Our All-American 4th of July with Toyota

This post on Our All-American 4th of July with Toyota is sponsored by my awesome friends at Toyota. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota!

Our family is a funny one. Considering both Mathew and I work from home, many times we get so used to our day-to-day routine that we forget to celebrate smaller holidays until the day of and then we’re scrambling to find something to do. I’ve been really making it a point lately to plan things ahead of time for our holidays though so it’s not just another day for us. In the past, 4th of July has been a day where we maybe have a small BBQ at the house and then see fireworks at night. This year, we decided to go all out with our all-American 4th of July with Toyota!

Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota!

I found out a few days before 4th of July that our town was having a little parade. I had no idea what to expect from it and asked Mathew if he would like for us to go. Surely enough, he was down for it! Toyota dropped off a beautiful 2018 Blue Streak colored Camry XSE with a Midnight Black metallic roof and rear spoiler for our family to enjoy. It was the perfect blue to complement the 4th of July and was super festive! We packed up the trunk with Addie’s massive stroller, our new Toyota lunchbox with LaCroix, 3 Dick’s Sporting Goods camping chairs, and filled the car with 2 car seats, Addie’s vent, her suction machine, 2 oxygen tanks, the 4 of us, and Addie’s awesome nurse. It was a little bit of a tight squeeze from the car seats and Addie’s equipment, but we were still excited! Any normal family would do fantastic in a car this size- it really is a great full size car! But as you all know, Addie requires someone in the back at all times, and that’s not always easy with 2 car seats in the back at the same time. I will say though, I was so pleased at how easy it was to move the kids’ car seats into the Camry XSE. It has the LATCH system so putting the car seats took less than a minute a piece. Had this mama grateful because it was hot out! Anyway, we put the panoramic glass roof with power moon roof down and headed to the 4th of July parade!

Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota!

Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota!

Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota!

We had a blast at the 4th of July parade. My friend Meg so sweetly offered to let us park by her parent’s house, which is on the street that the parade follows. We had the perfect front row seat, were covered by big ash trees, and had the perfect view as the firetrucks, jeeps, and other people came by! My favorite memory from it all was when I was teaching Addie to wave to the people passing by, and she started doing it on her own! Everyone loved her and threw her lots of candy. Lawson enjoyed himself too and behaved so well for his very first 4th of July parade. I was so glad.

Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota!

Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota! Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota! Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota!

Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota! Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota!

Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota!

After the parade was over, we packed up all of our stuff and got ready to host an all-American 4th of July BBQ with family and a couple friends. Can I just say how awesome it was to have the back up camera and bird’s eye view camera on it?! Getting out of where we parked was a little tight, and it made it so much easier! I felt super fancy, haha. Toyota was amazing and also sent us $200 for decorations and groceries, and we got the works! On the menu were baby back ribs, charro beans, fresh grilled corn on the cob, zucchini, and an angel food cake trifle. I had the beans simmering most of the day and Mathew seasoned the ribs JUST right. Talk about yummy! We decked out the dining room and living room with fun, festive 4th of July decorations and were glad to have everyone over. The kids were happy, we had good company, and the food was delicious.

Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota!Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota!

Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota! Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota!

Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota!

Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota!

Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota!

Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota!

Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota!

Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota!Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota!

Because we’re a family with a new baby, we’re still pretty strict on bedtimes right now. We skipped out on 4th of July fireworks because we didn’t want to fight the crowds, Lawson finally has figured out that 7:45 is a reasonable time to start his bedtime, and Addie’s nurse comes at 8 pm. Still, with full bellies and warm hearts, we happily missed the fireworks to enjoy being at home together. I am so grateful that Toyota gave us this push to go out and have an incredible all-American 4th of July when we probably would’ve just phoned it in and just stayed at home and watched movies. Making memories with my family is something I cherish. I love memorizing how Mathew looks at the kids when they’re full of joy during holidays, the words people say when they compliment the delicious food we’ve made, and just how much happiness it brings me. I am so blessed to have these 3 in my life. Toyota- you’re the bomb for helping us make this happen. Truly.

Check out how The Vintage Modern Wife and her family had an all-American 4th of July with Toyota!

I also want to add, if you’re a family of 1-4, I highly suggest looking at the 2018 Toyota Camry XSE. It had so many family-centric features that I loved like the LATCH, 10 airbags, the amazing rear view and birds eye cameras, seats that could be cleaned easily, a blind spot monitor so you can be a more prepared driver with the kids in the car, and of course bluetooth phone and voice command so you can drive more safely. Not only that, but holy freaking fuel economy! I not only drove the car around on the 4th but I had it for 12 days! In those 12 days I went all OVER the place and I only used up 3/4 of the tank of gas. I kept telling everyone how surprised I was that I never had to fill it up.

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July and made many memories with your families. Tell me, what’s your favorite thing to do on 4th of July? And how awesome is this Toyota Camry XSE?

Making Our Easter Eggstra Special: A Sensory Filled Easter Hunt

This post on Making Our Easter Eggstra Special: A Sensory Filled Easter Hunt was sponsored on behalf of H-E-B. All opinions stated are my own.

We are making our Easter EGGstra special with a sensory filled Easter hunt!  With such fun ideas, you won't want to miss out! #heb #ad

I remember 2 years ago when Easter was swiftly approaching and I sat in Addie’s hospital room, depressed. The PICU room Addie was in overlooked the front of the hospital where kids from the community were having an Easter egg hunt. I so desperately wanted Addie to be able to participate in the hunt but she was stuck in her hospital room, and she had finally come off her paralytics for a couple weeks. I cried. I wanted Addie to have an Easter egg hunt. I wanted Addie to get a picture with the Easter bunny. I wanted our family to experience holidays the way other families did. We had spent Halloween, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s Day, and now Easter in the hospital. It wasn’t fair.

The Child Life team came to our room every so often to see if we wanted goodies for Addie, and I had a heart to heart with one of the sweet staff members. I told her my hopes and dreams and even how I “felt stupid” for wanting Addie to get an Easter bunny picture just like all my friends’ kids on Facebook. I wanted us to have some normalcy somehow through all the craziness of our situation. Addie had been in the hospital since August and we were oh-so-tired of hospital life. A few days later, I found out the Child Life team had taken the bunny costume to be dry cleaned so it would be perfectly clean for our girl. They let us know they would be coming before Easter weekend to visit Addie, and so Mathew and I decorated Addie’s hospital room and got all dressed up to have pictures with the Easter bunny.

We are making our Easter EGGstra special with a sensory filled Easter hunt!  With such fun ideas, you won't want to miss out! #heb #ad

It was wonderful. It made hospital life SO much easier to have something so silly as the Easter bunny bring some normalcy to our lives. I will forever be grateful to the sweet woman that took the time out of her day to get the costume cleaned and then she dressed up just for us.

Since that Easter in 2015, Addie has been home for what will be 2 Easters now. Last year we didn’t have an Easter egg hunt, but this year, I have big plans for our girl. We are making our Easter eggstra special by having a sensory filled Easter hunt! I ran to our local H-E-B because they always have everything I need for my fun ideas. I’ve been a customer at our location for 8 years (and a loyal H-E-B customer since I was born!) so I know many people by name. Before I grabbed my groceries, I went to the floral department and asked a sweet partner, Leticia, if she could blow up 12 balloons for me in fun Spring colors and I would come get them once I was done grabbing my things. It was no problem and I went off to shop of our sensory filled Easter hunt.

We are making our Easter EGGstra special with a sensory filled Easter hunt!  With such fun ideas, you won't want to miss out! #heb #ad

Addie doesn’t do chocolate because of her epilepsy, and I wanted to get things to fill her eggs that would be so much fun for her senses since she’s getting her cochlear implant in just a couple weeks! Plus, it’s also great for her occupational therapy and fine motor skills. I grabbed fun puff balls, finger paint, and Model Magic in the art aisle. I went to the baby aisle and got Addie’s favorite- Plum Organics puffs, hit up the Seasonal/Easter aisle for cascarones (aka confetti eggs), plastic Easter eggs, and a fun book, and then went to the Entertainment aisle to get Addie a Peppa Pig DVD. Then, I swung myself around back to the Floral aisle and grabbed my balloons. Leticia had just bagged them all up!

H-E-B is my favorite because I can get everything I need all at once and quality is top notch. The partners are always incredibly friendly at every location, and I got all the fun things I needed without having to go somewhere else for our sensory filled Easter hunt.

We are making our Easter EGGstra special with a sensory filled Easter hunt!  With such fun ideas, you won't want to miss out! #heb #ad

At home, I filled the plastic eggs with fun all my different sensory filled Easter goodies (I also had some rice that I scented with Young Living essential oils and food coloring), and hot glued the balloon strings to the eggs. We placed them all over the yard for Addie to get. You might be wondering why the balloons. Well here’s why- Addie isn’t mobile outside other than being in her stroller because we have to have something hold her ventilator and all her cords. My thought process was- the balloons are BIG and easy to see with all their bright colors. She could grab the balloons as we wheeled her by in order to allow accommodations for her to do it more on her own.

We are making our Easter EGGstra special with a sensory filled Easter hunt!  With such fun ideas, you won't want to miss out! #heb #ad

We are making our Easter EGGstra special with a sensory filled Easter hunt!  With such fun ideas, you won't want to miss out! #heb #ad

I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out. This was our test run for the hunt (I wanted to make sure my plan wasn’t flawed!), and I’m excited to see how Addie enjoys it on Sunday. I think it’s going to be so incredibly special for her not only to be able to grab the Easter eggs herself, but to get all the fun goodies inside to touch and explore! I’m so glad H-E-B had everything I needed to execute this awesome idea!  I will probably cry with joy for my sweet girl to be able to participate in this sensory filled Easter hunt and really enjoy a holiday in such a unique way. This is such a difference from that Easter 2 years ago. We didn’t get an Easter bunny picture yet this year, but we’re hoping to later this week at a special egg hunt the local kid’s therapy place is holding! Make sure you’re added on my Instagram and Facebook to see that picture whenever we take it!

We are making our Easter EGGstra special with a sensory filled Easter hunt!  With such fun ideas, you won't want to miss out! #heb #ad

Here’s a little close up of Addie’s basket for Easter. Lots of fun goodies, and all from H-E-B. She’s going to LOVE everything! We plan on doing more arts and crafts projects together too, so this basket will be such a great way to start implementing that!

We are making our Easter EGGstra special with a sensory filled Easter hunt!  With such fun ideas, you won't want to miss out! #heb #ad

What will you be putting in your child’s Easter basket? What do you think of this fun sensory filled Easter hunt with balloons?

The Best Valentine’s Cookie Cake Ever

This post on The Best Valentine’s Cookie Cake Ever was sponsored on behalf of H-E-B. All opinions stated are my own.

Want to surprise the love of your life with a fun dessert for Valentine's? This is the Best Valentine's Cookie Cake Ever and one that will win over the heart of anyone that you are looking for cupid's arrow to hit!

You know the old saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”? That is the case when it comes to my husband, Mathew. I swear that man married me because of my cooking. I reeled him in in our dating days with my creamy chicken alfredo and my “oatstanding” oatmeal crasin cookies. Over the years, I’ve cooked a lot of delicious desserts, but there’s one thing he loves that is his love language- cookie cakes. I love baking cakes for my family’s birthdays and Mathew would always rather have a cookie cake instead! I never have been one to really enjoy cookie cakes, but this Valentine’s I was determined to make a cookie cake that not only he could enjoy, but that I could take a bite or two of and not want to spit out. So…I went through some of my favorite cookie recipes and am bringing you the Best Valentine’s Cookie Cake Ever!

Want to surprise the love of your life with a fun dessert for Valentine's? This is the Best Valentine's Cookie Cake Ever and one that will win over the heart of anyone that you are looking for cupid's arrow to hit! #heb #sponsored

I’ll tell you, there’s a secret to making the Best Valentine’s Cookie Cake Ever- it’s to not over bake it. I like to err on the side of caution and set my timer for a couple minutes less than I usually would with typical cookies to make sure that it’s not overdone. In combination with my cookie recipe, it makes for seriously THE Best Valentine’s Cookie Cake Ever.

Y’all know I love shopping at H-E-B, and they always have some great deals. I spotted one in particular, and found it was perfect for this recipe! If you buy the Handi-Foil Cook-N-Carry Heart Pans & Lids 2 pk for $3.97, you get 2 Pillsbury Cake Mixes and a Pillsbury Frosting FREE in store with your coupons! Of course, I needed the heart pans and frosting for the Best Valentine’s Cookie Cake Ever, so it was a no brainer to grab my coupons and get some free goodies. If you’re planning on making this, go get yours while they’re available! I also grabbed this cute little dutch bouquet in the floral department of H-E-B to put on my kitchen table. It’s so pretty and festive, and the perfect size for a little pop of color.

Want to surprise the love of your life with a fun dessert for Valentine's? This is the Best Valentine's Cookie Cake Ever and one that will win over the heart of anyone that you are looking for cupid's arrow to hit! #heb #sponsored

5.0 from 1 reviews
The Best Valentine's Cookie Cake Ever
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Want to surprise the love of your life with a fun dessert for Valentine's? This is the Best Valentine's Cookie Cake Ever and one that will win over the heart of anyone that you are looking for cupid's arrow to hit!
Ingredients
  • 1 c Butter
  • ¾ c Sugar
  • 1 c Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 c H-E-B Select Ingredients Baker's Scoop All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 2 c Semisweet Chocolate Chips
  • Pillsbury Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Cook until butter is light brown in color and smells nutty. Then remove from heat.
  3. Combine sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Stir in browned butter.
  4. Carefully mix in eggs until just combined.
  5. In another bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. Fold into other bowl until well combined but not over mixed.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Press dough into greased Handi-Foil Cook-N-Carry Heart Pan into a nice, even layer.
  8. Bake 10-15 minutes. Start your timer with 10 minutes and add time as needed until you achieve a light brown cookie.
  9. Cool completely and decorate with frosting and sprinkles.

Want to surprise the love of your life with a fun dessert for Valentine's? This is the Best Valentine's Cookie Cake Ever and one that will win over the heart of anyone that you are looking for cupid's arrow to hit! #heb #sponsored

When I made this for Mathew, you should’ve seen how big his eyes got! He loves cookie cake so much! I used cream cheese frosting to give a little tang and offset some of the sweetness from the cookie. I don’t like desserts to be sickly sweet, and the cream cheese was a perfect pairing. I love making goodies for him and cookie cakes always seem to make him smile. Even better? He proclaimed, “This is the Best Valentine’s Cookie Cake Ever!” and it completely made my day.

Plan on making the Best Valentine’s Cookie Cake Ever? Head to your local H-E-B then tell us what you thought in the comments!