Thursday, February 27, 2020

Monster Jam Mother Son Date Night

Whew. It's mid-week and we're still recovering from our weekend fun. In addition to our normal kids sports filled weekend schedule, we planned a fun little Mommy and Son date night. We heard Monster Jam was coming to Atlanta, and knew our boys would think it was the perfect outing.

And we were right.

Saturday evening we made our way to the Mercedes-Benz stadium in the heart of downtown Atlanta. Traffic was your typical Atlanta traffic, and it took us what seemed like forever just to go half a mile. But, the second the boys got out of the car and saw the stadium they were all smiles.

This was Jen's first time at Monster Jam, but being an old pro at it Carrie Beth made sure we were all prepared with noise cancellation headphones to protect everyone's ears.

We couldn't believe how loud it really was! The noise only added to the boys excitement.

The moment those Monster Truck engines were cranked, the boys were in full bliss mode. They didn't want to miss a single detail and recorded each and every race, trick, and crash to show their dads and friends.

We didn't realize that the show would be split into two sections: a race segment and a freestyle segment. Because there was some down time in between, we let the boys grab another snack and a souvenir. They were so excited to find these Grave Digger cups that light up. Already they've snuck them to school one day to share with their friends as their at-desk drinking cup.

If we thought they loved the Monster Jam racing portion of the show, the second half can only be described as utter elation.

The level of tricks the skilled drivers can do with their Monster Trucks is impressive. We aren't even sure how you train or prep for such tricks, but at every turn those massive vehicles were airborne, flipping, walking on their bumpers, and reversing while vertical.

Both moms and kids alike were in awe of their ability.

The crowd favorites seemed to be Grave Digger, El Toro Loco, and the Monster trucks.

Grave Digger took home the trophy and everyone's hearts. But everyone put on a great show. Even the few who went all out in their tricks so much that their vehicles landed only slightly resembling what they started as, received large crowd cheers.

When the final truck crossed the finish line, and the trophy winner was determined the boys were already asking when they could return.

It was the perfect idea for a Mother/Son date night!

If you missed the Monster Jam tour in Atlanta, there are still tons of tour dates remaining in other cities throughout the Spring and Early Summer.  It's great for the whole family, and entertaining for kids (and adults!) of all ages and interests.

Did you Monster Jam? What was your favorite part? 

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Friday, February 21, 2020

Friday Favorites: Tie-Dye Trends at Target

Happy Friday, friends!  Our kids have been off school this week for Winter Break so it's been a semi-relaxing week here for us.  The end of our winter break means March is just over a week away. In our minds March means spring and spring means new trends.  One trend we are LOVING for this spring is tie-dye.  Everywhere you look you'll see tie-dye pieces and one of our favorite stores has a ton of tie-dye trends.  Target never lets us down!  

1. Pajama set - $24.99 - These are SUPER soft!!!

2. Olive crewneck sweatshirt - $24.99 -

3. Hooded sweatshirt - $24.99 - We love the way this one laces up in the front. Super cute with leggings or jeans now and will be great transitional piece for spring!

4. Hooded sweatshirt - $24.99 - This one is pretty with the pastel colors and the shorter length makes it a great one to wear with shorts down the road.

5. Short sleeve blouse - $19.99 - This blouse is really light weight and the dye effect is very subtle.

6. Sports bra - $19.99 - Comes in a couple colors and are very bright and fun!

7. Long sleeved blouse - $29.99 - This bright yellow is certain to brighten up any gloomy day as you look forward to spring!

8. Leggings - $34.99 - These come in a few colors and coordinate with the tie-dye sports bras.

9. Lounge sweatshirt - $19.99 - We love this super soft sweatshirt and the color is just beautiful!

10. Sleep dress - $19.99 - The same super soft material as the pajamas and something you will want to sleep in every night!

11. Blue cozy sweatshirt - $29.99 - This is a super lightweight sweatshirt and we just love the circle dye pattern on it!

12. V-neck tee - $8.00 - Want a super affordable piece?  This is it!  This tee is really soft, we love the bright color dye design and would look great with leggings, jeans or denim shorts as it starts to warm up! It also comes in yellow.

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Better Options Giveaway

Today is a quick and fun post for you guys. Remember last month when we did a little home updating with local home goods company, The Better Options Co.? Well we've teamed up with them to give away a fun little gift! 

One lucky Instagram follower will get a $150 gift card to the Better Options Co. From Keenz wagons to Southern Drawl sheets - the gift card will be able to be used on any product in the store. It's a quick and easy giveaway. For all the details and entry make the hop HERE

If you see something you want to snag now we also have a discount code for you! 
Use code MAGNOLIA-TBOC for $20 off your order!

Good Luck Everyone! 

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Guest Bath Refresh

A few weeks ago I got the itch to update some spaces in our home.  Nothing crazy, but just a little updating here and there. I hadn't really made any chances except to the kids' rooms since we moved in almost 6 years ago!

One of the spaces I wanted to change up was our guest bathroom.  It's a small ensuite bath and gets used when we have family or friends visiting, so not on a regular basis. When we first moved in I put up an old shower curtain that we had from our previous house. It was much darker with tans, golds and browns. I also had dark bath mats in here. Because I rarely go in there it is one of those things that was kind of out of sight, out of mind.  However, I finally decided to give it a little refresh and love how it turned out!

I found the blue and white buffalo check shower curtain for under $20 HERE and knew it was just the look I was going for. Something lighter and brighter to freshen up this space. 

The cotton wreath came from Oriental Trading, but I found a similar one on Amazon HERE.  I grabbed a matching blue satin ribbon from the craft store and tied a bow to pull out the blue from the shower curtain.

I also switched out the darker bath mats for cream ones that were only $8 each HERE. It's just amazing how something small like that can really change the look of the room.

I know I always seem to forget some necessity when we are traveling or visiting friends so I like to keep some extras on hand for our guests.  Toothbrushes, shampoo/conditioner, lotions, soap, Ibuprofen, etc.  Most of this stuff is usually extras we bring home from hotels and I just put them in a basket under the skin or in this little galvanized bin with washcloths so our guest can feel like they have everything they might need.

My mom is coming to visit in just a few weeks so I'm happy to have finally freshened up this space just in time for her to use it!

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

A Review of Amazon's Kindle Kids Edition

My son went from not ever wanting to read (on his own) to being obsessed with books. He now reads non-stop. This Summer was the turning point. All it took was finding was a book series for him to really get sucked into to. For him it was the Dog Man series by Dav Pilkey and the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan (read his review here).

He's also really gotten into listening to books, and downloads Audibles at a faster rate than I do. I love that he has a new found love for all things reading.

In January he turned nine. He had mentioned some new books he wanted, but I decided to do some research about getting him his own e-reader. Besides, it seemed like a much better alternative to adding more toys to my house. I had the thought that everyone could get him gift cards for books for his birthday or any holiday and it could be the gift that would keep on giving.

After a few weeks of research, I decided on the Amazon Kindle for Kids. It came out in October, and seemed like best choice for what I was looking for. Now that he's had it for about a month, all I can say is best. gift. ever.

Here's my thoughts on it in case you've been thinking of getting your own little reader an e-reader.


A friend of mine decided to do the same gift idea for her son for Christmas, but went with the Kindle Fire for Kids instead. After chatting with her about it, I was curious. She brought her son's over one day for me to play with, and I was so impressed. Our kids all have iPads, but for the cost and the set-up, the Kindle Fire hands down is the better choice in my opinion.

If we didn't already have iPads for the kids, I would have pulled the trigger on the Kindle Fires. They are easy to navigate, already come with a ton of age appropriate apps, a protective cover, and have an excellent warranty. It's a no brainer at less than a third of the cost.

Ultimately I decided to stick with the Kindle Kids Edition. We already have iPads and I wanted him to have a device that was strictly for reading and not worry about him getting on YouTube or Netflix or anything else.

Size Comparison: Kindle Paperwhite vs. Kindle Kids Edition


I have the latest Kindle Paperwhite, and thought about just purchasing him that option, but then I realized what a better deal the Kindle Kids Edition was.

  1. Cover Options are included.  It comes with a protective cover when purchased, so you don't have anything additional to buy. With the Paperwhite I still had to buy a cover as an extra. There are four cover options to choose from.
  2. Amazon Free Time is included free for one year.  A Free Time Unlimited subscription allows a Kindle user to have unlimited access to books, magazines, Audibles, movies, and shows. The Paperwhite offers a free subscription with purchase for up to three months, but the Kindle for Kids edition comes with a free one-year subscription. It also allows for the Kids version to switch back and forth between reading the story and the Audible version for free.

    I was nervous the subscription would just be a few books, but it includes a ton of popular titles and almost any book a kid would really want to read. For example, the entire Harry Potter Series comes with the subscription. 

    I haven't done a cost analysis since we've only owned it a month, but I'm guessing if you have an avid reader the yearly savings would be huge. (Free Time increases to $2.99/month for Prime users and $4.99/month for non-members after the free subscription period ends. It can be cancelled anytime.)
  3. Security. As with any electronic device these days, parents have to worry about security on multiple levels. The device works off wi-fi, but there isn't any chatting, etc. available. I also control purchases and what content he views from my own account. He can independently search and download within the parameters I set him and his reading level, but anything outside of that has to get permission from me. Super simple to set up and use, and very easy to alter if needed.
  4. Free Replacement if damaged. The Kindle Kids Edition comes with a 2-year worry free guarantee. If anything happens to it within two years of purchase it can be replaced for free. That alone makes it worth it because...well, kids.
  5. Wireless headphone capable. Total first world problem, but I can't stand untangling cords. The kids could care less how many knots are in them, but it drives me nuts. With just a click of a button their wireless headphones were able to be connected. (We own these inexpensive ones.)
  6. Battery Life. Battery life for the Kindle Kids Edition is excellent. We've had to charge it once in the past month. That's with at least an hour of use daily. It takes four hours for it to get a full charge.
  7. No distractions. I love that the device is just set up for reading and listening to books. No distractions from apps or games. No commercials or ads for those things either. Just reading.
  8. It's small. Just like my Paperwhite, the Kindle Kids Edition is pretty small. Think the size of a small paperback. I was nervous it would be too small after being used to a larger tablet for so many years, but I actually like the smaller size. For travel it is excellent because it doesn't take up any room and is light enough that kids can carry it around with out it making their bags heavier. 

I will add things to this list as we navigate through new features or anything else new we learn. The only con I can see so far is that the screen is only black and white. The lighting is excellent, and our son hasn't complained about the lack of color, but in some books I can see where color for younger readers might help (especially when they are still looking at photos for reading cues). 

Hope this helps anyone thinking of getting a Kindle Kids Edition for their own little reader, or if you were needing a great gift idea! 

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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Pottery Awesomeness + Giveaway

It's been a while since we featured someone in our Mix & Mingle series. We love shopping and sharing small businesses - especially businesses run by fellow moms. When we met Stephanie of Pottery Awesomeness we knew we wanted you to love her just as much as we do, and thought this was the perfect way for you guys to get to know her better. 

Stephanie has a love for art and kids that is infectious. She owns a paint your own pottery studio called York River Pottery Co. in Virginia (stop by and say hi to her if you are in the Gloucester Point area!). After seeing the joy brought to children in her studio (including her own), she decided to start Pottery Awesomeness. 

First let's get to know a little bit about this fabulous lady behind the paint brush. 

What has been your favorite part of owning Pottery Awesomeness? 

My favorite part of creating Pottery Awesomeness has been the idea that I will be able to connect with and bring joy to so many more people (especially children) than I originally thought possible.  I run a "paint your own pottery" studio in a small town in Virginia and see first hand, every day, how much joy painting pottery brings to kids.  When the idea for Pottery Awesomeness came to me, it was like a lightning strike!  I thought... "That's it!" That's how I can reach more people.  I don't think in this digital age that kids are exposed to enough art.  It's my personal mission to change that as much as I can!  I even offer school fundraising to further that reach even more.

Do you have a personal favorite kit or pottery piece? Your Kids Favorite? 

Choosing a favorite kit for me is hard, as I have created characters out of each of them.  They are all a part of #TeamAwesome and "work" at Pottery Awesomeness Headquarters (my house).  If you follow my Instagram feed, it's like a soap opera, lol.  Robotron currently has the hots for Shelley, but he's afraid to tell her.  I can tell you that my daughter's favorite is Shelley (the mermaid) and my son's is Robotron.  He makes me tape cardboard around his legs so that he can't bend his knees and is forced to walk like a robot... and fall. A lot. So, yeah, he's into robots - haha.

If you could have dinner with any famous person in the world, who would it be? 

If I could have dinner with any famous person in the world, I think it would be Kristen Bell.  I was a huge fan of hers from way back when she was Veronica Mars and have had a huge girl crush on her ever since.  She's smart, funny, beautiful, talented, but the kicker for me is that she is so likable!  You can't not like her!  I can't speak for her, but at least I would be entertained.

You're trapped on an island. What is the one thing you must have with you that you can't live without? 

If I were trapped on an island today, I would want my knitting with me with a magically endless ball of yarn.  I taught myself to knit from YouTube a couple of years ago and go through spurts where I can't put it down and then when I just don't have time, but still dream about it.  I find it to be such an amazing form of meditation.  I am also not very good at it, lol. So, I assume the whole island thing would give me the time to master it.

What book or TV show can you not stop reading/watching right now? 

I am absolutely loving the book, "Gus" by Kim Holden.  It's actually the sequel to "Bright Side".  I read "Bright Side" a little over a year ago and even though it seems like an unassuming love story about a college-aged girl, it literally changed the way I looked at life on a daily basis for the past year.  It's a book about gratefulness and sometimes, all you need is a shift in perspective when the going gets tough.  This book has made me look at every "rough patch" through some seriously rose colored glasses and that's pretty powerful stuff!!  Oh and Gus is a fun read too... he's a handsome, talented, "needs to find the right girl" rock star... what's not to like?

Pottery Awesomeness provides mail order painting kits for children. Each kit is set up to have everything your child needs from start to finish for their project. It's like having a personal painting studio in your own home. Being a mom, Stephanie has taken her own personal experience, as well gotten tons of input from her own young children, to create the perfect painting kit for your own little ones. 

Each kit comes with all the supplies your child will need to create their own custom pottery piece. You chose from one of the custom curated pottery boxes available. From unicorns to dinosaurs - there are so many adorable options! 

We gave the Valentine's Day kit a try, and our kids loved it! 

From the paint to the instructions, we loved it too. The kit was so user friendly and easy to use - which was so hopeful to this non-craftsy mom. 

As the kids were painting they kept asking if they could give one to their friends. We totally agreed  - because now getting the chance to experience Pottery Awesomeness at home we realize it totally lives up to its name. Pottery Awesomeness is great gift idea! 

Once the painting is done the fun doesn't stop there. When we say Stephanie has thought of everything, she literally has thought of everything when coming up with the perfect pottery kit for your little one. The kit comes with crayons and is shipped in a box that your kids can color as well as play a seek and find game with characters on the box. Such a great way to extend the creative play time for your child! 


Now to extend the fun to YOU! Stephanie rocks in many ways, but one is her giving heart. She wanted to give one lucky Magnolia Mamas reader a chance to give their kids the gift of a Pottery Awesomeness kit. 

To enter...

Winner will be chosen randomly and announced on February 14, 2020. Winner must be over 18 and a resident of the United States. Winner will have 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner will be announced. 

Good luck everyone! 

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Friday, February 7, 2020

The BEST Golden Goose Dupes

Today's post has been a collection of months of my internet searching. I've mentioned this before, but I REALLY want a pair of Golden Goose sneakers.  I am currently obsessing over THESE with the cute gingham star.  Wouldn't they be perfect for spring?!

As much as I love them and know I would wear the heck out of them, it just isn't going to happen. The price is just WAY too steep for me, so unless I can find a pair on major sale, I am going to have to settle for a dupe. The good news is there are a LOT of great dupes out there and so many cute styles, colors and patterns that you don't have to spend a crazy amount to get the same look.  
I bought THESE from Amazon just to sort of test the waters and see how much I would actually wear them.  The answer is, I wear them a ton! I feel like I can wear them with casual outfits and it looks a little more put together than wearing a running shoe.  To me they are the shoe that describes my style perfectly...casual, but just a little bit fancy. 

I've been on the hunt for another great dupe and have the very BEST ones to share with y'all today.  So many of these options come in different colors and patterns.  The prices range anywhere from around $30 - $130 depending on the brand and now my only problem is deciding which ones to order because I really love them all! 

1. Pink Pink  ($115) - I would LOVE this pink pair for spring and summer. THESE are cute too! 

2. Neon Yellow/Snake Skin ($132) - I have seen these in person and they look really good.  They have the worn/scuffed look just like Golden Goose and the colors are really fun.

3. Glitter Star ($50) - Love the glittery look of these! These are fun too!

4. Leopard Star ($85) - These are maybe the best dupe for the price that I have seen. They already have the worn look Golden Goose is known for and come in several different colors.

5. Animal Print ($150) - When I saw these I did a double take. I love the animal print, the blue laces and just feel like these are different in a really good way. (Note - these have very limited sizes left. Another great option is this pair.)

6. Metallic Gold ($35)  - Comes in a bunch of different metallic and glitter options.

7. Multi-Color Snakeskin with Star Studs ($145) - Not sure what it is about theses, but I love them!  I like the high-top option and feel like this is something JEM and the Holograms would wear. (Note - these have very limited sizes left. We like THIS PAIR too!)

8. Glitter High-Tops ($68) - These have amazing reviews and have the patch on the tongue and the scuffed/worn marks just like the real deal. (If you are willing to go a little pricier THIS PAIR is a cute option too!)

9. Zebra Print ($105) - I thought these were fun for people who like color and patterns.  (Note - these have very limited sizes left. THESE PAIRS are fun too!)

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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Slow Cooker Pizza Pasta Recipe

Easy dinner alert!! Naturally I'm not a food person. I eat like a five year old, and my cooking skills are about equivalent. I have friends that are excellent cooks, and have tried to teach me their ways, share their dinner secrets, and even bring me meals because otherwise they know my poor family would be eating tacos Monday through Friday.

Not that there is anything wrong with tacos. Because...well, tacos.

But, long time readers know I love a good slow cooker recipe. Carrie Beth and I both do. As busy moms who play mom taxi from 2-9p.m. respectively each nice, it's nice to just take a handful of ingredients, throw them in a pot and call it a day. Or in this case dinner.

A few weeks ago, I was looking for a recipe on Pinterest to shake things up in my slow cooker repertoire, and I found a recipe called "Pizza Pasta". I screen shot the recipe on my phone or else I would go back and give the creator a huge shout out. 

The Slow Cooker Pizza Pasta was a huge hit amongst the entire family. Even Mr. Magnolia. And he's a tough sell when it comes to all things involving a crockpot. 

It is really really simple (see those five year old cooking skills) and easy to adjust to your own tastes. 

And it tastes like pizza. Which everyone knows is the second major food group behind tacos. 

Here's the quick and easy recipe...


Prep Time - 10 mins
Total Time - 1.5 hours

  • 1 jar of pizza sauce
  • 1 box of penne pasta
  • 1 pound of ground meat (I used a mixture of ground sausage and ground turkey.)  
  • 3 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Optional: sliced pepperoni 

  • Cook pasta according to instructions.
  • Brown meat(s).  

  • Mix pasta, meats, and sauce in a large bowl. 

  • Layer pasta mixture with cheese in slow cooker.  

  • Cook on low for 1 - 1.5 hours.  

  • Serve and enjoy! 

Have any slow cooker recipes that even a five year old can make? If so, share with me! It's always good to have a little something up my sleeve to really "wow" the fam. ;) 

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