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It’s Friday!  The week has flown by and yet I’m not entirely sure what I’ve accomplished.  Jellybean has become a little parrot and listening to her speak makes me acutely aware of phrases I say a lot.  Apparently things such as ‘here’s the deal’, ‘remember we’ve talked about this’ and ‘mummy, the dog is driving you bananas’ (always in reference to Sophi is barking) are common phrases as of late.  The good news is she isn’t dropping the F’ bomb … yet.

Now for the Friday favorites …

This long open sweater looks incredibly comfy.  Perfect for fall when the weather is cool enough for layers, but often doesn’t warrant a jacket. Too bad Bangkok is a tab bit warm for this article of clothing.

New dinner recipes are always in demand around here.  Magic Faux-Tisserie Chicken looks totally scrumptious.  Definitely putting it on the meal plan agenda for next week.

Have you started your holiday shopping?  These tiny tag necklaces would be perfect for a mom or grandma.  I must admit, it would also be a great birthday or ‘push’ present! {hint hint hubby}

Speaking of the holidays, loving these hot air balloon ornaments.  Totally adorbs.  I hope they go on sale prior to Christmas!

If only Jellybean would sit still long enough to make construction paper turkeys.  What a fun activity with kids and a cute personalized decoration for Thanksgiving too.

Lastly, for you fellow pregger women out there I’m totally loving these maternity v-neck t-shirts.  Not only do they hold up well to being washed a bajillion times, but they have enough give to last the entire pregnancy.

Have a fabulous weekend!  See you on the flip side.

signiture_nicole

Hi there!  Remember me?!  Yeah, I know, it has be a hot minute since this blog has gotten any love.  It’s fall time in the US and everyone is posting beautiful photos of the leaves turning colors and the cooler weather has begun.  Pumpkin food and drinks are in full swing.  Fall is my favorite time of year in the States, but here in Bangkok it’s rainy season.  The weather is hot and humid (as usual) with scattered thunderstorms mixed in throughout with week.  And, unfortunately carving a pumpkin isn’t in the cards for Halloween when one lives in Thailand.

I have some serious fall envy going on!!

Time is quickly passing and before we know it cool season will debut in Bangkok.  And by cool, I mean 75 degrees, if we are lucky.  You might be wondering what’s been going on since I last blogged … let’s do a little recap of life’s highlights as of late, shall we?!

The majority of the month of August was spent in the States visiting family and friends.  The biggest event of the month was my sister’s wedding!!  Jellybean totally rocked being a flower girl.  My favorite part was when she screamed to my husband, who was standing with the other groomsman, “Daddy I have to be quiet”!  It was kind of hilarious as the statement was made at the loudest possible volume she could muster.  Luckily everyone took her disruption in stride and it evoked a good belly laugh from the wedding guests.

flowergirl

Photo by Nikki Cole Photography
September was a very low key month.  It was life as usual here in Bangkok.  I’m very thankful we had a month of ‘normal’ day to day life.  Things have rapidly picked and pace since then and there are aren’t any signs of it slowing down in the near future.

We took a whirlwind family trip to Vietnam in October.  Hitting 4 cities, including Ho Chi Mihn City, Hoi An, Hanoi and Halong Bay in just 9 days.  The trip was quite an accomplishment, especially since Jellybean got a cold the day before we left.  More details on the food, hotels, and all the sights seen to come.

Here we are on our second to last day in Halong Bay.  GAHHH, it’s just gorgeous!

halongbay_vietnam

Halloween was very low key this year, but Jellybean did get the opportunity to rock her witch costume and do a little trick-or-treating.  The most hilarious part was Jellybean would eagerly grab candy from the basket and then follow it up with an enthusiastic “trick-or-treat”!  Despite various attempts we couldn’t convince her to say trick-or-treat before collecting candy.

halloween2016

The biggest news of all to share is … we are expecting a new little bundle of joy come March!!  The nausea and headaches were pretty intense for much of the first trimester as well as the first couple of weeks of the second trimester.  Luckily, I am now in the sweet spot of pregnancy where I feel good and the bump looks like a baby bump instead of like I’ve been eating too many cookies.  :)

We made the announcement to just our immediate families back in August by handing them an envelope with the following inside:

Baby #2 Pregnancy Announcement | Life's Tidibits

So, what’s new with you?

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International flights are brutal.  Adding a small child into the mix can make things, well, interesting.  I’ve taken three long-haul international flights with Jellybean in the past year.  For two of the three flights it was just Jellybean and me flying to/from Boston for my sister’s bridal shower.  I learned a lot about traveling with a young child on those two flights!  And, lucky for us we are currently gearing up for two more international flights in August.  Oh, the life of an expat!

It takes 24+ hours (give or take) to fly from the States to Bangkok, including layovers.  I found the idea of such a long international flight with a toddler to be quite daunting.  Being well prepared for long-haul flights makes things easier.  I’ve learned something new on each of our flights and thought I would pass along what we’ve learned.

Survival Tips for International Travel with a baby, toddler, or young child | airplane, flights, international travel | Life's Tidbits

Here are our survival tips for flying internationally with a baby, toddler or young child:

1. Bring a Carrier (Skip the Stroller)

After flying alone with Jellybean in May, I realized it was so much easier to wrangle a toddler and our stuff by strapping her to my chest.  Having the free hand was an added bonus and helped ensure Jellybean didn’t make a break for an empty plane upon boarding.

2.  Overnight Diapers

The seatbelt sign and ability to get up and around can be as unpredictable and the timing of Jellybean’s inflight naps, therefore diaper changes may occur less frequently when traveling.  If your child is still in diapers I highly recommend using overnight diapers when flying internationally.  A dry baby is a happy baby who might sleep longer – a mother can wish!  These are our personal favorites {tip: go up a size for better protection against blowouts!}.

3.  Skip the Car Seat on the Plane

Car seats are heavy and are just one more thing to shlep through the terminal.  And, unless your child is a car seat napper, they are really more trouble then they are worth.  I have found it much easier to buckle her in for take off and landing.  This allows her to stretch out during the flight and sleep on her seat and on me, or in some cases the free seat next to us … winning!

4.  Pack a Quick Access Bag

This would be the bag you place under the seat in front of you.  All essential items should be in the quick access bag.  The last thing anyone needs on a long flight is for the ‘fasten seatbelt sign’ to be on and your child requiring a snack or their lovie.  For us the quick access bag includes things like: lovie, snacks, iPad (and charger), headphone, diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, and a couple of small toys {like this and this}.  Everything else goes in the roller bag and is placed in the overhead.

5.  Snacks, Snacks and More SNACKS

Plane food is not the best and if you have a picky toddler/child on your hands you don’t want them to be hangry. Our favorite snacks to pack for flights include: pretzels, goldfish, cheese sticks and raisins.  On our flight back to Bangkok Jellybean refused to touch any of the plane food.  She lived off the snacks I brought with me and nothing else.  Clearly it wasn’t the most nutritious day we’ve had, but we made it through the flight.

6.  Bring a lot of Activity Options

A bored child is a loud child.  It’s really as simple as that.

7.  Pack a Change of Clothes

Drinks spill, food splatters and blow outs happen!  Typically I pack 3 changes of clothes for Jellybean and 1 each for the hubby and myself.  Sometimes we go through all the clothes, sometimes none – but it’s best to have them on hand.

8.  Flight Schedules are Important

It’s impossible to perfectly schedule flight times around naps and bedtime, but the chances of having a smooth journey increase if you start off with a well-rested child.  If it’s possible, book your travel for first thing in the morning.  Second best is a late night flight where bed time coincides, as closely as possible, with when you are taking off.  The kiddo will hopefully be tired and drift off to sleep quickly.

9.  Normal Rules Don’t Apply

Juice not allowed?  Screen time is limited?  Snacks are only doled out in moderation?  Forget it ALL.  Keep that toddler hydrated, entertained and with a fully belly by any means necessary.  It will make your flight more enjoyable, trust me.

10.  Comfort Items are a Must

Does your kid have a favorite stuffed animal, lovie or blanket?  In our case Jellybean has all three.  We pack them all in the carry-on.  They make her feel more comfortable and, hopefully, encourage a nap (or two or three!).

What tips do you have for international flights with a child?

signiture_nicole

In early June we made our third flight to Krabi.  We had previously been to Koh Lanta and Railay, but this time the plan was to stay in Ao Nang.   We were meeting up with one of my oldest and bestest friends in the world and her husband.  They were traveling around Southeast Asia and planned to stop by Bangkok before their flight home.  But I couldn’t wait to see, them so we traveled to Krabi for a long weekend beach vacation.  We all stayed at the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi.

The closest airport to Ao Nang is Krabi.  Taxis from the airport to Ao Nang are a flat rate of 600 baht and the drive takes about 40 minutes.  Hotels often offer a pick up service, but in my experience the price point is much higher.  It is usually best to secure a taxi once you’ve arrived at the airport.  We also coordinated a pickup from the same taxi driver to take us back to the airport a few days later.  The taxi drive agreed to a slightly discounted rate of 500 baht on the way back.

Vacationing in Ao Nang, Thailand at the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi | Beach Vacation, Travel, Travel blogger, expat in Thailand | Life's Tidbits

The Centara Grand Beach Resort can be accessed two ways: 1) by a ‘monkey trail’ which is a wooden pathway that leads you up and over the edge of the mountain to Ao Nang Beach. 2) by boat to the hotel’s private dock.  The hotel provides a free shuttle boat that runs from morning until late at night.  A reservation to ride the boat is required so planning ahead is essential.

Since we went during low season, the free shuttle boat wasn’t running very often and therefore the boat was crowded.  People were pushing their way forward as the boat approached to secure a seat, as many appeared nervous there were more people than seats.  Overall I was unimpressed with the boat service especially when I was informed upon checkin they informed me they were at 90% occupancy.

Vacationing in Ao Nang, Thailand at the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi | Beach Vacation, Travel, Travel blogger, expat in Thailand | Life's Tidbits

The Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi has a private beach and is secluded in its own bay called Pai Plong Bay. The hotel is nestled into a small mountain range in a well-preserved National Park.  A gorgeous resort for a long weekend holiday with friends and family.  The hotel room was stunning and Jellybean immediately made herself at home in the gigantic bed.

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi in Ao Nang, Thailand | Beach Vacation | Life's Tidbits

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi in Ao Nang, Thailand | Hotel Room | Life's Tidbits

I loved the tranquil, quiet beach and impressive pool located at the Centara Grand.  The food and mixed drinks, especially, left something to be desired.  If we go to the resort again I would definitely BYOB as well as try to venture off the property for dinner.  Downtown can easily be accessed via the Monkey Trail.  Though the monkey trail isn’t ideal for those traveling with small kids and toddlers.  I wish we had brought the baby carrier so we could have made the trek out with Jellybean safely on our back.

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi in Ao Nang, Thailand | Breakfast View | Life's Tidbits

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi in Ao Nang, Thailand | Pool View | Life's Tidbits

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi in Ao Nang, Thailand | Pool View | Life's Tidbits

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi in Ao Nang, Thailand | Beach | Life's Tidbits

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi in Ao Nang, Thailand | Beach | Life's Tidbits

We had a grand time at the Centara Grand Resort in Ao Nang, Krabi.  I definitely recommend this hotel for a peaceful and low key vacation, but if you are looking for someplace with hustle and bustle you will want to stay downtown.

signiture_nicole

My little sister is getting married.  Eeeekkkk!!!  It still doesn’t feel quite real that my baby sister is getting married this summer.  Seriously, when did she go from being a little girl with wild banana curls to a beautiful, (and very grown up) young woman?

For as long as I can remember my sister has loved the color pink.  Sometime during the planning of my own wedding, I made an off hand comment that when she got married her bridal shower theme would be ‘Think Pink’.  So when the bridal shower planning began it seemed only fitting to follow through with ‘Think PINK!’ theme.

Creating invitations is one of my favorite creative things to do in preparation for a party.  Invitations set the stage for an event.  They serve as the guests’ first glimpse of what is to come.  So I wanted to give the guests a small taste of the event while providing them with all the details they need.

After reviewing a ton of invitations, which provided ample inspiration, I started designing the Think PINK bridal shower invitation.  The bridal shower invitations took a few iterations.  All the details of the invite from the font and color to the wording and design had to be spot on.

Here is the final product:

Think Pink! Bridal Shower Invitations - Front of Invitation | Life's Tidbits

Think Pink! Bridal Shower Invitations - Back of Invitation | Life's Tidbits

With the bridal shower invitation I enclosed a recipe card for each of the guests.  My sister has been getting into cooking over the past few years; this seemed like the perfect way to build her recipe collection.  Originally, I had planned to design and print custom recipe cards, however time got away from me and I ended up purchasing recipe cards online instead.

Think Pink! Bridal Shower Invitations - Front of Invitation with Recipe Card | Life's Tidbits

Think Pink! Bridal Shower Invitations - Back of Invitation with Recipe Card | Life's Tidbits
Here’s the copy for the back of the invitation {it’s kind of hard to read in the pictures}:

One small request that won’t be too hard…

Bring a Recipe

{Bride Name} & {Groom Name} will soon say, “I do.” They’ve got lots of love, but they’ll need to eat too!{Bride Name} might like to try your favorite cake, or that dish your friends always ask you to make.

So don’t forget the recipe card on this special date. Fill it in now, don’t hesitate. At the shower will be a recipe box to fill so bring this card or mail it back if you will!

All in all, I am very happy with how the invitation turned out.  My sister was very pleased with the bridal shower invitation design, which was the most important thing.

signiture_nicole

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