Story time & book finds

For the first four years of both the boys’ lives, story time at the library was a constant. A branch of our library has an awesome story time and we never missed a week. So I was not surprised at all when the boys and I ventured into the library last week and it was packed out for story time with our favorite librarian who still remembers both boys (and their names). At first, J said he didn’t want to join in on story time and just wanted to pick out books. However, as we were picking books, he got a little chair and scooted closer to the circle and sat there smiling. Then when they were done and started the craft he immediately said “I want to do the craft, too!” So craft he did:

J loved it! And we got a stack of new books to read including:

Continue Reading

Red, white, & blue stars

This is a beyond simple craft, perfect to do during one of the hit or miss showers today or tomorrow! We gathered plain craft glue, glitter, and chipboard stars from Hobby Lobby.

Then we painted our stars with glue:

Applied glitter:

And then let the stars sit and dry:

Then I shook off the excess glitter (and poured it back in the jars to save for another project):

Then we set them up to display with our other Fourth of July decorations! So fun and simple!

Continue Reading

Running and riding

Temperatures are back to normal June now, but we had several days of super low humidity and cooler temps. We headed out to enjoy being out and not boiling hot at 3 p.m. . I ran down to the track near our house, and B met me there with the boys and their bikes. While I waited for them, I realized I need better running shoes:

Mine are decent, but I need some better cushion I think. I’m currently¬†searching for new ones, but it’s been put on the back burner because the boys all needed new shoes, as theirs have holes in them. How do kids wear through shoes so quickly??

B and the boys showed up a few minutes after I got there, and I ran a few laps while they rode their bikes:

The boys ride pretty fast now, I’m going to have to get a bike as well to keep up with them. J is begging us to take off his training wheels, so we may test that out later this summer!

Continue Reading

Driveway painting activity

As the boys are getting older they are playing more on their own, creating their own games and adventures. We don’t do summer activities quite as much as we used to, but when we do I look for ones that the boys are able to do a majority of the steps, as they get bored quickly if it takes awhile to set-up. They also tend to like ones that involve either painting or cooking. A chalk paint activity fits into the create and paint category.

The boys started out by scooping the cornstarch and water into muffin cups and then adding food coloring to each:

Then they mixed up the colors (green was a favorite, ha!):

Then they started painting:

J created this sweet cross:

And when they got bored I dumped everything out and they painted with that:

And then they were done and off to ride bikes after we cleaned up! An activity that was more time doing than setting up was perfect for a summer morning!

Continue Reading

Pool essentials

The past two years the boys have done swim team, but with our schedule this summer we decided to pass on that and instead we got a pool membership and I signed the boys up for two weeks of refresher swim lessons at my work. Between our pool and my sister’s we’ve spent quite a few days at the pool:

Snacking…Floating…

Catching rings…

And taking a break from the big pool for the baby pool…

All of this pool time means I have a bag permanently packed for summer with essentials. Here are my favorites:

My s’well bottle is my favorite. It keeps water super cold and I typically bring it so the boys can drink out of it too.

Bumble and Bumble hairdresser’s oil for J’s blonde hair and my color treated hair. It seals in the cuticle so your hair doesn’t get brittle from the sun (or green in J’s case).

Coppertone Sport 70. This is not my everyday favorite (the boys either, they say it smells), but it’s thick and stays on, so it’s necessary for the pool.

Sugar lip balm. It has SPF, it now comes in all sorts of colors, and I wear it everyday in the summer when I don’t have to put on lipstick for work.

Supergoop setting powder with SPF. This is genius to use if I have put on make-up to touch up my SPF, especially on my nose which typically gets burnt if I don’t keep spf touched up.

Book to read while I watch the kids play.

Snacks. My kids require snacks.

Hat. I used to never wear hats, but I had several times where I burned my part, despite putting sunblock on, so I now almost always wear a hat.

Pool toys. But not an enormous raft. Those were banned after our pool after someone apparently brought one strapped to the top of their SUV. And it was bigger than the SUV. Ha!

Continue Reading

Current favorite views

The shine of new herbs, ready to plant:

A jar of drying paintbrushes ready for their next artistic adventure:

The view from our front porch right after it rains:

A circle of friends (who have know each other since they were babies) playing Uno:

J’s hair, unbrushed:

My favorite summer meal, simple and delicious:

A’s freckles, each one absolute perfection:

And a surprise treat from B:

Continue Reading

Garden refresh

After our initial Spring gardening, we re-started the whole thing because most of the plants had either died or gone to seed. We did a simplified set-up for mid-June with basil, parsley, rosemary, cilantro, and mint.

J and I also added in arugula, chives, and lettuce seeds just to see how they would grow this time of the year. I also have plans to add in some flowers to provide some natural pest deterrents for the herbs. J also wants flowers to bring in some butterflies like this one we found at the pool:

J has a love/fear of butterflies. He is intensely fascinated by all animals, but he doesn’t like them flying at him. However, this was an incredibly patient butterfly, who sat steadily as J creeped in and peered at its wings. It even waited until he turned around and jumped back into the pool before it flew away. Definitely one we would like to visit our garden!

Continue Reading

Why we “vacation”

When you have kids you always use the term “vacation” in quotations because it means something very different than the typical image of someone lying on the beach, relaxing endlessly with their toes in the sand. However, as we have learned over the past eight years, “vacations” are necessary. They cost too much, the travel is too long, somebody is going to get sick, and you may have to bribe a kid with endless cookies, so they don’t melt down and get you kicked off an airplane…or out of a Barnes and Noble. But we do it anyway. Because vacation time for us means a chance to disconnect from endless emails, work requests, and the full time nature of our jobs. Instead you have ice cream a lot, try out the Mario Maker levels your eight year old has been working on, and “bear-row” your five year old in the sand over and over at his request. And when your kids declare it the best week ever and ask when we are going on vacation again, you know that despite the fact you may return home just as tired as when you left it’s a different tired. A good tired. And you sigh, turn your computer back on, and start back to the everyday. And you start planning the next “vacation”.

Continue Reading

Wedding festivities

Besides the terrific zoo and museum, the major reason we made the drive to Ohio was for B’s sister’s wedding.

The boys danced the night away:

And I got a few pictures with this guy:

And this guy:

And this kid wanted to eat all the cupcakes:

And we got a family picture too:

And then we were off to our next summer adventure!

Continue Reading

Star Wars Costume Exhibit

The Cincinnati Museum at Union Terminal is under construction, but they still have exhibits and their children’s museum open to the public. When we found out that our days in Cincinnati coincided with a traveling Star Wars exhibit we knew we had to put that on our list.

They had everything from a light saber battle:

To Hans Solo and Chewbacca:

There was Boba and Jango Fett:

And many more costumes from both sides of the force:



For Star Wars enthusiasts like my boys it was very cool to see the actual costumes and all their detail, especially Darth Vader:

And per our usual, the boys watched every single video on costume production from beginning to end:

The exhibit itself is not very long, however, the boys extended it by watching the videos, and there was a really cool set of allusion mirrors at the end where you could dance like a storm trooper, C-3PO, and Darth Vader. It wasn’t an exhibit that I would have driven a long distance just to see, but it was definitely worth going to since we were in the area. My favorite part was seeing the interweaving and details of the designs, and the boys liked the interactive (light saber controlling, short film) parts of the exhibit.

Continue Reading