The Best Pool Floats for Summer 2019 – SwimWays AquaLinx: This post was sponsored by SwimWays as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
SUMMER IS HERE! Today was the last day of school for my kiddos, and we are ready to have tons of fun in the sun! We will be traveling some, then we will be enjoying our pool and soaking up the Florida rays.
Each summer I get new pool floats for our backyard pool. This year we have the absolute BEST pool floats that are fun for the whole family!
The Best Pool Floats for Summer 2019 – SwimWays AquaLinx
This summer you’ll find us floatin’ around the pool in our SwimWays AquaLinx. These are so much fun! Not only can you use AquaLinx alone, but you can hook them together and float around together! AquaLinx connects together with the built in cup holders. Not only do the cup holders allow the floats to connect, but they also conveniently allow you to relax in the water with a beverage…can you say tropical oasis?!
One of the other things I really love about AquaLinx is the comfortable design and the mesh bottom. There’s literally nothing worse than when your booty sticks to a super hot pool float that’s been in the sun all day, or when you can’t actually get onto a float because you keep slipping and sliding off of it!
SwimWays AquaLinx solves that dilemma with the mesh seat that allows you to sit in the water while floating around and sipping on your favorite drink!
Or, if you’re anything like our traveling circus of 5, you’ll be defending yourself from flying toys and super cannonballs from kids as you float around in your SwimWays AquaLinx.
We are looking forward to a SERIOUSLY fun-filled summer, and can’t wait to get back out in the pool again today and relax in the AquaLinx!
SwimWays AquaLinx will be conveniently available for purchase this summer in-store at Walmart and online at Amazon.
Awesome Austin Murals and Street Art – find out where they’re located and which ones are worth stopping at…
The Austin murals are definitely something fun to add to your itinerary while you’re visiting this vibrant Texas town. My husband and I took an adults only getaway for a few days to Austin, TX and it was the perfect mix of fun, relaxation, and delicious food.
We also took the chance to explore the awesome murals and street art scattered throughout the city. While it’s possible to explore these murals on foot, it’s even better to explore them while zoom-zooming around town in the gorgeous Mazda CX-9.
We were lucky enough to be able to drive this beauty around town while we were in Austin and it was the perfect vehicle to get us around in comfort and style! You can read more of my thoughts about the CX-9 over on Instagram.
Ready to check out all of the awesome street art that Austin has to offer?? Ready, set, let’s go!!
Must-See Awesome Austin Murals
First up, the iconic Greetings from Austin mural. You’ll find this colorful art on the side of the Roadhouse Relics store located at 1720 S. 1st Street. This is a must-see mural, located in a busy area of Austin.
Hug Life Tupac Mural – not far from the Greetings from Austin Mural is this homage to the late rapper. You can find this one on the side of Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop located at 1905 S 1st Street.
I Love You So Much Mural – one of the most iconic Austin mural is a simple sentiment on the side of Jo’s Coffee located at 1300 S Congress Ave. (You can read the story about this famous Austin mural if you’re so inclined by clicking here.)
Not far from Jo’s is Tesoro’s Trading Company which has a beautiful religious mural on the side of the building. Located at 1500 S Congress Ave.
Not far from Tesoro’s is a fun horse mural on the side of Mi Casa Gallery located at 1700 South Congress Ave.
As you keep walking down Congress you’ll come across this super fun and very colorful mural on the side of Bird’s Barbershop located at 1902 S. Congress Ave., Austin, TX.
If you head back up Congress on the other side of the street there’s a bunch more murals to see!
The Smile Even if You Don’t Want To mural is located directly across the street from the Willie Nelson Willie for President mural – you can find these at 100-130 E Elizabeth St, Austin, TX 78704
Close by you’ll find the Mister Rogers Won’t You Be My Neighbor mural located on the side of Home Slice Pizza at 1415 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX
Another fun mural in Downtown Austin is the Peace Love Austin mural located at the Google Fiber Space at 201 Colorado St, Austin, TX 78701
You’ll find this iconic blue Austin Howdy mural at 601 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78701
Directly across the street from the Austin Howdy mural you’ll find the Life’s a Party mural on the side of the Packed Party building in Downtown Austin.
Another fun downtown mural is HUGE colorful prism mural located across the street from the JW Marriott hotel. This mural is at the corner of Brazos Street and 2nd Street.
Another fun Austin mural is the Share the Fire mural which is on the side of the YETI Flagship store located at 220 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704
There are TONS more murals in Austin, but these were some of our favorites we came across as we explored this super fun town. What are some of your favorite murals in Austin, TX?
iInternational Learn to Swim Day – This post was sponsored by SwimWays as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
One of the first improvements we made to our new home was building a pool in our backyard. We love the spend family time together outside splashing around and swimming in our pool. It really it the centerpiece of our home, and the source of tons of fun family memories.
The reality is that having three small children in our home with a pool in the backyard means that we have to be extra cautious. It is imperative that each of our boys knows how to swim. Not only for fun, but for their own safety. Our two older boys have known how to swim for as long as I can remember. I was pregnant when we built our home and pool. Now that our littlest dude is old enough to want to enjoy the pool too, it’s time for him to learn how to swim!
International Learn to Swim Day
International Learn To Swim Day is the 3rd Saturday of May and will be held this year on May 18, 2019. Which means it’s the perfect time for my little guy to learn how to swim. National Learn to Swim Day was founded by SwimWays in 2012. This awesome day is dedicated to educating parents and children about water safety and the benefits of learning how to swim.
One of the ways we will be helping our youngest son to learn how to swim is with the SwimWays Paw Patrol Swim Trainer. My son loves the adorable Paw Patrol characters on the trainer! You can pick these up at Target (as if you needed another reason to go to Target, right?!) and it’s available with Chase or Skye on the front. I’ll be sharing all about our experience with the SwimWays Paw Patrol Swim Trainer in another blog post within the next few weeks, so stay tuned for that!
SwimWays has been a big part of helping to teach my older two boys how to swim, and we adore their family-friendly products. The Paw Patrol Swim Trainer is Swim Step 2 in the SwimWays Swim Step Program. It will ensure your child’s safety in the water and is even US Coast Guard approved! You can watch and learn more about the Swim Steps over at this SwimWays YouTube video.
A sneak peek into Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge opening at Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World.
Today I had the chance to attend a sneak peek media event for Hollywood Studios 30th Anniversary Celebration at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. If you’re following me over on Instagram then you already knew this!
We are able to find out tons of the exciting new things happening at Hollywood Studios (such as the Disney Junior Dance Party) and things coming up in the near future. There’s SO many new things happening at Hollywood Studios. One of the most highly anticipated is the opening of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, opening Aug. 29, 2019 – 14-acre immersive land that will invite guests to live their own Star Wars stories, including taking the controls of the Millennium Falcon.
Live Your Star Wars Adventure in a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Star Wars: GalaxyÕs Edge will open May 31, 2019, at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, and Aug. 29, 2019, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. At 14 acres each, Star Wars: GalaxyÕs Edge will be Disney’s largest single-themed land expansions ever, transporting guests to live their own Star Wars adventures in Black Spire Outpost, a village on the remote planet of Batuu, full of unique sights, sounds, smells and tastes. Guests can become part of the story as they sample galactic food and beverages, explore an intriguing collection of merchant shops and take the controls of the most famous ship in the galaxy aboard Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. (Disney Parks)
Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge
I had the chance of a lifetime to get to go behind the scenes today and SEE INTO STAR WARS GALAXY’S EDGE!! WHATTTT?!!? My friend Alan (from MousePlanet) and I were two of the very first civilians to ever enter into Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge – which was INCREDIBLE. It’s more spectacular than anything ever at Disney before. From the rock formations to soaring buildings, the expansive 14 acre space will make you feel like you’ve been transported into scenes from the iconic films. Guests will be able to purchase food, merchandise, meet their favorite characters, fly the Millenium Falcon on a thrilling interactive smuggling mission, and join the Resistance in a climactic battle against the First Order.
Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge sits towards the back of Hollywood Studios and will be accessible from the walkway between Commisary Lane and Grand Avenue, and will also be accessible from beloved Toy Story Land.
While I wasn’t allowed to bring my camera backstage (bummer!), I was able to interview a Walt Disney World Imagineer about the new land. Check out my video below as I asked Chad, Project Manager for Walt Disney Imagineering, about what he’s most excited about!
This week I traveled to Austin, TX to attend the Mom2.0 conference.
I love to meet-up with “my people” and take in all sorts of new information.
While I was at the conference another blogger came over to me and let me know that she has been reading my blog since the beginning, from back when I started my site (when it was The Eyes of a Boy). I was honestly taken aback. Sometimes I forget that I’m writing for actual people to read what I write. In that moment she made me feel so worthy and valued, and so thankful that this is my job. It’s an amazing thing to be able to write, take photos, and connect with people and call this my career.
Before meeting her I felt very overwhelmed. I was nervous as I talked with other women. I questioned my self-worth, and even doubted my abilities as a professional content creator. Rationally, I know that I am valuable and I love what I do. But when the anxiety and overwhelm creeps in and makes its way into my mind – game over. It’s not a comparison thing, it’s a me thing. I am my own worst enemy sometimes when the imposter syndrome comes to visit.
So, I want to be honest with you.
I have anxiety.
Well, we all have anxiety, since we are human, after all….But I suffer from anxiety. Sometimes it’s too much, and it can be overwhelming.
Some days it’s worse than others….and some days it’s nonexistent.
I don’t take medication for anxiety right now since I have been breastfeeding for the last 22 months (+ 9 months of pregnancy).
Now that I’ve weaned my son this week I’m hoping that when my hormones even out I’ll start to feel a bit less anxious.
It’s not just at conferences surrounded by lots of people that I feel this way. It happens in my everyday life as well.
I stress out over the minutiae. I overthink things. I allow my anxiety to sometimes talk me out of doing fun activities.
…and after a full day of parenting my three little boys I absolutely need to find time to myself. It usually comes in the form of a hot shower at the end of the day when everyone else is fast asleep. Finding ways to keep anxiety and overwhelm in check are the key for me to be able to accomplish all of the things I do and want to do.
I remember when we finally had our oldest son after a long string of losing pregnancies (and having our stillborn son only 11 months earlier than our oldest living son) I’d stand over him at night to make sure he was breathing and he was ok. I’d pray and ask God to keep him safe, and definitely lost a lot of sleep watching that little chest rise and fall a million times. I was so thankful for each inhale and exhale from his tiny body. As he grew and I adjusted to new motherhood, I started to trust that he would be ok…,but much of the anxiety from all of my experiences stayed with me. Its part of my charm now I guess haha.
At the end of the day, I adore my kids, and I adore my life. I love myself and love my family. I just also have anxiety, and hey, that’s ok too.
I share this because I know I’m not the only one out there that has this going on. If you suffer from anxiety too, I want you to know you are not alone
Today is our ELEVENTH wedding anniversary (and marks 16 years we’ve been together).
We met when we were super young, and have stuck together through some crazy times.
Today I am so proud of us.
So proud of the kids who pledged their love and lives to each other on April 26th, 2008.
So proud that we have grown up together, and grown a family in the process.
So proud of the people we have become.
Most important, though, I am so very proud of the resilience of our marriage.
Not long after we were married, we experienced the our first pregnancy loss of our 18 week pregnancy. This loss was great and took a huge toll on our marriage. Not long after, we separated for 6 months….I went so far as to sign divorce papers.
He would not sign them, and he truly saved this marriage.
Not long after we found ourselves pregnant again.
…and heartbreak found us again.
This time, we lost our stillborn son Max at more than 8 months into the pregnancy.
This may sound crazy – but before we went into the hospital to deliver our beautiful sleeping boy, Max, we made a pact in the car to not let the loss of our son tear us apart us as our first pregnancy loss did. We had learned from the near failure of our marriage, and we were able to navigate the murky, deep, treacherous waters of losing a child without losing each other again. I don’t wish anyone this same journey, but this process has helped to shape us into the people we are today.
Our marriage has truly been put to the test over the past 4,015 days.
Thankfully, we had the courage to continue to try to have a family and we now have our three beautiful boys.
Resilience is a process. It takes time, and work, and dedication to bounce back after extreme stress.
Our marriage is far from perfect, but I am so thankful to have been given the gift of this beautiful man by my side. Someone who has been willing to put in the work for me, us, our marriage, and family… and eternally grateful that he has made me into the strong and resilient woman I am today.
The urge to beautify all of the things when spring arrives is real. Especially as a mom of three very messy little boys, spring cleaning is a MUST. Beyond cleaning, sometimes a little extra beautifying is necessary. Recently, my almost-2-year-old got ahold of markers that belong to my older two sons and decided to color on one of my china cabinets (the white one in the background of the photo above). So, I will be taking some time to refinish that cabinet (again) soon.
I’m excited to use N-Hance Wood Refinishing products on the cabinet! N-Hance products are designed specifically for cabinets, not walls. They’re made with an acrylic-polyurethane blend that is cured
with ultra-violet light. Providing ultimate durability with a beautiful, smooth, rock-hard finish.
The cabinets will be
given a finish that is much higher quality and durability with N-Hance than just painting your cabinets…which means it will be able to stand up to the test of my 3 boys much better than paint alone! Score!
Next on my Spring Cleaning list is to vacuum and deep clean all of the things. This isn’t my favorite chore, so I’ve been researching the best robot vacuums and I’m excited to finally have the ECOVACS DEEBOT 600 to help me clean up all of the messes my kiddos and puppy make.
The ECOVACS DEEBOT 600 is robot vacuum that allows for automated
cleaning, integrating seamlessly into busy lives and smart homes. Equipped with various cleaning
modes, obstacle detection technology, and smart motion to clean hardwood floors and carpets,
the DEEBOT 600 is any smart home’s dream. Compatible with Amazon’s Alexa and the Google
Home Assistant, the DEEBOT 600 takes the work out of homework!
My other least favorite chore is doing the dishes. See that pile of dishes in the background of the photo above? That’s me being petty waiting for my husband to do them…and waiting, and waiting haha.
When I finally cave into doing the dishes myself I am glad to have The Scrub Daisy® from Scrub Daddy to make dishes a bit more cheerful!
This sleek and sophisticated dishwand system features interchangeable cleaning heads uniquely shaped to clean items like baby bottles and baking pans! The handle can dispense soap and the valet stores all of the pieces neatly when not in use!
This post is sponsored by Hidden Valley Ranch, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
Weeknight dinners for my family of five can sometimes fall into a rut of the same old recipes on rotation. Weekdays are super busy with us running from place-to-place, doing homework, laundry, and all of the other fun household chores. So, it can be challenging to make quick and delicious dinners that everyone will love. This is one of the main reasons why I absolutely love my Instant Pot. I use it quite frequently, and have shared about my favorite pressure cooker recipes here on the blog a ton!
Today I want to share with you a super delicious and quick recipe for Instant Pot Crack Chicken, which is made even more delicious with the Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning Shaker.
Ready to get cooking? Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
First, turn your Instant Pot on to the saute feature, and cook chopped bacon until crispy. Remove bacon from pot and drain on paper towel. Remove/spoon out about half of the bacon grease from the pot (be very careful, it’s hot).
Add chicken breasts into the pot and brown for 1 minute on each side. Turn Instant Pot off. Add in 1 cup chicken broth, half of the cooked bacon, and 1.5 tablespoons of Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning Shaker.
Turn Instant Pot on to cook on manual for 12 minutes. When it’s done, do a quick release of the steam. Then, carefully shred the chicken with 2 forks.
Once the chicken is shredded, stir in the cream cheese until smooth.
Serve with remaining crumbled bacon on top and some shredded cheese. Eat and enjoy!
For and easy and flavorful side dish, whip up these ultra delicious cauliflower ranch bites!
Preheat your over to 400 degrees. Cut a head of cauliflower down to florets. Drizzle with olive oil and pop into the oven for 25 minutes.
While they’re browning in the oven, melt 2tbsp butter in the microwave, then mix in 1.5 tsp Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning from the Shaker.
When they’re done, drizzle the buttery ranch mixture on top, and ENJOY! These are soooo good and so easy to make!
For the members of your family who won’t eat anything except mac n cheese (hey, we all have at least one), pass the Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning Shaker over to their side of the table for an extra boost of flavor onto their beloved pasta. Dinner is served, friends! Fast and delicious.
This post is sponsored by Opendoor. As always, all opinions are my own.
Can I be honest for a moment? My house is usually a mess. I work from home full time, my husband works out of the home overtime, and I have three small boys and a dog. IS all of this an excuse for a messy home? Well, that depends on who you ask lol.
When the disarray starts to get a bit out of hand, it’s time to whip this place back into shape! It’s a vicious cycle, y’all. Springtime is the perfect time to get your house (and my house) looking its absolute best!
I’m going to share some of my favorite ways to get your home looking like a million bucks for spring! Ready, set, let’s go!
How to Make Your Home Look Like a Million Bucks for Spring
First things first, it’s essential to declutter your home and get rid of anything that you don’t need. I’m not talking about going full-on Marie Kondo and turning the house upside down to become a minimalist. Just some light decluttering to brighten up your space.
Spring is all about nature. So bringing some of the greenery and florals inside is definitely one way to get your space spruced up for spring. I am a “plant lady” and have lots of plants inside of my home. They help to purify your air, and they look cute, too. So far, I have managed to keep most of them alive, too, which is surprising!
Add some pops of color! Consider adding some new throw pillows in a cheery tone, or a bright new runner in your kitchen. I recently added a pop of blue to our kitchen and I’m loving the fun and cheerful vibe it adds to our otherwise monotone home.
Don’t forget to show some love to the outside of your home. New landscaping can really change the appearance and perceived value of your home. Adding some affordably priced plants and trees can really go a long way! We recently added bougainvillea plants to the sides of our fence, and I cannot wait for them to grow into a beautiful floral fiesta of color! They really help add a pop of color to the white fence!
Did you know Spring is the NUMBER ONE time people think about selling their home? If you are thinking about buying or selling during this year’s peak real estate season (May – August) consider using Opendoor to help make the process a whole lot easier!
Opendoor has truly streamlined the buying and selling process for homeowners. For sellers, you can get an all cash, competitive offer on an eligible home in 24 hours. No listing, no showings, no leaving for open houses. Pretty amazing, huh?!
For buyers, every for-sale home is available 7 days a week from 6am-9pm, no appointment necessary. Simply use the Opendoor app as your key at the front door for a self guided tour.
Find out more about how Opendoor can help with the sale or purchase of your home here.
Wine Bar George Brunch Review, Menu, Dole Whip Mimosas, and more…
Hands down, my favorite restaurant at Disney Springs is Wine Bar George. It may actually just be my favorite restaurant period. Since we live so close to Disney we go to Wine Bar George quite frequently. When it was announced that the restaurant would be starting brunch I knew I had to go!! Today was the launch of Wine Bar George brunch, so I made a reservation and couldn’t wait to try it out! Plus, when I heard there was Dole Whip Mimosas I got a litttttlllleeeee bit excited…
The menu debuted today with it’s first ever “Wine Country Brunch” Menu. There’s traditional brunch faves on the menu such as: French Toast, Eggs Benedict, steak and eggs, alongside it’s extensive wines from around the world (which are hand selected by Master Sommelier George Miliotes.
What I was most excited about, and what many Disney lovers have been raving about on the interwebs this week, is the Wine Bar George spin on the Dole Whip. If you’re unfamiliar, Dole Whip is thethe much sought-after soft-serve pineapple delight that debuted in Disney parks in the 1980s. You can find Dole Whips in Adventureland in Magic Kingdom at the Aloha Isle stand. The Wine Bar George version is made with pineapple juice, moscato and prosecco…and it is AMAZING!! I shared about it over on my Instagram story this morning, and on my Facebook page!
You can WATCH our Wine Bar George Brunch experience here:
Wine Bar George Brunch Menu
Ok so let’s get down to the Wine Bar George Brunch menu, shall we??
Here’s what you can feast on at The Happiest Place on Earth…
Our reservation was at 12:00 noon so I skipped breakfast at home to make sure I was nice and hungry to give this menu a try!
We ordered lots of French Toast (my kids wanted their own and I didn’t want to hear whining while I sipped my Dole Whip Mimosa so they each had their own, and I stole some from each of their plates – because that’s my right as the mom lol #MommyTax )
We ordered a Big Board (my fave!) and also ordered Sausage Gravy & Biscuits.
We obviously also ordered Dole Whip Mimosas. Because Brunch.
Everything was, as usual, insanely delicious. The French Toast was fluffy, buttery, perfectly cooked. It came with fresh strawberries and blueberries as garnish. The Sausage Gravy & Biscuits were super rich and bursting with savory flavor.
I cannot wait to come back again to try the rest of this incredible brunch menu.
Check out some of the deliciousness below:
Y’all know I love me some food and Disney, so be sure to check out some of my other Disney restaurant reviews!