Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Surviving a Roadtrip with a Toddler

Hey there friends!

You all know that we went on a family vacation a few weeks ago. With Labor Day coming up (at least here in the states) I wanted to share some tips that got us through the trip with a little one. This is a big travel weekend for a lot of people, and I know I was looking for any tips I could  get!



I didn't want to go too overboard, but I wanted to be prepared. The van we took had a drop down DVD player, which was great, but I didn't want Abbey watching movies the whole ride. Altogether she had her backpack, and a tote bag full of snacks, gifts and activities.

Here's what we packed:

1. A travel tray:
This was, hands down, the best $20 I spent on the entire trip. The tray I got is from One Step Ahead, and I adore it! It buckles behind your child, and it is soft so if you get into an accident it doesn't become a dangerous projectile. The pockets are wonderful for holding toys and snacks, and those edges kept me from having to pick things up every 5 minutes. I LOVE this thing.

2. A small cookie sheet
I got mine at the dollar store, and it ended up being the perfect size for the tray! Woot! This thing, combined with the tray were a power team! It made the perfect drawing surface/play table/storage device.
I made Abbey a couple of magnetic games, which kept her super busy.
I made her this ice cream game from Mr Printables (she's playing with it in the picture), and this magnetic paper doll from Make It & Love It. Not only were they great for the road trip, but because of the magnetic sheet on the back, they will last so much longer than regular paper games. Hooray!

3. Novelty gifts
I forgot to get a picture of all of these, sorry! Basically I bought some small gifts that I could give to Abbey every few hours. Something small, but novel to break up the monotony.
Here's what I ended up with:

  • A mini coloring book
  • A small box of glitter crayons (check the back to school section!)
  • An "invisible ink" activity book (my most expensive gift, at $5)
  • A dry-erase activity book (Target Dollar Spot)
  • A 4 pack of mini play doughs (Target Dollar Spot)

The play dough was by far the biggest hit.

4. A juice box holder
This was a $4 purchase that probably saved us tons of mess to clean up. Abbey is pretty good with juice boxes, but inevitably something will get squeezed when things are being passed around the car. This also let her keep her juice box in one of the pockets of her tray without worrying about getting juice everywhere. Win!

5. An activity bag
We loaded up Abbey's backpack with a bunch of her favorite things. We packed coloring books, story books, crayons, construction paper, a few Toddler Boxes, and her LeapsterGS.

All things considered, we had a great trip! I think Abbey watched one movie on the way out, and 2 or 3 on the way back (we split that trip into 2 days, and were pretty well exhausted!). I felt prepared, and Abbey stayed occupied.

I hope these help!

Be blessed!

Heather


Monday, August 27, 2012

Dream House: A Perfect Patio with World Market!

Hi friends!

We're a big backyard family. My parent's house has a huge backyard with a great deck. We eat dinner out there as often as we can. I think a house is incomplete without an outdoor space. So I did some "window shopping" at World Market. Love that place! They always have interesting home decor, and I was not disappointed as I looked for patio goodies! 

Here's what I found:

1. Outdoor Deck Tiles: We had a "patio" at our old house. Well, we had a bunch of cement paving squares in the back corner of our yard. These would be SO much cuter!
2. Pagoda Blue Adirondack Chair: I love me a good adirondack chair. Make it my favorite color? Sold.
3. Rio Carnival Stripe Umbrella: Who doesn't love a pretty umbrella? Especially when it matches your new adirondack chair in your favorite color!
4. Catalina Pool Lounger w/ Tray: Every good back yard space needs a lounge chair for reading. I love that this one has a little tray for your favorite beverage! There are cushions in all sorts of pretty colors.
5. Wood Outdoor Cooler: To keep those favorite beverages cold. duh.

World Market also has an amazing (seriously!) sweepstakes going on right now. Check it out!

Look at those prizes!


**Grand Prize package includes:

- A trip for two to to Santa Fe, New Mexico including hotel and airfare
- Hands on Southwestern Cooking class with Master Chef
- Personally signed glossy cookbook
- Multi-course dinner at the acclaimed Geronimo
- Southwestern Foodie Tour with a cultural kick
- A $1,000 World Market gift card

** There will also be 3 runner up prize winners that will each receive a $500 World Market gift card!

**The Gourmet Getaway Sweepstakes runs from August 18, 2012 until September 21, 2012.

**If you share the sweepstakes with 5 of your friends (via FB share or email) you can receive 5 additional bonus entries. This is part of the registration process when entering. Users can also enter daily for more chances to win.

You can enter the sweepstakes on World Market's Facebook page.
You can also find World Market here: Twitter . Google+ . Pinterest

I'm off to get my entry in!

Be blessed!

Heather

This has been a sponsored post for Pollinate Media Group. All opinions are entirely my own.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Our Week in Pictures

Hi friends!

We've had a good week around here! A good mix of work and play, which is always good.

We went to some of our favorite places to play.


I'm getting ready for the beginning of the school year transition at church. We're launching a new classroom, and a new training program! Fun!

I've been wanting to read this book for a while. I finally grabbed it from the library and it's fantastic!

We made homemade corndogs! Good idea, Mom. Maybe once we get the recipe perfected it will make an appearance here.

Hooray for pinterest projects! We did some ziploc bag color mixing, which then became ziploc bag letter writing. Good stuff!

Be blessed!

Heather

Friday, August 24, 2012

Have fun with LeapFrog GIVEAWAY!

Hi friends!

Who here loves LeapFrog? We're big fans around here. Abbey has had LeapFrog products ranging from toys to movies, and has loved every one of them. She loves that she's having fun, and I love that she's learning.

We recently got the chance to play with and review the new LeapsterGS.

Man, oh man do we love this thing! At first I was a little worried because the LeapsterGS is listed as being for kids ages 4-9, and with Abbey just turning 3 I wasn't sure if there was going to be anything at her level. Don't get me wrong, I want her to be challenged, but I want her to enjoy playing with this thing as well. My worries were completely unfounded! Are there a few games that are over her head? Yes. We play them together, and she is already picking up on new skills and becoming more independent (yay!). However, there are plenty of apps that are completely her speed.


There is a great coloring app, which is usually Abbey's go-to. She also loves the games that involve the camera. Oh yeah, did I mention that? This baby has a camera, and can take pictures and video! It's not just extra add-on either. There are apps that use the camera as part of the game play. It also has motion-based play capabilities (think smart phones and tablets) that involve actions like tilting and shaking as part of the games.


The LeapsterGS has a touch screen and can be used with just your fingers, but it also comes with an (attached!) stylus. Abbey prefers the stylus...not sure why. I am so impressed by the range of games and apps there are for the LeapsterGS. There are reading games, math and science games, everything! And the best part? Kids don't realize they're learning.

The one downfall I can see with the LeapsterGS is the price of the cartridge games. $24.99 for a game is a bit rich for my blood, BUT there is an online app store full of games, videos and e-books starting at $5. Total redemption.

I can see Abbey playing with this toy for years to come. Things like that don't come across all that often, so I get excited when they do.

Want to hear the best part??

I get to give one away!! WOOHOO!! The fabulous people at LeapFrog are giving me the opportunity to give you a super fun device.

That's right, enter below to win your very own LeapsterGS and game cartridge.
The giveaway runs through Sunday, and I will pick a winner on Monday. It's only open to residents of the U.S. Sorry international friends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Be blessed!

Heather

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Meet & Tweet

Hi friends!

I am beyond thrilled to be a co-host for this week's Meet and Tweet with Laura from Our Reflection!

Come on over and play along!

Next Thursday will mark our 7th month of consecutive weekly Meet & Tweet fun!
I've loved meeting so many wonderful people. A lot of which are friends I hold close to my heart.
Which makes this even a bit tougher....
Next Thursday, August 30th, will be our last Twitter Hop for a while.
My photography business has blessed me with more than ever expected,
so that's where I'll be spending my down time for awhile.

Now let's get this PAR-TAY started! 

Ready to make new Twitter friends?
Sweetness, just follow the rules.

RULES:
Link up your Twitter account, not your blog.
Follow your host and co-hosts. {The first 6 in the linky.}

HOST: Laura from Our Reflection

Thanks so much to my amazing co-hosts:
Heather from It's a Long Story
Tess from The Framed Lady
Brittney from Yellow Umbrella Deisgns
Alisha from Alisha & Brandon
Christine from The DIY Dreamer
Tori from Lil' Mrs. Tori

Loving this hop? Shout it out to all your friends!
The more the merrier.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Interested in being a co-host?
Email me for details at momsgonnasnap@gmail.com.

Thanks so much for linking up today!
Hope you've had fun and made some amazing new friends.

Save the Date! Next Hop: 8/30
Grab a button and add it to your blog!
Our Reflection
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Playing with My Camera

Hello friends

I don't even pretend to be a great photographer. I try to get the best pictures I can for the blog, but I don't always succeed. I have a camera that I consider to be somewhere in between a basic point-and-shoot and a dSLR. It has a pretty good manual mode, and I'm trying to master it. Someday I'll have a fancy camera, and when I get it I want to know how to use it!

While we were on vacation we had dinner at a gorgeous vineyard. I looked outside and could just tell that the light was about to be perfect. You know that gorgeous evening light? I HAD to get outside and play with my camera. I'm still learning, but I'm pretty happy with some of the shots I got.



I took some time to practice shooting into the sun, too. I'm pretty proud of those sun flares, not gonna lie!


Having pretty models is helpful too. Abbey and her Auntie Becca:

Silly time!



Not too shabby for a little ol' camera.

Be blessed!

Heather

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mommy Mondays- Dream House:Bedrooms

Hi friends!

I just noticed that there are a few new kids around here. Welcome, I'm glad to have you!

It's time for my next Dream House installment.

As much as I know what I want in a kitchen, is as much as I DON'T know what I want in a bedroom. The things I have pinned totally run the gamut. No common threads here, my friends!

Let's get to it!

I love this one from Chipping with Charm. I'm not usually a huge fan of Shabby Chic, but it's growing on me a bit. I love the simple take on a canopy bed without having to actually have a canopy. Note to self, add "old ladder" to the thrifting/garage sale list.

Mmmm...look at the colors in this room from House Beautiful! I'm definitely more of a cool color gal, so this room makes me happy!

Are we still doing grey and yellow? Is that still a thing? Well, I hope so, because I love this room from Dwellings by DeVore. Oh and look, another faux canopy! Maybe there are some common threads in here...

I'm also loving the grey/yellow combination with a splash of blue, like this one from 7th House on the Left.

Hey, now that I look at these, blue is a pretty common thread as well! Sweet! Maybe I'm not as scatter brained about bedrooms as I thought I was. I love when that happens!

Happy dreaming!

Be blessed!

Heather

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mommy Mondays-The Dream House: Kitchens

Hello friends.

I've got some more dreaming for you today! Not gonna lie, I'm in the last week of my Master's degree program right now, and taking a little dream break has been great for my mental health!

2 more days...I can do this. I can do this!

What is it about a kitchen? A bad one can completely ruin an entire house, but a good one can make up for a disaster house. They become the social center of the home, and double as learning space, play space, and impromptu dance party space. They really are the heart of the home.

So, on to the dream kitchens.

Really, I could just show you this picture from Homedit and call it a day. I adore green kitchens with white cabinets! We were close in our AZ house. We had painted the walls green, but hadn't gotten around to painting the cabinets. It's probably better that way, I would have been sad to leave it.

This one from It's Overflowing is pretty great, too!

For the sake of dreaming though, let's look at some more gorgeous kitchens.

Ummm....hello, gorgeous!!
This family took a standard tract home kitchen and turned into something amazing! You have to go over to Jilly & Mia and see the before and after pics. I love that the cabinets are different colors!

How great is this built-in breakfast nook from Elle Decor?? Can't you just imagine Saturday morning pancakes?

Ok, if you want to get seriously lost in some kitchen dreaming, check out Kitchen Design Ideas. This one was my favorite, but I could spend hours on that site! Look at those beams on the ceiling! Be still my heart.

See...I told you I have a thing for white cabinets! Ha!

Be blessed!

Heather

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Dream House: Living Room

Hi friends! I've got my next installation of my dream house for you. What's kind of exciting about today's post is that we're actually looking at some rental properties this evening! Woohoo! Maybe some of these things will become reality sooner than I thought. Today I have living rooms for you. The living room in our old house was done in tan, chocolate, red and sage. Of course, in the past year my tastes have completely changed. Take a look at these pictures and see if you can guess what the chance of me being able to use ANY of my old decor are. Haha!

Mmmmm...how yummy is this color combo from The Nester? Love that aqua with the tan. It just looks so clean! Part of me totally wants a white couch. Yes, I have a 3 year old. That's what bleach is for, right??



Here's another take on that same color scheme. Totally different decor style, but I still love it. How great is that fireplace with the built in storage?
Source: google.com via Heather on Pinterest

Speaking of fireplaces with built-ins. I love how these cabinets have been added later, but look like they belong there!

And just in case we have a house with a big basement that's just dying to be finished. How fun would it be to have your own "movie theater"? This one is pretty simple to do, too!
Source: hgtv.com via Heather on Pinterest

I hope you enjoyed my dreaming.

Keep us in your prayers tonight as we look at houses!

Be blessed!

Heather

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Introducing Pony Royale!

This post is sponsored by Pony Royale. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Hi friends!

So, I think it's pretty safe bet that if little girls love anything, they love ponies and princesses. I don't know how it happens, I think it's genetic. Somehow, some way, little girls will go through a pony phase and a princess phase.

If you're lucky like me, they go through both of those phases at the same time.

So, when I had the chance to review a new line of toys that were not just ponies, but princesses too, I was thrilled! Today I'm going to introduce you to Pony Royale, and let you know how our experience with it was.

Here's a little intro for you:



Aren't they cute?

Pony Royale, a new toy line starring beautiful princess ponies, brings a fresh new approach to princess play in the fashion doll category.  Pony Royale combines favorite play patterns - hair play, fashion play and nurturing play – to give children endless hours of open-ended creative play with a fun and easy fashion system. The full collection, featuring 12 Princess Ponies, all with the ability to mix-and-match their manes, tails and fashion pieces, will be available at Toys R Us in late July and in select Target stores in August.

The twelve Princess Ponies are pony action figure dolls with names, personalities, and changeable hair and outfits.
With two Pony Royale dolls, make over 60 fashion styles!
Each pony comes with a jeweled birthstone blaze
Two sets of Change-It-Up Hair and hair brush included!

Abbey got a chance to play with Brooke, and Sienna. Let me tell you what, she loves them!!
At first I was a little concerned that they might be a bit over her head. She is at the youngest end of their recommended ages. However, she has taken right to them, and plays with them so well! She loves switching out their hair and accessories.

They've already hit "naked Barbie" status in our house. There are pieces of pony paraphernalia (A+ for alliteration!) all over the place. In my book, that's a success!
Oh, the humanity!

I definitely see more Pony Royale in our future. I love that they are a toy that will grow with Abbey. She can play with them now, and as she gets older she will be able to have more complex play experiences with them. There are all sorts of great accessories as well. My one concern was the small pieces. These toys are listed as being for kids ages 3-10, however, know your child. If your 3 year old is still putting things in their mouth, be aware that these come with several small pieces. 

Overall, I am a huge fan of Pony Royale!

Be blessed!

Heather

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