Swim Suit Ready

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Y’all want to know what’s painful?  Post baby shopping. There’s nothing glamorous or flattering about it.  It’s hard and sweaty and somewhere caught between a comedy reality show slash American ninja warrior.
Fun fact: one time while post-baby shopping I got stuck in a shirt. I’m not talking like, oh this is a little snug. I’m talking full on sweat, arms will not even make it around to try and remove this shirt. I’m talking so stuck I had to rip said shirt off and pay for a shirt that not only was ripped but wouldn’t even fit if I got it fixed.
Mistake number 1: having the semi-rational thought of “oh surely this will fit!” Don’t you do it.

You know what else is painful?  Swim suit shopping.  Pre or post baby, it’s just...an unfortunate situation to find yourself.

But this year, in my newfound season of “my kids won’t remember a clean house,” I’ve also decided that my kids, ALONG WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD, will not remember what swim suit I wore. Or my body type. Or the incredible number of stretch marks that showed up with baby #4, and the large portions of white flesh that don’t seem to tan no matter how hard I try.

In the grand scheme of things that matter, there is great news for all of us in that swim suit readiness doesn’t. So get up off the sidelines, stop debating and spending too much time in the mirror deciding if it makes your butt look big and just embrace the rest of summer; throw on whatever the heck swim suit you want and know that one day when its your time to leave this earth no one will stand around at your funeral and remember you for your swim suit.

xo

L&A

Family RV Trip Part 2

Days 2 & 3:

Colorado to Moab, Utah

Pick up the RV in Denver and staying two nights at Canyonlands RV Resort and Campground

Drive time: 5 1/2 hours

Free breakfast for the win!  1. I can’t believe how much my kids ate this particular morning and 2. I can’t believe what a variety they have.  See previous post on my newfound love and affection for Drury Inn and Suites

Check out time is at 11 so after breakfast we went to get our next two days of groceries for the RV.  Someone told us to get a couple days worth of meals at a time.  It helped tremendously with keeping things clean and organized and using what we had.  

You have to call CruiseAmerica the day before picking up your RV to schedule a time slot; ours ended up being at 11:30.  We spent time unpacking bigger suitcases and loading items into the many storage options/drawers within the RV and hit the road by 1:30 pm.  

I packed a separate bin of games/books/activities for the kids specifically for the RV such as Bananagrams, decks of cards, beads + pipe cleaners, and the memory game.  The tabletop seating provided great space for games and coloring, getting in a little disguised math work, and mapping our drive and such!!  My Usborne gal, Kyra, hooked me up with some GREAT trip treats for the kids.  See list here.  

We stayed at Canyonlands for two days and had an AWESOME time at the Arches and finished up at The Rock Shop.  After one day at the Arches we saw plenty and the kids had certainly had their fair share of hiking.  We started off with one of the more challenging hikes, and it happened to snow that morning and our kids were maybe freezing and didn't love it as much as we did.  But we did it!  And most certainly encouraged everyone on their way up, seeing as if WE could do it...truly anyone could.  It was AWESOME having the RV everywhere we went.  Some of the sights we could just stop along the way to see, while others we had the RV in the parking lot readily waiting our arrival back from tough hikes.  At one point in the afternoon I took the kids back to the RV to rest and eat, and also let Billy get in some more vigorous hiking on his own.  It was a great fit for all of us!  

**Things we would have done differently:

-Not planned such a long drive after picking up the RV.  After being on the road all day the day before, then unpacking and hopping on the road with the RV it was a lot and we didn’t get to our campsite until after dark.  

-Packed slip on shoes for everyone to wear in and out of the RV when not hiking.

-Packed our own cooking utensils and gone paper products 100% instead of using their dishes.  

-We would have stayed at a different RV park; this site was overpriced for what you get.  There were no grills or fire pits at their pull through sites which was a big bummer but we made do.

Things I am super thankful we packed:

-a leash backpack for our 3 year old

-sandwich bags for packed lunches along the way

-hats/gloves/winter coats just in case weather didn't cooperate

-hiking boots - most trails didn't require them but if it rains or snows at all, you'll be really thankful for backup!

 

Our menu for days 2 and 3:

breakfast- provided by hotel on day 2

lunch - peanut butter & honey sandwiches, chips and fruit for the kids; deli style sandwiches for the adults.  Because is there really a meal in which B Grimme does not require meat?

dinner - grilled chicken salads at the campsite

breakfast - oatmeal + fruit, protein shakes (brought from home, Isagenix style) 

lunch - sandwiches + chips + fruit - packed for our day of hiking the Arches in Canyonlands!

dinner - brats/smoked sausage, green beans + corn, skillet potatoes

dessert - S’MORES!  Because, camping.  

easy snacks, because being outdoors hiking and doing all the things will involve so. much. snacking - fruit, trail mix, TJ’s fruit bars, & Luna Bars (blueberry and lemon are family favorites)

water water water - I packed some Replenish drink mix-ins from Isagenix since we were outdoors so much and at such a high elevation.

Stay tuned for days 4 & 5 next week and check out the #grimmesgowest on Instagram for a photo recap!  

Family RV Trip

Grimmes Go West!  Part 1

This Spring Break we decided to change it up a little bit and try something we’ve never done before - RVing.  And by “this Spring Break trying something new” I mean, we decided to actually do something for Spring Break instead of just taking the week off from school at home.  #homeschoolerproblems.  

The trip evolved from wanting to go somewhere warmer but realizing getting our family of five anywhere costs a fortune, let alone somewhere warmer.  Until the idea of a Family RV trip popped into mind. If you’re willing to drive to some of the bigger rental locations you can end up with quite a deal and save on gas mileage to wherever you’re headed.  We found a great deal for picking up a large RV in Denver, Colorado with CruiseAmerica so we decided to start our trip mapping there and work our way down to Arizona, stopping along the way for hiking and sight seeing, then looping back up through the Grand Canyon on our way home.  For the next four weeks follow along for a multi-part series where you will find our daily recap and itinerary which will include helpful tips for traveling with kids, links to sights worth seeing and where stopped along the way.  And, if you’re wanting a few more pictures check out #grimmesgowest on Instagram!

PS: It. was. so. much. fun.  And somehow hysterically and unintentionally lined up with a large portion of our history and geography curriculum for this year.

Pre-Trip:

Get your kids involved in the planning!  And packing :)  

Look at the map together, check out some books from the library and pick out sites everyone seems interested in.  

Pack only the food needed for the day trip to Colorado- snacks, anything that might go back in your fridge, but go easy on the meal prep before you get the RV.  

Day 1:

Illinois to Colorado

Overnight stay at Drury Inn & Suites

Our house is full of morning people which in the case worked to our advantage.  We managed to get our act together and out the door by 5:18am, only 18 minutes behind schedule!  

The drive time to our hotel was about 14 hours, and we made it in 16 1/2 hrs with stops for breakfast and all the potty/gas breaks.  We stayed at the Drury Inn & Suites, which is pet friendly and VERY reasonably priced considering you get a free breakfast buffet (legit breakfast buffet - not toast and bagels) and free appetizers and drinks every night.  Another bonus is their indoor/outdoor pool which was a huge blessing for the kids after driving all day!  It was our first time staying at this chain and we’re obsessed!  Clean, great sized rooms, plenty of space for 5 people + a large dog to stay in.  It’s conveniently situated across from an extensive shopping center so groceries and any other miscellaneous items can be picked up before you leave town.

For the kids:

-I let them each pick out one DVD/show to watch which added up to about 3.5 hours total of screen time.  

-We’ve found it best for our family to leave really early in the morning and stop around 7am for breakfast out.  

-I stocked up a few of our favorite snacks (Trader Joes for the win - their chocolate filled short bread cookies.  Well.  You’re welcome.) and packed a homemade lunchable for everyone to cut down on costs.  It was a great way to get rid of some things from home.  

-Each child gets a small bag/backpack to pack a few car trip items in, including search and finds, books, rubix cubes, markers + sketch pad, and our new favorite MAD LIBS!  

-The three year old packs in this [target link to hanging bag] because it hangs from his window and keeps things from falling out of his lap on the regular.  It’s stocked full of stickers, cars, planes, markers and he usually doesn’t like to play with any of it!  So, that’s fun……

-I picked a few readlouds for the van that everyone would be interested and downloaded some new audibles.  

-When the inevitable happens and everyone has a meltdown at the same time, turn up the music and have a dance party!  

-By the time we have 3-4 hours left everyone is DONE so we stop one last time and let everyone pick out their favorite snack.  In the name of attitude changes, $.75 goes a long way, friends!  

All in all, it was probably our easiest drive to date with three kids!

Iowa is lovely and the change of scenery was such a treat.  The only thing we really enjoyed in Nebraska were all the snow geese that seemed to be migrating at the time - other than that it was very….dull… sorry, Nebraska!!  Then in Colorado, approaching the mountains at sunset was incredible.  There were DEFINITELY cranky moments, grape throwing, spilled food, lost water bottles, toy cars thrown to the front seat and unexpected potty breaks but I tried to make a point to engage in games, reading and sightseeing with the kids (It’s so easy for me to see car time as “mommy break time”) and it helped a ton.  It also helped to set some expectations in advance with the kids- dividing the car ride into portions, not watching all three shows at once, allowing for a nap time, eating lunch together, etc.  

Favorite car games:

Mad Libs!

ABC game - find a letter along the drive for every letter in the alphabet, you can’t move on to the next letter until you find the current letter

Animal guessing game (someone thinks of an animal and everyone else asks yes/no questions to try to guess what animal they’re thinking of)

 

Favorite Audibles:

The Happy Little Family

Frog and Toad

 

Favorite Read Alouds:

Secret Zoo

U is for Utah, an Alphabet book

Road Atlas - not even kidding.  

 

Favorite Usborne Picks:

*A super sweet friend of mine became an Usborne rep right before the trip so I stocked up on a few new books.  The Bear Grylls options are my favorite for boys!! (Bear Grylls Survival Guide, Extreme Creatures, Adventure series) As are the Wipe Away options for littles.  

 

Stay tuned for next week's post which will include days two and three of our Family RV Trip!

Lego Birthday Party Extravaganza

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Last week I posted some pictures of my son's fun and LEGO filled 6th Birthday Party.  He is a lover of all things creative, LEGOS being one of his most favorites.  Having winter birthdays in the MidWest can sometimes make for a challenge, especially if you're not that into paying a fortune to host a party somewhere!  We kept it simple with at-home games from 1-3pm and easy party food for the kids.  I used to be the type that found adorably themed party food the best but 3 kids + 1 pregnancy later I'm over it and realize kids just don't care!  Throw out some cheese puffs, juice boxes, veggie straws and fruit and they really don't know the difference.  

Much thanks to all the people out there that create free printables on Pinterest and my stellar Amazon Prime abilities, we hosted a great birthday party filled with all things LEGO for very inexpensive.  Check out the ideas and links below!

 

*LEGO Bingo

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*NERF Targets made out of LEGOS

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*Pin the head on the LEGO man

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*Guess the number of LEGOS in the jar

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*LEGO birthday cake

*just pick out your favorite lego men and snag these candles on Amazon to top to any grocery store generic birthday cake

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*LEGO party favors

*Walmart gift bags for $.35/each, scoured the clearance section at Walmart for some tiny bags of LEGOS, mini M&M's, finger slingers from the Dollar Store + a colorful balloon because balloons make everything more festive!  

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Best Black Leggings Ever - and a few other things

We had a super fun opportunity to try an outfit from an online store called Simple Addiction.  It was new to me and I was excited about the cute and extremely reasonably priced clothing and accessory options they had available.  If you have a chance to look at their site, I think you may find some things you’d like to try as well.  My 13-year-old daughter also oo-ed and ah-ed over the cuteness.  

This is what I chose:

This super-comfy top, “date night tunic” in grey, found here:

https://simpleaddiction.com/collections/tops/products/date-night-tunic

And a pair of their “black solid leggings”, found here:

https://simpleaddiction.com/collections/leggings/products/sa-exclusive-black-solid-leggings

I also purchased a “blanket scarf” in grey block, found here: 

https://simpleaddiction.com/collections/scarves/products/plaid-blanket-scarf?variant=29972328707

And I went ahead and got a couple jewelry items to accessorize my outfit.  It arrived and I decided to wear it all together for work the next day.  

 

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It was cute and comfy and I got some sweet compliments about it, but the most impressive piece to me was those black solid leggings.  Now, let me say that I have been on the hunt as well as the waiting list for some similar black solid leggings from a certain at home company and I just happened to score some within the same week that my Simple Addiction outfit arrived.  So I got to wear and compare my leggings within days of each other.  My honest review is that regardless of the price, the Simple Addiction leggings were superior on several levels.  They had the right amount of give, they have a wide waist panel-so never once did I have to tug or reposition them, the material was just the right combination of polyester and cotton-so as to be soft and comfortable against my skin, the material also provided full coverage-meaning it was not at all sheer, they stayed put all day, even with all of the moving and bending and lifting I do at work, plus they held their shape.  Oh, yes, and the PRICE!  So, low!

Use this special 10% off code on your next purchase within the next 30 days!  home10

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So, in honor of my new found favorite best black solid leggings ever, I have written a haiku:

Black Solid Leggings

My wardrobe is now complete

Addict. Simply, Me