Two Books That Helped My Toddler STOP HITTING

Everything is a phase, everything is a phase. I repeated to myself to calm my nerves after being repeatedly stuck by my toddler.   At this daunting moment, a few months ago I had a child kicking and screaming, a red spot on my face, tears in my eyes and knew something had to change.  The ‘terrible twos’ were pretty rough for us-rough being a pretty big understatement.  Our little girl had many, many meltdowns.   She also has a challenge that only a few other toddlers have to deal with, a younger sibling that is less than a year and a half younger copying everything she does and wanting to play with all the same toys.   Thus ensued the meltdowns- I’m sad to even admit she started hitting me often and occasionally her younger brother.   This upset me a great deal to have her lash out and hit me over and over again.  I would cry my eyes out after being hit, scratched, and even had my hair pulled out by my own child.  I felt like a dog owner scared that their own dog might bite them.   We don’t hit in our house for punishment so I wasn’t even sure where she was picking this behavior up.     

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My first step as a mom with parenting troubles was to reach out to other parents.   Most of my mom friends have boys and weren’t seeing the same over dramatic and aggressive behaviors.   Some of the parents I talked to said “hit her back.”  This didn’t sit well with me, being an educator I know you can’t solve hitting with hitting- its like assigning writing for punishment.   I even reached out to one of my best friends who has a Master’s Degree in psychology for help.   After she reached out to some of her colleagues who deal with children we mostly got to a dead end that you don’t truly have a problem on your hands until the child is five.   My first thought was-I can’t live like this for three more years! 

I ended up trying to figure out why my daughter was frustrated and angry-when and why was she throwing these fits and hitting.   She was an early talker and has a great vocabulary for her age so I didn’t think it was a communication problem, it was a “control or express your anger problem.”   The teacher in me knows with a great story and positive reinforcement like I would use on my students for classroom management I could help my little girl work on this issue.    I ended up finding two great books No Hitting by Karen Katz and Keeping Your Cool: A Book About Anger by Carolyn Larsen on Amazon.  (Thank goodness for Amazon Prime!)  

   

These books were so great for my daughter to learn why we don’t hit AND what are good ways to express anger and frustration.    Those emotions we know as adults never go away but we can get them out.  Me personally, I get them out by getting in a good workout or dropping an F bomb because that can really calm me down, but as toddlers we don’t know how to appropriately express this anger.  I then found my mission, I needed to find ways for my toddler to get out those emotions in a healthy manner.   My daughter loves to read so I knew a fun new book could really open her eyes on this subject.    After a couple rocky months of doing positive reinforcement, time outs, and reading both of these books every so often (the book No Hitting my daughter has even memorized) I can say that I feel like we are over this hitting slash stage 10 nuclear meltdown-for now anyways.   These two books, No Hitting and Keeping Your Cool really helped us out and they are so inexpensive definitely give them a try!

XOXO

Your Redlocks and Shamrocks Girl,

Lisa Doyle

**This blog post contains affiliate links.   The thoughts, opinions, and writing about the products are my own.

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10 Tips on Surviving Flying with Toddlers & Babies

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10 Tips for Surviving Flying with Toddlers & Babies

Hello Redlocks and Shamrocks readers! My family recently got back from a vacation and I’ve been flooded with questions about flying with kids so I’ve got a post for those mamas!  When my husband and I were ‘single’ aka married but no with kids we used to travel all the time!  We loved going on vacation and exploring new places.  Once we had kids traveling with two little people became a game changer- 10 times more stuff and crazy attitudes!  Check out my top 10 tips on surviving traveling with toddlers and babies. 

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1.First up Make a plan and prep whatever you can early.  Copy birth certs, pack, restock diaper bag- don’t forget extra clothes for you and baby!  A blow out in the airport might happen-and has to me! 

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2. Pack NEW entertainment and snacks: Pick up a fun backpack with dollar store toys and books, small snacks, and a sippy cup for the toddler to carry!  My kids loved getting a new bag and toys to explore on the airplane.   Dollar store stuff is the way to go so if it gets lots it’s no big deal.  I also packed tons of snacks!  Anything under 4oz is okay to take through security so I packed packets, string cheese, baggies of goldfish etc.  I kept these backpacks hidden until we made it through security.  

3. Be a minalmist! This is coming from a woman who once packed just a suitcase full of shoes for a 5 day vacation.  Lol but yes pack as little as possible!  For you and kids!  If where you are staying has a washer/dryer take advantage of that.   

4. A major question to save your arm strength: Do you really need that pack n’ play?  After a trip with a 4 month old, 21 month old, purse, diaper bag, three pieces of luggage, a stroller, travel bassinet, and a pack and play I knew we were traveling as ‘light’ as possible but it’s still wayyyy too much stuff!  This time we recently traveled we made sure to get a rental property that came with a pack and play that way we didn’t have to bring one.  There are also inexpensive pack and plays on Amazon for around 40 dollars, I know a few families that had one shipped to their location then cut their losses.   When our son was only four months old, we purchased this travel bassinet which fits inside a suitcase suitcase-it was extremely handy.

5. This next tip hurts my heart a little being a rule follower and all but here it is-cut in line! My husband used to be a VIP for Southwest Airlines with an automatic A-List pass which allows you skip security lines-it’s a dream!  But with children and lack of traveling for work he lost this VIP status so we followed the ‘fake it till you make it’ rule.   Even though he lost this A-List pass we went in the fast line anyways.  I know, I know totally an A-hole move, but most of the time they don’t check and would they really turn away a family with two crying kids in an airport? Worth a try! Also some airlines allow you to go through the handicap line if you have a stroller.

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6. Ask your airline about family boarding.  Each airline has its own rules with boarding so make sure you ask to know all the rules.

7. Gate check strollers– once you get through security you have to go to the counter and get a gate check tag. I didn’t know this the first time I flew and had to go all the way back to the counter and we missed family boarding.  Yuck!   Right before you board the airplane you can leave your stroller in the gate and they will put it right back there after you land.  Buy these stroller and car seat protectors.  Germaphobes unite! These are totally worth the money and will keep your car seat clean under the airplane.   When you pick up these bags they will be filthy and you will be happy that you bought them. 

8. If you have a baby try to breastfeed or give a bottle during take off and landing. This will help with their ears popping.   Breastfeeding mamas-if you get a window seat you can get a lot of privacy.

9. This is my biggest tip: just go with the flow! Got a screaming kid? Do your best to calm them down by distracting them with objects out the window.  Child doesn’t want to sit on your lap try to convince them buy busting out an iPad or new book, we even read the emergency exit guide in the back pocket of the seat.  Or even get creatvie by making a hand puppet out of the airsick bag!  But if all else fails just go with the flow, you’re trying your best and you’ll never see these travelers again who cares if they are staring at you with their judgie eyes-you’re doing your best.     

In the middle of TSA security my older child had a stage 10 meltdown and my infant had a blowout with both kids screaming all I could do was smile at everyone staring at me and no one helping just staring.   Some people even moved our stuff off the conveyer belt to put their stuff on (I know-rude).  Then there will be that one mom, who has been there before.  Who will kneel down and help try to sooth your screaming toddler.  She will point out her Elsa backpack or sing a song-Thank random lady I will always remember your kind face.  After this whole dilemma, I got randomly selected for additional screening and that smile quickly turned to tears.  Three out of four members of my family were now in tears and two of us were covered in poop.  It was a HUGE mess-but I will never see any of those people again and that is life with kids!

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Note: super tired parents and toddlers pulling each other’s hair = going with the flow. lol

10.  If at all possible give yourself a “travel day” on your vacation.  Missed naps + long walks + travel = cranky kids and tired parents.   If you have an extra day just to get there it will help elevate stress and actually allow you to enjoy your vacation.  If you can afford that extra night trust me and just do it-because you loose a whole day just traveling

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Those are my top tips on surviving flying with toddlers and babies!   Don’t let the extra little humans in your family hold you back from making a mark on your travel map!   Happy summer and I hope you all have great summer vacations!  Ps.  As much as we have gone on airplanes with kids we’ve never done a car road trip!!! Moms who are masters at car trips please leave some advice in the comments below!

XOXO

Your Redlocks and Shamrocks Girl,

Lisa Doyle

 

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I Took a Blogging Break & I’m Back with a Big Announcement!

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So I had about a three month break from blogging.  So much has happened in my life in that span-good and bad. About three months ago (who am I kidding since forever ago) I was feeling very stressed and felt myself starting to spiral in to a pit of negativity so I quit-temporarily-blogging. Not writing-but blogging-mainly the social media aspect of blogging. I don’t know about you but social media sucks up sooooo much time throughout the day. So I took a break. I just couldn’t do the hours of scrolling, double tapping, liking, etc. social media has to be my least favorite part of blogging.

During this break I had a lot of time to reflect on what is important to me in my blogging journey which is very important to do if you consider yourself a blogger- what’s your why? What’s your path? I had a few revelations during these few months and it’s always good to step back and reflect. Sadly during this break, I did loose out on some sponsored blog posts and amazing collaborations. It hurt my soul to say “no” as I am a “yes I can do it all” type of person-but I couldn’t. Working full time, trying to be the best mom, the best wife, the best teacher, blog, and attempt to cook, clean, and do laundry wasn’t happening. So I finally broke and decided to quit.  I wasn’t sure at first if I was quitting or if it was a break as I am NOT a quitter, but for the first time I saw why people quit-it’s easy and I REALLY wanted easy.  After a long cry fest {those are just as cathartic as writing or running if you ask me} I made the decision to give up.    Apparently I’m not a quitter because here I am posting, so I guess it was a break! And a good one at that!

That brings me up to today: my big announcement.

The biggest announcement I have is I am no longer a working mom!!! I officially left my job with CCSD working as a 7th grade English teacher and will now be a stay at home mom! I will miss my career immensely, but I have been so incredibly happy these past few weeks not working and getting to care for my kids full time. The amount of stress that has lifted off my shoulders is unreal.  My kids are happy, my husband is happy, I am happy! Laundry actually gets done! I had no idea that clothes could get washed, folded, and put away in the same few day span! Haha

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The first day and the last day of the 2016-2017 school year.  I love seeing how much my students and own children grow.

I closed my empty classroom after an eight year long career a few weeks ago.  It was the weirdest mix of emotions-ecstatic, scared, happy, fear-will I miss it? Will I ever go back? I don’t know the answer to those two questions, but what I do know is I am the happiest I’ve been in a LONG time.    My husband threw me a “retirement” party to celebrate with close friends.   I am so grateful to have these people {and many more not pictured} as a a support system. 

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I have the best supportive friends! Sunny, Dilyana, Asti, Jessica, and Samantha!

I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our family and to see what else unfolds in my blogging journey. 

Stay at home mommies-what is your BEST ADVICE FOR ME!?

XOXO

Your Redlocks and Shamrocks Girl,

Lisa Doyle

How I Pack My Toddler Diaper Bag with JJ Cole!

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The diaper bag struggle is REAL for most moms!  And what kind of bag you need and more importantly what goes inside it changes as your child grows.   When you have a newborn baby there is SO much you need to pack-diapers galore, a change of clothes for the many blow outs {heck maybe even an extra top for mom}, nursing cover, butt cream, the kitchen sink…just kidding….sort of.   As kids grow older you need less and less in your diaper bag!  {Thank goodness!} I love the brand JJ Cole as their bags are fashionable, reasonably priced, and they have SO many features which are perfect for staying organized! On this blog post you will read about what I love to keep in my diaper bag for my toddler’s needs!

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Here are some toddler MUST items in my JJ Cole diaper bag:

  • Diapers: 5-7 diapers for my son who isn’t potty trained
  • An extra pair of panties for my toddler girl in case of an accident
  • Wipes {You can never have too many!}
  • Snacks
  • Sippy Cups: I love Nuby’s Snack N’ Sip as it cuts down on items you need and doesn’t leak!
  • Blanket: either for keeping warm or sitting on at the park
  • Foaming Alcohol Free Hand Sanitizer–can we say park germs?
  • Sunscreen
  • Toys/Play Packs: I LOVE these things!  You can pick them up at the dollar store or dollar section at Target.    They are perfect at keeping your little one busy when out to dinner.
  • Books: I like to keep a few small books that I usually pick up at the dollar store for keeping them occupied.
  • Tissues: running toddlers = runny noses
  • Band aides: for all those boo boos

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I love that the lining of the JJ Cole diaper bag is colored!  It makes it so easy to find items inside.  Its also important to find a diaper bag that opens up wide like this one does.   I have another bag that does not open very well and it is so hard to find anything inside.

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This morning we were off to take photos with the Easter bunny-I always like to go early and beat the crowds.   I love that this JJ Cole Diaper Bag-Caprice style in gray is in a neutral color and is great to match spring fashion!

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I feel really excited that my life timeline of being a mom is the same timeline of fashion. Don’t you just love that MOM JEANS are back!  High waists are just in style to hide all my mommy imperfections.   The same thing with one piece bathing suits-but that’s a whole other post.

When picking a diaper bag, you want to make sure that it is versatile. I love that this JJ Cole Caprice bag has an arm strap, shoulder strap, and had hidden straps that you can attach that will make the bag fit perfectly on a stroller!

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The front of the JJ Cole bag is perfect for mommy’s stuff-it even has a slot for your wallet, phone, and cards! I like that there is also a smaller pocket perfect to keep your keys.

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I like that the JJ Cole Caprice diaper bag has two side pockets-perfect for drinks-and a large back pocket.   It also comes with a changing pad that can easily be wiped clean or washed.  This bag is also nice that it has SO much room!  You could probably stuff it with so many things.  I am such a minimalist so I only like to bring the essentials, but I will totally be using this bag as a carry on for our up coming family vacation.

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Light weight enough to make my two year old carry some stuff!  Hey its mostly hers anyways right? Jk.

Here is where you can get your JJ Cole Diaper Bag perfect for spring! What is your favorite diaper bag item?

XOXO

Your Redlocks and Shamrocks Girl,

Lisa Doyle

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How I’ve Changed as a Teacher Since Becoming a Mother

When out and about having small talk with random people and the subject of what I do for a living comes up and I joyfully tell them “I am a teacher” the follow up question is immediately “what grade?”   When I respond proudly, “middle school” I get the same squinty, dirty look in response.   People usually retort with comments like, “wow, that must be tough” or “ew why?”   And yes it is hard and challenging but it is such a great job.   Not one adult can look back at their middle school years and think, “man, I loved my hair,” “my clothes where so cool,” or “I had it all together.”   These are the years where students make fashion disasters, learn to survive without their parent’s assistance, have their first crush, get picked on, and HOPEFULLY learn how to be hardworking, good people.  I have been an educator for many years teaching the very interesting students of them all-middle schoolers.

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Since becoming a mother my teaching practices have changed drastically.   I started by assigning less homework  I did this for two reasons; one because I realize when kids come home from a long day of work asking them to do even more work is a hard task.   Students are also involved in many different after school activities like soccer, piano, or dance-they don’t have time for homework.   Parents also get little time with their kids, and arguing with them to do some science is not a way I want to spend my evening.   I also started assigning less homework to give myself less work.  As a teacher, the more you assign, the more you grade.   And I too believe spending time with your family is valuable, precious, and can’t be replaced.    Yes, do I think it is important to read with your child every night? Of course!   But playing outside, sitting down at dinner together, having a conversation, or playing a sport is more important.

After becoming a mom, I now care less about my students “learning” and more about turning them into good people who possess values like hard work, determination, and kindness.   When I first started teaching I was all about teaching grammar, wiring, and reading comprehension.   But as an adult when was the last time you dissected a sentence for parts of speech?   Writing and reading skills are key in becoming successful, but if there is anything my students take away from having Mrs. Doyle as a teacher I want it to be that hard work will make you successful in life, being kind to others is more important than being popular, and if you do anything be determined at it-never give up.   I often tell my students, “the boss of a company is not the smartest person in the room, they are the most hardworking.”

Another way I have changed as a teacher is a sad thing that I have realized-not all of my students have good parents or live in a stable home.   I had a blind eye or maybe a naive mind when I became a teacher.   I came from a stable home, my parents who are still married to this day, are both hard working individuals who value education.   Not all of my student’s parents value education.   They don’t care if their child has or does homework, they don’t care if their kid even passes my class.   I have called parents to discuss failing grades and I am practically burdening them with the phone call.   Some-didn’t choose to become parents-they became them.   Some of my students do not have a stable home, they are living in broken homes of divorced parents, parents who are alcoholics, drug attics, or even homeless.   School, or my class, just might be the only stable thing they have in their lives.  So what if the student comes to school without paper, a pencil?   I used to get mad-how could a parent send their kids to school without a binder or something to write with?  Now being a mom, I hand them school supplies over and over again and offer a loving smile and a chance to change their future. 

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I want to be a teacher, who I hope one day when my kids are in school have.   Someone who will love my children as their own, teach them right from wrong, and encourage them to have greatness in their life.

XOXO

Your Redlocks and Shamrocks Girl,

Lisa Doyle

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Festive St. Patrick’s Day Cocktail

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As your resident St. Patrick’s Day chick I am here bringing you an EASY St. Patty’s Day cocktail!  Want to know why I LOVE St. Patty’s Day {other than the fact that it’s my second birthday being a redheaded Irish girl} read about that here-Why Redlocks and Shamrocks.

When I think of St. Patrick’s Day in my younger pre-mommy years several beverages come to mind: green beer, Irish Car Bombs, and the dreaded Jager Bomb. {I think I just puked a little-hangover memories}.   This cocktail has none of those ingredients! And if you ask me its really refreshing and perfect for a little day drinking.  🙂

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Ingredients:

  • Sparkling Moscato:  I used Barefoot Bubbly
  • Sprite
  • GREEN Grapes (fresh or frozen) for the festive look
  • Ice

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How cute are these cups from Target?  Shhh secret they are PLASTIC!

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All you need to do for this drink is fill your cup with ice and grapes then pour in the moscato-as much or as little as you want.   Next top with a tiny bit of Sprite!  And BAM a quick and refreshing cocktail!

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Btw this is my go to hair style these days-natural hot mess hair that is a few days dirty with a messy fishtail or dutch braid. 

  • Cardi: Old Navy
  • Shirt: Nordstrom
  • Watch:  Michael Kors
  • Lips:  Lipsense Color “Flour de Lisa” {duh I HAD to pick that color}  My girl Melissa is a distributor if you are interested you can contact her here.

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No matter if you are at an Irish pub or at home trying to catch a leprechaun with your little ones, have a great time celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year readers!

XOXO

Your Redlocks and Shamrocks Girl,

Lisa Doyle

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Making Memories Last Forever with Shutterfly

Making Memories Last Forever with Shutterfly

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I have always been OBSESSED with taking photos and capturing moments even back in the era of disposable cameras.  I love going over to my parent’s house to browse though my baby books and high school scrapbooks-those memories are made to last forever because of a photo book.  Its so fun to compare myself as a child to my children.  But now in the digital age the hard copy photo book is starting to became a thing of the past because they take so long to make-but NOT WITH THIS SECRET I am going to share with you-the Shutterfly Make My Book Service.

It brings me so much joy that we live in the age of technology were 1,000 photos can be taken at just one event making them a permanent part of the history of our families.   What is sad is that most of us just load those photos on a Facebook album and that is that-lets put an end to that!   Often there is no printing, scrap booking, framing, nothing.    {I never even finished our wedding album!}  Shutterfly has made a NEW way to make photo books-they do it for you! SCORE!  Shutterfly makes it so easy with their Make My Book service-it literally took only minutes out of my day and I received a beautiful product.

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I have this new rule as I am ‘adulting’ its called-leave it up to the professionals.  Painting, wedding planning, plumbing, installing just about anything–DIYing is not really my thing anymore as my hubby and I pretty much ruin everything we touch. {Sorry babe}  I am also a working mom so often crafts and DIYs are much harder as there is NO TIME to do those things.  Its worth the time and headache to just pay someone to do it for me.  The Shutterfly Make My Book service takes all the headaches away from photo book designing.

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We seriously LOVED getting our photo book back and looking at all the wonderful memories we made.

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I really enjoy the process of making photo books on Shutterfly, making sure every photograph I like is exactly on the right page-and showing my right angles lol.  This crucial process would not only take me hours, it would take me days!  I was skeptical, but hopeful to try their new Make My Book service.   For only a $9.99 service fee they design the entire book for you-cover to cover-all you do is submit the photos.

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The process was almost too easy guys!  It took me less than 5 minutes to submit my family photos and select and overall design of the photo book.  In a matter of about 24 hours my book preview came back from the Shutterfly designers.   It was pretty much perfect!  Of course me being a psycho- I didn’t like how I looked in a few photographs.  I could easily hit ‘edit’ swap them out and it was as good as ever!  So don’t be hesitant if you think you won’t like what they come up with, you can make major changes to your book {even though I don’t think you will.}   You can also choose not to buy the book entirely–like you’ll do that–so really there is little risk involved.

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From now on I know I personally will always be using the Make My Book photo book service from Shutterfly because the product came out PERFECT and it saved me massive amounts of hours in front of my computer-precious time I could be spending with my family, or sleeping lol.  Our photo book looks FAB as a coffee table book!

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Have a great time making your photo books with the Make My Book feature from Shutterfly!

XOXO

Your Redlocks and Shamrocks Girl,

Lisa Doyle

**The photography in the Shutterfly photo book was captured by J.anne Photography

 

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Planning the Perfect Bachelorette Party!

Guest blog by Ashley Brooke

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Hey guys!  Lisa here your Redlocks and Shamrocks Girl!  Meet Ashley Brooke my guest writer for this blog post!  Ashley and I went to college together at UNLV and she was a cheerleader when I was a Rebel Girl.   Ashley is an amazing wife, working mother, and a fitness junkie!  She is SUCH an inspiration to eat right, be fit, and grow confidence.  Follower her on Instagram at @ashbrooke_balanced if you want daily fitness inspiration.  Check out her feature on my blog about planning the perfect bachelorette party! 

Hi Babes! First I want to thank Lisa for so generously offering up her blog allowing this post to happen! So many of you have commented and messaged me asking for all the details on planning the PERFECT bachelorette party and I originally intended to just do an Instagram post but there is just NO WAY I could fit it all in! If this post helps just ONE babe in planning her own/friend’s bachelorette party, I will be one happy mama! So here it goes…

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YAY!!! Your BF is getting married!!! Once the initial excitement of an engagement for your bestie has passed, the real work for the maid of honor sets in. BACHLORETTE PARTY PLANNING! Knowing your bride is the critical first step in planning, for example if your bride hates the cold, a weekend hitting the slopes in Tahoe probably isn’t the best fit. For my bride and bestie of 10 years Samantha (Sami for short) I knew she wanted a sunny and warm bachelorette party. Not sure what your bride is looking for? Ask her! Don’t want to spoil a surprise? Ask her general questions like (warm weather or cool, travel or no travel, strippers or no strippers…haha but seriously ask!). It’s better to get these ideas as specific as possible to get a really good idea of what your bride would prefer before you spend the time and money putting together a party that misses the mark. The next and final thing you need from the bride is a list of her girls, the ones she wants to spend her last big blowout single weekend with!

Once you know what your bride wants and have the list of girls, let the planning begin! After attending many bachelorette parties, I’ve been through the good, bad and ugly. Knowing that Sami wanted a sunny/warm party in January/February my options for locations were pretty limited. I narrowed my ideas down to Florida (Disney World) and Mexico. One day while driving to work and listening to the radio I heard an ad for Luke Bryan’s Crash My Playa, instantly intrigued (not even for the bachelorette party) I went to the website and saw the timing was incredible for the bachelorette party and the more I thought about it, the more I realized I was not going to find anything better. All-inclusive resort (remember the good the bad and the ugly? Splitting dinner checks and bar tabs every night between 8 girls is awful!). 4 nights of country concerts, pool side shows and most importantly SUNSHINE & BEACH! Once I knew where we were going and asked the bridesmaids if they were ok with all of the details, dates & pricing we were all set!

Since our college sorority days (shout out to Delta Zeta Girls) we have always loved to theme and match during girl’s trips, so coming up with the perfect theme for the weekend was really important to me. To be honest, I am not really sure how I came up with it but the word BEACHLORETTE popped up in my head and I couldn’t let it go and from there Sami’s Beachlorette was born. I asked a friend Josh (link below) to design a logo for me using a palm tree and some type of handwritten font to say Sami’s Beachlorette Crash My Playa 2017. I let him know the logo would be used on tank tops. He presented a few options and I picked this one!  In the same writing I asked him to also do a “Beaches” logo and “Beachlorette” logo so that we could have a second tank where all the girls were in beaches tank tops and our bride was in her Beachlorette Crop! It worked out so cute! (by the way, the font is called Lemon Tuesday and you can download it for free, just type it into google).

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Next I wanted to theme each day with our bride’s favorite things! A few of her favorite things include: unicorns, camo print, and bows so these things became the inspiration for each night.  To kick off the party we started night one in cutoff shorts & our matching beachlorette logo tanks (I did make Sami a cowboy hat with a veil, but her head was too big and it didn’t fit haha…oops). For our first day by the pool we all wore whatever swimsuit we wanted but our coordinating tank tops over them, this day was cleverly called “where my beaches at”. For night two we all had fun pretending to be unicorns. The bride was instructed to wear her favorite white dress/romper and all the girls were asked to wear their favorite black dress/romper. The next day we all wore matching swimsuits, I searched far and wide for a palm tree/beach print that had several different options that girls could choose from. These PilyQ suits were great. They had a one-piece option, two different tops and bottoms to choose from and shorts. We got so many compliments this day! For night three we were “Sami’s Soldiers” we all wore matching camo headbands, white shirts and jeans casual and comfortable after a long day in the sun. For the final day we planned a group yoga class and bought the bride a palm tree yoga outfit, each of the girls were asked to wear a solid color yoga outfit in Black, White or Gray (although we didn’t actually get to do yoga…long story…we still looked adorable J ). For the final night we decided to go BOWHO in Mexico. Each girl was asked to wear a boho outfit of their choice. In my opinion, the key to success here is to try and “theme” most of your night/days outfits that give girls flexibility to either buy a new outfit if they want or find something they already have in their closet…no matter what you choose as long as your bride has a veil on at all times, she will stand out!

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Some other fun accessories that made the weekend stand out were matching palm tree sunglasses, custom and personalized water bottles, oversized pool floats (TIP! Use the hotel blow dryer to inflate in your room…it works!)  and the adorable custom sun hats that the bride brought along for all the girls as a gift! 

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To reveal the location (and themes) of the bachelorette party to Sami and the rest of the girls I created packages from Santa. These packages included a full itinerary and each of the little accessories they needed so they could plan and coordinate their outfits. I created the itinerary using Microsoft Word and purchased boxes, tissue paper and palm tree confetti on Amazon.  

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The final step of planning was to create a “need to knows” packet. The purpose of this packet was to have all the details of the trip, contact information, location, emergency contact information ect in one place not only for us, but for our families. I also included a packing list because I typically make them anyway for my trips and I didn’t want any girl forgetting one of her themed goodies (and it worked! no one forgot!). this document was made using Microsoft word and I found little weather icons using google.

 

MY TOP 3 PLANNING TIPS:

  • Plan Ahead to avoid paying rush charges for custom items like tank tops, hats, tumblers and Veils. Give yourself at least 6-8 weeks.
  • If you are on a budget, you can DIY many of these items. Tulle is available in bulk on amazon or fabric stores for much cheaper than having someone else make them for you.
  • Choose a location that gives you all types of options for group experiences, concerts, fitness studios and down time.

MY FAVORITE BACHELORETTE PARTY LOCATIONS & THEMES!

  • Beachlorette: for obvious reasons I pick any beach and start planning! Cali, Miami and Mexico. I love the idea of all inclusive resorts because it just makes things easy!
  • Bachville: Grab your cowboys boots and head to Nashville, this is an amazing city with tons of bars, restaurants and activities. This city is packed with live music, culture and scenery.
  • NOLA: I haven’t been, but I have always thought New Orleans would be a great city for a bachelorette party, When I think of NOLA I think of taking a group pastry class to learn how to make their world famous beignets or a haunted city tour soaking gup the history.
  • Austin: This hotel looks like an incredible girls’ getaway https://travaasa.com/
  • Vegas: For the party bride you really can’t go wrong with this location. With enough girls you can generally get access to comp bottles, tables and dinners and some of the best restaurants, night clubs and day clubs.
  • Napa: How much fun would wine tours and tastings be with all your girls. Napa is a foodie town as well, a great spot to get some amazing meals.

 

SHOPPING LINKS:

Sami’s Beachlorette Logo: www.iamjoshlucas.com

Custom tank tops/crops/t-shirts: www.customizedgirl.com

Palm tree sunglasses: www.sunglassspot.com

Starfish Veil: RiosBows on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/RiosBows

Unicorn Headbands: RAQuirkybits on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/RAQuirkyBits

Custom Bridal Mrs.Veil: myeverydayparty on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/myeverydayparty

Custom Tumblers: shoparoundthecorner3 on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ShopAroundTheCorner

Custom Sun Hats: lifehasjustbegun on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LifeHasJustBegun

Palm Tree Swim Suits: https://www.swimoutlet.com

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Thank you to Ashley for sharing her amazing tips! I hope you all enjoyed Ash’s post on planning the perfect bachelorette party!  I know I will be putting this advice to good use as I am helping plan one of my best friend’s bachelorette parties in a few months! EK!  I can only pray it is as cute as this one!  If you aren’t following her on Instagram yet @ashbrooke_balanced, you are really missing out!

XOXO

Your Redlocks and Shamrocks Girl,

Lisa Doyle

 

 

 

 

 

5 Date Nights to Have at HOME!

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My husband and I don’t get too many date nights where we get dressed up, leave the kids at home, and have a nice dinner.   There are many reasons why a month {or embarrassingly multiple months} will go by and we don’t get the opportunity to get out of the house alone-babysitters, time, not wanting to leave kids after working all day.  The list {or excuses} goes on and on, but those traditional dates don’t happen often in our relationship.  Nevertheless that doesn’t mean we don’t have a good marriage or don’t dedicate time to maintain our loving relationship.   My husband and I do several things throughout the day-even if we’re not together to show our love and affection for one another-but you can’t replace those important moments alone together.  Once our children go to bed at 8pm we often are so exhausted we want to fall asleep too, but this part of the evening is quality time just for the two of us which is why often we will do a date night AT HOME! Here are five ways we do date nights at home:

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  1. Post bedtime dinner date: Family dinners are SO important in our family and it is a tradition we are instilling in our family.  However, every now and then its okay to do dinners apart and feed your kids some grilled cheeses and eat a light snack.  Then after the kids go to bed I send my husband out for some takeout from a nicer-but not too nice restaurant.  Our go to in the Las Vegas area is I Love Sushi or Table Thai.  While my hubby is out picking up the order I set the table and light some candles-or we will pig out right on the couch.  It is a simple perfect at home date night.
  1. Sit outside: After putting the kids to bed sit outside under the stars open a bottle of wine a relax. Sometimes these moments are the best to even not talk.  Just soak up quite time with your man-after all whether you’re a SAHM or a working mom you’ve been hustling and hearing talking all day long, it’s time to wind down and relax.
  1. Movie night: After putting the kids to bed pick out a movie pop some popcorn and cuddle. Put down the phones like you would in a real theater!!! Warning- don’t pull the exhausted parent move and fall asleep during the movie like my husband does. Lol
  1. Unplug completely: I know, I know you’re behind on Real Housewives or How to Get Away with Murder and you want to see what everyone has been up to on Instagram {are you following me @redlocksandshamrocks?} but unplug-turn off the TV, put the iPhone on the charger in the next room, and talk or play an old fashion board game. Better yet make it into a drinking game.
  1. The comPARENTion– Who doesn’t love a good competition? Whoever gets their kid to do something the child hates wins a 10-minute foot, back, or neck massage! For example, our toddler hates broccoli, whoever can successfully get our child to eat the veggie (without tears or forcing it down) wins!  This can be used for food, chores, bath time whatever your kid fights you to the death not to do!

 

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Time away from your kids and quality time with your husband is crucial in maintaining a happy relationship.  It’s so easy to fall asleep on the couch, zone out on TV or social media, do chores, or even do work from home after the kids go to bed, but remember to take time to focus on the heart of your family-the husband and wife relationship.

What at home date nights do you and your spouse love?  Comment below and tell me!

XOXO

Your Redlocks and Shamrocks Girl,

Lisa Doyle

The photography in this blog post was by J. Anne Photography

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It May Not Be Your First RODEO, but It Was His!

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It may not be your first rodeo, but it was Kohen’s!   Our little man recently celebrated his first birthday so we partied cowboy style throwing him his first rodeo!  For first birthday parties I love to do themes, easy food, and festive decor!   Did you see Logie Bears’ first birthday?  Check out that blog post here. I was lucky enough to meet the wonderful event planner of Starry Eyed Events who helped decorate part of his party.   If you are in the Las Vegas area definitely hit her up for your next celebration!  The other decor was either thrown together from what I already had or from Oriental Trading.

Our little birthday boy was too excited about the balloons that Starry Eyed Events brought that you couldn’t quite see his “My First Rodeo” t-shirt.

Cowboy gear was the dress code for the event, but if a guest came unprepared I got these cute cowboy hats and bandannas to keep everyone festive.

Starry Eyed Events did a pristine job decorating the dessert table to display tempting cupcakes and the first birthday staple, the SMASH cake!  I always say the BEST place to get a small smash cake is Albertsons!  They always do a great job for a low cost and often will throw in the smash cake for FREE if you order enough cupcakes.

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Starry Eyed Events even brought an ipod and speaker filled with country jams and rodeo tunes to set the mood and ambiance of the party.  This allowed every person to grab their partner and Do Si Do!  I put up the other decorations for the party about a week in advance.   This always helps get the kids excited and give you one less thing to do as the party day comes closer!

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Other decor I threw together was a clothesline banner displaying Kohen’s monthly photographs-he grew so much in one year!

Simple number one balloons, flowers, and mason jars were great center pieces.   And Pin the Tale on the Cow was a fun game for the toddlers at the party!

I also set out a craft for the kiddos to make their own farm out of animal stickers and construction paper.   Don’t you just love this custom farm table? We get TONS of use out of it.

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Now for the food!

I have to admit I love throwing parties but I HATE making food.   Its so much work-the planning, cooking, and clean up alone! Ugh!  I always try to buy most of the food and only make a few things.   It seems to saves energy and sometimes money.

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Pulled pork, chicken, and “KoKo Beans” (baked beans) were served in my triple crock-pot, a must for parties.

Fruit, cups of popcorn, and chips made for great rodeo side dishes.

The smash cake is always my favorite party of any first birthday!   The little one’s first taste of sweetness, will they be scared?  Like it?  Be disgusted? Devour it?

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We of course shared with our older sister!

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Happy birthday to our little Bean!  I can’t wait to see the adventures you will encounter this coming year!  

XOXO

Your Redlocks and Shamrocks Girl,

Lisa Doyle

 

*This blog post was partnered with Starry Eyed Events.   This was an amazing party planning company to work with and I highly recommend it.   The thoughts and opinions of this blog are my own.