Sunday, July 19, 2015

14 AWESOME THINGS ABOUT SUMMER


I mean, really.

How can I narrow this list down to just 14 items when there are, like, 89?

Because I know you've got sh!t to do, and you don't have time to read a list that long.

So, in the name of brevity, I give you these...


1. BUBBLE MACHINES
How genius is this thing?!? (We have the Gazillion Bubble Ultimate Bubble Typhoon, but the one pictured here is the Gazillion Bubble Machine.) I like them both, but I give our Bubble Typhoon the edge because I think it holds a tad more bubble solution and comes with a tray to trap and hold the excess solution that spills over. But, honestly, I'm all for any contraption that spares me the effort of having to dip a wand into a tiny bottle 97 times...all for my children's amusement.


2. CHERRIES
I can't help myself with these. But, hey, it's better than inhaling a bag of artificial candy -- and cherries are arguably just as sweet. And they are chock-full of antioxidants, so you can't even feel guilty -- I know I didn't when I polished off that bowl on the right as a late-night snack. (The pic on the left is of a cherry tree around the corner from our home.)


3. BIKE RIDES
There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- like the feeling of wind in your face as you cruise your neighborhood (or local bike trail) on the seat of a bicycle. Talk about feeling like a kid again. This year, The Hubs and I bought new bikes and a wagon to hitch to his so that he can pull Thing One and Thing Two. I would ride all evening if I could.


4. FRISBEES
I had actually forgotten how fun this round chunk of plastic could be. The Hubs, the kids, and I form a circle in our yard and simply throw it back and forth to each other -- and it's really, really fun!


5. ICE CREAM
I'm really an ice cream purist: Just give me vanilla soft serve, with cookie dough or Reese's Peanut Buttercup mixed in, and topped with rainbow sprinkles and whipped cream. You can't tell by the pic above, but that's what I'm devouring at a place called Jersey Freeze in The Hub's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey.


6. POPSICLES
Few words are as synonymous with summer as Popsicle. (Especially as far as kids are concerned.)


7. PLAYGROUNDS
We are very fortunate to live in an area where playgrounds are aplenty, but we actually only frequent the same three. And it never ceases to amaze me how S and K squeal like little piggies each and every time we pull into the parking lot. They think they are getting the treat...but actually it's me because no feeling compares to seeing my children genuinely happy, particularly over something so simple and innocent.


8. YOGA OUTDOORS
Few things compare to using the earth as your yoga mat. And when your kids want to practice with you, all the better! Here we are in Crab Pose. (And notice that K is keeping the Frisbee nearby.)

9. FARMERS MARKETS
We go to our town's Farmers Market every week -- and it's held at one of the parks we frequent, so that's a bonus. As cliche as it sounds, there's just something about conversing with the farmer who grew the foods that will serve as the staples of our meals for the next seven days.


10. VOLUNTEERING
I think the summertime inherently presents even more opportunities to get out and give of yourself. Maybe it's the warmer weather; maybe it's the fact that a feeling of "holiday" resides in the air; and because of the two aforementioned items, everyone, for the most part seems to be in a better mood than usual. Regardless, all of the above makes volunteering even easier. Every summer The Hubs supports Meet Up and Eat Up, a collaborative movement led by the United Way which ensures that every child has access to nutritious meals 365 days a year, three times a day (top pic). And, of late, the kids and I teach "Mommy and Me" yoga at a nearby learning center (bottom pic.) And we are ALL having a blast!


11. FAIRS
Anytime I can find elephant ears, jerky mechanical rides, and striped tents in one place, I tend to have a lot of fun. And if I Dora the Explorer is there, then you know it's going to be off the hook.


12. WALKS
We walk our neighborhood all year 'round, come sun or snow. And, living in Michigan, we certainly appreciate all four seasons. But summertime walks before K's nap time and again before both kids go to bed for the night are the best.


13. THE FOURTH OF JULY
No matter what religion you adhere to; no matter what ethnicity you are; no matter your political beliefs...if you reside in the United States of America, then you have a reason to celebrate -- and appreciate -- the freedoms found here. Period. Few things present the opportunity to unite us as a nation like the Fourth of July. And I'm not talking about fireworks or barbecue, which, don't get me wrong, are awesome. I am, however, talking about taking a moment to reflect on the sacrifices the men and women (past and present) have made to make this country what it is today. Here's Old Glory hanging from our front porch...


14. THE BEACH
The smell of salt water...the feeling of sand between your toes...the soothing sound of water washing ashore. What's not to like about being at the beach? Okay, sharks. But other than that, I got nothin'.



BONUS: SUNGLASSES
Alright, so I very well couldn't end this list with 14, and how could sunglasses -- the staple of summer wardrobes everywhere -- not be mentioned? I know people wear them all year because, to be fair, the sun shines all year. But I get the most mileage out of my collection of shades during the warmer months. My (three pair of) Ray Bans are my faves...



We hope you're enjoying summer. We certainly are! In fact, we're about to take off...yes, again. (I know: we just returned from the Jersey Shore.) But, hey, summer here in Michigan goes by in a flash, so we've gotta grab this baby by the horns. So I'm taking another tiny hiatus and will return with a brand spanking new blog post on Monday, August 3. And you won't want to miss this one! It's something everyone can benefit from.
In the meantime, check us out on Instagram and Facebook...where the party never stops! 
Thank you for reading. <3

Sunday, July 12, 2015

ICKY, YUCKY, MOLDY RUBBER DUCKIES

I thought I was seeing things.

Something was definitely wrong with the rubber duckie that was -- gasp! -- cruising around my precious offspring as they splashed about in the warm, bubble-filled bath that I had just drawn for them.

I plucked it out of the tub so as to take a closer look.

Was that...

Could it be?

Yes.

The inside of the rubber duckie was literally COVERED in mold.

I swear, just typing this makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

And the problem was rather complex: This wasn't just any rubber duckie. This particular rubber duckie wore a helmet and sports jersey and had a football nestled under his right wing. 

In other words, it was the best rubber duckie in the batch; the favorite. 

So I couldn't just throw him away. (Spoiler alert: I did.)

But, initially, I didn't know how I could save him, so I Googled moldy rubber duckies. (File that under "Things you never thought you'd search back when you were young, single, and childless.")

What came up were all the precautionary steps one should take so that rubber duckies don't become moldy in the first place, such as clean bath toys weekly in one part hot water, one part distilled vinegar and a few drops of dish soap. (Apparently, vinegar dissolves soap scum and dish soap removes dirt.) Soak the toys for 10 minutes, and then rinse them in warm water and let dry completely.

Yeah, like I'd remember to do that every seven days.

Plus, now that it's summer, and my kids spend the time that they aren't bathing inside a kiddie pool, well, let's just say our collection of rubber duckies has grown into a full-blown army.

No, I'm not even going to lie and say that I'm going to take the time to soak and clean those rubber suckers every week.

The next "solution" I discovered involved squeezing the already-moldy rubber duckie to suck up distilled vinegar and leave the vinegar inside over night, and then repeat.  

Well, obviously, the person who wrote that hadn't seen our rubber duckies, which carried more mold than a bag of month-old bread.

And then I found the best remedy of all: Take a glue gun to the hole of your brand-new rubber duckie and plug that thing right up so that water never enters in the first place.

Crisis averted.

Now, of course, all I have to do is troll Amazon.com for another football-themed rubber duckie...

Monday, July 6, 2015

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY...TO US!

Eight years ago this week I married my best friend.

And while it wasn't that long ago, I can still remember -- and with laser-precision accuracy, I might add -- the feeling of butterflies in my stomach as I unsuccessfully tried to go to sleep the night before our wedding.

A million and one things were going through my mind at that time, and, among them, was the awareness that I had never been so sure of something in all of my life.

At the risk of sounding totally and completely cliche-ish and cheesey, our wedding day remains the greatest I have ever experienced, aside from the birth of our two children. (Sidebar for those of you who are new to this blog, please click here if you'd like to read more details about our Big Day.)

Thank you for being my partner, my consummate supporter, the yin to my yang, and the one who laughs at (nearly) all of my jokes. (The latter remains extremely important!)

I love you.

Happy Anniversary to us!