a kids camp wrap up, a week later

Our church doesn't do like your typical VBS, they call theirs Kids Camp. And it was last week. Every night from 5:30-8:30 the bigger kids and I were there in our matching shirts. Navy for the older art group and yellow for the younger sports group. Each kid can register for a "track" that they can focus on for the week. Music, drama, dance, sports or art. I helped out with Letty's group because that is just what I tend to do. And after a week of hanging out with those soon to be third graders I felt like I had been through the ringer!

Letty got to do all sorts of fun things! Paint a tree, do a self portrait, use a drill press and then a blow torch... I mean things that little girls dream of! And she sure doesn't mind spending time with her lady friends! Neither do I, if I'm being honest. I didn't get to see David too much of course but he had the best time playing all different sports with his friends! And on the final night after we had our milkshakes and the kids all showed off what they worked on some moms celebrated! It was well deserved!

pineview dairy and cherries

Cherries are in season and of course you know we are all about our fruit picking around here so the first chance I could get I took the kids down there (it is so far away, I mean 35 minutes feels like a lifetime when the three kids are in the van with no devices). I packed a lunch and we went to Pine View Dairy first, because it's just down the road a piece from the orchard. We saw baby cows, we ate our lunch, and we got our ice cream. Well, the kids did. I would be a thousand pounds if I got ice cream each and every time they did.

a beachy father's day

After all that fun in the sun yesterday Aunt Sue decided she could use a little break from it on Father's Day, and so our original plans of heading to horse island changed to just heading over to the beach. We were going to leave right after an early dinner anyways so it made sense not to drive the boat all the way down there, especially while the air show went on another day. No more tsunamis! It was Father's Day but I still squeezed a final run in first... And then beach day! It was so stinking cold down by the water though! Again, that doesn't stop the kids. When we were even more tanned and sandy we went back for a quick dip in the pool before heading home... 

a beach day

Our first full day at the beach started as they always do, with me driving to Uber Bagels and then running three miles before picking up said bagels. Matt needs him some Asiago Bay bagels. Four of them, to be exact. While I was running around the kids woke up and got their fishing rods all ready to go to head to the bay when I got back. No one caught anything this time though, not for lack of trying! It was so windy and chilly that Dom and I didn't last too long...

we went to the beach and david saved two turtles

We spent our weekend last down at the beach visiting with Matt's aunt and uncle, as we have tended to do these most recent of Father's Day weekends. I personally think it's so special for Matt to spend that weekend with his dad's brother. And the kids get to do all sorts of different types of things. Like sit on pontoon boats and set up crab pots. 

We left right after Letty's tutoring session as it was sort of on the way and got there mid afternoon on our first day. The kids wanted to swim even though it was cold so that is of course what we did. David being David he was checking out all the pool filters and to my dismay lifted up this what appeared to be black chunk... I immediately was like drop that! Until he told me it was a baby turtle. And what's more is that there was another one stuck in there as well. So we fixed that right on up by sending them back to the bay.

We  had dinner on the deck back at their house of course... Letty is super in to helping Aunt Sue with the dishes which I mean, who am I to hold her back? She also got to start in on this super fun craft with her as well. Fun aunts, I'll tell you. We spent the rest of the night sitting on the deck and watching the massive storm from the north roll on by, all while staying dry ourselves...

And the best way to start a beach weekend, with a fire!

hersheypark at night

I know we go to Hersheypark when it is dark out a lot in the fall and winter... I mean they don't call it Hersheypark in the Dark for nothing right? But there is just something about going during the summer that makes it different. The weather is infinitely better, for one. And there are no bedtimes. That's huge. 

I dragged Matt along.... Which this may come as a surprise to you all but he doesn't like Hersheypark. I think he is parked out. He doesn't really go on rides so it's more of a support mission. He helps me with Dom and I go on all the thrill rides. So to ease this trip we went to dinner (with drinks!) beforehand. Nothing like eating a ton of food and then riding all the coasters in all the land. I had this amazing steak salad with all the blue cheese and it was seriously just amazing. So if you go to Houlihans in Hershey I am fully vouching for that salad.

Letty was allowed on a new ride for her this night, The Great Bear. She is like riiiiight on the cusp of being the next height category so I guess it depends on who is working the measure stick thingy.... We also got a glimpse of our future as she took off in her little convertible all by her lonesome. I finally put my anxiety aside and took the big kids on the adult swings and yeah no thanks I'll sit that ride out from here on till forever. Not only did it make me want to puke but my anxiety was through the roof.... Those things go high, people. Like, real high. And fun fact? When I got off the ride my iWatch asked me if I was currently swimming... So there's that. 

a week’s worth of little summer things

I have my list, as you can imagine, of things that I want to do this summer. If I did not have a list then things would be missed or forgotten and I cannot allow that. So. Our first week (ish) of summer break and we just hit the ground running with all the little fun summer things! Like hitting up a local restaurant that has quite the deck and a playground right there and hey, island music playing! We also had swim dates with family... We took the kids to a favorite park of their's, it has a zip line and they talk about it alllllll the year long.... We also hit up the Jigger Shop with our family and the park they have there as well.... Our church's "VBS" called Kids Camp is also happening this week..... 

And we are just getting started!

family farm days

We go here every year. And I do wonder why we keep going other than for the free samples and the fact that it's tradition... But those samples are really good! Chocolate milk and ice cream? Plus maybe a side of popcorn? Yes, you ride a tractor through a dairy barn which smells icky and is dirty but hey, these kids need to appreciate the agriculture world right? 

a pretzel tour!

Last week on a rainy day my friend Janelle came up with the bright idea to tour a local pretzel gem with the kids, which as you may know is right up my ally. I went to this once before but honestly didn't remember much from it other than the kids got a free bag of pretzels afterwards. This place is called the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Factory for you locals and it was like, $12 for the tour for my four.

We got a brief history all about the pretzel and then the kids got to twist their very own little pretzel before checking out the ovens and then of course, free pretzels. 

smile fearlessly + a giveaway

For years and years my dentist has been encouraging me to get myself an electric toothbrush. She said it would help my gums (among many other things but that was her particular reason for suggesting it to me, personally)... as some of us (ahem, me) tend to do we nod our heads and then go  home and go on living our lives... just to repeat the entire scenario in six months. Well a few years ago I decided I would finally pick one up at Target... the cheapest one I could find because apparently the health of my gums is at the bottom of my budget priority list. And it's been working... Nothing special about it. Vanilla, if you will.

When Smile Brilliant (do you remember them? They got my teeth all pearly white?) contacted me asking if I would be interested in checking out their cariPRO Ultrasonic electric toothbrush I was super excited! Not just your run-of-the-mill toothbrush here, no! And it even matches my bathroom color scheme so so well!

What else do I love about it? It has five different brush modes, my favorite are the massage and the sensitive settings, because my teeth are as neurotic as the mouth that wears them. It has a thirty day battery life which means I can take it with me on vacation unlike my old brush. It's way cuter and sleeker and easier to clean. I won't even show you my "before" toothbrush - it wasn't pretty. And what else!? A timer to let you know when you've done enough brushing! This is genius! And I say "timer" loosely... the toothbrush simple pauses for a second so you know it's time to move on to another quadrant of the mouth. 

Need to know more? Check out their FAQ page here.

the drive-in!

There is just something that screams summer about the drive-in right? There is to me anyways. We did this two summers ago and it was on my list for last summer too but we just never got around to it. It's sort of a big undertaking, driving about 45 minutes each way and then you have to be there super early to get that prime spot so basically it's like six hour time investment. So it was the last day of school and a gorgeous  night, not too hot and we thought okay, this is it! We do this right this very day or we just know we won't make it any other time.

We packed snacks. Oh the snacks. Bags and bags of snacks. Even a cooler this time! Because: provisions. The Secret Life of Pets 2 was playing first... of course we all knew we wouldn't make it to the second movie. We set up our little shop in our van complete with private potty station and the kids played with their iPads and read library books and of course: snacked. The movie started right at nine after the prettiest of sunsets and the kids were asleep by the time we hit the highway...

last day of first and second grade

The older they get the faster it goes by am I right? And then I went and put them in the same clothes from their first day to do like a side-by-side comparison and they just look the same and yet so different and the feelings that time passing brings! I officially (as of last Friday) have a second grade son and a third grade daughter!! How that is even a thing is beyond me. No thank you. But also thank you!! Healthy kids growing on up and being their happy but somewhat crazy selves? How lucky are we!?

end of year things...

June, and May to be in fact, are just this sprint to the finish line. Get all the things done in the shortest amount of time all while somehow feeding and bathing your kids and not forgetting their special snack or their lunch. Or their shoes. 

my beachy favs as of late, with formulate!

Oh it is beach season baby! We have ourselves a few beach weekends coming up this summer and we must be prepared for this! I got myself some new suits, including this black number that is an adventure in tan lines.... a new fun tassel cover up.... and new beach bag (because as a family of five one is never enough, never, never!!!) that just makes me feel like I am on a boat in Nantucket or some such thing. Just throw in a book and maybe some sunscreen for Letty and I am set! 

But let us not forget the beach hair. Beach hair is just like, the best hair. The salt water does something wonderful does it not? But as I am a charter member of The Dirty Hair Club, I do not get my hair wet at the beach. Or the pool. I create my own beach hair. Last September I shared with you all my new found love of Formulate. A company that makes good for you shampoo and conditioner, tailor made to fit you and your special hair needs.

So here I am, nine months in, and I'm still using the same bottles. I probably have only one more wash left before I run out so I was super happy to get replacements! 

our memorial day

As per tradition dictates we always head to Lititz to watch the little parade they have there on Memorial Day. We park at my brother's and the whole lot of us walk down there to wave our flags and clap at all the service men and women. Wave those flags kids. Wave em!

a sunday swim day

Sunday spin at the gym... and then Sunday brunch! Or as they are more commonly known in my family, a power breakfast. All the foods. We still had our visitors but this time it was Matt's turn to cook. After all of the eating some people went to the shooting range, some went off shopping, and some (us, always us) stayed and swam! And yes, Letty is in the same top from yesterday but when we learned they all had matching tanks I had to wash it for a photo!

a morning in lititz and an evening with family

We are the tradition that never ends! Every Saturday before Memorial Day we all take the kids to Lititz Springs Park for some play time for them and then we go to the Bullshead for some playtime for us. It's also my brother-in-law Colton's birthday weekend so it's sort of a thing. We cheers the Big C and hang out. In red, white and blue clothing.

the waterpark! and hershey!

You know me and my Memorial Day Weekends right? And if not, allow me to elaborate. All the activities. All the weekend long. All the patriotic wear.... annnnd go! Or I suppose I should say, andiamo!

So the kids had a half day on the Friday before Memorial Day and I took them straight from the bus stop to Hersheypark. We met up with my siblings and their kids too of course because we travel in packs. We are pack animals. We did a few quick rides before heading to the water park area. It was a season pass holder only event so we thought it wouldn't be so busy but it actually kind of was.... The kids still had fun though as they tend to do when water is involved.... and my head was spinning from the constant counting I do when I'm a solo parent and there are crowds.. 1, 2, 3... good. 1, 2, 3... good!