pickleball summer

This post has been sponsored by Danone Waters of America. All thoughts and
opinions are my own.

So my husband is weirdly good at tennis and LOVES playing in the warm months. Trouble is, I am not so good! He’s asked for years and years for us to spend time playing, but I never seem to get better– ha! A few years ago we tried out Pickleball, have you played? It’s essentially a mix of tennis + ping pong, and it is so fun! I feel like I was able to pick it up and improve so much faster!Evian US Open Sweepstakes! The differences are: it’s a smaller court, and it takes a lot less force and skill to hit the ball where you want it to go. Let’s just say there’s no such thing as Pickleball elbow 😉 You know you’re in the right place when the other couples on the court are all grey-haired and possibly retired! It is such a great workout and we’re both winded, chugging water and so sweaty after! Since I can actually keep up with him and get a good game going, it’s been such a great way for us to be active together! We’ve even made it a part of our vacations with friends — making sure a court is nearby or on the property where we’re staying — and the boys are getting on the action, too!evian® is packed with natural electrolytes If you buy this evian six pack at any Kroger Store, you’ll see there are sweepstakes to win two tickets to the U.S. Open! You can also just text ‘winevian’ to 24587! This is basically Russ’ dream so we’re guzzling evian like crazy. He watches every year, how fun would it be to go?!  We get these at Kroger which is the very closest grocery store to our home. Kroger is my go-to, so it’s been fun to team up with them so much over the past year or so!What do you guys do to be active with your significant other? Always looking for new ways!

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mine + ours: books #11

July Book Reviews!

I rarely, if ever, do this but I quit not one, but TWO books this month! (The last time was probably 6 years ago and it was Freedom by Jonathan Franzen) it might be my stress levels, a never ending to-do list with the move, not sure but I have the personality that finishes books to the bitter end so it’s shocking maybe to only me!

First– Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore. The story of Milo, a man who has died nearly 10,000 times. He only has a few more shots to hit perfection or he disappears forever, except one problem. He is in love with Death (a woman in the book) and can’t seem to commit to leaving her.

The premise caught my attention and seemed like a super unique and fresh book and it was entertaining and unlike anything I’ve read. I just couldn’t seem to get through it! So I exchanged it on Audible. From what my book club buddies said the content and language is rough throughout and it’s a little dark. Has anyone read this? Did I give up on the best book of my life?

Second — The Girl With Seven Names. This one has thousands of 5 star reviews and was a default merely because I had read “Nothing to Envy” last year and they information and presentation is super similar. I didn’t find myself learning anything I hadn’t already about North Korea so I passed on it! Nothing to Envy shares multiple people’s stories whereas Seven Names is one story, so if you find yourself leaning towards one over the other, maybe that will help make the decision!

OURS

I Can Do That! Books have quickly become go-tos around here. For the church bag, the car, quiet time. Interactive books are our jam and these are great! The dry erase one especially!

Activity Books for Kids!Stickyscapes at the Museum was sent to us to check out and it’s RAD! It’s quirky and wonderful and I might have stolen it from my kids to play with. I love that it has stickers of famous artist and works of art and random other stickers that you can fill in the pages of the museum!Stickyscapes at the Museum

Catch all my past recs here!

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FRYday

I just got back from a week at Youth Conference which is basically a camping trip with the youth in my church ages 14-18. We started by riding our bikes to the cabin which was 50 miles away, then spent our days riding horses, fishing, paddle boarding, playing sports, card games, more eating, and all things spiritual. I hadn’t ridden a bike in years since we sold ours for our move.Fryday | Small Fry I borrowed a bike for the trip, but wasn’t able to train at all and ooh-wee was it hard! The last half of the ride pushed me in a way I haven’t been pushed maybe ever, even harder than labor since it was a lot longer. 😉 The very end was a long incline push and I remember just riding up that hill, standing up on my pedals, pushing as hard as I could with tears coming down my cheeks. Because it was hard and because it was almost over, but knowing I would make it. I could do it. It was possible and I was capable. It was such a welcome gift. Maybe the best gift of pushing through hard times and trials is the confidence in yourself and God that He will be there. Because time after time that theory proves true. I ended this week feeling so grateful for these opportunities to push myself. To really see what I am made of and connect to a higher power. I am excited for my boys to have the opportunities too and blessed to be in a church that creates them for my family! Also, 100% hooked on biking and cannot wait to get back out there, once I find myself a bike that is.

Anyway, happy Fryday and here’s what’s been in the rotation lately!Fryday | Small Fry

Reading: You can catch my Book Review for June here! But currently reading The Women Who Run With the Wolves because Nicole Richie told “me” to online. Listening to Reincarnation Blues which is a sort of post-modern take on death and super funny so far, then next up I have The Girl with Seven Names for a book club pick! As always catch any and all picks here! People always ask how I get reading in and this is how. I have a hard copy floating around the house, another audible queued up and a deadline for a book club or two. I 100% go through phases where I read like crazy and then I don’t care to for a couple months but always happier when I have a story to get lost in.

Watching: We’ve been catching up here and there on Netflix with Evil Genius (crazy) The Staircase (super slow, but interesting) and then Russ and I started the Ozarks which we both LOVE. It’s filling the Breaking Bad void, but isn’t quite as dark.

Listening: Have I ever told you that Raleigh will only allow top 40 at our house? Like if we turn on our typical Folk or Alternative Rock he gets so mad. He has to have a good pop-y beat and his favorites are That’s What I Like, HandClap, I Feel It Still, Despacito. If you know Russ and I you know that we aren’t really top 40 people, but its been so funny to see Russ voluntarily put on Ariana Grande, or “his girl Selena Gomez” (his words not mine.) Frames might be turning a new leaf. Happy to have the High Fitness playlist because you know you’ll find some Raleigh approved jams there!

Eating: I went to one of Jenna’s Essential Oil classes (@dailyessenticalco) with @happyholisticmom and she talked all about hormones. Put up a list of symptoms you might be experiencing if you have a hormone imbalance and I was pretty much all of them.  She recommended first and foremost to stop wearing perfume, to be sure and wash all produce (20 minutes in water with vinegar and Lemon oil) as two really easy ways to help lower our toxic load. Our bodies have to work extra hard to off-set all the toxins we take in which in turn messes with thyroid, and other regulators! Anyway, I started DoTerra’s LLV vitamin spread, their probiotic and digestive enzyme too while I was at it. I’ll let you know how it goes but so far my nails are noticeably stronger and my digestion is a little too regular but apparently that is how it’s supposed to work, ha!

Fryday | Small Fry

Wearing: The same thing over and over again. My favorite tees are back and I’ve worn these slides with basically everything all Summer. Catch any other linkable outfits here!

I remember when I took Small Fry over solo I had all these intentions of making it more of my personal style + fashion. I tell you what– if you want to be a fashion blogger you better be prepared to spend some money. If you’re not constantly wearing new things it makes it kind of hard to be interesting in that genre. Ha! Being on such a tight budget has been great for everything else, but boring to watch me get dressed, that’s for sure. Either way, proud of myself because it’s taken me 6 months to spend what I normally would in 1 month on clothes. That’s huge for me!

Decorating: All that money on clothes is getting sunk on house stuff and I am DYING TO SHARE IT ALL. But check back next week for a house update + video tour! We’re buying things in chunks each month and all we have left is dining chairs + island stools + a few new things for the basement bedrooms! If we weren’t already we are #absolutelybrokenow.

Anything you want to see or have questions about before I go film the tour?

Anticipating: Russ feels super confident (assuming the last couple subs — cabinets, counters, backsplash tiles — keep on schedule) that the house will be done end of July. I can’t quite describe how it feels to be so close. Hard to let yourself get excited for something that has been SO LONG in the making and still a-ways to go. Proud every day and thrilled to move into the beautiful house Russ Frame built. He has been working 7 am to 10 pm for a couple months now and my heart aches for him. Letting him do what he’s gotta do, encouraging him, being there for him, and handling my own ish + the boys has proven to be one of the most refining experiences of my life.

I hope you guys have a great weekend, thank you as always for being here! I am still weeding out some followers that were purchased before I went solo (no shade, it was mutually agreed upon at the time, but I just don’t care to keep them now) – the max I can clean out is 100 per week with the Cleaner app – so my numbers on Instagram have and will continue to go down until I get them all out and it can be super discouraging, so thank you for all your messages and interaction, it really keep the train going for me!!

Love you all!

Em

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two, new-to-me, shops

Of all the things I get sent to try it’s not super often that I am smitten upon arrival. Wanted to share two of those today that I think will help with the endless Summer birthday party gifts, and purchases that will bring endless fun on these longer days!

First!

OMY Maison – this whole line is SO flawless.

Basically everything is ready and waiting to be colored in! Backpacks, totes, puzzles, wall murals, whatever your heart desires!

Just use their pretty fabric markers, gel crayons, pens and pencils and get started!OMY Maison OMY Maison I particularly love this backpack for gifts because it’s something they get to customize and then proudly use after!OMY Maison OMY MaisonAnd second, made me cry as soon as I opened the box…

Park Social Soccer Co. Ball — For every soccer ball you purchase through them they send a soccer ball to a kid in need. Now until the World Cup they are sending 2 balls for every 1 purchased!

They send them to Namibia, Ghana, and several others and these kids’ smiling faces with their Park soccer ball just made my heart burst. Such a great way to give back and get a rad piece of equipment, too! Another great gift idea, if you ask me!PARK Social Soccer Co. Buy a Ball Give a Ball to Someone in Need

Hayes grabbed the cards out of the box that show the boys and girls in these different countries, playing on their dirt fields, big smiles on their faces. It made such an impact ton him, I am forever grateful to companies like Park SSC for making giving back easy!!

You can buy their awesome ball here!

medicated vs. unmedicated childbirth

“Every delivery is different that’s why it’s so great to have options.”

A few weeks ago I shared my WHY behind my unmedicated deliveries. I had so much great conversation behind the scenes after that, but one thing that was resoundingly clear is that many women don’t know what the pros and cons of delivery really are. How can they make an informed decision when the cold, hard, amazing, incredible truth isn’t plain to see?

SO! I surveyed as many women as would oblige me, but they all had one thing in common: ALL had experienced both unmedicated AND medicated deliveries. Each of these responders has done it both ways (including C-Section, because I categorize that as a medicated childbirth, not something else or other.) I felt that was really the only fair way to write this post as I can wax poetic about my deliveries all day, but I only know one way. So as you read these responses please know these are from real live women with real live feelings who have experienced the joy and pain and highs and lows of childbirth and were kind enough to share their thoughts! SO many had the same answers so you won’t see duplicates reflected, just starred if they were said often. Unmedicated vs. Medicated Childbirth

PROS of UNMEDICATED

The overall labor experience was much faster than when medicated. (Nearly 80% of responses said this!)

“I felt like it was a incredible task that everyone is the room had to come together to make it successful. My husband was totally involved in every single moment. I needed him and felt our connection grow through the experience. Even though it was excruciating pain, I felt so free. I could move how I wanted, when I wanted, and felt so much support in doing so. And the moment my son was born it was the most euphoric, perfect, overwhelming feeling in the world. Honestly, heaven on earth. I felt so empowered as a woman.. like I could do anything. I remember looking at my son and just sobbing saying, “we did it.” And how very true that was because WE, him and I, my little baby, conquered birth together. Also… a few minutes later I stood up, walked to the bathroom and peed… also very freeing!”

“I felt like a million bucks the second that baby was out and it was great to be able to immediately take care of myself as needed instead of relying on so much assistance.”

“I loved being able to move right after he was born. Walk, feel, go potty, plus the adrenaline of what I had just done!”

“The connection with my husband. He stayed focused on me for my entire 20 hour labor, helping me every step of the way. It felt like we brought our son into the world together!”

“The experience was the most spiritual of my life. And my husband would never tell me how to deliver but he did say he felt more involved and useful and connected to me and our baby.”

“I loved how quickly I could get up and move around and shower. My body recovered much quicker and my post labor aches and pains were much much lighter than with an epidural.”

“There was sort of an adrenal rush after. Like a birthing high!”

“I wanted to be fully present and I was. I wanted To FEEL everything my body was meant to do and I did. I wanted to be able to listen to my body and respond to what it needed, not what the doctor was telling me to do. Also a huge factor: My recovery was a faction of the time, like a millisecond compared with my medicated births. For example, I may have taken one ibuprofen after my natural birth. (2 medicated, one natural. I wanted all natural but didn’t make it the first two times) Side note: I used a Dr for the first and Midwives for the last two and hat difference was also like night and day.”

*”I felt both times that my recovery was better, I had more energy afterwards and my milk came in faster. I felt more of the joy and relief in the experience. I felt so strong!”

*I feel like a badass.

“I felt so empowered being able to tell when my body was going from early labor-transition-full dilation. It was so incredible feeling so connected to my body in such a primal way. I was completely unaware of anything else going on around me…it was just me, and my baby.”

“Every decision was very educated and informed. Every decision was made by me and my husband. My midwife was always clear on our options and then followed that with different ways to educate us to make our own decisions. I never felt blind. I felt empowered. I felt prepared! My last two (unmedicated) births were truly beautiful! It was so incredible to be in an environment that I felt completely loved, supported and cared for. I finally felt like I had the tools to find myself. To find my courage and my womanhood! It was finally the spiritual experience that I yearned for!!”

“I feel like I had more energy after my unmedicated births or maybe even just more confidence. It was easier to get through nursing and sleepless nights when I reminded myself of the pain and struggle I just survived, not that delivery anyway you do it isn’t amazing but for me the reminder that I just did something so hard made it easier to get through each hard moment after.”

“Bleed less + you are checked less for progress since the physical evidence is all over your face. ;)”

— One of the questions I asked was if their feelings of Euphoria were higher in medicated or unmedicated births. 70% surveyed said feelings were higher in unmedicated and 30% said it was the same across the board. 0% said higher in medicated. —

Unmedicated vs. Medicated ChildbirthPROS of MEDICATED

“I felt much more relaxed. I was able to joke and laugh with the staff… it was a joyful room. I felt like i was able to be much more present with medication.”

“Having the epidural gave me a sense of peace because I didn’t know how to be during the pain and when the baby actually came out.”

“My baby finally arrived! My Dr was willing to give me very low dose of the epidural so I still felt pushing and contractions which was nice. Also I had to have stitches, and I’m glad I was numb for that!!”

“The best thing was after the epidural getting to rest and take a nap / save up energy before pushing.”

“Calm and controlled labor.”

“I was more rested and mindful of the pushing process. The entire room felt calmer during each push that brought me closer to my daughter.”

“Just the chillness of it all. Laying there chatting with your husband about how excited you are about having a baby instead of focusing on working through the pain with your husband doing his best to help. For me the excitement is higher because I’m not in pain, and it allows me to really soak up that brand new baby when they lay him/her on my chest. I know some women describe natural birth as peaceful, but maybe I was too much a whimp. The epidural route definitely felt peaceful to me.”

Less anxiety in spouse or partner.

“I was able to focus more on the joy of birthing another baby and feel more connected to my husband during labor. I also felt more in control of the entire experience simply because I wasn’t focusing entirely on my own body. I felt energized and amazing afterwards instead of just exhausted.”

“Planned C-Section takes all the stress out of planning for childcare, being physically and emotionally ready, feeling more control leading up to delivery where I never felt that way before.”

Unmedicated vs. Medicated ChildbirthCONS of UNMEDICATED

Pain. 100% said this.

“Your spouse or support system dealing with you being in pain.”

“Faster deliveries. It sounds like a Pro, but if you’re not ready for it (or you husband or doula isn’t there yet) it can be so stressful.” Of those surveyed several births went much quicker than anticipated and the stress and anxiety of not being able to mentally prepare to deliver can be overwhelming (Edit: I can vouch for this as it’s happened to me, too!)

“After delivery my body went into almost a shock. I shook so bad that I couldn’t hold my brand new little love. I was wrapped with heat blankets.” (Edit: This happened to me with my first as well. I shook for 30+ minutes but it helped after I ate and got blankets on. Luckily he was getting his bath so I didn’t feel like I couldn’t hold him.)

“Not as joyful or light of an experience. It’s an intensity I’ve never felt until she was delivered.”

Treatment by hospital staff — “Unmedicated in a hospital, there was a feeling of judgment and like I was doing something wrong. That I was hurting my baby by waiting to give her the first bath immediately after birth. Just the lack of support from the people who were supposed to be there to care for me.”

“Transitioning (or dilating through 7 to 10 cm) When you start to say “I can’t do this” I bet 1 million dollars you’re transitioning. All women have different reactions to this intense time but typically the contractions get longer and closer together, you feel like you’re not getting a break or can’t get comfortable.”

“That burning ring of Fire is legit 😂.” (That would be the feeling when your baby’s head crowns.)

Unmedicated vs. Medicated ChildbirthCONS of MEDICATED

Longer delivery or slowed delivery once the epidural was in. (70% of responses)

Slower to progress is attributed to why medicated births have higher rates of C-Section. Cited from this source.

“I didn’t get to experience the process as much… the machine would tell me when I was contracting, my doctor told me when my babies were crowning… I couldn’t tell myself and that sort of takes something away from childbirth.”

“The epidural took multiple attempts for success.”

“Since you can’t feel it, its hard to know what is going on. Like birth is being done or happening to you, not that you’re in charge.”

“Body aches for the week after – mostly in my back. I also don’t love that you can’t get up and showered for a long time after.”

“The pain in your spine AFTER you leave the hospital. I feel pressure in my spine, where the needle was inserted.”

“Things become part of the doctor’s schedule instead of yours” Edit: Lots of responses said they sat fully dilated for long periods of time until the doctor was ready to come in and deliver.

Longer pushing.

“A bad epidural is worse than no epidural.”

Epidural Side Effects: “Too numb” throwing up, headaches, nerve damage, pain, or numbness for days, week, some even had years after delivery.

“I can’t fully empty my bladder for a while after having and epidural.”

“I felt so claustrophobic the moment they hooked me up to all the different machines. I had two bands wrapped around my stomach to monitor each baby’s heartbeat, my IV in my arm, and the epidural hanging from my back. I felt trapped and it made me panic A LOT. I was uncomfortable and couldn’t move the way I wanted to. I also felt like that birth was just a waiting game. No one worked together to make it happen. I laid there. My husband fell asleep. And a nurse came in every couple hours to check me. There wasn’t much emotion until the babies were actually coming out. And when they were born, I felt a moment of disconnect. As much as I hate admitting it, it’s true. It took me a second for my brain to wrap around the fact that the two humans that lived inside me were now outside of my body. And then once my epidural wore off I felt like I got hit by a semi truck. I felt crippled. I couldn’t walk and could barely breathe on my own. The recovery was really hard on me and as dramatic as it sounds, I feel like I can still feel the spot where they put my epidural… granted I have an unbelievable fear of needles!”

“I didn’t feel like I was in control of my body and couldn’t help the labor progress. I felt groggy afterwards and more “numb” to the whole experience. My milk was slower to come in than my unmedicated births.”Medicated vs. Unmedicated

RECOVERY:

To generalize all those surveyed: the immediate effects and recovery were better with unmedicated, although over time the recoveries evened out with the exception of body aches for medicated/epidural. *This is not including C-Section recoveries which were longer and harder, or those who tore or who had episiotomies or those who had body shakes due to shock — which can happen in both medicated and unmedicated deliveries.

Almost all who had PPD post-birth had little to do with the type of delivery and almost all to do with living environment. Not having a support system nearby, living away from family, having multiple children and not able to catch up on sleep, or the temperament of the baby itself.

ADVICE for UNMEDICATED

I’d definitely have more of a plan and understanding of the natural stages of birth. Having had medicated prior, i didn’t really know what I was in for 100%.

Tell your staff as soon as possible that you plan on delivering without medication. Even ask before go in who they’d recommend. Having a supportive staff is crucial.

Finding your center when things progress quickly. How to react and move through things when the timeline is sped up!

Hypnobirthing classes, relaxation tapes, a doula, something extra to help you get through the intense parts.

If you’re at peace with a medicated birth and you stay calm throughout it, things tend to be easier recovering. Doesnt mean it’s easy, but think of adding a hard recovery with unstable emotions vs. a tougher recovery with a positive mindset and emotions. One is definitely easier. And I believe we learn more from being positive and can see what needs to be different for another birth experience to be more positive.

— I hope this helps lay out some of the realities of delivery, things you can expect or prepare for either way. Reading the PRO list for both had me weepy. It is such a beautiful experience and you can see that no matter how you deliver. I hope the CON list doesn’t terrify anyone too much, but merely informs. You can’t always control your situation, but you can be informed and understand your options. I kept these women private, but I want to thank them all for taking the time to submit this survey!! — xo Emily

mine + ours: books #8

April was a GOOD reading month for me. I had lots of travel time and the book picks were all excellent so I cruised through! Here’s what I’ve got for you:

MINE:

Audible: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. This is a story about the walls we put up and the courage and vulnerability it takes to break them back down. It’s so funny and then also knocks you off your feet with some sadness, too. I say listen to this because the book is set in Glasgow, Scotland and the accents make it even more hilarious. I absolutely adored it. Also, on Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club pick list if you’re a fan of her picks! *Trigger warning: she has memory recollections of an abusive past so not super blatant, but still there.Small Fry Book Recs

Read: The Great Alone. I actually listened to this one as well, but it was so breathtaking I wished I had a hardcopy to mark up, re-read my favorite lines and take it in a little bit more. This is the story of a young girl and her parents who escape her father’s PTSD from the Korean War by running off to homestead in Alaska, albeit woefully unprepared. Ultimately a story of the unshakable love of a mother. I absolutely wept through the last section. Tears streaming. *Trigger warning: there is fair amount of implied domestic abuse and some actual scenes in this.

Small Fry Book Recs

OURS:

Wee Society sent me a copy of this book  Go! My Adventure Journal and it is the most darling thing. SO perfect for a special Summer vacation! Each page is interactive and at the end will be a whole journal of your family vacation. Pages to keep track of special activities, memories, musings and observations about things that you would normally forget. So impressed and happy with this one!


Here’s some of the pages!

See my other book picks in this series here!

Chief Travel Guide: #2

I’ve been throwing around the idea of a self-care vacation for years now and finally got cracking on some research in my price range! See what I’m thinking about on this month’s  post with Alamo, as a Chief Travel Guide!

Have you ever taken one of these vacations? Either a solo woman going off on her own, with a group of friends or sisters, a significant other? I’d love to hear how it worked out for you or what your ideal is? Check out my post right here!

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mine + ours: books #7

MINE:

I listened to Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. It is the story of three families living in the picture perfect planned town of Shaker, Ohio. It “explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.” It is the top 10 most read books on Amazon right now and just got picked up for a 8 episode series on Hulu with Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington at the helm of production. I am always glad when I read a book before it’s cast because I can’t unsee whoever is in each role, so hurry up before they do! This would be a fascinating book to do with a book club because there really is no way to NOT have an opinion on some of the events and themes. I wish I would have actually read it because I missed some things listening that I had to ask friends about after! Little Fires Everywhere

OURS: We rolled the dice on some library books this month (its always hit and miss for me) and we had a huge win with The Mighty Lalouche. The most charming book about a French Postman who decides to become a boxer. The illustrations are all paper cutouts and I died over every page with its French words worked throughout. Immediately ordered for our collection!The Mighty Lalouche

More Book reviews here!

PRIME EASTER

Got nothing for Easter? Same boat. I rounded up Easter Basket fillers that you can ship Prime-style to your house just in time – but like order it right now. Also if you stick with me, I am showing you how to turn your Easter Basket finds into Spring Break activities for the WHOLE week. Ready?

PRIME SHIPPING EASTER

CRAFTING:

Block Art is a fun creative gift and it’s quiet so it can come with you on road trips, to church and all ages can have fun with it!

This sticker set would be so fun to divvy out, gift the whole thing your older child to decorate their binders or new skateboard (below.) Stretch out the sticker fiesta and have a fake auction with monopoly money. Let them buy sell and trade their favorites.

Non-drying clay. Get on board, and let’s forget Play Doh ever existed. This doesn’t dry out!

Craft Box. Craft projects galore and who has all this stuff on hand anyway?

These DIY nesting eggs would be such a fun activity to do before Easter and then stuff them for the big day! Use that craft bin to jazz them up, paint, markers, washi tape. Then you also have a fun Easter Heirloom when you’re done!

ACITIVE PLAY:

Sport cones are not only good for making goals and sidelines but also obstacle courses, tracks for your scooters, three legged races, hop on one foot and any other bogus race style you can think of to tire them out.

Penny Boards are $100+ dollars but these knock off small boards are only $30. A great option to see if you kid even likes skateboarding first, ha! But also, my kids luge on theirs, race on their bums, race their toys against each other, make our poor chickens ride on them.

Walkie Talkies provide a little extra fun for all your Spring Break activities. Hide and Seek, Treasure Hunt, Steal the Flag, but get a 4 pack because if you have more than 2 kids it’s a fight every time.

Globber Scooters are almost half the price of Micro and just as good. They will carry your kid from 15 months (Raleigh started then, no lie) to 8 years old and beyond. The best investment you will make for your kid!

No one is more uneasy about including water guns (always too soon) but this will come in handy for a DIY idea I have coming later this week! Trust! Take it as an opportunity to talk about what guns are for and how to be extra safe and conscientious.

That same DIY needs Tempera Paints and this set is stellar. Washable Paint will provide you unlimited fun with your kids. Stock up!

Indoor/Outdoor Option with this Road Tape! Build Cities with your blocks, plastic animals, make your cities rules and laws, have an election. I don’t know man, get through it is what I am saying.

Bubbles. A Springtime essential. Grab a 6 pack for the whole family and then this giant bubble making set! A whole bubble themed day right here!

Another pack idea with  jump ropes, easy sibling gifts that later can be accessories to your race day, a way to get wiggles out indoors, who can jump the longest contest.

Swim Clothes: If you have even a remotely warm day get outside for your Bubble Day, Water Balloons, Lawn Games and set them up with some cute swim shorts (I love Volcom because they look like shorts when they’re dry.) Waterproof shoes (If you don’t know Natives are life and have been since Hayes was 1.) and a freaking cute Swim Suit + Turban Set for your girl with these waterproof Birkenstocks! (cute style here too!) I did a HUGE round up of suits in this post here so check it out if you want more options!

LAWN GAMES:

This sleeping bag is great for a fun night out under the stars but also for their daily reading time, sibling or cousin sleepover, watching a movie on a rainy day and more. Set them up with this flashlight to make everything extra exciting.

Ring Toss // Croquet // Giant Jenga // Lawn Bowling — all of which easily transport inside if weather isn’t great!

INDOOR IDEAS:

CodeNames is one of our favorite games to play with friends and this kid version lets them in on the fun, too!

These Letz Talk cards can inspire deep conversations all Spring Break long. Have them practice writing or typing skills and write their answers, get them journals or notebooks for a place to keep their responses. Then write your own responses back to them and BAM you’ve got yourself a mom and son/daughter journal to pass back and forth!

Dress Up Magnet Dolls – This can go two ways. Make everything a conversation and talk about the pros and cons of each vocation. Its always hilarious to see what kids think about jobs and what would make them fur or awful in their brains. Or take it the fashion route and tell them they have to design their own paper doll outfit out of consturction paper, or creating something for their sibling or friend just out of toilet paper. Model your fashions for everyone and watch the magic unfold. I did this as a kid at my birthday party one year and it was a blast.

BABY

If you’ve got a smaller toddler these gifts are great for them! Sorting Blocks Box // Balancing Block Game // Fruit Slicing 

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hale center theatre [giveaway!]

Photos by Hale Center Theatre.

I can’t say enough good things about Hale Center Theatre. They have multiple locations now but when I was 9 until now their cozy Orem, Utah location was my jam. We had season tickets each year and they always put on such an amazing show. To see what Hale has accomplished over the last two decades and now their inaugural season at their 120,000 square foot 80 million dollar theater in Sandy is really special and close to my heart! Their new theater is gorgeous (Russ of course had to point out all the excellent finish work) state of the art and is the most technologically advance theater in the world. Their stages alone took my breath away how they break apart, raise and lift, and sink below the ground. It adds such a magical quality to their productions and really makes the story come to life in a whole new way! At the same time I love the nostalgia of the Orem location and how there is 360 degree seating. They also added LED screens overhead to really make you feel immersed in the set. So cool!We saw Hunchback of Notre Dame last night and I felt so much pride and shock that a production of that quality is only $30 a ticket. They are dedicated to keeping theater affordable so families can attend and I love that so much. I was that girl and I hope my boys are theater lovers, too! I wish you could see better in this photo but the actors are literally three stories up on this set. All raised from their lifts underground!I am giving away tickets today for the show of your choice, although Hunchback was so amazing and you have until March 31st if you want to cash in for that show! I’ll put details of how to enter on my Insta Stories as well as a tour of the theater!

Huge thanks to Hale Center Theatre for the fun evening, we will be back FOR SURE!

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