Friday is here and we’re just that much closer to summer break! We have a little taste of no school life today because Chase is out of school for a teacher work day (Rhett and Ryder never have school on Fridays) and we are planning to make our way to the neighborhood pool. It’s opening for the season today and we are ready to spend hours splashing around together!

Chase and Ryder also began swim team this week and it’s been so cute to watch. We initially only signed Chase up to participate because we thought Ryder might still be a little too young for the team. After watching Chase swim in the first practice of the season, Ryder said he really wanted in and since the only requirement for participating in the “junior” swim team in our neighborhood is for kids to be able to swim one pool length unassisted, Ryder qualified and is psyched to be part of it, too! I was actually a diver and water polo player in high school so anything pool-related makes me feel nostalgic and I love watching the boys as they practice and learn new skills in the water. Give me alllll the pool time this summer!

Other than swimming and hopefully spending time on the lake this weekend, our plans are pretty wide open which was very intentional after a busy week. I hope to share more with you guys on Monday but until then, I hope you enjoy this week’s roundup of favorites, Things I’m Loving Friday style!

Things I’m Loving Friday

How gorgeous is this console table!? The table was made from start to finish by an incredibly talented local craftsman and I am absolutely thrilled with how it turned out! A while back, our boys did Soccer Shots with a family we know from the boys’ preschool. During one of the soccer practices, I learned that the dad of two of the boys on the team is incredible at custom woodworking and carpentry. I previously ordered a pair of adorable wooden jack-o’-lanterns from a few years ago for Halloween but always had him in the back of my mind should we have any special projects arise.

Fast forward to this year and I spent a few months looking for a perfect console table to place behind our couch. Our couch is quite long because we wanted it to seat a bunch of people and finding a long console table that looked unique and fit the dimensions we needed felt impossible. Then I thought of Mike! I sent Mike an inspiration photo I found from McGee & Co. and hoped he might be able to create something similar but in a size that would work for us. He absolutely nailed it and his turnaround time was incredible. He sourced local wood from Hickory, North Carolina and made us a console table that is honestly one of the highest quality pieces of furniture we’ve ever owned. I love the texture the fluted wood adds to the table and am already brainstorming the next project we’re going to send Mike’s way because his attention to detail, professionalism and the quality of his product truly blew us away. For any local friends you may find his website online at Munchwerks Design. I truly cannot recommend him enough!

I’ve always said my brother-in-law is the king of research. He genuinely seems to enjoy the process of finding top products across a wide range of categories while always keeping budget in mind. I trust his recommendations implicitly and his recommendations haven’t let us down yet! (He’s the reason Ryan selected the Cuisinart ice cream maker for me for my birthday a few years ago and it’s been a slam dunk for our family.) Ross’ latest find is Lavazza organic coffee. Whenever we visit my sister and her family in Florida, if we arrive at their home before noon, it’s a guarantee Ross will offer to make me a cup of coffee. (Yes, he’s the best!) I’ve learned to never turn him down because the coffee they have in their home is always good but, most recently, it was great.

As I sipped my coffee, I kept saying how delicious it tasted which prompted Ross and Leslie to rave about the new organic coffee beans they’ve been adding to their coffee machine from Lavazza. (They come in both whole bean and ground varieties.) It’s nothing new or fancy — it’s one of the top coffee brands in Italy and has been around for more than 100 years — but the best way I can describe it is to say it’s delicious in its simplicity. I’ve been using the whole beans to make my morning latte for a few months now and always look forward to beginning my day with a cup of this coffee!

Last weekend, during our Mother’s Day adventure to a local garden shop, we loaded up on bird seed and a few new bird feeders. Our whole family got really into bird watching in our old house and I attribute our interest to two things: 1. When I was nursing the boys, I’d often sit on the couch in our living room and watch the birds out the window. I quickly began noticing the variety of birds we had in our backyard and my interest piqued. 2. My mom, father-in-law and Ryan’s Aunt Diane gifted our boys various North Carolina “bird maps” — aka posters and quick reference laminated pamphlets with information about birds native to North Carolina — and The Backyard Birdwatchers Bible book and Chase and Ryder genuinely love trying to identify various birds they see flying around outside. Now that our bird feeders are up and stocked with bird seed, we’ve loved seeing cardinals, blue jays, finches, bluebirds and more visiting us in our backyard. (We’re crossing our fingers for goldfinches and hummingbirds but haven’t seen them yet.)

Anyway, when I shared a quick picture of the boys bird watching while they ate breakfast one morning on Instagram Stories, I followed it up with a picture of an intruder on our “squirrel proof” birdfeeders. Yep, it was a squirrel! This prompted two people to send me links to this Ninja Warrior Squirrel Maze Video on YouTube. Oh my gosh this video had our whole family cracking up! A former NASA engineer set up a Ninja Warrior-inspired obstacle course to see if the squirrels in his backyard could make it through to claim the top prize: An endless supply of walnuts. The video is funny, creative and family-friendly and we ended up watching and thoroughly enjoying all three videos in this mini series.

I think the last time I shared a Thrive Market haul was back in 2021 when I highlighted five Thrive Market hauls in one blog post. I’ve been a member of the online marketplace for years and never question whether or not to renew my membership each year because I utilize the website so often to order high quality, healthy and often organic food. I also love the site for introducing me to clean beauty products, yummy snacks for the boys and not-so-popular healthy living products. My most recent haul was a “restock the pantry with kid snacks haul” and I figured I’d highlight it here for anyone who might also be a member and looking for kid-approved snacks. (I also wrote this blog post in the past which may be of interest as well: Thrive Market Healthy Kid Snacks.) Here’s a peek into my most recent haul:

  • Mavuno Organic Dried Mango
  • The New Primal Turkey Sticks x 6 (one of my favorite ways to get some protein in the boys on the go)
  • The New Primal Chicken & Apple Sticks
  • The New Primal Pizza Sticks
  • Bobo’s Chocolate Chip Oat Bites x 5 (Chase and Rhett adore these and Chase takes one to school every day to eat with an apple during snack time)
  • Brami Italian Snacking Beans x 4
  • Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers x 3
  • This Saves Lives Rockin’ Straw-Beary Bars x 3
  • Kevin’s Thai Coconut Sauce x 2
  • SeaSnax Organic Seaweed Snacks
  • Thrive Market Organic Raisins (16 oz)
  • Crown Prince Smoked Oysters x 2
  • GoodPop Organic Freezer Popsicles
  • The Good Crisp Original Crisps (they taste like Pringles!)
  • Late July Organic Tortilla Chips
  • Neptune Snacks Sweet Citrus Ginger Fish Jerky
  • Jovial Organic Sourdough Crackers
  • Annie’s Organic Honey Graham Crackers
  • Chica’s Lime Corn Tortilla Chips (my obsession)

And all of those snacks should last us about a week. Just kidding… kind of. If you are interested in Thrive Market, my affiliate link will save you 40% off your first order! I hope you love it as much as we have over the past few years!

Incredibly Easy Black Bean Dip (For any upcoming cookouts you may have on your radar!)

Easy Black Bean Dip

Total Body Workout (For a day when you’re craving a little bit of everything.)

Question of the Day

What is one thing making you smile this week?


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