September 15, 2016

When we moved to this area two years ago, one of the things that drew me to our particular neighborhood was the amount of kids I saw out and about. I remember seeing kids outside walking and riding bikes, and I loved that our neighborhood boasted playgrounds, soccer fields, basketball courts, and an amazing pool. Our backyard backs to a golf course, and after dusk, we can walk the course and explore the creek down the green. I wouldn't ever describe myself as an outdoorsy person, but it's part of our family rhythm to get outside every single day. Even if we can't go far, the kids at least burn off some energy on the playscape I got them for their birthdays last year. 

Before I start sounding like a crotchety old lady with my "back in my day" stories, let me throw a fact out here: 

70% of moms played outside when they were kids whereas 31% of their kids play outside today. Play is disappearing at home, in school, and in communities although balanced and active play lays the foundation for a skilled, healthy, resilient and successful society. 

Is this video right or what? 

Back in my day, even though I had a tv and Nintendo in my bedroom and much preferred reading a book to running a race, I still played outside all the time. When I was a kid, I rode my bike all over town, I explored the woods, I dug in the dirt, I walked along creeks, and I caught fireflies. Outdoor play was a cornerstone of my youth, and you can bet that those memories are so special to me that I'm going to make sure my kids get outside to create some of those memories of their own.

It ain't easy. We are in full swing of the school year here in the Adams house. For Jude, this means homeschool, piano lessons, swim team, community Bible study, and golf. For the girls, this means preschool three mornings a week, dance class, tennis, and our homeschool co-op on Thursdays. Nonetheless, I still make them get outside and play. 

We are go-go-go all the time (except for a glorious two hour nap time in the afternoon). My childhood was similarly packed with dance and sports, and because of that, I ate a lot of junk food and fast food growing up. Needless to say, it's been an uphill battle changing three decades of bad habits. [proof]

When Caroline was young and didn't have many words, one of her first clear phrases was "McDonalds! No onions!" This was a huge wake-up call to me that I needed to do better, not just for me, but for my children. Caroline, before age two, could recognize all the fast food logos because I'd swing by so often to grab quick lunches, drinks, or snacks while we were out and about.

So now I do things differently. No more McDonald's (I had to cut that cold turkey), I pack adorable healthy lunches for my girls for preschool, and I never leave home without a better snack alternative. For us, our absolute favorite go-to grab and go snacks are the CLIF Kid Zbar®. They're:

  • Made with organic ingredients
  • Non-GMO
  • Have important nutrients for active kids
  • Appropriate portion size for kids in flavors they love
  • Have no high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors (or synthetic preservatives)

And my kids are bananas for them. Right after naps, my kids grab their favorite CLIF Kid Zbar®, and they head outside.

On sports days, I throw them in our family lunch bag and the kids can enjoy them either before or after practice (and here's how different my kids are: Jude usually likes his after, Caroline likes her before, and Lu eats half of hers on the way to practice and saves the other half by placing it under her carseat for after).

CLIF Kid® makes nutritious snacks from organic ingredients that are specially-crafted for kids’ developing taste buds and active lives. Let me tell you: I feel 1000 times better hearing my kids chant for a Zbar versus "McDonalds, no onions"!  

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Posted on September 15, 2016 and filed under blog.

But First Caroline

July 26, 2016

First there was this

Please know that this was purely coincidental. She can't read. This was in the reference section next to her beloved bug books. I think she grabbed it because it was a little taller than the other books around it.

But then there was this, followed by this conversation: 

Caroline: How about I be an actor, but on the computer?
Indiana: You want to make videos?
Caroline: No, I want you to make them, and I'll just be in them. 

We figure if Caroline has an idea for a video, we'll help her make one. She's three, so why not let her explore this creative part of her personality? We don't plan to give her her own YouTube channel or dedicated social media accounts or anything crazy like that. Her vlogs can just live here on our site (I mean, MJ&DJ needs some fresh content, right?). So, without further ado, here's "But First Caroline!". Caroline had the idea to introduce all her favorite toys: 

If you have any suggestions for future "But First Caroline" episodes, I'll let her know. I'll also read her your comments if you have nice things to say. [Shout out to our dear friend Linda who suggested "But First Caroline" for the title of Caroline's blog!]

Posted on July 26, 2016 and filed under video.

Baby, it's all white! // OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover

July 18, 2016

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by The Maker of OxiClean™ through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about their Versatile Stain Remover, all opinions are my own. This post is by Indiana.

Let me tell you a tale of a woman who thought and thought and thought about the perfect family room rug, and then ordered this: 

Pleased with her purchase, she rolled out her new rug, pushed her furniture into place, and sat back and admired the decision she had made. 

When her husband came home, he shook his head in confusion. “Dear? Do you know who our children are?”

[see Instagram for the stories for 1, 2, & 3]

The woman looked at the three cherubic faces surrounding her. “I can teach them to be careful,” she said dubiously as she suddenly realized her own folly. 

The very next evening, the woman, curled up in the armchair with a new book, looked up as she heard the pitter patter of footie pajamaed feet fast approaching. 

She locked eyes with her tiny two year old, who was very sweetly bringing her a large jar of red juice to enjoy while reading her book.

Time became molasses. The woman’s “Noooooooo,” was drawn out and low. In exaggerated slow motion, the sweaty, slippery glass dropped right through the toddler’s grip, and three entire cups of red juice shot up over the rim of the jar, landing right on the pristine white part of the brand new rug. 

The woman I could not make up this tale if she I tried.

The damage was done, and there was only one way for the woman to save face… and her brand new rug. 

OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover to the rescue. 

And it’s as good as new. Black magic? Nah. 

OxiClean™ is a Versatile Stain Remover in a powder form that is activated when added to water (warm or hot water works best). Oxygen is released as bubbles that target the stains, rather than fabric, removing many tough stains on water-washable clothing, carpet, and hard surfaces both inside and outside the home.

As per their online directions, thankfully all on YouTube, all it took was a five minute soak and some blotting, and the carpet was as good as new. Nonetheless: NEW RULE! No jars of red juice are ever left in Lucy’s reach ever again. 

We love OxiClean™, and there’s a reason why we buy it in bulk at Costco. First: I’ve been cloth diapering since Jude was in diapers, and believe it or not, Lucy is wearing the same set of cloth diapers Jude donned half a decade ago and Caroline used in between. We’re working on potty training (PTL!), and we’re getting ready to pass our cloth diaper stash onto my cousin’s baby. OxiClean™, for the most part, has kept the yuck stains at bay, so no one has to be embarrassed or apologetic about how they look when they get passed on.  

Second: you would think that I would have learned my lesson from the red juice incident of 2015, but nope. I have a penchant for white when it comes to home decor. Believe it or not, OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover gave me the confidence to go ahead and purchase four white upholstered armchairs for my living room when they went on accidental mega-clearance. 

And remember these crazy Craigslist chairs I scored? I finally got them reupholstered in white Sunbrella for the family room, too. But never you worry; I’ve bookmarked the OxiClean™ How to Undo Upholstery Stains video for future reference already. I have to tell you: there are over 101 ways to use OxiClean™ to get tough stains out, delivering value through versatility and incredible benefits vs. detergent alone. 

I know it’s one thing to write about how great a product is, but it’s another to show you. I mentioned I have a lot of white stuff in our house, especially for a person whose three messy little kids are always at home running around. I have a white pinch pleat bedspread on my bed, and recently Doctor Caroline came in and gave me a shot while I was sleeping. Thankfully (or maybe not thankfully?) her needle was a marker. I batted it out of her latex gloved hand, and it landed right on my white bedspread. For this blog post, I decided to make this marker stain meet its match: 

I followed the pre-treat directions for an ink stain on cotton

  1. I mixed OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover with a little water in a cup, completely dissolving it and making it into a paste. 
  2. I used a clean, cotton cloth and rubbed the paste into the spot, making sure it was wet all the way through. 
  3. I began filling the washer and added both detergent and OxiClean™.
  4. I threw in just the bedspread and washed on “bulky” (because it’s a bedspread) on warm. 


Results typical! 

Per the OxiClean™ team-  
For Best Results Using the Product:

  • Soak 1-6 hours, and for best results soak 6 hours - even the toughest stains get washed away!
  • Always test OxiClean™ on an inconspicuous area first. Rinse, allow to dry.
  • Do not use on wool, wool blends, silk, silk blends, leather or on fabrics labeled dry-clean only.
  • Not for use on jewelry, latex paints, woven baskets, unpainted wicker, jute, teak, or finished woods.
  • Metals must not be soaked and must be rinsed immediately and thoroughly.
  • Not for use on rust, dried paint, or bleach damage.
  • Safe for septic tanks.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for exact dosing and usage instructions.

Toward the end of the year, the girls’ nursery will have to be redone with big-girl beds and new bedding. I told Chris that I’m leaning toward doing their room in all white. He says that white probably isn’t my brightest idea, but I think it’s going to be okay… as long as we keep buying OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover in bulk. 

Do you have your own OxiClean™ stain story to tell? (Or are you like me and have several to tell?) If so, submit it (or them all!) to the Dear OxiClean™ site so I can commiserate and celebrate with you.

Posted on July 18, 2016 and filed under blog.

Introducing: #MomPrompts on Instagram

January 4, 2016

An announcement from Indiana . . . 

I love blogging. I've been doing it as a hobby since 1999 and over the years I've met hundreds of fellow bloggers at various conferences, including TxSC (rest in peace, my little blog conference!).

But for the last couple years I've noticed that Instagram seems to be where the party is at. I don't feel pressured to make it look perfect all the time, the short-form content makes it easy to read on the go, and the engagement is still there with "likes" and comments. In the seasons when my blog is quiet, I'm still active on Instagram (under @indianaadams), and sometimes when I want to write something thoughtful that isn't quite long enough to be an entire blog post, I do a micro blog in my Instagram captions. Although I'm not ready to quit blogging altogether in favor of being exclusively a 'gram rat, I do have loads of fun over there. Instagram, much like earliest blogging days, is rich for camaraderie. 

As always, I've been scheming. For a long time I've been trying to come up with an easy, fun, and community-centered project to do with my friend Jen Loves Kev, and I think we've finally got it: say hello to #MomPrompts

My Instagram feed is probably 25% junk food, 25% style, and 50% life with kids, but every once in a while I find myself Insta-stumped. Just the other day I stopped myself before I posted yet another photo of Lucy looking cute in her high chair! Not again!

So see? Some days, I need a prompt. There's all sorts of monthly Instagram challenges out there. Fat Mum Slim got this thing started with her Photo a Day Challenge, Jenny has one for Hand Lettering, and Courtney does one for artists.  But is there one that can help me to think creatively about photographing family life? Is there one that I can browse through that makes me smile and feel a kind of fellowship? Is there one with prizes? 

I think #MomPrompts could be that happening hashtag. Huge favor: It's always daunting to start something new. If you're a mom on Instagram, would you please help promote #MomPrompts by posting our January photo (above) and by participating? That would mean the world to us. 

What's in it for you, you ask? Well besides offering you ideas for your own feed and the possibility of finding new-to-you Instagram friends to follow (and perhaps get some new followers yourself), you could win something fantastic!  

We didn't want to do one of those dastardly and long loop giveaways, but we did want to give our participants a shot at something for joining in the fun. So each month, we'll pair up with someone rad for a giveaway. For our inaugural month, Betsy Farmer Designs will choose one random participant to win a something from her amazing shop, and Jen and I will choose a winner to also win something! Basically, the more days you do the #MomPrompts, the more chances of winning you have. No need to find the end of the loop. Just follow @BetsyFarmerDesigns, @JenLovesKev, and @IndianaAdams (that's me) to be eligible. Or just do the #MomPrompts without following any of us if you don't care to win a prize... but you may as well try to win a prize, right?! [note: photos must be public on Feb. 1 to be considered for the giveaway].

Quick note about Betsy: First- how awesome is she to pair up with us on a new project where we have no idea if it will be well received. Props to a brave lady willing to give it a go! Secondly: Betsy Farmer is the real deal, guys. I met her at TxSC last spring and I bought each of my staff and keynote speakers a bar necklace, customized with a guide word I prayed for for them. Betsy surprised me with a necklace of my own, with all three of my kiddos names on it, and I've worn it almost daily since March: 

I would love for you to win a piece of Betsy Farmer Designs jewelry of your own. Mine is so special to me. 


What are you waiting for? Get your #MomPrompts uploaded!

Posted on January 4, 2016 and filed under blog.

Merry Christmas, y'all!

December 24, 2015

Some years you make a big to-do about your Christmas cards. Outfits were coordinated, a photographer booked, cards were printed, envelopes were addressed, stamps were affixed, and heart felt notes were written. 

Other years you do a quick snapshot in the backyard and hurriedly send the file off to a one-hour photo and hand them out to family on Christmas day.

Other years you rush your family in front of a hastily erected tripod just as you're headed out the door to Christmas Eve brunch and you opine, "This year, a social media digital photo is gonna have to do. I hope great grandma has email!"

We'll let you guess which year is this year for our family.

May your Christmas be filled with the love and laughter this Christmas, no matter what kind of year you've had. 

-Indiana & Chris
& Lucy, Caroline, & Jude

Posted on December 24, 2015 and filed under blog.

not on santa's list

December 23, 2015

A Christmas post from Indiana . . . 

Even though we don't do Santa Claus (i.e. presents left under the tree from Santa on Christmas morning), we do take our kids to the mall every year to take a photo with the guy dressed as Santa. 

This year's picture did not disappoint. I'm calling this work of art "Lucy Isn't Having It". 

This year the kids were joined by their baby cousin Clover (purple shirt on Santa's lap- R), who is six months younger than Lucy (white shirt on Santa's lap- L). I'm not sure if Clover is frightened by the man dressed as Santa or if she's empathy crying for lil'Lu who is freaking her ever loving freak. 

This picture joins an incredible line-up of Santa photos from years past [click photo to view larger on Instagram]: 

 2011:  Jude's Not Having It

2011: Jude's Not Having It

 2012:  Not Pictured, Caroline's Pee Spot

2012: Not Pictured, Caroline's Pee Spot

 2013:  Caroline Isn't Having It, Part One

2013: Caroline Isn't Having It, Part One

 2014:  Caroline Isn't Having It, Part Two

2014: Caroline Isn't Having It, Part Two

Visiting mall Santa, at least for the next couple years, is going to remain one of my favorite family traditions. 

Speaking of... if you meet a family (like mine) who isn't doing Santa, don't assume we're kill joys or that we think your family shouldn't do Santa. We do celebrate Christmas in other ways --big ways! fun ways!-- but we decided that the whole leaving presents from Santa and using him as a behavior modification tool just wasn't right for our family. We've told Jude that Santa Claus was real and that some families have a tradition of pretending to give gifts from Santa Claus. We've told him that some families like to pretend the mall Santa is real (kind of like characters at Disney World or in movies) and if he wants to pretend too, he can because using our imagination is fun. However, it was important to me that he knows that the presents our kids get on Christmas are presents from people who love them and know them and thoughtfully chose each and every gift and wrapped it just for them.  

And because we mentioned it on our most recent podcast (returning soon, I swear!) and said we'd publish it on the blog, here are the want / need / wear / read gifts we got (or will get, belated) for our children this year: 


  • WANT | Jude told the mall Santa he wanted a nutcracker, and it's the only thing he's consistently asked for. So cute. Maybe this will be a yearly tradition. 
  • NEED | We haven't purchased this yet, but embarrassingly, Jude is still sleeping in his crib. I mean, the toddler rail is installed and he fits just fine, but it's time for us to re-do his room and get him into a big boy bed. He's been asking for a bunk bed, but we're unsure. We think a loft bed or a day bed may be a better choice. Pictured: Land of Nod Tall Order Loft Bed
  • WEAR | He used to wear his NASA cap all the time, but it got lost shortly after our move. I ordered a replacement. 
  • READ | Chris got him a Narnia box set for them to read together at night. 


  • WANT | She told the mall Santa she wanted a "new kazoo". She has a perfectly fine kazoo, but we'll indulge her. I love that she always asks things like this. For her birthday, the only thing she wanted was a pointed, cardboard birthday hat. 
  • NEED | She has outgrown her hand-me-down bike, so we've upgraded her to this  and Lucy will get the hand-me-down bike. Do you know how hard it was to find a girly bike that didn't have cartoon characters on it and / or wasn't all pink and purple everything? 
  • WEAR | She has outgrown the fluffy winter hat she wore all last year. Because she loves leopard, I ordered a similar hat but in her favorite pattern.
  • READ | Every time we go to the library, she checks out a bug book. Now she can have her own. 


  • WANT | Every time I ask her what she'd like for Christmas she says "Dah". "Dah" can mean "dog" or "doll" so I had to make a guess. This doll is good because she can practice buttons, snaps, and ties, which means she can be on her way to dressing herself... which means she's only a few steps away from dressing crazy like Caroline.
  • NEED | We have second hand Tripp Trapp chairs for Jude and Caroline, and Lucy so desperately wants to sit in them at the table with us instead of being relegated to her high chair. Thankfully we scored one on Facebook from a local garage sale group last week!
  • WEAR | Lucy is obsessed with wearing other people's boots. Sadly, Caroline's frog boots (originally Jude's, originally someone else's) bit the dust, so Lucy doesn't have rain boots in the pipeline for a hand-me-down. I'm eying these cuties since Lucy loves animals so much.
  • READ | I can't remember where I saw this book (maybe on Oh, Joy?) but I saw it today at Barnes & Noble and grabbed it for Lucy. I love how cute and simple it is. 

It probably isn't at all helpful for me to publish our gift list with just one shopping day between now and Christmas, but maybe you'll be like me, braving the crowds tonight and tomorrow morning or giving a few belated gifts with only a moderate amount of shame. 

Or maybe you can use this next year and check back in to see if we'll have a "Lucy Isn't Having It, Part Two" photo. Sound good?

Posted on December 23, 2015 and filed under blog.