{beach 2014 recap}

We recently got back from a week long vacation in Duck, North Carolina on the Outer Banks. I’ve been going to Duck every other year for a while now with my family. We were trying to remember when we first started going-sometime back in the early ’90s. Every time we go to Duck, we stay on the same street and usually have extended family members who stay in other houses right up the street from us. When we went in 2010, my mom’s family had four houses on the same street! How fun!

This year, my parents, my oldest brother and his wife and two children, my younger brother, and my youngest brother and his wife all shared a house with us.

Just a quick look back at Harper’s first time at the beach in 2012 and this summer. My how much she has changed! She likes the ocean a lot better this time, ha!
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And here is Will-he’s been three times, but this most recent trip was his favorite. He didn’t really remember much about the beach before this summer. Will beach collageWe stayed in a wonderful house this year-a three story house with six bedrooms, five bathrooms, a nice pool outside. Last time we went, we were in a four bedroom, two bathroom house, which was difficult with 13 people (including four kiddos).

Our house was quite kid-friendly as well. The top level, which included a big kitchen, open dining area, large living room and a bathroom, had a built in baby gate. The house also included two high chairs and a crib! We still took along our pack n play for Harper to use, as well as her booster seat since I didn’t know the house came with high chairs.

The bottom level of our house had two king size bedrooms with attached bathrooms. It also had a nice lounge area with a tv and mini kitchen.

We stayed on the second level, which included four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Will shared a room with his almost 6 year old cousin, O. Harper stayed in our room and actually did okay sleeping (she usually doesn’t sleep as well when she’s in the same room as us). Our bedroom had direct access to the deck and views of the ocean:)

Our week consisted of swimming in the ocean in the mornings, lunch and naps, then pool time in the afternoons. Lots of staying up late (for the kiddos) and tons of fun!

{Note-this post is full of pics!}

Will and Harper enjoying some pool time.
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Attempting to get a group picture of the cousins. Harper wasn’t very happy about it. We had a 2, 3, 4, and 5 year old at our beach house.
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Each morning we walked down to the beach. The only downfall to our house was its location. It was about a 10 minute (with kids) walk to the beach.
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Getting our chairs and tent set up.  See my brother in the background? They call me Mamarazzi? Well, I’m going to call him Paparazzi, ha!

IMG_6935Harper loved playing in the sand but wasn’t too thrilled about the waves. I took her in the ocean several times and she screamed and clung on to me when the waves came up.

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Eating snacks with Grammy. Boy, this girl loves to eat!
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Will loved the sand but also enjoyed getting in the water.
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He even went out on the boogie board and rode in some waves!
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More pool time. I’m glad I invested in these Speedo life jackets for both Harper and Will. Any time we were out at the pool they wore them. I also bought a reusable swimming diaper cover made by Speedo for Harper. It worked great, and I loved not having to deal with the disposable swimmy diapers.
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Hanging out in the beach tent. This was a great buy!
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More snacking by the pool. It might seem like all my kids do is eat, since most of these pictures show them with food! That’s when they are sitting still and when I can manage to get some pics, ha!
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One day we ate lunch outside after pool time.
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I bought some bubbles and other toys for the kids to play with at the beach.
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Getting her nails painted by Aunt M.
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Getting ready for pictures. We had my cousin take some pictures of all 13 of us on the beach.
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Walking down to the beach for pictures. IMG_7412

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In the town of Duck, there is a neat boardwalk that goes along the sound. We strolled on it several times.
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Eating meals together as a family. Each night, one of the siblings was in charge of dinner. For my night, I made honey chicken lime enchiladas (I made them at home and froze them, which made dinner so much easier) and guac and chips and salsa.
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Harper visiting with her Uncle E (my youngest brother). All of my brothers are great with Harper and Will:)
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Tired girl.
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While at the beach, we celebrated my nephew O’s upcoming 6th birthday. Since Will’s aunt and uncle from NC couldn’t come to Will’s birthday party back in May, we also had a mini birthday celebration for him as well. My sister-in-law also had goodies for the girls-stickers and mermaid tattoos, as well as some cool Kinder Surprise Eggs from her recent trip to Europe.
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Here’s a picture of Harper with her great grandmother. My grandparents (mom’s parents) stayed in a beach house right down the street from us (and yes, she’s sporting a mermaid tattoo on her arm!).
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The kiddos being creative with their play.
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My oldest brother created a huge sand pit one day at the beach. It was so big that from out in the ocean, you couldn’t see Harper (though it doesn’t take much since she’s so small, ha!).

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One day, Harper was so exhausted at the beach that she fell asleep in my arms.
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Looking for fish at the pier.
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Beautiful sunset.
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More eating in the tent.
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Playing in the sand.
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Walking down the street to the boardwalk.
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Arrgh matey! Harper wasn’t so sure about this pirate.
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Walking on the boardwalk.
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Sunset on our last evening at the beach.
IMG_8152Our 2014 beach trip was wonderful! Great fun with family, swimming in the ocean and the pool, walks in the evenings, beautiful sunsets, great weather, yummy food. I can’t wait until next time:)

{oh hey Friday!}

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Happy Friday:) I’m linking up with Karli and Amy for oh hey Friday! I love having a place for a random brain dump each week, ha!

{one} Are my kids the only ones who act up and goof off at story time? All the other kids sit quietly and listen to the story.  My kids, on the other hand, are rolling around the floor, taking their shoes off, and not paying a bit of attention to the librarian read a story about sharks. See Harper there in the pink on the floor? She decided to roll around on the floor and refused to wear her shoes. Will attempted to do the same thing but he looked back at me and I gave him the look.  Otherwise, he would have been right there with her, ha! Anyway, I love taking them to story time and other events. It’s just amusing to see how they behave versus other children. 

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{two} On Tuesday, we had a movie and park/picnic day! Our movie theater shows $1 movies during the summer, so we went with our neighbors to see The Croods. Harper and Will did a pretty good job during the movie, though they got a little restless towards the end. Both were definitely ready for some fun park time afterwards! We checked out a (new to us) park that had a really fun wooden castle. 20140723-205737-75457327.jpg

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20140723-205737-75457115.jpg{three} Zucchini bread! We picked a huge zucchini from our garden the other day, so I whipped up a new chocolate chip zucchini bread recipe. It was good, but not as delicious as the chocolate zucchini bread recipe from This Week for Dinner. Do you have a go-to zucchini recipe?20140723-205737-75457810.jpg

{four} From our garden, we have also picked several green peppers. I made some yummy chicken cheesesteaks with peppers and onions this week. They were so good and easy to make…they will be part of my go-to meals from now on:) 20140723-205737-75457611.jpg

{five} Ten years…my hubby and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary yesterday. We got married what seems like so long ago, on July 24, 2004. Here we are, ten years, two houses, and two kiddos later:) Love ya, babe! I recently saw this idea on Young House Love and started digging back through our old pictures trying to find one of us each year on/around our anniversary. I wish we would have started this from the beginning-taking a picture of us on 7/24 each year. I plan on starting now and finding pics from previous years to frame. However, it’s been tough to find many pictures of us pre-kiddos. My siblings and husband call me “Mamarazzi” since I constantly have my camera with me and take tons of pictures, ha! So we’re good on pics of us as a family since 2010. Anything before that…not so much. I couldn’t find a single picture of the two of us in 2007:(20140723-205738-75458035.jpgHappy Friday!

{Christmas in July Gift Exchange!}

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I recently participated in a fun Christmas in July gift exchange with Courtney and Jenny! I was matched up with Julie and sent her this box of goodies. Check out her blog for a recap!

IMG_6042Courtney, who co-hosted the exchange, received my name and sent us a wonderful box of goodies! We just got back from our beach trip and Harper and Will were so excited to receive a package:)

Eagerly opening the box…

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Pulling out the gifts…

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Glow sticks!

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And bath toys (Boon-a favorite brand of mine!)!
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Glitter pipe cleaners!

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A Planes activity/sticker book!

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Not only glow sticks but glow stick sunglasses! How cool! Will got his own orange glow stick (his fave color) and Harper received a purple one (her fave color). They were amazed that they both got their favorite colors! Will even said, “How did they know orange was my favorite color?!”
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Lisa Frank stickers-who remembers those from their childhood? Maybe I’m just getting old, ha! And even a wonderful book for me! The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art and CreativityIMG_8210

Will and Harper immediately opened the glitter pipe cleaners and started creating an art project with them.
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Glow sticks were next…even though it wasn’t dark out, they hid under the covers and played with them.

Loving the stickers!
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We received a cute homemade card from Aria wishing us a happy summer. Thanks so much, Aria and Courtney! We love our gifts:) It was lots of fun to get these goodies in the middle of summer!

{soaking up summer // it’s the little things}

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Hello! I’m linking up with Jess and Ashley for a quick “It’s the Little Things” post. 

We are soaking up every minute of summer…school starts in less than three weeks, boo. I know we still have many more days of fun before school starts, but the countdown has begun:( This summer has flown by-it seems like summers fly by even more as the kiddos get bigger. I suppose part of it is because we are so busy and have had so much fun this summer doing all kinds of activities. 

However, while I don’t want the summer to be over, there’s something fun about back to school and the newness of things.  Plus, it means that my favorite season is coming soon: fall! I love all our fun traditions of fall.  But now it’s back to summer and some recent scenes around our house.

Harper and Will love playing outside, especially on our neighbor’s gym set and in their sand box. Here they are setting up a restaurant and serving lunch to mommy. 

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Will is showing off his new talent of swinging standing up.  Of course, Miss Harper has to try to copy exactly what he does.20140721-201336-72816731.jpg

Story time at one of our local libraries. We switch it up and go to one of three libraries for story time since each one is quite different. 20140721-201337-72817147.jpg

Checking out the hydrangeas outside. My little gardeners:)20140721-201337-72817621.jpg

Sliding and running around outside. 20140721-201337-72817866.jpg

At the local park after story time. We typically go to the park after the story time at the city library. 20140721-201337-72817378.jpgMore summer fun to come…a trip to the state fair, lots of time at the park, possibly going to a splash park, summer walks, and just plain ole fun outside!

 

Weekly Pinterest Project: Week 50-Beach Countdown Chain

For today’s Pinterest project, Will and I created a simple countdown to our beach trip chain.  We always love counting down to special events and holidays, so I did some searching on Pinterest for a beach countdown chain. I found one and modified it to fit my artistic abilities (which are greatly lacking, ha!).  Plus, I did the prep work during nap time and didn’t want to spend tons of time on it…too much else to get done during my time of “peace and quiet,” as Will calls it.

I cut out strips of blue construction paper for the actual chains and created some orange starfish, yellow seashells, and white sand dollars.  These were done freehand, so don’t look too close! They aren’t that good, but I figured Will and Harper would appreciate it!

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When Will woke up from his nap, he helped me attach the chain and strategically place the shells and stars in a pattern.

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Waiting for instructions from mommy.

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He handed me the blue strips and I stapled them together.

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He selected the shells to go on each chain and I stapled them on.

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Since I didn’t want to make a huge chain, we started the chain countdown 12 days before we headed to the beach.

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Will displaying our masterpiece!

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What types of countdowns do you do with your kiddos?

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{back from the beach}

As you know, I love to look back at pictures and compare how much my kiddos have changed. We just got back from a week at the Outer Banks, so I will be working on a beach post later this week. However, I created a quick comparison of how much our family has changed since we started going to the beach with kiddos back in 2010 when Will was just two months old! In 2012, Harper was four months and Will was two. This year, we had a four year old and a two year old-so, so much easier! This was also the first time (in four years) that I wasn’t nursing while at the beach, which was nice! 

A beach recap will be coming later this week:)
beach collage

Fun {free!} Summer Day!

On 7/11, we headed to a local bounce house to use our free tickets that we received from our local library. For our summer reading program, we keep a log of the books that I read to Harper and Will. We frequently go to the library and get our book list stamped, and in turn, we get to select some cool prizes. Last time, we picked up two free passes to a local bounce house-a $12 value!

Having fun at the bounce house! Harper liked the mini bounce house/slide.20140716-072707-26827164.jpg
Will preferred the bigger bounce house, which included obstacle courses and a climbing wall. 
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Since it just happened to be 7/11, we went to 7 Eleven and picked up some free lemonade slurpees! Yum! I gave Will and Harper their own mini slurpees (filled part way up), which they loved! 
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20140716-072709-26829205.jpgWhat free summer activities do you enjoy?!