Couple’s Staycation – Houston, TX

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Couple’s Staycation in Houston, TX

Let’s face it, we could all use a little break these days. Whether you’re a parent, wife, husband, single, you name it, a getaway right about now is good for the soul! My husband and I decided to take a staycation in our city of Houston to reconnect and recharge. It’s so important to protect our relationship during these crazy times.

We aren’t comfortable just yet traveling on a plane, so we decided to keep it close with a staycation instead. And the mom in me could relax more knowing baby girl was only about 20 minutes away. We were able to keep it safe and budget-friendly all while having a complete blast together. Keep reading to find out all we did!

Where to stay, what to do, and where to eat

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Right now is the perfect time for a getaway as lots of hotels are offering great deals on your stay. We went with Hotel Alessandra in downtown Houston after hearing good things about it. With a restaurant, bar, and pool you really don’t have to leave the hotel at all. We requested a corner room, and the views of downtown were amazing. There weren’t a lot of people staying there which made it easy to social distance. It was such a nice hotel! Everything was very clean, and the employees were all wearing masks throughout the hotel. Right now they have rates at 25% off so definitely check them out.

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Hotel Pool

So to be honest, we didn’t do much outside of eating and hanging out at the pool. The whole goal this weekend was to reconnect and recharge, which is exactly what we did. We did do a little sightseeing and checked out a few of Houston’s beautiful murals. It’s amazing just how many there are around the city. If you check the Houston Mural Map website, you’ll find out just where to locate them and create your own mural scavenger hunt!

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micos

We went the takeout route the whole weekend. This was not only because of COVID, but really we just wanted chill out in our room. Mico’s Hot Chicken is a Nashville inspired and black owned restaurant that has been on my list of places to try for a while. Their chicken sandwiches come highly recommended, and they did not disappoint! The food was good and affordable (my favorite combo). You can have the option to take it to-go or sit outside under their covered patio. There is no indoor seating. This place is a must-try!

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Buffalo Bayou Brewing

Houston has so many great breweries in the area, but the view at Buffalo Bayou Brewing is hard to beat. They have an amazing rooftop patio that has great views of downtown. As far as COVID goes, they do have to-go food and drinks. The patio tables are spread out as well, and they’re only using plastic cups for drinks. The only thing that was disappointing was that they aren’t doing flights right now, which I love to get at breweries. Our nice waitress did let us try out some samples though. This is a great spot if you’re like us and still have some reservations about being out, but you’re craving a change in scenery. Also, I highly recommend the Dreamsicle beer. It’s perfect for this Houston heat!

 

My Favorite Quarantine Activities

Summer is here! It looks a little different than usual, but it’s here. With it being 100 degrees every day here in Houston, there’s no ignoring it. I’ve been trying my best to stay sane, and find new things for my family to do during this pandemic. Not seeing friends and family, and being couped up in the house can really take its toll. So I’m sharing my top 10 favorite activities for you to try out this summer!

1. Visit new parks

Now I’ll admit that daily trips to the park can start to get a little mundane. If you live in a big enough city, my suggestion is to visit a new park each week. You’ll be surprised how having a new thing to look forward to makes such a difference. I truly believe being outdoors is a great mental health booster. One of my favorite parks in Houston is Buffalo Bayou Park. The views of downtown are beautiful. Pack a picnic and you’re good to go!

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Buffalo Bayou Park

2.  Try some new recipes

You know all those Pinterest recipes you have saved on your boards? Or all those Food Network recipes you always say you’re gonna try? This is the perfect time to do it! Being quarantined definitely has me cooking a lot more. I’ve been doing lots of experimenting with my family and exposing them to new foods. There have been some definite fails, but it’s been fun crossing some recipes off my list. One thing we’ve discovered is how to make deep dish pizza. I linked the recipe below. It’s a little time consuming, but man is it worth it!

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Deep Dish Pizza

4. Happy hour

Boy, do I miss happy hour! One of my favorite spots is Blanco Tacos & Tequila in Houston. Their margaritas are pretty hard to beat. I’ve been trying though! My home edition of happy hour includes my own version of their margaritas that I’ve been tweaking for the past couple of months. It’s finally perfect now though. I think it’s safe to say during this quarantine we’ve all needed a drink or two. So why not make it fun? Recreate your favorite drinks at home!

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Blanco Tacos & Tequila

5. Beach trip

We’re lucky enough to live less than an hour from Galveston beach. It’s a great day trip option, and a great way to wear out the kiddos! In my opinion, the best time to go is early in the morning when the crowd and the temperature are low. And don’t worry, you can easily social distance yourself, and still have a great time. If you’re feeling a little stressed and needing a break, I think this is a great option!

 

6. Movie Night

So I’ve seen these elaborate backyard movie nights on Instagram lately, and they’re pretty impressive! I personally don’t have that kind of space, but I have been shopping around for a mini projector for my own version of an outdoor theater. I’ve seen some on Amazon that run between $80-$100. A great early birthday present if you ask me!

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7. Fruit picking

I think this has to be one of my favorite things we’ve done lately. After hearing a lot of good things about Froberg’s Farm, we decided to check it out. We went early that morning on a weekday so there wasn’t a lot of people; which was perfect for social distancing. Because the farm is so big, it was easy to keep our distance for other people and enjoy our day out. We actually missed strawberry season, but we were able to pick blackberries, zinnia flowers, and sunflowers. It was the perfect day!

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Frobergs Farm

8. Dine alfresco

Now that I’ve spruced up my balcony, eating outside has become my new favorite thing. I honestly wish I had added seating along time ago. It’s like a mini escape. I can pretend I’m eating out at my favorite restaurant with great food and even greater company. Hubs and I love to have our date nights out there at night with my string lights overhead. It’s romantic without any effort whatsoever!

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Check out my last post for patio deets!

9. Game night at home

Who doesn’t love a good game night? And with the help of Zoom and apps like Houseparty, game night can even be virtual now.  I’ve been obsessed with Monopoly lately even though I’m terrible at it! I just don’t know what the key is to winning. I’m literally always the first one to lose. If yall have some tips, help a girl out!

10. Take a virtual trip 

Okay, I know a virtual trip is nothing like the real thing, but a girl can dream right? There’s nothing like traveling and exploring new places. It’s a high that I’m so addicted to. However, with all that on pause, I think taking some virtual trips can be a great substitute. If anything it will give you some new places to add to your travel list. I can’t wait to travel again, but in the meantime I’ll be exploring the world through my computer.

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Virtual Tour of the Grand Canyon

I hope I was able to give you guys some new ideas for this unique summer we’re going to have. I would love to hear some ideas that I missed. Let me know in the comments what yall are up to!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Budget Friendly Holiday Activities

The holiday season is here! It’s that time of year for family, new and old traditions, and making lots of great memories.

I will admit that I can sometimes be a grinch during the holiday season, but not this year! I’m excited to celebrate Journee’s first Christmas with all our family and friends. I’ve made a list of holiday activities that I’m going to attempt to do before the month is out. Most of these are budget friendly ideas, and baby friendly (minus the boozy hot chocolate!).

1. Christmas crafts- baby’s first ornament

2. A night in with matching PJs and Christmas stories

3. Take Christmas themed pictures

4. Send out Christmas cards

5. Visit tree farm

6. Ugly Christmas sweater party

7. Sensory boxes with bows and wrapping paper

8. Find some holiday lights throughout the city

9. Bake Christmas cookies

10. Visit hotel with Christmas decorations

11. Christmas themed day at library

12. Play Christmas music

13. Unplug and enjoy family time

14. Find boozy hot chocolate recipe

15. Binge on classic Christmas movies

Am I missing anything? Let me know your favorite holiday activities below!

Baby Fall Fashion

So I’ve been on the hunt lately for more fall clothes for Journee. The weather has been up and down here in Texas for the past month at least. Lately thought it’s been more down so I’ve noticed just how sad her fall wardrobe is!  I wanted to share with you guys a few places I’ve had the best luck.

Walmart

So I haven’t been shopping at Walmart very long, but I’ve definitely been missing out! They have lots of options that are super affordable.  My favorite is their baby sweatsuits.  You can usually get the top and pants for about $9, and a lot of them are lined with fleece to keep them extra warm.  I decided to go up a size for Journee to give her a little room to grow in them this season. The only problem I’ve had with Walmart is finding her size.  If you don’t have any luck in the store, be sure to check online!

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Kohls

I just recently checked out Kohls for baby fashion.  It’s not somewhere I normally shop, but I got a coupon in the mail and decided to check them out.  The great thing about Kohls is that you can use multiple coupons (paper or digital) on the same purchase.  For example, on my last visit I used a $10 off paper coupon, $10 off $25 digital coupon, and a 15% off digital coupon! You can’t beat that.  It was all Carter’s brand items, and everything I bought was on sale to begin with.  With those kind of deals, I will definitely add Kohls to my regular shopping list for baby clothes.

 

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Better Baby Boutique

So I discovered this boutique on Instagram a few months ago, and I’m so happy I did.  They have the most chic baby clothes! They have sizes from newborn to toddler.  I can usually get most of their stuff for $10 or less, and their clothes are true to size.  It’s nice to have some one-of-kind items that you can’t just get anywhere.  So check them out and be sure to use code “JOURNEESAVE25” to save 25% off your next purchase!

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Once Upon a Child

This place is definitely my go-to!  I always find the best deals here.  I recently got the cutest fleece pullover my location for $6!  You can also sell your old baby clothes or gear here as well.  I recently sold Journee’s old rocker and used that money to buy her some fall clothes.  Every location is different so you never know what you’re going to find. Be sure to follow your location on social media to keep up with their current sales.

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I hope this helps. Again, these are just some of the places we shop and find great deals. Let me know in the comments where you guys like to shop for your kids!

 

Store Brands: Yay or Nay?

So when it comes to store brands I feel like most people are on one side or the other. Either you’re okay with them or you’re not. I’m okay with it depending on what the item is. I will at the very least try it out.

I recently decided to try out two store brands of baby items I use daily. The first was Target brand diapers, and the second was Sam’s Club (Member’s Mark) advantage formula. So far so good!

With the Target diapers, I haven’t had any problems. No major leaks, no diaper rash, or anything in between. I’m glad I tried them out. Honestly, the price was too tempting. For a box of 104 diapers, I paid $15. If I had stuck with my normal Pampers, I would’ve paid $25. I know $10 doesn’t sound like much, but it all adds up in the end to some really great savings.

Now with the formula I was definitely skeptical. I used to have some Mom guilt once I stopped breastfeeding, and I thought giving her a top brand like Similac Pro would ease some of that guilt. The truth is though Journee is growing and developing just fine. I don’t have to feel guilty about giving her formula. She’s getting fed and that’s all that matters! Any other Mamas with me? 🙂

The Sam’s Club version of Similac Pro Advance is basically the same ingredients. There is some variations, but none that were significant for me. I did my research and I decided it was worth trying. It’s been about 3 weeks and I haven’t noticed any issues from Journee. She hasn’t had any discomfort, and there’s been no changes in her diapers. Price wise it’s a big difference. With Similac we pay about $1.25/ounce and with Sam’s we pay about .50/ounce. So it’s been a substantial amount of savings for us!

So as you can see, I’ve had a pretty positive experience with store brands lately. I’m looking forward to trying more, and potentially saving even more money!

What has been y’all’s experiences with store brands? Any you recommend? Please share!

Beat the Heat Deals…

I think I speak for all of us when I say summer has outworn its welcome! I hate to have Journee out in this heat, but also know that staying inside too much will drive us both crazy. So I wanted to share a few FREE things I have found in the area to do with her; a couple I have tried this week and a couple on my list to try!

The Library – Check our your local library for some baby and toddler classes. I tried out a baby bounce class at my location where they had songs, story time and lots of toys to play with. It’s also a great way to meet other moms.

Children’s Museum of Houston – This place is pretty cool! We went on Thursday since that’s the free family day! If you go from 5-8 admission is free. Parking is also discounted at $3 in the garage. They have a special area on the 2nd floor just for the smaller babies and toddlers.

Baby Yoga – This is on my to do list. I keep hearing good things about it. I know some locations charge a fee for this, but turns out the Heights Neighborhood Library (Houston) has a free class every week! I will definitely let you guys know all about it when I go!

Houston Zoo – From Sept to May the zoo will offer free admission on the first Tuesday of every month. Its from noon to close, and you can get tickets online. Click the link for more info!

What are y’alls go to free activities for the kiddos? Let me know in the comments!