Currently Loving….Austin!

I traveled to Austin for the first time last week and fell in love with this city! The weather, the food and the people were awesome! We had a team offsite there and I stayed two nights and had 3 jam packed days of learning and experiencing Austin.

Here were the highlights:

Here’s me on the Bike Tour

1 – It’s super dog friendly! I don’t have a dog, nor do I want one, but I like to enjoy other people’s pets! We went to Bangers for dinner one night, and most of the seating at this restaurant is outdoors. Although it was a little chilly for Austin (mid-50s) this place was packed. Next to the outdoor seating is a dog park, so your dog can make friends and socialize while you enjoy Banger’s sausage and beer selection.

2 – If you’re visiting Austin, take a bike tour. We toured with the Austin Bike Tour company and it was a ton of fun.  I hung out towards the back of group (because i was afraid of falling off my bike and embarrassing myself 🙂 so I didn’t get to hear too much from the tour guide, but it was still a really unique way to see the city. There is a huge trail that goes around the city. Even on a chilly day, we passed tons of walkers, joggers and doggies! I think I’m going to do this more often when I visit new cities.

3 – BBQ heaven! If you like BBQ, you’ll have lots of food options in Austin! We went to Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood, which was delicious, but outside of Austin, about a 40 min drive with traffic. There are a lot of options inside the city you could walk to.

4 – The music! We went to a small bar called Icenahuer’s after dinner and listened to The Jack Burton Trio playing throwback tunes. They rocked it out on the patio!

5 – Rainey street – This reminded me so much of New Orleans. Tons of open air bars with great drinks and live music. Apparently there is a bar called the ‘Container Bar’ that is literally made out of shipping containers. I didn’t’ make it there but my coworkers said it was awesome. I’d love to hit up a few of these bars next time I’m in town.

I wish the boys could have joined me on this work trip – maybe next time!

xoxo 

Zehnder’s Splash Village Review

We survived our first water park! It was a fun weekend, but after one overnight and 2 days at Zehnder’s Splash Village, I think we were all ready to come home for some down time.
It was Snowfest weekend in Frankenmuth and the city was BUSY. Our friend organized a weekend here for her daughter’s 2ndbirthday.  This is my idea of party planning – just tell everyone where you’ll be and they can book their own ro

oms. Easy enough!

Zehnder’s Splash Village (not to be confused with Zehnder’s restaurant, totally different location) is next to Bronner’s (the Christmas store!). There are two main water parks right next to each other and a separate outdoor pool.  My friend Erin wrote an article called ‘Surviving a Waterpark with a Toddler,’ which I read again immediately after I found out we were going. During her stay the new park, Atrium Park, was under construction. It was fully open this weekend and it was pretty awesome.
Both water parks have a shallow kiddie area, a 3 – 4 feet area with volleyball and basketball, a lazy river, slides and a jacuzzi. The newer water park has more ‘adult’ slides (one of which my husband, the daredevil, wouldn’t do). Apparently you stand there at the top and the floor gives out and you drop – not my idea of fun. The original park has a great ‘windy’ slide that my son was able to ride on my husband’s lap. He did this 5 times! He loved it.
Here are the top highlights:

  • This was my first water park, so I don’t have much to compare it to, but for the most part, it was pretty clean in terms of the pool area and changing rooms.
  • This weekend was super busy because of Snowfest, and the hotel was booked.  I thought for sure we wouldn’t get a seat, but we were able to find plenty of tables and chairs for our large group. The majority of seating is in the new area, and there is a lot of room.
  • There were always plenty of towels in both parks. They are small, but you can grab as many as you need.
  • There are two little cafes that serve the pool areas. Snacks include pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, chips and dips and huge donuts. They also serve beer and fruity alcoholic drinks.
  •  There’s a decent sized arcade that we took advantage of after dinnertime. The prizes are horrible (20 tickets for a plastic ring!?) but provided a good hour of entertainment for my toddler.
  • The rooms are dated but clean. Pretty standard amenities. We got the most basic room, the Dragonfly Room, and it had a fridge, microwave, coffee maker, soaps/shampoo/conditioner and this adorable kids tear-free wash, which I thought was adorable.
  • The pizza at the Elk Hollow Cafe is delicious! 

…and the lowlights:
  • It’s not cheap. Our basic room for this weekend was around $300. I can stay a night in Hawaii for that cost. The prices were probably a bit higher because of Snowfest. I hear they go down in the Summer and during the week.
  • Only one real restaurant. I like to have options!
  • The hotel is not lenient on checkout times, which is really hard with a toddler that still takes two naps a day. 

Advice:

  • Bring snacks. The food wasn’t bad, but this will save you money and time waiting at cafes. 
  • They have life jackets you can borrow but I’d suggest bringing your own so you know you have the right fit. 
  • If you “think” you may need a late checkout, ask when you check in. They only allow so many (or so they told me).
  • If you want to dinner at Zehnder’s or Bavarian Inn, they have shuttles to and from the restaurants, so you don’t have to drive. 
  • Take advantage of the water park both the day you check in and the day you check out. I think Max had more fun the the day we checked out since it didn’t’ take him as long to get use to it. 
Overall it was a really fun time. I’d definitely go back with family and friends!

Snack break

Currently Loving…

Here’s a round up of things I’m currently loving, enjoying, and taking advantage of in my life….

This week:

1 – Billions on Showtime

I think this show has potential. I was a little nervous about ‘Brody’ from Homeland playing a completely new persona, but he’s sells it. Extra bonus that it takes place in NYC. My husband and I lived there for a year and had the most epic year. 

I recently complimented my best friend on her flawless skin and she gave credit to her beauty sponge. She bought me one from Marshalls and I have to say, it works. I don’t wear foundation a lot,  but when I do, I’m using this sponge to apply it. It goes on so smooth. Pro trick: wet the sponge a bit before application, then use it to blend foundation. Adds a little hydration and helps it to glide.
3 Fitbit challenges
I’m currently in 2 different weekly challenges and I’m so motivated to move! 
4 – $50 Craigslist Elliptical
I was obsessing over what kind of exercise I can do before work in the AM, and thought an elliptical would be great at home cardio, and easy on my joints. I was researching machines and didn’t realize they were so much more expensive than treadmills. I wanted to make sure I was going to stay committed, so I bought a $50 special on Craigslist to trial. It’s not that bad! If I stay committed and use it consistently for a few months, I may splurge on a new one.
5 – Etsy Planner sticker shops
My name is Angela, and I’m a sticker addict. I’ve been “suffering” for 30 years! I’ve always loved stickers growing up, and nothing has changed. I recently splurged on an Erin Condren planner and I’m obsessed with marking travel, appointments and holidays with stickers. It just makes it more fun! Here are some of my favorite:

Happy New Year Giveaway

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This blog post contains affiliate links. #momamongchaos
Welcome to the Happy New Year Giveaway
Are you ready to win? There will be two winners! First a $20 Paypal and second a prize pack!

Hosted By Mom Among Chaos
Co-hosted by:


One winner will receive a $20 Paypal gift certificate sent to your email.

The second winner will receive a prize that includes:
emoji icons phone case for Galaxy S 3
Mighty Handle
Thirty-One Gifts Nail File

ALSO, WE would love for you to follow us ON FACEBOOK! IF YOU LIKE OUR BLOGS ON SOCIAL MEDIA IT HELPS US BRING YOU ALL THE BEST GIVEAWAYS!

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Ends 2/1/16. Giveaway open to the U.S. only. The winner is subject to eligibility verification. Winner must reply within 24 hours or a new winner will be chosen. Prizes supplied by Mom Among Chaos. 

Gymboree Sale – Up to 75% off Entire Site

So many great deals on Gymboree.com right now. This sale is really good, and you’ll earn Gymbucks on your order. They are offering up to 75% off their entire site. They only do this twice a year.

Gymboree fits my little man so well. They make their clothes a bit wider so they always fit comfortably, even after a few washes. Make sure to check out their Valentine’s Day outfits. I bought both the ‘Mommy’s Little Man’ and ‘I Heart Mom’ shirts 🙂

Top 7 Apps for Busy Moms

Did you get a new phone for the holidays? If so, here are the top 7 apps busy moms need! These apps (or types of apps) will save you time!

  1. Google Calendar is key. You can use this on iPhones as well. I add all appointments and travel dates to my husband’s calendar, and vice versa, so we can plan around each other’s schedules. 
  2. Credit card or bank account apps – Our main credit card is an American Express card so I have the Amex app on my phone. This makes it easy to check my balance and pay bills with just a few clicks. (Android Amex app, iOS Amex app)
  3. Grocery store app – If your grocery store has an app, download it! I use to enjoy going through weekly coupon mailers but I just don’t have the time anymore. I now use Meijer’s app for clipping coupons. It’s so easy and I save a lot of money doing it! I can look at the deals of the week from the app and ‘clip’ them to my profile. Then, when I’m checking out in store, the coupons are applied automatically as soon as I enter my mPerks number. I know other grocery chains have apps, but I’m not sure if they have this same functionality. If you have a Meijer near you, I highly suggest it!  (Android Meijer app, iOS Meijer app)
  4. Pinterest – Great for organizing recipes you want to try, organization tips, etc. I threw out all of my cooking books that were collecting dust and use Pinterest to organize my recipes by gluten free, breakfast, clean eating dinners,young etc.  (Android app, iOS app)
  5. Taskrabbit allows you to connect with people who can help you in every aspect of life. Need a mover? A house organizer? Someone to wrap Christmas presents? Fire up TaskRabbit and hire help! Note, this is only available in select cities for now. Hoping it comes to Michigan soon! (Android app, iOS app)
  6. Groovebook is an app that allows you to print 100 cell phone pictures each month, in a fun 4×6 book. The app is free, and the monthly book costs $2.99. I don’t know about you, but all pictures of my son are on my phone, and I never get them printed! This is a nice reminder for busy moms to take a few minutes to select photos they want hard copies of. You can print multiples of one photo, too. Every time you see a family member or friend you’ll have a new picture to share with them – you’ll look like a rockstar mom! (Android app, iOS app)
  7. Amazon app is essential if you are an Amazon Prime member (or shop with Amazon often). I can open my app and reorder baby formula or diapers in 3 clicks. (Android app, iOS app)
This post is part of a Blog Hop from Blogs and Business: Moms Who Do it All Facebook Group.
Check out some of the other awesome blog posts below:

Erin Condren Life Planner Review

I remember spending hours shopping with my best friend for the perfect high school senior year planner. Yes, I was a nerd. I loved my planner. We would write so much there was barely any white space left. I basically used it as a journal as well. I still have them to this day and can’t part with them.

I kept planners through college but when I started my first full time job out of college, I stopped using them. Fast forward 10 years…I need it back!

I use Google Calendar for all work related stuff, and love syncing my calendar with my husband’s for travel days, doctor appointments, etc. And even though I use Google Calendar on my phone, there is something about writing stuff down and crossing it off that has instant gratification.

I did my research and most of the blogger groups I belong to raved about Erin Condren Life Planners. I purchased the horizontal version and counted down the days until it shipped. I’m a month into using it and I’m in love. Here’s what I’m digging:

  • Lots of space to write and add stickers
  • There’s a 30 day calendar for each month, followed by weekly layouts
  • You can customize a cover for free, which I overloaded with pictures of my son 🙂
  • There’s a Notes section at the end of each week – I like to use this space for weekly to-do’s
  • There’s a pocket in the back for loose notes, receipts, etc. 
  • A zipper pouch
  • A moveable ruler/bookmarker
  • Facebook groups based on Erin Condren planners – I get so many fun ideas for planning from these groups
  • Etsy sticker shops galore! 
  • My only dislike is the thickness/size. It does add a bit of weight to my laptop bag, but I’m willing carry it so my planner is with me. 

If you want a $10 coupon code, please leave your email below or tweet at me, and I’ll send you a coupon code!

xoxo
Angela
*this post contains affiliate links

Top Toy List Holiday 2015

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family friends. Now, enter holiday shopping

craziness. Here are a few toy round ups to help you choose your gifts…

Amazon 2015 Holiday Toy List

Toy’s R Us Hot Toy List

Forbes Top Ten Toys to Watch (I love that Roominate is on here, they were on Shark Tank!)

Top Toys for 2015: Washington Post (This list has a lot of craft toys listed for the crafty kids out there)

Doc McStuffins items, Fisher-Price Smart Toy Bear and Star Wars stuff all seem to be pretty popular. 

What’s Cooking! Meal Prep Review

I’d love to cook a super healthy dinner every night, but it’s just so hard to find time. Before Max, I cooked probably 6 out of 7 nights a week, and I loved it! Now, I’m lucky if I get to cook a meal during the weekend, let alone prep for the week. 

My office just became a drop off location for What’s Cooking!, and it has proven to be a total life saver so far! What’s Cooking! is a meal prep delivery service for Ann Arbor and the surrounding area. Our office has become a drop off location so I can use the service even though I live outside the city. 
Each Thursday a new menu comes out with fresh, healthy meals. You choose what you want for the next week, pay, and it’s delivered the next week. After you’re done with the meals you wash out the containers, leave them in your cooler bag for pick up, and they drop off your next week’s meals. It’s so easy. 
So far I’ve had delicious salads with lots of fun toppings, citrus chicken, and salmon with egg plant (it had to be some of the best egg plant I’ve ever had).  The portions are a generous size (this is coming from my husband who will sometimes ask servers if the meals are ‘big man approved’). In terms of pricing, I’d give it ‘$$,’ but you have to remember you’re paying for fresh ingredients, delivery and convenience. My huge salad this week, which includes chicken, walnuts, apples, cranberries and goat cheese, was $11. It will probably last me 1.5 meals (I’ll eat the leftover as a side salad the next day).
If you find yourself short on time for meal prep, I’d encourage you to find something similar to What’s Cooking! in your area. If you already use something similar, please comment below and share your experience! 
xo – Angela

Toy Sale on Zulily

I love to shop, and I love a good deal. Today the deal site, Zulily, is featuring toys for all ages. I just purchased the workbench set for my son, it was almost half off! Tons of toys from Land of Nod, Melissa & Doug, Playskool, Little Tikes and more. Check it out before they items are sold out – limited quantities available!

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