Beach Vacation Packing Checklist: for her & for baby

We're going on a weeklong trip to the beach this summer, and it's our first vacation just us (+Aiden) that we've taken since our honeymoon! Top things I'm excited for: a week of just us, curly fries at the boardwalk, the ocean, cleaning sand out of my bathing suit bottoms. Jk. Not that last one.

Last summer, I did a bunch of day trips with Aiden to the beach (here are my tips for bringing a baby to the beach). However, having to pack for a WEEK has me asking all the seasoned mamas I know for tips! I've included their suggestions, along with what I'll be packing for myself.

Easy packing checklist for yourself and your toddler when you go on a beach vacation this summer // via @ahopefulhood

For her (that's me):

1. Floppy hat & baseball hat as a back-up (see my indecision about floppy hats here)
2. Sweatshirt
3. 2-3 bathing suits
4. Extra snacks/frozen food for your room/house (so you aren't eating out all week/midnight snacktime)
5. 3 shorts, 1 pair of pants, a dress or 2, summery shirts
6. Rainbows (or other flip-flops) and nicer sandals
7. Cover-up (something like this?)
8. Toiletries
9. Sunglasses

For the baby/toddler: 

1. I'm no hippie, but this is some ACTUALLY chemical-free sunscreen.
2. Pop-up beach tent for oceanside naps (like this one)
3. Stroller
4. Pack-n-play (since we're all sharing one hotel room!)
5. Swim shirt, trunks + hat
6. Native shoes (which Aiden's been wearing for a month now...PERFECT for outside)
7. Reusable swim diaper + a pack of disposable diapers (we used that reusable swim diaper ALL summer last year and loved it!)
8. Things he normally sleeps with (to make it like home) which for us includes this video playing all night long haha.

Here's a snapshot from our last beach vacation together, 5 years ago on our honeymoon! We look the same, right?


What do you bring on your beach vacations? Have you ever gone to the beach with a baby? What are your tips?
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Before & After Becoming a Mom // Part 1

Thanks for sending me an item to review, PinkBlush. You're the realest and I love you. (Too far? 😉 )


I get the vibe that some people assume that having a baby changes EVERYTHING ABOUT LIFE and thus changes EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU. "If you have a kid, your personality will drastically change as you suddenly are only able to discuss diaper brands and sleep schedules. Suddenly you turn into a boring schmuck who can't hang out ever because you had a baby".......right?

I promise, it's not like that. (Actually, maybe for some people, it is?)

Here I am, over a year into being a mom, and I can confidently say that I'm still the same me. Sure, things change and life looks different, but I haven't gone off the deep end with skirted bathing suits & "the mom cut." 😉 (Thanks, Chelsea, for getting me thinking about all this!)


Before & after having a kid, I still...

1.  ...am mostly clueless. When I was in college, in my first year of teaching, and now in being a mom: I generally have no idea what to do (hello, it's all new) and I rely on prayer, advice from those wiser than I, and trial-and-error. 

2. ...have to run style choices by my trendy younger sister. Being a mom has not made me out of touch with fashion: I was that way before I birthed a child. My poor sister (who took these pics!) still gets texts like "I'm in Ross, this is $15, is it cute? Is it worth it?" Thanks to PinkBlush for helping me not stay 3 years behind trends 😉 P.S. I wore that kimono in 90-degree sunshine and it was so light and breezy I forgot I had it on.

3. ...tell long and pointless stories. Instead of them being about things my students have said to me, they're sometimes about things Aiden did today. Sorry, Devin. (Jk he loves it....right????)

4. ...love crafting. Exhibit A, B, and C

5. ...play the piano on a worship team. I've done this (with a few short breaks) ever since 7th grade when I joined our youth group team. Now, my piano-worship-practice time is interrupted by a baby climbing up on my lap and pushing keys with me. Before, my practice times were interrupted by my own easily-distracted mind. 

6. ...get energy from being with people. As a teacher, that was built into my day and friend-dates were scheduled into my calendar. Now, I have to put more effort into filling my week with baby-friendly meet-ups and activities. Just the same, quality time with others is still important to me and is something I make time for! #Extrovertlife

Spring Bump Style // thanks to @ShopPinkBlush






Has a major life event changed things for you? Are you still the same before and after some big life change?

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5 Ways to Spend Memorial Day Outside


This year, Memorial Day is my husband's birthday!! He's finally turning 25 (and I've been 25 for MONTHS so like, gosh, what a newb he is 😉 ), and we're going to spend the day however he wants (probably something that avoids crowds, small talk, obnoxious liberals, and other things he hates).

HOWEVER. Maybe the rest of you have a day off without husband-birthday-shenanigans planned, in which case...

here are a few suggestions:

*Disclaimer. These are best enjoyed with others. No judgment if you create an elaborate taco bar for just yourself. But if you know anyone else in your town/city, invite them over: acquaintances, old friends, family, your hairdresser, neighbors, etc. 

1. Classic cookout + yard games. Last year I got Kan Jam and I AM IN LOVE. That plus burgers that were on sale (thanks, grocery stores, for putting things on sale based on the upcoming holiday)...it's perfect. More perfect if you make this lemonade cocktail recipe.

2. Backyard Taco Bar. (This could be a good inside option if it's cold/rainy!)

3. Picnic at a local park. Everyone brings something, frisbees could be banned/brought (depending on your audience), kids can roam freely, you don't have to clean your house, the perks abound.

4. Hike a new trail. This is not for everyone. We love getting outside and doing something free + active, but if sunshine and bug repellent aren't for you, might I suggest a movie marathon? Bowling? Basket weaving?

5. Beach/lake getaway. This takes more planning, but it would be so fun to take a quick friend-cation to a lake or to the beach since you've got that extra day off! (And let's be real, even a day trip would be fun.)




What are your plans for the 3-day weekend?
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DIY Spring Wreath: What (Not) to Do


Have you seen all the spring wreath tutorials floating around Pinterest? Everyone seems to be able to whip up these professional-grade flowery wreaths with no trouble (or at least I'm assuming no trouble? Based on their confident how-to's)...so if you're a pro crafter and can knit a sweater in under 5 minutes, this is too basic for you.

THIS tutorial is for all us average DIYers who do things trial-and-oh-well-that's-good-enough.

Let's be real. Aren't all my DIY projects easy and for us average kids? (Like this watercolor painted wreath or these paper pinwheels.)


What you need: 
--an embroidery hoop. This is perfect for doing a wreath with a friend, because the packs come with 2 wooden circles. I know nothing of embroidery but it seems standard that there are always 2 loops.

--a FEW stems of fake flowers. I way over-bought, especially considering my hoop is probably only 10" in diameter. A few bunches of flowers/greens goes a long, long way.

--more hot glue than you'd think necessary (+1 gun). I think I used 3 whole mini glue gun sticks on my tiny wreath.

--a friend to console you when it seems like nothing's working. (Do I sound bitter?)

What to do (and what not to do):
1. Pull off a few flowers & leaves and start to lay them out on the wooden hoop.

DO NOT CUT THE GREENS/FLOWERS SO SHORT YOU HAVE NOTHING TO GLUE DOWN.

2. Once you've got the general idea of how you want things to look, glue down your background things (I used fuzzy mint leaves).

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE HOW MUCH GLUE IT'LL TAKE TO GLUE SOMETHING TO A THIN EMBROIDERY HOOP.

3. Since there's not a lot of surface area to work with on the wooden circle, try to glue the background things down to the inside and outside edge of the hoop, where there's a BIT more surface area.

DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THE WILD AMOUNTS OF GLUE USED. THE FLOWERS WILL COVER IT 😉 

4. Cover the extra-securely-attached background greenery with thin, long-stemmed flowers. Try wrapping the stem around the hoop before gluing it down, since it's most likely wire and that will give you some secure leverage before the hot glue.



The easiest spring DIY wreath to try...including secret tricks to make it all work!

What DIY projects are you trying this spring? Have you ever fought with a glue gun and lost?! 😉 
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