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Christmas at Bass Pro Shops

Christmas is starting now!

I am one of those people that is ready for Christmas the morning of November 1st! We ended up not getting to decorate until after Thanksgiving but we at least got our visit to see Santa over with way before the rush! Thanks to Bass Pro!

Now, Bass Pro isn’t a store where I or my husband spend a lot of money, we aren’t much into sports or hunting. But we like to visit the location inside the Opry Mills Mall in Nashville, Tn. It’s a fun place to pop in to see their large freshwater fish tank and get a Moon Pie before continuing walking through the mall.

But at Christmas, Bass Pro transforms into a Winter Wonderland where Santa awaits!

We went early November on a weeknight, so it was not packed at all. We only had to wait about 5 minutes to see Santa. This is not typical though, it will get much busier as the season goes on! Last year we came in November but on a weekend and our wait time was at least an hour. But it was really not bad because they’ve set up a nice system. When you arrive, look for the kiosks to sign it. Just enter your name and phone number, it will tell your wait time and give you a place in line. Then you will receive a text when it is time for you to come back and get in line. This allows you to walk throughout the store or mall. This is amazing because, obviously, kids do not do well in lines!

Once you receive the text, there will still be a line but the wait will only be 15-20 minutes (depending on how quickly each family moves). Then you get your photo with Santa! The theming is very professional, Santa’s reindeer and barn serve as the backdrop.

Your photo is free, but of course, there are options to order more! But there is no pressure from any of Santa’s helpers to buy anything.

But if you don’t feel like shopping around, Bass Pro also has a whole evenings worth of games and toys set up around the area for the kids to enjoy! Including a couple of carnival-like target games, monster trucks, and a huge table of Lincoln Logs!

Clark’s favorite though is the table of Play Dirt! He would sit there and play with this for hours if we’d let him! I must admit that it’s really cool. It looks and feels like real dirt but it doesn’t make a huge mess!

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There are also a couple of tables set up where you can sit and color some Christmas scenes or write a letter to Santa! Here we see Thomas sitting down to write the boys letters to Santa for them since they’re still a bit small too write their own, ha!

Since we were there on a weekday and were in the first 100 guests to see Santa that night, both Clark and Ollie got a bear! Going on now until December 24th, Monday – Thursday 5-7pm, the first 100 kids to see Santa will get a free plush! It will change each week, as I write this, the free plush is a cute little penguin!

And there’s more! Every day there are free crafts to take home! These will also change each week. We got to take home drawstring bags to color, this week the free craft is a Christmas wooden puzzle. Really fun Christmas activities!

All in all, Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops is a must do! I think it’s just an awesome service that they provide and I think every kid will love it!

Click here to visit the Bass Pro website for more details and see what all they have to offer!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

XOXO –

Christy

christmas gifts and favors

Lifestyle, Mom Stuff

How to throw an easy Dinosaur Party!

How to throw an easy Dinosaur party!

Want to throw an easy Dinosaur party? With mine and my husband’s work schedule (we work opposite shifts and have zero days off together), we wanted to throw Clark a nice party but it needed to be simple. Here are some links and ideas that I used that can hopefully help you throw an easy party too!

Clark’s Dinosaur Party!

Thomas and I decided a long while ago that we wanted to throw Clark a dinosaur party for his third birthday. As you may know from a previous post of mine (Things I Love: Pinterest) I use Pinterest for everything, so I knew I needed to do some research there. It did not let me down when I searched for party ideas! (Pinterest NEVER lets me down.) In this post, I will try to somehow coherently share what I did and where you can find some great dinosaur stuff!

Decorations

First of all, I knew I wanted lots of dinosaurs. Thomas bought two of these 12 packs of dinosaurs  ages ago, and they’re actually really nice and well made enough to endure lots of play. We also ordered this 72 piece mini dinosaur set. I figured they would be great to decorate cupcakes and also be perfect to put in the goody bags. 

My favorite idea I found on Pinterest was to make little party hats for the dinosaurs to wear. It’s brilliant and I’m mad I didn’t think of it. I mean, how cute is this T-Rex? I just used cardstock and pompoms for the hats and tape and dental floss to tie them on the dinosaurs heads.

throw an easy dinosaur birthday party

And he’s holding a balloon? Adorable!

After we had already got some standard dinosaur designed tablecloth, plates, and napkins at Walmart we happened upon these glorious decorations at Target. It was one of those perfect “Aww yeah!” shopping moments and threw them in the cart immediately. These were absolutely perfect to match all the festive dinos with their party hats! Target is, as always, on point. #Blessthem

Here are the links if you want to get ahold of these beauties:

tablecloth | “Rawr” banner | 10ct plates | 20ct napkins | 6ct gift bags

To make the table backsplash I had gone searching for a hula skirt like I saw suggested in another blogger’s video but had no luck whatsoever. So I took a breath and just made a roll of streamer work. FYI: rolling some streamer makes not only a nice dinosaur/ jungle scene but it also served me well as seaweed for our Spongebob themed party.

And my “Rawr” banner looks great alongside the 99 cents “3” balloon I picked up at Walmart. Was pretty pleased with how it turned out!

 

 

 

throw an easy dinosaur birthday party

I had 8 dinos with hats. I put 4 of them outside and 4 inside on the food and cake table. Here’s one leading a dinosaur parade around the deck railing. I had so many extras, just lining them up seemed like the thing to do. In the words of one of my guests, “Well, I can definitely tell what the party’s theme is.”

 

 

 

 

throw an easy dinosaur birthday party Dinosaurs everywhere!! I actually had more but Thomas told to just stop. Stop the madness!

 

 

 

 

 

throw an easy dinosaur birthday party I also found these adorable printables via Pinterest. Just follow the link below! Everyone thought these were pretty neat, even though I did NOT do a great job putting them together. Yikes.

Dinosaur balloon printables from Flickerandflock

 

throw an easy dinosaur birthday party  throw an easy dinosaur birthday party

Here you can see more clearly how haphazardly taped these dino balloons together. But I liked the look of my letter board greeting everyone arriving at the party.

 

 

 

 

Games

throw an easy dinosaur birthday party We rented a bouncy house for the day and I’m so glad we did, it was a huge hit. It kept the kids happy and occupied pretty much for the whole party. The jungle theme fit right in with the dinosaurs. Win-win!

 

 

 

 

throw an easy dinosaur birthday party

Another Pinterest find, Feed the Dinosaur! game. I got the large piece of cardboard from work, eyeballed the drawing and used a bowl to trace the circle for the hole and boxcutter to cut it out. And used duct tape and two yardsticks to put it in the yard. Pro-tip: It was also a fun photo op for the kids to pose with.

 

 

 

 

 

Food

throw an easy dinosaur birthday party

For the sake of my own sanity, we decided to keep the food simple. Veggie tray, chips, a couple of Little Ceaser pizzas for the kids and catered pulled pork for the adults. (Another pro-tip: I found a locally owned BBQ place whose prices were much more reasonable than all the chains and tastier too!)

(Not pictured) I also grabbed a bag of dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets and it very much pleased a couple of the picky eaters. Highly recommend!

 

The green beverage you see in the background is Raptor Punch from Simplisticallyliving and it was delicious!

*Note the two dinosaurs placed on the counter to watch guest as they select their food!

throw an easy dinosaur birthday party I bought this dinosaur cookie cutter set from Amazon. They’re super high quality and I would suggest them, but they were a tad large for the fruit I bought. So my fruit ended up being more dinosaur pieces than full dinos, but no one seemed to notice and they still looked nice!

 

 

 

throw an easy dinosaur birthday party

The cake! Inspired by some awesome cakes, I managed to throw this okay cake together. throw an easy dinosaur birthday party It’s layered with orange and devil’s food with vanilla frosting. I used fondant, food coloring, and my cookie cutters to make the dino outlines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

throw an easy dinosaur birthday party

 

Party Favors

 

throw an easy dinosaur birthday party

I threw some extra dinos in a bucket and let each child dig through it to “adopt a dino”, all the kids enjoyed picking out their own treat.

 

Target’s dollar spot was a big help for getting the goody bags together.

throw an easy dinosaur birthday partyWe found dinosaur pencils, stickers and

squeeze toys there.

Since Clark’s birthday is just a couple weeks or so after Easter, we shopped after sales at Walgreens for candy and toys to use. They always have things that don’t have any Easter labeling. This enabled us to cram each bag full of treats without breaking the bank.

Shop for unique birthday party favors

 

 

All in all, I believe the party was a success! Clark had so much fun he was just beside himself. Showing him the pictures now he still gets all excited and yells, “Dinosaurs!”.

 

For more ideas please click here to see my Children’s Party Planning board on Pinterest! And follow me, of course!

 

If you have any questions or comments please contact me! I’d love to help you with your parties!

 

2 Day Sale. Save up to 20% on all favors, gifts & decor items at Beau-coup. Enter the code PARTY at checkout!

Fun party favors and supplies @ Beau-coup.com

 

 

Lifestyle, Mom Stuff

Ways to keep track of your memories

There seems to be a million little moments a day that I don’t want to forget, especially right now with Clark and Ollie being so young. But with so much going on it’s hard to set aside a moment to write anything down! With the help of my cell phone, I feel like I do an alright job of capturing pictures at least. I want more words though! Little stories, thoughts and feelings, silly things that Clark will say. Here are some things to help you use words to keep the memories.

A baby book

There’s nothing wrong with actually writing things down! Although, I am admittedly bad at keeping Clark’s baby book filled out and Oliver is almost 6 months old and we haven’t even bought his yet! Sheesh! But I so highly recommend having one. Even though it is sparingly filled out (just like mine for Clark) I cherish my own baby book. My mother’s handwriting isn’t preserved on much else than what’s on those pages. That alone makes it pretty special! So it will be something that not only for your benefit but your children will (hopefully) keep forever. 

This is the book we bought for Clark, it covers birth – 3 years. Nice spiral binding, cute designs, good writing prompts. There is a pocket inside with frames you can use to decorate the photos you paste in, then use it for other various keepsakes. It’s still available in new and like-new condition through amazon.com.

I’m considering one of these for Oliver, changing it up a little. I really like that they go up to 5 years, kinda bummed Clark’s does not!

 

I also just discovered Promptly Journals. These are gorgeous and totally hip baby books. They are filled with heartfelt writing prompts and will look uber nice on the bookshelf too!

A Blank Journal

There are plethora of blank journals/notepads out there. Even if you just write in it once in a while, they are nice to have. I don’t get to often, but sitting down and writing out my feelings is very therapeutic. Sometimes it just helps to get it out. Oh, not to mention there’s so many adorable journals to choose from!

 

Apps!

One day recently when I was bored, I started perusing the Play Store on my phone and happened upon a bunch of diary/journal apps. I may just be behind the times, but I did not know these existed!  My phone is practically  attached to my hip anyways, why not use it to log the events of my day as well!

The app I tried first and actually ended up preferring is called Daylio. I like how easy it is to quickly record my day. First, It gives you the option to rate your day using happy and sad icons.  Then you can choose from a list of activities that showcase what you did that day. There is an option to create your own activities as well. I created a “mom life” icon and I select it every day, of course! Lastly, you have the option to add a quick note. I mostly use this space to document something cute Clark might have said or a special first for Oliver.

The other apps I downloaded were nice, but a bit daunting. As good intentions as I have, I really don’t think I would have taken the time to post something on them each day. Daylio is very visual and I respond well to that. The reminder it sends me in the evening really helps too! 

 

 

If  you’re looking for something more baby specific, try Tiny Beans! I just signed up and it seems to be a great online version of a baby book. Upload photos and videos and write about them. Moments stay private or you can choose who to share them with.

 

Even though it’s not for writing, an app that I’m really excited about and just have to mention is 1 Second Everyday. This app stitches a one second video or photo for every day and compiles them into one. You can choose or there is also an autofill option. I’ve been using it since March 1st and want to chronicle a whole year. I think it will be pretty amazing!

E-mail

Create an e-mail account for your children, send them little emails with tidbits, funny stories, pictures, etc. Show it to them when they’re teenagers or grown. I know this is an old idea that circulated heavily around the web for awhile, but I’m listing it here anyway. It’s so easy to do and so personal. Imagine what a treat it would be to go back and read through! Years worth of memories documented in quick emails. It’s so sweet.

 

 

No matter how you decide to document your life, just find a way to stay motivated to keep it up! You will thank yourself later! What things to do you do to keep the memories?

 

Free Grocery List Printable from ClarkandOllie.com
Lifestyle, Mom Stuff

Free Grocery List Printable

Grocery shopping is stressful, y’all. I thought it was because of an impatient toddler and an infant who just wants to be held. Though my beloved Infantino Flip Carrier helps me out with that, it’s still tough to wear the baby, push around a toddler and focus on what we need to buy. Even with the husband’s help, it’s still a mess!

But the other day, I got to go grocery shopping alone. I was pretty excited actually. I assumed it would be glorious and I would frolic down the aisles in a fit of blissful glee!

But NOPE.

Because, guess what? Grocery shopping is still stressful even without kids! I guess I had just forgot. Especially on the weekends when, I assume, the whole world also shops. I still forgot about 400 things that trip and just couldn’t find the strength within my soul to go back for anything.

One thing that might have helped, more than my random scribbles, would have been a nice organized grocery list. Something that would put all like items into a column so that I wouldn’t have to skim my whole paper searching for products that would be the department I’m in.

So I sat down, opened up my photoshop and made this and thought I’d share. I even added a little encouragement at the top, “You can do this!”. Because you can do this! And don’t forget the cookies and wine.

 

Download your free printable here!

 


 

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Lifestyle, Mom Stuff

Things I do that I believe help my babies sleep better

I’ll begin by saying that I am in no shape or form an expert. Far from it. I’m probably just lucky that both Clark and Oliver are, for the most part, great sleepers. By two months they were both sleeping about 6-7 hours a night, waking up for one feeding in the early morning and usually a couple more hours of sleep right after.

All of these tips I have read throughout the internet world. There are a billion of opinions out there, these are just what I’ve tested myself and thought to be the most helpful for me.

No complete silence, ever

Since the day we brought Clark home, I’ve kept the tv running at night. It’s not loud, just barely audible. Just a nice little bit of background noise that also gives me some light for night feedings and something to watch.

Since Oliver was born my nightly binge show has been Parks and Recreation. It’s nice to have a familiar go-to program to have playing. When I went through the frequent feedings with Clark, all we had access to in the bedroom were local channels! I remember groggily looking at the tv, trying to figure out why there was an old man sitting behind a desk talking to me at 3am. I love that we have Hulu now and I can at least have a bit of a giggle when I’m awake.

The no silence regime also goes for the daytime as well. Music or tv always fills the house. This is especially nice right now because Ollie usually sleeps right through whatever craziness Clark is involved in! I can also go about my business as usual and not have to worry about clinking a dish or two.

Feeding on-demand

There are always several feeding close to bedtime. I have to get that baby belly good and full! A feeding schedule has never worked out for me, feeding on-demand is a must. I’m not much on schedules at all, actually. But that’s besides the point. For this reason, I usually try to drink more water and snack on almonds in the evenings. I don’t know if it actually helps, but I know it doesn’t hurt and I at least feel like I’m producing more milk.

Full disclosure; 98% of the time I end up breastfeeding Ollie to sleep. I’ve read many things telling me it’s bad… But I just don’t care. It worked well for Clark and it never led him to not being able to comfort himself. Even after he stopped breastfeeding, (and he was the one who made that decision! two weeks before he turned one he completely lost interest. I was a bit offended and a bit relieved!), I would give him a bottle of Similac Go and Grow before bed. This did a good job of signifying that it was the end of the day and most importantly, fill that belly! He loved it!

Lights out

Seems obvious, but I feel like this really helps distinguish that it’s now time to settle down. Also worth noting that naps are taken in normal bright rooms, I’ve never tried to darken rooms during the day for a nap. I feel it’s important that we get into bed, turn on the tv, and turn off the light for the last feeding. It’s usually a quick process and I can gently lay Ollie in his bassinet and pass out (or lay down and look at my phone and enjoy a bit of me time, of course)

It’s really what works with your life and your schedule. Everyone is going to be different and have to do different things. Whatever works for you! Don’t let “experts” make you feel like you’re doing something wrong. They would probably faint if I told them the time I put Clark and Ollie to bed. But it works for us right now. And we are all happy and healthy! And that’s what is important!

 


 

Lifestyle, Mom Stuff

It’s Time To Share (And Why You Should Share Too)

Time goes by so quickly.. I blinked and suddenly I am 34. And, after nearly 15 years working in the retail world, I found myself as a stay at home mom to my beautiful son, Clark, and a caregiver to my elderly father. I always felt too busy to write down my thoughts, special moments, or some important tidbit, but I want that to change. So here I am! Finally ready to put it out there, however minuscule it may be. We are all important, we all have feelings, we all have a story to tell and Sparrows & Arrows is mine…

So, what is your story? What tiny moment do you want to remember years from now? Having a toddler around provides a million precious moments (and “pull my hair out” moments too) and I want to cherish them all. As I’m constantly reminded, this time won’t last forever. Writing things down and taking pictures are what I try to do as much as I can.

One thing my husband and I started doing on January 1st this year was to write down one favorite memory from our day. Every night before bed we write down our memory on a sticky note, fold it up and put it in a jar and on New Year’s 2018 we will read them. Saw it on Pinterest, of course. We both just thought it was a great way to remind ourselves that there’s good in every day. (Spoiler alert: Mine will be about 95% Clark moments)

I just think that everyone has a voice and we have access to so many different ways of using it. So, why not? Whether or not you think what you say matters, or if you just think sharing your feelings is silly. I believe everyone should express themselves. There are plenty of sites to start a free blog. Just go there and write what you feel! Write down the silly thing that your kids said that made you laugh. Write down how the lyrics of a song made you think about your childhood and you shed a tear or two. Just get it all out. Even if you keep it private or write it in a real physical journal, share! Someday someone will cherish those thoughts you had and they will feel like they knew you better. And that’s pretty special.