Lake Time

By 11:28 PM , , , , , , ,
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #JumpIntoSummer #CollectiveBias

Oh, wonderful, sweet summertime! I am in a huge season of transition (more to come on that later) due to some recent really big career changes and I have a week of vacation off this week with my little guy so of course we decided to spend the week at our happy place in the north Georgia mountains, Lake Burton.

sunset cruises.JPG

This week has been totally perfect (with the exception of only having the privilege of having my wonderful husband with us for the weekend as he had to go back to work). The weather has been awesome (complete with evening thunderstorms over the mountains) and we have gotten so much great exercise swimming, wakeboarding, tubing, hiking, etc.

water gun wars.JPG

We have had absolutely incredible sunsets cruises on our pontoon boat. Check out the photos below from our cruise the last night before my hubby had to leave.

sunset.JPG

Being around water all the time as a mom playing single parent duty for the week with a two year old is something I do not take lightly (there will be no book reading for this mommy until after the little guy is in bed or when he is napping). However, there is one lake time essential I REQUIRE my little guy to wear at all times when around the water (we keep it on at all times we are on the dock even when not in the water)- the Puddle Jumper® life jacket . If you have a little one and do not already own a Puddle Jumper® life jacket do yourself a favor, drive to Target (who doesn’t want to make a Target run?!?) and go purchase one NOW. Here I’ll make it easy for you. Here is a photo from the aisle I found it in at our Target (just ignore my kid playing with a soccer ball in the aisle). Or if you want to just buy it online here is a link.

target 2.JPG

We are HUGE Puddle Jumper® life jacket fans. So much so that I don’t go anywhere near water without one - we literally own six...and have one child. A bit oppressive maybe but they are the only floatation device I have found that actually allow him to swim (don’t put him in turtle mode like a normal life vest) and give this mommy a piece of mind all at the same time. Before our most recent journey to the lake I went to Target and purchased him a new Stearns® Puddle Jumper®  3D Life Jacket with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles® character that he LOVES. It’s super cute and functional with woven polyester, a softer fabric for less chafing. The comfortable design also allows children 30-50 lbs. to move and swim freely in pools and lakes and at the beach, without the life jacket riding up around their necks. One of my favorite parts is that it is US Coast Guard-approved life jacket and features a fun character on the front for more fun in the water. The life jacket can also be used as a learn-to-swim aid which has worked wonderfully for our little guy. The adjustable buckle snaps in back and makes taking it on and off super simple and kid approved.

swimming.JPG

pizza float.JPG

Ok now that I have hopefully convinced you (you’re welcome) why Puddle Jumper® life jackets are so incredible it’s time for me to crack back open this book I’m reading and enjoy this view and a glass of wine (*sigh*). Peace our friends and enjoy your Target run!

view.JPG 

You Might Also Like

My Latest "Happy:

By 7:12 PM , , ,
As I sit here on the back porch on a much needed wonderful week of vacation with my little boy watching a gorgeous thunderstorm come over the mountain in my happy place with a lovely glass of red I thought it would be appropriate to write about just a few of the things lately that I am loving. 

1) First off can I just say this thunderstorm I am listening to.... I mean really. I had to take a video and post to my Facebook. You can check it out here
2) My smallgroup. We joined a new small group almost a year ago now (wow has it almost been that long, really?). You know how some times in life God just brings people into your life and you are like yup, "these are my people." That's totally how I feel about these people. Here is a photo of us all on a cabin trip back in February. 



We most recently completed an Andy Stanley study about how God does not always answer our prayers with a "yes" but he will give us the peace we need to get through (cue why does cancer exist/why do good things happen to bad people, etc). Case in point is God didn't even answer Jesus' prayers when Jesus prayed to God to take "this cup from him" talking about the night before Jesus was betrayed, beaten,humiliated, and ultimately crucified. Anyway all that to say I feel like God has granted me a lot of peace lately in some pretty stressful situations and for that I am so very grateful. 

3) In the last couple of weeks three of my best friends have had babies - and I have gotten to hold and cuddle two of them (dying to meet the other but she lives in Baltimore). Something about holding a baby is just the most wonderful thing ever. Am I right or am I right?


4) I am loving soaking up the last couple of weeks of having a two year old. He is so smart, so strong willed, yet so sweet and keeps me laughing ALL. THE. TIME. Plus we are making progress on the potty training this week (praise hands). I love getting to spend quality time with him and just enjoy being a mom to this wonderful precious guy. 


5) My beautiful brother and sister in law are making me an aunt again to a precious little girl and I couldn't be more excited!

Well it's time to cuddle up and watch some TV. Night everyone! 

You Might Also Like

Our Day at SeaWorld & Tips for Traveling with Little's - Post #2

By 2:11 PM , , , ,
If you missed my first post on our vacation trip this year you can read about it here

The second part of our trip we woke up early (got donuts, of course) and drove from Redington Beach to Orlando and headed straight to SeaWorld. Ya'll, I'm going to be honest - the SeaWorld day was a last minute add in - we originally planned to spend Wednesday as a pool day at our hotel in Orlando and go to downtown Disney for dinner. Last minute (like the week before we left) we decided to do SeaWorld. I was a little skeptical - the last time I remember attending SeaWorld I was 10 and while I enjoyed it (almost 20 years ago) it didn't quite leave a lasting impression. Ya'll....we ending up LOVING SeaWorld. So much so we are already planning to go back next year. It was so awesome. 


Not only were the animals and shows incredible but they now have four awesome roller coasters along with several other adult rides a TON of rides for younger ones. Our almost two year old was in heaven. We got there right when the park opened and closed the park down, waited in no lines, and still didn't come close to getting to do everything. 

Also, the food was so good. So much better than other theme parks and actually affordable. So much so that I had to do some research to find out why and discovered that SeaWorld is actually owned by a restaurant company. 

The first ride we rode was this journey through Antarctica ride which lead you to an exhibit with live penguins. So neat but be warned it is VERY cold!


The "One Ocean" Orca Whale show was so good we literally went three separate times.



We also loved the Dolphin show...so good!



They had this awesome kid's section that E man could have stayed in all day long. He loved it. Here are a few highlights from that section.





Like I already mentioned there are some incredible roller coasters at this park if you are a coaster fan. And you can not beat the animal exhibits. 



We honestly can not wait to go back!

You Might Also Like

2017 Book Mid-Year Book Review

By 1:05 PM ,
I absolutely can not believe we are almost half way through the year. Unbelievable. That means it is time for my mid-year book review. So far I have done well on my resolution to read at least one book for fun each month. We are five months down and I have read seven books..so far so good. Here goes:


1. It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
  • I rate it 9/10 stars: A little darker of a book than what I usually read but I was totally hooked. Passed this book on to my best friend and she loved it as well.
2. The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
  • I also give this one 9/10 stars: I am a HUGE Chip and Jo fan and quite honestly for some reason didn't have very high expectations for this book and I was very pleasantly surprised. It was a quick and easy read and truly inspired me. Totally recommend!
3. The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth 
  • I gave this one 7/10 stars: while I didn't love the story line it did totally hold my attention and I feel like it opened my eyes to a world in which I was not very familiar - also loved how it goes back and forth from chapter to chapter changing whose perspective you are hearing the story through. I would recommend it!
4. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
  • It is so hard for me to rank a non-fiction leadership book in the same way I would rate a "for fun" book but if I had to rank I would give it 8/10 stars. This is a good leadership book about how to create a team and is written like it is a story so makes for a simple read.
5. The Art of French Kissing by Kristen Harmel
  • I gave this one 5/10 stars. It was a fun, easy, girly read about a girl whose jerky fiance breaks up with her after having an affair with her best friend so she moves to Paris and ends up doing PR for a French celebrity. Light and fun read but does not have a lot of depth to it.
6. Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn T. Dingman
  • So far this is my favorite book of year - give it 10/10 stars! Absolutely amazing! Carolyn is an awesome writer and makes it to where you can't stop turning the pages. The only bad news to this story is that so far this is the only book Carolyn has written - Carolyn please write another soon! This book will be one I will re-read in the future! 
7. The Good Sister by Druscilla Campbell
  • I ranked this one only 2/3 stars. Honestly it was depressing and just didn't have much a story line. It was about a girl who was abused growing up and she grows up raising her little sister. In the end her little sister as an adult tries to kill her four daughters. Do not recommend this one. Save yourself the time. 
That concludes my list so far this year. 

Help a girl out...What should I read next? What is your favorite book so far this year?

You Might Also Like

Our Split Inexpensive Vacation & Tips for Traveling with Little's - Post #1

By 9:16 PM , , , , , ,
We had the BEST vacation this year! We were gone for 8 nights/ 7 days and decided to break up our vacation and spend half the week of vacation at the beach and half the week in Orlando hitting up some of our favorite parks. Why not have the best of both world's right? It was AWESOME. So awesome that we are already making plans to do it again next year. I highly recommend it and am excited to share all our tips and tricks with you guys along with wayy too many pictures ;)). 


Our first (tip #1) for traveling a long car trip with a little one is to break up the drive as much as possible. With a eight hour drive from our house to Redington Beach in Florida we did just that. One of the perks to traveling for my job is that I accumulate hotel points. We always try to get about 3-4 hours of driving in after work on Friday night and stayed the night (paid for with points at a Hampton Inn) just north of the Florida border. Doing that allows us to sleep until 8 Saturday morning, eat a late breakfast, and still make it to the beach by lunch time. Fun story...we stayed at a Hampton Inn like I mentioned in the middle of no-where south Georgia and our little guy LOVED it. I guess it's the simple things in life right? There was something so fun to him about staying in the same room as Mommy and Daddy and waking up to a free all he could eat breakfast with waffles. As we were leaving the hotel that sweet guy exclaimed, "that was the best 'day-cation' ever!" Guess we could have saved some money. Ha.

You might wonder why Redington Beach? I'm going to be honest...we got lucky and found a goldmine. So much so that I hesitated when writing this post on whether or not I should be honest or just say we went to Clearwater Beach so you guys wouldn't find out about our 'secret spot.' Redington still seems like a hidden gem that not many people know about and I hope it stays that way - buttt.....you guys are my friends so I opted with going the honest route. Anyway back to how we found Redington Beach. One of my best friends and her family lives in Clearwater and we really wanted to be able to go down and see them (I have visited her several times but my hubby had never been to the area) I knew the area had beautiful beaches so we started searching airbnb options and happened upon the cutest, most amazing little house on the bay that was just a few steps across the street from the beach. Again the best of both world's....and the best part? It was ONLY $90 a night! SCORE! This leads me to our second (tip #2) with kids we have found you can often find a lot better options, not to mention cheaper if you are willing to not go with a box hotel. This will allow you a lot more finds that are great for kiddos.

pic of the guys getting ready to go out on beach from our house

We stopped for lunch on our way in at this adorable beach bar/restaurant on the bay called Seabreeze just two doors down from our house for the next few days and loved it so much we ended going back for at least one meal every day the rest of our time there. We even got to watch dolphins play in the water while we ate. The food tasted great, the drinks even better, and the prices were so great as it was a local place and thus couldn't charge touristy prices.

watching dolphins at our first lunch at our local lunch/dinner spot

yet another meal at our "spot"

and again...they literally knew our names by the time we left

We had such a fun amazing week. Some of the highlights of the week included: 1) renting a tandem kayak (tip #3) that would fit all three of us for just $60 for half a day and kayaked the beach and the bay, 2) spending lots of quality time on the beach as a family and with our sweet friends, collecting some incredible shells, (tip #4) exploring the playground at Clearwater beach (our little guy loved it), playing put-put in pirate ships with alligators (SO FUN)....






AND the absolute favorite part about this portion of the trip (and maybe the trip in all) was visiting Clearwater Marine Aquarium and getting to meet Winter from the movie A Dolphin Tale. Hope, the other dolphin that you are familiar with if you have seen A Dolphin Tale #2 literally fell in love with our little E and vice versus, forgive the overload of pictures but my heart literally melted. You can understand why this photo is the background on BOTH my iwatch and phone right? I can not say enough amazing things about the Marine Aquarium, how cool that place is, and the amazing things they are doing. Don't believe me? Go follow them on instagram!) 










This year we also visited Sam's Club in advance of our trip (tip #5) and purchased a sun shade tent for $100 and a beach wagon for $50. Seriously the BEST $50 we could have ever spent. I meant check out that setup. And honestly it really made the beach setup quick and easy - just stuff everything into the wagon, drag said wagon to the beach, pop up tent (took about 10 mins), and tada! Our other tip? (tip #6) bring a plastic pool to feel up with water so the little ones can swim without always getting knocked over by the waves.



All in all the first half of the week was INCREDIBLE and we had an absolute ball. I can not say enough good things about Redington Beach and ESPECIALLY the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. I can't wait to go back!! 





You Might Also Like