Posts Tagged ‘fun’

The Simple Joys Of Summer, Fueled by Milk {Sponsored}

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Summer is for bare feet, sunshine so bright it hurts your eyes, running through sprinklers, visiting local farms, playing in the dirt, mooing at cows, brushing up our checkers game, and doing all the other stuff that makes the long, hot days the best part of the year.

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We are SO excited that our school year is over and now we have the freedom to enjoy a schedule-free few months. But did you know more than 22 million children may miss out on milk’s nutrition this summer when they lose access to free or reduced-price meal programs at school? Although some programs like the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program help to deliver meals when school is not in session, the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program (which we use and love and appreciate so much during the school year) do not reach children during the summer months. That’s why food banks play an even more critical role in helping children access nutritious foods when class isn’t in session.

Fresh milk is one of the most requested, but least donated items at food banks, meaning children in need may be missing out on the essential nutrients, including high-quality protein, that it supplies. I never thought about that until I became part of this campaign – of course families want and need milk, and of course it can be hard to come by when food banks emphasize non-perishable donations. Now there’s something we can do about that shortage.

You can help feed a childhood in your community this summer with a small donation at milklife.com/give. A donation as little as $5 can deliver a highly desired and nutrient-rich gallon of fresh milk to children who need it most. Because all children deserve the chance to play, learn and grow, especially during the summer months when being a kid is supposed to be joyful and carefree. When you visit The Great American Milk Drive site and enter your zip code, you can direct your donation to the Feeding America food bank that helps right in your local area.

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We all love milk, but probably no one more than Linc. He couldn’t care less that it’s nutritious and a great source of protein – he just thinks it’s delicious. It also gives all the kids the energy they need to keep the fun going all afternoon. Sprinklers are basically the summer equivalent of baths in our house,  which is fine by me.

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For each share of Great American Milk Drive “Feed A Childhood” content with hashtag #milkdrive via Facebook and Twitter between 6/1/16 – 6/30/16, The Great American Milk Drive will contribute $1 to the Feeding America® network for the purchase of fluid milk, up to a maximum total donation of $5,000.

And as a thank you for taking the time to read about The Great American Milk Drive, they’re offering a giveaway to readers of this blog and the others participating in the campaign.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Connecticut Open House Day {2016}

Monday, June 13th, 2016

We went to Gillette Castle a few years ago for Open House Day, because although the castle is really neat and you *could* spend a lot of time walking around and looking at everything, it’s hard to do with kids. We decided to go back again this year, because I love doing things for free so there’s no preesure to spend a long time there if the children aren’t into it. I guess this year they were as into it as you expect children to be, although Linc was only into it if someone was carrying him.

There are also a lot of great hiking trails all around the castle that used to be part of Mr. Gillette’s miniature train system, but it started to rain and we didn’t get very far. I was also wearing a 30 lb toddler on my back and 20 lbs of pregnant on my front (don’t ask how that happens when my husband is carrying zero pounds of children) so I was happy to keep our hike short.

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Evan was running and fell and scraped up his knee. Caroline was rolling down a hill and rolled right into a rock. They are obviously having a WONDERFUL TIME.

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Despite the fact that we look very along in these photos there were definitely a lot of people out enjoying the free admission day. Please feel free to admire my talent for keeping them out of the pictures.

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Aquarium Date With Linc

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Linc and I went to the Mystic Aquarium this morning, with no real agenda and as much time as we wanted to wander. I realized with school ending tomorrow we’re at the end of the “off season” and from now on we’ll basically avoid Mystic like the plague, because tourists are the worst. Even if we go on less-nice days, or weekdays, or days you wouldn’t expect it to be crowded it will be the Special 15 Day Camps From Long Island All Come At Once Day or something. But today at 9 am we were golden and after 2 hours of saying hi to all the animals, we left just as the buses started pulling up outside for end-of-the-year field trips.

Photography at the aquarium is always fun but definitely a huge challenge for me. The indoors is very dark and has lots of colored light. Outdoors is super bright and sunny and without a really nice zoom lens the animals are too far away. Remembering to switch settings back and forth between those locations seems to get forgotten while I’m also trying to make sure I don’t lose Linc or let him throw stuff in the touch tank. One of these days I’ll go ALONE and bring a macro lens and try to just get fish shots, but for now you mostly get the back of my kid’s head while he looks at things.

Linc took a nice nap today and everyone got 100% green points at school which means they earned some iPad time, so I managed to get these sorted AND edited less than 12 hours after taking them. I’m very proud.

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Kiawah 2016 (Part 2)

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

Our Kiawah trip each year is fun for a lot of reasons, but the number one reason is I LOVE the people we go with. These are my oldest friends, I have known them longer than I have known my husband (although some of them have their own husbands now), and somehow they still like me. They’re basically family, so the kids call them Aunt and Uncle, and they are the kind of people who let Caroline “help” crack eggs or read Linc the same book 15 times. My life would be 1000% less awesome if they weren’t in it.

There is a small…medium…maybe slightly larger than medium chance that we (the Davis family) will be moving in the next year, which means we might also miss a year or two at the beach house. All I can do is make everyone promise they will still go, so when we eventually move back to the east coast we can pick right back up with our favorite week of the year.

In case you haven’t seen all the previous years (here: 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011) and are wondering about The Beach House, it is the vacation home of a friend’s uncle who is incredibly generous and kind and amazing and allows us to use it for a long weekend each year. It’s nicer than any other house I have ever been in, on an absolutely stunning stretch of Kiawah Island off the coast of Charleston. There is a bunk room for the big kids to share, separate bedrooms for each adult/adult couple, and approximately one million bathrooms. The toddlers sleep in closets that are actually bigger than some of their rooms at home. It is air conditioned to a perfect 72 degrees, the pool is heated to 88 degrees (I know because the pool guy came to clean it and check the temp for us), and there is a house-keeping staff that scrubs the whole thing right before we get there and right after we leave. It’s basically heaven.

I promise these are the rest of the pictures. I won’t make you sit through a third post.

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The first floor (the one that walks out to the pool, not the basement with the cars) is the movie room, where the kids can control the TV and no grown ups have to watch it.

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All the kids, wearing Hanna stripey jams! Almost all looking at the camera!

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These are from our first, not-s0-good family photo session. It was very dark and I messed up my settings and I don’t like my dress and Linc got soaked within 10 minutes. But I still edited all the decent ones.

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We bought an inexpensive underwater camera for the trip, since we’ve had fun with them in the pool before. When this one eventually breaks we’ll spring for a much nicer underwater camera, because this are not what I was hoping to get. I really need something that shoots RAW so I can edit them nicely.

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ALL THE TOES!

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And the rest are our family photos – the good ones! – from the second try. Instead of a tripod I got my friend Erin (who is also a photographer) to press the shutter button when I wanted the whole family in the shot. MUCH better than a timer or a remote. I am so happy to have these.

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Is it too early to start the countdown to NEXT summer??

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Kiawah 2016 (Part 1)

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Once I got to 80 pictures, I decided maybe this year desereved 2 posts. Theese are straight chronological, so there are some random food photos thrown in between actually intentional sessions between pool photos between snapshots.

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Waiting for cookies, because there is ALWAYS something baking at the beach house.

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I hate when people wander wander into my beach photos. Obvious I should get the WHOLE BEACH to myself.

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My college roommate and I (we went to college here in Charleston) took our girls into the city for “shopping and lunch’…but mostly to take pictures. You can tell, because I bought them matching dresses for pictures.

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This is the fence for the church where I got married.

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This is the theater across from the church. I havea beautiful painting of it in the entryway of my house.

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Our church.

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Chocolate cake for breakfast, because vacation.

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Erin and I took the boys to the Angel Oak for their photo opp. It was SO crowded, even at 9 am. It’s a miracle there aren’t tourists in every single photo.

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He’s winking, in case you couldn’t tell what that face was.

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We take turns cooking at the beach, usually the same menu every year (because we’ve almost perfected cooking for 13) but Erin added these AMAZING shrimp and grits this year. They’re extra good because the local shrimp came from a only *slightly* sketchy cooler at the farm stand down the street.

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We went through 6 pounds of strawberries in 5 days.  Also, these babies think they are big kids who can sit on stools. Next year we’ll have actual babies again (mine PLUS another!) for a total of 8 children, so maybe it’s ok that these toddlers will be a little more self-sufficient.

Part 2 will include both our first, mostly failed family photo session and our second, much better photo session. Our stupid photographer (me) messed up her settings on the first one with a stupid rookie mistake. Thank goodness the weather cooperated for a do-over.

I miss you already, Kiawah.

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