Thursday, February 11, 2016

Tea Collection: Destination Italy

It's my favorite time of the year!  The time when Tea Collection releases it's new destination designs of clothing for kids!  This spring they're taking us on a tour of Italy and the colors and designs are just lovely.

The first release is inspired by modernissimo art and the work of Giacomo Balla with the abstract shapes and typography of the Futurism movement.

Starting today and running through Monday the 15th, everything made by Tea is on a Buy More, Get More sale.  Buy 3 items and save 15%, buy 4 items and save 20%, buy 5 items and save 25% with the code AMORE.  And yes, even the older styles that are marked down are included so don't forget to check the sale section.

As I've looked through their Italy collection I am so impressed by how well they have coordinated the colors so that 3 or 4 pieces can all mix and match.  The styles below were picked out of the catalog by my girls and they all match the same pair of leggings in the blue, as well as a hot pink option.  And the two dresses as well as some others would match the purple berry colored leggings.

Don't forget, there's plenty of Roman architecture and speedy Vespa inspired wear for the boys too!

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*This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Conference Adventures

One of the adventures associated with my new position as a water district commissioner is to attend workshops to be a better commission! Since this one started at 9am Saturday morning we all went to have fun.

The hotels in Seattle are pretty much fancier than anywhere else we stay, even if it's not the fanciest hotel there, Courtyard by Marriott.  Towel animals!

Fireplace in the lobby while waiting for our pizza.  The cuteness of the newly short hair on these two is just killing me!

When you are the first one up on a Saturday morning you get to snuggle with Daddy and read cool books on Oceans.

And then all my family got to swim in the hotel pool while I went to learn about the ethics of being a commissioner (which is pretty much summed up in the golden rule and also, don't be stupid), the proper role of commissioners, and what things count as public records (pretty much anything in written form, eek!).  It was pretty funny being one of the youngest ones in the room by probably 15 years.  There were 2 or 3 other people who looked my age and the rest were probably well over 50!  I was pleasantly surprised to see a good mix of genders though.

After my brain was completely fried with legalese we went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner.  Most of my family has been, but I had never been to a Cheesecake Factory in my entire life given that I don't really care for cheesecake.  The food was pretty good and I was actually blown away by the cheesecake.  Dangerously good!  I had the turtle cheesecake and we also had the mango key lime one. 

First bite ever

We took the dessert back to our hotel because the restaurant was so loud and the kids were done.  It disappeared in a hurry split between 5 people, but I don't think we would have wanted more. (Cory had to have his own gluten free ice cream sundae)
Then we watched The Good Dinosaur.  A very weird movie, and a bit too scary for my little ones.

My college roommate, Wendy, met us for dinner and came back to watch the movie with us.  I don't get to see her often enough.  We had lots of adventures living together for a year in college and a year after college.  So funny to think I've known her for half my life now.

Then we went swimming again on Sunday morning and headed back home in gorgeous weather.  The passes were a bit sketchy on Friday on the way over, but at least by the evening they were better.

It's kind of fun to have a "staycation" as people call it, but a bit spendy for this crew if we didn't already have another reason to go.  Adventures all the way around!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Toys, Clutter, and Mental Space

Do you ever look around at all the toys cluttering your house and wonder why your kids are still asking you for ideas on what to play with?  I've been chatting with some friends and feel like even though we are on the very conservative end of toy ownership we still have WAY more toys in our homes than we did as kids.  The good old days, right?

I'm also on a de-cluttering binge with as much free time as I can find lately.  Did you know clutter has been researched and found to have detrimental affects on your psychological well being?  It's more pronounced for women, which might explain a few things.

So, since I still love to get fun things for my kids now and then, and because Christmas was last month and "birthday month" is March around here there is much toy organizing to be had.

As my kids grow it's fairly easy to say goodbye and garage sale, consign, or donate toys that no longer match their developmental levels.  The trick is to know your kids!  Will they wail and not allow any toys to leave their room?  If so, consider a toy purge while they are visiting friends.  I find that since we pass on our outgrown clothes to younger cousins my kids understand that it's okay to get rid of outgrown toys too.

Consider asking your kids what they would like to do with their toys, whether to donate directly or sell and save up for new toys or experiences knowing that the used toys won't bring much.  I would also recommend that they donate some of the proceeds if possible.  But you know what's right foryour own family, these are just some ideas to help you get started!

Now, if your kids like collectible toys like Legos I don't recommend getting rid of them, they are SO creative, but honestly, after my kids build their newest set it gets taken apart and becomes part of the giant pile we have on a sheet in the middle of the floor.  They do NOT need more Legos for free play!
I know I enjoy building things and I know some of the fun in getting a new Lego set is following the directions and seeing the creation come alive.  But you then don't want to just leave it all put together forever and it adds to your giant disorganized Lego collection.

Would you consider renting Lego sets?  Pley* makes it super easy with their monthly subscription service!

For $20 to $25 a month (depending on how long you want to commit for) you pick out the sets you want and they are shipped to your door!  Play, return, get a new set.  There's no limit, other than shipping time, on how many sets you can get in a month.  And there's no fee for a few lost pieces either.  Pley understands that we are families and sometimes the dog eats one or it gets lost forever in the black hole under the couch!  They also sanitize each set between customers.

What do you think? Would this cut down on clutter in your house AND keep your kids entertained?

PS. Pley offers many other toys besides Legos!  They're taking a survey to see which new categories customers would like to rent.

*This is a sponsored post and there are affiliate links where I will make a small percentage if you sign up.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: At Grandma's House

Fun times were had at Grandma and Grandpa's house after Christmas when Aunt Priscilla and Uncle Dan came for the day.  Always great to suck another family member in to playing games!

Of course there was an excuse for a tea party!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tea Collection Three Day Super Sale

This is a great sale!  Rock bottom prices for the Argentina and Bolivia destination line by Tea Collection.  And they're doing things a little bit differently this time.  It's a three day super sale and all prices will be as marked.  No having to go to your cart and put in a code to know what the sale price is.  I love it!

Final Sale

There are still a ton of great options left and the separates will be less than $15, some as low as $7.  You can't buy this quality and design for that price in your regular retail stores.

Many styles will sell out so don't wait too long!  Sale ends on 1/14/16.

*This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links.

Monday, January 11, 2016

One Word: Joy

There are so many tangents related to this topic running around in my head I'm not sure I can get them all out coherently, so please bear with me!

Christmas hangings we found in both the girls' names this year
Last year I picked the word Hope, and reading back through that post, in light of the year, I didn't know how much I would need that word to face some of the things that happened.  Especially the suicides.  I didn't even remember I'd written about that until I read my post last night.  To have that word running around in my head though, it really helped.  And finally just in the last couple months of last year I've really started to feel like things can change.

I'm not huge into following the trends, and obviously I'm about 10 days late with this one, but I've been thinking about it since Christmas, just not had time to put my thoughts on paper until now.  Since I did Hope last year I thought, well, the obvious choice would be Joy for this year, but that's kind of cliche!  So I cast about for another word and instead in a million little ways I've gotten confirmation that this should be my word for 2016.

There is Joy, and then there is Choosing Joy, which was the post from (in)courage that came between Christmas and New Year.  And this is where I've been feeling led to camp out this year.  In the choice. (and this post, which actually came up this morning and prompted me to finally write!)

So many choices in life and often I feel like I make the wrong ones, especially when it comes to my attitude.  I've had a copy of Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts for a few years and while I love what she has to say, my Type A, black and white brain just can't handle very much of her poetic style at a time!  But the meaning behind all the words I still need.  So one of my goals for this year is to get through that book.  And I know that it's also choosing three things each day to be thankful for so I'm starting that now, even before the book.

I am the total realist, even pessimist, to my husband's optimist.  There's nothing wrong with being a realist, but sometimes it can get you down, and the people around you too.  So I'm hoping that by trying to see the good in things and be thankful I simply won't be so overwhelmed all the time.

Besides, you know, it's one of the fruits of the Spirit!

I'll leave you with this picture my friend Jenny put up on Facebook just this morning, one final note of confirmation (and the song now running around in my head!).

Did you choose a word for this year? 

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Christmas Snapshots

In an attempt to get back to blogging regularly here are some snapshots from our Christmas holidays.  My good camera is still in the shop sadly, but we make do like in the old days!

We made the kids all close their eyes and walk out of their room while there was a blanket over the pile of presents. Yes, this year it was actually a pile.  I have one picture right before this and the flash reflected off Hope's eyes.  Peeking!

New sleeping bags for the girls, although the hit present, which has not been put down since, was a set of Anna and Elsa dolls, about Barbie size.

Many new Legos for the boys of course!  Cory got the Minecraft Lego box.  Minecraft is big in our house these days now that a version of it came out for the Wii.

Then it was off to Nana and Papa's house for Christmas lunch.

Very intently opening their presents...

They love these sweaters, but when I asked for a picture I just got ridiculous poses! (and you can see Anna and Elsa)

Noah wanted this Power Ranger toy he saw in the store one time when we were buying a birthday party present.  This one was the hit for him, along with the giant stuffed Olaf I got from Costco.  Both of them went to Grandma and Grandpa's house with us after Christmas.

More Legos for Cory... do you sense a theme?

Noah's toy had little plastic guns that shot these red darts.  I heard cackling and walked back in to find Noah and Papa having a fight.

Too cute!

And then the day after Christmas we loaded it up and went off to Oregon for a week.

Christmas again! (see Olaf peeking over Noah's shoulder?)

I promise other people got gifts as well, but it's just way too much fun to catch kids expressions.

Grandma did a LOT of sewing for Christmas this year...

We had fun picking out all the fabric at Thanksgiving.

Coordinating aprons for the girls from the 5 Minutes for Mom pattern.

And pajama pants for ALL the boys!

All the teeth and eyes on these little monsters glow in the dark.  It is the best thing ever!

And, we have one more family Christmas on Saturday since my brother and I didn't coordinate very well this year and we were out of town for opposite weeks of Christmas break.  Whoops!  Ah well, I think it's way more fun and almost easier for the kids to get presents at different times and really enjoy them!

I hope you all had a good Christmas!  Only one puking incident and staying one extra day in Oregon due to the weather here.  There have definitely been worse years!