Friday, July 29, 2016

The Friday Five!

I know it's summer and we all spent a serious portion of the rest of this year complaining about how cold it was, but HOLY H it has been obnoxiously hot in D.C. this week. The kids have been in camp, which is good because it's forced them to get out of the house when I think we'd otherwise all just lay on the floor whining. But it's still been pretty miserable and they've been so exhausted when I pick them up that we haven't been up to much. Here's what we managed to fit in ....

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Making -- I wasn't kidding when I said we were obsessed with this painting technique. We can't stop!

Wanting -- We're starting to think about packing for our upcoming trip and since I've been using Cam's cosmetic bags as my own recently, it's time for me to grow up. But that's bananas, so I want this cosmetic case.

Reading -- Since we're headed to Scotland soon, we just started Treasure Island. I love listening to all these classics with the kids.

Cooking -- I really do not like cooking fish at home. I find it so hard to make it taste not, well, fishy. Plus the kids are great eaters, but they won't eat cooked fish. I am a stickler at mealtime, but after the third or fourth time one of them puked when we had fish, I decided it wasn't worth it. So it almost always mean I have to make two things. But I LOVED this grilled salmon recipe. It's not super clean (it has wine and sugar in the marinade) but if it means I eat more fish, I'll do it.

Playing -- I finally took Cam to spend her Claire's gift card last Friday which forced us to go to the mall. I seriously perform extreme feats to avoid malls, especially with the kids. But while we were there, we popped into a game store to pick up something for Kane. They wanted all the things, of course, but Kane settled on Longhorn in anticipation of increased indoor time. Only two people can play at a time, so Cam and I teamed up, but they picked the strategy up right away and loved it!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Blow Painting

Blow painting certainly isn't an original art project—I've seen it all over the interwebs and art books. And there are absolutely more involved projects based on the simple premise (we've got some in the works!). But we finally got around to trying blow painting and so loved the process and results of the basic project that I had to share.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Take a Hike!

I've written a few times about what big fans we all are of Andrew Clements' books. We've listened to them exclusively on audiobook and he always has great narrators. Frindle had us all sitting outside our house just to finish another chapter. And A Week in the Woods was no different. Narrated by Ron Livingston, A Week in the Woods tells the tale of a boarding school boy searching for his place at home and in life. He gets serious about camping in advance of a school trip and learns all about survival gear. Kane and Cam LOVED it and wanted to set off right away with bear sticks and heat reflective emergency blankets. But before we dove headfirst into serious gear (because I'd never do that, uhemm uhemm), I thought The Land of Nod's Great Adventure Kit would be a good intro to the world of survival gear. Head over to Honest to Nod to see if they agreed!!

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Friday, July 22, 2016

The Friday Five!

I'm beyond excited that it's Friday and we can knock this week off. I decline to share the details because I'm ignoring them. Instead, here are a few good things we were up to ....

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Reading -- I spent my spare time cleaning up after the storm this week so no new books for me. But Kane started a new audiobook series, which promises to be a mix between The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. He's already on the second book, so I'd say it's a winner. 

Making -- Cam got this great embroidery kit for her birthday and has been all about it this week. She still needs a little help, but can do a lot by herself. 

Playing -- the Pokemon madness continued with me finally acquiescing in the kids' never ending requests to get real Pokemon cards. I refuse to figure out what any of it is, so they bought a starter set and got to business. 

Cooking --my Whole30, on which I was doing SO well, took off when the storm madness hit. I'm still trying to keep it as clean as possible though and this was a big winner for the whole fam. 

Wanting -- since we have to do some work at the house we are weighing our options of a partial or complete redo of the master bath. I want gold + marble. Something a little more sleek than this, but similar. I'm pretty sure we're going to put it off, but a girl can dream. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fave Kids Sheet Sets

About this time every year, I tuck my kiddos into bed each night and notice that their cute little feetsies are dusted with summer despite several dips in the pool and multiple showers. Summer feet are summer feet, no matter how hard I try. Coincidentally, I also start thinking it's time for a bedding refresh for each of them. Working in a fun new sheet set is a great way to update their rooms without breaking the bank. And gives me some cushion time to wash their bedding more frequently, too. Here's a few I've been loving lately.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ocean City, NJ Boardwalk

I truly never really heard about New Jersey growing up. Maybe that was just a Midwest thing. Sure, I knew that it was a state (I think), but not much beyond that. And anything I gleaned as I grew older was not favorable.

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Friday Five!!

We've been jammin' over here to get ready for several book events we've had this week. We had our first book signing and maker workshop yesterday afternoon at local art studio Little Loft. It was so much fun to see all the kids working hard to make collages and to see Kane and Cam try their hand at signing books. And, in case you missed it, I did a super fun interview on Sirius XM's Kids Place Live on Tuesday—Absolutely Mindy is absolutely just as much fun as she sounds on the radio! You can find the replay of my interview HERE. Plus we're busy prepping for our book launch and workshop at Kit + Ace on Sunday. So much for a lazy summer!

Here's what we did in between all of that!

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Reading -- we FINALLY finished Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes (it was excellent, but just a slog through to read it aloud) and just started Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library. I was trying really hard to talk the kids into a shorter book so it wouldn't take another two months to get through it, but this seems to me a much quicker read so far.

Wanting -- we're starting to think about what to pack for our trip to Scotland + Ireland this summer. I loved wearing slip on sneaks on our last big trip, but I forgot to find proper socks for them. I saw these on Say Yes blog this week and now I want them!

Making -- we made lots of collages to test out what supplies would work best for our workshop yesterday. I didn't get to take good photos at the event, but I'll try to get a post up soon with a link to what we picked because I think it worked out really well!

Playing -- we couldn't help it, we joined in with seemingly everyone else to play Pokemon Go this week. I actually kind of love the it's like an interactive geocaching, but I don't love that I have another form of technology to try and limit and monitor. So far the kids have been good about keeping the asking to a minimum and I must confess that when a Pidgey jumped out into Kane's room when we were checking before bed the other night and every single family member screamed, I was hooked. Get the scoop here (and follow the article link at the bottom for a more in-depth explanation of play)

Cooking -- I know I featured this grilled chicken recipe in our recent 30 Days of Dinner, but it's worth mentioning again in case you missed it. I doubled the recipe and there was not one bite leftover. Not one scrap.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Grilled Chicken, Burst Tomato and Artichoke Skewers with Goat Cheese Dip + 30 Days of Dinner!!

We were on vacation for two weeks of these 30 Days of Dinner, so there was LOTS of eating out and indulging. Needless to say, I'm a few days in to a new Whole30. Had to! So I don't have tons of new recipes to share this month, but the featured one is so outrageously good it makes up for the slim numbers overall. Family literally licked their plates. If you're not doing dairy, just skip the dip (but I heard it was deeelish).

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Friday Five!

We've spent a fabulous week at the beach, which always leaves me questioning whether we should just pack up our busy city lives, find flexible jobs, and move to the sea. I always feel happy when I get back home though too. Grass is always greener, I guess. Here's what else we've been doing at the shore besides working on our tans (which I must confess, are phenomenal) ....

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Reading -- I started Innocents and Others this week—it's taken me a bit to get into it, but I think it has some interesting things to say about loneliness and the search for connections. I think I'm mostly just anxiously awaiting the third Neapolitan Novel, so I'm not happy about reading anything else. The kids started reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe with their Nona this week. The Chronicles of Narnia are hands-down some of my favorite childhood books so I love that they've started exploring them! 

Cooking -- we've been eating our fair share of boardwalk junk food this week, but I made one of our favorite steak recipes the other night with basil from my FIL's garden. This one is always a winner

Wanting -- current mood.

Making -- I've been making some amazing Jersey shore manis for Cam this week. Rhinestones are her favorite, obvi.

Playing -- we had a really epic color war as part of our Family Olympics this year. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Grow Your Own Crystals!

This science project was one of our most favorite from our Summer Bucket List so far! The crystals grew incredibly fast and are super sturdy. And we are all about anything mythical these days. Head over to Honest to Nod to check out how we made these awesome unicorn crystals!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

2016 Summer Bucket List Update #1

I feel like I say this every year, but it's truly hard to believe that we are a month into summer already! It's making me a little sad to see it zooming by, BUT we are crushing our Summer Bucket List. So at least there's that. We've knocked almost a quarter of our items off the list. Some are serving double duty, but with over 101 items on the list, I'm taking some liberties.

Did you make your own bucket list?! We'd love to see what everyone is up to this summer!!

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1. New library -- our favorite local library is closing for renovations this summer, so we finally checked out the public library closest to our "new" house. Win!

Monday, July 4, 2016

The BEST Pool Floats!

We usually spend lots of water time at our local public pools, but we've had the good fortune this summer of making a serious Caddy Shack'esque round of visits to friends' clubs. So we've also had our eyes peeled for fun contributions—especially ridiculous pool floats. I picked up a pair of enormous donut rings last week and now have more large and in charge ones on the brain ... don't let the picture fool you, these are enormous!

Happy 4th everyone!!

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Friday, July 1, 2016

The Friday Five!

Summer seems to be flying by for us, so I'm really excited we'll be escaping for some much-needed beach time soon. We've got lots of fun art and science activities planned, a little camp for the kids at their dad's elementary school, and a whole lot of down time. I can't wait!!

In case you missed it, Banish Boredom received a gold level award from Mom's Choice Awards this past week and I've just loved getting to see people enjoying the book! We've also been busy knocking things off of our Summer Bucket List and prepping for some super fun book signing and maker events around town. Here's what we've been up to ....

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Reading -- Kane read about Call of the Wild in one of his Lunch Lady books and asked if we could check it out from the library. We lucked out and found the audiobook just in time for our upcoming drive. The kids are already super in to it. Kane also checked out A Street Through Time and has been totally fascinated by the illustrated presentation of how one street changes throughout history.

Making -- we tried out an awesome combo of art and science this week with this fizzing sidewalk chalk paint recipe. We used our fave Sargent Art fluorescent paints and the kids LOVED it!

Cooking -- I'm not sure why, but everyone went BONKERS over these Spanish-Style Scrambled Eggs this week. Kane declared it "eggs from the angels" and said he liked that the only vegetables involved were potatoes (so maybe I do know why). In any event, it was delicious and super quick to make on a weeknight.

Wanting -- I totally don't need this, but I need it. You know?

Playing -- Cam's been loving this game. It's a great way to work in sorting and counting skills.