A Family That Hikes Together… And Our Summer Bucket List.

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…stays together, right? This past weekend we headed up into Adirondack park with friends to hike all together. I never get tired of this beautiful view at the top. Lake George is just gorgeous! Can’t wait until it warms up a bit more so we can swim too. I really feel like there’s always some major family bonding that goes on when we hike all together. I hope that it’s a family tradition we can keep doing for as long the girls live near us, no matter how old they all are. Finley is starting to refuse sitting in the carrier because she has to be just like big sister Rowan. It takes A LOT longer but we’ve been letting her hike right along side us. What a trooper she is! She keeps saying things like “I got it, I got it” whenever I try to hold her hand. Little Miss Independant over there.

Summer is always such an exciting time with endless possibilities. I like to make a summer bucket list every year just to keep my thoughts all in one place. I don’t ever expect to do them all but just some fun things to consider all summer long.

2015 summer bucket list!

1. Take day trips to surrounding cute towns. Vermont is like 25 mins from us?!?!
2. A few museum trips (Clark, Eric Carle, MassMoca)
3. Let the girls get ice cream from the very persistent ice cream man that drives around our neighborhood at dinner time
4. Take a trip just Kev and I for a anniversary/babymoom type adventure (fingers crossed for Nova Scotia)
5. Ogunquit/York ME visit
6. Go camping
7. Spend some time playing at all the cool parks in NYC
8. Enjoy the town pool with friends
9. Continue with our reading skills (for Rowan) throughout the summer
10. Have bonfire with friends
11. Hike, Hike, Hike!!
12. Start a Bi-monthly friends BBQ get together.
13. Go to the Cape
14. Swim in lakes
15. Find the coolest splashpad around
16. Kayak with the girls
17. Spend time in our beloved Boston
18. Grow an awesome garden full of our favorite juicing vegetables (kale, cucumbers, chard)
19. Enjoy Saturday mornings in Troy at the farmers market
20. Teach Rowan how to go across the monkey bars, swim, and maybe ride a bike with no training wheels
21. Prepare for new baby
22. Go to an outside show/concert somewhere
23. Go to the Drive-in
24. Go to an amusement park/waterpark
25. Bring the girls to a movie in the park night and have a picnic
26. Zoo
27. Dates with Kev
28. Figure out my issues with my dang screens for screen printing
29. Paint the outside trim and front door on the house
30. Make tie-dye shirts with the girls
31. Make a lemonade stand one day with them (Rowan has been asking me for months if she can)
32. Take lots of evening family bike rides
33. Make a pie (I have never made my own pie before, a crisp yes but not a pie)
34. Relearn how to play chess
35. Bring the girls and Kev to the Canadian National Exhibition
36. Easy, yummy meals on BBQ most nights
37. Potty train Finley (ugh!)
38. An overnight trip with my lady friends
39. Paint the girls bathroom
40. Whatever we do, just have fun and enjoy each others company and all summer has to offer.

What’s on your summer list this year???

Healthy “Ice Cream” And Making Life Work

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Life is crazy for everyone. There’s no doubt about it. Add kids to the mix and the crazy doubles, or triples or maybe even quadruples. Some nights all I have left is enough to sigh real big and fall into bed happy I even made it through the day. Those nights I end up lying there wondering how tomorrow will go. It very well could be another “just make it through” day but it could also be one of those days where everything falls into place and you have time to take a shower, bathe both kids, make a nice breakfast for yourself and actually get to Mom’s group on time at 9:30am. The mystery actually makes it worth getting up to see what happens. Even in the midst of chaos, crazy and “making it through”… life is good. Like really, really good. I’ve realized over the last year or so that the more I actually let go, say no, clear our schedule the happier, fuller and more successful I feel. Making room for what counts, that’s where it’s at! Mothering isn’t a burden or something that takes away from fulfilling your passions or goals- it’s a joy and a compliment to those things. One way I have found to see that on a day to day, moment to moment basis is to try to include the girls in as much as I can in my life. I don’t ever want to think they’re too small to help, or do this or that or experience something new. We bring them with us everywhere, I let them help on projects for this blog, they take an active roll in cooking and learning about our health, etc… Letting them be involved has made me love them and my passions even more. Sure it causes bigger messes and slowing down but when you don’t have millions of other things piled on your plate it doesn’t matter. You can actually enjoy it. Sometimes I step back with unwashed hair and the kids lunch stained on my shirt and think, this looks totally different than what I thought my success story would be but I couldn’t be happier with how it’s changed. Success looks like a lot of different things and just because you aren’t being a crazy awesome Girl Boss doesn’t mean you aren’t successful. A healthy, happy, flourishing Mama of a busy family is a success in my book.

Happy Mother’s Day Ladies!!
Xoxo

Here is one of the recipes the girls helped me make today as we were looking for a healthy alternative to ice cream.

Ingredients:
Frozen Bananas
Frozen berries
Raw honey
Coconut milk
Vanilla

Directions:
Add frozen fruit to a food processor, add a teaspoon of honey, a dash of vanilla and a 1/4 cup of coconut milk. Blend until smooth. You may need to add a tad bit more milk to get a smoother consistency. Don’t add too much because it will just turn into a smoothie instead of thick “ice cream”. The girls loved it and just ended up eating it right out of the food processor.

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This post was sponsored by T.J.Maxx who helps me one-stop shop for clothes (my vest!) and items (food processor) that let me and my family try new and exciting things together (like making healthy ice cream!). Thank you to T.J.Maxx for appreciating Moms and all that they do #MaxxMoms

Put Your Heart To Paper With Hallmark

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I used to be obsessed with mailing cards and random objects to my friends when I was growing up. Did you know you used to be able to ship pretty much anything with out packaging? I sent my friend Laura a soft ball, a shoe and countless other silly shaped cards all telling her how much I missed her. In this digital age I feel like the art of letters and cards has been lost. I made it a goal this year to send more cards to distant friends and relatives. There is something so special about opening the mailbox and seeing an envelope addressed to you. I don’t think that will ever get old no matter how digital our world gets. This year when Hallmark approached me to help spread the word about their Put Your Heart To Paper campaign for Mother’s Day, I couldn’t say no! It was something I felt so passionate about and just loved the sentiment behind.

Hallmark was sweet enough to send over a handful of beautiful and thoughtful cards to look through and choose ones for special Mothers in my life. The Mom on top of the list is of course my own super hero Mama. Goodness I love her. I chose the “Queen of our Hearts” card for her because she is such a leader of our family. Gentle and kind but always giving the best guidance. It was a no brainer to pick the Grandma card for her from the girls. Seeing her become a Grandma (or Meme) has made me love and appreciate her even more. This beautiful card was the perfect fit!

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Living so far away from family and especially our Mom’s has made friends such an important part of this whole motherhood journey for me. My friends are right there beside me, living out the day to day with small children, messes, stress and just pure crazy. They’re always there when I need them. Giving support, love and a shoulder to cry on. I ended up using the rest of the cards that Hallmark sent to write special notes for all my dear friends. 2 cards in particular that I mailed out were for my dear friends Heather and Laura. I picked the coffee mug card for Laura because she is my far away friend. Our whole relationship (since 5th grade) has been away from each other (sad face). So I loved that this card came with a little gift. I loved the idea of her drinking something warm and comforting and thinking about how much I love and appreciate her. She was my first close friend to have a baby and I have learned so much from her. My friend Heather seriously was an answer to prayer for me. After I had Rowan I went through a really hard time adjusting to staying home with a new baby. Heather came into my life when I needed her the most. I love her honest, loving and selfless character. She has the best sense of humor and easy going attitude, love spending our days together. She is so important to me!

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If you’re looking for something to get you in the perfect mindset for Mother’s Day, hop on over to the Put Your Heart To Paper Youtube channel and watch all these super touching (yes! They totally made me cry) videos Hallmark made about Mothers. So stinkin’ sweet!

Follow along with Hallmark on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram and Twitter #PutYourHeartToPaper

This was a sponsored post by Hallmark but all opinions and words about my family and friends were my own. Thank you for allowing me to continue to work with brands that I feel strongly about and are a good fit for Jenloveskev.

Baby, Baby, Baby…

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Well, we’ve been keeping a secret for a little while… for about 19 weeks to be exact. I am pregnant again with baby number three!! We are over the moon and all very excited. Baby boy or girl will be arriving (or should be arriving — we all know how that goes) very early in October. Yippie!! I love fall babies. I just have to make it through the hot summer waddling around with swollen ankles. I think this time around we may not find out the gender. Am I strong enough? hahahah I don’t think I have it in me to wait that long. However that’s the goal as of May 6th 4:32pm. Just warning you, it may change in the next 10 mins and then change back again and then change again. Who knows! All you ladies who have waited please tell me how exciting it is to wait so I can stay strong. The girls are very excited and being so sweet about all of it. Rowan thinks we should have a girl because we already have lots of girl clothes. Although she had our baby friend Max smiling up a storm the other day, so now she thinks it should be a boy because they seem to have a strong liking to her. She’s cute! 3rd babies really make an appearance awful fast though. Good golly! I feel like I look at least 25 weeks already and by Rowan’s friend’s comment about my “fat belly” at the park today, I would say she agrees. Omgosh I love the things kids say! So there you have it… The Richardson gang is growing to be a family of 5! Whoooohooooo!

For those who’ve been following our family for a while now and are curious, we’re still an active certified foster care family and we hold our breath in anticipation for the phone call that will bring a beautiful child into our home. God works in wonderful and mysterious ways and we’re just trusting in Him, His plan, and His timing for all of this. Thank you for always being so loving and supportive of our family everyone! xoxox

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Kid Clothes For Spring and Summer

It should come as no surprise I LOVE to dress my kids. I’m sure it would save me a lot of money if I didn’t care so much but ooooh I just think it’s so fun. They’re like real life dolls! I hardly ever splurge on super expensive things for them but I have been trying to follow my “buy less but buy better quality” rule for them as well. The cheap things we pick up here and there are great, but they’re never the items I save to hand down from Rowan to Finley. By the time Rowan is out grown it- it needs to be trashed. The items I spent a little more on always last longer. I’ve been shopping more and more online lately at Nordstrom for the girls (who has the patience for the mall?). I love the selection and the better brands they carry (hello Mini Boden!!). Here are some of our summer must haves (and selections for the cute boys out there as well!!)

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North Face Spring Jacket | Cutest little two piece | Adorable red dress | I personally want these denim shorts!




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Brightest Sauconys | Love the mixed pattens on this dress | Flamingos + Romper= YES PLEASE! | Prettiest plaid top




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The must have Jelly | Necessary chambray tank | Patterned shorts | My kids live in their Salt Waters




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Prettiest rash guard | Swooning over this romper | Birks for little girls!! | Obviously obsessed with pattern this summer




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North Face jacket | Grey button up | Denim shorts | Best kid shoes ever!




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Shark swim shorts | Teva sandals | Mustard striped tank | Checkered shorts

Weekend Adventures

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The sun is here! You can tell everyone in the area is about 25% happier these days. I actually saw my neighbors this week! When the winter comes everyone hibernates and doesn’t emerge until the weather warms up again. It’s so nice to see people out and about again. The neighborhood is alive! This weekend has been some of the most perfect spring weather. With no set plans we set out in search of some adventure yesterday. We ended up at a farm in the area to check out all the new baby animals and then found a hike in the area we hadn’t done yet. It was beautiful! We were in love with the waterfalls and all the rocks to climb. The girls had a blast! By then end of the winter I am always, always thinking “why do we live in the northeast?” and then spring comes and we have weekends like this and I fall in love with the north all over again. I’m thinking it would be fun to start a little weekday hike club for some of my friends and their kids. There is nothing better then bringing your kids out to the woods to go exploring. There are so many great hikes in the area that are family friendly. Do you like hiking with your family?

Hope you all had a great weekend!

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Spring + Summer Shopping…

I’ve been working on a major over haul of my closet the past few weeks. Putting stuff away till next fall and winter and making room for some new spring items. I am planning on keeping it simple this season, lots of denim, every tee Everlane makes (seriously, it doesn’t get better!), a few dresses and some killer sandals. Here are some things that are top on my wishlist. Of course I only have $$ for a few items but making this post really helped narrow my focus on what I want to actually buy this season. Oooh!! I can’t wait to be soaking up the warm sun on summer adventures!!!

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BLACK PERFORATED DRESS | PERFECT TOP | BLACK AWESOME SANDALS


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SALT WATERS | OVERALLS | PERFECT SPRING COAT


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FATIGUE SHORTS | MUSCLE TEE PERFECTION | SUMMER DRESS


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CHECKERED DRESS | VANS HI TOP | TRAPEZE DRESS


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DANIEL WELLINGTON WATCH | MARA HOFFMAN SUIT | BRIXTON HAT


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DENIM JACKET | CHAMBRAY TRACK SHORTS | DRAWSTRING OVERALLS


Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

Jen Loves Kev
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