The Adventure Starts Here

Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  Chris took the day off and we are spending the day at the beach with some friends.  I am really enjoying summer and love that we are only an hour away from the beach and can do these day trips!  I haven't done a traditional "Friday post" in a while, so I thought today would be the perfect time to share some randomness with you!  Have a great weekend :)


The pool!  We live in a neighborhood that has single family homes, duplexes, and condos.  We are all part of the association, but the involvement varies depending on what type of house you own.  Since we live in a single family home, we are responsible for all maintenance.  But we do still have to pay an association fee, which goes towards the neighborhood pool.  The thing is, even if you don't use the pool, you still have to pay for it.  The pool really is nice, but it's just a big pool and baby pool.  On top of that, they are rather strict with their rules and very limiting when it comes to guests.  We would have loved to bring my brother and his family to go swimming, but they wouldn't let us... which is especially frustrating when the pool is absolutely empty!  

This summer, we've been very fortunate to be invited by our friends to the town pool on many occasions.  Noah and I have gone a lot during the week and Chris has come with us twice on the weekends.  These visits made us really want to join!   In the big pool, they have a large 2 1/2 feet section that is perfect for Noah to play in.  He is able to stand, walk around, and swim without us getting nervous of him going under.  Then there's the huge kid section with slides, spray grounds, and a training pool.  I'm also a huge fan of their snack shack where the food is remarkably good and affordable!   But the best part is how many of Noah's friends belong to the pool.  While we often go as guests with our friends, we always see some of Noah's other friends there as well.  

We had planned to join next summer, but then we found out that they were offering an "August membership" and decided to do it now rather than wait for next year.   I think we will be spending a lot of our August at the pool!

Underwater photos taken with my Nikon Coolpix AW130


A Daddy Noah date!  On our bucket list, was for Chris and Noah to have a little Daddy Noah date.  We decided last Saturday would be a good time for them to do it.  The plan was for them to go out for pizza and ice cream and then go to the playground.  But when the time came, Noah wanted to do the playground first and said he wanted to get the pizza to bring home and didn't want ice cream.  I was shocked!  When they were home within the hour, I was even more surprised at how short this daddy son date turned out... talk about disappointment.  At least they hung out together on their iphone/ipad?  


Noah got another Octonauts tee shirt!  Noah loves to wear graphic tees of his current obsessions, and Octonauts is one of his favorite things at the moment!  But it's really hard to find Octonauts shirts!  So we asked our friend, Ken, to make Noah a second Octonauts shirt.  He made Noah his first one back in May.  This time we asked our friend to make one with all the Octonauts characters on it... and it turned out great!  Noah was so excited and asked to wear it right away :)


Flow, otherwise known as my newest obsession!  While Noah is really into Octonauts, I'm loving this new to me app/game.  My mom and nephew introduced it to me and I was hooked right away!  I'm a huge fan of puzzles and games that make you think.  Noah likes doing the easy levels while I've moved onto the harder ones, and even got the paid version so I'd have even more puzzles!


Lowe's Build and Grow - The Avengers!  This summer, Lowes is doing a superhero Avengers theme.  So far we've done three of the projects this summer... Captain America, Iron Man, and Falcon.  Noah is really into superheroes right now and I love watching him get excited to build the projects.  Tomorrow we get to build Thor and then it's just Black Widow and Hulk before our superhero collection will be complete! 

I'm linking up with The Farmer's Wife and September Farm for "Oh Hey Friday" and with A. Liz Adventures for "Five on Friday"!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Organizing the Artwork

If you read my blog on a regular (or even semi regular) basis, you know that we do a lot of crafts.  In addition to all the artwork Noah creates at home, he's now started bringing even more home from school and camp.  While I hang most of it up on our basement and pantry doors (in our kitchen), I physically don't have the space to display all of it forever.  That's when I knew I had to come up with a plan!

I decided early on that I did not want the clutter involved in keeping every piece or artwork that Noah makes.  But that doesn't mean I don't want to remember it all.   So instead, I decided to take photos of his creations with the intention of making a book of his many masterpieces!  Here are 4 simple steps to help manage the artwork that comes with a preschooler!  

1.  Take lots of photos! 

Since I share many of our craft projects on the blog, this part has become rather natural.  In addition to photographing the finished product, I also like to document the process... Noah painting, coloring, cutting, etc.   The crafts that I plan out ahead of time are shared on the blog, and therefore obviously well photographed.  I also photograph the "real" art projects (more than just a drawing or coloring page) that Noah brings home from school.  Instead of taking photos every time he brings something home, I keep a pile of them and then photograph a big batch every few weeks.  As for the hundreds of drawings that Noah creates on a daily basis, I am a little more selective in what I choose to keep for prosperity.  For example, I photographed Noah's first ever drawing he made at school, something that shows his awesome scissor skills, and when he started getting good at writing his letters.  I also photograph any paintings he makes that actually resemble something rather than just an abstract mess.   I even take photos of some of his play-doh creations that I find to be extra creative!  The promise of a photo is also how I get Noah to clean up his projects before the play-doh hardens.  

As for photographing the actual craft, I like to have a consistent background.  So I make sure to photograph them all on Noah's white table, with the overhead lights off, and natural light coming in through the sliding doors to my deck.   I find my pages look better with the white backgrounds.      

2.  Organize the photos

I upload all my photos into Photos on my MacBook Pro.  I created an "album" so all my craft photos are in one convenient location.    

3.  Create a book 

Now that all my photos are in one place, I simply upload them to the Chatbooks website and make my book.  I love the idea of an art book because I can flip through it at any time and it barely takes up any space on my bookshelf!  I usually make my photo albums on Shutterfly, but for this project I decided to try out Chatbooks.  I liked the idea of a smaller, 6x6 book and figured it was worth a try to see if I liked the quality.  While I prefer hard cover books for my family photo albums, I really liked the soft cover for Noah's artwork.  So far I've made a book with all of the art projects Noah made his first year in preschool.  At the end of the year I plan to make another book with all the art projects we've made at home in 2015 and 2016.  

4.  Toss (most of) the originals in the garbage

Once all my photos are photographed and in a book, I start throwing out the physical pieces.  I know some people have a hard time throwing them out, but I'm honestly okay with it.  I do however throw them out when Noah isn't around, cause I really don't know how Noah would feel about it.  Before you think I'm heartless, I do keep a few for sentimental reasons.  I have a document box that I keep in my office that stores all of the super special creations I just can't bear to part with.  

How do you manage all the artwork?  Are you eager to throw them out or do you like to save it all?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Day in the Life | Summer Edition

I'm back today with another "A Day In The Life" posts. I decided I wanted to do these quarterly to really see how our lives change throughout the year. I love reading other posts just like this, maybe it's because I'm naturally curious, or nosey! Hopefully you enjoy reading these kinds of posts as well :) You can see all of my "A Day in the Life" posts here

Today is Wednesday, July 13, 2016. Chris is 38, I am 32, and Noah is 3 1/2 years old.

7am... my alarm goes off.  Normally I don't use an alarm and let Noah wake up on his own, but since we have camp every day this week, I don't want to risk sleeping in too late.  Noah is still asleep, so I read some emails and catch up on a few blogs. 

7:15... Noah stirs and asks for me to snuggle with him.  He falls back to sleep.  I roll away and continue reading blogs. 

7:50... I finally get up and start getting ready.  Since I showered last night, I just need to fix my hair and put some makeup on before getting dressed.  While I'm doing this, Noah wakes up.  

8:25... we are downstairs, eating yogurt for breakfast.  

8:41... it's "Water Day" at Dino Camp, so Noah gets to wear his swim suit.  While he puts his shoes on, I make sure I have his towel and change of clothes packed.  Many mornings he seems to take forever in these last steps of going to the bathroom, doing his hair, and putting his shoes on, but this morning he's doing a good job and we get out the door fairly quickly.  

9am... drop Noah off at camp.  He barely even says goodbye to me and is excited to go in and play with play-doh!  

9:23... I'm back home, on my laptop while catching up on a few shows.  Noah is good at running errands and entertaining himself while I clean, so this week while he was at camp, I decided to do things that I can't really do while he's at home... catch up on all my computer stuff.  I make yearly photo albums using the digital Project Life products.  I make weekly pages about our family and monthly pages for a "Noah" book.  I will keep the family albums and Noah will get to take his own albums when he moves out.  Recently I've gotten a little behind on Noah's album, so I spent Noah's camp time catching up!  I also watched Pretty Little Liars and Fixer Upper :)

11:55... back at Noah's camp to pick him up.  He had another great day at camp!  His teacher told me that his nail was looking weird and that Noah had complained it was hurting, so she gave him a bandaid.  I knew his nails were looking odd (a few were peeling off around the cuticle area), but since it was now bothering Noah, I decided to call the doctor.  They told me to bring him in for 2:40.  We head home, have a quick lunch, and then we head out to the grocery store.  We were really running low on a few of our favorites and needed to restock or produce!  

1:49... We made it home just before the rain started.  Noah played while I put all the groceries away.  

2:03... put our dinner in the crockpot.  I had planned to put it in earlier in the morning (set to low) but then realized I didn't have the salsa.  So I picked some up at the grocery store and set the crockpot to high instead.  

2:20... leave for the doctor and arrive right at 2:40 for our appointment.  Noah keeps asking when it's his turn.  When we are still waiting at 3, the nurse asks if we'd rather see the nurse practitioner since our doctor is very behind schedule.  I agree since Noah's funky nails aren't really that serious anyway... I figure the N.P. can handle it ;)  

3:25... I think we were in the waiting room longer than we were the exam room.  It turns out that Noah's peeling nails are a side effect of the coxsackie Noah had back at the end of May.  Apparently 4% of kids who get the virus also get peeling skin and nails.  Noah already had the peeling skin about a month ago and now is lucky enough to get the peeling nails as well.  She said it's no cause for concern but to watch that the dead nail doesn't catch on anything to pull it off too soon.  And if it starts to look infected to bring him in.  Otherwise, it's just a waiting game for them to grow out and the new nail to take it's place.  

4:03... Noah fell asleep in the car but woke up as soon as I carried him in (it had started to rain).  Since he had a busy day so far, I let him just hang out and watch a little iPad.  I hate to admit that Noah watches more iPad than he should.  Meanwhile, I did some laundry and watched some more Fixer Upper :)

6 pm... the dinner I'm making won't be ready for a bit longer, and he's getting hungry.  And let's be honest, he probably wouldn't have wanted what I made anyway.  So instead, I offered him a hard boiled egg and some fruit and veggies.  

6:35... the crockpot chicken is ready.  I love these simple kind of meals... just chicken breasts, a jar of salsa, and a packet of taco seasoning into the crockpot for 4-6 hours on high (or 6-8 hours on low), shredded, and then served however you like.  I chose to eat mine in a tortilla wrap with some sour cream.  And the best part... I was able to leave the rest of the chicken warming in the crockpot for Chris to have when he got home.  

6:51... on our way up for bath, I just happened to look outside and spot these wild turkeys in my backyard.  That's a mama turkey and her 10! babies.  I've seen the mama turkey before but this is the first time I've seen so many babies!  While we often see squirrels and the occasional bunny, this year we've seen so much wildlife walk through our backyard.  First we had the bear, we have twice as many squirrels playing in our yard this year, then I spotted a chipmunk who must be living in my side yard, and now these turkeys... we have a wild menagerie of animals!  

7:03... time for bath!  Noah put up a fight at first, then compromised on a super quick bath, which then lead to a long bath filled with lots of playing and practicing his floating.  It always cracks me up how he says he doesn't want a bath and most times ends up loving it!  

7:28... time for books.  Teeth have been brushed and pjs and pull up are on.  I read Noah a few books and then Noah "reads" me Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  Chris and I both love listening to him read this book to us.  It gives me a glimpse into our future when he will actually be reading books to us!

7:30... Chris comes home and quickly eats dinner while I finish reading to Noah.  He then comes upstairs to watch a few iPad shows with Noah before bed.  While they do that, I take a quick shower.  

8:30... I kick Chris out so Noah can go to sleep.  While I wish they could have more time together at night, Noah needs to get to bed!  Noah and I chat about our day, I ask him what his favorite part was, and we discuss what we are going to do tomorrow.  As usual, he tries to negotiate more iPad and delay bedtime, but I tell him to close his eyes, stop talking, and try to fall asleep for 5 minutes.  As always, he falls fast asleep!  

9:15... I go blow dry my hair and get ready for bed.  I do a little work on my computer, and then off to bed myself.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Mommy Style

While I've recently shared a few fashion posts, it's been about a month since I shared some of my everyday outfits.  While my style is pretty casual by nature, there are days where my outfits don't even seem worthy to photograph.  But when a fellow mom commented that she liked my dress at camp drop off (it was just a t-shirt dress), I figured why shouldn't I share those simpler outfits as well.  I know I love seeing what other women actually wear on a daily basis and not just when they are dressing up to go somewhere.   So here we go...

To the Carnival...

You've already seen parts of this outfit from my carnival post, but here's a full view of it.  I am so bummed that these shorts are no longer available on Gap's website, but they do still have other drawstring versions... and who doesn't like an elastic waist???  And while I love this shirt, I have to admit I was a little hesitant wearing it when Chris' first comment to me when seeing my outfit was, "are we going to a hoedown?".  

top | shorts - I ordered Tall for extra length (no longer available on Gap online, similar)
sandals (in black) | bracelets | sunglasses | cross body (in brown)

Father's Day BBQ...

I really love this embroidered dress from Old Navy.  I prefer extra length in my shorts and dresses, so I once again ordered this in Tall.  Often when I order Tall dresses, I have to go down a size, as was the case with this dress.

dress (I'm usually a large, but ordered a tall medium for length) | sandals (in black) | 
bracelets (and the white are on sale!) | sunglasses

Hanging around...

Here's an example of an outfit I wouldn't normally think to photograph.  A t-shirt and jean shorts really isn't special.  But in reality, this is what you can often find me wearing during the week when Noah and I don't have any real plans.  

tee (old JCrew, similar) | shorts (similar)

A hot afternoon with family...

While this outfit seems a little fancier than the one I just shared, it was just as simple and comfortable to throw on.  But the detailing in the top and the bright shorts just makes it look a little more put together.  Just another example of why I like colored shorts!

top | shorts (similar, similar) | sandals (in black) | bracelets 

A cooler Saturday morning out...

When Noah's cousins were here, we had a week full of hot weather!  But Saturday came and it was positively chilly (in the low 70s).  Since our plans were indoors (Lowes Build and Grow, the bookstore, and lunch), I figured why not wear jeans instead of shorts.  I'm in love with this peplum top and can't wait to wear it again!

top | jeans | bracelets (and the white are on sale!)

A simple dress...

I am such a fan of this cut dress.  Loft keeps making this dress in new prints every year and I keep buying it!  This print was actually from last summer, and while I bought a new print a few months ago, they already have a new version of it on their website.  I'm definitely tempted!

dress (same style, new print)

A birthday party...

Here's that same "hoedown" shirt again ;)  This time I paired it with a black maxi skirt and got a totally new look.  I'm also excited to pair it with white jeans for a dinner out for a another look!  

top | skirt (similar) | sandals (in black) | bracelets (and the white are on sale!) | sunglasses

A day at Sesame Place...

We seem to keep going to Sesame Place when it's ridiculously hot out!  This time, I chose some comfortable drawstring shorts, a simple tank, and some slip on sneakers.  While not my most stylish outfit, it served it's purpose for comfort.  And you better believe my hair when in a top knot within 2 minutes of being there!  

tank | shorts (similar) | sunglasses | bracelets | watch (old Marc Jacobs, cheaper option) | slip on sneakers

A day at the pool or beach...

I've worn this maxi dress a few times this summer.  I love it's flowy style and how easily I can pull it on over my bathing suit.   For any nursing mamas out there, the wide neck would be perfect for easy access!  

dress | sandals (in black) | sunglasses

*affiliate links used

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Night of Baseball

Last weekend, we went with our friends to a minor league baseball game.  Our local team really isn't very good.  They aren't affiliated with a major league team and I'm not sure they are even in a real division.  So going to the games really doesn't have much to do with seeing good baseball, at least that's how I feel.  It's more about spending the evening outside and eating the typical ball game food.  The fact that there's a baseball game going on is just kind of background entertainment.  We chose a 5:05 game so that it wasn't too hot but also wasn't too late for the kids.  We lucked out and had some pretty ideal weather for our night of baseball!

To be honest, Noah wasn't that excited to go at first.  But he warmed up to the idea when he knew his best bud was going to be there and we told him he could get cotton candy, which he calls "cotton and candy".  Noah just recently saw the movie "Planes: Fire and Rescue" and was so excited to bring his two new planes to the game with us.  The boys were way more interested in playing with them than watching the game.  I do however wish I had 3 of them so that there wasn't the issue of sharing with our friend's younger sister.  

We had taken Noah to his first minor league game two summers ago.  Looking back at those photos, Noah looks so tiny!  He wasn't even 2 yet and he was positively scared of the mascots.  Thankfully Noah has gotten over that fear and was even interested in getting a photo with the bear this time.  

^^^ I can't help but laugh at this group photo... sometimes this is the best you can get with 3 kids!

You may think I'm exaggerating when I say our team isn't good.  But honestly, they only got 1 hit the entire game!  While that's not so good for the team, it was good for us since it made the game go by fairly quickly.  On this particular night, after the game was over, the kids were invited to go onto the field to run the bases.  While the boys weren't very interested in watching the game, they were excited about the idea of running the bases.  We knew the kids' interest wouldn't last long, so we were cautiously optimistic that they would make it through the entire game.  There were a few times that we had to remind them to behave if they wanted to stay, but all things considering, they did well.  I'm so glad it all worked out!   Chris is used to major league games where only the kids are allowed on the field to run the bases.  So we were pleasantly surprised when we were allowed to go down as well.  I honestly don't know if Noah would have done it on his own.  And now I can say I've done it too :)

^^^ I wasn't prepared for having to explain to Noah why the flag was at half mast :(

Do you have a minor league team in your town?  Have you or your kids ever run the bases?  
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