{oh hey friday!}

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Happy Friday! I’m linking up today with Amy and Karli for oh hey Friday!

{one} If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, stop what you’re doing and go buy this cashew butter! It is SO GOOD! The kids and I have been eating it on apples, but it’s delicious just by the spoonful. Yum!IMG_5218.JPG

{two} Now that I’m back to school, Will and Harper go to Nana’s each morning. Earlier in the week, Will was out helping Nana pick vegetables in her garden and brought home these goodies for mommy. How fun! I love that my kids are able to explore and play on a farm.IMG_5216.JPG

{three} Cousin fun! Last weekend when we went home to the state fair, we got to visit Will and Harper’s cousins. We played outside, took walks, and enjoyed a yummy dinner together. Although their cousins live in Kentucky, we have been able to visit them several times this summer at Mimi and Grandaddy’s house. IMG_5197.JPG{four} I usually always have pictures for each of my topics, but as I was uploading additional pictures for this post, I got a message saying that I had maxed out on my allotted space for wordpress. Uh oh. Fortunately, this summer my brother started helping me transition to a different site. Unfortunately, I have no clue what I’m doing, ha! Luckily, he does, but we’re having to communicate via texts since he’s in NC. 

{five} So I’m on the hunt for the perfect blog template. I’ve been browsing Etsy but there are just so many to choose from…it’s hard to narrow them down. Eventually, my new site will be harperandwill.com but in the meantime, my blog might be pretty quiet as I try to transition to the new site. Again, any suggestions/feedback on this would be most helpful!

Have a great weekend:)

 

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{fair fun! // it’s the little things}

Last week, we headed to our local county fair for a night of fun. Harper and Will received free gate passes from their summer reading program (sidenote: we got some nice prizes from our local libraries-free passes to a bounce house, free books, fair tickets, coupons for free fro yo, and Harper won one of the end of summer raffles, which was a $10 gift certificate to a local Mexican restaurant that we all love!). Anyway, this was our first time going to our county fair.  I grew up going to the State Fair of West Virginia (in my hometown), so our county fair was quite small. However, we got to pet some animals, look at fun exhibits, and check out the fun rides (though we didn’t ride any). 

Milking cows…you’d think that my kiddos would be tired of seeing cows since we live right beside a dairy farm, but no, they love cows!

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Checking out the animals.  Harper and Will got in the pen to pet the calves!IMG_5074.JPG

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Smoky the Bear!IMG_5081.JPG

Checking out the tractors…IMG_5087.JPG

And of course Harper had to do the same thing!IMG_5090.JPG

Inspecting the fire trucks. IMG_5097.JPG

Ready to roll!IMG_5107.JPG

This is a really neat sensory activity! A swimming pool full of corn with scoopers and toys. Harper and Will could have stayed there for hours playing in it!IMG_5126.JPG

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Last weekend, we headed to the WV State Fair for one last hurrah before I had to go back to work.  

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Although it was very cloudy, it didn’t rain at all. It was actually nice weather-not too hot. IMG_9426Will LOVED the rides! We only bought a few tickets because they were pricy and we weren’t sure how much the kids would ride.  Well, next year we will be buying the ride bracelets which lets the kiddos have unlimited access to the rides!IMG_9463I rode the carousel with Will and Harper. IMG_9436IMG_9471Daddy and Harper on the Teacup ride!IMG_9488Silly pic!IMG_9509

IMG_9516 IMG_9547Eating some yummy Ben Ellen Donuts (a fair favorite-they taste like nutmeg!).IMG_9578While watching Galaxy Girl spin around and climb the tower…yikes!IMG_9585Checking out all the animals.IMG_9599They even have a cow birthing center set up! Two calves were born that morning and there were about a dozen cows who were about to give birth! IMG_9621Petting the horses. Will and Harper absolutely love horses! They talk about visiting the horses in the horse barn at Nana’s all the time. IMG_9629Trying their hand at weaving. IMG_9641 We also enjoyed some delicious German chocolate ice cream-yum! The kiddos had a blast and we can’t wait to go back next summer! 

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Linking up with Ashley and Jess for “It’s the Little Things.”

{yearly photo books}

Back in 2011, I came across this post by Katie Bower of Bower Power and loved the idea of a family yearbook. Kiddo yearbooks are the best way for me to organize and print zillions of pictures that I take of Harper and Will (I’m really, really bad about actually printing out pictures throughout the year, except for when we have professional pics taken….anyone else like that?!). 

I started creating yearly photo books chronicling the year in photographs for Will after he turned one and did the same for Harper after her first birthday.  I have worked on Harper’s second photo book this summer and finally finished it! I worked on it little bits at a time in the evenings and during naps but kicked it into high gear when My Publisher* came out with their best (for what I was purchasing) coupon code that had to be used by July 28 (*not sponsored by them at all; I just love their photo books!).  I always max out at 100 pages, so the deal I was on the lookout for was free extra pages. The grand total before the coupon for three photo books (I always order one for both sets of grandparents) was $327.57! Yikes! With the coupon, my total came to $118.93. Shipping is pricy-$22.97, but the quality of the photo books is worth it. Including shipping and tax, each book cost $39.64. Not too bad, considering it comes with a lovely linen cover and Harper’s book this year had over 600 pictures in it!

Another favorite blog of mine, Young House Love, hopped on the My Publisher bandwagon after reading about Katie Bower’s photo books {how cool is it that they’re real life friends!}. Check out their fun post about how “photo albums are dead to us” here (complete sidenote: I really miss their posts on BabyCenter) and other photo album posts herehere, and here. Katie Bower also has several other good photo book posts. 

Anyway, back to my photo books, ha! It comes packaged in a fun red box that says, “Ta da, I’m here…”IMG_8757Every time I get a package from My Publisher, I can’t wait to open up the box and look at my latest photo book creation!IMG_8760I love how thin the books are and the look of the linen covers. I’m soon going to run out of color choices for the books, ha! Below are Will’s three books (sage, navy, taupe) and Harper’s (grey, ivory). IMG_8768Here are the front covers of the books.  My plan is to continue creating one book per kid for a while…we’re going to have a lot of books! Luckily, they are narrow and fit nicely on my bookshelf. 

IMG_8767I organize the photos in chronological order from just after the birthday party through the kiddo’s next birthday party. For example, Harper’s second year photo book (below, that I just finished) was from March 2013 (right after she turned one) through March 2014. I ended with her 2nd birthday party.  

Here’s just a glimpse at some of the pages and the different layouts.  This page only has three pictures but most of the other pages have more than that (in order to fit in all the pictures I had selected…I still wasn’t able to use all the pictures I wanted due to the huge # of pics I took).  IMG_8739Summertime fun with the cousins…IMG_8742I include our professional photo sessions we do with a local photographer.  Last year, we took pics in summer and fall.  This year, we’re only going to take fall pics. IMG_8740More summertime fun.  When creating the pages, you select the number of pics you want to include on the page and the program gives you several options for layouts.  One thing I forgot to mention is that you download the free My Publisher software to your computer and create the book that way.  Once the book is finished, you upload and purchase your masterpiece:)IMG_8738 IMG_8736 IMG_8735I try to organize the pictures by event/trip, etc.  For example, below is our yearly trip to the peach orchard.  I included two pages from our peach picking trip. IMG_8744More fall scenes-the page on the left is our pumpkin patch trip and the right page is our apple orchard trip. IMG_8746Our professional fall photos…these covered several pages.IMG_8748IMG_8747Scenes from Harper’s 2nd birthday party.IMG_8753At the very end of the book, I include several pages of Instagram pics from the year.  I selected a page of 12 square pictures to display these pics.  It’s nice to end with a year recap from Instagram, plus, it helps if I have a few extra pages that I need to fill up (though that usually doesn’t happen!). IMG_8754

IMG_8755I’m curious to see how others create photo books for their kiddos!

 

{oh hey Friday!}

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Happy Friday:) I’m linking up with Karli and Amy for oh hey Friday! I can’t believe it’s already August!

{one} I recently discovered a huge wealth of kids’ consignment clothes on Instagram! I happened upon Jenny Collier’s Instagram resale shop and bought a few cute clothes for Harper. Do you have any favorite Instagram shops where you buy used kids’ clothes? I’d love to hear what they are!
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{two} Miss Harper…this girl is so particular about her shoes. She absolutely hates these adorable sandals and throws a fit when we put them on her. She would rather wear her Crocs or rain boots. No kidding-as soon as we got back home, she took off these sandals and put on her red cupcake boots! Silly girl:)20140727-115415-42855597.jpg{three} I completed my last summer teacher workday this week, yahoo! Now I have one more full week off before school starts. It always feels so much better to have my room all unpacked and ready to go! Here’s the before:20140727-115416-42856394.jpgAnd after! Much better. Those piles of boxes everywhere were driving me crazy!20140727-115416-42856906.jpg{four} We’ve been enjoying some cooler temps here in Virginia this week-low 70s and down in the 50s at night! It seems like fall is coming soon! The kiddos requested to eat lunch outside the other day, which was great for me, since it means less of a mess to clean up:)20140727-115415-42855991.jpg{five} Summer grilling! We grilled a delicious meal of pesto scallops and zucchini. I love the nights we grill since that means I just do the prep work (cutting up the zucchini, etc) and my husband does the rest! I could get used to this, ha!20140727-115417-42857728.jpgWe cooked the corn in the microwave with the husk still on, which turned out great! This method made it so easy to remove the husk and silk!20140727-115417-42857291.jpgI hope you have a great summer weekend:)

{mommy//daughter evening}

Last week, Harper and I had a fun mommy/daughter evening while Will and his daddy went to a monster truck show with Aunt Kathy (one of our babysitters) and our neighbor’s son. I rarely go out and do something specifically with just one kiddo.  I should, though, because we had a blast! The only main activity I do with each kid separately is music class, which starts back up next month after a break for summer, so it’s been a while.

Our first stop was Target (mommy’s favorite store!!), where we looked at the new fall clothing that’s starting to come out and all the back to school deals. I’m addicted to the dollar tins and use them for a variety of things around the house. I picked up a few more to use as storage for our craft supplies. 20140727-114946-42586279.jpg

20140727-114946-42586492.jpgI decided to check out a {new to us} frozen yogurt place in the area. Harper loves getting her mini frozen yogurt! I will definitely be back-they are very kid friendly (they have a kids’ area with toys and coloring sheets) and have lots of seating. The employees were really friendly as well. 20140727-115207-42727999.jpgAfter froyo, we stopped by a local park (one of my favorite parks in the area). It was so nice to just focus on one kiddo and give her all my attention. Usually, I’m back and forth between the little play area and the bigger play area where Will climbs around. Harper enjoyed the extra attention as well. 20140727-114946-42586914.jpgWe even went down by the river and threw rocks!20140727-114947-42587385.jpg

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20140727-114947-42587153.jpgHarper and I had a super time! I plan on doing more of these individual kiddo excursions in the future! Will had a good time at the monster truck show and didn’t get home until almost midnight! He was exhausted and ready to see mommy (he’s such a mommy’s boy, ha!).

I’m linking up with Jess and Ashley for “It’s the Little Things.”20140727-115045-42645620.jpg

{oh hey Friday!}

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Happy Friday:) I’m linking up with Karli and Amy for oh hey Friday! I love having a place for a random brain dump each week, ha!

{one} Are my kids the only ones who act up and goof off at story time? All the other kids sit quietly and listen to the story.  My kids, on the other hand, are rolling around the floor, taking their shoes off, and not paying a bit of attention to the librarian read a story about sharks. See Harper there in the pink on the floor? She decided to roll around on the floor and refused to wear her shoes. Will attempted to do the same thing but he looked back at me and I gave him the look.  Otherwise, he would have been right there with her, ha! Anyway, I love taking them to story time and other events. It’s just amusing to see how they behave versus other children. 

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{two} On Tuesday, we had a movie and park/picnic day! Our movie theater shows $1 movies during the summer, so we went with our neighbors to see The Croods. Harper and Will did a pretty good job during the movie, though they got a little restless towards the end. Both were definitely ready for some fun park time afterwards! We checked out a (new to us) park that had a really fun wooden castle. 20140723-205737-75457327.jpg

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20140723-205737-75457115.jpg{three} Zucchini bread! We picked a huge zucchini from our garden the other day, so I whipped up a new chocolate chip zucchini bread recipe. It was good, but not as delicious as the chocolate zucchini bread recipe from This Week for Dinner. Do you have a go-to zucchini recipe?20140723-205737-75457810.jpg

{four} From our garden, we have also picked several green peppers. I made some yummy chicken cheesesteaks with peppers and onions this week. They were so good and easy to make…they will be part of my go-to meals from now on:) 20140723-205737-75457611.jpg

{five} Ten years…my hubby and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary yesterday. We got married what seems like so long ago, on July 24, 2004. Here we are, ten years, two houses, and two kiddos later:) Love ya, babe! I recently saw this idea on Young House Love and started digging back through our old pictures trying to find one of us each year on/around our anniversary. I wish we would have started this from the beginning-taking a picture of us on 7/24 each year. I plan on starting now and finding pics from previous years to frame. However, it’s been tough to find many pictures of us pre-kiddos. My siblings and husband call me “Mamarazzi” since I constantly have my camera with me and take tons of pictures, ha! So we’re good on pics of us as a family since 2010. Anything before that…not so much. I couldn’t find a single picture of the two of us in 2007:(20140723-205738-75458035.jpgHappy Friday!

{Christmas in July Gift Exchange!}

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I recently participated in a fun Christmas in July gift exchange with Courtney and Jenny! I was matched up with Julie and sent her this box of goodies. Check out her blog for a recap!

IMG_6042Courtney, who co-hosted the exchange, received my name and sent us a wonderful box of goodies! We just got back from our beach trip and Harper and Will were so excited to receive a package:)

Eagerly opening the box…

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Pulling out the gifts…

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Glow sticks!

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And bath toys (Boon-a favorite brand of mine!)!
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Glitter pipe cleaners!

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A Planes activity/sticker book!

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Not only glow sticks but glow stick sunglasses! How cool! Will got his own orange glow stick (his fave color) and Harper received a purple one (her fave color). They were amazed that they both got their favorite colors! Will even said, “How did they know orange was my favorite color?!”
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Lisa Frank stickers-who remembers those from their childhood? Maybe I’m just getting old, ha! And even a wonderful book for me! The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art and CreativityIMG_8210

Will and Harper immediately opened the glitter pipe cleaners and started creating an art project with them.
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Glow sticks were next…even though it wasn’t dark out, they hid under the covers and played with them.

Loving the stickers!
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We received a cute homemade card from Aria wishing us a happy summer. Thanks so much, Aria and Courtney! We love our gifts:) It was lots of fun to get these goodies in the middle of summer!