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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Friday Favorites

We’re headed towards summer! While we don’t have big summer vacation plans (but who does at this point), we are going to sleep in, get in lots of pool time, reading, and eating popsicles. We are starting out the summer with selling our house and ending it with moving into our new house. We took one last picture outside our house this past week, and said our goodbyes to what has felt like a fourth member of our family for the past twelve years. And now on to some of our favorites of the week!

Shake shack burgers and cheese sauce recipe. It’s like they knew exactly what I needed this week.

How to make a gallery wall.

Camping blanket for chilly outdoor sports games and, you know, camping.

Babies do what the want.

Thank you Thursdays.

Creating a better salad.

Thoughts on risk.

Summer pajama pants.

Finally, art in place. Looking forward to viewing this online with the boys!

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Transplanting our Favorite Plants

This is a story that began over a hundred years ago. Our backyard at our current house has three little trees that some may perceive as a mere bush in the corner. However, two of them are hundred year old Rose of Sharon transplants, and the other is a California redwood sapling that we brought back from the boys’ very first trip to California. There are many trees at our current house that are precious to us (our stump tree! My Mother’s Day maple!) but these were the only two that I knew I could maybe transfer to the new house. The Rose of Sharon’s are fairly easy to move as you just pull out “baby plants” from around the bottom of the tree and plant them in fresh soil.

The redwood is trickier. It started as a little sprout in a pot in 2015:

And then a couple of years later:

And then two years ago we finally planted it in the ground because it had outgrown all of its pots:

I headed over to the house with instructions from B on clipping the redwood. These were his instructions: Take your cuttings from the node area of the tree, where two branches meet. Each cutting should be at least 6 inches long. Place them in lukewarm water immediately after you remove them from the mother tree.

Then I ordered Miracle Grow fast root from Amazon which helps the cuttings to develop roots. I’m waiting on that to arrive and trying keep our redwood cuttings alive in the process. The boys are watching them to make sure the soil doesn’t get too dry. And not kick them over with the soccer ball. Moving has truly been bittersweet. We are excited about our new house and all the possibilities, but we are also sad to leave our current home. Bringing some of these pieces is like bringing a bit of the home with us when we go.

This is a picture of the Rose of Sharon’s in all their glory in 2016. Looking forward to seeing these big blooms again!

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Friday Favorites

Reading on a rainy afternoon. This has been a tough week. Homeschooling has become a pretty regular routine, but between trying to finishing packing our house out and trying to keep some semblance of a schedule it’s been trying at times. J keeps trying to unpack what I’ve packed in his room (LEGO creations on shelves, pictures put back up), and so we’ve been doing our best to make sure he’s got space to put his favorite things out at my parents who we are staying with while our new house is being completed. I think we will all breathe a huge sigh of relief and say a lot of prayers of gratitude once we are moved out completely and our current house is closed on and sold. This will definitely be our last move for a very, very long time. And now here are some of our favorites of the week!

This is why the boys want a dog.

Light filled home.

Kitchen inspiration.

The boys were as excited about this baguette baker as I was, so it’s definitely on my birthday list.

Vanilla apricot granola bars.

Reading through 1-3 John in my morning Bible Study.

Summer straw tote..I could use it to hold magazines since I’m not going anywhere.

When I dyed my roots this past week, J told me that the shampoo that I used that came with smelled like lovely lavender. So now, I feel like I need to buy it.

Finally, perfect summer sweater.

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Kamado Ramen at Home

We had been planning to take the boys to our favorite ramen spot (Kamado Ramen), but then literally everything closed down. After several weeks of being closed, it opened back up for take out only and we were so excited! The boys ate ALL of their adult sized ramen and gyoza, and it was the best Friday night meal. We can’t wait to pick it up again! I wanted to share a little bit about how they pack it because it is super innovative.

Each ramen comes in covered bowl, with the broth on the bottom, separated from the ramen and toppings. Then you reheat the broth and pour in your ramen and toppings. It’s perfect and fresh, just like having it at the restaurant.

We each got an order of gyoza, but we probably should’ve ordered more:

A could eat gyoza every day of the week. And next time we will order the extra noodles for J:

So good! And love supporting our local businesses!

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April Beauty Buys

This past month was mostly all about the Spring Sephora sale. I wanted to share what I thought of some of the products I got that were new (to me that is), and my ones that continue to be my favorite.

First, the Olaplex shampoo and conditioner. I had read some mixed reviews of this, so I was unsure of what I would think. The smell is a little flowery, but I love the results. My hair is soft and full and it lasts!

Second, Pillow Talk lipstick and lip liner. I like it fine. I’m not sure what I was thinking it would do. It’s a good color, and I like it, but I think I was expecting more. Especially when I feel like I still need to finish it with my NYX creme brûlée lip gloss.

Third, Cali contour. Love it! I like the colors and it’s soft, but well pigmented.

Fourth, Sephora color eyeliner. I love the pop of color in this one and it glides on so easy!

Benefit roller lash. Doesn’t clump, and looks natural with the intensity up a notch.

My empty refills were Supergoop, B-Hydra Intensive Serum, Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil, Peter Thomas Roth cucumber mask, Living Proof Dry Volume Blast, Anastasia Brow Gel, and Fresh Caramel lip balm. All of them never let me down!

And, two items not a part of the Sephora sale, Twinkle razors for dermaplaning, and Winkylux black eyeliner. Not that I’m wearing a whole lot of dramatic eyeliner lately, but this one works well.

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Friday Favorites

Another week down! I’m officially done with the Spring semester of my classes, and I’m busy working on making edits to online courses for the summer and fall. I introduced J to Operation Neptune which I found on a DOS game site. He loved it and it’s been great for identifying different math skills he’s mastered, and ones he needs to work on. We also made rainbows this week to put in the windows, and learned about maps, cause and effect, and a particularly exciting lesson on squirrels.

Drawing videos by J’s current favorite author.

My favorite Sunday work-out is a five minute warm-up (10 each of inchworms, plank lunges, reverse snow angels, and hand release push ups, cycle through until timer is done), then I do a burpee challenge, and then end with a ten minute yoga cool down.

Mickey Mouse beignets.

Baby otters!

Double chocolate chip cookie in a skillet.

Selecting the perfect window treatments.

Sparkling sassyfras strawberry tea.

And finally, picking the perfect couch.

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What’s Up Wednesday

Here is a bit of what we’ve been up to lately!


1. What we’re eating this week…

Leftovers. And cleaning out the freezer and fridge before we move. Texas chicken chowder was one of our favorites this past week when we had a cold snap (again).

2. What I’m reminiscing about:

Baseball season. J is missing it a lot right now, and we are missing watching him play!

3. What I’m loving:

These two palettes are my favorite right now. Pick them up before the Sephora sale ends!

4. What we’ve been up to:

Schoolwork at home. And long walks on the sidewalk around the neighborhood.

5. What I’m dreading:

Probably the final pack out of our house. We’ve got most things done, but all those little things you have to do right at the end is stressful to me because I like to have it all done in advance.


6. What I’m working on:

Converting a face to face course to online only for the Fall. It’s about a 60-100 hour process so that’ll be most of my summer work. I’m also trying to create a schedule for it, so it’s not completely overwhelming. I took a tip from Mo Willems and am working on a color coded spreadsheet. The screenshot above is just the first page.

7. What I’m excited about:

Sitting out on my back porch this fall with this backdrop.

8. What I’m watching/reading:

The Last Dance. We are watching this with the boys on ESPN2 (the ESPN version leaves in all language, etc, just FYI). If you loved basketball as a kid, or have kids who love sports or basketball right now, it’s a great documentary to watch.

Seinfeld Episodes. We are going through all the episodes of Seinfeld at night, because there is hardly anything else on. And I cannot watch another episode of House Hunters.

I’m reading The Tatooist of Aushwitz during the day. I tried to read this before bed, but then I couldn’t sleep, so I’m reading it during our quiet reading times in the afternoon.

I’m reading Living Forever Chic at night. Just a fun escape from our everyday reality.

9. What I’m listening to:

Samin Nosrat’s podcast Home Cooking.


10. What I’m wearing:

Shorts and T-Shirts or exercise clothes.


11. What I’m doing this weekend:



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

The pool at my parents, and maybe getting my hair done if things open back up.

13. What else is new:

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Pantry organization essentials

I’m about to get a walk in pantry!! One of the things I’m most excited about for our new house is a pantry with more space. We were in need of more space overall, but especially when it came to food storage. I’ve maxed out our current pantry on organization, so I’m looking forward to having more room for items, and also having more space that the boys can easily access to get their own meals. The following is both what I currently use and what I will be buying new and more of:

The two things I keep in mind with any pantry storage are:

  1. How well does it seal?
  2. How easy is it to clean?

Living in our area with mild winters, hot summers, and quite a bit of rain, ants can be a big issue, so we work hard to avoid them finding their way in to our food.

The big and small wire baskets are for storage of non food items like paper plates, napkins, cupcake liners, lunchboxes, etc.

All of my flour and sugar are stored in tightly sealed rectangle containers.

A big investment I’m making is cereal containers. This is to help prevent spills when the boys pour their own cereal, and also to prevent food from getting outside the bag and into just the cardboard container.

A lazy Susan for unopened ketchup, barbecue, and other sauces.

Labels! These are helpful to not only keep things organized, but also direct the boys towards items.

These three drawer containers are my favorite for storing snacks, breads, and tortillas.

Plastic wicker bins from Target for sorting foods into groups. We use them for separating pasta, rice, oats, and crackers. I read this blog post on having a dinner prep basket, which I think is a genius idea, so I’m definitely going to create that as well.

A handheld vacuum.  One of the things I added was an electrical outlet in the pantry, specifically to plug in our handheld vacuum. This is great for cleaning up quick messes and we have the boys use it on their table chairs to prevent tons of crumbs from building up.

I like the old school soda holders for storing cans and I separate them out by tomato products, veggies, beans, and fruits.

A container or two for granola mixes that the boys can easily access.

A small folding step stool to reach items.

My two main things that I’m excited about is the boys being able to more easily find and access items because it gives them more independence, and I’m also glad to be able to store more items at once.

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Friday Favorites

Another week down…now we’ve been home for six weeks. The boys have hit a pretty steady stride with schoolwork at home, Thursday is usually our toughest day. J typically gets pretty done at that point and so it takes a lot of effort to move through the work with him. We are still going through the Disney Behind the Scenes videos, and the boys did a drawing of Llama Llama Red Pajama online with their art teacher. My classes are in finals and so I’m monitoring those, and steadily overhauling multiple courses to go online only for the Fall. It’s a weird world. Here are some of our favorites of the week (plus two things I purchased from the Sephora sale after my last post):

Frozen s’mores.

Week of outfits.

Sweatpants, but make it fashion.

Banh mi lettuce wraps.

Bible study of the next two weeks.

Hey Brad, how’s the weather?

I added Bumble and Bumble Thermal Protection Mist and It Cosmetics CC cream to my Sephora sale purchases.

Reading Living Forever Chic at night and the Tattooist of Auschwitz during the day.

Finally, tips for decorating your house like a pro.

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