Today is a day filled with anticipation in our house because we are on the cusp of something magical! We are flying to Orlando, Florida first thing tomorrow for a long weekend away at Disney World! It will be all three boys’ first time at Disney and we just surprised them with the news yesterday. To say they were psyched is a serious understatement!

I’ll do my best to snap photos and remember the highlights to share with you guys on the blog soon but until then, I need to log off, pack and get our family organized for our upcoming travels. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and, as always, thanks for joining me for this week’s roundup of Friday favorites!

Things I’m Loving Friday

At 5 and 8 years old our two oldest boys are prime for games that are a little more fun for grown ups. (No shade to Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders but let’s just say half of my brain takes a nap whenever the boys want to play them.) Over the past couple of weeks, our big kids have been all-in on dinnertime game nights and frequently request playing multiple rounds of Crazy 8s which and Uzzle and it’s been a blast! (At 3-years-old Rhett can even play Crazy 8s with a little help when we use this deck because it relies on colors and shapes versus card symbols kids don’t understand.)

Uzzle is new to us (we actually got it through a white elephant gift exchange over the holidays) and it’s been a huge hit. Each player receives a card with a pattern on it and you have to work quickly to copy the pattern using the 5 blocks in front of you. This is right up Chase and Ryder’s alley as they both love puzzles and patterns. Our whole family gets so into these games and, as someone who adores most games, I’m admittedly over here romanticizing lots of family game nights in our future!

The bookworm in me is especially excited about something that’s been happening in our house lately. As Chase is becoming a more confident reader, his brothers look to him to read some of their favorite stories aloud to them. I’ll often hear Chase and Ryder reading together at night after we tuck them into bed and Rhett seems to absolutely soak up any one-on-one storytime he has with Chase. I can also tell it lights Chase up to take on a teacher role with Rhett as he seems to enjoy explaining stories and characters and animal fun facts to his little brother as they read together. It’s been amazing to see and it’s something I hope continues!

Last weekend, during a visit to Discovery Place Science in Charlotte, we were about to leave when I noticed the next IMAX movie was set to start within 30 minutes. When I saw it was all about the African Serengeti I thought it might be a hit with our boys. The woman working the ticket desk assured me it was a great one for kids and not too scary (no animals killing other animals, etc.). Her recommendation was spot-on and all three of our boys thought it was the coolest experience. The animals were beautiful and the 45-minute movie easily held their attention. It was a great rainy day activity and I just wanted to share it here in case you have animal lovers in your crew who might enjoy this one! (You may find IMAX theatres near you here.)

My rating: B+ 

After finishing my latest thriller, I needed a breath of fresh air in book form and when my hold on Love, Theoretically became available, I added it to my Kindle and dove in. Having previously read and enjoyed The Love Hypothesis by the same author, I figured Love, Theoretically would check all my boxes for a lighthearted read and it certainly did. Much like The Love Hypothesis, Love, Theoretically was not exactly believable (to me) and had a handful of roll-my-eyes moments but I still thought it was a fun (and steamy!) read and loved the way the author, once again, sprinkled science and academia life throughout the novel. I also loved the way the book referenced characters from The Love Hypothesis (it’s technically the third book in the series), but it holds its own as a stand-alone novel as well.

The book follows theoretical physicist Elsie Hannaway as she currently struggles to make ends meet as an adjunct professor with dreams of tenure. To help pay her rent, Elsie works as a fake girlfriend, becoming whoever people might want her to be in the moment.

When Elsie is up for the job of her dreams at MIT, she believes this is her chance to leave her fake dating world behind… that is until her two worlds collide. When the older brother of her favorite client appears before her at the dinner that’s set to kick of a series of grueling interviews, Elsie panics. Jack Smith is not only her client’s older brother. He’s also the same Jack Smith known for despising theoretical physics and the gigantic (and very handsome) roadblock standing in the way of Elsie’s dreams.

I was initially going to share my most popular blog posts of 2023 in their own separate post (much like I did with my Top Recipes of 2023 blog post) but I honestly felt a little uncomfortable highlighting a handful of them because they were hard to write and hard to re-live when I re-read a couple of them after they popped up on this list. I still wanted to share them in this space as every year comes with a mixture of heartache and happiness and I understand that’s how life goes. The most popular blog posts I shared in 2023 range from personal posts and motherhood-related blog posts to gift guides, a race recap, a book recommendation roundup, a peek into our home, a snapshot of recent looks and even a silly throwback blog post from our wedding that somehow made the list. Thank you for continuing to visit this blog despite all the randomness I throw at you every week!

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Overnight Oats (Forever and always one of my favorite super-simple breakfast creations. FYI, this one is also dairy-free for any of my dairy-free friends!)

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Overnight Oats

Vegetable Turkey Meatloaf (One of those one-in-a-million recipes everyone in our family enjoys!)

Turkey Vegetable Meatloaf

Question of the Day

What is one thing making you smile this week? 

 

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