Portland

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We just returned from a much needed vacation! It was amazing but I almost feel like I need another vacation from my vacation! haha I am originally from the Portland area, I went to high school across the river in a town called Camas. My parents and my sister (and her family) all live there. A lot of my closest friends live there and are starting families and buying houses. The first friends we made as a married  couple moved there after they left Hawaii. Conor and I first dated and got married there. It’s so funny how nostalgic I get when going there.

Portland truly feels like home to me. Everywhere I go brings back floods of memories. I know this is going to sound so dramatic but at times it’s almost painful how many memories this place will pull off that dusty old shelf and make me re-live in my mind. A lot of those memories are packed with crazy teen-agey angst, or life changing emotional decisions. Most of the memories are really beautiful and happy, some are bitter sweet and some are really sad – and my heart will break all over again. One of my best friends from high school is still the only person that I trust to cut and color my hair so I see her every time I go back, but our other best friend was killed in a car accident a few years after we graduated high school… so I don’t see her, but rather I remember her as I drive by my old high school and past the old buildings where we saw all of our favorite bands. Another best friend is now married and just had a baby with his wife. I could cry about how happy I am for them and their cute little family. It’s always so fun to see them and smash our babies together and tell them they will marry each other someday.

My family is always the reason I go back at all. I love seeing my parents. Henry is totally in love with his grandpa and follows him around like he can’t live with out him. My mom is always so funny, spouting off explicit innuendoes like it’s going out of style… with out ever even realizing what she is saying. I love to force my mom to hold me like a baby and tell me everything is going to be ok! (That’s totally normal, k?) And my sister – well, I only have one sibling and I love her something awful! I usually cry the night before I leave just for her and then I cry again the next day for everything else. I can’t wait to go back again soon… until then I just might have to write a few more blog posts about our trip – we ate at a lot of great new restaurants so I will have to post about that for sure! and can you believe it’s already the middle of September? Summer flew by!

 

Make your own pizza night

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Cooking seems like such a chore these days. It’s been really hot here in Dallas and after a long day of working and playing hard the last thing I want to do is whip up an elaborate meal in the kitchen. We’ve been having lots of “breakfast for dinner” nights, and “left over salad” nights and of course, “everyone make your own pizza” nights. I usually just grab some pre made pizza dough at the store or keep pastry crust in the freezer. I make several small circles and then let everyone pick some toppings. I usually make mine sans sauce with a fruit and goat cheese. Above mine is the one with blackberries and basil on top. Conor loves sauce + pepperonis + goat cheese. Henry usually gets something pretty traditional with a bunch of veggies thrown on top in hopes that one or two might go in his mouth. What are your go-to lazy summer recipes?

Giveaway with 4moms / WINNER ANNOUNCED

4moms_breezeWINNER CHOSEN! Frances Foster, you are the lucky winner of the Breeze playard! Email me your information and 4moms will send you a brand new Breeze! Congratulations and I am so so so excited for your little family to grow!

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In celebration of the new site being up I wanted to do a giveaway! I blog a lot about my work, kids, family and trying to do all of that stuff at the same time. So I thought it would be appropriate to team up with 4moms to giveaway a Breeze playard. We love our Breeze and take it with us everywhere! Wayne is in that stage where he always wants to be down crawling around but it’s not always safe or easy to just put him on the ground. It’s nice to have a safe, clean place to put down your baby while you get something else done for a minute. The above picture is when we took the Breeze with us to Austin so Wayne could have his own little bed and not be woken up by us every time we tossed or turned. The best thing about this playard is how easy it is to set it up! You just have to watch the video! As soon as I saw this video my relationship with the regular-old-snap-into-place-contraption was never the same! All you have to do to set up this playard is push down! It’s so easy! I can do it while holding the baby at the same time. I bet Wayne could even do it himself it’s so easy! ;)

To enter the giveaway visit the 4moms site and take a look around. Leave a comment telling me which 4moms product would make your life easier and how. We all have crazy busy lives and it’s the little things that make our lives easier. The winner of this giveaway will receive a 4moms Breeze playard (no trading for something different, sorry!). For an extra entry you can post one of the 4moms product shots on your Instagram feed and tag @4moms_hq and myself (@janereaction) so that we know you entered a second time. The giveaway will go until Friday the 15th. A winner will be announced that day. The winner will be completely random – comment here or post on Instagram to enter. And may the odds be ever in your favor!

A trip to Austin

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A couple of weeks ago Conor and I decided to take the kids down to Austin for a couple of nights to hang out and explore the area. We had a great time – but can I just say traveling with little ones is always way harder than I remember?! Wow! Despite everyone’s huge lack of sleep we still had a lovely time and created some memories for our family. I used to live in the Austin area when I was a little girl so I made Conor take me to my childhood home and drive me by the neighborhood pool where I spent most of my days. It was a great little trip down memory lane.

My favorite day was driving home… we were exhausted, hot and miserably tired. I think Henry was OVERLY tired because he wouldn’t even fall asleep in the car and just kept getting upset about everything. So we found a little water park in Waco (about half way between Austin and Dallas) and just decided to spend the rest of the day there and drive the rest of the way home that evening. Henry went nuts! He loved it. Wayne and I lounged in the lazy river for a few hours, just flouting around and around. We didn’t take a single picture all day because we were too busy having fun, relaxing and cooling off.

If you are planning a trip to Austin here are some of my recommendations –

Eat – Jo’s for breakfast, Amy’s for ice-cream, Home Slice for dinner (it’s pizza – and if you have kids with you they will bring out these giant balls of dough for your kids to play with and throw up in the air), Gourdoughs Donuts is a must, Hey Cupcake for a treat. When I was a little girl a family favorite was La Margarita – it was sooooo good! Check it out if you are going to be in Round Rock at all.

Stay – we stayed at Hotel San Jose. The grounds are really pretty and it is right by tons of food and shopping, so you can walk or rent one of their bicycles to get around the area. The patio also had live music and lots of drinks.

Do – We like to try to find things that we would enjoy with or without our kids, so these recommendations are for all ages. I would highly recommend Barton Springs if it is hot out. Although I got in to a bit of an altercation with the life guard on duty (I’m a bit of a sassy loud mouth when people try to tell me what to do with me kids ;) ) we had a great time swimming and splashing. Barton Springs is also right next to a Zilker park – which is huge and has an amazing play ground for little ones, and lot’s of space for spreading out a blanket and having a pic nic. If you have little ones with you there is a cute little train called the Zilker Zephyr that runs every hour that will take you around the entire park. Henry thought he had died and gone to heaven on that train! Also, go see the bats under the bridge at night – at sunset millions of bats fly out from under the South Congress Bridge – it really is a site to see.

Shop – With kids you don’t really get much shopping in (ever). But I did pop in to Uncommon Objects for a few minutes which is full of tons of cute and interesting things! I would love to go back again without kids to really look around that store and to see some other stores that I didn’t get a chance to go in.

Do any of you have any great Austin recommendations? Tell me about them!

Jane Reaction 3.0

new-site

I am so excited to finally launch the new site! Hope you all like it! The goal for my site has always been to focus more on my graphic design work. I think the old set up favored the blog side a little more. But lately I have been taking on a lot of fun and exciting projects and I wanted a great place to showcase what I have been working on. And while this new site might focus more on my work and less on the blog I actually plan on blogging a little more often than I was. So…winning! 

A little about the site – I wanted to keep it simple with only the necessary pages – work, about, contact and blog. Some of my favorite features of this new site are the simplified contact form, it makes it really easy and really clear how to get in touch with me. I also love the FAQ section at the bottom of my about page – it condenses down some of that basic information that wouldn’t be pretty to look at if it was all out in the open. And of course I love my new portfolio and the way it functions when using the sub navigation under the header. I can’t wait to start getting more recent projects in there! June and July were busy! August and September are going to be even bigger! Whew! Wish me luck!
This week to celebrate the new site I am going to be posting more often and having a few fun little giveaways! So stay tuned! Follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on the giveaways and celebration!
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