Wednesday, August 17, 2016

back to school shopping with Deseret Industries

Summer is over, everyone is headed back to school, and the smell of paper, pencils, and white board markers fills the air. I love back to school time because it brings back so many fond memories of starting a new school year. In an odd sort of way it makes me want to really go back to school, but then I think to myself did I really just think that and I move on. One of my favorite parts about going back to school has to be the back to school clothes shopping though. It was kind of a big deal for me getting new clothes, it made me feel good about myself, having something fresh and new to wear. 

But sometimes back to school clothes shopping can be a bit overwhelming. With so many stores competing for your dollar it's sometimes hard to really know who has the best deals, until you find Deseret Industries. Deseret Industries is a great back to school destination that has a large variety of new and like-new clothes for children to adults.  At Deseret Industries you'll find shoes, backpacks, designer brand clothes, and so much more -with the entire selection being restocked daily. 

Last Friday I headed to Deseret Industries (DI) in search of a few outfits that I would wear if I were going back to school. I was pleasantly surprised as I shopped, the store was so very clean, and even smelled clean too! The employees were very polite, and efficient -might I add-which is why I think it's such a great atmosphere. Finding and pairing outfits was no feat and I was able to find four outfits in less than an hour. Just-like-that.  Good quality pieces at a great price, and I even found some designer pieces too, which is another score if you ask me. Here are four outfits I purchased. 

Which one would you wear on your first day back to school?!
And because she wanted to be in every picture I took, this one had to be included... apparently Hazel chose to wear the flip-flops. (: 
If you or your children have clothes or any other items they have outgrown this summer, consider donating them to Deseret Industries. Donations are tax deductible and help your community by providing job training for associates. 

To find a Deseret Industried location near you and check out the DI's donation guidelines, visit

Here is the address to the location where I found all my back to school items: 
6825 W. Bell Rd
Glendale, AZ 85308

What are you wearing on your first day back to school?!

This was a sponsored post but all opinions are mine. 


Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Arizona, I forgive you

So it's monsoon season in Arizona. But this doesn't mean that it literally is monsoon season -as in it's not really raining a whole lot here. It's s bummer though. And I think all true Arizonans long for monsoon season, I know I do anyways. The smell of the rain, the feeling of a nice clean air, and the cooler weather. Ahh yes, the cooler weather is always one of my favorite parts -especially now that I have a toddler who loves to be outside.  
This summer we haven't really been outside, it's just too hot. But, last week there were two days that we actually had some nice cool afternoon weather, which meant that Hazel and I got to play outside. It was overcast, 88 degrees, and there was a nice cool wind so we headed to the greenbelt behind our house. It's my favorite part about where we live, the biggest patch of green grass, and I don't even have to mow it! Hazel loves it too and once and a while we even get to meet a doggy.  We run around in the grass, I chase her, she chases me, we find leaves, and every so often she has to stop and push her tricycle stroller.   

I'd be okay if Arizona wanted to let us have just one of these days a week till fall. I'd really be okay with it. 
But for now -because Arizona weather is pretty unpredictable when it comes to rain- I'll be dreaming of the few days we had last week and be thanking you, Arizona. And while I thank you I'll also forgive you. 

But pleeeeease give us more rain! 


Friday, August 05, 2016

what I'm liking, Friday


Keeping Hazel busy is sometimes tricky. She loves variety, and she can't really be sitting at one "project" for too long.  So here are some things that I've found to keep Hazel busy:

I made these busy boxes for Hazel to keep her a bit occupied and it's great because it gives her something new to do each day. 

Hazel absolutely loves playing with these beans, I'm not kidding when I say she spent 20 minutes scooping and pouring beans in a box. It's genius! 

Sing songs and make nursery rhymes fun by making props or something else like this for Jack be Nimble. 

and of course my meals of the week: 

We love sweet potatoes and this black bean one was mmmm, Hazel really loved the black beans (: 

something called white spaghetti -a family recipe, maybe I should share it because I can't seem to find the recipe online. 

easy one pan chicken meal. 

and slow cooker enchilada meal for tonight's dinner.

Happy Friday! 


Thursday, August 04, 2016

Dear Hazel,

I feel like these past few months you've grown more than ever -even though I say that a lot. But you have! These past few weeks you've started putting two word phrases together and sometimes even three. Possibly you favorite phrase yet: ready, set, go! You love to talk but get so mad when you can't tell us what you want, or what you are trying to say. When we can't understand you, you say nooooooo and start to stomp your feet really hard, so hard that you start walking backwards. I wish so badly that I could understand everything you need, but we get there sooner or later. Usually I'll tell you: Hazel, what do you need? Use your words. or even if we are desperate I'll say: Okay, show me what you want. 

For the most part we've got a pretty good daily schedule going and this routine is really what you thrive on. In the mornings we wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed, and then we play. Sometimes we play at home, or other times we have singing time -oh my dear Hazel you love singing time.  We went last week and it's something you haven't stopped talking about. Unfortunately our singing time ended a bit early, something about you not listening when we had to be sitting -trust me, I gave you lots of warnings. But when we got in the car I told you: Hazel we had to leave Sister Lowe's house because you weren't listening to mom and you weren't sitting down. You need to listen to mom so we can sing at Sister Lowe's house. To which you responded: Lowww.... Leisss.... Sit. I'd say you caught on pretty quick, and all week you reminded yourself -and me about- these three words.  So singing time rolled around this week and I have to say you did so awesome, you listened, you sang, and you sat down when you were asked. I love how you are starting to understand. 
Some of my favorite moments with you are when you just want to sit with me, or how you always want to hold my hand in the car, especially if daddy is holding my hand.  In church this week we sat on the bench and you sat right next to me, with your legs to the side and your arm on my lap, you were quite snuggly actually! 

Some of your favorite things to play with right now are your Barbies, you like driving the little ones around in their jeep while singing the driving song.  You like playing with the busy boxes I made for you, and you really enjoy playing with the beans, gack, putting stickers on things, and cutting. You are very curious and are good at repeating things...

Dad and I would say you know almost 200 words, granted not every word is complete, and this doesn't include people's names. You know what I mean when I say: Maggie is in your room, go get the book from the office, or do you want to go for a drive. You are good at naming people in pictures and love talking about your family. You remember so many things -sometimes I don't even remember them- just the other day you remembered that we played ball in the backyard with Uncle Bryan and that was probably back in April! 
You've become somewhat shy around people, and you often say shyyy, when someone looks at you and you get bashful. To which I reply: that's okay, and then you say: mom shyy.  And then we talk about how it's okay to be shy, but it's also okay to say hi to people if they smile at us. 
Last week there were two days that you took a 2 hour nap! I was in complete shock when it happened, and as usual, you're back to your 30-45 minute naps... once a day... You're my little busy bee! 

These past two days we've had nice (88 degrees) weather so we've been able to spend some time outside. You love being outside and playing in the grass. I can't wait till it's cool enough outside for us to play outside all day! 

I love you more than you'll ever know and I cannot believe how much you're leaning and growing. Every day I look at you and think of how big you are getting and how much you have changed within the past few months. 

I love you my Hazel girl! 

xo, mom

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

how to keep an 18 month old busy with busy boxes

Keeping a toddler busy is quite the challenge, especially when it's too hot -or cold- outside.  I've been searching and searching Pinterest for ideas and things to do with Hazel that could help keep her busy and also be somewhat of a learning activity. 

Hazel is a girl who likes variety, she gets bored with easy things, and things that are repetitive.  She often times would rather play with something that isn't a toy-as I'm sure most babies do.  I thought, in order to give her variety, and help her learn, busy boxes would be our best bet. 

So, this is how I keep my 18 month old busy during maybe just a few minutes a day, but at least I know that she is learning something.  A lot of the items I have for Hazel help with fine motor skills and sensory, she really seems to like the things that she needs to concentrate on.  Most of the items I purchased at the dollar tree, or are recycled things form my craft closet. 
Pipe Cleaner Push: Cut the pipe cleaners in half and use a hole punch to make holes in the lid of the container. Let your toddler put the pipe cleaners through the holes and watch their minds think.

Ribbon Wands: Tape ribbons, or streamers to the end of a popsicle stick.

Wikki Stix: I got these from my old work, but I imagine you can find them online.

Crazy Straw Threading: Cut felt pieces into squares (or any shape you want) and cut a hold in the middle big enough for the straw to fit. 

Balloons: Dollar Tree

Hole punch: Teddy Bear punch and hole punch, along with scrap paper. 

Sorting pom-poms: Recycle an old container, cut holes in the top, and buy a size variety of pom-poms. 
Q-tip Push: Cut holes in the lit of the container.

Paper and Stickers: Cut small pieces of paper for your child to write a note or put stickers on. 

Fun coloring toy: Dollar Tree

Velcro Popsicle Sticks: Cut and glue velcro to the ends of popsicle sticks
Safety scissors: Find random items from your house for your toddler to cut. We use paper and ribbon. This activity is recommended for 3+, so please watch your children with these scissors.

Buttons: I found a random tin can with buttons in it, she likes to take the buttons out and line them up, then put them away.

Gack: Dollar Tree
Bead Thread: Pipe cleaner and beads

Balloon Rocket: Balloon, tape, yarn/string. Read this to see how it works. 

Coloring book: Play pack grab and go

Good luck and happy box making! 


Friday, July 29, 2016

what I'm liking, Friday

So It's no secret, I love dogs. And I've always thought it would be fun for Hazel to have a dog of her own. But, last week I was talking with Brand about the whole thing, and it's just too hard to have a puppy when it's not your house.  We're renting right now, so there's that, our backyard is all rock, so there's that, and I'm not sure I'm ready to have my furniture destroyed. So, for now, I'll just look at these cute pictures of all the puppies! 
These little white ones are the sweetest, but mannn if they get dirty...
I wouldn't mind having one of these, the one my family had was probably the best, sweetest dog ever! 
The eyes on this one
The coloring is probably the cutest!
Dinner recipes this week: 
The pineapple in these really gives it an extra touch, and the mix with BBQ is genius!  
We've been into sweet potatoes lately and this recipe looks really good.
Chicken potato salad, yummy and so easy to make.
I cheated last night and bought a frozen pizza from the store, and then tomorrow it's leftovers! I always love leftovers when the meals cooked that week were extra good, otherwise I'm not a huge leftovers girl.  Anyone else?!
Also, does anyone have a dog and a toddler? Any tips or tricks that might make it seem more realistic?

Happy Friday, Friends! 
(follow us on SnapChat and Instagram to see all about our weekend shenanigans @lyssadawson)


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