Eating – This week I’m purging all the tempting stuff from our household in preparation for another round of the 21 Day Fix. Since I can’t let it go to waste, I must eat it. I’m not complaining about the ice cream and brownies.
Drinking – Coffee with almond milk and stevia! After my first round of the 21 day fix, I can’t stomach those sugary creamers anymore. Otherwise, I’ve virtually given up soda so it’s mostly water!
Listening – to the Someone Knows Something podcast. I’ve been on a huge podcast kick lately and with all the driving I do for work, it’s been perfect!
Reading – Just finished Thirteen Reasons Why in time for book club tonight. I listened to the audio version which I think impacted my imagination of the story playing out but the book ended better than I expected, what with all the crazy articles about the show. I’m glad our book club chose this one because I likely would not have read it otherwise and I’m glad that I did.
Elliott – Is still just as awesome as ever! I’m pretty sure Chris and I tell each other how awesome she is every single day at least twice. I don’t know what I did to deserve such a great kid but I’m so thankful! I love being her mama! Oh and Chris taught her my name so randomly she’ll just start saying “Hi Kristyn” with a huge smile (insert eye rolling emoji here!)
Watching – Pretty Little Liars. How did I not know this show was so good?? I’m almost through season 1. At what point do we find out who A is???
Loving – PURGING! I recently read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I am slowly carrying out my own spin on the suggestions. Chris has wanted to declutter for a long time and even though I’ve had the desire, I haven’t known how to carry it out! Now that I’ve started, I’m hooked! I’ll do a full post on how I put my spin on the book’s suggestions soon!
Wishing – It was August 29th and Chris and I were getting on a plane to our honeymoon in the Maldives! I’ve never been one to wish time away but I am so excited I can hardly help it!
Thinking – About all the posts I need and want to write. Does anyone have any tips for turning off my brain and actually focusing on one post at a time??
As a working mama, I try to make the most of the little bit of time I get with EG before and after day care each day! Most days I am exhausted after work so sometimes we just snuggle on the couch watching cartoons. Other days, I try to plan some fun activities that we can fit in the time between day care pick up and the dinner/bath/bedtime routine that is crucial to our survival. The weather was so nice the other day so I thought it would be great to have a little picnic in the front yard. The other day I had picked up these new Kemps Yo2 Frozen Yogurt pints and thought we could break the rules a bit and have our dessert before our dinner with a little ice cream.
These new Kemps Yo2 caught my eye in the grocery store first because of the see-through packaging. Looking a little further I saw that they are made with no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial flavors and no artificial growth hormones. I was a little skeptical thinking that these were possibly too good to be true and wouldn’t taste good but oh. my. stars. y’all these are FANTASTIC! I got the salted caramel cookie crunch and the mudslide. EG’s favorite was the mudslide though she loved feeding me the salted caramel. These did not skimp on the filings and when I say they are decadent, I mean it. The fact that there are also no artificial ingredients makes these the perfect guilt-free treat!
Scroll all the way to the bottom to see the adorable video I made of our mama & me ice cream picnic!
I definitely think we will have more ice cream picnics in our future this summer! What are some other fun bonding activities you working mamas do with your kids on weeknights?
Just when you think you have finally gotten a routine down, you are actually getting a full night of sleep and you think “man, I am rocking this mama thing!” the kid just has to change things up on you! This usually happens right around the 18 month mark and it is the beginning of the dreaded 18 month sleep regression! I hate to break it to you mamas, but this is a tough one and seems to come as soon as you feel like you have it figured out! Don’t fear though! Now that we are on the other side of this regression, I put together a few tips that I feel really helped us to get through it and even minimize it’s effects.
When we initially started going through this sleep regression, my mommy gut told me that Elliott needed a little bit more soothing/distraction when trying to fall asleep. We already played music when she was going down, which was a big help in establishing good sleeping habits, so I started looking into other items that might give her something to focus on as she was trying to fall asleep instead of the fact that I wasn’t in the room anymore. I eventually purchased her one of these Light-Up Turtles. I thought the stars projected on the wall would give her something to look at while she was falling asleep and the colors rotated so even though the stars weren’t moving, it was changing enough to not be boring. I also looked at this Stars Projector which moves and has the constellations. I’ll probably upgrade her to that when she is a little older. The turtle worked like a charm! The first night there was still a little crying when I put her down but by the second night, she was back to her normal self! If she wakes up during the night, I comfort her and then turn her turtle back on before walking out. She’s even started asking for me to turn the turtle on in the middle of the night now! I think it is important that this toy be for bedtime so we only bring it out during our bedtime routine.
I know it is so tempting to want to do whatever it takes to get your child back to sleep as quickly as possible. You’ve gotten used to getting more sleep and the sleepless first year is supposed to be behind you. Whatever you do, stay consistent with any “rules” you tried to abide by in the first place. For me, one of my rules was that Elliott was not to sleep in our bed. It’s not that I didn’t love snuggling with her or that I was against co-sleeping. It’s that I knew I would not get a good nights sleep and my back problems would be even worse if she got in bed with us. Another rule, I have for myself is not to pick her up out of her crib if she wakes in the middle of the night. This was really the key to establishing good sleeping habits for us in the first place so I knew that I needed to stay consistent with this throughout this regression. I would go in to comfort her, remind her that I was there, and rub her back a little but I would not pick her up.
If you haven’t already established a nighttime/bedtime routine, now is the time to do it! It doesn’t really matter what your bedtime routine looks like but at this age, children can anticipate what comes next, so it is important to create some structure for them. This makes the process feel less unknown to them. Our bedtime routine consists of bath time (most nights), brushing teeth, lotion, pjs, then a few minutes of play time before going downstairs to gather her “bottle,” paci, and lovie, and to say goodnight to daddy. We then go back to her room, turn all lights except the lamp out and her sound machine on, read two books while she drinks her milk, turn the lamp out and sing the same two songs while we cuddle. I think put her in the crib, turn her music and turtle on, kiss her forehead and leave the room.
As children get older, they need less sleep. Your child might be fighting bedtime because they are just not quite tired. Pushing back bedtime by about 10-15 minutes will help your child slowly wind down for the evening and may help them settle down into sleep more easily and stay asleep throughout the night. Use this extra time to read a few more books or have some quiet, low-light play time or cuddles together before bed.
Regardless of how short or long this regression lasts and regardless of how little sleep you feel like you are getting again, give both yourself and your child a little grace. This is only a phase and you both will get through it. Try to remember how much longer and harder those middle of the night feedings were just a year ago. You survived that phase and you’ll survive this one too. If you need an extra cup of coffee in the morning or if you child needs an extra snuggle, kiss or song at night, it’s ok! I’m trying to enjoy the snuggles while they last because I know one day she won’t fit in my arms anymore.
I hope you found these tips helpful and please feel free to reach out if you have any more specific questions about how we made it through this regression! You can find all my contact information in the “Contact Me” tab at the top or by clicking here. Make sure you pin the picture below so that you can find this post when you reach this stage and so other moms can find these tips too!
Hey good lookin’ 🙂 Have I told you lately how excited I am to be married to you? I know it’s only been a few weeks but I love being your Mrs. I’ve found myself thinking a lot about how we got to this point and all the little events that had to line up just so for us to even meet. Out of all the law schools I could have chosen to go to, I chose one in North Carolina. Then out of all the cities I could have chosen to move to after graduating, I chose to stay put in Durham. All the failed relationships that led us to both be single at the same time and you taking a job in a nearby city, a 45 minute commute away, so that our profiles could be “matched” based on location, on that dating site we both happened to sign up for. All these little things and more led me to you and if I could do life over again, I would do it exactly the same, only I would find you sooner so I could love you longer.
I know I’m not always the easiest person to do life with. I’m overly anxious about certain things and not very flexible when plans change. Thank you for being willing to see past that and for being willing to change and grow with me. Thank you for being willing to compromise when I know you don’t want to and for making things that are important to me, important to you.
You challenge me and compliment me in all the right ways. You are the funny to my serious. You are the spontaneous to my detailed plan. You are the type B to my type A. You are the outgoing to my serious. You are the simple to my clutter. You are my person.
Thank you for being a wonderful husband and father. Thank you for leading our family in the ways that I can’t and being my teammate through it all. Thank you for giving me the greatest gift in our daughter and for lighting up her face the way you do when she sees you walk in the door after work each night. I love being your partner and I can’t wait to see what crazy, windy roads the next 70 years takes us down together. So today I cheers to you, my handsome, husband! I love our journey together so far and I know I’ll love wherever it takes us!
Today, May 25th, also happens to be National Chardonnay Day! My favorite wine is chardonnay so this day is perfect for me and this year I have a husband to cheers with! I prefer Wente Chardonnay because the vineyard is 100% estate grown and certified susatinable. You can learn more about Wente family history by visiting their website here. They have a couple different chardonnay collections that I’m working my way through. I highly recommend this Riva Ranch if you like something not too dry but not too sweet. So pick up a bottle on your way home tonight and cheers to the important people in your life!
A few weekends ago, we took a family trip to a local strawberry farm to pick strawberries. With the unusually warm temperatures came an early strawberry season! But none of us are complaining!
When I was a kid, my mom would take us strawberry picking every year. We would drive around Plant City, Florida looking for the U-pick signs and taste testing one or two until we found a field with strawberries that were naturally sweet. We would pick coolers full of strawberries and taste-test them while we picked. Afterwards, we would take them home where my mom would clean and cut every single strawberry. Some would be frozen for ice cream toppings, some would be made into pie or cobbler, some would be saved for snack time, and the rest were made into strawberry jam. We made so much strawberry jam! These little jars of strawberry jam were used as teacher and neighbor gifts throughout the year. These days are stained with sweet strawberry juice in my mind and some of my favorite childhood memories.
I was so excited to take Elliott strawberry picking this year and start some of those same traditions with my own child. She wasn’t too keen on the actual picking but she loved the taste-testing part! I lost count on how many she ate! She would eat the whole thing, leaves and all, haha! The best part was her sweet little chin stained red with strawberry juice and her huge smile! Now I’ve just gotta get to making all that jam!
With spring officially here and everything starting to bloom, our yard needs a serious refresh! But tackling the whole yard at once can be a daunting and overwhelming task. Choosing a few small projects to inject some color into your yard can help your yard look refreshed and ready for spring in no time. Starting from the street, we decided to tackle our mailbox first since this is the first thing people see when driving up to our home and it adds some serious curb appeal to the home. This area needed some serious help! So here are 5 tips to start sprucing up your mailbox!
Bringing some definition to your space tells the eye exactly where to go when looking at your space. One way to define your space is to choose a nice border. Choose something that will contrast with what it is surrounding. We tore out the boring, cracked, broken black plastic we had in there and replaced it with this beautiful red scalloped brick. We chose these because the front of our house has red brick on it so it ties everything together.
Next you want to inject some color by planting some colorful plants. After spending a Sunday morning browsing the garden section at Lowes, we settled on a few different varieties from Monrovia. We chose Monrovia because the plants appeared healthy and they have a reputation for being a high-quality brand! Updating your garden can be a lot of work so the last thing I wanted to do was choose a plant that wasn’t going to thrive and would need to be replaced soon.
We chose complimentary colors of purple and bright pink. If you want to add some serious curb appeal, you definitely need to add some color. Another reason we liked Monrovia was because of the vibrant colors. Choosing a good mix of annuals and perennials will ensure you have color from spring through fall. I can’t wait to see everything in bloom!
Make sure you choose your plants based on the amount of sunlight the area will be getting and make sure you choose plants that are suitable for the area of the country that you live in. Not all plants can grow in all climates and some plants prefer sun while others prefer shade. If you want your plants to thrive, this is the most important step! Monrovia plants provide a ton of information on the card you find in each pot and they also have a great website that allows you to search for plants based on your zipcode, sun needs, water needs, and more! I never know what to plant so this is a great tool for me!
To get the best bang for your buck, make sure you choose plants that vary in height and width! This information can be found on the plant information card in each pot. Put taller plants in the back of the space and make sure none of your plants are going to grow too tall or wide to over take those around it. For our space, I chose a wisteria vine plant for the back and I can’t wait for this plant to grow up and around our mailbox post! The hostas should provide some steady width without getting to tall or wide and the colorful plants in the front should bloom from spring through fall!
Once you’ve got your space defined and your plants picked out, it is important to refresh the mailbox itself. Depending on what type of mailbox you have, add a fresh coat of paint, fix any broken or cracked stones or pressure wash the post to remove dirt and grime. For the past few years we’ve just been wiping down and touching up paint here and there so I decided it was about time to fully repaint our mailbox. I brought our big electric sander out and sanded all the old paint off before adding a new coat of bright white paint.
The little details will really tie the entire space together. Purchase new house numbers for the mailbox or replace the flag. Grab a bag of mulch or coordinating stone and fill in the space for a clean look. The details are where you can really let your family’s personality shine so get creative with it!
So there you have it! Some easy tips anyone can apply to update their mailbox and add some colorful curb appeal to their home! Make sure you check out your local Lowes store to purchase your own Monrovia plants or visit their online store to find the perfect plants for your area! Also check out Monrovia’s Grow Beautifully blog for more inspiring ideas to add some color and curb appeal to your home this spring!
Lately, little miss Elliott has been a handful when it comes to eating. I’m pretty sure she’s got a least one tooth coming in and at least 4 more on the way. If it’s not soft, cold and sweet, she likely isn’t eating it. I have mentioned it before but we did Baby Led Weaning with Elliott. Basically the premise is that baby feeds themselves from the very get go – no jars of baby food and spoons that go flying across the room spraying pureed carrots on the wall! It has been a great option for our family!
I know that she is just currently going through a stage while teething but I definitely do not want to lose any of the skills and habits that she has formed. In order to make sure that she’s getting the nutrition she needs while reinforcing the basic principles of baby led weaning, I have largely been relying on pouches. This way Elliott can feed herself and get the nutrition that she needs!
However, pouches can be messy and not all pouches are created equal. The trick to successfully using pouches with your toddler is to find pouches that have the right spout. You know? The one that doesn’t go squirting everywhere at the slightest squeeze. That’s why I love Gerber Smart Flow™ pouches. The size of the Smart Flow spout is custom to what is in the pouch allowing for more control and less mess. The Gerber Smart Flow Pouches have definitely turned our #pouchfails into #pouchWINS!
You can download a coupon for Gerber Smart Flow pouches here and you can watch a video with more information on these pouches here. You can find Gerber Grabbers at Kroger and Ahold affiliates. I get mine at my local Kroger.
I still haven’t shared pictures from Elliott’s first birthday party here and she’s almost 18 months! That is going to be my goal, to get her whole first year recap and first birthday party photos up before 18 months.
In the mean time, I wanted to share the adorable photos I took at Elliott’s little friend’s first birthday party a few weeks ago! The theme was Peter Rabbit and my friend Christine got a real life bunny for the party! Elliott was in heaven with that bunny! Christine carried out the theme so well and I couldn’t believe the bunny when I saw it! The cake was semi-homemade with fresh blueberries and the cutest little Peter Rabbit Cake Topper! It was such a beautiful spring day and we had such a great time celebrating our friend, Kate’s, first birthday!
Welcome to the new and improved Carolina Fireflies blog! If you were paying close attention, you might have noticed that, in addition to the beautiful new digs, the blog also got a new URL to call her very own. To make a long story very, very short, someone else was able to purchase my old domain and wanted thousands of dollars to buy it back. No thank you! Ha!
Along with the new look and location, I thought an updated introduction was in order. I started blogging over 6 years ago and if you’ve stuck around since then, wow! I wish I could send you each a medal for the commitment, or better yet, a bottle of wine! If you’re new around here, I’m so honored you chose to stop by my little blog and I hope you stay awhile!
Born and raised in Florida, I was the geeky, sporty girl with tons of freckles and the ability to make friends wherever I went, a skill that has translated well into making friends with y’all on the internet. My lovely fiance calls y’all my “internet friends.”
After 18 years at home, I traveled 4 hours north to the wonderful city of Tallahassee to spend the best four years of my life at Florida State University. That campus took a piece of my heart and changed me for the better in every possible way. After reluctantly graduating, I made my way with my pup to the great state of North Carolina to attend law school. After another three great, in a very different way, years of school, I graduated and somehow they let me practice law. I’m still shocked daily that people call me their attorney. Now I don’t want to deceive you here. I don’t go anywhere near a courtroom and I haven’t put on a full suit in years. Estate law is the name and talking to people about death all day long is the game. Maybe letting you think I was this high-power courtroom litigator would have been cooler, huh? Even though I never in a million years thought this was the type of lawyer I would be, there isn’t another area of law that would make me happier. I promise I will defy the lawyer sterotype in every way.
Most importantly, each of my days begins and ends with my little family. I could not possibly put into words how happy they make me and how much joy they bring into my life. My fiance is Christopher. We are an OkCupid success story and sometimes I marvel at how the universe brought, and kept, us together. He brings out the best in me and challenges me in ways I didn’t know I needed to be challenged. He is the funny to my serious, the type B to my type A, the adventurous to my planning, and the outgoing to my shy.
Together we made the most awesome little girl you will ever meet, Elliott Grace. Yes, I know every single parent says that about their kid but I really mean it. She is the most awesome little person ever and truly my greatest accomplishment. She is a 16 month old, walking, talking, laughing, smiling little one who has never met a stranger, and gives a hi, wave and smile to everyone she meets. I could not be more proud of her!
Our life is crazy, chaotic, messy and perfect ! I hope y’all will grab some sweet tea, pull up a chair and stay a’while. Because ’round here the days are long, the porches are wide, and friends are as numerous as fireflies.