Hi there – happy Friday! I’m sharing some things I’m loving lately today. Let’s get to it!

Please note Amazon links in this post are affiliate links.

Things I’m Loving Lately

I always have fun writing these types of posts because I get to talk about a lot of completely unrelated and varied stuff. 😉 First up:

1) The Unofficial Start of Summer!

Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start to summer, is upon us! If you’re looking for some BBQ ideas, check out this blog post: Healthy Grilling Recipes for Summer, which includes the Grilled Steak and Strawberry Salad pictured below (one of our all-time faves). We are keeping it low key and sticking around town and doing various playdates and BBQ gatherings. Should be fun!

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And speaking of it almost being summer, I wanted to let you all know I’ll be in and out this summer in terms of the blog. We have 4 full weeks that the kids will be off from school and not in camp and I may disappear those weeks unless I have a chance to plan ahead with content. Just fyi!

Our whole family is feeling ready for a break from school, especially the morning rush routine. The kids will be in camp on and off this summer so we’ll be in a similar routine once those start up but we have a couple weeks after school ends and also a few before school starts where the kids will be off and we’ll be doing some traveling (mostly just to Pittsburgh to hang out with Matt’s parents). Plus we have our annual Outer Banks beach trip in early July – always look forward to that!

It will be nice to mix things up and to stop hearing “I don’t want to go to school!!” from the kids every morning. 😉

2) Horseback riding!

Matt, the kids, my parents, and I spent Mother’s Day weekend out at the lovely Salamander Hotel in Middleburg, VA, and one of the big highlights was getting some time with the hotel’s horses!

My mother’s day gift (which I decided for myself, ha) was a 1 hour trail ride. Should’ve done a private lesson so we could get the horses running a bit because that’s my favorite, but a gentle group walk through the woods was lovely, too.

anne mauney on a horse

The kids also got to do pony rides, which they LOVED. We thought Wes would be terrified but surprisingly he hopped right up like an old pro! So cute.

Other highlights from that quick trip included lots of yummy food:

S’mores with Riese one night (Matt and Wes were in bed – we alternated who stayed in with him and who took Riese out for more adventures):

s'mores

It was super foggy and cool looking outside on the night we did the s’mores!

foggy view from the salamander hotel
fog at the salamander hotel

The big lowlight was that the hotel bar restaurant (which doesn’t take reservations – only the fancy one does, but we didn’t go there b/c kids) was absolutely mobbed Saturday night with an 1 hour or more wait, so we ended up doing room service but that took forever and the kids were a hot mess. Never fun trying to entertain hungry, tired kids!

But overall it was a nice weekend trip. Middleburg is such a cute town, always love heading out there. And only an hour or so from where we live; such an easy drive!

3) A breakfast that requires no morning prep time

I was recently sent some protein overnight Naked Oats to test out for a potential sponsored review, and Matt and I liked them so I wanted to share!

naked oats

If you’re a fan of overnight oats but want a product that makes it even faster and easier to throw them together, these will be perfect for you. Naked Oats combines grass-fed whey protein with gluten-free rolled oats, and in less than a minute of prep time, you’ll have a high protein and fiber-packed breakfast ready and waiting for you when you wake up!

I tried a few recipe variations for the oats and ended up coming up with my favorite version, which I like to call “if overnight oats and chia pudding had a baby.” 😉

I found that just following the overnight oats directions on the container (which calls for 2 heaping spoonfuls of Naked Oats + 8 ounces milk or water) left the oats too watery/soupy for my taste, so I thought some chia seeds would do the trick to suck up the liquid and improve the texture and I was right. It came out perfectly!

Here’s my winning combo if you want to try it yourself:

  • 8 ounces milk of choice (I used almond milk) + 2 heaping scoopfuls of Naked Oats + 2 Tablespoons chia seeds + 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed

Refrigerate overnight, and in the morning eat as-is or top with some sliced almonds and fruit for texture variance. Enjoy! Matt loved the chocolate peanut butter banana oats but my favorite (as a non-chocolate person – I know, weird) were the green apple cinnamon. Sweet and delicious! They also have a cinnamon roll variation but I haven’t tried that one (yet!).

overnight oats and chia pudding combined

If you want to give them a shot yourself, they are available on the Naked Nutrition website, or you can find them on Amazon: chocolate peanut butter banana here, green apple cinnamon here), and cinnamon roll here. Happy eating!

4) Podcasts

I always love podcasts, but there have been a few episodes I’ve listened to lately that have really nailed it with me so I wanted to share them in case you find them interesting or helpful, too. The topics are all over the map; here is a round up:

  • I really resonated with the “Break Up With Busyness” episode of the We Can Do Hard Things podcast, plus the follow up episode “How to Self-Regulate and Heal Your Relationships.” So helpful and a must-listen for anyone that struggles with “productivity” culture (aka probably anyone living in current society).
  • One of my favorite authors, Carley Fortune, just came out with a new book (This Summer Will Be Different (loved it, but more on that next week as I’ll be sharing a new recent fiction reads round up post!), and she was featured on one of my favorite podcasts, Bad on Paper, in this episode: Author Carley Fortune’s 3 Things: Spring Fashion, Social Media, and Prince Edward Island. Besides being a really fun and engaging convo, it made me want to visit Prince Edward Island, to read Anne of Green Gables which I’ve somehow never read, and to listen to the following podcast episode about how to use the internet in a sane way. I loved Carley and the podcast host’s conversations about their relationship with social media and their phones – very relatable and insightful.
  • Here’s the episode that the previous podcast episode led me to: “Is there a sane way to use the internet?” I ask myself this question a lot, and found this episode from the Search Engine podcast last fall fascinating. I’ve been examining my phone/internet habits a lot lately, and actually recently deleted Facebook and Instagram from my phone which feels really good. I can still use them on my computer when I need to for work, and that helps me to approach them more as a tool vs. as a way to get a dopamine hit when I’m bored or actually just craving connection.
  • Along the same lines, the “Anxious Generation with Jonathan Haidt” episode on the Dr. Becky podcast is on my list to listen to next. Matt has been reading his book by the same name and it’s on my list to read soon, too, especially as we will need to start making decisions in future years re: our kids and social media/technology.

And that’s what I’ve got for you today! I hope those of you in the U.S. have a nice long weekend (and remember the real reason for the holiday – those who have given their lives for our country). See you back here next week!

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