{Christmas in July Gift Exchange!}

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I recently participated in a fun Christmas in July gift exchange with Courtney and Jenny! I was matched up with Julie and sent her this box of goodies. Check out her blog for a recap!

IMG_6042Courtney, who co-hosted the exchange, received my name and sent us a wonderful box of goodies! We just got back from our beach trip and Harper and Will were so excited to receive a package:)

Eagerly opening the box…

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Pulling out the gifts…

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Glow sticks!

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And bath toys (Boon-a favorite brand of mine!)!
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Glitter pipe cleaners!

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A Planes activity/sticker book!

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Not only glow sticks but glow stick sunglasses! How cool! Will got his own orange glow stick (his fave color) and Harper received a purple one (her fave color). They were amazed that they both got their favorite colors! Will even said, “How did they know orange was my favorite color?!”
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Lisa Frank stickers-who remembers those from their childhood? Maybe I’m just getting old, ha! And even a wonderful book for me! The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art and CreativityIMG_8210

Will and Harper immediately opened the glitter pipe cleaners and started creating an art project with them.
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Glow sticks were next…even though it wasn’t dark out, they hid under the covers and played with them.

Loving the stickers!
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We received a cute homemade card from Aria wishing us a happy summer. Thanks so much, Aria and Courtney! We love our gifts:) It was lots of fun to get these goodies in the middle of summer!

{soaking up summer // it’s the little things}

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Hello! I’m linking up with Jess and Ashley for a quick “It’s the Little Things” post. 

We are soaking up every minute of summer…school starts in less than three weeks, boo. I know we still have many more days of fun before school starts, but the countdown has begun:( This summer has flown by-it seems like summers fly by even more as the kiddos get bigger. I suppose part of it is because we are so busy and have had so much fun this summer doing all kinds of activities. 

However, while I don’t want the summer to be over, there’s something fun about back to school and the newness of things.  Plus, it means that my favorite season is coming soon: fall! I love all our fun traditions of fall.  But now it’s back to summer and some recent scenes around our house.

Harper and Will love playing outside, especially on our neighbor’s gym set and in their sand box. Here they are setting up a restaurant and serving lunch to mommy. 

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Will is showing off his new talent of swinging standing up.  Of course, Miss Harper has to try to copy exactly what he does.20140721-201336-72816731.jpg

Story time at one of our local libraries. We switch it up and go to one of three libraries for story time since each one is quite different. 20140721-201337-72817147.jpg

Checking out the hydrangeas outside. My little gardeners:)20140721-201337-72817621.jpg

Sliding and running around outside. 20140721-201337-72817866.jpg

At the local park after story time. We typically go to the park after the story time at the city library. 20140721-201337-72817378.jpgMore summer fun to come…a trip to the state fair, lots of time at the park, possibly going to a splash park, summer walks, and just plain ole fun outside!

 

Weekly Pinterest Project: Week 50-Beach Countdown Chain

For today’s Pinterest project, Will and I created a simple countdown to our beach trip chain.  We always love counting down to special events and holidays, so I did some searching on Pinterest for a beach countdown chain. I found one and modified it to fit my artistic abilities (which are greatly lacking, ha!).  Plus, I did the prep work during nap time and didn’t want to spend tons of time on it…too much else to get done during my time of “peace and quiet,” as Will calls it.

I cut out strips of blue construction paper for the actual chains and created some orange starfish, yellow seashells, and white sand dollars.  These were done freehand, so don’t look too close! They aren’t that good, but I figured Will and Harper would appreciate it!

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When Will woke up from his nap, he helped me attach the chain and strategically place the shells and stars in a pattern.

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Waiting for instructions from mommy.

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He handed me the blue strips and I stapled them together.

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He selected the shells to go on each chain and I stapled them on.

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Since I didn’t want to make a huge chain, we started the chain countdown 12 days before we headed to the beach.

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Will displaying our masterpiece!

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What types of countdowns do you do with your kiddos?

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{back from the beach}

As you know, I love to look back at pictures and compare how much my kiddos have changed. We just got back from a week at the Outer Banks, so I will be working on a beach post later this week. However, I created a quick comparison of how much our family has changed since we started going to the beach with kiddos back in 2010 when Will was just two months old! In 2012, Harper was four months and Will was two. This year, we had a four year old and a two year old-so, so much easier! This was also the first time (in four years) that I wasn’t nursing while at the beach, which was nice! 

A beach recap will be coming later this week:)
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Fun {free!} Summer Day!

On 7/11, we headed to a local bounce house to use our free tickets that we received from our local library. For our summer reading program, we keep a log of the books that I read to Harper and Will. We frequently go to the library and get our book list stamped, and in turn, we get to select some cool prizes. Last time, we picked up two free passes to a local bounce house-a $12 value!

Having fun at the bounce house! Harper liked the mini bounce house/slide.20140716-072707-26827164.jpg
Will preferred the bigger bounce house, which included obstacle courses and a climbing wall. 
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Since it just happened to be 7/11, we went to 7 Eleven and picked up some free lemonade slurpees! Yum! I gave Will and Harper their own mini slurpees (filled part way up), which they loved! 
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{oh hey Friday!}

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Happy Friday! I’m linking up with Karli and Amy for oh hey Friday! Here’s a short and sweet post:)

{one} Last week, we met our babysitter, Nana, and her grandchildren for a play date at a local elementary school playground. It was so much fun! There was a three story castle playground! Will loved climbing to the top of the castle and sliding down super fast. The school also had a neat nature trail that we explored.
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{two} While I attempted to do some work in the kitchen recently, Will and Harper occupied themselves by playing in the sink. I filled up the sink with some water and gave them some kitchen tools-they easily played for half an hour or more. Now they’ve been asking me every day if they can play in the sink!

20140714-071958-26398721.jpg{three} Peanut butter pie! Yum! I recently made the Pioneer Woman’s Peanut Butter Pie-so delicious! Check out the recipe here. So easy to make as well. 20140714-071958-26398955.jpg{four} While we’re talking about food, here’s another yummy dessert I make each summer: chocolate zucchini bread. It’s a great way to use up the huge zucchini boats that grow in the garden! Check out the recipe here20140714-071959-26399161.jpg{five} I found the cutest beach cover up for Harper at Target (of course!). It’s adorable on her! I want one in my size! 20140714-071959-26399382.jpgHappy Friday!

 

{ice cream fun // It’s the Little Things}

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Happy Wednesday! I’m linking up with Jess and Ashley for “It’s the Little Things.”

A few weeks ago, we headed to our friend’s house for a fun ice cream party. My friends and I used to get together once a month for dinner at each other’s houses. We rotated between the six families each month, and whoever hosted made the entire meal.  It was a lot of work when it was your turn, but worth it! We had great conversations and food. I’m sad that we no longer get together as frequently, but now everyone is so busy with their kiddos.

We (all six of us) started out teaching at the same middle school, which is how we got to know each other. Originally, five out of the six were all special education teachers. The sixth one was a gen ed math teacher, but we considered her an honorary special education teacher since she was so great with the special education students.  We started the dinner group back in 2005, and at that point, there were seven kiddos. These monthly dinners continued until 2011 (and there were eleven kids).  We’ve tried to get together periodically but it’s difficult with everyone’s busy schedule (and now with 16 kiddos!). However, we managed to get 5 out of the 6 of us together for ice cream, which was a blast! My friend provided the ice cream and everyone brought a few toppings. I made my homemade magic shell and bought some salted caramel sauce.  If you haven’t tried the homemade magic shell, you should! It’s so easy and yummy!

Below are scenes from our ice cream party.  We ended up getting home around ten that night! It was a blast catching up with everyone! In our group, we now have a part time career coach for a high school/stay at home mama, two intervention specialists at local elementary schools, one math remediation teacher for a middle school, one middle school language arts teacher, and one children’s church assistant. It’s so interesting to see how much has changed in all of our lives over the past nine years. However, though it’s been a while since we’ve been together, we pick right back up where we left off:)

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