The Adventure Starts Here: April 2016

Friday, April 29, 2016

Five on Friday

Another week has come and gone!  Can you believe that it will be May on Sunday!?!  It's so true that as soon as the weather gets better that time just flies!  And while May has just started, I feel like it's already gone since we basically have every weekend already planned.  Since we know we are going to be super busy, we've decided to take it easy this weekend and work around the house.  We need to power wash our deck (that pollen is no joke!), try out our new lawn mower, and just do some spring cleaning.  I also hope to squeeze in some family walks and maybe even a trip to the playground :)  Hope you have a wonderful weekend and enjoy my Five on Friday...


In case you missed any of my posts this week, here's a recap... 


This week there were some really great posts published in the blogging world!  It was really hard to narrow it down to just a few, but these 4 really spoke to me this week.  I'm always looking for new ways to be more organized, so Leah and Megan's posts came at the perfect time.  I love the idea of spending time on Sunday to plan for the week and the idea of prioritizing one thing you want to get done each day.  I also loved the list Leah came up with and it really reminded me I have to get my butt in gear!  I also loved the kid-approved meals that Colleen shared.  Noah's eating habits are hit or miss.  When he's going through an "eating phase", he eats well, but there are times when it's really hard to get him to eat.  That's why making it fun is really key!  And finally, I recently found Meg O's blog and I'm loving all her makeup tips and tutorials.  I just recently picked up this concealer based on her recommendation and love it!

Meet the Sullivans - 15 Kid-Approved Meals on a Stick
Meg O. on the Go - The Best Drugstore Concealers


Ok, I'm gonna do a little mommy style bragging.  Noah has always been into doing crafts, but just recently he's started showing interest in writing his letters.  We've worked on the alphabet, but never really pushed the whole writing thing since he's still so young.  But now he's recognizing letters everywhere we go, asking how to spell things, and how to write them.  It started in the bathtub with his bath crayons and then graduated to regular paper and crayon.  He's mastered writing his name and every day he shocks me at all the new letters he knows.  He told me that they do it in school, but when I asked his teacher she told me otherwise.  Though she did say that Noah is able to write his name independently and has also noticed that he appears to be a committed lefty.  


Not only are we constantly drawing pictures and coming up with new words to write, we've taken it outside.  Up until a few weeks ago, we just had a few colors of the Target dollar spot chalk.  I kept seeing people post pictures of these amazing sidewalk chalk creations.  And while our art skills haven't improved, we now at least have more colors to work.  I'm in love with this huge box of Crayola chalk... they don't roll away and the colors are so vibrant!  I see us spending many afternoons out on our driveway :)


And now to announce a new link-up...

As a blogger it's imperative that new content is created or else be left in the dust (or at least that's how it feels.) But what about all the other posts that didn't get noticed or were not as well received as you had hoped? Well, not to worry, because we have got you and your older content covered: introducing the Rewind Friday link up! The link up to share your favorite overlooked content and get some fresh eyes and new love on them. Join Beth, Whitney, Stephanie and myself the last Friday of every month. Our first link up will be on Friday, May 27th

And if you're a planner like I am, you can mark your calendars for the rest of the year: 
June 24th | July 29th | August 26th | September 30th
October 28th | November 25th | December 30th

And there's more! Each month we will feature the bloggers with the most clicked links, perpetuating even more views! Win-win!

Stephanie Wife Mommy Me
Whitney Work it Mommy

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"!

*affiliate links used

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Guys Behind the Blog | April 2016

I'm back again today with another installment of "The Guys Behind the Blog". I love that each month I get to interview both Chris (here) and Noah (with our new "The Kids Behind the Blog" link up.)   

This month, Betsy and Laura came up with some pretty nostalgic questions.  While none of Chris' answers surprised me, they really remind me of what a great man, husband, and father he is!  

1. In what ways are you the same as your childhood self?
I love playing outside whether it's with sporting equipment or on a playground, etc

2. What does family mean to you?
Family is togetherness and fun and love.

3. How would your family or closest friends describe you?
They'd describe me as pretty laid back and a fun guy to be around and a great dad/husband/etc.

4. What’s your fondest childhood memory?
Playing baseball and football until 9th grade were my fondest childhood memories. I'd love to put the uniform on and always find my parents and relatives in the crowd.

5. What words of wisdom would pass on to your childhood self?
I'd pass along a word of wisdom to my childhood self to try to have as much fun as possible.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How We Snack - Banana Cream Pie | #SnackAndGo

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SnackAndGo #CollectiveBias

I know I've mentioned it before, but I am so happy that we've finally experienced some warmer weather!  With the warmer temperatures and more hours of sunlight, Noah and I have spent a lot of our days outside playing.  Most of the time we just head over to a playground and meet up with friends.  I quickly realized that my bag, or rather the contents inside, needed to be updated for our new routine.  

Not only did I need to make sure I had a season appropriate change of clothes in the car (just in case), but I also needed to be prepared for being away from the house for hours at a time.  So in addition to filling my bag with the necessities (sunscreen, water, a hat, wipes, etc), I also made sure to stock up on snacks!  I don't know about you, but Noah is the kind of kid who suddenly realizes he's starving as soon as we pull out of the driveway!  So it's crucial that I pack my bag with snacks he can enjoy at the playground or in the car.  That's why I was so excited to find these NABISCO Go-Paks! when I was checking out at Walmart! I picked out a couple of Noah's favorites, NABISCO Go-Paks! Mini NILLA Wafers and NABISCO Go-Paks! CHIPS AHOY! Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies.  The packaging is what sold me... easy for Noah to hold and I can easily pop the lid back on, knowing they won't leak, for him to enjoy later!  

While these NABISCO Go-Paks! are perfect on their own, I just had to take it a step further! I decided to make a super delicious afternoon snack using the NABISCO Go-Paks! Mini NILLA Wafers and just a few extra ingredients. While at Walmart, I picked up some Vanilla Snack Pack® Pudding Cups and some Reddi-wip Original. I am a huge fan of banana cream pie. While I've made them before in mini trifle dishes, I loved the idea of making them in these super convenient snack cups. It's so easy to assemble since the cups are only about half full of product so it's easy to add ingredients to the container. And since the cups are plastic, they won't leak! I simply layered the Mini NILLA Wafers, Vanilla Snack Pack® Pudding, and some fresh sliced bananas. I was able to make 2 layers inside the cup before topping it with some Reddi-wip. Not only is this snack super easy to make, but it's really delicious... and not just for the kids!

Banana Cream Pie
NABISCO Go-Paks! Mini NILLA Wafers
Vanilla Snack Pack® Pudding Cups
Banana - freshly sliced
Reddi-wip Original

Remove half of the NABISCO Go-Paks! Mini NILLA Wafers from the container and save for the second layer.  Then simply layer some Vanilla Snack Pack® Pudding and some fresh sliced bananas on top of the wafers.  Repeat this step again...  you should be able to get 2 complete layers in the cup.  Finish by topping with a squirt of Reddi-wip!  

Next time you are in Walmart, make sure to pick up a few Go-Paks! when checking out. They have so many varieties that you are sure to find a few you love!

NABISCO Go-Paks! TEDDY GRAHAMS Honey Graham Snacks
NABISCO Go-Paks! RITZ Bits Cheese Cracker Sandwiches
NABISCO Go-Paks! Mini NILLA Wafers
NABISCO Go-Paks! Mini OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
NABISCO Go-Paks! CHIPS AHOY! Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies
NABISCO Go-Paks! NUTTER BUTTER Bites Sandwich Cookies
NABISCO Go-Paks! Mini OREO Golden Sandwich Cookies

And since the Go-Paks! are only $1 each, they make a perfect (and affordable) snack to take with you on the go! And for less than $3, you can easily jazz them up as I did with the Banana Cream Pie!

How would you make the GoPaks! extra special???  Head on over here for more inspiration!  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Kid Crafts | Inspired by Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom

We are huge Ben & Holly fans!  I think sometimes that I like Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom even more than Noah does.  Maybe it's because I'm British (just joking, while I was born in England, we moved before I was 2, so I doubt I can consider myself really British), but I just like their humor.  A lot of the voices are the same as Peppa Pig, so if you aren't paying attention you might think you are watching another episode of Peppa... except that the story lines are very different.  In case you've never heard of it, it's about a fairy (Holly) and an elf (Ben) and their families.  They are super tiny and live in a little girl's (Lucy) garden.  My favorite characters are Nanny Plum (Holly's nanny) and the Wise Old Elf (who basically has every job in the book).  Noah originally found the show on YouTube, but since then we've been recording it and watch it often.  

I figured why not use this show as inspiration for some crafts to do with Noah.  First up, we made a "fairy garden".  While you would think fairies would live in these gardens (duh!), we quickly realized ours would be a bit different.  At first I tried to find Ben & Holly figurines, but they seem to only be sold from British companies and I wasn't really in the mood to pay a lot for them.  And I personally had a hard time finding generic, plastic fairies and elves.  So we took some creative license and turned these fairy gardens into a flower gardens filled with Noah's favorite things...

My favorite part of "fairy gardens" is that you have total creative freedom.  Take a trip to the dollar or craft store and grab any little thing that you might find in nature (and even things that don't).  Your options are endless.  While Noah prefers the creepy crawly (snakes, lizards, and bugs), you could also do butterflies and princess type things.

Flower Pot
Random stuff from the dollar store.  We included plastic snakes, bugs, lizards, and dinosaurs, drink umbrellas, mini windmills, rocks/stones, and shells.  Then because Grandma was helping us out with this craft, she also picked up mini Transformers and mini Paw Patrol figurines.  Totally makes sense that Optimus Prime would be living in a fairy garden!!!

Once you have all your goodies, it's all about assembly.  First you fill the flower pots with soil.  I recommend either having a saucer or filling the bottom with rocks first.  You don't want the soil to fall out of the pot, but you also want the pot to drain when you water the flowers.
Just as you would when planting any flower, dig a little hole in the soil and place the flower inside.
Now is the fun part... filling your pot with all the goodies.  The idea is that this is where your little fairy (or Transformer/Paw Patrol pup in Noah's case) lives.  There are really no rules here, just let your child have fun :)

We had enough materials to make multiple gardens, and since Noah was so into doing them, we let him make 3.  We now have them out on our front stoop for all of our guests to admire.  

In Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom, Ben the elf flies around on a lady bug named Gaston.  Since this is a British show, they call it a lady bird, and I secretly love that and want to start calling them that too!  After making our fairy gardens, I thought it would be so fun to make our own little Gaston :)

White card stock (cut into a half circle) or a paper plate (cut in half)
Red tissue paper squares
Black construction paper - cut into 6 legs, circles (for the spots), and the head with antennae
Googly eyes
Crayon (if you want to draw a nose and mouth)

I had Noah cover the white card stock with glue.  Then he just stuck the tissue paper squares all over the body of the ladybug.
Using more glue, he attached the googly eyes to the head and the head to the body.  Then he glued on all the black spots.
I then helped him attach the 6 legs using scotch tape.  While you could use glue, I find that tape just works better for the long haul.
Noah decided his ladybug had to have a nose and mouth, so we grabbed some crayons.

My favorite part was that when he finished the ladybug, Noah wanted to make some mud for it to "sit in".  So he grabbed the brown crayon, colored a piece of paper, and then cut it down to size.  I then helped him tape it to the bottom of the ladybug.  I love that he is so creative!

^^^ "I got glue on my hand, I need a wipe!"... this kid really doesn't like being dirty!

What do you think?  Do you have a favorite kid show???

Monday, April 25, 2016

Mother's Day... What We Really Want

Mother's Day is going to be here before you know it... less than 2 weeks now! And while I could easily come up with a mood board full of pretty things I think most moms would like, I figure there are enough Mother's Day gift guides floating around the blogging and Pinterest world. Instead, I'm going to share some things that we moms actually want. I reached out to some of my blogging friends and asked them, "I know we will love whatever our kids/husbands give us, but what do you actually want??? I'll start... I'd love a cleaning lady.". While all the answers may not be necessarily practical (or within budget), this is what young moms REALLY want... 

Cleaning lady for sure! Or getting my car detailed...I desperately need that! - Natasha @ SchueLove

I'd love spa day - mani/pedi, facial and massage. - Jen @ And Hattie Makes Three

I would love a weekend getaway to the Texas Hill Country! - Crystal @ Hall Around Texas 

A weekend getaway that he plans would be wonderful! We don't get to take a lot of trips as it is, but when we do I'm always the planner. It would be nice to just show up and have it all planned sometime. - Vanessa @ Sunflower State of Mind

I would love to hire a mother's helper for a day. Someone to play and visit with Connor so I could tackle and actually complete a handful of projects around our home. - Stephanie @ Wife Mommy Me

I love the idea of a cleaning lady. I would love one day to do absolutely anything I want it to have a babysitting come over so I could clean, DIY, etc without interruptions. - Jessica @ Secrets of a Stay at Home Mom

A cleaning lady would be amazing. I also want a day where all I have to do is lay in bed and watch Gilmore Girls. - Jess @ Being Mrs. Beer

I'd love to sleep in as long as I want. And also not have to cook a thing! I miss waking up at a time of my choosing. - Courtney @ Sweet Turtle Soup

To sleep in and not have to do the dishes! Like a "one day no adulting" pass. - Whitney @ Work it Mommy

A full day at the spa! Bonus if he plans it with a mommy friend! - Sarah @ Seeing All Sides

Probably to have a spa day where I'd get a massage, a facial, and a mani/pedi and then lay poolside with a cocktail in my hand. Oh and have calories not count also! - Elizabeth @ Chasin Mason

A Day to myself!!! ALL ALONE from morning to bedtime! LOL - Emily @ Dear Owen & Natalie @ East Coast Nat

I'll take the cleaning lady and prepped meals for an entire week! - Leah @ Leah with Love

I am asking for makeup... because my husband thinks you can get new makeup for $10 and I'd be a happier mother if I had new cosmetics.. LOL - Natasha @ Hello Happiness

Meal prep foooooor sure! - Ashley @ Being Brickner

I would love a day of surprises with clues -- or a plane ticket to Maui. - Laura @ Happily Ever Parker

A cleaning lady, hands down! I'd take a weekend trip to wine country as a back-up though. - Desiree @ Mack Monologues

Pampering, shopping, and all the cooking and cleaning done for me!! - Laureen @ Chateau Deveau

A cleaning lady and day alone! Also, someone to grocery shop for me, someone to stalk my freezer with meals. Someone to clean out my closet and be my personal shopper. A day at the spa. - Julie @ The Girl in the Red Shoes

My gifts would be really random. Like several boxes of ammo and a trip to the shooting range. I also don't want to cook a single thing that day or referee a single disagreement that the girls have. There MUST be ice cream and a guilt free shopping trip would be a welcome addition too. - Beth @ Our Pretty Little Girls

I love the idea of a spa day...with a mommy friend...and champagne...and a cleaning lady to deep clean the house while I'm there. - Sara @ Running from the Law

I am loving all the answers, and realized that we all want some time alone where we don't have our regular mommy responsibilities ;)  But if all else fails, just stick with jewelry and something personalized.  I for one would love to get one of these personalized bracelets from Made by Mary's Etsy shop.  I would love to get one in rose gold with Noah's name on it, wink wink ;)  

But in all seriousness, Chris and Noah are really good at making me feel super special and loved on Mother's Day.  Our tradition involves going out to breakfast just the three of us.  And flowers, cards, and something homemade are usually part of the holiday too... I love it!

Now it's your turn... what do you ACTUALLY want for Mother's Day???

Friday, April 22, 2016

Happy Earth Day | Spending our days outside!

Happy Earth Day! Earth Day was started to motivate people to action regarding environment issues.  While I'm all for making our Earth a better place, we personally celebrate the day by being outside and enjoying nature.  While we do recycle, I know there is so much more we could be doing.  All I have to do is ask my younger brother, who has drastically reduced his carbon footprint, and he could give me a million ways I could do more!  I honestly don't know how he does it!  But back to enjoying the great outdoors.  We have been fortunate enough to have had beautiful weather the past 2 weeks.   We've taken advantage of it by making daily trips to our neighborhood playground and spent most of our weekend outside!  

On Sunday, we were lucky enough to have a sunny day in the mid 70s.  Before knowing how beautiful it would be, we had planned to go to the zoo as a family.  While I have taken Noah many times (we have a membership), Chris hasn't been with us since Noah was a baby.  With the beautiful weather, we knew the zoo would be a popular destination.  We got there right as it opened and while it was busier than our usual weekday visits, it wasn't that bad.  The countless field trips can definitely be worse!  This zoo isn't large by any means and doesn't really have all the typical zoo animals.  But it is still fun to walk around looking at all the animals.  We usually go on the train and the carousel, but for some reason Noah had no interest in either this visit (Chris was seriously bummed).  

dress | vest - in khakisimilar | sneakers - in ivory and navy (another great option) | necklace - similar | bracelets
Noah's shirt

Noah showing the penguins his new penguin stuffed animal

Even though many of the animals were sleeping, we still had a good time.  While Noah was excited to see the goats and for Chris to feed them, he had no desire in doing it himself.  I think he was most disappointed that the mountain lions and wolves were sleeping.  Usually they are walking back and forth and its fun to watch through the glass.  The kangaroos, birds, and butterflies weren't even out yet... I guess it still isn't warm enough for them.  We did however enjoy watching the sea otters swim around and be fed.  

howling and showing the sleeping wolves his wolf stuffed animal

Noah lost interest in the zoo sooner than we expected and would have liked.  We told him we could go home but that we weren't wasting this beautiful day playing inside.  After a quick car nap, he snapped out of whatever mood he was in, and was happy to play outside and do some gardening the rest of the afternoon.  He was so excited to help Chris plant our daffodils and tulips.  They had just recently watched an Axel Show where they used a dump truck to help garden, so Chris and Noah had to do the same!  While our hoses are now all set up, they weren't on Sunday.  So Noah and I made plenty of trips inside to fill up our watering cans so we could water all of our pretty flowers.  Then it was time to plant our vegetable seeds.  While they will eventually be moved out to our raised beds, we are starting our seeds inside.  Noah loved guessing if each seed was going to be big or small.  He's most excited about the cucumbers, carrots, and summer squash :)  We finished our afternoon outside with some chalk art. Noah really loves to color and draw pictures inside, so I was excited that he got really into drawing all over the driveway as well.  We even taught him how to play hopscotch.  He can't really hop on one foot yet, but it was adorable to watch him hopping and counting from square to square :)

shorts | shirt - solid | sandals - similar 
Noah's apron and gloves are from the Target dollar section | Mickey watering can
Chris' shirt is from Costco of all places!

Today we will be spending the entire day outside... as long as the rain holds off.  Noah has a makeup soccer class this morning, then a play date at the park, and then it's off to a MOMS Club activity.  In honor of Earth Day, we are meeting at a playground and the kids are painting some flower pots.  I'm really excited to start our weekend outside!

Do you have any plans for Earth Day???
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