ago, or Neulash, which is on my wishlist next). But I have to give all of the credit to my fave mascara by L'Oreal -- this one. I get it in Blackest Black. It seriously plumps up my lashes like none other and is like $7-8.

I am also using my microneedle roller nightly before my Acure serum and night cream. I got mine on Zulily and it's by ORA. You can also find a ton on Amazon (click here) and I know R+F sells them. If you are an R+F rep, please feel free to leave your website in the comments below for anyone who may be looking for one. :)

Using this before skin serums is supposed to help the serum penetrate your skin better and give you a collagen boost. I'll take it!

I also have to throw this one skincare anecdote in there. Earlier in the season I posted a photo from the pool and had a few people to email me about a mole on my chest that looks pretty scary. It was a crazy time (newborn days ... or should I say newborn daze) and I did take the time to write back to some people but not all. I have had some guilt that some of you never got a response from me and I didn't want you to think that I was not appreciative of your concern and the time you took to email me. I've had that mole since I was born and I do have it checked regularly by a dermatologist ... several different derms have said "not a worry on that one." I have had a mole removed from my back -- back when I was in high school. NOW, it has been two years since my last derm appointment so I'm overdue to have it checked. But I give you my word that I will remain diligent in getting it checked out! And truly, for those of you who emailed me, thank you!

TGIF y'all, and hope you will join in on Five on Friday this week! Cheers to the weekend!


Music Together And Teaching Kids The Wonder of Music

Before Charlotte was born, the last "big hurrah" that Camille and I did together was her weekly Music Together class. I can't say it enough ... I LOVE LOVE LOVE music class with little ones. I personally think that besides being a thousand percent fun for the parent and child, it truly is amazing for their little growing and thriving brains. I wrote more about this and linked to some really interesting scientific articles in this blog post from December. 

The holiday music class was so much fun that we signed up for the winter session Music Together class at the start of the year. It was still pretty chilly outside, so we loved having an activity that was out of the house but indoors! Camille could kick off her shoes and run around the studio, playing with friends and singing/hopping/jumping/skipping to her heart's delight. 

Our Music Together class was held at Steps n Motion dance studio in Blakeney. Our wonderful and attentive teacher was Miss Melissa. Our session was a morning class that ended around lunchtime, so I always packed Camille's lunch for her to eat in the car on our way back home (it was about a 30 minute drive for us in our old house). She loved music class and also loved knowing that a special "carseat lunch" awaited her afterwards. 

The thing that I've learned about signing up for classes like this is that it is not the easy route. As a stay-at-home mom, it's much simpler for me to lessen our commitments, both time commitments and financial commitments. Signing her up for classes takes organization, planning, and funds. But you know what? I have never, ever regretted putting her in organized weekly classes like this. It pays in DIVIDENDS. When you hear your daughter or son singing a song she learned in class, when you hear her say the word "tambourine," when you slip a wooden spoon and pot to her in your kitchen and watch her bang on it happily like she learned in class, it is all worth it! Having a weekly class also added much-appreciated structure to our day. It gave us a purpose to get up, get dressed, get out of the house!

If you live in an area that does not have Music Together or music classes, there are ways you could plan a little class of your own. A nice YouTube channel I found with sweet kids songs is HERE. You could easily fill a little plastic container with some music instruments and whip it out after nap one or two days a week for your own little music class. 

For instruments in your music box, throw in some old spoons, some wooden blocks to knock together, maybe a chiffon scarf to wave in the air to the beat. We also are big fans of the little plastic egg shakers (cheap and great for ALL ages - Charlotte loves them now - linked below), and we gave Camille the Melissa and Doug music kit for her 2nd birthday that I also linked below.

So, have some fun today with cheery music! And if you're local to Charlotte and interested in attending the same Music Together classes that Camille and I attended, mark your calendars for the registration dates below! These classes DO fill up quickly, so you will want to snag your spot as soon as registration opens. 

Holiday Session (November 14 - December 17): registration begins in October
Winter Session - Sticks Collection (January 9 - March 11): registration begins in November
Check the website for more details! They also have a very informative Facebook page HERE

Plastic egg shaker set (on Amazon here)

Hape WoodenTambourine (on Amazon here)

Melissa and Doug Beginner Band Set (on Amazon here)


Please don't forget to visit my post here about healthy cooking and eating as a family and let me know what you love to cook with your loved ones! I'd honestly love to read your comments to get ideas!


Summer Vacay: Oak Island Beach!

It was looking for a while like a beach vacation wouldn't happen this year. We had two babies arriving in the spring, my parents' home was up for sale and they are building a home, and our home was up for sale and we were looking for a new home. Just lots going on and the vacation was taking a backburner. My husband and brother-in-law got on the phone together though and found a great ocean-front home for us and made it happen. Love it.

Here are some photos from our trip as well as some things I learned about beach travel with two little ones. And of course, fun things to do at the beach!

my coverup is from Old Navy (similar style, different print here) - Camille's coverup, on major sale now $6.99 and use code COZY for 40% off online - Camille's gingham bathing suit (and then I had it monogrammed locally) - Charlotte's "ensemble" is Pottery Barn Kids bought secondhand

First of all, to paint you a little picture:

Oak Island is 3.5 hours from our Charlotte home. Not a bad trip with two kids. We left in the morning (9/10ish) to head that way and also return home. Both times Camille ended up dozing a little in the car in the morning and not really taking an afternoon nap. It's okay ... vacation, right? Charlotte slept almost the entire time she was in the car -- #angelbaby. 

We stopped on the way to the beach at Cookout for lunch. Camille had chicken nuggets and fries (my OCD tendencies about her eating healthy have slightly relaxed, would you say?). On the way to the beach and back I hopped in the backseat and gave Charlotte a bottle of pumped milk and THIS is where I can't sing the praises enough of my manual pump (this one) which needs no electricity. It's the best and I've only used my electric pump once in five months ... the manual one always wins out for simplicity. If you're nursing, these are awesome, awesome, awesome for car trips. I also used it a lot back when I was working if I needed to pump during the day and wasn't sure if I'd have a power source. Like, in a client's restroom. Fannnncy.

Anyway, enough about that. Ha :)

So, babies on the beach. The idea is adorable but the truth is that you've got to get a bomb umbrella for shade. Charlotte and my nephew Thompson aren't old enough for sunscreen, so we'd take them down to the beach and immediately put them under shade. 

Laura brought her bouncer (like this one) which was so smart to have under the tent. She and I used different tents, and I don't think she'd recommend hers ... it broke! The one that we used was so awesome and easy to put up and take down. One morning I took both Camille and Charlotte down to the beach all by myself (Ian had to drive back that day for work) and put the tent up solo -- if that tells you how fast and easy it goes up. I was using the Shade Shack which is on Amazon here. Highly recommend. You also use sand to weigh it down so it's just one piece to put up, and it collapses like those pop-out sun deflectors for your front windshield.

Other than that, we had some good late-afternoon beach trips when the sun wasn't out so that we could have the babies out safely.

For meals we aimed to be at a restaurant by 6/6:30. Not the easiest when your family is more of an 8/8:30 dinner family on vacation, but everyone understood. We drove into Southport (about 25 minutes) for dinner at Provision Company one night. This was a highlight. You stand in line to place your order, grab your bevvie of choice from a refrigerator, then go sit at a table on a covered area outdoors. At the end of the meal you walk up to the counter and tell them what you ate and how many beverages you consumed and pay. Honor code style, love it. I had the dozen steamed clams and crabcake. Oh ... and a much-appreciated glass of pinot grigio!

matching outfits and palm print romper from Old Navy - previous seasons

We also had two good meals at Pirates Deck, a great lunch at Shagger Jacks, and wonderful donuts for breakfast one day at Ahoy Donuts. All of these spots are on Oak Island.

Toy-wise, I tried to streamline what we brought since our car was SO packed. Charlotte and Thompson are only 6 weeks apart so they shared a lot of toys and gear. Camille's shade chair was a good item to bring (like this one). We packed a portable DVD player and movies and ended up not needing them for either car ride. I had a coloring book, construction paper and crayons (and some of those printed-out coloring pages I blogged about recently), some dolls, really just the basics. When Camille wasn't at the beach, she was always trying to get to someone's iPad to watch Frozen songs on YouTube (eyeroll). At the beach, a bucket that my sister Laura gave her was a huge hit for "making big big sandcastles" :)

Relaxing on the beach wasn't exactly in the cards this year, but it will get easier. I did read about half of The Good Girl by Mary Kubica and am really enjoying it.

my HR Ditty was the perfect beach bag - my colorful bathing suit is TT from Amazon like these
fedora is from Nordstrom (similar)

We brought board games and didn't really play them -- but two nights we did play Left Right Center which is an awesome beach game. Takes up no space in your bag, and all you need is three dollar bills to play!

Charlotte slept in a rock and play in the closet in our room. She's just getting to that point where it won't be safe for her to sleep in it much longer, so this was the last hurrah. Camille slept in her OWN bedroom in a twin bed which was wild ... Ian brought his big foam roller along and we put it under the fitted sheet so she wouldn't roll out. It worked!

We split up the cooking so that each couple planned out a dinner one night. For our night, we did enchiladas with yellow rice and baked avocado halves. Mom and Dad's night -- crockpot chicken thighs with roasted okra and green beans. Laura and T's night -- meatball subs, yum! We did a few grocery store visits, but prior to the trip Laura emailed out a list for each of us of items to bring (paper plates, cleaning products, condiments, food staples, you get the drift) so that we didn't have to do a ton of shopping on the island.

So there's our trip in a nutshell! We had an awesome time and came back maybe one slight shade darker and a smidge more relaxed. Next year, I can't believe that I will be chasing TWO little girls around on the beach!


Back To Reality! Menu Plan and Week At A Glance

We are officially back from the beach and settling back into our normal life in Charlotte. As great as it is to escape to the beach for the week, there is something so comforting about being HOME ... a dose of reality. We returned home to three loads of laundry that needed to be run ... really what should have been about six loads, but I was jamming that washer full with every bit I had!

So now I have a mountain of clean laundry to fold and put away. Camille has ballet this morning and two days of preschool this week. I have returns to make to Homegoods and a meeting with Home Depot about potential plantation shutters in our home. I have a feeling they will be out of our price range, but may as well get a quote. 

I also made our meal plan for the week and did my grocery shopping with Charlotte yesterday:

Sunday: Homemade French dips and skinny oven fries, recipe here
Monday: Crockpot pulled pork, green beans, roasted okra
Tuesday: Cube steak with mushroom gravy, stewed white beans, creamed spinach with nutmeg
Wednesday: I have dinner out with friends, Southwest chopped salad for Ian topped with leftover pulled pork from Monday
Thursday: I host supper club here and still need to come up with a fall themed menu and complete the shopping!

We don't have any weekend plans so I am hoping either Friday or Saturday we can just lay low and order a pizza.

Camille and I have just finished our bowls of cereal and I am going to put the girls in the double stroller and take them for a little morning walk. Hope your Monday is off to a great start. What was the highlight of your weekend?


Five On Friday: Hi From The Beach!

For today's Five on Friday, here are five snapshots from this past week at the beach! We are having a great time and eating well, no question about that. 

I will be back next week to share some of our favorite finds from Oak Island Beach and some other posts about recent skincare/beauty purchases and some toddler activity ideas for the fall. First day of fall is next week ... what!? 

Oh! And I'm hosting a fall-themed Supper Club on Thursday night, so if you have any great autumn recipes, I'm all ears.

Happy Friday to you all and thanks as always for linking up with us!

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