master upgrade

Next up on the nesting projects: our master bedroom! Linking the bedding below.

SMALL FRY | MASTER BED OVERHAUL

I shared some inspiration for our master bedroom overhaul (we were super rushed to finish the room due to a contract and weren’t able “finish” it how we planned) so now we’re going back and giving it some love!

Styling beds is tricky, I feel like there’s a fine line between too much and not enough. My only tips are mix textures, stay in a tight color palette, find pillows with added detailing (fringe, tassels, etc), and the right scale for your bed (king shams or bust) If you have the means, buy a bunch and mess with it and then return what doesn’t work. Here’s what I have and my reviews!

BLANKETS:

Duvet Cover – This Washed Cotton duvet is a great price and has the trendy look of linen color of tobacco, but hundreds less. Warning – it has an envelope opening and no buttons or closures, and it also doesn’t have any corner ties to keep the duvet and the comforter connected. BOO. I didn’t realize when ordering so I got these duvet clips after the fact and it’s fine. You get what you pay for, right?

Bottom Throw – to add texture and also for my husband to sleep with since he hates being hot, this quilt + sham combo adds color and texture!

PILLOWS:

Fur Pillows – These are huge and a great start for layering! Fur for texture and the price is excellent.

Quilted Shams – ties in the throw at the bottom of the bed!

King Shams in Tobacco – comes with the duvet but breaks up the palette.

Lumbar – not sold on this I don’t think it makes enough impact, but the tassels give it interest and it doubles as my body pillow

Tasseled Throws – these covers are so well made. Worth double the price. They have lots of texture variation, the woven material is so thick and nice and the tassels are huge! They’re just slipcovers but I got my inserts at Ikea for cheap. 20×20.

HEADBOARD MAKE OVER:

I sent 4 ideas through Stories to see what you guys thought and you either know me really well or we all share the same taste – probably 95% of people voted for this timber planking which was my #1, too! We’re doing a similar treatment in our dining nook and I LOVE the texture, and clean lines.

Modern Master Bed + Headboard

Via Emily Henderson.

The other options were caning:

Caning Headboard

Via Emily Henderson.

Plywood –

Plywood Bed Frame

Mr. Kate DIY

Plywood Bed Frame

DIY here

Via Domino Mag

Or doing a faux brass inlay DIY:

Brass Inlay Headboard

West Elm

Brass Inlay Headboard

Anthropologie – sold out

Can’t wait to (for Russ, ha) to get started!!

baby boy nursery

It’s been so fun and a needed distraction to plan the nursery for baby boy! My goal with this one is to be able to reuse everything we buy (minus the crib) since, barring the literal hand of God, he’s our last. ha.

Nursery Ideas

He’ll be in my room for the first bit and then we’re moving the office stuff to the loft so he can sleep near us. Once he’s sleeping through the night he’ll either share with Raleigh or we’ll be reconfiguring some things in the basement. Someone willing is gonna share! So we already have the bottom half of the office wall painted a dusty olive green which I still love so we’re keeping that and the light fixture of course.

Keep scrolling to see ALL the items I’ve been saving! Here’s what I’ve purchased so far:

  • Crib – I know natural wood + bleached oak/beech is all the rage (ALL my cabinets are after all, but I wanted to do something different. Love the slight art deco vibe of this black + upholstered crib. I think it will pop nicely off the green walls!
  • Acupulco Rocker – this came in the mail already and is surprisingly super comfortable. We’ll see how it holds up for hours of rocking, but I am stoked about it! Thinking I’ll buy another one for porch rockers when the time comes! They come in a bunch of colors  for cheaper too, I just love black.
  • Love the idea of a sculptured side table! Finding big enough dimensions has been tricky, they’re all a little too small except for this one!  Needs to hold a lamp + bottle at the very least!
  • No closet in the office so we’ll need a good size dresser! This is Ikea and after buying dressers from other places, Ikea really is the nicest quality in the price range. The Nordli line is fully customizable for your space and needs, too!
  • Rug – this is always so tricky! I LOVE this geometric shaped striped one. Looking at a couple others that are a little more boho feeling here and here, all more money then I want to spend. #always.
  • The last little bits that I will probably add as the space starts coming together are art, baby toys, and a mobile over the crib.
  • Shop below for all the little decor pieces, lamps, and pillows to finish the space!

easy green ideas

One 2020 focus for me is to continue improving on my waste + consumption. Last year I went 9 months without extraneous shopping and it truly changed the way shop, spend, and take in products. This year I want to add to that with a garden, compost, and try to eliminate single use plastic wherever I can! I asked you all what easy swaps you’ve been able to take on and was so impressed! Sharing them here:

easy green swaps

Produce Bags // S+P Grinders

RE-USE, or ELIMINATE PACKAGING WASTE + SINGLE USE PLASTICS

  • Reusable grocery and produce bags
  • Opt for paperless billing whenever possible, opt out of credit card offers here. Put yourself on the do not call list here.
  • Reusable straws + reusable smoothie straws
  • Cloth napkins
  • Glass tupperware and containers, dish towels over paper.
  • Looking for something specific? Look for secondhand toys and clothing first!
  • Bidet / hose over toilet paper
  • Cloth Diapers + Menstrual Cups (I use the Diva Cup and have had it for several years, it’s the most comfortable I’ve tried. Bloody Buddy is also great and colors are awesome.
  • Reuse packaging/boxes for organization, selling your own clothing + toys secondhand on apps like Poshmark.
  • Shampoo and conditioner bars, bamboo handled toothbrushes, q-tips, etc.
  • Reusable snack bags over ziplocs
  • Avoid express delivery services, jet fuel doesn’t need to deliver your toilet paper
  • Reinventing leftovers. Meal plan with waste in mind.
  • Bring thermos’ and tumblers to the gas station. Save soda cups for refills. Fill water jugs in the morning and bring with you on-the-go.
  • Shop in bulk / warehouse style.

Totally random one I’ll add – we order the 30 count nuggets at Chik-fil-A and a large fry. It’s SO much less packaging then ordering all my kids their own meals.

AROUND THE HOUSE

  • Post-bath leave your water in the tub and use it to water your plants, hand-wash delicates, wash bigger items like your pets, oven racks, highchairs, bumbos, etc.
  • You can also stash a bucket in your shower to collect water that way. Or collect rainwater out in the yard.
  • Start a Garden – even a small herb garden. Meatless Mondays or Vegetarian on the weekdays
  • Garden Co-ops – local in season produce made by small and big farms.
  • Compost bin or pile in the yard.
  • Set your heater/AC 5 degrees below when you leave. Use natural light whenever possible. Open those curtains!
  • Wash clothes in cold water – 85% of energy in washer/dryers goes to heat the water. Air or line dry your clothing instead of drying. Put your sheets on your bed out of the washer (they’ll be wrinkle free and smooth as butter!)
  • Recycle electronics instead of trashing them. You can search for nearby receptacles!
  • Energy efficient light bulbs.
  • Clean behind your fridge. The coils trap dust and require more energy to work when clogged.
  • Batch errands, don’t idle your engine, carpool whenever possible.

I know it sounds counter-intuitive to buy stuff to help you have less waste but thought I’d share the products I actually use around the house to  help me with this!

easy green swaps

Reusable Straws and an extra tall 40+ oz version for your big ones — Smoothie Straws – I make a lot of smoothies at home (another way to cut down!) and sometimes you need a wide straw! These are rubbery and although the colors hurt my eyes, they work great. // Dryer Balls – these cut down on waste but also so much better for your body! No chemicals or fragrances and you can reuse them for years and years! // Reusable Ziplocs – pack for lunches, pre-prepared snacks for the fridge, leftovers. // Produce Bags – I stash them in my reusable bags and pack all my produce in them! I have all plastic tupperware and those pretty OXO ones for the pantry and started noticing my food tasting so weird! Glass containers will help you skip leaching while still being reusable. // LOVE these cloths. They don’t have that awful microfiber feeling, they have the scouring option on the flip-side so I use them in place of sponges even. Wash and dry great! // I’ve shared Re-Play before and now they have even more colors on Amazon! All recycled plastic and indestructible. Ditch paper cups/plates for something cute and green! // I LOVE the Knalla bag both in the stasher form that bags up super tiny (like Baggu but $2) and their more structured sturdy bottom version. 2-3 bags is plenty for an entire cart of groceries, it zips up, folds pretty flat and the handles are easy to transport. // Switch to biodegradable — look at all these products that you could swap out!

roadtrip audiobooks for men + women

TRIP RECAP!

We are back and getting in the swing of life again after our trip to Wisconsin! The ride out took about 22 hours (we stopped at Mt. Rushmore, Wall Drug and several pit stops thanks to one child with some ill-timed runs.TMI!!) The weather was great and we got super lucky! The way home however was a different story. We saw that a storm was coming and would be hovering over both our route options home (South Dakota or Nebraska.) We took Nebraska and it was a doozy. The highway got rerouted through these backwoods detours 3 different times, we were a total stop for about 30 minutes at one point, and then another time cars started slipping crossing through train tracks and getting backed up so we actually had to speed reverse off the tracks before we got hit by oncoming train + the railroad striped arm thing. EXCITING but yet not at all. It took us three days this time about 27 hours that time. Not to mention visiting family between 10-40 min away each day…

All this to say we had A LOT of time on our hands and Russ and I both love a good audiobook, yet have such different tastes. Today I am sharing options that we both enjoyed (**), some I’ve loved and think guys would to (*) and also that you all suggested if you need a common ground audiobook for your next trip! For those who asked we shared an AirPod set up front while kids had their own movies going in the back. Of course the perfect world situation would be an audiobook that two adults and 3 kids 9, 8 and 3 are all enraptured by, but LIFE JUST ISN’T THAT SIMPLE SOMETIMES, OKAY? 😉 If it was it would probably be Harry Potter though.

Kid-free listening means I am not worrying about content and language, ya feel?


WHAT WE LISTENED TO

THE STRANGER SHE LOVED – we loved this one because it was SO insane. And it happened 5 minutes from where we used to live. Somehow I missed all the news coverage on this story so it was thrilling to catch up on it, hear names of people we know from that community, and generally be blown away by an ex-Mormon Bishop slash psychopath. So sad for the family that suffered through it all, but man it’s a good story!

THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW –  Soon to be a major motion picture, the trailer looks real good! We listened to this one and it takes a while to jump off, there are 100+ quick chapters and tons of description. Lots of plot twists that made for good conversation between Russ and I (we love to try and spoil them) but I’d tell you to actually read a physical book over listening to this one because you can skim through the incessant metaphors and similes.


AUDIOBOOK IDEAS FOR MEN + WOMEN

Thrillers + Page Turners: The Stranger She Loved** // I am Pilgrim* // Davinci Code Series by Dan Brown* // The Silent Patient // Dear Wife // Where the Crawdads Sing // Nothing to See Here //

Roadtrip Audiobooks

I am Pilgrim – Everyone said you need to get about 9 hours into this and then it’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever read. Ratings verify that! We only got about 2 hours in and it was still super interesting, so I look forward to finishing it!

Davinci Code Series by Dan Brown – Oldie but a goodie. Dan Brown is excellent at hooking you to the next chapter. You’ll learn a lot, too!

The Silent Patient – highly recommended by Kayti who I share a lot of the same reading taste with!

Dear Wife // Where the Crawdads Sing // Nothing to See Here  — All highly recommended by YOU guys!


Social Conversations — Great books that spark excellent conversations, teach you a lot, are research and fact based, but aren’t necessarily political.  Being Mortal // Talking to Strangers** // David and Goliath** // Born a Crime* // Just Mercy  // Hillbilly Elegy* // Educated* // Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea // Catch and Kill //

Audiobooks for Road Trips

Being Mortal — If you and your partner have aged parents or grandparents, might one day die or get older, this will spark conversations you never thought you needed.

Talking to Strangers** — I’ve already reviewed this one but Russ is reading it now and loves it too. So many good chats already!

David and Goliath** — We listened to this together a few years ago and both loved it!

Born a Crime* — super funny and also eye opening about Apartheid.

Just Mercy — highly recommended and now an award nominated movie!  Catch and Kill / also came highly recommended!

Hillbilly Elegy* //  Educated* // Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea /– guys love these one and they’re fascinating!


Humor: The Sisters Brothers* // The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo** // Bossypants* // Dad is Fat //  Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine* // David Sedaris //

Audiobooks for Roadtrips

The Sisters Brothers — If your man likes the Cohen Brothers movies, Tarantino or Wes Anderson he’ll probably love this!

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo – Russ and I both have super crass senses of humor so take this with a grain of salt, but we laughed a lot!

Bossypants — less crass still funny!

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – I loved this one and the narrator is super fun.

Dad is Fat // David Sedaris — two super highly recommended titles! I know I know how have I never read David Sedaris. I tried in college and it wasn’t my thing, I should probably try again.

Common Ground: Ready Player One* // The Way of Kings* // Peace Like a River* // Ender’s Game** // The Martian // Count of Monte Cristo // Tattoos on the Heart*

Audiobooks for Road TripsThis grouping is me making sweeping general stereotypes that don’t factor any nuances. I apologize, I even roll my eyes at some of these statements! In my experience books with 10k or more reviews are typically a good unisex read. Also, if when you search for them they have study guides or summaries listed they’re typically a busy-man fave (think corporate guy who needs to be brushed up on water cooler talk or golf game chatter) and also this list includes what my husband and his friends deem worth

Ready Player One*— dripping with 80’s nostalgia and trivia, dudes love this. I enjoyed it, too!

The Way of Kings* — I can’t count how many real life conversations with I have had about this book with guys. The LOVE it.

Peace Like a River* — The storyline feels like it would be something a guy could resonate with! Fathers and sons, protective brothers, high school bullies. One of my all time faves.

Ender’s Game** — Russ and I listened to this on a road trip YEARS ago and we both loved it.

The Martian — highly recommended and the movie was hilarious so I can only imagine. Lots of language.

Count of Monte Cristo — This is on so many of my guys friends’ top book picks. Its like the Shawshank Redemption of books. 😉 Pretty sure it is book but you know what I mean.

Tattoos on the Heart* — a good social conversation as well as lots of funny stories about gangsters. I think guys would enjoy!

Any to add to this list?! Here’s a HUGE graphic for your pinning pleasure and the links to my makeup ;): Continue reading roadtrip audiobooks for men + women

#founditonamazon

This brand is new to me and one of Amazon’s in-house lines! They sent me some pieces to try out and so many of them gave me major Madewell vibes, but for a fraction of the cost! Great basics that you can dress up or down however you like and wear for years!

This duster is a cold weather must. $30 and comes in 7 neutral options! So good for layering without getting too hot, lounging around the house, or covering up a too-tight dress. 😉

#founditonamazon maternity outfit

DUSTER | DRESS (old F21 but similar here) | BOOTS |HAT | EARRINGS

While I love Madewell pieces I rarely shop, because the cost just doesn’t add up for such basic pieces and how they wear/wash (maybe with the exception of their jeans.) This is way more my speed and everything I’ve tried is really amazing quality! Check out the prices, too!

Winter White Maternity Outfit

Shaker Turtleneck under $40 (several colors!) // Or the mock neck version $40 // Boucle Turtleneck under $40 (several colors!) // Or the mock neck version $40 // This viscose button down $30  // And a cotton version in 10+ colors and patterns under $25! (giving me Madewell Courier vibes!)

goodthreads #founditamazon

gift guides: what i bought

Since we’re doing Christmas a week or so early this year I have been hustling to get it all done, but I can actually show you what we’re doing which is sometimes more helpful then a bunch of abstract ideas! Here’s what made the cut:

Favorite Things + White Elephants 

Small Fry Gift Guides 2019

You all know these are my actual favorite sunglasses that I have bought, lost, replaced no less than 6 times. Quay “After Hours” Matte Black (a few girls at our party tried them on and they looked amazing on everyone!!)

I love Urban Decay’s shadow palettes. Naked 3 is the most versatile for the most range of eye colors. Creates beautiful everyday looks, smokey eye options, a good mix of matte and glitter. Safe Bet for sure!Small Fry Gift Guides 2019

I have a book swap this year with my book club and bringing  What Alice Forgot. I have lent it to so many friends of all ages and circumstances and it’s loved by all! Entertaining, thought provoking read that stayed with me solidly for weeks and I think about it often still, years later.

This company Prank-O is new to me and I died when I saw it the other day! If you need to package up a white elephant gift they make the funniest gag gift boxes! This one cracked me up.

RUSS – age 35, music + sports lover, works in construction

Small Fry Gift Guides 2019Russ is a simple man and rarely asks for anything so I have to seriously listen up and take note basically all year. He dropped 3 hints –

Record Player – I researched and this American made U-Turn Audio player made the cut for both quality, sound and aesthetic . Isn’t it so rad looking? I love the lucite turntable and think the white backdrop will make every record pop!

Weekender – He doesn’t have any luggage that is “his” so he’s often found traveling with my girlier bags so I found this amazing Franklin coated canvas bag from State and think he’ll love it. Super masculine and expensive looking!

Always sore, always asking for a massage, so I took this one upon myself and got a massage gun! All the attachments and reverberations play a different role in athlete recovery and he does manual labor full-time so I think it’s a must! There are so many versions out there so I just went for ratings and a good warranty. This one is 30 day money back guarantee + 2 year warranty!

Hayes, 10 years old, lover of sports, being creative, reading facts and the color turquoise.Small Fry Gift Guides 2019

Hayes asked for a Nintendo DS but we were told they’re phasing those out and to go for the Switch Lite. I would much rather my kids play those than a smart tablet anyday and that was basically his budget right here! Merry Christmas, Hayes! 😉

A Telescope – loved the idea of this and we have amazing starry sky views in the country so thought it would be fun for the whole fam, too!

He asked other family members for Twins apparel (I opt for ‘47 brand stuff, but whatever comes in time!) this football throwing trainer, and fun stuff to do in the car for our roadtrip! Brainquest flip cards or National Geographic Books are his fave. 5000 Facts // Almanacs // Book of Why

CALLUM – age 8 loves all plushies, action figures, Nerf Guns, basically anything for imaginative play.Small Fry Gift Guides 2019

Cal’s requests are random as usual, but also so affordable. Love him for that! He asked for anything Imaginext (I found a used bag of Imaginext Figures which he specifically asked for on ebay) Squishmallows, Hatch and Grow Dinos, Nerf Blaster Gun (on sale until today!), Plants vs Zombies (another lot I bought on ebay!), Yo Kai Watch + Medals.

RALEIGH – age 3, has stayed firm on the following requests – a red jeep he can drive and dumptrucks.

Easy enough! I know as soon as he sees This ride-on Jeep that’s all he is going to care about! It is still half off from when I bought it! Comes in 4 colors, too! Small Fry Gift Guides 2019

In case he wants other toys to open, Driven by Battat makes my favorite toy vehicles – so lifelike and all working parts, lights, sounds- so we added to that collection with a fire truck and dumptruck and a few smaller sets! Target has them on sale today! Here’s some we have and love:

I hope this helps in your last minute shopping trips!! Merry Christmas!!

easy neighbor gift idea

Several years ago I was given this as a neighbor gift and LOVED it! It is the handiest kitchen tool around and a definite must-have for any family. Especially around the holidays when I am brought an orange to peel every 15 minutes. $1 Neighbor Gift Idea | Orange Peeler Neighbor Gift

Have you seen this tool? It scores the orange and then you flip it around and the little scooper peels up the rind in the nicest full pieces! No juice all over, no pith in your fingernails. My kids can easily peel their own, too! It’s the greatest!$1 Neighbor Gift Idea | Orange Peeler Neighbor GiftThese 6 packs put them at about $.80 each and then you can scale the gift up with as many oranges as you’d like, or what fits in your budget!

Since I was sending this to my own neighbors I figured I’d share the printable here, too!   $1 Neighbor Gift Idea | Orange Peeler Neighbor GiftI can never seem to make the right amount of neighbor gifts and then there’s always a neighbor that you weren’t planning on that brings you something sweet. So having the bowl on hand to make them quick is always handy! Just grab cellophane bags, linen ribbon, the orange peeler tools, a hole punch, and then right click the printable below and you’re set!

$1 Neighbor Gift Idea | Orange Peeler Neighbor Gift

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PRINTABLE!

Orange Peeler Neighbor Gift Printable

hayes’ room update

Sponsored by ABRAMS Books.

We read Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball, the newest book in Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid series, on our road trip for Thanksgiving this past week and suddenly, both Hayes and I were itching for a little room makeover!

Hayes' Room Update | Small Fry In Wrecking Ball, Greg Heffley’s family is given the chance to make some big changes to their house after an unexpected inheritance. But problems start to crop up – rotten wood, toxic mold, unwelcome critters, and something even more sinister – that make the Heffleys wonder if the renovations are worth the trouble. But no matter how many things go wrong and how many times they wanted to give up, the Heffleys kept going and, of course, had lots of laughs along the way. The story of the Heffley’s home renovations sounded so much like what we’ve been going through the last bit that it inspired us both to get to work and get Hayes back into a space he loves!Hayes' Room Update | Small FryI haven’t spoken about this publicly because it’s been a complete disaster and was potentially going to be resolved in court, but we had a flood in our basement caused by a neighboring property a few months ago! (Cue sobs!) The water came in overnight and my boys slept right through it.Hayes' Room Update | Small FryThe Flood Response team estimated over 10,000 gallons of water came into our basement and it traveled all the way to Hayes’ room from the guest room hitting two bathrooms a laundry room, and all 3 boys’ rooms. LUCKILY we have tile so the damage (with the exception of the decimated guest room) was really just to the baseboards, drywall, and a few rugs.Hayes' Room Update | Small FryWhile we waited for things to resolve with the parties involved the boys were basically camping with all their belongings ripped out for repairs. They were such good sports about the whole thing, but now that our insurance has paid out, we can get things back on track. To celebrate we’re doing a little room makeover for each kiddo. Hayes was up first, and he loves his new additions!Hayes' Room Update | Small FryAnother part of the book that inspired me was how Greg loved (hoarded? Ha!) his mementos from years past. He loved to stash them and look at them and that is JUST like Hayes. I haven’t had a good way for him to access those things until the book convinced me to figure it out! He now has a whole section of his dresser devoted to his artwork, pictures, schoolwork, and other fun things he can pull out and look through anytime he wants. Now that his room is to his liking, he is ALL about planning our yard! Trampoline, dirt bike trails, tetherball, basketball court, pool, and lots of apple trees he can snack off of. I love seeing him dream big! Dirt hills are definitely doable right now with our grass-less yard! 😉 Hey at least it’s not a skating rink on the second floor a la Greg, right?Hayes' Room Update | Small Fry

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball is in stores now, so be sure to grab a copy!

New Rug // New Dresser 50% off right now! // Bed // Sidetable // Pennant Flags – Do Your Best + Hike Utah via Letters & Laurels – Stay Gold and Bear Lake via Everbear (they do custom pennants, too!) // National Park Print via FELL// Gold Foil Print via Robert and Stella // Macrame Plant Holder // Stuffed Instruments (old Crate and Kids) // Globes  // Print of Hayes’ first time swimming solo // Custom art piece by Colett Yarro for Hayes // Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series

10 roadtrip essentials!

Today we are heading out for our Thanksgiving road trip to visit my sister! It’s about an 8 hour drive to Reno which will be a good warmup for our big 18 hour trip to Wisconsin next month for Christmas! I am always on the hunt for ways to make road trips more fun (more bearable for me because, real talk, I don’t enjoy them. I GET SO ANTSY! AND also! Unless you’re driving, it’s like a cardio workout grabbing every little thing the kids need. Shotgun = the short straw.)

Anyway, here’s what we’re bringing and BONUS! lots of these items have sweet deals this week! Would love to hear what other musts you guys love before our big trip in December, hit me up.

road trip essentials| SMALL FRY

  1. KIDS KINDLE! This is a new product Amazon just launched and I love that it is pre-stocked with thousands of titles like Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and more! One less thing to do for mom. Regularly $110 — $80 this week + $5 Kindle Credit!
  2. PURO HEADPHONES! I love this brand because they’re made for kids and have built in protection so the volume never gets too loud for their sensitive ears. I make sure every kid has their own pair. Again, one less thing to monitor slash worry about while they’re in the back seat. These are $10 off right now and only $20! Love the monochrome look, they have lots of colors!
  3. BACKPACKS! “EMILY20” for 20% off! I always let the kids pack whatever they want in their backpacks and then leave the actual suitcase/clothing/necessity packing to me. I don’t try to control it I just heavily warn that they should pack whatever they need to not get bored. We love State Bags, they give backpacks to American students in need with every purchase! You can see my favorite picks here and get 20% off with EMILY 20.
  4. ACTIVITY BOOKS! We do specific blocks of time for screens and then screen-free travel so I like to have activity books on hand for them. Here are several we love! — Mad Libs // GO! My Adventure Journal // Brain Quest Flip Books // Rainbow Scratch Paper // Laugh out Loud Jokes for Kids // Kids Awesome Activity Book
  5. SEATBELT PILLOW! Of course we want the kids to be as comfortable as possible and also safe, so this seatbelt pillow does the trick. Entices them to stay properly buckled, is $7 and has great ratings!
  6. COOLER! Love that this isn’t TOO huge, easy to transport with the straps and has the YETI stamp of quality. Packing snacks is a must and keeps us from stopping at inopportune times.
  7. CAR VACUUM! 4000 4 star ratings on this baby and only $30! (Save $4 with their coupon!) Comes with all sorts of attachments all connected to your cigarette lighter. Get all the nooks and crannies and grab spills as they come! The kdis love it, too! Put ’em to work.
  8. GO GIRL! Being pregnant and the only girl in the car means a lot of potential bathroom breaks. I can’t just pee in a bottle like the rest of my crew, but this thing is amazing. It’s just a funnel to help you pee wherever your boys might be able to. I HATE stopping when everyone is content or sleeping and refuse to be the reason a napping child wakes up, or we lose time.
  9. CAR TRASH! Roadtrips do a number on our cars so we do our best to keep things under control. This trash sits over a seat back, holds quite a bit of garbage, liquid too (3 gallons!) Hinged shut to keep the odors at bay and easy to clean!
  10. QUAD SUNGLASS CASE! This *is* my favorite product of the year so its going to be showing up in a lot of posts. A must for any travel but even better when you have lots of family members to keep track of. My kids are old enough to see the value in wearing sunglasses, but they’re not that great at keeping them out of harm’s way, this helps!

Christmas Cards 2019

Sponsored by Minted. Get 15% off holiday cards until 11/19, and a free foil upgrade today valued at $99.

Christmas card season is here!! We went with Minted this year and it was SO hard to choose. They have a HUGE selection of letterpress, metallic foil, photo cards, regular greetings (lots of good options for a company greeting!) and every color scheme under the sun! I love that they bring the attention to detail to ALL the elements of the card with return address labels, stamps, envelope design inside and out!

These grabbed me while I was on the hunt and I’ll share our winner below!!

minted christmas cards 2019

Retro stripes // Roxy Marj Looker – love all these illustrations! // I think this style might be new this year but I love that it doubles as a Christms ornament! Comes with their pretty linen ribbon, too! — Holly Berry Ornament // Foil Ornament // Love the easy graphic appeal of this MERRY card // Also love the retro floral pattern on this one! Bold Floral

Ultimately I can’t ever resist orange anything and this “Joy Scout” card caught my eye big time! I LOVE the matching stamps, too. Tempted to get a year supply to use for all my mail!Small Fry - Christmas Cards 2019

Stamps, pre-addressed envelopes, hand-packaged cards.

Small Fry - Christmas Cards 2019Also get yourself a 9 year old with good attention to detail. Hayes made our card stuffing a breeze this year! Such a good helper! I love the little touches you can add to your card to make it feel even more personalized. Our return address stamp (Minted will do this, too!) and this fun clear confetti tape to seal the envelopes did the trick for me this year. I’ll pop these in the mail after Thanksgiving so I don’t startle the recipients (ha), but man I am relieved to have them all ready to go!

Want to see ALL our cards from years past? 10 years of cards in this post!