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~

The Last Year of My 20s

I feel like I have posted a lot about reflecting on my past – days, weeks or years – and over time I find that it helps me refocus on changes that I have said I would work on, or focus on what skills I need to improve on.

I write this today on my birthday – my 29th birthday, a.k.a. the last one before the big 3-0! I want to focus on the past year and all the changes that have occurred which bring me to where I am today – a nervous wreck half the time, and a well managed/organized pleasant person the other half! ha

Last year, Brian and I packed up our belongings and moved to California. A land we had never lived in before, where we knew no one. It is by a HUGE blessing from God that we landed where we are. The friends we have here are AMAZING and I’m so glad we felt the need to buy the house we did. We’ve been blessed beyond measure in both Brian’s career opportunity as well as our family’s well-being with this move and leap of faith.

We also had the pleasant (and some what scary) surprise of getting the chance to welcome a new baby into our family. Everyone says the 3rd kid is what did them in…so we welcome all the positive thoughts and baby wisdom you have! We are very excited, but at the same time a little nervous to see how this one goes.

Every time I feel overwhelmed, I think back to my daily scripture study and how that is helping reassure current decisions we make and my mothering skills. Through countless trials and tribulations, there are many examples of people overcoming these fears through trusting in the Lord. That is what I am aiming to do. I know there are feelings of insecurity throughout my daily life (in all aspects!), but putting my trust in Him is only helping me push through. This faith and hope of good is what helped us get to where we as a family are today.

If we hadn’t trusted Him with a move to California, the house and ward we are in, and the thoughts of adding another baby to our family I’m not sure where we would be. Brian and I have grown closer as a couple and stronger as parents. Our children have met some pretty amazing friends and found out what it is like to strengthen those relationships. We have been blessed beyond measure as a family and both Brian and my testimony have grown!

Even though I’m a bit nervous about this upcoming year, I am excited to see what it brings. Our new baby will be here in a month or so (OMGOSH!!!!!), a new sister (Cannot believe my brother is getting married! But so excited for their future!!!), and there is an upcoming BIG changes for our family – will give more details when we know more! Reflecting on the past year and seeing all the positives, blessings and joys we experienced only makes me that much more excited for the last year of my 20s!

~xo~

2 Kids + Airplane = Travel Chaos

To say that we travel a lot is an understatement. With all our family outside of California, holidays and other times throughout the year you can find us on an airplane or buckled up for a long journey.

I wouldn’t say we are “experts” in this whole traveling with kids thing, but I would say we are pretty good at it by now (ask me in a few months if traveling with 3 makes me change my tune. ha).

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Carson has been traveling back and forth to California since he was 7 weeks old ( I do NOT recommend traveling with a baby this small…or at least don’t expect to get much house hunting done with a baby this small. Their no-schedule phase is not a pretty one when trying to navigate a new area, with WAY more traffic than necessary, and “sight-see”). When it was just him and he was that young, I needed way less stuff than I do now. I could get by with the diaper bag, a carrier or wrap, a few changes of clothes (for him and I…just in case), snacks for me and a good book. Things have changed now that he is 18 months and Paisley accompanies us on all our flights!

In the past year visiting California and since moving here, we have flown at least 5 times with children. Typically with both children and a WHOLE bunch of luggage.

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Our last trip, we met up with our family in Las Vegas and spent a few hours driving to Phoenix for Spring Training (which was a blast, check it out here). We finally had an ah-ha moment when packing for this trip. Previously, we used a shuttle service, lugging all our bags and 2 car-seats from our car to the shuttle, from the shuttle to the check-in counter – which is a nightmare when you only have 4 capable hands to really do all the work. It is a miracle if we travel with less than 5 checked items (3 suitcases and 2 car seats), add in two kids and we definitely look like a hot mess. Brian came up with the genius idea to drop myself and all of our junk at the airport prior to parking the car at the shuttle company. That way it would eliminate the biggest hassle of 2 unnecessary loading and unloading of junk – and the balancing act of getting all that cargo from the shuttle drop off to the check-in counter.

This little idea has saved us so much stress. You do have to account for an extra 30 minutes or so in your travel time, but it is well worth the headache. Paisley, Carson (that way we can get car-seats out, too) and I wait at the curb while Brian  parks the car and hops on the shuttle. Once he meets up with us, we only have a short commute to the check-in.

We don’t typically bring our stroller, as it is one more thing to mess with, but on the Arizona trip, we had our BOB Double Stroller, which came in big time – carrying more than just Carson. We stacked both car-seats, clipped on our carry-on bags (using this handy Mommy Clip), and threw on a few other smaller bags, so we had more hands available for pulling the larger bags. Paisley is also a huge help and loves to pull luggage, so she gets a bag to take to the counter as well (always a helper!). Once bags are checked, the rest of the trip is easy-breezy.

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For the actual plane ride, Paisley again is a champ. Just give her an iPad  loaded with some fun games and she is set (not even embarrassed to admit that this is our go to!). Carson is fine flying as long as there are enough snacks to pass the time (seriously he might eat the entire time). My travel bag of choice is Stella & Dot’s Getaway Bag and here’s what inside (and yes it ALL fits in this bag!):

  • Snacks – I can’t say this enough. We as adults get bored and want to munch, so it’s no surprise our kids are the same way. Go with the most loved and least messy. There is nothing worse than gunk all over your pants or your stuff. We love applesauce in these reusable pouches made by WeeSprout (click here for my more in depth review). Throw in extra fruit snacks, crackers and always have a water bottle for each kid. We love this Munchkin Snack Container and this these Munchkin no-spill cups!
  • Books – Carson is in to textured books, flap books and interactive books. His favorites are First 100 Trucks and Things That Go, On the Farm , and Moo Baa La La La (really any book by Sandra Boynton, she’s amazing!)
  • LeapFrog LeapPad – Paisley refers to this as her “green iPad”, but it is full of educational games, a note pad and music player. Her favorite is the camera feature!
  • Color Wonder Markers and Books – These are super kid friendly and virtually mess free. They make a bunch of different character themed books and markers, so you can easily customize this to meet your kiddos loves!
  • iPad – This is easily Paisley’s favorite accessory we bring on the trip (Carson is slowly realizing it’s amazing power! ha). But we load it with some fun games and shows that she gets to control. I am sure to download a few of her favorite movies (just be sure you have enough storage) from the Plex app. Her favorite games involve puzzles, matching, sorting and coloring (and it makes this momma feel less guilty knowing they are “educational”…right?!?)
  • Pacifiers – I am admiting that our 18 month old still relies on his paci to self-soothe and relax. And I’m not ashamed of it. He is so much different than Paisley in that respect. Getting rid of the paci is just not a battle we are ready to fight yet…so we typically have 3 on us whenever we travel. It’s just a good rule of thumb!
  • Blankets – Each kiddos gets to bring a blankie with them, and both typically opt for their aden + anais muslin blankets. Huge perk for momma is that they weigh practially nothing!
  • Headphones – Nothing special for Paisley, just a set like this to help her hear her games and movies better (and it saves this momma plus the others around us from having to hear them!)

By the time we fly anywhere again, we will have 3 kids and Carson will have his own seat. This could be a game changer for us, so I’m anxious to see how that goes for the first time. All I know is I get my own row with the new baby and Brian gets to share the row with Paisley and Carson…what could go wrong?!? haha

I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for flying and/or traveling with kiddos. The more ideas we share the easier it will be for everyone!

~xo~

Our Life Lately

Everyone loves a good vacation. My least favorite part is returning home and getting back in to the routine. My motivation is lacking and my kiddos are a mess!

Today was a day like no other. Paisley woke up angry…pushing Carson, hitting, kicking and screaming. Seriously, this girl was from another planet today…and to top it all off she peed her pants outside. (Bath time for both kids! Yay!)

It has just been one of those days where I counted down the minutes until I could put the kids down for nap and cross something off my list that I’ve been meaning to do for a few weeks now!

If you guys follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ve seen our latest DIY projects and the finished outcome. My #handyhubby struck again in a HUGE way these past few months. He built me a console table, an entry way table, and helped paint our kitchen and kitchen cabinets (we had 57 cabinet doors to paint…he’s a real winner for real!) So thankful for this guy!

Not a long post, but one we’ve had people requesting since things have been done. So here ya go friends!!

Kitchen before:

Kitchen After:

We went with the trim color for the white cabinets (thanks Moriah for having a handy dad with a paint sprayer!), charcoal blue for the island, and grey for the walls. Every time we walk in it feels so weird seeing it so light and airy! Loving the change.

My hubs also went on a carpentry kick and busted out this TV console and Entry Table (both plans can be found at ana-white.com) in a weekend. Our living room finally feels complete and put together. Loving these pieces and the man who made them!

What do you guys think?? Who else has that #handyhubby who will do just about anything their crazy, hormonal, pregnant wives ask? ha. Love ya babe!

~xo~

SoulPancake – Advice

I stumbled on this video on SoulPancake’s Facebook page. Just felt the need to share it here. I love hearing from others and think you could benefit too!

If you have never seen a video from SoulPancake, then you HAVE to check out their page. They post the best “feel-good”, and thought provoking videos. I just love how they capture what truly goes on in every person’s head on a daily basis – and put it out there for the world to see.

I will start to regularly post some of their videos, just to break up the negativity I see throughout my daily life!

Enjoy!

~xo~

Valentine’s Day Gifting Round-Up

Quick little gift guide for all those who need it! Valentine’s Day is coming quickly. Let me know what you think!

For Her:

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Diamond Initial Necklace: Gift her something she will love. White or black diamonds, 14k gold or white gold necklace. Get the first letter of her name, first letter of her last name, or a letter for each of her kiddos. These look great worn alone or layered.

Leather 3-in-1 Crossbody: Stella & Dot has been killing it lately in the bag department! This beauty can be worn 3 different ways, one of which converts to a clutch for those classier nights. I am also loving the new Sloane Bag. It comes in a fun spring mushroom color or a neutral saddle.

Engravable Bar Necklace: Personalization is the new ‘it’ thing these days. Engraving is included on this necklace and you can get kids names, wedding date or special coordinates. PLUS if you choose the gold finish, you can get it for $19.99 when you spend $50, now through Monday February 6th! Get her a $50 e-gift for later and the engravable necklace for now. Win-win!

Date Night Shoes: I just went to Target today and am LOVING all of the shoes they have out right now! If your date is more casual (ice cream and a stroll), you need to get her these Dolce Vita slip ons! I bought the pink suede version, but they have a cute black style too. For a more dressy date night I love these Journee Collection Peep Toe Pumps, these Merona Wedge Sandals, or these Dolce Vita Peep Toe Booties.

Planner and Pens: In my book, you can never have too cute of a planner or too many pens. Especially colorful pens! Target has a bunch of planners, but I’m loving this style. I also have a Mormon Mom Planner and like the way the daily calendar is laid out, the monthly planner and room for notes, budgeting, monthly goals. It is all in one place. My favorite pens are either Sharpie Pens or Staedtler Pens

Graphic Tee: I completely ruined my Valentine’s Day already and opened my present! Usually Brian ships gifts to his office, but he forget this time. When it arrived I didn’t recognize the sender and opened it! It was a sweatshirt from Saturday Morning Pancakes. Her graphic tees and shirts are amazing and this sweatshirt is SO soft! He got me a small and it fits over my prego belly! I’m loving this tee too.

For Him:

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Jord Wood Watch: Unique wood watches that come in a variety of wood colors and watch styles. I am loving these two options the best tho! Frankie Series and Dover Series

Pocket Squares: If your hubby likes to show off in a suit, let him customize it a bit with a splash of color or pattern from a pocket square. Found these Pocket Squares these on Amazon and they offer a variety of color and pattern options.

Tie Clip: Finish off the chic suit look with some tie clips. Brian is gigantic, so a tie clip is an absolute must-have. I love these tie clips, that gives him some options.

Fit Bit: Brian is loving his Fit Bit Blaze. It is similar to the Apple Watch, but doesn’t have built in GPS. Easily syncs to his phone and app. There are a bunch of additional band options, as well. Found this one on Amazon, but the options are literally endless.

Date Night Sneakers: I am totally a Nike sneaker girl, but for a date night or something that needs a bit more class I love these Timberland sneakers I got for Brian. They go with everything. Saw this pair of Steve Madden’s that look great!

For That Little Girl:

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Necklace & Bracelet Set: Paisley loves this set. It’s her “long necklace”. Bright coral beads with a sparkly flower brooch and grey ribbon. Matching stretchy bracelet finishes the look.

Earring Trio Set: Silver ribbon earrings, pearl and heart earrings set. Perfect for a girl with new ear piercings or to add to her collection.

Friendship Bracelet: This cute adjustable bracelet comes in silver or gold, with braided string and a fun tassel. Wear it alone or stack it with other pieces. Get one for you and one for her for a matching set!

Notebook: Get her a fun and stylish notebook for all those doodles, homework or notes! This one from Amazon is super cute and holds the staple girl anthem! 😉

Love Tee: I love finding shirts that not only fit holidays, but that Paisley can wear year round. This one looks great with jeans or leggings (because that’s all Paisley will wear!).

Kid Safe Knives: Paisley has asked me daily to help cut veggies in the kitchen. Meal prep can sometimes be a hard time to keep the kids happy and get dinner ready. I found these knives from Amazon and we had the chance to test them out tonight! She chopped carrots (with a little help from me making them skinnier) while I did the onions and broccoli. It was SO nice to have a helper and keep her occupied.

~xo~