August 29, 2013

My Kia, My Life Stage.

So.  The last time we were car shopping we only had two kids.  So we figured as long as we picked a vehicle that had room for 3 car seats we'd be good if we ever wanted to expand our family.


See the thing we forgot about?  Was All. The. Gear.  And never was this more apparent than on our very first road trip as a family of 5.

Geneva Ohio

Geneva Ohio
It was an hour away for 2 nights - not an epic adventure.  But with three kids that means there are now 5 people in our family - the suitcases pile up quickly.  Plus it's an inversely proportional relationship. The smaller the kid?  The more stuff required:

Geneva Ohio
baby in only one of the many pieces of equipment needed to travel with kids
Although the oldest kid  (and therefore in theory the one that requires the least nonsense) isn't exactly blameless:

Geneva Ohio
She insisted on packing herself.  Which means that she brought with her 3 fancy dresses, 4 pairs of sparkly shoes, a pile of skirts, my robe and slippers, and a herd of stuffed animals.  Obviously.
5 people is a lot to travel with in general.  But when 3 of those are small children?  You might as well just bring the whole darn house.

Geneva Ohio
This is only some of my children.
Bottom line?  We've officially entered the next stage of this parenting thing.

Geneva Ohio


Geneva Ohio
I love this picture so much.


I love me a minivan.   And right now the top of my list is the Kia Sedona.
Image source.
 Comfortable seating for all of us!  Sliding doors!  Tons of storage for our nonsense!  I SWOON.
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And the top trim package has adjustable pedals.  A feature that as a short person is my absolute favorite thing ever put in a car.  Plus with the removable captains chairs and a rear bench that folds flat with the floor we'll never have to borrow my dad's truck again.
Image Source.

Mommy like.

But I have to say - as big of a minivan fan as I am the Kia Sorento is tempting...
Image Source.

A crossover could be super fun, too! Decisions, decisions... but luckily Kia offers some great options for a growing family (and all of their gear.)

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

August 28, 2013

Cleveland Garlic Festival.

So I have an awesome giveaway for you guys.  Tickets to the Cleveland Garlic Festival:

September 7 and 8 in Shaker Square this festival celebrates All Things Garlic.


There is going to be all sorts of awesome things happening at this festival including:
Live grilling competitions (the audience gets to sample stuff.  YES.)
Tons of music (seriously look at this schedule)
Parades (who doesn't love one of those)
And a bunch more including something called a Tomato Throwdown and Miss Garlic which.  Yeah.  That's happening.

Sounds like a blast.  And also GARLIC.

The Mighty Locavores kids section sounds extra fun with a pedal tractor maze, rock climbing wall, story telling, ChalkArt classes, a "Taste the Season" game, and more.  Definitely a fun thing to check out with the kids.

See also:  GARLIC.

(in case you can't tell I'm a fan.  I doubt anything I've cooked in the last decade is garlic free.  Vampires would love me.)

This is also the annual fundraiser for the North Union Farmers Market - a nonprofit organization committed to championing the local foods of Northeast Ohio.  What a great mission statement!  And you know how I feel about local food.

Anyways I'm happy to be giving away two weekend passes to this super fun, Cleveland, family, and yummy event!  You can enter through rafflecopter below.  The giveaway ends on Monday at 12AM:

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Or if you don't win you can purchase tickets online here.    You can keep also up with all of the Cleveland Garlic Festival Happenings through their twitter, facebook, or instagram.


Disclosure:  I was offered two weekend passes to this event in exchange for this blog post.  Unfortunately I will be unable to attend as I'm out of town that weekend.  Much sadness ensues because GARLIC.

August 27, 2013

Fighting with Celebrities Covered in Sand.

So yesterday I was invited to the Bethenny Calling all my Girls event - a cocktail party at MOCA to promote her new talk show that premiers on September 9.  And I got into a fight with her:

bethenny calling all my girls event in Cleveland
wait.  what?
But first let me rewind.  Yesterday morning I did something that I've been hesitant to do all summer.  I took all THREE kids to the beach BY MYSELF:

Three kids at the beach with one parent. WHAT UP. #babysteps #beach #endofsummerfun
Yes.  Three kids.  One parent.  At a place with water and therefore the need for constant supervision and watching and high-level parenting.  With THREE of them.  And I did it.  And it was awesome:

Jumping off a log on the beach = SO MUCH FUN!!! #beach #latergram #summerinCLE
Jumping off a log into the water?  UBERFUNTIMES.

We met some friends there for one last hurrah before everyone starts school.  So glad I did even if I was nervous.  It was tough but not impossible.  Baby steps to normalcy after three kids, right?

Anyways!  Once we got home I managed to get the two older kids hosed off and down for naps but my little guy was not buying it:

Which meant that was going to have no time to clean up for the fancy affair that evening.  And I was covered in sand.

bethenny calling all my girls event in Cleveland
Hair done, makeup on, sand... brushed off.  Besides Eau du Sunscreen and Lake is appropriate for a fancy event, right?

I tweeted my quest for an unsupervised shower using the #callingallmygirls hashtag to promote the event.  Which was perhaps not the best of plans because at the event there was a giant social media board  showing everything with that hashtag.  Which meant that my "please let me shower" nonsense was broadcast for an entire room fabulous and AHEM showered women:
bethenny calling all my girls event in Cleveland
obviously I wanted everyone in the room to know that I probably have sand in my hair.  At least I didn't have spitup on me!  Sigh.

The event itself was great.  Good drinks:

YES. #callingallmygirls

Good food:

A fancy Jell-O shot is still a Jell-O shot (read: delicious and probably a bad idea but  YUM) #callingallmygirls #latergram
Jello shots count as food, right?
And great host:

"Don't underestimate Cleveland" - @bethenny #callingallmygirls #bethenny

Who I got into a fight with.

See a girl in the audience asked Bethenny something along the lines of "how do I get my boyfriend to propose"  It went a little like this:

"How old are you?"
"Haaaaa!!!!!  You're WAY to young! You'll look back on guys you dated when 23 like clothes that are out of fashion.  Right ladies!  Does anyone disagree with me?"


Yeah.  I disagree with that statement SO HARD.  I was 24 when I got married.  I was 23 when I got engaged.  20 when I started dating my husband.  And we were absolutely without question old enough to know what we wanted out of life:

This.  This is exactly it.
And old enough to know WHO we wanted to spend life with.  We were graduating with masters degrees ready to conquer the world.  And we wanted to do it together.  Isn't wanting to start life together exactly the reason someone should get married?

October 9, 2004
Pictured.  NOT TOO YOUNG.  Also:  HOLY CRAP WE LOOK SO YOUNG! 9 years and 3 kids will age you...
We went back and forth a few times and there was a camera and a microphone in my face and I may have busted out the angry jazz hands.  So there's a good chance I'll be on tv unshowered and sandy 2 months postpartum in a cocktail dress and a nursing bra arguing with a celebrity.  Cross that off my bucket list.

bethenny calling all my girls event in Cleveland

After the event some other Cleveland Bloggers were headed to L'Albatros for cheese.  You don't say no to cheese:

That is all cheese. YES.
seriously.  that is all cheese.  YES PLEASE.
I had a great time chatting with Michelle, Katrina, Crystal, and Julie.  I don't often get to hang out with other bloggers so it's nice to be around some like-minded people.  Meaning we all took lots of pictures of the delicious, delicious cheese.  Although I do not have a picture of the group of us - I think that's on Julie's camera?  I'll have to add it in once she posts it. Until then:

bethenny calling all my girls event in Cleveland
the most photographed cheese plate in Cleveland
Overall it was a super fun night out and I had a great time.  I wish Bethenny all the success in the world with her new talk show.  I know I'll be tuning in!

Disclaimer:  I was invited to this event as a local blogger.  All opinions and angry jazz hands are my own.

August 12, 2013

Fancy Nancy Inspired Backyard Campout.

So do you guys read the Fancy Nancy Books?   You totally should.  The whole premise is that there's this little girl - a curly haired redhead - who believes that everything is better if it's fancy.  Sounds like someone I know:

IMG_1358 copy
 Fancy Nancy goes on all sorts of adventures.  She explores nature, is an Artist, is in a ballet, cuts her hair, runs her own fashion boutique , etc. etc.  All of them have some sortof message (be happy for your friend's achievements, be nice to your siblings, bugs are not gross, etc.) and all of them are adorable.  We always come home from the library with several of them.

(And now that I had to search for those links I leaned of many more adventures and want to buy ALL OF THE FANCY NANCY BOOKS GAH.  I also learned that a series of chapter books called Nancy Clancy exists for older kids.  We may need to get one of those...)


Fancy Nancy: Stellar Stargazer! is her favorite.  In it Nancy pretends to be an astronaut:


Learns about the constellations:


And sleeps out in a tent in the backyard with her dad:

My daughter loves this book.  So about the 10th time we checked this out from the library I told her that maybe this summer she could have a campout with her dad.  Just like Fancy Nancy.

Tonight she's going to camp in the backyard w her daddy JUST LIKE FANCY NANCY OMFG!!!!  #summer
She's been excited about this idea for months.  Problem being we've been a bit too preoccupied with something to actually make this happen yet:

My smiley guy. Getting close to giggles! #newborn #8weeksold #mrvictor

And the weather has been... not Stellar.  So last weekend we decided to just do it already.  Worst case it rains and they come inside.  Not like they are backpacking in the wilderness or anything.  So we got out the tent:

Fancy Nancy Inspired Backyard Campout

And Matt set it up (teaching the kids a few new cuss words in the process).  They were super into helping:

Fancy Nancy Inspired Backyard Campout

 And consulted the book to know what steps were next:

Fancy Nancy Inspired Backyard Campout

 And then... it started raining.  It was just a drizzle at first... so we stood outside debating what to do.  And the skies opened.  We all ran to the tent.  I'm not sure why - our house was closer.  I threw the baby in to Matt it was raining so hard.  And all 5 of us plus the dog were in the tent while it was raining buckets.

Fancy Nancy Inspired Backyard Campout
This is not the best of plans.
While we waited for a slight break in the storm to run inside our kids learned a great life lesson:  camping in the rain sucks.

Fancy Nancy Inspired Backyard Campout

 But we made due.  S'mores in the microwave aren't as good but they are still pretty tasty:
Fancy Nancy Inspired Backyard Campout

 The next day the weather was beautiful.  The tent had dried out from the storms the previous night so we were good to go.  The kids spent all day playing in it:

Fancy Nancy Inspired Backyard Campout

 And we were able to do the whole camping thing - grilling out, s'mores,

Fancy Nancy Inspired Backyard Campout
fire, sparklers...

Fancy Nancy Inspired Backyard Campout


Super bummed we couldn't make it to @vintageohio this weekend so I'm drinking out of my @LodgeatGenevaOH glass in solidarity.
I don't recommend camping without it!
And then the big finale - sleeping in the tent.  In the book Nancy's sister cries and goes inside.  In our little story there was NO WAY someone was going to be left out just because he's little:
Fancy Nancy Inspired Backyard Campout

So all 3 of them - girl, dude, and daddy - slept in the tent.  The next morning my girl told me this:

"It stormed last night and it was only for a little bit but I think there was lightning and I wasn't afraid.  No.  I wasn't afraid at all. And I slept in the tent ALL NIGHT!"

Which translated from kid means "I was TERRIFIED but I was brave and stuck it out and I'm SO PROUD!"

Fancy Nancy inspired backyard campout take 2.  Hopefully it won't rain this time! #summer #outside #camping
Yay for summer fun!

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