All the Strawberries

Parker and I headed up to Brown Farms for the third year in a row for a little strawberry picking date. 

Each mid-to-late April, the strawberries are ready and so are we! This was the first year I remembered to take the SLR, and I was super excited to snap some fun pics. 

If you're headed strawberry picking, here are some tips that we've picked up over the years:

1. The Earlier the Better
Head out early in the day. The weather is cooler in the morning, you'll get more shade, and the farm will be much less crowded.

2. Cover Up
We spend at least an hour in the fields (though it goes by super fast!), so I make sure we have hats and sunnies, and that we're covered with SPF. 

3. Choose Smart Shoes 
Those fields can be quite muddy! In the past, Parker has worn his Hunter rainboots, and also his Natives. Both are great for getting muddy because they can just be hosed off post-strawberry picking. This year, we knew it would be a bit drier so he wore his Toms (which I can just toss in the wash). 

4. Wipes and Snacks, Snacks and Wipes
If you're a mom you most likely are already packing wipes and snacks. Take those wipes with you to the strawberry fields because if your little ones are like mine, they will want to sample the berries (which is totally okay with the farm) and will turn bright red. 

When we went to pay for our berries (a flat $12 fee per bucket), Parker told the ladies working that he was "worn out" :) They had a little chuckle, and he definitely appreciated a drink and snack in the car on the way home (which for us was about a 25 minute drive). 


And now for those yummy strawberry recipes...


Life Lately

 I never really understood the obsession with spring until I moved to the south. Now I get it - spring is the time of year to do all the outdoor things. You know, before summer sets in and everything turns into a literal hot sticky mess. 

So, we've been eating outside, living at the Botanical Gardens, and walking the neighborhood any chance we get. Parker is obsessed with his trike, and since we're now taking it further distances (to the tennis courts, to the playground) I decided he needed a helmet. I did a little research and found these ones, which come in tons of colors (Parker chose the red to match his trike, sweet guy!).

Another favorite? Pressing all the walk buttons in between the riding ;)

He's downright giddy when it's trike time. 

On another note, I feel like I blinked and everything turned green - one more amazing part of spring.

And it might have something to do with all that rain...

Red Hunter Rainboots and splashing in puddles? This four-year-old could have stayed in the backyard all day. I mean his face - sheer joy :)

I love getting photos of him at school during the day. We're still so happy with our decision to send him to the non-traditional "outdoor school" this year, and he'll do one more year there before starting kindergarten.

He's especially loving watering all the plants in the school garden. 

When photos like these are posted, we can always tell which one is our little guy because he never leaves for school without his watch! Would you believe he asked (via sign language) for a watch when he was one and a half, and actually learned to tell time on it this past year. 

And of course he wears it to music school. Little Man was stoked to play Beethoven at his last piano lesson! (I was stoked to read my magazine, ha!)

The Huntsville Symphony Orchestra had their last classical performance this past weekend, and we attended the sneak preview/rehearsal. Parker is already talking about the next season and requesting "the real tickets" for a nighttime performance (I think we'll do the night they perform Beethoven's 7th Symphony). 

Mama and Dada got a date night in last week for The Huntsville Museum of Art's Southern Blues fundraiser. I love any excuse to get fancy (and eat bourbon balls). Our sitter snapped a couples photo of us before we headed out, and who decided he needed to photo bomb? Our sweet little guy of course!  

If you need us, we'll all just be over here hearting Huntsville.


Five On Friday

Five on Friday...

1. The Unicorn Frappuccino

Those Starbucks peeps are genius. I'm convinced this bright and colorful limited edition drink was invented with the sole purpose of social media photos in mind. Of course it worked on me, and Parker and I swung by Starbucks on Wednesday to get one (I used my free reward drink, so I don't feel as duped). The flavor? Cotton candy rolled in funfetti frosting. I can probably count on one hand the number of sips we took - not even my four-year-old was a fan! Next time, I'll stick with the Vanilla Bean (though it's not nearly as pretty ;)

2. This Book 

Y'all, this is a book you can pick up and read cover to cover. In fact, I almost read it all in one go until I realized it was the middle of the night (Max was snoring next to me) and I still had mom duties in the morning. I ended up finishing it the next day when I was supposed to be making dinner (breakfast burritos for the win that night!). The book isn't super long and the writing is pretty simple, so it's easy to get through but the twisted storyline will have you captivated, I promise!  I just couldn't put it down!! Best read with rainbow roses, a cup of coffee, and while wearing this Old Navy dress (on sale for just $14!).

3. Nana & Papa!

Nana and Papa flew in to Huntsville  this month to give Parker all the love :) They were too sweet to take Parker out on a special date night, and sent Max and me out on a date night as well!

Husby and I headed to The Bottle downtown, a tiny place that we've decided has the best food and service in town. 

4. Our Garden...

Is up and running! Pictures to come :) I made it to the Botanical Garden Spring Plant Sale earlier this month, despite the fact that sale day was rainy with temperatures in the forties. I powered through anyway because it's my favorite event of the year. I stocked up on flowers, veggies, and herbs (which lived in our garage for a few nights while we waited out the random cold spell) and then warmed up with a cappuccino + my favorite new pastry, this vegan/gluten free pop tart! Both were from the Honest Coffee Shop pop up downtown. How excited am I to have another walkable coffee spot? Very

5. Easter Love

Happy Weekend!


3 Ways to Help the Planet this Earth Day

Earth Day is coming up this April 22! While this is a lovely time to celebrate the Earth and all its beauty, it's also a perfect opportunity to reflect on our impact on the Earth and its resources. This Earth Day, our little family will be focusing on what we can do to take care of the planet - specifically, reducing our carbon footprint. Here are three ways to help the planet this Earth Day (and every day!):

1. Give Your Car a Break

Ask my husband - my very favorite thing to do is walk into downtown for lunch. It's great exercise (especially if I'm the one pushing the stroller!) and by not driving, we cut down out the emissions our vehicle would have been letting out (and save gas money, too!). In the summer, this is how we roll to the neighborhood community pool:

While we don't own bikes yet, I think biking is an awesome option once little man gets older. If you're not close to any stores or parks, try planning a way to car pool with neighbors or friends to events or activities! And don't forget to take advantage of public transportation when you're in big cities :)

2. Eat Local

Eating locally grown fruits and veggies cuts down on the fuel used to ship produce via trucks and planes, generating less greenhouse gases. Local produce is fresher, tastes better, likely contains more nutrients, and supports the local community as well. Farmers Markets, nearby farms, and CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture programs) are all great ways to find amazing local food items.

You-Pick fields and farms go one step closer and allow little hands to connect physically to local produce. 

Eating local also means eating seasonal!

And you literally can't get any more local than your own yard.

Find a spot to plant some veggies and herbs this spring, or go all out and do a raised bed garden!

I guarantee my face is this excited when I pick a radish from the garden, as well!

3. Reduce Trash & Recyclables

True story - when we moved into our house here in Alabama, I noticed this blue recycle bin and I told Max "Oh, that's so cute - so we use this small one to fill up the big one. Where's the big recycle bin?" Having only ever lived in California and Arizona, I was used to ginormous recycle bins - like bigger than the trash bins. I realized this teeny, tiny recycle bin was all the the city was going to pick up! I've since realized that not all cities even have recycling programs - so while reducing trash/waste is amazing, reducing things that can be recycled is important as well. Here's what you can do:

-Purchase items like spices, nuts and pasta from bulk bins and reuse the same containers (bonus - they are usually much less expensive this way, too!)

-Fill your own reusable water bottles or tumblers instead of using plastic ones

-Use cloth napkins instead of paper ones

-Bring your own reusable bags when grocery shopping (big, sturdy bags allow you to hold more, as well)

- (My newest find) Purchase tube-free toilet paper rolls!

I was shocked to discover that, every year, the United States throws away enough used toilet paper tubes to fill the Empire State Building twiceScott® Brand figured out a way around this with their Tube-Free Bath TissueFor us, buying it leaves more room in our already cramped recycle bin (and for those who don't have programs or who don't recycle on their own, it eliminates the need to toss the tubes in the trash!). 

Click here to purchase Scott® Tube-Free Bath Tissue discounted via Amazon! 

Thank you to Scott® Brand for sponsoring this post! 

How are you celebrating Earth Day?
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