our summer 2017 California recap

Y'all, there is truly nothing better than the anticipation of a vacation and truly nothing worse than the realization that it's come to an end. And thaaaat's precisely where I am now. Incredibly sad that the trip I'd looked forward to for the last 6 months is officially over. Waaaah. So, I've decided to relive all the good times we had in this blogpost and pretend we're still there and still hangin' out with no real agenda. Also, just for the record, taking kids with you on said vacation, makes it a TRIP. It's NOT an actual vacation. Just so we're clear ;)

For those of you who don't know, I'm originally from Southern California and moved to Houston, Texas almost 8 years ago to join some close friends' new church plant. I met Matt here, got married in 2013 and then had two anchor babies (HAHA) in 2014 and 2016. We make it out to California about 2 times a year and my family comes out here a couple of times, too, so while the distance definitely sucks, we DO make an effort to see each other every few months!

Everyone in my family is still in SoCal - my mom, stepdad, brother, sister, grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc, so it's always a ton of fun when we go out and truly is something we all look forward to every summer (and every other Christmas)! We typically stay with my Grandma at her house and then go up to my stepdad and mom's ranch in Northern California - it's kind of the best of both worlds, seeing everyone we love and also hanging out at Bass Lake on a boat. Win win!

We arrived on a Tuesday and spent the first few days down south, swam in my stepdad's pool, saw some friends and took a walk every morning (my FAVE part of the trip was our daily Starbucks + neighborhood walk + cool weather... happiest girl ever right here. Seriously). We headed up to the ranch on Friday morning, which is about a 5 hour drive and y'all - the kids were SUCH troopers! They did so, so good, which was a big relief, honestly. Who wants to sit in a car with screaming kids for 5 hours? #NOTME. We spent the next 2 days on Bass Lake (another fave), cooked steaks and just enjoyed small town life. We drove back down Monday afternoon and spent the remaining 3 days at my Grandma's, seeing more amazing friends and eating our way through Anaheim Packing House (FAVE EVER). Anyways, here are some of the top highlights of our trip!

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It was such a great time and honestly, while we enjoyed every second, it wasn't all pretty.. I mean, our kids woke up at 5am every morning the entire trip, which led to exhausted babies AND parents. We're schedule people over here so the time change threw us all off. We were grouchy and tired half the time and probably could've sucked it up a bit better haha, but ya know what? The good AND the bad... that's just life, right? And life is pretty dang good, when you think about it. I'm already counting down the days until our next visit! 

Links to our gear:

My swimsuits are both from Kortni Jeane

Silas' red striped shorties are from Rad Revolution Kids

My navy and white striped SPF long sleeve swim cover is from Swim Zip

The blue and green Roundie Beach towel is also from Swim Zip

My baby carrier is Happy Baby Wrap brand (a LIFESAVER in the airport and so snug)





why I'm big on real nutrition for my kids

Sponsored post. This post is sponsored by Happy Family Brands, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Okay, let’s talk about food for just a sec. If you know me at all, you know I’m a bit of a freak about what our family eats. Not to say we don’t enjoy a treat now and then, but in general, we tend to lean towards more natural, organic, real, transparent food . And honestly, after multiple requests recently, I think I might start sharing a few of our favorite recipes every week! But I’ll save those for another post ;)

Let me just say that shopping and eating healthy really isn’t as difficult as some make it out to be... and just like any habit, it does take time to get into a groove. But y’all, once you find that rhythm, you’re good to go! Food choices and shopping lists and picking snacks just becomes second nature and I truly don’t even have to think about it anymore. It also helps that I’ve come across some amazing brands and in a pinch, can just stick to those when I shop – because I know they’re safe and healthy and really put my mama heart at ease.

One of those brands is Happy Baby! We have quite a few favorites from them – their gluten-free puffs, their coconut milk fruit creamies and now their new clear, transparent baby food pouches! Y’all. These are the REAL DEAL, full of high-quality, organic ingredients. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m always watching what goes in my kids’ mouths... and I’m sure you’ve all also read the news articles of various parents finding gross mold or rotten food in other pouches but they have nooo idea because they can’t seem in them! Ew. So, let’s just say there are lots of reasons I love the clear pouches but that’s definitely up on the top of the list. Haha.

I know not everyone feels the way we do about food, but honestly, I think it plays such a large role in how Silas grows, behaves and feels! His body is fueled by REAL food and I can 100% see a difference in his behavior when he has a piece of candy or eats junk – and it’s just not worth it to us at this point! We try our best to eat like this at home, obviously, and we also plan ahead to try to ensure he gets the same food even on vacation! Again, that’s where these Happy Baby pouches come in handy.. I love that I could go to a nearby Walmart, grab a handful of pouches and take them with us – on the plane, in the car ride to the ranch, out on the lake, in the pool. Literally everywhere.

I’ve learned in motherhood where Matt and I can make compromises and where we need to push through and nutrition for us is just one of those things we push. I want to know what’s going into my babies’ bodies and I want to know that they’re getting the best start nutritionally that they possibly can. So, all that to say, I really am truly grateful for companies who have the same mission and create products that not only make my life easier but also make my childrens’ lives healthier!

Love, B

my top toddler must-have: a learning tower!

This post was sponsored by Little Partners; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Okay, who here reading this has a toddler? 

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say I'm pretty sure a good number of you raised your hands. TODDLERS, #amiright. There's almost no way to fully explain or express what life is like with a 2 year old, but just know SOLIDARITY. We're all in this together and part of having each other's backs as moms, is sharing various lifehacks and other helpful gear/ideas/tips with our fellow soldiers. I mean, mothers. MOTHERS (even though sometimes, I really do feel like I'm in the trenches haha).

So with that in mind, here's my top gear recommendation right now: a Little Partner's Learning Tower! We were sent the Limited Edition one to review and I could hardly wait for it to get here. I'd seen learning towers featured in magazines before and online and I kept thinking how genius it was! Mainly because Silas LOVES to help me cook and most mornings/evenings, he would drag one of our kitchen chairs across the floor, push it right up against the stove and climb on. I mean, not only was I slightly concerned about him being that close to an open flame, but the chair would wobble around and he came THISCLOSE to falling off more times than I could count.

Enter the Learning Tower. It's SAFE. It allows Silas to feel "independent" but still be secure. It lets him participate alongside of us, especially in the kitchen and with cooking! There are so many opportunities to create and learn with our kids and I feel like I've probably missed some of those in the past, simply because of logistics.. he literally couldn't be a part of it. But that really has changed now!

A few facts about the Tower:

  • It's made with the highest-quality layered poplar and birch and is tested to hold up to 500lbs.

  • The platform height adjusts easily and can grow with your child, from 18 months-6 years.

  • It has a lead-free, non-toxic finish that cleans easily with a damp cloth.

Another bonus about the Limited Edition version is that it comes with an activity center on the outside of the tower, so Silas can use it as an easel and draw! Listen, y'all. I don't know if it's just my boy or all boys or this specific age, but Silas has the attention span of a gnat most days haha. So, I actually really like that he can switch back and forth between being up in the tower and helping to cook and getting back down to draw and color. We've also just used in the living room as an art station! It keeps him entertained and my sanity a little further intact.

I can't tell you how cute it was when Silas pushed the tower over to the counter yesterday morning and said, "I cook with Mommy! I cook eggs with Mommy!" AND THEN DID IT (insert crying emoji). He seriously scrambled his own eggs, you guys (with my supervision, of course) and I was just so dang proud of him! And I'm sure it won't be long before little miss V wants to join him up there ;)

Both of my babies, helpin' their mama in the kitchen.. well, that's pretty much what my dreams are made of.




my top 8 Father's Day gift ideas!

Skechers sent their Palen shoes over for review - all thoughts/opinions are my own. The other items on the list are not gifted or sponsored in any way.

Okay, I don't know about you, but my husband is THE hardest person to shop for, ever. He never knows what he wants, he's super particular about the things he DOES want and it's an just all-around difficult task. BUT, after almost four and a half years of marriage, I feel like I finally have somewhat of a grip on the type of gifts he will like and I'm pretty sure these 8 picks are shoo-ins at this point! I mean.. I'll update for sure once Father's Day rolls around though and let you know how I did. Haha.

Here are my favorite gift ideas for the dad in your life, in no particular order!

1) Contigo travel mug - We LOVE Contigo mugs! And Matt has lost at least 3 of them over the last year, so these are always on my gift list for him. Ha! They keep his coffee super hot and I love how sleek-looking they are.

2) Best Dad Ever tee - I just love little shirts like this!! Mainly because Matt really is the BEST DAD EVER. And I want everyone to know it.

3) Palen-Gadon Casual Shoes from Skechers - Alright y'all, these shoes! We were sent the Palen-Gadon relaxed fit shoes in gray and LOVE THEM. They have gel-infused memory foam soles and Matt is seriously obsessed. He tends to be especially particular about shoes and how they fit, so he was super excited to put these on and see how comfortable they are! He's a real estate agent so he's on his feet non-stop during the day and the memory foam makes a huge difference for him! Pretty sure we're going to order them in every color now.

4) Golf balls - Because my husband (and lots of other husbands I know) love to golf. You can never, ever go wrong with extra golf balls!

5) A new grill kit - I like to buy a new one of these every year or so for Matt. I just hate the thought of all the burnt meat and gristle that accumulates from the grill each time we use the tools and this one is so affordable, I just figure... WHY NOT. Plus, everyone loves a fresh set of toys!

6) Home Depot gift card - Matt could spend HOURS at Home Depot.. and he does. Ha! So for him, a gift card is super fun because he can snag a little something that he's had his eye on or he'll save his cards for a bigger something later on. Either way, it makes him happy. And if he's happy, I'm happy. Boom. Done.

7) Dad's coffee spoon - I LOVE THESE. And I love that you can pick up one that already has a cute saying on it or you can customize it to say whatever you want!

8) Swim shorts - Because let's face it.. your husband's trunks are probably at least 5 years old and are lookin' pretty ratchet. #amiright. I love these ones from Kortni Jeane (I love all of her suits - I own two, myself)! They're trendy, affordable and definitely helps me make sure we're all color-coordinated for the summer. Which is totally important to Matt. HAHA. Kidding. Only I care about those kinda of things ;)

Alrighty, folks. That's it! Those are my top 8 picks for Father's Day - and I'd love to hear from you! What's your husband or dad like? Is he easy to shop for? What are your go-to gifts?