June 4, 2015

5 Tips for a Simple (and Awesome!) Summer

I've really been loving the Sorta Awesome podcast. I used to enjoy Megan's blog, but since she quit blogging and started podcasting, I think I'm even more of a fan! Last week's episode was all about summer - and it inspired me to write a list of simple summer awesomeness of my own.

Here are the five easy things I've been doing to make my summer more awesome so far!
  1. Make cold treats. I got a blender for Mother's Day, and have been making smoothies almost every day. I bought a big 6lb bag of frozen strawberries at Costco, and I set out about 15 of them on a plate an hour ahead (or if I forget, then I microwave them for 30 seconds). I add in a banana, a handful of spinach, and about a half cup of almond milk, with the slightly-thawed strawberries, and hey, presto! Delicious creamy smoothies. That amount is perfect for me and the girls. If Noel's home, I add in another handful of spinach and 5-6 more strawberries, with a little extra milk. We also make popsicles sometimes, by freezing fruit juice in our popsicle molds.
  2. Relax screen time rules. This might sound silly, but I *just* realized that if I pick up a Redbox movie in the morning on one day, it's not due till 9pm the next day. Plus Redbox is doing a bunch of summer text specials. (I texted SUMMER to 727272 to get started, now they keep texting me deals.) So on day one we get a kid movie, plus usually a freebie grown-up movie. Then we have a "family movie night" (and then Noel and I watch another movie later), and in the afternoon of day two we can watch the kid movie again. I've been letting E watch it the second time while Juliet naps, and Eleanor loves the "mommy movie dates" in the afternoon. Winners: Big Hero 6, Paddington, Mockingjay, Captain America 2. We enjoyed: Imitation Game, Divergent. Massive failure: Boxtrolls.
  3. Treat yourself. We have swim lessons twice a week, plus we've been going to my mother-in-law's house and my grandma's house for swim time! Park equipment is at the "if you sit on it you will burn your thighs off" phase for the next few months, and we get stir-crazy inside, so swimming it is. The only problem is that both of my girls have inherited my crazy dry skin, and we all get really gross and flaky from all the chlorine. So I have been SLATHERING us in Burt's Bees Baby Bee Original Lotion, even though it's a little pricey. I love that it doesn't make any of us break out, it smells great, and it rubs in really smoothly. 

  4. Read more. We've been going to the library at least twice a week, because Eleanor is obsessed with wanting to get stickers for her reading chart, and because we need new books since we've been reading so much. I love that they put out extra crayons and coloring sheets in the summer time, so we hang out at the library a little longer, enjoying the air conditioning. And then I'm usually guaranteed a blissfully quiet car ride home while they both read their new books! I've been enjoying a ton of library reads myself too (although I wait to get home before I start reading, ha). If you need some recommendations - check out the Top 10 Books from my Summer Reading List here. As for the kids, Eleanor is suddenly really enjoying Junie B. Jones and the Princess Posey series, and she read this picture book about Helen Keller's Best Friend Belle every day for 3 weeks. Juliet got a kick out of this Five Stinky Socks book, and she always loves books with pictures of dogs like in The Babies and Doggies Book.
  5. Try new recipes. We grill out a lot in the summer, but I also like having a few easy stove-top dinners up my sleeve (since cranking the AC down to make up for having the oven on seems redundant!). And I like trying new things so we don't get stuck in a rut. I have never really been a huge fan of refried beans, but for some reason lately I can NOT get enough of huevos rancheros. We've been eating it at least once a week for dinner, and then I get yummy leftovers for breakfast! It only takes about 15 minutes to make dinner, and it's so cheap: mostly tortillas, eggs, and beans. I follow the basic recipe found here, but I tweaked it a bit, as you can see in this video I recorded on Periscope the other day. 

    What's making YOUR summer awesome?

      P.S. Don't forget that the #bookwormproblems link-up is fast approaching. And this post contains some of my affiliate links, thanks for supporting Quirky Bookworm!