This year will be my first summer at home with my girls and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t super excited but kinda nervous at the same time. I mean, what the heck are we going to do all summer? I live in Georgia and in case you haven’t heard, let me tell you – it is H-O-T here. They don’t call it Hotlanta for nothing (by the way, no one who actually lives here calls in that). I’m originally a FL girl (where it’s even hotter) but definitely prefer the comfort of AC inside over the blazing outdoors. My kids, on the other hand, well… that’s a different story. Summer for them means one thing: water. We like to set up what we fondly refer to as “Bennett Beach” in our driveway and let the girls loose. The problem with that is they’re not old enough to be out there unsupervised, which means I have to sit out there with them. So today I’m going to share what I consider to be a mom’s essentials to surviving the summer with kids.

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A few weeks ago, a friend and I decided to get together one morning and snap a few blog photos for each other. The plan was to stop at this cute little plaza not too far from my house and then take the kids to the library. Since the plan was mostly indoor-fun, I dressed my girls up in sweet matching outfits and their “good” mary jane sneakers (with ruffle socks, of course). I had 3 outfits to shoot, each taking about 5 minutes plus a few minutes in between to change. About two minutes in, my girls were playing in the fountain (that I didn’t know was there until we arrived). I shouted for them to not get wet, “Hands only, girls! Don’t get wet!” to which they agreed, “Yes, Mommy! Okay!” but then, of course, they got wet.

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I’m no teacher and am definitely not an expert on anything having to do with education. However, since I’ve been home with my girls – my 2 year old is home full-time and my 4 year old goes to preschool 3 days per week – it’s been important for me to see them engage in activities that are not only fun but also help with their cognitive development. It’s no secret that I allow my kids to have screen time, but I try to balance it out with some brain exercise so their minds don’t become total mush and they can one day become contributing members of society. Here are four of my favorite activities that encourage cognitive development in preschoolers (and even older kids). Don’t worry, I validated my list with research. 😉

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I’ve never considered myself to be a “healthy” person. Writing that instantly makes me feel bad about myself. I’m not-at-all active and if ever given the choice between cheese fries and a salad, I will hands-down choose cheese fries every single time. Believe it or not, I used to eat really well when I worked full-time, though. I’m a woman of routine and taking a somewhat healthy breakfast and lunch to work every day was part of my routine. I would have yogurt and a banana for breakfast and then for lunch I would have either leftovers from home or a low-cal freezer meal and berries. Every day. Around 2:00 everyday, though, I would find and binge on candy. Offices are always chock-full of sweets, aren’t they? Anyway, now that I’m home full-time, eating healthy has been a challenge. There’s just no time. My meals usually consist of the scraps from my kids’ plates to hold me over and then by time I have a few minutes to sit down and feed myself, I’m starving and gorge myself on whatever junk I can find. It’s a bad cycle and I’ve realized I need to make some changes.

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Still on the lookout for the perfect Mother’s Day gift? Well, you probably missed my previous two posts with ideas and now, with less than a week until Mother’s Day, are running out of time. Luckily for you, I’ve got your back. I scoured Amazon for some great – and inexpensive – ideas that are all Prime eligible. Free 2-day shipping for the win! All of these gifts are less than $50 (some are on sale!) and there’s a little something for everyone. Happy shopping!

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