Friday, June 11, 2021

Summer Happies

We've really been enjoying the slower pace of Summer.  Rarely setting alarms, staying up a little later, playing outside and going on adventures.  It took us a few days of too much screen time and too much bugging your siblings for us to find our routine, but we're getting there one adventure at a time.  I don't think it's a coincidence that the more we do, create, read, and enjoy the happier we are.  So here's to less screen time and more adventures.  What are your Summer screen times rules?

1 // Date Night - Our favorite babysitters are moving away to go on their internships at the end of the month.  They've been with us since Fletcher was a baby and we are going to miss them tons.  We squeeze in one, middle of the week date night so that they could babysit for us one last night. 

I also got a new foundation that I'm loving.  I want to wear it for a little longer and then I'll come back here with a review of it :)

2 // Summer Reading Program.  We got the whole family signed up for our local Summer reading program.  We're all reading, earning tickets for prizes and enjoying it.  It's all free!

3 // We grilled out with friends and played with water toys.  Hooray for normalcy returning!

4 // Our vegetable garden is doing great!  Everything is growing, flowering and it looks so promising for our first vegetable garden attempt.  The kids check on it every day.  We've had a fair amount of rain which has made it really easy to take care of so far this Summer.

I'm still LOVING my favorite Aldi water shoes.  They're Native knock offs and are perfect for gardening.  They were only $6.99!

5 // Dinner Charcuterie Boards.  I used up all the little bits of food for this dinner board.

6 // Road trip.  We went on a little road trip to visit my aunt and uncle who were visiting from South Carolina.  The military museum in Vincennes Indiana is a really cool spot.  We were there about a month ago and it was fun to go back.  My uncle Jack and Mike were both in the Navy so it was cool to hear things from their perspective. 

We also visited the George Rodgers Clark Memorial.  It was a cool piece of history.

7 // Creative Kids.  The kids are using their imaginations to start businesses (personalized bookmarks), create their own games (Barbies go to camp) and are playing together pretty well.

8 // Parks.  We're checking out parks with friends.  Finding frogs and riding the train.  We put all the parks in our city on our summer to do list and are eager to rotate playing at all of them.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  We've got some fun things planned :)

Linking up with Momfessionals

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Do What You Love... Even with Your Kids

I heard  the saddest thing on a random video the other day.  This mom started out her video by saying she was sorry it was so loud at her house and that she was doing her best during her "least favorite time of year with her kids home all day."  I completely cringed.

What if her kids heard her say that?

What type of message does that send?

It was so sad to me.

I know that it's hard one everyone to all of the sudden to have a change in routines when school gets out.  If you stay home, work outside the home or work from home, it definitely changes the dynamic of the rhythms at home.  It takes a week or two for everyone to adjust and then we find our Summer groove.  I'm guessing that's the same story for many of you.  After that initial shock of school ending, Summer activities, camps and outings start up and new routines are formed.

I want my kids to know I enjoy being with them and having them home.  I want them to know that I have things I love to do and that I love sharing those things with them.  I hope they always know I loved being home with them when they were little and that they weren't an inconvenience to me. This is true right now for me as a stay at home mom and it would be true if I was working full time.

I'm home with my kids 24/7.  I'm the one who's in charge of planning our days together.  We have no family in town and the responsibility of child care - pick ups, drop offs, sports, school, activities, etc falls 100% on Kevin or myself.  I schedule all of our fun with friends, sports, appointments, outings and my Jordan Bakery Box business calendar around our family calendar.  After 8 years of parenting, I've found ways to incorporate the things I love into my mom life routines.  

I haven't lost myself in motherhood.  I share what I love with my kids.


I saw this quote from @dayswithgrey on instagram recently:

Do what you love.  Even with your kids by your side.

Whitney loves ____________ with her kids by her side.

gardening (the kids have become such good helpers with weeds and watering and planting)

baking (they each have their own favorite recipes to make together)

riding bikes (we love cruising around the neighborhood together)

traveling (family road trips are some of our favorite adventures together)

reading (we love reading good books together)

making friends (we really look forward to meeting friends at the park or doing activities with them)

decorating for holidays (the kids help dust, decorate and design our house for the holidays w me)

making meals (we eat at home a lot and I love making the food they love) 

running Jordan Bakery Box (my kids help me grocery shop, carry in all the groceries, sit and wait at grocery pick up, sell boxes to their teachers and help play with the baby while I build boxes.  It's a team effort to make baking and building boxes happen.)

I'm also totally realistic - it's more work to bring the kids along to the grocery store in the Summer so I often opt for grocery pick up instead.  It's a challenge to bring kids to appointments or meetings so Kevin and I tag team childcare on those days to accommodate our schedules.  And then sometimes you just need some alone time to meet friends for dinner, run on the treadmill, to blog, to play in your golf league or to go to an event.  


If you're feeling down, discouraged or overwhelmed at the start of summer with your kids, give yourself a big pep talk and think of all the fun you can have together this year!  Moms really do set the tone for the family.  You can do it.  Make it a great summer for your crew!


Do you do what you love with your kids by your side?

How are you finding joy in the extra time together that Summer often brings?

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Summer (Hope) To Do List

Every Summer we sit down as a family and make a giant list of all the things we HOPE to get to do together during the long break.  We don't stress about crossing every single thing off the list or try to super schedule our days.  Instead, we use the list as a guide for all of our Summer fun.  We all contribute to the list and then we all share excitement for the activities.

Our Summer Family Fun list hangs in our kitchen where we can see it every day.  We reference our list often and Olive has put herself in charge of crossing things off.  We do a mix of free, cheap, & easy along with travel and more splurge type activities.  We talk through the list together and make sure the things are realistic for our Summer and everyone gets to add things.

Here are a few ideas:

FREE: go to the library and check out books, make a music playlist, swim, play at various parks around town, bike rides, visit a local Alpaca farm, movie nights at home and sleepovers.

INEXPENSIVE: get donuts/ice cream, order pizza. grill out, bonfire + s'mores, pick out a craft at Hobby Lobby, go see a kid's matinee movie showing or mail pen pal letters.

SPLURGE: travel, arcades, indoor rock climbing cafe, out to dinner or going to the county fair.


What are some of the things you are excited to do with your family this Summer?

Did we forget anything?

Linking up with Shay for Let's Look

Monday, June 7, 2021

2021 Garden Tour

We've been working so hard to get our gardens whipped into shape this year.  Last year we had a new baby and so many restrictions in place, that we didn't spend a lot of time or energy on our yard.  This year has been great.  We trimmed things up, planted new plants and mulched everything this Spring.  The yard looks so good.  I'm really proud of it.  Let me give you a tour.  

Let's rewind... when we moved into our house we had one plant- the dark pink rose bush.  Other than that there was zero landscaping.  We have worked very hard for the last 5 years, one zone at a time, to build up our pretty gardens.  Slowly, but surely, everything is looking lovely.

Quick tips:
1. Figure out the sun/shade situation in your yard.

2. Add new perennial plants every year and after a few years your gardens will be flourishing.  We focused on one zone at a time in our yard and built it up a little more each year.

3. Don't be afraid to make mistakes.  Read the plant labels and try them out in your yard.

4. Keep a journal of what lives/dies in your yard.  My yard kills every daffodil that I've ever planted, the soil is not great in spots so we have to dig bigger holes and add in better soil.

5. Start small - learn how to grow one pot on your porch or in your backyard.  See how it does and then build on that knowledge the following year.

6. I've been working hard to learn how to garden since Olive was 1.  It's a process that takes time.  I feel so proud when I look at how all my gardens are coming along.  They're not perfect, but they just keep getting prettier every year.  You can do it, too!!


Let's get started....

Walking out onto our deck - my pots are looking so pretty!  They're filling in nicely.

PSA if you need some great water shoes for Summer - head to Aldi ASAP.  My Aldi had these Native look alikes for $6.99 in all sizes.  They had gray for men and white/coral for women.  They're comfy and cute and will be perfect slip ons for summer.

Our backyard is very shady.  Hostas and Astilbe have really loved their shady spots.

I laid this paver patio a couple years ago and I just love it!  It's so pretty right off our deck.

Each year we had some new varieties of Hostas along the side of our house.  They keep coming back bigger and better every year.  I love the mix of dark green, neon green, white trimmed, and big leaf hostas.

This spot has been a tricky one for me to figure out.  The hydrangeas that we planted here all died.  I don't think they got enough sun.  And these shade loving plants have done okay here.  They just tend to get a little sunburned later in the summer.

Let's go out to the front yard.  I initially started planting lavender plants because Olive loves them.  Well it turns out that they love our full sun front yard.  They're enormous and smell so amazing.  We have these giant lavender plants and planted two more on the other side.

Our vintage rose bush, yellow and white yarrow and lavender.

Lantana in lots of colors, Veronika and other waiting to fill in.

This is a giant Limelight hydrangea.  I can't wait for it to bloom.

This was our first area of the yard to work on.  We could afford to buy 2 Boxwoods, one Euonymous plant and the Lillies.  It's so fun to see how well established everything is now in this spot.

I learned to love Lantana when we were living in Mississippi.  They're the sweetest, dainty little flowers.  I got pink + yellow, yellow + white and solid yellow this year.  They start out small and grow HUGE in the full sun. 

Pink Yarrow, Weigela, Crepe Myrtle, White Butterfly Bush, Rose of Sharon, Daisies, Lillies, and more Lantana in this garden.

I'm not a huge Lilly fan - Kevin loves them - but these pink lillies are gorgeous.

I'm trying to fill this corner in with Lavender and Lantana.

Matching pots on my porch.  I went with 5 different plants in each and they're really pretty sun loving pots.

This garden is a little blah right now.  Several things - like the Phlox - has already bloomed.  And the Butterfly bush, lillies and hydrangea have yet to bloom.  I added Lavender and Lantana to this side to help add some color.

We planted a border of tall grasses on our side yard to help add some privacy.  They seem to be really happy here.

And back around to the deck.  These heart petunias are so pretty!  I love the color and I smile everytime I see the 5 hearts on each flower.  Perfect for our family!

This was as surprise combo that I'm loving this year!

And my ferns are loving the shade on my deck.

And our vegetable garden is looking really promising!

There you go!  A full garden tour.  Do you have any questions or problem areas in your yard??  I'd love to help you!!  Leave your questions in the comments :)