Books & peeps

One of J’s favorite things is to read books with his “peeps” (our name for most loved stuffed animals in our house). We’ve got quite a collection going at this point, and he’ll actually find peeps he need to adopt to read stories! This is a great idea for gift giving as well. Here are some of our favorites:

You can find all of these on Amazon (no advertisement, just where I found them).

 

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Current favorite views

Our library book stack:

Every year my sister makes these pickles:

 

A is obsessed with these, and he doesn’t even like pickles. He’s eating them faster than I am!

Fine motor skills:

Summer goal accomplished:

Which is after we eat we rinse our items and put them in the dishwasher. And put trash items in the trash.

The flowers on my work campus are in full bloom and gorgeous:

 

And this line of wear on B’s hat that J wore:

Melts my heart!

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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”.

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Eggs on a waffle

One of our favorite weeknight (or lazy weekend day) activities is to watch cooking shows. Our current favorites are any baking championship, Chopped, and Iron Chef. The boys are so inspired by the shows that they are more willing to try new foods, and have come up with ideas of their own. Hence, J’s latest concoction; eggs on a waffle.

He declared he wanted to make eggs on a waffle one night during Iron Chef Gauntlet and, of course, remembered this the next morning:

And he helped make it as well! My hope is that when the boys go to college they’ll have a stack of food items and recipes they can make on their own. Eggs are a good start.

As you can see J was quite pleased with his finished eggs on a waffle. He decided that he likes eggs “a little bit”. Next time he wants to make the waffles from scratch, too, so we’re off to the kitchen again!

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This and that

This is the pie that my sister made for Mother’s Day and I immediately requested for my birthday:


These are the planter pots that I saw on my instagram stories and texted B that they are added to our Disney shopping list:


This is my current pool view that is my goal-orientation for getting work done in the morning, so the boys and I can go in the afternoon:


And this is what I’m currently working on while I’m not “working” (which essentially means not teaching for two months, but working like mad to prep for the fall):


This is our other current afternoon view as we are on an activities lull, so we’re sipping smoothies and playing out back:


And this is J schooling A and I in Monopoly, Jr. the other night:

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Prepping for summer

I know it’s not even May yet, but with the end of the school year barreling toward us, I’m already sketching out a plan for the boys to avoid the “summer slump”. Otherwise known as the “I’m bored!” portion of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fine with them being bored, in fact there’s great learning and creativity that can result from boredom. However, I also have a plan of some ideas to help stretch those summer days. 

The first thing I already have in my mind is our library’s summer reading program. The boys love reading anyway, this just gives them a fun way to record their reading and will include a weekly library trip. Even if they are beyond story time (insert my crying face here), they still love searching for books. I have the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series, Audubon, on the Wings of the World, The Chronicles of Narnia series, and The Wolf Wilder for A. And for J we are working through BOB books, Narwhal and Jellyfish, and the Ordinary People Change the World series. 


Second up is journaling. We are taking several trips this summer, and the boys have a few day camps and swim lessons lined up, and A mentioned wanting to take something to write in for our trips. I thought, what a cool idea for both boys. An unlined journal allows them space to draw pictures, write stories, or include any stickers or momentos. Especially for A, who right now wants to be a writer, chronicling different events helps him think of story ideas for later on.

Rainy/way too hot afternoon activity. We watched Planet Earth II this Spring and immediately upon finishing it, A said, “so there was a Planet Earth I? We need to watch that!” This show captures the boys’ attention almost more than Pokémon and Octonauts. Almost.

Play on your own items. In general, if the boys get to the point they are too loud, fighting too much, or in general bugging each other, I employ the Mom standard “go play on your own”. For A this typically means reading a book. For J, it’s pulling out all of his craft supplies to create, color, and make cards. A new set of easel paper, stamps like these, and more glue sticks are definitely on my list to buy before summer begins.

Snack math time. I don’t even know how A remembers all these things, but he mentioned needing division and multiplication flash cards to work on his skills (his words). Every summer since A started kindergarten, we would do math snack time in the mornings, where the boys would have a snack and I’d go through math flash cards with A. This year J will join in with word family tiles.

Board games. Both collaborative board games like our current favorite, Dinosaur Escape and competitive, like Clue, Jr.:

I like having both collaborative and competitive on hand, because it’s nice to play sometimes without the five year old meltdown when J loses. And now that I’ve got a summer list for the boys started, I’m going to go finish my nightly, end of the semester grading! 

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Local favorites

I love our city! I especially love our eclectic and lovely shops and restaurants as do our boys (cupcakes and tacos! Yes, please!). Here is a weekly round up of some of our local favorites from sweets, treats, to eats! And bows that are petite! Ha!

Valentine’s cupcakes from Smallcakes


Valentine’s present from Sweet Pineapple


Mahi-Mahi fish tacos from Rosie’s

Little bows for a special little miss from Itty Bitty (which is closing! I’m so sad!)…

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