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A Lovely Fall Break…

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers” -L.M. Montgomery

The weather this fall has been unseasonably warm even for South Carolina, so we took advantage of the continued summer to plan a beach trip over the long weekend.

Nothing on the schedule except for beach walks and watching some football (for Jody) which meant plenty of time to play and relax.

Dinner on the patio at Bistro 217 was the perfect way to end the day (Eloise is a big fan of their homemade banana ice cream).

We took one more beach walk before heading home. Until next time!

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A Lovely Little Summer Afternoon…

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” -Henry James

As the early afternoons of summer get underway, Little Lovely and I are settling into a new routine with a little less structure and a little more time for fun. At 21 months old, Eloise is a busy toddler with plenty of energy and curiosity, so I’m constantly on the lookout for outings and activities to keep us both happy.

Of course the pool is a popular destination (in fact, the first thing Eloise asks about when she wakes up lately is if we’re going to the pool). We’re lucky that our local pool has a designated baby pool that is the perfect size for Eloise to play with her toys and splash around with friends. She’s also quite fond of the snack bar.Our city is fortunate to be home to Riverbanks Zoo, considered one of the best zoos in the country, and last year we purchased a family membership making it a go-to for a #zooplaydate. Right now Eloise gets excited to feed the giraffes and visit some of the animals we read about in one of her favorite books, Pat the Zoo.On rainy days, a trip to the children’s section of our local library branch is a good spot to color, play and peruse books.

Another indoor option we are planning is to catch a family flick at Regal Cinemas as part of its #SummerMovieExpress. Starting this week, participating theaters will show popular kids’ movies at 10 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings for $1, and proceeds go towards the Will Rogers Institute. 

For something a little out of the box try family “happy hour” at River Rat Brewery. The outdoor space features a playhouse, toys and games for all ages. There is a relaxed vibe, and the summer menu now includes Prosecco and popsicles from King of Pops. đźŤľ


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A Lovely Little Pumpkin…

“When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock, And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,

And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,

And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;

O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,

With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,

As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes to feed the stock,

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.” – Excerpt from “When the Frost is on the Punkin” by James Whitcomb Riley

My father used to read this poem to my brothers and me on the first cool mornings of Fall, so it always comes to mind when the season starts to change. The vivid imagery and onomatopoeias really capture this time of year.

On these crisp mornings, Little Lovely enjoys visiting with the pumpkins on our front stoop before nursery school.   

 And now that she can toddle around she wants nothing more than to explore the yard and collect acorns and leaves.

Thankfully, the chaos of Hurricane Matthew drifted away this week and was replaced with beautiful, autumn weather. It provided the perfect backdrop for Little Lovely and I to make a visit to our local pumpkin patch.  

  {Eloise found a pumpkin just her size. Her dress is by Cecil and Lou.}

We met some of our friends there for a late afternoon playdate, and Eloise had a grand time meandering through the pumpkins.

Today we picked up some little white pumpkins from Trader Joe’s for a special craft. Using washable paints they were transformed into lovely shades of pink and gold.  {Eloise mainly supervised.}
Hope that you and your little pumpkins have a wonderful weekend!

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A Lovely Little Watermelon…

While yesterday marked the first official day of summer Little Lovely and I have been in summertime mode for awhile enjoying lots of pool time and seeking refuge from the brutal South Carolina temperatures in the afternoons. 

One way to beat the heat is to cool off with a delicious fruity treat. 

A few weeks ago, Eloise posed for a mini photo session with local photographer, Jessie Rayfield. A crate and a few watermelons made a cute backdrop for the summer pics.   {Eloise’s dress by LaRoque}

To end the session, baby was given an ice cold piece of watermelon to hold (mainly as a prop), and she absolutely loved it! The combination of the sweet flavor and chilly texture on her teething gums must have been irresistible as she wouldn’t let us take it away- there were a few tears. A messy but fun activity, I think watermelon will be a summer staple.

Cheers!🍉

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A Lovely Little Dip…


“Roll out those lazy, hazy crazy days of summer…” 

My mother used to sing this happy tune from her childhood by Nat King Cole to me and my brothers at the start of summer each year. Yesterday felt like the true beginning of summer with 90 degree weather, so I took Little Lovely for her first swim.

After getting suited up in her flamingo appliquĂ© one piece by Cecil and Lou Eloise tested the waters. We started out on the steps, and I think she felt like she was in her bathtub splashing around. Then I got in and we ventured into deeper water. Baby kicked her legs and loved being twirled around.

While it was a quick dip I was pleased that Eloise enjoyed herself as there will be many pool days planned this summer.       Here are a few of my favorite swimsuits for mommy and baby this season:  Shoulder tie French bikini by JCrew // Target Baby Girl Flamingo one piece // Scalloped bikini by Boden // Blue Seersucker Crab AppliquĂ© one piece by Cecil and Lou

 

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A Lovely Little Strawberry…

Little Lovely and I are always looking for fun outings, and this time of year, something outside is very appealing. 

Yesterday we headed down the Sumter Highway to Cottle Strawberry Farm to meet some friends for a little strawberry picking. 

For merely $12 per gallon bucket, the strawberry patch was an economical activity that kept baby’s interest – with all of the green and red to look at and of course the yummy berries to pluck and sample. I don’t think Eloise could believe that I was actually letting her put something in her mouth straight from the vine.

Supporting our local farms and CSAs is so important to help our state’s agribusiness economy flourish. Be sure to check out SCFarmfun.org to find agritourism spots near you, and always look for the Certified SC Grown logo when you are shopping for products and produce.    Little Lovely sampling a few local strawberries. Her top and bloomers are by Remember Nguyen🍓.  After snapping some photos we made our way to the register where we learned of a special “name game” promotion. The farm was offering anyone named “Emily” a free quart of berries. What luck! Check their Facebook page for future deals.    Happy picking!

 
  

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A Lovely Little Happy Hour…

Long before Little Lovely arrived, Jody and I would enjoy our Friday night dates over a quiet dinner and drinks. Inevitably, our conversation would turn to envisioning our future family and how we would spend Friday nights together. So it’s now a joy to pack up Eloise and set out for family date nights.

It can definitely be a little nerve wracking to take a baby to a restaurant, but we try to select spots that are child-friendly offering high chairs and outdoor dining space. Also catching the “early bird” special means that there are less patrons present since not everyone is thrilled to dine alongside a seven-month old. Of course Little Lovely’s sweet grin and giggles should surely charm anyone.

We always enjoy an evening at Tazza Kitchen where we try to snag a table on the covered patio. Located in Trenholm Plaza, Tazza has a wonderful,big-city ambience and offers a diverse wine and beer list as well as a delicious menu featuring local produce – also note the daily happy hour from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. Another easy option is Taziki’s in Cross Hill Market for quick, healthy Mediterranean fare. We usually choose a cafe table on the side of the restaurant so Little Lovely can have her space.
Eloise dining at Taziki’s on a warm, spring evening. We always bring a bag of toys that can be strapped to her high chair with a Baby Buddy and some Mum Mums for baby to snack on.

Our go-to, which never disappoints, is Za’s. Since reopening late last year the new and improved Za’s has upgraded its menu and polished its interior decor. We have become regular groupies of the live music shows featuring local talent such as Emily Wells and Jon Rooks. Eloise is in good company as many families and young children play on the plaza outside and eat brick-oven pizza.

A night out is fun, but the best place to spend happy hour is right at home. Mom and Dad can leisurely sip a cocktail while watching Little Lovely lounge on the lawn. Cheers!