Chasing Davies

June 24, 2016

Pizza Party with the Kids!

Earlier this week, my husband was out of town for work - so the kids and I decided to splurge on pizza for dinner, but not just any pizza - homemade pizza.  And since I was the sole entertainer for the evening (first of two), I turned it into a pizza party to give us plenty to do before bedtime.  
Does anyone else get a wee bit nervous when they are 100% responsible for an extended period of time more than they're used to?  Maybe it's because I'm a working mama, so most of the time when I'm with my kids, it's in partnership with my husband.  And typically I'm the one traveling for work... But I do love the one on one time and getting to do something different, and of course, it's always no big deal (but I do find myself reviewing my CPR and heimlich instructions from kid training - haha).  Ok, so maybe I'm just neurotic.
I digress... Pizza party for all! I picked up different ingredients to make two different kinds of pizzas (with the best pizza dough from Trader Joe's): the standard pepperoni that I know my kids will eat, and an experiment kind that I'm pretty sure no one will even try except for me.  And as luck would have it, we all had fun - and even had enough ingredients left over for the pizza after Nora ate more of her dinner from the set up!
Kid Pizza Party at home for dinner

 I gently urged them to add kale to their pepperoni pizza in the form of getting to decorate the pizza more!  They weren't nearly as excited to actually eat the kale after it cooked as they were to add it to their pizza masterpiece.

The second pizza, my experimental one, actually turned out pretty good!  The kids helped me "decorate" it and Nora even tried it after it cooked (she ate the strawberries off of her slice).  It was created out of goat cheese, sliced strawberries, basil and balsamic vinegar atop whole wheat dough.

Strawberry and Goat Cheese Pizza
Strawberry, Goat Cheese & Basil Pizza

Oh hey - pro rookie tip: put your basil on AFTER your pizza cooks (unlike kale, it doesn't taste as good crispy).  This one tasted more like dessert - the fruit tastes so good cooked!

Do you have any fun homemade pizza ingredients/kinds I can try? 

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June 22, 2016

Quick Weekend Getaway to Omaha!

Hot Summer Day Outfit Idea

Last weekend, we headed up north to Omaha for a quick weekend away. Some of my husband's family lives in Omaha, so I've been there toooons of times, and especially since having kids, the trip is usually pretty similar each time.  But this time, some of our good friends - a family of four - decided to come with us, which ended up offering a new twist to our typical Omaha trip!  We were able to divide up a bit more, to allow everyone to do what they wanted, and explore new parts of Omaha!  And my husband and the boys... they wanted to head to the College World Series baseball game. 

This allowed for some girl time to hit up the Old Market district (an area of downtown Omaha of restaurants, boutiques, shops and bars all on a cobble road - reminds me of a smaller version of the Kansas City Plaza, if you are local).  We spent more time just wandering around, as they had a Farmer's Market going on that day, too. But we did have a slow brunch, popped into a couple stores and then got the best mani/pedi ever!

This dress (you'll see again, and again) and sandals were the most perfect summer getup for a day of wandering, walking and sweating (it was like 97 degrees, going on 120).

{Outfit Details: Dress, Sandals c/o, Purse}

After wandering - we walked through the best way-more-than-just-candy shop, a cute vintage boutique, stopped by the Farmer's Market for local jerky, grabbed coffee, and had a kid-free brunch!  The highlight of the day, though, was finding The Nail Shop.  

They saw my missed call and texted me, which I loved - and we easily made appointments to come in after brunch. We were just expecting a typical nail salon, but it was way better than that. It was very spa like, the custom-made equipment was all very sanitary and comfortable.  Both during the pedi and mani, they gave the best foot/low leg and hand/forearm massage ever, ever, ever. I can't wait to go back.

the best Omaha Nail Salon downtown

It was a nice trip, because we got to have fun with friends, but also spend quality time with the littles - even the 3 hour car ride each way (though in the moment I don't know if I would have said that!). Since weekends are always too short, that's important!

This mini-trip was also good practice for our bigger family vacation coming up soon!  We'll be road tripping for much longer, so it was good to put some of our tactics to the test. You can see my round up of road trip essentials for happy toddlers/kids here!

And of course, make sure to follow along on Snapchat (user name = ChasingDavies) to see all these weekend and summer travels in real-time, and other random things I do throughout my day. It's a great place to see what life is REALLY like!

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June 20, 2016

Family Road Trip Essentials to Keep the Kids Happy

Family Road trip essentials to keep kids happy and entertained

Well... at least happy more often than not.  For me, just the thought of being trapped in the car with my kiddos for more than 40 minutes has me biting my nails, and this summer we are embarking on a 15 hour road trip in just a few weeks!  We had a practice run with a 3 hour (each way) trip this past weekend (you might have seen some of the trip, the ups & the downs on Snapchat - follow me with username ChasingDavies), and it had me thankful for some of the items we have ready and frantically looking for and buying some things that I know we now need.

It makes it worse that my kids are harnessed into their car seats, not able to move, stretch or reach for things - but in some ways, it is probably good (besides it being safe) that they are so they can't fight and they each have their own designated spaces.  I remember when I was a kid, we'd take out the middle seats of the family van, lay down a bunch of blankets and pillows, and sprawl out on the floor. 

Well, gone are those days... but here are some other safe recommendations that have and will help me, and I hope they'll help you, too! 

1. Universal Device Headrest Mount - We LOVE this one! Easily add on the velcro-backed case to your portable device of choice, wrap the mount around your headrest (vertical or horizontal) and easily velcro the device to the back of the headrest.  I like the velcro because it's easy for me (in the front seat) to pull it off and slap it on when getting a movie set up for each kid.

2. Portable Wireless Hard Drive - This is a life saver.  It holds 250+ movies that we can stream to both our kids' devices at the same time (playing different movies) for their personal enjoyment.  It's also great for when arriving at various destinations and pulling up movies for night or resting periods.  Now you don't have to haul your big DVD stack around anymore and works with all devices!

3. Wireless Kids Headphones - From past experience, I think wireless and a kid-friendly sized headphone is key. We've tried the opposite, and trying to keep adult sized headphones on little heads is frustrating, and my youngest gets tangled in the cord - and everything kind of annoying is amplified to super difficult when everyone is buckled in a car for longer than normal periods of time.

4. Water Paint Books & Magic Marker Color Books - These are mess free ways to color on the go! We used the water paint books when the kids were younger, and now have graduated to the magic markers!  These entertained my kids for more than 30 minutes on trip (3 hour drive) to Omaha last weekend, and would have easily been a hit on a repeat after watching a movie.

5. Snacks - This is the time I splurge on individual sized packs to keep mess contained and easy to transport in the car and throughout the car!  We pack a balanced mix of healthy, fulfilling and special treats so we can navigate most circumstances as they arise. Some of our favorites are Annie's Organic Fruit Snacks, Kid Organic Granola Bars, Individual Skinny Popcorn Bars, Raisins, and fruit. 

6. Hand & Face Wipes - After snack or rogue coloring, and in case of any other kind of mess, stock up on these hand & face wipes!  Anything to stay on the road, wipes are a must.

7. Manage Temperature - Depending on the time of day, the sun beating in can be harsh for one side of the car.  One kid will be hot, while the other one is cold from the over use of air-conditioning.  Create shade with window shade clings if your car windows aren't already tinted.  And bring extra blankets for the shaded half!

8. Carseat Neck Pillow - I learned on this last trip that we need a neck pillow that is compatible with the carseat for both my kiddos.  When they would fall asleep, their poor necks were so bent and their heads would be moving all around - not comfy!  Anything to get them to sleep, and to sleep longer!

9. DIY Play Tray - One DIY I can actually do... get a baking pan with edges for each kid to use on their lap. The edges help keep smaller toys from rolling off, so this is important!  Then, depending on the age and interest of your child, this is a great time to pull out things like a Lego creator set (my son!) and crayons and paper (my daughter!).  You could even take it a step further and using washi tape, create a race track on a try if you have a kiddo into cars or get magnet letters to practice spelling!

10. Backseat Toy Organizer - With my kids both in carseats - they pretty much need me to do and get everything nonstop (they can't reach!).  So, I am looking into a middle seat organizer like this one to help keep some of their toys, books and water in hands reach!

Do you have any tips on keeping toddler/kids entertained in a car for what will feel like FOREVER?!?!

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