10 Tips for Flying with 1 Year Old

By 1:25 PM , , ,
I know I have mentioned it several times now but this summer has been the summer of weddings for our friends and family. In June we had the opportunity to fly to Washington D.C. for my cousin's wedding in which my one year old son was the ring bearer and I was bridesmaid (read more about it here). Since there was no way/no how we were going to drive 12+ hours with a baby in the car (nursing baby mind you) we decided to fly. But I'll be honest, the most nerve racking part of the whole trip for me was the flight there and the flight back. Yes, it was def better than driving, however, I was super nervous on how my fidgeting toddler who doesn't like to sit still would do. I was worried about his ears and the other people on the plane. However, it not only ended up going smoothly but ended up being one of the best parts of the trip (minus getting to see my cousin get married which was of course, awesome). I was prepared and our little guy ended up LOVING it. So I thought to ease any other future worried mamas who are planning a trip and are nervous as heck about flying with a little one I would share my top 10 tips for flying with a one year old. 

1. Make it fun and educational: You can prepare your little one for your upcoming adventure in advance by reading plane books and talking about planes and flying in the sky. This will help ease their fear and get them excited about the adventure ahead. 

2. Leave yourself PLENTY of extra time: This is key. There is nothing that will set you up for disaster faster than being rushed to get to the gate. Build in extra time to stop and look and talk about what you see on the runway and the airport. And that when you you have an unexpected diaper blow out there is no fear for time.

3. Bring lollipops and sippy cups for take off and landing: It really helps little ears if you can get your little one to suck on something during take off and landing. I brought a sippy cup but was worried he would not be thirsty so I also purchased some sugar free lollipops and gave him one as a treat to suck on when he got tired of drinking. I then distracted him with a toy and took it away and gave it back to him as we began our dissident. He never showed any symptoms of it bothering his eyes with this trick.

4. Let them crawl, walk, MOVE as much as possible between flights: If you are catching a connecting flight or even if you aren't try to find a big empty space where your little one can move around and crawl, walk, etc. before your flight. Little ones need to be able to stretch and move and the more than can get in prior to your flight the more likely they will be able to sit still for a flight.

5. Get a window seat: I don't care if you have to bribe someone else with a window seat with money to get their seat. It will be worth it. I promise. Talk about the things you see like water, clouds, landmarks, etc. 

6. Pack a backpack full of quiet toys: books, small toys, and coloring pads/books will help the time pass more quickly. Try to bring either new toys or toys your little guy has not played with in a while so they are new and exciting. Melissa and Doug sells as Water Wow Coloring Books that are only $5 on Amazon. These books have reusable pages that are whtie with simple line drawings when dry and reveal colors when wet. They are perfect for on the go as they don't make a mess.

7. Pack your own snacks and lots of them: You never know how long you might get stuck on a runway and having plenty of crackers and other snacks can help pass the time. 

8. Keep your phone handy: I'm usually not a big advocate of little your kids use electronics but an airplane ride is one time that I'm all about it. Look at pictures on your phone together and talk about the people and things you see. 

9. Bring a blanket: Pack your little ones favorite baby blanket. Airplanes can be cold and they can help keep their little legs warm, they also serve as a great pillow or cuddle if they get tired and can double as a cover if they need to nurse.

10. If all else fails remember you will probably never see these people again: and better yet probably 9/10 people near you have been there done that and are more sympathetic of your situation. Have fun and enjoy the trip. I will say you will feel like a celebrity as you get to be the first one to board the plane and flight attendants will go out of their way to make sure your needs are met.

Before I conclude I did want to share some tips on what to bring and not to bring as far as travel. I did not know any of this prior to flying so I thought I would share:
  • Bring your own car seat if you can and check it for free where you check luggage BEFORE going through security. If you don't want to deal with bringing your own car seat you can rent one through a car rental company but do know car rental companies usually buy the cheapest car seats on the market. You can also request an Uber with a car seat which can come in handy.
  • I can not emphasis this one enough...bring your own stroller and stroll that sucker right up to the gate. They will check it for free for you at the gate and it will great you at your landing gate. Strap your baby in and stroll on sister.
  • If you bring your own carry on bag check it at the gate for free. This way you will have less to worry about dragging and keeping up with at the airport.  You will pick it up at baggage claim. 
  • Do bring a backpack you can strap on your bag full of the recommended items above.
 I truly hope you found the above tricks helpful. Happy travels! Remember you can do this!

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Touring Washington D.C. with a Toddler

By 4:09 PM , , , ,
As I have mentioned this has been the summer of weddings for our family. In June I was a bridesmaid and our little guy was the ring bearer in my cousin's wedding in Virginia. My husband had never been to D.C. (well apparently he did go as a young child but didn't remember the trip) so we took the opportunity to visit the city after the wedding. Just for fun here is a picture of my brother, hubby, and son before the rehearsal dinner and then another of E and my hubs before the wedding. And yes ladies, my brother IS single...any takers?

O.k. back to the DC portion of the trip. We stayed at the brand new Hampton Inn at the White House (literally it was one block from the White House). It was a little pricey but  an awesome location and the hotel staff were GREAT. Both our almost 12 month old and myself ended up being sick the entire trip which made it a little difficult but we still packed it full and had a blast non-the-less. In case you are looking in to traveling to D.C. with a little one I thought I would share some of the highlights from our trip. 

Tip #1: Bring a good stroller. Seriously you will do a ton of walking. The more space your stroller has for storage underneath the better. However, don't under estimate the metro. It really very affordable and TOTALLY worth it if you need to save time or beat the heat. 

Most of our first day was spent driving from Alexandria, VA to D.C. and returning our rental car, getting checked in to the hotel, etc. but we did manage to get in a good walking tour of the city the first evening. We started out at the White House and walked down the mall to Washington Monument. It was hot, hot, hot people and a lot of walking but still really a great way to see the city. Of course we had to get a family selfie in front of the monument, excuse the sweat.

Day #2 we started off with the National History Museum which is always great and really fun for kids. Our little loved seeing the animals the most while J and I had a blast checking out what we would have looked like a century ago.

(totally scary right)
We then headed to the National Museum of Crime and Punishment. This is one of the few museums in Washington that is not free as it is a private museum but I would still highly recommend it. We found a Groupon for it so check it out when you go to see if there are any online deals before you go. There was lots of neat things to see and even some displays I had to close my eyes for...it was pretty intense. It was particularly neat to see the car that Bonnie and Clyde were killed in and to test drive a police car through a simulator. You also got to shoot up a criminal. So. Fun.

After that we went on a walking tour ALL over the city. We walked to the Capital. Then went through the Space and Aviation Museum (also wonderful but it was packed and we were exhausted so I failed to get any pictures). We then walked through the Botanical Gardens and made our way down to the Vietnam Memorial, followed by the WWII memorial and we were head to the Lincoln Memorial when it started to DOWN POUR. I'm talking straight up flood gates opened up. Which honestly was sort of a welcome break after the extreme heat but I pretty sure at least two people thought about reporting us to child services as we rung out our babies clothing it was so soaked. We decided to take shelter on the Lincoln Memorial. Here is our wet dog look. Hey, we made a memory right?

We then headed up to Georgetown and finished the evening out with dinner at Whole Foods in the college town. I can honestly say I don't think I have ever been so exhausted in my entire life.

Tip #2: Bring sunscreen and plenty of water bottles. Water is expensive to buy at the museums but you can bring in your own along with snacks. I highly recommend doing so as we all know when a child is hungry you need something to pop in their mouth asap and their is not always food nearby at the museums. 

Day #3 we had an afternoon flight so we got up early and headed to the Holocaust Museum which is absolutely spectacular under normal conditions. However, we had a very fussy, sick and miserable baby and the museum was packed with a large group of Holocaust survivor. The tour guide asked us to please remain silent throughout the museum out of respect to the survivors and we were ushered on to an elevator with no turning back. That is when our baby decided it would be a great time to start shrieking. We tried to exit the museum as quickly as possible but it was SO packed we felt like we were being guided into the gas chambers ourselves as we shuffled along like a cow in the crowds. This museum does have an awesome mini exhibit designed for kids (noise is o.k. here) that takes you through the life of a Jewish boy. It is very kid friendly and everything can be touched and climbed on.

We then grabbed an Uber (first ever ride and it was AWESOME-what a cool service) and headed to the airport to catch our flight home. All in all it was a fantastic, exhausting trip and I am glad we did it sick and all! 

Next family trip....? One more wedding in Athens and then in September we finally get to take our family beach trip. I'm counting down the days.

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Where is your happy place? *Link Party*

By 10:42 AM , , , ,

We all have that one place...the place where you envision yourself when something bad or painful is happening (like labor). You know...mind displacement...the place that brings you total peace and serenity. Today I thought it would be fun to show you mine and create a link party where would could all display and show off our happy places. Maybe yours is on the beach or in the mountains or maybe it is in a big comfy chair in your living room...I would love to see 'your place.' And don't pretend you don't have one...if you are a mommy than there was something or somewhere you pictured as you fought to bring your precious child in to the world. Feel free to read about mine below (picture above) and show off yours to the blogging world!

My happy place is Lake Burton which is a little bit of paradise nestled right in the North Georgia mountains. I have had the privilege of growing up at Lake Burton (seriously I was two weeks old my first visit) my entire life. My family owns a lake house that has been in our family since my mom was high school. I have so many wonderful memories at this house and have spent so many of my spring and summers there that it honestly feels even more like home than home. 

Tragically we lost both our home and boat house (both of which had been built by my now deceased grandfather and my dad when he was dating my mom) back in 2011 in a tornado that come through the area. But we have spent the last four years re-building and we finally have both a home and a boat house to stay and play at again. You can see a previous post of images from our re-build here

I brought my son to the lake house for the first time when he was only 8 days old. At 9 days old he had his first boat ride. At 10 days old we put his feet in the water for the first time. O.k. so maybe I'm crazy...don't believe me? Here is a photo.

For me this place is totally my happy place. It does not matter if it is raining or a beautiful sunny day. All I need to do is sit out on our patio or picture myself floating on the floating dock and I have achieved my goal of total mind displacement. 

O.k. it's time, link up below and tell us about your happy place.  And just for giggles here is a photo of our little for the first time in his life vest. I'm not sure if it is hilarious or just sad. He was SO tiny! 

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Product Review: Kidecals

By 2:30 PM , ,

Today I wanted to share with you all a product I was sent to try out by Kidecals. This company makes name labels that stick to any surface. All of their products are waterproof which means they are dishwasher, washing machine,  AND dryer safe! They really have a super neat product.

Yes I do realize we have quite the assortment of sippy cups. What can I say. We like some variety in our life. Ha. 

I ordered monogram stickers for my little guy to stick on all his sippy cups that go back and forth to friend's houses, church, daycare, etc. They are great for sippy cups because you can literally pop the sippy cup in the dishwasher and the label does not come off! 

I also really like the idea of ordering a set with my address and family name to stick on dishes so you can make sure you get your dish back when you take food to pot luck or bring dinner to a family. 

I received a test product to review in exchange for a honest review. However, all opinions are my own. I do not promote products that I would not buy myself. 

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FREE Summer Fun + A Great Website

By 4:23 PM , , ,
Happy Thursday friends! I know the summer is quickly drawing to a close (hard to believe) and if you are like me you might be looking for fun summer activities to do that get you out of the heat. Have you thought about trying out a new museum? Museums can be fun places for children and adults alike. We recently had the opportunity to check out some awesome ones while in D.C. (post coming soon) but most every city offers muesums for children and adults. 

One of my favorite websites, The Penny Hoarder, has created a great article about how to get free museum days you might want to check out. If you have not heard of this site I highly encourage you to check it out. It is full of great tips on freebies, making money, and saving money. I got hung up for like 15 minutes on the article on things you can get free on your birthday. Have fun, check out the site, and enjoy this photo of our little guy at our visit to the Natural History Museum this summer! 

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5 Things You MUST do in Asheville/Mountain Wedding + Giveaway

By 3:36 PM , , , , , ,

Today I wanted to share with you our recent trip to Asheville, NC for one of my close friend's wedding. My friend is a close friend from college and sorority sister of mine (not to mention a fellow blogger, check her out) who is quite the world traveler. She actually met her groom (who is from New Zealand) while working in Germany and they have done a lot more traveling of the world together since then. They are now living in the fun town of Asheville, NC so that is where the wedding took place. We had never been to Asheville so we decided to make a long weekend out of it just the two of us and tour the city while we were there (my amazing parents kept the little guy for us for the weekend).

Disclaimer: We did not have time to visit the Biltmore while we were there I heard you need a full day to fully appreciate it and we only had a 1/2 day so we will have to return to visit the Biltmore.

O.k. with that being said here are the top 5 things you MUST do in Asheville followed by photos of her lovely mountain wedding:

1.  Eat brunch at Biscuit Head

Seriously ya'll....this place was out of this world good! It is called Biscuit Head because their biscuits are the size of a cat's head. And they have this awesome jam/jelly bar with all these super fun jellies you can try. I got a fried green tomato stuffed biscuit complete with at least 20 jellies. A-MAZING. Not to mention we brunched at this location with some of our best friends which made it even more enjoyable. I def, def, def, recommend this place! 

2. Visit the Omni Grove Park Inn

This hotel/spa will take your breathe away. Even if you don't stay here visit for the view alone. It is worth it! They also host a National Gingerbread House competition that would be a blast to come to and visit at Christmas time! It is also on my bucket list to go back and visit the underground spa. You really can't beat the Grove Park Inn's view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

3. Visit the J. Crew Distribution Center
It is just outside of Asheville....if you google it you can find the address. They have a distribution store on the side of the distribution center and have really great prices. I got a pair of cute pink shorts for like $15. And apparently a couple times a year they have box sales where everything in boxes in the center is like $5. If you are in town and have time check it out!

4. Eat at White Duck Tacos

Another fantastic eat. Very cheap and very delicious. There are a couple locations in Asheville. We ate at the arts district and sat outside. It was lovely. 

5. Visit some of Asheville's Local Breweries 
There are TONS to choose from....Asheville is known for it many breweries. Take a brewery tour or do your own. You can even hop on a group bike and ride from brewery to brewery. And for the non beer lovers like me there is always cider! ;) 

Now on to the lovely wedding details. Kiwi and Peach (their nicknames) got married on top of a mountain in the Blue Ridge area. They had a shuttle that drove the guests up to the lovely wedding venue. I am going to show some photos of the details below. Their were so many lovely details all the way from the food and drinks (which was specific to the countries in which they have lived and visited) to the Bluegrass band that played both during the ceremony and then played and called group line dances during the reception. 

Ok first off I have to show you all Kiwi and Peach's awesome fireplace in their home. It really had nothing to do with their wedding other than that they invited all their guests over to their home the night before the wedding for 'smores which was awesome (if you haven't tried peanut butter in your 'smore you need to)! Ok below is the photo...it is actually an old mantle she found and fastened to her wall and then cut logs and glued them in to the mantle/wall to make it look like a real fireplace. It look amazing. Makes me want to do this in my bedroom or another room that does not have a mantle. 

And now for photos of the wedding...below is the backdrop...GORGEOUS, right?

The awesome bluegrass band.

The beautiful bride and FOB

I loved that her plates were a mismatch collection of vintage beauties 


My man and I at the wedding with our beautiful hand made fan

Overall it was a wonderful weekend spent with the love of my life and some of my best friends to celebrate the marriage of two people we love very much! 

Now for the giveaway...

Firmoo has offered to giveaway 1 pair of glasses with free shipping to a lucky US reader from this link: this includes the frames, standard 1.5 index single vision lenses. If you aren't sure who Firmoo is you can check out my previous post here. Be sure to enter to win below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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What I am Loving Today

By 10:10 AM , , ,
Because let's be honest. When I started out with the Hodge Podge Tuesdays I truly had the best of intentions. But life gets crazy and it is summer and well...they have fallen to the curb the last month or so. All that to say I thought until the summer is over I would go ahead and post what I am loving today. Who cares it is not Tuesday right? O.k. here goes...

This summer has had really high 'highs' and really low 'lows'. It has grown us as a couple, as parents,friends, and family members. It has been filled with lots of love (seriously so far there have been 8 weddings), big milestone celebrations (our little guy turned one), and some heartbreak as well. I look forward to posting more about each event in the weeks to come. In the meantime here are some of the latest things I am digging in life right now:

1. The Atlanta Zoo 

There is currently a Groupon where you can get two paid adult tickets for $25. If you live in Georgia I highly encourage you to take advantage of this great deal! I had the opportunity to take my son for his 1st birthday back in June and we had a BALL. It was such an awesome day and I was truly surprised on just how "in to it" he was. It was a day full of memories we will never forget. O.k. I will never forget...he's one and let's face it. He probably won't remember. They also have a new amphibian exhibit at the zoo that is super nice! 

2. She Read's Truth App: Women in the Word // Old Testament

If you are not familiar with this app you are seriously missing out. It is packed with awesome short bible studies you can do each day. I am currently late to the party but have been really enjoying digging in to The Women in The Word series in the Old Testament. Ya'll this is such great stuff! I HIGHLY recommend it! 

3. The Bachelorette's Worst Season Ever

Seriously though would you not agree? It's totally a dud of a season but I still am enjoying watching the mindless television. It truly makes me laugh and has been a good mental break for my hubby and I the past few weeks.  

4. Fireworks at the Lake

We celebrate the 4th every year at our lake house in the mountains. To me it is the most relaxing place on the earth.  You seriously can not beat sitting their rocking in the waves staring at fireworks in the sky over a mountain range. This place IS my happy place.

5. The Right Reasons by Sean Lowe

I am currently reading this book and have been surprised by how much I am enjoying it. If I am honest the only reason I read the book to begin with is because I am obsessed with Sean's sister, a fellow blogger, Shay and her blog. Check her out if you have not all ready. She has the most precious children ever and is so real which I love. She also posts the best recipes ever.

7. Enjoying the Little Things in Life

This summer more than ever I am really learning to love the small things in life that you can easily blink and miss such as my son being so proud of himself as he brushed his teeth for the first time earlier this week. People take my advice...stop and appreciate this moments because if you blink you just might  will miss them! 

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Finding Little Ways to Celebrate Your Husband

By 4:30 PM , , ,
 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ShareYourSummer #CollectiveBias #ad

My husband is the bomb.com. It has been a stressful week for our family yet he is so kind, patient, and fun to be with. He does so much for our family and goes above and beyond in carrying for my son and I so any opportunity I get to celebrate him I'm all about. Yesterday the little guy and I had a fun idea to celebrate my hubby by picking up two of his favorite treats for him on our way home and had them set out for him as a "happy" when he got home from work. 

We stopped by WALMART to run an errand and their new cute Coke/REESE'S cup display caught our eye. You are all probably familiar by now with Coca Cola's "share with a friend" campaign in which you can find Coca Cola 20 oz. peronalized name bottles to share with those in your life. You might not yet be aware that now REESE'S Peanut Butter Cups also have fun words to describe special people in your life such as Epic", "Fab!", "My Fav", etc available exclusively at WALMART. This year's Coke campgain is bigger than ever with over 1000 names printed on bottles and WALMART has the widest selection of names on displays that make it fun and easy to find a name of someone you would like to celebrate. I thought that these two products would make a fun combination to surprise my hubby with just to let him know how much we appreciate him. 

He was so excited to be appreciated and surprised and it turned out to be such a fun and easy treat to purchase and way to bring a smile to his face. You can check out Coke's website for some other great ideas on how to share a Coke and enjoy REESE'S peanut butter cup. You can also visit this website to find your name and create a virtual bottle. How fun is that? 

When he opened the REESE'S cups it was so fun to have the special messaging printed on the cups. So much so that we had to take a picture.

What fun ways do you have to celebrate your husband/wife/friend with a Share a Coke and Reese's Cup? 

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