Archive for 2017

Hudson's Pokémon Birthday

October 19, 2017


We celebrated our big FIVE year old with his favorite things: presents, friends, and Pokémon! 


Welcome to Hudson's party! If you look carefully at this photo you'll notice some Poké balls hiding in the yard. More details on that below. 


We had some yummy snacks for everyone: spinach artichoke dip, taco dip, popcorn, fruit, and white chocolate covered pretzels. 


I kept things simple...and decorated with all of Hudson's Pokémon toys. 


I found these Pikachu juice box covers on Pinterest and they were Hudson's favorite little detail!


My mom made these chocolate covered Oreo Poké balls.


I also displayed some of the snacks like this....more Poké balls! I made sure to point this detail out to Hudson....and he loved it!


Some balloons, and that was it!


We sent all the kids home with these too. 


One of Hudson's favorite things to do is an Easter egg hunt...so I got the idea to do a Poké ball hunt! I bought these toy capsules and these mini Pokémon to stuff in them. I also stuffed the balls with candy and other small toys (bouncy balls, sticky hands etc.)...I think I made about 300 of them! I wanted to make sure all of the kids were able to find a bunch of them! 


Then I hid them in our front yard!


The hunt was Hudson's absolute favorite part of the party. It was a big hit!


We also had a ton of Nerf guns out and posters of Team Rocket (the bad guys) for the kids to shoot at! When we first talked with Hudson about his birthday party (several months ago) he said he wanted a "shooter party" (aka Nerf gun party). So Jon had been buying used Nerf guns whenever he found them for a great price in preparation...only to have Hudson change his mind and want a Pokémon party (of course). So we had to find some way to use all the Nerf guns! So shooting the bad guys was my solution. 

Hudson had the BEST time...and a month later I have finally recovered, ha!

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Three Things

October 11, 2017


Today I thought I'd share three things about each of us....just a quick little update on real life happenings in our neck of the woods! I'll start with the littlest in our crew...


Belle

1. Apparently six months is when you can army crawl across the room. I don't remember the older two kids being able to get around so well. But Belle is highly motivated to crawl...she wants to get in to all of they fun big kid toys!

2. Belle started solid food last month...and so far she loves everything except bananas. She really loves feeding herself, so I'm constantly looking for soft things for her to eat. She also loves sitting at the counter with the big kids. As long as she is included in everything we do she's as happy as can be. 

3. Belle also started in the church nursery last month and so far so good! Jon still doesn't want her to go in on Sundays...so for now she just goes on Tuesdays when I'm there for my young moms group.


Sadie

1. Sadie is so jealous that Hudson gets to go to school. She's constantly tell me "Sadie go school too!"   She gets sad when we drop Hudson off at school and so excited when it's time to pick him up. 

2. Sadie LOVES going to the kids class at church. She'll say "I play with kids. It fuuuunnnnn!" I love that she loves going. We go on Sunday as a family and then just the girls go every other Tuesday with me to my young moms group. She loves playing with kids her own age. 

3. I feel like all of a sudden Sadie's speech has improved. She has been talking in sentences for a while, but now they are more complex. And when you ask her a question she responds appropriately, and often says "yeahhhhh!" if you ask a yes/no question.


Hudson

1. I'm so happy we decided to send Hudson to young fives instead of kindergarten. He's always been a little shy at school, and he still is, but this year he seems to come in to his own a little bit. He LOVES his teacher and frequently draws her pictures at home and gives them to her the next day. It's the cutest! She always sends home a thank you note and he is just so proud. He also got a note that said one of his school art projects was selected to hang in the office. Of course he can't remember what piece it is....so I need to get in there and see it. He is SO proud of himself. 

2. Hudson is the sweetest to Belle. He loves her so much. He's such a great helper to me and it is so sweet. He will talk to her, kiss her, and bring her toys. I love their little relationship. 

3. Hudson had a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese over the weekend and had the best time ever. We have successfully avoiding having to go there until now....and he seriously loved it. He didn't get too many tickets at first....two of his sweet friends noticed and they both gave him some of their tickets. It was the sweetest thing ever. I'm so glad he has such amazing friends!


Me

1. I cannot stop watching The Vampire Diaries on Netflix. I'm obsessed. I used to watch it several years ago....so I recognize a lot of it, but haven't seen all the episodes. Seriously cannot stop. I need something else to binge once it's over!

2. Jon and I celebrated 9 years of marriage on October 5th! 9 years, two houses, three kids, and a whole lot of crazy. We snuck away to the lake house for a big kid free night. Belle was our cute little tag along.

3. I'm going to get a eyelash lift and tint tomorrow and I'm soooo excited! I wanted lash extensions but they aren't really in my budget right now. I've been using Lash Boost from Rodan and Fields (not sponsored!) and it really has helped me grow my pitiful lashes...but they are so light they don't show up at all.....and they don't stay curled. So I'm hoping the lift and tint will help! I'll be sure to report back. 

And Jon threatened my life if I posted about him. So, needless to say, no update on him!


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How to Pick the Right Car Seat For Your Family

October 6, 2017






 

Your children are you most precious cargo. Car seat safety is something I take seriously...and you should too. As a mom of three I've been around the block when it comes to car seats. I've tested out and installed more than I can even count! Today I want to share a few of the tips I've learned along the way!

1. Read your car's owner's manual carefully before going car seat shopping. All car seats can be installed in your car using either the seat belt or the LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children). All cars are equipped with LATCH, however, there might not be any in the middle or third row seats. So read that manual!


2. Make sure you choose the correct seat for your child's age, weight, and height. From birth to at least 2 years old children must be rear facing. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children ride in rear facing seats as long as possible. It is the safest position for your child, even if they look a little uncomfortable! From ages 2-5 (approximately) children can forward face in a car seat with a five point harness. For ages 5 and up (and 50 pounds and 4'9") children can ride in a booster seat.


3. Test them out! A lot of stores have car seats on display where you can actually sit you child in the seat to see how they fit before you buy. 


4. Do your research. Check out consumer reports and other resources to learn all about car seat safety ratings. Keeping your child safe in the car is your number one priority. 


5. Pick a seat that your child can use for a long time. We recently purchased the Graco 4Ever car seat for Sadie and it's a 4-in-1 seat that fits children 4-120 pounds! It works as a rear-facing infant seat, convertible seat for a toddler, high back booster, and finally a booster seat. We currently own six different car seats (that's what you get when you have 3 kids and 2 cars!)....and this seat is the only one that Sadie could use from birth until she's ready to ride in the car with out a car seat. Isn't that cool? More info on this amazing seat below!


6. Consider all of the harness and buckles on the seat. Something that I love about the Graco 4Ever is that you can easily adjust the headrest and belt height, without removing the seat. We have one car seat that you have to remove entirely each time you need to adjust the height of the straps...such a pain! On the Graco 4Ever the top of the seat has a position adjust harness, which helps guarantee that the straps are at the correct height for your child.


7. Make installation easy. There should be clear instructions on the seat itself and in the instruction manual. We took our car seats on a trip to California once and totally forgot to bring the manuals. It was really helpful that the instructions were printed on the seat. Choose a seat that explains installation with a diagram as well as text. I guarantee you will be installing seats a lot....and no matter how many times you do it, you will forget something. So clear and easy to follow instructions are a must!

8. Choose a seat that is easy to clean. Trust me on this one. Kids make a mess. They get sick in the car. They have blow-outs. Pick a seat that has an easy to remove and washable cover.


9. Consider how your family will grow. Will you need to line your back seat with three car seats? Do you have a van? Are you able to reach each car seat to be able to adjust the straps and properly secure your child? These are all questions you need to ask yourself and talk it through with your spouse. We ended up buying a van when I found out I was expecting baby number three. Our oldest, Hudson, would be 4 and a half when the baby was born and would still need assistance getting in and out of a car seat....so we carefully planned where each child would sit so that I could reach each of them.


We purchased our Graco 4Ever car seat at Walmart.com and it was delivered to our house in two days! I really wish I would have just purchased this seat for each of our kids from day one. I love how it grows with your child. Each of Graco's car seats are rigorously tested to meet or exceed US safety standards. They provide a safe ride for your child from infancy to youth. Graco makes quality car seats that are affordable, and has a great line of seats to choose from, all available at Walmart!

Check out the video I put together detailing our experience with the Graco 4Ever!




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10 Ways to Sleep Better Tonight, Even if You Have Kids

October 4, 2017


As a mom of three, I'm pretty well practiced in functioning on not enough sleep. It's no fun, but it goes with the territory of being a mom. But that doesn't mean I can't make the most of the few precious hours of sleep I do get each night! Along with diet and exercise, sleep has the power to change your life. Every parent knows the importance of sleep to your overall well-being. And every parent also knows that having kids means you loose out on a ton of sleep. So it's critical that you prioritize getting in those zzzz's. You need to get enough sleep every night so that you can be the best for your kids...and for yourself. 

Sleep is hard to come by, so it's really important that you do whatever you can to make the most of any precious hours you can get. Here are a few of my tips for sleeping better at night:


1. Make your bedroom a haven. Try not to bring your laptop or work in to your bedroom. Your bedroom is for you and your spouse. Fill it with photos you love, scented candles, soft blankets, and soft lighting. I love to diffuse lavender while we sleep. It sets a calming tone in our room and helps us relax...and get better sleep! I'm also guilty of decorating every single room in our house yet leaving our master bedroom a hot mess. I'm working on a makeover, so stay tuned!

2. Invest in amazing sheets. This is my number one rule I learned from my mama. Quality sheets = quality sleep. Good sheets are hard to come by, so when I find some I like I buy multiple sets. We recently started putting these supima cotton sheets on our bed and they are crazy comfortable. They are really lightweight and help keep us cool at night.


3. Wash your sheets weekly. I know things can get busy with little kids around...but there is nothing quite like the feeling of fresh sheets. So strip that bed every week and make it a game with your kids! My kids LOVE to help change the sheets. It takes me at least three times as long with their "help" but I love that I'm teaching them good habits.


4. Invest in a quality mattress. For the past two weeks Jon and I have been sleeping on the Hybrid mattress from Tomorrow Sleep. It's designed to adjust to your body temperature and provide the support essential to restorative sleep. It's the perfect balance between comfort and support. We have the "medium soft" king-size and it's heaven. It's made of memory foam so it's conforms to your body...without making you hot. It's soft but supportive, so you don't feel like you are sinking in to it. I could lay on this mattress forever. 


5. Pick the perfect pillow. I prefer a plush pillow that is somewhat firm and thick. I sleep on my stomach or my side and am super picky! We have these hypoallergenic plus pillows from Tomorrow Sleep on our bed right now and both of us LOVE them. 

6. While I'm talking about pillows, remember to wash them! Ideally, you should wash your pillows every three to four months. I'm totally guilty of not doing this often enough. Most pillows are machine washable!

7. Keep your duvet from bunching up. I swear my husband has restless leg syndrome....so every morning his side of the bed is a mess. I love to use these comforter clips that work like snaps to keep our duvet nicely in place. They are soft so you don't feel them. Without these our duvet insert would end up drifting all over the place and that would drive me bonkers.


8. Get a comforter that's breathable and light weight. We live in Michigan, where it can get hot in the summer and really cold in the winter. I don't like to change our our duvet with the seasons...instead I opt for one that keeps us cool in the summer and warm in the winter. We currently have this down alternative comforter on our bed and really like it!

9. Keep your schedule. Every parent knows that a sleep schedule is important to your child's well-being...but guess what? It's important for you too! Go to bed early (I'm so guilty of this one) instead of staying up late watching Netflix and playing around on Facebook. You can do that later...like when you have kids that sleep through the night. Prioritize your sleep and you'll feel better all day.


10. Keep the kids out of your bed. My kids love to snuggle up in our bed and read books together...and that's fine. But when it's bedtime, they need to sleep in their own beds. Easier said than done, I know! Especially because a certain five year old sneaks in to our bed every night. Learn from my mistake and just say no to kids in your bed. 


Our Tomorrow Sleep mattress arrived in a big box...so no scheduling delivery was needed! If you are interested in trying out something from Tomorrow Sleep I have an amazing coupon code for you. Use code "RED10" for $100 off any $500 purchase!

Tomorrow Sleep provided me with a mattress, sheets, pillows, and comforter for this review, but all opinions are my own.  

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A Busy Mom's Guide to Dinner

October 3, 2017






Confession: Some days I feel like I have it all together. I manage to get myself dressed and ready, get the kids to their activities on time, and even make my bed. Those days seem to be few and far between now that we have three kids under age five! Our life is crazy, busy, and messy. For every day I have it all together there are at least five days where I forget Hudson's school bag at home, re-wash the same load of laundry three times because I keep forgetting to put it in the dryer, and remember at dinner time that I actually do not have anything to cook that night.

For those types of nights I love to find something all of my family will enjoy....enter Brann's Steakhouse. And no, I'm not crazy enough to actually take all three of my hungry children to a restaurant. Because I am smart enough to know that will only end in disaster. Thankfully, Brann's Steakhouse has rolled out a convenient new online ordering platform! You can order online or using their app! It's super easy, affordable, and perfect for a busy mom like me! 


Just open the app, and order your food! 


You can even pre-schedule orders so your food will be ready exactly when you want to pick it up!


These two were sure happy about ordering our food to go! They love enjoying a fun meal together....and I love not having to cook!


No mess, no fuss, and everyone is happy!


I ordered the prime rib, salad, and mashed potatoes. Soooo good. My husband ordered the ribs and they were mouth watering! I may have stolen a few off of his plate. 


Sadie enjoyed her food too! It's fun to have a meal where everyone gets to pick their favorite. We don't eat out often so it's a special treat!


Brann's Steakhouse has 10 locations across Michigan...and one of them is just minutes from our house. They have a great menu with nice selection of items the whole family can enjoy. 

Take a look at the video I put together of our experience.....you will not want to miss Sadie's cute cameo...trust me!



Visit Brann's Steakhouse to start your pick up order today!

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