Summer 2017 Bucket List

Summer is full force in Florida, with our heavy humidity and daily thunderstorms. One particular afternoon Emerson asked me, “What are we doing today, guys?” (sidenote, she cracks me up) I realized it might be fun to have a summer bucket list handy for some fun ideas of what we should do over the course of the summer. Some things are big and take more planning, like a trip to Rosemary Beach, but other are fast and simple – see playing outside. I also decided I need to record more videos! Especially now that Emerson is really starting to talk. What’s on your summer agenda?

Summer bucket list with toddler,

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How To Get The Most Out Of Your Pumpkin Patch Experience.

7 simple tips to getting the most from your pumpkin patch experience.

Over the weekend we crossed another Fall Bucket List item off of our list. We went to a pumpkin patch! Pumpkin patches, or farm fall festivals are a perfect way to spend a morning or day together as a family. We especially lucked out as we had a chilly morning that lent itself to the perfect fall vibe we had going on. We donned our long sleeves and set out on our adventure.

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So how can you get the most out of your pumpkin patch? Try following these tips!

  1. Plan your visit. The first step to ensuring a wonderful experience is making sure the pumpkin patch you choose is age appropriate. We looked into a few different farms and found one geared more towards toddler-elementary aged kids. There were some other options with activities more appropriate for older kids, and while they looked like a blast, we felt we wouldn’t get the best experience there.
  2. Pack snacks.  This step is vital. We actually packed a picnic lunch. It was especially key as we arrived shortly before our normal lunch time, and were all feeling a little irritated from having spent an hour in the car. We ate first thing so that we could boost our moods and have plenty of energy to spend on all the activities. A full toddler is a happy toddler. By eating first we didn’t have to stop or drag our toddler away from activities to get her to eat. Setting up our picnic lunch first eliminates any distractions (have you tried to get a toddler to eat who just wants to keep playing??) and curbed the desire for the not-so-good-for-you snacks and treats the farm offered.
  3. Bring Cash. Normally a lot of fall festivals, local farms or pumpkin patches only accept cash. Even if they do accept major credit cards you might find some of their local food vendors or paid activities like pony rides, only accept cash.
  4. Bring a camera. There will be plenty of cute photo-opts during your visit.
  5. Participate! Many places offer fun activities such as hay rides, corn mazes, duck races, scare-crow stuffing, and more! It’s a great time to try something new, like burying yourself in corn kernels or feeding a goat.
  6. Pick out a pumpkin. This is the best part of a pumpkin patch. Searching for the perfect pumpkin. Encourage your children to pick theirs on their own. We had Emmie help find our pumpkins by giving her specific things to look for, “Can you find Daddy a pumpkin with a big stem?” but after she helped us we gave her free reign to find her own. The result was a very proud toddler and a very cute photo.
  7. Lastly, dress appropriately. Dress for the weather. If your child is cold, they won’t have the best time. The last thing you’ll want to worry about is not having fun because you’re either too warm or too cold. When in doubt, dress in layers! Another great tip? Wearing shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty is usually a good bet.

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If you’re searching for even more ways to maximize your pumpkin patch experience you can bring things like themed books, hot cider in a mug, or a pumpkin patch scavenger hunt checklist. It also can’t hurt to bring extra wipes because sometimes you just get dirty. But a dirty kid, is usually a happy kid. I mean, just look at this cutie. She was covered in head to toe dirt, from falling, pumpkin hunting, and wiping her face, but she was in her element.

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Fall Bucket List & Free Toddler Scavenger Hunt Printout

A toddler inspired fall bucket list and free toddler scavenger hunt printout.

Fall is here and with it cooler temperatures. Living in Florida means we’re still going swimming, but we’re no longer swimming in humidity. <Okay, okay, no more bad jokes> Just because our fall weather looks a little different than what we’re used to, we’re still planning on having a lot of fun this season! Here’s a peek at what’s on our Florida Fall Bucket List:

Collect pine-cones

Decorate for Halloween

Wear boots!

Pick out a pumpkin at a ‘pumpkin patch’

Visit a farm

Go to the fair

Carve a pumpkin

Roast pumpkin seeds

Go trick-or-treating

Have a fall scavenger hunt

Drink apple cider

Eat apple pie

Go camping

Do a fall-inspired craft

Have an outdoor fire

We have already started checking off things on our list, and some activities we’ll be checking off again and again. (Apple cider anyone? Yum!) What’s on your fall bucket list?

Toddler Scavenger Hunt

Don’t forget to download your very own Autumn Scavenger Hunt for Toddlers to join in on our fun!

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Camping with Toddlers & Free Camping Checklist

5 Tips for Camping with Toddlers plus free downloadable camping checklist

We went camping with Emerson this past weekend and she loved every minute of it! The weather was perfect. Warm during the day but cool at night. We cooked on the fire, went hiking, and swam in a chilly river. I wanted to share my top 5 tips for camping with toddlers:

  1. Always pack a well equipped first aid kit, including remedies for your baby/toddler. The time you think you don’t need infant ibuprofen is the one time you will need it. It’s always better to be prepared in terms of safety than to be under prepared. Your kit should include things such as: band-aids, gauze pads, medical tape, antibacterial ointment, anti-itch cream, tums, acetaminophen/ibuprofen, pepto-bismol or similar stomach medicine, allergy medicine and other baby related medicinal items such as Aquaphor or teething tablets.
  2. Bring any favorite sleeping items. This is a must. Sleeping in a tent is so exciting, but at the same time you’re also abandoning the comfort and structure of home life. We made sure to pack items that would help Emmie feel secure when falling asleep in the tent, just as if she were falling asleep at home. We made sure to pack her very own pillow, her favorite sleeping blanket and both sleeping security items (lovey & sleep star). We extended bedtime and all went to bed together to help eliminate any bedtime anxiety while camping.
  3. Bring easy to serve snacks/drinks/foods. We like to cook our food over the fire pit but this means it can take a while before everything is ready. Toddler are notorious for having little patience when it comes to waiting for food. We made sure to pack easy to serve foods and drinks. We had things like single serving fruit cups, granola bars, cheese sticks & milk boxes all for easy serving. We packed a prepared jar of grapes for a quick healthy snack. We stopped any whining or fussing simply by having quick, nutritious snacks readily available.
  4. Pack versatile layers & store some in the tent. Temperatures drop overnight so while you might be comfortable and cozy in a packed tent, the moment you step outside you’re greeted with the chilly morning air. Packing versatile layers is essential for keeping toddlers happy. I made sure to bring an extra long sleeve shirt & sweatshirt into the tent when we went to bed knowing I wouldn’t want Emmie to leave the tent before layering up in the morning. As the morning warmed up we were able to strip down layer by layer and didn’t have any issues with being too cold.
  5. Get a toddlers version of everything. We bought Emmie her own sized camping chair, her own water bottle and she brought her very own owl lantern. I also had a small flashlight for her to use but she stuck with her lantern. By giving her her very own camping items she was much more apt to leave ours alone. It helped her feel like an equal part of the camping crew. Having her own items definitely eliminated any tantrums over “needing” something that we didn’t want her to mess with.

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We enjoyed camping so much that we have already booked a longer stay in a few weeks. There’s even been some talk at attempting a backpacking trip! If you’re looking to go camping with your little one anytime soon make sure you download my free camping checklist below.

Family Camping Checklist

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Park Adventures: Exploring Florida Style

We’ve been exploring lately: finding new parks, new playgrounds, and new beaches. Exploring is why moving can be so exciting. You never know what you’re going to discover! Lately though, thanks to the mid-August heat and the overwhelming humidity, we have been finding ourselves saving our outdoor exploration until the sun is lower in the sky. There’s something about packing up the family after dinner for some dusk exploring that makes you really appreciate life. 

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Sunday Funday: New Camera, Splash Pad Adventures & Keepin’ it Casual

As the weekend wound down we found ourselves looking for a quick adventure. After a few sudden showers it turned into a beautiful evening. We decided to take advantage of it and head to the local shopping plaza so Emmie could have some time playing in the plaza’s splash pad. Oliver joined in on the fun too, mainly laying on the brick wall watching all the kids running around.
I was keeping it comfy & casual with a thrifted over-sized tee, my Thred-Up* J.Crew shorts, and some clearance booties I recently picked up from Ross. I was also wearing my newest pair of sunglasses. I tend to wear my sunglasses straight over my regular glasses. While it definitely limits my selection of sunglasses, it’s a really affordable option while still being able to see. Prescription sunglasses can get very expensive! This way, I can frequently change up my sunglasses style. 
I also received my new camera over the weekend! I’ve been practicing a lot. I have been challenging myself to only use the manual setting. All these photos were taken on my new camera. I’m looking forward to capturing some great photos. Hope your weekend was a relaxing one! Now, please pass the coffee because MONDAYS, am I right?

*This is a referral link. You will receive a $10 shopping credit to Thredup.com. I will also receive a $10 credit if you purchase an item. 
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Weekend Adventures: Swimming in the Gulf Coast

This weekend we decided to try our luck out by going to the beach right around 11am Saturday morning. While the Hubster was convinced everyone else in the town was also going to the beach, it turned out not to be the case. It took us less than 20 minutes to get from our house to the beach parking lot. It takes me longer to get to Target! And let me tell you, the beach did not  disappoint.
Last time we went on a weekday afternoon and there were hardly any people there. This time, while there were more people than a Thursday afternoon, it was still pretty empty. We found a spot and hopped right in. The water was impeccably clear. It was so clear you could see all sorts of fish swimming around. I’m pretty sure we even saw one of these little guys:
The water was so clear that within the first few minutes, I spotted a pair of goggles drifting around underwater in the sand. I managed to grab them and we took turns swimming around with our new goggles looking at all the fish.

Speaking of fish. I ended up catching one! Don’t ask me how… pure luck, I imagine. I had been joking with Kyle that I wanted to catch a fish since it was so clear you could see them all around you. That and they’d swim right into your feet. Well, while floating around I sat with my hand out in a school of tiny little fish, which attracted the bigger fish, and ended up catching one of the bigger fish! It caught me so off guard that I immediately let him go, but it’s still a pretty cool story.
Emmie had a great time “swimming” with her Dad. Her favorite was when they would sit in the water and float/jump over the waves. The water itself was the perfect temperature. Just cold enough to cool you off, but warm enough to stay in without feeling chilled.
The crystal clear, blue, warm, seaweed-free water paired with the super fine, soft, white sand got Kyle’s stamp of approval. In fact, at one point he even exclaimed, “This is by far, the nicest beach we’ve ever been too… and that includes our Caribbean honeymoon!” We ended up leaving after about an hour since it was getting close to lunch time and nap time. It’s so nice to know that we’re incredibly close to an amazing beach. We can just hop in the car for a quick beach trip, and it’s not a big deal.

If we don’t end up staying in this area long term, I can definitely see ourselves coming back to vacation here. What’s your favorite vacation spot?

PS: Those saggy bottoms kill me! The struggles of dressing a tall, but skinny, 2 year old. The bottoms fall off but the shirt’s too short.

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Phone Life

We’re mostly settled in our new house down in Florida, but we’ve been experience quite the fluctuation with our internet. Until we can really resolve the issues behind the elusive internet, it will probably continue to be pretty quiet on the blog. Hopefully these issues won’t take too long to fix since I’ve got lots of fun things to share with you! For now, here’s our life according to my phone. 

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Blowing Bubbles // Enjoying Our Weekend Outside

We’ve been seizing every opportunity to get outside and enjoy the wonderful spring weather. Our toddler activities lately have included blowing lots of bubbles, spilling a lot of bubble mix, going for wagon rides with neighbors, eating ice cream sandwiches & home made popsicles and picking dandelions for a toddler-styled bouquet. 
Even Oliver joined in on the activities. He loves chomping bubbles and he’s never one to turn down a moment of sunbathing. Days like these where we sit and feel the sun our faces and the warm breeze tussling our hair make me excited for what Florida will hold for us. What will Emerson’s childhood look like where we’ll be able to head outdoors to play year-round? I can’t say I know what her childhood will look like down in Florida, but I’m excited to find out! 

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