Friday, July 31, 2020

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!!  I hope you've had a wonderful week.  It's hard for me to believe it's August tomorrow.  June and July really flew by for our family.  I guess nice weather, sunshine, travel and fun times will make your days fly by. 

July was a good month.  The highs (below) out weighed the lows (Topher needed an emergency vet visit, lots of doctor appointments and uncertainties about the coming school year).

I'm thankful for these happy moments to add up to lots of favorites this month.

Have you entered my bloggy birthday giveaway yet!?!  Head to the bottom of this post to make sure and enter to win a $20 gift card to my favorite shop.

July Favorites:

I purchased this dress from Walmart - it's the Time & Tru line.  It comes in about 6 different colors and it's just $13.88!!  It's so cute and comfy.  It is definitely a favorite dress for Summer.  My sister and I would highly recommend it - I convinced her she needed to give it a try!  We each have it in a couple of different colors.  It's out of stock online so check your local Walmart.

My sister and her crew came to visit this week.  The kids had a blast playing and crafting.  The sisters had fun catching up.

I picked up THE cutest shirts for Fletcher for back to school.  He's heading off to PreK in September.  Can you guess where I found them???  Wal-Mart!!  They were just under $6 each and the mixed patterns/colors are so cute.  He loves them.

Crayola came out with some really great crayons.  This Colors of the world set is such a fun addition to any art set.  My kids are really excited to have so many different skin colors to use when they're doing art.  I found these at Walmart in the school supply section.

Cute bibs are my favorite.  Leo is drooling a lot and needing a bib most of the time.  He's also sprouted eyebrows, eye lashes and more hair this week!  Looks like he might have brown hair like the rest of us (minus Fletcher).

We did some of our favorites this week - movie night, snuggles, lots of pjs and popcorn.  2020 has been a crazy year, but I hope images like this one are the ones that always stay with me.  3 kids loving all this extra time together.

Movie night:

First thing in the morning.  The big kids wake up first and cannot wait for Leo to join them.  It's the sweetest thing.

We surprised Kevin and made him brownies.  They're his favorite.

Have you ever tried these Brazi Bites from Sams!?!?  They're SO GOOD!  I love to make a few to go along with salads, dinner or for lunch.  The adults love them at our house and the kids don't.  That makes them the perfect treat :)

We've been getting back to one of our favorite things - Family walks!  The big kids fight over who can push Leo's stroller so we have to take turns.

Our favorite way to spend a hot day is at the pool!  They really love the pool for about 2 hours at a time.  It's the perfect amount and then we head home to take it easy.

I walked into the family room to see this adorable scene this week.  Olive said that Leo needed a back rub so she was taking him to the spa.  I can't get over how big he's looking!

Leo has been eager to sit up, but can't do that on his own yet.  We got out this jumpy toy and it's definitely his favorite.  It's so sweet to watch him play in it.

My Limelight Hydrangeas and Butterfly Bushes are my favorite!  They both look so pretty right now.  We've also been excited to see the butterflies arriving.

My blog turned 9 this month - have you entered my giveaway yet??  The prize really is perfect for anyone.  A winner will be chosen on Sunday.  Enter the giveaway here!

Linking up with Momfessionals

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

9th Bloggy Birthday // Giveaway!!!

9 years.

That's how long I've been showing up to write blog posts each week.

All of our highs and lows from the last 9 years are here.  Polka-Dotty Place been the best digital scrapbook, milestone marker and creative outlet for me.  I've loved every year of blogging.  After all these years, I still look forward to showing up here to share my stories.  I always promised myself that I'd quit blogging if it wasn't fun.  Good news!  I still love it and have some fun things in store for you!

The very best part of blogging for me is all of the friends I've made.

Some readers have become the sweetest friends.  We exchange texts, Christmas cards, read each other's blogs and stay connected.  Some of you started reading when I was a teacher living in Utah with only cats for kids.  Some of you joined along as our family started growing.  Maybe we were living in Arkansas or Mississippi when you started reading?

Regardless of when you started, THANK YOU for showing up here to read my blog.  I am so appreciative of the friends and family who read my blog each week.  It makes my day when someone says...

I loved this recipe you shared and made it for my family this week.

Your tips really helped me.

Thank you for that fun idea to do with my kids.

I could really relate to your post today.

You guys are the best!!

As a thank you for reading my blog, I'm partnering up with my favorite earring lady Amber from ADV Designs this week!  She's offering all of you a discount code WHITNEY20 for 20% off your order.  She added some of her new designs to my latest order for me to help promote them. 

She has some really fabulous new earring styles in her shop right now.  You know that I LOVE LOVE LOVE her leather earrings.  They're the lightest, cutest statement earring out there.  They are so affordable. Stock up now and get some for teacher gifts when school starts.  She's got a pattern and style for every woman.  Trust me.

Look at some of her fabulous earrings and bracelets.  There's everything from animal print, to dainty bead earrings to bold color bracelets.  I love it all!

In addition to the discount code, I'm doing a bloggy birthday GIVEAWAY!

I'm giving away at $20 gift card to ADV Design's etsy shop!!  The winner will be emailed the gift card.

Comment below telling me
1. the blog posts you enjoy reading most and
2. earn a bonus entry for telling me some posts you'd like to see in the future.

A winner will be chosen Sunday, August 2nd and notified by email.  Make sure to leave your email in your comment so I can notify you :)

Good luck!!

*************Giveaway Closed!  Congrats, Jamie!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

10 Road Trip Tips for Summer 2020

Many of you still have a few weeks of Summer left before school starts and I wanted to encourage you that taking road trip during these crazy times is still very doable.  I promise!  Read on to see how we stayed healthy while traveling back in June.

Last month we went on a fun adventure.  We drove from Indiana to Southern Florida.  It was 18ish hours each way and we really enjoyed it.  Seriously, we all had a good time.  We modified things to make it work with covid and I wanted to share all about it.  Some of these things we'd do normally and some are new things we tried this year - like #1, 3, 5 and 7.   I am hoping it'll encourage you to go on adventure with your family :)

1. Drive at Night
We put the kids in their pjs and headed out.  Kevin slept during the afternoon and then drove all night.  This was a huge help because Fletcher gets really car sick and we got a huge chunk of the drive done from 8pm-8am.  I took over driving for a few hours.  This really limited the stops we had to make and we'd do it again in a heart beat.  This was our first time trying it and it couldn't have gone better.

2. Take Longer Pit Stops
We'd stop to feed the baby, get out and stretch our legs, get gas, etc.  We only went into gas stations to use the restroom and packed most of our meals and snacks.  We cleaned out the trash at each stop, made sure everyone got fresh air and took our time.

3. Snacky Meals for the Win.
This charcuterie board plate was a big hit.  I chopped fruits and veggies before our trip so they were easy to grab on the go.  I bought salami, pepperoni, salty crackers/chips and presliced cheeses.  I kept it all in a little cooler.

We'd get gas, eat in the car, use the restroom and get back on the road.

All of our stops included baby snuggles, quickly nursing and eating on the go.

4. Surprise Your Kids with a Surprise.
We let our kids go into gas stations to use the restroom and then we surprised them by letting them pick out a souvenir.  My husband or I did all of the touching of merchandise to keep the kids to a hands free shopping experience.  They were thrilled and such good little travelers.  I had fun things for them in the car - candy, activities, a new DVD to watch, etc.  But there is something special about getting to choose a souvenir of your own.

5. Car Sick Bags
If you're driving through the mountains or have anyone that gets car sick, these are a must have.  You can read all about them in this post (6 Amazon Summer Favorites).  My car will always be stocked with these.  They make car sickness mess free and really easy to deal with.

 6. Grown Up Essentials
Coffee, trail mix, candy and a Spotify playlist or two.  A beautiful sunset doesn't hurt either.

7. Drive Thru Meals
When we did eat out, we'd swing through a drive through.  Freddy's was my favorite, but any drive through will do.

8. Bring Along the Baby Gear
A major perk of traveling with a baby by car is that you can pack your favorite baby gear.  Our Boppy seat, play mat and bassinet were essentials.

9. Grocery Pick Up or One Designated Shopper
We opted to shop at the closest grocery store and have my husband do all the shopping once we arrived at our destination.  We were able to eat healthier and have lots of meals at the condo.  Grocery pick up would have been nice, but it wasn't easily accessible.

10. Relax and Be Flexible.
Our stops took longer than we would have liked (even without going into stores and restaurants).  But the fresh air, snuggles and smiles were all worth busting the schedule.  I even hopped into the second row seat for some of the trip so I could sit by the boys.  Leo was thrilled.  And so was Kevin since it meant happy kids and less stops :)

Where would you love to road trip to in the remaining weeks of Summer??

Monday, July 27, 2020

16 Years Later

Happy Monday!  I hope you had a great weekend.  We celebrated our 16th anniversary with all of our favorite things - our kids, dinner out, babysitters and fun times.

It's hard to believe we're already at the 16 year mark.

We have lived a lot of life together, but somehow it seems like just yesterday we were saying I do.  My favorite moment from our wedding day was walking out to a rose petal shower.

We both agree - we bring out the best in each other.  I help him organize and plan to make his days go smoother.  He helps me relax, have fun and go on adventures together.  I keep track of everything and everyone at home.  He works so hard every day as a psychologist and then comes home to love on our crazy crew.  We're a good team.

Life is better together!

Kevin has made it his anniversary tradition to get me pink roses.  And in his typical deal loving way, he found a coupon, a sale and arranged the flowers himself so that they were beautiful, but didn't break the bank.

We now own his and hers rocking chairs.  They're our favorite.  I bought one for myself and we were always going for the same chair.  It's our favorite baby snuggling, reading and kid watching spot.

We were surprised with a fun airshow this weekend - sky divers, sky writing planes and this awesome jumper with a giant American flag.  It was so cool to watch from our driveway.

I booked our favorite babysitters (that we haven't used since February) and left all three kids home for a couple of hours.  I was apprehensive about leaving Leo, but he did great.  We talked, ran some errands and enjoyed a delicious dinner out.

Our idea of a delicious dinner couldn't be more different - Ahi Tuni & Fettuccine Alfredo.

We also agreed to no gifts - just cards.  Kevin ignored that plan and got me another surprise.  He searched high and low, read reviews and picked out the cutest pair of sunnies for me.  I love them!  And they fit my giant head.  It's hard to find sunglasses for myself so I was really impressed with his surprise shopping this year.  Aren't they cute!?!

Tell me something fun you did this weekend in the comments.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Our Favorite Craft Guide

Do you consider yourself a crafty person??

I do.

I really enjoy crafting independently and with my kids.  My kids ask to do crafts all the time.  We love everything from painting, to play-doh to perler beads.  I have some really fun craft ideas to share with you today.  They're all fun and they are really user friendly.  I promise - even if you claim that you aren't crafty - you'll probably still enjoy these.

These are the favorite crafts at my house.  They've been fun for us all summer and we'd highly recommend all of our favorites.  I've purchased most of these things from Amazon because that really is the easiest way to shop right now.  I'll link everything I can at the bottom of this post.

Favorite #1

I made these when I was a kid and it's so fun to see them making a come back.  It's the only reason you'll ever find me ironing - haha :)

Olive got a set for her birthday, my sister's girls inspired some major perler bead art and we've been making things like crazy.  Olive (age 7) can do them very independently.  Fletcher (age 4) loves to make them, but needs help.  He will pick out the colors and I'll place them on the peg board when he gets tired of doing it himself.  We have purchased several sets and have gifted them for several summer birthdays this year.  My kids love following patterns and building the animals and they also love coming up with their own creations.

Favorite #2

Both of my kids really love painting with water colors.  It cleans up so easily.  The kids have a blast painting patters, pictures and love to have a variety of sizes of brushes.

Favorite #3

My kids have had the best time creating, building, constructing and using their imagination with Picasso tiles this Summer.  It's one of their very favorite toys to create with.  We have purchased 4-5 sets over the past several years to build up our collection.  In all those years of playing with them daily, we have only had one of them break or crack.  They're so durable and definitely worth the investment.

Favorite #4
Crayola Markers, Crayons, Colored Pencils.

The Crayola Inspiration Art Case is our #1 favorite.  The kids love having so many art supplies portable and easy to use all around the house.  The supplies are great quality.  Both kids love this set and we love to give it as a gift.  It's the last link in the links below.  The price is amazing for all of the supplies you receive.  We can't recommend this art kid enough.

Here are my Amazon affiliate links.  Thanks for shopping my links and supporting my blog!

Linking up with Momfessionals.