Summer Fun List

Hi there!  Wow, aren’t you glad that we are already on the downhill side of this short work week?!?!  I know that Tuesday {and sort of today} was a hard one for me!  I was already at school at about 6:55 today.  Good.  Grief.

I was so, so, so tired on Tuesday that I even attempted to lay on the sofa with Holden after school.  We read about 5 books, looked at letters, and just generally whined about Mommy’s tiredness.  🙂

IMG_1747

IMG_1745

Wowie, I’m glad to be not quite as tired tonight!  I confess I was really feeling super tired again today.  I had an early meeting followed by more testing and end-of-the-year paperwork.  I forced myself to put on some tennis shoes and sunscreen and walk with H and Roscoe to the park.  It is very warm and humid this week in Virginia Beach, but I’m so glad we went!  It is about a mile to the park.  Holden rode in the stroller today but played when we got there.  We also saw lots of geese today at the pond there plus one turtle.  On the way back, H decided to run after we saw a couple jogging around the neighborhood.  I may be biased, but I think he has great running form!  😉

In other breaking news, I’d like to share my completed May goals!

img_1751-e1432770519684

Did a lot!  I finished my book and am now working on American Wife.  We picked loads of strawberries and have enjoyed our jelly already!  Holden has some cute sandals for summer as well as two pairs of water shoes.  One pair is for daycare water play, and the other is for home.  We didn’t get to the Memorial Day craft, but we did join in with the Memorial Day remembrance action at church.

On to SUMMER!

  • Skinny Dip frozen yogurt – a lot
  • Bowling
  • Sprinkler time
  • Sidewalk Chalk
  • Salisbury Zoo in Salisbury, MD
  • Cypress Park in Pocomoke, MD
  • Cloud 9 {we have a prepaid pass!}
  • Color Me Pottery {paint your own!}
  • Children’s Museum in Portsmouth, VA
  • Norfolk Zoo
  • Farmer’s Market
  • Visit family near and far
  • NASA Visitor Center – Wallops Island, VA
  • Boat Rides with Moochie and Poppy
  • Baseball Game
  • Beach – A LOT OF THIS!
  • 4th of July Parade – H always talks about the Christmas parade we went to.
  • Library Class
  • Swimming Lessons
  • Wedding Weekend {aka 2 built-in mandatory adult dinners with the Mr. 🙂 }
  • Play Dates with new and old friends
  • Trip to Asheville, NC to see my best, good friend 🙂
  • Concert
  • Date Night with the Mr.

Do you think that will keep us busy!?!?!

I know we may not get to all these things or perhaps even half of them.  I just love planning and thinking about all the potential we have for lots of summer fun.  Last summer, we worked an awful lot.  I’m looking forward to more relaxing and more FUN!

My personal goals for June are…

IMG_1752

I so want to keep up with some new friends that we have met through preschool and through my work this year.  I hope to set up some fun times for the moms and kids to hang out.  I’m about half through American Wife.  I’m having a hard time identifying with the main character, but I’m still intrigued by the book.  I hope to finish it in the next week or so.  Yoga, yoga.  Fell off the wagon with you again!  Back to it starting Friday morning.  I love the Good Morning Girls online Bible study program and am so excited there will be a Proverbs study starting up on June 15.  Check it out here.  I love Proverbs!

I’m thrilled to be getting ready for a little respite from the demands of the working world and be a full-time mommy even if it’s only mid-June to late August.  I LOVE being home with Holden!  I hope to work out some sort of loose schedule for our days.  I find things just go better for both of us if we have a plan AND if we cease the day first thing in the morning.  Afternoons are for relaxing/napping.

What are you up to this summer?

Are you a planner or fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-er?

Natalie

Memorial Day Weekend 2015

What a awesome weekend we’ve had!  Friday started off with a few fun beers and veggie chips at the latest hot spot…aka our backyard.  😉

I sent the Mr. this picture to encourage his speedy arrival at home.

IMG_1682

We tried lots of different ones including Skinny Dip!  I love Skinny Dip for frozen yogurt, so…

The verdict was that we need to stick to frozen yogurt!

IMG_1684 IMG_1687 IMG_1689

The little boy below was a little monkey wanting all Mommy and Daddy’s attention that afternoon.  A basket of fresh books {aka long lost ones he hadn’t seen in months} kept his attention for quite some time.  This allowed the grown-ups to talk grown-up stuff.

IMG_1690 IMG_1691

It never ceases to amaze me how blessed I am to get to hang out with the same guy all the time.  I am so thankful that my husband is also my best friend.  You’d think we would have said just about all we could say to one another after being “significant others” for 15 years in December.  Not at all!  I look forward to talking his ears off and seeing his handsome face walk through the door each evening.  To have a fun-filled weekend with him  feels like I won the lottery or something!

We watched Wild with Reese Witherspoon Friday night.  It was a little hard to identify/like the main character, but I am glad that I finally got to see it.

On Saturday morning {very, very early}, we headed off to the Eastern Shore.  We said “hi” to H’s Granny and continued north to meet up with my mom.  H and I spent the day just being lazy with my mom and dad.  It was so nice.  We pulled a few weeds.  Very few indeed.  We went to the local produce stand, and Holden got to ride a tractor and an ATV.  #bestweekendever in his eyes!  IMG_1695

IMG_1697 IMG_1699

While the little prince {aka Holden} was napping, my mom and I just chatted, flipped through the latest issues of Southern Living and Garden & Gun {don’t we feel chic!?!?}, and generally caught up with one another.  It was great!

My mom, dad, H, and I met the Mr. at my brother and sister-in-law’s house for a cook-out.  Wow!  They had so much delicious food!  I mean, who does burgers, hot dogs, soft crab sandwiches, wings, and fried fish!?!?!  My brother the “meat” lover does!  I confess to not being much of a meat person.  Shocker, I know!  😉  I do love a burger, and I tried the fish.  It was so good.  I also had lots of the sides {potato salad, bean salad, macaroni salad, I know…so good}.  My sister brought a yummy cake for dessert.  It was so great to see everyone!  We hit the road at about 7 o’clock for our trip home.

IMG_1700 IMG_1703

There’s our spoiled pooch that goes EVERYWHERE.  He’s such a good traveler despite all his anxiety issues.  Sidenote:  The Memorial Day fireworks may or may not be taking years off his life!

IMG_1705 IMG_1708

Sunday was full of church, groceries, running, and FOOD.  Oh my goodness!  We had homemade pizza {Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough} and eggplant pizza.  We followed that up by a trip to Skinny Dip for frozen yogurt.  Soooo good!

Now to the main event!  Memorial Day!  We just relaxed this morning until about 9.  Then, we packed up and headed to the beach.  Wow, it was busy there!  We didn’t have an issue with parking and were able to get a spot close to the water.  It was just quite a bit more populated than we are used to.  Holden had a great time as usual.  He especially likes his daddy to take him out into the water.  I’m more than willing to let him.  I know I’ll have that duty as soon as summer comes, and it is just me and H at the beach on those weekdays.

IMG_1722

I even got to read/flip through a magazine!  Say what!

IMG_1725 IMG_1724

Beach selfie!

IMG_1727

First {not cut up} nectarine!  He was a little perplexed by the “hard thing” in the middle.

IMG_1729 IMG_1731

This is him telling his daddy that “I’m ready to go in the water!”  That stick is his walking stick.  Not sure why he needs it for the water!

IMG_1733 IMG_1738

Look at that neck!  Isn’t it the sweetest!  This was the needed snuggles after the chilly water.

We rounded out our beach trip with a visit to Tropical Smoothie.  I love the Paradise Point.  Holden got his very first kid one.  He had strawberry banana.  I think other times we’ve just shared some of ours.IMG_1739 IMG_1740

I’m so excited about our grilling tonight!  We’re having venison, pepper, onion, and tomato kabobs.  Here’s the snack I had earlier…Aren’t things just more enjoyable when you make them pretty!?!?!

IMG_1742

I hope you are having a wonderful Memorial Day!

Natalie

Memorial Day Thoughts

There is a certain peacefulness, slower pace that settles over you as you realize…”It’s Sunday.  Tomorrow is a holiday.  I’m not going to work tomorrow.  I can relax and enjoy the day at a much slower pace!”  I know that there is so much more to Memorial Day than cook-outs, grills, food, and beach trips.  However, isn’t that what the women and men of our military fight to protect?  Our safety and peace.  The ability to make a decision about how I’ll spend my day.  We are so blessed to have our only worries be about how frequently H’s sunscreen should be reapplied, what beach to go to, and are we eating fro-yo today or tomorrow.  I realize these “problems” really aren’t problems at all.  In America, we have lives that others can only dream of.  I’m so thankful for my life and those who showed the greatest form of love…laying down his/her life for another.

To remember and honor those who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, our church places a flag for each departed person.  We joined in after the service for lemonade and the creating of the Field of Flags which will stay up until the 4th of July. We had to head off to the grocery store {no bread, milk, eggs…no nothing!}, so we didn’t get to see the finished field.  However, they were still working on it when we went by about an hour later!

IMG_1717 IMG_1713 IMG_1715 IMG_1716

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. -John 15:13

When Holden and I were at church today, this exact verse was read.  Although our soldiers lay down {and sometimes lose their lives} for another, we can show that “great love” by “laying down” our lives for others daily.  Laying down our lives speaks more to living a sacrificial life.  We must put others and their needs before our own.  What a hard thing to do!  We are, by nature, selfish creatures.  Our desires to get “what we deserve” and ensure our own well-being first are so so so hard to fight.  As Christians, we are called to live differently.  I confess that I try and fail DAILY to do this, BUT the importance is the TRY.  I try again.  and again.  and again.  Sometimes, it can almost seem easier to do some big sacrifice.  I think the truly harder thing is to live it out daily.  It is no fun to put others head of yourself.  Being nice to the cranky person in the checkout line.  Not yelling at the person who yells at you first.  Smiling and being cheerful when you really aren’t feeling it.  Working not for your profit but for the well-being of others {moms of small children, good gracious!}.  Taking your ego and pride out of the scenario to best serve the common good for all involved.  Whew!  Hard things.

We also had a baptism at church this morning.  I love this part of the ceremony…a prayer for the baptized.

Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy
Spirit you have bestowed upon these your servants the
forgiveness of sin, and have raised them to the new life of
grace. Sustain them, O Lord, in your Holy Spirit. Give them
an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to
persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy
and wonder in all your works. Amen.

I love the qualities that are requested…an inquiring and discerning heart, courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and love God, and joy and wonder in all God’s works.  What a powerful list!  I certainly wish all those things for my child, myself and for YOU!

I hope you are having a great Sunday and Memorial Day Weekend!

Natalie

5 for Friday

Hi friends!  Wow, TGI-almost-F!  This has been one doozey of a week!  I’m so happy to be *almost* wrapped up with testing {just a state math test to give next week!} and that a lot of classroom testing is getting completed {i.e. end-of-the-year guided reading/running record assessments and word study aka spelling}.

Here are five things on my mind this Friday eve…

{ONE}

Thankful for teacher treats!  I’ve been living it up on my teacher appreciation gift cards!  Seriously, my students’ parents are way generous, and they know the way to a teacher’s heart {or most anybody’s!}.  I used my Skinny Dip {our local fro yo place}, Wawa, and Starbucks gift cards all this week!  I treated myself to a Skinny Vanilla Latte this morning when I got out the door unexpectedly early.

IMG_1679

We all know teachers aren’t in it for the moola OR sweet gift cards!  🙂  It sure is nice to have even a sweet card.  Gotta love a fun gift card to treat yourself with something special!

{TWO}

Little boys’ fashion – I think Old Navy has some of the cutest stuff for little boys these days.  I got Holden the shirt below plus some others.

cn9628850

Click here to see on site

He is seriously all fixed up for summertime.  We picked up the shoes below at the mall tonight.  I was very pleasantly surprised when the cashier at Stride Rite told me I had a $10 coupon to use with my rewards card PLUS my $5 off with my completed survey number that I did after our last purchase.  Love that place!

7124C5l8fRL._UX575_

Click here to see site

I have way more fun shopping for H than myself!  He loved these shoes pictured above.  I was shocked with all the other snazzy, brightly colored options, but he was insistent that these were “comfy” and “light brown.”  Apparently, those were his key requirements!

{THREE}

I finished my book!  Yay, I actually did it!  I finished reading The Art of Racing in the Rain.  I really liked it, but it was an emotional read.  Below is editorial review from Amazon.

Unknown

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

If you’ve ever wondered what your dog is thinking, Stein’s third novel offers an answer. Enzo is a lab terrier mix plucked from a farm outside Seattle to ride shotgun with race car driver Denny Swift as he pursues success on the track and off. Denny meets and marries Eve, has a daughter, Zoë, and risks his savings and his life to make it on the professional racing circuit. Enzo, frustrated by his inability to speak and his lack of opposable thumbs, watches Denny’s old racing videos, coins koanlike aphorisms that apply to both driving and life, and hopes for the day when his life as a dog will be over and he can be reborn a man. When Denny hits an extended rough patch, Enzo remains his most steadfast if silent supporter. Enzo is a reliable companion and a likable enough narrator, though the string of Denny’s bad luck stories strains believability. Much like Denny, however, Stein is able to salvage some dignity from the over-the-top drama. (May) 
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

{FOUR}

Memorial Day Festivities – I’m so looking forward to the weekend.  We are planning a very quick trip to the Eastern Shore.  The Mr. is planning to prep his hunting property, so H and I are tagging along for this day trip.  My little bro is having us over for dinner and probably some play time before that.  Lots of yummy grilled food is in our future!  We are also planning a little beach relaxing and hanging out at home.  Perfect plans for our three day weekend!

{FIVE}

Southern Charm – Do you watch this?!?!  I watch it via You Tube, and it is definitely a guilty pleasure.  It is a Bravo reality show following young, wealthy Charlestonians in Charleston, SC.  My favorite {like most people} is Cameran, but I admit to enjoy watching them all cavort around the Holy City.

150203_2844460_Welcome_Back_to_Charleston

Image from Bravo TV

Seriously, check it out!  Even if you just look for the beautiful setting, it’s worth it!

What are your weekend plans?

Do you have a reality show guilty pleasure?

Happy Friday!

IMG_1678

***LOOK!  I actually did my hair!  Miracles never cease!  😉

Natalie

Plants and Play

Wow, Tuesday has come and gone.  Another hot, humid, jungle-like day here!  I’m SO not complaining though.  I secretly don’t mind the weather.  I feel like I should agree with all the summer weather naysayers, but I really love the warm temps.  I freeze all fall, winter, and spring.  This weather is heavenly!  I actually don’t even mind running in it as long as I can do it in the early morning or late evening.

I started off my day sort of on the wrong foot after a wardrobe malfunction forced me to gobble down my breakfast while driving.  I know, so not a safer choice!  I took two slices of the strawberry bread that I wrote about here yesterday plus the leftovers of an almond butter jar which I ate with a mini spatula.  Very, very organized AND classy!

IMG_1670 IMG_1671

The day did improve, and I cheated on my tea habit at Wawa with a mostly decaf coffee {only a quick shot of the regular stuff} followed by a bit of vanilla creamer.  Today was super hectic at work with more testing and just general end of the year keep-the-students-motivated-and-productive stuff.

When I got home with H, we found these little ones poking through the dirt for us to see!

IMG_1675

Here’s H’s lovely sunflower plant going strong…

IMG_1674

Yay!  Now, I know better to count my chickens before they’re hatched, but I THINK we are looking pretty good so far!

We spent some time practicing our cutting skills with some construction paper and ribbon.  Then, we unearthed the outdoor toys from last summer.  H very quickly set about unpacking them.

IMG_1676

I love having a screen door that I can keep open and let him play.  He also got into some water play with a ladle and measuring cup.  Whew!  It doesn’t seem like it is a lot of time from the time we get home to the time the daddy gets home but WOW…we did a lot in about an hour and a half!

We have tons of fun doing just whatever in the afternoons.  I would like to liven it up a little bit.  Here are a few ideas that I’m thinking about…

name recognition

Image and Idea Via Munchkins and Moms

Holden loves to talk about “his letter,” letter H.  I think he would be totally okay with learning “his other letters.”  I love the idea above, because it incorporates a real picture to make it more fun/applicable.  Plus, the clothes pins are good for increasing fine motor skills and strength.

Letter-Soup

Image and Idea Via Childhood 101

H already loves water play.  I think he would love to find letters in the “soup” or perhaps go fishing.

Finally, here is a simple {already have all the items!} idea for a Memorial Day theme craft.

7087d1cd4cfa7b86215e457cbd3bec80

Image and Idea Via Crafty Morning

Easy, peasy!

How do you celebrate Memorial Day?

I think the meaning is sometimes lost, and we just look at it as another day.  Living and working in this area has certainly changed my outlook.  Virginia Beach is a part of the Hampton Roads community.  This community has a very large military population.  Many of my students have a parent or parents who serve in the military.  Many more can recite relatives who have served in the past.  Try to pause while you’re grilling, beaching, or just relaxing on Monday and remember/be thankful for those who have given so much for you and I.  Just a little food for thought!

Happy {almost} hump day!

Natalie

A Sprinkler, Strawberries, and Ice Cream…Is it summer yet?!?!

Goodness, it was hot today!  When I left work, my car thermometer said 92 degrees.  By the time I was home, it had dropped to the mid-80s.  Crazy, hot/humid weather makes me think of July not May.  We’ve been enjoying all those things that typically come with summer…like a sprinkler!

IMG_1660 IMG_1661

Holden had a blast running all around the Nemo sprinkler that he got for his birthday!  Roscoe even joined in {and by that I mean was forced to} and got an outdoors bath on Sunday.

Holden and I worked up on some strawberries and made 13ish jars of homemade strawberry jelly.  They are safely tucked away in the freezer.  I don’t “can” food.  Nobody got time for that!

IMG_1656

My little helper was with me the whole time.  Here he is washing the berries or “giving them a tubbie.”

I used some more of the berries to make this delicious strawberry bread tonight.

IMG_1666 IMG_1669

I found this recipe on a blog and copy/pasted it into Word.  Sorry, I didn’t keep the blog open and now can’t find the link.  😦

The Mr. worked super hard around the house on Saturday afternoon and Sunday doing various home improvements.  Love our new blue shutters and door!  Unfortunately, he hurt his should in the midst of all his hard work.  We’re hoping some rest and anti-inflammatory meds will do the trick.

IMG_1655

I also got about an inch taken off my hair and all my layers lightened up.  I love a fresh blow-out!  I treated myself with one of my teacher appreciation gift cards to some Skinny Dip fro-yo on the way home.  I love, love, love going there by MYSELF.  I like to eat it super slow much to the Mr. and H’s confusion and disdain.

IMG_1665 IMG_1664

Today was quite a busy one, but we are now down to just two more actual Mondays {thank you Memorial Day for the Monday off!}.  I made some brownies to have for treats this week.

IMG_1667 IMG_1668

You can see where the Mr. made off with a still warm one.  This is a super good recipe, but I think I prefer another that I’ve been using recently.  The other one uses real chocolate morsels and butter.  How could that not be better?!?!?!

One last random from the weekend…H listening to his daddy tell about how all the antlers came to be in our garage.  The Mr. went into quite a bit of detail {location, description, etc.}.  H was eating it up.  Boys.

IMG_1630 IMG_1631

Excuse our messy garage and my drying rack.

Hope your Monday was productive and didn’t completely wear you down!

Natalie

Strawberry Fields Forever

We are the people with thirty dollars of u-pick-’em strawberries in our fridge!  For the second year, we went down to Vaughn Farms in the Pungo area of Virginia Beach to pick lots of strawberries.  The row we went down had so many strawberries!  Unfortunately, some of the strawberries had started to rot from being on the vine for too long.  We were able to fill a bucket, a large basket, and a small basket in no time at all.  It was a beautiful morning!

IMG_1632 IMG_1633 IMG_1636

IMG_1639

IMG_1640 IMG_1641

I enjoyed quite a few yesterday {some in the actual field before paying!  Oops!}, and I had some in my oatmeal this morning.  So juicy and sweet!  Now, we’ve got to get a plan together on how we are going to use these delicious treats!  We made freezer jelly last year, and I’m thinking that might be a repeat.  I also saw this recipe on Natalie’s blog.  She always has the yummiest looking food with fresh ingredients!  These strawberries are certainly fresh!

After strawberry picking, we headed to the beach.  We met a work friend there, and Holden got to run around with a bunch of little boys which suited him just fine.

IMG_1642

Can I just say that his running form looks great!  🙂

IMG_1644 IMG_1645

Love how the sandbars make little kiddie pools {a.k.a. parents don’t have to be quite as uptight!}!

IMG_1646

After the beach, we enjoyed some fruit.  Holden had an awesomely long nap which meant the Mr. and I could get lots of chores done (yard work…check!  dust/vacuum house…check!).

IMG_1647 IMG_1649

Nothing like chilling on the front porch in your undies.

I must admit that although it was a great day I felt a little out of sorts.  I think it has to do with lady hormones, and I’m sure it will pass shortly.  But, oh my goodness, I hate feeling like my hormones/weirdo emotions take over my day.  Like…I’m “living the good life today” relax and enjoy!  I started taking some wonky herbs that were prescribed BY A DOCTOR.  Isn’t that weird?!?!  I always like the more natural approach to things, but I was a little surprised when a MD told me…”just go to GNC and get___ and ___.”  Um…okay.  We’ll see what happens.  I felt super hippie and crunchy and started taking them yesterday.  If it is helpful, I’ll let you know what they are.  No need passing on info that hasn’t been tested!

Today’s goals are to relax and do some fun stuff that I like AND work on finding a purpose for all these berries!

IMG_1650 IMG_1651

Some Sunday Sayings…

IMG_1652

Via Oxygen Magazine 

112553b8c4af23dfd44ffff22d8c48ba 5ffb8d3c1d8e40395615bd6724f051bb

Two Images Via Pinterest

Have a great Sunday/day of rest!

Natalie