ESSENTIAL SUN CARE TIPS YOU NEED TO BE PRACTICING

Living in the South we are no strangers to the blistering sun and long, hot days. Practicing safe sun care has been instilled in me since I was a child. Now that I’m a mother, it’s so important for me to pass on these habits to my children. It seems like our days are constantly getting hotter and hotter and sunscreen is so important now more than ever.  I want to share with you tips that I swear by so everyone can have a happier, safer Summer!  

SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN – I cannot stress this enough when it comes to young and old skin. It’s never too late to start taking better care of your skin and applying sunscreen is always step 1. UVB Rays can burn year-round, that is why it’s important to always wear sunscreen, not just in the summer months. A sunburn is an immediate reaction, but damage from the sun happens over a lifetime. My sweet Henry inherited his mama’s fair skin and will burn in a heartbeat if not lathered in sunscreen every 2 hours. I definitely try and have him wear a rash guard when possible but sometimes he just refuses, which I totally get. I wouldn’t want to swim in a long sleeve shirt all the time either! There is so much more to sunscreen these days. From sprays, sticks, lotions and creams, it can be hard to filter through all the options. My absolute favorite brand for my children is Blue Lizard. Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen originated in Australia, where standards for sunscreen are the highest in the world. They made EWG’s 2017 List for Best Scoring Kids Sunscreens. This is a huge factor for me as a mom. Our skin is our bodies largest organ so what goes on it, goes in it. I always aim to choose products with the least amount of harmful chemicals in it and that is why I love Blue Lizard. The Baby Formula bottle turns pink when you are in the sun/UV light so you can remember to apply more.  You can see that the sunscreen goes on thick so a lot goes a long way. It also gives me peace of mind knowing I can see where I have applied sunscreen and where I haven’t. In the past with some spray sunscreens, I would think I was covering all the kids but in reality, a lot of the mist was blowing away in the wind. It just goes to show you that convenience isn’t always the best!

After Sun Care – Regardless whether or not you got a little pink in the sun, after sun care is still very important. I love to give the kids a cool bath with mild soap after a fun day. It helps to wash off the chemicals from the pool and any sunscreen residue left behind. I always follow up with a serum and moisturizer on my face and aloe and lotion for the rest of my body. I make sure the kids are also moisturized from head to toe.

Hydrate – Being outside in the sun all day can take a toll on your body, and especially bodies of little ones. Make sure everyone always has enough liquids to drink at all times. I always pack a cooler of water bottles and sports drinks so there is no excuse not to drink up.

Don’t forget your Hair! After washing my hair in the shower and giving the kids hair a good scrub, I always make sure to put a large dollop of leave in conditioner in my hair and mist the kids hair with a gentle spray conditioner. Chlorine can strip your hair of its natural oils which can leave it feeling brittle. The sun can bleach our and dry your hair as well.  If you can, try wearing your hair in a top knot if you don’t plan on going under water to avoid chlorine damage or wearing a hat to protect hair (and scalp!) from the sun.

What are some pre and post sun rituals that you swear by? Be sure to leave them for me in the comments below!

Happy Swimming!

*This post was sponsored by Blue Lizard. As always, all opinions are my own*

Surviving the Kindergarten Count Down!


In just 2 short weeks, Henry will be entering KINDERGARTEN. The term “cherish every moment! It goes by in a blink of an eye” is so cliche but oh so true. How these past five years have flown by in a blur seems like a dream. I wish I could forever remember the boy he is now. Every freckle on his nose, his wavy hair, how he still wants me to lay with him every night. He is growing up before my eyes, starting to pronounce words correctly, and losing his baby face. I want his little voice to still say his L’s like a Y. I want him to always want me beside him and I want him to always remain his little innocent self. Before I get too emotional, I’m trying to savor these last remaining days of summer when I have him home and don’t have to worry about him being away from me everyday at school. We took a family trip last weekend and it was so refreshing to unplug and relax as a family.

With how busy our days have been, meal prepping and planning for the kids has been tough. I’d be lying if I said that mac and cheese & peanut butter and jelly weren’t a common dish around here. I am all about life’s conveniences. Whether they are grocery delivering services, cleaning services or babysitters. Whatever can help keep me sane and allow me to spend more time with my children is an absolute must in my book. To say Henry is obsessed with Goldfish® crackers is an understatement. The grab and go snack packs are my favorite because they are already portioned out which means no overeating and no extra prep work for me. I always buy the Whole Grain Cheddar variety which has 12 grams of WG per serving. I may not feel like I am doing everything right when it comes to parenting, but at least I know they are getting eating yummy snacks that are always baked with real cheese and free of artificial flavors and preservatives. They will be perfect for after school and I look forward to recapping his day with him while he enjoys his favorite snack.

I’m so thankful that Henry has a year of pre-k under his belt at the same school. He already knows the staff, knows where the lunchroom is, how to check out library books, get to the bus, etc. It settles my mind knowing that he won’t be completely overwhelmed since he is familiar with the environment. We recently went shopping for supplies on his Kindergarten list and he made sure I added Goldfish® 🙂 In his words “They’re my favorite thing ever!” I love how eager he is to learn and his excitement for school is so refreshing. I wish I had half of his enthusiasm. He has definitely taught me to slow down and enjoy life’s little moments. After all, they go by in the blink of an eye.

If you’re needing some inspiration for snack ideas this school year, head over to the Goldfish Pinterest page and their YouTube page for so many fun ideas.

 

Stay-At-Home Date Night + Giveaway!

I don’t know about you, but after a long hot summer day outside, the last thing I want to do is get all dressed up to go out for a date night. My husband and I try really hard to get out for the occasional night alone together, but these days that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes it’s just easier to put the kids to bed a tad early, throw on your favorite lounge clothes, and enjoy quality time together. Dates don’t always have to be an extravagant evening out. There are major benefits of staying at home: you save money on a babysitter, don’t have to worry about driving at night or after you’ve had a few drinks, and don’t have to spend a fortunate at a fancy restaurant. Date nights shouldn’t be looked at like a luxury that some dread, they should be an essential part of your marriage. Whether you’ve been married four months, four years, or four decades, setting aside time together should be an essential part of your relationship.

My idea of a perfect date night at home involves no kids, a great movie or music, and a laid back atmosphere. My husband is my best friend and we are fortunate enough to enjoy a lot of the same things. When we first started dating we would always cook dinner together and watch a movie while we ate. It became our evening ritual after work and was a great way to enjoy each others company without having to feel the need to talk endlessly about our work day. Our nights are now centered around spending time with the kids, feeding them dinner, bathing them and putting them in their bed 20+ times a night. Usually after all that we are too exhausted to do anything but pass out after watching a quick show. Now that summer is in full effect and the days are longer, we have definitely made a pact to enjoy more quality time together. Our new favorite thing to do is get a fun dessert to enjoy together. You know I am a huge fan of places and companies that deliver and now we can get any of our favorite Cheesecake Factory cheesecakes delivered right to our front door!

Harry & David is the exclusive online retailer for The Cheesecake Factory. For those who don’t live near a store, it’s a great option for gifts or some cheesecake for yourself! My husband and I love to order one of their famous cheesecakes to enjoy together (and maybe save some for the kids too). They are offering $5-flat rate shipping with code FIVECAKE from 7/21/17 to 7/31/17.  The Cheesecake Factory is offering Any Slice, Half Price* on July 30th and 31st. *Offer valid July 30th and 31st 2017, for dine-in only. Only one slice per guest. Must be present. Offer valid in the U.S. including Puerto Rico.

Now onto the amazing giveaway! I’ve teamed up with Harry & David and The Cheesecake Factory to giveaway 3 prizes! Two winners will each receive a $50 gift card to The Cheesecake Factory and one winner will receive a cheesecake that Harry & David will ship from The Cheesecake Factory. Entering is easy and quick! Good luck, friends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This post is sponsored by Harry & David. As always, all opinions are my own.*

Tips for Surviving Road Trips with Kids

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Single Edition Media.

In a few days we will be going on our last vacation for the summer! I cannot believe how fast this break has gone by and how I will have a child in kindergarten in exactly 3 weeks (cue all the tears). To really soak up the end of summer, we are heading to north Georgia this week for a fun little getaway. Traveling with kids is usually pretty stressful but today I am sharing with you my survival strategies that I have mastered over the past 5 years!

Be sure to load all your favorite movies, songs and audiobooks on your devices. My husband and I love using Audible while the kids are napping or watching movies in the back. There are so many books I have been dying to read but I honestly just don’t have the time. With Audible I am able to pick thousands of books to choose from and listen whenever fits my schedule. If you have an upcoming road trip planned then you must visit Audible.com for a free 1-month trial and start checking books off your reading list.

Pack Snacks – The most important thing when traveling with kids. I cannot stress enough how much kids eat while sitting in car seats for long periods of time. We always bring a cooler with water, milk boxes, juice boxes, pouches, and other healthy snacks for the kids. My husband and I don’t need to snack that often but when we do, we want to choose healthy options that keep us awake and alert. Chop Snacks jerky is a great go-to snack when you need something in between meals. It’s easy to eat, not messy and full of protein which keeps us satisfied longer. It’s all-natural, USDA Choice Beef Brisket and oh so delicious. They are available on Amazon and their website. You can get 20% off your first order with Code 5CHN79Z7Q1BE at Chop Snacks.

Stop for Breaks – One thing I love the most about road trips is all the amazing nature and cute towns we pass. The photographer in me loves to pull over for some great photo opts and it’s perfect so kids can let off steam. We also choose to get out of the car for meals instead of drive through because greasy food just weighs us down and makes everyone feel bad. IHOP is the perfect family friendly restaurant to stop at with more than 500 locations nationwide. The kids love getting pancakes and I love that they have gluten-free options (just be sure to order Crack Eggs in your omelet so they know not to add pancake batter). Tomorrow, July 18, IHOP turns 59 years old and they’re throwing the ultimate pancake party! From 7 am to 7 pm, IHOP is treating guests to a 59 cent short stack of pancakes. Just visit any IHOP restaurant across the U.S. to enjoy!

Have Zero Expectations – If life with kids has taught me anything, it’s that nothing ever goes to plan. You may expect your 3 hour road trip to take 3 hours but in reality, it’ll probably take 5. Between bathroom breaks, meals, leg stretching and sight seeing, you’re bound to tack on a few hours. Try and go into your trip with an open mind because things will come up. The more okay you are with change, the less stressed out you’ll be. Trust me, I’ve had to learn this the hard way because I am not one who deals with change very easily! It’s okay to break the rules a bit if it means a better car ride for everyone.

Bring Backups – One good thing about traveling by car is that you’re not limited to space in a suitcase. In addition to packing all the essentials we need, we also have an emergency box that always remains in our car. It contains scissors, lighters, blankets, a first aid kit, reflectors and T-Rex® Tape. You never know when you’re going to run into a situation where duct tape is needed.  A few years ago while on an eight hour road trip with an 18 month old, the iPad holder that attaches to the back of my headrest broke two hours into the trip. You better believe I tapped that sucker to the headrest using duct tape. T-Rex® Tape is super-durable, extra-thick, sun-resistant and holds stronger than other utility tapes, in all kinds of weather. We keep it in the car at all times!

Games & Distractions – Even if you are against screen time, you will need an iPad or portable DVD player  for any trip longer than 2 hours. Besides, anything is better than screaming! I also pack small toys, magna doodles, stickers and some brain teasers like the Cube-Tactic! 3×3 Puzzle Cube. It’s like a modern day Rubik’s cube but with rounded edges for tiny hands. You can save 15% on your order with the code CUBETRIP on their website. Henry, who just turned 5, loves it and it really helps calm him down and focus which are skills he will definitely need when starting school!

What are some of your sanity saving suggestions for road trips with kids? Leave them in the comments below and happy travels!

Mini Style: Bang Bang Copenhagen

Childhood is too short to wear boring clothes. This blog was founded because I wanted unique and stylish clothing for baby boys and was so sick of the options out there. When Henry was about 6 months old I began researching endlessly to find practical and stylish clothing that wasn’t on every child we saw. That research never really stopped and I love coming across brands that bring something different to the table. Bang Bang Copenhagen is what my kid fashion dreams are made of. This Danish brands eclectic use of prints, patterns and color allow kids to express their individuality. They design for the contemporary parent who wants something a little more. How can you even look at this polka dot dress and not want to get it in every size? I secretly love when kids dress like mini adults and their boy and girl lines have me wanting everything. This leotard literally makes my heart race because I immediately start accessorizing it in my head with fun shoes and knee high socks. Grab some coffee, put the kids down for a nap, and immerse yourself in the world that is Bang Bang Copenhagen. They are also having a sale right now so you can snag several of their items. I’ll be sharing more of their amazing clothing in the upcoming weeks so be sure to follow along here and on Instagram for some sneak peeks!

Henry’s Shirt, Shorts, Shoes // Evelyn’s Dress

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Family Travel Guide: Nashville, TN

I can’t believe it’s already been a month since our Nashville trip. It seems like just yesterday we were exploring this beautiful city. There is so much to do and see that we couldn’t possibly fit everything into our trip, unfortunately. My husband and I are planning a trip back there this Fall with just the two of us but in the meantime, I am so excited to share our weekend away with you so let’s dive in!

Where to Stay

Nashville has tons of beautiful hotels but when traveling with kids (and everything they need), renting a home is a much better option. We went with this Airbnb and it ended up being perfect. I have to admit that I booked it based solely on the decor and how cute the photos looked. The house has a huge fenced in grass lot where the kids could have some popsicles and play outside to burn off energy. There was also a splash pad and playground down the street from our rental which was perfect letting the kids get some playtime before turning in the for evening. If you’re a new Airbnb user, you can sign up with my code and save $40 on your first stay.

Where to Play

Nashville Zoo – I loved this zoo for many reasons. First, there is SO much shade which makes the hot summer days more bearable. Also, the admission prices are some of the lowest I have ever seen for a zoo so you can have a nice family outing and not spend a fortune.  It is very kid-friendly with a jungle gym and places to pet animals. I never thought I would be able to pet kangaroos or see them up close in my lifetime.

Nashville Shores – If your schedule allows, buy online tickets for entry after 4pm. The weather is cooler, the tickets are cheaper, and wear the kids out before bedtime! We loved going at this time because the weather had cooled down a tad and a lot of people had packed up and gone home. There is a lazy river, awesome wave pool, and amazing splash pad with slides. My kids never wanted to leave and even my husband and I had a blast.

Nashville Farmers’ Market – I wish we would have brought a cooler with us or lived closer because this market had the best produce, meat, cheese, and drinks. My favorite was the pink coffee truck which had the best iced lattes ever. There is an indoor food hall with air conditioning and several different cuisine options. The famous Amelia’s Flower Truck sets up shop here often too and you cannot miss her! {900 Rosa Parks Blvd, Nashville, TN 37208}

Where to Take Pictures

Nashville is flooded with amazing murals and beautiful walls. We didn’t have time to visit all of them, but we definitely stopped by I Believe in Nashville, 2706 12th Avenue South, Draper James Stripes, 2707 12th Avenue South, What Lifts You Wings, 302 11th Avenue South – The Gulch. Geometric Wall, 11th Avenue South & Laurel StreetHere is a list of more murals to visit. Luckily the 4 murals we saw were at the same 2 locations, so if you’re planning a mural fun day, be sure to map them out so you don’t miss any near you!

Where to Eat

Kitchen Notes – We had breakfast here Friday and it was to die for. Read my full review here!

Five Daughters Bakery – The best donuts in town are without a doubt served here. Their combination of flavors and textures are beyond what my tastebuds thought they could handle. There are also paleo and vegan options which I will be sure to try next time. Fun fact: There is a donut cam you can check on before you come so you know what donuts are in stock. Pretty cool, right? The shop is also super adorable and great for photos. If weather permits, eat your donuts outside on their front patio and do some people watching.

Mas Tacos – This is authentic Mexican to a T in East Nashville. The portions are huge and everything is fresh and original with vegetarian options too. They also serve beer which is needed with two small kids in tow. You’ll see all kinds of people here so don’t be intimidated! It’s laid back and kid friendly with indoor and outdoor seating. TIP: Be sure to bring cash because they don’t take cards.

I Dream of Weenie – This is the cutest hot dog food truck that is made out of an old WV van. There are picnic tables with umbrellas next to it so you don’t have to stand in the sun with kids trying to eat a hot dog. Try the jalapeño dog and the mac and cheese dog. OR, go for the pictures alone! It’s adorable.

Burger Up – We ate here our first night because it was so close to our house. Do not go here without ordering the fried mac and cheese bites. All the beef is sourced locally and the service was so outstanding and stood out as the most memorable from our trip. There’s a large patio where most of the families gathered which was nice because I didn’t have to worry about the kids being loud. There is a ton of seating inside too so I doubt anyone would ever have a long wait.

Biscuit Love – The line is worth the wait but if you can get there before it opens, do so. We had to wait in line about 30 minutes which basically feels like 12 hours with two kids. By the time we had finished breakfast, the line was 3 times as long. Of course you’ll need to order the famous Bonuts for the table (Fried Biscuit Dough, Lemon Mascarpone, Blueberry Compote). I ordered the Bill Neal: Cheese Grits, Gulf Shrimp, Mushrooms, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Lemon Tabasco Sauce & Green Onion. It was incredible and my mouth is salivating right now thinking about it. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu!

We had the best long weekend ever and it was so fun to explore the city with the kids. They are getting so much better at traveling with us and our hope is to start taking them places more. Have you been to Nashville with kids? What was your favorite part to explore?

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Create 5 Healthy Habits Now

This past month has been a huge eye opener into my health. I’ve been adjusting to a new diet, figuring out what supplements to take for my overall wellness, and trying to make lifelong commitment that actually stick. Below are 5 simple and easy ways to improve your health & wellness daily without making huge changes to your daily routine.

Drink More Water – I know, telling someone to drink more water is like beating a dead horse. We all know how important it is but it’s so hard sometimes (okay, most of the time). I am so guilty of not drinking enough water and always forget. By the time I remember to drink water I haven’t had any for the entire day and it feels so overwhelming to drink so much at once. To help remind me to drink more throughout the day, I downloaded the free Daily Water app so I could set alarms and alerts. It has made all the difference because nothing makes you feel rundown and tired like dehydration.

SLEEP – As a mother, I cannot stress enough how important sleep is, for our own sanity. Did you know that getting less than 6 hours a night can increase your risk of colon cancer? Not only can lack of sleep affect your overall health and make you prone to serious medical conditions but you can also develop obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. I have a strict 10pm bedtime to ensure I get 8+ hours. Luckily my kids have been sleeping in so I have felt extra refreshed in the morning.

Add Probiotics to your daily routine – I absolutely hate to swallow pills because they usually smell awful and in turn most of them taste unpleasant too. I was very excited to try Sho Nutrition’s probiotics after coming across them a few months ago. These probiotics are vegan and gluten-free which are perfect for me since I recently had to cut out gluten and dairy. There are no artificial colors or flavors, wheat, nuts, fish, shellfish, eggs, sweeteners and they’re rich in omega-3 fatty acid to help keep the digestive tract smooth, and immunity strong.  The dark green color comes from super food spirulina which helps boost your gut and immunity power with its potent antioxidant effects. I have definitely noticed less bloat in my stomach since taking these and my gut feels better overall.

Get Moving – Trust me, I am one of the laziest people out there so I know how obnoxious this advice sounds. I hate working out and sweating and going to the gym just doesn’t interest me. With two active kids at home, I have been making more of an effort to put my phone down and be active with them. Even if it means running around the house for 15 minutest playing hide and seek or taking them to our local indoor play area, those times can add up to an hour or more movement a day which is far more than what I was doing before. It’s easier to do than some fad fitness class and you won’t beat yourself up wasting a gym membership you’re not using.

Take your Vitamins – I few weeks ago I had some blood work done to see what my deficiencies were. My testosterone and progesterone were super low and I’m deficient in vitamin B12 and vitamin D which explains why I am so tired all the time. Sho Nutrition also makes Energy Supplements which have B vitamins, Folate, and Matcha. These are a great alternative for those who can’t have coffee because the minimal caffeine in matcha releases balanced, sustained energy without all the jitters. I kid you not, these little spheres have changed my overall wellness the past month. Every bottle comes with a daily tracking dispenser which makes it so easy to remember. If you are looking for new supplement to energize your body and brain, then head to Sho Nutrition to learn more. You can save 20% on all orders with code CR20!

*This post was sponsored by Sho Nutrition. As always, all opinions are my own*

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