Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WWLW: Summer Camp Week - Camp Movies

Movies…the Merry Mommas love them. All types of movies! And while now most of our movie watching involves some form of Disney, we still love all types of movies, including CAMP MOVIES…so today our post is dedicated to CAMP MOVIES!

Cindy - Hands down, Parent Trap (the original, even though I do LOVE Linsday Lohan {I know, I know, but I have this weird love for her…anyway}) is the best Camp Movie! This movie made me want to be a mischievous twin so stinking bad! And really, Hayley Mills singing Let's get together, yeah, yeah, yeah! GOODNESS, good times!

Katy - I love Poison Ivy - the one with Michael J. Fox. It's a love story mixed in with the fun of overt stereotypes (jock, shy, con man, etc.) trying to survive a summer at camp. At the end when everyone gathers around to watch Timmy swim you can't help but be excited too! Ah, the 80s, they were good times!

And y'all know we couldn't have a post about SUMMER CAMP MOVIES without mentioning everyones favorite - Dirty Dancing!! What's your favorite scene and/or quote from the movie? Of course we all love "Nobody puts Baby in a corner.", but we also love "Oh, come on, ladies. God wouldn't have given you maracas if He didn't want you to shake 'em!"

And for fun:

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Summer Camp Week! (Letters From Home)

Hi friends! It's Merry Momma Cindy and I'm here to talk about LETTERS FROM HOME!

Think back to summer 1994...what were you doing? Were you in college? Having a baby? In elementary school? Relaxing at the pool?

Want to know what I was doing? I was attending Girls State. Ever heard of it? Y'all, it's a summer camp about government.  Yes, government. I was (and I guess still am) that girl. I went to a camp about government. And, then I went to Texas A&M and studied government. Interesting, huh!

Anyway...Girls State is OLD SCHOOL. There was NO phone, (And this was 1994, NO ONE had a cell phone that you put in your pocket and few even had phones in their cars {collective gasp from the audience under 25}) NO TV and you could only receive mail.  It was a surreal 5 day experience.

And when this happened all of the Girls State girls had to READ about it!

Yes, I READ about the OJ Simpson chase. Can you even imagine the day those letters came in...all of us girls were like, "What does your letter say?" "He did what?" "OJ Simpson - the football guy?" "White bronco, what?" Y' was nuts!

And, it forever ingrained in me the importance of a well written letter from home! And I'm not alone. In fact, there is an entire website called Letters to Camp.  They came up with this nifty little ditty below. It is basically everything you needed to know about how to write the perfect camp letter!

And check out this fun idea so that you *maybe* get a letter back from your camper!

And for those of you out there knowing your child may only spend about half a second writing you back, there are fill in the blank Camp Stationery:

In our world today, most people don't go more than an hour or two without sending a text to their nearest and dearest...but Summer Camp can change that...and maybe that's good.  We should all try to spread the MERRY with a little hand written letter! Can't wait to read one from you!

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Summer Camp Week! (Lunch Box Notes)

Over the last two weeks the Merry Fams have had a group email going back and forth about --- SUMMER CAMPS! Yes, our oldest children are now 6 years old and about to (wait for it) GRADUATE Kindergarten! (We totally could argue both sides of all these celebrations, but since they are our kids, it's precious and priceless…moving on.) So, what happens after KINDERGARTEN? Summer! And while there will be MUCH splashing in pools and lazing around the house, we also think the kiddos may enjoy some camps…and there are about 14,276 just in the BCS area to consider. All this camp talk led to discussions about spreading the MERRY at camps…so here it is - SUMMER CAMP Week!

We are starting off on the "easy" end of the spectrum and actually going to discuss LUNCH BOX NOTES! We know that packing a lunch really begins with school and if you think about it "school" is just a really really really long camp that happens in every season but summer. BUT, it is the first time you really send your kid off somewhere to be cared for by others. So, let's discuss LUNCH BOX NOTES.

Here's a GREAT example of and AWESOME lunch box note from Ryan to Radley! Isn't this just the best! And why is it the best?
1. Ryan knows Radley's passion - Sharks!
2. It expresses an emotion - Love!
3. It uses familiar terms - Buddy!
4. And it was made by hand!

We pinned lots of examples of LUNCH BOX NOTES to our Pinterest page and we love them all. (Go look!) They are cute and fun and darling. And we use notes like those often to brighten up the kiddos' or the hubbies' day, but know that a note that spreads the MERRY (of any kind) doesn't have to be on fancy paper or take 20 minutes to produce or cost lots of money - it just needs to show that you know the receiver and you care about them!

Spread the MERRY this week via Lunch Box Notes and post them to our Facebook Page!
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Presents Week: Mommas!

Hi! Hopefully you are reading this because your lovely wife's best friend forwarded you this "blog" thing to read and you are wondering - What. In. The. World. Well, blogs are cool. They are sort of like sports message boards, but without all the arrests (Yes, we're looking at you Texas A&M!), the drama of where some 18 year old is going to play a sport and the "sports words". {Sports words are what Merry Momma Cindy's granny calls cuss words…because you should only use them when your team does something really really really bad. Like have three players arrested on one day!} Anyway…back to the point of the post…Mother's Day is right around the corner and you should really try hard to knock the socks off of your wife because (1) she's awesome - she married you! (2) she works hard - at everything (3) she's a great mom and loves your kiddos.

And the Merry Mommas are here to help! We did a very scientific poll and came up with THE ABSOLUTE BEST Mother's Day gifts ever!

So we present:

Gift: Jewelry
Unlimited Budget Guy - This box is from Tiffany's. Buy your baby's momma something from this store. Seriously, she will love it if it comes in one of these beautiful boxes. Maybe something like this!

Regular Joe - So, maybe Tiffany's is a little out of your price range…no worries - Kendra Scott is here to help! Her stuff is all the rage! The earrings are most popular, but her other jewelry is super popular too! We really like these Danielle earrings in Iridescent Tangerine.

The Kiddos - Hubsands, listen. We would all LOVE something from Tiffany's or Kendra Scott…but the most meaningful gifts are the one that you and the kiddos make together. So a bracelet like the one below…well, it's priceless!

Gift: Pictures
Unlimited Budget Guy - Now, y'all know the Merry Mommas wouldn't/couldn't have a post about presents for MOMMAS if it didn't involve PICTURES! A great gift for your lovely lady would be what we would call - The ALL INCLUSIVE PHOTO SHOOT. Give her an unlimited budget for the photographer, the clothes and of course the prints. This gift will give for years to come when you glance over at the mantel and see your gorgeous family in a 24" x 36" canvas

Regular Joe - Grab the camera, your family and go do your own photo session. Get the best ones printed, buy cute frames and give them to Momma. She'll love that you took the time to take pictures and give her a "complete" product. Many of you will be in your Easter best this weekend, so Sunday would be a good day to start this gift!

The Kiddos - Y'all. This. Makes. A. Mommas'. Heart. Melt.
by Caroline (She said this was before she had sisters! Ha!)

Gift: Relaxation
Unlimited Budget Guy - Ummm. So. We totally googled "best spa in Scottsdale" and this popped up: The Canyon Suites at the Phoenician.  Looks good to us! Book the flight, the hotel and a full day of spa treatments. While your at it, book the same thing for your baby Momma's bestie! You will for sure win *Hubby of the Year*! Nothing rejuvenates a Momma like a weekend away!

Regular Joe - Maybe spending $5K for Mother's Day wasn't in the Dave Ramsey plan…don't fret! A few hours at the local spa getting a massage and a pedi are great ways to treat the Momma in your life!

The Kiddos - Bring the Spa home and involve the kids! Let them wash feet, massage them and lather them with lotion. Then hand over the Piggie Paint and let them paint Momma!

We hope you found some great gift ideas in our post, but before you go she have one more thing to add…

Every Momma we talked to had fun things they wanted, like the stuff above…but EVERY single one of them also mentioned that they wanted TIME. Time with their kiddos and time with their spouses.

So, this Mother's Day instead of spending lots of $$$ on "stuff"…figure out how and when you can spend TIME together! It seems to be the most popular want this year!

Much love!
The Merry Mommas

PS - The giveaway Rafflecopter thing and us are having a fight! We'll announce the WINNER to the Jenn Straznicky photo session as soon as the fight is over! Sorry!!!!

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Presents Week: Kiddos

The toy room is overflowing, we get it - trust us - BUT it's fun to buy gifts for kiddos! We did some major research (read, we talked to our friends) and came up with a great list of things to buy for the kiddos! We talked to mommas that have kids ranging in age from two to twelve and it was so interesting...even though there is a 10 year gap, most of the gifts were the same, just the level of intensity or hardness was different!

And because we know you like (and expect) some form of organization from our gift giving guide, we present:

Friend in Class - Girl
Frozen. Anything Frozen. Anything - the movie (7 copies isn't too many), coloring books, dress up clothes (good luck finding those), books (encourage reading), wigs (Elsa's hair is AMAZING!) and especially the CD.

Friend in Class - Boy
Legos. Legos are the bomb. And kids (both boys and girls) love to build things. Legos come in lots of different characters and price ranges. Legos are always a go-to gift for the Merry Mommas!

The kindergarteners are wearing them, the college girls are making them - everyone one loves them...the Rainbow Loom braclets, necklaces and other fun things are the RAGE! Be the cool aunt or uncle and buy this:

Y'all. Radley (Merry Momma Katy's son) and Josh (Merry Momma Cindy's husband) both received a got pocket knife as a gift this year ... and ... THEY BOTH LOVED THEM! We mean like crazy loved them. We think and know that boys like weapons - from nerf guns to swords to bb guns. So embrace all things boy and teach your kiddos how to use a pocket knife responsibly.

The marketing gurus behind American Girl are GENIUSES! That place is amazing. Merry Momma recently took Caroline to the store to purchase her first doll and it was a magical experience. The price tag is a little high, but man - the quality, the detail, the fun of the entire experience was great!

Video gaming systems seem to be a BIG HUGE rage with the boy moms and judging by the number of adult men we know that play these games, they seem to be a rage with all males! So…go ahead, get the cool newest Xbox and learn how to play soccer (on a video game) or fight the bad guys (or be one).

Be sure to check to blog tomorrow!
We will announce the winner of the Jenn Straznicky photo shoot!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Presents Week: BABY!

So, its been three minutes...

Where's the baby?!?

Even if YOU aren't having a baby, odds are someone you know is...

So we present:

$ - Practical: Swaddle Blankets 
Y'all. The Merry Mommas are swaddle moms. Real swaddle moms. Like arms and all. And we are firm believers in it. For us. You do what you want, but we love love love a swaddle. And we love to give swaddle blankets. The ones by Aden + Anais are amazing! Little Merry Millicent just might be still sleeping with hers, at 2+ years of age. And she still just might like a tight tuck in. *might*

$$ - Practical: Baby Carriers
The Merry Mommas are MOMMAS ON THE GO! And we loved both the Moby Wrap and the Baby Bjorn! We think both of these items make for a great gift for your Momma OR Daddy On The Go!

$$$ - Practical: Car Seat/Breast Pump
Okay, so we couldn't pick just one and some moms choose not to breast feed or aren't able too (and that's 100% OKAY! Do what works for you and your family!). Every kid needs a car seat and every mom that breast feeds needs a breast pump. And those things are expensive! Help a family out and if you can give one of these gifts - do it!

$ - Not so practical: Personalized "Stuff"
It's NO secret that the Merry Mommas love things personalized. But we are mature and honest enough to know that it isn't really all that practical. (Collective *gasp* from the audience.) But, it is DARN CUTE! So go ahead, give us personalized gifts...we mean, give personalized gifts to others! Live life on the edge, don't be practical all the time!
(personalized and a swaddle blanket = Merry Momma heaven!)

$$ - Not so practical: Shopping Cart Cover
This shopping cart cover is just too cute, but practical...not really. The first months of a baby's life will be spent in a car seat during his/her trips to Target and by the time the baby can sit up in the grocery cart, you have a diaper bag full of stuff and probably another baby on the way (oh wait, that was just crazy ol' Merry Mommas!) and finding time to find the cover and then actually use it...well, probably isn't happening. Anyway, we love these things and both have them, but if we are being honest (and the MM love honesty) we didn't use them very much.

$$$ - Not so practical: Super High Tech Baby Monitor
We promise we aren't trying to start any mommy wars, but for the both of us, a high priced super fancy baby monitor just wasn't a necessity. Now, if you want to give one - GREAT! We both had your standard $29.99 monitor and it worked, but check out this fancy one and maybe get Aunt Betsy to buy it for you!

$ - Meaningful: Personalized Blocks
Some gifts are just meant to be sent after the birth, like these adorable blocks. Those first few weeks are amazing and wonderful and also - well - SO STINKING HARD. So surprise your friend with a sentimental gift and hold her screaming baby for an hour or so and let her shower and nap!

$$ - Meaningful: Blanket from Bebe
Cindy's mom, affectionately know as Bebe, is a seamstress. And she makes blankets for every baby that is loved on by any member of the Brown family. We're sure that you or someone you know is a seamstress or a knitter or could become one and there is nothing more meaningful than a gift made from the heart! If sewing and needles aren't your style, you could paint something or write a meaningful letter. Basically, any gift that is "Made by You" is an amazing one - make your already emotional friend tear up a bit and get busy making something!
Millicent's coming home blanket made by Bebe!
(told ya, we love love love a swaddle!)

$$$ - Meaningful: Housekeeping Services for a Year
A clean there really anything better? NOPE, is the answer! Can you imagine the look on an expectant mom's face when she opens a gift for housekeeping services for an entire year?? We think the look would be called ELATED! When Your Merry Mailbox hits it big and we get hundreds of thousands of hits a day and are millionaires, we are giving this gift to every expectant momma we know! (And maybe a personalized blanket! ;))

And if your baby is now a senior,
don't forget to enter our giveaway here!

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Presents Week: Going to the Chapel

Hello friends! We hope you all had a great weekend!

We have a surprise for you -- WE EXTENDED THE GIVEAWAY!

Yep, you have until Tuesday, April 15th at midnight (we are kind like the IRS {hahaha!}) to enter. In case you forgot, we have partnered with the talented Jenn Straznicky of Jenn Straznicky Photography to give away a FREE senior photo session.  Isn't her work great!

We have to admit we are a tad shocked more of you haven't' entered.
Tell all your friends that have JUNIORS or SENIORS in high school or college about this giveaway.
And then enter here!

Jenn's work is amazing and its a FREE photo session!
You know, FREE, like in a present!!!

And guess what we are talking about today?


Wedding presents to be exact!

It's that time of year…your mailbox is probably full of MERRY in the form of this:

Or this:

And aren't weddings just the best!

Here's a look at ours:

Aren't we precious (and young!)!

Anyway…we LOVE going to weddings and sharing the MERRY through GREAT gifts!

So…there are couple a ways to go - registry or non-registry gifts. Honestly, we could argue for and against both, but we think you need to think about the couple, your relationship to them and honestly, the time factor (sometimes you run into Dillard's on the way to the wedding!). Also, keep in mind that you may be invited to a shower or two or maybe even six before the wedding! Budget and plan accordingly!

So without any further ado…

And we have categories and price ranges because OF COURSE! :)

$ - Practical: Pyrex (or any brand, really) dishes
Who doesn't use these? They are great for leftovers and work perfectly to transport your awesome brownies to your MIL's house! #winningdaughterinlaw #notstarvingherbabyboy

$$ - Practical: Sheets
Everyone needs two or three sets of sheets and think - in a few years if you are tired of them you can use them as drop clothes as you paint the baby room! #threeminutesafteraweddingpeopleaskaboutbabies 

$$$ - Practical: Kitchen Aid Mixer
It's pretty and makes food! #awesome #usefuldecor

$ - Not so practical: Cheese Board
It's pretty and fancy and the one time you use it you're glad you have it…but, it really isn't that practical. #unlessyoueatfancycheeseeveryday #withwine #wecandream

$$ - Not so practical: Bar Set
This present was probably bought by the hubby's single guy friend. And it is a really cool gift! That housewarming party just got real. But, again…not that practical. #icebucketnowholdssippycups 

$$$ - Not so practical: Crystal Vase
Y'all. We love the look of crystal and the thought of this vase full of beautiful flowers does make us smile…but, it also makes us think 'OMG, you could have taken me to a night out on the town and paid for a babysitter with that cash'. But, it is pretty and more than likely you won't buy it for yourself! #moms #canyousellthisstuffonebay #registerforit #maybeauntbetsywillbuyit 

$ - Meaningful: Picture Frame with Bible verse or quote
Many couples have scripture or a famous quote read during their wedding ceremony, wouldn't be awesome to have those words on a picture frame! #sweet #remindsyouoftheday 

$$ - Meaningful: Important Dates Plaque
Don't you just love this! What a wonderful home decore item, it holds a picture (score!), is meaningful (duh!) and gently reminds everyone (not calling out the men!) of your anniversary date. #whoreallyforgetstheiranniversary #notthemerryhubbies #weremindthem

$$$ - Meaningful: Bridal Bouquet Preservation
Y'all. Flowers are EXPENSIVE! And then you just have to throw them away or give them to an old folks home?!?! Nope, you don't! Give one of your besties this amazing gift - the gift of preserving their bouquet. #flowersthatdonotdie #homedecore #anothergentleweddingdatereminder

**Special thanks to our friends Kelly and Donna who helped us out with this post…they are both a little more recently married than us!

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