Monthly Archives: June 2015

Time is No Mother’s Friend

Time is no mother’s friend.  No parent’s friend for that matter.  I sit here a mother of two little ones that are growing up and I just can’t deal.  I’ve been told time and again to cherish every moment.

emma-marie-baby-girl-profile-photogragh

Time is No Mother’s Friend

That is much easier said, than done.  I don’t cherish the time outs, the skirmishes between the two, the countless nights of sleep I didn’t get.

But I do cherish the moments after the time outs, the ones where they softly apologize for what happened, give big gracious hugs, and mean it from the bottom of their hearts.  There is no lying, no deceit- just pure innocence.

I do cherish the times where they relish in each other’s presence.  Reading to one another, playing games, and making sure they are all right when someone gets hurt.

I cherish the nights that I get to once again tuck in my little man who just needed an extra hug.

I cherish the nights that our little girl needs just one more cuddle or just a little more rocking until she is ready for bed.

emma-marie-baby-girl

 

I’ve worked hard on filling our days with activities, learning games, and art projects.  But sometimes no plans are when the most precious of memories are made.

I sit here with tears in my eyes, hardly recognizing the fact that in a few short months there will be a two and three year old in our house.  No more babies for our family.

I wasn’t prepared to close the chapter of babies as we always planned on three.  Unfortunately, my heart has made the decision for us and our sweet family of four is complete.

I am beyond grateful that we have two sweet children.

emma-marie-baby-girl-profile-photo

Time is cruel.

It feels like just yesterday I was pushing them both in the stroller at the zoo.

If feels like just yesterday I was giving Raymond a baby to practice being “gentle” with as he was the Incredible Hulk of an eighteen month old.

In a few short weeks Raymond will be in school.

Those words are glorious and incredibly saddening.

How can my baby, the one who made me a mom, be old enough for school?  Will he be safe?  Will he go into anaphylactic shock?  Will the other kids be kind?  Will he love learning as much as he does now?

As he enters school, for the first time Emma Marie and I will have weekly Mommy & Me time.

Our time is short with them.  I am thankful that I have been there for everything, the good, bad, and the exhausting.

They are only little once.

We are well on our way to Pee Wee Soccer Teams and filling up our social calendar with activities for our two active kids and I just am trying to hold on to the last little bits of the smallness.

Someday Raymond might not want to hold my hand and skip through the parking lot.

Someday he might not stop, “Because this is OUR song Mom!” and dance with me-at the store-kid’s club-a party.

Someday Emma Marie’s sass may be biting.  Her words may hurt.  Right now the, “I love you’s” and demands for hugs and kisses are being stockpiled in my heart.

Time may be no mother’s friend. But I am not waiting or wishing away any moments.

They are only little, once.

And it is true- ALL OF IT.

Cherish every moment you can.

Arizona or Bust Road Trip{& Family Update}

Arizona or BUST- could not be a better description of our Road Trip.  Last Wednesday I flew up to WA State to help pack out my mom and drive the truck, her car attached to the back, and a little over half of everything she owned.  17 cubic feet of possessions were already on their way to her house in Arizona from a previous pack frenzy that occurred two months prior.

My Uncles, Aunt, Little Sister(and boyfriend) helped load up the truck.  The truck was supposed to be a fifteen(fourteen?) footer that could hold two rooms…. well when you add in all of my mom’s science class experiments that she has bought for her classroom(with her own money-go public education priorities) we ended up having her grab a twenty foot truck the morning of.  And we literally packed it to the brim.

THE BRIM people.

So much so we had to poke it with a stick to shove pieces in to close the sucker.

But it fit.

We enjoyed a meal with family before heading off on our first part of the trip through the mountains and over to Eastern Washington into Idaho.  We definitely thought we would get in around 9-10PM but a larger truck made it just a bit harder to go fast.

1:30AM we rolled into Idaho and our hotel.  As soon as my head hit that pillow I was out.  It usually takes me an hour or so to fall asleep-not then.

Unfortunately, someone took a hammer to their engine outside our hotel room at 0600 and BOOM we were up.  Well, my mom didn’t sleep a wink because she is ten times the light sleeper I am and boy was it noisy.

At our hotel we were given vouchers for this awesome diner across the street so we sat down and enjoyed a nice meal before hitting the open road.

Looking back Washington was definitely the prettiest in the mountain region, Oregon the friendliest at truck stops-hello they pump your gas for you-and Idaho had the best maintained roads and largest medians(which made my job of not killing us all at 65MPH that much easier).

In Idaho and Nevada we hit this “Scenic Highway” 93- should also be called death trap- no signs for hours-nor rest stops OR GAS.  Seriously, we drove into a station on fumes .7 of a gallon for a twenty footer is what I call fumes… and the signs for adjoining roads were non-existent until AFTER you passed the turn.  Scenic? Sure.  But how about the tiniest roads with nothing between you and oncoming traffic…. a non-truckers driving a truck nightmare.  Add in thirty MPH wind gusts and no cell phone signals for hours at a time and it was peachy keen.

Thankful for my co-pilot.  She lightened the mood, made sure we always had something to eat, and was an expert navigator.  We didn’t use a GPS.  That’s right.  We rolled old-school for 1523 miles.

We ended up in Vegas on Friday Night at 5PM.  And on our way out up past the Hoover Dam our tires actually started smoking.  115 degree heat on black asphalt = a death trap on twelve wheels.  We roll deep.

No fires were started and we made it out into the Arizona desert just fine.  We finally made it back to the house around 1AM.

A week later and the twenty-foot truck is unloaded-half of the truck that was pre-packed is unloaded.  Patio set-up and goodness do the kids love being with their Nana.

nanas-birthday

Celebrating Nana’s Birthday

All-in-All the trip went off without a hitch.  We car danced our way through four states during the hottest time of the year with BIG ole smiles on our faces-with a dog-and two frogs.

Thankful for my husband who held down the fort.  The kids had a blast, all the meals were cooked, house was spotless(even the carpets were shampooed), and we has helped with the heaviest of boxes without complaint.

And GUESS WHO IS HAVING THE BEST.DAY.EVER.  Every day?!?  Yes, the two munchkins have loved every second of the un-packing process especially when you add in the new furball they get to play with.  Emma Marie and Abby are the BEST of friends and she makes it her personal mission to see that she is fed, has enough ice cubes, has been let out, has seen the horse, and has enough back scratches.  That dog is living the life.

Plus- who doesn’t love another house to play Hide N’ Seek in?

The answer is NO ONE.

 

Thanks for hanging in with me as I get back to our regular schedule.

Can’t wait to share about our Fourth of July plans next week!

Our Go-To Snack

The only time we get cranky in our house is when we are on no-sleep OR hungry.  I like to refer to the new term HANGRY.

So hungry, I am angry.  Our-Go-To-Snack-Plenti

Our Go-To Snack

As the busy summer has taken off we have found a great way to sustain our energy and eat a delicious snack that feels like a treat.  For once we didn’t need to add any extra goodies to our yogurt.  Just pull back the lid and enjoy.

 

plenti-delicious-our-go-to-snack

My husband has loved the pick-me-up it affords while at the office and it has helped my mom and I to have an extra little surge of goodness as we unpack yet another box from her cross-country move.  You need to grab a couple to try- STAT.

A treat that’s healthy? Perfection.

 

Plenti:

WE BELIEVE MORE IS MORE. OUR PURPOSE IS TO ADD MORE GOOD STUFF TO LIFE.

What does it mean to have Plenti? It’s having more—the right kind and the right amount. It’s fully enjoying the now—and being ready for what’s next. (You get more out—from a cup more satisfying to a life more fulfilling.)

PLENTÍ IS YOGURT REINVENTED AND MADE MORE PLENTIFUL— MORE SUBSTANTIAL, MORE SATISFYING, MORE FUN.

Sometimes ordinary yogurt just doesn’t do the job.

Delicious, yes. Satisfying, not so much.

It can leave you wanting more. That’s why we created Plentí and reinvented yogurt. We start with Yoplait Greek Yogurt, then add just the right amount of wholesome ingredients. With Plentí, yogurt’s more filling and more fulfilling. We put more in. You get more out. Go ahead, live a life of Plenti.

 

plenti-our-go-to-snack

Flavors:

• Plentí – Black Cherry
• Plentí – Blueberry
• Plentí – Coconut
• Plentí – Peach
• Plentí – Raspberry
• Plentí – Spiced Apple
• Plentí – Strawberry
• Plentí – Vanilla

Our family flavor favorite is blueberry-no fail way to make sure everyone is happy.  But my personal favorite is the vanilla!

You can find Plenti exclusively at Kroger/affiliated stores.  Grab some so the HANGRY doesn’t get a hold of you.

Now that I’ve shared our favorite snack I would love to hear from you.

Do you have a go-to snack that works for you and your family?

Summer Bucket List- Checklist

As another Summer begins we sat down as a family to write up a Bucket List of MUST DO activities to conquer before the end of the season.  Sure enough, most of the activities involve water and we are so excited to start checking them off.  You can check-off a Bucket List of your own as I’ve included a FREE PRINTABLE below.  Hope you enjoy!
summer-bucket-list-fun-free-checklist

Lemon Perfection

Water Park

For the holidays my sister got our family passes to the water park up north.  We’ve been three times already but want to make sure that we go again as our summer schedules fill up!  Fun for the whole family and definitely a way to beat the heat out here in the desert.

raymond-summer-fun

Slip & Slide

Beach Trip

Our family is moving from Hawaii to San Diego, CA in June and we are hoping to make it out there this summer to get some good, quality time with the cousins.  Beach Days are calling my name.  We had such a wonderful trip to California in May and discovered that both kids are at the PERFECT age(almost 2 and 3) and we can’t wait to dip our toes in the sand.

emma-summer-bucket-list

Emma Marie

Camping in the Backyard

I have the fondest memories of our vacations growing up in the Pacific Northwest and going camping-for a week at a time.  Sometimes bike camping(you bike your supplies in) or hiking in to the campsite.  Being able to disconnect from the world for a bit is refreshing and I feel increasingly necessary in our day and age.  I do not want to go tent camping until Emma Marie is potty-trained, although I’m sure she would love it… and perhaps waiting until she is older would help with going to sleep at night.  This summer we want to set-up our tent in the backyard, roast marshmallows, and “camp” until about 9PM before calling it a night and scurrying back into the air conditioned house.  Temps here only cool off to the 90s sometimes high 80s at night so that will definitely be long enough for all involved.

smores-family-summer

Bonfire & Smore’s

Smore’s

Chocolate? Good.  Graham Cracker? Good.  Marshmallow? GOOD.  Our family enjoys a treat and we always try to sneak in 2-3 bonfires and smore’s sessions a summer.  Raymond’s severe food allergies prevent him from relishing in the graham crackers-BUT don’t you fear- he gets to eat his chocolate and marshmallow between two rice krispies treats…

make-our-own-pizza-night

Food Allergy Friendly Friday Night Pizza

Friday Night Pizza

The days are long, but the years are short.  There are not many things we can bake with due to food allergies, but his gluten-free, egg-free, arrowroot-free, nuts & tree nuts-free pizza actually tastes good.  BUT what’s more important than that is the fact that Raymond and Emma Marie get stools and chairs and they help make the whole pizza with us.  Sure the kitchen is a mess… but the look on their faces makes it all worth it.

emma-slip-and-slide

Slip & Slide

Splashpad Adventures

Living in the Valley of the Sun we are fortunate to be able to live near many free splashpads.  I feel uncomfortable with all save for the Zoo’s splashpad as many are too close to roads or are in busy shopping centers.  This will be fine next summer as both kids will be old enough-but to be honest with a one and three year old that are extremely active I feel like a frantic mom who’s losing her mind.  So when we have extra hands and eyes around this summer I plan on hitting up some of my favorite splashpads to cool off from the extreme heat!

raymond-summer-bucket-list

Raymond

Zoo

The Zoo is my all-time favorite place to take the kids throughout the year.  I just wish it wasn’t a half hour drive.  We will be hitting up our zoo at 7AM this summer and cooling off in the splashpad before we make our way home for lunch!

raymond-slip-and-slide

Nailed It- Sliding in Style

Water Balloon Fight

Last year we loaded up on water balloons and then attacked the hubby as he came home from work.  It was an epic battle and all left soaked.  Now that we can have FOUR water balloon tossers I need to really prep ahead of time, as those balloons take a long time to load up.  I plan on filling up a cooler full during nap time and then let slip the dog’s of war.

Too much?

Never.

 

Loved sitting down and actually asking the kids what they wanted to do this summer.  Making a family wishlist and turning it into an epically fun(do-able) Bucket List was a blast!

 

raymond-summer

Summer Bucket List

summer-bucket-list

 

Thanks for reading!  I hope this gives you a little bit of inspiration to jot down some of your favorite things to do.  As I like to say, messes make memories.  Goodness knows we are in for a messy, memory-filled summer.

Here is our Summer Bucket List Checklist:

 

Summer-Bucket-List-Check-list

FREE DOWNLOAD

Summer Bucket List-Download HERE Summer-Bucket-List-Check-List

 

Now that I’ve shared our plans for the summer- I’d love to hear from you!

 

What is something on your Summer Bucket List?

What is one of your fondest memories from growing up?

 

Smart & Final Gilbert Grand Opening

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ChooseSmart #CollectiveBias

smart&final-new-store-grand-opening

Grand Opening

Arizona Locals!  There is a NEW store in town!  Last week I had the chance to go to an evening preview of the new Smart & Final at 750 N. Gilbert Rd., Gilbert, AZ, 85234. I am overjoyed with the fact that for all future parties and birthdays this will be the one-stop-shop.  Can’t wait to share with you some finds for Emma Marie’s Second Birthday Party that is coming up-way too fast.

Smart & Final carries warehouse size items without a club fee, making shopping easy, less expensive and less daunting to shop in than a big warehouse store. Smart & Final is a perfect place to shop for all your food needs, bakery items, etc.

smart&final-shopping-carts

Big Savings Come in ALL Sizes

As I parked my car and made my way to the new Smart & Final Gilbert Store it was easy to notice the newly paved parking lot, crisp paint lines, and fabulously clean entry.

A Note from the Chief Marketing Officer:

“Smart & Final has a rich history and commitment of inclusion. The ampersand signifies many different components of our company including the partnership between our founders Mr. Smart & Mr. Final, treating our customers like friends & neighbors and serving as a warehouse & market,” said Smart & Final Chief Marketing Officer, Eleanor Hong. “We are rebranding to ensure customers know who we are, what we offer and what we stand for so that they can choose Smart & Final as their primary shopping destination.”

smart&final-bike-rack

Bike Storage

I loved this bike lock area that is right next to the entrance.  Perfect for those that are making a quick trip in the neighborhood.

smart&final-produce-department

Fresh Produce

Upon entering you are overwhelmed with the amount of fresh produce available.  I loved seeing a large assortment of locally grown produce, along with a large designated area for organic!  Our family has made the conscious decision to buy locally grown food when possible and to eat organic as often as our budget allows.  There were rows upon rows of choices and the prices were remarkable as you don’t need a membership to shop!  Double the savings.

smart&final-bulk-food

Save by the Case

I prefer to buy in bulk the food that our family goes through.  Our family of four goes through an alarming amount of onions and garlic.  So saving by buying the case is exactly my kind of thinking!  I am thankful that we have a large pantry to be able to store the goods. There are large cases of almost EVERYTHING at Smart & Final.  You can grab enough for the party, your food truck, or your business all in the same store.

Smart & Final also has a large section dedicated to Bulk Bins where you can get exactly the amount you need without paying too much!  You know when that recipe you’ve had your eyes on(forever) but you didn’t want to buy the big bag of the ingredient when you only needed half a cup?  Yep.  A foodie heaven.

smart&final-quality-meats-department

Quality Meats

The Meat Department was large and had all of the brands that I know and trust.  We bulk buy our meat and the same assortment that we buy at our usual big box store was available and at a cheaper cost.

smart&final-frozen-good-and-well

Good & Well

Throughout the store you will find Good & Well Sections that make it easy to find allergy-friendly and organic options for your family.  As a food allergy family it was much easier to find food that our family could safely eat.  I even found new brands to try that I scooped up.  Definitely a Mom Win.

 

smart&final-frozen-treats

Frozen Foods Department

The New Gilbert Smart & Final has an expanded Frozen Foods Department that encompasses a large section of the store.  I loved being able to see all of our family staples AND an assortment of cases of goodies that we can purchase for parties.  I now have a long list of items that we can grab from Smart & Final for Em’s Birthday!

smart&final-ice-cream

Chocolate Ice Cream

I love being able to entertain and this store just makes it that much easier.  One stop shop.  I can get literally everything I need for groceries and all of the party supplies.

 

smart&final-sweet-treats

Snow Cone

I may or may not have spend an inordinate amount of time writing down all of the items to grab for Emma Marie’s birthday party.  An August Birthday needs to have a Snow Cone Bar?  Am I right? Weather calls for 105+ and now I can add a kid-friendly outdoor treat that will satisfy everyone.  Plus with all of the flavor options I can grab multiple so that our Snow Cone Bar… will be a Snow Cone Bar. Watermelon, grape, strawberry, fruit punch, orange and then there are the baked goods toppings to sprinkle on top.  What’s a birthday party without a messy, delicious treat?

smart&final-water-bottles

Smart & Final

Smart & Final has many options when it comes to brands and has a lot of in-house options like their fabulous First Street Line.  I loved the cheaper price tag!  Smart & Final gives you all of your favorite name brands BUT you have the choice to save with many of their own and goodness me, I do love a bargain on some items.

smart&final-flower-section

Fresh Flowers

As you make your way back to the store front at Smart & Final you are greeted by a fresh assortment of flowers to grab on your way out.  These purple beauties were calling my name!

smart&final-family-chicken-dinner

Family Chicken Dinner

The last item you see before checking out are the Oven Roasted Chickens that smelled divine.  After an evening of shopping for everything on your list it sure is nice to come home, put away the groceries and to not have to cook.  Dinner is served!

Smart & Final blew me away with their options, bulk cases, and pricing.  Emma Marie’s party will be tremendously easier knowing that I can grab paper plates, napkins, fresh food, snow cones, and some adult beverages all in the same errand!  Plus it’s nice to know that you don’t need a membership at a big box store to get warehouse pricing and quality products.

Arizona Locals! Grand Opening!

Go check out the store-

Smart & Final at 750 N. Gilbert Rd., Gilbert, AZ, 85234

Twitter: Smart & Final  Facebook: Smart & Final

Have you shopped at a Smart & Final?

What is one party dish or item you always have?

Would love to hear your thoughts!

Next Page »