Spring Break

So, let me begin by saying J at 3 has not been the easiest. It’s weird because I was thinking, A couldn’t have possibly been this difficult at this age. Then I remembered how on Christmas Day he came out of his room, saw all the gifts, yelled “I don’t want any of it!!” and then ran back to his room. So there’s that.

Fast forward three years and A is 6 and J is 3. We decided that over Spring Break we would go on a little getaway to Atlanta to go to the Legoland Discovery Center and The Georgia Aquarium. We also had visions of visiting a few other places like The CNN Center and The Zoo, but it turned bitter cold on Friday and J was beyond done. We found out that J really does not care for sleeping at hotels and he definitely still needs naps.

However, despite all that the boys had a great time, especially A. I still remember our pediatrician telling us how kids have a unique ability to completely ignore all surrounding circumstances (he gave an example of one of his kids getting sick and the other standing there still asking when he was going to get a snack). A had a blast at both places.

He loved getting to build a race car…

Spring BreakAnd race it… Spring BreakHe stood with a Darth Vader Lego statue…

Spring BreakAnd got to experience the joy of sharing a bed with your sibling (which did not go well, HA!):

Spring BreakThe boys were delighted by the whale sharks…

Spring BreakAnd the massive rays…

Spring BreakA crawled under the penguins:

Spring BreakAnd after seeing all of the aquarium over several hours and in between J meltdowns, the boys each “adopted” an animal of their own:

Spring BreakAnd I managed to get a picture with a smile from J! Mission accomplished!

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Friday Favorites

Friday FavoritesSpending some time with Granna looking for ducks and sitting on the dock.

Marbling with shaving cream and ink…already planning how I can work this into a summer activity for the boys.

The brick & mortar of my favorite place to on-line window shop.

I always think scones are inherently more difficult than other cooks make them out to be, however, tempting ginger currant scones may give me the courage to try again.

A look into innovative bread making.

Simple Easter egg dye method with some great color ideas.

My first question is, do they get to use the GPS on their iPhones? HA!

Garlic bread you can make in the crock pot? This is a must try for our penne & marinara nights.

An Anthro top I am obsessed with it. I’m seeing it paired with blue floral shorts & gold flip-flops for summer.

And finally, creating & painting salt dough Lego figures. I’m off to buy a Lego ice cube tray!

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Fresh: Decorations + Outfits for Easter

J is so excited about holidays right now and especially decorating. After decorating for Easter he walked around tapping his chin, saying “what else we need here?” I took him to Target and Hobby Lobby and let him help pick out a few things. With a lot of J enthusiasm here are our new decoration additions:

Easter Decorations

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And after decorating I realized that Easter is really right around the corner and I needed to get the boys’ outfits figured out:Easter Outfits

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Signs of Spring

The First Tulip Bloom…

Tulips BloomFresh Easter Decorations…

Easter DecorAnd a kite flying high in the sky…

Kite FlyingAll signs of a beautiful spring.

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Ultimate rice crispy treats

Ultimate Rice Krispie TreatsRice crispy treats. It’s just about the simplest dessert you can make. One of the boys’ (and by boys I mean ALL the boys) favorite lunchbox treats, I make them on a regular basis. However it wasn’t until I discovered Smitten Kitchen’s recipe that I realized I could make them better. By doing just a few simple things (browning the butter, and adding a bit of sea salt) they go from level good to level ULTIMATE. My extra secret? My family likes a higher marshmallow to treat level, so I do a scant six cups and I always make them in a non-stick pan, so none of the marshmallows are left behind. A few extra minutes of time = the best rice crispy treats you’ve ever had. I promise!

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Skittles

While it’s been a little tough balancing t-ball, school, and tennis lessons, seeing how excited he is to go makes it worth it. Especially when he gets to play his favorite game:

Skittles Skittles SkittlesI couldn’t tell you why it’s called skittles, but I can tell you A looks forward to it every time we go. I can also tell you that the awesome tennis instructors A has is the big part of the reason he loves tennis so much.

 

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Friday Favorites

Friday FavoritesPuppy play date.

I, too, distinctly remember getting silhouettes done at Disney World when I was little. I also remember the ones that hung my grandparents’ house. There’s something a little mysterious, yet very descriptive about them all at the same time.

Taking fruity pebbles to a whole other level.

Three DIY succulent pots perfect for our mantel.

Highlighting dramatic graphic black & white prints.

Classy white lace dress perfect for Easter, a wedding shower, or just because.

PB&J muffins sounds like the perfect lunchbox addition.

Dirt is no match for spring cleaning shortcuts. Dirt be gone!

An answer to a question B has had for years: travel toothpaste lasts approximately fourteen days. Of course, he would want to see the stats. HA!

Okay, I said I wasn’t going to do art in the afternoon this year, but I keep coming up with great ideas! For example, how The Great Wave went old school viral. Seriously, awesome.

We are buckling down and finally re-painting our hallway this summer. Which means I have to pick a color. Am I absolutely crazy to be thinking about white?

An Easter brunch that has me thinking of putting the tea cups at the top of my cabinet to good use.

Love this classic book series discussion, and I already have Cranberry Thanksgiving on my list of fall reads with the boys.

Apparently a “crushed rock ring” is called a druzy. Who knew?

And finally, the Friday night dessert we’ll be snacking on while we see if our bracket holds up during March Madness.

Have a great weekend!

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A tale of two pandas…

It was all about pandas at J’s story time and it was too cute not to share:

Panda ActivityJ typically calls every bear a polar bear, so it was really helpful to have two books and an activity to help reinforce the idea of what a panda bear is.

It got me thinking of how I could do a similar activity, but re-work it for A’s age:

Panda ActivityWith slightly more complex books and a Haiku activity worksheet, it expands the simpler craft for J’s age and makes it appropriate for a K-2 grader. While A is a little busy right now with school, this will be the perfect activity to put on our learning list for the summer.

And if you find that your kids are thrilled with learning all about pandas and you want to take the learning a little further…

Panda ActivityYou can go to the National Zoo’s panda cam and see what the pandas are up to throughout the day. You can extend their learning about ancient China (and pandas) through an eyewitness book (this one is slightly out of print, but is available used, or at your local library). Finally, you can read more about pandas and their habitat by buying a single edition of Zoobooks (I LOVED these magazines as a kid, they are something I wished I had kept over the years to give to the boys).

Happy Learning!

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Spring Reading

I’m not confident that I can complete all of these before the start of summer, but I’m going to try! I have until June, right?? The attempt to clean off my ever crowded nightstand is good motivation. Here’s my choices and a few thoughts about them.

Spring Reading ListBooks 4, 6, & 7 are all Costco picks. My Mom, sister, and I frequently pick up stacks of books from Costco and then pass them around as we read them. My Mom has already read 6 & 7, however, I’m way behind and only about half-way through book 4. In my defense it’s about 600 pages. While seemingly all different, they each share a common bond in that they are about a “journey” and create a distinct sense of place.

Book 1: I’m always excited when I find a new foodie book that combines recipes with memoir, and this one is available not only through print, but also at a great price digitally.

Books 2 & 3: You all know I’m a sucker for anything Agatha Christie, and The Girl on a Train is recommended by Gillian Flynn (the author of Gone Girl), and is supposed to include a lot of great twists and surprises.

Book 5: After trying for months to check out Yes, Please from the library (it’s on hold beyond hold) I gave up and bought it. It’s been a great in between read for a break from All the Light We Cannot See.

Book 8: If you didn’t know this there is a new Jurassic Park movie coming out this summer, and B is insisting that I actually read the first book in anticipation of the new movie (that is not based on any of the books by the way…but that’s B’s best persuasive appeal).

Spring reading list, check! If there’s anything you think I missed, let me know! Happy Wednesday!

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Mint chocolate chunk ice cream

Mint chocolate chunk ice cream

What makes this really good is the chocolate bar, so use a good one (I used Ghiradelli). I quickly snapped this picture before B ate it up. I’ve been trying to get a combination of ingredients that doesn’t use whole milk and all heavy whipping cream, and I think this one does the trick!

Ingredients

1 cup of milk

1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

3/4 cup half and half

1 cup of sugar

1/2 tbs vanilla extract

1/2 tsp mint extract

Pinch of salt

1 chopped 8 oz 60% bittersweet cocoa bar

Directions

Whisk together milk and sugar. Stir in the remaining ingredients (minus the chocolate bar). Let chill for at least two hours in the fridge. Mix according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. At the very end of mixing add in chopped chocolate bar. Freeze.

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