Puzzle of the month

Putting together puzzles has become one of our favorite wind down activities during the week. I purchase one every month or so, and we slowly put it together, doing just a few pieces (or more) at a time. I’ve found that it keeps me from sitting down and immediately checking social media. I’ve collected up some of our favorites to share!

Popsicles

New York City Subway

Summer at the Amusement Park

World Map

Winter Wonderland

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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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Prime day deals

We purchased a few things on “Prime Day”. I thought I’d share some of our best deals, and some of our favorites!

First up, these are the specific prime day deals…

The ring doorbell. This has been a long time coming in our house. Our front door has limited visibility, so this was something we’ve had on our list for awhile.

Sports thermoses for the boys. Another necessary item…all of ours are lost or broken.

Collagen peptides. A scoop of this goes in my coffee every day.

 

I’m starting on back to school shopping and copy paper is on the list (I bought the three reams 30% recycled for the best deal) .

This could be the best deal of the day for me, and I put it on my birthday list for B to purchase:

I also picked up this rarely on sale Stila liner:

Second, these aren’t prime day deals specifically, but were good prices:

Under Armour shoes for A:

Composition notebook packs for school supply list:

T-shirt sets for the boys:

Happy shopping!

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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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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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Summer learning routine

Every summer since the boys started in school, I have a plan to avoid the “summer slump”. The boys are so used to this that they have even started setting their own goals for the summer! A’s major goal is to read, read, read. J wants to learn to tie his shoes (we’ve attempted this several times without success), write correctly with his pencil (more on that in a minute), and learn his math facts fast! Here are a few more of our summer learning plans.

First, back to J’s writing. I noticed about a year ago that J tended to hold his pencil oddly. We tried several things to help him, and figured as he continued to write it would begin to work itself out. However, it hasn’t, and so we really need to get him back on track so he doesn’t get behind in the classroom. My Mom gave me a pencil grip corrector and a writing tablet and we are slowly beginning the process of helping him re-learn how to hold his pencil to write. I’m very thankful that he is super pumped about this because it is not an easy process.

Second, is finally nailing down shoe tying for BOTH kids. I really feel like I knew how to do this in kindergarten, but good gracious it’s been difficult to teach them. J really wants to learn, and A could really care less, but they are both going to learn because their shoes for fall will be lace-ups. In part because they stay on their feet better (if they are tied). J desperately wants shoes like these:

So that’s one of our end goals for the summer.

Third, J has the goal of nailing down his math facts (addition and subtraction), and I want him to be able to do it without using his fingers to count. We already have addition and subtraction cards like these:

But I also have plans to get this fun little math matching game:

While I’m working on math facts with J, A will be working through some Khan Academy math programs.

Now that we’ve covered J (and some A) goals, here are a few of my learning goals for the summer! First up, I’m planning to sign up for a free two months of Skillshare and take this class with the boys:

The boys love drawing, and so I thought it would be fun to test our hand at some drawings and watercolors.

Second, A is all about math and storytelling write now so we have plans for this Pixar in a Box series on just that idea.

And third, a brand new Magic Treehouse Book on Benjamin Franklin comes out in July. So I’ve got a book club lesson plan for the boys:

And that’s it! The boys have two weeks of swim lessons, a week of FCA camp, and we’ve got a beach vacation as well, so in between all of that we are going to sleep in, go to the pool, catch up on all the reading, and eat all the popsicles! If you want to check out last year’s learning plan it’s here.

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Easter Baskets

 

I kept it really simple this year for Easter baskets. Honestly, in part because the boys are getting older and I’m running out of ideas! Here is a quick breakdown of what I have in their baskets (more like buckets):

1. Kids read truth Hebrews Bible Study, for the boys to work on (with my help).

2. Summer pajamas.

3. Star Wars t-shirt.

4. Tenzi dice game.

5. Easter bunnies. These bunnies are adorable and I got them from one of our local shops (Sweet Pineapple):

6. Pokémon cards, lined sticky notes, jelly bellies, and a chocolate bunny.

We also filled the boys’ eggs with Easter Tsum Tsums and candy:

We also had to fill six eggs for an egg hunt at J’s school:

Usually we wait until the last minute to fill baskets and eggs, but this year we filled everything ahead! The boys are going to be quite excited!

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This and That

B and I started out our weekend with a Friday lunch at a local pizza place:

Earth and Stone pizza. Y’all. Their pizza is so good! Check it out:

And I indulged and got a Piper and Leaf sweet front porch tea:

Then we headed to The Deep and picked up graphic novels for B and then to Ulta so I could pick up some items I had run out of and I got shade matched for the new NARS sheer glow I’ve been wanting to try:

It’s even better than I was expecting it to be! It matches my skin flawlessly and stayed on all day (note: I was also wearing Beneft 15 hour primer).

On Saturday, J had a birthday party at Spirited Art:

Which has an awesome color wall:

Then we headed to the library to pick up some books we had on hold:

 

And find a couple of extra ones as well:

And then on Sunday the sun finally came out and we spent as much time outside as we could:

And now it’s back to school and one more week until Spring Break!

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