Friday, July 3, 2020

6 Amazon Summer Favorites

Happy Friday!   Hope you've had a great week and have some fun 4th of July plans for the weekend.  Our plans look a little different than in years past, but I'm determined to make sure we still have a fabulous weekend.

I'm excited to share my Amazon Summer Favorites with you today.  I purchased many of them before we went on vacation and I have lots of good things to show you.

They are all things that I'd repurchase and would HIGHLY recommend.

1. American Trends Lattice Back Swim Suit
Many stores in our area are still not allowing customers to try on merchandise.  That makes swim suit shopping very difficult.  Thankfully Amazon came to the rescue for me.  I ordered this suit in several different sizes L, XL and 2X.  Swimsuits tend to run small so I had no idea if my regular XL size would work.  I wanted to have try on options and then returned the ones that did not fit.

I would SIZE DOWN in this suit.  I ended up keeping the Large because it fit the best.  The price is incredible at just $28.99, the quality is great and I get lots of compliments every time I wear this suit.  I kept the black and the leopard since they were so affordable.  The suit comes in many different colors and patterns - something for everyone!  It offers great coverage for moms or for any woman who likes a modest suit with a pretty back.




2. Tassel Sarong Cover Up 2 Pack
My cover ups needed an overhaul this season and Amazon came through for me.  I purchased this two pack - one black and one white.  They are so versatile, good quality and worked great for a wrap, skirt, nursing cover, towel and more.  I love this!  Both the black and white have tassels and are perfect for cover ups.


3. Portable Rechargeable Fan
This was a last minute $20 splurge for the baby.  I was worried about him getting hot and this kept a nice breeze on him.  It holds a charge for 6 1/2 hours of use, is easy to recharge if you have an available USB port and it provides a great breeze.  It clipped perfectly onto the car seat, beach chairs and lounger by the pool.  We'll continue to use this all summer long.




4. Vomit Bags
I know this sounds gross, but these were a life saver on our road trip.  Both of my older kids have struggled with car sickness.  Once we decided we were driving to Florida, I knew I needed a better option for throwing up than a bucket.  That is so messy and requires a stop.  These vomit bags worked so well and you can get a 24pk for just $8.  They're easy for kids to use.  They tie up nicely and we did not have any messes in the car.  I've already purchased more of these.


5. Reacher Grabber Tool
I wanted to be able to easily pass things back to the third row in the van as we drove.  It's difficult to reach back to the third row without tossing items or really straining.  This grabber was easy to use, under $10 and had a great grip.  We used it all the time and decided to leave it in the van for every day use.  The kids also thought it was fun to play with on the drive.

6. Baby Pool Ring Sling
I wanted a hands free option to hold the baby in the pool.  This sling dries really quickly after getting wet, the material is soft and it works very similar to regular ring slings.  I'm looking forward to using this at the pool all summer.  It seems like it would also be a cooler option for baby wearing during the hot months.


All of these links are affiliate links.  This means I make a tiny commission on the sales if you purchase from the links below.  Thank you for supporting Polka-Dotty Place!



Linking up with Momfessionals.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Summer Charcuterie

Hey, Friends!  Happy July!  I'm back and I have missed you!  We had a wonderful vacation and now we're back to Summer reality at home.  I have some fun things planned for July!  Stay tuned :)

We have been enjoying charcuterie boards this Summer.  I haven't done a Charcuterie board post since April because we haven't really had them on the menu.  Blame it on COVID, me not going to Aldi as much or Kevin doing lots of the grocery shopping when we had a new baby.  Whatever the reason, I'm back to putting together yummy boards!  I have some simple ideas for Summer boards to share with you today.  We discovered that they're even fun to have in the car or on vacation!

2 x 2 boards //
I added some new things - Brazi Bites from Sams (a really yummy cheese bread you bake for 20 minute and add to the board), dill pickles and Dot's pretzels.  I kept it really simple with two meats and two cheeses.  We were low on fruits and veggies so just two of those plus all the pickles and olives.


Cookie Sheet Boards //
On our first night of vacation we ate this Charcuterie board.  It was a good reminder that eating IN can still be fun, Oreos are always a good addition to the board and you do not have to have a fancy board to make these meals.  A cookie sheet will work just fine.

Charcuterie on the go //
We really limited the amount of times we ate out on vacation.  We went out to one lunch and one dinner.  Everything else was take out.  I packed charcuterie board lunches for the car for our drive down to Florida.  Everyone loved these snack plates.  It turned out to be a really easy lunch on the go.  Sometimes we'd park and eat and other times we'd eat on the go.


I challenge you to make a Summer board for your family for an easy meal this month!!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Happy Father's Day!

I hope you had a Happy Father's Day weekend with your family!

We celebrated a little early and Kevin loved it! 

We surprised Kevin with a new tool box, his favorite treats, lots of handmade cards and books from the kids and a new remote control race car.  He loved it!  It's hard to surprise him with gifts he loves, but I did it this time!  He had so much fun driving it with the kids.




Kevin's the best.

He's fun, silly, adventurous, sporty and the kids love hanging out with him. 

He works really hard to take care of all of us.  He plans all of our trips, is always our driver and is rarely in a hurry.  He loves a good deal and finding creative ways to save money.  It's been fun to have him around so much since March.  He's working from home, but he makes sure to take breaks and play. 

He is sentimental about how quickly the kids are growing up and would do anything to make them smile and laugh.  Their joy is his joy.

Happy Father's Day, Kev!

"I love when you swing me!" Fletcher

"I love all the things you grill for us and shooting hoops with you!" Olive

"I love smiling at your funny faces!" Leo

We love you!!

PS I'm taking the next week or so off from blogging.  We are going to be having some family fun!!

Friday, June 19, 2020

Friday Favorites

Life feels a bit complicated and weird (I got reprimanded for buying 3 hand sanitizers instead of the allowed 2 while grocery shopping in a mask this week).  Errands, shopping and being out in public still feel so strange.  I'm eager for more normalcy to our routines.  Things in Indiana are cautiously opening back up and every week we are getting some familiar things back into our rotation.

We've been having a really good time together and I've got lots of favorites to share with you.

My parents came in town for a quick visit!
Everyone loved seeing them and the weather was gorgeous.  This is my new favorite picture of my parents and the kids.

Mention a leak in the roof and the next thing you know my dad is on the roof to fix it.

Leo was chatting with Mimi.  He has lots to say these days.

 Leo slept through the night!  Hooray to all of us!  Sleep is our favorite.

Handsome Fletcher and his poor arm.  I'm glad it's healing, but I feel so sad every time I see all of his puncture wounds, bruises and scars.  He's a tough guy.

Mini Drums.  Our new favorite treat.  They're tiny Drumsticks.  They are a Summer staple here.

I planted this lavender last year and it didn't do much.  Then this year it EXPLODED.  I smile every time I walk past it.  This is Olive's favorite scent so I often find her taking a big whiff of it.

Lots of slow mornings in our pjs has been a favorite this month.

Leo had his 2 month check up.  He's a hefty 13.2lbs and doing great!  He's such a sweet baby.

We've been calling him Squishy because he's so squishable.

We got to head back to our favorite spot in town - the patio at the country club.  We made reservations, ate out on the patio and had a wonderful night out.  We haven't eaten at at restaurant since early March (like many of you) so this felt so good.  Olive kept saying she loved the view - ha!  It was a beautiful night and it felt so good!  Fletch isn't cleared for swimming just yet.  Hopefully he'll be ready soon.

We walked some of the course.  It was so fun to hear the kids talk about golf and be eager to learn.  Kevin would love that since it's his favorite sport.  I'd love to cheer them on!

Summer sunshine!!


Remember earlier this week when I talked about our positive pom pom jars??  Both kids filled up their jars this week and got to pick something special to do.  They couldn't wait to dump their jar and start filling it again.  Fletcher has been asking to dress himself lately.  It's his favorite!


We're ending the week with loads of smiles and happy memories!  Thankful for this crew.  Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Linking up with Momfessionals today.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

5 Simple Dinners

I have some yummy dinner ideas to share with you today!  I haven't done a dinner post since March.  Mostly because we've been having a lot of repeat meals.  We're finally getting back into a good routine of prepping dinner with a newborn.

These meals are all easy and family favorites.  They're also home cooked meals with plenty of shortcuts to make the dinner prep process fairly quick.  I don't know about you, but I don't want to spend hours in the kitchen prepping and cleaning up every night.

1. Breakfast for dinner
It's always a hit.  No matter the combo, the whole crew loves it.  That's a mom win for sure!

French Toast Sticks from Sams, scrambled eggs with ham and cheese & fruit.


Berry waffles, bacon, eggs & fruit.  I make plain, chocolate chip and berry waffles.  I take everyone's order for waffles and they think it's so much fun to place their dinner order.

 Scrambled eggs & cheese, bacon, tater tots, berries, yogurt and granola.

 2. Grilled Chicken Stir Fry

I liked to buy the bag of frozen stir fry veggies and then add in more of our favorites - onions, sweet peppers, etc.

We all built our own plates and I tried something new - Cauliflower Rice.  The grown ups liked it and the kids wanted to know what this imposter food was on their plate.  They did not like it.

3. Bacon Burgers
Kevin loves to grill.  I prep all the toppings and sides and he does the meat.  We added sauteed onions and bacon to our burgers and they were so good.  We had this meal several times with different sides - corn on the cob, baked beans, chips, tator tots, side salad, etc.

4. Taco Night
We have taco night regularly.  I make the meat, chop all the toppings and then everyone makes tacos their own way - soft tacos, nachos, all the ingredients separate.  I usually make enough meat to have back to back taco nights or have leftovers for lunch.


5. Wraps
These are great for a light dinner or an easy lunch.  This yummy wrap has cheese, grilled chicken, lettuce, avocado and a drizzle of honey mustard on a tortilla shell.  It was delicious!

Strawberry lemonade has been the perfect Summer drink.  The kids think it's so fancy.  I just chop up strawberries into small pieces and add them to our favorite Minute Maid lemonade.  The strawberry straw makes it taste extra good.

We've been eating lots of salads for lunch and side salads at dinner time.  Hard boiled eggs, croutons and vinaigrette dressings are our favorites.

What are you eating this week?

Monday, June 15, 2020

10 Summer Mom Hacks

It feels like we're getting into the swing of things for summer over here.  The weather has warmed up and our schedules are even more flexible now that we're all on Summer break.  Kevin's still mostly working and counseling from home, Olive and Fletcher are just doing school work that I plan and we are spending tons of time outside.

I thought I'd share some things with you that are making our lives easier.

Hope you find a few things that would be helpful for you at your house.

1. Mini Drums
These mini drumsticks have been such a hit this Summer.  The kids and adults love them.  We also love the Lil' Drums that are about twice the size of these.  They are about 3 inches long and they are SO good.  They're the perfect little treat on a hot Summer day.  We've gone through a couple boxes of them already.

2. Positive Pom Poms
I talked about these on instagram last week.  I noticed I was spending too much time focusing on the negatives with my kids and wanted to shift my focus to be more positive.  I gave each kid a jar and the idea was to keep an eye out all day long for the good things they were doing.  They'd earn a pom pom for them.  They couldn't ask for a pom pom - the grown ups had to notice the behavior.  We also didn't take away pom poms for poor behavior.  Just focused on the positives.  Once their jar was full, they get to pick a reward.  Olive filled hers first and requested a sleepover in mom and dad's room.  We are all enjoying this.


3. Free Library Programs
Check out your local library and their free programming for Summer.  Ours is doing amazing things.  We're using their curbside pick up, personal librarian services to have them select books for each kid and then I signed the kids up for a free painting class.  We registered online, picked up our free supplies a couple days later and then did the facebook painting class the following week.  They loved it and I loved adding some new art to our playroom.





4. Lego Masters
The kids are still enjoying building challenges.  I give them a theme and then they create.  I give out fake awards built out of legos.  They do all the building.  Olive built a cupcake for me for this edible build challenge.

5. Teach Your Kids to Help You
We're learning how to help water our plants.  The kids are great helpers with a little bit of guidance.  It really cuts down the work time for all of us when we all work together.  I've done this with folding towels, putting away laundry, cleaning up toys, setting the table and unloading the dishwasher.  It's fun to teach the kids new life skills.

6. Summer Meal Prep
Meal prep looks a little different now that I'm not packing lunches and it's HOT.  I'm doing some things once a week like shopping, washing and chopping and making hard boiled eggs.  Carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and melons are great to cut up in advance. 

I'm doing something new to give us healthy snack options.  Every morning I pick a couple of things to chop up for easy snacks.  Cucumbers and peaches have been my go to.  That way when I'm feeding the baby or busy doing something else the kids know that there are healthy options for snacks right inside the fridge.  We love it!!


7. Surprise Your Friends
A sweet friend texted me last week to say she'd left a surprise on my porch.  We opened the door to find a box of donuts waiting for us.  It was a sweet surprise.

We surprised our neighbors with some sourdough bread.  I love to bake, but don't necessarily want to be eating tons of baked goods.  Baking for others is the perfect solution.  We introduced ourselves to some new neighbors and shared another loaf with neighbors who helped us with a project.

8. Eat outside
We have a really shady backyard that works perfectly for eating outside.  The kids requested lunch in the dome.  I said yes because that meant easy clean up for me and a fun lunch for them.  We do snacks and meals outside whenever we can.


9. Flexible Fun
We had a big storm roll through last week and lost several giant branches out of our cherry tree.  I was sad at first, but then these two had the best time playing in their tree fort for several days.  They used their imagination and played outside for HOURS.  It's hard to capture all the details of their build, but trust me, it had sections, rooms and they did lots of cherry picking.


10. Go on Walks
We've been sneaking in nightly walks whenever we can.  Leo loves them and the exercise has been good for all of us.  I'm hoping to get into a good routine of walking with a friend or walking by myself to clear my head.

What things are you doing that make your life easier/better this Summer??