On My Mind Monday: Fun at the Zoo

Last week, we went to the zoo near our house. This trip was one of the most fun, and definitely most memorable, times we’ve had at the zoo. First, we stopped by the baby animal nursery, where there were two lion cubs, a leopard cub, and a white tiger cub. Oh my goodness, they were SO cute! My baby is the world’s biggest animal lover, and she was going crazy over the “kitties!” But, really, we were all dying over the cute little cubs and stayed watching them for at least ten minutes. Right after the animal nursery, we went to see the jaguars. In this particular enclosure, the jaguars can walk along side […]

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Children’s Books to Read this Fall

Picture Books for Thanksgiving Season

In Arizona, fall doesn’t really come until after Halloween, which is why I grouped fall books and Thanksgiving books together. They basically arrive at the same time around here! I so enjoy searching out holiday picture books to read to my girls. It was a bit harder to find Thanksgiving books than it was to find Halloween, but I think you’ll enjoy what I’ve discovered. By the Light of the Harvest Moon by Harriet Ziefert – Under the harvest moon, the leaf people come out and have themselves a fun holiday festival! The Ugly Pumpkin by Dave Horowitz – This poor pumpkin feels as though he doesn’t fit in with the lovely Halloween pumpkins, but […]

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A Fitness Series: Jump Rope Circuit

I am pretty sure time has accelerated since school began. There is so much going on in our little family and as a consequence, my beloved exercise schedule is feeling the strain. Last week I decided I needed to find some other ways to get in a quick workout so I picked up a jump rope. I don’t believe I have jump roped since, well, I can’t really remember. My husband bought a jump rope a few years ago and I have been meaning to give it a try. Honestly, I wish I hadn’t waited so long! It was actually a fun way to mix up my routine. So I made myself a little circuit and […]

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Sweet and Savory Apple Recipes for Fall

Pumpkin Spice Everything! It’s the first real sign of fall in the grocery store and on Pinterest, right? My husband and I aren’t big pumpkin fans. Our fall flavor of choice is apple. When we lived in Utah, we bought giant boxes of Honey Crisp, Jonathan, Fuji,  and Gala apples each year. It’s one of the things I miss the most about living there. If you’re like us and don’t get thrilled by the onslaught of pumpkin spice this time of year, then you’re sure to love this list of unique ways to cook and bake with apples. This first recipe – Apple Pudding with Lemon Sauce – comes from my Nonny’s cookbook. I was […]

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On My Mind Monday- Fall Traditions

Last night we had our annual fall tradition of pumpkin-spiced doughnuts and fresh juiced apples. Despite the floor’s fine dusting of sugar and the remnants of apples strewn all about, this is truly one of my most favorite family traditions. These doughnuts are actually quite easy and so very delicious! And the frothy apple juice is simply amazing! This is a tradition that we like to share with friends so every year we invite a few friends to join us. I like to make the doughnuts before all the guests arrive because it can get pretty messy. We use this doughnut recipe from Cuisine at Home. The dough comes together quickly and only needs to chill in […]

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5 Tips to help you be a better journal writer

I was always such a great journal writer growing up. But, when I went away to college, there began to be a little more time between my entries, and even more time after getting married and even more after having kids. Every now and then I would sit down and do a major journaling session, but nothing really consistent. About 5 years ago I made a goal to be a better journal writer again. My kids were growing up too quickly and I wanted to remember all the funny, sweet and sometimes frustrating moments that were happening day to day. Does this sound familiar? Are you in a journaling rut? Let me share five tips that may help […]

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Homeschool Curriculum: Part Two – Special Subjects

Homeschool special subjects

As I mentioned in my previous post, every day we have a “special” subject in addition to our core curriculum. We rotate through science, art, history, geography, music, and P.E./health. The specials are easily C’s favorite, and often, mine too. For science, we keep it simple. I’ve used a few books, including Kitchen Science Lab for Kids and My First Mind-Blowing Science Kit. I like both of these, but found that Kitchen Science Lab for Kids has a wider variety of experiments. Even if you’re not a homeschool parent, these books have fun activities that kids would enjoy outside of school! Art is C’s favorite special subject without question. I love the Getting to Know […]

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How to Raise Kinder, Less-entitled Children

Ask just about any adult how they feel about the rising generation and you will most likely hear words like “lazy,” “entitled,” “spoiled”, and so on. Obviously this is an over-generalization, because I know many amazing kids. But the influx of self-centeredness, irresponsibly and disrespect among our youth is definitely something to be concerned about. I read such a great article in the Washington Post a couple weeks ago about a new field of research called behavioral economics. While the research and studies are very interesting, my favorite thing about this piece is the reminder that as parents, we have the most significant role in the shaping of our children. Our behaviors, reactions, and expectations are […]

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On My Mind Monday: House Projects

House Projects - Kitchen

My husband and I bought our home not quite two years ago. Overall, the house was in pretty good shape. The only major project we did before moving in – besides cleaning – was painting. The giant butter yellow and hunter green stripes on the main floor were not to our liking. Neither were the eggplant purple diamonds painted all over the master bedroom. There were other projects we wanted to do, but none were necessary right away. Late last spring, we decided we were ready to take on a kitchen remodel – just painting the cabinets and adding a bit of shiplap for now, as countertops and appliances are not in the budget quite yet. […]

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“Before I’m 30” Bucket List

It was Shannon’s birthday on Wednesday, which made me look ahead to my upcoming birthday. In three months from today, I turn 30! Yikes. I remember as a little girl picturing what it would be like to be 30. Old, of course; put together, for sure; a house full of children, definitely; everything in order with an easy, happy life, obviously. Well, here I am knocking on 30’s door feeling not very old, not very put together, with only two kids, and living a slightly disorderly, not super easy, but generally happy life. Not exactly what I pictured! I am feeling pretty neutral about this birthday – not necessarily excited, but I’m not dreading […]

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