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LITTLE BEACH, BIG HEART

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OUTER BANKS MOM APPROVED

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February 10, 2020

I might sound like a broken record, in fact, I’m certain that I do. But, I really do love the way that the Outer Banks community takes care of each other. For such a little beach town, fundraising season really kicks off in January around here and the amount of money that gets poured into great local organizations is incredible! 

On Saturday night, Jason and I dressed up and headed out to the black tie event for the 2020 Outer Banks Hospital Gala. The theme was a "Black and White Affair" to celebrate the 15th year of the gala. 

To date, the Outer Banks Hospital Gala has raised about 2.2 million dollars and this weekends event was an incredible success while they exceeded their $55,000 Fund the Mission goal! Absolutely amazing! 

The big announcement of the night was the unveiling of their plans to build a 10,000 square foot cancer center right in Nags Head. I know I wasn't the only one blinking away tears as they talked about the importance of this state of the art center by remi...

February 4, 2020

First things first, I love birth stories. I think they are so important and need to be written. For me, it's free therapy but I hope that my kids look back someday and love reading about the day they came into the world. I’ll just say right here that if you don’t find childbirth to be totally awesome— stop reading now. :) 

Let’s face it. With the first name of Audra, I can’t name my own daughters something super common. They require a little bit of uniqueness to be a part of this girl squad. When it came to naming baby number 4, I was convinced that my husband and I wouldn’t ever agree on a name. We love that all of our kids have nicknames that carry their big proper names through childhood. I always loved the nickname "Goldie" but when I brought it up for Eloise over 3 years ago, he wasn’t crazy about it. Much to my surprise, when I brought it up as the nickname for the first name Marigold this time around, he loved it. We have always known the gender of our babies but this time we did...

January 7, 2020

A few years ago in a conversation with my husband I exclaimed, “traveling is my favorite!” I was trying to convince him that we needed to take a major family trip and he wasn’t fully on board with the expense of a big vacation. He laughed and called me Buddy the Elf because of the famous line, “smiling is my favorite!” 

There is just something about planning a vacation and letting the excitement build as the days pass by that I just absolutely love. I really love picking a new place and getting to explore it with my husband and our kids and just about every year, we plan our family vacation for December or January.

While I spend a ton of time with our kiddos, I always feel like our one on one time is so limited. With a baby arriving any day, I have been concentrating on getting some of this precious one on one time in with each of our kids. Penny, who just turned 7 is just about always looking for a way to get herself into a swimming pool. She loves the water so for her special time, I...

December 16, 2019

Rooster's Southern Kitchen has become one of our favorite spots for dinner because the food is so delicious. We always feel like we're eating at the table of a cherished family member who prepared a secret family recipe just for us! Every meal is fresh and delicious and we love that Rooster's makes it so easy to dine out with kids, too! But with Christmas fast approaching, I've been on the go just about every day of the week. Rooster's has become my go-to lunch spot while I'm out and about trying to get all of my last minute work and holiday prep completed. Of course, my tiny sidekick is always with me. She basically orders the kids chicken and waffles before the hostess can even get us to the table. We're working on her patience... ;) 

When I heard that Roosters offered $10 speedy lunch plates I was so excited. These lunch options are amazing for a quick bite with the kids or meeting my husband for lunch on his short lunch break from work but this week, I've been extra gratef...

December 10, 2019

Most of you already know that we are BIG on crafting around here. Penny is constantly looking for a new project and she's desperate for her own YouTube channel but for now, she settles for blog features from time to time.

She has been a collector of tiny random objects since she was old enough to understand that her pockets could hold things and she loves to find new ways to repurpose just about anything. Oftentimes this means she has an abundance of homemade crafts and she loves to gift them to everyone and anyone that she loves. This makes giving Grandparent gifts super easy and extra fun for both of us. 

This year, our Grandparent holiday gift idea came from our trip to Sanibel Island a few years ago. Penny saw cute little bird frames in a gift shop and she just loved them so we book marked them for a craft for when she was a little bit older since she would need to use a hot glue gun. 

On Sunday afternoon we stopped off at the Dollar Tree and grabbed some simple 5x7 frames. We h...

December 2, 2019

After all of the Black Friday shopping and Small Business Saturday, I know some of us are all shopped out! This year, I found some great deals on the stuff that all little girls want this year like LOL Dolls and Barbies but I really try to limit the amount of the same old toys that only bring them joy for a short period of time. Our kids love to be outside in the playhouse, finding a new adventure or playing pretend. They love to create art projects and they are practically professional living room fort designers. Don't get me wrong, our girls love their baby dolls and puzzles and ALL of it, but the imaginative toys are ruling our holiday this year! These are my top toy picks for kids who usually tend to have more fun with the boxes than the toys themselves! 

1. Three words: FLOOR IS LAVA! All of my kids, ages 2, 7 and 15 will get in on a good game of floor is lava. Until Christmas, they will continue to play this family favorite with my white couch cushions but come Christmas morning,...

November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving is tomorrow! This Fall has flown by and I am so excited to get into the kitchen with my family and put together our favorite meal. We love Thanksgiving and honestly, we don’t reserve this meal for once a year! We often make more than one turkey feast in November. Weird, right? But we love to cook and try new recipes so it’s always changing! But as much as we love to cook... Is there anything more daunting than cooking the night before Thanksgiving? With all the prep and shopping, the last thing I want to do is cook dinner tonight!


Enter Two Roads Tavern! Y’all, I have been craving their burgers this pregnancy and luck has been on my side. Wednesday is 1/2 price burger night at Two Roads during the off season and I’ve been indulging! Two Roads Tavern is locally owned and they make it so easy to dine out with kids. Probably because the owners have their own children so they know what it takes to enjoy a meal in a restaurant! Their food is delicious and we have always had awe...

November 25, 2019

When it comes to teenagers holiday lists they either want everything or they are really difficult to shop for. Some years, Joey comes to us with a list of dozens of things. But the last few years he really hasn’t asked for much and I'll tell you one thing, I really don't like gift cards and cash as gifts! I know sometimes they are just trying to save for a larger item but cash and teenagers don't always mix. I always like to have meaningful gift ideas for grandparents and extended family that may want to give the kids a gift too. Joey is a pretty content kid. Give him a soccer ball, a surf board and his bike and he is good to go but this year I’ve done a little digging and I’m super excited about some things that I know he will love! I’m continuing my 2019 gift guides this week with my top gifts for active teenagers! All of these things would be awesome gifts for both girls and boys, even if they aren’t OBX kids!

#1 Anywhere Hammock - One of my favorite things about having a kid that lo...

November 16, 2019

I've put the skeletons back into the closet where they belong and the rest of our Halloween decorations have been put back into their storage bins, too. As I closed the door behind me I jokingly said, “its time to decorate for Christmas now!” My husband turned and gave me the same look the he has given me at this suggestion for the last 16 years. Truth is, I love Christmas and the beautiful season and if I prepare far ahead of the holiday rush, I find that I have more time to soak in and enjoy the true meaning of the season. 

When it comes to holiday gift giving, I struggle to buy the traditional filler items that are found on most bloggers trending lists. To be honest, consumerism during this time of year shatters my soul a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, I love giving gifts. I also like receiving gifts. However, buying gifts that are meaningless or offer a short-lived enjoyment just to have more things to unwrap just doesn’t fall in line with my holiday giving. I really try...

October 30, 2019

Happy Halloween y'all! I'm not big on pumpkin spice lattes or pumpkin pie but if there's one thing I love, it's crafting and creating with our kids. We try to get a craft in each day because I've found that Penny (age 6) is actually happier and can control her emotions better when she has had a creative outlet. She's practically an exact copy of me so discovering this tidbit about her was easy for me to understand but the artsy kids are often misunderstood! 

Our little Eloise (age 2) is following right along in her sisters foot steps and wants to do everything "all by myself." This week, that included carving pumpkins! Instead of breaking out paint for her, I turned to temporary tattoos. We've recently found these super cute hand drawn tattoos and we've been using them for various crafts. Our favorite brand is INKED by Dani and you can snag your own here!

This craft is a must-try if you have a toddler in your life! It was truly so easy and kept Eloise entertained for a full hour and the...

October 28, 2019

There’s something about the Black Pelican Seafood Co. in Kitty Hawk that calls us through the heavy old door for our special occasions and as a meeting place for our family dinners. We’re quick to invite out of town family and friends to Black Pelican when we have Summertime visitors because it feels like a part of our family. 

But during the Summer we are so incredibly busy with work that even something as enjoyable as going out to dinner can feel stressful. During the Summer we’re always trying to squeeze in every last minute of work so when it comes down to the off-season we tend to make up for lost time and enjoy our local restaurants as often as possible. The Black Pelican makes it so easy with tons of off-season specials! 

You all have to see these specials to believe them! It just doesn’t get any better than the Black Pelican Locals Specials!

Monday- all the pizzas on the menu are only $8.99 - dine in only and no changes or substitutions. 

Friday nights- 12oz. prime rib with...

October 23, 2019

It’s been a while since I shared a Spanish Immersion update. Some of you may know that our (almost 7 year old) daughter, Penny attends school in Spanish. Every time I blog about her school I get the same questions, so I’m going to clarify a few things here. Her school day is the same as a traditional 1st graders. She arrives to school and learns all of the traditional subjects, but her teachers are speaking Spanish. She started Kindergarten in this way and she absolutely loves her teachers and her learning experience. This year her teachers are from Costa Rica and Colombia and while I don’t speak Spanish fluently, I have been able to help her with her Spanish so far with the knowledge that I have from high school and college classes. I know that those days are numbered though so I am focusing on sharing other pieces of Spanish culture with her. 

Since we had last Friday off, I planned to make a traditional Colombian recipe with her with our extra time. I checked in with her teacher...

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