This and that

In Alabama some winters we have super cold temps and then some winters it’s all:

And we’re all:

Now I know some of you may be in drought conditions and I hear you that rain is good, however, this is like “I don’t live in Seattle and my umbrella is broken from overuse” rain. And it’s hardly ever that sprinkle rain either. It’s the knock you over in the wind rain, take your umbrella and throw it across the street rain. So the rain stopped for a minute…and they were able to start framing our house! So exciting!

 

 

 

This is looking out towards the backyard. Today is our last full day of no rain before it starts up again, so hopefully they’ll get a lot accomplished. In addition to that excitement, I made a trip to Target and found golf polos for A:

These are good weight and quality, perfect considering he now has golf every week and a match once a month. I also found new snack mix for me:

This is free of a lot of common allergens and is really tasty (a difficult combination to find). I also stopped by my Mom’s class this week to see her little flock of ducks and chicks. This little one was so sweet:

I threw together thirty minutes of work-out one night by doing five minutes of warm-up:

And then of my fitness instructor’s fifteen minute challenges:

And another fifteen of yoga tone. Which was definitely a compliment to this tasty lunch I picked up on my way to work the other day:

The episode about Chicken Salad Chick has long been one of my favorite How I Built This podcast episodes, but amazingly I’ve never actually made it to the restaurant. I got the pimento cheese and original chicken salad scoop and it was honestly enough for two lunches, but so good! And it comes with a cookie, which was an awesome surprise.

And finally, I took advantage of a GAP/Old Navy sale to buy J new pants because:

He has worn a hole in almost all of his track pants.

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The sweet spot

Oh, how I love Valentine’s Day! The boys love it too. I wasn’t going to get out decorations this year because we are prepping to put the house on the market, but I decided to put out just a few. They are so excited! It also reminded me that even though we are moving, it’s good to stay positioned in the now. I have always been a future thinker, what’s next, when are we going to get there. However, really in the past few years I have been working to think about future steps, while also remaining present in the now. Now that I’ve gone completely philosophical, let’s take a step back into reality with a few items that would be high on my Valentine gift list!

First, a set of fun barrettes, I like finding items that are more trend oriented at a reasonable price.

A sweet sweater that has a gorgeous bow detailing in the back.

I llama love this pouch, and I do!

A re-stock of my favorite everyday perfume.

Fun cozy slides.

Heart hoop earrings.

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My favorite tea

My work afternoons at home consist of quite a bit of grading, lesson planning, interspersed with laundry, housework, catching up on volunteer things, etc. One of the things that I frequently do to break up the day (because your eyes do start to glaze over, after reading fifty papers), is make tea and have one of my Milk Bar cookies that I got for Christmas. My tea making has become a bit elaborate, but it’s so good, I had to share:

First, make 12 oz of almost boiling water (right before the tea kettle starts to whistle). Then, steep 2 tsp of Old Fashioned Birthday Cake Piper and Leaf tea for seven minutes in the water. Then add 1-2 tsp of local honey, 1 packet of collagen and stir. Finally, add 1-2 TBS original nutpod creamer. It’s so delicious! Enjoy it with any cookie, but a Milk Bar cookie is especially sweet:

 

If I really need a break, I also throw in an episode of The Crown and flip through my Magnolia Journal or InStyle magazine, and then back to grading!

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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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This and That

This is my new Summer tea towel that I picked up online on sale from Anthropologie (it’s the cutest):

This is our redwood that we planted in the ground this fall and it is flourishing!

This is J playing catcher in his last game of the season:

He has grown so much in his playing ability this year! By the end of the season he was hitting at every at bat, and got multiple runs! Most importantly he loved playing and is excited about next season.

This is the boys with their fresh haircuts that they got at our local barbershop. They look handsome and are ready for summer vacation now!

After their haircuts we headed over to the food trucks that are set-up in our downtown during the weekends for May-August, A most enjoyed the milkshake for dessert:

Then on Saturday I ran to Costco with my sister and got one of my favorite stress free dinners:

Chicken alfredo pasta, French bread, and frozen corn. Sooooo simple, and the boys eat it up!

This is the adorable eagle J made at school:

And finally, this is J entering into the toothless club! He lost his first tooth this weekend:

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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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This and That

This is me midweek after getting knocked out by all the pollen.

The pollen is so bad, y’all. I’m one bronchiole spasm away from moving to the beach.

This is my new favorite coffee:

 

Vanilla turmeric iced latte from Arsenal coffee. It is so good!

And while our semester is winding down, I’m gearing up for future courses by testing out a new speech practice game.

And after some long work days, this is what our weekends look like:

However, our Saturday was a complete washout so the boys worked on flip books:

And then we ended the weekend setting up our new washer, since our third washer in ten years died last weekend. Being an adult is fun! Ha! Happy Monday!

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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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What’s Up Wednesday

I always enjoy these monthly check-ins on my favorite blogs to follow, so I thought I’d join in on the fun!

1. What we’re eating this week:

S- freezer white chicken chili with corn bread

M-  tomato soup and grilled cheese

T- freezer pork chops with sweet potatoes 

W – cilantro lime chicken with brown rice

Th- penne with marinara and salad

And these AMAZING cookies:

2. What I’m reminiscing about:

Painting class with my Mom! I can’t wait to go again.

3. What I’m loving:

My new lamp in our reading corner

And my one tulip that survived the cold snap and winds out front:

4. What we’ve been up to:

Work, school, baseball

5. What I’m dreading:

The pile of papers that is about to flood my grading inbox.

6. What I’m working on:

My new Crisis Communication course I’m teaching this fall, and grading all those papers I just mentioned. I’m happiest when my inbox looks like this:

7. What I’m excited about:

Heading to the beach in just a few months!

8: What I’m watching/reading:

I’m binge watching Schitt’s Creek and it is hilarious and my new favorite show.

I’m finishing up reading A Bite Sized History of France:

And I’m really enjoying the daily study on She Reads Truth.

9. What I’m listening to:

Forver 35 Podcast & Matt Goulding’s interview on Milk Street Radio Podcast

10. What I’m wearing:

My current favorite Spring sweatshirt and jean skirt.

And my trio of Nordstrom sandals (beige, striped-updated version here, orange):

11. What I’m doing this weekend:

Dinner with friends! We’re making penne alla Betsy, salad, and crusty bread.

And we’re probably sitting at a baseball practice at some point.

12. What I’m looking forward to next month:

Easter! I’m already working on the boys’ Easter baskets and I’m particularly excited about these devotional studies I found for them (and one for me).

Bonus Question: what’s my favorite Easter side dish:

Deviled eggs, no question!

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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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