20 Summertime Activities

Summertime is so much fun! There are so many fun things to do with your kids during this time. Here in Tennessee the weather is MUCH different than in Washington which is where Josh and I both grew up and lived until about a year ago. Adjusting to the weather was at first hard but I think we are starting to get the hang of it. The humidity and heat don’t make us instantly sweat like it did last summer. Here it feels like winter time is really from the end of December until February, spring is from March until May, summer is from June until September and fall is from October until December. This isn’t correct school wise because summer for kids in school is all of June until the beginning of August. Summertime is also when the biggest thunderstorms happen. When it rains in the summer is a hard rain but doesn’t last too long. There can be weeks when there is a thunderstorm every day for like an hour though. So when planning our summer activities I have to make sure there are things for being outdoors in the morning when it’s not too hot, being outdoors when it’s really hot, and being indoors when a storm is happening. I have listed below some of my favorite things to do with Avery in the summer so hopefully this inspires you because we most likely only have 18 summers with our kids and that’s nothing!

  1. Finger painting outside. (Get a roll of paper and go crazy!)
  2.  Camping in the backyard. (We tried doing this Fourth of July weekend thinking it would be fun but in Tennessee July is way too hot to sleep outside but Avery still loved watching a movie in the tent and getting it all set up)
  3. Farmers market. (You can’t ever go wrong with some fresh produce and baked treats!)
  4. Painting pottery. (On those stormy days)
  5. Go to an arcade. (Avery LOVED this! She got the most tickets at the end of it all on her own!)
  6. Go to the Fair. (Rides and treats! Yum!)
  7. Find a free kids class at Home Depot, Lowes, Michael’s, etc.
  8. Photoshoot. (Find a cool location and play dress up!)
  9. Go to a bookstore and read every book your kiddo finds!
  10. Build a fort and sleep in it. (Letting go of our sleep routine every once in awhile is fun!)
  11. Go to swimming pool or splash pad. (In the South this is a must!)
  12. Make a hand print stone and letting your kids decorate it.
  13. Lemonade stand. (We build our own for Avery and she loves it! She uses it for pretend store all the time too)
  14. Go to a baseball game. (We are taking Avery to her first MLB game in a couple weeks!)
  15. Make a pouring station. (It’s so fun for kids to play with water and pour it in all sorts of containers)
  16. Berry picking (messy but fun!)
  17. Drive-in movie (this has to happen at least once a summer!)
  18. Make yummy recipes. (Avery’s favorite is homemade banana pudding!)
  19. Go outside! (Anything outside is Avery’s cup of tea! Going on a walk, getting the pool out, read outside, play barbies outside, rock on the rocking chairs, ect. ANYTHING outside!)
  20. Crafts! (We love doing crafts in our house. We make our own binoculars, paint rocks, paint wooden things, make windmills, make paper and popsicle stick butterflies, make sensory jars, etc.)

And that’s 20 things we love to do in the summer time!!

Growing Up

These past couple weeks I feel like Avery has grown up so much! She started potty training, chewing gum on a regular basis, swimming and floating great (with our assistance of course), knows letters A-J, can count to 12, and we just moved her bed into her own room!

I feel like I woke up the other morning and my baby was no longer a baby. She’s so grown up and knows exactly what she wants and how she feels.

We got her a little princess seat that goes on top of the toilet and she loves it. I don’t know what she loves more; getting a piece of gum after she goes potty on the big girl potty or wearing doc mcstuffins pull ups! When she chews gum it’s so cute because sometimes she forgets to swallow her spit because she is trying to make sure she doesn’t swallow her gum that her salvia just drips out of her mouth. She loves mint gum and juicy fruit! She carries those little tubs of juicy fruit everywhere!

Swimming lessons were a big deal to us because I want Avery to be safe but not be scared of the water. When it comes to swimming I love it but I’m not the first one to dive deep down or jump off something really high into the water. That is Josh for sure!! Josh told me to not baby Avery as much in the water and that she will be ok and he was right! As soon as I stopped babying her she wanted to go all the way under like her toys did and she trusted me enough to help her float on her back.

Another thing she has done lately that’s shown me what a big girl she is has been during our learning time. Each day we go to her art table and have learning time. She picks things up so fast it’s crazy! She loves being able to point out A-J and does so even when we are out and about. And she can count to 12 which comes in really handy when she is getting impatient for something. If I tell her to count to 12 and then I’ll be done doing whatever I’m doing she counts to 12 as fast as she can but if it’s to do something I’ve asked her to do that counting to 12 can drag on awhile! Girl is smart!

By far the biggest milestone and change these past weeks has been moving Avery’s bed into her room. Before Josh and I got married Avery slept with me in my bed every night. I loved that extra time with her especially because I didn’t have a husband to cuddle next to yet. And then when Josh and I got married Avery still slept with us and then one day decided she wanted to sleep in her own bed. I was very excited because as crazy as it sounds I was on the edge of the bed some nights in a king bed with only Josh and Avery in there with me! Her bed was only a few feet from ours and she occasionally slept with us but besides that she loved sleeping in her bed. It worked for us because she would still wake up some nights and I was able to be right there for her. And then after adding a cute flower wall lamp from IKEA in Avery’s room I thought I would bring her mattress in just for fun. That night she ended up sleeping on her mattress in her room for the first time and loved it! I was sleeping on the ground by her closet but I was happy she loved her room! We then brought her bed frame in there too and she loved it even more. We decided instead of slowly inch by inch moving Avery into her room I would just inch by inch move out of her room. I slept next to her for a few nights and then tried sleeping in Josh’s game room/our second guest room with both doors wide open and it worked. When she woke up I was right across the hall and I was able to sleep in a real bed. Once she doesn’t wake up at night anymore Josh and I will go back to sleeping in our bed and have the doors open with a baby monitor on her all night. This may sound ridiculous to some people but this is progress for me! I am happy with what we are doing and the way we are going about things.

I feel like pretty much all big changes that have happened to Avery she has told or shown us she was ready. She wanted to be a big girl and go potty like the big girls. She told us she was ok with going under water at swimming lessons. And after we put a new flower wall lamp in her room she loved the idea of moving her bed in there. I love that these big changes and milestones happen when SHE is ready. Josh and I are aware of Avery’s feelings and we want her to feel comfortable with things. We are very much hands on parents and out parenting works really well for us. Our daughter is growing up so fast and we are soaking up every moment of her childhood!

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Avery’s Swimming lessons

Today was Avery’s last session in her swim lessons and it went great! She usually doesn’t like water in her face and is cautious when it comes to water (which we don’t mind at all!). But by the end of the lesson she found confidence in herself knowing that it was ok to get her face wet. And she even went fully under the water once. I asked her before I did it and she said yes! She afterward told us it wasn’t fun but I’m proud of her for not crying or being upset about it. Continue reading

Joshua David

In the spirit of Father’s Day I thought I would write a blog about Josh. My amazing husband and the best daddy to Avery.

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I first met Josh my freshman year of high school on the bus. And now years later we are married, have Avery, living in Tennessee and happier than ever. As I’ve gotten to know Josh and what makes him the way he is I fall more in love all the time.

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A few years ago when we found out I was pregnant and that we were going to be parents we kinda freaked out because we were so young. We both loved kids, had helped take care of them before and knew we loved each other. Our main goal has always been to put Avery as a priority and pour our hearts into her. I knew Josh would be a great daddy but I didn’t realize how great he would be. After a long day of work he loves playing with Avery in the bath, reading her books and getting her all excited and awake before mommy puts her to bed haha. And every morning if Avery sleeps with us I wake up to her cuddling up to her daddy and it melts my heart! They are smack next to each other yet still take up most of the bed! He can also make Avery laugh more than anyone. They love playing together and if I ever tell them it’s time to do something they don’t want to do they both look at me and say “what??” with their hands up all confused. Sometimes I feel like I have twins with how much they are alike.

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Josh is not only a great daddy, he’s just a great person. He is INCREDIBLY hard working, sweet and has the biggest heart. He is also funny!! He says the most hilarious things off the top of his head. Josh is also selfless, crazy smart, and helps me be a better person. He always knows what to do, what to say, and he challenges me to do better. He believes in me way more than I probably believe in myself. Josh’s arms is hands down my safe place. One hug from him and the way he smells crazy good all the time calms me down in an instant. He’s not the biggest touchy feely guy but he is for me and I love it. Randomly he will tell me he loves me and give me a kiss and my love tank will keep filling up And I love how honest he is. He won’t sweet talk someone if he doesn’t like them but he gives everyone he meets a chance. He makes friends so easily because he’s such an easy person to be around. So many people tell me how blessed I am to have Josh and yet they have no clue how amazing he really is because they aren’t with him 24/7. He is strong but also soft spoken and respectful. I love that he doesn’t yell and that he always talks to Avery so sweetly when she is upset. He really is a gift from God! I have no clue how I got the best daughter AND best husband but I’ll always be grateful!

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And that scratches the surface for how much I love Josh and think so highly of him! I hope everyone has a great Father’s Day and pampers all the husbands and dads out there! They deserve it!

Cooking with kids

While we were visiting Gatlinburg, TN there was the cutest kid apron ever! It said “Sweet Tea Y’all” and since my blog is “My Cup of Sweet Tea” we just had to take a photo with it.

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After taking that picture I was thinking about how much Avery helps me in the kitchen and how much I love it. I think that having Avery help me cook and bake is so important and so much fun. It gives us a chance to do something together that I love doing and it will start to teach her the basics of cooking and baking. I am not a super amazing chef but hopefully she will learn a few things from me. Plus it makes cooking and baking much more enjoyable when I have such a great helper.

The other day I decided to make rice crispy treats and had Avery help me. She decided she wanted to put M&M’s in there and then she decided she needed to get her hands in the M&M jar. IMG_1238

And then she found out that marshmallows are in rice crispy treats and got even more excited!

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She then insisted on stirring the marshmallows and did a great job at being careful with the hot stove.

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And of course she had to sample a few M&M’s to make sure they tasted alright before adding them to our rice crispy treat mix.

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Once the M&M’s were approved we added them to the pot and again she wanted to help stir. (Although this time it was a little too hard for her to mix the sticky batter)

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Once we put the rice crispy treats in the pan Avery decided we didn’t have enough M&M’s so she sprinkled some more on top.

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And Ta Da! Avery was very proud of the dessert she made! She loved them and ate her fair share of them!

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It was fun to take photos of Avery making her dessert and I hope it inspires other moms and dads to cook with their kiddos! Oh and the thing that Avery’s standing on while helping me is the best! It’s called The Learning Tower by little partners. The color we have is dark cherry. It’s amazing when Avery wants to help me cook and I don’t have to worry about her falling over in a chair and it adjusts to whatever height your child is.

Hope you enjoyed my blog!

– Cassy

Austria and Italy Recap

Ok I know I’m a little late on posting this because we’ve already been in London for a day but ever since I posted the Paris recap we had been in Austria and Italy. We went to 2 towns in Austria and in between that we took a 2 day trip to Italy.

In Austria we stayed in a cute little village and got coffee and dessert pretty much every day at the bakery. (Avery loved the mini donuts!!) I tried spinatknödle which is a spinach dumpling for the first time and it is amazing!! It tastes a lot like quiche. We ate it with these special noodles and loved it so much that we went online and ordered the special tool so that we could make them at home. Can’t wait to put my cooking skills to the test when we get home! Also in Austria we went to this adventure park thing. It’s a series of obstacles that you have to do but to make it much more difficult and interesting you do all of it 40 feet in the air in the middle of the woods harnessed to wires. I screamed a few times and my arms were ready to fall off but I didn’t slip off once which is not common for girls that do it! The next day muscles I didn’t even know existed hurt! And of course Josh did amazing and finished all the tasks super fast! He’s seriously so amazing at everything he does, it’s crazy! I didn’t think I wanted to do the adventure park because I don’t like heights but I love being adventurous with my husband so I did it and ended up loving it! It’s like a grown up version of the obstacle courses my dad and I used to do as a kid on the playground.

Another thing we did in Austria that I loved was touring the original house of the Trapp family from The Sound of Music! I have loved that movie for so long and it was so cool to go to the actual house that the movie was based on and see where the kids grew up. And I learned so much! Like that the oldest daughter and one of sons Kurt were made up to make the story more interesting. There were 7 kids but none that fit those 2 characters. So the whole romantic relationship with the oldest daughter and the mail boy was made up. And the house in the movie is way bigger than the actual house!

The rest of our Austria trip was pretty relaxing. We went on tons of walks, played at the park, rode bikes, and played doctor a million times with Avery’s new Doc Mcstuffins Doctor kit. We needed that relax time because in between our time in Austria we took a mini trip to Venice, Italy.

I was looking forward to Venice the most because I had always dreamed of going to Italy. We stayed in this super cute country villa outside of Venice that could be in movies! And naturally I had to do a little photoshoot of Avery because the backgrounds were too cute to pass up! As soon as we got into the city the next day we walked around everywhere! The water was so gorgeous and it was like a totally different world! I loved seeing no cars and only cute little boats. All the bridges to cross over the water were so cute. And the weather was so perfect! We ate pizza, shopped, took a long and gorgeous boat ride to an ice cream parlor where without realizing it Josh ordered an ice cream drink thing with alcohol in it. He started drinking it thinking it tasted weird and a lot like raw eggs so he made me take a little sip and it was the worst thing I’d ever tasted in my life! Sure enough there was egg yolk liquor in it. First off YUCK!!! Who would ever make a drink like that?! And second off be careful when ordering dessert drinks in another country! Besides that Venice was wonderful! For sure one of the highlights of my trip!

And now we are in London which is our last stop before going home! Make sure to read my blog next weekend so that you can read all about our London highlights and wrapping up our almost 2 month trip!!