INSTAGRAM GIVEAWAY: two $100 GYMboree gift cards

After a year of kindergarten, Mazzy is on the cusp of learning how to read, but hasn’t quite gotten there yet. I’ve seen her read a few words if she REALLY concentrates, but at this moment, she finds it frustrating and unfortunately, does not like trying too much.

That’s fine. I don’t want to push her if she isn’t ready. I don’t think I was able to read until first grade either. But I also don’t want her to forget everything she’s learned, just because school is out for the summer.

In the interest of preparing Mazzy for back-to-school, I’m trying to reinforce reading time. Not just at bedtime, but during the day.

Living in the city, we don’t think to bring books with us to the park, but now that we spend so much time hanging out in our backyard, with access to their favorite books just a few steps away, I’m hoping reading in our sun porch or having story time outside on the lawn will be a fun relaxing activity that will help kickstart her interest.

To entice the kids even further, I took Mazzy, Harlow, Gavin and Luke (their companions at seemingly all times) on a trip to the library to select some summer reading material.


Unfortunately, the library was closed (I should really check these things!) but since I didn’t want to thwart a learning opportunity I had gotten the kids excited about, I decided to buy each one of them their own book at a nearby bookstore. Which was open, THANK GOD.



The kids all wore their new clothes from Gymboree’s back-to-school line, which perfectly bridges the fun of playing outdoors with the comfort you need to sit all day in a classroom.


The boys wore bold kelly green, preppy plaids and fun graphic tees with lots of pockets in their cargo shorts, perfect for storing school lunch money or found treasures while exploring the outdoors.


Mazzy was particularly excited about her geo print dress with the coral pink bow.


I thanked my lucky stars Harlow’s dress had a pink bow too, otherwise we might not have made it out of the house without fashioning one from scratch.


I directed Mazzy to the books for first level readers, even though she was way more enamored with a multi-colored sketch pad.


“We’re here to get reading books, Mazzy. Not drawing books.”


In case you read that wrong, Mazzy’s “awwww” did not mean “That’s so cute!” More like “NO FAIR!”

Finally, I turned her on to some easy reader Pinkalicious and Fancy Nancy books, because she’s nothing if not predictable. I only discovered later she chose one of them because it involved stickers.


Harlow picked a huge hardcover Disney storybook with about fifty full-color glossy pages because she is one smart cookie who knows how to shop. Gavin picked a book about Wookies. And Luke picked a book about a dog named Spot.


I added a couple of my own choices, like This is Sadie, because I wanted a few bed time books to read to the girls that didn’t involve characters they see on television.


My plan was to take the kids back to the house and lie picnic blankets on the ground for everyone to relax with a book, but the kids had other plans that involved our new swing set.



They set up shop in the little treehouse and spent a good long while pouring over their books together. Whether or not anyone was actually trying to read them, I have no idea.




Later on, after the boys left, I read with Mazzy and Harlow on the glider couch in the sun porch.


We had just cleared out and cleaned all the furniture in the sun porch that morning and this was our first time using the space since last year.



On a nice night, as the sun goes down, the enclosed porch is my favorite place for bedtime stories.


Even Disney ones.

Today, I’m giving away two $100 Gymboree gift cards over on Instagram! Enter here.

SPEcial Offer:

If you use the code MOMMY25, you’ll get $25 off purchases of $100 or more, VALID 7/16 through 7/23. SHOP HERE.



And the winners are…

@hadams and @emmalou.smith – congrats! Please email to claim your prize.


This post is sponsored by Gymboree, who is teaming up with to bring coloring supplies to students nationwide just in time for the back-to-school season. Visit to support creativity in your neighborhood schools with art supplies kids need to make their mark!

Photos by Reyna Sara Photography.