Lately

J and I watched Wall-E for the first time and he loved it:

But before that he was my wedding date, while A and B were at Cub Haunted:

A turned nine:

And went to The Phantom Tollbooth play with his class (and Granna!):

We graduated to full Monopoly:

And the boys hiked Monte Sano for Cub Scouts:

And that’s a little of our life lately!

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Cub Haunted

One of A’s favorite camp outs of the year is Cub Haunted. They get to use sling shots, practice using BB guns, go on a haunted hay ride, and all kinds of other fun activities. He had a blast!

I love these camp outs. It gives A and B a chance to just hang out, away from all of the hustle and stress of work and school. A always returns full of stories to share and brimming with excitement about their trip. It’s the best!

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Friday Favorites

What do you mean there’s only two months and five days until Christmas?

Ha! Here are my favorites from the week!

1. The pants headed my way from JCrew.

2. My current hair routine.

3. The important book.

4. Weekend catch phrase.

5. Lovely illustrations.

6. The Greek meatballs the boys declared their current favorite.

7. Tinkerbell lounge shoes.

8. S’mores bars for weekend snacking.

9. Travel green. Island green, please. Keep me out of the mountains!

10. Pork wontons for football Saturday.

11. Craft jar organization.

12. Spiderweb sticks.

13. Ruffles + a button down.

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Books & peeps

One of J’s favorite things is to read books with his “peeps” (our name for most loved stuffed animals in our house). We’ve got quite a collection going at this point, and he’ll actually find peeps he need to adopt to read stories! This is a great idea for gift giving as well. Here are some of our favorites:

You can find all of these on Amazon (no advertisement, just where I found them).

 

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The polite pig

In a little corner of Disney Springs, is a bustling BBQ joint, with exposed pipe work, craft beers, and a guy literally making the brisket right in front of your eyes. This was our first eating stop (a quick service credit on the dining plan) at Disney, and despite it being very busy we quickly ordered and found a table.

J was slightly excited to be at Disney, if you couldn’t tell. We ordered pulled pork, brisket, Mac and Cheese, and chicken strips:


The kids’ meals were okay. The mac and cheese was okay (a little over sauced), and the chicken strips were what you expect from a kids’ meal. I have to say my favorite of everything was the sides (sweet potato tater totes and fried cauliflower). The pork was super tender, and I would rate the brisket as “fine”, but I’m biased because B’s brisket is so amazing.

Overall, I like the style of the restaurant, the food is kid friendly and it’s a good expenditure of quick service credits if you are on the dining plan!

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Nine

Nine years ago, B and I began the biggest and best adventure of our lives…A. This boy made me a Mama, and we love him to the moon in back. A has always been our deep thinker. Funny and sincere, joyful and kind, I honestly cannot remember when he couldn’t talk, or sing, or ask all the questions. Here’s a trip down memory lane of our first nine with A:




Whether he’s writing a story, creating a short film, reading a book, or working on solving all the math problems, A’s mind is always on the go. He loves big, hugs tight, and constantly tells me that “I’m a great Mom and doing a good job”. My life long cheering section, he watches football with his Dad and Food Network with me with equal enthusiasm. He is the best big brother, I’m not sure many have the patience to hang out with their little brother as much as he does.

I cannot believe nine years has gone by! It seems like only yesterday I was standing up rocking him in the middle of the night. Happy Birthday A! We love you!

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Friday Favorites

It’s Fri-yay!

Here are my favorites from the week!

1. Feeling fall.

2. The golden snitch!

3. Sisters first.

4. Updated room with some of J’s favorite colors and theme.

5. This guy stole my “go to your room point” after getting tackled.

6. Lip stain for fall fresh.

7. Outfit done and done.

8. Book list for A.

9. Weeknight risotto.

10. Animal print booties to contrast fall neutrals.

11. Fresh and glowy.

12. Weekend wear with the best slides.

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Wilderness Explorers

Hidden among the rides and animals:

Is a lesser advertised adventure full of animal information:

The Wilderness Explorers!

The boys picked up a Wilderness Explorers guide on the way in the park and they literally took us through the entire park. The only stops we made were for lunch and our fast passes, but other than that they were collecting “badges” (stickers) learning about all the different wildlife.

They found each of the guides and learned about animal habitats, conservation, and how animals help us every day:

In addition to all the information, I think they enjoyed that they were taking us through the park, instead of us leading the, from place to place. We really enjoyed it because we were able to sit! And chat with each other off to the side while the boys worked on their badges.

This to me is the true uniqueness of Disney, that you can be among all these rides and attractions, but also have a calmer more laid back experience. Which truly makes it more of a vacation, rather than a trip you need a vacation from after you get home!

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Behind the seeds

Over the boys’ fall break, we went to Disney and along with rides, parades, and shows, we also did a few extra things that ended up being the boys (and ours) favorites from the trip. First up, was the Behind the Seeds tour. This is located in The Land pavilion in Epcot. It’s about an hour long walking tour and I’d read that your tour guide makes a big difference. Our tour guide was awesome! She had loads of information, was super interactive with the boys, and answered all their questions patiently.

We got to see how they grow the plants from leaf & steam (they don’t start them from seeds which we learned on the tour!):

To rows of baby plants:

We viewed the different lighting strategies they use to grow the plants:

We got to try the fresh cucumbers grown in house:

And learned about their hydroponic system of growing plants (all water! No dirt!):

Our tour guide discussed how they work on plants growing upwards to prevent pests, ground rot, etc.:


We saw some extraordinary fruits and vegetables, like this huge zucchini:

And these lemons that just one makes an entire pitcher of lemonade:

There were bananas that taste like vanilla ice cream:

And these gourds that are all growing down (and some into Mickey ears!):

Oh and while I’m talking about Mickey, did I mention we saw the only unlisted hidden Mickey on propert?? Here it is:

And you can only see it on the tour! It’s not visible from the land ride.

We also learned about the sustainability and careful attention they pay to fish farming:

And saw a date palm that’s trying to actively make its way out of the building:

The amount of herbs, vegetables, and fruits that are grown to feed people at restaurants around the property and the animals at Animal Kingdom is overwhelming and the boys loved every second of learning about them:

This tour was right up our boys’ alley. It does require patience, listening, and there are items that cannot be touched, stepped on, etc. There were mainly adults on the tour, so it wouldn’t be one I’d recommend for toddlers. For our kids it was the perfect age and they came home full of ideas for our next garden!

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Camp Jackson

This past weekend J and I joined in our very first camp out. Let me just say, I am not a camping person. Unless it’s a desert. Or a beach. Or a place devoid of all plant life. However, A had very much been looking forward to us joining him, so I took some extra Benadryl and hoped for the best.

It also happened to be in the middle of the end of September heat wave, so it was ridiculously hot. Insert eye roll.

However, we put together Ninjago stickers:

Explored the flat trails (we opted out of the 800 elevation hike):

And found a new friend!

It was a blast getting to spend time with the boys and B. And now I’m going to go take some more allergy meds, as I recover from the trip. Ha!

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