Friday, June 22, 2018

Friday Favorites

Erika,  Narci and I are sharing our favorites again and we'd love for you to join us!  You can grab our graphic below and link your own Friday Favorites post at the bottom of the post.  

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Narwhal Day

My kids struck up a weird conversation the other day about narwhals... and for whatever reason it prompted me planning a "Narwhal Day".  In the spirit of our "Family Book Club" days but being a little more topic-based instead of book-based but still SO MUCH FUN!

We started the day off watching several videos about Narwhals - debunking what they thought they knew and learning lots of facts.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Road Trip Tips and Tricks

Our family is no expert on road trips - but we have taken a couple long ones and today I'm going to share a few tips and tricks that we've learned along the way.  We've driven to and from  Vail, Colorado twice (15 or so hrs each way) and the first time the kids were 2, 4 and 7 and last year they were 4, 6 and 9.

My first tip is this... Whatever it takes.

Literally... whatever it takes is what we do :)  It's kind of our road trip motto.

Crawling into the backseat to hold hands with Griffin... whatever it takes.

Pulling over in the middle of nowhere just so that everyone can get up and JUMP (yes, we took a dance break blasting music on the side of the road and "danced our grumpies out)...  whatever it takes.

Keeping the snacks flowing, blasting crazy kid music, switching seats at every stop.... whatever it takes, friends.  Make it work :)

My next tip is to Plug In!  We allow WAY more iPad time than normal because you're stuck in a car for hours on end and we figure that they won't have much (if any) time when we get there so why not.  It's pretty much survival mode up in here.  (I don't have a super recent post on apps that my kids love - but I wrote one  HERE that you can check out.  We do the "family sharing" thing with our iPads and I have it set that they can download games for 7 and under and I have to approve them on my phone... I may have to do a post on that later this summer!)

Along with iPads we also bring a TON of movies and this year I've wised up and I ordered  this little case that holds a TON of DVDs without all the cases.  WIN!

My next tip is to GET COMFORTABLE.  The first year we drove to Colorado Mason and Griffin were both still in 5-point harnesses and we didn't really have to deal with pillows.  Last year Mason was in a backless booster, and Griffin was in  this booster seat and we quickly realized that it wasn't working out for the long ride.  Almost immediately after getting home we put Mason back into a booster with a back (the same one as Griffin) and this year I ordered all three kids  these pillows so we can avoid the bulk and improper positioning that regular pillows caused.  We do let them each take their Saranoni blankets because they're the best and we all have to have them to sleep :)

This is Mason demonstrating the pillow :) 

The green side is fleece and gets really warm and the blue side is a cooling material.  I feel like it looks SUPER weird, but my kids are loving them so I may have to try one out for myself!

Next up is KEEP THE SNACKS COMING!  I feel like my kids snack ALL THE TIME when we're at home - so when we're stuck in the car, snacking becomes activity of choice #1 :) 

Here are some examples of things that we take and I use these containers because they're amazing and stackable and I can fit all of that into one little bin...

Mom Hack - if you're unfamiliar with white cheddar cheetos... they're the best thing EVER.  One - because they're delicious and two - because they don't leave that bright orange powder all over your kids fingers (and everything else!)

This year we're upping our snacking game because we're planning on bringing  this cooler so we can bring drinks as well as string cheese, some fruit, etc. 

A few other little tips are what's in this bin.... 

Those blue things on the left are plastic plates which makes eating in the car with kids SO MUCH EASIER.  There are also bowls, baby wipes, sanitizing wipes, paper towels, sunscreen and dreft stain remover (because I LOVE me some Dreft stain remover!)

When it comes to toys/books/etc. my tip is to KEEP IT SIMPLE!

For games and activities we keep it pretty limited.  Last year I let the kids pack their own backpacks and honestly we ended up with a bunch of stuff that they didn't need in the car... like 12 beanie boos and a light saber.

This year my plan is a little bit different... I ordered  these back-of-the-seat organizers and my plan is to fill them with a few things I know that the'll play with as well as a few new things I've picked up.

I have sudoku books for the kids... the ones on the outside are designed for kids and they're more at Mason's level and the one in the middle is a regular-level book for Luke.

Left /  MiddleRight

I also have  Mad-Libs for Luke's stash and I think he'll have a great time taking the lead on those - asking for words, filling them in and then reading them aloud.  We always did Mad-Libs on road trips growing up and I loved them!

I got each of the kids one of these  "paint by sticker" books and I am SO flipping excited!  Each page has a blank numbered picture and then you use the page with the numbered stickers and it creates a picture.  They're awesome!  

Aren't they so cute?!?!  I think that they'll be perfect for the car and I'm hopeful that they'll be at Griffin's level as well.

I also picked up  Rubber Neckers and this  Scavenger Hunt For Kids card games...

... and Rubber Neckers looks like SO MUCH FUN!!!  I have to read through all the rules and directions (actually - I'll let Luke read through it and explain it to the rest of us - ha!) but when I flipped through it I know that they'll get a huge kick out of it...

... especially the cards that involve other cars.  SO FUN!

The Scavenger Hunt for Kids game is a little bit more basic and probably more age appropriate for Griffin.  My plan is to punch holes in them and put them on a ring and then move them from the ring to the box once we spot the items.

Griffin is ALL ABOUT dolls and animals and imaginative play and I'm so excited for her to get her  first Maileg Mouse.  I've seen these at several boutiques and the quality is spot on and I love how it's a whole little play set in a box.  

Another tip is to stay healthy (which sounds cliche, but it's true!)  Griffin gets SUPER motion sick and we've found that the best thing for her are  sea bands.  They're these little cotton bands with a bead on them that sits on a pressure point on the wrist and helps with nausea.  The trick for her has been to put them on her before we get going.  

We also drink a TON of water.... a lot in part because we're heading to Colorado and so it helps with altitude sickness.  Our favorite water bottles are  THESE and I got the kids each  these handles which makes them easy to carry around.  These will be their water bottles for school this coming year as well.

Also - I had  my friend Amanda make name decals to put on them in the hopes that they can keep track of them all year.  I couldn't get their full names in the picture but you get the idea :)

Last but not least... something I'm REALLY excited about this year is my new  Kindle PaperwhiteShay - you totally sold me on it!!!

I've got it loaded with a few books and I'm really looking forward to having access to everything I want to read without having the bulk of all the books I typically bring in the car.

Look how teeny!


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Summer Sounds

If you follow me on Instagram then you've probably been subjected to my music choices :) and you know that they can vary GREATLY depending on the day and what we're doing.  Today I'm sharing our "Summer Sounds" playlist full of fun, "feel good" songs that we like to listen to while we're in the pool, outside, etc.  We listen to A LOT of different kinds of music and if this goes over well I'll share my favorite kids songs, more "mellow" songs, favorite worship mix, etc. in other posts. 

For today, I hope you enjoy our Summer Sounds!

PS - I made this using Spotify... you can download the app for free and follow me there for all of my playlists! 

(This is my first time embedding a list and I REALLY hope that it works!!!)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Weekend Top 10

This weekend most definitely didn't go as planned... but isn't that how it is sometimes?!?! 

1)  The kids had the best time at VBS last week and brought home some cute crafts and projects... and Griffin also brought home an AWFUL stomach bug.  AW-FUL.

Friday looked mostly like this... except with a lot more tears and laundry.  Honestly, all I did Friday was sit with Griffin and watch movies while she was super sick and uncomfortable and then when she slept I ran around doing laundry, playing games with the boys, etc.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Simple Smoothies

I love making my kids smoothies because I feel like it covers their fruit, veggies and dairy all in one glass and makes the perfect side to super easy things like grilled cheese or Trader Joes mini chicken tacos.

Here's what I use...
- Fresh baby spinach
- frozen blueberries
- frozen strawberries
- bananas
- skim milk
- yogurt (I've used all different kinds)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Trader Joe's Favorites - Part 3

This is my third installment of Trader Joe's Favorites because I just keep finding more and more things we love!

This is one of my very favorite quick meals - I brown a pound of ground beef, put in the taco seasoning.  Cook the Chimichuri rice and cut white corn and mix them with the taco meat.  Top with some avocado (or their reduced guilt guacamole) and you're done!  The rice is pretty spicy, but the flavor is awesome!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Pool Favorites

Today I'm sharing some of our Pool Favorites - things that we have been LOVING these past few weeks and things that we'll be using all summer long in and out of the water.


Last summer I was ALL ABOUT the Trader Joe's spray sunscreen - and while I thought it provided really great protection, several people made me aware of some of the chemicals in it and my kids HATED me using the spray on their faces (yes, I sprayed it into my hands first) so this year I decided to try out a couple of new products and we are in LOVE.  

The first thing I did was switch to a rub-in sunscreen vs a spray.  Yes, it takes a little bit longer but I know that they're all covered and the Supergoop we've been using isn't greasy at all.  (it's available from Nordstrom  HERE and from Amazon  HERE). 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Summer Plans!

Today I'm talking summer plans and sharing the news that our family is headed to  FAMILY CAMP!!!! 

That's right - we're going to head up to Sky Ranch in Colorado to do summer camp as a family - and we can't wait!!!  We've been BIG FANS of the Sky Ranch programs the boys have participated in during previous summers and we're looking forward to horseback riding, campfires, an alpine swing, theme nights and lots of lots of family time (and cooler temperatures!). 

Friday, June 8, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!  Erika, Narci and I are sharing our Friday Favorites and we'd love for you to grab our graphic, link up with us and share your favorites from the week as well.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

What's Up Wednesday (a week late)

I missed What's Up Wednesday last week so I decided to play catch up and join ShaySheaffer and Mel a week late :)

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