Kids Bowl Free

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KidsBowlFree

Kids Bowl Free, 2 games per day, all summer long with the Kids Bowl Free 2016 program and I will not SPARE you the details!

I signed up my family last week and we have already been twice because Irvine Lanes‘ program happens to run now through September 11th! Super fun. And you certainly can’t beat free. Here’s how to sign up.

Kids Bowl Free 2016

1. Click here to go to the KidsBowlFree.com website.

2. Click on your State and bowling center of choice. Every bowling center is different so select yours and you can find dates, hours and times to the right.

3. Enter your info to sign up. If you are feeling charitable, put in my email address in the gray referrer box, I think they draw prizes for referrals or something of the sort. I like prizes, thanks.  My email is jennifer @ tinyoranges.com.

4. You can enter up to 6 kids on your sign-up so I also added in some friends that will likely be hanging out with us this summer.

5. Consider purchasing the Unlimited Family Pass. For $26/total, I had the option to purchase unlimited bowling (same deal as for the kids) for FOUR adults. I did this because I happen to think bowling is fun and wouldn’t want to just sit and watch my kiddos all summer!  Again, check the fine print before you purchase.

6. Shoes not included. We did have to pay the shoe rental ($4pp) but the guy at Irvine Lanes told me I could purchase unlimited shoe rental to go with the program for $12pp total. I bought this because we have already been twice. By the time summer hits, it will be paid for and totally free. Minus the $2.75 I will likely shell out for some french fries after enduring begging from the kids.

7. Show up with your printed coupons or show your coupons on your smart phone, then BOWL your heart out!!!  Just make sure to check the hours and days before you go. We went on a rainy day during Spring Break and there was about a 20 minute wait.

www.kidsbowlfree.com

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Babysitting 101

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how to be a great babysitter

This post is for any young girl (or boy) looking for tips on how to be a great babysitter from a mom’s point of view.  It is actually pretty simple, but some things might not be obvious, that’s why I am giving you the scoop. For my moms reading this with girls coming into babysitting age, please share these tips with them. Moms everywhere will thank you.

How to be a Great Babysitter

(and get hired over and over again!)

1. Be Punctual

Always, always be on time, if not, a couple (not 10, a couple) minutes early. Most times parents have somewhere to be.

2. Put Your Phone Down

Once they are old enough to talk, kids will tell exactly what went down when you were there.  If you sit on the couch looking at your phone, we will know.  We don’t want to pay you to sit on your phone and ignore the kids.

3. Be Game

The most fun thing about a great babysitter is the opportunity for kids to be able to “play” with an older kid or young adult.  If the kids want to play beauty salon, be game and play along! As a bonus, the 50 small pigtails in your hair just might be your new favorite look.

4. Come Up with Something Novel to Play

Kids love new games. Whether you bring a new coloring book you picked up at the Dollar Store, teach them a new game, or how to build the best fort, novelty wins you big points with the kiddos.

5. Take the Bedtime Seriously

If I tell you to please have the kids in bed at 8:00pm, please do it. There’s nothing worse than walking into a house after an evening out to find your kids awake when they were supposed to be asleep long ago. You might not realize what a kid on one hour less sleep might look like the next day because you don’t have to deal with them but we do. We are paying good money to bypass the bedtime routine and antics for a night, please take this seriously.

6. Provide a Brief Food/Sleep Summary 

I appreciate a recap of anything regarding food or sleep.  When kids went down, how long they napped, what time they last ate, etc. Any info that might help us as far as sleep or food is concerned helpful to a mom. For example, if Johnny didn’t eat much of his lunch, tell me. That way I will know he might need a snack soon.  Moms rely on food and sleep to assess their kid’s moods a lot of time, help us fill in the blanks while we were gone.

7. Use Common Sense 

Safety is of course number one. If something is unsafe, please don’t let the kids do it. If a child tells you they usually get seconds on their ice cream, don’t give it to them. Just use your common sense and don’t hesitate to tell the kids NO when needed.

8. TIDY UP!

It is a mom’s dream to return to a home more tidy than when she left.  We are not talking deep cleaning. We are not talking about completely organized.  Just picked up and tidy. Put the dishes in the dishwasher, clean the pots you used to cook dinner, pick up the toys/art crap/books, whatever.  Even if it is “fake clean” and in a neat pile against the wall because you don’t know where it goes, we don’t care. The illusion is that the house is picked up is enough for us.

If the kids are old enough to help, make it a game 1/2 hour before the parent is due home. You can bring along stickers as incentive. It’s silly what kids will do for a sticker.  Have them show you where things go.  For a mom to return home to a picked up house is like a slice of HEAVEN. We might just shed a tear of gratitude.  It means that much, seriously.

Do these things girls (and boys) and you might just be the most sought-after sitter on the block! Your turn mamas, what do you look for in a great babysitter?

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Barn to Backyard

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Reclaimed Wood Orange County

Last summer my husband and I did a little project and renovated our backyard.  One of the things we added is a concrete bench and fire pit, my new happy place.

When designing how we wanted it to look, I didn’t want the back of the bench to also be concrete given we were already pretty concrete-heavy in our design.  I have fallen in love with the modern rustic farmhouse design elements as of late so I wanted to pull in some wood to warm up our space.

Reclaimed Wood Orange County

I told my husband I wished we could find reclaimed wood somewhere in Orange County, but where? After some Google searching, he found a company called U.S. Reclaimed in Laguna Niguel that sells just that – reclaimed wood! Yippee!

One step into the giant U.S. Reclaimed warehouse and I swear I got goosebumps when I gazed at the fabulous pieces of beat up, character-rich wood.

No one piece the same as the next.

wood

The company is owned by a guy named Ben and his darling wife. Ben asked us what we were doing and helped us pull different pieces to lay out together until we found the exact combination we wanted. Look at how GORGEOUS!

reclaimed wood bench

Ben shared that his company seeks out vintage structures, like barns, sawmills, etc. and will break them down carefully to reclaim the lumber for use in modern projects.  All of the lumber is at least 100 years old.

If those boards could talk…

reclaimed lumber

We found the perfect mix of 6 complementary boards and had them mounted on brackets to create a back for the bench. Every time I sit out there I notice new imperfections and marvel at the saw marks.

bench crop

We chose not to treat the wood because we wanted it to weather naturally and it has turned into a really pretty gray which blends in nicely with the concrete on the bench contrasts with the redwood on our back fence. Notice the saw marks…

reclaimed wood bench DIY

Reclaimed Wood Floating Shelves

As we continued to work on the backyard, my husband built a new garden against our back wall. And a LOT of stucco. I thought it might be cool to do some of the U.S. Reclaimed thicker pieces and do hanging selvesto break up the sea of stucco and give the wall a little interest.

That, and I wanted an excuse to go back to U.S. Reclaimed again! Of course, Ben had the perfect materials for us. Now how was I going to choose?

shelf

Once again, he helped us find the right piece with the right character and dimensions and this is how the shelves turned out above our garden. Note: the garden itself is not made of reclaimed wood, just the floating shelves above.

reclaimed wood floating shelves

Look at the beautiful marks on the edge…

floating garden shelf

Thank you for letting me share our projects and my love for U.S. Reclaimed – your go-to spot for reclaimed wood in Orange County.

www.usreclaimed.com

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Family of Five

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Family of Five

Adventures in Newborn Land

Hi everyone! It’s me, Christy!  The last time you heard from me, I was VERY pregnant, VERY anxious to meet my newest addition, and sharing my thoughts with you about becoming a family of five. And here we are, six months later, and I am incredibly excited to introduce you to our sweet baby girl, Emma!  And share my thoughts with you about now actually being a family of five.

She’s here!

Our healthy little auburn-haired beauty was born two days before her due date…at a whooping 9.6 pounds. It was love at first sight for my husband and I, and we were obsessed with her miniature, delicate features, coos, itty bitty cries, chunky cheeks, and snuggles. This little butterball fit perfectly in my arms, stared at me with huge blue eyes, and was a big cuddler. We couldn’t wait to share her with our big kids.

The moment they met their baby sister is hard to put into words. Their gasps of delight, excitement, and genuine love for this tiny human who just joined our family is something that I will always hold dear.  One of those snapshots in time that I want to tuck away carefully, remembering every little nuisance, every giggle, every smile.

Newborn

Party of five

First, let me start by saying that I can’t imagine our lives without Emma.  She was always meant to be in our family. Six months later, it feels as though she’s been with us forever – in the best way possible. But…it’s been hard.  Really hard at times.

Because, guess what? That cliche saying that “every baby is different,” is said for a reason. Every baby is different. And our little Emma is no exception – she is completely and totally different than our first two. So that mommy confidence of, “I totally know what I’m doing and I’ll just easily transition back to taking care of an itty bitty,” didn’t quite go as planned.  I’ve had to lean on my husband. Lean on family.  Lean on friends.  And accept (and make peace) that it’s okay that this has been a more challenging transition. And I can’t thank them enough for being my “village.”  You know who you are!

Here are some things I’ve learned so far with being a mama of three –

– I always accept help now – and pretty much every time someone offers it. Gone are the days that I smile and say, “Oh, thanks so much for the offer to ________, but we’re totally fine and under control.” Um, now I smile, say thank you, and say yes to whatever sweet person is offering to do something.

– It’s also much easier for me to ask for help now.  I need it. My life is currently a mesh of school carpools, homework questions, sports practices, Taylor Swift, Star Wars trivia, and remembering important school and sports deadlines…plus feedings, scheduling things around nap times, fussy times, crawling, introducing solids, singing “Wheels on the Bus,” playing patty cake, and Googling, “Is it normal that my baby…? (fill in the blank).”

– Sleep deprivation is as difficult as I remember. Sleep regressions are even more difficult than I remember.  On the flip side, baby snuggles, cuddles, coos and little baby chunks to squeeze are even better than I remember.

– There is no “napping or resting when the baby naps” (although I’ve always struggled with that one anyways). Pass the coffee.  Nap times are for getting things done at warp speed OR having the baby sleep in the car while carting a big kid around.  Yep, baby #3 is my “car seat” kid. I’ve made peace with that, too. Sometimes I feel like the jump from two to three kids has been exponential.

– Having a big age gap between my bigs and my little has actually been pretty amazing.  Because they are enjoying her so much.  Which makes it easier for everyone to enjoy her so much!  I have built-in helpers who dote on her, entertain her, take care of her, feed her, diaper her, and cuddle her.  I LOVE this.

– My hubby and I are more relaxed this time with baby.  We have to be.  Seriously.

Our new reality

Three kids_2

I was just joking with one of my dear mama friends – someone always needs something.  Someone is always sick. Is hungry. Has a question.  Is waking up. Is hungry again. Is arguing. Is yelling. Forgot something. Needs to be somewhere. Can’t remember where they put something. Dropped something. And on, and on, and on.

But look at those grins!  Our house is always filled with lots of laughter, lots of kid noises, lots of play and lots of hugs. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

Some days, everything flows.  And some days it just doesn’t.  Which means that I have to (gulp) just go with it.  Yep, this Type-A mama is learning to just go with it. Well, I’m trying to, at least!  Baby steps.

Thank you again for being part of my pregnancy journey, and for all of your well wishes and sweet comments. I am so happy to share about Miss Emma, and thank you for all of your support!

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It’s So S’well

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swell-bottles

Recently my hair stylist and knower of all the coolest and latest things, Tera Rae Stephens, was sipping her water at the salon out of the most fabulous looking water bottle. I asked where she got it and she exclaimed, “You don’t know about S’well bottles?!?!” And she went on to profess how it was the BEST water bottle ever and said, “Jen you NEED one!”

So I went and ordered one for myself for Valentine’s Day and give it to my husband to wrap up. We’re really romantic like that. But hey, it was the BEST gift ever! I carry my S’well bottle everywhere!

Why the S’well is SO Swell   

1. They come in 3 sizes: 9 oz, 17 oz + 25 oz. I bought myself the 25 oz and LOVE it. I keep it in the car, take to the gym, basically my S’well goes wherever I do.  (Fun fact: It also holds a bottle of chardonnay and will keep chilled for 24 hours. Just sayin’.)

2. It has a screw on top that DOES NOT LEAK. I can’t tell you how many water bottles I have cycled through over the years and had to end up tossing them because of leakage issues. This one doesn’t.

3. They keep cold beverages cold, like ice cold, for 24 hours and hot beverages hot for up to 12 hours.

4. Feel good fact: S’well is a charitable parter of organizations like Unicef donating money to fund clean water for children who need it.

They are not cheap, but you will get your money’s worth, I promise.

And on the note of other things SWELL, Tera just opened her own salon in the newly renovated areas of Lido Marina Village called TReSs Apothecary + Salon. Gals, it is amazing. She is working on carrying the S’well bottles in her retail section, so if you are local, pop in and check out her fabulous new space. Also be sure to follow @tressapothocary on Instagram for some amazing eye candy.

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