Saturday, August 15, 2015

Summer Must-Haves

We are in the dog days of summer here in Atlanta (hot and humid!!), but we've been enjoying it! I realized that we've been using some items frequently this year and so I wanted to share our summer must-haves.

1) Infuser Pitcher
I drink a ton of water during the day and always push it on the girls, and I bought an infuser pitcher on Amazon to make it easier and more appealing for everyone to stay hydrated. Our favorite "core" flavors are cucumber and mint (fresh out of the garden!) and lemon.

2) Silverware and Condiment Caddy
We have been spending a lot of time outdoors in our backyard, and the girls and I often have picnics out there, either in the grass or at the table. I almost always use my silverware caddy to easily carry down napkins, silverware, and ketchup/mustard/water bottles, so I don't have to make multiple trips up the stairs. It's very easy for Anna to carry too, so I can juggle the plates and food. I bought mine years ago from Target, but this one is pretty cool too:

 3) Good Sunscreen
I am extremely diligent about sunscreen, both for myself and the kids. Unfortunately, many sunscreens are full of harmful chemicals, including most of the ones on the grocery store shelf (you can check out the EWG 2015 Sunscreen Report to see the best and worst), so I always try to stay stocked with ones that I know are healthier to spread all over our skin. Our favorites are California Baby, Babyganics, and Jason Sun. It's always a balance, in my opinion, with the sunscreens. Read the ingredient info, compare it with EWG, and compare it with your budget to help you find the ones you like.

Maddie also has very fine hair and trying to put liquid sunscreen in there looks very greasy, so I use a mineral powder sunscreen that's applied through a brush on her scalp. This is also great for when the girls have their hair in pigtails or braids and I need to protect their scalp. This will not work in the water though, so I use it for school days, outside playtime, or errands. It's easy to keep in my purse, too, for touch-ups during a long outing.

4) Popsicles
We try to spend as much time outside as we can, usually in the morning to avoid the heat. Kids get hot and sweaty though, and it's always fun to be able to pull out some cold treats like popsicles. I always make sure to have some stocked for play dates!

Our favorite store-bought popsicles are these from Outshine. I do have to be careful though to avoid the ones that have Splenda in them - the sugar free ones are sweet enough, no need for artificial sweeteners!

We also invested in some silicone popsicle molds this year, which have been fun. I bought these from Amazon, mostly because they can lay flat in the freezer, and they have been fairly successful with the kiddos. Maddie has a bit of a hard time with coordinating the push-up component so hers usually gets stuck in a cup, but Anna has no trouble at all with them. We've had fun experimenting with flavors, and the current favorite is raspberry lemonade!

5) Good Play Shoes
Summer fun always involves being either outside or in the water...or in the mud, if your kids are anything like mine! My friend Susan recommended a brand of shoes called Natives, which are similar to Crocs but in a slip-on style. I love that they are easy to put on, and easy to wash off, and comfortable enough to run and play at the park. Big high five to the fact that they can be worn at a splash park, since the ground around the water can be so incredibly hot. If you order them online like I did, I suggest buying two sizes and seeing which ones fit the best - I ended up sizing down with both girls.

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Couple of Beach Bums

SuSu very generously offered to come watch the girls so Steve and I could take a little trip together. I suggested we go down and visit the Seaside/30A area. I love those beaches so much and was excited to get to show Steve around!

SuSu showed up with "Camp SuSu" shirts for the girls

Top down, beach bound!


We got to Seaside right around noon, and since it was still packed with the lunch crowd, we sauntered into the Shrimp Shack for some drinks. The Shrimp Shack has a great pavilion that looks out onto the water, and we managed to snag the perfect table.


We weren't overly hungry so we decided to skip the restaurants and opted for grilled cheese sandwiches instead. 


The outdoor market at Seaside - Steve managed to find some barnacle shells for his fish tank! Now we're on the wait list for a barnacle blenny or two, at our local fish store

I don't even care that there are about 500 of these pictures on the blog, haha. A strawberry margarita on the beach is pretty close to perfection.

We actually rented a condo just down the road in Rosemary Beach (which you probably remember from my girls' trip there in May), but we spent most of the weekend in Seaside as that ended up being our clear favorite. We did try out some of the restaurants in Rosemary Beach and all of our beach pictures are there too. For reference, our favorite restaurant in Rosemary Beach, hands-down, was a little place called Wild Olives

We enjoyed mimosas on the beach one morning - one of Steve's excellent ideas

Steve realized he didn't have anything to do during beach time so I let him use my new Kindle and I found myself some reading material at the local bookstore.


The kids next to us built this sandcastle and we were impressed!

Lunch at the Great Southern Café

We had breakfast and lunch at a restaurant called Bud and Alley's - by far my favorite restaurant in Seaside. It's right on the beach and has awesome patios with perfect views of the Gulf. We got there so early on the day that we had breakfast, there was nobody on the beach and it was so serene feeling like we had the whole beach to ourselves.

The view from our lunch spot at Bud and Alley's

The girls were having fun with SuSu too - they discovered iMovie and sent us this funny film

We had such a good time - thank you SuSu! We came back rested and refreshed and are already plotting out the next beach adventure, but this time with the kiddos!

Picture Post!

Brushing doggie teeth at the dentist

Pretending to be the doggie at the dentist

First day of their preschool summer camp

The summer camp was a science theme, so every day the girls raced home excited to show us a new experiment. This picture is from the "what kinds of things float?" day, with their little boat craft.


I made a big batch of play-dough a couple of weeks ago and the girls have spent a LOT of time making birthday cakes.

One day we had an impromptu tea party!


We also baked cakes in the Easy Bake Oven.


My friend Emilie came back to visit from Berlin and I loved getting the chance to see her again!



We brought several shovels to the park but Maddie preferred using her shoe.

I was SO proud of Anna - when we were ready to pack up our sand toys, Anna very nicely asked the other children if she could have her toys back because we were ready to go. I love it when she uses good manners!



Anna is in some kind of picture-mode where if I tell her to smile, she sticks whatever she's holding in her eye. This day it was goldfish.

Brownie batter!

I bought a butterfly hatching kit from Amazon and we invited the girls from next door over to help release them. The butterfly kit was so much fun and the girls were so excited to check on them every day.

We hit the mark with our flower box this year - it has been filled with butterflies and hummingbirds and we love spotting them all from the kitchen windows. It was also the perfect place to let all of our butterflies go!



Anna likes to "do her makeup". Courtesy of Crayola.

Anna giving her friend Henry a hug. Also you can see the calendar I made for the girls - Anna has been obsessed with asking "how many days??" for any event in our near future, so I made a calendar that she can cross off days and count to the new events by herself.



Pizza night!