As the wife of a teacher, August is always a bittersweet month for me.
We’ve never regretted our decision to keep Dave home all summer (as opposed to working a summer job like many teachers in our area do), but every year it gets more difficult to send him back again.
And as the kids continue to grow at an ever-increasing speed, we’re so thankful for our simple summers at home together as a family.
Although the Fall in West Michigan is still my favorite season, the Summer is quickly becoming my favorite time of year. 🥰
We still have a few more weeks of Summer left to savor… and I have a few more Favorite Things to share with you today!
Browse all my Favorite Things and check out my Amazon Market for organized lists of my favorites by category.
Tommy Bahama Backpack Beach Chairs
Dave and I got a set of these Tommy Bahama Beach Chairs for Christmas YEARS ago.
At the time, we weren’t sure we’d use them all that much since we rarely go to the beach — but to our surprise, we use our “beach chairs” all the time! Sitting out by our pool, hanging out at the neighbors, watching the kids at tennis camp, lounging at backyard BBQs or picnics. They are so versatile.
These chairs are short enough that kids can easily sit in them, but still very comfortable for adults.
Plus, they fold up easily AND have backpack straps (which might not seem like a big deal, but having both hands free IS a big deal when I’m trying to corral 4 children and all our stuff.)
Our chairs have small pockets for a water bottle, phone, and keys, a small cooler compartment, and another zippered pocket that works well for a towel or book.
I know the summer is winding down, but I want to share these chairs because there’s a good chance you can find them on clearance at stores like Target, Costco, Home Depot, or Lowes — they are also available on Amazon.
Rechargeable Keyboard + Trackpad
They came standard with my new computer… and while I knew I’d like the rechargeable feature better than batteries, I honestly didn’t realize how much of a game-changer it would be for me.
Now, when I get the annoying low-battery notification, I just plug in the cord that’s ready and waiting on the back on my computer. Done!
If you have the option to upgrade, I highly recommend going with rechargeable.
Our Boys’ Beds
It’s been exactly one year since we redecorated the boys’ farmhouse bedroom. At the time, I was leery of buying beds on Amazon, but Dave and I are both very impressed with how well our beds have held up over the past year.
Our boys aren’t necessarily super rowdy, but they can be rough with their things — leaving me with visions of these beds falling apart after only a few months.
I’m happy to report both beds are still standing strong!
We purchased these beds from Amazon (they came as a pair) and quickly assembled them both in about an hour.
One cool feature is that they can be used as bunk beds OR as free-standing twin beds (which is how we use them). And since they are quite high off the floor, they work wonderfully for LEGO storage (one of the reasons we decided on these specific beds.)
BONUS: See our kid-friendly LEGO storage system.
My New Owala Water Bottle
After years and years of insisting I did not want a stainless steel water bottle, my sister finally convinced me to try the Owala water bottle this summer.
Now, our whole family is hooked!
Dave and I have the 24 oz. bottles (I have white, Dave has black). And the older kids have the 19 oz. bottles (I can’t find a link for that size).
Aside from the fact that the Owala bottles really do keep our water ICE COLD for hours and hours, the biggest selling point for me was the ease of cleaning.
As you can see by the photo below, the spout is very easy to thoroughly clean EVEN with a straw feature.
In addition to the straw feature, there’s also a pour spout if you don’t want to sip (Dave especially appreciates this feature).
One down-side to this water bottle is that it’s not “spill-proof” but it IS leak proof.
I scored our water bottles for 50% off through my sister’s work, but knowing how much we like them now, I’d be willing to pay full price!
BONUS: If you need a little motivation to drink more water every day, this post is a must-read.
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
Honestly, the book was a little long, a little wordy, and used too many examples for my preference (I like short chapters and getting straight to the point), but I’m glad I read the entire book because it gave me so much to think about as I live, work, and raise my children in a society saturated with social media.
As a 2003 graduate, I was one of the last classes to make it through high school without any social media… something I’m very thankful for. But as an online “influencer” I’ve become more and more entwined in the social media web.
I don’t dislike social media — after all, it’s a huge asset for my business and a fantastic way to connect with friends and family across the country.
However, social media also has the tendency to “suck me in” if I’m not intentional about the time I spend online.
I’ve been MUCH more intentional over the past 2 months… and while I don’t quite know what this means for my business moving forward, I’m committed to taking as much time as I need to figure it out.
I’ll probably make a few missteps along the way, but my goal is “progress”!
Honestly, I’m more fired up about simple living than ever before.
The passion is deep inside me and I have so much I want to share. I just need to figure out the best way to do so while honoring my own commitment to cultivating a simpler, more intentional, more fulfilling life at home with my family.
Do you also feel the urge to slow down and simplify?
Join me on the journey towards a simpler, more organized, more fulfilling home and life for you and your family.
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I don’t have all the answers, but I’m always learning… and sharing what I learn in practical, realistic, non-overwhelming ways.
I believe pursuing a simpler, more intentional life is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and our loved ones… I’m committed to walking this journey with you!