We had a wonderful little photoshoot in downtown Manhattan, KS. We lucked out with a an excellent photographer last year. We knew with a new baby we needed to get pictures to have with him. It wouldn’t feel right having adding pictures to our new home and excluding our newest addition!
2021 Elf antics. Our Elf keeps it pretty clean & writes notes or clues, our son’s favorite part. Duke could just write a note everyday and he would be over the moon.
I should probably also mention we have a 9 month old. So things have to stay off of the floor for the most part.
Oh, man am I stir crazy! I have already decorated for Halloween!
It started as just decorating for fall. I swear. Elliott saw the halloween decorations in the totes and was ecstatic. Basically, I couldn’t bring myself to stop him. Dane had left and I had promised we weren’t putting out Halloween decor. Graciously, when Dane saw the excitement Elliott had showing him all the things ELLIOTT had put out, he couldn’t squash it either. Although, moving from a small house to a larger house they were pitiful. It started a monster in me and here are the ‘current’ results. 🙂
Links to purchase coming soon until later tonight enjoy the eye candy!
Halloween Trunk-or-Treat 2018. Elliott was still not into costumes. In fact tears happened, a lot whenever we attempted. I brain stormed costumes that would just be clothes. This red hoodie was off the charts success! He would still wear it if it still fit. I’ve considered buying another because how perfect is it that his name is also Elliott. He loves his E.T. doll too. Money well spent this year.
*This photo was a happy accident, as a kid all my dads photos of him and his birthday cake are of him with his eyes shut because he was facing into the sun. He still jokes to this day that this is a requirement. Though I have no cake I was facing into the sun. *
Well we did it, we finally went camping. We’ve talked about it for the last few years. My husband went with his friends last year, after I had bought him a decent amount of gear for fathers day. I got him a 1 man tent for his birthday, & he got a grill for Christmas from his dad. He’d had a family tent in the amazon cart he was mulling over, I bought for us as a surprise when I was buying myself some flower seeds. Basically, we HAD to go camping or all these supplies we’d been acquiring would be for not. I grew up camping, and camping for my birthday is what I wanted to do.
I researched things to do with kids, planned to go to my favorite lake in my home state. I pinned, I planned, I primed. Set plans with friends for the first time in years. Memorial day was going to be a blast. Then we were blasted with rain. Rain, Rain, Rain, Rain. I pouted. We tried to figure out other things to do or other weekends to go, but this was our chance. Other weekends wouldn’t be as long for the both of us. We looked at other lakes nearby. The whole state engulfed in rain. We both began looking at the surrounding states. 5 hours drive too far. Then campsites filled. 9 hours started looking appealing. Colorado was out, we were not ready to deal with Bears. Maybe next year. Missouri, rain also unless we were going in that 7+ drive. Arkansas we decided was far enough south to get out of the rain, still a drive but we were determined to make it happen. However, Arkansa is a state neither of us had been to in our adult lives.
In all of our research we found a few camping apps, Hipcamp, and the Dyrt. The dirt I really know nothing about other than its like Yelp for camping. Hipcamp seems to be peoples property they allow you to camp on for small fees. Location and Amenities being the driving factors for pricing.
By Luck we managed to book Gateway Getaway in Arkansas because of cancellations.
We had a lovely time. We hiked. We glamped, we sat fireside, slept in a tent, we made ice cream in a bag, cake in a dutch oven, ate farm fresh eggs, chased a boy chasing chickens, swung in a tree swing, ate at a picnic table, and made coffee on the grill, & we cooked in cast iron for the first time ever. I was certain we planned and packed in excess. However, besides extra clothes there is only a couple things we didn’t use and they weren’t large items. I am so happy we had to venture out of our comfort zone and find somewhere new to explore. I can’t wait to do it again. Below are some pictures of our trip in no particular order.
Top 10 glamping items we loved
*These are affiliate links, although to date I have yet to make a cent on this. It didn’t take me long and if someone or a million someones decide to utilize these links I will be happy I made the effort. So if you like the things we have & want the exact ones or something very similar I have found them for you.*
- Camping Lanyard with Hooks
- Plates, cups, silverware you can get a whole kitchen set here if you want everything & it all to match. Having an actual camp set significantly reduced our waste but I know next time we can hands down improve.
- This adorable camping Rug it kept our tent cleaner, we played monster trucks on it & could have taken it on a picnic if we’d wanted to.
- These tent mats not apologizing for this it was my birthday & I was determined to glamp they made our tent cozy, cushy & quiet.
- Cots for us adults, this is not the exact same as ours we found one at academy last summer and the other at menards last fall when we thought I was going camping. Elliott has had one forever from grandma. Its nice & the perfect toddler size but took up a good amount of room in the truck bed as the adult sizes fold down much smaller.
- Cast Iron Cookware
- Cast Iron Skillet – Once we got this seasoned it was wonderful to cook with. Do your homework people you will be rewarded. I found a silicone handle at Menard’s and snagged it. Very worth the extra few dollars, this link has one that comes with your skillet!
- Cast Iron Dutch Oven – this was so an extra only to make my Birthday Cake in, I hope to make this a yearly tradition! Honestly without this challenge I wouldn’t have done my homework and had any clue how to cook with or clean cast iron. The lid for the dutch oven fit our skillet which was a bonus. I believe we have the, 12″ skillet and 7 qt dutch oven. You’ll need the lid lifter!
- Grill I loved the side tables on this! I was sitting there telling Dane how it would be great if we had a table next to the grill and saw these hidden below. They were so handy!
- Tent This tent was great although the light didn’t work. I’ll have to message Coleman to see if we didn’t do something right. Or if we just need a replacement part.
- Cooking Utensils and Dining Utensils – loved that these hung on the lanyard & easily clipped to the carabiners. No hand drying to put them away! No opening of & digging in bins. In fact the cooking utensils came out of my house so I’ll have to replace them if I want to keep them in the camp totes.
- Totes! These were nice for packing and keeping everything organized. We had one for tent items. One for Food & one for Kitchen Items. These are not the ones we had but I will be looking into because they are supposedly weather proof Plano totes
My perfect pancake.
Dad said there were Bears in this cave. Poor little dude. He made us b-line away from the second cave on this trail. Although, in Devil’s Den he seemed to gain a sense of humor and made up stories about the creatures living in those caves.
This is Blake, he did not like Elliott.
He was trying to convince me there were dragons & alligators in this cave. The hike to the waterfall was somewhat long with a 3 year old but we all made it. It took teamwork & patience, and guidance from fellow hikers familiar with the trails as there were many somewhat confusing off-shoots on the trail.
Our campsite was very sweet to begin with, I think some of the little touches I packed set the ambiance, to fun and outdoorsy yet still comfortable. I loved breathing in the fresh air all night and day long. Cooking outside was fun and I feel like we were happy with how well our meals turned out.
I am particularly proud of my cake. I offered some to our host, with the disclaimer it was slightly under done in the middle, yet I forgot to tell her it had no eggs, or milk so it was safe to eat a bit gooey. She politely gave no true answer. LOL, my coworkers scavenged it once they were brave enough to try it. I did disclaim to them it was Vegan (excluding the frosting) so they were very big skeptics.
Little man was very sweet when we could keep him from chasing the chickens and playing monster trucks with the dogs.
We literally just got a swing like this for Elliott, and we’re considering bringing it but space did not allow for it. Not to mention it didn’t come with tree straps so if you get one don’t forget the Tree Straps!
Extras that were nice to have but not necessary.
- Camp Grill – ours would likely be the XL based on sizing, I got it last year before he got the very nice Coleman traveling grill
- Elliott’s Balance Bike, & Helmut
- Solar Lights we got ours at Menard’s, and embarrassingly we didn’t think they worked or that they got enough sun in the shade but there was an on/off switch. Switched to off the whole weekend.
- Cute Car & Camper Salt and Pepper Shakers
- Table Cloths, I thought 2 was too many, But really was just perfect we had one water proof one in a cute print I’d had from Elliott’s beachy birthday last year and & one regular traditional picnic print I got at the end of season last year from Target. I even liked the look of the round cloth on a rectangular table. It glammed up the table & was nice to have a dry table after the rain.
Things to upgrade or add in
- A second cooler for just food or just drinks – with wheels!
- Pantry organizers / more rubbermaid – these saved so many things from the 10% chance of rain we got 2 nights in a row!
- A bigger water jug – I’d probably never buy this but a girl can dream Yeti Water Jug
- Fire poker but we could just find a good stick
- Water proof totes
Happy Camping All!
So today was a bit above average. Started out with me waking up before E. I’d say 7-10 he’s awake before me. I’d showered gotten dressed and had my coffee before he woke up. AND mopped my bathroom!
Most all of this happens during nap time. He naps sort of early for most kids but not always. Day I want him down at 11 he’s up till 1. Days we have things to do around 12 he’s ready to go down by 11. Without fail.
So I had an informal interview or meet and greet if you will. So E got to hang out with his uncle. I thought this would be a half hour max thing and it was nearly an hour and a half. It was fun? It was an adult conversation without interruptions and it had all of my focus! So that was interesting. Haha.
I almost forgot I picked up a hitchhiker on my way! It sorta stressed me out but this poor little high school girl was walking because she missed the bus. She actually almost caused a wreck or I wouldn’t have noticed her. I’m not in the habit of picking up hitch hikers. Anyways she made it to second period. I did my best non-lecture lecture. “Missed the bus?” “Yeah.” “What time does the bus come?” “6:40.” “Do you walk often.” “No.” – pause- “I didn’t want to wake my papa up and get in trouble again.” “You miss the bus a lot?” “Yeah (sheepishly and embarrassed).” “You stay up late?” “Yeah (slightly annoyed and embarrassed but also acknowledging my fair point).”
Lecture over. She was grateful she was excited to make it to part of her first class. She was still nearly an hour late!! I would have died! I loved school! Anyways, I still made it fifteen minutes early to my interview.
Then I hustled to pick up E relieve my brother it was 10:30 ish when I made it there and guess who was looking pretty sleepy?? You could guess both and be right. Lol. Sorry E we had a meet up planned! Not sure I’ve mentioned it but I’m in a family group and there been some push by the leadership team for members to create some meetups and some of us met at the strawberry fields to pick your own strawberries 🍓!
E picked some! That was exciting for me!! He really liked chasing some of the big kids the most and seeing the kittens they have. He liked the kittens a bit more than my moms puppies. But the kittens were a bit older I’m guessing. Plus we have a cat. Not that he’s not around dogs because we is a lot. We went back to my moms for lunch and nap. I can help my other brother in his boat shop if E naps at my moms since it’s just across the driveway. There whole set up is super complicated to explain, so I won’t bother but if you saw it you’d get it. I want to call it a compound but then you’d think it a cult. Manor sounds way too fancy but the alliteration their last name makes with it is very nice. Organized cluster f*ck? It’s way nicer than that. Rental repair and renovation?. That’s actually not half bad and tells you a lot about what goes on at my moms house and all the shops on their property.
Okay so back to the day.
More puppies. E got to play with his friend Alexander. Dirt more dirt he did very good sharing a little tikes car. He got to play outside with his grandma. I guess he even made it in bed early. I stayed behind to help finish working on a boat. It’s so close to done I can’t stand it but my brother isn’t feeling great and couldn’t stick around anymore and of course it’s stuff I can’t do without minimal but still needed help. So back tomorrow we go! After we go to the park and rode trains of course! Another adventure awaits!
It’s the weekend! We love movies here in our house. Besides Sunday after E goes to bed we really don’t watch TV anymore. <a href="http://Join HBO Free Trial“>HBO is our guilty pleasure. However Sunday’s are usually also our family movie night. Yes we do watch movies during the week. Especially during the day, because we just don’t really do TV. And sometimes mama needs to shower, or clean house. So bad mom here, lets the baby watch a movie. Anyways go ahead and judge all you want, but just don’t throw stones in glass houses. Or however that saying goes. Those of you non-judgers can read on for some suggestions or just to get to know our family by the type of movies we like. Shoot you judgy ones can read to, some of these may make you like me even less. xoxo Anna
Really any Kung Fu Panda movie is awesome. Although, I think 3 is the full favorite. I say that but yet I still choose to watch the original quite often. It’d be a toss up between one and three. One might win now that I think about how much E giggles at Po struggling to make it up the stairs.
Hands down 3 all the way. I don’t love how mean the bear is but I like that more than the creepy man stealing Woody and waayyy more than the torturous neighbor brat. I’ll say it, the original is my least favorite.
Yes. It has a bad guy in it. It’s always the bad guys that I don’t like. Go figure. E thinks the tiny “baby” who toots his trunk is hysterical. His sense of humor makes my heart so happy.
Love this movie. Love the singing. Love the adventure. E gets a kick out of me singing to this movie. It’s actually pretty cute and full of wonder, the movie not my singing. But we have to fast forward through the realm of monsters after she jumps. He likes that she jumps but that black thing ruined it the scene. He doesn’t like the crab being mean to Maui. Even though I kinda think the crab is funny. We also enjoyed the bonus features for this movie and we don’t watch most movies bonus features…so yeah we liked this movie
This is the first movie E ever giggled at. He giggles at the same part every time. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, We love Dragons. This just fueled the dragon loving fire at our house.
E’s first movie! He watched pretty much the whole movie in the first shot. This is a favorite of both the hubs and I. E loves it. LOVES IT. I dare you not to at least like the Jungle Book.
So the Bee movie took a few views for me to come around and actively like it. D loved Seinfeld so that explains this movie. I was fun that this movie made E want to look at insect books and we did check out quite of few bee books that he was super interested in after we watched this movie. It also has some sort of cult following status now too? What?! It’s pretty silly funny. Bees are important you know.
This one has a special place in my heart. One of the only kids movies I actively went out of my way to see as a child free adult. Not much dialogue per se but yet still so much you can understand between the two main characters.
Gus Gus should I say more? Yeah this movie had a nice pretty girl and a Prince Charming. But, I love all animals. I know E does too.
Ugh I did not want to like this movie. I repeat I did not want to like this movie. E loves cars, really he loves anything that goes. Maybe excluding planes? I feel like we’ve watched this a zillion times. We’ve tried Cars 2 but E just didn’t like it as much even though he thinks Mater is hilarious. He might like Mater as much as he likes Doc. I love that he loves Doc. We think we might take E to see Cars 3 in theatre, which would be his first theatre movie. We’ve watched the trailer enough to know about the crash. I’m sure they’ve done it tastefully.
I turned the TV on one day and this movie was just playing. I was about to turn the channel when I remembered it had “cars” in the movie so I left it. It was the one kid movie Dane and I rented and watched while I was pregnant with E. Maybe this is why he loves cars so much. Anyways its pretty funny. About a bad guy who so badly wants to be good. It’s won my heart.
Yeah not exactly a kids movie. Hubs apparently watched this with E quite a bit while I was working. WHAT? I would say its a kids movie if there wasn’t chicken killing and gun shooting in it. But we’d already seen a few disney movies with guns and death in them so I figure the harm has already been done. Plus he rarely makes it to see the end of this one. I think that he likes that the animation is different. Of course he likes ALL the scenes with trains. Which I think is only two but man does he zone in.
I was unsure about showing him this movie, because monsters. It was given to us by a family member. I think I viewed it before we showed it to him. I do fast forward to the second scene. I mistakenly just played it once and he did indeed get frightened. The rest of the movie doesn’t have a lot of scaring. There are a couple scenes that he doesn’t seem to put off by but I don’t know that I’m in love with him seeing. We also really like Monster’s University probably equally.
Old favorite. Maybe I like the “little guy” too much. Old Disney is hard to beat and apparently so is new Disney. E even went as Robin Hood for his first Halloween we love this movie so much.
We’ve tried a few other movies some were fine just not worth mentioning, because they didn’t capture the whole families attention or hearts.
We originally wanted to only do old Disney movies and go in sequence of release date. Several I would say are too scary or plain mean for his age. I know he’s not supposed to have had screen time to begin with but it was a battle I was already losing so I decided to at least control as much as I could what he was watching. Maybe one day we will watch them with him but for now these are the go to family movie night movies
Little man and I played in the garden this morning. He was getting his new clothes dirty so I stripped him down to his diaper. We (he) made dirt angels and we (I) checked all my newly blooming flowers. 🌺 He’s only interested in my flowers when I’m not looking. He’s even more interested in getting filthy and hiding his chalk. It was a good day. Cars were raced, animals were transported, in said cars. Zootopia played. Songs were sung. I’m so lucky that snuggling is one of his new favorite things. Mama needed a nap after all the go go go. Maybe tomorrow.
I’m so so so happy you like to brush your teeth. You love to brush your teeth. I can’t make this up. We lucked out, I know. You loved watching me brush my teeth as a tiny baby.
I know I started it. This thing that I now complain about. You were so curious about my tooth brush. So willing to let me brush your gums with my tooth brush. I figured it was good you were so willing to brush.
You have 4 tooth brushes that I can think of. You’re favorite, is mine. It is not among those I count as yours. Because it’s not, it’s mine. If only you could use your own. I even tried switching our tooth brushes just to give you the color I mistakenly assumed you wanted. Your favorite color is which ever color I use.
I’ve tried bright new fun colors. Giving you my “old one”. A lighting McQueen tooth brush that the two of us bought to make it more exciting and hopefully effective. You couldn’t care less about it.
So my last resort is to get matching toothbrushes for you and I. I’ll try it all, just so you DON’T USE MY TOOTHBRUSH!
Dear lord please use your spoon.
You know how to use it. You are actually quite good at using your spoon. This phase of not wanting to use a spoon has me oscillating between amusement and frustration minute by minute.
I see your excitement as the gooey yogurt squishes between your fingers and the how funny you think it is to lick them clean. The delight you get from ripping your pb sandwich apart just to play with the sticky peanut butter. Brings me joy and high blood pressure.
Sweet boy. I’ll let you do it for now. Because you’re learning. I’m learning too. Learning you may always be my baby but you won’t always be little. So for now, be that little boy who gets to play with his food. But seriously DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING.