Happy First Day of The Fair!

It’s finally here, you guys! I’m super jealous of anyone going to the fair today. It is gorgeous out. And I have a long beer list to try.

Thanks for reading my food post on Tuesday! I hope you found a few you want to try.

We took Avery to the fair two years ago. When she could still be harnessed by the power of a stroller. She was a little wild last summer, so we left her at home while we went. And poor little Callie has never been.

The plan is to take both kids this year (God help us). And I have so many things I want to do with the girls, besides eat all the food.

wpid-20150804_105317-01_wm.jpgWhile at the Fair preview earlier this month, we were given a bunch of info on activities geared toward the littles. My friend Sara at Writing With Bangles put together a fantastic list of all the activities we heard about. Go check out her post. Then come back.

I feel like the Alphabet Forest is going to be a favorite. Avery loves showing off her alphabet skills and finding letters wherever we go. Plus, who doesn’t love a good crown? Can’t wait to go on a scavenger hunt!

We also got to hear about the Little Farm Hands exhibit. Which was so cool. I see it every year, but never knew what it was about. Here the kids get to plant “seeds” at the farm, harvest, then bring to the grocery store where they get a little treat. Sounds like fun!

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Some of the activities for the new Math On-A-Stick exhibit and the Little Farm Hands “money”

I also want to start a family tradition at The Fair. I want to get a family picture in the same spot every year. Maybe by one of the statues? Or buildings? Anyone have an idea for a cool spot for our new tradition?

An old tradition I look forward to every year is picking out a Christmas ornament. I’m hoping the shop we go to has a fresh selection this year. I think we are close to one of everything by now!

And the thing I’m most excited about: going down the Giant Slide with Avery. I hope she loves it. I hope we make some fun family memories this year.

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2015 Minnesota State Fair Preview

If you know me at all, you know I love the Minnesota State Fair. Like borderline obsessed. It’s seriously the best. Don’t even try to argue with me on this one.

This year, a lucky group of bloggers were treated to a State Fair preview. And I got invited!! Whoop whoop!!

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Beth and I made a new friend!

We got to try new kid friendly foods and learned about some of the kid and family centered activities The Fair offers. We’ll talk food today and activities tomorrow.

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So many new foods!

I’m going to tell you a little secret. I don’t try new Fair foods too often. I have a loooong list of favorites that I must eat every year. And that doesn’t leave too much stomach room for new stuff.

When I heard — and smelled — that we would be trying a selection of the new foods offered, I may have squealed a little. I couldn’t help it. Bonus: I thought each new food was delicious.

NEW FOODS:

Totchos // Boulevard Grill
Tater Tots + Nachos = Delicious. These are going to be a major crowd pleaser, from kids to the grand parents. Definite thumbs up!

Minnesota Wild Rice Benedict Muffin // Lulu’s Public House
We didn’t actually get to sample this one. I can’t imagine the egg travels well. It looked delicious. And I love everything wild rice. If we end up at the fair during breakfast time, I’ll be seeking this one out.

Salted Caramel Puff Malt // Dairy Goodness Bar
Full disclosure: I thought this looked a little gross. And I almost didn’t want to try it. But I did. And it was heavenly. The sweetness of the caramel balanced out the salty of the puffs. We got a large sample of this one. And I was scraping the bottom for more. So. Good.

Mac & Cheese Cupcake // Lulu’s Public House
You had me at “Mac & Cheese.” I loved it before I tried it. I love foods that you can take and eat while walking. No need to worry about making a mess. This will be a big hit with the littles in your life. And just give in to the Cheez Wiz.

Grandma Deb’s Snicker Bar Salad // The Blue Barn
Apparently this is a thing. I’ve never heard of Snickers Salad before this summer. I was really excited to try it. I wish I could formulate the words to express how much I loved this. The Blue Barn is my first stop when I get to the Fair. And I might just park myself at a table, eating the Snickers Salad. All. Day. #cantstopwontstop

Maple Bacon Funnel Cake // Funnel Cakes
Just look at the name. You know you’re already going to love this new food. My favorite part: there are tiny bacon pieces mixed in the batter. Yum!

Also tried (but no pictures #badblogger):

Grilled Venetian-Styled Pizza (Margherita) // Mancini’s Al Fresco
I’ve always thought I wouldn’t waste my time/stomach space in pizza at the Fair. Well, this is no ordinary pizza. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried grilled pizza before, but it’s a totally different animal. I highly recommend this! Another one the kids will love.

Stuffed Italian Meatloaf On-a-Stick // Green Mill
Stuffed with what? Mozzarella cheese. Thank you Green Mill. Thank you.

BONUS ITEM!!

At a completely different event, I got to sample one of the new brews from The Freehouse. Caramel Apple Pi Beer. It’s a mix of a cider and “traditional” beer. It wasn’t as sweet as a cider, but the caramel flavors really balanced that out. This is a tasty beer and I think it will be a big hit. Available at The Blue Barn.

wpid-20150814_094657-01_wm.jpgIt’s going to be a delicious Fair, folks.

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VBS fail.

I had a really hard time coming up with a name for this post. “God Would Totally Understand If I Egged This Church” was a front-runner for a while. Because He would. I probably should have let the rage simmer down inside a little more before posting. But I’m pretty amped and not going to bed anytime soon.

We went to a National Night Out party at a church very close to our house. It was fun, everyone was friendly (maybe overly. hindsight red flag #1), and Avery had a good time. We saw that they had Vacation Bible School starting on Sunday. And 3 year olds were able to attend. Awesome. I wanted to sign Avery up at our church, but she wasn’t old enough yet.

I was excited for her to go. But my anxiety interrupted my fun. Like usual. I posted this picture to Snapchat Sunday night:

wpid-snapchat-8550673665304448015_wm.jpgThe smile! The excitement! Look how CUTE SHE IS!

So I left her there Sunday. And picked her up 2 hours later. I caught the last 15 minutes of the session. They sang songs. I thought they were a little boreing and might be over kids’ heads (HRF #2). But I tried not to be judgmental. Because I am when it comes to church and music. Avery’s teacher came up to me and let me know how much fun Avery had and how cute she was. Typical. Avery is a charmer. Everyone loves her. I was so relieved.

Avery was excited to tell us all the things she did. Jeremy asked if she did any art. Nope (HRF #3). But she played in the Jungle Room and learned verses about Jesus being the Good Shepard. Adorable.

Monday when I dropped her off, I started getting weird vibes. I honestly couldn’t put my finger on it. I felt like people were looking at me like I wasn’t one of them (HRF #4). But Avery was excited and I was being ridiculous.

I left and met a friend for a drink. I told her about my weird feeling. And verbalizing it made me feel it more. I was like, “she’s 3. Even if it’s kinda weird, she isn’t going to notice it.” I was trying to talk myself out of the feeling. When I went to pick her up, the feeling persisted. While I was there I even texted a different friend, telling her we will have to do VBS at her church next year because I got a weird vibe at this place.

Walking back to the car I asked Avery if she had fun tonight. She answered an enthusiastic yes! While driving home, I asked her if she learned more verses. And she answers, “We were playing chase and they told me sin lives in my body and God is going to take away my body!” Ans by the end of her sentence she is crying. Hard.

My head is spinning. Avery doesn’t just make things up out of nowhere. I fully believe 100% that they told her this. So much that she repeated it. Over and over. Who thinks that is even remotely appropriate to teach a 3-year-old?! And at VBS?

I try explaining to her that sins don’t live inside of you. That a sin is like being naughty and if you say sorry and ask for forgiveness God forgives you. Because God loves you. But she kept tearfully telling me she was still “so worried.”

When we got home I asked her to tell Jeremy what we talked about in the car. She burst out in sobs and tried telling him. The only thing I could make out was, “I’m scared of God.” And my heart broke. So hard.

We spent the rest of the night explaining everything to her over and over again. As lovingly as possible. She went to bed like her normal self. And I know in the morning I will have to answer her questions again. And again. That’s how 3 year olds work. I’m hoping to drill into her head that God loves us. No matter what.

I’m angry. At the jerks at that church, mostly. But a little at myself, too. Why didn’t I listen to my instincts? Because Avery was having fun. And my brain plays tricks on me. Would I have done the same in a different setting? How long would I have let my uneasiness linger before I did something? Have I been failing about teaching her about God’s love? Do we ever figure this parenting thing out??

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bubble guppies: a blessing or a curse??

I think I’ve mentioned before that I allow nearly unlimited screen time for my kids. And rarely feel guilty about it. And I’m too lazy to find the link to my post praising Daniel Tiger. Sorry, Friends.

Today I’m here to talk about my love/hate relationship with Avery (and Callie’s) current obsession. Bubble Guppies.

bubble guppiesIn case you aren’t well acquainted with these adorable little fish people (they aren’t mermaids even though that’s what I would call them) let me give you a run-down. The 6 guppies go to school everyday where they learn about a new subject each episode. The bug fish is their teacher. There’s even an adorable puppy. Obviously. It’s mostly educational, so I really don’t mind that the girls love it so much. But…

Here’s where the confessional starts. The songs they sing are complete ear worms. I sing them in the shower. I have them in my head while I’m trying to sleep. My husband and I have had conversations in Bubble Guppy songs before. It’s bad. I don’t know who I’m becoming.

Avery has learned so many great things from the show. About dinosaurs, our solar system, colors, and even about the organs in our body. At Callie’s one year check up she put this knowledge to good use. The doctor was asking Avery if she knew what the stethoscope was used for. She did. And proceeded to tell the doctor what her heart does, how her lungs work and where her stomach was. Avery even made a loud gurgling noise to show how it works.  Our doctor looked so impressed. She told me she’s never had a conversation that detailed with a three-year old about organs and using the correct terms and knew the functions. Of course I let her think I’m an amazing parent teaching my kids this stuff. When in reality the BG crew is to thank. People think my kid’s a genius. And I gladly take all the credit.

wpid-20150412_145755-01_wm.jpgThis next one, well, I’m only telling you because we’re friends. Callie really likes this show too. So much dancing along and bopping to the songs. Pretty adorable.

Callie’s first words were “up” “Dada” and then “bubbub gup.” And I wish to God I was making that up. My daughter’s third legitimate words were freaking Bubble Guppies. Before Mama. She is 12 months old and can ask for her favorite show.

I know this is just another obsession that will run its course. We had a whole 6 weeks of nothing but Big Hero 6. And before that it was Tangled and Frozen.

I just miss Baymax.

Posted in kinda funny, parenting, random, toddler stuff | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

weekend in wisconsin

Mid-June we had the opportunity to take a long weekend away. Jeremy’s dad rented a cabin on Balsam Lake in Wisconsin and offered to let us use it for the weekend. After packing up 70% of our house in the van (kids need a lot of junk) we were off!

The cabin was basically just a trailer home with an added on porch. But it had air conditioning and was a short walk to the water. So it was perfect. And it even came with a large guard turtle.

wpid-img_20150613_155834_wm.jpgOur first evening there was for exploring and playing by the docks. Avery was eager to try out her brand new Frozen fishing pole. And they made a new pal.

wpid-img_20150613_174621_wm.jpgThe bedroom Avery was sleeping in had a trundle-bed. I’m pretty sure that was the greatest thing Avery had ever seen. She loved it. It’s the little things, right?

The second day we rented a pontoon. And enjoyed every minute of it! Especially our driver.

wpid-img_20150614_150033_wm.jpgIt was a gorgeous day to be on the water. I tried my hand at fishing for the first time in 10+ years. And I really enjoyed it. Until my 3-year-old caught more fish than me.

wpid-img_20150614_231327_wm.jpgIt was the luck of the Frozen fishing pole. My brother-in-law even caught a fish with it.

Both girls ended up falling asleep while we were on the boat. It was nice and relaxing for those 20 minutes.

Our last day there was relaxed. We spent time packing up. And did a little more exploring. Avery and I went on a feather hunt. There were a bunch of feathers just near the shore. I loved seeing her excitement when she found another one!

wpid-img_20150615_135953_wm.jpgIt seemed like such a short time there, but we had so much fun. I love that the girls are so much easier to travel with than last summer. It gives me hope for future family vacations!!

 

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Avery turns three

Avery turned three in April. So obviously the time to post about it is July!

wpid-img_20150412_165207_wm.jpgWe had a great party with just family. And her beloved Bubble Guppies cake.

My sister got her this cute little play tent. It takes up the whole room, but the girls play in it everyday. So it makes up for it.

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I thought this year I would do a birthday questionnaire. Since Avery has some pretty firm opinions. I have no idea where she gets that from.

:: Birthday Interview ::

What is your name?
Avery. What’s your name?

How old are you?
I’m free.

What is your favorite thing to do?
PLAY

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A super hero or ballerina.

What is your favorite food?
Spaghetti & meatballs and pancakes.

Who do you like to spend time with?
Sam and you and Callie and myself.

What do you do really well?
Playing with Callie.

What makes you laugh?
Callie and Mommy.

What’s the best time of day?
Nighttime

What are you afraid of?
Monsters

Who is your best friend?
Callie!

What do you like to do with your family?
Play with Play Doh.

What do you love to learn about?
Macaroni & cheese.

Where do you like to go?
To Auntie and Sam’s.

What is your favorite book?
My Little Ponies

If you had one wish what would it be?
For a birthday cake.

And there you have it. I have a three year old.

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callie :: nine

Oh Callie. My sweet, sweet second born. I haven’t written an actual update for you since you were 3 months old. You’ve just been keeping me on my feet ever since! So here we are at 9 months!! Insane.

wpid-img_20150125_170235_wm.jpgwpid-img_20150225_190909_wm.jpgYou are a little mover and shaker. You started crawling at 6 months. And about 2 days later started pulling yourself to a standing position. Hashtag trouble.

wpid-img_20150216_153645_wm.jpgYou also got your first two teeth when you were 6 months. You added two more quickly after. And you are no longer interested in baby food. At all. So we try to give you what we are eating. As much as we can. 4 teeth will only get you so far.

wpid-img_20150309_191526_wm.jpgYou are so curious and love discovering new things. You love waving to yourself in the mirror. And giving yourself kisses. It’s just about the cutest thing in the entire world.

Since spring is slowly creeping in, you have been to the park a few times. You seem amazed by the slide. And love the swings.

wpid-img_20150313_055240_wm.jpgYou have so much joy in you. Always smiling. You love laughing with Avery. We just need to work on sleeping better. And not growing up so fast.

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9 months. 19 lbs. 29.25 inches.

Let’s be friends:
facebook // twitter // instagram // google+

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MN bloggers favorite things 2015

One of my favorite blogger events happened this past weekend. The annual Favorite Things Party! You can read my recap from last year and how it works here.

wpid-img_20150328_133937_wm.jpgMy goodies I brought are hidden in this bag. But I forgot to take a pic of them!! I brought some EOS lip balm, a tiny flower in a tiny pot, some hair binders, and put them all inside a cute little basket from the dollar section from Target. I wish I had bought a basket or two for myself.

wpid-img_20150328_190122_wm.jpgI came home with a cute mug I couldn’t pass up! Some basil that I can’t wait to plant. And a lip stick that turns my lips a cure shade of coral. Perfect for spring.

I missed out on these cute little succulents that have magnets to hang on the refrigerator. So I went out yesterday and bought them myself!

wpid-img_20150330_095429_wm.jpgI love going to these blogger events to see friends I don’t have a chance to see otherwise. And I love meeting new people and finding more blogs to read!

wpid-fb_img_1427761489409_wm.jpgI can’t wait to see you all again soon!!

Let’s be friends:
facebook // twitter // instagram // google+

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it’s spring! a travel pack giveaway!

Spring is finally here, and I’m teaming up with Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus to share five travel hacks that you’ll love, along with a great giveaway offer. One lucky winner will take home a Travel Pack from Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus valued at $150 (including a $50 Target gift card!)

Five Travel Hacks You’ll Love

Five travel hacks you'll love (especially #2) - and a giveaway!

1. Roll; Don’t Fold
As you pack, roll your clothes instead of folding them. You’ll be able to fit up to two times the amount of clothing by rolling them as you would by folding them.

2. Pack your “Iron”
And by iron, we mean Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus. The 3 oz travel size meets airline standards. Slip it into your carry-on bag, and with a simple spray, you’ll be wrinkle free all trip long. (It’s also a great fabric refresher if you have to wear your clothes more than once on vacation.) Click here to read more and grab a coupon.

3. Bring an Empty Water Bottle
After you get through security, several airports have filtered water stands to fill your bottle. You’ll also find that most airport cafes will gladly fill your water bottle as well.

4. Snap a Picture
If you’re checking your luggage, snap a picture of your suitcase contents before you leave the house. If the airline loses your luggage, you’ll be able to use the picture to prove the value of the contents.

5. BYO Blanket
Blankets on airlines are hard to come by these days – and they’re not always washed between flights. If you tend to get cold on planes, or you’re going to be flying overnight, pack your own blanket to stay comfortable.

Enter to Win a Travel Pack from Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus

One lucky winner will receive a travel pack valued at $150, including a travel tote, a Tervis Tumbler, Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus and a $50 Target gift card.

Giveaway ends at midnight on Friday, March 20, 2015. Open to US and Canada.

Complete the form below to enter. Good luck!

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currently [march]

So when is somebody going to make it possible for more hours in a day?? I miss being able to sit down to write a blog post! I miss you! Let’s catch up a bit, shall we?

:: dreaming ::

wpid-img_20150218_142548_wm.jpgDreaming about spring. One. Hundred. Percent.

wpid-img_20150303_012525_1_wm.jpgDreaming about sleep. Callie has been awful the last few nights. And will only sleep in the bed with me. I can’t sleep if anyone is touching me. So co-sleeping isn’t ideal for me. I’m hoping that once this tooth pops out, she will be back to normal. Please.

:: planning ::

Birthday parties. Avery turns 3 next month. I’m trying to figure out something fun and not super expensive.

Then Callie is 1 in June. I’m just starting to toss some ideas around for her. It will be here in a blink.

:: making ::

Elaborate sculptures out of Play-Doh. Avery has recently become obsessed with “play clay” as she calls it. I’ve made rainbows, bunnies, snowmen, butterflies, and dinosaurs. They all kinda look the same.

:: baking ::

Ha! Nothing. Next.

:: watching ::

These two loving on each other.

wpid-20150206_161247_1_wm.jpgwpid-img_20150218_102200_wm.jpgwpid-img_20150301_144451_wm.jpgAll day. Everyday. It’s the best.

Let’s be friends:
facebook // twitter // instagram // google+

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