Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Slow summers & summer bucket list fun

Summer break is finally officially upon us here in Washington, and my kids couldn't be happier. We're not big on super busy, crazy summer plans. Sure, we like to hit up our local water park, spend a couple of days here & there by the lake, and enjoy the sunshine as much as possible (especially after the long, cold winter we had this year). But with four kids now- one of those being a baby and another a rambunctious toddler, I'm much more into summer days spent in the backyard by the kiddie pool and the occasional family movie day in the air conditioned house. As our family has grown and our lives have become busier, I really do enjoy spending more of our time here at home, as a family, slowing down and not really having to be anywhere. Slow summers are my favorite!

Slow doesn't mean boring! Like I said, we still do plenty of fun stuff, but I definitely don't let my kids run me ragged all day either. Mama still has work to do, too, and I need to maintain my own sanity. Have you ever gone out in public with four kids? My 9 year old daughter decided to make us a summer bucket list as a sort of "goal" for us to remember to do a few of our favorite summer activities, in addition to those laid back, easy summer days at home.

Our list includes things like visiting the water park, going for a hike, and swimming at the lake...these are all things I imagine that we'll do maybe once this summer, if we are lucky. Some of my favorites on her bucket list are riding bikes around the neighborhood, camping out in the backyard, and having a water balloon fight- all totally doable, right? She even included some fun little ones like "swim like a mermaid" (she just got one of those little fin things that go on your feet), and "learn how to do the splits" (because she wants to do cheer leading next school year). Those are also things I'll probably pass on, but I'm totally down for the bike ride and water balloon fight!

 Fruit Shoot is great for all of our summer adventures, whether it be at home in the back yard or at the lake or water park. I prefer these to other juice pouches or boxes because of the resealable cap. The little pop top lid is so much easier than a straw, which frees me up from having to open them and clean up the inevitable mess that comes along with juice pouches. Whatever lets my strong willed toddler claim some more independence is a win in my book! The bottles are nice and durable too- strong enough to withstand my toddler's death grip and being dropped/thrown a million times outside. Fruit Shoot are super portable and convenient to take along on any of our summer adventures and contain no artificial flavors, no high fructose corn syrup, and they don't add any sugar- a huge win in my book. I can let the kids do their thing and feel good about letting them choose a fun drink that they like to re-hydrate with. 

So what are your big summer plans? Do you have any or are you slowing down and going with the flow like my family? Make a summer bucket list and check some of your goals off these next few weeks! And make sure to stock up on Fruit Shoot- my kids #1 favorite drink, no joke! I get ours at our local Fred Meyer store and my kids love every flavor, especially fruit punch. You can find where to buy Fruit Shoot by using the store locator here

Happy summer-ing! 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Letting her "do her thing"

I think we can all agree that the toddler years can be a pretty....challenging time. My two and a half year old is no longer a baby, yet she's not quite a full-fledged kid either. She's becoming a big girl, with big girl emotions, wants, needs, and ideas. Don't get me wrong, we're still in diapers, using a binky, and toting around her favorite blankie everywhere we go, but my sweet little Harper certainly isn't a the chubby, bald baby she once was. She's developed her own silly, sweet, and quirky personality. She's learning to do things on her own and is constantly reminding me that she's the one calling the shots quite often. Sometimes I just have to let her do her thing!

Doing her thing usually involves being outside, which is her absolute favorite big girl thing to do nowadays. I cannot get this girl inside! She loves to pull her little wagon around and collect rocks, sticks and pine cones. 

She loves to play with her water table and make mud- she's certainly not afraid to get dirty! I may or may not have caught her eating dirt on more than one occasion as well. When I asked her what she was doing she proudly proclaimed "I eat the dirt, mama!" 

Now that it's warmed up, playing outside with her big brother and sister is hands down her favorite thing to do. She loves running around and can totally keep up with the big kids! They are so good about including her too. 

Even the rain and snow are no match for her energy. As soon as it starts to rain she grabs her sparkly purple rainboots and stands by the slider yelling "Wow! A big puddle!" She'll stomp around in her too-big boots until she's soaking wet, stopping to catch the rain in her mouth because she's too busy to come inside to get a drink. That would require her to slow down, which never happens.

When she's too busy doing her thing, I can usually get her to take a brief pause to hand her a bottle of her favorite drink, Fruit Shoot. The bottles are durable and are tough enough to withstand my toddler's death grip, and the resealable caps are quick and easy to open. Even for impatient 2 year olds! We've tried other juice boxes and pouches and Harper just can't figure them- she can't open the straws, poke it through the tiny little hole, and her grasp is always to tight and she ends up squeezing it out all over her shirt, pants, shoes, the floor, the couch...everything. It usually ends in an epic meltdown. Fruit Shoots are toddler-friendly and approved! Anything that allows her a little independence and frees me up a few extra seconds is a win in my book. 

Fruit Shoot doesn't add sugar to their drinks either, which makes it an easy choice when it comes to keeping her hydrated (because sometimes it's impossible to get her to drink water). I let her do her thing and choose a fun drink while she's running out the "evening crazies" in the backyard before bedtime. Where does all of that energy come from?

I found Fruit Shoot at my local Fred Meyer and they are a must-have for outside fun and adventures! Find out where to purchase here.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Spring is in the air

It's been a long, cold, wet winter here in the Pacific Northwest, but I think it's finally safe to say that spring has officially sprung. We got a lot of snow this year that lingered for some time. This was our first big winter since moving back to our hometown area- I don't remember having snow all the way into March since I was a kid. Thankfully though, the snow is finally gone for good. Just in time for Spring Break! Not that we have anything big planned- just some family time and maybe a few days spent outside cleaning up the yard, riding bikes, or playing around at the park. We're pretty low-key people, especially with another baby now. I love just spending time with my husband and kids, creating smile worthy moments with my favorite people!

My big kids are spending their first part of spring break at their grandma's house with my sister in law. She's awesome and picked them up for the weekend and has been sending me pictures of what they've been up to. 


I leave the 4-wheeling and snake catching to her, and I'm thankful she likes to do those kinds of things with my kids...not really my idea of fun but they seem to be having a blast!

Harper has been exploring the backyard a lot, since we finally have a great outdoor space for the kids to play pretty freely. I love letting her get out and play without having to hover over her constantly. I can see the entire yard from the kitchen window and the dining room slider, and I don't have to worry about her getting into trouble or hurting herself. I found her crouched over a little green caterpillar she found in the grass, and then she proudly showed me to where these cute little flowers were just starting to come up and bloom. Of course she picked them all right after that, but it was still adorable. 

I just love this time of year! Spring always makes me happy. I don't even mind the rainstorms because I'm just thankful it's not snow, plus there's always the chance of a rainbow. Does anyone else get really excited when they see a rainbow? Lily pointed out a good one right out our front door just the other day. 

The warmer weather always puts a smile on my face, which is probably why spring is one of my favorite times of year. Spending time with my kids, relaxing, creating smile worthy moments they will remember well into their adulthood is one of my favorite things. We don't need big plans to enjoy our spring break!

If you want some fun, stress-free ideas for keeping your kids entertained head over to the Goldfish Pinterest page or YouTube channel for inspiration. Whether it's cute little crafts, fun or educational games, kid-friendly snacks for spring break road trips, or just good ol' yummy snacking ideas, Goldfish has some really creative ideas for keeping your hungry kiddos entertained while they snack. 

I hope you're enjoying your spring, whatever the weather is like in your neck of the woods. What are your fun spring break plans? 

A big thank you to Goldfish for sponsoring this post! And thank you to all of my readers for supporting the partners that make this little blog possible.


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