Thursday, October 20, 2016

Kidpik: Box One

Facebook ads, man. Sometimes they get ya. This was the latest one to suck me in.

One random Sunday morning while laying in bed because my angellic children were both still sleeping at 8:18 a.m., I saw an ad for Kidpik in my Facebook feed. It intrigued me for some reason and I clicked on it to see what it was all about. Found out that it was essentially a Stitch Fix subscription box, but for children. I have broken up with Stitch Fix as of April or May I think, but sometimes dressing my children is just as exciting or even more exciting as dressing myself, so without having a second thought about it I just signed right up. 


That is not like me to sign up for something so willy nilly like that, especially when I did the entire sign up process on my phone which I normally loathe, so I must have been high on getting to sleep in or something. Anyway, our first box showed up today. I was so darn excited to see what we got, I opened it up in the bathroom while Charley and Laney played in the bathtub.


Now, if I were a good blogger, I would have taken a picture of this next part, but you'll just have to take my word for it.

So, I open up the box and all of the clothing is wrapped in a piece of tissue paper a la Stitch Fix style. I break open the tissue paper and the very first thing right there on top was.....

...a tshirt with a WORD on it. BLEH. I contemplated shutting the box right then and there and giving it the ol' "it's not you it's me" speech. But, I decided to power through. I DID answer some survey questions about what style I liked/Charley liked, but I don't recall ever seeing a space for me to have written to them that I don't like wordy clothing. You better believe I'll be adding that to my checkout notes, however.

Charley (while in the bath) and I looked through it all right then, and we were very pleasantly surprised! Several things that I never would have picked up, but Charley was loving it all. She has very particular taste so that was a good sign at least. I promised her that after her bath and after I got Laney in bed we'd do a mini fashion show so she could try it all on.

At the bottom of the box was the receipt. You don't pay a styling fee or shipping fee, but just pay for whatever you keep. If you keep it all you get 30% off of everything. I braced myself before I opened the receipt because I assumed that it would be way more than I'd normally pay for 7 items for a child. But, again, I was pleasantly surprised! If I decided to keep it all I'd only be out $80! I think I was expecting more than that so I was happy with that total.

Finally my children were clean, one was asleep and the other was DYING to try some things on. We went into my bedroom/bathroom so we had a full  length mirror to play fashion show in front of.

First we try on a skirt, dolman tee and pleather moto jacket.


The skirt is cute and fits well, but I'm not loving it with the dolman. The dolman is actually really big and wide, so I don't even know if it is worth saving for next year. The jacket though is adorable and is truly something I wouldn't even pick up in a store. Of course it IS the most expensive thing in the box. Naturally.

We tried to also put these shoes on with that outfit because these shoes are 100% Charley, but they were sized small. Womp womp. It looks like you can exchange for another size though, so these are still a possibility.


Besides making my 5 year old look way too old, we were off to a decent start for our very first box. We moved on to the next outfit...a cute A-Line black and white dress.


ADORABLE. This was Charley's favorite thing in the box by far. Like, she wanted to wear it to bed tonight. It was extra extra cute with the moto jacket, too.



Next we had to try on the dreaded WORD tee. It also had a cat on it, and Charley can't read (nor does she share my hatred for word tees) so she liked it! Also, have I mentioned that Charley's aversion to jeans has ended? This fall she's asked for a couple pairs of jeans to wear, so tonight we went to Target and got her a pair to try from the Cat and Jack line. So, these jeans aren't from the box, but we needed to try them on too so it made sense to try them with the cat tee.


The jeans are very cute, but again, make her look too old (!!) and the tee thankfully is just too tight so I convinced her it was a no. Whew. Dodged that wordy bullet.

The last thing in the box was some sort of strappy wrap bracelet, but it didn't fit well when wrapped two times around her little wrist and I just am not a fan of that style on my 5 year old. So I'm definitely using veto power on it if she asks to keep it.

So, what  do you think? Here's where the math gets me:

If I keep the following:

A Line Dress..............$24.50
Moto Jacket................$29.50
                      I'm at...  $69.50


If I keep it ALL and take advantage of the 30% discount, the total is $81.55. So, I'd save $12 to only keep what we like, but Laney would eventually wear the shoes if we didn't exchange them so they wouldn't be a total loss, and the dolman tee could be a maybe next fall, so, possibly not a total loss either. What do you think? Do you disagree with what we are considering, and think it all is too mature for a 5 year old? I definitely can see that side of it too so that wouldn't be offensive to me at all if you think that. I mean really, the moto jacket while cute, is not very practical at all. And the skirt I could take it or leave it,..although I can really see it with some black and white converse, so, I'm leaning towards keeping it. See?! I change my mind halfway through a sentence, so I'm in no shape to be making these (first world) decisions tonight.

Help me out. What do we think, bloggy friends? I DO think we will continue the subscription box no matter what we decide to keep with this one.

(Also, if you are thinking of trying it for your own daughter (so far they only have clothing for girls sized 4-14), awesome! I wish there was a referral program, but there is not. So, here is a link, but it is not a referral link: Kidpik.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Never Ever Have I Ever II

One of my favorite posts I've written is the Never Ever Have I Ever post from last year. Immediately after I posted it I came up with a couple more items to add to the list so I started a drafting a part 2 right away. 18 months later, I finally have a list long enough to share. I cannot come up with even one more "never". But how much ya wanna bet I'll come up with a couple as soon as I hit that publish button?

Anyway, if you are unfamiliar, this comes from a drinking game where you take a sip every time someone says something they've never done that you HAVE done. So I've never smoked a cigarette but if you have then you would take a sip of your drink. Got it? Ok. Get your drink ready and here goes.


Never ever have I ever....

...smoked a cigarette.

...had mastitis or a clogged duct.

...been scuba diving.

...drank Everclear.

...gone for a test drive. (bought lots of cars - never wanted to test drive them)

...been to a counselor or therapist.

...been to a chiropractor.

...eaten with chopsticks.

...been sailing.

...had a sinus infection.

...been to a rap concert.

...been to a strip club.

...paddle boarded or surfed.

...gone hunting.

...shot a gun.

...played hockey.

...been house shopping with a realtor a la House Hunters. (I've always wanted to though!)

...been to a MLB game. (That's a lie...I just remembered I have been to one!) Let's change this to:
...been to a major league soccer game.

...been to a state fair. Plenty of local fairs, never to THE state fair in any state.

...had an ingrown toenail.

...bobbed for apples.

...attended a protest.

...milked a cow.

...received an "F" as a grade.

...rode a unicycle.

...dyed my own hair.

...gambled in a casino.

...hired a babysitter that wasn't family or a close friend.

...been to the movies in 2016.

How did you do? Can you even read these words any longer? Nice and tipsy for a Tuesday evening?

It took me a year and a half to come up with this second list, so I think next time I need to list weird things I have done so I don't seem as sheltered and inexperienced as these "never" lists make me sound. I've done things! Really! I have! Once I went swimming...WITHOUT waiting 30 minutes after I ate.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Week In Review

This is for the week of September 25 through October 1st.

The highs of the week were:

  • Getting our fall family pictures back from the photographer. We (coughLaneycough) didn't give the photographer a ton to work with, so I wasn't expecting any miracles. On the other hand, I LOVE this photographer so much and knew in the back of my mind I'd be pleasantly surprised. And that I was! They are all SO GOOD. 
  • Spontaneously (well, about 10 hours before spontaneously which is almost as spontaneous as it gets when you are parents) deciding to take the kids out to a brewery after work Friday. Ha! They serve food, too, and there's a HUGE outdoor area where a band plays, there are tons of tables, and lots of space for the kids to run around. Plus, BREWERY, so, John and I enjoyed it too. We met one of our best friends there and a couple more of John's coworkers, so while one of us took our shift of walking around with Laney, the other had people to sit and chat with. The weather was good, the pretzels and beer cheese were good, the beer was good, and the company was great! Our friend then came back to our house with us where we played darts and stayed up until almost 1!
  • Untitled
    My two are the ones sitting up in the middle and on the right. They were helping cover the ones laying down in GRAVEL. Filthy dirty kids with pockets full of rocks, but they had fun! I even got a "BEST DAY EVER!" from Charley.
  • Then, at 6:30 the next morning, I got up and went to yard sales with Charley and my mom. It was such a good day, too. We deserved it after a truly bust of a day two weeks prior. Charley got some great things, and I did too! Charley's favorite is a FurReal cat, and then this pink wig. 
My favorite were these two mini globes that I paid $.50 each for. I came home right away and spray painted the cheap looking plastic parts with some Oil Rubbed Bronze (I keep that spray paint color on hand!) and I love them! Perfect bookcase decor for one dollar! 

The lows of the week were:
  • Just all of the rushing around. Saturday especially was non-stop and I even had to cancel one thing I had planned to do. The fall is just so busy with things we have to do and things we want to do (Festivals! Festivals! ALL THE FESTIVALS!).
  • Going hand in hand with that is the way our house is suffering. We've had some help with the actual CLEANING part of it, so it's not dirty, but we just aren't finding time to put everything away. Which is odd because usually it is the opposite where we have all the clutter put away but run out of time with the cleaning part. John and I aren't holding it over each other's head, but it does make both of us feel overwhelmed.
  • A bad customer service experience at Old Navy Saturday. Ran in to do a quick return of 2 things we didn't end up using for our family pictures, and it took almost 20 minutes. They tried telling me the necklace I was returning was not on the receipt that I had. Even though that is the only time I've shopped at Old Navy recently, and the only necklace I've purchased there as well which I politely explained to them. They tried to not let me return it and I was LIVID. The prices matched between the item's tag and the receipt and the description matched as well, but when they scanned it their stupid computer said that item wasn't on that receipt. RAGE RAGE RAGE. Eventually they gave but I got the whole "JUST THIS ONCE" line. Just this once maybe your darn computer should work, jerks. Whew. Sorry. Got mad again just thinking of it. 
The best money I spent was on:
Besides things I've already mentioned (family photos and yard sale goodies) I'm going to have to go with the two cookies I purchased from The Great American Cookie Company on Thursday. Y'all know I used to work there in high school/college, right? Well, I almost always get a double doozie when I visit these days, but this time I went back to a couple of my favorites from back then and OH MY GOSH they were even better than I remembered. First, the DOUBLE FUDGE. It's good, but it doesn't hold a candle to the CHEWY CHOCOLATE SUPREME. Holy moly I forgot how delicious that cookie is. $3.66 well spent.

The book I am currently reading is:

I just need to remove or replace this question because I'm in a very long reading lull.

The TV shows I watched were:

Y'all. I am loving This Is Us. Only two episodes so far, but so so good. Also, my old favorite Survivor. Charley loves Survivor too so that has become something we watch together each week. I think I also watched a couple episodes of Parenthood, too. 

The dinners we had were:
(Guess what - we didn't meal plan again. We are doing better this week so far, but it's only Monday so we have plenty of time left to blow it.)
Sunday: We had leftovers from the Panther's tailgate John was at earlier this day. So, BBQ, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and beans.
Monday: John had a work dinner at a BBQ place, and I made chicken alfredo for myself and the girls. 
Tuesday: I stopped by my weekly happy hour thing my work does while Charley was in gymnastics and quickly scarfed down some chicken strips. John grilled chicken wings, but the girls actually both had leftovers tonight and we saved the chicken wings for lunches.
Wednesday:  Marco's Pizza
Thursday: This is the only night I can't remember. Which makes me think it was a throw something-anything together night. Peanut butter and jelly, crackers, grapes, strawberries, yogurt, any leftover pizza, green beans, Cheeze-Its, and whatever other thing we can find in the pantry or fridge.  
Friday: This was the night we went to the brewery, so pretzels and chips was it for the kids.
Saturday:   Charley and I have eaten lunch at Cookout after her swim lessons each week, and they give you so much food! So, the girls finished off that for dinner (cheeseburgers, hushpuppies, french fries, and I at least cut up some fruit for them too for some semblance of healthiness) and John and I just ate whatever we could find. 
On Sunday we decided to actually make time to grocery shop for the following week, and man, how wonderful it is to have groceries and not to scramble for every single meal all week. Again though, it IS only Monday...

My favorite picture from the week was:


 Not that wonderful of a picture or anything, but this was from a birthday party Saturday. Laney walked around the kids in the circle and seemed to be standing right in front of each one and backing up to where they couldn't see around her. I knew that was Laney code for her wanting to sit in one of their laps, but of course they didn't know that so they all kept moving away from her while I watched and giggled. Finally though, she found her sister who knew what she wanted. They are so darn sweet....sometimes!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Catch Up Post

Goodness. TIME IS FLYING, Y'ALL. I haven't even been taking lunches very often lately so since that is my prime blogging time, the ol' blog has been dormant. I don't know why I've felt so cannot-catch-my-breath-busy for the last month or so, but it seems like it has been non-stop. Here's some of what's been happening.

I made John stand up for an entire football game so I could rest my legs across his seat.


Charley likes circle time so much at school we decided to do it at home also. Charley, Laney and the toilet make a great circle.


We got started planning Halloween costumes. Laney was thinking Grimace, but we aren't sure yet.


Remember when we dropped out of dance class after I'd already spent the $75 on the recital dress that I promised was the UGLIEST TACKIEST THING EVER that wasn't even deserving of dress up box? Well it's been hanging in my closet for some reason ever since May. I did some cleaning out of my closet and figured I should at least have her try it on.


See? Even uglier than I promised.

QUICK! Let me post something cute as an eye-wash of sorts. I also had Laney try on an outfit I purchased for her to wear in family pictures.


I gave you a double dose just in case. Hope your eyes are okay.

I decorated for fall and Halloween the other night. John was away that night, so I stayed up late and decorated to my heart's content. Around midnight I held up this creepy guy to see where I wanted to place him.


I am not exaggerating one bit on the timing of what I'm about to tell you. AS SOON AS I held him up, just like I'm doing there, the FREAKING COMPUTER started playing some commercial. It was just a lady talking, and I'm pretty sure it was just a Value City Furniture commercial, but DO YOU KNOW HOW CREEPY IT WAS TO HOLD THIS UP IN THE COMPLETE SILENCE AND THEN HAVE SOMETHING BEGIN TALKING??? I considered burning the place down and starting over elsewhere. There wasn't even any browser windows open on the computer. It was randomly from some program running in the background. I nearly needed to change my pants.

Let's see, iPhone photo stream, what else have we done in the last month....

We went camping at the beach during a tropical storm.


I demonstrated my cool demeanor and excellent parenting skills after taking this picture, noticing Laney actually smiled, THEN noticing the cat on Charley's head which caused me to stomp my feet like a toddler and reprimand Charley for ruining my picture. Nevermind her eyes are almost closed.


Turns out that kind of made the picture so I apologized.

We celebrated birthdays. First Daphne's,


Then my dad's.


We attempted to smuggle a baby.


We didn't take advantage of my children playing nicely together, and instead peeked around the corner the whole time and took pictures.


We went to the fair where Charley spent a LONG TIME at the bee exhibit talking to the beekeeper who of course was a stranger. You know who else keeps bees? Her uncle. And he keeps them right next door, yet she's never even shown an interest in them at all.


My serious baby has continued seriousing, despite holding a ball that clearly says SMILE.


And I am TIRED, y'all.


But! Maybe things will slow down soon. There aren't many festivals or holidays or anything coming up right?

See you in January. You know. That month where accountants are never busy.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Disney Day!


A couple weeks ago we took a little 4 day vacation to Daytona Beach Shores, Florida. Since it is only a little over an hour away from Orlando and we have children, we had to abide by the Florida law that anyone within a certain distance visit Mickey while there. Dems da rules!

We picked Thursday, August 18 to visit and hoped that many children would be back in school already to lessen the summer crowds a bit. We also watched the weather pretty closely and debated switching our visit to Friday instead when we saw there was a 60% chance of storms that day (which seemed a little higher than the normal everyday chance of storms in Florida), but ended up sticking with our original plan so we wouldn't lose our Fastpasses and all that. It ended up being a perfect day to go! We had the best day! I mean, Disney makes it hard to have a bad day, but crowds and weather can definitely make a huge difference and we lucked out in both departments that day.

I had reserved our three Fastpasses 30 days prior to our visit. (Since we weren't staying on property and were only doing a day visit, that was as early as we could reserve them.) I wasn't expecting much since people staying on property are allowed to make Fastpass reservations 3 months in advance, but I was actually pleasantly surprised at what was left. I used a site similar to this to pick which are most advantageous to reserve, and went from there. I also wanted to pick three that we'd be able to use as soon as we got there so that we'd be able to reserve more Fastpasses for the rest of the day. (You can't reserve any more until your first 3 are used.) I REALLY wanted to ride The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, but the first one wasn't available until 8:00 that night, so essentially we'd give up an entire day of Fastpassing to snag that one. So, I passed on that Fastpass (ba dum ching!) and hoped for the best.

I ended up choosing:
The Jungle Cruise
Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
Peter Pan

Our first Fastpass was valid from 11:45-12:45 so naturally we entered the Magic Kingdom gates at 1:00 p.m. Doh. Missed that one. So maybe our day didn't start as expected but we didn't let it get us down.

From there, we Fastpassed, we lunched at Cosmic Ray's, and we Fastpassed some more. In the middle of the afternoon the sky got dark and we heard thunder in the distance so several rides closed for a while, but it didn't slow us down. We chose new Fastpasses for rides that WERE still open and just moved on. It never rained at all, and then the thunder moved on and everything opened back up. We got to do SO MUCH this day! And mostly ALL with Fastpasses! Our ride order looked like this:

Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
Lunch at Cosmic Ray's
Peter Pan
Under The Sea (during the "storm")
Teacups (during the "storm")
Carousel (during the "storm")
Dumbo (storms over!)
The Barnstormer, twice, with rider swap
Mickey's Philharmagic
Magic Carpets
Tiki Room
Dinner at Pecos Bill
Pirates of the Caribbean
It's A Small World
Haunted Mansion
Jungle Cruise
Light Parade
Splash Mountain, where we caught the beginning of the fireworks right as we came out of the cave and went down the big hill - so magical!
Winnie The Pooh

Guess I should mention that my BFF Amy was also with us, and was riding with Charley in front of us. :P





So, we missed a few in Tomorrowland, Big Thunder Mountain was closed for refurbishment, and we sadly never got to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. But I think we did awesome! We never waited longer than 20 minutes for any ride and both Charley and Laney were so good! And sure, it was August in Florida which means H-O-T, but I truly didn't think it was bad at all. Disney must have a way of making the heat not as intolerable, apparently. Oh Disney, how do you do it?! We left around 11, after a visit in the gift shop and the sweets shop while Laney slept in the stroller.

We definitely deserved a redo after our last visit when Charley was sick and this day more than made up for it. We are doing a week long trip in 2017 so I'm hoping for the same crowd volume and luck.

I opted not to take my good camera either based on John's suggestion, and that ended up being good advice. It is big and clunky and a lot to keep up with, and I can't tell you how many times I've almost knocked out my children from it swinging down while I lean over to pick them up. So, my pictures of the day aren't as good, but I enjoyed my time more by not focusing on keeping up with the camera and trying to get good shots. I did buy this one picture for $15 at the end of the night to make up for it, though.

Worth it!
At the end of the night we had one sleeping baby in the stroller and one sleepy baby that we were carrying on the ferry boat back to our car. She may be 43 pounds, but when your almost 5 year old falls asleep on your shoulder and you think to yourself that this may be one of the last times she does that EVER, you get super strength and hold her and soak it all in. It was a perfect ending to a perfect Disney day.


We'll be back, Mickey!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016


(For you, Heather!)


Before there was Pokemon Go, there was geocaching. Geocaching is an activity that uses the GPS on your phone to find hidden treasures in parks, along trails, or even in shopping centers. We are VERY new at this, so if you are a more seasoned geocacher, feel free to leave extra tips and tricks in the comments or feel free to correct me. I tend to get on board with things way late, so since Google tells me geocaching has been around since 2000 and I'm just now joining in in 2016, I suppose I'll get on board and begin Pokemon hunting in 2032. I'll eventually catch 'em all!

So, geocaching. In my limited experience, these things are everywhere. Lots in parks, lots in touristy areas, lots in shopping centers. It can be completely free to do, or you can go straight to Geocaching Nerd level right off the bat and subscribe for a year like we did. Subscribing gives you more geocaches to find, and who knows what else, but for $6 a month or $30 for the year I figured we'd just go ahead and do the year.

Ok, let me back up to the basics.

Alright. So, to do this activity you need the following:
  • A GPS enabled phone (or you can use a compass I think, but I have no experience using that method so I'm not going to talk about that here)
  • A pen
  • The Geocaching App
  • Some little trinkets to leave behind if you plan on taking something for yourself

You download the app and sign up for an account. (This is free). Once you've done that, you are taken to a map within the app which should show your exact location. From there, you just scroll around to see if any geocaches are located near you. The circles that are dark green are geocaches that are available for you to find. If there are any light green dots, you are using the free version and those light colored ones are only available to super nerd Geocaching Subscribers, like myself.


Find one that looks appealing to you and click on it. You can see the difficulty, terrain and actual size of the container you are looking for here. If it all sounds like something you'd like to attempt, push the start button and the app gives you the mileage or the number of feet you are away from that geocache.


A compass is also shown on the screen, with a red indicator at which direction you need to maneuver to get closer to the cache. Sometimes you can tell that the geocache is going to be off of this trail that you are walking on, but since the trail may weave back and forth you may actually walk against the direction it tells you to go in at some points. Does that make sense? Ultimately, you are trying to get close enough to the geocache that your phone buzzes and tells you:


Once you get to within 30 feet of the geocache they give you a warning that the GPS may not be accurate to the exact location. Like, once you find it it may say you are still 15 feet away, for example, just because GPS isn't that accurate. In my experience though, I'd say it has been pretty accurate from 5-10 feet out. 

So from there? You just look! We have a whopping 8 finds under our belt, but there are at least 2 others (maybe 3? I can't remember.) that we never found. When Charley and I went geocaching last weekend though, I did feel like we were getting much better at this than we were when we started. You sort of start to learn what to look for. 

A few times it has been hidden under some sticks that are placed just so at the base of a tree.



Sometimes they take advantage of little hidey holes in trees to hide the cache.



That one above was really cool - the hole was in the middle of the tree where two trunks split apart, and instead of having you stick your hand down there to get it - because ew snakes and bugs and such! - they had a rope tied to it wrapped around the tree so it rested right in the hole. You just pulled it out by the rope and dropped it back in when you were done.

And some are even in just plain sight. This one was called "Bienvenidos" and was a fake rock next to a welcome stone at a nature museum. Turned the rock upside down and voila! 


So what do you get when you find it? Mostly just the pleasure of finding hidden treasure! But, some geocaches are large enough for little trinkets too. So the idea is to bring something to leave, and to take one thing with you as well if you wish. This one here was the best we've seen so far for actual stuff to trade. Stickers and little toys and magnets and all kinds of things. 


If you are stuck wandering around and just not finding the darn thing, there are sometimes hints you can use on the actual app, and if those don't help, you can go through the comments of those that have found it before you and try to pick up hints from those. Sometimes there are even pictures attached to the comment which can at least point you to the right tree or right area. We definitely used the heck out of those for our first few finds. 

Another 'hint' is to pay attention to the name of the geocache. Some have boring names that don't mean a thing, but often times they DO mean something. Like the "Bienvenidos"one I mentioned before was right next to a welcome stone, and this one below was called "Sea Turtle" which didn't really help until we actually found it and saw a turtle (not even a sea turtle!) on top of the box but worth mentioning as well. Sometimes the titles help, sometimes not so much.


The last thing to do is to sign the log. Many geocaches are too small to include a pen in them also so it is usually a good idea to bring your own if you want to sign them. Sign, date, put everything back in the container and hide it just as you found it. Done!


On the app, you then log your find (or log that you didn't find it) and it places a smiley face over the green dot so you can remember which ones you've found and which you haven't. It is important to log those you don't find of our first ones that we didn't find we searched and searched and searched. Finally we gave up and logged our DNF (did not find) and moved on. I went back to check on it a week or two later and saw that many people after us had the same results so they took the listing off the site completely until the owner could go back and either reset it or hide one again in the same spot. Made me feel much better that others didn't find it either! 

That's really it, I think! I know there's tons more that you can do with these but this is all we are doing so far and it is perfect for Charley's age. We enjoy it, it's free to try, and it gets us out and walking. Of course we completely forgot to look for any last week on vacation, but that's usually when we look for them - makes it easy to explore a new place. Let me know if you try/have tried it! Give me all the tips!