DNR Outdoor Adventure Center

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Being outside is probably Ari’s favorite thing in the world. He is a typical boy and just loves getting his hands dirty. It’s always hard to keep him from going stir crazy during the cold winter months. We thought Spring was finally here in MI, but the weather seemed to have other plans.  Last week I took a few days off work to spend time with my sister in law and we planned some activities with the kids.

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{ Ari’s zip up is from Old Navy, jeans are Target, and shoes are Children’s Place | Giada’s pants are Matilda Jane, top is Old Navy, jean jacket is Target, and Bow is from Bow Kay | My ripped jeans are American Eagle High Rise jeggings and I will never wear another brand of jeans after getting these! }

The weather was dreary and instead of staying inside we visited the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center in downtown Detroit. I’m always looking for an excuse to head downtown so this was the perfect opportunity!

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As you can see it was extra dreary out so we were anxious to get in and burn off some energy!

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The DNR Outdoor Adventure Center is located at 1801 Atwater and it’s right along the riverfront. If we were to return when the weather was a little nicer I would definitely pack a picnic lunch to enjoy outside!

When we first got inside the babes ran straight to the giant tree house. It is a tree fort with a slide and a ladder to climb to the second floor. I liked that there was an employee standing near the second floor exit of the treehouse in case a parent didn’t follow right away.

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The activity center is in an old warehouse and features 3 floors of activities and hands on exhibits for kids of all ages. At 2.5 and 4.5 the babes were engaged the entire time! It was definitely age appropriate for them!

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All of the activities were related to the outdoors. From a fishing simulator to kayaking to snow mobile driving to crossing a stream of water. There was so much for them to touch and do. IMG_9133IMG_9144IMG_9170

I think they liked the helicopter the best! They took turns being the pilot and they loved touching all the buttons!

 

I’ve taken the kids to several activity centers and nothing really kept their attention as much as the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center did. We were there for almost 2 hours and I had to bribe the babes to leave!

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If you are looking for an excuse to get out of the house and down to Detroit, I definitely recommend checking it out! Prices are super reasonable as well!

OAC Prices

Adults (age 13-61) $5
Seniors (age 62 and older) $3
Children (ages 2-12) $3
Children under age 2 Free
Annual family membership $50

 

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Celebrating Valentine’s with kids

 

Happy Valentine’s Day! I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather celebrate with this weekend than these 3! Hubs and I kept things low-key and had a relaxing weekend at home with the babes. Mamma got in some meal prep and we all watched a movie together!

First let’s talk about their getups!

A Spool Full of Sugar made this gorgeous dress for Giada. It was absolute perfection and Darling Delilah outdid herself by creating a matching headband to complete the look. I am anxiously awaiting another ensemble made by them for Easter!!

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Ari wore a simple “heart breaker” tee from Old Navy on top of a button down with his favorite skinny jeans chosen for him by Sprouting Threads!

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On Saturday we did some shopping at Partridge Creek. It was so cold out so the babes didn’t last very long walking.

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We decided to grab a quick drink at Black Finn and let the kids get soft pretzels while they warmed up. Dad life at it’s finest. Sipping a cocktail while facilitating restaurant coloring.

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When the babes woke up Sunday morning I surprised them with new aprons. I didn’t want to get them more candy  so I tried to think outside the box. They always like to help me cook (and I like keeping their clothes clean)! Seemed like the perfect gift for them!

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Ari’s apron is Star Wars from Kohl’s and I got my hubs a matching one too! Giada’s apron is Matilda Jane.

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They loved them! Then while I was making breakfast I let them go to town decorating cinnamon rolls!

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They turned out perfect!

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Holiday Happenings {Metro Detroit}

Tis the season, right?

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We have been on the go the entire month of December and have experienced some pretty cool activities in and around Metro Detroit!

Bronner’s

We headed to Bronner’s Thanksgiving weekend and the babes each picked out their own ornament. Hubs and I have started an ornament collection for each of them since they have been born. Bronner’s is the LARGEST Christmas store in the world! People come from all over to experience all the different ornaments they have to offer!

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Frankenmuth

AKA Michigan’s Little Bavarian. The town is absolutely adorable to walk around during the holidays! We met Mike’s family there and enjoyed a family style dinner at the Bavarian Inn!

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Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad

An old village decorated to a tee with a real working train. We got train tickets for once it was dark out and enjoyed all the lights while singing Christmas carols aboard the train!

 

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Edsel & Eleanor Ford House

The grounds were lit up and we lucked out that the weather was so mild! They passed out hot cocoa and cookies and there was a bon fire to enjoy too!

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Somerset Santa

By far the most magical experience around! The staff is super friendly and doesn’t rush you along at all!  You can bring your own camera and take as many pictures as you’d like! After taking pictures each child gets 3 coins they can redeem throughout the mall!

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…we always make sure to get a selfie with Santa too!

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What did we miss? The Rochester Lights are always on our list but we only saw them from the car this year! Any other must have spots to visit during the holidays?

 

 

 

It’s a Wonderful Life

Tis the Season to take a step back and reflect on how lucky I am. I have an amazing family, a solid career, and some pretty amazing friends. I thought it was fitting that for our Christmas card this year I chose the phrase

“It’s a Wonderful Life”

This year we had a mini photo session with Luna Signature to get some pictures for our Christmas card. We met with Aleksandra on a Sunday in October and LUCKED out. The weather was gorgeous and the babes were so cooperative! *Mental note to self, 4pm is the ideal time for them!

When I’m planning our outfits I always start with Giada! I had this Matilda Jane Platinum top that I knew I wanted to use. The colors were not traditional Christmas colors, but I thought it could work by adding some red accents!

I love mixing patterns and textures when I’m dressing our family for photos and using a variety of colors!

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What do you think?! I think the colors turned out great and Aleksandra did an amazing job of capturing our little fam!

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For the actual cards themselves I tried a new company and went with Mix Book. I ordered them on a Thursday, chose standard shipping, and they arrived the following Monday. I was SUPER impressed with that turn around time.

Here they are!

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Check out our previous cards!

2014

Friday Favorites: November Edition

I’ve been slacking on posting my Friday Favorites so today I’m sharing ALLLLLL my favorites from November. I’m linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals!

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The first day of November started with one of my favorite things; clearance shopping the day after a holiday! I got Giada a ton of clearanced Halloween costumes that I plan to give her for Christmas as a dress-up trunk!

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Her and I got some use out of our matching Matilda Jane! I love that they make coordinating patterns for toddlers, big girls, and even tweens!

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I think the weather this November has been my favorite ever because it is so unexpected! We’ve seen sunshine and 70 degrees which is very uncommon in Michigan. The babes have been soaking up every last second of it because I know the white stuff is coming soon!

Getting gifts in the mail from your Aunt?! For sure a favorite of Giada’s! This sleeping bag and pillowcase from Land Of Nod is SO Giada and she loves watching Sofia from this cozy thing! I want one in my size please!

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Over the summer Mike and I traveled to California kid free. The entire trip was amazing and we spent an entire day in Napa touring different wineries. Our favorite one by far was Raymond Vineyards. We  loved it so much we joined a wine club! We get a hand-selected box of wine 4 times a year and we just got our newest shipment.  Hello wine night to us!!

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Throughout high school and college I always kept a paper planner. It was my go-to for keeping myself organized and (probably due to technology) I strayed away from keeping a paper planner.  Recently I decided I needed a new one and ordered this one from Plum Paper. It was everything I was looking for and more! Adding all the fun stickers is my favorite part!!!

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I’ve been committed to planning more nights out for hubs and I  I recently and chose Downtown Detroit for our latest adventure. Let me tell you this was just what we needed!  The city is making a comeback and the nightlife is perfect for any age. We met up with some friends, drank some swanky cocktails, and soaked up all that Detroit has to offer. The lights…the views.. the company… it was one of my favorite nights out.

A new photographer to the area contacted me to do a styled photo shoot of Giada. Eunice from Minty Snaps wanted to build her portfolio and I happily obliged.  She has twin boys of her own so she needed a little girl model. We met in downtown Birmingham on a very chilly (but sunny) Sunday.  I’m sure anyone who has dealt with a 2 year old knows they don’t just cooperate the first time you ask them to do something! So you can just imagine the amount of sugar, hot chocolate, and begging & pleading we had going on that day. But what really got Giada to cooperate was the fake snow Eunice had up her sleeve!  She finally opened up and was a total ham for the camera. The pics are TO DIE FOR and I cannot wait to share the rest with you later!

As November is drawing to an end I am so excited for my favorite holiday; Christmas!  Christmas decorations are popping up everywhere and I cannot wait for this special time with the kids! Partridge Creek is always decorated so nice! Giada and I swung by there last weekend after a baby shower and the trees were magical!

Have a Happy Friday! Stay tuned for A Shop Small link up I will be hosting tomorrow! I can’t wait to share all of these amazing small shops!

A Thankful Heart

 

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I decided to join some other bloggers today and share what I am currently thankful for. November is usually very busy in anticipation of the holiday season, but it’s important to take a step back and really appreciate everything you have.

My family has so much to be thankful for.

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Careers.

My husband and I both work in the insurance world. Our industry is fast paced, ever changing, and allows us to provide for our family. Not only do we work in the in same industry, we actually work  in the same office for a family owned company.  Getting to work with your spouse each day is pretty unique and I am truly thankful we have this! Lunch dates are so easy to orchestrate when you sit 20 feet from each other!

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Support.

I’ve said this a million times, but we are beyond blessed when it comes to raising our babes. Hubs and I live by the motto “Work Hard, Play Hard”. We both thrive on hosting parties and planning social engagements, but none of it would be possible without support in raising our kids. It truly takes a village. During the week the babes go to an in-home daycare and Ms Sylvia is a godsend to our family. Leaving my kids everyday isn’t so bad when I know they have someone there who loves them like her own. On the weekends they have grandparents who spoil them with their time, love, and patience. Watching their relationships evolve is one of my favorite things. Last but not least we have support from friends. Between my incredible neighbors and our close friends we always have someone to help in a pinch. Even if that means bringing a bottle of wine over for a last minute playdate! I don’t ever take the support we get for granted.

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Tradition.

I’m thankful for the value my husband has placed on tradition. There are certain things we do every year and it makes my heart so happy looking forward to them. This time of year is all about making memories and we have some pretty amazing traditions we get to share with our babes.

What about you? What are you thankful for right now?

 

Family Photos 2015

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I’m so excited to share some of our family photos with took this summer with Kathy Davies. I wanted a color scheme we have never done before so I went with teal, grey, and purple.

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The inspiration came from this Matilda Jane Platinum dress I got for Giada. CC8823DE-E160-41C1-BE04-6D92790EBA15

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The kids warmed up pretty quickly and it made for a painless photo shoot!

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I think they turned out perfect!!!  I’m so thankful for having such a talented photographer to capture these memories of us!

Fall Bucket List

Fall is OFFICIALLY here and before we know it, IT will be gone in the blink of an eye. It always seems that time flies during my favorite season!

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Here’s my ambitious bucket list for the Month of October!

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Pick apples at a local orchard!

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Bonfires with friends!

Cider mill for fresh cider and doughnuts! We are lucky we live super close to Yates and they have the BEST doughnuts around!

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Zoo Boo! The Detroit Zoo hosts trick or treating on the weekends for the babes. They can dress up and see the animals!

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Scary movie night. Halloween jammies + popcorn + Hocus Pocus? Doesn’t get much better!

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Pumpkin picking with our pumpkins!!!

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Pumpkin carving!

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Visit the Firehouse. My brother is a firefighter and we love to go to their Fall open house!

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…and wear all the plaid!

What’s on your agenda for Fall?

 

Best Dressed Riding Hood

I am so excited to share our Halloween costumes with all of you!

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I’m pretty certain this will be the last year that I get to choose their costumes, so I wanted some photos to document the cuteness! We met Mac from Buchanan House Photography at a local park and I can’t say enough good words about her and her work! It was a hot day and the babes were less than thrilled to be in their costumes in the woods, but Mac was so patient and even convinced them to play a game to she could get the right shot!

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Buchanan House Photography offers many different portrait options and we went with a mini-session that lasts typically lasts 30 minutes. It was the perfect time frame to get some great images of the babes!

When deciding what they should be I wanted them to be something that coordinated, but didn’t seem too juvenile for Ari. Hey, he needs to keep his street cred while matching his little sister! I also wanted something that my hubs and I could easily match too! When we go out as a family my hubs will be a huntsman and I will be the Granny ;).  Growing up my brother and I usually had homemade costumes made by my Grandma or passed down from older cousins. I really wanted to find costumes that were homemade and not found in a store! I stumbled upon two etsy shops; See Sal Sew & One Two Three Shop that made us the most beautiful costumes I could have ever imagined!  If something is handmade it is always a little more special to me as it reminds me of my Grandma who used to sew just about everything for me!

Giada’s dress & cape were from One Two Three Shop. Her dress is made with an elastic waist and NO zipper. I don’t know about your kids, but mine don’t love zippers touching them like a lot of other costumes. The dress is full enough to add a tutu skirt underneath for extra flair and the cape comes all the way to the ground.  It will help keep little miss warm in the event we have chilly Michigan Halloween (which is 99% likely) and there is plenty of room to layer underneath! They have lots of other costumes and handmade dresses and One Two Three Shop is offering 15% off any purchase now until October 15 with code redriding15.

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Most of the wolf costumes I found online seemed very young/cartoony looking. I wanted his costume to look realistic and not like he was in a “baby” costume. When I saw this one I just about died. It was exactly what I was looking for! Ari’s costume came with a handmade hat (that is so intricate and realistic looking), gloves with fur, and a tail. Depending on the weather he will be wearing a black jogging suit that he already owns!  See Sal Sew is a mom run shop in MD. She makes a variety of other costumes too and will take custom orders via private message on etsy! Let her know I sent you!

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These images are so near and dear to me. When I think about how few Halloweens I will get with them being little I get a little teary eyed. They just seem to grow up so fast.  Because Mac is pretty sweet, Buchanan House Photography is offering a FREE Halloween mini session for one follower too! Head over to facebook to enter! Details announced 9/17 at 9pm.

*30 minute shoot in Rochester or Shelby Twp with 3 5×7’s included.

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Friday Favorites; Where did July go?!

I can’t believe it is almost August. July seemed to fly by in the blink of an eye.  Technically today is my Friday because I took tomorrow off work! So I’m getting this post up a little early! Hubs and I have been living in a whirlwind between vacation, weekly obligations, and weekend trips to the lake so I haven’t been keeping up with Friday Favorites.

My all time favorite this summer? Spending 10 days in Cali with the mister. We have never taken a trip of this magnitude. Ever. This was the first time we really had “extra” money to fund an adventure like this thanks to Rodan & Fields.

*Side note if you are interested in joining me in this amazing adventure please shoot me an email and I would be happy to fill you in!

Boy was this trip something to remember!

We ordered fun cocktails….

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Visited Santa Monica Pier…

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Found as many patios as we could…

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Took a MILLION selfies…

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Went wine tasting in Napa Valley…

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Visted San Francisco…

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Rode bikes across the Golden gate bridge….

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…and finished our time out by celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of Mike’s Aunt and Uncle with the rest of the family.

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What an accomplishment and something I aspire to!

Meanwhile. The babes were with both sets of grandparents having a mini-vacation of their own!

Being able to fund this trip was only half of our planning. Having people who will care for our babes like we would was the other half. Luckily we had both!

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Getting to Facetime them was definitely a favorite for me.

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My favorite shirt at the moment? This Mom Life tee from Fresh Apparel! It’s so comfy and truly defines me! And probably every other mom out there! Right now you can get free shipping by using code “bestdressedbabes” at checkout!

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My favorite little boy turns 4 tomorrow! We are off to celebrate this weekend!

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