Fun At The Mall On Spring Break

It’s been a while since I actually sat down to blog about our family activities! Life’s just so busy all the time that when I do finally have a moment to relax, I use that time to catch up with friends on Facebook or #NetflixAndChill. But this week is Spring Break for us, so I have a little extra time on my hands. I really should be catching up on dishes and laundry today, but I’m being a rebel and blogging instead. Yesterday was such an amazingly fun day for us, full of little moments I want to treasure forever!

Tristyn and Taylor just celebrated their 7th and 11th birthdays last month. Both girls enjoyed their joint slumber party. Some of their friends gave them super cute, fun gifts, but between the friends and family that gave them cash, they ended up with $150 and $200 to spend! So naturally, a trip to the mall was in order!

My favorite thing about the weekends and breaks is SLEEPING IN! I normally get up at 6am, so even sleeping til 8:30am is a TREAT! Joe Daddy had an errand to run, so I got to take my time taking a shower, shaving my legs, and getting dressed. And not in gym clothes for a change!

I even got to paint my nails! I recently painted my toe nails for the first time since last summer, but I can’t remember the last time I painted my finger nails, let alone had them coordinate! LOL!

#ObligatoryIGotDressedTodaySelfie

We didn’t hit the road til after noon so we could eat lunch at home and save dinner for the food court.

Doesn’t Jules look thrilled? LOL!

He says he hates having his picture taken, but this picture tells me otherwise 😉

He’s pretty good at pretending though!

NOT! LOL! #Teenagers

Our first stop was Toys R Us. I think Toys R Us is just an over-priced toy store, but despite my suggestion to skip it, the kids (and Joe Daddy) insisted we go.

Of course, Ty found all the Poppies!

And the lovies! My girls are OBSESSED with stuffed animals!

Since Taylor and Tristyn were the only ones with money to spend, but their daddy is a sucker and felt like the other little girls needed to be able to get something, he gave Trini and Ty each $20 to spend at either Toys R Us or the mall. The first thing they picked out were Power Puff dolls for $10.

Then we found the clearanced stuff animal aisle…

Yes, even the tween is obsessed with stuffed animals.

They rode…

…sat on…

…and loved on every. single. stuffed animal in sight!

Taylor ended up getting a big Beanie Boo knock-off unicorn for $9.99!

Ty got the fox for the same price!

Trini’s wasn’t a clearance item (it was $9.99 as well), but her sisters both got Barbie dogs at the store recently with their allowance, but Walmart only had two options, this one not being one of them. Now they all have their own Barbie dog, which means less fighting! 🙂

I was really proud of Tristyn! She was the only one of her sisters who didn’t get something at Toys R Us.

She wasn’t thrilled about it.

But she didn’t pitch a fit!

We stopped for a selfie while we waiting for Taylor to check out.

Then she jumped in! LOL!

Notice how Joe Daddy wanted nothing to do with that! LOL!

After Toys R Us, we headed to the mall! We always take a trip to the local mall on Black Friday weekend so we can take pictures with Santa at Bass Pro and catch all the great deals on Christmas gifts. The kids even love eating in the food court! For this mall trip, the girls wanted to go to the one with the American Girl Bistro and Boutique, which is an hour away versus 30 minutes. It’s a much nicer mall with different stores, so it was worth the extra drive time. We even managed to avoid crazy traffic with I85 out of commission after it caught on fire and collapsed a couple days ago!

This store is the devil, but even I LOVE it!

They have these cute new smaller dolls that we hadn’t seen before!

They had a cute little playhouse set up near them that the girls adored.

We’ve gone to the AGB&B at least once every year for the past 3 years and there is always something new to see!

I’m such a sucker for the cute little set-ups they have with the dolls!

I’m not big enough of a sucker to go into debt buying it all, but I do take the time to take pictures of them!

These oldies ones were my favorite this visit! How stinkin’ cute are they???

I also really liked the new boy doll (Logan) and the country girl (Tenney)!

Image result for tenney doll

Tenney has the cutest freckles! If she had blue eyes, she’d look just like Trini!

How totes adorbs are her outfits too?!

Speaking of totes adorbs…I know they hate me for this now, but they are gonna love it one day! LOL!

You know they just had to be thrilled to be in this doll store! LOL!

His look says it all! “Mom, you are such a psycho. Kill me now.” Hahahaha! Carolyn’s more like: “Why do I keep agreeing to hang out with this lady???”

As usual, we had to get a picture with the American Girl of the Year (Gabriela)! Is it sad that I know so much about these dolls? (I’m gonna go with NO! LOL!)

The Littles have regular American Girl dolls but showed a particular interest in the baby dolls this go round.

They love pretending they’re mommies, which is the sweetest thing ever! They already know exactly how many and what kind of babies they want when they grow up (despite my efforts to inform them that it’ll be a joint desicion between them and whoever they marry, LOL!).

Of course, they wanted all the babies and all the baby stuff, so we had to remind them that Tristyn was the only one with money and if she wanted a baby doll from American Girl, she was gonna have to spend almost half of her money on it, and another $30 for an outfit. She was adamant that that’s what she wanted, but we told her we’d come back after we visited the rest of the mall, just in case.

The escalator is exciting business, which should tell you how often we get out! LOL!

I normally walk really fast while avoiding eye contact with the little side vendors, but this one was really cool! We were {this} close to going home with a few of these!

We walked around the mall together for a bit before splitting up. Joe Daddy went off with Jules and Carolyn while the girls and I visited some “girly” stores.

First, we went into Claire’s, where Taylor found the most adorable mermaid friendship necklaces (she’s real into mermaids right now)!

Imagine my surprise when she gave it to me!!! She really is my bestie! This confirms it!

Tristyn also got friendship necklaces, floral owls! One’s for her friend Layla, her bestie in class this year who wasn’t able to come to her party and get one of the friendship necklaces she gave out then. They had a special where you buy 2 items get a 3rd free, which we didn’t know about til we checked out, so Tristyn ended up getting a $6 hand sanitizer and holder for free!

Then we went in Justice, where Tristyn got a little dog (Ellie) for $10, and Taylor got a pair of althetic shorts for $7!

Then we went into Bath and Body Works, where Tristyn agreed to buy her little sisters their very own hand sanitizer and holder! They had a special Buy 5 for $6, and the holders were $1, so she spent less than $10 and got to keep 3 of the hand sanitizers (something else they are obsessed with). Plus, she made her sisters the happiest girls in the whole wide world! The cashier was so sweet and gave them each their very own bag. They plopped down while Taylor checked out with her ten hand sanitizers and two cases, and divied up their loot. Several workers and customers came over to oooh and ahhh at how adorable they were, especially with their dolls on their backs! LOL! Trini and Ty thanked Tristyn several times, hugged her, and told her she was the best sister ever! It was such a sweet moment to witness!

After that, we hopped back on the escalator.

Weeeee!

At the bottom of the escalator, we spotted the Easter Bunny! He (she?) was so cute and started playing peek-a-boo with the girls!

They all know the Easter Bunny is just a person in a costume, just like the cow at Chick-fil-A, but they get excited all the same.

Then we spotted Hot Topic, one of the few stores Jules and Carolyn wanted to go into (they said no to Spencer’s because it’s too “cringy,” whatever that means, LOL). Jules found a t-shirt he liked but didn’t want his dad to spend $22 on it, so he ended up getting nothing.

The girls had fun trying on headbands! LOL!

Then we headed into Build-A-Bear, the place we used to have their grandfather take them for their birthdays. I think they each have 5 BABs! Maybe more!

BAB is another one of those stores that is just TOO CUTE!

Every time we’ve gotten the kids a bear from there, I couldn’t resist getting an outfit and some accessories too!

On her 4th birthday, Trini got the purple pony on the right (Twilight Sparkle) from her grandfather. He also bought her an outfit, including a shirt, skirt, shoes, and roller skates! It only cost him $60!!! Trini dragged that pony around everywhere! It was the cutest thing! We also have the Elsa and Anna outfits, including the wigs (among a bunch of other stuff)! Why does all the cute stuff have to be so expensive???

I mean, come on! Chewbacca in bunny ears! #ICantEven

You know these have to be flying off the shelf right now! I’ve heard the new movie is AWESOME! #GoGoPowerRangers

Of course, you know which ones we loved the most!

Ty is really hoping they still have Poppy when it’s her birthday!

I couldn’t resist! Haha! The resemblance is striking! LOL!

He claims he can no longer smile without twitching. I think he’s a #DramaQueen!

When we went into BAB, I wasn’t expecting anyone to get anything. I thought we were just looking around, but Taylor found a super soft cuddly panda (which Ty is slightly obsessed with at the moment after getting one from her teacher at church and another from her grandfather’s basement treasure trove). She was so sweet and let Ty be the one to press the pedal to stuff it!

Then the girl helping put the bear together gave all 3 of The Littles their own heart to put inside it! Taylor just watched (and recorded) them loving on the hearts…

…making a wish…

…and putting them into the bear…

…one by one.

She even let them help her name it!

Meet Poppy Panda!

She even let Ty carry Poppy around for a while!

The love these girls show for one another AMAZES me! I wish I could say it’s because I’m such an awesome mom, but I know I can’t take all the credit. They are their own people. I’m thankful to have them in my life, but mostly I’m thankful they have each other! My sisters are my very best friends! I hope they are just as close when they grow up! (And hopefully, their brother will come around too ;)).

After BAB, we ventured into the Disney Store. Tristyn was eager to get back to American Girl to get her baby doll, so we ran through quickly.

We started to leave when we realized we were short a couple and found them hiding out, LOL!

On the way back to AG, we found a cute toy store we had to stop in. They had the cutest puppets!

Joe Daddy has a thing for puppets, so he was extra excited 😉

Back at AG, Tristyn had a tough choice to make! Both babies looked a lot like her! One was more like winter her, and one was more like summer her! LOL!

She ended up getting a Bitty Baby and one outfit for $90 (shew! Glad it was her money and not mine! LOL)!

Her sisters helped her make the best choice.

She was soooo excited to show her daddy what she got!

So which one did she choose???

Don’t ask these guys. They have NO clue! LOL!

The more like winter her one! LOL!

She named her after herself: Mikaela 🙂

And here she is in her new outfit!

Then, after 2 hours of shopping, we finally sat down to eat!

After scouring the food court for the most economical choice, we decided on Farmer’s Market since they had a deal for 2 meats and 2 sides for $6.70. Joe Daddy and I wanted to get something somewhat healthy, so we chose grilled chicken, BBQ chicken, green beans, and potatoes. It was actually pretty good!

Jules and Carolyn split a meal…

…and each of the girls shared with one of their sisters. We brought our own waters in, so we only paid $28 for 4 meals for 8 people! Not bad!

After a trip to the bathroom…

We headed home! We were pooped!

Look at him smiling! I think he secretly likes me taking his picture 😉

Ty was so excited to get back to her fox! We didn’t go straight home though. Joe Daddy and Jules wanted to go to Fry’s Electronics, so we made a pit-stop at another mall about half an hour away from home (not the usual one we frequent, but one we’ve been to before).

While the boys (and Carolyn) were geeking out, the girls and I went to Dollar General down the street. Tristyn had bought her friend one of these lip gloss phones for her birthday, and I guess she told her friend how much she wished she had one, so her friend bought her one for her birthday. Well, Trini and Ty found some in the mall they wanted, but they were $10! So I promised them we’d find a Dollar General and get them the $2 option. (Thank goodness they still had them!) Because I thought they were $3, I let them each get a $1 notebook as well.

Taylor found a cute little glitter-in-a-bottle necklace-making kit for $1! She made the necklace today 🙂

She also found a really cute Vera Bradley knock-off wallet and super cute rubber pig coin pouch (she adores pigs)! The price tags said $5 and $3, but they rang up $1.50 and $0.90!

Tristyn had $2 left, so she bought a wallet for $1.50 as well.

I managed to get through Toys R Us and the mall without buying anything, but I couldn’t resist these little $3 fake succulents!

My 2nd batch of cacti have been looking pretty awful (I’m a terrible plant keeper). I’ve managed to keep these alive for over a year, but in all honestly, I don’t really care for growing things. Maybe it’s because I’m just too forgetful and have too much other stuff going on so I suck at it. I’ve decided to give myself a pass and stop trying for a while. Maybe when life slows down I’ll give it another go.

I love plants. I just don’t take care of them very well! LOL! These fake ones will do just fine 😉

By the time we got home after dropping Carolyn off, it was after 9pm. The girls made videos of their haul and passed right out. Joe Daddy and I watched a couple episodes of 13 Reasons Why (which is so friggin’ good!) and went to bed ourselves so we could get up early for the gym.

Today was a pretty yucky day, but Joe Daddy and I still made it to the gym (although he went with a friend to his gym). The girls have played with all of their new stuff non-stop. Taylor even made Mikaela some felt diapers (out of felt leftover from Christmas projects, so they’re all red and green, LOL!).

I’m so glad these kids can be happy with so little! Joe Daddy and I are beyond broke right now after having to shell out so much extra money for birthdays (we had to buy for 6 kids in addition to our own this month!), 3 field trips, 3 Field Day shirts, buying 4 new iPhones, getting a few summer items like shorts, swimsuits, and sandals, Easter outfits (a $7 dress for Taylor and a $12 shirt for Joe; I bought all the other stuff a while ago), Easter basket stuff (which I tried to keep to a minimum), and paying our income tax ($850, ouch!), among other things. Living without credit cards is totally new to us (although this is our 6th consecutive month of doing it since we paid them all off), and I’m not gonna lie and say it’s been easy. The only way I’ve been able to cut back at this point (since we’ve cut back on every other bill I can think of), is through our groceries. For the past month, I’ve been buying the cheapest stuff possible. I’ve bought very little organic stuff, and we’ve had lots of sandwich or salad nights. We’ve even had nights where we’ve eaten cereal for dinner! We have never eaten like this, but in doing so, we’ve cut our $400 a week grocery budget down to $150, which has helped, but money’s still been tight. Had it not been for Joe Daddy selling so much of his junk pile, we wouldn’t be able to do anything for Spring Break. Trini and Ty each spent under $14, I spent under $7, Tristyn and Taylor spent only their own money, and we ate out for less than $30, so with what we spent in gas, we spent around $55 for the day. I know we could have spent less, but I’m pretty proud of how well we did! And because money still going to be tight next month with my first car payment on the new van coming up, as well as filling up the pool, and needing to pay off a couple doctor’s bills we’ve gotten recently, Taylor’s offered to spend the last $60 of her birthday money on summer clothes for herself (she’s outgrown most of her shorts from last year)! I’m pretty thankful for kids who understand the value of money and that you can’t always get what you want (although they still struggle when they can’t get something, just like I do). We’ve tried to teach them how to use their money wisely, but in all honesty, we got into all of our debt by NOT doing the same with ours and saying yes to too many things, mostly things for them. I still want to be able to do fun stuff as a family, and since Joe Daddy took this week off as well, we’re spending more than we want, but considerably less than we have spent in the past. We have 3 more fun-filled outings planned for this week together which should only add up to another $100. I say 4 family days together for $155 for a family of 7 is pretty frugal!

I hope you are enjoying your week, wherever you are, whether you’re on break or not!

 

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