Car search for 3 kids 4 and under…

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Cassie, my Toyota Camry, was my first “big girl purchase” right out of grad school and I bought her new at a local Toyota dealership.  We are in it for the long haul together.  Cassie will belong to me until the wheels fall off, no joke.  But, my husband’s Ford Focus on the other hand…it is tiny, absolutely tiny. Perfect for a small family or a single person but not for a growing family with young kids.  My husband is 6”2 and he manages to fit his tall body in that car (still baffled by this). We’ve been jamming our two boys in the Focus since we became parents and it’s no longer working. It was time for the Focus to hit the road and find a new home.  No tears shed on that one, no sir.

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Pregnancy Announcement Ideas

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I am not sure about you guys, but every time I see a friend or log into social media someone is having a baby!  It got me thinking, how did you announce to friends and family that you and your partner were expecting?  Did you call, write, or share the news in person? Did you post a picture of a sonogram or create a photo op with a pet to share the news?  I have gathered my favorite pregnancy announcement pictures with my all time faves for you all.

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Quiche

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Cabin fever is a real phenomenon. I know, because, I currently suffer from it. I am not a fun mom that spends all day romping in the snow with my kids.  I refuse to do so because 1. I hate cold weather. 2. I will not spend 45 minutes finding and layering on the clothes for them to cry after being outside for 5 minutes and want to go in.  

So, what does that leave me to do so I don’t lose the tiny amount of sanity I have left? Bake quiche of course!

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Barre Babe in RVA

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It’s no secret that I love Pure Barre – the community, the workout, the apparel, the form, the support from other girls in class to raise my heels higher, and shake for that final 10.  I am constantly recommending barre to friends and family because regardless of your fitness goals, shape or size, its a killer workout for everyone that is low impact on the body but packs the punch with results.

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Pure Barre Essentials

What I typically hear in response is that barre is too pricey and they cant make the amount work for their budget. I have always felt that price is secondary to how much you love the fitness studio you belong to and the results you see, but as we focus more on our budget in 2018 I started to understand more and more why people were hesitant to pay the $135 annual member monthly price tag that Pure Barre held for me. So,  I made the decision to end my contract in hopes to find a more affordable option!

So, I decided I would do a barre crawl in RVA and compare overall experience, cost and class options for your benefit and here is part 1 of my  review:

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Subscription Meal Boxes- Yay or Nay?

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My mailbox was filling up with free cards and discounts for various meal subscription boxes. I discarded them as a waste of money and not necessary for our family since I really enjoy meal prepping and planning.  But, as they kept coming relentlessly I started to wonder – are they worth it? Would they help me try something new?  Would the kids like it?  So, like every marketer dream – I succumbed. I tried 2 meal subscription services: Hello Fresh and Blue Apron.  Here are my thoughts, reviews and comparisons:

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H20 + Hydration

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New Year, New You?

It’s time for packed gyms, resolutions, and emphasis on being healthier and fit in 2018. Part of fueling your body is making sure you are hydrated.  Not sure how much water your body needs per day?  Each body will vary depending on health factors and individual specific needs but overall here are good guidelines from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

  • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
  • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

Other factors that the Mayo Clinic highlights as being key factors for needing additional water intake:

  • Pregnancy/Breastfeeding: 10 cups for pregnant women and 13 cups for breastfeeding women.  
  • Exercise
  • Heat/Humidity
  • Health Conditions

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Before you head to the gym with limited  water intake, think again! Fuel your body with the water you need! Here are 4 simple ways to track water that will get you and your body ready to go!!

#1  Are you a planner nerdlike me?  I draw 8 water drops in my planner each morning and color them in after I drink each class. I always have my planner open so I can glimpse down and keep an eye out for how I am doing throughout the day.

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#2 Drink a glass of water before and after each meal.  It becomes habit.  If you are a nervous or busy eater, you might find that you are actually not hungry at all, just dehydrated.  

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#3 Waterlogged app – free app for tracking water. It is easy to use and custom for each person based on your water bottle.  Provides reminders to drink up and encouragement throughout the day!

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#4  Water bottle tracker – There is nothing better than a cute water bottle to track your water.  The Monogramming Teacher makes some amazing products and one of these is a tracker bottle!!

What are your tips and tricks for adequate water intake each day? Are you a water lover or struggle with daily intake?  

Need a new water bottle to start you off feeling refreshed and ready to crush your goals? Enter to win the Monogrammed Teachers water bottle in our Instagram Contest.  Head on over to https://www.instagram.com/fit_family_life to enter! Good Luck!

Happy New Year friends! Here’s to a happy and healthy 2018!

Xoxo

Erin

Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

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I love Panera – endless bread, sweets, and the best soup ever? Need I say more?  Their Southwest Chicken Soup is LEGIT.  We’ve been sick and hanging out at home more so I decided to make my own version with what we had on hand. It was delicious!

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New Years Eve fun for families!

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You may have plans to ring in the New Year in your most fancy glittery dress with the highest heels in your closet and ready to dance the night away and drink all the bubbly in sight. Or, you may be in bed snoring long before the ball drops.  I have no shame admitting I am in the second group of party animals!

If you want to celebrate the New Year but would rather do so at 12:00pm noon instead of 12:00am then here are a 7 awesome options for you and your family!

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Cold Weather Kiddo Blues

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There is nothing worse than cold weather and a young child or children, in my case.  I’m convinced the scenario is designed to make all parents lose what little sanity we have left. All winter long I fantasize about what it would be like to pack my crew up and take up residence in Florida or California.  I’m just not cut out for frigid temps.  I cringe thinking about having to go to the same indoor play area on repeat all winter, so my boys don’t tear my house apart. (Well that happens anyways, but that’s a whole different topic).

We already have a membership to almost every family option in Richmond, but the one place I hadn’t explored yet was Romp n’ Roll.  I know, embarrassing, considering its 4 minutes from my house.  We grabbed our socks, donned our most comfy apparel, hopped in the Camry (HA, I wish it was this easy. Let’s be real I chased them around the house as I worked up a sweat like I ran to China and back) and headed to Busy Street!

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Meet Rompy – the cutest mascot there is!

Upon arrival, we were greeted by the front desk staff who had name tags created and was ready to check our family in.  I was a little nervous because Palmer (my 3-year-old) was headed into a Silly Science class on his own. I prepped him beforehand and told him that he was going to a big boy class on his own, so he was PUMPED.   He didn’t hesitate or look back when he heard the welcome song that the teachers use welcoming the children to class. Off he went, and Grayson and I were greeted a few minutes later into his Toddler Tunes class with other 10-24-month-olds. First impressions are critical for me, and we were off to a fabulous start with the smiling faces and cheerful demeanor.

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Welcome to Romp n’ Roll – West End location!

Grayson was welcomed to the toddler group and introduced as a new friend.  We met Rompy, the dog mascot, and began by singing and then reading a short story and talking about the weekly theme, Farm Animals.  We entered the gym for a structured 45-minute combination of free play, bubble dancing, parachute fun, and singing.  The activities were engaging, fun, and interactive. There was a schedule, a plan, and a purpose to all things we did with the kids. I LOVED that the teacher was also prompting parents on how to engage with their children as well (social worker mom over here was swooning by this point).  I was impressed that parents are involved in this class and play alongside their child. We ended the class by singing a goodbye song and telling Rompy we would see him soon! Earning a stamp for putting shoes back on was the perfect way to encourage the children to assist with that final task before heading out of the door.  Or in my case, football hold carrying Palmer out of the door because he loved it so much he was refusing to leave! (Worst mom ever when I told him we did, in fact, have to go home and couldn’t remain at Romp n’ Roll all day!)

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Bubble time = lights off and a strobe light on! Basically, a kid disco going on and a crowd pleaser!

We have now attended Silly Science, Pirates, Open Gym, Arts and Crafts, and Toddler Tunes, classes.  We have LOVED, and I mean LOVED every single one.  Scheduling class is easy through the Mind-Body App or website, which reserves a space for your child.  I got a little choked up (No surprise there for those that know me) being able to have 45 minutes with one on one time with Grayson.  All parents and caregivers who manage multiple children will understand that it’s hard to get one on one time with each child.  I needed that time to have no phone, no distractions and just be there 100% for him mentally and physically.  Moms of multiples, don’t despair, there are daily options with corresponding classes for siblings.  This is what sealed the deal for us.  The art classes are great because its one less mess you have to clean up.  The items are provided, the fun occurs, and you get to go home without a new masterpiece on your kitchen wall or without the family pet getting a new colorful stripe added to their fur coat.

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Some of the masterpiece creations from art classes! I spy some future Van Gogh’s!

So, here we are a little over 1 month later – members of another RVA family establishment and happy as can be.  In addition to amazing classes where you can be present with your kids there are times during the week where children, age 2-5 can be dropped off for a fun class while adults can run errands, shop, get a mani/pedi, wander the aisles of Target (every mom’s dream!) or heck, go take a nap! (You’ve earned it!)  Romp N Roll also offers Kids Night Out class with pizza and evening fun for date nights for parents as well as camps during school holidays. You are not locked into an annual contract either! When we factored in this added benefit, coupled with sibling discount, and the ability for a nanny to bring boys to class at no extra cost it was a no-brainer.

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Calling all parents, caregivers, grandparents, friends and shoppers – as we enter the holiday season and our homes become overcrowded with loud, annoying, plastic toys made in other countries that our children will play with for 5 seconds and then end up in a bag for Goodwill – check out Romp n’ Roll for a gift card or a month membership for a loved one.  For my friends across the river in the West End, don’t despair there’s a location close by to you as well! Promise its worth every penny! Rompy and the Smith Crew are ready to play!

 

Are you Romp n’ Roll lovers? Have you tried out a free class yet? If not, schedule your free intro class here.  See you soon!

 

Xoxo,

Erin

Making a list and checking it twice!

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Like jolly Old Saint Nick – you probably have a list of items to purchase and are checking it twice … to see who you have left to buy for and scrambling to figure out what to get! Gifts for loved ones can be difficult – especially when they probably have what they need already!   A gift should be thoughtful, special, and meaningful.  I firmly believe that gifting a handmade, local item that was made with love is more special than a mass produced item from a big box store.   It shows the recipient of the gift that you truly took the time to find an item that fits what they mean to you and symbolizes the relationship you share.

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