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!

Reflections on a Memorable School Year

Friday, June 19, 2020

Well... we did it! School is officially out for the summer, and this year is sure to go down as the most memorable school year (I mean, I hope there isn't one more memorable than this coming along... insert wide-eyed emoji here, ha). But really: isn't life crazy? Who would have ever pictured when we sent our kids off to their new classrooms in the fall that the year would end up the way it did. 

Most kids (and adults) thrive with routine, and this certainly was a break from the routine we knew, and had really just gotten used to. Like many others, I went through a range of emotions as a parent. I was sad that the kids didn't get the traditional classroom experience and were missing out on the benefit of being taught by another adult (much more qualified than me to teach!), disappointed for them that the friendships they had newly formed were cut short as seeing their pals everyday and play dates were out the window. I was grateful for the extra time with them -- the talks over lunch I had missed, the relaxing time in the middle of the day reading books to them. I was stressed at times trying to juggle work, helping kids with their digital lessons, etc. I was excited that the girls got more "sister time" together. I was relieved that they were healthy and protected from sickness, at least for a little while. I was lonely, missing the interaction with our friends and family. I'm sure you can all relate with many of these mixed feelings!

But all along, with those grown-up emotions heavy in my mind and heart, the kids were showing just how resilient they are. They adjusted to a new way of learning -- online! -- quickly and, although not every day was a smooth one, for the most part they really rode the waves of this storm with grace and optimism.

A huge shout out to our teachers who went above and beyond to continue to teach our children and make them feel heard, seen, and cared about. I can't tell you how much that touched me. We usually don't get to see our teachers in action, but having the privilege of getting just a glimpse into what they do and all the heart they put into teaching meant so much. These are special, special humans!

And now for an update on our two big girls, who are off to first grade and preschool 4s next year (in person or virtually, or maybe both -- we shall see):


Age: 6.5 years old

Favorite thing I learned in kindergarten: MATH!

Favorite color: Orange

The thing I'll miss most: Seeing my teachers

Favorite memory from kindergarten: Making gingerbread houses and our field trip!

When I grow up, I want to be: A people doctor, and a veterinarian 


Age: 3 (almost 4!)

Favorite thing I learned in preschool: Songs

Favorite color: Pink

Thing I'll miss the most: My friends!

Favorite memory from school: Playing on the playground

When I grow up, I want to be: An artist

Hope your summer is off to a great start! On Monday I'll be sharing our summer 2020 bucket list, along with some of our favorite outdoor toys. Happy weekend!

Breezy, Neutral Summer Outfit

Monday, June 15, 2020

Even though I'm not going as many places these days, it doesn't mean I can't dream up the perfect summer outfit. ;) I've had my eye on breezy, summery, neutral pieces lately. Can't you just picture wearing this easy outfit for a day trip to the beach, or maybe a get together with girlfriends? 

What is the thing you're looking forward to most in June?

Straw bag | Nothing screams summer like a straw bag, and my favorite style is the classic circle bag -- this one looks like it has plenty of room!

Tie shoulder top | This loose, flowy look has my heart -- give me all of the loose and comfy summer tops! I especially love the texture of this top, and the fun tie details on the straps.

Comfy "camp" shorts | I think most of us are rejecting the real waistband these days, and with shorts as comfortable and cute as these, who can blame us? Under $20!

Tortoise sunglasses | A classic summer staple. These are affordable (a must for me, personally, with sunglasses since they usually end up getting lost, crushed, or chewed on!).

Statement ring | Love this beautiful Kendra Scott ring for 50% off! The color is reminiscent to me of the Caribbean ocean.

Leather sandals | Another can't-go-wrong, classic summer style is the slide. These studded beauties are on sale for less than $60 and would go with everything.

Standing Together

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Beautiful artwork by JessicaMingoDesigns

Hi friends.

How are you all?

What a few weeks it has been. I've read a lot of blog posts lately that start off with "I've written and rewritten this post a hundred times" -- and as cliche as that sounds, it's true for me, too. I had a lengthy post written two weeks ago. I read it, rewrote it, read it, rewrote it. 

I have learned that it's often better to listen before speaking. And, quite honestly, over the past few weeks there has been a lot to listen to and so many voices and experiences that take precedence over my own. 

After the tragic, wrongful death of George Floyd (and many others), I opened my eyes, ears, and heart to as many voices as possible. I stood, still stand, and will always stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, but I knew it didn't start and end with a social media or blog post; I didn't just want to post something, and have that be it. I wanted to take a deep dive, to look inward, to figure out what I can do to be a better ally to the black community, and to open the door to a discussion about racism with my own family. Again, I realize that it won't just be a one-time discussion with our kids, but rather an ongoing, lifelong conversation; more than words, it will be a commitment to leading by example.

Within my own family, we have long dismissed the idea of "We don't see color" to "We see color, and it is beautiful." What I'm working on now is "We see color, it is beautiful, we honor your experience, and we will do better." Though my children's friends are diverse, as is our neighborhood, I looked around the house and realized our toys and books were not as diverse as they could and should be. By listening and paying attention, I realized our efforts to support black-owned businesses were not equal and in line with our beliefs. In addition to financially supporting organizations like the NAACP, I sought to do the work within the walls of our home and diversify my kids' books and toys (we didn't have this book, this book, or this book yet so I ordered all three to start). Outside of our walls, I'd like to do better in paying attention to the companies we give our money to -- do they support what we support? Fairness, progress, advancement opportunities, diversity, and equality?

I'm sure you've heard the quote by Maya Angelou, "When you know better, do better." That's the thing about change: it's not a one time event, but a constant process. But we need to take the first step to begin. By taking the time to listen, dig into the issues, learn more about what we simply don't know... we can begin to take inventory of our own lives and the places we can do better. Those seemingly small changes in our thinking, in our daily practices, in how we view and treat others, could very well inspire others to do the same -- and together, we can create huge, meaningful, lasting change. We can do better (so much better), and we can make the world a better place for our children, and their children.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and peaceful weekend ahead. <3
CopyRight © | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan