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.  🙂

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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.

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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!

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I also finished this book yesterday.

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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.

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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??

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Photos from Website – See Here

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

5 for Friday

Greetings!  I feel like this is the calm before the storm.  We are moving into our new home tomorrow.  Well, officially.  We’ve already started to make trips over with full cars.  However, the big pieces of furniture will be going from our apartment as well as all the rest of the odds and ends tomorrow.  We are so excited!!!!  And a little nervous about all that has to be accomplished (at least I am anyways!).

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A simple matching game with household items…simple to play and simple to make!  I found the idea on Pinterest, of course!  Check out my board for more toddler and baby activities here.

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A hodge lodge of house pics!  2 fireplaces!!!  Santa will definitely be able to visit in the traditional way this year.  🙂

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My little summer helper

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Working on his fitness…and having fun.

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My fabulous dog sat in the car (don’t worry!  It was only about five minutes, parked in the relative shade, and blasted the AC before doing this!) while I ran in the store to pick up fruit and salad.  By the way, there was a bag of Chik-fil-a in there with him that he DIDN’T touch.  Best. dog. ever.

Have a wonderful weekend!  Here’s the advice I’m taking this weekend…

When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.  ~Creighton Abrams

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5 for Friday

This is truly a very happy Friday for many reasons.  I’m looking so forward to visiting family this weekend and making it a more relaxing, long weekend of visiting.  This is made possible by reason number 2 that it is a very happy Friday, and that reason is SCHOOL’S OUT!  No more rushing in the morning unless it is to get Holden’s breakfast.  No more lunch packing.  No more after school meetings.  Just 8-ish weeks of focusing on home and family.  I’m thrilled!  Here are five things on my mind today…

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Our new home!  We close on our new home on Monday, and I’m so excited/nervous about plunging into decorating, setting up our furniture, etc.  Here’s a little peek into my Pinterest inspiration…

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Dinning room color scheme…via Apartment Therapy

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Living room with the same color scheme but more green…via Better Homes and Gardens

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Office light fixture…I never thought I’d want a gold finished light!  Picture from Home Depot

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Holden’s room…via Bedroom Wise  Don’t you just love the nautical theme, I know I do!  😉  I think there will be more red incorporated into it with white/offwhite colored bedding instead.  We definitely want to do a dark blue accent wall or two in his room.

Two choices below for our bedroom.  I’m leaning towards the more neutral of the two…Neutral Natalie, ha!

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What do you think?

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Car washes!  I finally got my car washed this past weekend.  We did an automated, drive through one since there is no yard or hose at the present moment.  It was quite the experience!

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Holden was unsure about the whole situation to say the least!

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I’m so relieved that warm weather is here, and dressing is a little easier/less restrictive.  I love all my summer dresses that are comfy.  However, I do tend to dress a little more like a hot mess in the summer months, because I can!  See the reason for my happy Friday (no worky for me).

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Top picture is me in my beach cover-up about 5 hours AFTER we got back from the beach.  Pretty sure I was still quite sandy in Marshalls.

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Yoga – I’m excited to get back into my yoga routine now that summer is here.  If you recall, yoga is the first part of my fitness routine that I’ll cut out in a heartbeat.  However, I do know that I NEED to be doing it.  So…here I start again (well next Tuesday anyway!).

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Just some random pics from the week…It’s hard to see from the picture, but that coffee cup is the size of my face.  I’m quite sure that would improve anyone’s disposition.  Ha!

Final thought…

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7

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5 for Friday – Top Cookie Picks

It’s the baking season!  I’m so not a baker, but I do okay with some cookies.  Although I’m an admitted chocoholic, I find that I’m better able to control my treats if I bake other cookies.  Something about chocolate just makes me want another and then another and then another!  Many of these recipes are from the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook that I adore.  It is the one cookbook that I think everyone should have especially first time chefs.  Yes, I think of myself as a chef.  It was my elementary future career choice, so there.

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Purchase from Barnes and Noble here.  

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The Giant Ginger Cookie!  Perfectly delicious with a little ginger kick.  This is one of my new favorite.

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Recipe here.  

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Lemon Crinkle Cookies – Sweet, but not too sweet!

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Lemon Crinkle Cookies
Makes 2-3 dozen

Ingredients:
½ cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons baking powder
⅛ teaspoons baking soda
1-½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cups powdered sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease light colored baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice. Scrape sides and mix again. Stir in all dry ingredients slowly until just combined, excluding the powdered sugar. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte {not melty or shiny}. Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

*If using a non-stick darker baking tray, reduce baking time by about 2 minutes.

Lauren Brennan; laurenslatest.com

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Chocolate Chip Cookies – Now, I try all sorts of varieties of these.  The Mr. says none compare to the way his grandmother would make them.  I found this recipe online for the crispy, crunchy cookies.  I’m always up for a challenge, so here I go again!

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See recipe here from The Kitchen Magpie!  Photo from her delicious website as well.  I can take no credit for these bits of yumminess.

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Sugar Cookies! I know some people think they are boring, but I loved making fall-themed ones with Holden.  I think the attraction for me is more about the experience for him.  Plus, they’re so cute when they’re cut out!

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Easy recipe here.  

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Date Pinwheels – These are my favorite, but I admit not a popular one with others.  I may not be making them this year just for that reason.  I mean, I like them, but should I really eat an entire batch?  Probably not!  They’re so good that is is hard not to for me.

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Another delicious recipe from Better Home and Gardens!

There you have it!  Some of our faves.  I know there are many other like the popular snicker doodle as well as other treats like puppy chow.  So many delicious things!  I’m planning to pick three things this year to prevent a case of the overwhelms.  I’m leaning towards ginger cookies, sugar cookies, and chocolate chip for the Mr. of course (I’m sure I’ll have a few too!).  Here is a great idea from Pinterest for a semi-homemade treat that is as cute as it is delicious I’m sure.

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Milano cookies dipped in chocolate and rolled in crushed peppermint candy!  See Hostess with the Mostess!

What are your favorites?  Do you go semi-homemade or all the way?  How many treats?

Happy baking!

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5 for Friday

Wow!  I can hardly believe today is really November 1st.  I’ve seen lots of Starbucks red holiday cups popping up on Instagram as well Facebook status updates about the Christmas music that’s coming in on local radio stations.  We are in the holiday season all ready people!  It should be appropriate that my 5 for Friday has a definite seasonal theme!

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My quest to get H a holiday outfit (that has been approached with the same sense of urgency as other matters of national security) finally concluded with a purchase at Gymboree.  Although I wanted the more traditional “I’m a kid at Christmas!  Look at me!” outfit, I gave in to the Mr. and my store credit at Gymboree.  Holden will be wearing these items which I got for 50% off thanks to a 20% off coupon in the mail and the good luck of me shopping on everything-in-the-store-is-30%-off day.

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I bought an inexpensive white turtleneck from Kohl’s since the Mr. had gotten some Kohl’s case from his recent purchases.  All in all I’m pleased.  I’m most pleased to mark that off my list.  I’ve been walking around with that store credit to Gymboree for just about 1 year.  That’s how often I shop at more expensive children’s clothing stores!  HA!

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I’ve really not jumped on the pumpkin boat this fall.  This is partly to do with me rejected the societal trend to just go completely nuts over a “punkin,” but it also has to do that I’ve just been plain old dissatisfied with those pumpkin-y things that I have tried.  Trader Joe’s pumpkin cereal bars were lackluster, and he usually hits homeruns!  Then, I had some so-so pumpkin pancakes fixed by mother-in-law.  Sidenote:  She was using a pinterest recipe which can go very well or can really flop.  They look and seem so delicious and simple!  Very tricky, pinterest, very tricky!  Read about my DIY pinterest beauty treatment flop here.  Despite all my pumpkin pickiness, I’m going to try a pumpkin cream cheese bar recipe.  It’s a healthy version, so I know I’m playing with far where the success rate is concerned. I guess I just like to live on the edge.   

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars

  • 1/2 cup spelt flour (I’m going to substitute for 1/4 c. white, 1/4 c. wheat)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 “egg” of choice- I’m going to use a small dollop of greek yogurt and a smidge of coconut oil.
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (I’ll be saving my extra for pumpkin oatmeal)
  • 2 tablespoons milk of choice  (I’m using almond milk)
  • 2 tablespoons oil (Undecided about this – may use coconut or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine dry ingredients, then add in wet. Spread into an oiled 7×5 pan (or double the recipe for a 14×9) and cook for 14-15 minutes.  Let pan cook for ten minutes at least before frosting.  Here is the link to the original recipe.  I’ll be using this cream cheese frosting recipe.

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened

To prepare frosting, combine powdered sugar and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until combined. Increase speed to medium-high, and beat until smooth. Spread about 1 tablespoon frosting on top of each bar.

See original recipe here.

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Thanksgiving countdown is on!  I’m excited to be spending Thanksgiving break on the Shore with our families.  We try to spend time with everyone, and I’m so looking forward to combining our families a bit.  The more the merrier!  Plus, we get to have more people we love in the same place!  With that being said, we are eating the official meal at my parents’ house.  This means I can be more bossy than I would if we were eating at my in-laws.  Ha!  If you know me, you know I like “planning.”  Some people might negatively see this as bossing, but I’m sure 😉 everyone appreciates it!  LOL!  Anywho, I really want to make see if everyone would participate in some fun Thanksgiving games like this trivia worksheet.  I know, I know.  I’m a teacher and just love to handout worksheets!  This one is super cute.

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Who wouldn’t want to play a Thanksgiving trivia game?!?!?  *If you are reading this and will be eating with me, don’t cheat and find the answers now!  I’ve got to think of a fun prize for the winner.  Here’s the link to the original.

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This weekend starts the T-giving decor time.  I purchased a cornucopia, a Pilgrim couple, and a Native American/Indian couple.  I know these figurines look slightly ridiculous and not at all authentic, but I want Holden to understand the meaning behind the things we do.  I can’t tell you how many kids today do not know the history of holidays or even realize that there are such things as holidays.  I think these silly little decorations can make a difference.  I’ll drag them out and set them up each year.  Eventually, H and I will have the conversations that hopefully give him a background of basic life facts.  So thanks silly Thanksgiving figurines from A.C. Moore craft store!

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With all this seasonal fun, we also encounter the season of overindulgence in the form of food and just plain old vegging out.  I’ve recommitted myself to a nice long run once a week as well as at least one yoga session plus my 2 regular weekday gym workouts.  Find what works for you and don’t be discouraged if you miss a workout.  Just get back to it.  Don’t let it snowball into 2 or 3 missed workouts.  Make a date with your self and keep the commitment.  I promise the satisfaction will far outweigh that late night TV show or the second handful of Chex Mix.

Have an awesome weekend!  Remember to be active, cook something! (even a sweet), and have a little fun.  I’m linking up with these lovely ladies…April of A. Liz Adventures, Christina of carolinacharm, Natasha of Hello!  Happiness, and Darci of the good life.  Please check out their fun, encouraging blogs!

 

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5 for Friday

Good Friday Morning!

This Friday I’m thinking about moods.  We’ve been talking about moods with the students at school through our personal writing and also through the book Judy Moody.  The book is about a third grade girl who is starting off the new school year worried about changes at home and at school.  Although she is cranky with most of the other kids and her teacher at school, she is certainly giving her mom the hardest time of all.  How true this is!  When I’m having a hard day, I’m on my worst behavior with my own family at home. I somehow make it through the day being mostly well-behaved and then just fall to pieces as far as nice behavior goes at home.  How frustrating!  These are the ones I love the most!  I hope they know that I do, but I certainly haven’t showed it.  As we all know, actions speak louder than words.  These thoughts inspired my 5 for Friday…

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I’m excited about the church chili cook-off and costume parade on Sunday.  Looked up a crockpot recipe that I’m hoping will be a keeper!  If so, I’m going to make it again for the chili party/birthday party for my not-so-little-anymore sister who is turning 24!  Gosh, I had to count to be sure I had that correct!

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Here’s the recipe for the Crockpot White Bean Chicken Chili that I’ll be making!

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I know I need some time to myself to recharge for those at home.  I’m going to MAKE the time this weekend by bringing home ZIPPO school work to work on, and I’m planning to leave work when I’m actually able to leave work (as in, on time instead of an hour after the parking lot has cleared on a Friday afternoon!) and stop by Barnes & Noble, get a herbal tea, and chill out for just 20 minutes or so before I pick up little H.  Hopefully, this will help me feel a little more calm and help me wind down from the busiest day of the school week, test day!

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I saw this on Pinterest.  Scary and true!  Yikes!  

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Neat ideas to show the special person in your life that you do love him/her and you’re not just a mean, witch all the time!  

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Here’s the link to the list of ideas!

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I had a total baking disaster on Wednesday night that included an almond meal, coconut oil, chocolatey mess!  The worst part was the wasted Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate.  😦  I’m not going to be discouraged from my experimentation though.  I really want to come up with a yummy recipe that doesn’t include a lot of sugar or any butter.  I know this is not for everyone, but I like a challenge.  I also like a cookie that I can eat and feel decently good about having 2 or more.  H and I are off to Trader Joe’s this afternoon to get some baking supplies.  I’ve tried their brand of mini chocolate chip cookies, and they’re decent.  However, there not exactly great.  There’s just something about a fresh baked cookie that really satisfies my sweet tooth.  Off to try again this weekend!  Check out my “Tasty Stuff” pinterest board here for ideas!

 

Have a great Friday!  Remember to be nice to those you love today!  I’m certainly going to try to!

 

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Mother First, Teacher Second

Even though I didn’t babysit or obsess over having a little one immediately after college, I still always looked forward to the day I would be a mother.  I am a teacher from about 7:20 to 3:30ish (some days I’m out of there earlier, like Fridays!  TGIF!) Monday through Friday, but the job that takes precedence over my 9 to 5 (besides being a wife which is sometimes a walk in the park compared to this next job!) is being a mother.  I figure that my little one is without me about 45 hours in a week.  This means 123 hours are mine.  Then, you have to take away the roughly 11 hours he sleeps at night and the 2 hours naps daily when I’m home with him.  My total amount of time weekly that I spend with an awake H is 32 hours.  Bummer.  I don’t want to dwell on or lament over the trials and tribulations of being a working mom.  There is no need.  It’s just our reality.  However, I also don’t want to squander the time I do have with him.  I want to make the most of each minute.  This might be as simple as not talking on the phone except for quick conversations when he’s up and about, or it might mean turning the TV off (or simply never turning it on) to make time to read or build a block tower.  We have our basic repertoire of afternoon and weekend activities like going to the library, taking walks, playing with blocks, reading books, helping Mommy with errands, grocery store visiting, park visits and occasional painting experiences with some bubbles and sidewalk chalk thrown in for good measure.  

 

H has been talking up a storm recently!  I love seeing how his mind is growing, and he is taking in all the new things and old things that he can now put meaning to.  I was inspired to look up some new ideas of learning experiences/FUN for him this evening, and, of course, I pinned quite a few.  Gotta love that Pinterest!  Here’s what I found…

 

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This is a bean ramp for little fingers to explore the nature of gravity!  I also saw other versions with puffy balls taped to cabinets.  See website here.  

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This is a wonderful resource!  What a great blog, Click.Pray.Love!  See directions here for this muffin tin surprise activity.  The author focuses on “finding the divine among the daily.”  What a powerful message and a way to transform your everyday.

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Another wonderful resource from Click.Pray.Love!  I will be putting these tips to good use in just a few weeks as we carve up our two pumpkins currently take up space fully intact on the front stoop.  Here’s a direct link to these tips as well as example pictures from the original author.  

Other noteworthy ideas were putting up painter’s tape and letting your child stick things to it.  Jars to screw and unscrew were very popular as far as activities go.  Truthfully, I do not have any baby food jars to use, and I think they would be the perfect size for little hands.  My grocery list will include a few jars just to use for fun times.  

I’m so looking forward to taking on some simple yet fun projects with my little man.  Besides, man cannot live on blocks alone.  🙂

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This is a picture from the huge block we were playing with last October.  My, how times have changed!

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I’ve decided to do the muffin tin surprise one this week.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  With H, it is usually about 30 minutes of play or 30 seconds of a glance.  Nothing in between.  Ha!

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