Gloomy Saturday

Well, Hurrican Joaquin bypassed us.  The storm/low pressure/nor’easter – I have no clue what it actually is called dumped a whole lot of rain on us.  Unfortunately, I had bus duty this week which entails staring outside for about 25 minutes-ish in the morning followed by about 15-20ish minutes in the afternoon.  What an unpleasant week for it!  I also had a yucky cold/allergy situation going on this week which made for a somewhat painful Monday – Friday.  This is how H felt about the week…

IMG_2859

Although the storm passed by us, lots of events were cancelled including a local children’s festival that we were planning on attending.  Instead, we went and visited a doggie in a SPCA about an hour and a half from our house.  I had been seeing this dog’s picture in the local paper and on Facebook since last Christmas!  After talking it over with the Mr., we decided that we could totally enjoy adding another dog to our family especially this small one, a Chihuahua mix.  He is quite a cutie!  To make a long story short, we filled out applications, talked with the SPCA manager, and even took pictures of our yard.  We set off this morning to see him and planned to take him home.  We were so excited on the way over making our plans…  When we got there it became quite clear that they were not letting this dog go home with anyone with small children {apparently 15lb Chihuahuas who act slightly nervous when meeting new people at the SPCA that they have been at for OVER A YEAR, don’t respond well to visitor when they are leashed and held only by the SPCA manager…gee, what a shocker!}.   P.S.  We already own a nervous dog that is not the biggest fan of small children.  We felt very misled and disappointed by the whole event.  So…that’s why it was a gloomy Saturday {that plus the cloudy skies overhead!}.  After lots of looking since we got home, I concluded maybe we should just give up as the only dogs that are listed on a pet finder website that are good with children are ones that are PIT BULL MIXES…does anyone else see the irony?!?!?

I’m sure it’s hard to have two dogs.  This is especially true when your first dog is utter perfection…

Pictured below is our nervous barker, bad-with-other-dogs, neurotic, gun/belt/anything long phobic, dining room scratcher angel!  To expect perfection from any dog or any human is silly.  Patience and love can fix many issues.  As a side note, Roscoe definitely almost bit my mom’s face when we had him for about a month.  Now, they’re good buddies.  🙂

IMG_2854

That is not toilet paper in the background.  It is a fake spider web.  FYI.

On a lighter note, we did make some fun fall/Halloween decorations using some simple craft supplies that I had at home.  We hole-punched, added some yarn, and hung them from our dining room chandelier.

IMG_2853 IMG_2852 IMG_2851

H actually liked this crafty project.  He’s usually no fan of coloring/paint/stuff.

I hope you’re having a good Saturday!  May it be disappointment free and include a dog of your very own to cuddle up with!

1950F063759FBD8D5632F4CA61CFC2E6

Well-Spent Time

Today will go down in my personal mind records as possibly the busiest Monday ever!  Good thing I had a wonderful, relaxing weekend!

Friday was Holden’s official last visit to his preschool as a student.  We will be making a big transition from our home daycare/2 day a week church preschool to a preschool/daycare center.  I’m excited about it for Holden.  I truly think he will love it!  BUT…we absolutely love our daycare provider and will greatly miss her {as I’m sure Holden will}.  Check out my big boy!

IMG_1757

May 2015

IMG_3311

September 2014

We went to Kid’s Cove at Mt. Trashmore {yes, that is its real name – park built on trash!} on Saturday morning for a walk and some play.  The Mr. had just about if not more fun than Holden.

IMG_1760 IMG_1761 IMG_1762

IMG_1763 IMG_1764

Roscoe was so not loving the higher humidity and temperature.

On Sunday, H and I went to church after a morning walk and some park play time.  You know you take your park time serious if you’re there before 9 on a Sunday morning.  #winning  #alltheswingswerefree  Here we are at church.  Gotta take a selfie!  🙂

IMG_1772

I followed up my big day of work {not at all} with some front porch sitting and reading.  I’m slowly but surely working on my big giant novel.  Roscoe was my buddy!

IMG_1775

We made a little “Countdown to Summer” chain on Sunday afternoon before our neighbors and their two daughters came over for dinner.  We had yummy food that was SIMPLE to prepare.  The best kind!  It was pretty healthy too.  I made this rice salad instead of my pasta salad.  It’s gluten free!  I didn’t use the tuna, and I absolutely loved it!  The Mr. was iffy on it.

IMG_1776 IMG_1777

We had a great time and ended up chatting quite a bit past H’s bedtime.  We are so enjoying our newish {we moved in June 2014} neighborhood/home for many reasons, but our nice neighbors are an added perk.

After work today, H and I took advantage of the windy day and made kites.  We got our directions via Highlights magazine.  Holden loves to pull out the recipes and craft ideas.  Thank you, Granny, for our subscription!

IMG_1784 IMG_1785 IMG_1786 IMG_1788 IMG_1790 IMG_1792 IMG_1794IMG_1797
Holden also practiced his cutting skills.  He really, really, really loves to cut.  I’m dreading the day he cuts his hair.  I know it’s coming.

IMG_1796

Such a fun weekend followed by a busy Monday!  I’m so blessed to get to come home and construct our flying machines, aka kits, with this dude.  Have a great week!

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

5 for Friday

Hi there!  Happy Almost Weekend!  I feel like I’ve been on a permanent vacation.  Schools have been open here only two days in the past two weeks!  While trying to make the best of our snowy/icy days, I’ve resorted to lots of Pinterest-ing, cooking, crafts, and {today’s plan} cleaning.

Yesterday, we woke up to more winter weather about several inches of the snow kind.  The Mr.’s offices were closed, so we got to hang out with him {major fist pump!}.  When Daddy’s home, it means the gas logs on which makes me one happy girl.  🙂

{ONE}

The Mr. built a killer snowman for a workout yesterday.  Holden helped decorate him with some household items including a ‘coon skin hat of the faux little boy variety.  They also went over the neighbor’s hill to sled while I stayed inside and did an at-home mainly cardio workout.

a8a811dc2e49ddc0e2c8e015d30c6e28

found via Pinterest from popsugar

Glad I did that workout!  I definitely enjoyed two glasses of Rex Goliath cab sauv wine after dinner last night!

IMG_1073

{TWO}

I also finished this book yesterday.

IMG_1058

A little dated and somewhat centered on homeschool moms/stay-at-home moms, but I really liked it.  She made the effort to put in some applications for today’s {usually} working mom but really drove home the point of how our children need actual “homes” as a haven from their everyday lives.  I also loved how she touched on the importance of creating a home for ourselves.  Very good “big picture” message.

{THREE}

Love these mittens!  I have concluded after this winter blast that neither H nor I have the correct winter gear.  These mittens would be the perfect addition.  Perhaps even wear gloves underneath to layer??

TraditionalWoolCottonimage-400 Berber-400

Photos from Website – See Here

Best of all, Minnesota Mittens provide opportunities for employment of people with disabilities.  Made in America!

{FOUR}

Another Pinterest project…  H and I got supplies at Hobby Lobby, and I taped off his name {twice due to poor quality painter’s tape the first go-round}.  He picked green and blue as his colors.  We painted before breakfast yesterday…take our crafting serious around here!  Then, the Mr. ever so carefully pulled the tape off around lunch time.  The finished work is hanging on his wall.

IMG_1062 IMG_1074

{FIVE}

March goals!  I’m trying to be more intentional {is that possible?} with my time and plans.  I’m for sure a planner, but do what you love, right!?!?  I did add read 2 books to this list.

IMG_1057

I have a gift certificate that will mostly cover a massage and a hair cut at my local salon.  Why, oh why do I keep putting it off?  I am so weird!  I also have a nice gift certificate to go clothes shopping from the Mr. that I have yet to use.  Maybe I should have included that as a goal, too?  The Chrysler Museum is a local art museum that is totally free.  I really want to take Holden for maybe just a portion of it.  Recommendations that I’ve found online say to start with the ancient civilizations exhibit and then meander into a kids’ craft area.

In other snow day news, we decided to brave the elements for a ride out yesterday.  We made our way down to the oceanfront, and I took these pictures.

IMG_1066 IMG_1067 IMG_1071

Somebody couldn’t wait until we got home to get some shut eye!  Top picture is another future hotel site.

We invited our neighbors over last night for BBQ chicken sandwiches, Caesar salad, chips, sweet potato fries, and key lime bars.  Very yummy and so not our usual Thursday night fare!  See BBQ chicken recipe here from Rachel Ray.  Key lime bar recipe was courtesy of Mix and Match Mama.  I don’t typically cook the “full flavor” sugar and butter, but it was a nice treat.  I packed up {most} of the left-over bars and sent them for work treats for the Mr.’s office today.  It was so nice to have time to get together with people we see everyday but are typically “too busy” to talk with.  Love God Greatly is an online women’s Bible study group whose current study focuses on how we {human beings} were made for community and our relationships with each other.  I highly recommend any and all of their Bible studies.  They typically do about an 8 week study with a couple weeks of in between the new and the old.  Check them out!

Happy Weekend!

Natalie

Snow Day No School Day

Happy Hump Day!  I’m happy to be typing in my yoga pants with lovely pigtail braids being my hair style of choice today.  I think I could happily live without all the trappings required for “professional life” as a teacher.  I most assuredly am not cut out for corporate America.   I do always make sure to brush teeth, put on real clothes {although I may change back in to PJs ridiculously early in the day}, and at least “put my hair up.”  Anywho, H and I have been home today for day 2 of snow storm 2015.  The Mr. went off to work today while we snuggled up with breakfast and books.  We relaxed most the day until beginning the thirty minute long process of getting ready to go outside.  We took a walk, slipped and skidded around on the ice, shoveled a bit of snow, and just generally took in the scene.  The Mr. joined us for a leftover lunch of potatoes, carrots, and hot open-faced venison sandwiches made from last night’s roast.  I added some cornstarch to make nice gravy and topped the sandwiches with parmesan cheese.  Not too bad.  I enjoyed mine without bread on a bed of spinach plus some popcorn.  I spared those calories to use them up later in cookies and snow cream leftovers! Ha!

IMG_1003 IMG_1004 IMG_1005 IMG_1006 IMG_1007 IMG_1008 IMG_1009 IMG_1010 IMG_1012 IMG_1013 IMG_1014

Please excuse the snot in a couple of these pictures.  It is never-ending, and I blame his father for his constantly drippy nose.  Genetics.

H requested “warm chocolate” when we were outside shoveling snow {aka he was inspecting the yard in pursuit of more icicles}.  It’s your lucky day kid.  Warm chocolate coming right up…followed by 3 big boy jigsaw style puzzles.  So grown up!

IMG_1015 IMG_1016

I used Ghirardelli’s Double Chocolate.  I think he liked it.  How about you?

After our lunch and one dessert in the form of snow cream, I decided to bake up some cookies with H.  We had minimal ingredients, so I searched the pantry and came up with cranberries and raisins.  Not much of either.  I combined them and roughly followed this recipe by Chocolate-Covered Katie.  I was skeptical since there wasn’t a lot of oily substance.  Confession:  I used 1 tbsp  butter!  They were delish!  I ate an embarrassing amount AFTER H went down for a nap.  More for me = more I eat.  Whoops!  I figured these will count as my afternoon snack with the addition of some peanut butter.  Of course, peanut butter!  Seriously, how many times a day do you eat this stuff?  I’m not picky…almond butter works too!

IMG_1019

Very moist inside the cookies and definitely sweet enough.  I will definitely do this recipe again with some tweaking of the add-ins.

Here are a few random midweek musings to leave you with today…

a Fit Tuesday {not Fat Tuesday!} workout with a Mardi Gras theme that I did yesterday

an easy to grow houseplant that even I may attempt {successfully?}

cute cookie cutter bird feeders – H would love it!

name soup – scoop the letters in your name – AGAIN, H would love it!

Have a great day!

Natalie

Toddler Color and Fine Motor Activities

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!  I am so happy to be home with Holden!  It is a day off for all sorts of places, but I somehow managed to forget the bank is closed too!  Hahaha!  Definitely pulled in before I realized that it was closed.  The Mr. and I have been working with the little one on color recognition.  He can sort by color lickety-split.  However, he will tell you that each object is “geen” when asked to name it.  I did order a game on etsy that is really cute.  See below…  Link here.  I have to tell you that the DIY route is pretty easy and so so inexpensive.

Image

The first game I made was a simple sorting activity using paint strips (the kind with four or so color in a row, bookmark size) that I took decided to put to good use from a certain store.  I got colors in the same family, and just cut apart the paint strips.  Using a muffin tin, we can play the sorting game together by sorting and stating (me first, Holden repeating) the colors.

IMG_2401IMG_2403 IMG_2404 IMG_2414

The second game is definitely more interesting to him.  I used larger paint chips (square, only one color).  I got two in each of the basic colors.  I used clothes pins left over from a class project that I’ve had for a million years.  I cut out a small square from one of the colored chips and then hot glued it onto the end of the clothes pin.  We play by laying out the whole chips and the clothes pins with the small chip.  We take turns and pick a clothes pin.  Then, “we” say the color and look for the match.  Holden (or I depending on whose turn it is) have to pin the clothes pin onto the colored chip.  This is definitely good practice for waiting, turn taking, and just not be a jerk in general.  🙂  H’s natural tendency is to grab, to do, and MINE!  We play this game usually once a day a couple times a week.

IMG_2405 IMG_2406 IMG_2407 IMG_2408

Sometimes the simplest things can really be the best toys.  Most important to remember as we moms become obsessed focused on our children’s education…

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Image

Craving Spring

Good Sunday to You!

I’m ever so happy to say it’s Sunday and officially our day of rest.  Saturday was filled with all the chores of being a grown-up like cleaning, grocery shopping, gym-going, and entertaining (H did most of that for us!).  Today is ours to flake out a bit and take it easy.  We did the same last Sunday, and it was wonderful.  

We’ve also had some warmer temps.  When this happens in January, I’m always fooled into thinking spring is around the corner, and the next batch of cold weather is really hard to take.  This time of the year is hard for many people as the fun rush of the holidays is over and the reality of life sets back in.  Reality can be good, but it definitely takes some getting used to after visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads!

Here’s some spring things that might provide just the boost you need to get through January and February…

a Valentine’s craft…  Click photo to go to the DIY instructions.  

Image

eat lots more fruit!  I sent the Mr. to the grocery store yesterday, and he came back with a 5 lb. bag of oranges, the same of apples, and a huge container of sweet-as-can-be strawberries!  I did fuss with him about buying so much as we are planning a little family visit this coming weekend, but I am very excited about all the fruit choices we have.  

Image

Plan for fun weddings!  The Mr. and I have one in April, and I’m so looking forward (already!!) to it/time without sweet H!  I’ve looked at two dresses online and am really contemplating buying one versus wearing something I have.   Sometimes the anticipation of the event is just as much fun as the event.  I’m going to do it up right with nails, dress, even a trial run of the hair style.  Mommy doesn’t go on “date nights!”  Can you tell?!?!?!?

Image

 

Image

Mr. said that I needed a colorful, but I must admit the top one caught my eye first.  Both dresses are on Zappos.  

I’m also working to rekindle my love for working out.  A calf pain/injury plus some lower abdomen pain have really not helped my resolve.  I’ve been hitting the gym but not loving it.  Cold temps definitely affect my willingness to suit up in shorts and a tank to go as well.  I’ve been really bulking up (meaning=getting really large muscles!).  While there is nothing wrong with large muscles, I’d like to vary my workout routine a bit and focus on cardio and flexibility while keeping my muscles in check.  I’m excited to report that I’ve signed up for an 8K around St. Patty’s Day, so there’s work to be done to prepare for that!  I’m thinking of investing in a new workout DVD to stir up my love for fitness again.  A Valentine’s present from me to me?  Perhaps!

Image

Pinterest Help Above

Image

 

Amazon Link Here || Link to Best Workout DVDs of 2013 Here

Spring will be here before we know it.  Just got to keep truckin’ along until then.  Cheering ourselves along on the way!

Image

Image

 

P.S.  If you need greater inspiration or just some pretty pics, google “Pinterest Spring.”  🙂