Friday, April 28, 2017

Strawberry Banana Yogurt Popsicles

It's a two-recipes-in-one-week kind of week!

Earlier this week, Ryan and I set off to IKEA after Mops. My mom was home with Natalie so it was just me and Ryan running a few errands together- I can't remember the last time I had time with just my big boy! We went to pick up a rug for baby girls' room, but while we were there, we found these popsicle molds and knew we had to grab them!
They are $1.99 for a pack of 6 and come in these two color combinations. Why we only picked up one set, I have no idea, but we will surely be heading back for at least one more set because we had so much fun making these treats and already have a list of other flavors we want to try!

Leaving IKEA with our rug and a few other goodies we found along the way.

So later that day, after the kiddos woke up from nap, we set to making our first round of homemade popsicles together. Ryan picked Strawberry Banana Yogurt Popsicles for our first flavor to try.

1 cup vanilla yogurt (I used Stonyfield Organic "Smooth & Creamy" with whole milk, but any vanilla yogurt should work just fine)
1 large banana (or 2 smaller ones)
1/4 cup chopped strawberries
4-5 whole strawberries with green leaves cut off

(Popsicle molds should be at room temperature before assembling.)

Place yogurt, bananas, and whole strawberries in the blender. Blend until smooth.

Spray the inside of each mold with cooking spray.
 Evenly divide chopped strawberries and place in the bottom of each mold. Pour yogurt mixture from blender into each popsicle mold- leaving a little space on the top for the lid/base of the mold.

Insert the base of the mold that has the stick. Place in freezer for at least 8 hours.

When you're ready to eat the popsicles, take the molds and run them under hot water while squeezing the sides gently. After about 10 seconds of doing this, you should be able to pull the popsicle right out.

Ours weren't quite ready for us to enjoy as an after-dinner treat, so we decided to make our first popsicle tasting extra exciting and eat them for breakfast the next morning. Natalie was still asleep, so she'll get to enjoy her first one tonight!

Happy Friday, friends! Hope y'all have a great weekend!


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Last Family of Four Vacation: Chattanooga!

Let me tell you, we were only gone for 3 days and had the BEST time visiting Chattanooga!

We say this every time we have the chance to get away as a family, but it is so fun to travel with just us and experience new places together. We of course love traveling with our families and friends too, but there's something about going somewhere with just our kids that bonds us together more every time.

Our 3 days were spent at the Aquarium, the Children's Museum, and the Zoo. This was a total kid-centered trip, but Matt and I had just as much fun as they did!

In 3 short days, we experienced a number of highlights and firsts:
*Natalie stood up from the ground and balanced with a big, wide grin on her face and did this over and over the day we spent at the aquarium.
*Ryan gave a tip to a musician playing music on the Walnut Street Bridge and thanked him for playing- and was brave enough to walk right up and say it all by himself.
*We weren't able to check into our room until after nap time on our first day, so Natalie fell asleep in the stroller at the aquarium and Ryan fell asleep in Matt's lap waiting for his dinner at the restaurant.
*Natalie and Ryan slept side-by-side in pack 'n plays (which Ryan loved), and we all surprisingly slept great all four in one room.
*The first night, both kids were in bed at 6:55 and Matt and I planned to sit outside of the room with the monitor and talk, but the room darkening shades got us and we both fell asleep at 7 and slept straight through the night. Clearly we both needed the rest!
*Ryan spent a large majority of our time in the Children's Museum uncovering dinosaur bones and believed that they A. were all real and B. most likely all had sharp "teef."
*The sweet old man operating the carousel at the zoo pointed to Natalie as we were exiting and said, "She's a lively one" which Matt and I have died laughing over repeatedly since being home.

When we arrived at the hotel, we ate the lunches I packed in the hotel lobby before walking over to the aquarium. 

Checking out the pool area

If you're looking at taking a trip to Chattanooga, I highly recommend the Hampton Inn & Suites downtown. We walked everywhere (and it even rained 2/3 days we were there, so when I say our walks were close, I'm talking they were VERY close! The Children's museum was directly across the street, the aquarium was 2 blocks away, and the Zoo was a 7 minute drive that we hit before heading home on our last day. All of the other fun activities that are great for bigger kids are close to the hotel as well! And it's got a great indoor/outdoor pool as well. 

One last note on the hotel- the service was really impressive. Within 10 minutes of being in our room, I realized our mini fridge wasn't working, which I typically would not have cared about, but we needed the fridge for the kids' milk, so I called down and asked if someone could come take a look. They came up promptly, were very apologetic (at which point Matt and I kept telling them it was no problem at all), and when they realized they couldn't fix the fridge, they brought us a new one and gave us the option to comp our room for the night or give us one free night stay at any Hilton. Seriously so nice! We will definitely stay at more Hampton Inn & Suites and Hiltons in the future.

Mid-dive for the ground no doubt ;)

Waiting patiently for a butterfly to land on his hand- sweet guy

And then a huge one landed on my jeans and wouldn't fly off!

This aquarium has two separate buildings side-by-side, so after seeing everything in the first building, we walked up the street for ice cream at The Ice Cream Show by the Walnut Street Bridge. If you're familiar with Spill the Beans, this ice cream shop is the same concept and was SO good! We took our ice cream out to the bridge and enjoyed the live music while we ate.
Ryan tipping the musician who was seriously good. Matt and I could have stayed and listened to him all day!

Natalie loved it too :)

Then it was back to the second building to tour the rest of the aquarium:
This little lady passed out.

After leaving the aquarium, we swung back by our rooms to change (and play on the bed- hah)
This picture of all of them (especially Matt) cracked me up
Hello?! Who is it! of Natalie's current favorite games ;)

Then we walked over to Lupi's Pizza- such good pizza!- and sweet Ryan watched them make the pizzas before falling asleep at our table while we waited for the dinner to arrive.

Back in our room, these two slept side by side and passed out quickly. As did Matt and I- at 7:00. Hah! Room darkening shades are where it's at.

Children's Museum:
This place was amazing! We spent all morning there, walked across the street for lunch and naps, and then went back for another few hours before dinner!

I like to call these next three pictures 30 seconds in the life of Natalie:
She cracks us up

Hands down Ryan's favorite part- uncovering the dinosaur bones. He spent SO much time here!

While this little lady wasn't too sure about the sand. We head to the beach in less than two weeks, so here goes nothing, right?! Fingers crossed she changes her mind!

When Ryan woke up from his nap, the first thing he wanted to do was go back and uncover more dinosaur bones. We convinced him to check out the upstairs of the museum first to make sure we didn't miss anything. So he worked with some tools and made a crown and then he headed straight back to the sand. :)

Sweet love.

Before they closed, Matt ran back to our hotel to get the car since it was raining and the kids and I headed to the theater area for one last activity. Ryan sang the "Coo Coo" song from Sound of Music with a thunder cape on under the lights. This age is so funny.

We ate at Taco Mamacita's that night and then went back to The Ice Cream Show for dessert. We loved our dinner spot and of course loved our second trip for ice cream.

On our last morning, we woke up and got all of our things together before heading down to breakfast (another great perk of our hotel- the free breakfast was SO good!). But first, these three got in some snuggles.

They're so fun
Attempted picture with mom on the train
Natalie slept the whole way home and Ryan literally fell asleep as we opened the garage door at home. Hah! 

That wraps up our trip! If you have any questions about traveling to Chattanooga with little ones, I'd be to answer them. Just leave a comment below or shoot me an email {}.

Hope you all are having a great week! I head to the doctor today to check on baby girl (I think I'm 32 weeks?! Will confirm that today) ;) We're within that 2 month mark of meeting her and are getting so excited!!

And if you missed Monday's post, I shared a new appetizer that I made on Easter Sunday that everyone in our family really enjoyed! You can check it out here.