Beech-Nut® Naturals™ Real Food for Babies™

BeechNut Naturals

Next week we are adding one more tiny seat around the table at the Chase house.  We’ve partnered with Beech-Nut® Naturals™ to sponsor this discussion on the importance of natural foods for every family member.

We’ve made a lot of changes in our household over the last few years concerning our personal nutrition. Several of us have transitioned to becoming vegetarians, some with goals of becoming vegan later, and some just paying closer attention to the foods we choose to put into our bodies. No matter how we choose to fuel our bodies, one thing remains a constant: it must be real food. So it’s probably no surprise that when we are shopping for foods for our tiniest ones we chose Beech-Nut® Naturals™.

 

Beech-Nut® Naturals™ Real Food for Babies™

Beech-Nut® Naturals™ is real food for babies. The jars of fruit & veggie purees are inspired by homemade, made with ingredients just like I’d use at home. It’s 100% natural, nothing artificial.

BeechNut naturals jars

So…. It’s Good For You, But Does It Taste Good?

This is a valid question. We can serve our families the most nutritious, balanced foods, but if they don’t like them it’s going to be a struggle. I have no fears telling you that your babies are going to LOVE several, if not all, of the real food flavor selections of the Beech-Nut® Naturals™ line. With simple fruit and vegetable combinations like Just Sweet Potatoes, Just Apples, Just Bananas, Just Carrots, Just Pear & Blueberry, Just Apple & Kale, Just Carrot, Corn & Pumpkin, and many more. You can already see that you’ll be able to find a few to satisfy your sweet little ones!

BeachNut Naturals Babies

Real Food, Real Values

We feel good about serving Beech-Nut® Naturals™ in our home not only because of the ingredients but also because of the brand’s values. We believe in spending our dollars with companies that have values that align with our own. Here are some statements from Beech-Nut® Naturals™ that make us love them:

 

  • Real food is for everyone
    No matter how big or small.
  • You can’t fake real
    Only authentic ingredients and recipes will do.
  • Less is more
    Just the stuff is all you need. Nothing extra or unnecessary.
  • Nature is always right
    We don’t dare mess with “Mother.” Nothing artificial is added.
  • We make it like you make it
    Just gently-cooked, real ingredients go into our jars.
  • Future generations can be healthier
    Starting kids off with the right nutrition early-on sets the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating habits.

As working or busy parents, we may not always have the time to prepare our babies’ food at home. We’re happy to be partnering with Beech-Nut® to make life easier and taste good. It’s always nice to have a little extra help in the kitchen, isn’t it?

Are you Costume Ready for Halloween?

With Halloween just around the corner, it was time for us to get our costumes in gear.  Each time I have planned too far in advance there are always literal last-minute costume changes. This Sunday I enlisted the help of Dr. Seuss and KidzVuz.com to sponsor this post and help us put on our thinking caps for a great Halloween planning session.

Believe it or not, capturing the attention of teens often requires a little something to keep them busy while we talk through ideas. This Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat Bricky Blocks Build on Snapback Hat and Grinch knee highs helped to not only get them in the mood for dressing up but also helped keep them entertained while we talked.

Sebastian went right for building with the Dr. Seuss Bricky Blocks Build-On Snapback Hat Kit and Kaitlyn loved The Grinch Knee High Socks.

The Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat snapback hat kit includes hat, pieces, and a guide for building your own designs. The hat size is adjustable and fits most kids and even adults so you even mom and dad can have a turn with it.

Sometimes it just takes a simple gesture to show your family that no matter how much you’ve grown up it’s still fun to be silly together. We went through several ideas but it didn’t take long before we were laughing and had our costumes all planned out. It looks like I’ll be ordering a few more things from elope.com for our final family Halloween look. Stay tuned for a final reveal Oct 31st!

Do you know what your family will be dressing up for this Halloween? 

 

Turn frowns upside down on rainy days with this Dr. Seuss The Cat in the Hat Bricky Blocks Build-on Snapback Kit by elope. Inspired by the beloved children’s book, this black snapback features soft black and white ears which frame the iconic white and red stovepipe hat. In the center of the hat is a white brick plate, compatible with most major brick building systems, which is perfect for crafting a variety of designs. We’ve even included a set of templates to help jumpstart your creativity. Whether it be building on a sunny Sunday morning or inventing on a rainy day, this Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat Bricky Blocks Build-On Snapback Kit by elope is sure to bring the fun out of the box and into your everyday.

The Grinch may be a mean one, but you’ll have nothing but love for these Dr. Seuss The Grinch Knee High Costume Socks by elope. Carefully crafted in bright green acrylic yarn, our original design features the iconic yellow eyes, hearts in three sizes, and Grinchy features made famous in the book. If you want to steal Christmas or add a great Grinchy accessory to your wardrobe, you’ll be set with these Dr. Seuss The Grinch Knee High Costume Socks by elope.

What We Did on Our Summer Vacation 2018 : The Airstream Adventure

Every summer, in an effort to reinforce the pillars of exploration, curiosity, and independence, we plan an exciting summer adventure with our family. The qualifications for each adventure is that it be a little different than the year before and something that none of us have done previously. Being the extroverted bunch that we are, these qualifiers become more challenging year after year. We were fortunate enough to have some amazing partners to help us, quite literally, pull this adventure together(<<you’ll see why that was such a great pun in a minute). So, before we get too far along in our story I want to say a BIG thanks to Ford, Airstream, Vogt Family Fun Center, and KOA for helping make this summer adventure one that our family will never forget.

When we were dreaming up what this year’s adventure would look like, the travel method was a resounding: “ROAD TRIP!!” In a world full of technology, online reviews, smartphones, we are simultaneously more connected and less connected than ever before. There is just something classic and inspiring about heading out for adventure knowing you have every amenity and luxury of “home” literally right behind you. To be honest, the combined amenities of the Tommy Bahama airstream, East Austin KOA campsite, and the Ford Expedition we were traveling with may just have afforded us more luxuries than home.

Truck and Towing – What the Haul?

Maybe you’ve been secretly been interested in trying this out too but you’re a little nervous?

Never towed anything before? Same here. Put those fears aside you have nothing to worry about.

Being brand new to towing and hauling a home on wheels, I was a little apprehensive about calculating travel time, towing hookups, and setting up the airstream at the campsite. I may have been having flashbacks of the RV scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation with cousin Randy outside in his short robe…..which let’s just be honest, is not a good look for anyone. Thanks to the ease of the 2018 Ford Expedition and the great instruction from the crew at Vogt Family Fun Center, it was incredibly easy even for newbies like us.

The good news was that we had absolutely nothing to worry about because before we left we were given a very detailed walk around answering any questions we had. The ease of hooking up and towing with the technology in the Ford Expedition was going to make this trip a breeze. You don’t even need a spotter because you can see everything and are perfectly guided right behind the wheel.

Now that we were all hooked up, It was time to get on the road! You can read Randall’s account of the journey featured over on Thrills and Wheels. It’s a pretty sentimental father-son story that I really enjoyed hearing from his perspective.

Texas Airstream Adventure

The mileage between Dallas and Austin isn’t very far, even driving a little slower with the added weight of towing an RV is only a few hours. We’ve traveled a good deal of Texas so we the location wouldn’t be the unique factor but the accommodations would be. I’ve never been much of a camper. Lucky for me camping in a 2018 Tommy Bahama Airstream is the most luxurious way to stay on the road. Combine that with the amenities that were available to us at the East Austin KOA site,  it was like living a dream. This was in no way going to be a typical camping experience.

Setting Up Our Glampsite

Staying at a KOA site is really cool! There are various levels of camping available, from roughing it my preferred style of ‘glamping’. We had no idea how cool these locations could be! It was our first time to stay a KOA and it definitely won’t be our last! Some locations have tiny homes, treehouses, or teepees you can reserve. I really like the unique campsite ideas. It’s pretty much the only way I want to camp from now on.

Getting set up at our reserved campsite was so easy! We checked just a little after regular office hours but there was still an attendant on duty to give us a check-in packet. Getting our hookups in place and only took about 15 minutes to get set up.

KOA Airstream set up

Our deluxe campsite came with outdoor patio furniture, a fire pit, and a gas grill. The staff who also stay on-site came by to check on us and make sure we didn’t need any additional help. Everyone we encountered was so friendly.

KOA deluxe campsite

I really loved the East Austin KOA location and HIGHLY recommend booking here if you are staying in the local area. I’ll share a more detailed post specifically about this in a post of its own but for now here are a few pics of the amenities onsite!

KOA pool

Inside the Airstream – Home Sweet Home

We have always played with the idea of a tiny house or something of that nature all the while living in Texas-sized accommodations in the neighboorhood of 3000 sq ft. Could we really manage a vacation in an airstream? Not only could we but we loved it! My biggest concern was whether we would be cool enough since the forecast for the weekend we chose was hitting over 100 degrees every day. Not only were we cool enough, one evening we woke up and turned the air conditioner up because we were getting chilled.

Inside the Airstream were all the comforts of home. Let me take you on a quick tour….

In this first space, you’ll see the full kitchen(gas stove, microwave, ice maker, sink, refrigerator), dining room ( which transitions into a full/queen sized bed), bar area and SO MUCH storage and plenty of USB/outlets for all our devices. That part was a dream for traveling with teenagers who are always charging. Even on vacation.

Inside the Airstream kitchen

In this second view, you get a better view of the rest of the kitchen, pantry, queen size bedroom, television, closet, and an idea of where the bathroom and shower are located. The KOA site had amazing wifi so in the evening we could stream a movie or shows if we wanted to but we were so busy having fun there wasn’t really time for that. Still, it was cool to know that if a rainy day had been in the forecast we could have.

One area you can’t see from the pictures is the bathroom with a full shower, toilet, sink, mirror, and storage. The door folds in when not in use to give you more room in the bedroom. It folds out when in use to provide more space when someone is taking a shower etc., It never felt crowded or cramped. We were really impressed with the excellent use of space.

Glamping vs Camping

Glamping vs. Camping means that we expored city life too. While we did spend a good deal of time at our KOA exploring the property, swimming, and lounging about in our fancy airstream accommodations but we also got to enjoy our FAVORITE city some too. It’s no secret that we love Austin and we have the BEST time every single visit. We ate Torchy’s Tacos because truly their queso is heaven. We went night swimming at Barton Springs. It was too hot to sit over a campfire for smores so we went for fancy Smores rolled ice cream from a food truck. Oh, and did I mention I forgot to pack shirts? Yep, not a single one because …. ? That was totally okay though since Austin has some of the best thrift stores- vintage and otherwise- We went family thrifting.

I got this adorable dress for $8. Our whole family got new outfits actually and we decided to have an impromptu photo shoot. It truly made for the best memories and I’ll be hanging these new family photos on our living room gallery very soon.

As you can clearly see there is a lot of personality in our family. We love spending time together at home or traveling. This adventure was incredibly memorable for reasons I’m not sure I’ve entirely written here. Memories like this get deeper as the years go on. They are the things you talk about at Thanksgiving, weddings, making plans for the future and things your kids tell their kids. I’m actually tearing up just thinking about it.

Bottom line, get out and adventure with your family. Camp. Glamp. Take a road trip. Just get out, make crazy good memories and explore in every season of life.

The Dove Self Esteem Project Helped My Teen and I Have Hard Conversations

Speak Beautiful Dove Self Esteem Project

*The following has been shared with my daughter’s expressed permission & inspired from my experience with the Dove Self Esteem Project and #HourWithHer during Mom 2.0 Summit 2018

Friends, can I be honest with you? I often feel like I’m doing it wrong. “It” can be translated into a number of things in life. Carrer, parenting, marriage, etc, you name it. When I compare myself to the idealistic standards in my mind or on the internet,  I don’t always feel like the perfect mom, wife, or friend. Maybe you feel like that sometimes too. What helps me is being surrounded by a community of trusted mentors, friends, and colleagues that support and soundboard with me ensuring me that I am getting “it” right more times than not. They remind me of my strengths,  let me know I am valued and remind me of all the beautiful parts. As our daughters are growing up they are going through the very same things and need our encouragement. This is something we ALL need, no matter our age or stage in life. Having a mentor and being a mentor to others is so important.

Dove Self Esteem Project #HourWithHer

My Introduction To The Dove Self Esteem Project

Earlier this year at Mom 2.0 Summit, I gave an hour of my time to participate in a Dove workshop as a mentor to teen girls. At first glance, I could tell some of these girls didn’t think we had much in common. As we talked over the next sixty minutes about transformational life moments and instances that had negatively impacted my self-esteem at their age, I could see their demeanor change. They began to share their similar experiences and we talked about ways to reframe those situations. You could see in their smiles that they felt more confident and beautiful. It was proof that sharing our stories connects and uplifts us.

Encouraging authentic storytelling and uplifting the next generation to reshape how they see themselves are actinos that are relevant to our community now more than ever.

That hour showed me just how important it is to be intentional with our time and experiences. Having a teen daughter of my own entering high school this fall, I made a decision to implement the Dove #HourWithHer philosophy at home this summer having intentional conversations. It wasn’t awkward or weird. It was time that strengthened our relationship with such a small amount of effort.

Spending just one hour talking with a girl in your life about beauty, confidence, and self-esteem can make such a difference in her future development.

Some of the conversations we had were light and we laughed until our sides ached. Other conversations were harder. There were a few topics I may have otherwise avoided in an effort to shield her from hard things I’d experienced. What I realized is that as girls are forming into more mature, complete people it is important that they have a good picture of who we are as their parents and mentors. It’s important that they know we are human, imperfect, talented, and yet, still growing too.

Kaitlyn Dove Self Esteem Project

You Don’t Have To Be Perfect

Want to know something that pretty freeing? You don’t have to be perfect to be a role model or mentor. You don’t have to feel like you always have to have the right answers. In fact, as our daughters and young girls are looking up to us if we project this image of perfection it gives them an unrealistic guide to measure themselves against. Perfection isn’t the goal, confidence is. They just need our time and the knowledge that their body, personality, height, weight, hair, and heart is just exactly the correct way as long as they feel confident in it.

The hours I spent with my daughter this summer gave her an open door to ask questions about me when I was her age and other topics that she may not have known how to approach or introduce otherwise. There were several topics and stories I wouldn’t have thought to share. This time helped us see each other in a new way and we both left more uplifted and with more confidence.

About the Dove Self Esteem Project

Dove understands it can feel daunting to introduce new conversations like this and they have solutions to help you get started. They have even categorized guides to the discussions for Parents & Mentors, Teachers, and Youth Leaders. You can search for specific topics on the site as well. For those that need a different way to spend time with these topics, you’ll find other helpful resources like the short video below that you can watch together to softly introduce discussions.

Dove Real Beauty Productions recently produced this short film, directed by Debbie Allen, to show the impact just one hour with a girl can make.

Learn more about the Dove Self Esteem project on the website here or follow the #HourWithHer hashtag on social media.

Connecting with Your Teens at Six Flags Over Texas

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Six Flags Over Texas Mr Freeze

At least once a season we make a family outing to Six Flags Over Texas. This is always such a fun outing because there is something for everyone to enjoy no matter your level of adventure. We’ve been making a concentrated effort to spend time connecting with our teens this summer as much as possible. This time our whole family was invited to visit and share everything that’s new for summer 2018 at Six Flags Over Texas. As part of our experience, we were provided with tickets, flash passes, and meals so we could experience as much as possible.

There really is a TON to do at Six Flags Over Texas even if you have one or two in your group that aren’t extreme thrill-seekers. Pro-Tip: grab preferred parking and flash passes before you arrive at the park. They are an excellent value and make for an even better experience.

Connecting with Your Teens at Six Flags Over Texas this Summer

Our most recent visit was an exceptionally great time with our teens for a number of reasons. This visit Sebastian made a leap to try his first ever thrill ride- the brand new for 2018 Harley Quinn Spinsanity! They are growing up but definitely still include us in their fun. We enjoy every opportunity to see them grow.

Six Flags Over Texas Teens

On this day, it was obvious our teenagers had grown leaps and bounds since our last visit. Not just because all worries of qualifying for a height requirement were long removed. It was more to do with the way they walked up to the park gates with confidence, keenly aware of exactly where they wanted to go.  It’s clear they are becoming more and more independent with every passing summer.

Six Flags Over Texas Connecting with Teenagers

We saw a lot of them from the back as they walked ahead enjoying each other’s company and finding their own way. Almost like clockwork, they would come rushing back to us excited to share what they just learned, saw, or experienced. It’s so similar to when they were smaller, running ahead but turning back for a certain amount of reassurance.  I love seeing that the world is still full of wonder. Parenting will always be a good deal of experiencing the world through their eyes like everything is brand new. I imagine it will always feel like this no matter how grown up they become.

Six Flags Over Texas Selfie with the Teens

And then, he rode his first thrill ride!!

The Newest Thrill Ride at Six Flags Over Texas- HARLEY QUINN Spinsanity

What came next was a complete surprise to everyone in our group. We have always had a mix of extreme thrill seekers and easier-going personalities. Kaitlyn has always been a major thrill seeker looking for the highest and fastest, while Sebastian has always insisted “life is enough of a rollercoaster” for him. Even if he didn’t want to ride, he always walks through the line with us telling jokes. When it’s time for our group to board the ride, he passes over and waits on the other side. Most rides aren’t more than a couple of minutes. Surprisingly, this time he said he really wanted to take the ride.

Six Flags Over Texas Harley Quinn Spinsanity

We were shocked. The newest ride, just introduced to the park that week, Harley Quinn Spinsanity, was quite the ride to attempt for a first-ever thrill-ride.

This first-of-its-kind thrill-ride was inspired by the movement of a gyroscope and delivers unpredictable, gravity-defying flips, twists and turns. Harley Quinn Spinsanity features a unique futuristic triple box design that allows the gondola to spin around three separate axes while rotating forward, backward and sideways simultaneously at up to 70 feet in the air!

We took a video interview to capture the before and after reactions he had. The video is priceless. I have the whole thing featured on a highlight reel on our Instagram account – you can see that and all the behind-the-scenes of our summer visit here.

What if someone in our group doesn’t enjoy thrill-rides? No Problem! There is still SO much to enjoy!

A larger family always means knowing there will be a lot of preferences to accommodate for. Until this recent visit, we’ve always had to plan for how we would handle those that lived for thrill-rides and those that would rather sit it out while still maintaining an enjoyable experience for all. We’ve got a few different strategies and suggestions for this.

Here’s a list of several activities you can enjoy at Six Flags Over Texas that ensures everyone has a great time!

6 Ways to Enjoy Six Flags Over Texas Even If You Don’t Like Thrill Rides

  • Special Events- from educational events to special celebrations of the arts there is always something being showcased to look for and enjoy. For a current calendar of events at Six Flags Over Texas click here.
  • Shopping – Love shopping at the park and plan to visit a lot? Did you know there is a Season Shopping Pass?! Right now for just $19.99 this add-on to your Season Pass will give you a 20% discount on almost all in-park merchandise through the end of the 2018 season — no minimum purchase required!
  • Holiday Festivals – Depending on the season you will often find the park decorated for the holiday and full holiday spirit during Holiday in the Park- or full of spooky Spirits if you visit during Fright Fest.
  • Games – You won’t have to look far to find a game that suits your skill level. All throughout the park, you’ll find various midway games to compete in for prizes.
  • Food-  No matter what type of food is your favorite, you’ll find it at Six Flags Over Texas. In between coasters, get ready to enjoy every goodie you can imagine, from pretzels and popcorn to funnel cakes and brisket nachos. We were also pleased that the vegetarians in our group could find a healthy salad or other option at several locations at the park with no trouble.
  • Live Performances- All year long there are live performance and concerts to enjoy that will keep you singing and vibing as you stroll along. During our visit, we enjoyed a free live concert and danced for over an hour near the concert stage inside the park.

We had such a great time this visit and stayed until the very minute the park closed. On the way home, the backseat was filled with chatter of how much fun they had. The next day, I even received a couple of text messages thanking me for spending the day with them. Texting is true teen appreciation.

I want to say once again how much we appreciate Six Flags over Texas sponsoring this post. These moments of connection with our teens will last a lifetime.

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