Santa Monica Pier

We're still recovering from our travels to Los Angeles with two small children, but we had a blast and can't wait to go back (maybe without the kids or when they are a little older). Traveling on a plane with little ladies who are not fond of sitting still is rough, y'all!

Traveling to a different timezone is rough too. Jet lag + long car drives (hello! LA traffic) meant my girls took many naps in the car. Completely acceptable when it gives momma a chance to relax in the parking lot while the little ones sleep.

This trip was all about the wedding (my sister-in-law got married to a great man that my oldest daughter just adores), but we still had plenty of time to explore the city and eat lots of great food. Seriously, LA has some super delicious restaurants. You might have to search for the good ones (I think there are more restaurants than there are people), but Esther from Adventures with Esther & Jacob has a fantastic list to start you out.

Esther's list definitely came in handy and one of the restaurants we dined in was unexpectedly featured in Food Network Magazine this month. We're so on trend. Lol.

Before stuffing our bellies with that trendy restaurant, we drove to the beach… which I could have lived without. This was our second time to the Santa Monica pier. The first time was a couple years ago, in the fall. The summer season brought lots of tourist, as expected, but also lots of trash on the beach. I was not a fan.

Neither was little bit. Ellington, on the other hand, had a blast. We only coaxed her to leave the beach by offering up a trip to the amusement park on the pier. She had a blast riding rides as well. As we stood in line for the ferris wheel, I had a brief second where I thought we just might be crazy for taking our 1 year old and 3 year old on a rusty old ferris wheel. Once we all jumped in an saw the amazing views, I knew it was worth it. Winsley didn't really appreciate the awesomeness (we later discovered that she had been sick the entire weekend… oops), but Ellington requested 5 more rides on the ferris wheel. She is definitely my little adventure seeker.

You were good to us, LA. We will surely be back to enjoy all that Los Angeles has to offer and continue eating our way through California. Any suggestions for food or fun around LA are welcomed and encouraged!

A Trip to the Strawberry Patch

Last week we had a little fun picking strawberries and even more fun filling our bellies. Our trip was not without toddler tantrums and strawberry stained clothes, but we still left happy with lots of strawberries.

Winsley ate half her weight in strawberries right there in the field. That's the

real

 reason to pick your own strawberries, right?

We ended up with a few bruised strawberries and I will definitely go earlier in the season next time to get the best of the batch (This is the last week for strawberry picking in our area).

It is truly a joy to share this experience with my little ladies and I am so happy that we live so close to so many farms. We even discovered that this very farm (

Page Farms

) will be growing blackberries soon.

My tummy is already growling with anticipation.

What grows in abundance where you live? I am so eager to check out other farms in our area after discovering that blueberry season starts next month!

A Stay-At-Home Mom's Weekend Survival Kit

Did you have a long and relaxing holiday Memorial Day weekend? Maybe you are a stay at home mom like me and rejoiced in the fact that you would have an extra hand around to wrangle the little monsters children.

Unfortunately, I did not have that luxury. My dear husband ditched us and flew off to California for the weekend.

Okay. So, maybe he had my approval and maybe I pushed him out the door after the hundredth time he asked "Are you sure it's okay?". I mean, this is what I do for a living. I raise our girls. I'm with them 24/7, so I think I can handle one weekend without the extra hand.

Only, I was kind of dreading it. That week had been particularly hard with both kiddos waking up in the middle of the night and a toddler acting like she was, in fact, a toddler (you know what I mean moms). I really just wanted a weekend to sleep in and trust that my husband would care for the girls.

Turns out, my husband was feeling a little guilty about the weekend too and snuck around to plan an incredibly sweet survival kit for the weekend. Little does he know that I am now expecting this sweetness every time he leaves on a trip without us.
Everything was spot on with what we needed for the weekend. It actually kind of felt like we were on a mini-vacation and led to a much more relaxing weekend than I had anticipated. Preplanned meals are always a plus, especially if I don't have to plan and shop for the ingredients.

If you are leaving your spouse for the weekend, I highly suggest you take my husband's idea and leave a survival kit! Super easy to recreate and customize. Plus, you just might win spouse of the year for this thoughtful gift.
Weekend Survival Kit for the stay-at-home parent | gift for spouse
1. A Pre-planned meal with all of the ingredients ready to go. Sometimes it's just easier to function when you don't have to think about what's for dinner, especially when you are battling toddler tantrums and baby sleep regression. Just one pre-planned will make all of the chaos of the day seem like nothing. It's the little things that get you through the weekend.

2. Gift Cards. A few gift cards will make going out to eat feel more like a little treat for your spouse and the kids. Add a gift card just for mom (or dad) and you'll rack up major points. My husband got me a Lowes gift card because he knows how much I covet new power tools more than a new pair of jeans. Although, a Target gift card would have been fab too (for all you guys without a Lowes lover in your life).

3. Snacks. I'm not even a little embarrassed to admit that my kids had one meal that consisted solely of snacks. It was the weekend and sometimes you just have to throw all of the healthy meal rules out the window.

4. Bubbly. Not a necessity, but surely appreciated, a little adult beverage to help your spouse relax after a day spent entertaining your little ones.

Super easy and it doesn't even have to cost tons of money either.