Friday Favorites

Our last official “school day” has come and gone. It’s a weird feeling and we are entering the summer with so many unknowns of what the next school year will look like. I’m trying to keep our focus on the now, we’ve been doing art projects, lots of outside play, and a trip to the golf course. This is not an easy situation, but I’m proud of the boys’ resilience at such a crazy end to the school year. And now on to some of our favorites of the week!

Patio spring refresh.

Television home design trends.

Online print shops.

Counter and bar stools for the kitchen.

Bee homes.

Van Gogh almond blossoms virtual tour.

Chocolate espresso cake.

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Bethel Springs Land Trust Hike

We are finally all moved in to spend several months with my parents while we wait for our new house to be completed. We almost feel at loose ends because there is no packing, or really anything that we have to do on the weekends. My sister and her family had gone on a hike a week ago and recommended it to us, so we set out on Saturday morning to try it out. Located off of Hwy 431 in Madison County are several trails at the Bethel Springs Nature Preserve. There is a little scenic loop at the start:

And then there are three trails, The Mill Trail, Fallen Sink Trail, and Carpenter Trail.

All of them lead toward one of the largest waterfalls in our area. The Mill Trail is the quickest to the waterfall as far as distance, but parts of it are very steep, so we took the slightly longer and slightly less steep Fallen Sink Trail & Carpenter Trail combination.

There is a lot of tree cover, so it helps to keep the temperatures slightly cooler, and the waterfall at the end was definitely worth the hike! It was about 2.5 miles from the bottom to the top of the waterfalls and back. To give you an idea of how steep it is my Apple Watch said I’d climbed 22 flights of stairs by the end of the hike.

Some of the things that are really helpful to have on hikes like this are B’s hiking backpack:

And hiking poles, even just having one for each of the boys makes a big difference in the descent from the top back down:

I wear Nike Pegasus trail runner shoes:

And the boys all have Merrell hiking shoes, except we realized when we were moving that both boys needed new boots. And then put that on our list to buy, and then didn’t buy, so I’ve now got it on my list. Their regular sneakers are fine, but the Merrell’s have better cushion and traction for the steeper hikes. I also love my adidas running shorts, and the Zella tank top because they are durable, but also light weight. I also love Athleta Powervita sports bras, which I have at least six of, and always buy when they are on sale.

We have plans to try to attempt the Mill trail in the future, when the boys have sturdier shoes, and the boys want to get closer to the waterfalls next time we go. You can go right underneath, but there were several groups there already and we wouldn’t have been able to keep a good distance. It was a fun way to spend our Saturday morning! To find out more about waterfall trails in the Madison County area there is a great post here.

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Hey Clay Art

I bought this weeks ago when I saw it on an Instagram post and J finally noticed it in the box of educational and art supply items I have at my parents’ house. He got it out on Friday and is already asking what box we can get after he finishes all of the clay models in this box, so I definitely think it’s a hit. Here’s a little bit more about it…

Each set comes with the clay you need to make all of the characters on the front of the box. You do need to have a tablet or phone to download the App to get the instructions for making the characters. There is a code in the box that allows you to access all of the character models for your box.

The App is very interactive and takes you step by step through the process of making your selected creation.

The clay is a bit of a hybrid between Play-Doh and foam. It is not as messy or sticky as Play-Doh.

Once you complete your creation you just leave it out to dry (no baking, etc.) and it will harden into a toy structure that can be played with.

It’s a fun activity for a rainy day, or when you are taking a break from pool time!

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Friday Favorites

We’re headed towards summer! While we don’t have big summer vacation plans (but who does at this point), we are going to sleep in, get in lots of pool time, reading, and eating popsicles. We are starting out the summer with selling our house and ending it with moving into our new house. We took one last picture outside our house this past week, and said our goodbyes to what has felt like a fourth member of our family for the past twelve years. And now on to some of our favorites of the week!

Shake shack burgers and cheese sauce recipe. It’s like they knew exactly what I needed this week.

How to make a gallery wall.

Camping blanket for chilly outdoor sports games and, you know, camping.

Babies do what the want.

Thank you Thursdays.

Creating a better salad.

Thoughts on risk.

Summer pajama pants.

Finally, art in place. Looking forward to viewing this online with the boys!

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Transplanting our Favorite Plants

This is a story that began over a hundred years ago. Our backyard at our current house has three little trees that some may perceive as a mere bush in the corner. However, two of them are hundred year old Rose of Sharon transplants, and the other is a California redwood sapling that we brought back from the boys’ very first trip to California. There are many trees at our current house that are precious to us (our stump tree! My Mother’s Day maple!) but these were the only two that I knew I could maybe transfer to the new house. The Rose of Sharon’s are fairly easy to move as you just pull out “baby plants” from around the bottom of the tree and plant them in fresh soil.

The redwood is trickier. It started as a little sprout in a pot in 2015:

And then a couple of years later:

And then two years ago we finally planted it in the ground because it had outgrown all of its pots:

I headed over to the house with instructions from B on clipping the redwood. These were his instructions: Take your cuttings from the node area of the tree, where two branches meet. Each cutting should be at least 6 inches long. Place them in lukewarm water immediately after you remove them from the mother tree.

Then I ordered Miracle Grow fast root from Amazon which helps the cuttings to develop roots. I’m waiting on that to arrive and trying keep our redwood cuttings alive in the process. The boys are watching them to make sure the soil doesn’t get too dry. And not kick them over with the soccer ball. Moving has truly been bittersweet. We are excited about our new house and all the possibilities, but we are also sad to leave our current home. Bringing some of these pieces is like bringing a bit of the home with us when we go.

This is a picture of the Rose of Sharon’s in all their glory in 2016. Looking forward to seeing these big blooms again!

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Friday Favorites

Reading on a rainy afternoon. This has been a tough week. Homeschooling has become a pretty regular routine, but between trying to finishing packing our house out and trying to keep some semblance of a schedule it’s been trying at times. J keeps trying to unpack what I’ve packed in his room (LEGO creations on shelves, pictures put back up), and so we’ve been doing our best to make sure he’s got space to put his favorite things out at my parents who we are staying with while our new house is being completed. I think we will all breathe a huge sigh of relief and say a lot of prayers of gratitude once we are moved out completely and our current house is closed on and sold. This will definitely be our last move for a very, very long time. And now here are some of our favorites of the week!

This is why the boys want a dog.

Light filled home.

Kitchen inspiration.

The boys were as excited about this baguette baker as I was, so it’s definitely on my birthday list.

Vanilla apricot granola bars.

Reading through 1-3 John in my morning Bible Study.

Summer straw tote..I could use it to hold magazines since I’m not going anywhere.

When I dyed my roots this past week, J told me that the shampoo that I used that came with smelled like lovely lavender. So now, I feel like I need to buy it.

Finally, perfect summer sweater.

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Kamado Ramen at Home

We had been planning to take the boys to our favorite ramen spot (Kamado Ramen), but then literally everything closed down. After several weeks of being closed, it opened back up for take out only and we were so excited! The boys ate ALL of their adult sized ramen and gyoza, and it was the best Friday night meal. We can’t wait to pick it up again! I wanted to share a little bit about how they pack it because it is super innovative.

Each ramen comes in covered bowl, with the broth on the bottom, separated from the ramen and toppings. Then you reheat the broth and pour in your ramen and toppings. It’s perfect and fresh, just like having it at the restaurant.

We each got an order of gyoza, but we probably should’ve ordered more:

A could eat gyoza every day of the week. And next time we will order the extra noodles for J:

So good! And love supporting our local businesses!

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April Beauty Buys

This past month was mostly all about the Spring Sephora sale. I wanted to share what I thought of some of the products I got that were new (to me that is), and my ones that continue to be my favorite.

First, the Olaplex shampoo and conditioner. I had read some mixed reviews of this, so I was unsure of what I would think. The smell is a little flowery, but I love the results. My hair is soft and full and it lasts!

Second, Pillow Talk lipstick and lip liner. I like it fine. I’m not sure what I was thinking it would do. It’s a good color, and I like it, but I think I was expecting more. Especially when I feel like I still need to finish it with my NYX creme brûlée lip gloss.

Third, Cali contour. Love it! I like the colors and it’s soft, but well pigmented.

Fourth, Sephora color eyeliner. I love the pop of color in this one and it glides on so easy!

Benefit roller lash. Doesn’t clump, and looks natural with the intensity up a notch.

My empty refills were Supergoop, B-Hydra Intensive Serum, Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil, Peter Thomas Roth cucumber mask, Living Proof Dry Volume Blast, Anastasia Brow Gel, and Fresh Caramel lip balm. All of them never let me down!

And, two items not a part of the Sephora sale, Twinkle razors for dermaplaning, and Winkylux black eyeliner. Not that I’m wearing a whole lot of dramatic eyeliner lately, but this one works well.

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Friday Favorites

Another week down! I’m officially done with the Spring semester of my classes, and I’m busy working on making edits to online courses for the summer and fall. I introduced J to Operation Neptune which I found on a DOS game site. He loved it and it’s been great for identifying different math skills he’s mastered, and ones he needs to work on. We also made rainbows this week to put in the windows, and learned about maps, cause and effect, and a particularly exciting lesson on squirrels.

Drawing videos by J’s current favorite author.

My favorite Sunday work-out is a five minute warm-up (10 each of inchworms, plank lunges, reverse snow angels, and hand release push ups, cycle through until timer is done), then I do a burpee challenge, and then end with a ten minute yoga cool down.

Mickey Mouse beignets.

Baby otters!

Double chocolate chip cookie in a skillet.

Selecting the perfect window treatments.

Sparkling sassyfras strawberry tea.

And finally, picking the perfect couch.

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