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Friday, November 22, 2013

Five on Friday

Happy Friday ya'll! I'm joining in with Darci and her friends for Five on Friday today.

- ONE -
It's beginning to look a little like Christmas. Normally I'd wait until after Thanksgiving to pull out the tree and start decorating but my in-laws are in town through this weekend and we are going to do a mini-Christmas before they move. MIL bought me a set of 12 of these beautiful ornaments from the Billy Graham library and they were a perfect fit for our skinny tree and some deco mesh. I've never done deco mesh down the tree before. I think I need to play with it a little more but it's a perfect simple decoration for this tree. It took me less than 30 minutes to pull the tree out, set it up and decorate it. The littles are so excited. Micah's been begging me to decorate the tree for weeks now so he was thrilled to pull it out today. In fact when I tucked him into bed he was so sweet. He told me "I'm so glad we put the Christmas tree up today."

- TWO - 
Micah has his last t-ball game of the season tomorrow. He's come a long way already this season and his batting is getting pretty impressive. Even better - the last game he didn't pout in the field nearly as much. I'm hoping we end the season on a high note. Now starts the debate of do we continue with the Y league or switch to the official little league. Though it will be a very chilly game as Texas has decided it's 'winter' this weekend - that is if it isn't rained out. T-ball is rained out this weekend. Rescheduled game information to come later. 

- THREE - 
Micah made the cutest little Indian at his preschool's Thanksgiving feast today. His Indian name was Jumping Deer which I couldn't have given him a better one to describe him if I had tried. The Thanksgiving feast might be just about the cutest thing the preschool does every year. They all looked  darling. 

- FOUR - 
What are your Thanksgiving plans? It's just the 5 of us at home this year. It's a debate between ordering a turkery or filling the smoker with a turkey breast and other meats to eat the next week. (Better decide soon!) We'll probably end up with at least two pies though - Micah wants pumpkin pie, Beau and Abby  voted for apple. Plus we've got tons of pecans - I've already made one pecan pie but there might be another in the future. If you are hosting Thanksgiving, Jenny a friend from back in college posted these adorable printables on Red Stick Moms Blog.  I think I'll print out the turkey coloring page for my littles to color. 

- FIVE - 
In Texas if you don't like the weather, just wait a day and it will chance. Ya'll I'm not kidding about that. Last Sunday it was 85 and I was sweating on the playground... today it's freezing out! I'm looking forward to hot chocolate and chai lattes by the Christmas tree tonight. 

Psst... if you missed it I have a giveaway for The Children's Place up right now - so go enter! 

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dressed for the Holidays at Children's Place and a giveaway

Tis the season for Holiday events. Are ya'lls calendars filling up as fast as mine are? Family pictures, Santa visit, Holiday parties, Christmas Church services, class parties. In Texas it's just now getting chilly where we need long sweaters and gasp even a jacket in the mornings. Are your littles closets ready for it? Last week I was invited to check out the Children's Place Holiday line along with some other local bloggers and was given a gift card to pick out some pieces for my littles. Lexie and I jumped at the chance to do a little shopping of course!

It's honestly been a few years since I've shopped at the Children's Place. I had loved their pieces - affordable, darling and the fit was always great for Abby when she was little. After going back last week and checking out what all they had to offer, I can't figure out why I hadn't been shopping there lately - especially now with 3 littles to dress! 
All the boots and shoes quickly caught Lexie and I's attention. We are both a little shoe obsessed. We are girls after all! I also have a thing for comfy hoodies - especially since we were getting our first real cold snap the next day.  Then there were plenty of option for cute shirts and pants that could all mix and match with each other - perfect for your little one that wants to dress themselves. No fear - whatever they pick will be okay to go out into public!

Children's Place is also totally on trend with what little girls want - sparkle and leopard print! So darling and your little girl will be in love! Don't forget the darling winter critter hats! This would be a perfect stocking stuffer or gift for your littles ones friends.  

Pajamas - especially holiday ones are my weakness! Children's Place didn't disappoint. I love their stretchies - especially when baby is tiny. The fact that they have a zipper makes them Daddy's favorite too. Even though my littles still fit into their Christmas pjs from last year as well as having new ones waiting for them for this year I couldn't resist those cute penguin ones up there! (They have a penguin on the bottom too! And come in a blue version for boys!) 

Lexie fell in love with this puppy dog shirt. Silly girl won't go near our dog, or any others but loves them in books and on shirts apparently. I also picked up a pair of denim leggings for her. Amanda and I were discussing how at this age it's still hard for them to climb in jeans so a pair of jeggings is perfect! They also tucked into her boots nicely.  I also couldn't resist this comfy sweatshirt for Micah - hey it was on sale and it's the perfect color for him!  I love how nicely all these pieces washed too after a morning of playing on the playground and preschool for Micah! 

I also had noticed that Lexie out grew her old hoodie and I didn't have a medium weight jacket - just her heavy one and a light jean jacket. This hoodie filled in the gap nicely.

The real winning section at Children's Place was the holiday wear though. The girls already had Christmas dresses (yes dresses plural) so I didn't spend too much time browsing in the girls dress section but I did notice they had many darling options! Colleen bought her daughter a beautiful outfit that I'm sure Abby would have loved!  While the girls were already set for Christmas I hadn't found that perfect holiday wear for Micah until then. Children's Place hit the nail on the head in the little boys department. Lots of options for button downs, sweaters, ties and the most adorable herringbone vest) Micah looks like such a handsome little boy all dressed up! 
 button down / tie / herringbone vest (sold out online - similar here)

Seriously - think he's got a modeling career in his future here? 

Don't worry if your littles are older than mine - Children's Place has you covered all the way up to size 14! (Abby was at school during our little photo-session and didn't want to have a photo session later)

Are your littles set for the Holidays or do you need that last minute piece to pull together your family Christmas pictures with? Or maybe you just need some play clothes you know will last? I'm thrilled that Children's Place offered to give away a $25 gift card to one of ya'll. (Psst - that would be enough to buy either Micah's dressy outfit or Lexie's play clothes outfit with the sales they had going on in the store!) 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Texas Women Bloggers

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Monday, November 18, 2013

7 tips for a successful road trip with littles

I'm sure you are fully aware but the holiday season is upon us and with that often comes road trips to see family. Sometimes it's an easy 3 hour drive or even better family comes to you but other times it's a long 7.5 hour before adding in time for potty stops with 3 littles. In the second case it really pays to be prepared. I'm happy to say we did that this past weekend and survived with minor fussing from the littles.

1. Avoid a hungry, thirsty belly at all costs!
Pack lots of easy to pass out snacks, preferably ones that aren't too crumbly so they won't make too big a mess. In our case it was prepackaged snacks of Scooby grahams, chocolate teddy grams, gummies, squeeze applesauces and animal crackers. Pack more than you think you'll need - we went through a ton - I didn't think they'd eat dinner but somehow they still found room. Pack drinks as well as cups with lids to avoid spills (take and toss cups are great!) It makes it so much easier to just have this ready to go and pass out when you need it than to have to wait for a gas station when the "I'm hungry" cries start. . Bring a bag (or 5) to throw the trash in and clean it out every time you stop and you will have a much easier time cleaning out the car when you return!

2. Little potty
In our case, we've got a potty training toddler and not all gas stations are a Bucess with super clean bathrooms. Plus driving on smaller highways, you never know when you are going to get an emergency I need to potty now and you aren't close to a rest stop yet. So the little potty travels along with us.

3. Backpacks or a small toy bucket/bag for each little one
In each kids backpack they got to bring a couple favorite books, their leappads and one favorite toy. Also a notebook and some crayons to color or write. I limit the number of toys so their isn't as much to potentially get lost and have stuff everywhere. I also brought their cozy blankets and pillows for nap and driving at nighttime. Having a backpack for each means it's accessible to them and there is a place for it all so it's not all over the floor of the car.

4. Be prepared
Charge all devices before leaving - leappad batteries, ipads, portable dvd players, phones. A car charger is also really nice to have for those longer drives in case batteries run out. Technology really is a wonderful friend when traveling with little ones. I still don't stick them in front of a movie the whole trip but it is nice to have one when everyone really starts getting antsy.

The second part of being prepared - a small candy to pass out as rewards. I'm not above bribery and rewarding good behavior on a long trip. Skittles are nice because I can give them one, two at a time. These also work to calm down a small toddler if you are 30 minutes from stopping and they woke up from a nap grumpy. I've seen different ideas for encouraging good behavior on car trips on pinterest with clothes pins but two of mine are too little to really get it so an easy small reward is perfect for us.

5. Drive while they sleep
If you can plan your trip to drive while they sleep - when we travel to Gigi and Pops I can drive 75% of the trip during naptime and it means the trip flies by for them! This trip we left at naptime and arrived after bedtime so they slept between 1/4- 1/3 of the trip on the way there. The way home we left after bedtime and drove through the night - I slept the 3 hours before we left and the first two of the trip then we switched and Beau slept some while I drove and then switched back for the rest of the trip. If you do it that way be sure to be safe and rest if you need it.  The return trip was 4 hours shorter than the drive there by doing it this way though! We arrived home just in time for breakfast and rewarded the littles good behavior with donuts and some Sunday morning cartoons.

6.  Take a break and don't stress 
If the littles need a break or the drivers need a break - take it. Camp out at a McDonalds playland with a coke or a sweet tea for 45 minutes and let them run off some energy.  Some of the newer Texas rest stops have a nice playground outside if the weather is favorable - fresh air and playtime. Everyone will be in a better mood afterwards.

Try not to leave at the last minute possible where if you hit road construction, traffic, a flat tire, need a long break to stretch your legs that you are going to be pressed for time. On a long road trip - it's going to be long anyway. No sense in starting out your holidays on a stressful note because you are annoyed at the Austin traffic you hit at 2 in the afternoon when there shouldn't be traffic. You'll get there eventually and there isn't anything you can do about road construction.

7. Enjoy the quality time with your family 
Play games, learn what everyone's (current) favorite things are, what's been happening at school, make up stories together. Don't hog the conversation though - let everyone have a turn!

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Five on Friday

Happy Friday ya'll! I'm joining up with Darci and her friends again for Five on Friday.

- ONE -
This past Monday I was invited to come preview all the holiday goodness at the Children's Place with some other local bloggers. Lexie came with me for a girls shopping trip. There were lots of cute things and tons of great deals to be had! I'll have a review up next week on our fun finds!

- TWO -
Alexis had been showing signs she was ready to give up the diapers and so we went with it. Two weeks later she's doing great. It meant however we ended up being totally classy at the park the other evening. I had planned on just staying and playing on the driveway but Micah really wanted to go to the park and as soon as Lexie heard the word park she started trying to take off down the sidewalk towards the park. So they won and we ended up at the park in our panties and legwarmers. I've got mixed feelings about this since she's the last baby and she is so close to giving up all things baby-ish.

These macarons didn't last long... I'm wishing I had some more right now.  So so so tasty!

- FOUR -
Did you hear? It's Buy One Get One free holiday drinks at Starbucks this week. It was the perfect afternoon pick me up the other day. I had wished I had time to get indulge again yesterday after the fire alarm randomly went off for about 20 seconds at 4 in the morning then shut off and after a good search there wasn't anything burning but I couldn't go back to sleep. I did shut the heater off because it had that first time running since last winter smell.

- FIVE -
It's going to be an exciting weekend when our littles get to meet some cousins for the first/second time. As we were sitting in the parking lot of gymnastics since we arrived early and it was easier to contain them in the car than the waiting area for an extra 10 minutes - I looked back and saw all three buckled in the way back seat. Lexie sitting in Abby's seat, and Micah and Abby buckled in with seat belts. Oh I can't imagine the he's touching me, stole this toy from me, type fights they'd have on a daily basis if they all sat next to each other. I think it would have been fine when Lexie was a baby and could be in the middle of the bigger two but now that they all want toys... oh how thankful I am for my SUV with seats that are separate from one another.

Have a great weekend ya'll!
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ripe Farmers Market

Sundays are a busy day for us. It's a good busy but busy is still busy. We attend Church in the morning, home for naptime, then return in the afternoon to work in the nursery during the Empowered to Connect class. For the past few months as we've left Church, I've noticed a sign for a new farmers market but never stopped because I get caught up in the routine of getting home, lunch and getting everyone situated for nap/quiet time.  Between getting everyone checked into their classes, up to service, back down picking up all three and getting out to the car I'll be honest sometimes attending service feels a lot like work - worth the effort but still work. So while I wanted to stop, it just felt like more work to unload everyone and keep everyone together at the farmers market. Finally I decided we would check it out (plus we needed some produce anyway!)
Parking was easy and plentiful and near the farmers market. It is located at the impressive and beautiful Elian.   There are three levels to explore (but don't worry there is an elevator if you need it!) 

We stared at the top and worked our way down on our first trip. This was where my littles found their favorite booths! They love the lady selling macarons (well who wouldn't?) and we bought some Lemonade from the Lemonade Co
Yum! Happy littles enjoying a macaron and some lemonade while listening to some live music. 
On the middle level were hand made goodies and some kids activities. This was before Halloween so there were Dia de los Muertos so there were Halloween masks to color and then you could put it on a craft stick or with elastics to wear. All three enjoyed coloring their crafts. The second week we were there I saw the sign but did not see any actual kids activities where it was pointing (though I very well could have miss them while wrangling the littles.)

Down on the lowest level there were more handmade crafts, granola, and lots of produce. I should have bought more than I did the second week we ventured out to the market because the littles ate over half of what I bought that day for lunch - mini-cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes. We also bought broccoli and I roasted that in the oven the next day - which they also gobbled up. I love that all the produce stands were local and some including Johnson's Backyard Garden - organic produce from Austin.
The littles loved watching the fountain - especially since it wasn't on the first time.
Finally don't miss the food trucks - it helps those hungry tummies not get too grumpy!
We tried out some pbj sliders and some truffle fries. It was tricky though finding things the littles would enjoy and could eat. There aren't many tables or places to sit nor are lots of food truck foods kid friendly (especially for my littles that aren't big on burgers, or sushi.)  The truffle fries though - delish!

I'm new to the farmer's market world so I don't know how it compares to others We haven't been to many because they weren't convenient and while I'd love to buy local and organic with three littles it's so much easier to just shop at HEB (which does offer some local - Texas items) with the littles in tow than to search out a farmers market and hope for some good produce. I was very satisfied with the produce selection and I was excited that the littles were excited to pick it out and happily ate it when we got home!

Do you frequent the farmers market? Any good tips?

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