Can’t Live Without It- Stickers!!!  

Last week I wrote about how I can’t live without our iPad due to our impending road trip. Now that we’ve been on said road trip, I have one more thing to add to the list. While the iPad and multiple episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Little Einstein’s and various movies did come in handy and definitely provided a plethora of entertainment for Brynlee and my niece, the real game changer was stickers!

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There were a few times when things got a little too emotional and a meltdown broke out (if one had a meltdown, it was pretty much inevitable that the other one would too) and since we had either a movie or TV show playing basically the entire drive, that obviously did not provide enough of a distraction to calm them down. Enter- stickers!

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Before we left, I hit up the Dollar Store and bought all kinds of things to go into an entertainment bag for the girls. They are both obsessed with Mickey Mouse and the Dollar Store is full of Mickey Mouse items. In addition to coloring books, crayons, Minnie Mouse posters with markers and a few small toys, I also picked up these two books of stickers.

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Oh my, did the girls love them! They had stickers everywhere! But it was worth it!! It calmed them right down and entertained them for quite some time! I was actually worried we would run out of stickers before we made it home. Luckily, we had enough and since returning home, I’ve learned that stickers are an invaluable part of mine and Brynlee’s daily life now. If I need 10-15 minutes to get something done- stickers, if she starts throwing a fit for absolutely no reason- stickers, if I just want to pee alone for once- stickers! They are a lifesaver!!!

Do I find them all over my house- yes! Is it worth it- YES!!!!

 I don’t know if it’s because they are Dollar Store stickers or what, but fortunately they don’t have a lot of sticking power. While she usually puts them on herself, if she does put them on a surface, I can go back later and easily peel them off. Let’s just say that after this discovery I will make darn sure that our house never runs out of stickers!

So, if you have a toddler and are in desperate need of a distraction tool, get your booty to the Dollar Store and stock up on stickers! I mean, you just can’t beat hours of entertainment for just a buck!

Don’t forget to head over to Stephanie, Laura and Cait’s and see what else everyone Can’t Live Without!

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Happy Weekend!

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Life Lately  

Whew! What a busy past couple of weeks! I’ve traveled out of town the last two weekends and while I do love to travel, bringing a toddler along with me makes it all the more exhausting! We had a lot of fun but I am glad to be home!

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My Aunt and I have made it a Memorial Day tradition to travel to Panguitch, Utah to visit family and dress the graves. Our family comes from the small towns of Panguitch and Circleville in Southern Utah and while we don’t have any remaining family in Circleville, we still have a lot in Panguitch and it is always fun to spend time with them. We always invite anyone who can to come with us, sometimes the hubby’s make it, sometimes they don’t, this year was a girl’s trip and we had a blast, even with traveling with two toddlers and a baby.

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*All loaded and ready to go, you can’t see my nephew in his car seat, but he is in there too!

Watching us get in and out of the car was comical, between the luggage, car seats and entertainment supplies for the little girls we were pretty loaded down. We joked that it took us 10 minutes each time we had to get in or out of the car, but I’m pretty sure that was a fairly accurate statement.

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*A particularly sweet moment during our drive. 

We left bright and early Friday morning and a normally 5.5 hour trip took us about 8 hours… I had packed a pretty full bag of fun stuff to keep the girls (Brynlee and my niece) busy and happy for the road trip, but we still had to make plenty of stops to let them get out and run around. We also had to make some fire drill stops on the side of the road to rearrange seating when a mommy needed to be next to a little to help calm them down. All in all it was better than any of us expected when travelling that far with our littles (especially Brynlee, she doesn’t exactly have the best track record in a car), but lots of snacks and lots of stickers definitely saved the day! My poor Aunt will be finding stickers in her car for the next year, I am sure!

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*Isn’t that chalk board wall amazing!

Once we finally got to Panguitch and got unloaded, we were treated to a delicious dinner at the restaurant our cousins just bought and renovated, The Original Kenny Rays, named after my uncle who passed away last year. I really love what they have done with the place and the loaded cheese fries were amazing!! If you ever happen to drive through Panguitch I would highly suggest stopping by and getting some!

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*We also had to make a stop at Henrie’s in Panguitch (it’s a must every time we are there), Brynlee ate her first corn dog and loved it!

We didn’t exactly have the best weather while we were there, it rained a lot and us Arizonians were freezing the whole time!!! I’m so glad I brought mine and Brynlee’s big wool pea coats to keep us warm!

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We did try to stop by the old Butch Cassidy cabin, he’s my Great Great Great Uncle and who I am named after, we wanted to get some pictures of the girls there, but thanks to the rain there was basically a pond covering the road in, hopefully we will have better luck next time.

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*Brynlee should have been in bed, but instead, insisted on pulling this musical thing around.

Most of the weekend was spent visiting with family and letting all the cousins play. I’m so glad Brynlee is getting the chance to know her cousins in Utah, this is her 3rd time there and I’m hoping we will have the chance to go many more times throughout the years so she can continue those relationships. Sometimes it gets hard with our busy lives to always go visit family when they live in another stay, but we try really hard to keep in touch. Family is so important to us and I want Brynlee to know all of hers.

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*Since Brynlee insisted on waking up so early each morning, I kept her busy with Mickey on the iPad so I was able to get ready

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*This is a rare occurrence that needs to be documented, Brynlee usually refuses to sleep in the car, but I’m so glad she finally did. 

As always, the weekend flew by and before we knew it, it was time to go home. Thanks to some very tired kiddos (Brynlee decided it was a good idea to wake up at 4:00am Utah time, 3:00am AZ time every morning we were there…) the ride home went a little quicker.

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*She wanted ALL the stickers!!!

Again, stickers saved the day when emotions ran high, as well as some movies, thank you cousin Karen for bringing those!

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*It’s so hard to not get a blurry photo of this little ball o’ energy!

When we got back to my Aunt’s in Sedona, the girls were more than ready to get out! All they wanted to do was run around on the grass, but apparently we brought the rain with us and before we knew it we had to head inside at which point Brynlee decided to steal the dog’s bed and relax for a bit. We ended up spending the night at my Aunt’s Sunday night, I felt too bad about putting Brynlee back in the car seat for the 2+ hour drive home. When we did get home on Monday, Brynlee was so excited to see Landon. I wished I would have filmed her reaction, it was priceless. The entire rest of the day all she wanted to do was cuddle him. It was so cute! She definitely missed her daddy!

I hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend! I am so thankful we were able to spend it with our loved ones and am so grateful to all those that serve, past and present, who have made special times like these possible. Thank you!

Meal Planning Monday (a day late)

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So sorry this is a day late. After a super busy weekend in Utah, I got home yesterday and was exhausted. My little is pretty exhausted from all of the vacation shenanigans too and that has resulted in a very temperamental little girl. Needless to say, I am ready for us to get back into our normal routines again!

So here’s our menu for the week (unfortunately the first part isn’t all that healthy, but hey, it was a holiday weekend, right? How’s that for rationalization?):

Sunday– Hamburgers and fries

Monday– Pizza (I was too exhausted to cook when I got home and this is what happens when I don’t meal plan)

TuesdayBaked Tilapia with Roasted Asparagas

WednesdayGrilled Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

ThursdayCrock Pot Santa Fe Chicken

FridayButternut Squash Black Bean Enchilladas

SaturdaySpaghetti Squash with Bolognese Sauce

Enjoy!

Can’t Live Without It- Road Trip Edition

Since we are leaving bright and early Friday morning to drive to visit family in Utah, I thought I would share a can’t live without it when traveling with my toddler, our iPad.

 

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Last summer we road tripped to Montana and long story short, Brynlee stayed awake pretty much the whole 17 hour drive which ended up totally about 36 hours of her staying up. We thought we had the brilliant idea of leaving at night so she would sleep that majority of the trip, but no such luck. As I am sure you can imagine, she was not in the best of moods during that drive.

I’m praying for a better experience this weekend. I’ve packed a bag full of goodies, lots of snacks, coloring books, markers and crayons, tons of stickers and some new small toys for her in hopes that this will keep her entertained, but if all else fails, I’ve got the iPad fully charged (with a backup car adapter charger just in case) and full of her favorite shows and movies. We also have ABC Mouse and a few other games on there for her to play if she gets bored of everything else.

We have this iPad holder for in the car and we use an Otter Box case for any other time, especially when Brynlee is playing games. I’m hopeful that all these preparations will result in a good road trip experience this time around, but let’s face it, she’s an almost 2 year old so who knows!

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*Doesn’t this look just say it all?*

Have you road tripped with a toddler, what works best for you? I’m always looking for more ideas to add to my road tripping repertoire.

I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!!!!

 And of course, today I linked up with Stephanie, Laura and Cait!

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Life Lately

*I really have to apologize for the picture quality, these were all taken with phones. As you can imagine, I was a little too nervous to take my DLSR to the lake, especially since so much rain was in the forecast.*

We spent this past weekend camping at the lake, we got rained on pretty hard Friday night and it was still fairly chilly Saturday morning, but by Saturday afternoon the sun was shining and by Sunday the weather was perfect!

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I still thought it was too chilly to do any wakeboarding, but Brynlee had a blast playing in the shallow water by the shore.

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Brynlee actually loved wearing her life jacket, which I was so thankful for! I was a little worried in the days leading up to the trip that it would be a constant battle of wills to get her to put it on.

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She also loved riding in the boat! She HAD to ride in the front and squealed and laughed whenever we went fast or over waves. If she was on shore and she saw someone else get in the boat she would throw a huge fit because she wanted to go on a boat ride so bad! It actually got a little ridiculous.

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Since we didn’t exactly have the most perfect weather while we there, we made sure we had plenty of onshore activities for the kiddos to do to. Painting birdhouses was definitely a favorite…

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And so was hanging out in this kayak…

I tried to take Brynlee for a ride in the kayak, but apparently I wasn’t going fast enough… All she wanted was to ride on the big boat.

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By the end of each day Brynlee was beat! She slept so well while we were there, which is a very welcomed change! Normally when we travel she barely sleeps at all, which makes for a very tired mama during our trips. I’m hoping that this isn’t a onetime thing since we are off once again this weekend to visit family in Utah. Eight hours in a car with Brynlee… wish me luck!

Meal Planning Monday

Its that time again, Meal Planning Monday!

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Let’s get right to it!

Sunday- One Pan Balsamic Chicken and Veggies

This is a great quick and easy dish for when you are in a hurry or too tired to cook.

Monday- Thai Zucchini Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Tuesday- One Pan Mexican Quinoa

This makes great left overs for lunch the next day!

Wednesday- Zucchini Noodles with Cilantro Lime Chicken

Thursday- Easy Garden Skillet

I usually double this recipe, it is absolutely delicious and you will most definitely want to go back for more!

Friday- Quinoa Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Saturday- Sweet Potato Noodles with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

I hope you are enjoying this new series! If you are looking for more healthy recipes, take a look at last week’s menu.

Happy Cooking!

Can’t Live Without It- Cheap Sunglasses

I have sensitive eyes… or maybe it’s the harsh Arizona sun, either way, I CANNOT leave the house without a pair of sunglasses on. I literally feel like I’ve been blinded and can barely keep my eyes open if I’m outside without sunglasses and driving without them is just a joke!

Back in our pre-Brynlee, dual-income days, I used to love buying designer sunglass. They were all so pretty and there were so many different designs to choose from.

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Nowadays, I have only two prerequisites, they have to be big and that have to be cheap! I don’t want to constantly worry about Brynlee pulling them off my face and scratching (or worse breaking) them. It appears she inherited my love of sunglasses and now owns more pairs than I do.

I don’t want to worry about throwing them in my diaper bag only to pull them out later covered in puff crumbs and who knows what else that might have exploded in there.

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And most of all, since becoming a mama and having a bajillion child related things running through my head at any given time, I don’t need to add worrying about my expensive sunglasses to the list. I can’t tell you how many pairs of sunglasses I’ve lost in the last 2 years, but it has been numerous!!

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earrings I necklace I top (unavailable)

Now, whenever I am out shopping and I happen across an inexpensive pair of sunglasses I snatch those baby’s up so fast you would think my life depended on it. My total investment for the sunglasses pictured above, $11! Yep, no worries here about losing, scratching or breaking any of those glasses. My mind is free to continue to worry if I am doing this whole parenting thing right and obsess over the last mistake I made while hoping to never do it again!

And of course, today I linked up with Stephanie, Laura and Cait!

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Happy Weekend!