Bricks, big and small

We built houses with big bricks this week:

And created games with small bricks (Legos):

That we played together:

And now that we’ve reached the official mid-summer, it’s too hot to go out midday, I picked up this set on a Target run:

For the boys to work on together:

Collaborative group work at its finest.

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Butterflies & bugs

With a little bit of cooler weather (and as a compromise to them not having to wear hats and sunglasses in addition to their sunblock), the boys and I hung out under the shade of our umbrella (which is red and gives off a glow of them having been in the sun when they have not, ha!) and drew with chalk and searched for bugs after lunch on Sunday.

And we also secured the truck of any spiders:

All clear!

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Fourth & family

The boys have had a terrific time this Fourth of July week, with lots of cousin time, family in town, and time at the pool and playing outside.

We swam at the pool:

Twirled glow bracelets while watching fireworks:

Played spike ball:

Put together puzzles:

Played red light/green light:

And other outside games:

Had an anniversary celebration with my parents (43 years! They’re the best!):

Took a few family photos:

We had a terrific week!

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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:

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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!

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Friday Favorites

Oh to swing with abandon!

Styling out a future patio that’s more than just a concrete slab.

A kitchen filled with lovely plants and light.

Great tips for backpacking with kids, I’m going to need this in the fall for Cub Scouts!

And with that backpacking, some camp food ideas.

Chex Mix all dressed up for the Fourth of July.

A three part system for organizing kids clothes, love this idea for changing seasons.

The history of Pho. The boys will love learning about this because someone made Pho on their current favorite reality show, The Next Food Network Star.

Figuring out how to organize Legos…I’m sorry this is hilarious. Just put those things in the biggest bin you can find and dream on, my friends.

Playground equipment at night in Japan. Awesome? Creepy? I can’t decide.

And finally, summer hats!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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Revisiting a classic

When B and I were first married this used to be one of our go to dinners. I don’t know why we haven’t made it in so long! I found a terrific selection of sandwich meats at Costco to put this together, Ciabatta bread from Target bakery, and fresh mozzarella helps make this simple dish sing. The boys deconstructed it quite a bit, but they ate it! Stromboli, open face calzones, and dipping sauce on under thirty minutes for the win!

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