Friday, June 28, 2019

8 Wisconsin Favorites

We tagged along on a work trip for Kevin and headed north to Wisconsin earlier this week.  It was about a 5.5 hour drive for us.  We stayed right outside of Madison in Middleton.  It was the most darling little suburb.  We found tons to do and wished we could have stayed longer!!

We all enjoyed the drive and the scenery.  None of us had ever been to Wisconsin before.

// 1 // Hilton Garden Inn
We checked into the hotel around 8:30, had a snack and headed down to the pool.  They had a small indoor water park.  The kids thought they were in heaven!  It was really fun.  It was also really empty since we went during the week.  The Hilton was also surrounded by a really fun outdoor mall.  They had tons of restaurants and shopping options within walking distance - Noodles & Co, Five Guys, Coldstone, Dickies BBQ and Starbucks.  Along with shopping at Homegoods, Marshalls, DSW, World Market, Loft and Tuesday Morning.  There was something for everyone!

They also asked to head right back down to the pool when they woke up in the morning.

// 2 // Middleton Firefighters Memorial Park
We headed to the park to play.  Bonus: It's right next to a small airport!  We got to watch lots of little planes come and go while we played.  The kids loved the fire fighter themed park on this gorgeous day.  There were fun things for big and little kids to do.

// 3 // College Town
There's something fun about being in a college town!  We loved all the University of Wisconsin Badger themed attractions.

// 4 // The National Mustard Museum
We went to museum for a quick visit.  It was quirky and fun!  There were so many mustards to sample, fun mustard facts and was as great stop for anyone who loves mustard.  The museum and taste testing is free!  Street parking is free so we parked here and strolled around downtown Middleton.

 // 5 // Downtown Middleton
This is such a fun place to walk around.  The flowers were gorgeous!!  There are tons of restaurants, boutiques, coffee shops and beautiful historic homes.

// 6 // Capital Brewery
We stumbled upon Capital Brewery and Kevin was thrilled.  They don't serve food, but are family friendly.  We all got drinks and enjoyed hanging out.  Kevin said their craft beer was really good.  Next time we'd pack a picnic dinner.  They had live music and tons of picnic tables.

// 7 // The Free House
We grabbed dinner at The Free House and it was amazing!!  We got to chatting with some people at Capital Brewery who gave us plenty of local dinner options.  Kevin and I loved the cheese curds - he actually said that he wished we'd each gotten an order of our own.  Coming from somone who doesn't love cheese - that's a big compliment!  Our dinners were yummy (burgers and sandwiches) and Kevin says the drinks were just average.  We really enjoyed our dinner on the patio watching the city go by.  

I'm still dreaming of this ABLT (BLT + avocado :)  It came on homemade sour dough and I'm dying to replicate it ASAP.

We really loved this water park!  We swam 3 different times at the hotel.

// 8 // Henry Vila Zoo
Lots of people recommended going to the Henry Vila Zoo in Madison.  It was only 20 minutes from our hotel in Middleton and the zoo is FREE.  That was an awesome perk!  The kids and I went while Kevin was at his conference.  I was proud of myself for navigating a new city with ease and only one wrong turn :)  Parking is free, donations are accepted, the zoo is no frills (no maps or fancy shows while we were there), bring cash for extras (carousel, train ride, food, rock mining, etc) and it's a fairly small zoo that you could easily make it through in 2 hours.  We'd recommend it!  There were lots of summer camps and people, but it didn't feel overly crowded for a week day.

I got to practice being the FUN mom - saying yes to the carousel!

The playground was fun!  Plenty of things for both kids to do and it was all fenced in.  No way anyone could get lost :)

Turtle Olive.

The goat feeding was hilarious and free!!  Those goats were head butting and fighting over the food.  We were all laughing at their antics.

 Lots of fun animals to see and pose with around the zoo.

We were shocked to see that they had a pair of polar bears!!  They are my favorite!!  They have a cafe where you can go inside and watch them as well as swimming tanks you can watch.

We'd definitely recommend this zoo!  It's right on the lake so you could plan to swim afterwards if that's your thing.  We were in a hurry so we just did the zoo.  There's also a fun playground nearby if you've got time to play after the zoo.

We loved Wisconsin and would definitely plan another trip back!!  We had hoped to check out Hurts Donut Company, some of the fun lakes, Lake Michigan and more of Madison, but we ran out of time.  We've also heard The Dells are wonderful.  Next time!

It's time to link up with my favorite blogging buddies for High Five for Friday.  Join us with a few different blog posts and be sure to look around to find some new blog friends

Becky @  By BMG Blog
Della @ Della Devoted
Tif @ Bright on a Budget
Whitney P @ Come Home for Comfort

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Really Affordable Summer Outfit Ideas

I'm excited to share some really affordable summer outfit inspiration with you today.

I love putting together cute, budget friendly outfits.

Sometimes it feels like there's a lot of social media/online pressure to buy tons of new stuff every season.  That's just not maintainable or something I'm interested in doing every season.  I am interested in buying a few new pieces I love every season to create a closet filled with my favorite clothes.

Come see my favorite outfits that include fun earrings, staple denim and pretty prints.

Outfit #1
I LOVE this new top!  I rarely wear orange so this was a fun surprise in the dressing room.  I'd encourage you to grab things that catch your eye in stores and try them on.  You might be surprised by how much you love something you normally wouldn't wear.

top - TJ Maxx (NEW $12.99)
skinnies - Old Navy Rockstar skinnies wear year round
flats - Meijer (NEW $12.50)
earrings - Walmart ($1.97)

Outfit #2
A handkerchief scarf is fun accessory on a cool, cloudy day.  I wore this to chase my kids around the playground and play with friends.  I had to play with the knot a little bit to get it just right, but I loved the fun pop of color.  Walmart sells this scarves for $1.

Outfit #3
I wore this to church one day this month.

Top - Old Navy (NEW)
skinnies - Rockstar skinnies Old Navy
bag - Kate Spade
shoes - Born
earrings - ADV Designs

Outfit #4
We wore this to a fun golf event and I got so many compliments on it.  I just loved the fit and the pattern.
dress - TJ Maxx (NEW - Lucky Brand marked down to $32)
straw bag - TJ Maxx (NEW $24.99)
flats - Meijer
earrings - ADV Designs

Outfit #5
I wasn't sure about this lace top on the rack so I'm really glad I went ahead and tried it on.  You just can't go wrong with black and white.
Top - TJ Maxx (NEW for around $15)
skinnies - Old Navy Rockstar Skinnies
flats - TJ Maxx (NEW)

The flutter sleeves were so pretty.

Outfit #6
A tried and true outfit combo = black top, jeans and a pair of fun earrings.
black top & jeans - Old Navy
earrings - ADV Designs

Which outfit is your favorite??

Monday, June 24, 2019

10 Water Must Haves for Summer

We have spent a good amount of time at the pool and the ocean so far this Summer.  And I'm really excited because I have a list of FAVORITES to share with you today.  All of these products made our lives easier, more fun and were a great deal.  Many of them are from Amazon so they could arrive at your house in no time.

I'll give you a little sneak peek into what I'm sharing today:
Puddle Jumpers, Shell bags, Beach tent, googles, Kid backpacks, Rings, sunscreen and Play-Doh Plus!!

Let's get started:

These have been complete lifesavers for my water loving kids.  They have allowed the kids to have some freedom in the water before they could swim.  They are safe, secure and many of them come with a label that says they are cost guard approved.  Olive is starting to use her less and less, but hers is at least 3 years old and looks brand new.  We have been really happy with the Body Glove brand.  Be sure to get the ones that have the tank top portion on top.  That really helps keep the puddle jumper in place and secure on your child.

Both kids get their own backpack when we fly.  I pack them with snacks and special surprises.  Fletcher loves his hero backpack and Olive used her unicorn backpack from school this year.

I ordered this dress for Olive for our flights and it was so cute.  It felt very Boden-y for just $13.99.  She loved the rainbows and the pockets.  We'd highly recommend it.  I was also tempted to get the striped version :)

I picked these up on a whim and they were a big hit with the kids.  They could wear them cross body with the adjustable strap and had so much fun collecting their shells hands free.  The bags were comfy, easy for the kids to use and really kept their shells close by while washing all the sand away.  They come in a four pack and are sized for kids.  They would not work cross body for adults.

We also used and loved this sunscreen on both kids.  We used the stick on their faces and the spray on the rest of their bodies.  

// 5 // BEACH TENT
I picked this up on a lightning deal the week before our trip.  I figured the kids would love having their own tent at the ocean to get a break from the sun.  It folds up pretty easily (but works best with two people folding it) and it stores in a completely flat zipper pouch.  It comes with four stakes to keep in secure in the sand as well as bags to fill with sand to help hold the tent in place if it's really windy.  We just had to use the four stakes.  I set the tent up all by myself and I'm not particularly handy at stuff like that.

The kids played it in, ate lunch in it and they have had the best time playing camp out since we brought it home.  It's fun to use indoors and outdoors!  It looks brand new after using it for a week at the ocean.  Everything just washes right off of it and I think it'll hold up well for many summers to come.  This was great!  And it comes in a variety of sizes.  We have the smaller version.

// 6 // GOGGLES
This is the first year that my kids have enjoyed wearing goggles.  We have several pairs of Speedo googles and both kids love them.  They were great in the ocean and great in the pool.

Both kids spent HOURS playing with these diving rings.  They made up games, dove for them and had the best time tossing them

We had the best time playing with Play-Doh Plus at our condo.  It's softer than regular Play-Doh and kind of fluffy.  We all loved it.  There were tons of games we made up to play with it - construction site, spelling words with Play-Doh, sea creature challenge, stacked the Play-Doh cups and more.

This one is a total splurge, but would be an awesome thing to keep in mind for your kiddos.  Olive got a Kindle Fire 10 for her birthday.  We have all enjoyed the games, books, learning apps and camera that comes with it.  She loves taking pictures, videos and then going back to look through them.  I love reading books with her on it.  We didn't have to pack any kid books for our trip because they were all on her kindle.  Both kids (age 6 and 3) love it.  We used it in the car while we were traveling, on the airplane and while we were hanging out in the condo.

// 10 // MAPS
 My last recommendation is fun and FREE!!  The kids had the best time collecting maps wherever we went.  We got them in the airports, the zoo, the arboretum and the grocery store.  They had the best time looking over them, planning out adventures and pretending they were looking for buried treasure.  They were so creative with markers making trails and played so nicely together.  So never underestimate a child's imagination while you're on vacation!  Give them lots of opportunities to play and enjoy being little.

What are your favorite water must haves for your family??

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