Packing their own lunch

In a brand new decision this year, A decided that he wanted to make his own lunch. J quickly joined in and also declared that he wanted to make his own lunch. Inspired by Mix and Match Mama’s post on this awhile back, I decided to let the boys give it a try. I say give it a try, because I wanted to make sure they understood that if they made it, they were also going to put away everything they got out to make it, that they cleaned up any messes, and they didn’t turn it into a crazy role playing game that involved yelling (if you’re thinking…how can your kids turn making lunch into a game….oh they can. They Mary Poppins’ stuff to the extreme here. Here’s a little bit more about what I did!

First, I made sure things were easily accessible:

One spot for, yogurt, cheese sticks, apple sauce packs, lunchables, etc. I also cut the grapes into smaller bunches, made small bags of carrot sticks, and then got the celery bags that are individual sticks.

Then, I made a guide list for them:

It’s not fancy. There is no pretty design, or written on special paper, I just made a list. They have to get one thing from each group, and then I check it at the end.  Then they zip it up and put it in the fridge. In the morning I slip in an ice pack, and write on their napkins (they’ve had a note from me everyday on their napkin since preschool. My Mom did that, too!). They were so proud that they made it all by themselves!

 

This is definitely a routine! We are headed back to school this week, I can hardly believe it. And no, the five Fritos were not for J’s lunch, ha! I also set out their back to school surprises:

 

New books for them to read in car line (Magic Tree House for J and The Van Gogh Deception for A), new socks, and Musee bath balm, because who doesn’t need a nice calming bath after a busy first day of school?! Happy back to school, friends!

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Currently reading…summer edition

A bit of what we’ve been reading this summer….

We are all about the series this summer! And a Crisis Communication Textbook. Ha! Along with the boys’ reads and my work read, here are some of the other books I’ve read from May-July.

About the Night

A story about star crossed lovers, who are forever changed by the divide of Jerusalem. It is sad in parts, but so wonderfully written and insightful. You’ll remember it long after you read it.

Park Avenue Summer

Perfect for summer, this story is historical fiction of sorts, featuring an up and coming photographer and the editor who changed the entire direction of the original Cosmopolitan magazine.

The Murmur of Bees

This by far one of my favorite reads of the year. I don’t want to give anything away, but essentially it is about a baby who is found and taken in by a family, and his journey with and apart from them. It’s a story about the strong ties of family and overcoming adversity.

Cat Among the Pigeons

My most current Agatha Christie read. It is a mystery (obviously) surrounding a school setting, with a murderous hunt for treasure.

A Piece of the World

Another historical fiction based on Andrew Wyeth’s inspiration for the painting Christina’s World, this was a very interesting read. So much so that I now have the Museum of Modern Art on my list to go see the painting in person.

Maisie Dobbs

This has been on my list for awhile. I’m a fan of Forever 35 podcast, and one of the hosts has talked about this series being her favorite, and they interviewed the author. It is kind of along the lines of Agatha Christie, but it has a much more personal connection to the investigator. It is also set in a very specific time period (right after World War I), and the author does a lovely job of intertwining the effects of the war with the mystery.

A has read every Percy Jackson book, and is re-reading the ones discussing Greek mythology:

Mythology was one of my favorite classes in high school and college, so we’ve had lots of fun discussions about the different myths!

J’s series of the summer has been Harry Potter. We are only letting him read books 1-3 for now, but this is the first time (and he loves to read) that he is reading everywhere we go. In the car, waiting at the pool, first thing when he gets up in the morning:

He’s been asking to watch The Chamber of Secrets all week, so this past weekend we watched it:

He was so excited! His favorite characters right now are Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall. And Harry Potter, of course. We are still debating if he can watch the third movie, but he’s already planning to go back and read the first three again.

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This and That

This week we tested out Picky Palate’s Fire-Fly Disneyland recipe:

It turned out really tasty and the boys loved that they thought at first we were only having Fritos for dinner:

I actually browned the meat (I didn’t use sausage) and then added all the ingredients into my slow cooker on low for about 7 hours. This is awesome for a group or party!

We also made red, white, and blue popcorn this week:

And went to a local Concert in the Park that the kids had a blast at:

And I had a crab cake sandwich that I might be headed back to Concerts in the Park in July to have again:

It was from one of our local food trucks, In the Bun, and it was so good!

And I’ve also got this coffee on my list to get next time we’re at the Arsenal Coffee truck:

And finally, my parents’ pool is open! The boys are going to have a blast!

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This and That

This is the Nintendo game announcements we watched this week in anticipation of new Switch games.

This is J checking out his first set of summer books from the library:

This is me trying to visualize the rug I bought for in our bedroom once we get hardwood in there:

This is B checking out the boys’ Father’s Day Cards….that they made with scented markers:

This is J helping me make snickerdoodles for Father’s Day lunch:

And finally, this was Sunday dinner:

Happy Monday, friends!

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JCrew Factory List

School’s out, summer vacation is here, and we’re feeling fine!

I mentioned having a few items on my list for the Vineyard Vines for Target Collection. After the big release, here are my actual purchases:

If you’re wondering if I got up super early to get these items, the answer is yes. I randomly woke up at 2:00 a.m. (B and I have being trading off with different medical issues, yay for mid-thirties), and couldn’t go back to sleep. I had a favorites list saved, and I just opened my iPad and ordered it all. The quality of the pullover and pants was heavier weight than I expected, which I appreciated for the price. I’ll probably be more likely to wear the pants in fall/winter here. The swimsuit is adorable, definitely my favorite. The shorts are great quality, but I was very glad I got the XS, because I saw an early review online. The sunnies were a wild fable purchase, and they are super fun. Anyway, now that I’ve shopped that collection, we are headed to the beach soon to have family time, beach time, and some outlet shopping time!

Every year, I make a list for outlet shopping at JCrew Factory. I typically try to find some things at the outlets for Under Armour, Aacis, Gap, and Kate Spade as well, but for JCrew Factory I make a list! JCrew Factory carries some of my favorite basics, and I like to stock up while we are there.

First up, is graphic tees. I love a good graphic tee!

Second, is the teddie sweater. Made of lighter weight cotton than JCrew’s typical merino sweater, these are wearable summer through mid-fall.

Next, low wedges. Great for trekking across campus, or going out to dinner, these are low enough you I can wear them with shorts, jeans, or some of my work pants.

Its already 95 degrees here and in the summer I love my easy pajama shorts. These come in a variety of pattens and are perfect for mixing and matching with cotton sleep tees.

I’m so excited they’ve kept their scalloped shorts! These are some of my favorites.

My old white pants are super stretched, so I’m on the hunt for a new pair.

Some of B’s favorite tees we pick up from JCrew Factory including striped and henley’s.

And finally, the boys and I always pick up fun socks for B for Father’s Day.

We are definitely all looking forward to our beach vacation! Until then the cousins are making do with trying to create an impromptu slip and slide:

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This and That

This is my new Summer tea towel that I picked up online on sale from Anthropologie (it’s the cutest):

This is our redwood that we planted in the ground this fall and it is flourishing!

This is J playing catcher in his last game of the season:

He has grown so much in his playing ability this year! By the end of the season he was hitting at every at bat, and got multiple runs! Most importantly he loved playing and is excited about next season.

This is the boys with their fresh haircuts that they got at our local barbershop. They look handsome and are ready for summer vacation now!

After their haircuts we headed over to the food trucks that are set-up in our downtown during the weekends for May-August, A most enjoyed the milkshake for dessert:

Then on Saturday I ran to Costco with my sister and got one of my favorite stress free dinners:

Chicken alfredo pasta, French bread, and frozen corn. Sooooo simple, and the boys eat it up!

This is the adorable eagle J made at school:

And finally, this is J entering into the toothless club! He lost his first tooth this weekend:

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This and That

This is me midweek after getting knocked out by all the pollen.

The pollen is so bad, y’all. I’m one bronchiole spasm away from moving to the beach.

This is my new favorite coffee:

 

Vanilla turmeric iced latte from Arsenal coffee. It is so good!

And while our semester is winding down, I’m gearing up for future courses by testing out a new speech practice game.

And after some long work days, this is what our weekends look like:

However, our Saturday was a complete washout so the boys worked on flip books:

And then we ended the weekend setting up our new washer, since our third washer in ten years died last weekend. Being an adult is fun! Ha! Happy Monday!

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Fire Tower Trail

This is an easy incline trail on Monte Sano that we have connected through several times, but we’ve never done the entire trail on its own. Over Spring Break we headed up one afternoon to hike the trail, and roast hot dogs and marshmallows back at the State Park when we were finished. The trail is about 2.4 miles (that’s round trip), and as I said it’s a fairly easy hike. At the end of the trail (before you walk back out) is the impressive fire tower, that was used for spotters to look for fires, way back in the day. Unfortunately, we couldn’t walk all the way up because someone had graffitied inappropriate symbols all over the bunkers surrounding it. Luckily, B noticed that before the boys did and turned them around to head back out. Overall, it was a fun hike and a great way to spend the day with the boys!

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What’s Up Wednesday

I always enjoy these monthly check-ins on my favorite blogs to follow, so I thought I’d join in on the fun!

1. What we’re eating this week:

S- freezer white chicken chili with corn bread

M-  tomato soup and grilled cheese

T- freezer pork chops with sweet potatoes 

W – cilantro lime chicken with brown rice

Th- penne with marinara and salad

And these AMAZING cookies:

2. What I’m reminiscing about:

Painting class with my Mom! I can’t wait to go again.

3. What I’m loving:

My new lamp in our reading corner

And my one tulip that survived the cold snap and winds out front:

4. What we’ve been up to:

Work, school, baseball

5. What I’m dreading:

The pile of papers that is about to flood my grading inbox.

6. What I’m working on:

My new Crisis Communication course I’m teaching this fall, and grading all those papers I just mentioned. I’m happiest when my inbox looks like this:

7. What I’m excited about:

Heading to the beach in just a few months!

8: What I’m watching/reading:

I’m binge watching Schitt’s Creek and it is hilarious and my new favorite show.

I’m finishing up reading A Bite Sized History of France:

And I’m really enjoying the daily study on She Reads Truth.

9. What I’m listening to:

Forver 35 Podcast & Matt Goulding’s interview on Milk Street Radio Podcast

10. What I’m wearing:

My current favorite Spring sweatshirt and jean skirt.

And my trio of Nordstrom sandals (beige, striped-updated version here, orange):

11. What I’m doing this weekend:

Dinner with friends! We’re making penne alla Betsy, salad, and crusty bread.

And we’re probably sitting at a baseball practice at some point.

12. What I’m looking forward to next month:

Easter! I’m already working on the boys’ Easter baskets and I’m particularly excited about these devotional studies I found for them (and one for me).

Bonus Question: what’s my favorite Easter side dish:

Deviled eggs, no question!

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