Christmas In July at the Drive-In

There are no greater pleasures in life than finding joy in the simple things.
It's a motto that I've struggled and have tried to come to terms with while living the small town life in Pennsylvania.

While most of you are running a mile or two to your closest Target and enjoying the bountiful caffeine blessings of Starbucks, where I live it's a 45 minute drive and usually a 'let's make a day of this' adventure to these common places. Do I miss the big city life and convenience of living in Orlando and just Florida in general? Ummm, yes...pretty much every other day....but I'm also reminded sometimes that slow simple living isn't so bad itself.

The close proximity to family makes play dates a breeze and with the adventures and new normals I try to create with Amaya, we've gone on many of our dates with my sister and nephews. Yesterday was no exception when we decided to take all the kiddos to their first drive in movie.

We had a little drive out into the country to the Sky-Vu Drive In to enjoy their Christmas in July showings of Polar Express and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

Sleeping bags and pillows lined the bed of the truck and snacks were a plenty, ranging from chips to chocolate. We entertained them for an hour and a half out in the country until the sun went down and the movie started.

My nephews were immediately enthralled as soon as the bells and train whistles rang out for the Polar Express while Amaya decided 30 minutes in that it was bedtime and slept through the rest of the movie cuddled and content on the sleeping bag. Either way, I enjoyed every moment of it, especially just enjoying the summer night out under the stars.

I commend the owners of the drive in because they went above and beyond with their presentation and customer service. Since they were doing 'Christmas In July' they had Santa and Mrs. Clause there offering to take pictures and hand out candy canes while a sweet Christmas tree shimmered beside and Christmas music and songs hummed through the intercom. Just for that I would've cone back but the owner also helped when my sister and I foolishly killed out battery during the movie and helped us jump it afterwards.

We are trying to stuff the rest of our summer with fun activities before winter comes and sweeps the outdoor fun away, so share what quintessential summer activities are you enjoying or that we're missing.

Instagram Made Me Do It

I'm just going to preface this for those who may not understand humor, that no, Instagram did not forcefully make me contribute to nor purchase any of these things, as I did so on my own free and sometimes ill advised will.

That being we go.

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When you think of Instagram, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
If your answer was, pretty pictures, I'd say your in line with every other person out there at the present moment.

Gone are the days of grainy orange pixelated pictures with that atrocious Polaroid framed filter, where you posted the daily life pictures the instant (hence the name) you took and uploaded them.

Just like many other apps and social media platforms, Instagram has grown and evolved into something way bigger than that first silly and most likely unprofessional picture you posted unsuspectingly. Today, Instagram is filled with beautifully curated feeds with people having 200 followers to the the tens of thousands or possibly millions of followers. Some may shoot from their iPhone while others take the path of DSLR photography to post. 

I myself, fall in line with the DSLR group. Sure it may stray away from the original vision of 'Instagram', but the way I curate my feed, I'd rather see my DSLR pictures than my phone pictures unless it's just a quick glimpse of life on my IG stories.

Whatever group you may fall in to, I think we can all agree, we've been influenced by Instagram in one way or another. It may have been from one of your long time friends or from one of the many 'influencers' that have saturated the IG market, helping you find the the elusive, exclusive, or just plain coveted items sweeping the internets. 

Since I'm not immune to this type of mass marketing, I myself have fell victim to buying or making some of the creations that have inundated Instagram.

Letterboards |
Not until they made their great debut on the 'Gram did I care about letter boards. These bad boys were reserved for the shotty menu at a dive bar and diner, or perhaps the quiet cafe offering the limited choices that you can't ventifrappedoubleshoticecoffeepinkunicornpumpkinlattenaughty at your local Starbucks. Now I can post all my corny quotes and musings on a white bed of felt letter board beauty. 

Janod Alphabet Puzzle |
This may be reserved for more of the mommy mafia crowd, but a couple of years ago these wooden wonders of colorfully crafted letters were all the rage on so many Mommy blogger feeds that I followed. There is no way my child could learn her ABC's if they weren't in perfectly pastel colors. All kidding aside, I'm all for aesthetically pleasing toys without batteries so this was a win in my book.

Ikea Play Kitchen + Table |
I'll set the scene, it's Christmas season 2015 and per my usual holiday shopping endeavors, I decide that I wanted Amaya's big gifts that year to be a play kitchen and table. Simple enough right? Until you sucked in the blackhole that is Instagram hashtags and Pinterest DIY's. All of a sudden I'm the Joanna Gaines of Ikea Play Kitchen and I want to spray paint and stain allllllll the things. What was once a simple and plain table and kitchen is now a white painted with gold accents and dark stained wood fake breakfast making beauty.

Fairy Bread |
I would have never ever heard of this little piece of magicalness, if it wasn't for my Aussie friends Down Under sharing this on their IG feeds. Who ever knew there was such a thing? Sprinkles, butter, and carbs.....sign me up.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up |
This book swept the Instagram feeds in a frenzy where everybody and their mom was making the move to minimalism and throwing away their whole lives in the name of finding joy. I was also caught in that mix but unfortunately for me, the book is probably sitting under some unjoyful tee shirt in the back of my closet. Maybe I should get back at this soon, ya know, for the sake of scaling down.

Talenti Gelato |
It doesn't even have to be narrowed down to this particular food, but I'm a sucker for falling for the pretty pictures and trendy foods that are out there. I don't jump on every food trend, hence my hard pass on the unicorn frappe, but bring me some ice cream or cotton candy grapes and I'm a happy girl.

I'm never one to keep up with the Jones' because let's be realistic this mama can't afford it. You'll never see me dishing about the Nordstrom Anniversary sale because $1.64 camis at Walmart are more my scene then $500 boots marked down to $300. I'll never judge for your choices but I get it how I live....and that is on a strict budget. I'm only human though and like to explore and enjoy things that are within my means from the influencers of Instagram. 

So tell me, what are some of the things that you have tried that you've picked up from the 'gram?!?

Fourth of July

These last couple of days and weekend have been quite a whirlwind of fireworks, food, and fun with family and friends. There have been lazy pool days, snacks out the wazoo, and sweet sticky snuggles from long days playing outside.

I was so caught up in the excitement of everything that I barely took my big camera out, so here are a few from the other day when we went to one of our local fireworks shows.

Mommy's little firecracker in her bomb pop dress.

Hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable holiday.
From our little home to yours.
Happy Birthday America.