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Monday Coffee Talk | Fall Catch-Up

Monday, October 12, 2020

Hope you had a wonderful weekend! 


Our's was my favorite mix of busy and relaxed. On Saturday we met friends of ours at a local farm for pumpkin picking and a corn maze. They had live music, food trucks, animals, and beautiful views to enjoy too. The whole experience was "park and pick," which we loved! Everyone was wearing masks and being respectful of distancing. It was overall a great experience and so much fun for the kids.

Sunday was grocery day and H had soccer in the afternoon. C came with me to cheer her on (it's during I's nap time, so Steve stayed home with her. Y'all know how important nap time is! haha), and afterward we went through the Starbucks drive thru for cake pops & coffees. We caught up on some house to-dos, too, and today everyone had off school and work so we stayed in our pjs all day, played, cleaned up, and made this veggie soup in the Instapot for dinner -- it was so rainy and chilly out. All in all, a great long weekend!

How are you doing? I've been wanting to check in to see how everyone's holding up. I hope you've found as comfortable a balance as possible, and that despite the strangeness of this year, you are still seeking and finding happiness and making memories. As the seasons turn, I'm reminded that the Earth keeps spinning despite what's happening across most of it. While it seems life has been at a stand still since February, time still marches on. 

Life here has been crazier than ever lately, and I'm finding myself missing this outlet and connection so much. My friend Elizabeth over at Blush Magnolia Blog said it best a couple of months ago: "When things stop adding up, start subtracting" -- and that's what I've had to do lately. I've had to subtract things from my life in order to keep up the juggle of work, raising three kids, and virtual school/teaching. I know how many of you mommas feel me. How many of you have heard the insight of Nora Roberts about glass balls and plastic balls? Someone once asked her how she does it all, and she said "The key to juggling is to know that some balls are plastic and some are made of glass. And if you drop a plastic ball, it bounces, no harm done. If you drop a glass ball, it shatters, so you have to know which balls are glass and which are plastic and prioritize catching the glass ones." 

So if you need me, I'll just be over here attempting to juggle! ;)

Really, though, I have to say: virtual school has been going so much better than I expected. I think the key was that I had pretty low expectations to begin with (because 2020), but even if they had been higher, I believe they would have been exceeded. C's teacher is excellent and her online class is small, and with some close friends she made last year. I feel like she's making progress with her reading, writing, and math, so that's encouraging to see! 

H and I work on some "preschool stuff" each day and I think she's making some progress also. She can write her name really well, has mastered shapes and colors, and is getting pretty good with recognizing letters. What I think is hardest is that I know all of the social she's missing out on by not being with other kids in a traditional preschool class, and our H is a social gal. She would have loved to go to a new class and make new friends. That truly breaks my heart. But I am trying to keep my eye on the fact that she has two built-in, 24/7 playmates in her sisters, so she's still entertained and engaged, and she's still very young so I do feel like there will be time left to enjoy herself and get in the groove of things once she's back in school.

We are trying to keep up with occasional play dates too so the girls can see their friends, and each big girl has an activity that they're involved in right now to maintain some sense of normalcy: Girl Scouts for C and soccer for H.

Isabelle is doing great amidst all of this, bless her sweet soul. Thank God for her laid back, happy, patient little self -- she's a true easygoing third child and I think she's loving having her big sisters home so much and being part of the action!

I have a few *new posts* coming up, and have thought about reviving the Women Who Inspire series too. What do you think? Would you be interested in that?

Let me know what you've been up to and how everything's going (and feel free to be honest -- I think you'll find that more people can relate than you might have imagined!). So glad you stopped by today! Happy Monday and new week!

Happy October! Our Fall 2020 Bucket List

Thursday, October 1, 2020

 Happy first day of October!

Are things starting to feel fallish where you are? Our weather has cooled down a lot and we've had several days that have felt like full-blown, chilly fall already. Usually I'm sad to see summer go, but this year I've decided to just embrace each day as it comes and focus on the fun that there is to be had in each new season, and each new day. Even if it looks a little different.

How did you celebrate Halloween when you were a kid? Did you go trick-or-treating door to door? Did you do a trunk-or-treat (I had no idea this was a thing until I was older, btw)? Did your parents buy your Halloween costume or were they homemade every year?

I grew up in a tight-knit neighborhood with lots of kids. My two best friends lived in the two houses next door to me, so for many years we went trick-or-treating door to door together. I have really fond memories of my one friend's family throwing the best backyard Halloween parties each year when were little. I remember how big, magical, and exciting they felt to me. There were spooky snacks, music, games, bobbing for apples (we're probably never going to see that activity again!), and of course... costumes. Those memories are good and necessary reminders to me as a parent to remember that sometimes the simple fun is the best kind.

Anyway! Despite the weirdness of this year, there are still things we want to do to celebrate the season. Enter: our fall 2020 bucket list!


What's on your fall bucket list this year?

Back to School... Virtually!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

 


Well, we're officially back to school!

Kind of? Haha.

Carrington started first grade virtually yesterday, and Hadley started Pre-K from home (aka mom is the teacher). You all already know about the difficult decision making process we went through when trying to figure out what to do for school this year, and I'm sure many of you are in the same boat.

I'm happy to report that so far, so good! Carrington's schedule will be M/T live with her teacher (a first grade teacher who is teaching only virtual -- so C sees the other kids on the screen who are also learning virtually, which I think works well!) from 9am-1pm, W live online instruction from 9-2:30ish, and Th/F she will have assignments and pre-recorded lessons from her teacher that we can do at our pace in the morning with a live hour from 2:15-3:15pm. Phew! It's a lot to keep track of, but I'm happy with her schedule and really happy with how they've handled it so far. The teacher gives them plenty of wiggle breaks and even a little "recess." Her teacher is wonderful! Very warm and engaging. And two of her best pals from her kindergarten class are in her class (there are 9 in total on Google Meet), plus another girl she knows from Girl Scouts. Fingers crossed, but I am happily surprised with how smoothly its gone so far. Maybe my expectations were just really low, because it is 2020 after all. ;)

Hadley will be doing Pre-K from home this year. I am by no means a teacher but I figured the lessons she'd be learning in preschool are basic enough that I'd like to try to tackle some of it from home instead of just entirely skipping it this year. Her big sister will be learning from home, so why not? So far we've kept it really simple and, again, it's gone surprisingly smoothly. We are starting with the letter A and numbers 0 and 1, working on appropriately-leveled workbooks on things like tracing, etc., practicing cutting/pasting, and writing her name. Because she's young for her "year," we may very well take another year next year before kindergarten and do a transitional kindergarten program if we feel she needs it -- we'll see!

What does your school look like this year? If you have any tips for virtual learning or good lessons/ideas for preschoolers, I'm all ears. Hope the year is off to a happy and healthy start! 

Let's Get Cozy: Sweatshirt Round Up

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

 Hello, and happy Wednesday (and September)! 

I hope your week is going well and your month is off to a great start. I can not believe it's already September -- totally surreal! Though summer is my most favorite season, I love fall too, and I am embracing this new season with open arms. I've already had three pumpkin cream cold brews (please oh please try it if you haven't!), have lit my favorite candle (pumpkin marshmallow), and am ready to whip out all of the fall decor. This year, the girls want to decorate the outside "spooky" and my new motto for 2020 is.. whatever works! haha. So, spooky decor it is. We'll probably save that for October, though. ;)

On the topic of all things cozy, today I'm sharing a round up of comfy and cute sweatshirts since I foresee them making up 99% of my fall wardrobe. I've shared a few of these gems in my Instagram stories already (come follow along, if you're not!). Enjoy!



This is the sweatshirt I'm wearing above, from Loft. It's a crop, so just keep that in mind style-wise! But it's so, so soft and I love the embroidered stars.


Love this off the shoulder style from Gap.


A nice change of color to brighten things up! From Asos.


Another off the shoulder option from Asos. Really like this one!


My favorite oversized sweatshirt, from Aerie.


Love this affordable style from Old Navy. Such a cute neck, and lots of color options!


I love that this style from J.Crew Factory could look easily pulled together.


These are great for throwing on for chilly outdoor walks/hikes, from LL Bean.


Target does it again! Can't go wrong with this burnt orange for fall.

My Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Wish List

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

 


It's that time of year again! The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is here and open to non-cardholders (aka me!). If you're a blogger or avid blog reader, or like to follow influencers on Instagram, you likely already know allll you need to know about this sale. It's one that I personally keep an eye out for every year because it includes some staples that I like to try to buy while on sale. For instance, I've never purchased a North Face jacket from anywhere/at any time other than this sale -- and every North Face jacket I've gotten for the girls has been passed down through all of them! So it makes sense to get the deal, if you can, on quality products. 

I know this year looks very different for many, so please know these posts are just for fun. I love shopping (and especially filling my "cart" and then not buying anything, or only buying one thing -- is that a hobby of anyone else's? lol), but I never want these shopping posts to come off as pressure-y at all. Just sharing what has caught my eye this season and what's on my actual wish list!

Women


The Natori Bra is the "regular" (non-sports) bra I wear daily and I always replenish them during the anniversary sale. They're great quality, comfortable, and pretty!



I've talked about Wit & Wisdom Jeans so much I should probably be a spokesperson. In fact, if I've seen you in person, I've probably shown you the stretchy inside of the waistband (please comment if I've done this to you! haha). They are the best, though -- so comfy, so cute, so genius! This style was on my wish list but is sold out. Check out some of their other styles!


I've never had a pair of Spanx leggings but they've long been on my wish list! I love this faux leather pair because, let's face it, this is as dressy as I'm going to be getting this fall/winter. Paired with a long sweater -- how cute? Hello Thanksgiving. If you have a pair of Spanx leggings, do they live up to the hype?


This Patagonia jacket is unfortunately also sold out, but it was on my wish list because I could use a mid-weight winter jacket for running around. I feel like this is one of those pieces you'd have in your closet for years and years -- especially in black!

I am a sucker for a high-top sneaker, and this Dolce Vita pair (love this brand, I have other Dolce Vita shoes that have lasted for many years!) lined with plush looks like the comfiest. I know this pair is getting a lot of blog love, but I'm personally a fan of these!


Kids

My oldest has had this North Face jacket (in a different color) for the past two years and it's held up great. I love that it's reversible -- we actually would just flip it to the furry side for her "dressy" jacket. She could use a new one this year!

I don't know if I'll pick up this jean jacket for C, but man it's cute! I love this style of a jean jacket mixed with sweatshirt sleeves/hood. So fun for the fall (and can still be used in the spring!).


These classic Sperry duck boots are perfect for snow and/or rain, and the anniversary sale is a great time to grab them for a good price! Unfortunately they're sold out in C's size, but I'm going to keep an eye out for restocks.


And there you have it! I told you I'd only share the things that were on my personal wish list (so easy to go down the rabbit hole of things I could potentially want... but not really need at all ;)). Have you shopped the Anniversary Sale? If so, what did you pick up? Happy midweek, y'all, we're halfway there!

Friday Favorites

Friday, August 7, 2020

 Hello, sweetest friends! So happy to see you here once again. I hope you've had a good week and have some fun plans for the weekend ahead! I have a lot to share/update you on today, so grab a cup of coffee and please say hello. :)

1. School Decision

Early last week I wrote a blog post all about my thoughts and feelings about starting school. I was so, so torn about what to choose for my kids. I think what made this decision so tough for me (and so many others) is that I just want the best for my kids -- I want to choose the option that is in their best interest -- and we're all making these decisions simply not knowing so much. My husband and I were leaning toward our district's hybrid option for most of the time, but truly on the last day (pretty much the last hour) we had before we had to decide, we had a change of heart. I talked to my oldest about it and she expressed that if she couldn't play with friends at school and really interact/socialize, she'd like to try the virtual learning at home. So that's what we went with. And I'm not going to lie, I had a good cry about it all. I feel content with our ultimate decision, but of course, it all just sucks. However, as I talked about in that post last week, I am determined to make it not suck as much as possible for my kids. I've already grabbed several things for our learning at home -- here's what I have so far:


2. Hair Cut

On Tuesday I went for my first hair cut in a year! I got at least 6 inches chopped off and feel so much lighter and better. My salon did a great job with precautions so I felt safe while I was there. It was also a good little mental health break/booster, getting out and taking care of myself a bit! Have you had a hair appointment yet?

3. Kitchen Sneak Peek

I shared this sneak peek of our kitchen update on my new Instagram page a couple of days ago, and am so excited to do an entire blog post about it. We did everything ourselves, so I have some DIY tips for those of you who might be interested in doing the same. It was definitely a lot of work, but we saved so much money and are thrilled with the results!

4. Dance Class

This week the girls had their first in-person activity/class since COVID came around, and I have to say, it made my heart so darn happy. We are only sticking to outdoor activities right now, and when the girls' old dance studio where we went for years organized some outdoor, socially-distanced dance classes for both of their age brackets -- we had to jump on it. Luckily, the weather was absolutely perfect and the girls really enjoyed it! I loved seeing them pirouette-ing around, just being kids. :)

5. Outschool

Speaking of activities, have any of you heard of or used Outschool? It was advertised to me so I made a (free) account to check it out (clearly the advertising worked!), and it seems pretty neat!  There are a ton of online classes for kids on there -- everything from gemology to tea party/etiquette class to dance classes and much more. I'm thinking it might come in handy especially this winter when activities are potentially very limited again. The prices seem reasonable, too. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Hope you have a relaxing weekend!

Weekend Favorites

Saturday, August 1, 2020


Happy weekend & first day of August!

Phew, what a week! I feel like most of my days have revolved around back to school research, talking to other parents, discussing all of the various points with my husband, calling my own mom with updates, reading and debating and writing lists... repeat forever. I know so many of you are in the same boat and I've really appreciated you being alongside me with all of this. The fact that we are all in the thick of this together is comforting. And somehow, we will make the right decision for our families (I shared more of my thoughts on this topic on Monday, here).

Anyway, coming at you a day late with Friday Favorites! Here's what I've enjoyed this week:

-Loving connecting on another level with my new Instagram page where I share my favorite finds, fashion, home decor, and snippets of motherhood. It's a brand new venture and I'd love to meet you.. so come say hello! :)

-This viral message with a pediatrician's advice to parents about making "the school decision"

-Hadley got the round version of this swing for her birthday, and the kids have already gotten so much use out of it. Who am I kidding: I love it too!

-Literally lol'ed at this video -- and then wondered if someone secretly filmed me. Too true!

-I ordered 4 of these kids' mask lanyards -- two for each of our older girls -- so they don't lose their masks or put them down on dirty surfaces. You customize them with their names, fun colors, and a little charm. How cute/genius is this?! They should arrive today so I'll share what we think of them on Instagram stories.

-Check out the new Oprah magazine cover. Powerful.

-I made this salmon twice in one week it was so good (and easy). Let me know if you try it!

-And two sales happening this weekend I wanted to share: bareMinerals Friends & Family (everything is 25% off and free shipping -- this is the foundation I've been using daily for years), and J.Crew is taking an extra 50% off sale styles (sign up for their free rewards program and get free shipping all the time)

Have a wonderful weekend & start to a new month. <3

Monday Coffee Talk | COVID Confessions & Back to School

Monday, July 27, 2020

I can't believe how fast the weekends fly by! Hope you had a great one. :)

We took an afternoon trip to our hometown (the first in 6 months!) to celebrate our nephew's first birthday -- he's such a cutie. On the day he was born, Steve, Carrie, Haddie and I (with Isabelle in my very large belly at that point!) all drove to meet him and met up with my mom for a quick dinner at a nearby diner before we went to the hospital. Turned out the diner's air conditioning was broken, which only really became apparent once we were seated and began sweating profusely as we ordered our meals. It was an extremely hot, sticky July day and I'll never forget that little adventure! ;) He was such a sweet little bundle and my sister-in-law was a champion.

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For today's Monday Coffee Talk, I thought I'd share a little bit of what's been on my mind and heart related to a very complicated, confusing, and emotionally-loaded topic for many parents right now: back to school. And up front, I want you to know that if you're in the same boat with school-aged kids, I see you, feel for you, and understand how tough this is. I want you to know, because I know you've second-guessed yourself, that I believe that whatever you decide is the best decision for your family and one made with so much love and so, so, so much thought.

From what I've read, heard from others, and generally understand, each district is structuring their back-to-school plans very differently. I have friends whose districts aren't doing much of anything different except for requiring the kids and staff to wear masks, but otherwise it'll be a full 5 day schedule. I know of people whose districts have decided to go 100% virtual, with no in-person option. And many others have adopted hybrid schedules, with students in class a couple of days a week alternating with a couple of virtual learning days. This is to allow for better social distancing while there are bodies in the buildings.

I think that last option -- the hybrid -- is what our district is going to do (based on surrounding districts), but they are set to officially announce the proposed schedule today. Just being really honest with you, I am still on the fence about what we will do in the fall. I have written pro/con lists, put our two big girls' schedules side-by-side to see what they would look like in every proposed scenario, imagined what next year might look like if we decide one way or the other, talked to other parents, researched the recommendations of trusted medical sources, and agonized. 

I realized the privileged position I am in for even having this choice to make. I am so very grateful to have a job that I can do from home. I am so fortunate to be able to cut back in that role if I need to, to focus on things at home. We are healthy (knock on all of the wood), and we do not live with any immunocompromised or elderly family members. Those are all just starting points for making this decision, and I know all of our starting points are different. 

So here's where I am personally. Why not keep the girls entirely home for remote learning? I could and I very well might, but my reasons for considering sending are that I see a lot of value in personally connecting with a teacher. Since the majority of school will likely be virtual, I think connecting in person a couple of times a week might help my child (six) be more invested in those virtual learning days and ultimately get the most out of this unconventional school year. If I can, I would like to allow her that chance. The AAP and CDC are both in support of in-school learning for a variety of reasons. 

But, yes, I am also nervous about illness (if you know me, that's me during a normal year) and just generally whether I'm "doing the right thing." That's me all the time, too. I want to make the right choice for my family, but I also don't want to disregard others and their needs. I don't want to regret sending, and I don't want to regret not sending. I know any of you in this situation understand these ramblings and have had similar thoughts. If you have, I would love to hear them, to bounce ideas off of each other whether about in-school or homeschool, and to just generally lend a word of support to one another. I have seen so many judgmental, downright ugly posts tearing down parents' decisions no matter what they are, and no matter what I choose, I will not stand for that. That isn't helping anyone.

One thing I have decided is that no matter what path we choose this year, I want to help my kids choose happiness and hope. We are going to do some back-to-school shopping together (online!) as we normally would, they can help to pick out some new gear like backpacks, lunch boxes (even if we stay home!), and school supplies. We are going to set up a comfortable space here at home for virtual learning days. We are going to talk about school and what they might learn, and make sure there are ways for them to safely socialize. We are going to choose joy this school year.

I'll keep you posted on what we decide. Just know that when you're feeling frustrated, unsure, doubtful... you are not alone. And I hope you choose joy despite it all.

33 Things

Tuesday, July 14, 2020


Last week I turned 33! We took the girls to the shore for the afternoon/evening and had a really nice (albeit not relaxing in the slightest! haha) time on the beach, followed by a picnic dinner with takeout. Time in my favorite place with my favorite people... can't ask for much more than that to kick off a new year! We also got to see my family this past weekend for a little backyard get together with pizza and cupcakes to celebrate.

33 is supposedly the number that resonates with "the energies of compassion, blessings, inspiration, honesty, discipline, bravery and courage," and tells us "all things are possible." I'll take it!

Just for fun, I thought I'd celebrate by sharing 33 things about me. Some you might know, and some you might not. I'm nosy, so I always enjoy reading this type of thing. ;) What do we have in common?

33 Things

1. My second daughter was due on my birthday, but born three days before.

2. I played violin for 10 years.

3. My bad habit is... snacking in bed at night. Oops!

4. I transferred colleges after my freshman year (Temple --> West Chester).

5. I could easily be a vegetarian, I just don't enjoy eating meat and never have.

6. My wedding DJ turned out to be a murderer (true story, you can read more here).

7. I've had six jobs (CVS Pharmacy, Babies R Us, a leather store, Auntie Anne's corporate, a marketing agency, and my current job which I've had for 8 years).

8. My dad was born in Cuba and came to the United States when he was seven.

9. I'm really passionate about connecting with and encouraging others.

10. I much prefer salty foods over sweet.

11. I'm an enneagram 2.

12. I am an ENFJ (closely followed by an ENFP).

13. I always make a wish if I happen to catch the clock on 11:11.

14. I love traditions -- making them and keeping them.

15. I'm a bit superstitious (I will knock on wood, not get rid of a "lucky" shirt, etc.).

16. The oldest piece of clothing I still wear is my denim jacket, which was a gift from Steve for my 17th birthday.

17. I have a dream of owning a house by the ocean.

18. I don't like horror movies. Feel tense and stressed for 1.5 hours? No thanks! Haha

19. I eat the same thing for breakfast every single day (for the past 7 years) -- coffee & a protein bar.

20. I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with my oldest (but not with my other two!). 

21. I can't wait to travel more -- my bucket list is long!

22. I'm a huge animal lover. I can't watch any movie in which an animal gets hurt or there's any negative/sad focus on animals, watch those ASPCA commercials, and you know that saying "wouldn't hurt a fly?" That's me. A friend got me this, and I swear by it.

23. I have dear friends from each stage of my life (starting from toddlerhood!) that I am still very close with and love very much -- I value my friendships a lot and have always strived for quality over quantity in my closest relationships.

24. I've always wanted to be a mom and was obsessed with pretending my dolls were real babies as a kid. I'd always pretend I had three kids. ;)

25. I have motion sickness and can't read or focus on anything too long in the car.

26. Blood doesn't bother me a bit, but vomit is my nightmare. Haha

27. Every night as I fall asleep, I say a prayer of thanks for everyone and everything that I am grateful for.

28. I'm an old-school pen and paper girl. I still keep a paper address book, a paper schedule/calendar/agenda, write lists on paper, and enjoy reading actual magazines and books.

29. I eat cheese every single day. Can't quit you, cheese.

30. I'm sensitive to smells and don't like strong floral scents, the new car smell everyone else seems to love, pine, cigarette smoke, etc.

31. My  favorite scent of all time is sunscreen, especially when on the cheeks of my babies, closely followed by yummy food scents like baked goods and cinnamon.

32. I analyze everything way too much. It can be a frustrating quality, but as I grow I also try to embrace it and use it to an advantage.

33. My professional/personal goal over the next year is to write a book. There, I said it!


So, did you learn anything new or am I pretty much an open book? Did anything resonate with you? I'd love to hear! Have a wonderful rest of the week, xo

It's July! Summertime Questionnaire

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Happy July, all!

May, June, July, and August are my favorite months of the year. Warm weather, lots of fun things to do outside, and plenty to celebrate. This month we're celebrating Hadley's 4th birthday (fun fact: she was due on my birthday!), my 33rd birthday (is 33 a lucky number? It sounds like it could be. I'm going with it is.), and my nephew's 1st birthday! The Fourth of July is also in there, of course. I remember feeling like the Fourth of July meant we were really into summertime as a kid. There's nothing quite like watching fireworks on a warm summer night.

To kick off the month, I thought I'd join in with a couple of fellow bloggers (Dara and Danielle) to share a "just for fun" questionnaire all about summer. One of the best things -- probably the best thing -- about blogging is connecting with others, so I'd love to hear your answers too!


1. Lake or Beach

Beach! Truthfully I love to be by any body of water, but being by the ocean is one of the things that makes me happiest. The salty sea air, the expanse of the water against the horizon, the seagulls... the whole thing makes me happy.

2. Iced tea or lemonade?

Unsweetened iced tea is so refreshing! One of my favorite drinks.

3. Favorite summer vacation memory?

There are too many to choose! When I was young, we took a couple of trips to Canada with extended family -- my grandma, aunt, cousins. Those trips are full of fun memories because it felt like such a big adventure as a small kid. For the first three years Steve and I were married and without kids, we visited Mexico, Bermuda, and Jamaica. I'll always cherish those memories because it was just the two of us, and we knew it wouldn't always be that way. Those trips were so relaxing and beautiful. But maybe my favorite memories come from our annual beach trips to the Jersey shore with our kids, parents, and my brother's family. It feels pretty special to know we're creating lasting memories for our kids!

4. Favorite summer destination?

Avalon, NJ. :)

5. Go-to summer fashion item?

I love maxi dresses for their comfort and effortless style, and I'm a shoe lover so fun sandals are always a favorite. This is one of my favorite new maxi dresses this summer (I got mine in navy -- and for $29! Keep an eye out for more sales!), these are my most-worn flip flops (they hold up amazingly well, on sale for $28 with code EXTRA30) and these are my favorite new sandals (mine are in a woven straw, and unfortunately I can't find them available anywhere).

6. Have you ever been water skiing or jet skiing?

I think I remember trying to water ski a long time ago, but have never been jet skiing. Been tubing plenty of times, though!

7. Favorite summer movie?

Anything light and fun. Sweet Home Alabama comes to mind. Grease is a classic!

8. Song that makes you think of summer?

Danielle mentioned Summer Girls by LFO and I had a moment remembering all the times I listened to that! I like country, and no better time to listen to it than in the summer with the windows rolled down. Anything Tom Petty, and that song 99 Red Balloons always makes me think of summer and fireworks set to music.

9. Best Fourth of July story?

I think my favorite is the first year I met Steve. I was 15, almost 16, and every year my brother, cousins, and I would go to a local park to watch the fireworks display. Steve came along that year (I had just met him less than a month before!) and as we were driving there along some backroads, my teenage cousin was driving too close behind us and tapped the back of Steve's SUV. I was mortified, haha -- but Steve took it in stride and we still laugh about it to this day.

10. Are your fireworks on the 3rd, 4th, or another night?

I feel like it depends on the year around here! They are usually spread across multiple nights depending on the town putting them on, so it's sort of up to us when we go. We've skipped the big crowds the last couple of years with tiny ears and early bedtimes but we usually can catch them lighting up the sky somewhere. ;)

That was fun! Let me know if you join in, I'd love to check out your answers. Have a great Wednesday -- halfway to the weekend!

Summer Fun: Our Bucket List & Favorite Outdoor Toys

Friday, June 26, 2020

No doubt this summer will look a little different than any before it! Our little crew is determined to make the most of our favorite couple of months, though, before it passes us by in a blur. Each season, we make a bucket list with things we'd like to do/see/experience/learn that season. I always have the girls help me add ideas so they have a say and have fun getting into it too. Below is our Summer 2020 Bucket List (I realized how much is food related, haha!), and keep scrolling, because I've also rounded up our most favorite outdoor toys. Camp Backyard, here we come. ;)


My kids will often go outside and mash berries up with some grass clippings to make "stew" or run around singing and pretending. Yours too? But there have been some toys/gear over the years that have proved to be lasting favorites. Some of these items are marked up this summer, so I'd recommend keeping an eye out on local yard sale sites and/or doing frequent price searches online as I'm sure the prices and availability will fluctuate a bit. I've linked our exact, or as close as possible to what we have if it's no longer available:

Splash Pad // Inflatable Pool // Play Set 

Basketball Hoop // Bubble Wands // Paddle Toss

Cottage // Water Table // Sidewalk Chalk

Bike // Scooter // Giant Sprinkler


Wishing you a wonderful, sunny weekend!

Monday Coffee Talk | Father's Day, Kitchen Update, Masks & More

Monday, June 22, 2020


Happy Monday! 

It's been a while since we did a Monday Coffee Talk, so I figured you could grab your second cup (how many cups of coffee do you drink per day, btw? I'm usually a 1-2 cup person), and join me for a little chit-chat. I'm excited and grateful to be getting back to more regular blogging after the craziness that has been the last few months. 

Hope everyone had a fun Father's Day weekend. We enjoyed spending the day with our favorite dada, and also had the chance to visit with my father-in-law for a nice low-key backyard celebration! Almost 27 years have passed without my own dad -- most of my life -- but I think about him every day and often wonder what he would have been like; how life would have been if he were here. Father's Day is always a sort of bittersweet day for me, but I'm so glad to celebrate all of the great men in my life who are wonderful dads.

Dad & me in 1987 or early 1988

Steve & baby Carrington

Steve & baby Hadley

Steve & baby Isabelle


In other news, you might know that we've had a kitchen makeover underway over here. Steve is doing everything himself (superman), so it's not a fast-moving process, but that's ok: we don't have any pressing deadlines, so it's kind of nice not to feel rushed and take our time with all of the decision-making and design. The update right now is: cabinets are finished (we went from a dark cherry stain to BM Simply White) and hardware is on! There was some debate between polished nickel and gold (this color specifically is called champagne bronze), below, but the gold won out on my Instagram poll and in real life! Next up is a new back door installation, and then putting in the new floor which I'm so excited for. I can't to show you the before and after pictures once everything's finished!



Next up, I have a question that one could only ask in 2020: how many masks do you have? Who ever would have thought that would be a normal question? Ha!

I have two that I've been using the most -- one was homemade by a local acquaintance, and then I ordered this one from Tuckernuck. I feel like everywhere has masks for sale now. I even spotted a 2-pack for kids at Target ($4!) the other day and grabbed it, but they were too big for the girls so they can serve as back-ups for me. We are still waiting on our masks from CubCoats, which I'm a little disappointed by. Hopefully they arrive soon and we love them once they do! In the meantime, I've ordered a mask for each big girl from a mom friend who is making them. There are a few local places I'd like to take the kids soon (like berry picking at our local farm), and they require face masks so it's time they have one or two.


How has life been treating you lately? Are you finding your groove with all of the changes that have come along (and as things are constantly changing!), or hitting a wall? I go back and forth depending on the day. One day I feel well-adjusted and content, and the next I feel restless and a little sad (I miss friends, family, and getting out more!). We're all just riding this wave as best as possible and trying not to forget that time is still marching on in the meantime. I don't want to look back on this time as if it didn't exist, you know? Looking forward to living life as best and safely as we can this summer! 

Finally, our weekly menu:

Monday: Trying this beef & noodle casserole for the first time
Tuesday: "Fish & chips" (frozen night -- frozen breaded fish & fries!)
Wednesday: Spaghetti & meatballs, veggies on the side
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Pancakes & scrambled eggs (love breakfast for dinner!)
Saturday: Takeout

Hope your week is off to a happy start!

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