Earth Fare opened it’s 36th store this morning in Morrisville at Park West Village shopping center. Yesterday, Elise and I took a behind the scenes tour to get a look at the new store layout. Currently the only other store in the Triangle area is in Brier Creek and features an older design.

Earth Fare Cary - Morrisville

The new store is bright and well laid out. For being smaller in square footage, it felt large and spacious inside.

If you are unfamiliar with Earth Fare, the best description is that it is a speciality grocery store. Many products in the store you will recognize and possibly purchase now at other retailers. Some products and brands may be completely new to you. Simply, Earth Fare only allows foods & products that align with its food philosophy meaning that items in the store contain no high-fructose corn syrup; no artificial fats or artificial trans fats; no artificial colors; no artificial flavors; no artificial preservatives; no artificial sweeteners; no antibiotics or synthetic growth hormones in our fresh meat or dairy; and no bleached or bromated flour.

Earth Fare Cary - Morrisville

Something I particularly liked was the large selection of bulk items where you can select the amount you want to buy. This includes nuts, candies and even herbs. Also freshly ground peanut or almond butter. Not sure you’ll like the bulk item? You can taste test. Yes, you can take a free sample. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen the photo I shared yesterday of the fresh organic peanut butter. It was amazing. I’m definitely purchasing some during my next visit.

Another plus for those looking to save the environment a little – you can use the provided plastic bags for containers for bulk items, but you can also bring your own containers. Just have your container weighed prior to filling so the container weight can be subtracted from your purchase.

The store also features a small restaurant offering sandwiches, wraps, pizza and smoothies. Kids eat daily for $3 with their choice of entree plus grapes & carrots.

Earth Fare Cary - Morrisville

Before you shop, be sure to sign up for the Tomato Bank – Earth Fare’s rewards program. No card required. Just use your phone number each time you shop as your identifier. Earn 100 points for signing up. Then continue to earn points by bringing your own bag, purchasing select labeled items, and for each visit. Cash out the points whenever you like. Every 100 points equals $1 off.

Along with the tour, the folks at Earth Fare kindly offered a $50 gift card to one of my readers. The gift card is good at any Earth Fare location, but, if you are in the Triangle area, I highly encourage you to visit the new Cary – Morrisville store at 951 Morrisville Parkway. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Giveaway ends 3/29/2015

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also follow along with Earth Fare online:

Disclosure: I received a $50 gift card for compensation for my time as well as one $50 gift card to giveaway. However, all opinions expressed are are strictly my own.

Our cat is known for “disappearing” around the house. Amazing all the places she finds to hide and take a nap. Earlier in the week I spotted her in Dylan’s bed. This is hilarious to me because she used to avoid him at all costs. In the last year she has suddenly come around to him a bit. I guess she’s liking him more or at least liking his bed when he isn’t in it!

Project 52 Photos: Week 12 Silhouette

Seeing her there inspired me to try to get a photo for this week’s theme – silhouette. It didn’t quite turn out as I intended, but at least I got her to look to the side long enough for me to snap it.

Join in the fun at any time. Next week’s challenge is Technology. Find the full list on Sarah Halstead’s blog here. Thanks to Sarah, Amy, and Angie for hosting each week.

Project 52 Photos

A favorite gift in our household are “memory” items. Since early in our relationship, Trent & I have skipped on physical gifts and selected things to do and create memories for our family instead. At Christmas, he surprised us with tickets for our family to attend a show at the Durham Performing Arts Center – a first for all of us.

Mickey's Magic Show - DPAC

Supplies: Project Mouse No 2 Papers & Embellishments by Brittish Designs & Sahlin Studio; Christmas Magic by Karen Funk

This past Saturday morning we all dressed up a bit and headed out for the theatre to see Mickey’s Magic Show.

Mickey's Magic Show

Semi-awkward family photo. Dylan trying to squeeze in and Elise more interested in him than the camera.

We weren’t quite sure what to expect, but it was wonderful! The show was nearly 2 hours with a brief intermission in the middle. Mickey, Minnie, Donald & Goofy were all there along with 2 magicians and several of the princesses plus Alice, the White Rabbit, Queen of Hearts, etc.

Our seats were just 4 rows back from the stage and at a lower walkway. During one part of the show, Goofy came off stage and right up to us giving a “hello” wave to Elise and a high five to Dylan. Along with this interaction, the lights, sounds, and acting, both kids were captivated the show. Elise finally fell asleep during the final 3o minutes, but Dylan stayed eyes glued to the action and cheered loudly when the cast came out to take their bows.

Linking up with Mommy & Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?

My baby girl is growing up too fast. She’s mastered an impressive crunch pose over the past month which is helping her to almost come out of her bouncy seat and swing. We have to keep a close eye. I knew it was time for a change. Yesterday her new Exersaucer arrived and she was enamored with the new position, new toys and new textures.

Project 52 Photos: Week 11 Texture

Join in the fun at any time. Next week’s challenge is Silhouette. Find the full list on Sarah Halstead’s blog here. Thanks to Sarah, Amy, and Angie for hosting each week.

Project 52 Photos

I love colorful Easter crafts. And easy ones. This project covers both plus isn’t too terribly messy (although you can tell from the photos, we completed it outside). Here’s how we created these beautiful painted eggs.

Shaving Cream Painted Eggs


  • White card stock or poster board
  • Small container or tray
  • Shaving cream
  • Acrylic paint in 2 or more colors
  • Paintbrush or small object to stir with
  • Squeegee or butter knife

Start by cutting egg shapes from your card stock or poster board. I just freehand sketched our 4 eggs in pencil and the cut out. If that’s not for you, do a quick search for egg clip art to create a template. Then set aside your cut egg(s).

In a small container, squirt enough shaving cream to fill the bottom. It does not have to be deep. You just want the entire bottom of the container covered.

Next squirt lines of paint.

Shaving Cream Painted Eggs

Now move a paintbrush back & forth to swirl the paint colors around and get a “marbled” look.

Shaving Cream Painted Eggs

It already looks like a masterpiece, doesn’t it?

Now comes the fun part, grab the egg cutout(s) from the first step and gently press one face down into the marbled paint. If your container is smaller than your egg(s) like ours, that’s ok. Press part of the egg into the paint, remove it, and then press the non painted portion in.

Shaving Cream Painted Eggs

Repeat for the rest of your eggs if you made more than one. Depending on how you move the paper in the marbled paint, you’ll get a different design on each egg. Set them aside to dry for a few minutes.

Shaving Cream Painted Eggs

Take a squeegee across each egg from top to bottom to remove the excess paint and shaving cream.

Shaving Cream Painted Eggs

After the eggs are dry, use them for decoration. You could frame them to hang. Punch a hole in each and add string to create a garland. Or, what we did – turn them into Easter cards for the grandparents. You can write directly onto the back or glue them to a blank card.

Teacher Appreciation Week is generally held during the first full week of May. Our elementary school is year round so 2 of the 4 tracks are celebrating this week. Last year I shared our simple gift idea for my son’s preschool teachers and why I didn’t want to overload them with more “stuff.”

Teacher Appreciation Kisses & Free Printable

This year, I’m still focusing on simple, but the school sent home a flyer with each day of the week designated with a specific theme for celebrating the teachers. Today is “sweet day.” Knowing this meant his kindergarten teacher and assistant will go home with possibly 22 sweet treats of ranging sizes, we created small bags of Kisses to show our appreciation.

These are super easy to create. Here’s how …


  • Hershey’s Kisses
  • Small Plastic Bags (ours are from The Container Store, item #786140)
  • White Cardstock
  • Free Printable (download links are below)
  • Stapler

Start by filling the plastic bags with Kisses. Our little bags took just 5 each.

Print the bag topper from my free printable. I’ve included 2 sizes of toppers. A small one to match the 2.5in x 3in bags we used and a larger size perfect for snack or sandwich size zipper bags.

Teacher Appreciation Kisses & Free Printable

Cut the bag topper(s) to size. Have your child sign his or her name.

Fold the topper on the light gray fold line. Place the topper over the bag opening and staple shut.

Teacher Appreciation Kisses & Free Printable

Admire your work ;) and then stick in your child’s backpack to take to school.

Click here to download the Teacher Kisses – small toppers printable

Click here to download the Teacher Kisses – long toppers printable


Linked up at Do Tell Tuesday

This week’s Project 52 challenge was Self-Portrait. Earlier in the week I shared one photo on Instagram. I was playing around with a few options. When the time came to choose, I decided to share a photo I took with Dylan last Saturday during the annual Durham Bulls Fan Fest.

We had already spent time checking out the sales in the store (Elise got her first Bulls tee and Dylan got the new hat he’s wearing in the photo). Dylan & Trent had spent some time on the field playing catch.

Durham Bulls Fan Fest 2015: Playing Catch

We bought tickets for a game in May during Dylan’s next track out. Then finally stopped to eat lunch.

Project 52 Photos: Week 10 Self Portrait

I laugh as I look at this photo I quickly took of the two of us. I was focused on getting a shot with us looking at the camera and smiling. I missed that Dylan was holding his hot dog in his hand (yes, he eats the dog plain first and then the bun) and the trash can photobomb.

After lunch I had Trent take a picture of me with both kids since I end up behind the camera so often. I’m trying to make an effort to get in front of it and “exist” in our photo albums & scrapbooks.


Join in the fun at any time. Next week’s challenge is Texture. Find the full list on Sarah Halstead’s blog here. Thanks to Sarah, Amy, and Angie for hosting each week.

Project 52 Photos

Last week we marked the end of Dylan’s most recent track out from school with a family trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, NC.

Great Wolf Lodge Concord: March 2015

It was Elise’s first time at a hotel and, fittingly, Dylan’s first hotel stay ever was here as well in late 2012. We visited the Williamsburg location a few months later, but hadn’t been to either since. It was fun to see how much more Dylan enjoyed the experience. He was tall enough for all but one ride and pretty much did everything he could – even face first on a mat down one slide!

Thursday at Great Wolf Lodge

Supplies: Guppy kit by One Little Bird; Written Days by Robyn Meierotto; Authentic mini kit by Pink Reptile Designs.

Elise enjoyed hanging out poolside and, thanks to Trent’s aunt, uncle & cousins, had plenty of people who wanted to hold and play with her while the rest of us enjoyed the slides and wave pool.

This was the first time we were given wolf ears on check in. Dylan was quick to put a pair on Elise’s head and she seemed to like them. She certainly made the cutest little wolf I’ve ever seen.

Great Wolf Lodge Concord: March 2015

Before we left I wanted to try for a family picture in front of the giant bear in the lobby where Dylan & I posed for a photo during our first visit. No luck. He wanted a picture of just himself and Elise, and kept a hand firmly on her head while holding her to make sure she didn’t bump it. So sweet.

Hopefully it won’t be quite so long before our next trip. It certainly was a lot of fun and nice to trade the heavy coats and snow gear we’d needed the previous two weeks for swimsuits and flip flops.

St. Patrick’s Day is just over a week away. I confess, we’ve done exactly zero holiday related crafts lately. In hopes of remedying that, I thought I’d look for a bit of inspiration from past St. Patrick’s Day kids crafts we’re completed and other ideas shared around the internet that I would like to try.

St. Patrick's Day Kids Crafts

Stamped Shamrocksthese were a lot of fun to make and all you need are some green paint & a green pepper (okay, really any color pepper will work but green seems best for St. Patrick’s Day related art).

Rainbow Ribbon Shakers – a fun, inexpensive craft created using a toilet paper tube. This idea was shared last week on A Parenting Production and looks like a lot of fun for young kids.

Shamrock Crystals –  I need to go buy some Borax so we can finally try this tutorial by Housing a Forest. I bet Dylan would enjoy growing his own crystals plus it’s science + art in one thus equaling a bit of education snuck in. ;)

Shamrock Handprint

Shamrock Handprints – it’s fun looking back and seeing how tiny Dylan’s hands were when we created the shamrock handprint plaque. I plan to make one with Elise next year (4 month old hands are a bit too tricky to work with).

Cereal Rainbows –  a good excuse to indulge in a sugar kids’ cereal. Your child can accomplish a craft and work on eye & hand coordination with this project from Growing A Jeweled Rose.

Looking for more St. Patrick’s Day craft ideas? Take a peek at my St. Patrick’s Day board on Pinterest.

Follow Sarah Coggins {2paws Designs}’s board St Patrick’s Day on Pinterest.

Just shy of 20 weeks old and, yes, I still let her nap on me at least once a day. I can’t get enough snuggles & watching this sweet little face as she sleeps. This quick shot I took of Elise on my iPhone on Sunday seemed this perfect fit for the theme Black & White.

Project 52 Photos: Week 9 Black & White

Join in the fun at any time. Next week’s challenge is Self-Portrait. Find the full list on Sarah Halstead’s blog here. Thanks to Sarah, Amy, and Angie for hosting each week.

Project 52 Photos