#grandstaycation

If you follow us on Instagram – @smallfryblog – you saw that we spent the weekend at our favorite (and only!) 5 Diamond Hotel in Salt Lake City, The Grand America! We have had the pleasure of staying there a few other times and it is our favorite escape to take with our families. Our weekend stay was sponsored by them specifically to review their Poolside Movies and we’re excited to share our review! Luckily there’s still one more next Saturday, August 29th, so you locals still have a chance to go check out this awesome family event!

How magical is this? Curl up in one of their ultra plush lounge chairs, or watch the movie while you float in the pool!
Poolside Movie at The Grand America

Poolside Movie at The Grand AmericaEach week has themed concessions like rainbow lollipops and Emerald City’s cotton candy for the Wizard of Oz. Or interactive toys like furry monster gloves and a goggly eyes headband for Monsters, Inc.

Poolside Movie at The Grand AmericaOur boys had such a blast (and so did we!) snuggling up and snacking the night away. The Grand treats their guests like gold so we shouldn’t have been surprised when they came by once the lights went down with pre-warmed blankets and big fluffy pillows.

Poolside Movie at The Grand America
If you’d like to see, here are a few more snaps from our awesome Staycation! We spent a lot of time at their gorgeous pools (indoor and out!) eating from their amazing menus and doing our best to just relax (it wasn’t hard!)

#grandstaycation

Spending a good hour at Jou Jou – which is a toy store slash museum. It has the most incredible little displays and interactive vignettes throughout. Our favorites are the light-up, musical candy organ (below) #grandstaycationthe cheeky talking Robot, and the monster family photo wall that comes to life! The store is filled with things to delight the senses and unique toys and gifts.

#grandstaycationFor those who’ve asked the Grand America Hotel is not only an incredible experience for adults but kids as well. Here’s a glimpse at all they offer for a family stay. Their #grandstaycation hash tag online is so fun to look at. So many families enjoying their Summer with a stay at the Grand!

Don’t miss their last Poolside Movie of the Summer this weekend!

Fryday: Jenna

Happy FRYday to you all!!! I’m using an excessive amount of exclamation points because today marks the end of 7 weeks of my husband being gone for work. Let’s just say the last six months (okay fine: year) didn’t go as planned and we’ve spent A LOT of time apart due to his job. We’ve said uncle and are going through a lot of changes and adjustments to make it so our family can be together again. I’m REALLY excited for this new chapter!

fryday

In the last year I’ve calculated that I’ve spent about 5 months single parenting. With sometimes 5-7 week stretches. Now it goes without saying, but let’s just say it loud and clear that I’m really glad that I have more time with a spouse to help then I do without it. For sure. All this time on my own has taught me a lot of things, but perhaps what it’s taught me the most is that single mothers walk on water. You are truly the most selfless, brave, courageous, beautiful and inspiring lot their is. I want to be your best friend forever because you have A LOT you could teach me about how to pull it together.

But in my relatively small time doing it on my own here’s a list of lessons I acquired that I’ll take with me everywhere, alone or not:

10. Toast and eggs are a food group. When worse comes to worse, kids, at least mine, will always eat it. Sometimes twice a day and I’m okay with that. Technically eggs can be cooked a thousand different ways too, so basically they’re getting all sorts of variety!

9. Baby Wise can go to hell. Look I don’t mean to be rude because I was a Baby Wise (or any parenting book) religious follower before all of this. But then I had my second baby who doesn’t follow the rules… any of them. And after a month of trying to fit his little round personality in to the square hole of a structured bed time routine, I realized he just wants to snuggle for five minutes to fall asleep. And I’m okay with that. Boy I feel like an idiot for the two hour nightly battles just to get him to fall asleep on his own because someone on Facebook said that’s the right thing to do.

8. You will lose your mind and occasionally be unable to find it. You’ll look for it everywhere, in a nap, in a doughnut, in taking your anger out on someone at the post office, but even then you won’t find it. Your sanity’s lost for a minute. It will come back. It always comes back. But until then don’t make any sudden moves.

7. You are stronger than you think you are, and then some. Seriously I pretty much think I’m the cat’s pajamas. Not because I’m the skinniest, smartest, prettiest or any of those ridiculous things I surely am not. But because I freaking do this job day in and day out, and MOST of the time I do it happily. My kids are bathed, fed and somewhat normal. And guess what? At the end of the day I pat myself on the back because I did it all myself.

6. There is power in online shopping and a pedicure. Don’t underestimate what $35 and a hot stone pedicure will do for your soul. One hour alone and freshly painted toes or a new shirt are basically like winning the lottery. Treat yourself.

5. A park date with a blanket, friend and a diet coke are like therapy without the fee. It’s as relaxing as it sounds. Plus your kids will play with each other and think you’re the best mom ever cause you went to the park. Win, win.

4. Your kids love you. I repeat, your kids love you. They will do EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER to convince you they don’t. And sometime they’ll down right TELL you they don’t love you. Take a deep breath and don’t believe them. It isn’t true, it’s the farthest thing FROM true. They love you more than any other soul ever will, they’re just REALLY pissed you didn’t buy them a sucker. It will blow over I promise.

3. You’re the boss. And that’s awesome! While it feels overwhelming at times to be the only person in charge, there is freedom in dictating your day. Go to Target twice! Get a sitter for longer than you can afford! Let the kids watch too much TV some days! I don’t judge and no one else will either.

2. You’ll need a body pillow. A friend once told me jokingly that her body pillow got her through her divorce… but then i got a body pillow (I recommend the Bump Nest) and I realized she probably wasn’t kidding. Good sleep is key and if you like to be snuggled, this is the next best thing to a human. Plus it will never ask more of you then to spoon.

1. You’re not alone. Even when it feels like you are quite literally the only person left on planet Earth. Whether it’s God, your family, friends or carbs that are your comfort, cling to them. For me it’s all of the above that gets me through the really tough days and celebrates triumph with me on the wonderful ones. Feeling lonely has been for me the number one enemy. Doubt creeps in when night falls and you begin to believe the negative thoughts you’re telling yourself. That’s when I stop, drop and pray. But if that doesn’t work, call a friend! They’ll remind you you’re not in this alone. Even if it’s just a sliver of emotional support they can lend, it might just be enough to get up and conquer the next day. And the really good ones will bring over cookie dough and Sabrina and forgive you when you are snoring within the first 10 minutes. We really are all in this together, no matter what your circumstance.

xo,
Jenna

Kiwi Crate

This post is brought to you by Kiwi Crate! Save 25% off your first month using “SF25.”

We have found that even with closets full of craft supplies (a sure sign of running a kid’s blog!) we rarely pull out supplies just for the sake of crafting with our kids. Without a specific craft in mind, getting it all out to make a huge mess without a plan is usually a recipe for hours of clean-up. We have come to really value and love the art of a curated activity. Where you have everything you need and nothing you don’t at your fingertips! Where the steps are clear and the end result is tried and tested. How many times have we made a Pinterest craft only to curse it later because it doesn’t really work. (There’s a whole blog devoted to Pinterest Fails if that answers your question!)

With all that said we are long time fans of Kiwi Crate and are excited to share another craft box with you today! How cute is this Farm?! Here’s how Kiwi Crate will send it to you:

Kiwi Crate Monthly Crafts Delivered!First, open with anticipation:

Kiwi Crate Monthly Crafts Delivered!

Then watch as they take you on a step by step adventure with little pouches and containers for each supply and step:

Kiwi Crate Monthly Crafts Delivered!

 

First, build your farm’s garden, don’t forget to plant the seeds! Over time with water, sunshine, and tender loving care, you’ll see those seeds sprout! Kiwi Crate Monthly Crafts Delivered!What is a farm without some animals? With perfectly cut pieces of felt and accessories whipping these finger puppets up is a breeze!

 

Kiwi Crate Monthly Crafts Delivered!

The best part is that even though your farm is finished, you still have hours of play time ahead of you with the puppets and taking care of their little garden.

Kiwi Crate Monthly Crafts Delivered!

 

Head to Kiwi Crate to try out their monthly subscription service! They’re offering 25% off your first month by entering SF25 at check-out!

Lego Art

Our boys are now in the Lego phase of life, and those bright fun little blocks have inspired a few projects as of late. Starting with this Initial Art! It’s the perfect at home art project that packs a lot of punch for their bedside table, or gallery wall in their rooms. Here’s how you can make one in a matter of minutes!

Lego Initial ArtAll you need is your favorite color palette of legos (this one  is a great starter set!), a shadow-box style frame (or you can also remove the glass off of a regular frame, too!) and a hot glue gun.Lego Initial Art

Next, all you have to do is arrange the legos into the design of your choice. Initials, numbers, whatever suits your kiddo! Then hot glue them to each other creating the shape free from the frame’s mat. Once it’s all dry, flip it over and glue the outer edges of the letter and place it right onto the frame’s mat! Put the border down first, then the back mat and you’re all set!
Lego Initial Art

Are your kids into Legos? We’ve seen some amazing Lego inspired rooms, parties and more! Check them all out on our Pinterest page. Also if you want to personalize more than just some art, check out this Helvetica Tee DIY!

Sweet Victory


Has it really been six weeks? We’ve learned so much working with Made to Matter, Handpicked by Target products and tackled some gaps in our quest for feeding our family in a healthy way. For our last day of the challenge, we got together (ALL of us, in person! Yay for Jenna being back in town!) to chat about our successes and reward ourselves for a job well done. We’ve each shared our thoughts and also, we whipped up a few healthy smoothies for the occasion, so read on for the recipes!

NICOLE:

6 Week Challenge Recap | Made to Matter
“Last night at about 10:00 p.m., I had just gotten my kids bathed and in bed. The whole day felt like a tornado. Most days do. But, as I sit here thinking about the events of the day I can pat myself on for doing one thing right, feeding my kids three wholesome meals. Alright, maybe two wholesome ones, a mediocre one, and a whole lot of healthy snacks. Our snacking will never die.

These new quick and healthy breakfast options that we have introduced have really jump-started our goal of eating more meals at home, and less in the car. You know what else? My car has stayed cleaner, too.”

JENNA:

3 Smoothie Recipes | Made to Matter

“It’s been really fun working with Target these last few weeks! I love food and any chance I have to eat it, share it, learn about it is really exciting for me. I’ve found myself learning that frozen food isn’t ALL bad and there really are brands dedicated to having good and healthy food that is also easy to make! That’s been crucial to me as I’ve found my summer life is more on-the-go than I anticipated! With the help of Made to Matter, Handpicked by Target I’ve had healthy snacks on hand to combat ravenous post-swimming hunger and late night firework watching. I’ve spent way less time pouring over intense meals and more time feeding my kids quick andwhole foods so we can run out the door for more summer fun!”

EMILY:

3 Smoothie Recipes | Made to Matter

“For me, this challenge has been all about trading in my easy unhealthy snacks for healthier options. Having things right there in my bag versus opting for a drive-thru has not only saved me money, but I have seen the benefits in my kids and my mood and energy. Some of the organic options are more expensive than what I was used to paying, but when I factored in how much I spent on food in restaurants I was actually saving money! On top of that, I’ve recently discovered the Cartwheel app for Target so I’m saving money on a lot these things with that, too!”

And now for our tasty healthy smoothies!

3 Smoothies | Made to Matter

Green Smoothie:

2 cups of Simply Balanced Organic Mixed Tropical Blend Frozen Fruit

2 cups of Vitacoco Coconut Water - pineapple flavored

1 cup of spinach

Blend and add ice or yogurt for a slushie or more smooth consistency, respectively, and honey to taste.
3 Smoothie Recipes | Made to Matter

Triple Berry Smoothie:

1 cup Simply Balanced Organic Frozen Strawberries

1 cup Simply Balanced Organic Triple Berry Frozen Fruit

2 cups of Vitacoco Pure Coconut Water – Orange Flavored

Blend and add ice for a slushie or yogurt for a smooth consistency. Add honey for sweetness if needed.
Screen shot 2014-07-08 at 1.51.50 PM7-8-14

Tropical Smoothie:

1 cup of Simply Balanced Tropical Blend Frozen Fruit

1/2 cup of fresh mango

2 cups of Vitacoco Coconut Water – orange or mango flavored

3 Smoothie Recipes | Made to Matter

Also we ate this whole box. So good!

6 Week Challenge Recap | Made to Matter

This post is sponsored by TargetThe Made To Matter line has been handpicked by Target to bring you brands that make things better for your you, your family, and the place we all call home.