Make Family Memories in Your Own Back Yard

Stop spending all of your money thrill seeking at amusement and water parks. The best family memories are made in your own back yard and Backyard Ocean has you covered with their Float to Fill Ring Pools. Note that I did receive this product to give to my extremely precious granddaughter in exchange for my honest opinions, and memories none of us will ever forget.

Backyard Ocean Simple Summer Escapes Pool Party

Children are actually very simple to please, before we teach them otherwise that is. I think we often forget that in our quest to keep up with the Jones. That Jones family that has all that great stuff and goes on lavish vacations? They aren’t happier than you. They are just maxed out on credit cards, and quite honestly, they’re probably trying to keep up with you too. Toss all of that aside, stop spending copious amounts of money on amusement parks and water parks (that probably stress you out anyway…wait, that’s not just me, right?), and make affordable and fun family memories in your own back yard! Your kids, and your wallet, will thank you.

Stop spending money and create a simple and affordable Ocean Oasis in your own back yard with Backyard Ocean

Really, as parents, even more so as grandparents, we overthink these things. I had lavish plans of a HUGE party this summer. There would be grilling, a bounce house, elephants and giraffes (overboard?), and so much pool party fun, it would be the talk of the town for decades to come. But this summer threw me some loops and my dreams of grandeur didn’t come to fruition. We had fun (and chaos, so much chaos), but no amazing party and I didn’t get to set up the pool I got for my beautiful Natalie Bug to enjoy. But you know what? All of that hooplah wasn’t necessary! Apparently you don’t need all of that fancy stuff to make a wee-tot happy. Know how I know? It didn’t happen, and I sent this simple set up pool home with the “kids” and they’re having the best summer ever because Natalie really cares less about the hype than she does this pool, her new BFF in her own back yard!

Create an Affordable Ocean Oasis in your own back yard with Back Yard Ocean

Backyard Ocean’s Float to Fill™ Ring Pools make it incredibly easy to enjoy all of the benefits of a quality pool without any of the installation costs and hassles. All you have to do is lay out the pool on a flat surface, fill the inflatable ring with air, then fill the pool with water. The ring rises as you fill the pool, pulling up the rugged walls with it, making setup a breeze! Easy peasy and the pool is so sturdy, your little one doesn’t even have to wait until the pool is full to begin enjoying the fun.

Make Your Grandchild Smiles with a simple and affordable backyard oasis

And here I was going to spend ridiculous amounts of money to make my grandbaby smile. Silly me. Silly you because I know you’ve been trying to do the same thing for your family. If you have little ones at home, this is the way to go. Save that money, save your time, and save all of that aggrevation and chaos. Tell the Jones you just don’t care about keeping up with them anymore. The best family memories are made in your own back yard!

best backyard for summer

Who’s with me? There’s still plenty of summer left (especially if you live in the south). Are you ready to take the challenge to make the best backyard pool setup and celebrate all of the warm-weather fun?

Life Lessons Learned from a Family Reunion at My House

Family. It’s complicated, especially when you grow up. Everyone moves on. Life goes on. You call each other. You text. You share Facebook space. You love and amuse each other…from a distance. But you don’t share your “space”. There’s a reason for that. You each create your own space, and it’s a beautiful thing. You all have your own rules, again beautiful. But what happens when you try to blend that family back together for an extended visit? CHAOS! That’s what. We, my family, did just that last week and let me share the “life lessons” I learned from this family reunion at my house.

Galveston Family Visit July 2015

Disclosure: This might piss off some family members, but you know what? They can’t deny truth and I hope they laugh along with me on this one. There was fun, lots of fun, but there was chaos and I learned a lot from Galvestongeddon 2015. 

If you’re planning a family reunion AT YOUR HOUSE any time soon, I urge you to read this list first. Because, for real, it might be rough on you and I think you should know. Like for real, y’all, this visit got cray-cray. Although it was awesome to see everyone, I’m rethinking agreeing to this AT MY HOUSE. So, without further ado…here’s my top 10 learnings from this visit…AT MY HOUSE:

If you're planning a family visit at your house, you need to read this top 10 list first.

  1. My granddaughter is the absolute cutest, funniest, and smartest granddaughter on the entire planet. (Don’t argue with me on that. It won’t go well…for YOU).
  2. Adult siblings, especially 3 strong-headed women, should not spend extended periods of time in the exact same space (think eat, sleep, breathe, and shit people). This is a huge issue if that space happens to be the nit-picky cleaner (nit-picky really sounds better than OCD, no?) of the family’s home.
  3. My babies get along incredibly well with each other when there are other children around, basically because they don’t even speak to one another.
  4. Four kids in one house for 6 days that rarely get to see each other are extremely loud. Sound barriers were broken. I’m sure my fine is in the mail.
  5. Toilet bowl lids should always be closed and toilet paper should always be loaded to the holder flap up. I seriously didn’t realize this was a life lesson, but apparently it is. (For the record, I think this one was my very own daughter…that I raised in my house…with my rules. I fail.)
  6. Both of my older daughters have grown into incredible young women and I’m very proud of both of them despite what some of the haters might say (the haters are not in my family for the record and would never be allowed…IN MY HOUSE).
  7. Celebrating your 12th wedding anniversary during a long visit from your extended family will not go well and you might even end up in a spat. Seriously, don’t let this one happen to you.
  8. Having a bunch of grown women in my house all at one time is kind of like a mini-conference and it’s a sure bet I’ll lose my voice within 2 days. Hello, Kermit.
  9. Family visits and picky eaters I learned the true difference between picky eaters and weird eaters. My family has both. Picky eaters are easier to please than weird eaters. Bubby loves peanut butter. He loves jelly. He will not eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Madi loves sea urchins (shrimp), but will not eat a sandwich. The end.
  10. Above all, I do love my family, all of them, but for future reference, I know that it’s better to rent hotel rooms for all, separately,  in the event that we ever all get together in the same place at the same time again.

I hope you giggled, at least a little bit, at the tale of our fun family reunion (agony) while reading this. I’m sure my sisters hate me right now, but that’s OK. We’re family. That’s what families do. We’ll fuss, we’ll forgive, we’ll share our space again…from a distance. We’re grown and it’s our right to be as dysfunctional as we’d like to be. For the record, this trip was not my plan. Like, I wasn’t involved in the initial planning at all. Y’all can blame B and my sister’s husband (who didn’t show up at all, he’s a brilliant man for that) for this trip. Thanks, guys. Love and kisses for that. You totally rock, you really do (please feel free to insert a sarcastic tone here). Life is sort of back to normal, and normal is good. I’m wishing the same for my sisters. It’s all good. Really, it’s all good. Despite the problems and fights (really, adult sibling fights are way nastier than childhood sibling fights), it was really good to see my entire family again.

6 Ways to Fix a Terrible, Horrible, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY (Week)

We’ve had a really bad week and a half. Special thanks to Click Communications for sending us an early release copy of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY (available on Blu-Ray on 2/10/15) and other fun products to help us get out of our funk and have a great time!

family movie night, family game night, Disney movies

I’m not going to complain about this to you (much), but with cold, flu, and virus season, we pretty much had a terrible, horrible, no good, VERY BAD WEEK last week. As in craptastic. The kids were on again, off again, sick all week long and luckily for me…they took turns! One would be fine in the morning (no fever, no cough, no signs of *shudder* vomit) and they’d head to school. I’d get a call around the end of the day that one of them was sick. Again. So much back and forth to school. So many days keeping them home all together. So much not fun stuff happening. But Friday, they were both feeling great and I wanted to kick this terrible, horrible, no good, VERY BAD WEEK and cheer them up. Oh wait, you’re having the same problem? I’m sorry, but when they’re well, I have the perfect plan for you! Here are 6 ways to help you, and them, get back to having really great days again and a lot of fun while you’re doing it!

family movie night, family game night, Disney Movies

#1 – Head to your favorite retailer and pick up the supplies you’ll need.

You’re going to need a good movie. I highly recommend Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY because it obviously fits my theme, it’s hilarious, and it’s available on Blu-Ray on 2/10/15. I’ve read mixed reviews, but I have to say that people that didn’t like it (sorry, people that didn’t like it) obviously don’t have a sense of humor. This movie made me giggle snort, and giggle snort often. I won’t give anything away in case you didn’t see it in theaters, but Alexander has an obsession with Australia that turns his family’s terrible, horrible, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY into something amazing that made me find hope for the end of some of our worst days and/or weeks. We decided to pick up some Australia-themed games to start out our evening of recovery and fun.

movie night

#2 – Before the movie, let them have fun playing some themed games.

Toss the ring around the alligator’s tail or head. Games help with hand-eye coordination, they’re fun, and they get the kids excited to see your movie of choice.

family game night

#3 – Buy them themed puzzles.

Puzzles are another way to challenge them. They’ll read directions with this 3-D alligator puzzle and they’ll learn to work together (and ask their daddy for help). For the record, read the instructions BEFORE you remove all of the pieces for this puzzle. Removing all of the pieces first only makes it more difficult. Who knew?

family movie night, Disney movies

#4 – Pop in the movie while they’re still playing.

There are a couple of reasons for this one. Children’s attention spans are short. We all know this. They love movies, but they sometimes get bored. If they still have a toy in front of them, they have something to do with their idle hands and minds when they want to turn away from the movie. This step also lets you enjoy the movie when they otherwise might get distracted and ask you to entertain them. You’re welcome for that tip.

family movie night, Disney movies

#5 Turn down the lights and let them watch and enjoy.

We love sitting down to watch a good movie together. I especially love the movies that we all like to watch. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY is about a family going through an awful day. We do that too. The kids in the movie are from high school aged to baby. There’s something everyone can relate to here.

family game night, Disney movies

#6 If time allows after the movie, play more games.

Family games or projects are a great way to bring the family together. We had some Lego fun with this Lego Sydney Opera House that was the perfect way to round out the evening. This daddy-daughter activity turned into some great bonding time that created a shelf-worthy memory from this movie night.

I’m glad my family takes the time for movie nights and I’m super appreciative that Disney puts out awesome movies all the time that we can all enjoy. Have you had a terrible, horrible, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY (or week)? We all have them. Watch this movie and you’ll realize that you don’t have it so bad. It’s available at your favorite retailer on 2/10/15 (like TODAY people) so head out and get it and plan your very wonderful, awesome, totally good, amazingly great movie night. That’s what weekends are made for and you know you want to!

Have you seen the movie yet? Did you love it? I think I loved the green marker eating the best, but it’s a toss up with the pirate fire arm scene, or maybe the driver’s test. I don’t know. I’d love to hear your favorite part of this movie if you’ve already seen it. If not, come back after you do and share!