Our Top Sun & Water Essentials for Toddlers

I’m so excited for summer with the boys. They are 2 and 4 years old, and I can already tell that this is going to be a really active summer for us. From the moment they wake up until they pass out, we’re riding bikes, playing in the baby pool on the back porch, and going for hikes in the woods. All that time outside in the sun requires good gear, and a dip or two in the water to cool off. So, below we’re sharing our favorite sun and water gear, because the two go together like peanut butter and jelly (obviously).
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Welcome June

Near the beginning of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us, with a particular focus on animal activity, farmers’ fields, and environmental holidays. *You can find our archive of previous welcomes here (a few months are missing from the archive, we’re bowing our heads in shame).*

Hello, Summer!

Are you feeling the heat? Based upon our Instagram feed, I sense that most of the country had a nice spring and then transitioned into hot weather sometime last month. Not us, we had an unseasonably large snowstorm in late May, which confuses our minds and the garden. Remember last month’s welcome when I was already talking about the crazy weather BEFORE that storm? But anyway, our hot days have arrived, and we’re loving it!

We’re transitioning to more dinners on the deck, more long evenings playing in the dirt, and (of course), more fresh seasonal eats.

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The image above is from the Library of Congress’ online prints and photos collection. I love these old prints. The designs are awesome, and they tell a story about the times. I also love the idea that the government was trying to get us to work together, a particularly common theme for the posters made during WWII, and even outside of war times there were others about taking care of yourself (eating healthy, exercising, etc.) and some about celebrating American heritage. If you’re looking to waste time online the LOC is a great place to do it.

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Best of the Season : Summer 2015

At the end of each season, we take a look back and highlight our favorite posts. See previous Seasonal Bests here.

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Summer flew by! Let me say here and now that this was the Summer of Kate.  She created SO many posts this summer and I’m eternally grateful for her hard work and dedication to Live Seasoned so if you enjoyed this summer, know that it was mostly brought to you by Katie. We love summer for so many reasons: the sun, the berries, the beach, our birthdays, we could go on and on. We even added an extra week, did you notice? We both agree that autumn is pretty awesome too.  The cool, crisp smell of the leaves in the air mixed with a cup of hot tea and every cliche fall activity we can think of, yep, that’s why autumn totally rocks.  Before we move on to fall, we wanted to take a look back at summer and highlight our favorite posts. If you had a fave we didn’t mention, we would love to hear in the comments!

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Best of Dinners

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Best of Desserts

  • Katie’s pick : I think I’m still tickled by how perfectly the Pineapple Flowers fit the fourth anniversary gifts of fruit & flowers. Plus, they were so easy to make and looked beautiful. I’m exciting to have this little trick in my repertoire for future dessert decorating. 
  • Sarah’s pick : I ate so many Lemon Bars that I became ill and I would do it tomorrow if I had them in front of me!

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Best of Popsicles

  • Katie’s pick : I have to admit that I loved the Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Popsicles because they were delicious, but also because I could give them to Alex at any time of day and not feel guilty about it!
  • Sarah’s pick : You know it’s a good summer when we have a best of popsicles category.  I loved Katie’s Lemon Cream Popsicles.

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Best of Drinks

  •  Katie’s pick : Let’s just say that I have to make another batch of lemongrass simple syrup today to keep the Lemon Lemon Gin Fizz(es?) coming through the weekend.
  • Sarah’s pick : I think my homemade lemonade post was technically in the spring, but I made lemonade more times than I can count this summer.

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Best of Crafts

  • Katie’s pick : Does it count that I love the moth watercolor from our Mad about Moths post? I would love to be able to paint like that.
  • Sarah’s pick : I’m still in disbelief that you can print out an enormous photo for only ten bucks, which means the winner is Cheap Oversized Photo Art.

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Best of Wedding Crafts

  • Katie’s pick : I know it was only four years ago, but I really loved looking back through our wedding day through the DIY projects. While I loved making everything, my top project would have to be the bunting, because we still bring it out for special events like birthdays, including decorating the hospital room where Luc was born!
  • Sarah’s pick : I loved looking back at Katie’s wedding and seeing all the details that made it so very special.  This was a hard decision for me, but because I still carry the Purse around (four years later) all the time I have to pick it as my favorite wedding project. Ps. I totally saw two other bridesmaids using their purses this summer too!

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Best of Health & Beauty

  • Katie’s pick : With our new high-altitude home and all of the time we spend outside, I’m so excited that I know how to make DIY Mineral-based Sunscreen. While it’s already great, I’m hoping that batch by batch I’ll customize the recipe to something that’s just right for our family. 
  • Sarah’s pick : I use Katie’s Summer Face Oil every single day. I love the way it smells and feels and I love knowing my scientist of a sister concocted it on her own 🙂

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Best How To

  • Katie’s pick : Because we had just as much fun doing it as writing about it, I’m going with the Camping with Little Kids post.
  • Sarah’s pick : Even though I don’t have kids, I loved Katie’s post Cooking with Kids.  I was surprised at how many great ideas she had (har har 😉 ) that pertained to cooking with little ones.

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Best of Photography

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Best of Nature

  • Katie’s pick : I liked writing the shark species spotlight, because it actually helped me to get over some of my fear of knowing that they were swimming so close to our summer stomping grounds! 
  • Sarah’s pick : I love Katie’s new Species Spotlight feature and I’m totally partial to the Argiope aurantia aka cool yellow spider because in this case, the more you learn, the more you love.

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Best of Travel

  • Katie’s Pick : The beach! Maybe because we’re still here and living it :-).
  • Sarah’s Pick : I loved revisiting Cannon Beach & Haystack Rock through photos.  It truly was one of the most amazing tidal pools I’ve ever seen.

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Best Around the House

  • Katie’s pick : While not exciting, and definitely not our typical type of post, I have to go with my post about Recovering Photos from LaCie RAID Drive because the end result was so valuable to me (saving over a decade worth of photos!) and because it feels so empowering to be able to do research and fix a software problem myself.
  • Sarah’s pick : I loved writing Five Best Earth Friendly Products for an Outdoor Shower because it gave me a chance to research the companies that I use and love so much.  I found out so many interesting and inspiring facts while writing the post that I’m actually excited to buy more of their products.  I love feeling like an informed and responsible consumer, how dorky am I?

And that’s it, another summer in the books. We always think it goes by too fast, but that’s part of the reason why we blog. Having this record of the season helps to remind us that while we may not have had time for every adventure on our list, we still did a lot and had a fantastic time! We hope you did too. xo

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Summer on Saxis Island, Virginia

In the past we’ve highlighted Saxis Island through photo stories about the watermen and our bike ride to the beach.  Yesterday we introduced you to our favorite spider and last week we mentioned a few of our favorite outdoor shower products.

We already love Saxis for so many reasons, but like most things in life, when you experience them again through a child’s eye you appreciate them that much more.  We wanted to highlight some of the shenanigans going on in and around Saxis this summer with a few photos. Hopefully you also have a favorite summer stomping ground where you can act like a kid again.  If not, let these photos be inspiration to get out there, mess around, and maybe find a spot that you’ll return to each summer.

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Playing in the surf never gets old.  If you have little ones like Alex, we recommend having one adult for every child because you never know when they might sprint right into the waves (Katie here : with these crazy boys I’m starting to think that we need two adults for every kid!).  Alex is one brave boy.  He’s constantly shocking us with the challenges he takes on like diving head first into holes in the sand. Yep, he treats sand dunes and big holes like a slide at the playground and going feet first would be too safe and tame for that tyke.  If you’re the cautious type or you just need a break, you could seek out the nearest bay to play in.  Chances are the water is calm and shallow and you may even find some bayside critters swimming in the water.

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Of course, it’s not all about the kids. Our family has always enjoyed a good game, often it’s a card or board game at night, but we’re also a big fan of lawn/beach games. This year our mom discovered Kubb, and our pop made a set for the beach. Everyone in our group had a great time playing, and recommend this for anyone who loves horseshoes, corn hole, or any similar toss game.

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While we love a good beach day, we also love our water toys.  Each year it seems our family is adding something to the fleet.  This year we acquired two stand up paddle boards.  Stand Up Paddle boards are a fantastic way to hop right onto the water without much set up and hassle.  SUPs can be carried by one person where as kayaks are much easier to transport with two people. SUPs are also a nice way to give young kids a little taste of the bay without taking them too far out in case they’re a bit apprehensive about water.


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As much as we love SUPs, kayaks and classic boogie boards, nothing beats a motorboat. We keep it pretty simple in our family with a small fishing boat, but it feels luxurious to us since we grew up paddling a canoe.  A motorboat allows you the freedom to bring along all the fishing and crabbing you could want and don’t you dare forget that cooler full of drinks!

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While we’re running down docks, pulling up crabs and diving into sand holes, we’re learning about the world around us.  Every moment is a chance to see and experience something new on the island.  We get equally excited about feeding horseshoe crabs at the Assateague Visitors Center as we do about looking at dead dragonflies through a bug magnifying box.  Last year Alex’s first word was “burd”, which he said while watching the seagulls fly by the house. This year we started to teach him the names of different birds as we saw them, from egrets in the trees to osprey watching over their nests. We’re hoping these summers on Saxis instill the same love and appreciation for nature in little Alex and Luc that we have now as adults.

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Summer Essentials : Park Days!

From the popsicles on Monday to cooking with Little A on Tuesday and Sarah’s tips for taking sibling snapshots yesterday, it inadvertently turned into a kid-themed week over here. Meanwhile, Alex, Luc and I are in the middle of an awesome summer of kid fun. What does that mean? Playgrounds and parks. Between naps and rainy day visits to the library, we try to spend as much time outside as we can, so I thought I would share our park/sun essentials.

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Swim/sun suits are the way to go if you have little ones and a park with a fountain. The suits make sunscreen application so easy! … and they aren’t just for kids, my mom just gave me this suit for my birthday. PS. everything on that site is 15% off with the code SUMMER15.

I love all of the cheap options for prescription glasses these days, and am thinking about ordering these sunglasses.

Homemade sunscreen? Check!

Word on the playground is that skorts are a mom’s best friend. I never thought I’d say that, but luckily, there are a lot of great looking and fitting skorts out there. Unfortunately, my current favorite is now sold out, so I can’t buy a dozen more, but this is the “sport” alternative.

Keens are awesome for active little kids. Socks aren’t necessary, they keep feet cool, they are great on dry or wet days, and they dry quickly. The only bummer? They’re targets for stray pebbles.

I always pack a hat, and my favorites are the inexpensive floppy ones.

No matter where we’re going, staying organized is the key to getting out the door quickly. I just bought this small Timbuk2 bag and am so happy to be back on the messenger bag train again, especially when there are so many pockets involved.

And the key to keeping everyone happy in the heat is water. At Christmas time I used Cafe Press to make us a couple of personalized water bottles – they made great stocking stuffers, and now they’re in constant rotation for our park trips.

Little A is such a tough guy that he rarely needs more than a kiss to get back on his feet, but I picked up a couple of these first aid kits just in case we happen upon a bandaid moment. They are compact enough to keep in my bag and in the glove box.


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As is my nature, I try to keep things simple when we head out for the day; it gets us out the door faster and there’s less to keep track of when we’re at the park. Of course, we always pack a snack and my camera :-). What about you? What are your park essentials?

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Summer Face Oil

We’re exploring the many uses for essential oils for both our home and body. You can see our archive of essential oil posts here. liveseasoned_summer2015_faceoil8-1024x768 copy

Oh my skincare routine has changed throughout the years, and I only wish that I was as gentle on my skin in high school as I am now. Back then I thought my skin was too oily and would never have dreamed of actually applying oil to my face to moisturize and nourish it, instead, I would be drawn to any cleanser that promised to dry out my face. In reality, I’m guessing that all of those harsh, drying products likely irritated my skin, stripped it of its natural oils, and caused it to over produce oil in order to try to hydrate my face and reverse the damage I was doing. Jump ahead ten years, and I slowly came around to the amazingly beneficial characteristics of plant oils for the skin. Jump ahead another couple of years, and I’m now adding some essential oils to my basic routine.

I like to shy away from the camera when it comes to our posts, but if any post calls for a headshot, it’s this one! So I’m putting my face in focus for this post, and hopefully it will stand as a record that I can refer back to when looking at how my skin responds to a few years of essential oil use. I should also mention that I really believe that healthy skin starts from the inside. So while I’ve found these skin oil potions to be effective, I also make it a point to drink plenty of water and eat a well-balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables.

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Best of the Season

We’re starting a new feature today. At the end of the season (in our books, Autumn arrives with the start of September), we will be highlighting our favorite posts from the season. Just a little looking back and savoring all that was summer before we move on to fall.

Best of Main Dishes

  • Katie’s pick : I was about to go with the fish tacos, because those are a current craze in our house, but looking back through the archive, I saw the lamb meatballs, and they win out. They are ingredient and time intensive, but they are so worth it. If you haven’t tried making them yet, this savory dish will be perfect for cool fall evenings!
  • Sarah’s pick : Even though I haven’t made them yet, the fresh spring rolls are my favorite!  The final product looks so pretty and I love how they can be customized to each eater’s tastes.  Anyone want to come to a spring roll party?!

Best of Desserts

  • Katie’s Pick : I loved Sarah’s popsicle series. Getting to sample the pops first hand makes my mouth water and brings back the flavors every time I look at one of those posts. I loved how simple the recipes were, and even typing this I want to run out to the store and pick up the ingredients for my favorite, the creamy toasted coconut. My only complaint? that there wasn’t time for more!
  • Sarah’s Pick : Avocado popsicles FOREVER! Seriously. I need to live where avocados are always in season (where is that?) because I can’t get enough of these pops.  They’re delicious, filling, packed with fiber, potassium, and good fats, what else do you need?!

Best of Alcoholic Drinks

  • Katie’s Pick : I’m torn here. I love a good mojito, and still remember how much I savored every sip of the watermelon mojitos we made in June. But, I’ve yet to try Sarah’s ginger cuke cocktail.
  • Sarah’s Pick : The spicy ginger cuke cocktail is my absolute favorite, not just of the summer, but of all time.  I find myself stocking up on ginger beer every time I’m at the store. Whenever I juice a cucumber, I juice two extras so that I always have fresh cucumber juice on hand for this cocktail.

Best of Non-Alcoholic Drinks

  • Katie’s Pick : Sarah’s agua fresca post, because it opened my eyes to a completely new-to-me drink. Then I started to notice a variety of fresh agua frescas in my local market (they make them from the uber-ripe produce rather than letting it go bad), and I’ve been hooked!
  • Sarah’s Pick : I love Kate’s mocktail post from earlier this week. Those fresh, fruity and bubbly drinks are such a treat!  I wouldn’t mind being the designated driver if I was served a grapefruit, fig and mint mocktail.

Best of Crafts

  • Katie’s Pick : Sarah’s tillandsia display, because it’s awesome and it inspired us to get creative with air plants, like using them to decorate the walls of our outdoor shower.
  • Sarah’s Pick : I love the tiny, up-cycled, hanging, glow vases (enough adjectives, eh?) because they were SO simple to make.  At our most recent party, we hung them underneath a pergola and guests were stopping and photographing them all night!

Best of Style

  • Katie’s Pick : I was really inspired by Sarah and Kristin’s scarf tying post. Next step – actually put one on my head.
  • Sarah’s Pick : I’m loving Kate’s knit post, especially the hat for Alex. I can’t wait to see it on his little big noggin.  I also wished I knew another photographer because this post made me realize that we need to do more style posts!

Best of Potions

  • Katie’s Pick : Homemade deodorant for the win. I use it every day (and have for years), and its proven itself to work great time and time again.
  • Sarah’s Pick: Dry Shampoo to the rescue! This post title couldn’t be more accurate. I sprinkle some dry shampoo on my bangs every other day. The sandy salt scrub is a close second, but I definitely use the dry shampoo more often.

Best of Nature

  • Katie’s Pick : I’m going to have to go with my Colorado hiking series, because I enjoyed every thing that went into those posts, from the actual hiking to the documentation, and learning about the plants in my new home. It’s a series I’m hoping to continue with contributions from Sarah. {Sarah here: hint taken!}
  • Sarah’s Pick : I really enjoy Katie’s Monthly Welcome posts because they keep me in tune with what’s going on in nature.  I’m usually up to date with what fruits and veggies are in season, but sometimes I’m in the dark with the animal realm.

What about you? Did we do anything that really tickled your fancy this summer? Anything that you wish you could forget? (don’t worry we’ll still love you)

Sarah and I just finished up our big fall-planning phone call. Although I was dragging my feet at the beginning of the week, I’m beginning to get excited about the change of seasons and can’t wait for some of the posts we have in store. Of course we’re keeping it all a surprise, but if you have any requests, our ears and eyes are open.

We hope you have a fantastic Labor Day weekend, full of food, friends, crafts, and a bit of nature too!

 

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