Friday, May 26, 2017

5 Festive Favorites

We had a busy week!  We saw friends, had appointments, got tons done and made time to exercise in between.  Olive is anxiously counting down the days until her birthday on Monday.  Someone at the grocery store wished her a happy holiday weekend and she wanted to know how they knew it was almost her birthday.  haha.  This year Olive's birthday falls on Memorial Day which also happens to be the Indy 500 for all you racing fans.  We aren't big racing fans, but we are big Indiana fans so we watch the festivities.  We are headed to visit and celebrate with family this weekend.

Here are 5 Festive Favorites from the week:

// 1 //
4th Birthday Shell-abration!!
I look forward to making birthday party invitations for the kids every year.  It's super affordable and you know I love sending real mail.  I was really excited to have pictures from our trip to the ocean in March to use for her party.

// 2 //
It's all in the DETAILS
I love collecting all the fun paper/disposable items for a party!  Here's the assortment of purple, pink and mint colored things for Olive's party.  She really wanted purple cups and plates and she might have had an audible GASP when we turned down the party aisle to find them.  It was really fun to include her in the shopping and planning part this year.  Everything is from Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger or Amazon.

// 3 //
GRAPHIC TEES
Meijer has the cutest graphic t-shirts for kids!  They go on sale often and are usually $3-$4.  I found this mermaid shirt for Olive and have gotten Fletcher a couple, too.  They're great quality and you just can't beat the prices.
They have ones for the holidays, too.
Remember Fletcher in this shirt from St Patrick's Day??  Also a $3 Meijer find.  I'll have to pick up some for July 4th when I see them on sale.


// 4 //
SIBLINGS
These two have just been so cute together lately!  The play really well together about 90% of the time.  He tries super hard to keep up with her and she is excited to have someone to play with.  We had friends over to play several times this week and they both had a great time.  It's fun to watch them become buddies and no one makes him smile like she does.
And in other very exciting news, Fletcher has decided he will wear shoes!!!  Hooray!!  I think he's finally realized that having shoes on means he can go go go :)



// 5 //
MEMORIAL DAY
We'll do all the fun birthday things of opening gifts, singing, eating sweets along with grilling out and watching the Indy 500.  It should be a wonderful, festive weekend :)



Polka-Dotty Place Week in Review:
Have you ever made Cheeseburger Quesadillas??  Check out my recipe from Tuesday!

Thursday: Confessions

Hope you have a WONDERFUL, HOLIDAY weekend!!

Linking up with

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Confessions

It's been a few month since I did a confessions style post for you.  I figured it was time to tell you all of the random stories.



I went through our local donut shop drive through to pick up donuts the other day and it was a disaster.  I pulled up and ordered our usual - one cake donut with white icing and sprinkles and one cake donut with chocolate icing and sprinkles.  I was super clear and the woman said, "Great, that's exactly what we have left."  She put my donuts in a bag and said "$3.40"  It was double was I was expecting and so I asked if they'd changed their prices for 2 donuts.  She said she thought I asked for four.  So I paid the larger amount and said it was fine.  When I got home I had two strawberry sprinkle donuts and two chocolate sprinkle donuts.  We still ate them, but that's definitely not what we were expecting.  #notwhatiordered


We were grocery shopping at Kroger and Olive asked me, "What does M-O-M spell??"  She spotted a mom sign for Mother's day and I was sweetly surprised that she was spelling to me.  I told her it spelled mom and she was so proud of herself.  Now she tells me she's working on spelling and saying all kinds of random letters to make up words.  #itsadorable


I was cleaning out my diaper bag the other day and found a black BANANA PEEL in the bottom of my bag.  Gross!  So much for trying to eat healthier breakfast options.  Add this to the list of things I never thought would happen to me. #diaperbagdisaster


Southern Charm is still one of my very favorite reality shows.  I just can't get enough of Cam, Shep, Naomi and Patricia.  Are you a fan?


I picked up Fletcher's 1 year photo session cd and was making small talk with the shop owner.  He's always super nice.  He wrapped up our conversation by saying, "So when is your next one?"  I fumbled around and said, "Uhhh two kids keep us pretty busy." Then he realized the awkwardness, apologized and said he was talking about our next photo session.  #misunderstood


I regularly use the microwave door to check my hair or put on lipstick.  The reflection is perfect and it's easier than heading off to the bathroom.  I'm not sure if this makes me lazy or smart. #momhack


We can't be trusted with those giant bags of Skinny pop, Gardettos or Chex mix from Sams.  We devour them in no time and when I asked Olive which one we should buy she says ALL OF THEM!  I really should just stop strolling down the salty snack aisle. #bulksnacks


I'm working on making a great summer play list because I love to have a new one to kick off summer.   Spoiler alert: it'll be heavy on the country music per usual.   I'll likely download all the music and then burn an old fashioned cd for my car.  I know cds are a dying technology, but there's something great about having a stack of cds in the car. #oldschool


I've been working hard to check off all the necessary steps to update my teaching license.  I have a Utah license and am applying for an Indiana one so that I can return to teaching some day.  It's so much work, so many steps, expensive and really so much work.  Why does every step cost at least $40?  I'll be excited to wrap up this process and these phone calls ASAP. #teachlikeachampion


I bribe my kids with candy so I can make phone calls without them screaming in the background.
That being said, I rarely make phone calls unless I HAVE to.  I miss the days of picking up the phone to call a friend and catch up. #textonlyplease


I switched over the kid's closets to their Summer wardrobe.  Olive's been enjoying all the new dress options.  I put her in a cute floral dress and then at the end of the day realized I put it on her backwards.  So the cute buttons down the front were actually supposed to be buttons down the back. #momfail


I've been shopping for some new tops lately and it seems like every single top is cold shoulder or off the shoulder.  The tops are cute prints, but I think they are completely impractical for me.  I have no interested in wearing either while juggling kids to and from things all summer long.  No thanks.  What happened to short sleeves??  Have you found any cute summer shirts with sleeves??  If so, please tell me where. #givemesomesleevesplease

Do you have any good stories to tell me??
I'm all ears :)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Fletcher 10-12 Months

I realized the other day that I never published Fletcher's 10-12 month update.  I hate to get behind here because this is the extent of his baby scrapbook.  I have a calendar for each of my kid's first years.  I wrote out a fun fact about them for each day of the year.  I document their milestones on the blog with the hopes of making them highlight scrapbooks at some point.  How do you document the special moments with your kids??  


Here are Fletcher's milestones, memories and favorite moments from 10-12 months.  I really love that 1-12 month photo collage.  I really wish I'd done a better job of monthly pictures in the same spot with Olive.

Fletcher 10 Months: January 2017

You slowly recovered from a 9 day stomach bug and it was so pitiful.  You are crawling and are into everything.  You can now get yourself unstuck which is nice for both of us.  You're imitating sounds like uh-oh, high fiving and standing more and more.  You think your sister is hilarious and she really loves playing with you.  We have to remind her to be gentle with you after you got your first black eye this month.  You love sleeping in your own room, sleeping on your side and have turned into quite a great little sleeper.

You are wearing 18 month clothes, size 4 diapers and have no interest in wearing shoes.  Your hair is growing into a mohawk again and it's pretty blonde.  You love to eat puffs, apples, cheese, pretzels, cucumbers, Cheerios and graham crackers.  You eat a ton with only a couple of teeth.  The cats have started watching out for you because you LOVE to pull their tails.  You shriek with delight and have definitely learned what NO means.  Bath time is your favorite







Fletcher 11 Months: February 2017

You love to try to keep up with the big kids.  You crawl all over the Duplo classes, gymnastics place during open gym and it's hard to contain you at the library.  You really love going on stroller rides and everywhere we go people comment on your beautiful blue eyes.  You wave, nod yes or no and high five.  You're super strong and we tease that you're like a tiny body builder.  You smack things when you get really excited and you're navigating standing better and better.

Your giant open mouthed kisses are super slobbery and super sweet. You still gag really easily and are taking reflux medicine.  You smack your lips when you're excited to try food.  Push toys and anything with wheels are your favorites right now.  You still loves your toes and get mad when they are covered up.  You've been taking two 1 hour naps and sleeping 11-12 hours a night.  It's amazing for all of us!!








Fletcher 12 Months: March 2017

You love to eat oatmeal, meatballs, grilled cheese and strawberries.  You're starting to love your dada more and more.  You ask for him all day long and then run up to him when he gets home.  Dad is thrilled.  You got your first bloody nose, love playing outside and are super messy all the time.  Sounds like a perfect boy to me.  You've worn holes in all of your pants, stained your shirts from your messy meals and you take lots of baths.  

We traveled a lot this month with road trips and your first flights to Naples, Florida.  You are super portable and had a great time.  You love to hold Olive's hand when you're both in your car seats and you get lots of help with your "walking training" from big sister.  You loved the pool, the sand and everything about vacation.  You definitely loved the beach more this year than last.  You enjoy being outside and took your first couple of steps this month.  You love to eat and loved all the attention for your birthday.  You smiled through your parties and were such a sweet birthday boy.


 








We sure are lucky to have this sweet boy in our family!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cheeseburger Quesadillas

I know what you're thinking burgers + quesadillas have to equal a very delicious Cheeseburger Quesadilla!!  You are correct!!  

I had a dinner fail moment last week.  That actually turned out delicious.

I'd planned to have burgers for dinner, but forget to pull the bag of buns out of the freezer to thaw.  I realized this at 6:00 so there was no way we were eating those buns that night.  I quickly searched the fridge and spotted my favorite tortillas that I try to always have on hand.  I realized I could give my dinner a little twist and make quesadillas instead.




Doesn't that look delicious!?!?!

Ingredients for 3 quesadillas:

1/2 lb of ground round
 2 t Lawry's Seasoned Salt
2 t Freddy's Steakburger seasoning or Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
6 tortilla shells
6 slices of sharp cheddar cheese
ketchup // mustard // pickles // onions // lettuce // tomatoes // tator tots

Brown the ground round with all the seasonings and sauce.  Drain.  Add 1/3 of the meat to each quesadilla.  Top with 2 pieces of cheese.  I tore apart my cheese slices to ensure that every part of the quesadilla had some cheese.  Brown on both sides.  Cut and serve with your favorite burger toppings.

So good and so easy!!


We love grilling and burgers when warmer weather rolls around so I've been thinking ahead to burger nights.  I have a few other delicious burger recipes to share if you're in the mood for them:





These are my favorite store bought Black Bean Burgers


We love these Oroweat 100 Calorie Sandwich Thins for buns.


It's time to link up with my favorite Tuesday Talk ladies & Southern Plate.
Join us with your favorite posts.




Monday, May 22, 2017

10 Tips for Traveling with Kids

We travel pretty regularly with our kids and we've definitely gotten better at it each time we take a trip.  We love to go on road trips and fly with the kids.  We learn new things with each trip and have new challenges thrown our way.  We flew to Florida back in March for Spring Break and had a really great time.  The kids had a blast and I have some new tips to share with you today.

10 Tips for Traveling with Kids Under 4

1. STROLLERS & BABY CARRIER
My kids both LOVE riding in their strollers.  We opted to do our two smallest strollers vs our double stroller because we figured it would be easier to have the smaller ones and we didn't want our nice stroller damaged.  We took the stollers through security and gate checked them.  It worked out perfectly.  My husband and I each pushed a stroller and the kids were happy to be along for the ride.  We had to leave our car at the airport so it was easiest for Kevin to drop us and all of us stuff off at curbside.  He parked the car and zoomed back to us.  I couldn't move everything so we just sat and waited for him.  We arrived over 2 hours before our flights to allow for this.

I also brought along my ergo just in case.  Fletcher wasn't walking yet and I knew I couldn't carry him for long if I had to.  We were once on a flight where we had to de-plane and they wouldn't give us our gate checked stroller back.  We chased Olive all over the Denver airport way past her bedtime.  She probably would have gone right to sleep if I would have had my ergo.  Lesson learned.  



2. CAR SEATS & GEAR
We opted to bring our car seats with us.  The airlines check them for free and we felt more comfortable using our own seats instead of rentals.  We love our car seat travel bags from Babies R Us.  They've both been on several flights and still work great.  Our kids also ride really well in the car so we figured they'd be most comfy in their own seats.  Worked out great.  We have never taken car seats onto the airplane.  Fletcher flies on our lap and Olive sits pretty well in the regular seats.  Plus, it's just too much to manage two kids, carry ons, strollers and car seats through a busy airport.  We did not fly with our pack n play because the condo had one.



3. ENJOY ALL THE NEW
The novelty of a new experience will be entertaining for the kids.  There are so many things to see and watch at the airport.  My kids really enjoy watching the planes out the window, people watching, riding the moving sidewalks and enjoying some new toys on the plane.  I let them pick things for the backpack of fun and made sure to bring their security items.  We also enjoyed new food, new places, new restaurants, etc once we arrived at vacation.  The kids were interested in all of the new things.

Favorite toys: teethers, toy cell phone, water markers that only color on coloring pages, snacks, little cars, little princess dolls, blank notebook to color in, thin books and DVD player.



4. ZIPLOC BAG EVERYTHING
Your diaper bag will likely be stuffed with everything you need for the day of travel.  I'd highly recommend packing things in a backpack because it just feels easier than a bulkier bag.  Ziplocs are your best friend - put your change of clothes for the kids in a ziploc, diapers and wipes in a ziploc, snacks in a ziploc, toys in a ziploc and each sippy cup in a ziploc.  We had an experience with TSA that really bugged me this time.  They unloaded my diaper bag bc Fletcher's bottle set off their machines.  I told them in advance it was in there, but they went ahead and got their germy hands all over things like the kid's sippy cups and teething toys.  I understand their job is super important so I'd HIGHLY recommend ziploc bagging everything so that if your diaper bag gets selected for additional screening all of your kid items will be safe inside bags.



 5. SIT TOGETHER
Sit all together whenever possible.  It makes things much less stressful when you can have access to a window and aisle and the kids in the middle.  You're not bugging strangers as much and we like being able to get comfortable in our own row.  It's worth paying a little extra to sit together with young kids.  It also helps when one kid is screaming and the other is demanding a snack.  You can just smile and laugh with your spouse at the craziness of the moment.  SUPER bonus if you can get a direct flight to wherever you are going.



6. REMEMBER YOUR ROUTINE & be a little flexible
If your child naps every day, then do your best to recreate their nap routine on the plane or in the car if you're roadtripping.  We were flying in the early afternoon so I packed a bottle, Fletcher's blanket and rocked him to sleep like usual.  Worked like a charm about an hour later than he usually naps.  So I remembered our routine and was flexible in the execution.  Win win for everyone.  We kept up this same plan once we got on vacation.  Fletcher napped on the go several times during our trip.  One day he was refusing to nap so the two of us went on a long walk.  The sunshine and nap on the go was great for both of us.  We were flexible with bed times and meal times.  I always had snacks with me to avoid hangry moments.



7. COMFY SHOES & LAYERS 
Make sure that everyone in your family is wearing comfortable shoes.  You never know when you'll have to run through the airport, chase kids on the playground, etc.  I promise you'll all be happier when you have a couple of comfy shoe options.  We left snowy Indiana and headed to the 80 degree beach.  So we all dressed in layers that could be taken off upon arrival.  I put socks on the kids in case they had to walk through security and then we took off the socks when we got to warmer weather.

We packed smart to avoid bringing tons of stuff.  We paid for checked bags, planned out outfits for everyone and planned to do laundry while we were out of town.  Bring some extra shopping bags to separate dirty clothes.



8. BE FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR DAILY PLANS
We made plans to go to the zoo bright and early one morning.  Turns out the rest of the families in Florida did the same thing.  As we're approaching the zoo it becomes obvious the lines are HUGE.  As we're digesting that info and adjusting plans Olive gets car sick.  We pull over, clean everything/everyone up and turn around to go back to the condo.  Plans scrapped, take out for lunch and an easy going day followed.  We headed to the zoo the next day and it was wonderful.

Pencil all kinds of fun things into your calendar and then finalize your plans based on the weather for the day, the mood for the day, think of activity levels and weigh the pros and cons of dinner in vs going out to dinner.  We ate more take out than usual because it was just easier with two little kids.



9. EMBRACE THE CRAZY
Power through the early flights, the crazy meals out and just remember that you'll likely never see these people again if your kids start acting like little nuts :)  The fun memories you make will be worth it and the good times will far outweigh the bad ones when you're going on adventures with your family.  Bring extra adults if possible.  That will help when your kids are running in different directions and you're in a new city.




10. ENTERTAINMENT
My kids really enjoyed looking out the windows, talking to the people around us, collecting animal fact cards from the flight attendants and reading.  I packed their favorite Highlight magazines and toddler books.  They also loved taking silly selfies, eating snacks and snoozing.  I also kept several fun things in my diaper bag to entertain them if we had to wait on seating at a restaurant or a car ride took longer than expected.





Just remember to show yourself and the people in your family TONS of grace when you travel.  It's tiring, fun, hard and wonderful all at the same time.  And if you're really lucky, both kids will pass out on your flight home!  You can just SMILE, say thank you Lord and know it was a good trip. 


What are your best traveling with kid tips??

Linking up with Momfessionals