Easy Kid Lunches

If I could change one thing about Paisley and Carson’s preschool it would be to have them provide lunch for the kids. Along with the struggle of “What’s for dinner?” I have to combat the “What are you making me for lunch tomorrow?” struggle too. Paisley is adamant on asking every day what I am making her, and if it will contain any “surprises” – aka candy. ha

The biggest obstacle I have is avoiding any peanut butter (for Paisley and Carson’s class) and egg products (Carson’s class). If I could use peanut butter, it would make packing a lunch way easier! But alas, kids have allergies and I do not want to be the parent to put another child in danger.

I have made up a few of my kids favorite options for lunches and am sharing the wealth! I pin a TON of lunch options, and am working on which ones my kids like the best. I love the Bento Boxes I bought the kids. They keep everything sectioned out for my semi-ocd kids and they do not spill! Plus they come with a cute spork and a flexible lid for the circular/dressing spot. The one down side is there is no room for their drink, it isn’t a problem for now with my kids but next year I am going to get Paisley a Bento Box lunch bag so it acts as a one stop shop for her lunch box and drink.

Here are a few that are sure winners in Paisley and Carson’s book!

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  • Pretzels
  • Snap Peas
  • Hummus
  • Clementine
  • Cucumber
  • Pasta Salad – Chopped ham, peas, cheese cubed, macaroni noodles, italian dressing

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  • Turkey and Cheese Roll Up – Cut up for Carson
  • Snap Peas
  • Strawberries and Blueberries
  • Chocolate Chips

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  • Turkey and Cheese Roll Up – Cut in half for Paisley
  • Snap Peas
  • Strawberries and Blueberries
  • Chocolate Chips

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  • Turkey and Cheese Sandwich on Whole Wheat Bread
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Goldfish Crackers
  • Snap Peas and Cherry Tomatoes
  • Hummus to dip

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  • Ritz Crackers
  • Turkey sliced
  • Colby Jack Cheese sliced
  • Celery and Cauliflower
  • Boiled Egg (already peeled)
  • Fruit Snack for “surprise”

I finally found some Silicone Cupcake Liners at Ikea which are the cheapest option, but they only come in pink. I found some multi-colored ones for my Amazon Prime peeps here, and for my Target lovers click here to find yours!

I would love to have more ideas to try! If you have any kid lunch ideas shoot them my way! Good luck pleasing those kiddos and have fun with it!

~xo~

Santa Visit and Christmas Party

Our neighborhood put on the most fun Christmas party this past weekend. My favorite part was seeing the kids reactions to Santa Claus! haha

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Carson was terrified at first, but eventually warmed up – he even gave him a high five before we left!

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Elizabeth never warmed up! As soon as she sat in his lap, the tears started…and didn’t stop until I snagged her back up.

Paisley loved every minute of it and asked him for real makeup! And a microphone…at least one is on her list!

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There were a ton of activities for the kids – face painting, balloon artist, glitter tattoos, coloring, ornament making – the list goes on! It kept our kiddos entertained throughout the entirety of our time there.

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We ended our time with a little dance party with Santa’s elves. Paisley of course loved it and Carson sat on the sidelines and watched – his go to.

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It is only the start of our Christmas season celebration and I am excited to continue to create memories with our kids. Next up, hot chocolate and touring the city Christmas lights!

~xo~

2017 Christmas Gifting Guide

With some input from the family, here is the Gettinger 2017 Gifting Guide (Check out the Valentine’s Day Round Up and last year’s guide for even more ideas)! And I have to start by promoting Ebates! If you do not have an account with them, but you online shop – you need to stop right now and sign up! It does not cost you anything. When you activate an account, add their Cash Back Assistant Button to your computer and anytime you are on a stores website it will notify you if you can earn cash back from that store! Plus at checkout, Ebates will let you know if there are any coupon codes for that site and will work through a number of ones to find you the best deal!

Another great program is Amazon Prime. When you first sign up, you have a 30 day free trial. Included is Amazon Music, movies and shows (my kids love this) and if you have an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot you can link your account and stream music, help with grocery lists, check the weather, stream Pandora and iHeart Radio, sports games, etc. PLUS 2 day FREE shipping – I think this is my favorite feature and well worth the $99 yearly fee.

For the Guys:

Brian had a limited list this year, but he realized that some new work threads were needed. He found some shirts that actually fit his tall and skinny self. Charles Tyrwhitt is the company and they are based out of London. Brian stated it was basically like picking out a custom-made shirt. They are offering all shirts for $29.95 (regularly they run over $100 each). If you have a guy who is hard to shop for, check these shirts out. Brian bought a few and has been rotating them through his work wardrobe. Super soft and he said they are long enough to stay tucked in! Just go here to get the deal.

Guys

For the Ladies:
I realized that the first item on this list is a pullover sweatshirt, that down here in Houston I will probably only wear once, but I love a good sweatshirt or cardigan so it makes the cut! Women love personalized gifts that have meaning. Find a good engravable necklace or bracelet and you will be set. I’ve added a couple of other items that are on my personal list, which hopefully will make my life a little bit easier!
Ladies
For the kids, we wanted the “big” gifts to be things we could do as a family. Check out your area for kid friendly activities with memberships that you will do often. We focused on the local Children’s Museum and the Zoo.
We also like to play games as a family, so finding kid-friendly games was a must. We added Let’s Go FishingGo Fish, and Memory to the list.
Kids
For Little Girls:
This list is based off of what ideas our daughter Paisley had. She will be 5 in February, so adjust accordingly.
For Little Boys:
For the boys, our son Carson is 2, so this list might be a little young. But as noted, our daughter loves the Playmags equally as much – we have Magnatiles too and found that there is no noticeable difference between that brand and the Playmags brand – except the Playmags are half the price!
For the Babies:
And we cannot forget the babies. Our daughter recently turned 6 months old, and is getting more mobile and using her hands. We opted with toys that require interaction with us, as that is how she learns the best – parent/child interaction and modeling!

Obviously this list is not exhaustive, but it gives you a pretty good head start. What are some of your favorites you have on your list? I love focusing on STEM toys for the kids – so if you have some good ones let me know!

~xo~

Flying with Kids- Updated!

Another week, another flight! This time we surprised my dad for his 50th birthday!!
By this point we do not consider ourselves experts, but with 10 one-way trips this year (all with kids) we know the ropes.
 
I previously wrote about how we flew with 2 kids, and now that Elizabeth has joined the club it is a whole new ballgame. Brian and I are outnumbered, so we put together a run down of how we make it through a flight with them all. 
 
-Side note: These are tips to fly on Southwest. Brian is A-List and he has companion pass. There are also affiliate links throughout that I make a slight commission off of, but do not charge you anything extra if you choose to purchase an item-
 
Night before:
-Charge Electronics
I am typically in charge of collecting all the electronics (Brian gets stuck folding the laundry or doing the dishes or loading the car!). Our kids don’t typically get electronics while at home, so this is a huge treat. They aren’t bored with the games or shows and love to have control over what they watch or play during the trip. We have an iPad for each kiddo – one with just shows and toddler type games for Carson, and the other with shows and games to meet Paisley’s skill level. Each kiddo has their own headphones, so they can watch their show and we can have some peace and quiet. We download shows and movies from Amazon Video using their app. Once downloaded, you can view the shows for 48 hours from the first time they are watched – you can access Amazon Video with your Amazon Prime Membership
 
Paisley also has a LeapPad Platinum that has a bunch of games on it for her to play. Check the App Store on the Leapster for good deals for downloads. I recently bought 12 full games for under $100.
 
-Pack Headphones
We found the cheapest, most old school ones work the best. They are easily adjustable and fit the kids ears. Our kids do not like the version that go inside their ears.
 
-Extra clothes for all kiddos
Even if your kids are potty trained, they might spill a drink or food on their clothes. It is always nice to have a back up set!
 
-Pack in separate carry on
My daughter has her own roller bag that she likes to be in charge of in the airport. All electronics and accessories plus a few coloring books, crayons and stickers go in her bag. We got her bag at Target. Her Lady Bug version is sold out, but there are a ton of different styles online!
 

I pack all the snacks (non-messy snacks i.e. fruit snacks, popcorn, pretzels, etc.) and toys (cars and books for Carson. Baby rings, rattles, etc. for Elizabeth)

 

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I make sure my nursing cover, 2 burp cloths, extra clothes for Elizabeth, and extra pacifiers for both Carson and Elizabeth are in this bag. I found it is easier to keep toys/games separate from diapers and wipes. I know which bag I need to grab and I don’t fumble through searching for it.

 

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-Child Restraint 😉

Carson is our adventurous 2 year old. He has a hard time staying in one place for too long. He hits his limit an hour and a half into a flight and wants to walk up and down the plane. When I flew solo with the 3 kids from California to Kansas City I bought this harness. It turns the airplane belt into a five point harness. Super easy to do and it keeps him in his seat. One good tip is to make sure your kiddo is NOT wearing slick pants. Carson wore slick basketball shorts and slid down the seat. I read somewhere to use shelf liner to prevent slipping. I will be sure to try that next time!

 

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-Brian’s Carry On
My husband likes to be in charge of the documents. I take the kids and he checks us all in. Brian puts all travel docs in his carry on/backpack. We usually just use our passports and stuff the birth certificates in the passports, that way they are all together for check in and security. 
 
Day of:
-Allow 30 extra minutes 
Kids come with a lot of surprises, so having the extra time allows for less stress.
 
-If you are traveling with a spouse, one of you parks the car while the other one stays with all the kids and your stuff at curb (hence the additional 30 minutes).

This eliminates some of the hassle and gives you a shorter walk to the check in counter with all your stuff! It is WAY easier to do this. Your other option is to park the car with everyone, drag your luggage and kids and carseats from the car, load them on the shuttle, unload them from the shuttle, lug them across the lanes of traffic and to the check in counter. We discovered the first version and haven’t looked back.

 

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-Bring a stroller
We love our BOB Double Stroller. It fits through a normal doorway width, and acts as our pack mule. I wear Elizabeth, Carson is in stroller and Paisley walks with her carry on. Carseats and carry ons get thrown on top to get us to the ticket counter and on through the airport. At security, you have to empty everything out of the stroller and TSA will test it. We have not had any issues and just load it back up with all our items to get to the terminal. 
-Buy carseat bags from Southwest ticket counter
Brian and I do not gate check the carseats, so we opt to place them in Southwest carseat bags ($17 at the ticket counter) and check them at the counter. The extra bonus is they are huge (this is also a downside – just ask Brian), but we typically can throw in “extras” that didn’t fit in the suitcase. We bought ours the first time we flew with Paisley, almost 4 years ago, and it has held up decent on all our flights. 

Kid items do not count towards your bag totals (carseat, pack n play, stroller). But if you do not need them at the final destination I suggest you leave them at home! Just more junk to haul around.
We gate check our stroller, just so we don’t have to carry everything through the airport. Plus it keeps Carson contained for the critical time in security line and walking to your gate. I wear Elizabeth the entire time. I have the Lille Baby Carrier and I can get through security without having to take her off.
 
-Security
Brian leads our security line (he has all documents to show TSA at once). He has A List Status, so we all get to skip the long line and tag along with him. Adult will have to have empty water bottles, but kid cups are okay to have liquid – they just test them once you get through the security screening. If you are traveling with kids, you will most likely have your snack/diaper bag flagged.

Depending on the TSA agent and airport, you all can go through the metal detector as a family or they will split you up. Brian usually goes through the Xray machine, but myself and the kids go through the metal detector. Once through, Brian wrangles the kids and stuff while I get my hands tested (because I keep Elizabeth strapped on). 
 
Once you get through security it’s smooth sailing. Breathe easy! You are almost there! If you gate check your stroller or any carseats, just go to the desk at your gate. They will issue you a tag for the items and you will drop them at the end of the walk way before boarding the plane.  
 
-Boarding the Plane

Since you will be flying with kids (at least I assuming so because you made it this far on the post! ha!), you can board in between the A group and B group – as long as you have a child 12 and younger. If you were diligent and checked into your flight on time (24 hours prior to your flight!) and got A boarding group, then just board with the A group – obviously! 

Brian has his fancy A list boarding pass, so he boards the plane first and takes his carry on plus another bag. He gets on and saves us an entire row, plus the aisle seat right across the aisle. We try to aim for a row closer to the front of the plane (de-boarding the plane goes quicker, and this is the time the kids are usually the most antsy). I board with the kiddos during family boarding (between A and B groups). There is no “line” for family boarding, just kind of gather by the check in station.

-On the Plane
Because Brian boarded before us, he has time to set up Carson’s harness. It just slips over the seat back (under the tray behind his seat) and has two holes where the seatbelt slips through. Once he is situated, we set Paisley up with an Ipad or Leapster. She is a flying champ! Literally all she asks for is snacks. Carson is our wild card – sometimes we whip out the Ipad right away, or sometimes he can handle just hanging out for a bit. We bring cars, building blocks or stickers to entertain him, too. Play it by ear and do what works best for you and your kiddos. 

As much as it makes me cringe, we literally throw all “rules” out the window for flying. If the kids want to watch shows for the entire time, we let them. We bring extra snacks and some candy, in the chance they get antsy. I figure there are very few things that are more stressful than being the parent on the flight with the fussy kid (trust me, we’ve been those parents! It is NOT fun!). So instead of trying to win any “mom of the year” awards by bringing Pinterest worthy activities, we stick to what is easy! It makes the trip much more enjoyable for us, but also everyone else on board!

De-boarding the plane is a piece of cake compared to getting everything prepped for the trip. We just shove everything back into the bags, get the stroller and go. Balancing bags and carseats is always an adventure and challenge, but you have the worst part behind you…until it is time to fly home!

Have other tips and tricks? I’d love to hear them! Happy travels this Thanksgiving and Christmas Season!

~xo~

Mom Guilt- We All Have It

This has to be my biggest struggle to date. I have self-confidence issues, I would be terrible at a diet because I like candy and ice cream too much, I have a hard time following through with a workout plan, my house is not perfect and my kids might look a mess because they like to dress themselves. The hardest thing for me to overcome is Mom Guilt. It is what is the underlying issue to all of the above mentioned “problems” in my daily life.

Self-confidence issues are a result of not putting myself first (or so I think). I have always been a giver – thinking of others before myself. That quality is great, as long as you take time to give yourself something back. If you are always focusing on others, you struggle to see what is good about yourself. You struggle to develop your talents and constantly compare your achievements to others.

Sticking to a diet means putting time in to plan, prepare and stick to a meal plan, a work out plan, and not making excuses – cue Mom Guilt and being a giver – we give so much to others that we rarely put any time to focus on our needs.

I wish my house was perfectly clean and I was able to stick to a cleaning routine, but again I feel that I should be giving attention to my kids and my husband – playing with them, taking care of them, helping to relieve their stress levels.

My kids get to choose their clothes, it is not a battle I want to fight, but it also fosters their independence and confidence in making their own choices. Mom guilt comes in when I drop my kids off at school and realize all the other children are wearing matching clothes and their hair is done (haha).

We all deal with mom guilt (dad guilt) all the time, every day. Our house did not get clean because we were playing with the kids. The house got clean, but now we feel guilty because we did not play with the kids. Mom and dad have a date night because we need it. Mom and dad should be there to tuck the kids in bed. I am still in my pajamas, but my kids are dressed to the nines. I got ready today and my daughter ate dinner in her pajamas. There is no way to win.

Today I went live on my Facebook page talking about the mega dose of mom guilt I had for taking a shower. I am a big believer on spending quality time with your kids. I try to avoid using the TV as a babysitter, but today I woke up in a terrible mood. I forced myself to spend time with the kids prior to my shower- playing cars, building Magnatile houses and coloring. After putting Elizabeth down I made the choice to take a shower. Momma need an attitude adjustment – aka time alone to relax and check something tangible off my daily to do list. So I put on the TV (it was at least an educational show) and took a little me time. The kids watched the show and built with Magnatiles for about an hour – and this momma got dressed, did my hair and makeup. It felt great!

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Carson’s Car House (and yes, that’s a purple pacifier in his hand…)

As soon as I got done though I was hit with some mom guilt. I should have woke up before the kids and got ready. I should have taken the shower during naptime. I should have blah, blah, blah…you know the drill. So many reasons how we could have done something different, better, etc.

I decided that it did not kill them to watch an hour of TV today. The saying “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” is a true thing. In our house, I feel that my mood sets the tone of the home. Taking it upon myself to get in a better mood was what needed to happen today. I took the shower. I did my hair. I even put makeup on! And I am giving myself grace.

So this is me, giving you grace the next time you want to take a shower because you NEED it! You need to take time for yourself, even if it is only 10 minutes. Self-care is a big deal. I wrote a few different posts about self-care, the importance of self-care and different ways you can take some time for yourself. We must fill our cups before we can fill others – an empty cup has nothing to share.

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My little bucket heads aka my bucket (cup) fillers

You have my permission to leave the dishes in the sink and take a bubble bath while you read a good book. You have my permission to sleep in, just this once, because you want to. You have my permission to snuggle those babies a little bit longer and let the laundry sit in the dryer another day. We all need to take a step away from being a mommy, a wife, a whatever- and remember what it is like to be YOU.

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My little ghost baby (PS- my sweater is on sale right now!)

~xo~

Mom Fashion Friday

Another week flew by! I am excited it is already Friday, but at the same time I cannot believe it went this fast. I not only have some Mom Fashion deals to share, but I have a new kid site that Paisley has partnered with that carries SUPER cute and hand sewn designs for both boys and girls. A special code will give you 15% off your order – check for it in the Chocolate Soup Brand section of this post.

As you know, I LOVE Pink Blush. They have both women’s wear and maternity wear. Most of the maternity wear can be worn post-partum, which makes me love them even more. It is so easy to transition the pieces from bump to baby! This floral peplum shirt is my new fave. It hides the belly so nicely and is a great length on me. I’m 5’7″ and it hits perfectly. I have the coral version, but it also comes in a blue and black color.

Some other favorites from Pink Blush I have already posted about, and you can find them here and here. I have this Navy Maxi dress, but I do not have pictures of it yet. Super comfy, hits the floor (which is one of the main reasons why I love it) and nursing friendly!

Another new company that I have found is Poppy & Dot! I am waiting on my first piece from them, but found a bunch of simple and cute (and reasonably priced!) pieces. I am loving the Midi Dress for an upcoming wedding I have this fall. I think the navy color would be perfect! It is under $50 and has pockets! PLUS if you shop their main site and enter the code kallieG10 you will get 10% off your order! win-win! When I get my pieces in, I’ll be sure to take some pictures for you all!

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Last one today is a new kid’s line that I recently discovered. The creator of this shop, Brittany, and I went to high school together. (Check her out on Instagram here) Paisley was chosen as a brand rep and received the CUTEST peplum tee with her name embroidered on it!

I also just purchased this KC Birdie Tee and this Be Royal Tee! Even though we are California peeps now and soon to be Texas peeps…she will always be a KC girl at heart! Check out Chocolate Soup Brand and use the code PAISLEY15 to get 15% off your order.

I keep finding good boutiques and shops on Facebook (partially thanks to Casey and Shay!), so I will be sure to highlight them when I find them…mainly so I do not feel guilty being the ONLY one spending all the money! You have to suffer along with me, with all these cute clothes! haha

Happy Friday all!

~xo~

Another Self Reflection Moment!

It has been almost 3 MONTHS since I sat down and threw my thoughts on paper (not actual paper, but you get the idea…). This whole new baby that makes 3 kids + trying to sell a house is NOT easy. I am struggling with organizing my time and my day, but I should get points for trying. This topic has been on my mind for a while and I am working through some personal things with it, so I figured why not put it all out there – be SUPER vulnerable – and see what you all think!

I have always compared myself to other people, finding flaws in me and pointing out the good in them. What I realized is that does nothing positive for me at all. All it does is continue to make me feel bad about myself. Last weekend, my husband went to Arizona for a Fraternity Leadership School and I gave him the hardest time for leaving. I was stuck here in California with no family and my three kids (I promise I love them, but doing it on my own is HARD!)…I had this crazy idea to drive the kids and myself 15 hours to our family reunion in Utah…did I mention I’d be doing it ALL BY MYSELF?!?!?…just to get out of being alone for the weekend….crazy talk right? Well let me reassure you that the trip most definitely did not happen. And the weekend actually was not all that bad…who knew! ha

The thing about this trip that I wanted to take was that Brian felt very strongly that I should not go. I, of course, jumped immediately to some fault he was suggesting I had (not the best driver, could not handle it, would want to turn around after a few hours, etc.) and not the actual reason he was against it – he did not want anything to happen to me and the kids. Our car has been slightly wonky lately and he did not want to put our lives in the somewhat un-trusty hands of that car. I only realized this conclusion after he had left and I sent a rant worthy text to him about the situation. It was then that I realized I had, yet again, looked at my own faults rather than searching for my strengths. He was not trying to bring me down even more – he was wanting to protect me.

All of this brings me back to what I continue to refer to in multiple posts, that I am still struggling to appreciate myself and what I am worth. I feel like I can trace this back to middle school (although it most likely has gone on longer than that!), but I for sure can pinpoint different situations in middle school that continue to feed this negative self-image and viewing others’ lives as WAY better than mine. I received a strong “kick in the butt” from my wonderful husband yet again. The text message he sent in response to my somewhat snarky rant said many things, but one important piece stuck with me. He said “If we are not happy, we only have ourselves to blame”. He is so right. I am the one to blame for my unhappiness. I am the one that can change my thoughts. I am the one that has to change how I feel about myself. I am the one who can make our house a home. I am the one who has to force myself to remove focus on others and put a little focus on myself. I am the first to say I need a break and the first to say no when given the opportunity.

I believe strongly in the statement there is no such thing as a coincidence. My mom is such a positive influence in my life and she continually reminds me of this thought. She says that God has a plan for all of us and these “coincidences” are His way of letting us know He is there and that all things will work out.

If Brian had not gone on to Leadership School, I would not have sent the mean text, which would result in Brian not having to send his reply. If all of this did not happen, I would have never heard the words that I so desperately needed to hear. I am terrible at putting myself first and seeing myself in a positive light. This text made me realize that I am doing myself and those around me a disservice. The more miserable/jealous/incompetent/etc I see myself, the more that projects onto others.

The more I write these thoughts down, the more I hope they stick. So here is my somewhat apology for continuing to repeat these themes throughout some of these posts. I need them repeatedly throughout my life so that I can take them to heart. My hope is that the more I express my frustrations, the more likely I am to work out these personal issues and get past it. I am surrounded by wonderful people in my life who continually remind me of my worth. My mother continues to remind me that I am who I am supposed to be. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter and a daughter of God. I am special. My husband loves me unconditionally – even with the constant self-put downs and nagging. Out of all the people he could have chose, he chose me! My children need me to be the best mommy I can be – and the example that I set for them about self-image and worth needs to be positive. There are so many other people who influence my thoughts and I thank you for being one of them!

If you have made it this far then I thank you! This is a deep down and personal issue that only I can change. Bare with me while I work through this, as it is all an attempt to better myself – for myself – but also for those around me. Here goes another attempt at resetting my internal thoughts and forcing myself to point out the positives! We are always a work in progress – and as long as we are progressing, then that is enough. We are enough.

~xo~