Easter Traditions

I just love Easter! It’s really the first spring holiday and it’s a celebration of Life, Resurrection, and Spring! What more can you ask for in a holiday? Plus, since the only expected gift for Easter is an unreasonable amount of candy for the kids, it’s a super easy holiday to shop for.

I’ve always loved Easter and our traditions are rather eclectic, in my opinion. I’d love to hear what you do in the comments below!

Church – Our Church doesn’t do a sunrise service, but they do cancel most of the Sunday School classes so we usually go to the early service and then head home to finish up food before everyone arrives.

Dinner – I just love a good Easter Dinner. We have family over for Easter Dinner after Church every Easter. What’s funny about this tradition. I generally make the same food every year as well. If you need inspiration, here’s my menu for this year. Plus some of my recipes. Most of these can be mixed up or made the day before and just put in the oven on time bake when I leave for Church in the morning. So your Easter Morning prep is actually super simple.



Deviled Eggs
Cheese Ball
Honeybaked Ham – From the Honeybaked Ham store, I can make ham but it’s not as good as theirs.
Sweet Potato Casserole
Corn Pudding
Lemon Tart
Grape Punch – mix equal parts grape juice and ginger ale and drop in 2 to 3 frozen raspberries or blackberries per glass. Delicious, easy, and a favorite among the kids!


Egg Hunt – And of course, the kids all love the Easter Egg hunt! We had to convince my 3yr old already that plastic eggs exist – I showed him an egg that I had put a toy in already. He’s so excited and can’t wait for Easter this year! He’s been explaining to everyone this week about how there’s these plastic eggs and Mommy puts toys in them for Easter.

I love how much fun this is! My kids have way to much candy still stashed from Halloween and Christmas so I’ve done toys in the Easter Eggs this year.

Toy List:

Bouncy balls
Whistles – I’m going to regret this one
Sticky People – they stick to the wall when you throw them, I’ll regret this one too
Slap Bracelets
Plastic Coins
Candy – just a little bit, because what’s an egg hunt without candy
Change – my Dad always had a few eggs with real money. And I always loved finding those eggs!

So, tell me, what are your Easter traditions?


Friendships, now that’s a topic my husband and I have spent lots of time discussing.

Here’s my thing with friendships. I tend to make them easily, and I have lots of friends. I love friends! But I have no really close friends. And when friends move to a different state or when I move, the friendships pretty much end and I start all over. I’m still in touch with some old friends through Facebook, but without Facebook we honestly would probably never hear from each other again.

I have friends I can call for help, friends I can set up playdates with, even friends who would watch my kids if I asked, but no friend that I would just call to vent to if I was having a bad day. No really close friend who knows all about me.

Before you start thinking that I have no one to talk to, I have 5 sisters. So, I can always call one of them. And I have several sister-in-laws that I can call. And even my own mom or my mother-in-law are great people to talk to. Do, I call and just vent, or cry? To be honest, I think I was a teenager last time I did. Not that my life is perfect. But who really wants to know about my horrible, awful day?

So, maybe it’s because I’m surrounded by so much family, I don’t actually need a separate close friend. Or maybe I’m just afraid of anyone getting too close. Honestly, it’s hard to say. Maybe it’s because I’m not good at sharing my feelings? Or maybe I’m just looking for something that doesn’t exist. Or, maybe I just don’t need a close friend right now?

Who knows? At this point, I’ve given up on trying for a really close friend and I’ve decided to just enjoy the friendships that I have.

I have friends in my homeschool group. We chat about life and all sorts of homeschool questions and topics. I have friends at church. Friends because my husband is friends with their spouse. And now that my husband is a small business owner I’m even starting to make some great friendships with some of the other small business owner’s spouses. Basically, I’m surrounded by plenty of friends. And I think that I should enjoy those friendships to the fullest and not worry about this elusive “best friend” that I’ll never be able to find or keep. That’s been my goal the past few years, and I’m quite happy with the friendships that I have.

I would say that my biggest challenge with friendships is I tend to keep my personal feelings hidden which makes it hard for others to get to really know me. So friendships take a long time to develop.

I want to know, what is your biggest challenge with friendships? Or, what is your best piece of friendship advice? Tell me in the comments below 🙂


This #BloggersTalkingAbout series features amazing bloggers writing from the heart. Continue reading more by following these links. #BloggersTalkingAbout Friendship by Joanne, Friendships by Jenny, The Importance Of A Chosen Family by Nicole and Why You Need an Accountability Buddy by Alicia. If you’re a mom/female blogger, join us in our group, Bodacious Bloggers.

Starting Again

We all hate starting over – at least I do, so I assume everyone else does. Even my kids hate starting again. Because usually we’re starting over because we got something wrong. And if there’s anything worse that starting over, it’s admitting that I’ve gotten something wrong.

I often have to remind myself of my favorite teaching phrase for my kids. “If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not learning”. My daughter gets frustrated because she has to re-start a division problem that she just got all wrong. My middle child really doesn’t want to try to read that word for the 5th time. And my toddler simply does not want to attempt putting that there one more time.

But I’m the same. I would honestly prefer that my banana creme pie didn’t turn out as soup the first time. I figured out why, it’s some chemical breakdown of the corn starch if you cook it too much. But it turned out right the second time. I just had to try again.

I’ve watched my kids refuse to try something because they were afraid of failure. I’ve failed to try things because I’m afraid of failure. And I hate starting over.

But, like I tell my kids, starting over is how we learn. If I’m getting it all right all the time then I’m not growing, and I’m not learning, and I’m not getting any better at anything. I’m just doing what I already know.

Truth be told, most great successes, have a string of failures before them. Most of the time, before someone succeeds at something they have to start over again and again. Thomas Edison is famous for saying “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. He started over so many times, and eventually succeeded.

One thing I’ve been working to teach my kids is to not be afraid of starting over. Go, try, make the mistake, take what you’ve learned, try again. Each time you do this you’ve learned something and you’ve increased your chances of getting it right the next time.

Of course, this means that I have to be an example and try new things, and try new things again.

So far this year, I’ve learned how to NOT make a banana creme pie and I’ve learned how to make a banana creme pie. Now if I could just figure out a good sausage gravy and biscuits…

What’s something you’ve had to start again this year?

This #BloggersTalkingAbout series features amazing bloggers writing from the heart. Continue reading more by following these links. Starting Over by Joanne | Starting Again by Jenny | When It’s Time To Start Again by Traci | Making Mistakes by Karen | Starting Over by Alicia | Crafty Me by Karen | The Delicate Art Of Starting Again by Nikki | Starting Over by Brandy | Starting Over by Wendy | If you’re a mom/female blogger, join us in our group, Bodacious Bloggers

What my Kids think of the New Baby

I have 3 children and while they each are super excited that we’re having another baby – they’ve been asking for one for basically forever – their responses have all been different. I can’t wait to see what they all think once the baby is here!

First. Here’s what they all have in common. They want a boy. We’re going to have to find out gender just in case this baby is a girl so they can get over the disappointment before the baby arrives. Though, they seem to have varying reasons for wanting the baby to be a boy.

Oldest –

My oldest is 8 and is super excited to have a baby to “take care of”. She was almost 5 when our youngest was born so I’m pretty sure she doesn’t exactly know what this means. However, she’s old enough to be quite a bit of help and I think she’ll actually enjoy the baby, since she loves babies.

She wants me to have a boy so things will be even. We’ll have 2 girls and 2 boys and everyone will have someone to play with. Honestly, she’s just excited about a baby and she’ll be happy either way. Thanks to her, basically every checkout clerk in the city now knows that I’m pregnant!

Middle –

My middle child is super sweet but is a bit more shy around babies. I think she’ll do just fine with a baby sibling. She’s excited, and likes to give the baby (my stomach) kisses. Just wait until the baby can kick hard enough for her to feel it. She’ll most likely be glued to my side from that moment on.

She wants a boy because she wants to remain my “baby girl”. Which is my nickname for her. I assured her that she can keep the nickname regardless of the baby’s gender, but I don’t think she’s convinced. She tries to pretend that she just wants her brother to have someone to play with, but she really just wants to be the youngest girl. It’s tough being the middle child, so I understand her wanting to hold on to the baby girl spot.

Youngest –

He’s 3 and knows basically nothing about babies. He has grand plans of the baby playing with his toys and hanging out in his room to play every night. Being the only boy, he has his own room and isn’t happy about it. He hears his sisters chattering and playing at bedtime and he wants a bedtime buddy.

I’ve assured him that the baby can be in his room – actually, in a 3 bedroom house, the baby kinda has to share a room with him – and he’s super excited. He wants a brother so he has someone to play cars and super heroes with. He has no idea what sharing a room with a baby will be like. I’m not certain he’ll be happy at first but once the baby starts getting more playful he’ll be so happy to have a playmate. The trick will be keeping him from handing small objects to the baby.

I want to know. What did your kids think when you announced an upcoming baby?

Tips for Dealing with Morning Sickness

I’m currently pregnant with my 4th child and “enjoying” all the 1st trimester joys of morning sickness. Luckily for me, my morning sickness (all day sickness) is only in the 1st trimester. I’m not sure what would happen in my house if it lasted any longer.

As I’m lying on the couch sick, I comfort myself with the fact that morning sickness is a good sign. Or it’s supposed to be. It means my baby is busy growing (i.e. making me sick). Doesn’t make me actually feel any better. It’s just nice to know.

With 3 kids and a pretty full schedule, I do often have to just muscle through the nausea, back pain, and exhaustion.

Though, by 4 I have gotten a little better at just rolling with it. If you’re struggling with morning sickness, here’s a few things that might help.

1. Find a good prenatal vitamin – I don’t mean find the one with the most iron or the biggest pill you can find. Find something that your body can stomach, and that actually helps you. I really struggle with this. I need a vitamin without iron and have you seen the amount of iron is most prenatal vitamins! I’ve resorted to taking children’s vitamins every couple of days because that was all I could handle.

Finally, after my 3rd pregnancy I discovered Premama Vitamins. They also have vitamins for fertility and lactation. You can get a flavorless powder that you mix in any drink (juice is recommended, I tried it in a carbonated beverage once and it foamed up and bubbled out of the cup and all over the counter!). Or you can get a citrus flavored powder.

Either one works great. It has all your folic acid, DHA, etc. and while it has some iron, it doesn’t have a ton. Plus, my morning sickness is actually less when I’m taking it. It’s the only prenatal vitamin I’ver ever taken that has helped me feel better.

This might not be the one for you, but if you’re struggling like I was because prenatal vitamins were so hard on my stomach, you should give this one a try. It’s making handling my morning sickness so much easier!

They’re available on Amazon and in most drug stores like CVS and Walgreens.

img_20160702_1822212702. Rest – I know you want to keep getting everything done. But listen to your body and get some extra sleep. I always have oodles of energy in the 2nd trimester to make up for my exhaustion 1st trimester.

A good prenatal vitamin can help some with the exhaustion. But, listen to your body and get some extra rest. And don’t feel bad about your messy house. You are growing a baby.

I find that taking some time during the day to just sit helps a lot. I’ll read a book, answer e-mails, work on my blog, etc. Anything that’s non-stressful. But just stopping and sitting for a few minutes here and there really helps.

3. Ginger, Lemon, Citrus – All 3 are great for helping settle an upset stomach. For me, Ice water with lemon is super helpful. Helps me stay hydrated and the lemon helps settle my stomach a bit.

I also like a ginger tea. It’s nice and warm and also helps me stay hydrated. You can get ginger chews as well if you’re not a fan of tea.

Oranges are great for digestion. Plus they have vitamin C and some fiber. You really can’t go wrong with these. Get the little mini oranges and you’ll have something perfect for a midnight snack or really a snack any time you’re needing a little something.

img_20160801_1224452474. Pace your eating – Take your time. You’ll do better if you don’t eat random large meals. Start your morning with a few crackers by your bed, make a cup of tea, etc. Something small. Then move on to breakfast. Oatmeal or something else easy on my stomach is my preference.

Keep healthy snacks on hand like celery sticks, peanut butter, cheese, or fruit. And snack on something good for you when you start feeling a little hungry. You might not eat as large a lunch or dinner as you did pre pregnancy because you’re snacking. Don’t worry about it. You honestly don’t need many extra calories the first trimester. Just focus on eating small meals with foods that are good for you.

And remember, there’s a tiny human growing inside you. Your body is working hard. So, don’t feel bad about taking it easy and listening to what your body needs.

Caring for Myself in My First Trimester

Aside from the actual delivery. First Trimester is by far my least favorite part of pregnancy. I have morning sickness – really all day sickness – from about 4 weeks until week 13. And with 3 kids, homeschooling, and a small business, keeping up while I’m sick is a challenge to say the least.

This is my 4th pregnancy, and if there’s anything that I’ve learned about my first trimester it’s to give myself permission to just take it easy.

Here’s just a few ways I take care of myself – and of course the new little baby – during my first trimester.

  1. Extra Sleep – Something about the hormones, I’m way more tired than normal. As in 10 hours of sleep at night and a nap tired. Of course, the more tired I am, the more sick I feel, so if I want to get anything done, I do actually need to sleep. And, technically, I’m sleeping for me and the baby, and everyone knows that babies need lots of sleep.
  2. Special Snacks – Another fun thing about the first trimester. I’m hungry all the time. Because I get less sick if I perpetually snack (rather than eat all my food in 3 meals a day) I do go ahead and purchase snacks that I’m craving. This pregnancy I’m craving oranges and avocados (eaten separately), both snacks that are definitely good for me. I’m not actually craving any unhealthy snacks this time around (one pregnancy it was krispy kreme doughnuts) so I’m pretty much allowing myself to snack as much as I want on what I want. I do limit the unhealthy snacking to my normal snacking limits. It’s important to eat well.
  3. Frequent Snacking – I feel better if I snack frequently. So I keep nuts and/or granola bars in the car for when I need a snack while on the go. What I have depends on how many of my snacks my kids “stole”. My kids just love all this extra snacking! Normally, I don’t do this, but, in the interest of feeling well, it’s good for me to do.
  4. Relaxing – I like to be on the go and I like to be busy. I also really want to rearrange the kids bedrooms. But all that stuff is going to have to wait until the second trimester when I have the energy to do it. I do manage to keep the house picked up – most of the time – which I think is pretty good with 3 kids. I constantly have to remind myself that it’s perfectly ok to take a break and finish the laundry tomorrow (guess what I didn’t finish today). A lot of times relaxing just means that I’m sitting down working on my blog, catching up on e-mails, or reading a book. Just something that lets my body rest.
  5. Vitamins – For some reason I don’t handle multivitamins very well. They make me sick. So, combine morning sickness with prenatal vitamins making me sick, and well, let’s just say that every pregnancy so far I’ve just given up on the vitamins. Whenever I discover a new prenatal vitamin I try it out for a week (even when I’m not pregnant) just to see how I handle it, and it never goes well. This time around I found a brand called Premama that actually works for me. Horray. It does actually help some with the morning sickness and energy. So I’m finally able to get those extra vitamins that I’m supposed to have without making myself sick.
  6. Pregnancy Brain – So I explained the concept of pregnancy brain to my 8 and 5 year old. I was having a really bad day forgetting things. And now, I’ve basically been given a pass to forget any and everything the entire time I’m pregnant. If you have kids, I highly recommend you do this. It’s honestly a great way to get away with things and have them be ok with it.

So, Mommas, tell me in the comments below, what are some special things you’ve done for yourself during your pregnancy? Or tell me about your favorite food craving?

This #BloggersTalkingAbout series features amazing bloggers writing from the heart. Continue reading more by following these links. Loving Yourself by Joanne | Loving Yourself This Valentine’s Day by Traci | New Routine & New Doctor by Karen | Care For Yourself By Reducing Anxiety & Worry by Karen | Permission To Cry by Brandy | Caring For Myself In My First Trimester by Jenny. If you’re a mom/female blogger, join us in our group, Bodacious Bloggers

Outdoor Play over the Holidays

This post is sponsored by the Voice of Play

My kids love to play outside! Whether it’s at the zoo, up in Gatlinburg, our back yard, or the playground. It doesn’t matter. They just love to be outside!


Here in Tennessee, we’ve had a warm fall. As in up in the 80’s. So flip-flops and summer clothing were acceptable attire until just a couple of weeks ago. Also, the birds at the zoo are so interesting, I couldn’t get anyone to actually look at the camera 🙂

Imagine my children’s shock when I informed them they they had to take socks AND shoes with them (and coats, and hats, and gloves) when we visited extended family in Ohio over Thanksgiving.

Of  course, it was cold up there. So they were very happy to have their warm clothing.


We walked to the park up the street from my parent’s house and the kids had a blast playing. They just love slides and such. There’s a walking path here that my parents like to walk, so they got their walking for the day in while the kids played and occasionally joined them on their walk – but a new playground was just too exciting to resist for long!


The park had these rocking eagles that my kids had never seen before. So, they had a blast trying them out. Next time we visit they want to go back to the park again so they can play some more!


All in all, they had a great time at the park and can’t wait to go back again.

And then today, back at home, it’s almost 70 out and raining. So of course, they got to do one of their favorite outdoor activities. Play in the rain! They have umbrellas, but it’s way more fun to get wet from head to toe. I dumped cups of water from my little guy’s boots when he came in from playing.  He definitely found all the good puddles!


So, tell me in the comments, what does your family love to do outside for fun in the fall?

This post is sponsored by the Voice of Play. @Voice_of_Play #YearRoundPlay

IPEMA’s Voice of Play website

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Kindergarten Necessities

So, you want to homeschool? You’re starting with your Kindergartner, and you have no idea what you should do. You start researching curriculum, you even buy a bunch. There’s not a lot of Kindergarten – compared to other grades. But you still manage to get quite a pile.

Your Kindergartner is less than thrilled. Teaching reading is frustrating. And don’t even get me started on math! Your child doesn’t seem to be learning, and is definitely not having fun. Actually, what is a Kindergartner supposed to learn? If you do a google search, you’ll find a huge list of Kindergarten readiness and even more lists of what your child should know by the end of Kindergarten. It’s overwhelming.

So, let’s start at the top. Kindergarten is from German and literally translated means “Children’s Garden”. It’s supposed to be a time of learning, fun, and adventure.

But how do you do this and still teach the necessary academics?

For starters. What exactly is necessary in Kindergarten? When I was a kid, it was reading, writing, and math. And lots of time on the playground. And even then, it was less than is expected of my kids now. It was totally normal for half the class to be reading by the end of Kindergarten and the other class to just not quite be there yet. But, everyone would be reading by the end of first grade. Nowdays people want their kids to read before they start Kindergarten (check out those Kindergarten readiness lists I mentioned) Speaking of reading, what exactly does that look like for a Kindergartner?

I have 3 academic goals in Kindergarten for my kids. Reading, Math, and Writing. We cover other subjects like history and science. But not in a formal book learning manner. My Kindergartner often sits in while I’m working on history with my 3rd grader. She definitely participates in any and all science experiments – because those are always cool. And we do lots of fun field trips like the local symphony orchestra, replicas of Columbus’s ships, the local science museum, zoo, etc.

But as far as formal teaching. I can’t effectively teach anything else until my child can read, have a basic understanding of numbers, and write legibly.

Because Kindergarten shouldn’t be frustrating. And you should be working with your child at their pace. Here’s what I do. It worked well with my now 3rd grader and it’s producing a non-frustrating year for my Kindergartner.

1. Reading – I love, love, love Hooked on Phonics. I tried it out for my first child and I’m just loving it! Did I mention how awesome it is? The preschool level is all about learning your letter names and sounds – my 3yr old loves to get his book out and “do school” with us. He’ll get out crayons, markers, etc. and trace letters for a good 30 minutes and we’ll discuss the sounds and letter names that he’s tracing.

The K level is all about short vowel words. It’s divided in segments that are easy for a young child to handle. My 5yr old who insists she can’t read, is reading these books just fine. And since each lesson builds on the past one, your child will be reading more and more without realizing how much they actually can read. – Seems to be a common problem in my house. “I can’t read that!” declares the child. Who then reads it, and is shocked that it was way easier than expected.

We barely made it into the 2nd grade level when my oldest decided that she didn’t need them any more. She reads to herself every night when she goes to bed plus other reading for school and such throughout the day. She really didn’t need any more teaching on how to read by this stage, so we dropped it. I do have the books through 4th grade in case I need them though.

One awesome things about hooked on phonics, if you’re on a tight budget, these books can usually be found at your local library and you can just keep borrowing them over and over as you need them.

One other thing that has really helped our reading is these blend ladders from Abeka. We work on a sheet a day – sometimes the same sheet for a couple of days. And it’s great at helping kids get comfortable putting two sounds together. It’s always amazing to me how my children’s reading makes a huge leap forward at the exact same time that reading blends becomes easy.

Education2. Math – My favorite math is Abeka. It’s possible that this is because this is the math I grew up with. However, it also seems to work well for my girls. The pages are colorful. And everything is in short segments. There’s one clock, 5 addition problems, 5 number order problems, a color by number, etc.

Here’s the thing about math. I know Abeka is this way, and I assume a lot of other math curriculum is this way as well. They repeat the same thing every year. So, if your child doesn’t get it completely the first year. Don’t stress, they’ll get it next year or the year after. If you’re child is way behind, I would be concerned. But if your Kindergartner is basically on par with their peers and can generally do their math with assistance from you. They’re just fine.

For my oldest, I spent the entire Kindergarten year explaining what addition and subtraction are. She figured it out just fine by 1st grade. For my current Kindergartner, she already knew this somehow. I think my oldest must have taught her. Teaching her math is so easy! Addition, subtraction, number sequence, telling time, and patterns are all Kindergarten skills.

For you parents with a struggling Kindergartner, the key is just perseverance. Keep teaching them and they will get it. How do I know? you ask. Well, I would classify my current 3rd grader as struggling in math until this year. K through 2nd grade was just hard. She’s very literal and just struggled if you changed anything (like 5+2 and 2+5 being the same thing was hard for her to grasp). This year, in 3rd grade – which is WAY harder than previous grades – things seem to have finally clicked. Math isn’t her favorite subject, but she’s no longer struggling with it – and we’re already doing long division 1/4 of the way through the year. (actually, spelling somehow tops the list as “most hated 3rd grade subject”).

So, if your child is struggling, just keep patiently explaining it to them over and over. Sometimes it’s just a matter of their ability to analyze things catching up with what you’re trying to teach them. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is a great motto for math.

3. Handwriting – First things first, don’t stress if you can’t read your kindergartner’s handwriting. It’ll be a few years before most kids can really hold a pencil perfectly. The key at this age is that they’re at least trying to form the letters and numbers properly. Writing some numbers and letters backwards is perfectly normal. Just keep modeling the right way to write and they’ll get it eventually.

I did get a writing curriculum – just the worksheets – because I like having a curriculum. But, to be honest, my Kindergartner’s best writing practice is done on this dry erase book. It’s $4 on Amazon and has free shipping if you have prime. Well worth the money, in my opinion. She’ll spend a good deal of time each week tracing, erasing, and re-tracing her letters. I’m perfectly happy to let her do this instead of her handwriting curriculum. The goal is that she learn how to write her letters and any method that she likes is good with me.

5 Beach Essentials

I don’t know about you, but I love the beach! I remember beach vacations as a kid. And taking my kids to the beach now is just so much fun! I’m actually not sure who enjoys it more. Me, or the kids. We always come home with the kids begging to return.

For our beach trips, there are so many things I just can’t do without. So, here’s my top 5.

1. Body Board – We actually purchased a second one to take to the beach this year because we only had one last year, and one just isn’t enough.

This is fun for all ages and great for small to medium waves. The beach we go to has between 1 and 3 foot waves on most days. Not enough for surfing, but perfect for a body board.

I had to share WAY too much last year, so we bought a second. And I’m betting that next year we’ll decide that we need a third. This board is perfect for me and my husband to use.

And the kids will ride anything. On this board they can basically just sit on it while I tow them out and then ride in on their own. Pretty awesome for them. On a smaller board they get tossed around a little more – but that’s what life jackets are for!

2. Puddle Jumper – Speaking of life jackets. Puddle jumpers are my preferred flotation device for littles. They’re coast guard approved and in my opinion work even better than a life jacket. And they’re rated for up to 50 pounds. My kids all fit in these until they turned 6.

The arms and short front flotation give my kids way better balance in the water than a traditional life jacket. It’s easier for them to stay upright, and it keeps their head a little further up out of the water than a life jacket. Perfect for a sunny day playing in the ocean.

Plus it comes in all sorts of colors, so each child has his/her own and everyone knows who’s it is. No fighting over puddle jumpers!

3. Rash Guard – My husband has red hair and he burns just thinking about the beach. We can’t lather enough sunscreen on him to keep him from burning.

This rash guard is an awesome solution. It fits like a second skin and keeps him from burning. We’ve tried both short sleeved and long and he says the long is way more comfortable, and he doesn’t have to worry about burning his arms.

This lets water freely pass through, and clings tight to your body, so you can swim and enjoy the beach without being weighted down by your shirt. The perfect solution for if you burn easily or just don’t want to wear a ton of sunscreen.

4. Beach Umbrella – Another way to stay out of the sun is a beach umbrella. It’s also a great place to store chairs, buckets, shovels, drinks, phones, speakers, sunscreen, towels, flip-flops, cooler, and whatever else your kids just can’t live without!

Man, I’m tired just thinking about toting all that down to the beach! I like to set up a chair or two, hang up my speaker, and enjoy a cold drink in the shade while watching the kids build sand castles.

Just make sure you purchase a few extra tent stakes, we lost a few last year and didn’t realize they would be so easy to use! Luckily, they’re cheap, so I just grabbed some new ones, plus a few extras for this year.

This umbrella also folds down to basically smaller than my beach chair, so it’s super easy to carry and transport to the beach. Way easier than my cooler!

5. Wireless Speaker – And of course, no trip would be complete without music! This little speaker lasts forever (something like 10 hours). It’s very durable. Shock and water resistant. Has great sound. A little hook for hanging it in the tent. And even has an emergency flashlight for if you find yourself on a dark beach with just your speaker – if that happens, please share in the comments below, because it’s sure to be an interesting story.

Relaxing in the shade with my favorite tunes was definitely a fun way to spend a few minutes at the beach. You know, those 2.5 minutes of rest before I had to go rescue a toddler from the teensy tiny hold in the sand that his sister dug for him.

*This post does contain affiliate links*

Why I Hate Buying Pregnancy Tests

Hubby and I have been trying for a while to add a 4th little one to the family. So far, without success. Last week though, I was 2 days late and decided to take a pregnancy test just to check. This whole month is insanely busy and I needed to know how much coffee I can drink.

So, I headed to the bathroom cupboard, pulled out my box of pregnancy tests, and discovered that it was empty. And now, for the dreaded purchasing of the tests. I really hate buying these things. It’s not necessarily the item I’m purchasing, it’s the awkward conversations that surround it.

Seriously, last time I bought pregnancy tests, the lady at CVS remembered me and asked me about the results the next time I was in the store. Um, nope, it was negative, but not sure I really wanted her to be the first person I announced my pregnancy to – plus the kids were with me when she asked and I’m definitely not announcing anything in front of the kids before I’m ready for the entire world to know.

The way I see it, these are my options. Unless I want to order online and wait days for the tests to arrive. By then, I probably won’t need them anymore…


0 Children – So, I bring no kids with me while I purchase. I’m young enough I obviously want kids, and old enough that people feel for me not having any kids and trying. Not sure if I come off as desperate, but people are always overly sympathetic when I purchase alone.

1 Child – I can bring a girl or a boy, either one. The comment is always, “so, are you hoping for {insert opposite gender}?” My child then proceeds to tell them about the other siblings and what kind of sibling they want, while I attempt to exit before this conversation goes too far. The employee doesn’t understand what my child is saying, I have to repeat it, twice.

2 Children – Now, this depends. If I’m with just the 2 girls the comment is, “So, trying again for a boy?”. Yes, I reply, and we’re not going to stop until we get one.

If I have one of each gender with me they want to know why I would add another child when I have one of each and what gender do I want. Um, I’ll take a baby please.

Either way, the children with me feel compelled to tell the store clerk about the missing sibling and how we would like another boy because brother needs a playmate. The store clerk is confused. I continue out the door without bothering to explain the missing sibling.

3 Children – I’m towing 2 girls and 1 boy. One of which is guaranteed to be meandering down the aisle next to the one I’m in and another of which is trying to convince me that we should buy one of every available candy in the checkout aisle.

No wonder the store clerk inquires as to if I know how these things happen, am I actually wanting another one, and was this was a “whoops”? They sympathize with my plight and proceed to tell me about when friends, siblings, daughters, etc. knew when to stop. They can even recommend a good dr if I need some better birth control.

Oh, no, I need an even number, I reply. There’s always an odd one out with three. Speaking of which, where is that third child?

Send Hubby – Now, my sweet husband offered to go get them for me. First of all, he offered at 10 pm and a single guy in CVS calling his significant other late at night to figure out which pregnancy test box to purchase and then purchasing them is another kind of conversation.

He’ll probably end up with the young store clerk who’s more interested in talking about why he’s out purchasing a pregnancy test.

I thanked him for his kind offer, and plotted a time to get away from the kids and purchase these tests as secretly as possible.

And in case you’re wondering. No, I’m not pregnant. And I snuck into Kroger and went through the self checkout with my box of pregnancy tests. Of course, the employee did have to remove the security sticker so I didn’t set off the door alarm. So, I still didn’t manage to avoid conversation. But at least I didn’t set off the door alarm.