Summer is for Swimming

Summer is definitely our favorite time of year. School is out for the boys and everything feels much more relaxed. We try not to over-schedule ourselves and leave plenty of room for our favorite summer activity – swimming!

We are very lucky that my parents have a pool. And since we only live about 15 minutes from them we are there quite a bit letting the kids do their thing.

I swear I hear, “Mom, watch this!” about 1,000 times when they’re swimming.

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Our kids love to do anything outdoors, but with the heat we’ve been having, swimming is pretty much the only thing you can do outside at this point. They love it so much they don’t ever want to get out. My little fish!

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Even our Sawyer girl loves to swim! She has always loved water from the time she was a newborn so we knew swimming would probably be one of her favorite activities as well.

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I think outdoor play is so important to our family’s well-being. I love the days when our entire family can go for a walk around the neighborhood or play basketball in the driveway.

The experts at IPEMA explored the hottest trends in play and found outdoor fitness to be one of them. There really is something everyone can enjoy. Naaman and I both love running outdoors and the kids, well, they beg to go outside for anything (even in the winter!).

We have a couple more months of swimming ’til we drop. Now I’ve got to stop typing and watch my kids do their tricks!

 

The post is brought to you by Activate by Bloglovin and Voice of Play. All opinions are mine alone.
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Rediscover Yourself at a Dude Ranch (yes, it’s possible)

When I signed up to do this Dude Ranch blogger press trip I made a promise to myself – I would do every single activity they offer even if I was scared.

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I didn’t know what I was getting into exactly but this trip turned out to be a huge personal challenge for me. I had never done any of these things. Never ridden a horse, never rock climbed, never ziplined, never shot a gun (never been away from my kids for five days!). It all made me very nervous. But I’m sick and tired of being scared of the unknown. So I went for it. I was BRAVE and conquered all my fears instead of talking myself out of new adventures.

Getting ready to throw a tomahawk.
Getting ready to throw a tomahawk.

I almost said no to this trip . . . almost. But I’m so glad I didn’t.

Made friends with Rosie the goat.
Made friends with Rosie the goat.

I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to travel all over the world. I’ve seen the sunset in Santorini. I’ve kayaked with sting rays following us in Bora Bora. I’ve climbed Mayan pyramids in Mexico and I’ve pub crawled in Ireland.

But Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Jasper, Arkansas, 4.5 hours away from where I live is one of the BEST experiences I’ve ever had. Right in our own backyard!

"The Screamer" - a 40-foot free fall above the canyon.
“The Screamer” – a 40-foot free fall above the canyon.

If you get the chance – you MUST come here. I feel invincible after everything I did. They have something for everyone, including adults AND kids.

Slingblade, the horse that doesn't follow directions.
Slingblade, the horse that doesn’t follow directions.

I don’t think I realized how life-changing this was going to be. Never has a vacation given me so much self-awareness. For a long time I haven’t believed in myself. I think if you’re struggling with confidence and maybe feeling down about yourself this place will lift you up in a way I can’t describe.

Shooting (and touching) a gun for the first time ever.
Shooting (and touching) a gun for the first time ever.

The four other women I came with are all moms and bloggers too. It felt really good to connect with people who understand what it is to manage a blog while leading a busy, hectic life. I think we all enjoyed the fresh air and silence as much as we could. We missed our families but we all agreed it was good to get away, to step out of our comfort zones for a while.

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Making new blogger friends.

And hey, we got to wear cowboy boots for the first time! I never knew how cute and comfortable they could be!

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On our last night I realized I was so sad to leave.

I know some people may be thinking, really? It’s just a dude ranch. What’s so great about it anyway? I know it sounds kinda silly. But it’s not.

S'mores by the campfire.
S’mores by the campfire.

I think the most special thing about this place is the wonderfully supportive employees who go out of their way to make sure each guest has an experience they will remember their entire life. Some of the things they do probably aren’t even in their job description. But they do it anyway. Because they love Horseshoe Canyon Ranch. To them, this is home.

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And I think for me, although it seems strange, it felt like coming home after a long trip away. It grows into you, this place in Arkansas.
This trip was originally to promote a dude ranch but it became so much more. For me, it was about rediscovering myself. Learning that I have more bravery, willpower and strength than I ever imagined. If you happen to be feeling lost – I highly recommend going to a dude ranch.

Conquering "The Bridge"
Conquering “The Bridge”

I hope I get to come back someday.

Giddyup, Ya’ll! I’m Headed to a Dude Ranch!

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Blogger Press Trip | adayinmollywood.com

I’m so excited to finally make this announcement as I’ve known about this for months but had to keep it quiet! I’ve been wanting to get more into travel blogging and this here press trip to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch is kickin’ it off!

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Blogger Press Trip | adayinmollywood.com

Starting tomorrow, I will head south with four other awesome bloggers to an authentic Dude Ranch in Jasper, Arkansas! I’m taking this trip to get a real, behind-the-scenes look at how a Dude Ranch operates. I hope to share a glimpse with all of you and inspire you to take a vacation that might be out of the norm!

They’ll be a lot of fun things to do. But here’s the thing . . . I’ve never really done any of them before. Horseback riding, ziplining, rock climbing, canoeing, fishing . . . hmmmm. This city girl is a just a little bit nervous. I’ll be out of my element for sure. I mean, there’s no Starbucks or Target! What if I need something?!

But seriously.

I hope to challenge myself, be brave and also use these next few days as a reboot for my mind, body and soul. I’m sure the land will be beautiful and getting some peace and quiet? WHAT IS THAT EVEN?!

I’m 36-years-old and I’ve never owned a pair of cowboy boots. At least I can check that off the bucket list, baby! This cowgirl is ready to ride off into the sunset!

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Thank you, kindly, to the fine people of Horseshoe Canyon Ranch for sponsoring us city folks’ trip and bringing us down south for some good old-fashioned fun!

Know a Mom Who Needs a Vacation?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Best Western. All opinions are 100% mine.

I am really excited to start blogging about travel more in the coming months! I have always loved traveling. From the very first road trip my mom and dad planned where all three of my sisters and I piled into the station wagon and drove cross country to fun destinations.

Although we haven’t traveled that much since starting a family we have taken a few trips and I always end up thinking – why don’t we do this more often?!

Well, it’s because we’re busy! And then there’s that whole budget thing to worry about too. But my husband and I are making it a goal to go on at least one vacation a year with our family. And I really think you should too!

Right now, Best Western is giving away a free five-night stay for a deserving mom you know. Go to Facebook to “mominate” them in the Mom Me-Time Sweepstakes! It’s so easy and guess what? If you do this for a friend or family member and they win – you get to go too! 

That sounds awesome, doesn’t it? It’s a win-win!

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Our Snowy Getaway

We’re back from our four-day getaway to Breckenridge, Colorado. The simplest way to describe it is wonderful, awesome, romantic and of course, snowy! It snowed so much while we were there. Our first day of skiing was sunny and 55. But the next day it started to snow those fat pretty flakes. And it didn’t stop! No worries, we still skied our hearts out!

We booked our condo through VRBO and being that it wasn’t a hotel it made me a bit nervous. But the vacation rental could not have been better. It was so adorable. The perfect mountain getaway!

At first, leaving the kids was hard. But once we got there I started to relax and enjoy it being just Naaman and I. We got to eat dinner without having to take anyone to the potty! We had dinner reservations for each night and each meal was delicious. We were in awe of how the whole trip went so smoothly. Everything worked out just as we had hoped. I’ve gotta say, vacations alone are very necessary when you have kids. Here’s an article I wrote about the importance of taking an adults-only vacation, which published while we were there!

And now for an influx of pictures. If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve already seen all of these. I’m @adayinmollywood and I tagged all of our trip photos as #shalzskitrip if you don’t follow me already!

As you’ll see from the pictures it was absolutely gorgeous! Breckenridge could not have been a better vacation spot ! But Naaman has promised me that our next trip can be a warm climate :)

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