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easter bunny experience at Woodfield shopping mallpinthis

Happy first day of Spring! If this photo doesn’t give you spring fever, lest I convince you that every family’s gotta nab that Awkard Family Photo with the Easter Bunny for posterity’s sake, am I right?

Mom and Dad always seem to be awkwardly placed behind the giant overstuffed bunny like we’re the bodyguards, and there’s a 50-50% chance of your kids looking thrilled or bored. Case in point above. And I love it. Sure, sometimes the Bunny can be a little creepy-looking, but this is one can’t miss family tradition (along with photos with Santa) that I’m going to push onto my kids every year until they’re at least 18 and have flown the nest.

easter bunny experience at Woodfield shopping mallpinthis

By the way, the Bunny at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg is hands-down my fave. He’s pretty innocuous (and dare I say, cute), as far as oversized, overdressed rabbits go. My kids also enjoy telling the Bunny what they would like for Easter this year. Last year the Easter Bunny gave Roman a bike, so this year he asked for another new bike lol. This tradition is getting expensive! If you’re in the Chicagoland area, I love bringing my kids to Woodfield Mall for its family-friendly amenities and events, like photos with the Easter Bunny and more. The Easter Bunny Photo Experience at Woodfield Mall is happening now through April 20. Pro tip: You can reserve your FastPass and skip the line to see the Bunny! (Also, if you live in Chicago, don’t forget to check out Woodfield Mall’s Easter Eggstravaganza event on March 30, or Pet Photos with the Easter Bunny on March 24.).

easter bunny experience at Woodfield shopping mallpinthis

I’ve been coming to Woodfield Mall since I was a teenager, and bringing my own kids now gives me all the feels. Woodfield Mall is just 30 minutes outside of Chicago and is one of the largest shopping destinations in the United States. With more than 2 million square feet of retail shops, restaurants, and family-friendly amenities, there’s so much to do, shop, and eat here. A perfect day spent at Woodfield Mall for us includes swinging by the LEGO store and building at the Make & Take LEGO station (purchase it at 10 cents apiece and it’s a win-win for not having to step on that sh*t at home!), then grabbing lunch at Rainforest Café, and finally, letting off some steam at Yu Kids Island (a fab kid-friendly indoor playspace inside the mall, which we come to at least twice a week especially in the winter!).

May your first day of Spring be filled with warm weather, flowers and pretty pastels – and go get your Awkward Family Photo with the Easter Bunny, you won’t be sorry!

This post is sponsored by Woodfield Mall. All opinions are my own.

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When my friends over at Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa invited me to stay on property, I jumped at the chance to extend my sunny Christmas vacation in Florida visiting the in-laws. If this doesn’t make me a legit “snow bird”, then I don’t know what does. Not to mention, this was a prime opportunity to ditch the kids for a few days with free, built-in babysitters (their grandparents) and have some alone time with The Giant, who was approaching a milestone 40th birthday. With the windows down and music blaring, we screamed “Be good!” and “Peace out!” to the kids and headed for the Treasure Coast for four days of uninhibited beachside fun.

Road-tripping through Florida is nothing to write home about (unless you count the hugest and busiest rest stop I’ve ever seen, it’s a very flat state with no interesting scenery), but the benefits of being together with your sweetheart – without kids fighting in the back seat – far outweighs anything else! After the two-and-a-half hour drive from our in-laws’ home, we arrived at the most gorgeous oceanside luxury resort, Hutchinson Shores Resort, that made us want to strip down to our skivvies and jump right in!

But first, we checked in to our room, which was airy and fresh with modern coastal touches like bold striped curtains. We had a breathtaking oceanside view from wall to wall glass doors, which we left open at night to fall asleep to the salty sea breeze and to wake to the gentle rolling waves. Our balcony was perfect for hanging out on every day. I’m obsessed with soft linens, and the bath towels at Hutchinson Shores Resort were heavenly – so much that I looked at the tag and saw the towels were all dated with utter care by month and year. That’s the mark of a luxury hotel, in my opinion.

We dined several times at the resort’s restaurant, Drift Kitchen + Bar, which was beyond delicious in a fresh seafood meets modern Italian kind of way. For our first dinner at Drift we got a bit wild, ordering a little surf and turf. My blue crab crusted grouper was the yin to The Giant’s yang (a center cut NY strip steak). The flavors were so perfectly nuanced, the sear just right – kudos to having a delicious meal just an arm’s length away from our home away from home the next few days. (And might I add, breakfast was pretty special too; think crab cake benedicts, amaretto French toast, short rib hash, ya know NBD.)

The truth is, Hutchinson Shores Resort seemed very family-friendly and I spent a few seconds thinking about how my kids would have really enjoyed it here… but somewhere in between a romantic horseback ride on Jensen Beach, checking out a cool car museum, lazily exploring charming downtown Stuart – oh, and poolside drinks – I’d be lying if I said our time alone here wasn’t just right. I cannot wait to “flock” back down to Hutchinson Shores Resort the next time we visit our in-laws!

This post is in partnership with Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa, but all opinions are my own.

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This post has been sponsored by Del Monte®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Things that happened before 11am:

I told myself I’m going to pretend they’re not fighting and acting like animals.

One kid got into my makeup.

I broke my finger, don’t ask (but score, for it being the first time ever breaking a bone). Then Rhys said to me, “I forgive you for breaking your finger”. Oh, the irony.

I didn’t have time to have my morning coffee, and I read a text message incorrectly and went to meet the girls for lunch…a day early!!! 

Two of my boys fell into mud and they smelled terrible.

I’m still scrambling around to find a sitter for tonight’s date night.

I’m pretty sure they banded together to make sure they break me today.

But, I did manage to eat a quick, satisfying breakfast before I hit the road this morning. Del Monte® has a line of fruit snacks for adults that are a godsend to all moms! Quick, easy, and tasty. Today, while my little one was busying himself in my makeup, apparently, I enjoyed a Del Monte® Fruit & Oats™ cup at home—it’s the first ready-to-eat oatmeal with one full serving of fruit*! It can be warmed up but is also pretty good eaten cold (like I did this morning). There are three delicious flavors: Pear Maple, Peach Cinnamon Spice, and good ol’ Apple Cinnamon. Love that I don’t have to whip out any pots, but I can still have all the goodness and flavor of oats that taste just like how mom used to make ‘em.

Who loves a good on-the-go snack like I do? My latest favorite mom hack is the Del Monte® Fruit Refreshers®. It’s conveniently packaged and would be great to take along during your day spent chauffeuring your kids around like it’s your job. Oh wait… At under 100 calories, these tasty fruit cups are basically the grown-up version of the fruit cups you used to love as a child—except with no artificial flavors or sweeteners. What’s your favorite refreshing flavor? Mine’s the Pineapple in Passion Fruit, hands down!

Don’t forget to try Del Monte® Fruit & Chia™ cups, too. Chia is a superfood, and it’s all the rage amongst hipster moms, but I’m just loving the tropical fruity flavors that take me back to the days of summer. The extra fiber, vitamin C and omega-3s don’t hurt 😉 If you’re so inclined to share your goodies with your little monsters (kidding), all of the Del Monte products come in a 2-pack and you can find them in the fruit cup aisle at your local retailer. Try it and save $0.75 on a one-pack of Del Monte Fruit & Oats Cups here, you’ll thank me later!  

*Each container has 1 serving (1/2 cup) of fruit per USDA Nutrient Data

 

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This post is in collaboration with Minted. All opinions are mine alone.

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It’s that time of year when bells are ringing and moms everywhere are scrambling to take family photos for the annual holiday card. That’s how the song goes, right? Cue the usual Christmas pjs and snowflake sweaters. If you didn’t wear cheesy matching outfits, did it even happen?

Every year I have such a great time concepting my family’s annual holiday photos. I think many moms feel stressed about this, but I love it! It gives me a chance to be extra creative and thoughtful with our family’s theme, and also, we usually have a good time together doing it. This year’s theme – a cookie baking food fight – was probably the wildest, most carefree one we’ve done to date. The Giant tried to shut down the cookie fight idea, but I told him he was being a party pooper for everyone involved. I mean, wouldn’t you have wanted to egg your mom or throw flour at your dad as a child?

baking with kids messy holiday cards funnypinthis

I actually had no idea what to do for this year’s holiday photos up until three days before. I happened to be visiting this amazing studio/kitchen for a client shoot. From there, and with a little inspiration from this Pinterest photo, the idea of a festive food fight was born. As a lifestyle blogger and also a professional photographer, I always try to think outside the box, push the creative envelope a little when it comes to photoshoots.

Once I have an idea in mind, I plan things down to the littlest details: I wanted a white kitchen for the photos, so we rented that incredible studio (bonus is that I didn’t have to make a mess in my own kitchen!). I bought a few props from Target like the Christmas tree table toppers and branches. We wore our regular clothes so no stress in coordinating outfits or shopping. I chose this pretty card design from Minted.com which offers the best curated designs from independent artists and designers. We had a great time relaxing together (um, I mean throwing flour at each other) and laughing. A lot.

baking with kids messy holiday cards funnypinthis

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Minted Holiday Cardspinthis

Photos by the talented Lauren Ashley Studios.

For more family holiday photo inspiration, check out my previous years:

2017 Americana nostalgia

2016 Mrs. Claus and her elves

2015 Holiday chic in the city

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