Makeover Your Outdoor Space this Summer!

Big thank you to Pier 1 and Mom Central for partnering with me to show off the coolest summer entertaining and patio decor! #Pier1OutdoorParty #Sponsored #MC

You guys know by now how much I love to entertain. And how much I loooove to be able to entertain outdoors. We have an inground pool, a big garden and play area, and a pretty large concrete patio right off the kitchen. But, with twenty seven zillion kids here each day – plus what feels like just as many dogs – the patio was in need of some serious love. So I “shopped” through our garage for things we weren’t using, scoured the house for a few more useful pieces, then went window shopping online at Pier 1 for extra inspiration.

make over your outdoor space - bright colors, fun, party

I knew I wanted more color. Lots of fun, bright, cheerful colors. Orange, red, blue, yellow, pink. And that’s totally what Pier 1 is all about this summer! Don’t you love it? So much happiness in this collection of outdoor oasis goodies. So, then I set out to our local store to see what else they had for me to check out….

Outdoor seating

One of the first things I noticed was their awesomesauce collection of outdoor seating – I mean, how could this gorgeously bright-colored set of cushions not totally brighten your day each morning, right? Love the mix of colors, textures, and patterns. SO much fun!

Super colorful outdoor cushions

And they’ve got pretty much the most ginormous selection of colors and styles and prints for patio cushions that you can imagine. {Do you want to guess which ones I picked out? Stay tuned to see if you’re right… :)} The prices are awesome, there’s almost always a sale, and the quality is really great. I always look for things like loose strings, unfinished stitching, pattern print pieces that don’t match, etc – but these were all awesome. And I swear, I probably touched almost every single one of these while trying to decide, lol.

And – if you’re not a fan of bright and bold, they have lots of options for more subdued colors too. I absolutely love this blue combo of more natural blues and whites. Simple, classic, but still so summer. So – when shopping at Pier 1, there’s totally something for everyone. Click over to Instagram to check out another fave of mine that’s in more simple, cool, calm colors. There are so many types of pretty :)

Once you have seating and cushion-y goodness taken care of, you need accessories, am-I-right-or-am-I-right? I mean, what girl doesn’t love some accessories? Here are some of the options:

  • Hanging lanterns and beautiful outdoor art.
  • Solar lights, battery-operated party lights, and outdoor candles.
  • Beautiful servingware that’s as functional as it is gorgeous.
  • Gorgeous trays, perfect for transporting food and drinks from indoors to out.
  • Awesome ways to serve those drinks – mason jar style drinking glasses or fancy stemware. Beautiful pitchers or casual dispensers. Platters, serving bowls, chip and dip trays, and more!

Again, something for everyone :) And of course, we can’t talk accessories without talking about table accessories – like place mats, dishes, napkins, and stemware. Check out my current favorite that we’re using right now….

Summer place setting idea - yellow and green

So fresh and pretty and summery!! I love the look of layered napkins – and honestly, who doesn’t need that, really? One to lay across your lap, but another to wipe your fingers on. Because you really don’t want to wipe your fingers on the one that’s setting on your clothes, right? Add in a totally casual place mat that will wash and wear well, plus some fun dishes and a beautiful glass for wine – you can’t lose :)

Outdoor lighting at night

But even on the sunniest of days, the lights go down. So – you need some awesome outdoor lighting, right? I picked up some gorgeous lanterns at Pier 1, plus this totally beautiful color-changing, battery-operated, lotus flower candle. It can also float in water, and I can’t wait to set up a pretty centerpiece with it soon. But even just sitting on the table, it rocks. Totally sets a mood as it cycles in between colors. Definitely one I’ll be stocking up on now that I’ve seen it in action.

I also got some awesome battery-operated lights to line the gazebo on our patio. Aren’t these so pretty? And there are LOADS of options at Pier 1 stores or on their website. Like, loads. And, here’s a peek at how some of my Pier 1 lighting looks even when not turned on, during the day – my super cool citronela candle, and lanterns.

And…. How do you entertain without some food, right? So, I made up this super simple and super yummy watermelon salad for our recent BBQ – on a gorgeously simple Pier 1 white serving dish. LOVE.

Make sure to check out the amazing goods and super summer sales at Pier 1 today – even if you don’t have a local store, you can shop Pier 1 online here. And leave me some comments below with YOUR favorite summer entertaining ideas, or trends you love for outdoor decor :)

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Cool Ways to Save Summer Memories

I received a set of products from HP to help us have more summer fun – and am so excited to share them with you! #HPFamilyTime.

“In the happiest of our childhood memories, our parents were happy, too.” – Robert Brault… I love this quote. It seems so appropriate for summer, since that’s the time that most of us truly try to slow down, enjoy life, and cherish the little moments and memories. Snuggling with the littles in a hammock. Lazing the day away on the water. Picking dandelions. Or just swinging on the swing set, staring at the clouds. Good times, right?

For me, photos are so darn important. They are what help me keep those small summer moments fresh. I love to browse my photos books, see prints on the wall, share pics with friends. And now, I have a super duper easy peasy new way to do that – My HP ENVY 5530 e-All-in-One printer! It is absolute must for every busy mom out there this summer, seriously.

HP Envy All-In-One Printer

Yes, this is a printer. Not the first thing you think of when you picture must-have’s for summer fun. But seriously – You are going to fall in love. Keep reading to learn why…

Summer graphic using HP products [Read more...]

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Make this a Forever Summer!

Big thank you to The Motherhood and Oshkosh B’gosh for sending me a #ForeverSummer package so that we could share our summer fun with you!

It’s summer time – finally. It feels like spring took forever to get here, and even once it arrived, it was so cold and dreary. But then one day, like a switch had flipped – the sunshine arrived! We opened the pool a few weeks earlier than usual, the kids just got out of school {my nephews spend the summer break with me} – and we’re ready for fun.

Forever Summer - Kids Fashion - #ForeverSummer

We’d hoped for a trip to the beach this summer, somewhere on the Oregon Coast. But, it’s not going to work out for us. But just because there’s no beach doesn’t mean there’s no fun! We’ve got a big in ground pool, sprinklers, water balloons – and the Mister even helped me build a SUPER fun Kiddie Car Wash out of PVC pipe. It’s like a big ride-through sprinkler for the kids, and they love it. {Directions coming soon, but you can see it in the video below – so keep reading :)}

Oshkosh Kid's Summer Fashions

So – since most of our summer fun is spent outdoors and around the water, I was SUPER excited to stock up on summer swimwear for Abby. We headed out for a daytrip about an hour and a half away, to visit Oshkosh in North Bend, Washington. And seriously – how darn cute is this stuff? I mean, I want someone to make this whole outfit in MY size! So fun. Watch the video below to see it in action – her funny dance moves at the beginning are my favorite part!

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How Tech Can Help Your Family Have More Summer Fun

I received a set of products from HP to help us have more summer fun – and am so excited to share them with you! #HPFamilyTime

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” – Sam Keen… Ahhhh, summer. Here in central Washington state, we have four very distinct seasons, which I love. As I’ve gotten to travel around the country the past few years, I appreciate our weather even more: As much as I adore the sunshine, I would be bored of it if that’s all I ever saw. But right now, after a chilly spring, I am SO incredibly ready for Mother Nature to bring on the heat and the sun. {When you talk about summer, do you start to hear Olaf singing the summer song in your head? Tell me it’s not just me…. #FrozenMusicIsSoAddicting.}

So, as the weather here is finally warming up, and I’m doing my own dreaming of summer – it’s time for us to plan our summer adventures! We bought a camper last year, and want to plan a couple of big camping trips with friends. I’m hoping to have my brother and his kids join us at the end of summer for a trip to Great Wolf Lodge, here in Washington. And – in the next few weeks Mike and I will load up the girls and head out on a road trip. Somewhere within a few hours from here, but we haven’t decided where yet. Maybe a trip to the zoo over near Seattle, or a fun trip to see the Bavarian charm of Leavenworth. The Pacific Northwest has so many gorgeous places to visit – it’s hard to choose!

One thing I DO know about our trip is that we’ll be bringing some amazing technology along with us. Yes, I’m a big fan of spending “unplugged” family time together – but I’m also a total tech junkie, and love how it can add so much more enjoyment to a trip. Check out my new love – the amazing new HP Pavilion x360:

  • You can transition seamlessly from working, to video chatting, to browsing the web, to watching a movie, to playing a game, to reading a book on a single touch device that is priced about the same as an entry level touch notebook.
  • It converts to let you work and play in the ideal mode: from notebook to stand to tent to tablet mode, just by flipping the screen. {Which is where the “360″ part of it’s name comes from.}
  • When you need to get some work done – answer email, write a paper, prepare a presentation – it’s a notebook. This is important, since I always have work to do, and Mike’s oldest daughter will have summer school courses to keep up with.
  • When you want to watch a movie, fold it and watch a movie without the keyboard in the way – it’s an entertainment viewer. Perfect for keeping Abby entertained on a long car ride.
  • When you want to play a touch based game turn it to “tent mode” – it’s a game screen.
  • When you want to relax and surf the web, read a book or have fun with You Tube – it’s a tablet (keyboard is disabled when in tablet mode.) And it’s small enough to fit into my purse, to grab at a moment’s notice if we have a toddler meltdown approaching.

HP 360 - the All-in-one computer every family needs!

This bad boy is going to make traveling with kids, while keeping up with work, so much easier. It’s so super versatile, very lightweight and easy to grab and go – and how fun is the color? So bright and cheerful – which is what summer fun is all about. Awesome, right?

Summer family fun - pool time!

“Hey! It’s summer! Be free and happy and danceful and uninhibited and now-y!” – Terri Guillemets

We’re also planning a lot of “Staycation” style fun this year too. As you can see – the pool is almost ready to go. We’re hoping to open it up for the first swim party this weekend – my birthday is Thursday, Mike’s oldest daughter’s birthday is Friday, it’ll be Memorial Day weekend – it all combines into a great big reason to celebrate. {Not that I need a reason. You know me. I like to party.} I’m putting together a summer bucket list for the kids and I {I’ll be posting it soon – stay tuned!} And I’ve been collecting some super fun ideas on my Summer Family Fun board on Pinterest too, so be sure to check that out. And this all-in-once PC from HP is going to bring a ton of fun to our staycation adventures too:

  • Abby and I can snuggle in and watch evening movies in the hammock.
  • I can keep up with emails while laying out by the pool.
  • I can make party playlists and bring this out to the patio – it’s got amazing Beats Audio sound, which rocks.
  • We can use the built-in web cam to Skype with grandpa, and help him feel like he’s a part of our summer fun, even if he’s far away.
  • I just bought Abby a subscription for ABCMouse.com, and she’s having SO much more fun doing the activities on this awesome touchscreen tablet than she would have on my regular laptop.

I hate to sound old, but… When I was a kid, I remember getting our first Atari, and playing River Raid. I remember the first time I ever got to use a computer, in 3rd grade, and thought that playing Oregon Trail was about the coolest, most high-tech thing ever. Technology has sure come a long way, baby. And – be sure come back next week to learn more about the uh-MAY-zing things our new printer can do, how to get your ink auto-magically sent to you before you run out, and more. And follow the #HPFamilyTime hashtag to see regular updates of how we’re using these fab tech tools to make this summer more memorable! Or if you can’t wait, take a peek here at some of the links to the products to learn more right now:

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How to Organize Your Pool Supplies

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Rubbermaid, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #FastTrack http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH….

“Hi. My name is Meagan, and I have an organizational problem.” – It’s true. But I guess I should say I have a couple of organizational problems. As in – I have some pretty hard core OCD when it comes to how I like things to be arranged and sorted and displayed, which can annoy the people who live with me. I also have the problem that over the past 4 years, my home has been like a game of musical chairs – My mom moved in, bringing her dogs. Then my brother remodeled my basement and moved in with the kids. Then I found out I was pregnant. Then my Mister moved in – and WE got a dog. And then I had a baby. And then we moved and bought a new house. Then my brother moved out the next year. My mom only stays here part time now. My Mister’s oldest daughter moved in. Then out, to go to college. Then his middle daughter moved in. And we got another dog. Craziness, right? With all of the moving and swapping rooms and storing people’s stuff and on and on – the house is not the temple of color-coded organization that I would like. {To say the least, lol.} But, this is the year of getting things caught up!

How to organize pool supplies and gear [Read more...]

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The 6 Best Frozen Treats You Can Buy at the Grocery Store

This post brought to you by Unilever Ice Cream. All opinions are 100% mine.

Frozen treats aren’t just for summer. But because it IS summer, and I just got done trying a big ol’ pile of amazing frozen goodies, I wanted to share a list of our favorites. Because when you’re shopping for summer treats, it can be hard to decide which are the best to spend your grocery budget on when you’re staring down a half-aisle of delicious looking choices, right?

Abby swimming

Summer is so hot right now…

For us here in Washington state, the summer has been as hot as I can remember! Thank heck for central air and a pool – I tell ya. But still – on hot summer evenings, I have little appetite. I like some simple soup, a crunchy wrap, or a nice cold salad. But something I’m always in the mood for no matter how hot it gets is a frozen dessert – whether it’s fruity, chocolatey, or ice creamy – it hits the spot on a super hot evening around here. {I know, I know… Most people picture Washington and think of rainy, cold, cloudy weather. That’s Seattle, on the coast. We’re in Centra Washington. It’s dessert, hot, dry, and totally different!} Watch the video below to see a little bit of our summer fun – and how we cool off with our favorite frozen treats. Then keep reading below to learn about all six of what I think are THE best goodies you can buy in the freezer section of your local grocery store….

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Discover the World in a New Way…

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Discover Boating. I received collateral to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Did you know: Eighty eight million people went boating in 2012?… Were you one of them? I know I sure was! As much as I love the city, and as much as I’m a girly-girl, I am happiest when I’m around nature. Whether it’s camping, hiking, a day at the park, or boating – I just love being in a more natural setting. I work at a computer all day, almost every day, so unplugged time around trees and water totally calm me.

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