Pool essentials

The past two years the boys have done swim team, but with our schedule this summer we decided to pass on that and instead we got a pool membership and I signed the boys up for two weeks of refresher swim lessons at my work. Between our pool and my sister’s we’ve spent quite a few days at the pool:

Snacking…Floating…

Catching rings…

And taking a break from the big pool for the baby pool…

All of this pool time means I have a bag permanently packed for summer with essentials. Here are my favorites:

My s’well bottle is my favorite. It keeps water super cold and I typically bring it so the boys can drink out of it too.

Bumble and Bumble hairdresser’s oil for J’s blonde hair and my color treated hair. It seals in the cuticle so your hair doesn’t get brittle from the sun (or green in J’s case).

Coppertone Sport 70. This is not my everyday favorite (the boys either, they say it smells), but it’s thick and stays on, so it’s necessary for the pool.

Sugar lip balm. It has SPF, it now comes in all sorts of colors, and I wear it everyday in the summer when I don’t have to put on lipstick for work.

Supergoop setting powder with SPF. This is genius to use if I have put on make-up to touch up my SPF, especially on my nose which typically gets burnt if I don’t keep spf touched up.

Book to read while I watch the kids play.

Snacks. My kids require snacks.

Hat. I used to never wear hats, but I had several times where I burned my part, despite putting sunblock on, so I now almost always wear a hat.

Pool toys. But not an enormous raft. Those were banned after our pool after someone apparently brought one strapped to the top of their SUV. And it was bigger than the SUV. Ha!

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Revisiting a classic

When B and I were first married this used to be one of our go to dinners. I don’t know why we haven’t made it in so long! I found a terrific selection of sandwich meats at Costco to put this together, Ciabatta bread from Target bakery, and fresh mozzarella helps make this simple dish sing. The boys deconstructed it quite a bit, but they ate it! Stromboli, open face calzones, and dipping sauce on under thirty minutes for the win!

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Friday Favorites

Party of five.

The Woman in White is a vintage classic that I’ve added to my reading list.

A panzenella summer salad of grilled peppers and torn mozzarella.

A book of summer memories. I’m getting started on this!

Put a label on it.

A mud cloth American flag, such a lovely idea for The Fourth of July.

Stylish pieces to move you through all of summer.

The home edit is the Instagram I can’t stop scrolling through.

Chocolate chip rosemary scones to make with our new fresh herbs!

Croissants taste better in France. Science says so!

A little s’mores popcorn for all of our summer binge watching. Currently the boys are catching up on Star Wars Rebels and B and I are watching House of Cards & The Chef’s Table on Netflix.

And finally, a dramatic sleeve once, twice. I feel a fall trend emerging!

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Current favorite views

The shine of new herbs, ready to plant:

A jar of drying paintbrushes ready for their next artistic adventure:

The view from our front porch right after it rains:

A circle of friends (who have know each other since they were babies) playing Uno:

J’s hair, unbrushed:

My favorite summer meal, simple and delicious:

A’s freckles, each one absolute perfection:

And a surprise treat from B:

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Garden refresh

After our initial Spring gardening, we re-started the whole thing because most of the plants had either died or gone to seed. We did a simplified set-up for mid-June with basil, parsley, rosemary, cilantro, and mint.

J and I also added in arugula, chives, and lettuce seeds just to see how they would grow this time of the year. I also have plans to add in some flowers to provide some natural pest deterrents for the herbs. J also wants flowers to bring in some butterflies like this one we found at the pool:

J has a love/fear of butterflies. He is intensely fascinated by all animals, but he doesn’t like them flying at him. However, this was an incredibly patient butterfly, who sat steadily as J creeped in and peered at its wings. It even waited until he turned around and jumped back into the pool before it flew away. Definitely one we would like to visit our garden!

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Currently wearing

On our June trips the boys learned the art of “running to the mall to complete your outfit when you forget a purse and cardigan”. It’s a complicated art, ha! So along with that, I picked up a few more items on our trips and thought I would share!

First up, JCrew, where I got a cardigan, evening clutch, a new super soft tee (I live in these during the summer), and a beach cover-up:

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Second, we ran into Madewell. I have never really found anything at Madewell, but this trip I was hooked. They had great tops and I could have bought three more pairs of the shorts I picked up.

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Once we got to the beach, we went to the outlets there and I picked up more than a few things for both work and play at JCrew Factory:

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And I have a few items on my list for Madewell for next time:

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And I loved shopping with my boys! To have a group of three that always tells you you look pretty, and my boys say “buy these earrings, Mommy, they will look lovely on you”, it’s pretty much the best thing ever. I just have to shop really fast before J decides he’s done and needs a cookie, ha!

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Friday Favorites

Waiting in the shade.

My inspiration for re-finishing our dining table and chairs. This year I may just make it happen!

The topknot scarf is my current summer solution for not doing my hair. Ha!

On the heels of my post yesterday, how to actually unplug during a vacation.

Love this all about Dad printable for Father’s Day.

Tapping into creativity through speeches.

A five minute exercise for strengthening your core.

It may seem silly to have an office kit on hand for college kids, but I’ve had meetings where I’ve passed out crayons for two year olds while I talk to their Mom, grabbed snacks for students who didn’t have breakfast, should have, and need to give a speech, and the list goes on and on.

The comfort clothing movement.

A modern superhero party that J would love.

I love planes, and I love the way the boys stop and turn to watch a plane as it soars overhead.

And finally, the Italian pressed sandwiches on my list for dinner next week.

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Why we “vacation”

When you have kids you always use the term “vacation” in quotations because it means something very different than the typical image of someone lying on the beach, relaxing endlessly with their toes in the sand. However, as we have learned over the past eight years, “vacations” are necessary. They cost too much, the travel is too long, somebody is going to get sick, and you may have to bribe a kid with endless cookies, so they don’t melt down and get you kicked off an airplane…or out of a Barnes and Noble. But we do it anyway. Because vacation time for us means a chance to disconnect from endless emails, work requests, and the full time nature of our jobs. Instead you have ice cream a lot, try out the Mario Maker levels your eight year old has been working on, and “bear-row” your five year old in the sand over and over at his request. And when your kids declare it the best week ever and ask when we are going on vacation again, you know that despite the fact you may return home just as tired as when you left it’s a different tired. A good tired. And you sigh, turn your computer back on, and start back to the everyday. And you start planning the next “vacation”.

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Wedding festivities

Besides the terrific zoo and museum, the major reason we made the drive to Ohio was for B’s sister’s wedding.

The boys danced the night away:

And I got a few pictures with this guy:

And this guy:

And this kid wanted to eat all the cupcakes:

And we got a family picture too:

And then we were off to our next summer adventure!

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Cincinnati Children’s Museum

With a sweeping view of the Cincinnati landscape, the Duke Energy Children’s Museum is a menagerie of learning spots, activity hubs, and interactive experiences.

We started out by piecing together some puzzles:

And taking a few measurements:

Then we experimented with energy:

Then we climbed through tunnels:

And a human size ant farm:

We also tested the waters:

Before it was time to check out:

And we were off to the next adventure:

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