That Time We Attempted to Camp with Our Kids + Played in the Leaves

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Several weeks ago we decided that we should give camping (with the kids) a try. Before making the decision to camp with the kids, we had decided that the first time we camped should probably be pretty close to home...or in the backyard.

Let me just start by saying that there were several things wrong with our first attempt at camping. One, the weather. It was far too warm (in my opinion) for camping, which obviously made it unbearable in a tent with four people. Two, we camped at home. I always thought that maybe trying it out at home would be best because, well, if it didn't work out we'd have option B (go inside). I think if we would have pushed through it may have been better. And three, we put Wyatt and Stella next to each other. Yea, that was a fail...cute, but a fail.

Stella and I ended up in the house by about 9:00--mainly because she wouldn't quit talking and singing. Wyatt and Sean pushed through, but after Wyatt fell off the mattress a couple of times and Sean spent the night sweating his butt off, they ended up inside about 1 am.
We're definitely up for giving it another go! So if anyone has any tips on camping with toddlers, I'm all ears! 

In other news...we've had so much fun playing in the leaves this fall. I'm not sure how we're going to feel when daddy burns them all!

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Our Thanksgiving Weekend

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Finally trying to get my act together after the Thanksgiving weekend. I feel like I'm so behind...and probably the only person who doesn't have a Christmas tree up (planning to get that done this weekend). But before we get into December let's finish up November with a Thanksgiving re-cap...

We hosted my brother-in-law and his family for Thanksgiving and we had a great visit. Wyatt and Stella loved all of the attention and playtime they had with their cousins. There was plenty of playing outside, some cuddles on the couch, lots of cooking & baking, and tons of eating. 

I'll just let the pictures do all the talking....



We had such a great time and we're all ready for more family time at Christmas!!

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Twenty-Five Acts of Christmas Kindness

Monday, November 21, 2016

With December 1st right around the corner, it's time to really start thinking about Christmas. This year I've decided to start something new with Wyatt and Stella and start teaching them what the Christmas season is all about. I've never done an Advent calendar with Wyatt and Stella but I'm excited to start this year.

25 Acts of Christmas Kindness

 I knew I wanted to do something meaningful with the Advent calendar, and something we could start as a tradition. I decided to create a list of different acts of kindness and incorporate one act for each day. What is better than teaching our kids about spreading kindness and giving back during the holidays? 

I reached out to some fellow mama bloggers to help in spreading Christmas kindness and we've turned it into an Instagram link-up. So each day in December there's a different act of kindness that you can do with your child(ren). You can link-up with us on Instagram using the hashtag #25DaysofKindness2016.

List of Christmas Kindness

Hope you'll join us throughout December and share how you're spreading kindness this Holiday season!

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Behind the Scenes: Raising Toddlers

Thursday, November 17, 2016

I shared this picture yesterday on social media. It's perfection--my two babies loving and laughing together. Unfortunately, as we all know, life is not perfect. No one's is, as much we'd like to present it that way.
Raising Toddlers
 But really, life lately has not been perfect at all. It's been hard. Wyatt has really been testing me, mainly just not listening. To put it in more of a direct way, he's been defiant. Defiant, my sweet little boy??  And Stella, well, she has learned a few bad habits from school (and her big brother) that have not been so fun--hitting, pinching, grabbing. 

Y'all, I was a teacher of first graders, 22 of 'em at a time and I'm pretty sure it was easier. Unfortunately at home I can't just send them to another class or the counselor, or whatever. Nope, I have to take care of the situation, and at at the same time teach my kids to be respectful human beings. It's such a stressful job, raising these little humans. Really exhausting.

Don't get me wrong, it's not all the time. But when you're with them all day, it really feels like it is. We have started a new behavior sticker chart and so far I have seen some positive results. I hate being negative and disciplining them all the time, so I'm hoping we can turn things around and be more positive. They're both so sweet and love to give and show love, I just would like to see that more often.

It's hard to constantly be thinking about what you're doing and how you're doing it. Am I disciplining correctly? Did I just overreact? Are they going to remember how often they were in timeout when they're older??? I just want to raise happy, healthy, respectful people, and all we can really do is pray for the best. Pray that what we do all day as parents works the way we planned.

So anyway, that's just a little bit of reality and what's been happening behind the scenes in our house. Anyone else feeling overwhelmed with raising toddlers/kids? 

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Entertaining Kids While Out & About with the KidloLand App

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Anyone who has to get out and about with toddlers, knows that it is not always the easiest task. From grocery shopping, to sitting in the doctor's office waiting room, and every errand in-between, we have all experienced bored & restless toddlers. 

Just this Fall Stella started taking dance lessons and Wyatt started taking a gymnastics class. No, they're not at the same time. So, yes, that means I spend two hours a week sitting & waiting with a restless toddler next to me. 

everything's hunky dorey

I've always been a fan of education children's apps; anything with puzzles, letters, stories, etc, I'm a fan. It makes me feel so much less guilty when I can feel like the kids are at least learning while having screen time. Cue, the KidloLand App. The KidloLand App offers such a variety of activities for kids ages 1-5.

Both Wyatt and Stella have really enjoyed having the KidloLand app. The app features 20+ activities that include: Numbers (1-100), Vehicles, Weathers & Seasons, and many more!  Wyatt prefers the Stories and Fables, while Stella prefers the Songs and Popping Time games. There are so many activities that it's hard for them to get bored because they can just move on to a new activity. It's also really easy for both of them to toggle through.

I think my favorite part is that KidloLand is available offline. Yep, that means you don't have to use your data or be in a location with WiFi. That means that while I'm sitting in gymnastics watching Wyatt, Stella can easily entertain herself.

 If you're interested in KidloLand and want more details then check in your app store:

Disclosure: KidloLand offered the kids and I a free 6 month trial in exchange for our honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
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Secret Santa: Mommy and Me Book Exchange

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

 I'm so excited to announce that I'm teaming up with Courtney from Sweet Turtle Soup and Liz from Chasin' Masonour for our 3rd annual Secret Santa Mommy and Me book exchange! We had so much fun last year that we couldn't wait to do it again!

 Now that Halloween is behind us, we all know that everyone has Christmas on the brain. What better way to kick off the holiday season than with a fun book exchange?!

Nothing sounds better than curling up with the kiddos and reading books on cold days. But what to read? Enter Secret Santa Mommy and Me Book Exchange ... where both mom and the child get a fun gift! Win, win!

Sounds fun, right?! If you're interested, please "RSVP" (so to speak) to the Secret Santa email listed : 

Please note : Participation in the book exchange is only guaranteed if you email the specific email. Please feel free to comment below if you are interested (and to share your excitement about the exchange!) but please please please also make sure that you email in. The latest date to RSVP is Friday, November 11th (this Friday! so don't delay!). 

When you email, please make sure to RSVP and say you would like to participate, as well as include:

- your full name
- your mailing address
- blog URL (if you have one)
- a list of 6 books for you and 6 books for your child - the books can be any books you like (they don't have to be holiday themed but they definitely can be if you want).

There is no spending limit for this exchange but I'd say plan to spend about $20-25 BEFORE shipping. If possible, try to include various price points in the books that you suggest to your partner as well.

Partners will be chosen around November 12th/13th and emailed out to the proper people. Last day to mail your books to your Secret Santa is Monday, November 28thLink up with us with a blog post on Friday, December 9th sharing the fun books that you received. We know the holidays get crazy after Halloween so we wanted to give you all as much time to shop and ship before the post office and/or UPS and FedEx get crazy!

Oh, and one more thing, this exchange is open to US residents only OR international residents that have a US mailing address (PO Boxes or friends/relatives that you can pick up the box from work great!). I wish we could open it to everyone, but shipping internationally from the US gets insanely expensive sometimes. Sorry!

If you don't have a blog but want to participate that's totally fine! You can use #SecretSantaBookExchange on Instagram & Twitter!

We hope you will join us for this fun book exchange!

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Weekend Rewind {Farm Edition}

Monday, November 7, 2016

What an amazing weekend (well, minus the whole daylight savings thing). Fall is finally here and it couldn't have come at a better time! 

Over the weekend the kids and I headed to NW Arkansas to visit my dad's family and my grandparents. I had told Sean that I would give him a weekend "off" since I had one a couple weeks ago. So to the "sarm" we went! 

My dad has had a farm for about a year and this was my first time to visit! Needless to say, we all fell in love with it. Wide open spaces, beautiful views, and cows. When we arrived Thursday evening we headed straight there and the kids were in heaven; especially Stella, who has decided that cows are her favorite animal.

Friday morning everyone headed off to work and school so the kids and I headed to my grandparents place (right down the road). We spent the entire day with them and it was the best. They've lived in the same house since my dad was a kid, so to see Wyatt and Stella playing in the same places that I did is so fun.

  The kids rode "horses" (mine from when I was about Stella's age), blew up balloons, colored, played trains, ran around outside, and just enjoyed the time.

 After naps we headed back out to the "sarm" for a little cookout and hayride with family! Wyatt loved helping Grandpa, and playing with anything and everything he could find in his truck. Stella immediately went to the cows, our little cow herder.

 Saturday morning the boys headed back out to the "sarm" to do some work. They ended up being gone about 8 hours and Wyatt returned exhausted. While they were out there, the girl's headed out for some shopping (looking, rather), exploring, and tea.

We visited the cutest tea shop, Savoy Tea Co. They have the cutest decor, a large variety of teas, and the cutest little tea table for kids. There will definitely be a tea party in Stella's future.

 We ended our weekend with a family dinner, ice cream and some star gazing (sort of)...we found the moon. ;)  

We arrived home so happy to see daddy and our hearts were full with all the family time. I'm so excited about Christmas and seeing everyone again! 
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