Thursday, June 30, 2011

Store Score - Crazy 8

I have to share with you my new favorite store for kids clothing.  Some of you may have heard of it, but if not you must check it out and do so NOW.
Crazy 8
It is a little bit "Old Navy", "Life is Good" and "Gap" all wrapped up into one.  I later found out it is affiliated with "Gymboree", but much more reasonable.

What I love about this store.....
First the sales.  They run more sales then I have ever seen and all of the stuff on sale is not just overlooked over picked mis matched outfits.  We are talking sales on great quality, great outfits and best part in season.  In fact the above boys outfit is currently on sale online and at the store.  Combined price is under $25.00 (the T- Shirt alone is only $3.00)  I mean HELLO!?!?!?!  

Second, Quality Quality.  Here is where I insert my "Life is Good" comparison.  I love that brand because it is soft and holds up really really well.  But I can't always afford their stuff.  Crazy 8 reminds me a lot of Life is Good.  I just love the feel of the boys clothes...

Two shirts I got for the boys for our beach week.

Third, They have a T.V in the store.  In the back along with a comfortable bench and room to spread out on the floor, the boys can sit and watch a cartoon while I can browse freely.

Finally, everytime I go in there are new outfits, new sales and honestly the most expensive item in the store is still under $25.00.  Just about every item I have purchased has been $12.00 or under.  Great deal in my book. 

I also learned that after July 5th school uniform outfits will be coming in.  I am sure right along with it will be more sales and more great items to look through.  I am in love and this is definitely my go to store for the kiddo's.

More info...
Outfits boys girls and sized 0-14.
Located - Carolina Place mall, upper level next to Build a Bear
Current Special "Crazy Cash"  Spend $40.00 or more and receive $20.00 in crazy cash towards your next purchase.

So check it out and when you do feel free to share with me your thoughts.  I just love when I find great stores and so happy I can pass this on to you all.
With Love,

Friday, June 24, 2011

Reality returns, but summer is still here.

Well almost a week now back from a restful and fun vacation and slowly but surely routine surrounds me with its big muscular  arms squeezing vacation vibe out of me, and reality right back in.

But I must admit, I am LOVING summer break!!
Not having to worry about popping up at of bed in a frantic" oh my Lord I am running behind again" fury and getting the boys off to school has been a welcome change from 10 months of just that.  The boys who have been playing great (so far knocking on wood and then some) are also playing hard.  Pools, parks, bikes, basketball, baseball, running around like crazy inside and outside, most notably in the backyard looking for worms and having melt downs if one finds a bigger one than the other.   Of course all of this means they stay up just a tiny bit later and then they SLEEP IN.  I know I know…  I am way too lucky to have a 5 and 6 year old sleep past 8:30 most morning's but I am reveling in the slow down.  My husband pointed this out yesterday morning as I still lingered in bed with a cup of coffee and the Today show on in the background.
How do you like your summer hours so far?”  (If there was a hint of sarcasm I didn’t hear it but I know all too well there must have been a tiny drip of one…)

“It has been great.”  I say and then felt the need to defend myself  10 months Mister! Ten months of non-stop  schedules, car pools, homework, class projects, school volunteering,  mommy volunteering, sports practices, game times, making lunches, making out checks to the PTO, finding ways to squeeze in doctors appts, dentist appts, eye doctor appt’s and if I am lucky finding time to run laundry the vacuum cleaner work on my blog,  and still get to the bus stop by 3:45 p.m.
I sigh and realize deep down he probably knows the lazy break is deserved and welcome.   And if not, I do.  Because this past week the slowdown has also brought me closer to the boys.  I sit with them more.  That is right, just sitting and we have a new favorite show "The Electric Company" which comes on at 3:30 every day on PBS.  I used to watch this show when I was a kid and they LOVE these kids with their word help and spelling help and a cheesy little story thrown in there as well.  

There is no doubt the boys are growing up on me.  Evan’s legs seem longer his face more defined and dare I say it a speck of more independence every day.  Ryan is not far behind him.  Almost as tall as his brother and while he still loves to cuddle and be close to me, I see his cool cat vibe coming out more and more as well and I know that cool cats aren’t so cool when they are in Mommy’s lap.  So I savor and I sit and I let them sleep late and enjoy every ounce of their crazy wide awake selves.  Because in two months it will all be over, both boys will be in school full time.  My time as a Stay at Home Mom will take a turn in a new direction.   It will be a challenging one as I figure out what how to reorganize my life that has been on hold for the past 6 years.  It scares me a little, excites me a little, and okay fine FREAKS ME OUT a little….
But for now it is Summer Break.  And who am I to argue that for a few months out of a crazy year, it is okay to sleep in sit still and let everything else take care of itself, because in the end hectic schedules or lazy summer days, I have two boys who are growing up and for now (Thank God) still need and want to be with me. 

So speaking of Schedules, I hope you all have had an opportunity to check out Kristin with Carolina Neat Freak and learn about how she can help you get better organized with your life.  She offers a great service and don’t forget if you mention Lakeside Chatter you will receive 10% off your first organization session.

It is SUMMER SALE time at Sugar Creek Garden Center.  Check out all the latest and great flowers, trees, plants and great gifts as well at this fabulous nursery just down the road.  Summer classes are also in full swing, make sure you check out their schedule for great opportunities sto learn more about summer plants and lawn care for this time of year.

Nonstop creativity and Summer Cuteness continues to ooze from Sew What Mommy. Perfect appliques for summer time and more.

Check them out and you won’t be disappointed with these outfits that you can help customize or let them pick there perfect design for you. 

A new entry in my Blog Club.  Okay this one is just fall down funny and pure genius at the same time.  Along with my idol P!nk, I may have to add her to my list of Cool chic’s I want to be when I grow up.  Meet The Bloggess

Please also check out my other wonderful Chatter friends who help me help you all support each other in this awesome Momprenuer adventure and journey.   
Thoughtful Creations - Gift Baskets!
The Cupcake Girl - Homemade cupcakes in all kinds of varieties, flavors and ingredients
Plumfield Shop - Home decor, personal style, party favors, gifts and more.
Madison Lane Photography
Steele Creek Outreach - Volunteer Opportunities for local homeless.

Lastly, there is still room on the sign up sheet for "Operation - Feed Squad B"  For more info click here


June giveaway ( a bit late I know…. Sorry like I said it is summer)

Happy Weekend my awesome readers, followers and friends. 
With Love,

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Beach Feet

"As I walked out the door on our first day of vacation and felt my feet sink in the warm white sand I knew I was home...."

Home in the sense that I have always known my feet, along with the rest of me, belong here.... I don't know much about much, about I do know that the feel of sand in my toes makes everything seem well with the world.

It is just the way it goes with me.  I was born at the beach, vacationed every year at the beach.  Went to college at the beach, did homework on the beach, complained about heart aches, young love and jobs gone south to the beach.  Read books, sang songs, chased sand crabs, rode the waves, blissfully got married on the beach and even sadly, said goodbye to my PopPop as his ashes were spread among the ocean waves.
And while I grew up in Connecticut and have lived in Charlotte for over 16 years now.
My heart and soul belong where the water is blue and the sand is soft.

And when I am not on the beach, it whispers to me, in a soft spoken whistle which can bring me right back to where my feet want to dance all day long.
And I try and hang on to that.  Those long winter months when it is cold and grey and routine has grabbed hold of my feet and planted them in hard case cement.  Those days when it seems impossible to move to feel good to be motivated even happy at times.
I try to remember the sound of the surf, the thought of a bright sandy goodness where sounds of two little boys playing on the same beach I did when I was there age....

Reminders of my soul mate, the love of my life who loves the beach as much as I do.  How funny that the universe lined up our souls to enjoy a place where we can let all of our cares in the world float away with the sea breeze. 

And I find myself feeling so grateful that a place like this exists.  A place to draw hearts, smiles, and memories that will last me a lifetime of keeping my feet happy in a place where they will always belong.

For more of my beach pictures and tid bits on the Outer banks check out here

Monday, June 20, 2011

Get Organized! Introducing Carolina Neat Freak

One of the biggest challenges I have faced since becoming a mom is trying to stay on top of everything.  I remember when the boys were babies and diapers, wipes, burp cloths and bottles littered every ounce of my home.  I assumed (naively) that once they got older it would get easier.

I assumed wrong.

What was once the above mentioned items is now homework papers, overdue library books, Lego’s the occasional half chewed lollipop, kids DVD’s and almost always a sock, now liters just about every corner of my home.  Through in some dog hair and one stay at home Mama who can’t seem to remember where the vacuum cleaner is kept you have one great mess.

So it was with much anticipation (and a bit of intimidation) that I met with the awesome Kristin Lawrence with Carolina Neat Freak.  Why was I intimated you ask?  Well, I was convinced that she would take one look at me and automatically know that my closet is a bottomless pit and that the last time I organized my silverware drawer was pre-kids (horrifying, I know).
But just the opposite.  Kristin met me over coffee one day last week and with genuine ease and likability handed me a folder with information on her business; plenty of pictures, organizing tips, lists and a way to contact her.  I was put at ease immediately and that was within the first 2 minutes.  I must mention that because when you turn your house over to someone to help organize and shape up you want to be put at ease and I was instantly with her bright smile and her clear joy for helping people get back in control of staying organized.
Kristin found her organizing knack early on and gives most of the credit to her Grandmother who started her off young with making sure she picked up her toys and put everything away where it belonged.  Things always stayed clean and neat and from there Kristin began to follow in her Grandmother’s footsteps not only with herself but her friends, especially as she got older and began to help out class mates keep their work organized.    Before long she discovered how much she enjoyed this role and now after years of being a professional organizer she still loves every second of her family inherited gift.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Kristin has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with a Marketing background.   She has been married for 13 years to her husband David, stays at home with children, Hunter (9) and Hayley (6), and currently resides in the Fort Mill area of South Carolina.  

Like a lot of Momprenuers, she began her business simply by helping out some friends and family members become better organized.  A quick note to mention, Carolina Neat Freak is not a cleaning service (vacuuming, scrubbing, etc...)  Instead Kristin is devoted to helping you find simple solutions for a Clutter free home.   She has 15 years of experience being a Professional organizer and tells me no job is too little or two small.   One of the cool things I learned while chatting with her is she goes above and beyond by helping you make use of things you already have around the house that you can use for organization.   The idea that I might actually have space and areas of storage I never knew I had was a great thought to digest.

After chatting with her for awhile I could begin to visualize Kristin’s high energy and love for organization being able to help not just me, but many people like me who are worse off than my cluttered house.  Some people are really in bad shape and need an action plan to start somewhere.  One of the key components in helping and hiring a professional to do so is to not only get you up off of the ground and take away the helplessness feeling of being overwhelmed.  I know I have been there.  Many times I have stood in my closet and not knowing when or where to start will turn around and walk out. 
In my case only a few months have gone by, but I know for many it can be years and over that time the loss of control and unorganized life can cause a lot of stress and frustration.  Kristin does point out that she is not a psychologist, although she has access to many resources in this industry.  Her skill and experience lies within helping you set up a system that makes sense to you and your particular situation whether it is a messy garage, a cluttered kitchen or pantry, or even if you have just moved into a new home and need help organizing your new living pace and set up.   A professional organizer will help you get motivated, set up priorities will teach you new ways to manage your time and deal with clutter.

Here are a few before and after Photos of jobs that Kristin has done over the years...

So if you have been wondering if getting organized is worth your time I highly recommend you contact Kristin.  Here is how her process works:

First – You get a FREE 30 minute phone consultation to discuss your needs and ensure a good fit.
Second -In person session (60-90 minutes) where you will clarify your goals and develop a step by step plan for success.  Once she has answered all of your questions and assessed the situation she will then schedule a hands on organizing session ($50.00 fee for this session).
Third – Organizing Session: You will then work with Kristin to fulfill your goals.  As you move through each step she will provide guidance, structure and will modify as you go along and move at a pace that works for you.   The number of hours involved will vary by project ($50.00 fee per hour for these sessions)
Fourth – Follow up.  Once you have completed your organizing sessions she will be available by phone or person for a complimentary one hour session to maintain your newly organized space (s)

Labels, tags, & some bins are provided the first organization session.  Also she let the client borrow tote bins for "Trash, Donate, and Keep" stuff so it is easier to organize.
Kristin is also happy to help you install hardware (hanging shelves, cabinet spacers etc...)
In a nut shell, the client has no need to lift a finger; Carolina Neat Freak will do it all.

Make sure you visit For more information and how to go about scheduling a consultation.  Kristin will be happy to help you get back on track; In fact she is offering a great summer special for Lakeside Chatter.   When you make contact with Kristin, mention your saw her article on Lakeside Chatter she she will give you a 10% discount off of your first organization session of $50.00. 
So glad to have Carolina Neat Freak be a part of Lakeside Chatter’s family.  I know you will be just as impressed with Kristin, her great ability and experience to help you take control again over a part of your life that for so long has been controlling you!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Wrap

Or Shall I say Friday "Rap" As in a Rap session...
Get it??
Okay, sorry all this heat is getting to me and one tends to get a little nutty when they are sweating in places they didn't know they had...
But back to my wrap up Thursday. This will be my last one until I return from vacation June 19th. That is right ladies and gentleman we hit the beach in ONE DAY
24 Hours!!!
(I told ya I was nutty). But look, all year I have waited for our beach vacation and it is finally almost here. Seven day's in the Outer Banks with the family... I love it and can’t wait!! 
So here we go and  a great lee way into my second recommendation of the summer. Missed the first one? Click here and scroll half way down.

With a six hour drive ahead of us in 24 hours (in case I hadn’t mentioned that yet) I have begun to collect and organize the boys travel bags they keep with them in the back seat on trips. No, I am not always this organized by the way. I just started keeping a bag of coloring books in the car for when we hit restaurants and such and thought why not make up personalized bag for each boy on long trips.

Evan's bag is usually full of coloring books, activity books, book of mazes and now "I Can Read" books because boy can he ever read... I mean EVERYTHING now (Look Mommy, "Come Fart Inn" (code Comfort Inn). Yup he can read and his ability to read signs now and entertaining his brother with the bodily functions route has been a great journey this past year...
24 Hours...

And speaking of his brother, Ryan's bag is loaded with sticker books, picture books of anything at all related to baseball or Motorcycles and I also throw in some of his favorite GI Joe dudes he likes to play with in his car seat. The sheer difference in both my boys still amazes me...

So I have been looking for a medium sized work/activity/doodle sort of book book that Evan can do over the summer but also would work for both boys in the car.. Most of the ones I see at Target or Wal-Mart are either really thick and heavy or they cost an arm or leg.. I also had yet to find a series in the perfect age range for my boys. A lot of the Pre-K stuff doesn't seem Pre-K to me and a lot of the Pre-school stuff I have come across for Ryan has seemed to babyish.

Enter Flash Kids.   If you have a kindergartner you will know what the term "sight words" means. It is a great way to teach kids how to get ready to read. Evan has loved doing his sight words all year and this book has them all, helps them practice to write and encourages to write sentences. The Flash Kid's series has many levels for all ages and subjects.   It is perfect shape and size for their bags.  Best part...  Only $3.95 (I found them at Barnes and Noble, Carolina Place upper level).
 Here is a link to their website if you would like to learn more. I love them already!

This past Saturday, Steele Creek Outreach had it's 2nd annual Family Fun Day and Fundraiser.  All monies raised go towards feeding the homeless and this year turns out was a great success.  Thank you so much to all the wonderful people behind SCO and their huge hearts for helping others.  Also a big thank you to to Niegel Smith (aka Mr. Niegel) who snag songs, played music and danced with the kid's for hours.  It was a very special day.

Mr. Niegel entertains the kiddo's

Fun Balloon Animals were provided as well.

Lauren with Nichole Jaworski, Founder and President of SCO

If you would like to learn more about SCO click here.  There are plenty of opportunities to for you to volunteer this year.


Are you ready for some awesome new Party Decor from Plumfield Shop?  I can't get over Laurens creativity and she has come up with amazing designs on Party Kit's to help make your special gathering all the more special. 
Party kits are great for showers, weddings, graduations, or birthday parties! The items in each kit coordinate perfectly and make decorating a breeze!  Make sure you visit her Etsy shop for more details on how you can order as well as view her other fabulous items. 


Organization Tip of the Week:

Tool Wall

A hammer and nails are easy to find if everything is kept in its place. Mark the outlines of tools on a garage wall or above your workbench.

Collection in a Box

Tiny treasures, such as stickers, buttons, or stamps, are easier to enjoy and store when they're glued to folded pages. 

Okay to end I have some exciting stuff to share.  As you have probably figured out, on top of writing, Photography has become one of my favorite things to do in life.  I have always loved taking pictures, but now with a new camera, a new Zoom lens and an awesome Photography class from  to Madison Lane Photography  I decided to keep a blog of all my fave's.  Who knows where it will lead but for now I wanted to have a place where I can share with you so many wonderful stories that unfold while I am holding the camera.  It is called My Story Lens  Enjoy, and please leave me feedback.  I would love to get your thoughts. 

So that is my Rap for this Friday morning.  I will miss you all my lovely readers.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a great week next week while my toes will be in the sand and waves lapping at my feet (okay so I will be chasing the boys, figthing with them about applying sunscreen, delegating sandcastle duty to my husband and if I am lucky maybe flip through my People magazine while trying to get rid of my farmers tan.  You know me though, either way, there will be pictures. 

Much love and Blessings!

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Sorry that I have been a bit MIA this week.  However, I have good reason... Both my boys have reached a minor milestone in their young lives.... 
Ryan, my sweet, silly and free spirited little (okay fine BIG) five year old “graduated” pre-school last week.  And yesterday Evan, my hard working, super smart, super competitive yet tenderly sweet six year old had his end of the year Kindergarten celebration.  As he sang a song about entering first grade to the theme of “The Adams Family” I sat there and went Huh?
The time went Where?
I have a first grader….And a Kindergartner?
Insert big fat WTF here..
Might I indulge you with some photos..... 

Here is Ryan... "My BABY".  Correction,  "My BORN 7 weeks early BABY..."  His last day of pre-school involved a little something I like to call "Operation Gut Wrenching Cry Fest."  It was super fun to be sniffling and holding back the "Where did my baby go" chants while cursing and arguing with my Camera, attempting to get it set right for a dim lit room full of moving and shaking kiddo's.  
I took about 200..  These were a few of the good ones...(observe, most of them are not of a dim lit room full of moving and shaking kiddo's)
Carrying flowers to his teachers.
Hugs for Ms. Suzanne
One last pose with "the guys"
On stage, performance time.

Bye Bye Pre-school.

I really will miss the pre-school era...  For four years both of my boys attend the same place, had the same teachers, I sat in the same car pool line and met and got to know so many wonderful Moms and their children.  The sweet little things both boys would bring home, the holiday performances and the fairy tale type atmosphere the kids got to experience before heading off to "real" school.  What a blessing that both Evan and Ryan were able to take part in this precious time of their live that they probably won't remember but I will....

So now I move on to  Big brother' s turn... A.K.A. "MY OTHER BABY IS GRADUATING FROM KINDERGARTEN" and the realization that I have official become "that" Mom I use to make fun of. 
It is just Kindergarten Right?.. 
"Wait till he goes off to college!" My sometimes overly obnoxious mother will remind me with her sweet yet evil Grandmother's grin. 
Oh this is ridiculous right?
Aren't I am allowed to have these milestones to reflect, to cry and basically make a giant fool of myself at my own will and leisure.??  
Fine, more pics.  I need a @#$% tissue anyways!!
Evan peers out of his classroom door before his program.

He played the "N" he was a perfect "N"

First Grade here I come.

Ah, the famous "Tottie Ta" song was performed live.  Sheer cuteness and hilarity
Big thumbs up from Granddaddy.

So that has been my week.
So who else has babies that are growing up and leaving them?