As a former teacher, I know how important it is for children to be good readers. As someone who truly enjoys reading, I’d love to pass the love of reading on to my children. This is why when I heard about The Children’s Trust and the #Read30 movement, I thought it would be great to share with you and challenge you to participate along with me.
If you are a family in South Florida, the Children’s Trust is challenging you to join the #Read30 movement and close the summer reading gap, aka the “summer slide.”
The social media campaign began June 1 and is running through August, and it asks parents and caregivers to read with their children for 30 minutes each day. The campaign is part of The Trust’s Read to Learn initiative, aimed at increasing the number of children who read at or above grade level by the third grade. How can you participate? Easy! Read with your children for 30 minutes a day. Then share a photo to social media and use the hashtag #Read30.
“Reading achievement can typically decline an average of three months in summer and the best way to prevent kids from losing that kind of ground is to keep them reading, which is what #Read30 intends to do,” says James R. Haj, president and CEO of The Children’s Trust.
Reading with your children on a daily basis can really give them a leg up and help them succeed in school and in life. Aside from reading together for 30 minutes each day, The Children’s Trust also suggests following these simple guidelines:
Summer reading always felt like a huge chore while I was in school, but it’s so important. For kids who have assigned summer reading books, try and get involved with what they are reading. Once they’ve finished their required reading, let them choose their own reading material. Take them to a bookstore and let them browse. Give them ownership of their reading material. I LOVE to read and I finished the last few Harry Potter books in under a day, yet required reading was always the worst for me to get through and would take me weeks. [Teachers, one thing I used to do was assign one book and then make the second book reader’s choice - it had to meet certain requirements or it was chosen from an extensive list. They had to do a full on report once school started, but I had a lot more success that way.]
And thirty minutes may sound like a lot if your kids are little like mine, but you can break it up! Read a book in the morning, another after lunch, and then again at bedtime. Remember, it all adds up!
Children who read for 30 minutes daily are more likely to read at grade level by the third grade, increasing the likelihood of academic and professional success. According to a 2010 report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, “reading proficiently by the end of third grade can be a make-or-break benchmark in a child’s educational development.” Until the end of third grade, most children are learning to read, but beginning in the fourth grade, they are reading to learn.
So join me this summer and share your your photos across social media using the hashtag #Read30. I can wait to follow along!
For more information on The Children’s Trust and the Read to Learn initiative, please visit https://www.thechildrenstrust.org/read30.
And that means that teachers everywhere are jumping for joy, shedding their cardigans for swimsuits, their chalk for a cold drink, and handing the baton off to Mom & Dad. Which means... oh. Wait. You mean, I've got my kid 24/7 for the next couple months? What on earth am I to do with them for all that time?
I'm sending Caleb to day camp at his school for a couple of weeks, but camps can get expensive, so he's not going all summer long. I also thought it would be nice to spend some quality time with him and Chloe together (day 2, already reconsidering this decision lol). But I knew if I wanted to do that, I was going to have to come up with some activities to keep him busy and out of trouble, and so that he didn't sit in front of the TV all summer long.
So I put my teaching skills to use (or rather, my Pinterest pinning skills), and created a Summer Schedule and some weekly themes to help keep this little guy entertained.
For the schedule, I built plenty of downtime into it, in case stuff comes up or we want to have a play date or something. I gave each day of the week a theme, so that it's easier to prepare for crafts on Mondays, going somewhere on Tuesdays, etc. Also, none of it is hard and fast, and we can adjust as we go - kind of like I used to do with my lesson plans when I was teaching. The big gaps in the schedule are to fill with crafts, field trips, the library, pool time, or anything else we decide. (Make sure you scroll to the end of the post to download the PDF files - these jpegs aren't so great!)
While I wanted to be creative, I don't feel like I need to reinvent the wheel. I decided I would come up with a few themes for the weeks I have him home with me (unfortunately there aren't enough themes for the whole summer). I started searching for activities on Pinterest, and boy did I find them! There are some pretty creative activities out there, and my Pinterest board is now full of them! Since Pinterest now lets you subdivide boards, I made one Summer Activities board, and then created sub-boards (is that what they're called?) for the different weeks, based on themes. Just because I pinned all these things doesn't mean I'm going to get to every single one of them. On the calendar with the weeks, I linked the theme for that week to the board. Some of the activities are more involved, others require very little prep.
I know this won't function perfectly every single day, and it's not a set-in-stone schedule, but it is something that will help us to do some activities this summer and not drive one another crazy. And as always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions or suggestions.
Click the files below to download them.
Follow the Summer Activities Board
This post is not sponsored and contains no affiliate links.
We are in the dead of summer around here, and man is it HOT. I don't know about you, but when it is this hot outside, the less clothes that actually touches my body, the better I feel. Yoga pants are impossible, as are jeans. I spend a lot of the summer in shorts and swing dresses, which help me stay cool. So this outfit is perfect for me!
The shorts have a drawstring waist - I've actually blogged about them before. They are so soft and so comfortable. When I purchased them, I knew they would be a summer staple, and boy, was I right. Especially after two and a half weeks of vacation, and a weekend at BlogHer, the drawstring waist came in super handy.
The embroidery on the blouse keeps it on trend and makes the outfit a little dressier. I can't stand tight tops in the summer (hello underboob sweat!). I wouldn't normally pair two loose items, but this was such a fun outfit with so much movement that I couldn't help but be happy about it. The biggest plus was how comfortable it was.
I paired it with tan sandals and a tan choker, along with some colorful sunnies. It's a perfect summer weekend outfit. You can also dress it up with wedges or add some color with some fun tassel sandals. Either way, you'll be easy and breezy.
Tank: Habit Boutique
Sandals: Tory Burch
Sunglasses: Old Navy
I don't know about where you live, but it has been brutally hot here. Some days you walk out the door, and feel the vapor attack you. It takes a good five minutes for my camera's parts to get de-fogged, and I'm sweating within 30 seconds of stepping outside.
Needless to say, we are consuming large quantities of anything cold around here - I'm drinking iced coffee, eating cold salads, and trying to be in the air conditioning every possible moment.
Obviously, cold treats are a must, but after consuming way more ice cream than we should while on vacation, I'm trying to opt for some healthier alternatives. So I ordered these popsicle molds* off of Amazon. (*affiliate link)
On Monday, I had some berries that I needed to use up, so I decided to go ahead and make some popsicles. I wasn't in the mood to use the blender, so I just tossed the ingredients into the mold. It could not be any easier! I'm not including measurements because I honestly didn't measure them. This isn't a true recipe, just a guideline!
These popsicles, aside from being crazy refreshing, also have no sugar added, are really hydrating, and contain a serving of fruits (as well as some protein because of the Greek yogurt). Plus, those last bits of fruit that hadn't been used up didn't have to go to waste!
strawberries, hulled and sliced
plain Greek yogurt
I mean, look at that face and tell me he didn't enjoy those! lol
Keep cool, lovers!
A while back, I posted about accepting my MomBod. And while I don't beat myself up about my weight or the way I look anymore, If I'm 100% honest, I don't always love myself the way that I should. I brush off compliments and say, "Oh no way, they're just being nice." And really, that's a knee-jerk reaction that we develop to compliments when we don't feel worthy of them. And I don't want that to be what my son learns from me - that I, or any woman, doesn't feel worthy enough to accept a compliment from the ones they love.
I didn't realize just how much I did this until recently, when Eddie told me how beautiful I looked while we were at the beach last week. I nearly rolled my eyes and I definitely made some kind of guttural sound like "ugh, yea right." And he called me out on it. He wasn't upset or hurtful, but he definitely made me realize that I'm not as receptive of compliments as I should be. And in the last few weeks, Caleb has started to tell me, "Mommy, bee-ful (his version of beautiful)!" I don't ever want to shoot down his complimenting me. Because guess what? In their eyes, I am beautiful.
Lately, I've been having Eddie take outfit photos of me. Not because I don't want to work with photographers, but because there is something different in the way Eddie captures me. I don't know if it's because he knows my best angles, or because he's looking through the lens at someone he loves, but I'm always so happy with the way those photos turn out, and I tend to nitpick at them way less than I do at other photos.
I actually had him take some photos of me this past week, on the beach, in a bathing suit. We had gotten up early and the morning was beautiful. I threw on my swimsuit and a sarong, and I grabbed my camera on the way out the door. I asked him to take a few shots of me, not knowing what I would use them for. When I started browsing through them, I was pleasantly surprised. Because before I noticed my belly sticking out, I noticed my smile. Before I noticed that my boobs didn't look perfect, I noticed how relaxed I looked. And I noticed that I did, in fact, look pretty.
And you know what? Since that moment on the beach, I haven't felt self-conscious about the way I look. I have been focused on making memories with my family, and relaxing, and enjoying the time we have been spending together. Because years from now, my son and my husband won't remember that I had a little extra back fat. They will remember jumping in the waves with me, and building sand castles with me, and walking up and down the beach with me. And that's what I want them to remember. Not that mom was too ashamed to take off her cover-up to jump in the water with them.
So from now on, I'm going to try to be more accepting of compliments. I'm going to try to see myself the way those who love me see me, for myself.
And you should try it momma. Because you're beautiful, just as you are. Trust me.
P.S. I want to shout out a blogger who epitomizes body confidence and positivity, Sarah Tripp at Sassy Red Lipstick. She is gorgeous, and every time I see her posts, I realize that I am normal, and that I should be happy with how I look, right now. Go check her out, I promise you won't be disappointed (her hubby also happens to be her photographer and they're the cutest).
Bathing Suit & Hat: Target
If you have been following me on social media, you know I'm not posting as frequently because we are on vacation at the beach. This year, we decided to do a staycation on a beach close to home. We arrived a week ago, and we'll be here for another little bit. Unfortunately for us, the weather has been terrible! We've had a few flashes of sunlight and clearer skies, but for the most part, it has been soggy and rainy.
We have decided to make the most of it anyway and we have been doing a lot of reading, playing together, and spending time with one another. It has forced us to slow down and enjoy one another, which is something I will never be upset over.
But since our time in the sun has been limited, I try to have my beach bag ready to go at all times so we can just run out when the sun comes out. Truthfully speaking, my beach bag is always packed and ready to go in our linen closet, especially in the summer months, when last minute beach days are always a possibility.
Keep in mind a couple of things:
1. We are staying on the beach. If I was spending a day at the beach and was further away from home, I would probably pack a lot more.
2. Caleb requires a lot less now than he did last summer or the summer prior. Now he's happy to play in the sand most of the day and run around chasing the birds or run from the waves.
I'm using a Longchamp bag that my mom gave me for Christmas as my beach bag. This one is colorful, and it doesn't let the moisture in. Plus, I can zip it up to keep the sand out when I'm not using it. It cleans up easily enough, just wiping it off with a damp cloth.
Inside my bag I keep a few essentials (not everything is shown in the photo above):
A couple of other things we take to the beach, but that are not in my beach bag:
And for Caleb, since sunscreen application and re-application is important, but sometimes difficult, I dress him in a swimsuit and swim diaper, but I always put a rash guard with SPF on him to protect him from the sun's rays and preventing a sunburn.
And there you have it, our beach essentials! I hope this is helpful, and I hope you have some amazing summer beach days! I'm off to enjoy some sunshine. :)
About this Mom
A Miami wife and mom documenting her days with her toddler and all that comes along with it.