Thursday, July 13, 2017

Ten Beers to Consider for Your Next Party

With summer in full swing and a little one that's sleeping better at night, we thought it was time to bring back an old series - Happy Hour. We're going to start off with lists of our favorites and then move into reviewing specific beers and wines.


Today, the focus is on favorite beers that won't break the bank. Next week's post will focus on craft beers that you don't want to miss.

1. Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy
This one is perfect for a hot summer evening!

2. Lagunitas Lil' Sumpin' Sumpin'
Lagunitas is based in Petaluma, which isn't far from where we lived in California. We didn't realize how widespread their reach was until we moved to Michigan and found this one on the shelf.

3. Yeungling
This one isn't available everywhere, but if you can find it in a local grocery store, it's well worth a taste! 

4. Shiner Bock
Looking for a darker beer but don't want to splurge on all of the craft options? This one has you covered!

5. Killians Red
Reasonably priced and tasty - enough said!

6. Michelob Amber Bock
This one surprised us. We were at a local steakhouse and they had a beer on the menu named that was basically labeled as "house favorite." We ended up ordering it and liking it. When we inquired for more information, we found out that it was Michelob Amber Bock and we were truly surprised!

7. Angry Orchard
This one isn't technically a beer but it is a favorite when it comes to a lighter drink. It can be a bit sweet for some taste buds. If that's the case, we recommend giving one of their many flavors a try until you find one that you like!

8. Sam Adams Boston Lager
This one is a go to when we can't find anything new to try. It's a classic that can be enjoyed anytime.

9. Not Your Father's Root Beer
I'm not sure if this one qualifies as a true "beer" or not but it is definitely a tasty option. Be careful though - it goes down really easy! Always make responsible decisions when it comes to alcohol!

10. Sam Adams Octoberfest
Sam Adams is another one that has a variety of flavors to try. One of our favorites is this seasonal option that's only available in the fall.

Do you have a favorite beer that you'd like for us to try? Share it with us in the comments below!


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Five Books Your Baby Will Love

Life has been a bit crazy around here lately. We've been busy making more improvements around the house and of course, Baby Fox keeps us on our toes and quite busy. We're ready to jump back into blogging though and we hope to do just that this month! So, check back every Wednesday for a new post.

*Affiliate links are used in this post. They help you find the products we mention and they help us keep the blog up and running!*


I have a degree in early childhood education and have taught for several years. When Baby Fox was born, one of my top priorities was building him a library of his own. It's not a very big one yet but it has a lot of potential to grow with him. He's already starting to enjoy books and I thought I'd spend a little bit of time sharing our favorites.

(Sidenote: You'll find some recommendations from Usborne Books & More. We've been loving their books for quite awhile, which led to me becoming a consultant for the company. The link goes to my website and I'd love to talk about books with you sometime!)

Cloth Books
These definitely top the list of favorite books for the baby and me. We have two of these from Usborne Books & More that we absolutely adore. They are part of a series called "Hello Baby" - we currently have the penguin and owl book. I love that they are colorful and soft. Baby Fox is able to play with these books without hurting himself. The words are minimal as well which is developmentally appropriate for his age. I'm sure you can find versions elsewhere, but these are my favorite because they also come with a slider toy attached.


Board Books
Board books are thicker and more durable than other books. This makes them perfect for little hands. The thick cardboard also makes it easier for tiny fingers to turn the pages. We have several different books in this format, including some from Usborne Books & More. We also have some of the classics, such as Goodnight Moon and Brown Bear, Brown Bear. These make great baby shower gifts (which is where many of ours came from).

Stroller Books
We have two of these books and I can't wait for Baby Fox to play with them. They are small board books that come with a strap to attach them to a stroller. This means you can take reading on the go! The ones we have are from Usborne Books & More, but I bet there are more versions out there.


Bathtub Books
These books are great for bathtub play! They come with an easy to clean surface, which is perfect for dirty little hands and water play. We don't currently have any bathtub books but I'm sure we'll be acquiring some as he gets older and bathtime begins to double as playtime.

Interactive Books
There are so many books that fall under this category - lift the flap books, texture books, noisy books, etc. The list really could go on and on. Basically, any book that comes with extra features is an interactive book to me. We have a Peekaboo Sophie! book that is a lot of fun. It has several lift the flap options and when you lift the flaps, the animals have different textures.


When it comes to books, you can never have too many. They are an item that will grow with your child from infant into elementary school. If you ever want to chat about books or get recommendations, feel free to let us know! We'll be happy to help you pick out a few.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Vegetable of the Week: Turnip

We recently decided to majorly clean up our eating habits. Somewhere between moving, buying a house, and having a baby, we fell into some less than healthy habits. One of the ways we're having fun with this goal is by picking a different vegetable each week. After we pick out a vegetable, we each find at least one recipe to make with that vegetable. We've decided to share our thoughts and the recipes we try on the blog.


Up first, we have the turnip. This was a random vegetable chosen by the husband. Neither of us had tried a turnip before so this was an entirely new experience.

 
(turnip)
  
After picking our vegetable, we quickly took to the internet in search of turnip recipes. We quickly discovered that they are often cooked in the same manner as a potato. We found recipes for turnip fries, mashed turnips, roasted turnips, and the list goes on. Basically, if you have a favorite potato recipe, you can probably sub in turnips with little to no adjustments. In fact, one of the recipes we chose actually called for potatoes and we substituted it with turnips.

 
(prepping the turnip)

I'm a big believer in keeping things simple the first time you try a new food. So, one of our first recipes was for simple Roasted Turnips. This recipe couldn't have been easier - diced turnips, olive oil, and seasonings. The possibilities when it comes to seasonings are endless but we stuck with very basic ones - salt and pepper. They were delicious and could easily be used as a side in place of potatoes in the future!

 

The next recipe originally called for potatoes. The chicken in this recipe sounded delicious though so we simply subbed turnips in place of potatoes. It was an experiment to see if it really was that easy. We found this One Pan Honey Garlic Chicken and Veggies to be absolutely delicious! The honey garlic sauce mixed in with the veggies as they were cooking and the end result was better than expected.
 
 

The last recipe we tried was chosen by the husband. He found this recipe for Ginger and Turmeric Braised Chicken. He made a couple of modifications (took out the kale and forgot to serve it over rice), but for the most part stuck to the recipe. This one turned out well and was loaded with chicken, carrots, and turnips. The only downside to this recipe is that turmeric turns everything it touches yellow - the counter, the turnips, my hands. Luckily, it is easy to wash off.

Overall, we found that we really liked turnips and will be adding them to our normal rotation of side dishes. There are still a lot of recipes we'd like to try with them - including turnip fries and mashed turnips!

We're pinning all of the recipes we try to this Vegetable of the Week board if you'd like to follow along with our adventure. We're also looking for vegetables for the future. Have a vegetable you think we should feature? We'd love to hear it in the comments below!



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Fun Ways to Plan Your Weekly Meals

Since having our little one, our eating habits have become less healthy. We're often opting for the quick and easy meals, which aren't always the best option. We've also had a lot of junk snacks hanging around the house, which is a weakness for both of us. We're finally getting into a bit of a routine and finding time to cook so we've decided to focus on our nutrition for a while to get back our healthy habits that have disappeared. This past weekend, we sat down to meal plan like we always do. This time was a bit different though due to our focus on healthy eating. Healthy meal planning can sometimes feel "boring," so we decided to spice things up just a little bit.

 
Meal planning isn't a new concept for us. We meal plan every week. It saves us the hassle of "what do you want to eat" and saves us money at the store. It's a necessary part of our week, but it can get a bit boring at times, especially when you're trying to pull ideas out of thin air. Over the years, we've used different methods to make the process a little easier and a bit more fun. Today, we're sharing some of those ideas with you!

Vegetable of the Week
If you follow us on Instagram, then you may have seen our recent post about a new vegetable we tried. This was a result of our latest meal planning idea - picking one to two vegetables each week to include in our dinners. Since vegetables are a healthy part of any meal, this seemed like a great place to start changing our habits. We start by selecting a vegetable or two. This week, we each selected a vegetable but we're talking about drawing from a hat next week. After selecting our vegetables, we set out to find recipes for the week - many of which were new ones to try out. From there, we finished up our meal plan, created our grocery list, and headed to the store!

Theme Nights
This one can be a lot of fun - especially if you're involving the whole family in the process. For this method, you assign each night of the week a theme (Taco Tuesday anyone?). The themes can vary greatly and are meant to be used as a guideline each week for your meal planning. Essentially, your meal would need to fit the theme of the day. If you need ideas for themes, we compiled an ultimate list of theme night ideas.

Empty the Pantry
This one is very similar to "Vegetable of the Week" in that you're picking meals based on a food. The difference here is that your first step is to go through what you already have in the house, paying close attention to items that need to get used before they expire. Then, you theme the dinners around these items. (We actually used this method for one of our meals this week because we have some steaks that need to get used up.)

Assign a Cook
For this method, you'll assign a cook for each night of the week. If it's your assigned night to cook, then you determine what's for dinner. This takes the pressure off of any one person and makes the cooking and planning process more of a joint effort. If you're involving kids in the meal planning process, you can assign them to nights but please help them with the cooking (or at least supervise depending on age)!

These are just a few of the methods we've used to make meal planning a bit more fun. What vegetable should we pick next? We'd love to hear your suggestions in the comments below! Keep an eye on our Instagram to see our meal updates!


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Adjusting to Parenthood

If you've been following the blog for a while, then you'll know that we welcome a baby boy into the world back in February. Life since then has been full of changes and our blogging has been a bit scattered. We love being parents, but it has come with a lot of adjustments (and more than one 2am cry fest). Today, we thought we'd talk about some of those adjustments and how we've been handling them.


Parenthood is a whole new world - one filled with lots of adjustment on everyone's part. And some of these adjustments you just don't understand until you've had your first child (even though everyone warns you about them). Below are just a few of the things we've learned in our first few months as a parent. We'd love to hear what you learned with your child in the comments at the end!

Sleep is not guaranteed.
When you have a little newborn with many needs that he can't take care of himself, your sleep is at the mercy of those needs. Bedtimes and wake times are determined by more factors than just the alarm. We're neither one big nap lovers but we have found ourselves taking quite a few naps since the baby was born. Caffeine (with limits) can also help when a nap just isn't an option. Taking turns with the baby (when the husband's work schedule allows it) has also been a lifesaver. (And putting a nap ahead of other commtiments is more than okay! In fact, I paused this post for a nap opportunity.)

Spit up happens.
Our little one spits up a lot. This means we have learned that spit up is just going to be a part of our outfit from time to time. To piggy back off of this, you suddenly get quite comfortable with body fluids in general. I can't tell you how many times we have casually
 talked about poop since the baby was born.

The washer and dryer become your friend.
I can't even tell you how many loads of laundry we've done since the baby was born. I feel like we do at least one load a day. Between his clothes and ours, nothing seems to fall in the "wear again" category by the end of the day. We're definitely getting our exercise going up and down the basement stairs.

Toys seem to multiply.
At one point, I thought that the Coastie Baby didn't have very many toys so I added some to the registry. Now there are days that it feels like he has too many toys. (He really doesn't - they fit in two small storage containers.) It seems like I find new ones randomly. Luckily, he's finally starting to enjoy them!

A barking dog is your enemy during nap time.
We have two dogs. We love them greatly. However, when they bark during naptime, we end up holding our breath hoping the baby doesn't wake. So far, he's only woken a couple of times and usually goes right back to sleep. I think he heard them enough before he was born.

Survival is essential.
There are times when you feel like you're in survival mode - especially in those first couple of months. Your priorities shift and that's more than okay. The good news is that you do eventually move from "survive" to "thrive."

Sometimes you have to break the rules.
There are a lot of guidelines and rules out there when it comes to babies. They should sleep this way, eat that way, and achieve this milestone by this date. You could go crazy trying to follow every recommendation out there. There are times where you have to follow your instincts and do what you feel is best for your baby and family (within reason of course - common sense still matters!).

How many of these sound familiar to you? Are there any you would add to the list?


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ham and Cheese Sliders

We're excited to have Cate from Random Crafty Georgia Girl on the blog today sharing a recipe with you. We have a confession to make - she got this post to us before the Derby; however, our little one kept us too busy to get it up! That's okay though - this recipe is perfect for any get together and with summer coming up, there's sure to be lots of get togethers!



The weekend before Mother's Day is always the most exciting day in sports or at least in horse racing. The Kentucky Derby is often called the fastest two minutes in sports. You may be thinking that this is just a horse race. Why make such a big deal about it? The Kentucky Derby is more than just a horse race. It's an experience. I have never been to Church Hill Downs to experience Derby Day for myself but the rush is still there even watching it on TV. The Kentcuky Derby is full of traditions. From the fashion and the food to the iconic bugle call hearlding the horses to the starting gate there's something for everyone! Throwing a Derby Party has been something I wanted to do for years! Getting together with friends to eat, play games, and just have fun is always a good reason to have a party! For any party you need food! The Kentucky Derby has it's own special foods! There's Kentucky Hot Brown, Burgoo, and the most popular is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby the mint julep. Today, I'm sharing a variation on the Kentucky Hot Brown - Ham and cheese sliders.



Ingredients
¾ sticks Butter
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
½ tablespoons French's Mustard
½ tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
½ tablespoons Poppy Seeds
1 package King's Hawaiian Rolls
12 slices Honey Baked Ham
12 slices Provolone Cheese

Directions
Melt butter in a saucepan and then add the brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and poppy seeds.



Brush the bottom of a 13 x9 inch baking dish with some of the glaze mixture. Cut the entire package of rolls in half horizontally.



Now add a slice of ham and a slice of cheese to each roll. Place them in the baking dish and brush the tops with the remaining glaze mixture.




Cover the rolls tightly with foil and bake in a 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for about 25 minutes.

 

Decorations for your Kentucky Derby party can be elaborate or simple. The Derby is called the Run for the Roses so you can decorate with vases of roses.



Red rose

The winning horse is given a horseshoe collar of roses and the winning jockey is given a bouquet of sixty roses. The fashion at the Kentucky Derby is always very elegant! The men wear bow ties and the women wear dresses and fancy hats. Everyone looks forward to the pictures of the hats on the day after the Derby! I know I love seeing all the pretty dresses! I'm sharing a tissue paper fascinator on Random Crafty Georgia Girl for you to wear on Derby Day! There's so many ways that you can celebrate Derby Day. Even if you don't go out all with food, decorations, and fashion it is still the most exciting two minutes in sports! I know I will be watching on May 6th. Will you?




Random Crafty Georgia Girl is a lifestyle blog that features craft tutorials and recipes. There's also a bit of traveling to beautiful and fun destinations along with a lot of highlights of my life in Georgia.











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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

How We Prepared Our Dogs for Baby

Dogs and babies can be a beautiful thing but they can also be a scary thing. This is why some people were surprised when we adopted a dog during the second trimester of y pregnancy. Then shortly after that, the wife's dog came to live with us. We adopted our dog prior to having our baby so that we could focus on training him before our hands were filled with baby snuggles.


I would love to say that both of our dogs ate perfect angels, but they're not. In fact, Mr. Gibbs  (who we adopted in September) can be quite the wild card at times. Ella, on the other hand, is quite calm but leary of new people.

This is why we did certain things to prepare the dogs for our new addition. They've adjusted quite well and I definitely think part of that is due to the steps we took early on. Today, we're sharing a few of the steps we took to help our dogs adjust.

We involved them in the nursery set up.
We don't believe in crating dogs or making things off limits unless we have to. We have a baby gate for the moments when we don't want the dogs in the nursery but for the most part, I don't mind if they follow us in there during a diaper change or for bedtime routine. As long as they stay out of the way, they are welcome to join us. This is why we involved them in the set up of the nursery. When we were putting toys and clothes away, the door was open and the dogs were often exploring. This gave us the perfect opportunity to set some expectations and boundaries before the baby ever came home.

We taught them expectations.
When the dogs would come into the nursery, we allowed them to explore. We reinforced good behavior and gave a stern "no" when they put their nose where it didn't belong. Both of our dogs love to jump when they see you. It's their way of showing their excitement that you're home. This is a habit we've worked on breaking them of because we don't want them jumping on strangers or when we have baby in our arms.


We worked on boundaries.
One of the biggest obstacles of having dogs and a baby under the same roof is toys. Baby toys and dog toys have way too many similarities. I was shocked to discover some of Baby Coastie's toys even squeak like a dog toy! This is one of the boundaries we set from the very beginning when the dogs would explore the nursery. When they would stick their nose in the toy bin, we reminded them with a "no those are for baby." For the most part, they stick to their own toys. We also worked with the baby gate prior to bringing Baby Coastie home. We would put it up while working on various things so that the dogs could get used to it serving as a boundary. We haven't used it much since bringing the baby home but he's also not exploring the house yet.

The husband brought home the baby blanket.
When the husband got ready to head home to let the dogs out after the baby was born, our nurse handed him the baby blanket and told him to take it home so that the dogs could become familiar with the smell. I don't believe the blankets are supposed to leave the hospital but she had a kid and dogs of her own and was sharing her knowledge. (Have I mentioned that we had phenomenal nurses?) So, the husband brought the blanket home and let the dogs sniff to their content. (You could always bring your own receiving blanket to the hospital and wrap baby in it for a while for this same purpose.)


We allowed the dogs near baby from the beginning.
When we brought the baby home, we didn't restrict the dogs in any way. We reminded them of their boundaries and expectations as needed but we also allowed them to sniff the baby. This was always supervised since the baby wasn't left alone any during those first few weeks. (He's still not much but there are the occasional trips to the bathroom...) This allowed the dogs to see that he is an addition to the family and that they are still a part of the family.

Our dogs are fantastic with our baby, but we still don't leave them unsupervised wiyh him. Any dog has the potential to snap as its in their nature. There are still obstacles that arise when raising a baby and two dogs - like barking during naptime or everyone wanting food at the same time - but overall, our dogs have adjusted quite well thanks to the prep work we did before baby came home.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

He Said She Said: Cat Edition

We're back with another edition of He Said She Said! This one is special in two ways though - it's features the cats of Random Crafty Georgia Girl and is actually a "She Said, She Said" since both of her cats are girls. So, let's have a little fun and see what the cats have to share with us today!



And here are the responses from Ollie and Peachy to our He Said She Said questions!

Do you have a nickname?
Ollie said: Well my name is Olive Belle but Mommy has called me Ollie since she got me for Christmas way back in 1999. Here's some of the names I am called. There's Olive, Olivey, Olivey Belle, Miss Belle , Baby girl, kitten, Belle (Mommy is the only one that calls me this one and is the only one I will respond to when called this).
Daddy calls me Oliver, Little Lion, Moose, Olive

Peachy said: My name is Peaches Nicole. I honestly have no idea why in the world Mommy gave me the middle name of Nicole, but I was doing something one day that was more than likely mischievous. It just came out and it stuck so now Mommy calls me me Peachy Cat, Peachy Cole, Miss Peach, Peacher. I only get called Peaches Nicole when I'm causing trouble.
Daddy calls me Peachy, Peach-a-roo, Peach Pie, anything to do with Peach food actually (this is usually when he's hungry!) Little Lion, Baby Peach


What is your favorite time of day?

Ollie said: Every night before we go to bed I get a small piece of roast beef. I also like hyper time! I run out of mommy and daddy's bedroom a half an hour after mommy wakes up for the day and run all crazy laps around the apartment!

Peachy said: I like when Daddy comes home from work! I get to come out and play. I usually hang out in our cat fort while Mommy and Daddy have dinner and relax after the long day. Our cat fort is a chair with a fleece blanket over it. Ollie and I love hiding under the chair and curling up to take a nap!


What's your favorite treat?
Ollie said: I have never met a food I didn't like. My favorite would be tuna though. Although strawberry ice cream is right up there too! I don't get people food all the time though. Mainly just as a small snack. I really love my Naturals Temptations treats and my Blue Buffalo brand treats.

Peachy said: I'm perfectly content with my cat food and cat treats. Sometimes Mommy gives me a couple of tiny pieces of roast beef at bedtime.


What is your favorite toy?
Ollie said: balls with bells in them, balls with ribbons or feathers, ribbons, feathers! Mainly balls. I love throwing them around and then chasing them across the room! Stuffed toys. We don't have a lot of catnip toys. Mommy sprays any catnip toys with Lysol before we get them because she says it's like a drug to cats.

Peachy said: Undercover mouse. It's this motorized feather wand that has a cover on it. Daddy bought several of them before we moved to Savannah because I wore them out so much in Atlanta! We go through batteries pretty hard because of that toy! I also like feathers and ribbons. My favorite toy during the holiday season is the Christmas tree. Mommy and Daddy won't let me play with it though. I don't understand why the thing is in the house if I can't climb it or eat it! Why did you bring it in if I can't play with it!


What is your favorite thing to do during the day?

Ollie said: Hanging out watching Netflix with Mommy, taking naps on her pillows, waiting for Daddy to come home from work, hanging out on the balcony, running laps around the apartment

Peachy said: We have a condo that sits right in front of the bedroom window. I love getting into the window and waiting for Daddy to come home from work. It took Mommy five months to get a picture of me from the outside.


Do you have a pet that would like to answer these questions and be featured? Contact thecoastiewife@gmail.com to get the details of how your pet can be featured on the blog!


About the Cats



Ollie is seventeen years old and has been part of the family since she was a very small kitten. She is very spoiled and knows it. If she had a voice she would probably sound like Brain from Pinky and the Brain, but in a more feminine tone.








Peachy is eight years old and found us when she was about six months old. She wasn't getting along with some other cats in the neighborhood and decided that we needed her. The rest is history! Her voice would be Phoebe from Friends.






Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Once Upon a Time in Thailand

I'm excited to say that we're getting back to things after taking a break to enjoy Coastie Baby and our family that came to visit. We kept things casual in February with the #LoveBlog challenge, but we'll soon be getting back to our regular posting schedule. In fact, we'd love a little feedback - what would you like to see on the blog for the rest of the year? Travel is top on our list as we still have a lot of places and photos to share with you, including today's guest post from Lindsay.


My husband and I are frequent travelers of the world. We are lucky to have experienced many different cultures, customs, and places together. It was a big dream of ours to pack bags and go- and so we have.

Our most frequently asked question from fellow travelers and curious hopefuls is:

What has been your favorite place?

That one stumped me for a while, perhaps because I see favorite as too grand a term to live up to. But my husband knew. He had a favorite: Thailand.

As soon as the word was whispered from his lips, I could smell the incense. I could see the purple orchids everywhere, the monks in their brilliant orange robes. My tongue burned by the sweet, smooth blend of coconut curries. Our bodies walked on and bended furiously in a Thai massage. Visiting the open markets and delighting in the assault of fragrances: spice, sweat, motor oil, animal droppings, and dust. Swinging from zip lines and looking over to see the gibbons naturally doing the same feats.

Mr. B (my husband) was almost crushed by an elephant as we washed them in a rescue camp. The joyful beast made up for it later by allowing B onto his back, bending down majestically so he could find a foothold on the elephants leg and clamber up. Our story kept unfurling as we sailed out to sea caves in kayaks. The plankton in the water reacted to sunlight, and in the evening you could trace your fingers through the water. It lit up like a million fireflies. Flying down the roads on our rented mopeds, only stopping to purchase another liter of gas, the fuel filled to the brim in an old coke bottle. Learning to bow and say “thank you”. Buddha, Buddha: everywhere.

It was a magical trip for us. It was made of favorite moments, a traveler’s dream experience. Thailand wrapped up all five of our senses and touched our lives. We can say it is our favorite because we would go back, in a heartbeat.

But it was not just the magic of the place that makes it fall to favorite. It is who we were there. We found ourselves free of the weight of the previous months. We had just taken travel a step further and moved overseas for B’s work. The Thailand trip was the light at the end of a long, stressful tunnel. I didn’t even tell him what we’d be doing there. I just worked on the trip until the wee hours of the morning: planning, researching, hoping he would love it and be able to relax.

The day we got on the plane, we grabbed hands and I felt like we could breathe again. The move had been everything we thought it would be. Challenging, hard…and now amazing because we were doing the main motivation for it: see all the Asia we could in the process.

Those amazing Thailand memories are what they are because of traveling with him by my side. It came after a tough season that we weathered together. His laughing eyes are what I saw swinging through the trees on the zip line by the gibbons. His strong arms paddling the kayak with me, my arms around his waist riding on the back of the moped. Clinking his glass in “cheers” as we ate smooth curries. Staring up at the stars and finding hope again for the days ahead.

Thailand is a fairytale. But sharing it with my spouse is what makes it a favorite for me. Once upon a time in Thailand we fell a little more in love.

About the Author


Lindsay is a military wife, mom, and writer. As a former professional dancer you can find her doing pirouettes in the kitchen whilst also flipping pancakes. She finds solace in hearing the sound of her sewing machine and a hot cup of coffee. A journal with scribbles is never far from her side, and being outdoors lifts her soul. She’s lived and traveled all over the world but believes there is always more to experience. Her blog Uplifting Anchor encourages mothers and military spouses.

Uplifting Anchor | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Reflection on #LoveBlog

It's the last day of #LoveBlog and I have to say that I'm sad to see it go. Today's topic is "reflection," so I'll be going into more detail below on why I'm sad to see it go. Before we get to that, I want to say a big thank you to Brita for hosting and that I hope to see it back again next year.


When Brita first posted the details for #LoveBlog, I got excited. Then I realized that there was no way I could participate in all of the prompts this year. (I attempted all of the prompts last year but fell a little short.) With a baby due in February, I had too much on my plate for #LoveBlog. So, I settled on cohosting a few days and picking out a prompt here and there.

I decided to selectively participate and I was happy with that decision. Until February 1 came and I found myself writing a post for the first prompt and then the second prompt. I'm not sure what exactly caused the shift but somewhere between writing the first and second post, I decided that I was going to attempt #LoveBlog after all. I even hired a VA to link up my posts each day.

Our little one arrived a whole week early which meant I didn't get ahead on the #LoveBlog posts like I planned. However, I was determined to participate and set out to blog when I had the chance...during naps, while breastfeeding, and at other random moments when I found the time.

There were several times when I felt like I wouldn't succeed but I kept trying anyways and I'm glad that I did because #LoveBlog has taught me a few things. It taught me to enjoy the process of blogging again without worrying about getting ahead. It also taught me a few tricks for blogging with a newborn (more on those later).

And most importantly - it showed me that blogging is a part of who I am. I managed to be ahead enough on posts that I could have gone through February without touching my blog once. While this is a great thing, #LoveBlog showed me that it's not who I am. Blogging is a stress reliever for me and without it, I'm sure this month would have been even more stressful.

So, once again - thank you Brita for hosting this month long blogging event. I'm excited to say that I wrote a post for every prompt this time and learned a lot about myself and how to adjust my blogging process for life as a mommy.

Have you ever participated in a blogging challenge? What was your experience?


Monday, February 27, 2017

Then and Now: Why I Blog

Last week, I shared a new type of post that I'll be doing from time to time on the blog (In Pictures). Today, I'm sharing another new type of post - then and now. Today's topic for #LoveBlog is "bloggers" and I thought it was the perfect topic for me to introduce the "then and now" feature.


Time changes things. It can make things take on a new meaning. It can also alter the way we look at things. Time and how it changes things is a big reason for this new "then and now" series where I share how things in our lives have changed over time. I'm going to be kicking off this new series by focusing on the topic of blogging in today's post.

THEN
When I first started blogging, it was a hobby to pass the time as we started the long distance portion of our relationship. It was summer, so I wasn't working (perk of being a teacher) and knew that I'd need a distraction. Writing seemed like the perfect distraction. I started simple, knowing nothing about blogging and never expecting it to go further than a few posts. I predicted that I'd be done by the start of the school year. Instead, I discovered a community of bloggers and started to enjoy the social side of blogging - which is what kept me writing three years ago.

NOW
Now, I blog for different reasons. The social side is still important to me and some of my best friends are online. It's not the only reason I blog though. Now, I'm working towards pursuing blogging as a business endeavor. It's one small part of my plan for staying at home with our little one. I'll be sharing the rest of my plan soon enough but today's prompt seemed like the perfect time to reflect on my "why" for blogging.

In a nutshell, my "why" for blogging is to help others and being in a little extra income for my growing family.

Why do you blog? I'd love to hear your why in the comments below.


Friday, February 24, 2017

Being Present in the Moment

Today's prompt for #LoveBlog is "past, present, and future." When I first read the prompt, I immediately thought of Scrooge and the ghosts that visit him in the classic holiday story. Then, my mind started thonking about how someone should do a Valentine's version of that story. Then, I realized I was getting distracted and I decided to come back to the prompt and to use my distraction as inspiration. Today, I'm going to share how I try to stay present in the moment so that I don't miss out on the special little things that happen.


I have a little challenge for you. It involves being a bit more observant. The next time that you're out to eat, I want you to take a look around and see how many people are engrossed in their phone even with someone else sitting at the table. (You get a free pass in my book to be on your phone if you're dining alone.)

Why do I bring this up? I wanted to mention this because I've noticed a growing trend of families going out to eat and everyone - parents and kids - spending time on their electronics rather than being present in the moment. It makes me wonder whatever happened to family meal time and discussion. The nose in devices trend is one that I hope to avoid when our son gets older. (Right now it's all sleep, eat, and potty...)

Here are a few goals I have for the future that will hopefully help me be present in the moments that we spend as a family:

1. No electronics at the dinner table.

2. Spend time each week unplugged from my phone and social media.

3. Make family time a regular thing that doesn't always revolve around technology.

I know these may seem idealistic and that you may be rolling your eyes and saying "Just watch - you'll cave more than you think." This may or may not be true, but I'm allowed to dream and plan and hope that things turn out the way I'd like.

Our days as a family around the dinner table aren't here yet (unless nursing counts as a dinner table). So, in the meantime, I'd love to hear how you try to stay present in the moment.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Dear Son: I Want You to Know

Today's prompt for #LoveBlog is role models. I have always had a hard time picking out who my role models are so this was a bit of a difficult prompt for me - until I realized that I'm now in the position to be a role model for my son. I've always known what I would want to teach a daughter (to be strong and independent), but I'd never really thought about what I would want to teach a son. So, I thought I'd use this post as an opportunity to reflect on what I want my son to know about life and how to navigate it with kindness.


Dear Son,

I want you to know that I'll always be there for you. I won't always do things for you because I believe in independence but I will be there to cheer you on and support you in your endeavors.

I want you to know how to respect others no matter how different they may seem. Skin color and gender shouldn't influence your opinion of a person. Rather, I want you to make judgements about people based on their morals and actions. You're not always going to get along with everyone but I do hope you'll give everyone a fair shot at earning your respect.

I want you to know how to be kind and caring towards those you love - whether they are human or animal. I hope you'll understand the importance of always showing this love as well. You're better to show too much love than to let someone pass through your life because they never knew their importance.

I want you to have values and inner morals that guide you in making decisions. I hope to set a good example in this area since I know that I'm your first (and possibly one of your most important) role models.

I want you to know that you are loved and will always be my little boy - no matter how old you get. There will always be a special place for you in my heart and in my life.

Love,
Your Momma


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Budget Friendly Travel Tips

Today's prompt for #LoveBlog is "travel." Since one of our blog categories is travel, it only seemed fitting to sign up as a cohost for this day. So, today we're cohosting #LoveBlog and sharing travel tips for the budget conscious.


If you've been around the blog or our social media, then you'll know that we love to travel. Sometimes we keep our adventures close to home and other times we book a hotel and escape for a while. Our destinations may change often, but one thing never does - our budget mindset. We are constantly working to save money on a day to day basis and we extend this into our travel as well. You don't have to break the bank just because you're on vacation. That's why we're sharing a few of our budget travel tips with you today.

Make a plan.
There is something to be said for planning out some of the details of your trip in advance. You don't have to plan every detail but doing a little advanced research and planning can help you save money. It can also help you determine what's most important on your list of things to see.

Book in advance. 
I recommend booking hotel rooms, travel, and attractions in advance. You can often save money by busing the tickets before you arrive. For hotel rooms and travel, I recommend going through a discount site to see what sort of deals you can get. (We're fans of Travelocity.)

Look for coupons and special deals.
We're not big couponers but I will search out coupons and good deals for a vacation. This one goes back to planning in advance since it will give you the time to find these special deals. If you're a military family like us, I also recommend looking into military discounts for your trip. Many places offer special deals for our men and women in uniform. 

Search for free attractions. 
Most travel destinations are loaded with paid experiences. This can very easily break the bank if you try to do them all. I recommend checking into some of the free attractions for an area. By creating a balance between free and paid experiences, you'll save some money but still get to enjoy the area. 

Get recommendations before you travel.
Recommendations from friends and family can help you narrow down the best attractions in an area. I highly recommend polling your friends list to see who has visited your destination and what they recommend for activities and food. This is also a great way to find something off the beaten path. 

What's your favorite budget tip for travel? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

One of the perks of cohosting #LoveBlog is getting to share giveaways with you and introduce you to other great bloggers out there. You can check out the giveaway and cohost details below before linking up your own travel post!


Enter the Minted Giveaway!

Minted is giving away $150 in store credit! That could buy a lot of party invitations, or home decor, or whatever your creative heart desires. To enter the giveaway, just provide your first name, last name, and email address at the giveaway page on Minted. Due to promotional laws, this giveaway will only be open to U.S. residents. The giveaway starts today, 02/22/2017, and will run until 11:59 pm PT on 03/01/2017. When it ends, Minted will randomly draw one winner and send their $150 prize code via email. Enter the Minted giveaway now!

About Today's Hosts



Brita Long is the pink and sparkly personality behind the Christian feminist lifestyle blog, Belle Brita. While her first love will always be Paris, she lives happily with her husband Daniel Fleck in the Atlanta area.



Pam is one half of the duo behind The Coastie Couple, a blog that chronicles the military lifestyle through the eyes of a husband and wife. The Coastie Couple recently moved from California to Michigan and are expecting their first son this month.


Ady is the founder of Verbal Gold Blog, a Global lifestyle and travel blog she runs with her best friends, the #VGBsquad! She lives in Atlanta with her husband and two dogs, a pitbull boxer mix and yellow lab, with goals to travel the world! She loves all things gold, confetti, and glitter. Roll Tide!


Caitlin is a twenty-something southern belle currently living in Atlanta, Georgia. Despite working full-time in PR, she spends every spare moment traveling around the South and the world, and capturing the sights. She's all about leaving a little Southern charm wherever she goes.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

He Said, She Said: Ohh Sash

Today we're excited to bring you another installment of He Said, She Said! This week, we're featuring a fellow military spouse that is also pursuing her dreams in Early Childhood Education. It's always finding new people and finding out that you have things in common!

Don't forget that you can catch updates of our lives lately on Instagram.



What is the story behind how you two met?


He said: I made up a story to go all the way to Brooklyn to meet her. I showed up at her house, we hung out, talked for hours and then we went out on our first date New Years Day. I ended up asking her to be my girlfriend right before I left to go back to Hawaii.


She said: We were friends on Facebook thanks to a mutual friend. We were always tagged on posts, so we started talking a little more frequently. We met on December 31 of 2010, and I remember squealing and running back inside because I was a little more excited than I thought I would be.


How long have you been together?


He said: A little over six years now.

She said: Too long? Lol. Six Years.


When did you know that your spouse was “the one”?


He said: About a month later during our Skype sessions.


She said: I can’t pinpoint when I knew. It was just a feeling. It felt right. It was like we knew each other for the longest time. We got to know each other, we spent time (the little time we did have), and we put a lot of effort into what we had, what was growing and where we wanted to be.


What is your favorite TV show and/or movie to watch together?


He said: Uhhh. Well, apparently she doesn’t like to watch The Walking Dead anymore. We like Once Upon a Time, This is Us, we like Sleepy Hollow.

She said: We have a bunch of shows that we make a point to watch together. We end up doing a lot of Netflix and DVR sessions because he happened to be away when all of our shows came back. We are all caught up on Once Upon A Time, The Walking Dead, and Sleepy Hollow. Up next is This is Us, and we’ll watch Game of Thrones to make him happy ;)


What is your spouse’s favorite food? What is your favorite food?


He said: Her favorite food is all of it. My favorite food is Italian.

She said: Italian. Hands down. He can always go for a sub or a really good burger, too. Me? Tacos, Pasta, and Spanish Food – pork chops and rice and beans are TO DIE FOR.


What is your favorite thing to do as a couple?


He said: Uh. Relax? Go to Target; I don’t know.

She said: Lately, apparently, it’s been cleaning. Uh, we’re pretty simple. Give us a goal and/or an idea, and we’re pretty much on it.


If the house caught on fire right now, what would be the first thing you grabbed?


He said: My phone.

She said: The first “thing” would be our photo books or laptop. It has every single picture, memory, and story.


If money were no object, where would you take your spouse for a week?


He said: Tahiti.

She said: Italy. I know he’s “been there, ” but he’s dying to go visit and be a tourist. I know it would make him super happy.


Describe the perfect date night with your spouse.


He said: A couples massage for two after a chiropractor visit, wings, and beer.

She said: Pizza, PJ’s, and TV. We’re pretty simple, routine and it defines how we are. We are perfectly content being in each other’s presence and spending quality time. Anything else would require jeans and shoes, and we leave that for days where we are up to it. Seriously speaking? Probably a sushi date at our favorite restaurant followed by or following a movie, target walk around or something semi – outdoorsy. I don’t do outdoors.


Describe your spouse in just three words.


He said: Beautiful, tiny, smart.

She said: sincere, strong, dedicated.



About the Author


Sasha is a military wife and first-time mom currently living in Maryland. She is pursuing her dreams in Early Childhood Education while writing about everything relating motherhood, marriage and all that is in between. She’s addicted to Law and Order: SVU and quite literally runs on Dunkin’.


You can usually find her chatting away on Twitter (@OhhSash) or writing on Ohh Sash.