FRIDAY FAVES

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Oh weekend, how I have missed thee. The work weeks are flying by (unless you count the days my son straight up refuses to nap. Those are very, very long days.) and I know they are not going to slow down until the beginning of 2017! This weekend we are going to a football game, walking our favorite trails, spending time with family, and I’m finally going to see The Girl on the Train. I’ve heard mixed reviews but I seriously can not wait! Emily Blunt can do no wrong to me. Whatever you are doing this weekend I hope it’s a great one for you and I hope you enjoy these Friday Faves!

Reading
 + These fall print posts! Then oh so lovely Lindsay Letters post this free autumn print + my girl crush Jessica Garvin shred this Hocus Pocus inspired one. Both are now hanging in our gallery wall. 
+ All the fall house tour posts. I can’t get enough! Erin, Mary, Annie, & Shay all post their beeeautiful houses this week and I love them all!

Eating/Drinking
+ Chicken Parmesan Casserole was a hit in our house this week.
+ I know it’s a little early to talk about, but I am 100% making Gruyere Mac and Cheese with Caramelized Onions for our Thanksgiving celebrations this year. Quote me.

Shopping
+ I know you’ve heard it before, but the Shopbop sale is almost over! I scooped up these jeans, these Dolce Vita booties, and this BB Dakota top. Use code MAINEVENT16 for 25% off ANY order and 35% off an order of more than $500! The sale ends tonight so get on it, girl!
+ Everything is 30% off at Old Navy right now with code THANKYOU. I got a few tops for myself (love this one – only $12!) and this Halloween onesie for Cam. Why is holiday themed dressing for kids so much fun?

Pinning
DIY Song Lyric sign – I LOVE this!
+ An awesome guide to one of my favorite cities (Chicago)
+ This fall tablescape is so beautiful to me

In Case You Missed It
Orlando Trip Day Three | Animal Kingdom

Have a great weekend!

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Linking up with Coffee with Caitlin, September Farm, Meet @ the BarreLiz, and The Slaughters.

ORLANDO DAY THREE | HOW TO TAKE A BABY TO ANIMAL KINGDOM

When we started planning this Orlando trip we knew we wanted to go to Universal (because Harry Potter World, duh) but I wanted to try and sneak a one day Disney park trip in there as well. September is the perfect time to do a theme park trip if you have the flexibility because it’s the slowest season and tickets are the cheapest! Nathan and I went to Magic Kingdom around this time a few years ago and while amazing and oh so fun, it was a completely exhausting, jam-packed day and the thought of doing that with a baby did not seem all that appealing to me. Hollywood Studios is great, but even less baby appropriate from my perspective and I didn’t think Epcot would give us a bang for our buck so that left Animal Kingdom! I had been to AK once when I was younger and remembered it being more relaxed plus Nathan had never been so I did what any person would do – I Googled “taking a baby to Animal Kingdom.”

After read a few things (loved this post) and realizing there are only four rides/attractions at AK that babies aren’t welcome on (this chart was super helpful and there is one for each of the Disney Parks if you hunt around) and I knew we had a winner. Guys, this might have been the best decision OF MY LIFE. Animal Kingdom is literally PERFECT for a baby.

Here are a few Dos and Don’ts taking a baby to Animal Kingdom (and some good tips even if you aren’t!):

Do download the Disney My Experience App
This app has come a looong way since we were at Magic Kingdom just a few years ago. I bought our tickets, booked our Fast Passes, made dinner reservations, saw wait times for rides and shows, and used the map all. day. long. Even if you are going for just one day – DO THIS.

Do wear cute shirts
You are at Disney for goodness sake! Embrace the cheesy cuteness and just go for it. Every other person there will be doing that too. Almost every man was wearing this Hakuna Matata tee from Target, I snagged a coveted Best Day Ever tee, and we picked up Camden’s tee in Downtown Disney on our first night because his Target shirt didn’t ship to the store in time. I liked it a lot more anyways :)
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Do go into the day with a positive attitude
I am a firm believer that babies are super aware and affected by the “vibes” we give off. Go into the day with a laid-back attitude and your baby will be more cooperative, I promise. There is no need to be nervous, you got this!  disney-collage-2

Do watch the shows
The Festival of The Lion King show was the thing that stuck with me from my trip as a child the most. They have recently added a Finding Nemo show and both are INCREDIBLE. I can not say enough good things about them. They are mini Broadway shows of the highest quality. They only last about 30 minutes so are the perfect length for kids (or husbands 😉 ) with short attention spans. I put Camden in the Ergo while we were waiting in line for both of the shows and he slept right through both of them. Not only are the shows great, they give you a chance to get out of the heat into an air conditioned building and sit down and rest for a while.
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Do use Fast Passes
Since we were only doing a one-day trip we didn’t have a fancy Disney package with wristbands and lots of Fast-Passes. Us regular people got three Fast Passes for the day. We used ours for the two shows with reserved seating (Lion King and Finding Nemo) and for one of our trips on the Kilimanjaro Safari. I’m honestly not sure what prompted me to do this (other than I was dying to see them!) but it was such a good decision. We probably could have gotten into the shows at the same showing times without our Fast Passes but FP holders get seated first and that extra 15 minutes is A LOT when you are toting around a 15 pound babe!

Do take advantage of the Baby Care Center
AKA heaven on earth to a breastfeeding mama – or any mama! Changing tables, private nursing rooms, water for baby bottles (or mom’s water bottle!), every baby care item you can think of to purchase, bathrooms, plus a room playing a Disney movie for siblings (or dad’s ;)). One of the best things about Animal Kingdom is it is smaller, so the baby care center was a fairly short walk from pretty much every where and 100% worth the hike! It’s kind of tucked back in a corner right past Starbucks (what a shame) and right before you walk into the “Africa” part of the park. Ask a team member to point it out to you if you are having trouble!
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Do explore the walking trails
They have so many trails that get you up close to the animals PLUS you can take your stroller so they are perfect for naps if your baby likes to nap in a stroller. Mine prefers to be in the baby carrier! You also might get to see a gorilla fight because someone got too close to someone else’s baby. I feel you, girl. I’d do the same thing.
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Do bring your own stroller (and baby carrier)
One of the best decisions we made was to bring along our own stroller. We checked it for free on the plane and it was so much nicer than the ones you can rent at the park! Shade, actual storage for bags, and cup holders made it 10000% worth it.

Do wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes
Hauling your baby around Disney is NOT THE TIME for cute sandals. Thank goodness they make cute tennis shoes these days amiright? I wore these Nikes and they were perfect!

Do go to Starbucks
The Disney themed cups are SO CUTE and caffeine. That is all. (Still kicking myself for not buying the Animal Kingdom Starbucks mug. IDIOT.)

Do ride the Kilimanjaro Safari… at least twice.
I read this in one of the posts I found and was so glad we did it! We used a Fast Pass to ride once during the day, then we went back after dinner (as the sun was setting) and rode again. A lot of the animals sleep all day and move around more at night so it’s a totally different experience. The lions were all sleeping up on rocks where you couldn’t really see them during the day but on our night ride they were all up roaming around and we even heard one of them roar! So cool. I suspected you could ride this ride 5x in one day and have a different experience each time because A) There are a ton of different tour guides, B) There are a ton of different paths your guide can take, and C) The animals literally just ROAM so you never really know where exactly they will be. So cool.
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Don’t do It’s a Bugs Life
Or at least listen when they tell you at the beginning of the show that the loud noises and things that happen might scare your baby. It WILL scare your baby and you will feel very guilty he is scared and pray the whole thing ends very soon. (It does. And your baby will be fine. But really, just because they LET you take them…don’t.)

Don’t assume you can’t take your stroller somewhere just because everyone else is dumping theirs
Always ask! There is ALWAYS a team member at the entrance to any ride, trail, or whatever. ASK them if you are allowed to take your stroller. If not, you will end up walking .5 miles out to Rafiki’s Planet watch, then turning right around and walking .5 miles back because YOU FEEL LIKE YOU MAY DIE WITH THIS BABY STRAPPED TO YOUR CHEST. Learn from our mistake here people!!

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Don’t forget there are single rider lines
Leave the baby with the other parent and hop in that single rider line for the things you can’t take them on! Expedition Everest is awesome if you like roller coasters. Just remember to get in the single rider line so you don’t wait longer than you have to. (Learned that lesson too).

Don’t be too tired to go to the night shows
They had just stopped doing the Jungle Book night show and were setting up to transition to the new Rivers of Light show while we were there, which means we didn’t get to see either. Boo. We did, however, stay and watch the Tree of Life light up a few times and it was pretty! It “goes off” about every 10 minutes and you have to be in the front-middle of the park to see it. It doesn’t light up on all sides! We thought we were so smart finding a secluded spot close to the water where we could see it and after waiting about 20 minutes a team member took pity on us and told us you had to be in the front. Whoops.
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There you go!  I soaked up as many of this info as I could beforehand so I hope this helps someone planning their visit to Animal Kingdom. Like I said, I was skeptical if there would be enough for us to do with a baby and thought it might be really difficult and neither of those things were true! It was an amazing time – such awesome memories made with our new family of three :)

Linking up with Annie, Natalie, and Amanda.

See my Snaps on Snapchat rachelemily_49 | Keep up with all my posts on Bloglovin | See day to day pictures on my Instagram | Read my tweets on Twitter | Like the Rachel Emily Blog on Facebook | Pin along with me on Pinterest

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A FALL CRAFT.

fall-craft

I realize that simple is a relative term. This project may have been simple to me because I purchased everything I needed for it this time LAST YEAR (Lord, help me) so that obviously simplified things this year. I also actually finished it in one afternoon which means it must have been simple, right? I can not think of one other project I have finished in the last two years. Craft supplies come to my house to die on the regular.

Anyhow, I saw this pin around this time last year and thought “Hey! I can do that.” I was just coming out of the first trimester hell hole and thought I had all the energy in the world. Bless her heart. Even though it didn’t happen last year, I’m so glad I got myself together this year because I love how it turned out! (There is an awesome tutorial on the other end of that pin but I switched it up a lot to make it even easier!)

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I went with a Thanksgiving/Fall themed print instead since I’m not big on Halloween decor and ordered this download-able dining set from Caravan Shoppe for only $5! I also got this Christmas one in hopes to do the same thing then. I was surprised to see that you actually get a TON of different printable in each of the packages in different sizes which makes it a great value to me. We all know I looove a printable.

After I downloaded everything I got on the Walgreens website and ordered an engineer print (36″ x 48″) for less than $10 I’m pretty sure.

Here’s what else I used:
– Burlap
– Hot glue
– Skinny Ribbon (She used black, I could only find white in the right size at Hob Lob)
– Something to hang it with (I used fatter ribbon I had on hand but I don’t love the look of it. I might change it to burlap ribbon)
– Tape measure
– Chalk

I taped the print to the burlap with painters tape, measured a three inch boarder all around, used the tape measure and chalk to draw a semi-straight line on the burlap, and cut! I like the frayed edges look and honestly that was the most annoying part of this whole thing so if you don’t mind the straight edges I would skip it.

After that I used the hot glue to stick the ribbon to the print. Make sure you put news paper or paper towel underneath because the glue will seep through the holes in the burlap! I was skeptical that just gluing the ribbon would be strong enough to hold the print to the burlap as well but it seems like it was. It’s been hanging on my wall for several days with no issues.

To finish, I hot glued the ribbon to the back, tied and bow, and hung! Full disclosure, mine it actually being held up by two thumb tacks in the upper corners because it laid funny if I tried to hang it from the ribbon. In the actual tutorial she shows you how to use some sort of stick so you can actually hang it by a string but I was trying to keep it easy!

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I love how it turned out! This huge blank wall normally drives me nuts so I love to see it take up the whole space. Here it is a little closer:

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What do you think?! Honestly, if I can do it, you can do it! #solidarity

Linking up with Annie, Natalie, and Amanda.

See my Snaps on Snapchat rachelemily_49 | Keep up with all my posts on Bloglovin | See day to day pictures on my Instagram | Read my tweets on Twitter | Like the Rachel Emily Blog on Facebook | Pin along with me on Pinterest

CURRENTLY | OCTOBER

currently-oct

C H E E R S I N G
To fall! Our fall decor is out, pumpkin bread has been made, and we are heading to the pumpkin patch (Cam’s first trip!!) this weekend. Now, if it would just get cool enough again so we can use our fire pit I will be a really happy camper.

O R G A N I Z I N G
Our budget. Whomp whomp whomp. We have lived the last two years of our marriage on a very loose “budget” but in September we got serious about it. We set our budget for each category and tracked every purchase and while it was hard-ish, it wasn’t too bad. I don’t think I’m going to say the same thing about October. It’s day five and I can tell October is going to suck. Adulting is the worst.

D R E A M I N G
Of all the fun traditions I want to start with Camden over the holidays. Nathan and I already have a few but I can’t wait to slowly incpororate more in with our kids. I’m glad we’ve got a few months to warm up before the main event 😉

B U Y I N G
I had some Shopbop gift certificates to spend (just want to make that clear so I’m not whining about our budget and saying “look at these cute boots I bought” in the same breath #annoying) BUT really how cute are these boots though? So comfy, too! I also got these jeans and they are awesomely comfy.

L I S T E N I N G
Confession. It is taking every single ounce of self control I possess to not listen to Christmas music yet. We are planning some huge holiday event at work right now and the temptation is so real. I am listening to a lot of podcasts, though (cue the shock and awe). I finished Accused in one day over the weekend (while I was crafting) and I started season two of Breakdown yesterday. Highly recommend both if you liked Serial!

Linking up with Anne.

See my Snaps on Snapchat rachelemily_49 | Keep up with all my posts on Bloglovin | See day to day pictures on my Instagram | Read my tweets on Twitter | Like the Rachel Emily Blog on Facebook | Pin along with me on Pinterest

LIFE LATELY

Fall has arriiiiived! It usually takes me much longer to wrap my head around the fact that my beloved summer is over but for whatever reason this year I am all in. Something about anticipating celebrating all the things with Camden has me super excited! Or it could be that I was fairly miserably pregnant this time last year so I basically had zero fun, who knows!

We had a great weekend! We saw friends, we saw family, and had a good amount of time at home together. I wish I remembered every weekend how much we need to make that time at home a priority. I want to do everything and be everything to everyone but a Sunday at home makes me feel recharged and ready to take on the week! (I will surely forget this by next week).

anniversary-year-2Nathan and I celebrated our two year anniversary last weekend with a trip to the town where we got married. We walked down to the lake where we said “I Do,” snapped this picture and promptly ran away from the 10,000 mosquitoes that joined us! Then we headed over to The Red Geranium for a fabulous dinner including the best crab cakes ever.

img_3602As hard as I try, my specialty is killing plants so we’ll see how long this years mums last. (For real if you have an mum-care tips, let me know!)

img_3542I’ve been known to fall over in heels, multiple times! I thought I was making a real grown up decision the night of our anniversary dinner by wearing flats until we dropped the baby off with my mom, but it turns out I was too lazy to change them once we actually got there. Cobblestone streets + Rachel + heels? Not really a good idea any ways.

img_3605And on the second day of October 2016 I finished a DIY project in one day (that I bought the materials for last year). It might be the first DIY project I have ever finished. I’ll share the whole thing soon!

img_3639On Saturday we visited my grandparents and this boy was being his usual, charming self! Why wouldn’t he be happy? He has SO MANY grandparents and great-grandparents (and aunts and uncles and the list goes on) who love him to the moon and back. He is a lucky guy!

img_3598We are still on the three meals per week HelloFresh plan and loving it! This was a Asian pork stir fry with green beans and red peppers. YUM. I’ve got two free boxes to give away right now so if you want one, leave your email below! (It does have to be your first box!)

img_3606This kid is never not on his tummy these days. This happened, of course, the day after I expressed worry to his pediatrician that he wasn’t rolling over regularly. Eye roll.

img_3617You know it’s fall when your Target trips start looking like this! Guys, you NEED this Apple Cider hand soap in your life. It smells like heaven in a bottle. I’m pretty sure I washed my hands 50x yesterday (which is only about 25x more than usual). Also, this candle.

img_3616And if you love pumpkin bread but can not usually be bothered to make your own baked goods (the perfect measuring and the mixing and the reading/knowing there is a difference between baking soda and baking powder – who has the time?!) get yourself one can of pumpkin and one box of spice cake, mix together, and bake according to the box. Maybe it’s not pretty, but it’s delicious. (Thanks for the tip Christina!)

img_3635On Sunday, I finished a DIY project AND made baby food so basically I’m Super Woman. Camden’s first experience with big people food was a success! Though next time I will wait to give him a bath until after he has eaten. #newmomprobs

img_3555Our handsome guy turned four months old! (As in, he will be 5 months old in less than two weeks. Whoops!) He is 26 inches and 15 pounds putting him in the 70th percentile for height and 50th for weight. He loves sleeping on his tummy, playing with all the toys on his activity saucer, hanging out with mom (no one else will do), and we are in the throws of a four month sleep regression! So much fun. This child woke up FOUR TIMES one night last week. He literally has not done that since he was three weeks old. Good thing he’s cute!

img_3526I crunched over these leaves with my stroller and immediately craved a hot beverage, pumpkin flavored something, and a cozy night on the couch. Bring it on, fall!

img_3593Not the best photo of me but how precious is my boy? Ugh, I can’t get enough of him! Moms, do you always feel such relief at bedtime them promptly miss them as soon as they are gone? Nathan has been putting him to bed a lot lately and I have to try so hard not to be selfish and do it every night! (Don’t get me wrong, there are some nights when I say “please take this child far, far away from me”) but something about rocking him to sleep – ugh I get cold chills thinking about it – it’s just so special!

So that’s life around here, what have you guys been up to?

Add me on Snapchat: rachelemily_49 | Keep up with all my posts on Bloglovin | See day to day pictures on my Instagram | Read my tweets on Twitter | Like the Rachel Emily Blog on Facebook | Pin along with me on Pinterest

Linking up with Biana, Erin, Katie, and Jenna.