The Importance of Summer Reading & Giveaway!

We are going on our fourth week of summer vacation and the kids are getting a little antsy, to put it mildly. It’s been a struggle to come up with new games and activities to keep them occupied and happy. Usually during summer vacation we break our nightly reading routine and replace it for late nights and movies. It’s so important not to forget how beneficial reading is for kids (and adults!) and to keep them learning all summer long so they’re prepared for school, which for us starts in early August. It’s been proven over and over again that children who read don’t just do better at subjects like reading, English and history. They do better at all subjects and they do better all the way through school. Reading is a much more complex task for the human brain and strengthens brain connections and actually builds new connections. I love finding short stories and new books that the kids love and I am so excited share with you one of their favorites today!

The Kings Lockett is a fairy tale was written by Jacob Stull, an Atlanta native, for his two daughters. The story is an allegory, and though simple and short, it has much deeper meaning. The book is intended to be read and discussed as a family, however adults enjoy and benefit as much from the story as children do. This story is full of vivid imagery brought to life by fourteen full-page illustrations. Each illustration depicts an important scene from the book. I love how this is a short story because having a 4-year-old and 2-year-old, their attention span isn’t always the greatest. My kids, especially Evelyn, have the most fun coloring in the adorable coloring book. Evelyn has shown to be my more “creative” child and loves to color and draw so she really took to this coloring book. If you’re looking for an a great book for the whole family, definitely check out The Kings Lockett which can be purchased on Amazon.

Today I have an amazing giveaway for you! The winner will receive a copy of The Kings Lockett, a digital copy of the book, The Kings Lockett coloring book, headphones and 100-count Crayola Colored Pencils. All you have to do is follow the 3 steps below. Giveaway is available to US residents only and ends Thursday June 22 at 9am! Good luck, friends!

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Local Eats: Kitchen Notes, Nashville

On our recent trip to Nashville, we had the pleasure of enjoying breakfast at Kitchen Notes inside of the Omni Hotel. It’s a Southern-inspired restaurant with a farm-to-fork philosophy. They use high quality ingredients and partner with regional farms and businesses to bring their menu items to life. Everything they offered was incredible, and they sure offered a lot. Aside from an array of menu choices, they also have a full breakfast buffet, biscuit bar, and cereal bar. If you can envision it, they have it.  This was hands down the best buffet I have ever experienced. The Nashville Hot Chicken & Waffle still leaves my mouth watering. From french toast to pastries, we most definitely stuffed ourselves silly.

My kids absolutely loved the cereal bar. Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, and Cheerios. What more could you ask for when you’re 5 years old? Speaking of 5 year olds, Kitchen Notes is very kid friendly but also appropriate for couples, a group of girlfriends, or if you just want fly solo. I especially loved the Southern hospitality from the staff of Kitchen Notes as well as the Omni. Since we were dining inside the hotel, valet was a breeze and so convenient with two toddlers in tow. The restaurant is so elegant, with chic decor and local flea market finds. Even the dishes were beautiful! They take reservations so you have no excuse not to visit (because who has time for a 2 hour wait when you’re starving).

A huge thank you to Kitchen Notes for hosting us during our visit. I cannot recommend this restaurant enough whether you’re a Nashville local or planning a trip soon! Now, excuse me while I try and recreate those chicken & waffles!

*Our meal was provided by Kitchen Notes. As always, all opinions expressed are my own*

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Friday Favorites

When Friday hits I instantly become a happier person. I absolutely love the weekends and the kids and I are super excited to spoil their dad for Father’s Day! Here are five things that I am absolutely loving lately:

I was sold at Boozy Watermelon Slushies. Definitely making these this weekend!

These perfect nonprescription round readers add that final “touch” to your look and will go with any outfit. I like to wear them when I am running errands to hide my dark circles 🙂

This striped tie down top is seriously my favorite. You can wear it over a dress or a tank and it’s perfect for summer since the fabric is super breathable and lightweight. I love having it tie in the front too!

A few weeks ago I purchased the Age Defying Radiance Cream from Clark’s Botanicals after a friend recommended it. Her words were “It made me feel better about going makeup free!” Well, since I typically always go makeup free I decided to test it out and I am loving my results so far. Yes, the price point is a tad high but as I get older, I have no problem investing in good skincare products!

I usually only wash my hair about once a week. In between shampoos I definitely need a product that can give my hair some life back.  The Triple Sec 3-in-1 spray from Drybar creates instant texture, volume, and body. I bought it over 2 months ago and I have been loving it ever since. I have hardly used a dry shampoo because this does so much more. It gives my hair grit without it feeling dirty!

So tell me, what are your favorites lately? Share them in the comments below! You know I love finding new items to enjoy! Cheers to the weekend, make it a good one!!

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Hot Town, Summer in the City

There isn’t anything greater than indulging in homemade ice cream on a blazing hot day. Luckily for us (not), Atlanta has these probably 80% of the year. We really don’t have seasons anymore, it’s either extremely hot or in the low 70’s. Thankfully there isn’t a shortage of outdoor spots to spend some time at on these days. There is the cutest ice cream “shop” near us called the Frosty Caboose. If you’re in Atlanta than you have probably heard of it because it’s been around for the past 8 years. It’s pretty easy to get to regardless if you live in the burbs or near the city. The concept of Frosty Caboose is novel, with 80’s music playing out of their speakers and the actual ice cream shop in a cute little red caboose.  They have a wide variety of treats, including milk shakes, 36 flavors of ice cream at all times, gelato, italian ice, sorbet, and frozen yogurt. My absolute favorite is the Georgia Crossing: 2 scoops peach ice cream, whipped cream, crushed peanuts and a cherry.  It’s located just steps away from the train tracks and the kids love sitting and watching the train cars slowly roll past. They can also climb up the red caboose and enjoy their ice cream while parents take 100 adorable photos of them, because what is cuter than little kids with messy ice cream faces? Don’t worry, there is a water spout at the back of the caboose where you can hose them off if need be (which happens every time with mine). Do you have any go-to places around your town that you love to explore? Let me know in the comments below! I am always daydreaming of our next vacation and love finding hidden gems. Happy Tuesday, friends!

Henry’s Shirt & Shorts: Rockets of Awesome

Evelyn’s Shirt: Rockets of Awesome, Bow: Pickled Peach Co., Shoes: Target

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Swimsuits for Littles

A few months ago some fellow bloggers and I were invited to the Mud Pie showroom in Atlanta for a sneak peak of their incredible home decor, clothing, and accessories. Aside from wanting to move into their space and purchase everything I saw, we really learned a lot about this amazing brand. They are a family run business out of Stone Mountain, GA and are very active in the community; providing support to numerous organizations with financial and product donations and employee volunteer efforts. I am definitely more inclined to support businesses when I know they give back, and apparently I’m not the only one!

I really love how Mud Pie has matching pieces for boys and girls so you can still coordinate if you have opposite genders! These crab swim trunks are SO cute on Henry and just scream “welcome to the South!” and it doesn’t get much cuter than a red polka dot ruffle on this crab one piece. My favorite however is the Flamingo Ruffle, of course! I love how the flamingo neck creates a strap for the suit and the ruffles mimic actual feathers. A few other styles I am obsessed with: Seersucker Ruffle Bow (OMG), Flamingo Coverup, and Fish Lure Swim Trunks. All of the Mud Pie swimsuits sell for under $40 and a lot of the styles are currently on sale. If you are looking for a some unique pieces, be sure to check them out!

*Mud Pie provided these swimsuits in order to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions are my own.*

Goldfish Swim School

Back in February Henry started taking weekly swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School, a brand new swim facility near our house. I was a little hesitant to enroll him because the summer before he never really caught on when we signed him up for a few lessons. After his first lesson at Goldfish he was hooked. The 30 minute lessons are perfect for his energetic self and he truly looks forward to swim class every week. Although Henry is still working on his confidence, he has acquired all the skills to be a great little swimmer. Goldfish has everything I’m looking for in a swim school for kids. The staff are always friendly, welcoming and helpful. The instructors are well trained, attentive, and interact nicely with children. They are patient, positive, and encouraging. I love how energetic they are and they all seem to truly love what they’re doing. There is a lifeguard who is constantly walking the pool during classes and monitoring the kids. I absolutely love the small group lessons which have 4 kids or less. There have been a few times when Henry has been the only child in class and wound up getting a private lesson.

Everything in Goldfish has been specially designed and created with children in mind. From the colorful chairs to the changing stalls, this swim school caters 100% to children. I love the adorable blow dry station which has plenty of hair dryers and the swim suit drying machines are pretty genius. There are multiple changing stalls, bathrooms and cubbies as well as showers for the kids. Every inch of this amazing swim facility is extremely clean and never smells like chemicals. The indoor heated people is kept at 90 degrees all year long and there is a separate air conditioned viewing gallery for parents to watch lessons or work. Goldfish also has an extremely flexible make up policy. We all know how schedules can change and they have always been so accommodating when we’ve had to make up a class or change the date (they also do not charge extra for make up classes!) We’ve had such a positive 10 weeks at Goldfish and I am certain that is the main reason Henry has adapted so easily.

Are you interested in getting your child enrolled at Goldfish? Click here for locations and read more about how amazing their swim programs are. They offer lessons as early as 4 months! Next up on our agenda is to get Evelyn enrolled in the mommy & me class! Happy Swimming!

*Goldfish Swim School provided Henry with free lessons in order to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions are my own.*

5 OUTDOOR ITEMS YOUR KIDS NEED FOR SUMMER!

This week is the official start of summer break for us. The kids have definitely gotten the memo because they have been sleeping in every single day. This morning Evelyn slept until 9am and I didn’t even know what to do with myself. You may have seen on my Instagram stories over the past few weeks that we’ve been getting our backyard summer ready. We’ve stocked up on kid pools, slip n slides, water tables, etc. My kids love to be outside so I wanted to share our go-to items for summer!

Popsicles and Lollipops for those sweltering July days. I keep fruit bars, coconut cream popsicles, and several kinds of lollipops on hand all the time. They’re perfect for an afternoon snack and I have been known to bribe Henry with some if he takes a nap 🙂

Bubbles & Bubble Machine – I don’t know what we did before bubble machines were invented. I just do not have the patience to blow thousands of bubbles all day. You can get bubble machines for under $15 on Amazon or at our local Target. I stock up on the huge 64-ounce bubble solution too and then buy some character bubbles when I see them at the store so the kids think they’re getting “Batman Bubbles!” or “Minnie Mouse Bubbles!” Be sure to save those character bottles too so you can add the plain solution to them. It’ll save money on buying the special ones and the kids don’t know the difference.

Chalk & Outdoor Paint – My kids love this washable chalk paint. We’ve used it the last 3 years and you cannot beat the price. This box of 126 is only $19! If you are a member of a wholesale club like Sam’s or Cotsco, be sure to check there for chalk, bubbles, lollipops etc. Buying in bulk will save you a ton of money and Sam’s Club always has the best summer toys!

Plenty of sleeveless shirts and tank tops. Summers in Georgia can be pretty miserable due to the humidity. You’ll want to have enough outdoor clothes that keep the kids cool and are also stylish and durable. I have been a huge fan of Gardner and the Gang since Henry was a baby. These tanks tops are unisex and super soft. Plus, you probably won’t see other kids at the playground wearing these which is why I love them so much. I’ll be sharing more from this amazing line this summer!

Water Balloon Filler – Just like how I’m not going to spend all day blowing bubbles, I’m also not going to ruin my finger tips filling and tying a hundred water balloons that will just break anyway. The water balloon fillers that hit the market a few years ago are a serious game changer. They’re inexpensive and make the perfect size water balloons for little hands. If you buy any toy for outside, make it this one.

What toys do your kids love for summer? Let me know in the comments below!

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