Then and Now: Deep Questions To Ask Your Kids.

So about this time four years ago I asked the kids a bunch of super deep questions about life and shared them with you. I thought I’d ask the kids the same questions today and see how their answers changed and share my findings.

2013 | 2017

Back in 2013 the kids were about 3 1/2 and 7. Those responses are on the left just like the picture above.


Right now the kids are 7 1/2 and 11. Their responses today are on the right hand side, again, like the picture above. Got it?

What is the meaning of life?

BB: um, a sun.
MM: I don’t know, I really don’t know, ok?

BB: hmmm let’s see… god created us and wants us to be saved.
MM: What? I don’t know.

MM still has no idea and no desire to pretend he knows. He’s a realist. BB wanted to tell you GOODDDDD for just about every question but after like the fourth question I told her she needed more variety in life.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

BB: Cinderella
MM: an actor of Doctor Who

BB: I want to be a jewelry maker.
MM: um a video game tester

I’m not sure either kid has career aspirations that will allow me to live in the comfort that I’d like to become accustomed to. Oh well.

What brings you the most happiness?

BB: my brother
MM: well, my favorite thing is Doctor Who, so that’s what I would say.

BB: you (while hugging me)
MM: Skyrim

These answers pretty much sum up my life right now.

When do you feel the most loved?

BB: Sunday
MM: when I’m with everybody.

BB: Really, I ALWAYS feel the most loved.
MM: when you hug me

I’m happy to hear that my daughter feels loved on ALL the days of the week now. Also awww.

What are you afraid of?

BB: those scary birds, the scary ones and they were black…
MM: nothing really. At least I don’t think I’m afraid of anything.

BB: The dark
MM: a world without books

MM is a boy after my own heart. BB has forgotten all about the birds.

If you had one wish, what would you wish for?

BB: um, a telephone.
MM: Doctor Who to be real.

BB: That the pool in swimming lessons would be much warmer than it is.
MM: longer days

We leave for swim lessons like any minute now and clearly BB is hoping for warmer water. MM just wants a later bed time or more time to play video games. Priorities.

What is the funniest word?

BB: button… button.
MM: I don’t know…. plethora – it means a lot of something.

BB: The word “who” because sometimes it’s “who” and sometimes it’s “hoo”
MM: abdomen, I think it’s kind of funny

My kids still have no idea what funny means.

What is the hardest/easiest thing to do?

BB: a present giving up / getting excited.
MM: to make a tent upstairs / to read a chapter book

BB: swim / use my kindle
MM: social studies / creative mode minecraft

These answers are boring but accurate.

What is the best/worst thing in the world?

BB: a present with a doll in it / um… a ring.
MM: The best thing in the world? Wow – sun. / I think that is rain.

BB: my BFFs / my enemies I guess?
MM: YOU! / I don’t know.

I have no idea who my daughters enemies are but apparently they are the worst thing in the world. MM has never encountered the worst thing in the world but I guess it isn’t rain anymore.

What makes you mad?

BB: a computer (I swear she’s just looking around the office and naming things)
MM: sometimes when I don’t get my way, that’s one thing.

BB: when something is really hard and frustrating
MM: sometimes my sister storms out of the room.

I think my kids only understand anger when they are feeling it. They were totally at a loss here.

What is the meaning of love?

BB: a heart
MM: well, it means that you really like something.

BB: hope
MM: happiness

This. All of this.

If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it?

BB: I would… buy something.
MM: Huh… I would buy a lot of things…

BB: I would buy jewelry and a bunch of dress up clothes that I love.
MM: Like infinite money?? I would buy a lot of stuff, I would buy a mansion and a dog that does not bark. I would become Tony Stark and I would have a lot of nice food.

Neither of them offered to buy me anything. I don’t know how I feel about that.

Let me know if you and your kids play along!

5 Things We’re Enjoying This Summer

Now that summer is in full swing I’ve definitely had less time to keep up with my dear old blog. I know you guys have probably been missing me so I figured I’d check in and let you know what we’ve been up to out in the real world.

  1. We’ve been keeping busy indulging in old fashioned summer fun like sidewalk chalk:

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2. Visiting family back home and basically eating our way across central Massachusetts. Ice cream was had often, sugary cereals were purchased by doting grandparents and the world’s prettiest cupcake was discovered:

3. Getting hair cuts for the summer. Miss BB got the shortest hair cut she’s had in years and she’s kind of in her glory over it. I can’t stop squealing about how cute she looks either:

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4. The kids have been in swim lessons all week and even the dog enjoyed some water fun, err well okay fine he went to the groomer but he was basically the happiest dog on the block riding in the back seat with the kids:

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I enjoy swim lessons, too, but more in a sitting in the semi shade, curled up with a good book and enjoying some quiet time for thirty minutes:

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5. Speaking of good books: Right now I’m reading A Circle of Quiet by Madeline L’Engle (fitting title, no?) which I actually started reading during swim lessons last summer and then forgot it in my beach bag all year. It’s been a happy reunion and this year I’m determined to finish it:

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The kids are reading, too. We’ve been stocking up on good reads at the library and filling in our Summer Reading Bingo sheets:

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Yesterday the kids picked up these summer reading lists at Chick Fil A. They are excited to fill in their next three reads so we can go back soon for free peach milkshakes!

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What have you been up to this month?

5 Science Experiments and Videos to share with your kids!

My kids are officially on summer vacation and to prevent screen time overload brain mushiness, I nerded my heart out last month and concocted a summer plan of learning. It’s more of an outline than an actual concrete plan. Because each day and week of our summer will look different than the one before, I simply came up with a list of themes that will shape each week.

To decide on the themes that would most interest the kids, I had them write down things they wanted to learn more about on the whiteboard in our dining room. I noticed a lot of countries and landmarks written down with a few other topics like science experiments and astronomy. So the majority of our weeks will revolve around the wanderlust my kids seemed to inherit from me but THIS week we are learning about SCIENCE.

What does that actually mean? Well first I went to Pinterest and rounded up a handful of science experiments that I can do with the kids that are basically free and not so messy or complicated that it will end with me crying into a pile of paper towels. Things like:

mixing oil and water, making gummy worms dance, the disappearing egg shell, turning milk into plastic and making a fidget spinner using cardboard and pennies

Next I went to youtube and searched for videos of cool science experiments, creating my own playlist so that I could easily keep all my good finds organized. You can find my entire playlist here. Some of my kids’ favorites were:

My seven year old is officially hooked on the SciShow Kids video series. This video about cleaning a penny with things like ketchup or soda fascinated her.

Incredible Science is a good bet for older kids. We watched several of his videos and they have the shock and awe factor down and plenty of cool things to learn, too. My kids were particularly impressed with the shaving cream / food coloring rainstorm in a bottle.

I love the SloMo Guys – gorgeous videos that will appeal to fans of science, fans of filmography or even just fans of things blowing up in slow motion i.e. all of us. Watching a CD shatter at 170,000FPS was enjoyed by all.

So we love watching things spin and explode and since we have two young kids in the house we know all about the fidget spinner craze. What could be more cathartic than watching fidget spinners explode? This was a fun video although we had a tough time understanding their awesome accents sometimes, the video speaks for itself.

Maybe you’ve already seen this awesome video of Station Commander Chris Hadfield sharing science in space. If you haven’t, it’s definitely worth a watch. Hadfield is a pretty awesome guy and his videos are always amusing. Plus now we get to combine science and space in one video! Extra credit, right?

So how else will we round out our week of science fun? Well we’re looking for science books, tv shows and movies when we indulge in some R&R and just generally being inquisitive as we go about our days. I think you’ll find that anytime you spend a good amount of time thinking about any topic, you will find that it pops up everywhere you go.

Any other favorite science videos or experiments that we should add to our list?

Mothers Day: 5 Gift Ideas

I don’t know your mother (probably) but I’m guessing she’s the coolest person ever. If you are still trying to come up with the perfect gift idea to spoil her rotten this Mothers Day, here are some ideas to help you get started.

For your mother, who basically owns the kitchen.

61hmsSMgN1L._SL1500_I fell in love with this Stump Tea Pot with Infuser at my local coffee shop where you are given your own little 18 ounce tea pot when you order a cup of tea.

I love this pretty teal blue color – it would look so cheerful in your mother’s kitchen, don’t you think? Pair it with a box of her favorite loose leaf tea and a tea time date with her favorite child – you!

91gfW21yYfL._SL1500_Or maybe your mother is forever chopping herbs and you want to help her speed up dinner prep even when you aren’t there to lend a hand. I’ve been eyeing these herb scissors which can double as craft scissors or mail shredding scissors. Whatever you need to finely chop.

For your mother, who deserves a little bling.

il_570xN.1172098240_iy5rThis family tree necklace by LaLaCrystal would be great for moms or grandmothers. You can add up to 8 initials on a necklace so nobody gets left out. And if your family runs even larger (or a new baby joins the crew) she even sells individual charms to add to a tree.

ac750da7-548c-4ee3-a267-b50506ea1e8d--2017-0213_menu_modern-jewelry-stand_black_mid_mark-weinberg_308If necklaces are kind of your go to mother’s day present, she might like a jewelry tree to organize and display all her favorite pieces. I’ve been thinking about upgrading to a more modern sleek design like this one from Food52.

For your mother, who desperately needs new music for her commute.

a1ft9msmp3l-_sx522_The Hamilton soundtrack might be the closest I get to seeing this insanely popular musical. If you can’t afford to take mom to see it live (or if she’s already seen it and won’t stop singing the songs to you over the phone or something) then this is a nice way to bring Lin Manuel Miranda into her morning commute. Because there is nothing cooler than your mother wrapping about American history. Nothing.

51gYvSDtu2L._SS500Or maybe she’s all about that Top 40 life. All moms love Bruno Mars, okay? Because that smile. And his album is pretty much grinning ear to ear 24/7 kind of music. If your mom lives to dance in the car, this album should do the trick. Fortunately your mother is never embarrassing and you’ll totally be dancing in your seat, too.

For your mother, who would rather be reading.

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Mayim Bialik just wrote a book called Girling Up that is sure to excite her. If she doesn’t love Bialik from her role on The Big Bang Theory, she probably remembers her from Blossom. Or maybe she follows her on Instagram or uses her as an example of impressive women in science. Either way, this looks like it will be awesome.

51oGYpSk+pLIf your mom is more into the classic literature scene, she’s probably as obsessed with Anne of Green Gables as I am. If she’s already worked her way through the works of L.M. Montgomery, she might like Lorilee Craker’s book, Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter and Me. “A charming and heartwarming true story for anyone who has ever longed for a place to belong.“Anne of Green Gables,” My Daughter, and Me is a witty romp through the classic novel; a visit to the magical shores of Prince Edward Island; and a poignant personal tale of love, faith, and loss.”

51Beu4ltz-L._SX388_BO1,204,203,200_If your mom is still raising littles and doesn’t have time to read an actual book sized book right now (I feel you) how about a book to read with the kids like How To Raise a Mom by Jean Reagan. This one is sure to bring a smile to her face.

Best enjoyed while curled up on the couch with all of the kids after a day spent not cooking or cleaning anything. Anything. And afterwards there should probably be wine.

For your mother, who is all about family game night.

61YjhY3mbyL._SL1000_Okay so KinderPerfect probably shouldn’t be pulled out for your actual family game night but it would be great to play with her mom friends after the kids go to bed. It’s basically Cards Against Humanity but parenting style. For your mother who never lost her wicked sense of humor.

71Wa1Wyv8kL._SL1001_Or for something a little different, how about Marrying Mr. Darcy because let’s be real, we all wanted to marry Darcy at some point right? Join your mom or mom friends and move through the initial courtship stage and the concluding proposal stage to see who marries Mr. Darcy (it might not be Lizzie!). Already own it? Did you know there is an Emma expansion!

 

Mommas, what do you want for Mother’s Day this year? Like besides the not cleaning or cooking thing?

3 Little Things.

I keep meaning to hop on this bandwagon of sharing some things each week that are filling my heart up. It’s easy to focus on the things stressing us out and giving us grief. Here are three things making me happy this week.

  1. IMG_20170409_121328Warmer weather! The sun is finally starting to come out for us more and more. That means spending time outside, feeling so swag in our big sunnies and NO JACKET life. I love this season in between hot and cold when we are just comfortable, enjoying a cool breeze without shivering or sweating. Bring. it. on.
  2. The Handmaid’s Tale just premiered on Hulu and just one episode in I am hooked. I read some of the book in college and loved it but never got around to finishing it because homework and stuff. I’m excited to finally see how it ends and loving seeing the story brought to life. It’s heartbreaking but funny, suspenseful but kind of beautiful? Also Alexis Bledel is in it so really life does not get much better than this.
  3. 18157465_10101213019281846_287970143802244514_nCoffee with friends. I spent the morning having coffee with some of my mom friends from the kids’ school and it was so lovely to catch up and frankly get to know each other better. Sometimes I get in my own head and find myself cocooning and home instead of putting myself out there. So I’m a little too proud of myself for putting on real clothes today and being a friendly social person even though I woke up this morning fully intending to hide inside. Bonus points, I got there a little early and got to spend some time with E.E. Cummings, too.

What’s making your Happy List today?

Insta Recap: 4.27.17

One of Mama Kat’s prompts for this week’s Writers Workshop was to share a recent picture you shared on Instagram and tell us what you love about it. I have been posting to Instagram a lot lately and had a hard time narrowing it down so you get 5 recent stories inspired by my Instagram feed. Woohoo!!!

1 – A recent illustrated story by my 7 year old:

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I love this – it’s like a mix between Snow White and Belinda the Ballerina. I’d read that book.

2 – We bought a Purple mattress last week and it arrived on my doorstep…

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I mean it literally took up my entire doorstep so I decided to drag it inside before leaving to meet my husband for lunch – no easy feat! This thing weighs like a lot. But once I had it halfway through the door I pretty much had to suck it up and commit to the task. How proud did I feel afterwards? Like ridiculously so. I’ll write more about the mattress later, promise.

3 – I started taking a laptop to the coffee shop to write.

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I’m the one millionth person to find out that working in a coffee shop actually decreases my distractions – I feel less guilt about chores I could be working on and my little Chrome book is too slow to browse the internet but fast enough to load my one tab and let me write. Also the perk of a snack outside the house doesn’t hurt. I’m going to write over lunch today.

4 – I dyed my hair by myself and I love it.

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My last salon color was more subtle than I was expecting and I didn’t want to ask my husband for help again to fix it. I had a free couple of hours to kill the other day and splurged on this box of L’Oreal Colorista at Target that said I didn’t have to mix anything and that there were no ammonia fumes. Sold. 30 minutes and a slightly stained shower later and I have to say I’m loving it. It’s slightly subtle but way more noticeable. Exactly what I wanted and for the right price.

5 – Look what I found at Walmart the other day??

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Ree (aka The Pioneer Woman) wrote a new children’s book called Little Ree about her experience moving from the big city to a ranch farm but reimagined the story through the eyes of her childhood self. The end result is adorable. It’s similar in tone to her books about Charlie the ranch dog. I read it to my daughter’s class for library story time and they ate up the antics of Little Ree.

5 Dystopian Novels for Middle Schoolers.

Dystopian novels are one of my absolute favorite genres of literature but it’s a heavy genre that is hard to recommend to your own children. Like, I loved The Hunger Games but I’m not sure I want my eleven year old reading about a reality show where children are forced to murder each other. It’s a lot. But he’s at a great age to dip his toe into the world of dystopian novels so I spent some time researching possible titles to recommend to him. I thought I’d share my findings with you.
51M5034KtPLThe City of Ember
by Jeanne DuPrau
was one of the first titles I found after a quick search. It’s recommended for kids as young as 8 so you don’t have to stress out too hard about recommending this title.

The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she’s sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must race to figure out the clues before the lights go out on Ember forever!

Common Sense Media agrees that it’s appropriate for kids 8+ and had no notes of warning for parents. It’s also available as a graphic novel if your kids are as into that as mine.

61QU-tHlj6LLegend by Marie Lu is recommended for kids in the 7th grade and up on Amazon. Common Sense Media recommends 12+. This one isn’t quite as squeaky clean with one passionate kiss and alcohol is served but the main characters do not partake in it. It also contains a fair amount of violence.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

51ql88jksmLThe Giver by Lois Lowry has the stamp of approval of my actual child. He read it in school this year and loved it (thus sparking my desire to find more books for him in the same genre). Common Sense Media recommends this one for ages 11+. There are very mild sexual references and some scenes that might be disturbing (the main character witnesses his father euthanizing a baby) but it’s a classic that opens up a lot of room for discussion.

The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.

51io7AeVp4LThe Maximum Ride series by James Patterson is recommended for kids 11+ on Common Sense Media. The only real warning for this one is that it’s pretty violent. “There are broken noses and bones, knocked-out teeth, and some deaths, guns, explosions, and car chases.”

This one feels a little more science fiction / fantasy than Dystopian but I think it still  fits the bill of being recommended alongside the other titles.

Fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride, better known as Max, knows what it’s like to soar above the world. She and all the members of the “flock”–Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel–are just like ordinary kids–only they have wings and can fly. It may seem like a dream come true to some, but their lives can morph into a living nightmare at any time…

51yBE-faNyLThe Maze Runner by James Dashner was made into a movie a few years ago so it might already be on your radar. Common Sense Media recommends this one for 13+ but kids and parents reviewing seem to agree on 12+.

It’s compared to Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games. Some consider this one more violent than The Hunger Games so you’ll want to use your judgement on what factor make the book age appropriate for your kids.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround them is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

Have you read any of these? Do you agree with the age recommendations? Are there any books I missed that you would recommend?

11 Things About My 11 Year Old.

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My first born is eleven today and, I’ll be honest, I can barely handle this information. I think this is the first birthday he’s had where I find myself in denial. Why eleven feels sooooo different from ten, I’m not sure. But here we are.

In celebration of his big day, here are 11 things you should know about my newly turned eleven year old.

  1. He is a very considerate, kind kid. I’m not saying he is never in a bad mood, but by default he is friendly and compassionate. He cares how you are doing and loves to make people smile.
  2. He is always helping out around the house – emptying the trash, running the dog, helping out with laundry. He’s my right hand man during the day and he does it with a smile (most of the time).
  3. He is a voracious reader and loves to return to old favorite stories. He’s probably read his favorite series, Gregor the Overlander, more times than he can count.
  4. He is strong. I’m always surprised and impressed by the things he can lift and carry – he’s quickly becoming a little man rather than a little boy.
  5. He loves video games, just like his father. When he’s not working on homework or curled up with a book, his default favorite activity is playing Minecraft or Skyrim.
  6. He’s a creature of habit and likes to have a set schedule for the day. What time things are happening is important to him. He totally gets this from his mother.
  7. Some of his favorite foods include tacos, bacon cheeseburgers with mayonnaise, breakfast burritos and cold cut sandwiches. He’s really come a long way this year with trying new foods though and has graduated from picky eater to willing to try most things.
  8. He loves to play board games with us, especially Munchkin (we love this Marvel edition) and Forbidden Island. He also likes designing his own games – I might be raising a future dungeon master. My kids are often found playing complex story telling games that I do not understand at all.
  9. He’s not an especially sporty kid, but this year he has started to discover more and more games that he does enjoy like soccer and kickball. This is making recess a lot more fun for him!
  10. He started Boy Scouts this year after graduating from Cub Scouts and he and my husband are avidly looking forward to all of the hiking and camping and knot tying and rock climbing in their future.
  11. He would wear running pants a t-shirt every day if he had his way. He’s a creature of comfort and doesn’t care about fashion at all (typical boy). He loves witty t-shirts and a relatively dark color palette (but probably doesn’t know what a color palette is).

Happy birthday MM! 

UN-Planning an 11th Birthday Party.

My son turns eleven tomorrow – hold on

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Sorry about that – and we’re throwing him a small party. I’m not sure if party is even the right word. He’s having two friends over for a sleepover that will mostly involve video games and eating food.

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The hardest part of planning this party is reminding myself I don’t really have anything to plan other than buying enough food for 3 tweenage boys.

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I’m not saying I have a record for throwing amazing, Pinterest-worthy birthday parties. ‘Cause no. But I do enjoy running with a good theme and picking out a corresponding menu and party favors, paper goods, etc.

Some moments from the highlight reel of MM’s birthday parties past:

The 5th Birthday Race Car Dinosaur Party. He really put us through our paces that year but with a minimalist bent, I pulled it off. This was his first birthday party in our current house and we made full use of our gigantic back yard.

The 7th Birthday Little Big Planet Party. In which he helped me make his birthday cake using a recipe that apparently all French children learn to bake cakes with. Which we then decorated with blue and green frosting in an attempt to make it look sort of like Earth. The kids made their own Sackboys and played lots of video games.

The 8th Birthday Doctor Who Party. Which I might have been more excited about than anyone else. I worked magic on invitations, I made TARDIS goodie bags and bought blue everything.

But now he’s turning Eleven.

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No, not that kind Eleven. Just the oh so grown up, this doesn’t really include you mom kind of Eleven. This year there is no theme except “we will play video games as late as humanly possible and maybe watch a movie and I want cake.” Hopefully I’m allowed in the room for some of it.

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Here are my ingredients for a sleepover for eleven year old boys:

  • Walking tacos – small bags of Doritos with taco fixings tossed on top and a salad so I feel like a mother.
  •  The most chocolatey of chocolate cakes – and I might put cherry pie filling between the cake layers because I’m craving cherries.
  • My step mom’s rotel cheese dip – with tortilla chips and probably some salsa, too.
  • Paper plates and napkins – actual color / pattern to be determined aka doesn’t matter.
  • Video games, movies, board games, sleeping bags, go away mom.

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PS: I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop today. One of her prompts this week was a post inspired by the word party and well… yeah. Let me know if you are playing along on your blog. It’s a lot of fun and there are multiple writing prompts to choose from so even if you don’t have parties on the brain, she can hook you up.

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LIVE | LOVE | LEARN | march 2017

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I’m trying out a new idea so bear with me. Towards the end of the month I tend to fall into a rabbit hole of monthly wrap ups: things I loved and the things I learned and what I’ve been up to. I thought I’d tidy up my thoughts and combine all of these wrap ups under one post. I’m calling it LIVE | LOVE | LEARN – and it pretty much is exactly what it sounds like.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this month.

LIVE

  • My dog finally switched to his new vet officially and it feels good to make the change. We’ve been really happy with this new pet clinic and the staff there and everything just feels easy and obvious. More importantly, my pet’s well being feels important and worth consideration. Yay!
  • 17190656_10101162899347596_4082153154445714967_nMy son officially started Boy Scouts this month after graduating from Cub Scouts last month. It’s been tough for me to get used to the transition (namely because I’m a control freak but I’m attempting to not be one) but he’s doing fantastic and diving right in.
  • Last week was my kids’ spring break and we took them to the Great Wolf Lodge for a few days of fun in their giant indoor waterpark. In between being fishes, they also enjoyed paintball target practice, another trip to WizardQuest, a very kooky lost temple attraction and lots of delicious food.
  • I pampered myself with a haircut and color at a new to me salon. It’s such a subtle change that I’m guessing most people wouldn’t notice if I didn’t say something but my head feels a million pounds lighter and I’m loving it.
  • 17425021_10101178107550236_2082075320835481217_nMy daughter started gymnastics again this month. She did sort of toddler gymnastics a million years ago and this is a different world. I’m proud of her because I can tell the skills she is learning don’t necessarily come to her easily but she’s rising to the occasion and comes out of each class with a grin on her face. What more can you ask for?
  • We went on a terrifically awesome date night / afternoon to a local winery for wine tasting and cheese. I’m kind of the worst wine drinker ever – I like my wine to taste roughly like Juicy Juice if we’re going to be honest. But I had so much fun trying different varieties and judging their flavors and aromas and just experiencing something new with my husband. It was a nice change of pace from our usual dinner and a movie.

LOVE

  • Lemon Zinger Tea by Celestial Seasonings is one of my new favorite warm beverages. I’m trying to cut back on my latte life and tea has been a nice diversion. I have found that herbal / fruity teas work the best because they never need milk and I can get by with a small amount of sugar.
  • MV5BNjUxNjQ5NjgwNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzQzMDA1ODE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_When Calls the Heart is my latest binge watch on Netflix. I’ve been ignoring it for ages but I hit a dry spell and decided to give it a shot because Lori Laughlin is in it. Oh my word, it is so good guys. My husband has deemed it completely cheesy but I am hooked. It’s a little bit costume drama / a little bit love story / a little bit it takes a villiage. It drew me in so quickly and now I’m in danger of running out of episodes before the next season comes to Netflix. Hallmark should totally get in bed with Hulu, I’m just saying. Bonus points: It’s totally PG so the kids can watch it with me when I need to binge but they happen to be home.
  • People are photoshopping Mr. Bean into hilarious images and it’s one of the best thing I saw online this week.
  • 17309420_10101172554723146_7428601629282740298_nThe new Beauty and the Beast was, oh my lord, all the things. My husband had issues with the Beast and some of the changed storylines, but I loved it. I felt like it fleshed out my favorite story and breathed new life into it. It was like seeing your favorite work of fiction come to life. Emma Watson was perfection and I loved getting more of her back story and any backstory at all on the Beast.
  • Speaking of Beauty and the Beast, I greatly enjoyed this power point presentation on why Belle should have chosen Gaston. Agree to disagree, but the argument was surprisingly compelling!
  • 81aN-jZM6yL._SX466_Dan and I watched Passengers this weekend and it was everything you would expect a space adventure movie starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence to be. Funny, thrilling and kind of heartbreaking. I love when we find movies that are a perfect marriage of our interests.
  • I finished three books this month. My book club discussed Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner – the first in a new series about a British detective who is trying to track down a missing girl. It features revolving narrators and a complex narrative. Before diving into that book, I finished reading The Crown by Kiera Cass, the last book in the selection series. Last night I finally finished reading The Cozy Life by Pia Edberg, a short nonfiction book about Hygge which the Internet has been obsessed with lately. I love the idea of Hygge and definitely highlighted some ideas, but as a book I felt it was longer than it needed to be. It was still a quick read all told and a great resource for anyone who wants to know more about Hygge.
  • This video:

LEARN

What have you been up to this month? If you want to play along, feel free to write about the things you learned, loved and lived this month on your own blog and let me know in the comments!