This summer is really flying by! I can't believe that Monday will be a new month! I also can't believe we are already doing our third Rewind Friday! In case you missed it, Beth, Whitney, Stephanie and I are hosting this new linkup as a way to share your favorite overlooked content. As a blogger, we are constantly creating and sharing content that we are proud of, and that we've often put a ton of time and effort into. Sometimes a post that we love and worked really hard to put together doesn't get the kind of attention (comments, visits, shares, pins, what have you) that we think it deserves. Now's your chance to get some new eyes on these posts! So grab my Rewind Friday button and link up some of your favorite overlooked posts! #RewindFridayParty
Friday, July 29, 2016
Thursday, July 28, 2016
I'm back again today with another installment of "The Guys Behind the Blog". I love that each month I get to interview both Chris (here) and Noah (with our new "The Kids Behind the Blog" link up.)
What was your favorite TV show as a child? What's your favorite TV show that Noah watches?
Favorite tv show as a kid was GI Joe (cartoon) and Dukes Of Hazzard (non-cartoon). I like the Octonauts because it's the show that Noah is the most into currently, so we can play with the different characters before, during, and after the show.
What was your favorite board game to play as a child? What is your favorite board game to play with Noah now?
Favorite board game as a kid was Sorry, and then Monopoly when I was in my teens. My favorite game to play with Noah right now is probably Loopin' Louie because it's a game that I never had as a kid and it's cool to see his hand/eye coordination to make sure Louie doesn't knock over his chips.
Who was/is your favorite superhero and why?
I used to really love Batman growing up. I'd watch the old Batman tv show from the 1960's with Adam West and Burt Ward. It was fun to see him battle all the bad guys (Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, etc)
How did you spend your summers growing up?
I'd play outside a lot in the summer and go to the beach as well as the town pool or even the man-made lake we joined for a few years. As you can see, it was a lot of things that were outside. We'd occasionally play Nintendo too, but that would be at night or on rainy days, haha.
How do you think Noah is similar (and different) to you as a child?
I think Noah can be a little shy in some situations, so that's similar to me. He's different in the sense that he has so much technology at his fingertips (literally) that he can lay in bed and watch tv shows on his iPad. I don't think I even had a tv in my room until I was maybe 7 or so, and I didn't get a VCR until years and years later and Noah has maybe 100 shows pre-saved on the Tivo so he can literally watch anything he wants. When I was little and watching tv, I'd either look to see what was on in the TV Guide or else I'd switch to the channel that scrolled what was on.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
I love "currently" posts because I love documenting what's going on at the moment. I'm a huge fan of making digital scrapbooks (both for our family and for Noah) as well as using this blog as a scrapbook of sorts. I've been doing "currently" posts for a while now, but recently changed up the format. Here's what I've been up to in July...
Eating: too much ;) I feel like I've gotten into the bad habit of snacking on unhealthy things in the afternoon with Noah. From chocolate covered almonds to Swedish Fish, I need to cut back on the sweets!
Looking: for an anniversary gift for Chris... any ideas for 6 years???
Loving: my waterproof camera. Now that Noah is a little fish and going underwater non stop at the pool, I love being able to take photos and videos of him swimming. I've had so many people comment on how cool the camera is whenever we are at the pool :)
Enjoying: Noah's company. I really do enjoy having Noah home over the summer. While I know he misses school and is excited to go back, it's really fun to be able to plan lots of day trips as well as a few lazy days at home. While I'm enjoying it, it doesn't mean I don't have a super long list of the things I plan to do when he goes back to school this fall ;)
Hoping: for good weather for our upcoming RI beach trip! We've had so much fun the past three years (2015, 2014, 2013) and can't wait to do it again next week!
Needing: to take more walks, which means I need some cooler weather either in the morning or evening! Or I just need to make less excuses ;)
Wishing: Chris could take more days off in the summer so we can enjoy the beach, pool, Sesame place, etc as a family when it isn't so crowded!
Feeling: behind. I'm struggling to stay on top of reading, my blog, reading other blogs, participating in my FB groups, doing my scrapbooks... the list goes on and on!
Drinking: too much Diet Coke. And I just realized this was my answer back in March too!
Planning: to spend August at the pool! We just got an "August membership" for our town pool and I'm so excited!
Wearing: these leather slides. I feel like every summer there's a shoe/sandal that I love so much that I end up wearing them with everything. These slides from Old Navy are so comfortable and easy to slide on as I'm running out the door. I wear them with shorts, dresses, and even to the pool and beach! I should have bought a few pairs!
Watching: Big Brother, Pretty Little Liars, and Fixer Upper. Chris got me into Big Brother a few years ago and now I really look forward to it every summer! I've been a PLL fan since it started and just can't get enough! And as for Fixer Upper, I just started watching it. I can't believe it took me so long to get into it. I got a Season's Pass on my TiVo and whenever I have some downtime I watch an episode or two. I'm kind of bummed that I don't have any left on my saved shows! The best part is when Noah was in camp and he asked me what I was going to do while he was gone, he told me I should watch one of my shows, and specifically told me to watch Big Brother and Fixer Upper!
Listening to: lots of songs, trying to decide what songs to use for all the home videos I plan to make! Now I just need to find the time to actually make the videos!
Reading: Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty. I've really loved linking up with Stephanie's "Reading Wednesday", but recently I feel so behind in my reading. I had the goal to read a book a month this year and I'm already behind. I am enjoying this book so far and hope that it gets me back into the routine of reading again.
What have you been up to this month?
*affiliate links used
*affiliate links used
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Who doesn't love spending the day at the beach!? But a day at the beach means very different things if kids are involved or not. Before having Noah, the most important thing to bring to the beach (other than sunscreen) was my iPod and headphones and a good book. These days, my packing list has grown and the essentials have changed quite a bit! But honestly, I still enjoy going to the beach just as much, just for different reasons.
We are lucky enough to live just about an hour away from a beach. While there are many beautiful beaches along the Jersey Shore that are further away, I am so happy that we have found the perfect beach for a day trip with the kids. Many people in New Jersey will rent a house "down the shore" for 1-2 weeks each summer. And while that sounds nice, I prefer to spend our weeklong vacations a little further from home and do multiple day trips instead. This particular beach (7 Presidents in Long Branch) is a public beach where you pay for admission and to park. What I love about this beach compared to the beaches that are filled with house rentals, is that they have bathrooms, showers, and a food pavilion. This makes it super easy to take the kids down for the day without having to pack a huge cooler full of food and worry about where you are going to use the restroom. But even with all these conveniences, there's still a lot to pack when kids are involved. Here are a few of my must haves...
1. Bring the essentials
When going to the beach for the day, there's a few things I must bring. A beach umbrella and chair are an absolute must for me. Noah recently decided he likes to sit in a chair as well for snacks, so we got him a kid beach chair (he has the same chair but different print). And once you are bringing chairs and an umbrella, I highly suggest you invest in a beach cart to make lugging it all to the water that much easier. This is the only way I'm able to take Noah to the beach with friends on my own.
note: while I linked to Amazon, we got our Tommy Bahama chairs, umbrella, and cart at Costco (for cheaper).
2. Protect yourself from the sun
For Noah, I love that he wants to wear a rash guard and hat, it means I don't have to apply so much sunscreen. I use spray for his legs and arms (when he's wearing a short sleeve rash guard) and lotion for his face. We usually get to the beach at 10 and I apply first thing (either in the parking lot or at the beach). I then usually reapply after we've had lunch. I use the same sunscreen spray I use on Noah, but use a face lotion that "prevents breakouts" since my skin is prone to acne with regular sunscreen products. Once I forgot to do my face, and my nose and forehead got a little redder than I'd like. Thankfully, after I peel, it turns to a tan! A hat, sunglasses, and sitting in the shade also come in handy!
Noah's rash guard | swim suit and hat are also Hanna Andersson, but no longer available
3. Be prepared to play
Bring lots of sand toys! You can never have too many pails and shovels! We got this set at Costco this year and it's perfect! In addition to bringing lots of toys, I also like to go with people so Noah has someone to play with. Whether that's going with friends, Daddy, or Grandma & Papa ;) Noah is actually really good at playing on his own, but he has way more fun with a play mate!
While I enjoy playing with Noah in the sand, he quickly gets tired of my "simple" sand castles and digging little holes. That's why I like to bring reinforcements who are up for anything... like being buried! There's something about burying someone that is just so much fun. And if you do it right, it will keep them occupied for quite a while, from digging the big hole to sit in to then covering the person up all the way to their neck... good times! Thank goodness Papa and Daddy are both great sports and up for the messy occasion!
4. Take photos
And while the boys get down in dirty in the sand, I'm happy to be the designated photographer. While I would love to be in more photos, I much prefer being behind the camera if it means I keep sand from getting all up in my bathing suit!
I know that shooting in direct sun isn't the easiest, but trust me, you'll love being able to look back at your fun days at the beach. I usually bring my DSLR for photos and use my iPhone for videos. If I plan to go in the water, I will put my phone in this waterproof pouch to keep it safe. While I love my new waterproof camera at the pool, I don't really need it at the beach since I tend to stay on the sand anyway. I also make sure to edit my photos when I get home to keep my subjects bright without blowing out my skies completely.
5. Stay hydrated!
I don't know about you, but Noah is prone to forgetting about eating and drinking when he's playing in the sand. I think it has something to do with his hands being messy, but I have to remind him constantly to have a drink and take a break. When we go for the day, I like to pack a cooler filled with waters. Our beach cart has an insulated pouch, so I grab a bunch of waters to bring down with us to the beach. I then leave the big cooler in the car (less to carry), so that we have a few cold drinks for our drive home.
6. Bring snacks
While I often have to remind Noah to take a break from playing, once he does, he wants a snack! I have found that bringing the individual size bags are ideal. You can hand them out to each kid (or adult) and there's less chance of ruining an entire bag with the sandy hands. Just remember to bring a plastic bag to corral all the garbage when you are done... no one wants a littered beach!
kid beach chair
swim suit, rash guard, and hat are from Hanna Andersson - no longer available
swim suit, rash guard, and hat are from Hanna Andersson - no longer available
7. Don't forget about clean up
I'm not really a fan of swimming in the ocean, so I rarely end up wet after the day at the beach. Even so, I make sure to bring one or two towels for each of us. We use them to wipe off sand, a blanket for the sand, and even to play tug of war ;) They are also needed when we end up hosing Noah down in the showers before we leave. Noah just got this new beach towel and LOVES it!
And while you've probably heard this tip before, bring some baby powder! It works wonders at helping get the sand off their wet and sweaty feet and hands! Trust me!
8. Bring home a souvenir
We love collecting sand and seashells (or rocks) whenever we go to the beach. We like to bring a little plastic baggie for the sand and mesh bags to collect seashells. Last year we bought these seashell mesh bags for Noah and his cousins to use at Narragansett beach. The bags are adjustable, so they are perfect for kids and adults to use and make it really easy to bring some sandy shells home!
Do you live close enough to the beach to do day trips?
Monday, July 25, 2016
This was the second year we've participated in the Christmas in July linkup! I really love this blogging community and the different opportunities that present itself. While I don't say yes to every gift exchange (it can get kind of costly, especially with the shipping), there are a few annual exchanges that I love doing, this being one of them. I love the idea of meeting new blogging friends and Noah absolutely loves getting packages in the mail! This year I just so happened to receive and send to bloggers that I already "know" and love. We were paired up with Lacey, from Perks of Being a Jap, who I met when we were paired up for Stephanie's (Wife Mommy Me) Snail Mail Exchange. It was really fun writing back and forth with Lacey, so I was even more excited when I saw a package from her and Sadie arrive on our door step!
^^^ I love that I just happened to get a photo of Noah sitting on the box... just like last year!
Lacey, from Perks of Being a Jap, sent us quite the package. Noah was so excited to open the box and I was amazed at how many things he kept pulling out of it! It really did feel like Christmas with all the goodies to unwrap. And it kind of looked like the Christmas aftermath with all the paper spread out over the floor.
Lacey was so sweet and included a few things for me too... some travel cups, lip balm, and some cute stationery from Target. Noah was really excited for all the things he got! He got this Disney board game where you make the pieces out of modeling clay. Since Noah loves play-doh and board games, he was a huge fan! He also got some bubbles and chalk paint! Over the course of the week, Noah had a blast playing with each of his gifts (and got a haircut).
Head on over to Chasin' Mason to see what I sent Liz and Mason. Liz and I were cracking up when she sent me the email notifying me who I was paired up with since she organized the whole gift exchange! It was pretty comical for her to fill out the standard email template but with her own information.
*affiliate links used
Friday, July 22, 2016
Happy Friday! Chris took the day off and we are spending the day at the beach with some friends. I am really enjoying summer and love that we are only an hour away from the beach and can do these day trips! I haven't done a traditional "Friday post" in a while, so I thought today would be the perfect time to share some randomness with you! Have a great weekend :)
The pool! We live in a neighborhood that has single family homes, duplexes, and condos. We are all part of the association, but the involvement varies depending on what type of house you own. Since we live in a single family home, we are responsible for all maintenance. But we do still have to pay an association fee, which goes towards the neighborhood pool. The thing is, even if you don't use the pool, you still have to pay for it. The pool really is nice, but it's just a big pool and baby pool. On top of that, they are rather strict with their rules and very limiting when it comes to guests. We would have loved to bring my brother and his family to go swimming, but they wouldn't let us... which is especially frustrating when the pool is absolutely empty!
This summer, we've been very fortunate to be invited by our friends to the town pool on many occasions. Noah and I have gone a lot during the week and Chris has come with us twice on the weekends. These visits made us really want to join! In the big pool, they have a large 2 1/2 feet section that is perfect for Noah to play in. He is able to stand, walk around, and swim without us getting nervous of him going under. Then there's the huge kid section with slides, spray grounds, and a training pool. I'm also a huge fan of their snack shack where the food is remarkably good and affordable! But the best part is how many of Noah's friends belong to the pool. While we often go as guests with our friends, we always see some of Noah's other friends there as well.
We had planned to join next summer, but then we found out that they were offering an "August membership" and decided to do it now rather than wait for next year. I think we will be spending a lot of our August at the pool!
Underwater photos taken with my Nikon Coolpix AW130
A Daddy Noah date! On our bucket list, was for Chris and Noah to have a little Daddy Noah date. We decided last Saturday would be a good time for them to do it. The plan was for them to go out for pizza and ice cream and then go to the playground. But when the time came, Noah wanted to do the playground first and said he wanted to get the pizza to bring home and didn't want ice cream. I was shocked! When they were home within the hour, I was even more surprised at how short this daddy son date turned out... talk about disappointment. At least they hung out together on their iphone/ipad?
Noah got another Octonauts tee shirt! Noah loves to wear graphic tees of his current obsessions, and Octonauts is one of his favorite things at the moment! But it's really hard to find Octonauts shirts! So we asked our friend, Ken, to make Noah a second Octonauts shirt. He made Noah his first one back in May. This time we asked our friend to make one with all the Octonauts characters on it... and it turned out great! Noah was so excited and asked to wear it right away :)
Flow, otherwise known as my newest obsession! While Noah is really into Octonauts, I'm loving this new to me app/game. My mom and nephew introduced it to me and I was hooked right away! I'm a huge fan of puzzles and games that make you think. Noah likes doing the easy levels while I've moved onto the harder ones, and even got the paid version so I'd have even more puzzles!
Lowe's Build and Grow - The Avengers! This summer, Lowes is doing a superhero Avengers theme. So far we've done three of the projects this summer... Captain America, Iron Man, and Falcon. Noah is really into superheroes right now and I love watching him get excited to build the projects. Tomorrow we get to build Thor and then it's just Black Widow and Hulk before our superhero collection will be complete!