This and that

Since we’ve started Thanksgiving Break, later bedtimes and less activities to attend have allowed for movie and show watching on Disney Plus:

We’ve watched Pirates of the Caribbean, the Mandalorian, The Force Awakens, Fantasia, and lots of Mickey Shorts Cartoons.

Getting a jump on Christmas shopping, we took the boys to Target this weekend and let them take turns picking out gifts for each other:

J helped me load presents and groceries.

J received several new badges at Cub Scout last week and got to read the closing part of the flag ceremony. We are so proud of him!

A has been hard at work on his golf game:

And I’ve been hard at work finding him clothes to wear to matches for when it’s cold:

I sent my Mom these GAP lined khakis and Old Navy half zip athletic shirt as Christmas ideas, and then I’m picking him out a new hat from Dick’s.

And finally, we conceded and started putting up Christmas:

B and I picked out mini trees for the boys to decorate, and they love them so much I don’t know why we didn’t do this earlier….but then J almost boot kicked the tree and I remembered why. Ha! Happy Monday!

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Wacky Science Saturday

J had been asking for several weeks to do science experiments, so last Saturday B created an entire day of science experiments.

From floating lava:

To a mad scientist potion:

To swamp juice:

The boys had a blast creating different mixtures and “potions”. The best thing is that all of these can be created with normal household items (and some carefully handled dry ice…by adults only!). It was such a fun day of experiments, and also some tasty treats!

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Fall Everlasting

Happy Veterans Day! Our families are represented by every branch of the armed services, so this is truly a special day to remember all our loved ones who have served and are currently serving in the military. This weekend we went shopping for Operation Christmas Child, and, per our usual, it was a family affair:

Shopping for shoeboxes to send is one of the ways we usher in the holiday season every year. And while the boys are itching to put up all the Christmas decorations, this year I’m taking things a bit slower. We have recently been considering a big step towards building a new home, and while the prospect is exciting, we love our house. With that in mind I’ve been fully embracing our home in each season. Instead of going directly from Halloween to Christmas I’m hanging in the in between, tapping into the Thanksgiving season with lots of gratitude. I’ve been keeping up with my gratitude yoga(J has hopped on the yoga train with me), steadily reading through the Kings reading series, and enjoying the simplicity of our fall decor.

Just a bit on the mantle:

A few touches on the hutch:

And in our plant corner:

Our foyer has a few pops of Fall and a gratitude reminder:

And our Nespresso/Tea station features some perfect mugs:

Even though things are kind of speeding up around here, I’m working really hard to slow down and just take every day as it is. Good for all of us and good for gratitude.

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Trick or treat mix

Our favorite game day watching snacks are either queso and chips, or candy popcorn. After a Target run this past week, I picked up some festive additions to our candy popcorn to create a fun trick or treat mix. Here are our treat mixes items (plus two bags of popped corn…I’m asking for an air popper for Christmas):

 

I always put the popcorn, pretzels, marshmallows, and a few white chocolates on the parchment paper first:

Then I melt the chocolate according to package directions and drizzle it all over the popcorn mix, then add sprinkles all over the top:

And voila! Trick or treat mix and Saturday college football! And a little bit of the driving range beforehand:

Happy Monday!

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Life lately

One of J and I’s favorite activities when going to his check-up appointments is memorizing the different animal fact posters. We’ve made it through frogs and butterflies, this time was dogs:

End of the week mood:

I went on a field trip with A on Friday and it was very fun. By the time the boys finish elementary school I’ll have an excellent knowledge of Alabama history.

The many gestures of playing Mario:

 

It may still be 100 degrees, but I’m putting out the Halloween and Fall decorations anyway:

And finally, we had a great time celebrating B on Saturday! He’s the best! And Auburn won their game! Woot!

 

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A few things

I knew I wouldn’t have time to go to the store before a birthday party J is going to this weekend, so I found these fun items on Amazon:

I kind of want the pen case for myself. And the pens are a great price!

I love my Drunk Elephant Hydration Serum for nighttime, but I’ve been on the hunt for a vitamin C serum for daytime. This one from Target may fit the bill:

It has good reviews on Target, and so I’m thinking about picking it up on my next Target run (or adding it to my next Target order).

We checked out a new coffee shop on Friday last week and I’m already thinking about when we will go back:

They had me at iced dirty chai latte. So good!

I also picked up a few Fall things at the Anthropologie sale:

My absolutely favorite wind down activity:

I’m currently watching Scandal as research for the Crisis Communication class I’m teaching and I am totally hooked. Don’t spoil it for me! I’m behind a couple of seasons. Also, as much as I use my iPad, I love a good print magazine. The current issue of InStyle, plus painting my nails (OPI Cajun Shrimp) is perfection.

And finally, how I recipe plan, screenshot from Destin Duchess for baked chicken dinner:

Unfortunately I’m not going out! Happy Thursday!

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Camping Monte Sano

This past weekend we rented a camper and headed out to spend the evening at one of our favorite local parks. In high allergy season, B wanted to take the boys camping, but sleeping out in a tent would lead to lots of allergy issues for everybody. As a compromise, B rented a trailer. We headed out with a very simple plan, hike a bit, make hot dogs and s’mores, and play Go Fish. Monte Sano has a multitude of trails, and although we have hiked many of them, we haven’t yet hiked them all. We did a portion of the fire tower trail and blue trail to take a tour of the camp ground areas:

And we also cut through the Japanese Gardens:

This is definitely one of the gems of Monte Sano, we love this spot:

And the bamboo forrest:

I think one of the boys’ favorite things from the trip was all of the deer. We saw several, including a fawn (that I couldn’t capture a picture of), but I did get this one:

Although it’s still pretty hot here, the abundant tree cover on these trails keeps it much cooler:

We had a fun time and the boys are already talking about the next time we go!

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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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