<![CDATA[Sweet Life of Anna - Blog]]>Wed, 18 Oct 2017 13:05:13 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Ava's first trip to disney]]>Tue, 17 Oct 2017 20:26:52 GMThttp://sweetlifeofanna.com/blog/avas-first-trip-to-disney
This post is sponsored by Disney. All opinions are 100% my own. 
This weekend we took Ava to Disney for the first time and what an adventure it was! 
We knew before we went to the park that Ava was going to walk very slow throughout the park and that she isn’t very familiar with many of the Disney characters. She knows Minnie but that’s about it. What we didn’t know was just HOW slow she was going to move about! Let me tell you, this little girl took her sweet precious time walking through Disney in awe at all the people and things to see. Every now and then she would stop and have a seat on a curb. She was a mess! 

Although, she doesn’t know many characters she really enjoyed the rides. Disney gave us two complimentary one day park hopper passes in exchange for an honest review. We decided that in order to get the full use of our passes we needed to stay the night at one of Disney’s Resorts. We stayed at the Pop Century Resort and received magic bands for our stay. These things are AWESOME! They worked as our room key, fast passes, and linked to our card for purchases! It beats digging in your bag for your wallet every time you want to buy something. 

Joey set up our fast passes as soon as possible and we were good to go. It’s important to set up fast passes as soon as you plan your visit. 

The rides we went on…

At Magic Kingdom we went on: 
  • Peter Pan (Fast Pass)
  • Winnie the Pooh (Fast Pass)
  • It’s a Small World
  • The Tea Cups (I sat that one out)
  • Dumbo 
We planned on going on The Little Mermaid (Fast Pass) but the ride was closed. 

For lunch we ate at Pecos Bill Cafe which was super yummy. They serve tacos, fajitas, burritos, burgers and more. They also have a toppings bar with guacamole! You don't need reservations for this restaurant. 

After lunch we headed back to the hotel so everyone could take a nap. 

That evening we went to the Animal Kingdom and had dinner at Tiffins (need reservations), went on a safari ride (highly recommend) and got to see the Tree of Life light up a couple of times. That was my first time seeing the Tree of Life and it was so cool! Ava LOVED it! 

Over all our trip to Disney was a success! We had several toddler stroller temper tantrums but bribed her with fries and a Mickey Bubble Wand that we told her Mickey said will only work if she’s in the stroller. Haha…that worked for a short while. That night after dinner Ava was amazing! We gave her a cake pop and some fudge to put some pep in her step and then she decided she was done fighting the stroller battle (or she was just flat out tired) and rode in her stroller the rest of the evening. I think at that point we all wished we could ride in the stroller. Our adventure at Disney was a magical one and one to remember! 

What we packed…

Before our trip I reached out to some of my Disney mommy experts to find out all their tips and tricks. Many recommended bringing tumblers or water bottles to refill in the park. They also recommended bring in snacks and food for lunch. Here is what we decided on that worked for us. 
  • An umbrella stroller
  • One backpack with a camel back for water and a water bottle 
  • One ziplock bag with food and snacks for Ava (fruit cup, cereal, pouches, pretzels) 
<![CDATA[Five on friday!]]>Fri, 13 Oct 2017 14:43:36 GMThttp://sweetlifeofanna.com/blog/five-on-friday9221862
Happy Friday! Sharing lots of good stuff this week! 

ONE. This weekend we are taking this sweet little one to Disney for her first time! I can't wait! We are staying at a Disney Resort for two nights. I've reached out to many of my Disney mom experts for all their tips and tricks. I can't wait to share our weekend with you next week! 
TWO. Last weekend, I made this white chicken enchilada recipe from over at Carolina Charm and it was so good! I had so many questions about where to find the recipe on my Insta Stories so I wanted to share it here. I love shredding my chicken with my Kitchen Aid Mixer. It shreds it like a BOSS! It seriously shreds it in seconds. I accidentally let mine shred for too long and it made it really crumbly, so be careful. HAHA..the truth is I was trying to get the perfect boomerang for my IG Insta stories so I blame it on social media (#lifeofablogger). We also added a little bit of our favorite salsa from Trader Joe's. This salsa is one of the few kinds my husband likes. . You can find the recipe here.  
THREE. I purchased these bows a few weeks ago for Ava and they're awesome! I got 40 bows for about $11.00! That's a deal! I love using them for daycare because I never worry about them not making it back home. You can purchase some here. 
FOUR. I think I might just skip fall and go straight to winter for my Bath and Body Works candles. Their Fresh Balm candle smells AMAZING! But guess what! I think my husband might be allergic to their candles. I know this is such sad news. Every time I light one of their candles (doesn't matter what smell) he starts sneezing like crazy! Not sure what I'm going to do about this yet. 
FIVE. Is is too soon to start talking Christmas? I haven't been blogging a lot lately, but I have been working an some awesome gift guides I will be sharing this holiday season with shopping you can do straight from the comfort of your couch. So I guess my question is what is your go to gift for the men in your life or your go to gift ideas for toddlers? You can find my previous gift guides here, but this year they will be bigger and better! EEEEE....I can't wait! 

​Happy Friday! 

<![CDATA[Five on Friday!]]>Fri, 06 Oct 2017 17:06:48 GMThttp://sweetlifeofanna.com/blog/five-on-friday2728514
Happy Friday! I'm back! I know I haven't done a Five on Friday in a while but I needed to take a little break. I'm back this week though and ready to share some of my favorites. 
ONE. Last weekend, Ava stayed out my in-laws for the weekend so Joey and I had a nice kid free weekend. Saturday we slept in, had breakfast at First Watch, did some shopping, pampered ourselves, had dinner at Datz and relaxed! It was SO NICE and very much needed! 
TWO. A few weeks ago my sister had her baby! I am SO EXCITED and I can't wait to meet him! Isn't he the cutest? 
THREE. I purchased these straws on Amazon and I LOVE them! You get all of these straws plus the tools to clean them for less than $9.00! 
FOUR. So last fall I wanted a pair of duck boots for our fall family vacation but I didn't want to spend a ton of money on them. I found this pair on Amazon for about $30.00 and bought me a pair. They are super comfy, not overly thick (great for Florida), they held up during our hike in Alabama, and they can be dress up for work. I LOVE them and can't wait to wear them again this year. 
FIVE. So this year for Christmas we thought about getting this bounce house for Ava but that was quickly scratched off the list. I guess yesterday at daycare they set up their bounce house for the kids to play in and she hated it. Her teacher said she cried the entire time and was so upset. Thank goodness for daycare and the warning! What are your go to gifts for toddlers for Christmas? Truthfully, I'm thinking about wrapping her toys she has now and letting her open those. She'll never know. She has so many toys already I feel like she doesn't need anymore. 
Before I head out for the weekend I wanted to share two links with for all of my local Tampa area families. One is for pumpkin patches and one is for fall activities for families. Enjoy! 

Happy Friday Everyone! 

<![CDATA[Fall Harvest chicken Salad]]>Mon, 25 Sep 2017 16:27:57 GMThttp://sweetlifeofanna.com/blog/fall-harvest-chicken-salad
This week I’ve added this absolutely delicious fall harvest chicken salad to our weekly family dinner night menu. This salad has all the flavors of fall in one bowl and added extra protein with organic quinoa from truRoots. ​
Family time is really important to us and often we find this time by enjoying dinner together. Right now our little one is only two so we aren’t in the days yet of extra curricular activities. For now, we are able to have dinner together as a family every night. I cherish these days as I know this will change sooner than we think. 

Every now and then for our weekly menu I like to throw in a new recipe with a variety of flavors. This fall harvest chicken salad has become one of my favorites! Quinoa is something we enjoy eating at our house regularly. We often use quinoa instead of rice or pasta. For this recipe, I added quinoa to the salad to give it some extra protein and fiber. 

In this salad you’ll find grilled chicken, crisp apples, dried cranberries, quinoa, toasted pecans, and roasted sweet potatoes. Doesn’t that sound heavenly? There’s so many colors and flavors in one bowl. It’s like salad heaven to me! 

With the fall season beginning this harvest chicken salad is a must try! I promise you won’t be disappointed. ​

Fall Harvest Chicken Salad 

  • Spinach 
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes 
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Diced Apples 
  • Toasted Pecans
  • Quinoa
Optional Other Toppings: feta cheese, butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, almonds

Light Balsamic Vinaigrette- use dressing of your choice or make it homemade 
Single Serving
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon or spicy brown mustard
  • drop of honey 
  • salt and pepper to taste (pinch of black pepper)
  • jar with a lid for mixing
Servings for full bottle 
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey 
  • pinch of black pepper
Put all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake to mix. Enjoy immediately, and refrigerate any leftovers. 

Why truRoots?

Eating healthy shouldn’t be tough, and truRoots provides the ease of giving your family organic, whole grain and sprouted products that taste delicious. truRoots is passionate about offering the best organic food while doing their part to better the world around us. You can find truRoots quinoa and other great products at your local Target. Save on truRoots by downloading this Cartwheel offer. 
<![CDATA[Our morning routine: how we all make it out of the house in one piece.]]>Sun, 24 Sep 2017 11:00:22 GMThttp://sweetlifeofanna.com/blog/our-morning-routine-how-we-all-make-it-out-of-the-house-in-one-piece
Mornings at our house start super early.

They usually begin with me waking up between 4:30am-5:00am. This gives me enough time to have some me time in the morning and get myself ready before my husband and Ava get up. Most mornings I work on the blog, check email, or scroll through Pinterest. Every now and then I do a little cleaning. After I’ve had some "me" time, I hurry up and put on my make-up and fix my hair before Ava starts rumbling in her crib. 

Between 5:30-5:45 Ava wakes up. I get her dressed and fix her some breakfast which usually includes a waffle/pancake, cereal, yogurt, or all of the above. Some mornings, she can’t decided and instead of fighting the battle I just put all three choices in front of her. By 5:45 my husband is up and getting ready for work. Around 6:00am he puts Ava’s shoes on and gets her packed for school while I make us an egg sandwich to go and get dressed for work. By 6:15am him and Ava are kissing me goodbye and walking out the door and headed to drop Ava off at daycare. From 6:15am-6:30am I usually do a little picking up around the house, check to make sure everything is unplugged, fill-up my water cup and head out the door. 

Basically from 5:30am to 6:30am things are in full throttle. Some mornings, I sleep in until 5:30 and our mornings are even faster and super hectic! I try to avoid that as much as possible.

So what makes our morning routine work and how do we all make it out in one piece?

ONE. PACKING LUNCHES AT NIGHT TIME. This is HUGE! I almost always try to pack lunches at night time. On the days I don’t I either wake up earlier or our mornings are a hot mess and I regret not making the lunches the night before. 

TWO. WAKING UP BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE. I’ve always been a morning person but some mornings 4:30am seems to come too quickly. Even though it can be tough rolling out of bed it is SO WORTH IT! I feel so much better on the days that I have my own time in the morning for just me. It allows me to get a head start and focus on me before everyone else joins in the day. 

THREE. BREAKFAST ON THE GO! If you noticed in our routine breakfast for Joey and I isn’t included. We always eat breakfast on the go or at work. Here are some things we like for breakfast during the week days. 
FOUR. HAVE PATIENCE. Over the past two years of being a family of three I’ve learned that patience is key, patience for everyone including myself. Most mornings run smooth and others are a hot mess and we barely make it out the door, but it’s important to stop for a minute and just breathe. 

What makes your mornings successful? 
<![CDATA[Happy First Day Of Fall! The Best Fall recipes]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://sweetlifeofanna.com/blog/happy-first-day-of-fall-the-best-fall-recipes
Happy first day of fall! Unfortunately, the closest we are to feeling like fall in Florida is fall flavors. So to celebrate I'm sharing all of my fall recipes in one spot! 

​The BEST Fall Recipes at Sweet Life of Anna 

<![CDATA[Easy halloween treat ideas With Butterfinger skull cups]]>Thu, 21 Sep 2017 14:57:36 GMThttp://sweetlifeofanna.com/blog/easy-halloween-treat-ideas-with-butterfinger-skull-cups
Is it too soon to buy Halloween candy? Last year, I totally dropped the ball on Halloween so this year I've decided to get a head start. 
At the beginning of the school year I had Ava's teacher fill out a teacher survey and discovered that she loves chocolate!  My kind of gal! Like I mentioned earlier, last year I was the parent that sent their child to school with no costume for the character book parade and forgot about their classroom party. Not cool. So I'm bound and determined to get a head start this year.

Last weekend, I headed to Walmart and picked up a couple bags of Halloween Candy. I decided to go with Butterfinger Peanut Butter Skulls & Butterfinger packs. The Butterfinger Skull Cups are so delicious and the perfect festive touch to any Halloween treat. I'm just hoping they make it until Halloween. 


DIY Pumpkin Halloween Treat Bags

I made these super easy pumpkin treat bags for Ava's teacher and classmates. I think the kids will have a fun time opening them up and finding the chocolate inside. You can also fill these with other Halloween goodies like spider rings, erasers, stickers, etc. 

Treat Bag Materials: 
  • Orange Tissue Paper
  • Scissors
  • Green Electric tape or Green Paper for the stem
  • Filling

Halloween Skull Cookie Bars 

I decided to make these cookie bars using the Butterfinger Skull Cups to give to Ava's teacher and the ladies in the front office. I made a trial run and brought them to school with me to share with my coworkers. They LOVED them! They were gone in no time! 

  • Chocolate chip cookie dough (I used a large 30 ounce roll of pre-made cookie dough)
  • Butterfinger Peanut Butter Skulls
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Press cookie dough into a 9x9 baking pan.
  3. Bake cookie dough for 20 minutes. Depending on how gooey you want your cookies you might want to lower the baking time. Just keep an eye on them. Remember they will continue to cook as they cool in the pan. 
  4. Place nine Butterfinger Peanut Butter Skulls on top of the warm cookie bars. Allow candy to melt and then spread over cookie like a frosting. 
  5. Once the melted candy has cooled place nine more Butterfinger Peanut Butter Skulls on the baked cookie dough. Place in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to set. Remove from freezer. 
  6. Cute cookie dough into individual bars and enjoy! 

Graveyard Pudding Cups 

These graveyard pudding cups are super easy to make and so festive. They're perfect for any Halloween party. 

  • Pudding cups 
  • Candy gummy worms
  • Butterfinger Peanut Butter Skulls 
  • Crushed chocolate cookies 
Are you excited about Halloween? Stock up on Butterfinger at Walmart where you can save with thisIbotta offer.
<![CDATA[Birthday Party DIY Photo booth]]>Wed, 20 Sep 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://sweetlifeofanna.com/blog/birthday-party-diy-photo-booth
Today, I wanted to share some of our pictures from the photo booth we had at Ava's Two-tti Fruity Birthday Bash and some simple steps to help you create the best photo booth for your next party! 
For Ava's first birthday we had a photo booth and I absolutely fell in love with all of the pictures from that photo booth so I decided to make this a birthday tradition. This year I used our new DIY Wood Wall as the back drop and LOTS of balloons for the decor. I've found that with younger children sometimes using stools to sit on instead of standing makes things easier. It helps keep them contained and in one spot for at least a few seconds. 

This year, I made the mistake of waiting to take the photo booth pictures after Ava opened presents. Bad idea! After she opened her presents all she cared about was exploring and playing with all her new toys. I almost thought we weren't going to get any pictures that day with our photo booth. Luckily, by the end of the party she was ready to strike a pose. 

Photo booth Supplies 

  • When working with toddlers or young children take pictures before presents and cake. 
  • Be patient
  • Have fun with it!