Easter Weekend Recap – The Bright Side

Today I am grateful for the stomach flu, my amazing husband, new bedtime routines and this video…

After my bedtime blues rant I wound up with the stomach flu. As I was bedridden for nearly two days, my husband managed to figure out a new bedtime routine that seems to be working so far. Rylie gets to watch 1 episode of her favorite tv show, says night night to the characters, goes upstairs, brushes her teeth, reads a few books and then watches Twinkle Twinkle until she falls asleep. So far it’s led to the most peaceful evenings we’ve had in a while with little to no leg movement. In fact tonight, after her most favorite episode of Yo Fresh Beats Gabba Gabba and a few minutes of getting her sillies out, she grabbed my hand, said night night owl and led me up the stairs. Success. and might I add, she went to bed 45 minutes earlier than usual. YEAH.

Despite the otherwise pukey end to my weekend (and I mean that in every sense of the word), Rylie and I had the most wonderful Easter weekend just the two of us, exploring some of our favorite places in Phoenix totally Dad free.

We woke up bright and early on Saturday to go use some of my free herb coupons from Penzys. If you’ve not been to Penzys you must go. AND, if you have one local to you, and sign up for their catalog, you get free coupons. BONUS. I scored 2 small jars of Cinnamon and a jar of Cumin.


Rylie also had a load of fun running rampant at Tempe Marketplace. Hint: If you go there early enough on the weekend the place is empty. Perfect for a toddler on the move.

After our little shopping venture we headed to The Farm at South Mountain for some lunch with friends. One of our favorite hidden spots in Phoenix. In fact it’s such a favorite, I even got married there. They have a delicious lunch spot that only uses locally grown foods. There is a farmers market on the weekends and even a delicious breakfast place. Its perfect for kiddos to run around free while moms chat it up.

The Farm at South Mountain


After we went home and each took a nap, I decided my lack of planning would not stop the Easter Bunny from making a stop at our house, so we headed to Target where I snuck some dollar bin toys into the cart. As we walked through the store, Rylie suddenly started yelling NOT NICE. This was the first time I’ve heard these words spoken from her mouth. OK, time for bed.

We woke up Sunday morning to a table full of treats and quickly headed out the door to see the Easter Bunny and have some yummy breakfast at another hidden Phoenix gem… The Grove. Clearly we have a love of farms… after all, we are The Gardners.


I would have to agree with Rylie, this bunny was a bit creepy… but thanks to Rylies mad egg hunting skills, he was kind enough to give me a bag full of candy. OK, we can be friends, but Rylie will only accept a high five. No hugs please, NOT NICE.


The Grove

The Grove

So you see, bedtime complaints set aside… this cute little girl is my BFF. Next weekend we tackle our first toddler birthday. It’s going to be fun!

Little Girl Adventures


In the blink of an eye this little one has become such a big girl. It’s tough keeping up with her, but we have so much fun on our little adventures. We spent last weekend exploring Phoenix parks. It was a weekend of firsts. First swing (she didn’t like it), first merry go round (loved it), first train ride (she was on the fence about this one).

On Saturday we visited the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. All day long we pretended to pull our whistle and say choo choo. Watching her excitement about everything that’s going on around her is so fascinating. Such little things make her so happy. I wish everyone could live like that. We rode the tiniest train ever and I only got a little nervous when she started saying all done, only half way through the ride. She was easily distracted by the other train passing us though, she waved to everyone on it and we made it through to the end. The carousel was by far her favorite attraction of the day though.

Sunday was family day. We spent the morning at Cesar Chavez Park and even ran into one of Rylies classmates. We fed ducks, slid on slides and attempted another go at the swings.




So much for this little girl to explore… what should we do next weekend?

Weekend Recap – Hiking, Food and Relaxation

Ya know what’s awesome about living in Arizona? This…

Hiking South Mountain

I kicked off my weekend bright and early Saturday with a hike on South Mountain. I haven’t hiked since before the baby was born, it was great to get out and get some fresh air and start my day off with some exercise. I think I’ll try it more often! This is the view from the top, it’s hard to tell but the city of Phoenix is down below to the left between those two hills that look deceivingly small.

Did I mention it was 70 degrees on my drive home from work at around 7:00? Don’t be jealous east coasters.

Saturday evening I headed off to Blended Food Bloggers Conference where I met some amazing cooks/bloggers:

Everyday Southwest
Eat Drink Love
Fit Fun Delish
I Wash… You Dry
The Baked Equation
The Slow Roasted Italian
Pink Cake Plate
East Valley Mom Guide
and Around My Family Table… just to name a few.

Holy swag! This event was well worth my $30. I could barely haul this load of freebies down the street to my car…

Gourmet Garden

Sun Dried Tomatoes


Urban Table

Fry's Food Stores

Fairytale Brownies

Pop Chips

The sponsors of this event were so amazing. Thanks so much to Fry’s Food Stores, Shamrock Farms, Bella Sun Luci, Roland, Fairytale Brownies, Pop Chips and Gourmet Garden for all of your donations and especially Shawn at I Wash You Dry and Wendy at Around My Family Table for organizing the event.

It’s not often that I leave the house and gallivant around town until 10 P.M. so Sunday was a wash for me. I. Did. NOTHING. and it was great.

Only 3 days til the weekend again. Looking forward to it!

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