Outdoor fun

Ah, the midsummer reprieve. That lovely short period of time, where the humidity and temperature drop enough that we can be outside in the late afternoon, and it doesn’t feel like I’ve jumped in a pool after we go running. The boys have taken take opportunity to ride bikes:


And draw with chalk:

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Life lately

It’s hot. I always forget about this time of year and then we get here and I’m like “oh yes, this is winter/summer”, which means instead of being so cold you can’t go outside, it’s so hot you can’t go outside. That being said A and his cousin J have still had some golf matches:

And J has been helping me water the plants:

We made Thanksgiving in July with a smoked turkey and grilled peaches topped with vanilla ice cream. Honestly I’d like to make this a new tradition:

And Chloe has taken to snuggling in J’s weighted blanket if he leaves it lying around:

And finally this grasshopper looking like it dropped from the sky onto the planet is very 2020:



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Life lately

Besides drawing all of the Castle Crashers, here is a little of what we’ve been up to around here!

The boys built a robot with my Dad and it may have been their favorite part of the summer (or last four months) so far…

Rounds of basketball once the sun goes down is a summer standard…

I did a 5k 2 minute walk/2 minute run with B on Saturday and I was pumped that I actually didn’t stop! I think my face is still on fire from it, ha!

We’ve spent some time watching the baby geese (who are about all grown up) flight test their wings…

And finally, we celebrated the Fourth with just us, but we got some excellent fireworks…

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Sport practice

In March, A was meeting weekly for his Operation 36 golf practices, and J had just received the roster for his Spring baseball team. In a matter of days all of that had been put on hold, then rescheduled, then canceled. J’s baseball season was completely canceled and he will be playing fall baseball instead. A’s just about to restart practices for the junior PGA league. In this waiting period, we have been working around the heat and humidity to get in practice times for the boys. J is mainly working with B because I’m terrified of getting hit by a baseball:

However, A’s practice is right up my ally. I hold his clubs, time his practice on different skills, and load up various videos when he needs to check his form with what his coach has taught him. A has been practicing chipping in my parents’ backyard:

And putting at the green at the local golf course.

Despite it being summer now, the boys have both asked about practicing, and we are working to foster that commitment. It’s not always easy because it’s hard to see the end goal of their practice right now, but we are proud of them for sticking with it.

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Blevins Gap Nature Preserve

Nestled behind one of our local churches, this hiking preserve has three different trailheads ranging from very easy and family friendly, to much more elevated and advanced. Since we were testing it out for the first time we did the straightforward Jones Valley loop:

This little loop is a walk around a long stream.

It is only about a mile from start to finish and great for younger kiddos, or ones who love looking for rocks and minerals like J:

It’s beautifully shaded, and the light streams through the trees while you’re walking which is really fun to see:

At about the halfway point of the loop, there is a fork in the trail that takes you up an incline of the Bailey Cove Trail portion. In addition, at the very beginning of the trailhead is the Fanning trail which is a 3.8 mile trail that is a much steeper elevation. We were not prepared for that trail, but have plans to go back and do it in the future. All three are great hikes for the weekend!

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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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Daily schedule and routine


As I mentioned in Friday Favorites, last week was our first week of true online learning provided by the school, and we had started out with a schedule for that week. I have now modified the schedule for this week, and am sharing it, as well as, some of the things I have been supplementing with the school learning, and things that have made our day and week easier.

Before we started online learning through the school, I assumed A would need more things to supplement, and J would need more assistance and time on assignments. However, I learned the first day that it was the exact opposite. A was taking longer than his scheduled time on every assignment, and J only needed about twenty minutes of his allotted hour to complete his online work. Which meant A was panicking that he didn’t have enough time and J was spinning his wheels. So this lead to a few adjustments in the schedule.

Each kiddo has a schedule that has the list of tasks and they check off as they go. For A’s schedule (top schedule) I kept it pretty similar to the first week, but took out any extra activities. For J’s schedule (bottom schedule) I added in more activities and we also included some of the daily things he did everyday at school (spelling, sentence correction, etc.):

My hope is that this will keep J more occupied, and give A more time to complete his main assignments. In addition to their schedule that they can color in when complete, we have a master schedule, so we know who has scheduled work meetings, when I’m working out, and who’s in charge of dinner, etc. J most loved last week when I added in daily work that reminded him of school, including this stellar journal entry on carpenter bees:

He was so proud and read it to me after he had combed his hair:

One of the things I’ve done that has made our mornings so much easier is setting up my iPad while they eat breakfast. They watch clips from Disney Imagineering, Cincinnati Zoo animals, Bill Nye, or stories being read from their teachers. The boys argued a lot at breakfast (even before we were at home all the time), and this has made a world of difference:

I also have the boys set up in two different rooms. I really need to be able to listen to J’s lessons, so I can answer questions if he has them, and A’s lessons are also longer. So, A is set-up in his bedroom:

And J is set-up in our study:

This gives them some space, and makes it easier to designate learning areas to help them focus. In addition, I also added in Gold Friday’s for the boys where they get to watch movies in the afternoon:

I get to pick the movie (otherwise they’d be watching The Mandalorian or Mickey Mouse shorts over and over, or arguing over who got to pick what), so last week I picked Disneynatures’s Penguin, which was a huge hit. We will test the schedule out this week and see how it goes!

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Easter basket ideas


Easter baskets! I always put together their baskets with their Spring activities in mind, so these items definitely reflect that.

Wishables are little squishy Disney themed plushes, that the boys love right now, so I ordered a few of these.

Musee bath balms in bunny designs are always a favorite.

Mo Willems has been our constant during the week, so I ordered blue pencils and a set of markers for each of them to practice their drawings.

They are almost done with their current Bible Study, so I picked out another for them to start after they finish.

Tennis has been the boys go to outside right now, and they are still using racquets from when A was six, so we decided to update them.

Spring pajamas are always in the boys’ Easter baskets and these are their favorite kind.

And in case you are looking for ideas for younger kiddos, here are some of their past baskets: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014.

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Life Lately

We are in the midst of week three of social distancing, which is actually physical distancing. B has done the majority of our grocery shopping and we have spent a lot of time hanging out in our front yard, backyard, and taken the occasional drive by our house under construction. This is technically the boys’ Spring Break, but we are still trying to keep a semblance of a schedule because we are going to be doing this thing for the foreseeable future. I thought I’d share a bit of our life lately around here:

This is my view in the late afternoons when the boys have their time to play electronics. And when I do the majority of my online work and Zoom meetings:

We have been trying to walk on any day we can as well:

I love this picture because it’s so deceiving. They were arguing here about I don’t know what. Anything. Everything. They spend a lot of time together right now.

J has loved his teachers at school posting story time on YouTube and we sit and watch those quite a bit:

Some of the story times have also had activities and one day we made butterflies:

I’ve been virtually working out at least five days a week, and sometimes I have extra help:

And we are still loving Mo Willems lunch doodles and it’s something the boys look forward to every weekday:

And A has been helping with dinner quite a bit:

The boys have done really well so far with this crazy time that is at times difficult to understand or explain. However, it’s not perfect and there’s a lot of times we all feel like this:

And that’s a bit of our life lately!

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Eight things about J

I am in almost disbelief that we have an eight year old. I started this blog when A was nine months old, and now eleven years later, we have an 11 year old and now an 8 year old. In honor of J’s birthday today, here are 8 things that make J the amazing kid he is.

1. J LOVES sports. If it’s a game and/or sport he’s all in. This past year basketball has really taking top spot for him, but he still loves them all.

2. J is an excellent puzzle solver. He loves puzzles, and we now usually have a puzzle sitting out that we all work on together. It’s become one of our favorite wind down activities.

3. J loves reading. He gets caught up in books and will frequently pop up on weekday mornings after I turn on his lamp to read until breakfast.

4. J calls his hair bronde, because all of us have brown hair, but his hair is blonde.

5. J will eat pizza with anything on it. Give him all the peppers, veggies, meats, he likes it all.

6. J wants to be an illustrator, scientist, and professional gamer when he grows up.

7. If J isn’t playing basketball, reading, or building stadiums on Minecraft, he is building LEGOs.

8. J loves big, plays hard, thinks outside the box, and we are so glad he’s ours!

Happy eighth birthday, J!

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