Archive for July 2017

Perfectly Port in Pictures: July...

Monday, July 31, 2017

Once a month I go back through all the photos and pick my favorites that capture the essence of what we did that month.  I love to reflect back on all we were able to do and enjoy!  I am always surprised what can fit into one month's time.  I hope you enjoy this peak into our lives and what we were up to in the month of July.  What was the best part of your July?  (Here is a peak into June)

We started off the month in MN for our 4th of July vacation with my family at the lake house!  We had a week full of fun with my sister, her husband, my parents and my grandparents.  We had perfect weather and we did every last lake thing one can do!

We all love being on vacation and getting free sunglasses at dinner is fun too!  Modeling is a must!

We got home from vacation just in time to enjoy our city's annual festival.  We started off attending the parade with our best friends and Scott's parents. Then ended the weekend with our neighborhood's annual block party.  We can see the festival fireworks right from our front yard.  

Its one of our favorite weekends all summer!  The fire department came and let the kids check out the fire truck which was a highlight and it was a hot evening so they even used some water ;).

Our garden really kicked into gear.  Our cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, green peppers and sugar snap peas all had their first harvest and we all enjoyed trying the fresh veggies!  Seriously, nothing better!

It was a HOT month full of heat indices in the 110+ range so we spent lots of time indoors getting reacquainted with our toys and games, watching you tube videos on dad's phone and catching up on all our favorite shows (which I covered here).

We also enjoyed our sweet lazy morning routine.  Lucy doesn't get up until around 8am every morning.  The kids watch a little PBS kids.  I enjoy of my coffee and reading the bible.  It's a favorite time of day for sure!

Vera had art camp every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon in July for about 45 minutes so Solon and I biked one afternoon and found a favorite geo-cache and updated our name and date.  

We went to the Wisconsin Dells with Scott's family for Papa's 70th birthday celebration.  It was a splashing success between all the slides, pools and cousin fun!  My kids want to go back like yesterday.

We also enjoyed going over to Nana and Papa's pool and the local pool.  The weather was just right for afternoon soak seasons.  The pool water was a nice 90 degrees most days which felt just a tad colder than bath water.   My kids are pretty much pool rats at this point. They would live there if they could.

We met our friends for half price shakes after 8 at Sonic.  It's fun to have late bedtimes and a late night rendezvous with friends!

We also enjoyed a neighborhood playdate at the splash pad.  These sweet kids have grown up together and they could have played there all day together.  The older ones shepherd the little ones and Lucy is well-loved and she eats it up!

We crossed baking chocolate chip cookies off our summer bucket list.  The kids favorite part is always licking the batter.  I asked my IG tribe and most agreed, they let their kids lick the beaters too! 

Scott's company always has a company picnic at a local amusement park and they give the whole family free tickets to go!  It was one of the hottest days of the summer so we spent the morning at the water park area and then went home for an afternoon nap.  

Then after dinner we went back and enjoyed all the rides.  It was still quite warm but the sun was not beating down on us and the crowds had died down a bit!  Vera got to ride her 2nd and 3rd roller coaster.  Her 1st was the Mall of America earlier in the summer.  She is loving finally being 42 inches tall.

Lucy waited patiently while the kids did their big rides and then she was happy as a clam to do rides with them.  She loved this ladybug ride and squealed with delight the whole time.  We also did the balloons, carousel and train.  She just loved it all!

We got to attend 2 baptismal services for friends in our church.  Our friend and his daughter from our small group were baptized so most of our small group came out to support them.  We love our small group!

We spent more time at home playing games, snuggling and just trying to soak up the dog days of summer together.  

Sibling snuggles are simply the best especially when the littlest was under the weather with a quick 24 hour bug!  They take such good care of her. 

My cousin Madelynne and her friend from Germany stopped by for a few days to hang out.  We enjoyed taking them to the pool and introducing them to a good Iowa summer meal of corn on the cob and BLT's!  I covered more of the menu and their visit here.

We also enjoyed the last story time in the park for the summer.  Everyone loves it since they are reading our favorites, Elephant and Piggie books!

We wrapped up the summer reading program and collected our prizes for reading all summer long.  They especially love to read at bedtime with mom by their side and I don't mind it at all!

We also dashed over to my favorite department store, Von Maur, to marathon shop for the MANY August and September birthdays we have coming up.  We got 8 gifts in 2 hours and they offer complimentary wrapping paper.  That's what I call a mom on a mission.  I rewarded the kids with Taco John's at the food court and they were happy! 

And just like that we are racing into the month of August which is a crazy busy BUT first one last trip to the lake to round out our July!  We can't wait to hang out with Bailey and Madelynne (our TX cousins) and enjoy our happy place.  Lake life is the best life, you can read why here!

What was the best part of July?  Isn't it crazy how much you can fit into just 31 days?  It was another good month full of fun and memories (with the daily chaos and discipline thrown in for good measure).  Happy July!

Until next time, keep on keeping on toward a joyful, faith-filled August KOKO's! xoxo ERIN

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Linking up with  Johannah and My Glittery Heart for Hello Monday and BYBMG for Tuesday Talk.


5 Friday Favorites...

Friday, July 28, 2017
Hey Friends....oh my goodness we made it.  This week has been crazy busy and we are starting to gear up for August which is FULL to the brim.  By the way, how is it August next week?  Just yesterday, I made a list of activities we are doing and what I need to do for each activity.  I have a fear I am going to forget something really important and I really don't want to.

Today I am just popping in to share 5 fun favorites with you before we head off to the lake!  They are quite random but that's my brain for you lately.  Happy Friday sweet friends :)!

{one - Gratitude Journal}

This month I switched up my prayer journal.  It's a DIY job.  I listed out areas in which I wanted to pray over for the month (things like praises, sins, prayers for others, etc) and then I filled in as the month went on.  I didn't leave enough space for each category so it's a bit messy but I am going to try the same format in August.  I will keep you posted and blog more about it soon, if I like it ;).

I wanted to share with you the praises portion of my journal.  It's the first thing I prayed about everyday.  What do I have to be grateful for?  At first, my brain was mush and I couldn't even remember the day before #momlife BUT then as I started to think of things I was grateful for, I could list more and more things. 

I thought I would share a few with you so you can get the idea -- I totally suggest recording them.  It's been fun to look back all month and see what I am grateful for.  I am going to share a few snippets with you in no particular order.

Good lake vacation.  Block party was so fun.  A fun dinner with friends.  A beautiful sunset out our back window.  Safety.  Waking up to get a run in.  Good meeting for my husband.  Vera did well at the dentist.  Lucy's laugh.  Our friend got good news.  Answered prayers. No fire despite the fire alarm going off.  A good mammogram report for a friend.  Friends got baptized.  Cooler temps.  Relaxing as a family.  Reading books to my kids.  Kids ate dinner.  Dance party before bed. 

Have you tried this?

{two - Visitors}

Speaking of things I am grateful for, we had a sweet visit with my cousin Madelynne and her friend from Germany!  They got to blend into our life for a few days.  We went to the pool, we ate dinner together and laughed through Friends episodes together (Season 4 for the win).  We are so glad she is coming to school near us so we can see her all the time!

{three - Giveaways}

I am so excited because I won my sweet friend Allie's blogiversary giveaway and it was a $50 Target gift card.  I have never won anything on social media before so I might have been doing a happy dance when I got the news!  She made me promise to spend it on myself SO I will let you know what I find.  Make sure you check out her blog and thank you Allie for my fun money!

Speaking of giveaways, we are closing in on 2,000 KOKO tribe members on Instagram.  Make sure you are following along over there so that you can enter the giveaway!  Our tribe is all about keeping (K) on (O), keeping (K) on (O) which is where I got KOKO from.  I want our little space to be all about encouragement, authenticity and pointing us to a joyful, faith-filled life.  I hope that helps, if you have been wondering why I always say #tibekoko or refer to you as "KOKO's"!

{four - yoga}

I got to go back to a yoga class this week.  I forgot how much I love it and how relaxing it can be.    Not to mention, I am sore the next day and I can wear flip flops to the gym.  I love yoga!  Do you?

{five - end of season deals}

You guys know I love a good deal and there are some good end of season deals going on right now.  The sunglasses (Gap Factory) and the navy, polka dot swimsuit are both on major sale right now (I ordered the suit for under $11 shipped).  

Generally trends that you see this year won't totally disappear by next summer so I always grab up a few things for myself (hello birthday month coming up).  What are you eyeing? Here are a few more things I am watching right now.  

Next week kicks off my back to school marathon!  I have lots of posts planned to get us all ready to go back to school!  Have a great weekend my friends.

In case you missed it - Check these out

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Until next time - keep on, keeping on! #tribekoko 

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What's Up July...

Wednesday, July 26, 2017
It's the end of July!  We are scratching our heads over here, wondering how on Earth, that is even possible.  Summer is so much fun, but I shared on Instagram yesterday, I am tuckered out.  We have been going, going, going!  Anyone else???

Today is one of my favorite link-ups of the month.  I am taking you inside our crazy and sharing what we are eating, wearing, doing, reading (not), get the idea.  These are some of my favorite posts to read AND by statistics these prove to be some of yours too!  Let's get this party started...

{What we're Eating}

I shared a simple summer dessert staple on the blog last week and we had it again for dessert Monday night since my cousin and her German friend are in town!  When they arrived on Monday, I wanted to welcome them to Iowa with a good old fashioned midwest meal ;).  They were polite and tried everything! 

Monday - Experience Iowa Night: Corn on the cob, BLT's, Deviled Eggs, potato salad, garden veggies, and strawberry shortcake!

Tuesday - Subway at the pool

Wednesday - Italian Beef Sandwiches, chips and sautéed green beans

Thursday - Breakfast Pizza

Friday to Sunday - Lake (I am not in charge #yippee)

{What I'm Reminiscing About}

{What I'm Loving}

Lots of Family Time with both our families this summer!

I also shared 10 reasons lake life is the best life.  I love the lake!

{What We've Been Up To}

I think I covered the lake vacation and the trip to the Dells.  You can also check out what we are up to in June here.

We went to a nearby amusement park for Scott's company party!

We met friends for Sonic half price shakes after 8!

We swam at Nana and Papa's pool and the local pools!  Our hair is green to show for it ;). 

Our town's "Summerfest" festival complete with parade, neighborhood block party and fireworks.

{What I'm Dreading}

The school wake up schedule :(  WAHHHHHHHH

{What I'm Working On}

I recently updated the header for the blog and I am going back through 8.5 years of blog posts and labeling them all so that you can search more easily some vintage posts!  I have currently gotten through 2 years - ha!  It's fun looking back.

We are also working on birthday party #2 for the summer.  Solon chose a basketball theme and so we are hosting a clinic for 8 boys plus Solon at a local gym!  He is so excited.  I am tired thinking about 2 hours of basketball....I can totally eat cake that day, guilt free!

I am working on a fun giveaway since our #tribekoko is almost to 2000 friends on Instagram and we are working toward 500 friends on Facebook.  Are you part of the tribe over there?  Join before the giveaway!!!!

{What I'm Excited About}

I have gotten a few emails from you asking for prayer, sharing praises and wanting to connect.  This is the very best part of blogging for me, connecting with all of you!  I just love that we can share life together.  If there is a way I can specifically pray for you, email me at  Just know I pray for our tribe every single day and that I can be as much as an encouragement to you as you are to me!

I am also excited about August's 10 on the 10th linkup.  We are sharing 10 back to school essentials.  I can't wait to see what inspiration you share.  Last month we shared 10 daily habits, check it out!

{What I'm Watching and Reading}

Our family loves this show and it's back on TV!  Yay!  We also are watching Counting On (on TLC) and The Great British Baking Show (Netflix) as a family. 

I feel like this image will be included in every monthly post update until the end of time.  I am SLOWLY working my way through this show.  Scott and I also are watching Friends again off and on!

Besides reading blogs, there has not been a whole lot of reading this month! 

{What I'm Listening To}

VBS Songs (this and this)

{What I'm Wearing}

Pajamas, work out tank and shorts, swimsuit - repeat 99.9% of the time

Walmart Tank | Banana Republic shorts | Cat and Jack Flip Flops | Jord Watch | Alex and Ani Bracelets

TJ Maxx Silk Tank | Shorts | Cat and Jack Flip Flops

Oh hey - that's my uniform!  work out tank | sports bra | work out shorts

{What I am Doing This Weekend}

Going to my happy place one last time for the summer!

{What I am Looking Forward To}

It's bittersweet but Vera is SO excited to go to kindergarten SO we are gearing up with all the fun that is back to school supply and clothing shopping.   We will have a 2nd grader and a kindergartener.

We are celebrating 4 August birthdays!  My dad, My father-in-law, Solon's and mine!

Moving my sweet cousin from TX into her dorm at my alma mater.  She will be so close to us.  She is staying with us right now!  How fun to watch her set-up her own space.  It's such a fun time in her life!  I love getting to help her!

{What Else is New}

I am working on figuring out Pinterest!  Who has pointers???  Leave your username and I will follow you!  I want to follow more friends on there.  You can find me here.

{Bonus Question:  What's Your Favorite Part of Summer}

Hands down, without a doubt, filling up on memories with my family!  I just love getting to spend so mud time doing so many fun things with my kids.  It's been a busy summer but such a good summer for family fun and special time together!  I am so thankful!

So there you have it - phew - that was a lot.  A peak into our crazy.  What are you loving, watching and enjoying these days?  What's the best part of summer for you?  Do you have any Pinterest tips (don't forget to leave your username)?   

Hurry up and follow me on Instagram and Facebook before the giveaway!  

Until next time, keep on keeping on my sweet #tribekoko!

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