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Taking Care of Little Child the Puppy Dog...and Big Sister, Chicken Keeper and Mom Snuggler with #HEBBeyond

31 July 2014

As is natural when family changes, the content of a family blog can take on a new form as well. While I try not to make it all Heidi-central here, there is a key player in the family that has been missing the past few posts, our lovable Little Child aka LC!

Little Child was my birthday gift from Markus my first summer in Dallas, and she's been my city sidekick ever since. While this year has been a huge change for Markus and I, I sometimes think no one has had to endure more surprises and additions to the family than our fur child. Before Heidi came, I read quite a bit about ways to calmly introduce the coming baby to your pup. Turns out, our whirlwind adoption didn't allow for much prep time for any of us, but we've done some things for Little Child along the way to try to make her continue to feel like a special part of the family. One of that is keeping up with the quality of dog food that she has known since being our pet.

purina beyond dog food review

Thankfully, as we have taken on more baby expenses, we've been able to find the same quality of pet food for a new, great price with Purina Beyond food. Like the higher priced brands we used before, this food starts with natural ingredients, with real meat, fish or poultry as the first ingredient, not a filler. There's no poultry or by-product meal and no corn, wheat or soy ingredients. Even better, Purina Beyond is available at the HEB stores in our area so I can scratch special trips to the pet store for food off of my list.

Little Child has continued to be a wonderful companion to me through welcoming Heidi - and our three new chickens! - sleeping snuggly next to me each night and enjoying some nap time with Markus too. As we take on more in life and grow as a family, I never want to slack on the care for her that I originally set out to provide. Life just wouldn't be as cuddly or loving without a happy Little Child in the picture. :o)

Markus, Heidi and LC snoozing into day three as a new family.

Personal fitness coach to chickens Layla, Stella and Cecilia

Dinner time!

It seems like as life gets more challenging, it also gets easier. Things feel more natural than ever and I am so fortunate to find a company like Purina Beyond that cares so much about pets while wanting to provide a product that fits pet owner's needs as well. Nothing makes me happier after a long day to see LC in her element, enjoying a long walk, making sure the chickens are properly "exercised," and then heading back to her bowl with a lip-licking snack of pet food that keeps her happy and healthy! I hope we have many more wonderful years like this with her.

This post is sponsored by H-E-B stores and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about the availability of Purina Beyond at H-E-B Stores, but Pancakes and Beet Juice only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. H-E-B is not responsible for the content of this article.

Help pick my frames! New Warby Parker Showroom Hits Dallas

10 July 2014

You know those posts we all love from bloggers - What I'm Wanting Now, the Birthday or Christmas Want List? I think they're a great way to know what's popular amongst that blogger's demographic and a great way to get gift ideas for other people. I've never really been forthcoming with my list, because I tend to refocus along the way of everything I'm already grateful to have - a great family, cute house and a few luxury items thrown in for good measure. 

One thing that always sits high a top my birthday, etc list is a new pair of prescription sunglasses from Warby Parker. Designer sunglasses always make a great gift! These are extra helpful to me as I have to wear glasses to drive, but the lack of sun protection in my frames makes me squint deepening the little-ish and growing wrinkle in between my eyes that I may or may not perpetually be obsessing over these days. It also helps that I love their give back model, which provides vision care to someone in need with every purchase. 

The most difficult part of a Warby Parker purchase for me so far is my love for the tangible. I love the experience of going to the store, touching and trying on things and eventually having a bag to sit in the passenger's seat as I smile the whole way home. I was so excited when Warby Parker's new Dallas store opened just in time to make sure some new sunglasses were included in my birthday shopping! 

Warby Parker Dallas store

Adding to the birthday and general shopping fun, the store is perfectly designed in their signature hipster academia theme. It is by far the most laid back and fun glasses store I've ever been to! 

Warby Parker Dallas store

The signature look of Warby Parker tends to be their chunky, traditional plastic frames. I am also loving their new Karlie Kloss collection that is more modern, pictured below. Aviator junkies (a tribe I certainly belong to) can also check out their new designs with Into the Gloss

After you're done shopping, you order the glasses in store and provide your prescription if you are adding that just like you would at a traditional frames store. The completed frames can be delivered to you or, preferably, to the store where you can have them custom adjusted by Warby Parker's fit magicians. I also learned on my visit that if you ever need to take your Warby frames to another glasses store for an adjustment and you incur a fee, you can send it in for a full reimbursement on their website. 

After my mini tour, it was time to get down on trying on some specs. I found my niche with some Old Hollywood style tortoise shell, but it was so hard to settle on one style! Actually, I was hoping you could help me pick.

Below I'm wearing the Banks style in a limited sea smoke tortoise frame.

Then there is the Reilly in the traditional tortoise. This is where trying on in store was so helpful to me! While I loved the sea smoke, I really like how the traditional colors pop a little more and are just a little more Jackie O to me. 

So...what do you think? Reilly on the left or Banks on the right? 

Our First Family Vacation! Texas Family Vacations at Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa

08 July 2014

Well, we are back in Dallas and trying to remember what real life is like after a short but incredible first getaway as a family of three (humans - no disrespect to Little Child)! 

July 4 weekend is always a big one for us since we celebrate my birthday the day before. This year was even more memorable as we needed to head down to San Antonio to finalize Heidi's adoption around her six month birthday. We decided to really celebrate everything at once and spend the weekend putting Heidi's adoption in ink, celebrating my birthday and spending a happy July Fourth all at my favorite Texas resort, The Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa. With so many big milestones for us in one weekend, I was a little nervous that our expectations could be a little high. They were nothing but exceeded during our magical long weekend here! I am so excited to share some of our pictures and what's made this place a family favorite of ours and our friends for nearly twenty years.

The Resort
Hyatt Hill Country Resort Review

Formerly a Hill Country cattle ranch, the resort grounds are always gorgeous and the perfect mix of simple and Texas majestic. This was my fourth trip to the resort, and it always looks just as you left it but never in need of updating. They do such a great job of keeping it new and nostalgic at the same time. The patriotic decorations for the Fourth were such a gorgeous touch.  

Hyatt Hill Country

Do not miss the opportunity to sit on the big back porch off the lobby a few times a day and just take in all of the families having fun on the great lawn and in the pool! We watched a lot of flag football from here while enjoying coffee and iced tea.

We had a King bed first floor walk out room, and it was perfect for our family. Lots of extra space for a crib and baby gear inside, and a wonderful sliding french door that went straight out to the activity outside. This was the perfect way to handle baby feedings and nap time without ever feeling cooped up in our hotel room. Heidi had her bottles and meals outside, and during her nap time I would sit out on our spot and read with the door cracked open. She managed to stay on schedule (for the most part), and Markus and I didn't have to miss an ounce of sunshine. I am definitely putting in a request for a walk out room for our future trips!

The Food!

My only hesitation when booking our trip was when I wondered if Markus and I would have enough healthy-ish and gluten free dining options for staying on site for a few days. Once I arrived and we looked at a few of the menus, I could not believe the thought had ever crossed my mind! This is some of the best gluten-free options we've ever had on vacation, and the food was exceptionally fresh with an emphasis on local ingredients

There are multiple restaurants on site for lots of variety. Since we stayed pretty casual with the bebe in tow, we were mostly in the casual dining spots. 

I loved the outdoor tables at the Springhouse Cafe, and this Mexican chopped salad with fresh queso blanco and veggies was a favorite:

Hyatt Hill Country gluten free

I remembered the big breakfast buffet at Springhouse from when I was younger. Markus went without me one morning and I quickly learned that it has definitely been revamped from my previous trips, where I remembered mostly waffles (or maybe my taste buds had just grown up). If Markus is raving about a breakfast, you know it is something special! Sure enough, I was super impressed the next morning to see cage free eggs, sprawling fruit options, omelette and waffle stations and some of the best steel cut oats I've ever had. On the Fourth there was even a free mimosa and Bloody Mary bar for the grown ups! Can I get a God Bless America?

Gluten Free San Antonio
Delicious gluten free blueberry muffins on the breakfast buffet!
For snacks and meals on the go, there's also The General Store. They have delicious breakfast tacos in the morning, Blue Bell ice cream by the scoop, Starbucks coffee drinks and a big assortment of pre-made salads and gluten free snacks! 

Even the pool snacks were a cut above! Markus loved this grilled chicken salad and I got into the summer spirit with a poolside burger on a gluten free bun. 

The proof is in the pudding on how much care goes into their recipes and ingredients when you stroll past the Chef's Herb Garden on site. 

Windflower Spa 

It was no surprise that my favorite spot on the resort was the gorgeous Windflower Spa. It's by far one of the best hotel spas I've ever visited, and one of the premier spas in the San Antonio area. I kicked off my birthday with a 60 minute Therapeutic massage with John that was magical. Moms - make sure you get over here during your stay! There are lots of spa services to choose from or you can purchase a day pass to the amenities and enjoy the heated lap pool, lounge areas, indoor and outdoor jacuzzis, steam room, dry sauna and showers.  

windflower spa review

Markus was nice enough to watch Heidi during nap time more than once so I could dip in this gorgeous tub and meditate in the eucalyptus steam room. 

The cucumber water and chilled facial towels were perfect after hours in the sun. 

Hyatt Hill Country windflower spa

I really loved how the decor was a perfect mix of clean, spa lines and personal, B&B style touches. It had so much personality while being so Zen at the same time. 

All of the Fun

There's so many fun things to do at the Hyatt, the only question was what would fit into our weekend! The great lawn behind the main building was always buzzing with flag football, soccer, cookouts and an outdoor movie every night. 

Movie nights on the lawn!
 Bike rentals are available for all ages, and there is a Flow Rider surfing spot for the adventure kids (aka Markus).

Rowdy and Stella are the resort rescue dogs, and there are fun activities for families here throughout the day. Lots of arts and crafts opportunities that make for fun mementos! 

Heidi loves the pool so we knew she would be happy here! Since she is so small, we took her into the adult pool area with us for some lounging. The waterfall surround really blocks the outside noise of the rest of the resort and makes an oasis. We loved our poolside snacking and napping here. It was heated to a perfect temperature of 82 degrees during our stay and has its own hot tub.

The family pool was a blast with lots of kids and water games. Little girls swimming loved making a fuss over Heidi. 

And of course there is the Ramblin River, a lazy river that slinks around the property and is always filled with tubes and people enjoying the water. 

Some special July Fourth activities included family Bingo, food trucks, bike decorating, a parade and of course, fireworks! It was such a special way to celebrate! 

Family Bingo

Getting in the parade action from our walk out!

Live Sousa and patriotic favorites from the San Antonio Marching Band

July Fourth Hyatt Hill Country

All in all, I could not have imagined a better way to blow out the candles on my 29th birthday cake (made for me and gluten free by the Hyatt!), come back from the San Antonio courthouse as an "official" family of three and celebrate the Fourth than this wonderful Texan spot! We are so thankful for such a great year and look forward to many more family pictures in front of this sign! When I asked a passerby to take this photo he responded, "Glad to! I have 10 years of family photos in front of this same spot." :o)

Our family chose and reserved our stay at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort independently. Parts of our stay were generously gifted by the Hyatt. All opinions stated in this post are 100% authentic and our own.

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