Gulf Shores Trip

For the last few years, almost my whole family( just missing an aunt and uncle) have been going on family trips. The reason? My mom is a twin and those two with their kids and husbands would go on family trips. It ended at the end of the 1980s and my dad missed how close the family was. My dad died in 2015 and to honor him, my sisters and I wanted to restart them. We started small with just us and my mom, then added my aunt and now my cousins too. So we have spouses and kids which makes it bigger. This year it was my job to plan the trip. I picked Gulf Shores, Alabama because I had never been but heard good things about it.

Here is how the trip went:

Friday: 

We decided to fly in to Mobile which is about 1 hour away. My family is mostly in the Missouri/Illinois area but I am not there. We are the only ones who flew. When my husband, son and I landed, we went to a brewery in Mobile called Haight Blue. The beer selection was very small but the place was cool and had a nice view. We then stopped to buy some groceries and drove to the house we rented.

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Haight Blue Brewery

The house we rented looked small but it was huge. It had 10 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. Plus a wraparound screened porch. The best part? Private beach in the bay. When my son saw that, he immediately got in the water and was ready to play. The house also had a private dock across the street with a slide.

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The house

Saturday:

My husband forgot his swimsuit so we went in to actual Gulf Shores to get him one. We did lunch at Tacky Jacks and then went to Big Beach Brewing. Big Beach has a ton of beers. Very laid back, we really enjoyed it. Afterwards, I met up with my mom, aunt, sister and uncle to go on a dolphin boat tour. The tour was called Sunny Lady and we saw some many dolphins. My son loved seeing them all. The boat captain even had a parrot that the kids could pet.

Sunday:

My little family did family pictures on the beach in the morning. We used Orange Beach Family Photography. I liked her a lot. The session was a quick mini one but she got some good photos.  When we got back to our rented house, it was a lazy day. Most people just hung out on the porch or played in the water. My son had sand toys so he played on the beach a lot. One time when we were in the water, a dolphin swam up and was about 10 feet away from my son. One of my sisters and I decided to go parasailing. She went when she was like 10 in Mexico and I had never been. We loved it! It was probably my favorite part of the whole trip. It was so much fun. When we were in the air, we were able to see schools of sting rays and a tiger shark.

Monday: 

Time to go home. We got some more beach time in before we packed up the house and left. It was a quick trip but a good one.

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Private Beach

June Updates

The month of June was over way too fast. I spent most of it off with some professional development here and there, jury duty and a vacation which I will cover on another post. So let’s update.

Workouts

One of my favorite June traditions is a free cross-country race series called Flashmob. There are always prizes and I get to run in places I normally do not. Afterwards, my family always goes to this Mexican restaurant we like that is in the area.

I also competed in the No Label 5K. This is a father’s day race that my husband and I like to do since it is stroller friendly. My husband is coming back from an ankle injury so he did a walk/run and I did a nice easy run because my legs were sore.

Summer Playtime

My son went to school three days a week until I was done with all my trainings and then he is off for the rest of summer, or the first week in August. We saw Secret Life of Pets 2 as a family one day but we also went to some other $1 movies. A lot of the theaters in our area does a summer series where every week they pick an older movie and play it for a $1. My son really enjoys that.

We went one day to go pick blueberries. My son really enjoyed it and enjoyed taste testing his findings. We also went camping one weekend with our family. It was hot but wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.

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Camp Life

We have been going to many Storytimes. Mainly at a book store or at a toy store. We are also in three summer reading programs.

We have also been on playdates. We went to a trampoline park, a science center and swimming at a friends house.

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Science Center where we got to hold and pet many animals.

One of the last things we did was go to a minor league baseball game. It was fun but we left during the 5th inning because it started pouring.

So that is our June.

February Updates

Ugh, I need to better about updating.

Running/Working Out

I started the month by running in the Hot Chocolate Run. I did the 15k which is about 9.3 miles. The course wasn’t the most exciting but the after race was great. You get a hot chocolate of course but also a huge mug filled with goodies which you can see below. It was fun and I got to run with friends.

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Some of my friends and I planned to do a run for the Trail Riders coming in town. Rodeo season is huge here and before the rodeo starts, they do a race and a rodeo parade. Trail Riders come from all over to be in the parade. To get to the parade, they sleep at the park I run at and then Saturday morning leave for about 5 mile ride to downtown. My friends and I started at a cupcake shop, ran to a spot to watch them and then ran back to the cupcake shop for cupcakes. My husband and son also joined us.

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Trail Riders coming in town

Family/Friends

One of our friends had a going away party at a kid-friendly restaurant which was nice for our kids to play. We got there early to eat and didn’t get to see our friend for too long because we had tickets to go see Sesame Street Live. Sesame Street Live was short but my son had a lot of fun. He was engaged and excited to see the characters live. We were cheap and didn’t do floor seats but my son had no desire to be on the floor and I heard you can’t see anyway.

For Valentine’s Day, we had been putting hearts on our sons door since Feb. 1st of reasons why we love him. We also got him a few more Lego mini-figures because that is what he loves the most. We went out to dinner too and just had a relaxing night.

We also saw Lego Movie 2 in theaters. We (the adults) prefer a theater that serves food and drinks. My son loved the movie and has been asking to see it multiple times.

We had another friend move this month and got to go to two new breweries because of the move. We went to Holler Brewery and Eureka Heights. Both have really good beer, they both have outside space and food trucks. Holler also sells really yummy popcorn and Eureka Heights is huge. We enjoyed both of the breweries.

We ended the month by seeing Kasey Musgraves at the Rodeo. My son loves the rodeo and was so excited. Since Kasey performed a weeknight, we just went to the rodeo and not to walk around the grounds. She put on a great show.

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January 2019 updates

Usually January is an extremely long feeling month but this year it went by really quick. I guess it helped that we didn’t go back to school until the 7th, which is nice. I hate going back the 2nd.

Running/Working Out:

The Houston Marathon was this month so for the first part I was tapering which means I do not run as much. I did enjoy a nice run with friends one morning with a really yummy breakfast afterwards.

The Houston marathon basically takes up one weekend and I will have a separate post about that.

This month I also started a Yoga challenge. Well, sort of. I love the youtube videos of Yoga with Adrienne. Every January she does a “30 days of yoga.” Since I am not running as much, I do maybe yoga twice a week instead of once. Even though I don’t do it everyday, I keep up the challenge until I am done, like I recently did Day 9.

Family/Friends:

We started this month by our monthly trip to Target. Yes, I limit myself to once a month. We were looking at the holiday decorations and my son saw some wrapping paper he had to have. I saw it was 75% off so bought it. I was very happy to see it was actually 90% off when we were at the register so it was really cheap, like 20 cents cheap.

While on Winter Break, we met up with a friend and her son for storytime and lunch. This playdate turned into an almost 5 hour playdate. The kids had a blast.

We also met up with some friends at a brewery called Fetching Lab. They recently moved into a place because they were just off a dirt road in a residential area. It was cool because the next door neighbor raised goats and would bring the babies over. It was nice though to see that they are growing and being successful that they had to move to a building in town. Plus they have a lot more beer now.

My mom was in town for a few hours in January so we met up with her for dinner. I wish we could have spent more time with her but she came the week we went back to school and I really didn’t need to take a day off just when we got back to work.

Eli and I met up with some friends to go to the zoo on MLK Jr. day. It was a pretty day and nice to be outside. We of course had to feed the giraffes.

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As a family we met up with some of the same brewery friends to go to another brewery called Valliesons. We have been meaning to try them so we wer glad to get the chance. They have a pretty nice little area for kids to run around and a lot of good beer too.

We ended the month by going to Twsited Acre Brewery just as a family. This is a new smallish brewery but good beer, and very friendly. We will defiantly go back.

Reviews:

Pete’s Dragon: We watched the new movie as a family about a week ago. My son absolutely loved it. Really cute, sad but with a happy ending in a way.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate: This is a historical fiction book about a family of kids in TN who were basically kidnapped and put in a orphange. It goes back it forth from the 1940s to modern days. It is based on of the true story about the Tennessee Children’s Home Society which kidnapped children and “adopted” them to rich families while making a profit. After I finished the book, I researched the Children’s home, the lady and charge and some of the famous clients. I was hooked to this book and loved it!

December 2018 Update

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope 2019 is good to all of you!

As I only have a few more days of winter break, I have been reflecting back on 2018 and December. 2018 was not my finest year as I was in the hospital two different times but it could have been a lot worse too. December went by so quick and I had a lot of filled weekends so let’s begin.

Fitness

Marathon training is in its peak during December. My marathon is in January so my really long runs are in December. I ran a 18 miler, a 13 miler, a 17 miler, a 20 miler and a 16 miler. The runs went really well and were really pleasant weather except for my 20 miler. It got so hot! Plus we missed the SAGs(water, snacks) so we were dying. Thank God for Starbucks.

The most memorable was the 13 miler. So I run with a group but my friend and I sometimes decide to tweak the route a little to make it more pleasant for ourselves. This run, we started later because it was raining so bad that a lot of Houston had flooded. We wanted to wait until there was more sunlight so we could see. We ran along the bayou so that we could see the flooding to downtown. It was a very quiet run but also weirdly beautiful. This run took us forever because we stopped so many times for pictures. We also stopped to take this picture because President George H.W. Bush had just died and the park we run at put up a memorial for him as he was a supporter of the park. IMG_20181208_090613406 (1).jpg

It was pretty cool to see in person.

This month I also participated in two different Christmas Light Runs. Basically we meet at a neighborhood with lots of lights and run around to look at them. It is always so much fun!

Camping

The day of my flooded run, we also went camping as a family. We went to Bastrop State Park. It was so cold! We have been to this park before and really enjoyed it. Without doing any research, we lucked out. The town of Bastrop was having their Christmas Light Parade. The whole family went, including our dog, and had a great time. They had over 100 vehicles, plus the local high schools had their dance teams, marching bands, etc. They also had people walking up and down the road selling kettle corn, hot chocolate, etc. It was really fun.

Family

We had a lot of family time this month. We started the month with going to a Christmas Market and eating at a restaurant we enjoy. The nest day we went to Copperfield Parade of Lights which is a small local Christmas Light Parade. It was our 2nd year going.

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Light Parade

We went to our favorite farmers market (I say favorite because it is the only one we go to monthly). My husband loves it because there is a local farmer who brings meat from their ranch and he loves it.

We went to my son’s schools holiday party. I love that I am able to go because I was already on winter break. It is my only party I am able to make.

We spent the last bit of December with a private swim lesson with my sons favorite swim teacher. We also went to Barnes and Nobles Storytime.

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Storytime

We went and cheered on my friends who were completing the Snowdrop 55 Hour Ultra, The race raises money for childhood cancer.

We ended our year with a play date at No Label Brewery(they have a playground). It was a lot of fun and there was a beautiful sunset.

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Sunset

The rest of the night, we ate and just watched the ball drop(or I did).

That is our December.

 

Christmas 2018

Let me start by saying I am not a holiday person. I am trying though. I see all these super happy holiday people and I want that. I also want my son to have happy holiday memories. So fake it until you make it. We stayed home for the holiday this year and apparently my husband does not know my family rule where you hold off on who is going to host the holiday so he volunteered us. So we spent some time cleaning our house.

The Weekend before Christmas

I had my last long run before my marathon. That sounds weird because I still have like a 17 mile run but my 20 something is over with. That night my running friends and I have a tradition to get Mexican food before the holidays. We always have a great time and it is nice to enjoy the company.

The next day my husband’s family met for brunch. Most will be at our house for Christmas but three were not able to come.

Christmas Eve

I did the 12 Days of Christmas WOD in the morning which is always a beat down. My family also went out for lunch before all the places closed. That night we went to a neighborhood that is known for their Christmas lights and drove around, listened to Christmas music and enjoyed the lights.

Christmas

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An APP to add Santa to your house

When my son woke up, I showed him a picture of Santa in our house the night before. My son was a little confused and then a little upset that he didn’t see Santa. My son and I started the morning by going on a run with one of my friends. When we got back home, we opened presents. My son only gets one gift from Santa and it is different paper. His stocking is I guess from Santa too. We try not to get my son many gifts. We stick to the “Something to read, something to wear, something you need and something you want” thing. So his stocking gifts: Lego Minifigures, socks, undies, and bath bombs. For the actual gifts: a couple of shirts, an Amazon kids tablet and then Santa got him the book Naked which is perfect because he can be a nudist.

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Perfect book for this kid

My husband and I do a big gift for us so this year we bought a new mattress. We are also in charge of each others stocking gifts. Husbands stocking: socks, undies, lotto tickets, pj pants and then a beer gift set from the local liquor store. Basically the same things I get him every year. What he got me: Goodr sunglasses in Flamingos on a Booze Cruise(BEST NAME EVER), Lip balm and a bath set. You can find the sunglasses here.

We also got our dog a gift and Santa put a toy in his stocking.

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Then time for the holidays. We decided to do a BYOB and not a typical meal. We weren’t having too many people over so we didn’t need a huge meal. We did BBQ Pulled Chicken Sliders, Mac & Cheese, and Cranberry sauce which I guess my son and I were the only ones who like cranberries. My SIL also made mashed potatoes. We also had a million desserts. The food got a lot of compliments. My husband really liked the BBQ chicken sliders. You can find the recipe here.

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Some of our food

I also like to have a holiday drink for my guests. This year I went easy and just did vodka mixed with Cranberry Sprite.

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After we ate, we played the Saran Wrap Game for the adults. It is a lot of fun and I think they enjoyed it. Here is how to play:

  1. Roll dice to see who starts. We did the lowest roll started.
  2. Whoever roll starts unwrapping the Saran Wrap ball. Inside are gifts. While they are unwrapping, the person next to them is trying to roll doubles. Once they do, they take the ball and start unwrapping.
  3. The next person is now trying to roll doubles and the game goes on until the ball is finished.
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Saran Wrap Game

To make it harder, you could have people wear oven mitts.

The prizes I had in it: candy, gum, lotto tickets, lip balm, face masks, kitchen utensils, and liquor bottles. It is really fun. I didn’t play since I was the host.

The kids all had fun and opened their presents and just played. So the holidays are over and while it was fun, I am glad.

November 2018 Update

Holiday season has come and gone and as always, as it is with most people, it was very busy. So I will update on the holidays later this week but let’s do a November update first.

Travel

I started November by going on a girls trip or a Mom’s Weekend if you will. Basically, we all met in the same playdate group and have become friends. One mom has a beach house in her family so once a year, we get it for the weekend. I went down on Friday night with one of the moms. We stayed up drinking, eating and chatting.

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Beach jump after surfing

The next day I woke up early with a few of the moms who we all did Stand Up Paddleboard. It was so cold outside and windy but the water was actually a nice temperature. The waves? Not so much. We all had a lot of difficulties. So we played instead and I surfed instead. I have not surfed since 2013 and I miss it. I had so much fun surfing. I definitely need to get out there more. We spent the rest of the day eating, walking on the beach, drinking and hanging out. Lots of laugh. We left on Sunday. There was about 8 of us. I always love Mom Weekend.

Family and Friends

When I got back home from Moms Weekend, it was my nephews bday party so we went to that. It was just family and really nice.

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Zoo Sprouts

I took my son to the zoo for one a class. The zoo has classes called Zoo Sprouts where they teach little toddlers about the animals. My son loves the classes so I took a day off from work and we had a fun day at the zoo.

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Zoo Lights

The day after our zoo trip, we went back for the members only Zoo Lights sneak peek. I highly recommend going then because it is not as crowded so it is more enjoyable.

We, as in my son and I, went to a bday party for a baby. My son had fun playing with the toys and eating cake. We couldn’t stay long at the party because I was meeting some friends for dinner that night.

Running

I ran in the Cypress Half Marathon. I have done this race the last 3 years I think. The course is flat and usually the weather cooperates. This year was not my year. My time is perfectly fine but I was in pain. My foot has been hurting on and off and it was definitely on that day. Because of that, my core was also hurting because of overcompensating for my foot. It was still fun though.

Thanksgiving

We went to my mom’s house for Thanksgiving this year. We arrived on Wednesday and hung out with my family. We did a little Christmas celebration since my family wouldn’t see my son at Christmas. We also went to my moms friends house for a Thanksgiving party. That night I got drinks with my college roommate/best friend. It was nice to catch up.

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Thanksgiving walk to see the ducks

Thanksgiving lunch was at my mom’s house this year so I helped her cook some of the dishes. My husband and I ran in the Chesterfield Turkey Trot which is such a hilly course. I forget every time how hilly it is. It is a nice way to start the day though.

On Friday, my son, husband and I went to the St. Louis Zoo. There was nobody there. We got great free parking and the zoo is free too. We had a lot of fun looking at all of the zoo animals. When we got back, we went to a new brewery called Greer Brewery. It was really nice, lots of games, they serve pretzels and has great beers so it was a winner for us.

Our last full day in St. Louis was Saturday. My husband and I ran in the Girl Scout Run for Cookies 5K with one of our Houston friends. Another hilly race but always fun. They have hot chocolate and girl scout cookies when you finish. I was actually surprised and placed 2nd in my age group.

 

That was my November. Doesn’t seem like much but it was really busy but a lot of fun too.

 

 

September/August Updates

Since I never gave an update on September, I will do that now, twelve days into November.

September

It seems like a lifetime ago, man work got busy.

Family

We started off September with a really bad ear infection in one ear and a little infection in the other year. Of course this happened during Labor Day weekend so we had to go to one of those pediatric clinics. At least he got relief. We also went to his friend’s birthday party the next weekend. It was at a gymnastics place that has a foam pit. The kids spent most of the party in the foam pit. The next weekend he had another friends birthday party but this one at a brewery with a playground. The brewery has a huge yard so the kids had fun running around and playing on the playground while the adults could enjoy themselves. We also went to a monthly Farmer’s Market by our house which is always fun to walk around. The last weekend in the month, we went to another brewery with a playdate group. The kids played giant connect four, and since it has a gravel ground, they all brought toys to play in the gravel with.

Working Out

Marathon training started the month before so just gradually increasing my mileage. I try to do yoga the day after a long run just to stretch out my muscles. The only other thing I did differently this month during my workouts was that I participated in the St. Jude Walk/Run. I did the run in pouring rain but I love St. Jude and it is one charity I will always donate to.

October

Family

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Mission La Bahia

We started October with our first camping trip for the season. We went to Goliad State Park and went to the presidio and mission in the area(history nerd here). While there we went to Goliad Brewery which was very laid back and they had a playground so my son was happy. Since October is also Halloween month, we started it by going to Zoo Boo. My son loves Halloween and enjoyed the Halloween activities at the zoo. We also went to everyone’s first Texans game. My husband was given his company seats for the game so we were just a few rows up from the field. Since we got 4 tickets, we invited my friend to come with us. We went camping one more time this month but this time with friends for a going away party. The place we camped was really cool and not that far from us. We again went to the local farmers market and visited a pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkin. I carved it into Green Lego Ninjago(Lloyd) because that is what was requested.

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Our Spiderman

We ended Halloween month with two Trunk or Treat events. We didn’t really go trick-or-treating on Halloween because it was raining. We just did two houses.

Working Out

Just kept running. I did run at Goliad State Park which was fun because it is different. I went to go cheer at a half marathon. The day before, I coached my group because the coaches were running the half marathon the next day. So I went out on the course and cheered for them. I always enjoy cheering.

 

So that was 2 months in a real quick summary.

 

August Update

It has been awhile. I really didn’t mean for it to be. Back to school has really hit me hard as I moved to a new school in my district this year so the start might have been a bit rougher. Anyway, time for updates:

Fitness:

I had a set back this month which I will get to at the end. I couldn’t work out for about a week which doesn’t seem bad but then could only use one arm for like another two weeks (until really today). I did run one race this month which is one I really enjoy. I did the El Chupacabra de Houston Nighttime Trail Race 10K. I have done this race for many years. This is one of the few times during the year I get to run trails so I really enjoy it. My race was just eh. I hadn’t been running, couldn’t bend one arm and just struggling with the heat. Despite all of that, I finished and only a few minutes worse than last year. Hopefully next year I will do better.

Marathon training has also officially begun again.

Family:

I went back to work at the beginning of the month and my son went back too. We are trying hard to stick to our night routine of playing a game as a family and reading together. Before I went back to work, my friends threw a huge End of Summer playdate so it was nice to see everyone before I become too busy to do anything. Other things we have done:

  • Gone to 2 going away parties for our friends(two separate couples)
  • Gone to the zoo as a whole family
  • Gone to a MLB game. The Astros have a Astros Buddies Program where you get 4 tickets to a game, backpack, socks, hat, etc for like $28.
  • Gone to 11 Below Brewery

Things I have done:

  • Two separate brunches with friends
  • Saw the play Mousetrap. Highly recommend it. Very fun night.

Medical:

This is the year of emergency room visits for myself. So on August 11th, I had just gotten done running and was taking my dog on a walk. We have this 1 mile route I like in my neighborhood. As we were walking there were two loose dogs, a little one and a big one. The big one started running towards my dog (who was on his leash). I picked up my dog (he is like 19 lbs) and the big dog jumped and grabbed my elbow and the jumped again. I thought he has gotten my dog. I started screaming and running towards some doorbells when I saw a car coming. The car stopped and let me in. At this point, I see blood everywhere and I thought it was from my dog when I looked at my arm. The lady drove me home and got my husband to help me as my dog was protecting me too much for her to help. This lady was a lifesaver and I feel so bad as I got blood all over her car. My husband started cleaning my wound and took me to the emergency room. They did x-rays, gave me a tetanus shot and sent me home when they determined nothing serious was wrong. They couldn’t do stitches because the dogs bacteria would have been stuck in my body. I was all wrapped up and was bleeding for a few days. I still made it to the Astros game but like the 4th inning. I put a warning out to my neighborhood and was given the dogs owner. The hospital had called Animal Control and I put in a police report. It is now three weeks later and I still have one scab, the rest have fallen off, can’t move my arm completely yet and have some scars that still pus when move. I saw the dog loose the other day. I am terrified to walk my dog that path because of that dog. I don’t want that dog put down but that lady has no business owning it. I would also like her to pay for my medical bills when they come in but I was told by the police I would have to sue.

So yeah, that was my August.

Foodstirs June 2018 Review

I actually made my Foodstirs box the month I got it, well sort of. I got this box at the end of June, almost July and it is 4th of July themed so I will pretend it is a July box. I believe this is the first time ever. With school out, I have a lot more time to do things like bake with my son.

We baked last week after our little vacay. My son loves to help me bake so this is perfect for him. So every two months we get a FoodStirs box. Foodstirs is a baking subscription box and if you are on the plan, they send you a box every other month. June was 4th of July themed. They include everything you need for the dry ingredients. They also include the decorations. I just needed to provide the eggs, butter, yogurt and milk. IMG_20180712_134830947

So this one was a Firecracker Treat Pop using cake mix. My son liked mixing the dry ingredients but I think he liked mixing the icing more to see the color changes especially with the pink and orange to make red.

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Here is our finished product. Please excuse the one not in its container. My son wanted to eat one right away and then put it back like this because really he just wanted the icing. It was pretty simple to do and to set it up. The actual baking time is what takes the longest.

Foodstirs does not pay me for my reviews, I pay them. If you want to try it go here.