J’s last music and art show

It’s the end of an era! For the past six years we have attended a music and art show for either A or J. A’s music teacher is now the director of our preschool, and it seems still like yesterday I was walking A into school each day holding J in his carrier on my arm.

J with his art work. He loved showing us everything he made this year! I loved that his teacher not only listed the inspiration of each piece, but also the medium they used to create it. I’m going to miss all of the terrific teachers at his preschool, but I know that J is moving forward to terrific teachers in elementary school.

J was super excited to have my parents and nephews there for the event! He waved as he walked on to the stage and sang nice and loud so everyone could hear his sweet voice!

And afterwards we took the boys to one of our favorite local Italian restaurants:

Where he got to play with pizza dough while he waited on his mac and cheese, and had zeppole for dessert! And then after he got his art work back I found this in his room:

His Cross canvas proudly displayed on his bed. Sweet boy!

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May-June reading list

While A is working on the next Bunnicula book…

B and I are also reading nightly. He is currently reading The Expanse after finishing Rice, Noodle, Fish and I’m currently working on Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah. I’ve also got a few other books to add to my May-June reading list:

Food and the City: A foodie book, I’m always on the search for a good one.

Let’s Pretend this Never Happened: A comedy, great for a beach read!

Rice, Noodle, Fish: I have to read this so I can catch up with everything B has discussed since he read it.

Sleeping Murder: I’ve read Hercule Poirot’s last case, so this summer I’m catching up with Miss Marple’s

The Moviegoer: This is a “caught my eye at the library” read. It won the national book award, so it has a good reputation behind it!

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up: If you know me well, this is pretty much just a life affirming read for me. Ha!

My goal is to finish all six by the end of June!

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Weekend shenanigans 

This weekend we had milkshakes after the “should have known this was coming” meltdown by J when A got a new bike:

The boys set ground rules for a game of tag (that were all immediately broken):

Oh and A got a new bike (he outgrew his old bike):

We had our first spring popsicles:

And we watched Born in China (the new Disney documentary) on a rainy Sunday afternoon:

This was the best picture I could get. Seriously, these boys! 

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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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Friday Favorites 

A little old school fix the chair playing this week.

Travel tips for flying with kids. Always good to have on hand!

Apparently, now it’s trendy to sleep?

Taking a cubicle from drab to fab.

Perfect date night outfit.

For when you’re lost at Home Goods.

Making your mantel all Springy.

Alright, I guess I’ll run some.

Easter in London sounds lovely.

Perfect felt crowns for pretend play.

Pegboard as wall art.

And finally, the chicken curry on my dinner list.

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Bright eggs

I’m not going to lie, especially this year, the Easter bunny is a hard sell. A said “so a bunny…who only has paws, is carrying eggs with candy into the house?” and J said “how does the bunny know we’re home? How does he get in the house?” So….next year I may need to revisit the whole bunny discussion. For now, I’ll just plan to do what I did this year, which is re-focus on how Easter is about Jesus and we celebrate to celebrate Jesus, just like Christmas.

So when we were dying eggs, J said “well I hope both the Easter bunny and Jesus appreciate our color choices.” Ha! Appreciate, indeed.

We go really old school for our eggs, some food coloring, vinegar, and hot water. And like magic they were brightly colored!




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Cherry Crumble

This is the easiest dessert to make, and so delicious! A bag of frozen cherries, a Meyer lemon, some pantry ingredients, and an hour of bake time is all it takes!

Ingredients

12 oz frozen cherries (pitted)

1/3 cup flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 stick of unsalted butter diced

1 Meyer lemon

Pinch kosher salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8 x 8 glass pan with canola oil. Spread cherries in bottom of pan. Grate Meyer lemon peel over top of cherries, and then squeeze juice over cherries. In a medium bowl combine, flour, sugar, salt, then mix in cold butter until it resembles sand. Place bowl with combined ingredients in fridge for five minutes then spread over top of cherries. Place in oven and bake for one hour or until bubbly. Let cool for five minutes (it’ll be super hot!) and serve with ice cream.

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Friday Favorites

So anyone who knows me well, knows I love Victoria Beckham. So…of course when I found out that she was creating a line for Target, I created a list of favorites. However, I didn’t hold out much hope for getting anything based on the Missoni and Lily Pulitzer debacles. For Lily Pulitzer they were actually kicking things out of my cart as I’d load them. So if you’re thinking I woke up at 2 a.m. to order stuff, you’re wrong. NOTHING at this stage in my life is more important than bedtime sleep. I get up for kids who are sick or have nightmares only. Ha! However, I was pleasantly surprised when I was eating my cereal Sunday morning before church that they had things still available. I quickly ordered my top four items: the shirt you see me wearing above, and these three dresses:

You can see them better here:

And then I headed out to Target after church and lunch and picked up a pair of pants, my Mom also grabbed a pair, and I got a sweater:

So after getting all of our loot, and trying everything on, here’s my “in my opinion” analysis:

Dresses: All winners. I can easily wear the two black ones to work, and the floral is a great Spring dress for outings. Lovely fit, especially the ruffle knit.

I’m planning to pair the dresses with a low wedge, a flat, or a heel.

 

Pants: Weird fit, both my Mom and I are returning them. They were too large in the waist but tight in the thighs, and almost too high waisted.

Sweater: So cute and fun for Spring, and so incredibly soft. Yes, it’s a girl’s shirt, I got an extra large.

Shirt: Obviously I love it, since I’m wearing it, ha!

And finally I couldn’t help picking up this:

A paper doll book! This is for myself, I loved paper dolls when I was a little girl. My plan is to actually take the pieces apart and put it in a matted frame in my office at work. I’ll be sure to share when it’s completed! You can find all the pieces in the collection here.

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Avocado hummus

I made this as our side dip for dinner on Saturday night. It’s not easy to find a dip that my whole family can and will eat. I served it with pita chips and the boys ate it up! It has a guacamole quality to it, but without the salsa. Here’s the recipe!

Ingredients

2 avocados

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

1 lime

1 tsp kosher salt (more to taste)

1 small bunch cilantro

1/4 cup olive oil

Directions

Place all ingredients in a food processor, pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary!

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