Charlotte Eats: Haberdish

Y'all, I'm obsessed with Haberdish in NoDa. If given the choice, we would eat there every time we find ourselves in the area.

Haberdish serves southern inspired food, including killer fried chicken and homemade hot sauce. And, in addition to great food, they have fantastic cocktails. The space is beautifully designed and a photographer's dream. (And a genius marketing move because the urge to Instagram ALL THE THINGS is hard to resist.)

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I recently introduced my mom to their food and I have a feeling we'll be back, a lot.

Here's what we drank and ate on our most recent visit...

Spring Fever: El Jimador resposado, lime, jalapeno, ginger beer, black cardamon vanilla orange syrup, topped with cilantro.

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You can request a flower ice ball with most cocktails.

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Ransom Gin Smash: Old Tom Ransom Gin, mint, sugar, flaked ice.

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Hushpuppies served with sweet tea butter.

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Fried Chicken Half: brined, battered, and fried.

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Daily Pickles: Spicy Herb

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Daily Hot Side: roasted cauliflower mash with cheddar, scallions, and chives.

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Charlotte loves the hot sauce, the large windows, and free wi-fi:

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Have you been to Haberdish? If so, what's your favorite dish/cocktail?

 

Dinner at Eez + a Train Concert

I'm never not craving sushi and I'm never not celebrating my birthday without a roll, or five, because that's just how I roll. 

Sushi jokes? I've got 'em!

One of my favorite places for sushi is Eez Fusion & Sushi in Huntersville. The services is great, the fish is fresh, and the unique menu caters to everyone (even those who do not like sushi!). It's a safe and delicious choice.

Here's what we drank and ate...

That Mezcal Drank: mezcal, cilantro, citrus juice, soda, agave and harissa.

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Spicy Poke Dip: spicy tuna poke with salmon and yellowtail, seaweed salad, served with wonton chips.

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Pork Potstickers: 10 pork potstickers with ginger citrus dipping sauce.

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And then I built my own roll, to match my blog's name, because that's just who I am as a person. ;)

I call this one The Birch. 

Inner: white fish, mint, inari (sweet tofu)
Wrapper: seaweed
Rice: white
Outer: Tobiko

The flavor combination is definitely unique and a first for me. It is sweet, salty, and savory.

eez-fusion-sushi-huntersville-nc-build-your-own-roll

Tropical Storm Roll: kani, avocado and cucumber inside, topped with yellowfin tuna, salmon, yellowtail, Japanese mayo, sweet eel sauce, sriracha and tobiko. Served with wasabi yuzu

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Cash Money Roll: tempura salmon, cucumber, cilantro and spicy mayo inside, topped with avocado, cashews, mango salsa and sweet eel sauce. Served with ponzu dipping sauce

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Chef's Deluxe Sushimi Mix.

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Not pictured: miso soup and the Skinny Gonzales drink.

It was a lovely dinner with my mom, Brandon, and Charlotte. We enjoyed the food and watching Charlotte eating spicy poke and sashimi with chopsticks. I'm still in awe that my child loves sushi but not mac and cheese.

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eez-fusion-sushi-huntersville-nc-toddler-sashimi-chopsticks

We skipped dessert because we were so full! We took a walk around Birkdale and popped into a few stores before heading home.

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We live near PNC Music Pavilion and pass it on the way home. There was heavy traffic near the venue so we knew there was a concert happening. A quick search on Google revealed that it was OAR and Train. 

I had a rather difficult week and an impromptu adventure was just what the doctor ordered. We bought tickets from a re-seller on the street for $20 dollars, found an amazing parking spot, and an awesome spot on the lawn. Our Monkey Picnic Blanket came in handy...

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I've always enjoyed Train's music and that evening was no different. Honestly, I didn't realize how many hits they had, or how the lyrics were just what I needed to hear at that moment, or just long it's been since Brandon and I have been to a show together.

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What's your favorite roll at Eez? Have you ever created your own? If so, what was it made out of?

 

An Afternoon in NoDa: a Grand Opening & a Tray of Oysters

Saturday morning I joined my friend Erin for the grand opening celebration of Salud Cerveceria, a small brewery located on the second floor of Salud Beer Shop and FūD at Salud. It's a beautiful space that incldues artwork by local artists, comfortable booths and chairs, a shuffleboard table, fresh flowers, and areas with natural light perfect for taking photos.

We arrived early to ensure a spot at the bar and to welcome Lindsay back to NoDa with the opening of Trade & Lore. The coffee shop resides inside Salud and is open from 9am till 3pm everyday.

I went 'old school' with my order and got the Pistachio Rosewater Latte:

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Our second beverage was the Green Drank, a Peruvian inspired soda:

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My final drink at Salud was a grand opening day special: an Oreo flavored imperial stout topped with black whipped cream and a thick slice of bacon. Y'all. It was decadent and fun and had a much higher ABV than expected. 

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salud-cerveceria-noda-charlotte-nc-imperial-stout-black-whipped-cream-bacon

 

Needless to say, we were tipsy and high on sugar, a fun combination.

I can see myself spending many of my days working from the space while drinking coffee or beer and I look forward to doing just that once my little one starts day school this fall.

 

We closed our tab and walked down to Growlers for oysters and rose.

Sea Level, NC

Sea Level, NC

It was a lovely afternoon with friends that I would like to repeat over and over again.

 

Have you been to Salud Cerverceria or Trade & Lore? If so, what is your favorite drink?

 

Father's Day Weekend

We kicked off the weekend with a dip in and a dinner by our neighborhood pool. We look for any excuse to relax and eat well after a long work week and this past Friday evening was no different. 

I made a point to finish working early so I could focus on a delicious dinner to take down to the pool. On the menu? Chipotle Barbacoa tacos. They're easy to transport and easy to assemble. I've made this recipe in the slow cooker half a dozen times and it has yet to disappoint. It's about thirty minutes of prep up front but so worth it. I also made fresh pico de gallo, diced an avocado, and grabbed whole wheat tortillas and tortilla chips out of the pantry to complete the meal. 

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The pool water was warm like bath water so I joined in on the fun and captured a few moments with the GoPro.

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The best part? There was little to no clean up and we were relaxing on the couch by 8pm, a rare feat.

 

Saturday morning I joined my friend Erin for an adventure in NoDa. I had a lovely time but had to hurry home to get ready for an evening at the ballpark to see the Charlotte Knights take on the Indianapolis Indians.

A Knight's Ale | BB&T Ballpark

A Knight's Ale | BB&T Ballpark

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charlotte-skyline-charlotte-nc-bbt-ballpark

Sadly, the Knights lost.

We ended our evening at Legion Brewing in Plaza Midwood with a riveting game of Rummikub. I won. :)

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Sunday morning I woke up before the crack of dawn to get everything ready for Father's Day before Brandon woke up. After breakfast he left to go visit his father while Charlotte and I ran errands all day. 

For dinner, I treated my baby's daddy to hot wings and fried pickles at our favorite local tavern. We decided to take a walk at the park after dinner, but not before buying ice cream cones for a sweet ending to a sweet weekend.

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Watching trains go by.

Watching trains go by.

Any holiday that gives us an opportunity to relax, eat, and celebrate is a winner in our book. Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Day Trip: Sierra Nevada in Asheville, NC

It may have been the altitude, or two pounds of chocolate fudge, that helped make the decision to drive an hour and a half out of the way to eat dinner at Sierra Nevada in Asheville.

We knew we would be hungry for dinner within two hours after spending an afternoon in Blowing Rock and Grandfather Mountain. We could have gone home but we were not quite ready to do that yet.

The drive to Sierra Nevada is worth it. The property is beautiful, the beer is delicious, and the food is amazing. I jokingly call the brewery Hogwarts because that's what it looks like to me.

This was our second visit there and a lot has changed since our first visit over a year ago. It was packed and there was an hour wait to get a table at 4 o'clock. The garden was in full bloom, the outdoor stage had multiple artists, and the kids play area was complete. 

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My favorite part about the restaurant menu is that it's shareable, a great way to try different dishes without stuffing yourself silly. Here's what we ate:

Duck Fat Fries: thrice-cooked fries, duck confit, aged cheddar, Torpedo hot sauce aioli, rasberry mustard, hops salt.

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Green Goddess Kale Salad: Freedom Farms kale, pork guanciale, local radishes, charred red onion, horseradish, green goddess dressing.

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Sunburst Farms Trout: seared local trout, grilled vegetable quinoa, lemon thyme vinaigrette, brown butter aioli, citra hop salt.

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Flatbread: wood fired focaccia, ramp pesto, shiitake mushrooms, charred ramps, pecorino romano.

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Moroccan Skewers: Moroccan marinated Brasstown beef sirloin, chickpea avocado mash, paprika oil, preserved lemon.

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Roasted Beet Salad: local greens, roasted beets, green apples, pistachios, Three Graces goat cheese, beet vinaigrette.

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Passion Fruit Dessert: passion fruit white chocolate mousse, butter cookie, coconut meringue, Tropical Torpedo apricots, lime foam.

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Tres Leches: marscapone cream, basil paint, roasted strawberry compote, shortcake crumble, strawberry-lemongrass gel.

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We spent a half hour walking off our dinner and listening to live music before heading home.

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sierra-nevada-asheville-nc-family-friendly-brewery
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We had a lovely afternoon at the brewery and are looking forward to coming back in the fall.

Have you been to Sierra Nevada in Asheville? What's your favorite beer or dish that they serve?

 

 

 

 

Day Trip: Charlotte to Blowing Rock

The best part about living in Charlotte is the easy access to both the mountains and the beach so when the urge to escape hits there are plenty of options.

We didn't have much planned for Memorial Day weekend so on Saturday morning we packed up the car, picked up the grandparents, and hit the road. 

Our first stop was Woodlands BBQ in Blowing Rock. This is, hands down, my favorite barbecue restaurant. Their sweet tea is sweet, but not rot your teeth on contact kind of sweet. Their spicy chicken wings are out-of-this-world delicious and the barbecue platters are large enough to feed a small army. The atmosphere is casual, with rolls of paper towels on every table and food served on paper plates. To me, it's worth the almost two hour drive for a meal.

Sweet Tea 

Sweet Tea 

Kid's Coloring Sheet

Kid's Coloring Sheet

Spicy Chicken Wings

Spicy Chicken Wings

Combo Platter

Combo Platter

A heavy lunch called for a hike so we hit the road towards Grandfather Mountain. I love that they have trails with varying difficulty levels and the visit can be tailored towards the young and the not so young. ;)

Our first stop inside the park was the Mile High Swinging Bridge. My two year old has no fear and ran right towards the bridge and then proceeded to climb the rocks on the other side of it. Meanwhile, I struggled finding my balance because I wore the wrong shoes.

The view from the top is breathtaking, while the heavy winds can take your breath away when it makes you feel like you're losing your balance and there's no safety net keeping you from falling down the mountain. 

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If the Mile High Swinging Bridge is the trill part of Grandfather Mountain, then the Wildlife Habitat is the squeal. There's bears and eagles and otters, oh my! Some parts of the habitat were closed for renovation on this visit but it didn't stop Charlotte from squealing with joy when she saw the animals.

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Grandfather Mountain holds a lot of great memories. I remember going there shortly after we moved to North Carolina. I remember my grandmother bravely crossing the mile high bridge. I remember going there with Brandon in the fall, shortly after we started dating. And now I will remember my child's first visit there, bravely climbing the rocks and running around the habitat.

Before leaving the park, we loaded up on fudge and decided to drive an hour an a half to Asheville to get dinner at Sierra Nevada brewery, you can read about our experience here.

 

Have you ever been to Grandfather Mountain? What's your favorite part?

 

 

 

A Weekend in NYC: Day 3

Our last day in New York came quicker than we would have hoped but we made the best of it. Our flight out of LGA was not until 3 o'clock so we had some time to check off a couple more NYC Bucket List items before we had to leave the city.

The first thing on our list was coffee, obviously!

Katy and Adam took us to Birch Coffee near Central Park. Yes, Birch! You can probably imagine my excitement when we got there...! (And yes, I did get a t-shirt.)

Birch Coffee | NYC

Birch Coffee | NYC

Birch Coffee | The Ignition Initiative 

Birch Coffee | The Ignition Initiative 

Yes, yes I do!

Yes, yes I do!

So meta.

So meta.

We got our coffee to go so that we could walk around Central Park. I got a few photos of the lake, Skyped the husband and kid, and chugged the coffee.

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We chose Russ & Daughters for brunch. The cafe has been on my "OMG, why haven't I been there yet" list for a while so we crossed over to the other side of the park and down to the basement of the Jewish Museum for our last proper meal in New York.

We got there before 11 o'clock so there was no wait, a brilliant move on our part because the place was packed by the time we left.

Menu | Russ & Daughters Cafe

Menu | Russ & Daughters Cafe

russ-and-daughters-interior

I ordered Schmalts and a Shot for my appetizer: a small platter consisting of herring, potatoes, white onions, and a shot of vodka. This dish made me feel like I was back at my family's dinner table. It was lovely.

Schmaltz & A Shot | Russ & Daughters Cafe

Schmaltz & A Shot | Russ & Daughters Cafe

Taking a shot!

Taking a shot!

For my actual meal, I ordered the Classic Board: Gaspe Nova smoked salmon, cream cheese, tomatoes, onions, and capers. So simple yet so good!

The Classic Board | Russ & Daughters Cafe

The Classic Board | Russ & Daughters Cafe

We took a bus back to the other side of town and had the best conversation with the bus driver. It was a wonderful send off as we prepared to head home to Charlotte.

Goodbyes are bittersweet and ours was made a little sweeter by singing the birthday song to Katy and indulging in a slice of Momofuku Milk Bar's Funfetti Rainbow Sprinkle Cake.

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momofuku-milk-bar-funfetti-sprinkle-cake-slice

 

The weekend in NYC was an absolute treat with my two best girls and I can't wait to go back!

nyc-subway-selfie

A Weekend in NYC: Day 2

Our second day in New York City began with a walk around the block to Levain Bakery. We've heard Katy talk about the cookies and the simply amazing jam and butter on baguette for months so we had to try it! 

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The best things in life are simple, like this jam and butter on baguette sandwich. 

The best things in life are simple, like this jam and butter on baguette sandwich. 

Plain Brioche #ilovebread

Plain Brioche #ilovebread

Our lovely host with a baggie full of goodies.

Our lovely host with a baggie full of goodies.

Our second order of business for the day? A trip to the Museum of Modern Art! It's one of my favorite museums to visit and I look forward to seeing my favorite pieces by Monet, Picasso, and Warhol, to name a few.

But a trip to the MoMA can't be complete without capturing street art on the way to the museum:

We found HOPE on the corner of 7th Ave. and 53rd St.

We found HOPE on the corner of 7th Ave. and 53rd St.

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Walking around the museum made me a little hungry so I did something I've never done before: eat something off of a street cart. But it wasn't just any street cart, it was a Halal Guys cart and it was amazing.

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The next order of business was to take a break, rest our feet, and drink a beer, or two, at As If NYC. The bar has a great selection of craft beer, including some from North Carolina breweries that were new to me. The decor is lovely and there are no TVs, encouraging customers to focus their attention on each other.

I tried the following beers: Tall Guy IPA by Breakside Brewery, Scythe Rye IPA by Burial Beer Co., Susan by Hill Farmstead Brewery, and Luponic Distortion by Firestone Walker Brewing Company. I chose the Scythe Rye IPA as the one to drink.

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as-if-nyc-craft-beer-bar-beer-and-bike
as-if-nyc-craft-beer-bar-inside

It's a good thing we took a mid-day break because the rest of our afternoon was packed!

Charlotte has a shortage of Korean food so one of my requests was a trip to Koreatown to get my fix.

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Food Gallery 32, a food court with multiple vendors in very tight quarters, is a mecca of Korean food. I was so overwhelmed by the variety that I didn't have a chance to feel claustrophobic. 

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I settled on Kobeque's Spicy Noodle Combo with spicy BBQ pork.

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There were several dessert vendors and I wanted to try something from all of them but narrowed it down to Mama's and ordered a Delimanjoo fish filled with custard.

Nutella filled Delimanjoo. | Food Gallery 32

Nutella filled Delimanjoo. | Food Gallery 32

But if you think the day ended here you would be terribly wrong.

All that food made us a bit sleepy so we headed down to Bluestone Lane, an adorable Australian-style coffee shop that proved me wrong in the you-can't-make-latte-art-with-soy-milk department. 

Bluestone Coffee

Bluestone Coffee

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bluestone-coffee-cup

Then we veered down the street and found ourselves face-to-face with the Friends' apartment building. Or at least the one used for the outside shots during the filming of the show.

Has anyone seen Ross?

Has anyone seen Ross?

We danced on the street while playing theme song and then took our coffee buzz to a Swedish candy shop, SOCKERBIT, where I spent way too much time and money picking out treats to take home.

SOCKERBIT-swedish-candy-nyc

The last two must-have stops on our list that day was Grand Central Station terminal, where we enjoyed cocktails at Cipriani Colci under the gold stars, and Shake Shack for dinner near the Hill's apartment. Not going to lie, I was not terribly impressed with Shake Shack... 

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grand-central-station-clock-nyc
grand-central-station-sky-nyc
grand-central-station-Cipriani-Dolci

Once again we stayed up late playing Cards Against Humanity and drinking tons of Italian wine.

 

Related posts: Weekend in NYC: Intro | Weekend in NYC: Day 1 | Weekend in NYC: Day 3

 

Life Lately: Grateful

You guys, it's been one hell of a week. Or rather, week and a half and it's been a challenge to shake off the bad. However, at the end of the day, I am grateful that there's been so much good. This is why these ten or so days have felt like a roller coaster. One that I was ready to get off as soon as I realized I was on it.

One of the tricks that I've learned dealing with anxiety is calling it out. Talking about it openly has helped me tremendously because it loses it's power the moment it leaves my lips. I've had to do the same with all the bad this week so that I could fully enjoy the good.

stony-point-nc-yellow-flower-field

 

About a week and a half ago we learned that we'll have to make a tough decision in the near future. A heartbreaking one at that. I haven't been this sad in a long time and I'm having a hard time with it.

Thursday evening I did something for myself and took a Skillpop class. The class was taught by Megan of Freckled Italian and it was on the topic of monetizing a blog. It's a topic I've been exploring and it was helpful to learn about it in an organized way, rather than what I've been attempting to do on my own. I plan on blogging a full review soon. :)

After the class I ate my feelings at Pisces, my favorite sushi spot in Charlotte. I highly recommend the Screaming O roll and the catch of the day sashimi.

Mercury being in retrograde wasn't helping things. At all.

 

Easter weekend was beyond lovely filled with family, friends, and great food.

And then Monday came.

The kid injured herself. I injured myself. She was a hot mess. I was a hot mess. We had a challenging (see also: toddler tantrums) trip to the grocery store only to discover, at check out, that I didn't have my wallet. Thank God for check books and an old ID tucked away in the junk pocket of my purse. And that was all before lunch. The day was savage and didn't let up until about midnight when I found myself laughing at the absurdity of everything that had happened. I laughed so hard I cried myself to sleep. I vowed to let go of feeling like a victim of Moday by the time the sun came up the next day.

Except, the sun did not come out on Tuesday but we chose to make the best of it. It was a rainy morning so we drove up to Huntersville to spend a few hours at Discovery Place KIDS. The place was packed. I don't really like kids (I love my own and those belonging to my friends) so it was a bit overwhelming. However, Charlotte had fun and that's all that matters. 

That evening I attended Charlotte AMA's Market Charlotte event. It's the biggest event of the year for the organization and I wasn't going to miss it, especially now that I'm back on the board as the Director of Social Media for the new year starting in July. I networked, learned, and ate good food. I call that a win win win.

Wednesday was filled with more tantrums and life challenges but ended on a high note. I was lucky to spend an evening eating amazing food with even more amazing women. I was up way past my bedtime but my heart was so full that sleep didn't even matter. I was high on life.

But the high didn't last long because Thursday was another challenging day. (Are you beginning to see the roller coaster pattern yet?!) The kid was sick and I had no clue until she violently vomited all over the place, collapsed in my arms, and wouldn't let me go. This was the first of many dominoes to fall resulting in another can't-believe-this-is-all-happening-at-once laughs. That evening I stayed up till 2:30 am tending to the kid, cleaning up messes, killing ants, and working on client projects. It would have been much easier if my husband wasn't out of town...

The next morning kid woke up with a 103 fever so we spent the morning cuddling and watching Disney. We finally left the house around dinner time to order her birthday cake at Publix and to pick up take out at Zoes. I spent Friday evening working on client projects and making the house look less like a war zone before Brandon came home. 

This weekend we spent catching up on things that are important to us and taking moments to ourselves to recharge and feel like ourselves again.

We survived the roller coaster ride. 

 

There are other things going on that I did not mention, however, at the end of the day things can always be worse. A lot worse. Sometimes everything comes at us at once to test us, to prepare us for the road ahead, and to remind us of all the good in our life. I am so grateful that grateful is my word for 2017. I am grateful for my grateful journal that I have written in every single night since January 1st. I am grateful for the support team around us, whether they are here physically or not. I am grateful for the life that we are building. I am grateful for all of the opportunities we have. I am grateful for this life.

I believe in falling. I believe in feeling the pain. I believe in getting back up. I believe in dusting ourselves off. I believe in moving on.

I am moving on from all the bad that happened this week. I am stronger than I was ten days ago. I am ready for what the future brings.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Bring Back the Bees

I'm always struggling to come up with toddler friendly activities and, more often than not, I try to come with something on the fly.

My criteria is simple: minimal set-up and clean up, doesn't require anyone to take a bath after said activity is complete, inexpensive or free, hands on and educational, and fun for both of us.

Easy, right?!

Today's activity was planting wild flowers in our backyard. 

A few weeks ago I saw friends tweeting about Cheerios' #BringBacktheBees campaign so I looked into it and ordered my own pack of free wildflower seeds. According to the Cheerios website the bee population is declining, which is not good. Bees are pollinators and the crops that we eat rely on them. Without bees we also can't have honey! 

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bringbackthebees-cheerios-wildflower-seeds

I've always been afraid of bees because of my allergic reaction to their stings. I've gone decades avoiding getting stung but failed last fall when I got stung on the forehead right before having our photos taken for a local publication. Thankfully, I only had a mild reaction and my fear of bees has subsided.

We picked two spots in our backyard that would benefit from the wildflowers. We tilled the soil, places the seeds, covered them with plant starter soil, and watered the plots.

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bringbackthebees-cheerios-water-flowers

After all the hard work, we rewarded ourselves by relaxing in the hammock.

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We can't wait to see the flowers grow and for the bees to come visit our yard.