Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The First Years Minnie Mouse Feeding Seat

Disclaimer: I was provided with the products in this post at no cost however all words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that make this blog possible!

The baby is at an age where mealtime is no longer a complete challenge so long as we allow her to do everything herself. And I mean everything. She prefers sitting at the table with us rather than her high chair so when we had the chance to check out The First Years Minnie Mouse Feeding Seat we jumped on it! And I'm glad we did. 


It's the perfect solution between a high chair and sitting in an actual dining chair. The seat straps securely to the chair and it even comes with a tray, which I can see being convienient if you wanted to save space and minimize the number of products you bring into your home. I've been on a minimizing kick the last year or so and the first thing that came to mind when I saw that The First Years Minnie Mouse Feeding Seat came with a tray was: this is perfect because now you don't even need a high chair! Because not only could you use this at the table as a booster with no tray when your child is older but you could also use it as a high chair by popping the tray on. The tray is adjustable as is the safety harness so the seat can easily grow with your child. Ours gets use at mealtime time and at play time as I find this scene often:

We were also sent coordinating dish ware. I really enjoy trying different types of dishware for kids, I feel like that should be a proper job title. You know, like a food critic? Except it'd be a baby/toddler dish ware critic. Okay, now that I typed it out it admittedly sounds a bit ridiculous but humor me, please. 


These forks and spoons are a definite keeper. And the sippy cups are a winner too. There's also a bowl as well as a sectioned place which is nice if you have a picky eater that doesn't like their food touching. *Cough Cough* My littlest. 

Click here to see more!

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Mother's Day with American Greetings

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MoreThanAMom #CollectiveBias

When I think about my mom, I get pretty sentimental. She means the absolute world to me, and it wasn't until I became a mom myself that I realized the level of love she had for me. Without a doubt I've always known she's loved me, but until you have a child yourself you've never experienced this type of love and therefore couldn't completely appreciate the love your mom has for you. But now I do and I'm so thankful for her and I'm thankful I know that feeling when it comes to my own children as well.

So with Mother's Day just around the corner I'm excited to be able to celebrate her and show her just how much she is appreciated. And being physically distant from my parents due to my husband being in the Air Force, it makes Mother's Day that much more special and its our chance to let her know that even thousands of miles apart, we still think of her, love her, and value what she brings to our lives. 

So I went to our local AAFES Base Exchange (BX) to check our their selection of Mother's Day items and the first thing I saw when I walked in was the American Greetings display filled with an array of Mother's Day cards, gift bags, and more. 


It made my heart so happy looking through the selection of American Greetings cards because it looked as though they have thought of everyone and were truly determine to celebrate every mom! They had cards for wives, mothers, sisters, friends, grandmothers, aunts. They had cards from one mom to another, from kids to their mom, from kids to both their moms; it was so great to see American Greetings had the perfect Mother's Day card for every mom!


When I saw their wide selection I even picked up a card for a close friend of mine that I met when I, myself, was in the Air Force. Being in the Air Force means you are away from your extended family a lot, so friends that you meet in the same situation become more like family and its so important to let them know how much we appreciate them just like we do with our extended family. And what's great is that American Greetings currently has a promotion for "Buy 3 cards, Save $2" so this is prime time to find a special card for several moms in your life, promotion runs from 4/17 to 5/14!

Its common for one to receive flowers on Mother's Day but what's even better are flowers that last forever, am I right?! So the kids helped make a fun, colorful bouquet out of tissue paper that we also grabbed from the American Greetings selection of products at the BX. The how-to is simple. Here's what you need:

SUPPLIES
  • Tissue Paper
  • Scissors
  • Vase
  • Rubberband

INSTRUCTIONS
  • Choose the size of your flower(s), the larger your flower the bigger sized tissue paper you want. For a fuller look, use more sheets (we used two packages and didn't cut them down in size so our bouquet is big and full). 
  • Begin folding the tissue paper like an accordion until the entire thing is folded.
  • Place rubberband in the middle (this holds it all together) and fold the whole thing in half.
  • Trim the ends if you'd like a pattern on the edges of the flowers or leave as is for a pointed look
    • Now gently pull each piece of tissue paper away from the next to create a full, flower look. Fluff to your heart's content! Then place in a vase and you're done!

    I know my mom will love her card, notice it has "coupons" for use with grandma? So clever. I always love when my kids make me coupons for things, they love when I redeem the coupons and just get so excited. And the card I got my friend was so perfect ("Momming is not easy"), and on the inside it referenced chardonnay so naturally that's the gift I got for her.

    With Mother's Day right around the corner, let American Greetings help you celebrate every mom in your life! To get further inspired for your Mother's Day gift ideas, or to check out their other amazing products check out their site.

    Tuesday, April 25, 2017

    Anatomy of a Sam + Av Pic

    If you follow me on Instagram its no secret my dog and baby are the stars of the show. But that's what happens when you're a stay at home mom and spend 90% of your waking hours with the two of them. Who runs the world? Sam + Av, that's who. Or at least my household. Deeeeefinitely running my household.



    I receive numerous questions on how I get my pup (I use that term loosely, she's almost four) to cooperate for their notorious Sam + Av photos. So I'm here today with the not-so-secret secret.

    Truth be told, its the baby that requires the most work. The dog is just there for the treats, no lie. We got her as an eight week old puppy and began training her immediately. We've always used treats as her rewards so I think because of that she's very food motivated - she will do nearly anything for a treat. She already knew basic commands of "sit", "stay", "down" (lay), "paw" (shake), "come", "leave it", etc before the thought even crossed my mind to dress these two up and take their photo, so those basic commands definitely come in handy when taking these photos.


    Like I said, the baby is the wildcard so I alway, always, always get Sam in position and dressed first. Then I give her the stay command and she hangs tight while I bribe the baby to participate. Okay, its not that bad, usually its not a bribe but sometimes it truly is. While other times she will put something on Sammy and herself and request to "CHEEEEEEESE!"

    If something covers Sam's ears she typically wants to shake it off so I just give her a "leave it" and she sits still, I snap the pic, give her a snack, and release her. Honestly she's a brilliant dog and after just three or so of these photos she seemed to know what the routine was going to be the moment she saw me pull out my camera so that's helpful as well.

    The whole Sam + Av series started as an accident. The baby wanted to play with some sunnies, I had another pair and put them on Sam and she just walked over to the baby with them on and I died laughing and snapped a pic.


    I shared it on my personal Facebook page and people got a huge kick out of it so I started doing them weekly and posting them to my Instagram as well as a tab on this blog of mine. I've since removed quite a few of them because I've decided I don't want a million photos on the internet of my kids' faces, but there are a few still up. I'm definitely not anti-posting-pics-of-my-kids, but I just don't want every photo to be of their face, if that makes sense. So if you look at my Instagram you will see that there will be side-profile pics, or a photo from behind, or a photo where the kids have something covering a portion of their face, and every once in a while you will see their entire face. It gives them some privacy and the photographer in me has actually had fun trying to see certain shots from a different perspective so I feel like I'm forced to be a bit more creative with the shots due to trying to keep their whole face out of the photo. Sometimes its simple cropping like so:

    A post shared by Lorri | The Pretty + The Brave (@theprettyandthebrave) on


    and other times its snapping the pic mid-bite like so:

    A post shared by Lorri | The Pretty + The Brave (@theprettyandthebrave) on


    Getting back to the Sam + Av pics, I plan to bring them back with a little twist now that I have somewhat explained why I took many of them down. I'm sure you've guessed that they will likely have props to cover their faces and you'd be right! So go take a peek at some of the older ones that are still up here and check out my Instagram here and search the hashtag #SamanthaandAveryShenanigans to find loads of photos of those two getting into everyday mischief. And check back in a few weeks for their newest photo with a twist! Its sure to please.

    Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

    Tuesday, March 07, 2017

    Insanity

    The last few days have been hectic. Like, I want to move my mother in with me for the next two months type of hectic. Hey mom, you can make that happen, right?! ;) But that's life. Basically, 2017 is already proving to be amazing with more amazing things coming. But that also means chaos, and changes, and rolling with the punches. But again, life...am i right?! Its what we are used to. Good news is my husband gets to stick around for more than three seconds at a time here soon. We moved here to America ten months ago and he's been gone for almost half of that, not for five consecutive months or anything but that doesn't make it any better. If I'm being honest it would probably have been easier if he was gone for five straight months because by the time we finally get into a groove of him being gone he's back. Then a few weeks later he has to leave again and we start the process from scratch. But who cares, right? Because pretty soon that will be no more and we will get to have him home every single day with us. For a while, at least.

     Ariana and I went to see Twenty One pilots in concert the weekend before last and guys, it was SO FUN! Maybe since I haven't been to a concert in like 20 years I didn't really know what to expect so my standards weren't the highest (they're a great band, but I just didn't know what to expect concert-wise) but it was one of the funnest nights I've ever had. We spent the day entire day together just the two of us so that was nice. We try to make time to go do things with the kids one-one-one but in reality it doesn't happen as often as we'd like. So it was so important to have that time together. We had floor tickets so we were literally inches from the stage so you could really feel the energy. Their fans are insanely dedicated. The way they were dressed, their topics of conversation, one girl was even crying so hard she literally sounded like a wolf as in, she was howling. Legit howling. Like, you know the ugly-cry you get during a super intense episode of Grey's? Yeah, multiply that by 3.7 trillion, then add a howl in. I was kind of concerned for her, to be frank.


    Sammy's been feeling poorly. She needed to go outside to potty at least once an hour for a few days straight. It was like having a newborn all over again. That hasn't stopped her from strategically laying where the baby drops the most crumbs though so I know she's not doing too awful.


    And the baby still refuses to allow me to dress her. She's either naked or wearing 17 layers. There is no in between. And a hairbrush?! You better get away from her with that! Are you crazy?! She doesn't need to be properly groomed. At least that's what she would tell you.


    Luckily she loves taking baths and brushing her teeth so don't call child services on me just yet. I've had a couple questions about whether she's potty trained and if so how I went about it. I promise I'll do another post about that, but be forewarned that there are certain things I don't share on the internet and potty-training specifics is one. So my post will share what I've learned about potty-training four kids and my method and how long it takes (basically general info I've learned from experience) but it won't be any one specific child of mine's story, if that makes sense. I promise I'm not a prude but here's how I decide what to share about my kids: I ask myself "If mom or dad put that photo or story of me on the internet would I be okay with it?" If my answer is no, I don't share it. Easy as pie. My dog on the other hand gets her business blasted all over the interwebs.

    Happy Taco Tuesday, friends. Think of me when you're sipping your margarita tonight. xx

    Friday, March 03, 2017

    Favorite Finds

    Happy Freaking Friday! This week started out great and then on Wednesday I woke with an itchy throat and a pounding headache and I was like: Nope, don't have time to be sick. And I had just been feeling grateful that our house has managed to escape this bug that I see has been going around. So I spent Wednesday taking it easy, like waaaaay easy, like I fed my children and played taxi to after school activities and that's about where my productivity ended. I drank loads of water, took my vitamins, pounded shots of raw apple cider vinegar (I swear by this stuff, I have my kids take a couple tablespoons of it and they rarely get ill), and diffused some thieves. And today I feel 95% better. Luckily the kids haven't showed signs of falling ill and hopefully it stays that way.

    Anyway, on to my favorite finds of the week!

    This Braised Red Wine Short Ribs recipe is heavenly! Seriously one of the best dishes I've ever made. We celebrated Valentine's Day in our house on the 15th since Seth was night flying and Ari had gym until 8, so none of us got home until at least 9pm on the 14th. But the next day we gave the kids their gifts and I made a fancy-shmancy dinner and this was on the menu. It was sooooo good, guys. And it was pretty simple too. Try it out!
    _ _ _

    Photo: Martha Stewart

    This cross-stitch family portrait is really speaking to me. Call me a nerd but I've totally bought the supplies and I plan to make one of our family when I finish my other 73 projects I've going on at the moment. I think its unique and quirky and would fit right into my decorating style.
    _ _ _

    With Avery's birthday around the corner I've been on the hunt for a shirt for her. Last year when she turned one I had my sister-in-law make her a shirt that said "Wild one". Get it? So I've been trying to find a phrase for her "two year" shirt. I came across this one that would be adorable for a third birthday.

    Photo: Etsy
    _ _ _

    These Nikes are EVERYTHING! But I can't find them anywhere, so I guess technically this isn't a "find" but if ya'll know where I can get these holla atcha girl! I tossed my old Nikes with the thought that it'd force me to replace them quicker since I've been needing a new pair for months. And my poor foot already needs surgery for the THIRD time so I figured I'd stop putting it into shoes that needed replaced. Le sigh.

    Source unknown
    _ _ _

    These blackberry lemonade margaritas are delish. And with the weather in my neck of the woods being absolutely beautiful, this weekend would be the perfect time to make a pitcher and sit out on the deck while grilling burgers. mmmmmm burgers. 


    You deserve it! xx

    Tuesday, February 28, 2017

    Giveaway with Nuby!

    *Full Disclosure: As a Nuby Parent Blogger I receive products at no cost. However all opinions are my own. 
    Thank you for supporting brands that make this blog possible.

    Little miss independent isn't always content in her high chair. And for the last couple of months she'll opt to sit in an actual chair at the dining table with us. She seemed content on her knees but I knew that wouldn't work long term and that I needed to find a booster seat. So when I saw Nuby released their Easy Go Fabric Booster Seat I had to have it! 

    Avery thinks it's so cool, she likes to buckle herself in then looks around the table like: yeaaaaaaah, I'm sittin' with the big kids.

    The Nuby Easy Go Fabric Booster Seat conveniently collapses for easy travel, wipes clean, and holds up to 50 lbs! One of my girlfriends keeps one in her car at all times and uses it when her family goes out to eat at restaurants or to friends' houses for dinner. So smart! And it folds up so small (about the size of a lunchbox) that it would definitely be a simple item to pack and bring on a trip. 

    Photo credit: Nuby
    Its small foot print is just so ideal. I dreaded getting a high chair because I didn't want a big hunky piece of plastic chilling in my house for years taking up space and looking sooooo not cute. I did finally find a small wooden high chair I adore and still use sporadically when the baby obliges but more often then not she ends up in an actual chair and now in her Nuby Easy Go Booster Seat. Shop the Nuby Easy Go Booster Seat at select Walmart stores and online. It comes in blue (click here) or grey (click here).

    And now it's giveaway time! For your chance to win your own Nuby Easy Go Booster Seat head over to my Instagram account and follow the super simple instructions. Good luck!



    Monday, February 27, 2017

    M-M-M-Monday!

    So I'm on Facebook the other day and someone asks everyone, "what movie traumatized you as a kid?" Everyone's answering things like Amityville Horror, Kujo, Friday the Thirteenth and I'm like, I guess in need to reevaluate because the first movie that popped in mind was The Never Ending Story. But seriously, can we talk about that big creepy dog and his scaly fur? Uuuugh *shudders. Nightmares for days. 


    My 11 year old told us about two girls in his class that got into a hair pulling match over whether a crayon was red or maroon. 


    He said one girl came away with a fist full of the other's hair. 

    Let that sink in.
    .
    .
    .

    He also told us of a classmate that brought a mouse to school unbeknownst to any adults. Then carried the mouse to gym class IN HER PANTS POCKET. The teacher saw the class around her and went to investigate, saw the child had a mouse, and said "insert child's name, why did you bring that to school? Go put it in your back pack!" 

    Her backpack?!

     This same girl then brought the mouse back the next day and traded it with a friend for a candy bar. So things are going really well in the fifth grade and their teacher has things completely under control. 


    The baby insisted on wearing her panties when we went out the other day so I obliged. She has a perfect record for staying dry so far when she wears them out of the house. About 20 minutes into being at the dog park I went to take Sam to get a drink, turn back to the baby and she has her panties and pants around her ankles telling me she needs to "pee pee."


    BUT! At least she told me though instead of wetting herself, yeah? Silver linings. 

    I started the 21 day fix last week. Never thought in a million years I'd be "that girl"...but here I shamelessly am. Check back in in a week and see if I don't give up due to not morphing into Jillian Michaels in 7 days. I've never felt so out of shape in my life. I literally couldn't walk up the stairs after a lower body workout and that's when I knew I'd hit rock bottom.


    Happiest of Monday, Friends. xx