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.

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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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{TWO}

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.

{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??

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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!

{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.

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{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.

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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

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!

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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!

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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!

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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

How To Tuesday: Beating the Summer Heat While Having Fun

Happy Hot Tuesday!  It has been just oppressively hot here, and I find that I’m over the outdoors by 11 each day.  I mean, it’s just too hot!  How do you keep active and enjoy the outdoors this time of year?  I know I’ll be whining about the cold soon enough, so this is how I enjoy it without melting into a puddle (although I felt like that was going to happen today!).

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We were planning to head to the beach ourselves today, but a cloudy sky with storms possible kept us at home.  Not to worry though!  We got into plenty of fun in those busy morning hours.

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These are the “rolling hills”  of Mt. Trashmore.  We were the lucky ducks today who got to see the grass being cut “up high!”  Library stop, puzzles, book reading, and some coloring with markers with crayons rounded out our morning.  I hear a cold front is on its way to us!  Hip Hip Hooray!  I never thought I’d say that but melting in the shade while you watch your kid fun around at 10 in the morning is never quite relaxing.  Have fun!

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Compulsive by Nature for Nature?

Hi Friends!  As you may (or may not) know, we are apartment dwellers now.  This is *hopefully* just a short interlude for us as we have made an offer on a short sale that most likely will not be very short.  It is totally out of our hands now, but we have faith that we made the right choice in selling our sweet, first home and making an offer on a home we can hopefully be in for quite some time.  Anywho, apartment life or perhaps just the idea of it has made me hyper (well, I’m always hyper) concerned about how in the world we are going to get outside time!!!!  I’m developing a good case of we-must-get-outside-every-day-ness.  Such heights as this can only be compared to my obsession with a “green” vegetable at every lunch and dinner (no, I don’t have a thing against carrots or cauliflower just not my perceived notion of what constitutes the superior vegetable).  After lots of chores around our place today, we finally managed to throw on some duds and head to a different spot in the same park we went yesterday, First Landing.  This time, we were on the portion closer to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.  I think this side is possibly more interesting due to the little hills along the trails and since we don’t visit as much.  Holden enjoyed himself again!  Big surprise.  I think his favorite was going up the hill and then toddler running down.  

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He’s almost as agile as a little mountain goat!  We gathered up some unidentified nuts, sorted through rocks, and talked about why we should eat the red berries that are for the birdies (not people or Roscoe, for that matter).  If you’re looking for an easy way to feel like you’re doing the right thing as a parent, just take your kid outside.  Not the outside like “Let me stick you on some playground equipment and check my email/Instagram/Facebook.”  Now, I agree that good enough is good enough sometimes.  Sometimes, any fresh air will have to do even if it is just a walk around a few city blocks.  I admit to checking my social media and email and what not, but what Holden gets and what I get out of actually being out in nature without distractions and exploring together is so much greater.  Times like these help me to press the reset button and remind me of what my focus is and always should be.  Not who is doing what elsewhere.  What my child is discovering right in front of me.  

What are your favorite outside activities? 

Best kid-friendly options?

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Moving 101

Hey There!  Today marks the calm before the storm in our move-out-of-house-into-apartment project.  Holden and I have a brief reprieve this evening, so we are going to make the most of it with a walk, some coloring, dinner, and books.  Tomorrow night is all business.  The icky kind of business that involves reorganizing (I thought we were done!) the storage unit to accommodate more of the items that won’t fit in our urban paradise aka our apartment home.  I know all this will be worth it when we are eventually in our home home.  We are in the process of buying a home????  Basically, we put an offer on a short sale, so it will be several more weeks before we hear back if we got it.  Oh the anticipation!  The apartment home is our “for now home.”  It is a super swanky apartment complex that I personally feel is a mismatch for me/us.  However, I’m sure there will be parts of it I’ll love (hello 2nd bathroom and trash chute!) and parts I hate (parking garage + elevator + hall = how far we will have to trek with our grocery bags!).  Internet will be a thing of the past until we get a modem (what the world…) to plug up in our new abode.  Here’s a few pics of the process…

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My big boy with his big boy hair cut done by moi!

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Escaping the craziness for a bit at the library…

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Holden playing in our empty kitchen cabinets

Through this process, I’ve learned some lessons about moving…

  1. It is more work than I thought.
  2. It is stressful!  And stress and me do NOT get along.
  3. It is more expensive than I even imagined.
  4. I truly realized that I have a lot of extra “stuff” that I do not use!  What in the world am I keeping all this “stuff” for!!!!
  5. Little boys are amused by anything.  Handy when you’re packing!  He loves boxes, empty cabinets, kitchen utensils…
  6. My husband is seriously the hardest working man I know.  Wow.
  7. I always need more boxes.
  8. At some point, I just have to throw it in a box or throw something period.
  9. We have a ridiculous amount of places to change our address.
  10. I shouldn’t have packed all the soap and all the plastic bags when we still had a full week to be at home.  Yikes!

3 days until move out/move in!

The Ever Changing Toddler Boy

Whew!  I, for one, am glad to say it’s Sunday night.  Typically, I’m bemoaning the end of another blissful weekend.  This weekend, although it had it’s moments of fun and family time, definitely stretched me a little thin.  Holden and I did a whirlwind grocery trip to Trader Joe’s and Petsmart on a nice and toasty Friday afternoon,  Then, we had to get all our items packed up to go to see family in Staunton, Virginia.  I absolutely love visiting with family (Jake and mine), but it does require preparation, flexibility, and patience.  I confess that I can handle the prep but the flexibility and patience are both challenges for me.  We left oh-so-bright-and-early on Saturday, and we were quickly reminded how our little baby is growing up into a big boy.  This big boy thinks it is absolutely a crazy idea to sleep AT ALL in the car on road trips despite the fact that we woke him up about an hour earlier than he would typically get up.  He chatted us up with statements and questions the whole way.  🙂  Once we arrived, it was all worth the prep to get to see those we don’t meet up with very often.  The sweet playground and duck pond were just icing on the cake!  I even got a run in on the “hilly” in my eyes land of Staunton with a rough estimate of 4.5 miles.  Fast forward to dinner, and you would see us trying to figure out why in the world our eat-anything-boy would not have a bite.  We quickly found out it was due to his upset tummy from a lingering stomach bug earlier in the week.  This whole event then became the up all night game.  We tried cuddling, rocking, letting him (gasp!) cry it out.  EVERYTHING!  He told us “go home in mommy’s car with dada.”  Our little man was homesick!  Then, he was just sick all together, and you can guess what came “up” next.  

Our little boy is changing.  He’s becoming more sensitive, more opinionated, more independent, more insistent, more stubborn/determined (depending on how you look at it!).  He’s still our little boy, just coming into his own and trying to figure out his place in this world.  

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Have a wonderful week!  I can feel spring in the air, just happens to be icy rain as well!

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Snow Day Activities for a Toddler

Greetings from Snowland!

Mother Nature dumped 8-ish inches of powder on us last night.  Therefore, I’m happily typing from home while the little, busy guy is napping.  I confess that I absolutely adore being home with H in the summer (I’m a teacher!), but being home with him on snow days can get tricky.  The thing is he loves to go…go outside…go to the store…go to the beach…go to see family…just as long as he is going all is well in the world.  Favorite phrase right now is “I go in Daddy’s truck!”  Seriously, he just wants to go.  Snow days aren’t a good match for a toddler who likes to go.  Our current snow is too deep for him to even walk in.  Plus, the temps are so crazy low that he can’t really stay outside for too long.  So, what are we to do?  Watch countless hours of TV?  No, H is not a fan nor am I.  Play quietly in our room for hours on end?  No, not happening.  Lose our minds and run around like crazy people inside our house?  Maybe…but only after we’ve finished everything else on our “Snow Do” list.

Snow Do List:

read books

build a blanket tunnel (using coffee table and sofa)

play outside in small increments of time

go for a wagon walk

cook up something delicious (we’re making fruit pizzas later today- recipe here)

paint/color/something artsy

long bubble bath with various cups and kitchen tools to make it novel and fun

Youtube some Elmo videos – H’s favorite

Just a few ideas to stop the insanity.  Holden is a great little helper, so I also will have him “help” me put away clothes or even dust/vacuum.  He has his own feather duster that he likes to use.  Plus, he likes to hold the vacuum cleaner attachments.  I’m thinking some cleaning work is in our future if we’re off from school tomorrow too.  It is certainly looking that way!  Check out these snow days pics!

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Hope you’re able to enjoy your snow day at home (if you have one!).

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