A Wife and Mom Goes Camping

This wife and mom has taken to the outdoors! We decided to buy an RV so we can take our everyday adventures outside! Well, that wasn’t really the gung-ho attitude I had from the beginning, but it’s getting there. I was skeptical about the whole thing and completely aware of the extra work and expenses that come along with an RV, but the mister was pretty excited about it so here we are. The memories we’ll make will outweigh the extra work, headaches, and hassles. It will. It will. Keep saying it over and over, Lauren!

For our first adventure, we left the boys with Grandma and Grandpa and set off just the two of us. We wanted to make sure that everything would run smoothly before we had our little guys with us. For the most part, everything went perfectly! Seriously. I was surprised at how easy everything was and how comfortable our little home on wheels felt right away. Do you even fully understand how much different camping is when you have your own toilet and bed? There was really no “roughing it” involved. We even baked chocolate chip cookies each night in our oven. Nothing makes you feel at home, like fresh baked cookies! The cooking of meals was easy too. Although, I do not recommend buying a can opener at the dollar store. I didn’t know metal could just bend like that. It was completely useless. It’s a good thing my husband is always prepared, because let’s be honest, most of the delicious camping meals I make use ingredients out of cans. He’s a lifesaver.

So the whole trip was a little bit like a second honeymoon. We just did whatever we wanted to do all day long. We relaxed, we went on hikes, we watched movies, I brought my sewing machine and got my crafty on, I read a book, Josh played with tools, and built campfires. We had a great time. We’re already planning our next adventure so we can take the boys. Boys and camping go together like me and not having to rough it!

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Check out this crazy skeleton we found!

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Any camping/RV tips you want to share? Let me hear ’em!

The Splash Pad: This Mom’s Best Friend

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We love the splash pad. Like LOVE it. I’m not sure if everywhere has jumped on this trend, but here in the greater Phoenix area, they’re everywhere and it’s down right terrific.

There are so many good things about splash pads.

First of all, they’re free. Located in parks, malls, the zoo, and neighborhoods, they are easy to find and don’t cost you anything to get in just to have your toddler run around and stay cool!

Second, they’re free! Just kidding, but it’s a pretty good selling point.

Second, (I feel) they’re pretty safe. The only thing you really have to worry about is your child, who is running full speed through spraying water with their eyes closed, running into another child doing the same thing. For the most part, they can’t really drown, there’s not usually anything to climb up on to fall off of, and I’ve always seen them kept clean.

Third, going to the splash pad completely counts as that day’s bath. Judge if you choose, but it counts.

Fourth, it’s great exercise for kiddos! My little guy can run around like crazy and he doesn’t come home sweaty and smelly. Win!

Also, splash pads get extra bonus points from me if they have shade where the parents can sit, and even more points if it’s all shade so I don’t have to worry about remembering to put sunscreen on my kids.

It’s not even summer yet and we’ve already been enjoying Arizona splash pads! Text some friends with kids, pack some snacks, meet at the splash pad, and have fun while you try to beat the heat! And if you really don’t have good splash pads where you live, maybe it’s time to come visit us in AZ!

Check out this link for a great list of splash pads in Phoenix: Phoenix Splash Pads

An Easy Game To Play With Your Toddler

WAM toddler game

In between playing with cars, trucks, planes, helicopters, 6 different firetrucks, and a variety of bouncy balls in varying sizes, I try to squeeze in a game that makes my little guy really think! I love his imagination games and I encourage him to be (most of the time) loud and all over the place, but I also love it when he sits, focuses, and learns new things. Today we played a seek-and-find type of game that requires no prep, no materials, and pretty much no effort! Sounds good right?

While sitting in our living room, I started to ask him to find different types of things around the room. Here’s some of the questions I asked…

Can you find something purple?
Can you find something soft?
Can you find something tall?
Can you find something hard?
Can you find something that’s a circle?
Can you find something skinny?
Can you find something tiny?
Can you find something really big?
Can you find something bumpy?
Can you find something that is really smooth?

You get the idea. You can use any colors or shapes, but I really enjoyed including words that may have been a little less known to him. It allowed us to have some great conversations and do some compare/contrast with opposites. The bumpy/smooth and tiny/really big were fun and I could keep asking him to find something even tinier than what he previously found! We had a great time and it took pretty much zero effort on my part!

Just think about how much fun this game would be in different rooms or places! The garage, backyard, in the car, at the grocery store, at a restaurant! And if your children are a little older, teach them how to play it together in more of an “I Spy” fashion and you just might get to sneak out of the room and go pee with no one looking for you!

Share one of your favorite quick games you like to play with your kiddos! I’d love to hear them!

Local Food and Drink Favorites

If you’re local in Arizona, here’s a list for you!  I’ve compiled our favorite local restaurants, old and new, and why we love them.

If you’re not local, I challenge you to compile and share a list of your favorite food and drink spots in  your area!

Budgeting can be difficult when there’s so much good food around! Here they are in no particular order…

af8a39668d7e24ecae40b58a3525aeda1. Mangos– Mangos is located in downtown Mesa on Main Street. It’s right next to Milano’s Music store. I’ve been going there for almost 15 years now and I love it every time. When Josh and I first started dating, I brought him there and it instantly became one of his favorites too. They have the BEST salsa and chips which they bring to your table right after you order. (Any Mexican restaurant that doesn’t give free chips and salsa makes me sad. It’s only the best part.) Back in my meat eating days the shredded chicken tacos were so delicious, and you can never go wrong with a plain old bean and cheese burrito wrapped in a soft flour tortilla. From the Killer Burrito to the fish tacos, you shouldn’t be disappointed!

 

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2. So Cal Fish Tacos– Do you see a theme? Mexican food? We can’t help it. Arizona has Mexican food like nowhere else.  We probably have some sort of burritos, tacos, or quesadillas at least half of the nights in a week. Our quesadilla maker hardly leaves our counter top. But back to So Cal…located in downtown Gilbert, So Cal has not only great food, but the best atmosphere. A laid back, calming, Southern California surf themed restaurant that makes you feel like you’re a mile from the beach, not in the middle of the desert. They even have a great patio in the back. We liked the feel of the restaurant so much, its what we based M’s room on when we moved into our new house. If you go, you have to try the Mexicali Shrimp Cocktail. Tomatoes, onion, cucumber, jalapeño with delicious shrimp served with tortilla chips. Mmmmm.

 

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3. Postino– Postino is a wine cafe and has more than one location. We go to the one in downtown Gilbert, just steps away from So Cal.  Postino is famous for their bruschetta boards. You get to pick four different types of bruschetta and they make up your board. It is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. My favorites are the warm artichoke, white bean hummus, traditional tomato, basil, and mozzarella, ricotta with pistachios and dates, and the brie with apples and fig. I’ve also heard good things about the one with salami and the prosciutto one too. Josh was hesitant the first time we went thinking it was going to be food that he wouldn’t care for based on what I had told him. He ended up loving it and now we spend quite a few date nights there. Just thinking about it makes me want to get in the car and drive there right now. But the sleeping baby and toddler with no pants on tells me otherwise.

 

EhsxLQrS4. The Soda Shop– This one is brand new and has become an instant crowd pleaser. The Soda Shop is located in Milbert (the border of Mesa and Gilbert) at Greenfield and Baseline. It’s in the same plaza as the new Fat Cats amusement center. They have all sorts of sodas, flavors, fruit purees, etc. that are mixed into the most wonderful creations. The last one I got was the Life’s a Peach- I think it had Dr. Pepper, mango, peach, and half and half. And you can make your own! They also sell heavenly cookies which I hear are from the Sweet Tooth Fairy Bake Shop, also located in the same plaza. Such a great place to go for a date, after school treat, or just whenever! Oh, and they also have a drive thru which makes me love them a hundred times more because no one has to get out of their car seats! Yessssss!

 

6. Burgerfi5. Burger-Fi– First of all, you can order their fries in a size called a bucket or whatever they call it and you can order them either limp (soft) or crispy, and you can get them with cheese. They also offer other toppings for fries like salt & vinegar, parmesan & herb, cajun, and chili. The fries are all I really need, but since their veggie burger (made with vegetables and quinoa) is amazing, of course, I get that too. Burger-Fi has become one of my favorite places over the last year or so. The first time I went I thought, “Yeah, it was good.” The next time I thought, “Wow, that was even better than last time.” and by the third and fourth times, I was so looking forward to it and it just kept getting better. Their “Fi-sauce” is full of flavor and is one of the best parts. I even get extra on the side to dunk my cheese fries in. They also have hot dogs and dreamy custard shakes and treats. There’s 75 locations, but only one in Arizona located in Mesa on Val Vista right across from Dana Park.

 

0906407c-8659-4eb2-89d8-c17507cb3a92.jpg6. Salsa Cabana– Again, Mexican food. Sorry, not sorry. Salsa Cabana is one of those small, hidden gems with the BEST burritos. They are well priced and portions are huge. I’ve never heard anything other than great reviews about their food and some of our favorites are their breakfast burritos, the Burrito Mexicano, the fish tacos, and the taco salad. My favorite is the Burrito Mexicano. You can call in your order and pick it up right on your way home. Or even if it’s not on your way home like me, you just go get it anyway. Located on Greenfield and Brown.

There you have a few of our favorite places to eat. Have you tried any of them before? What’s your favorite things to order?

If you’ve never been to these places, maybe it’s time you try something new! Let me know how you love them!

Mangos photo from mangosmexicancafe.com

So Cal photo from @dished_out on instagram

Postino photo from East Valley Tribune

Salsa Cabana photo from ezlocal.com

Modern Wrap- Nursing Cover

 

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You guys. I am so in love with my new nursing cover and have to tell you about it.

Let’s go back to a little over a month ago…we were at the bowling alley using our POGO PASSes to bowl our free game for the week (if you’re interested in the POGO PASS and want more info on how to get yours for 60% off, you can read that post here) and I saw a woman with an amazingly simple, yet perfectly designed, nursing cover. I asked her where she had gotten it and she told me Modern Wrap.

I knew I was hooked and I hadn’t even looked at their site yet!

I headed to the Modern Wrap site and saw that each nursing cover was $58. That’s a pretty good chunk of change. Since we’re a one income family and I am trying really hard to live on a budget, I was trying to be strong and not make any frivolous purchases. But…I have very little willpower and I just couldn’t stop thinking about how much I needed that nursing cover! I rationalized with important points such as “I’ve still got months and months left of breastfeeding, I should get it now before too much time passes!” and “It doubles as a carseat cover too, so it’s really double duty!” Both are true and so I ordered one.

It shipped quickly and on the very day I got my shipping confirmation, they posted on their Instagram that you could get 40% off your order by reposting. WHAT!? I felt like I was being punished for making an unnecessary purchase. Here’s the best part…I commented on their Instagram that my order just shipped and I couldn’t believe I missed the sale by such a small amount of time. They immediately replied and told me to email them and they would  see what they could do.

After emailing them and letting them know my situation, they happily took the 40% off my order, refunded me the difference, and I have a nursing cover that I absolutely love.

This company is wonderful and I could tell they care about their customers. They didn’t have to honor the sale for me, but they did. They wanted me to be happy so I’m spreading the word!

Now, let’s talk about the cover! It’s so soft and light weight. My little man doesn’t get too hot and sweaty underneath it and I’m not dying having to wear it in the Arizona heat. It’s stylish and keeps every part of me completely covered. And don’t forget, it’s also a cover for your carseat to keep away the sun, wind, or sweet old people from touching your baby! Modern Wrap also has other items such as baby wrap carriers and swaddle wraps. Check them out. If you make a purchase, I know you’ll love your items just as much as I love mine!

Take a look around their site: modernwrap.com

Let me know if you buy anything!

 

Pogo Pass

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Have you heard of Pogo Pass? It’s awesome. Pogo Pass is a membership that provides you 12 months of access to the best entertainment venues in Phoenix . Whether you’re a parent with one kid or five, single, married, dating, or just anyone who likes to go out and have fun, the Pogo Pass is something to check out. One pass, one price, 17 different venues! That’s right, SEVENTEEN! And many allow multiple uses. We’ve purchased Pogo Passes for the past couple of years and even though we don’t use everything, it pays for itself after just a few uses. Here’s the details…

For one price per person, you get your Pogo Pass which is valid for one full year. The regular price of the Pogo Pass is $99.95. Think that’s too much? Me too! That’s why you can now enter promo code AWIFEANDMOM to get each pass for only $39.98!

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There’s great venues for families with children such as Makutu’s Island, Enchanted Island, Skateland, Castles and Coasters, Sunspash, IDEA Museum, Phoenix Zoo, Fat Cats, Pump It Up, and Stratum Laser Tag.

There’s also great venues for date nights such as AZ Rattlers games, ASU sports events, Phoenix National Comedy Theater, Paintball, and the Phoenix Rock Gym.

The new Fat Cats in Mesa gives you ONE FREE GAME OF BOWLING PER WEEK with your pass!

One trip to the IDEA Museum costs $8 per person. A family of four will almost pay for one entire Pogo Pass, AND you still get all the other venues.

The hilarious IMPROV shows at the Phoenix National Comedy Theater cost $14 per show. With the Pogo Pass you get TWO FREE shows. Again, that almost pays for your pass and that’s just one venue!

The savings with the Pogo Pass are so worth it. Maybe you want to be able to have family fun on a budget. Maybe you just like doing new things. Either way, this is a great deal.

Visit pogopass.com to purchase your passes or read more about the venues.

*If you had Pogo Passes in the past but they’ve expired, you can delete the old passes from your account and then add them again to use the new promo code AWIFEANDMOM!

Go get your passes and then tell me all about how much fun you’re having while using it! And don’t forget to tell your friends so you can all go out and have fun together!