Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tea's Cool School Event - Up to 25% Off!

*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.

Now through Sunday Tea Collection is offering one of their best sales of the season!

Buy 3 items, get 15% off, buy 4 items, get 20% off, and buy 5 or more items, get 25% off. 

Don't miss out on all the cute German inspired clothing for school!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Summer Fun with Cousins!

The first weekend of August we road tripped it down to Oregon for our annual family time. This year Brian's sister and family were here with us for about 10 days. Yay!

Joy in Grandma's rocking chair!
But that also kind of meant some close quarters, the girls sleeping in the closet in our room!  Good thing Grandma and Grandpa's house is big with room to play!

Hope helping Grandma sew
The first order of business was a graveside service for Great Grandpa, who passed away last summer, the last of the great grandparents.  We got to see all the cousins but one and afterwards enjoyed ice cream in the park. 

Me and my girls!
Playing with cousins was so much fun!  We had two good days with them here before the plague descended on the house...

Hope and Cassia
It's so super fun for me to see them wearing their cousin's hand me downs!  And I know my sister-in-law likes shopping our collection from Africa so she doesn't have to shop while she's home.

Grandma got my boys some paints as cousins are still a bit young

We did get one afternoon at the local water park where we had a ball!

My Noah swimming in the lazy river
Everyone had lots of fun going round and round in the lazy river, Noah is a pro in his life jacket, but he swims pretty well too.

Uncle Joel and Cousin Cassia
We took all the little kids except baby Cassia on the water slide.  Hope got scared by rocking back and forth and didn't want to go again, but Joy and William were all over it!  "Again?"

Uncle Joel and Cousin William on the waterslide!
The girls are total water babies!
And after that, the puking started.  Joel and Allison had gone to the coast for a night and he got sick as well as Noah at Grandma's house.  So we had 6 kids to take care of and we were so scared they would all get sick!

Cory loves his baby cousin Cassia! 6 years makes a difference!
We had one day of respite and enjoyed playing on the lawn.  It was HOT here and there's no AC in the house.

My cutest nephew William!
Auntie Allison and Uncle Joel took our boys and their kids out to some water falls and then Cory got sick in the car on the way home... it was all down hill from there.

Uncle Joel did a lot of reading (Hope)
The little ones who hadn't been affected yet enjoyed reading and a tea party with Grandma.

Tea party with Grandma! A new tradition!

Williams frequent mode of transportation!
Sadly we missed out on visiting with three sets of friends due to all the illness.  But we ended up with more family bonding time... over sickness!  Ugh!  All told it took us over a week to get better and poor Joel and Allison had sick kids all the way home to Africa.  I'm not sure which is worse, poo-splosions or vomit on an airplane.

Almost all the cousins watching cartoons, just missing Cassia
This is how we entertained the kids while we waited to take one last family picture. And that will have to wait for a later date to be processed.

Now if I can just get my phone and blog to play nice I will have more pictures... but it's a headache and a half so it may have to wait until we get home.  However, if you'd like more real time updates follow me over on Instagram!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Odyssey Adventure Club Back to School iPad Mini Giveaway


The end of summer is in sight, and OAC is giving away an iPad Mini back-to-school bundle! It might seem like summer just began for your kids yet it's already time for it to end, so if they need some added motivation to get their homework done, remind them they can jump on the Odyssey Adventure Club after their papers are written and their math problems are solved.

As members, your kids can also listen to Album 58 before the album is released to the public! Sign up today for just $5!

Here's what part one is about (which you can listen to for free HERE):
It’s a time of surprises as Wooton becomes the celebrity guest at Comic-Connellsville and Whit finds himself in conflict over the upcoming “Let’s Get Together Festival” in Odyssey. Plus, hear an interview with writer-director Paul McCusker about the entire 14-part series.
Album 58 was inspired by Focus on the Family’s The Family Project, a 12-session small group experience that explores the theological, philosophical, and cultural underpinnings of the traditional family, and combines that information with inspiring stories and practical tools to help 21st-century families thrive. Plus, here's a sneak peek of a new episode called "The Lone Lawman"!

LoneLawman_Final 2
Jason, Whit, Red and the gang rustle up herds of fun while performing a new Kids’ Radio show set in the Old West. “The Lone Lawman” features a confused boy getting mixed up with a shifty band of bank robbers. Can a hero on horseback set things right? See just how wild the West can get in this action-packed send-up of old-time radio dramas.

NOW . . . on to the iPad Mini back-to-school giveaway. One grand prize winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
Hurry, the giveaway ends on August 27th. All winners will be announced August 28th on the widget on this page.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit this page again on the 28th to see if you won! (You'll see the winner's name in the widget.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: My Little Buddy

I made good friends with my nephew William this past week. To the point that when we sat down to watch cartons last night before they left he climbed up in my lap to snuggle me. I get lots of snuggles from my kids, but I'm glad he wanted to snuggle too. I'm gonna miss him! (And his baby sister too)

They left very early this morning on a 48 hour journey back to Swaziland and we won't see them for at least a year, more likely two. Hard when your cousins live on the other side of the world!

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Blue Lake Camping with Friends

In case you were unaware, we've had one crazy summer! Last week we were supposed to go camping with friends up near Winthrop... however with the wildfires still sadly raging in that area we changed plans and went to Blue Lake instead.

It was HOT.  And this campground was not nearly as nice as the one we'd originally planned to go to.  Which, considering we spent most of our time in the water I suppose didn't really matter that much!

Did I mention it was hot?  Like over 100 degrees.  Our friends have some sweet water toys though.  All the kids are out on the inflatable island thing with my friend Holly standing watch.

The water was pretty shallow though and we mostly had the swimming area to ourselves as it was midweek.  I learned that my Hope is pretty fearless.  Here she's paddling herself out to the island and no, she can't touch!

She discovered the flippers, but can't walk in them AT. ALL.

Next she decided that the little camp chairs would be much more useful sitting in the cool water!

Noah got himself into a bit of a pickle when the wind pushed his little boat out farther than he wanted.

Never fear, Carter to the rescue!  Carter was so great with all the little ones, helping them and making sure they were safe!

Then we tried to go to sleep at roughly bed time.  After taking "showers" in the sauna of a bath house and it still being 98 degrees out.  I believe the kids all finally went to sleep after 11pm and then when we finally cooled off enough to get to sleep... were rudely awakened by our tent being blown in over us!  The temperature differential between the air and the land made some serious wind and this tent was so tall it wasn't super sturdy.  So at 1am Brian was staking it down and then of course everything was flapping so much it was hard to sleep.  Cory and Hope both woke up, the latter crawling over next to me to sleep (I don't mind the snuggles, but it was still too hot for that!)

The next day we just lived in our swimsuits.  This time everyone got a ride on the big pull behind the boat toy, even the girls!  Holly and I each had one in our lap and they did okay.  We went as slow as possible and pretty soon they were saying "all done", but they didn't freak out!  Brian went by himself and completely launched since he told Brad to go as fast as he wanted... some boys never grow up!

Carter and Hope on the island after Hope swam herself out again and Carter helped her in.

Lunch in the shade of the camper!  Poor Rory was having a reaction to the sunscreen and possibly the hundred and one mosquito bites so she was inside.

After dinner and showers here's Rory reading to the girls!  We packed it in, deciding it was worth the hour and a half drive home rather than get no sleep in the wind again! 

But first a trip up to Grand Coulee Dam to watch the laser light show.  It didn't start until 10pm and the younger three were passed out 10 minutes from the campground, but Cory stayed awake until we got there and really enjoyed it!

Home at 1am, just in time to pack for our annual trek to Oregon!  Next year I hope we can go back to the other campground and that it's not quite so hot!

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Bauhaus Style for Fall by Tea Collection

**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. 

I'm sure by now you've noticed my love affair with the Tea Collection children's clothing line. Well, their newest destination is here... Germany!  Some of the new arrivals are inspired by Bauhaus school of design from the 1920's.  Very exciting for kids clothing!

Recently I was provided the opportunity to review a few pieces so I picked out what I thought the kids would like.  This was the girls reaction to these Mod Tulip Banded dresses with pockets:

I think we have a winner!

The Germany line has articles of clothing for every season, from the short sleeves above to long sleeve dresses like these skirted beauties below.

Each dress is made of soft knit fabric that makes them super comfy for little ones. 

Hope picked up this Gunta's Circles Skirted Dress and said "Pink!"
I think we'll keep it!

Both of these will go well with the plain gray leggings I picked up the other day, or tights as well.

These adorable crew neck tops run really big, but I hear that was the way they were supposed to run, good for next summer!  Tea Collection sizing is usually a little smaller than mass market clothing so if you're borderline on a size, I'd get the next size up unless you plan to wear it immediately.

The graphics are just perfect for kids, not too baby-ish, but still adorable and definitely unique!

I especially love the graphic tees for boys.  With my 7 year old wearing size 10 it's hard for me to find clothes for him that aren't covered with skulls or skaters.  Tea comes through with fun prints like this Munich Lion Graphic Tee on Cory or the Rennwagen car design that Noah loves.

Some of the other reasons I love Tea?  Their customer service is pretty awesome.  I've only had a few issues, but when I did, they made it right immediately.

They also have an ongoing relationship with all their vendors to ensure good working conditions for their overseas employees.

And finally, the quality of these clothes is significantly higher than the mass merchandise you can buy anywhere.  This means they'll last through multiple children (with proper stain treatment of course!)

New customers always get 10% off their first order, so check out some Germany inspired clothes today!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Road Trip: Hailed Out in Yellowstone

After another cold night and LOTS of heavy rain and hail we were cold and had wet sleeping bags. Apparently there was a trench under our tent site for a reason...

It took us about 4 hours to pack up everything and then we toured 3/4 of the park in one day.

Sadly there weren't many bison near the road as we drove through the Hayden Valley.  This one had a friend behind him that was pooping.  The highlight of the day for 4 year old Noah!

First stop, stinky mud pits!  This was called the Dragon's Mouth as the water is continually coming out in waves making a roaring sound.  It's also stinky!

There's a photo of us at this same sign from the last time we visited Yellowstone... Then there were 9 of us, this time there are 6 and it's just our family!  I think we grew...

(and I just noticed I have another picture of the Dragon's Mouth in that post too!)

We made it down to the Old Faithful area and had about 40 minutes before the window when Old Faithful was supposed to go off.  Daisy Geyser was supposed to go off in about 20 and we wondered if we could get there and back since Cory was very excited to see Old Faithful.

The lady at the front desk told us it was about half a mile out... so we hoofed it.  Only to get here to Castle Geyser and have the sign say that Daisy Geyser was another half mile away.

You can see the Inn in the background, where we needed to get back to to see Old Faithful go off.

We took the boardwalk on the other side of the geyser area going back, one I had never been on before.  There are lots of bubbling pools and pretty colors like this Crested Pool.

We didn't make it all the way back around as it was HOT and the boys were going slow.

Sadly I think geyers are one of those things that are much more spectacular the closer you are.  We stopped at this viewing area when it was getting close because we didn't want to be down in the trees to the left and miss it entirely.

While sitting there I overheard a kid to my right say "this was SO worth it" and his parents laughed and said something about how when they were park employees they thought the same thing.  So we struck up a conversation.  It's always fun to meet other people who have worked in Yellowstone as it's quite the unique working environment.  We chatted all the way back around the walk.

I love the old Inn, it's gorgeous inside, but very dark with bright spots where the windows are so it's quite difficult to take photos inside.

Then we headed north to Bozeman and back to my friend Dan's house (different Dan!).  After stopping for road construction we were halfway to Mammoth when we saw a family walking quickly along the side of the road.  Bear!

We quickly turned around and found the pull off they had parked in and all jumped out.  Hope was still asleep so Brian went back with Joy soon and I took the boys up on the bank.  We managed to see through the trees two black bears, although one of them was brown in color.

They headed off through the trees away from us so we went back to the car.  By then a TON of people had stopped to see what they could see and by the time we started driving again the brown colored bear had gone ahead to a clearing and was much closer to the road.

There were a whole bunch of people standing way to close (in my opinion) and when the bear started ambling towards them - looking for food - they scattered!  We were in the car on the road and I handed Brian the camera and he managed to get a few good shots before a truck behind us started honking (really? I have no idea why they were in such a hurry!).

This is actually the closest and best bear sighting I ever had, even with working over 6 months combined in the Park.  We won't talk about the bear that was sitting right outside my dorm room on the back steps one summer while I was sleeping in!

And so we stopped for pizza in Gardiner and then headed back to Bozeman for a good night sleep in warm dry beds!