What I Wore

I have included affiliate and referral links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

It’s about time for another What I Wore, don’t you think? Heat and humidity have been in full force here in Nebraska. The Hubby and I keep saying to each other, “Is it fall yet?” Sure, we enjoy swimming in this weather…but that’s about it. Thanks to air conditioning, I’ve been able to wear some hoodies, but only sporadically. Who else is ready for cooler weather?

While we all wait for the change of seasons, here’s what I’ve been wearing this past week…

What I Wore 7-29 KC

I’ve been looking for an all-white hat for many months now, so when I spotted this beauty – the last one in my size – at Scheels, it had to be mine. It’s already had plenty of wear this week because it goes with everything!

What I Wore 7-29 VB

Late Wednesday afternoon, I received a text from a friend who had free tickets to the FIVB World Grand Prix for women’s volleyball. I’m a huge volleyball fan and three former Huskers were playing for the team, so I scrambled to ok it with The Hubby and find a friend to go with me. We made it just in time for the match and watched Team USA destroy their competition. And we both showed up with the same hoodie from Evy’s Tree. We’re cool like that.

What I Wore 7-29 BLB

I know I said the only thing we like to do in this heat is swim, but we do get outside for other things like attending the best zoo in the whole world. Our zoo is C-R-A-Z-Y in the summer, so we went as soon as they opened to beat the crowds and the heat. In the shade, we found the cutest little elephant statue. Elephants are my favorite and the real thing will be returning to our zoo next year – I CAN’T WAIT. This pineapple tank from WalMart makes me happy about summer and I promise I am wearing shorts. You just can’t see them behind my amazing Brynnda from Better Life Bags, the perfect purse that holds a lot but isn’t huge. And Saltwater Sandals are the best summer sandal. This tan color is perfection because they match everything, but they come in every color of the rainbow.

What I Wore 7-29 Kimono

I now own my first kimono (from Cents of Style) and it is just as lovely as I thought it would be. This was my church outfit and I didn’t want to change out of it because COMFY. Props to The Hubby for going with my “let’s take a picture in front of Target” idea. He’s a keeper. Also, if I’m not carrying the Brynnda bag

What I Wore 7-29 Ashley
This outfit is my “PLEASE HURRY UP FALL” outfit. Really I’m wearing a tank and shorts just like every other day, but threw on this new Ashley hoodie from Evy’s Tree because I was feeling rebellious. Take that, summer.

What I Wore 7-29 Reece

It rained yesterday morning and we were inside most of the day, so I felt completely justified in putting on jeans and a gorgeous lightweight hoodie. I didn’t really know how much I liked hot pink until this hoodie came along. My Maurice’s jeans are still the best ever and I’m living in these Bzees shoes because they are amazingly comfortable.

I’m planning out some fashion posts for the fall and wondered what you’d like to see! Let me know in the comments if you have questions or need ideas + inspiration!

How are you feeling about summer – love it or leave it?

The Baseball Experiment

Our boys tried out several different sports and many of them have been through our local YMCA. They have an excellent fundamental program for many sports that allows kids to learn the basics of a particular sport before trying it in a team and game setting.

Big J has tried out soccer and basketball in this fundamental format and went on to play on a rec basketball team this year. We love the low-pressure opportunity to try out a sport before they commit a lot of time to it  – and it keeps them active!

2015 Baseball21

This summer, Big J decided to give baseball a try. For eight weeks, he has gone to clinic-style practices every Saturday morning, practicing the proper form for throwing and hitting and learning all about the fundamentals of America’s pastime.

2015 Baseball23 2015 Baseball20 2015 Baseball17

This past Saturday, they wrapped up the program with a scrimmage game that was both great for practice and hilarious to watch. When you have about twenty boys ranging from first grade to sixth grade who are just learning the game of baseball, the first time they play a real game is full of chaos and excitement. I loved it.

2015 Baseball26 2015 Baseball18 2015 Baseball25

This scrimmage game was also the first time the boys tried to hit a thrown pitch from the coach. Big J got a single on the second pitch and ran the bases hard each time a teammate got a hit! He also had some good fielding plays in the outfield.

2015 Baseball16 2015 Baseball19

He really enjoyed his time playing baseball, so this experiment was a success! I think he makes a pretty handsome baseball player, don’t you?!

What sports do your kids play in the summer? Did they try any new ones this year?

Your Ears Will Love These Headphones!

I received these items to review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own!

I’ve had my fair share of bad experiences with headphones and running. This pair hurt my ears, that pair wouldn’t stay in my ears, the other pair started shorting out and shocking me while I tried to run…yeah, not so good luck with headphones and running.

Whenever someone tells me I should try a certain pair of headphones because they love them, I usually pass. I just don’t believe there is one magical pair that works for every runner…but maybe I’m wrong. Panasonic recently sent me two new pairs of headphones for our active family to try out and we’re loving both of them!

Panasonic Headphones

All of the headphones I’ve tried for running in the past have been in-ear headphones. Most of them either hurt or fell out. I was pleasantly surprised to find this wasn’t the case with the Panasonic Sport Clip Headphones!

Sport Clip Headphones

They are very lightweight and fit perfectly over and in my ears, holding snuggling but not with too much pressure. The sound quality is exceptional and they also work with your smartphone so you can answer calls while running! I don’t do that very often, but it is a nice feature to have!

Bone Conduction Headphones

While I loved the sport clip style, it was another pair of headphones that really blew all of us away. Panasonic Open Ear Bone Conduction Headphones are like nothing else I have ever tried. They don’t go IN your ears, they sit on the bone right in front of your ear. You hear the music through vibrations in your skull. It sounds crazy, but it totally works and everyone in the family had to try them!

Big J Headphones

The nice thing about using these headphones for running is they don’t plug up your ears completely, so you would be able to hear a car coming or a biker passing you on the trail AND hear your music with great clarity. This is a really valuable safety feature for outdoor runners. And that makes these water-resistant headphones the perfect choice as you’re training for your summer and fall races!

Speaking of races, we’re adding another race runner to the family this weekend as our oldest (nine years old) has been training for his first 5K! We have been so impressed by his dedication to sticking to a training plan, doing three runs a week, some outside and some on the treadmill. He followed the Couch to 5K program for eight weeks and the big race is this Saturday!

Headphones Warm Weather Pack

It’s going to be a warm morning, so we’re packing a great water bottle and cooling towel for after the race. Not a big fan of the heat and humidity, but it comes with living in Nebraska!

IMG_7569

I’ll be running with Big J for the 5K and probably crying when he finishes. Yes, I’m that mom. Our seven-year-old will also be doing his first one-mile race with The Hubby that morning! This running lifestyle has become quite the adventure, but I wouldn’t have it any other way and I LOVE sharing it with our whole family!

What’s your experience with headphones for exercise? Do you have a pair you love?

Books for Kids: Jack Staples

I was given this book to review, but was not compensated in any other way for this post. All opinions are 100% my own or my son’s! This post contains affiliate links.

My kids are voracious readers. They devour chapter books, asking for more reading time, carrying books they’re engrossed in with them wherever we go. I absolutely love it.

I’m always on the lookout for quality chapter books to throw their way next, so I was thrilled to learn of a new young adult series from author Mark Batterson, best known for writing The Circle Maker. When I read the plot summary, I knew our nine-year-old, Big J, would be all about the Jack Staples series and I was right!

Jack Staples Book 1

I interviewed Big J after he finished the first book in the series, Jack Staples and the Ring of Time, and here were a few of his answers:

What is the story about?
“It’s about Jack and his adventures as one of the Awakened who sees life with different eyes than the rest of the world.”

What did you like about this book?
“I really liked the sword-fighting! It was like our world, but there were no guns, only swords and other primary weapons. The story was exciting, scary, and intense!”

Who were your favorite characters?
“Jack Staples and Alexia Dreager are the main characters and I liked them best. Alexia was really cool because she has the gift of climbing. I also like that God is called the Author and Satan is called the Assassin.”

What were your favorite parts of the story?
“I like when Jack defeated the enemy and the lion helped save him!”

What lessons did you learn from this book?
“Mrs. Dumphry (a character in the book) said something I really liked: ‘A true leader does not need to be asked to do the right thing; he does it.’ I think that’s the most important lesson I learned.”

I loved his answers, but more than that, I loved his enthusiasm about this book and the series as a whole. Immediately after finishing the first Jack Staples book, he asked when we could order the second and third!

Jack Staples Reading

The first piece of good news is the second book in the series, Jack Staples and the City of Shadows, as well as the third, Jack Staples and the Poet’s Storm, are both available now. My bookworm is thrilled he doesn’t have to wait for them to be released. I totally know how he feels!

The second piece of good news is that I’m giving away a copy of Jack Staples and the Ring of Time for your child today, along with a copy of Mark Batterson’s book, Praying Circles Around the Lives of Your Children, just for you!

To enter, just leave a comment telling me who in your life would love to read the Jack Staples series! I will pick one random winner Wednesday night, July 15th at 9PM CST!

Easy Iced Coffee On the Go with Folgers!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Folgers. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

I’m really picky about how I like my coffee. When I get it just the way I want it, I’m hesitant to try it any other way. I’m even more picky about iced coffee. It has taken me a long time to find any iced coffee I really enjoy, and the ones I do enjoy can’t be made at home.

Well, I USED to only like iced coffee from a coffee shop, but that all changed when I recently tried the new Folgers Iced Cafe Coffee Drink Concentrates!

Folgers Iced Cafe

Folgers Iced Cafe Concentrates are the most convenient way to make iced coffee. They come in a cute squeeze bottle just like you’ve previously seen for water flavorings. With the coffee, sweetener, and flavoring all in one bottle, you just add two squeezes of the concentrate to eight ounces of milk, stir in some ice, and enjoy!

IMG_8340

The beauty of this iced coffee is you can make it just how you like and with very few calories. I’ve tried mine with both skim milk and unsweetened vanilla almond milk with great results! I’d love to try it with coconut milk as well.

Folgers Iced Cafe Concentrates come in four flavors: Original Latte, Vanilla Latte, Hazelnut Latte, and Caramel Macchiato. My favorite was no surprise…

FullSizeRender 46
We traveled for the Fourth of July and I threw all four bottles in our food bag to enjoy while on vacation. If you’re not sure the place you’re staying at for your summer travels will have the right fixings for your necessary coffee, these portable concentrates are the perfect solution. You can get milk anywhere, so bring the ingredients for great iced coffee along with you! I spotted them in my local grocery store the other day, so check yours to pick some up!

I’m still hooked on a warm cup of coffee every morning, but these hot summer afternoons are just begging for great iced coffee and now I don’t have to go anywhere (or spend a fortune) to have an iced coffee I really love!

Folgers is providing you the opportunity to win prizes all summer long on Facebook and Twitter! Each Friday through September 4, 2015, Folgers fans can enter for weekly chances to win a prize basket of Folgers products worth $200!

  • To enter on Facebook, answer in the comments of their Friday giveaway post.
  • On Twitter, send an answer to their Friday contest question in a non-private tweet to @Folgers, and include the hashtags #FolgersFridays and #PromoEntry. You still have several Fridays left to win!

Promotion is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C, 18 years of age older. Internet access and a valid Facebook account are required to enter the promotion on Facebook; to enter on Twitter you must have a public Twitter account and follow the Twitter account @Folgers. Void where prohibited.

Are you an iced coffee drinker? Have you tried the Folgers Iced Cafe Coffee Drink Concentrates yet?

Summer Love at the Courts

I started taking tennis lessons at the age of five. Tennis was a huge part of my childhood, but not in an intense, competitive way. Sure, I did some tournaments here and there and played freshman tennis in high school, but tennis has mostly been for fun in my life. I still love playing and watching the game. This is my awesome parents and sister showing off our strong love for tennis…

McCarthy Family Tennis Rock

Yeah. We’re cool. We know it.

I never want to push any activity on my kids just because I love it, but the boys took an early interest in tennis and we signed them up for lessons through our local tennis association. We have a beautiful outdoor tennis complex not too far from our house where the boys have been taking lessons for three summers now.

Little J Picking Up
We spend two hours at the tennis courts two mornings a week for most of the summer. That might not sound like much fun for some people, but I just love being at those courts, watching our boys fall in love with a sport I adore so much. When Big J hit his first serve over the net AND in, I just about jumped out of my seat with excitement!

Big J Hitting

Big J Water

While I love almost everything about our time at tennis, there is no shade and the sun can be brutal for those two hours. We’ve left the courts with extra pink skin more than once, but not this year. We go to tennis lessons armed with great sun protection from Banana Boat®!

Summer Love at the Courts

Whether we’re headed to the tennis courts or the swimming pool, planning ahead is key! This definitely applies with sunscreen. Before heading to your family outing, consider how long you will be outside and how many times everyone will need to reapply. This even goes for activities in your own backyard!

Be sure to apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to you and your kids’ entire bodies 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. One application of Banana Boat® Kids Tear-Free Sting-Free SPF 50 Sunscreen is usually good enough for us at the courts, but on extra sunny days, I reapply after an hour because they are so sweaty!

FullSizeRender 39

Fair skin runs in our family, so I pay extra special attention to the face, ears, and back of the neck. The Banana Boat® Ultra Defense® Stick Sunscreen SPF 50 is great for quick, mess-free application for our whole family.

Little J Court

I have lots of love for our summer court time, and even more so when we don’t leave the courts with skin burnt to a crisp by the summer sun! Now if I could just get out there to play tennis myself a little more!

What summer sports is your family involved in? Do you have great summer sports memories from growing up?

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Banana Boat® . The opinions and text are all mine.

Fourth of July Outfits!

Who’s ready for the Fourth of July weekend?!

I’m totally ready – time with family, a day at the lake, celebrating our country, the food – it’s all good. I also love the fun Fourth of July outfit options. Red, white, and blue can be mixed together in so many different ways. Whether your holiday celebrations are at the lake, a backyard party, or anywhere else, I have some ideas for how to style your patriotic colors!

4th of July Outfit 1

A navy striped dress is a great staple to have in your summer closet and you’ve already got the blue and white covered for your Fourth of July outfit! Add some red beads and white slip-ons like these from Bzees to keep this classy outfit both dressy and comfy. I’m always a big fan of completing a summer outfit with a fedora.

4th of July Outfit 2

This is my lake Fourth of July outfit – a great patriotic tank, neutral shorts, comfy shoes and simple accessories. Lake days are all about being able to move and be comfortable not matter how hot it may be. We’ve been going to the same lake every Fourth of July since I can remember and this type of outfit has never failed me – why change now?! Did you notice the shape of the flag? So fun.

4th of July Outfit 3

If I was spending the Fourth of July at a backyard party or restaurant with friends, this would be my outfit of choice. I love the long, bold graphic tank paired with classy white capris and the best wedges ever. I really should wear white pants more, but hello, mother of three boys! Actually, I’m the one who usually spills on them…

4th of July Outfit 4

One of my favorite parts of the Fourth of July is sitting around the campfire, making s’mores, singing, laughing and talking with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. By that time of day, we’ve changed into jeans and hoodies, partially because it has cooled off, but mostly to ward off those Minnesota mosquitoes! This year, I’m adding these amazing Mitscoots “The Mark” socks for a little extra USA flair! It’s too late to get your own pair in time for this holiday, but you’ll want to order them now anyways because they are on sale for just $10 AND you can get an extra 20% off your order with the code HWTB20 at checkout!

4th of July Style Collage

How do you wear your red, white, and blue? Which of these Fourth of July outfits fits your style and plans for the holiday?

 

 

Refreshing, Healthy On-the-Go Summer Drinks

I am a #NowWellness Blogger Ambassador. I have received monetary and product compensation for this post. This post contains affiliate links. All opinions, recipes, and ideas are always my own.

Summer is a time of practices and play dates and vacations. Basically, even though things technically “slow down” in the summer, we’re still always on the go, but in a more fun way! Amidst all the travel and play, we have to grab something quick to eat and drink in between activities. It can be hard to keep making healthy choices. 

I’m a big fan of products that make it easy for me to make healthy choices in a hurry, so I’m loving these two mixes from NOW Foods that I can add to my water or juice this summer to keep my body in great working order!

Summer Drinks

I actually love drinking water, but I do prefer some flavoring to add variety. And water is super important for my body, not just for everyday life, but also as a runner. If I’m not getting enough water, my whole body suffers. It is not pleasant.

FullSizeRender 44

I discovered a new flavoring option from NOW Foods that is perfect for on-the-go hydration! Slender Sticks are sugar free drink sticks containing natural ingredients, natural sweeteners, and 10 super fruits! The Acai Lemonade flavor makes for a lovely summer drink that can be enjoyed in a mason jar on my deck or in a water bottle as I shuttle the kids to another summer activity. One packet is enough to flavor a regular 16.9oz water bottle. I’ll be keeping a few packets in my purse for easy use – it’s super delicious!

I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want in the summer when we’re traveling is an upset stomach. At home, I have Greek yogurt almost every day, which contains probiotics which help support proper digestion. I can tell a difference when I’m not eating my Greek yogurt. But yogurt doesn’t travel well without refrigeration, so I’ve been looking for other ways to get my probiotics on the go. I’ve found a solution in these great packets from NOW.

FullSizeRender 45

The NOW Probiotic-10 packets are vegetarian-vegan, as well as dairy, wheat and gluten free, and they are super easy to use! This also makes is great option for those who can’t have dairy products. Just add one packet of this unflavored supplement to 4-6 oz of water and drink up to keep your intestinal tract in great working order. Probiotics aren’t glamorous or yummy on their own, but you’ll be glad you added them to your water or favorite juice this summer.

When my body is well-hydrated and my digestion is functioning properly, I can enjoy summer with my family with much more gusto! How do you make sure you are physically at your best during the summer?

 

Summer is for S’mores!

I participated in a Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for OshKosh B’Gosh. I received an OshKosh B’Gosh gift card to facilitate my post and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Can I be honest with you? I’ve kind of always dreaded the arrival of summer. There have been parts of summer I’ve enjoyed – swimming, family vacations, no school – but I just wasn’t crazy about the heat and humidity and being out in it at all.

All of that has been changing this year. Maybe it’s me, but I think it has to do more with my kids. They’re growing up and we’re able to take off on adventures as a family more easily. We’ve been playing outside, exploring our city, staying up later, and I’m starting to think summer can be quite glorious.

OshKosh Happy Brothers
I think the most wonderful of all are the summer nights.
We’ve enjoyed have family play dates with friends in the evening so we can share the joy that is…

OshKosh Smores Supplies

S’MORES.

OshKosh J Fire Pit

We are blessed to have a beautiful fire pit and seating area in our backyard, the perfect location for the perfect yummy summer activity for a play date or sleepover!

OshKosh J Fire Pit 2
The combination of a warm fire, gooey treats, and kids is magical.

OshKosh FireOshKosh Brothers Roasting

It’s fun to have variety available when we make s’mores with guests! We mix it up with different chocolates – dark chocolate is my favorite, Big J loves peanut butter cups, and I’ll let you take a guess at the top choice of Little J…

OshKosh Hersheys

With all of the fun chocolate options, every kid can have a custom treat they will enjoy! We somehow ended up with one kiddo who just wants the roasted marshmallow by itself and one who wants all the parts of a s’more, but wants to eat them separately. I just don’t understand.

OshKosh Eating
S’mores and summer fun go hand-in-hand at our house and we love them both even more when we get to share them with friends!

We are also totally loving the new summer play clothes the boys picked out at our local OshKosh B’Gosh store this past week!

OshKosh Surf

I’ve always thought of overalls and denim when OshKosh B’Gosh was mentioned, but they are quickly becoming my go-to store for bright, fun summer looks for my boys. The boys were actually EXCITED to be shopping in the OshKosh B’Gosh store and that is a BIG DEAL!

OshKosh j smile

With sizes 0-12, we were able to shop for all three boys in one store and we had piles of tops and shorts they all loved. The deals at OshKosh B’Gosh were so great that we were able to get everything they wanted – ten tops and four pairs of shorts – for under $100!

OshKosh Shark Face

I can’t get the boys to wear anything excet their new OshKosh B’Gosh clothes and that’s fine with me! I love their bright colors, hand-drawn original designs, and great quality.

OshKosh Shirts

I think these outfits match their personalities quite well, don’t you?! And Little J’s dino shirt (top right) glows in the dark, which is so perfect for an evening play date!

OshKosh Whole Shark

I should probably mention that if you’re going to do s’mores for a play date, please allow some “burning off all that sugar” time. They’ll need it. Trust me.

OshKosh RoamingOshKosh ChaseOshKosh Tackle

See what I mean?!

I love my boys. I love spending summer with them. And I know you will love the new summer styles from OshKosh B’Gosh as much as we do, especially with this great discount through July 13th!

SUM15-Mom-Blog-CouponV2

Find your local OshKosh B’Gosh store here, grab your kids, and enjoy finding them some fun new summer clothes together with 25% off your purchase of $30 or more! You can also use this deal online with the code SUMMER25 at checkout.

You can join in on the #HelloSummerFun action and be inspired with OshKosh B’Gosh on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

 

Your turn: talk to me about your favorite s’mores combination! We are always looking for new ideas!


Take Us Out to the Ballgame!

Summer. Baseball. Family. Fun.

These words just go together, don’t they?!

In Omaha, you can add three more words: College World Series.

Every June, college baseball fans from all over the country converge upon our fair city to cheer on their teams and it is quite the sight to see! The Hubby and I attended a College World Series game back when we were a young married couple without kids. That was back in the days of Rosenblatt Stadium, the long-time location for this baseball championship that is no longer standing.

We hadn’t been back to the College World Series or the festivities surrounding them since they moved to downtown Omaha, but we made it a priority this year! With the boys getting older and being more interested in actually watching the game, this was the perfect year to take it all in!

CWS Opening Day Collage

We had such a fun time attending the Opening Day festivities – meeting players, watching practice, playing games, eating yummy food! It was a great way to see the stadium and teams up close for FREE!

The fun didn’t stop there, though, because The Hubby picked up tickets for us to attend two games, including one featuring LSU, the team our oldest son had decided to cheer for in the tournament! Imagine the excitement when the boys found out we were going! Honestly, I was just as excited as them!

FullSizeRender 37

One of the biggest differences between attending the Opening Day activities and the game was the weather! On Friday, we were wearing hoodies and jeans, but by game day on Tuesday, it was in the upper 80s with LOTS of sunshine! We came equipped with the necessities – hats, sunglasses, water bottles, and plenty of great Banana Boat® sunscreen!

As a mom, I know how important it is to make sun protection a priority. Sunscreen does more than protect against sunburns. It protects against long-term effects that are not always visible, like skin damage and skin cancer.

Banana Boat® sun care products are tested in seven conditions – sun, pool water, ocean water, wind, sweat, sand and extreme heat – to provide safe and effective broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection for the entire family. The Hubby and I prefer Banana Boat® Sport Performance® Lotion Sunscreen with PowerStay Technology™ for our active lifestyles as runners and as busy parents of boys!

IMG_7975

Our trip to this ballgame ended with an LSU win, three happy boys, and no sunburn! It was a smashing success and we we went back for more later in the week Looks like we have a new yearly tradition!

Have you had a memorable trip to a baseball game? Tell me about it!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Banana Boat® . The opinions and text are all mine.