Tuesday, January 26, 2016

tuesday morning catch ups. (the Jonas edition)

/1/ These pictures were taken on Sunday morning, after the snow finally stopped and the sun came out. It's hard to tell just how much snowfall we received because of the drifts, but it was definitely historic. The last time we saw anything like this was 6 years ago, Super Storm 2010. We didn't have kids yet, just us and the puppies. If I picture our lives then, Luke and I probably spent a lot of time staying cozy in our rental, watching movies. This time, we are homebound with two demanding kids so not as relaxing :) Although I have to say that they are so good at entertaining themselves and playing together, so it's still OK.
/2/ The kids liked playing in the snow, but only in small doses.
/3/ Since school was closed last Thursday and Friday, even before the storm hit, the kids have been home for a total of 7 days now. There have been a lot of Monopoly, Blink, random made-up Pokémon games. My inner tiger mom tendencies have also been making Anna do worksheets and reading me those leveled books. She's getting very good!! Of course, we also get through the day with a little help from our friends -- PBS, Wii, and tablets.
/4/ This is the stack of books we are currently reading to the kids. So far, the Those Darn Squirrels! series seem to be a crowd-pleaser. We also finally read the widely popular, The Day the Crayons Quit. Thumbs up on that one!
If you are curious about how we check out books from the library and how to make those trips to the library pleasant, read this post!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

I might be stating the obvious, but there is a lot of snow.

Snowstorm Jonas is here. When we opened our garage door this morning, we were greeted by snow at least a foot and half deep. All I have to say is thank goodness this husband of mine had the foresight to buy a snowblower to prepare for this winter. This little handy machine has already proven its weight in gold.
After Luke cleared a path, I bundled up the kids and let them loose. Will didn't last long before he complained it was "too cold", but Anna was out for a good while. Luke wins for lasting almost 5 hours though. He made pretty good progress, clearing almost half of our pipestem all on his own. Heavy snow is still falling, so he will have to do it all over again tomorrow :)
My prediction is that school will be closed for the majority of next week and by the time it finally opens, we will be on a boat. My inner tiger mom is a bit annoyed because Anna will miss so many days of school... GRRR, but Disney Cruise.
^^My two pioneers trudging through the snow.^^

Anyway, if you are affected by Jonas, hope you are staying safe and warm. xo

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

tuesday morning catch ups.

/1/ I am sure many of you know this already, but it was only 2 or 3 years ago that this clever idea came to me. You know those plastic bags that bedding sets come in? Well, I keep those and use them when I pack for trips. It adds so much organization to what could be a messy suitcase. I am currently packing for our cruise and making great progress! The nice thing about packing for a warm vacation in the winter is that you can pack way in advance.

/2/ I asked Anna to make a packing list for herself. This is what she came up with. You know, the essentials. I am so impressed with her spelling though. I mean "tablit" is pretty darn close and "cleshin" should really be the proper spelling.
Anna's packing list for our upcoming vacation.
/3/ This picture reminds me of that Friends episode when Joey and Chandler got robbed and all their furniture were stolen. Haha. Our couches were NOT stolen, but we ARE in the process of waiting for our new sectional (!) to arrive. So right now, we have folding chairs.
By the way, Craigslist is wonderful for getting stuff hauled away for free!

/4/ Yesterday, on MLK Day, we took the kids to Jammin Java to see The Great Zucchini. The kids remembered seeing him last summer and were very excited. The two of them sat front and center on the floor (Luke and I sat in the back) and had a really good time. Anna even got picked to go up on stage!

Jammin Java hosts a variety of shows for kids on weekday mornings at 10:30. I personally think it's a great activity (especially in the winter when it is 2 degrees outside), but I will never go again on a holiday. The place was FULL TO THE BRIM. Kind of nuts. I really think having some kind of crowd control would have been super helpful and make the experience more enjoyable. Oh well, at least we saved a couple of bucks by buying the tickets though Certifikid. Love that site for good deals.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

I am sold on Korean skincare products.

It’s been two months since I started using Korean skincare products and I can honestly say – wow! – I see results.

My complexion really does seem clearer, smoother, brighter, and has less redness. Even the husband notices it too!

I am an absolute beginner, but I just want to share what’s working for me.
Super Aqua Max Combination Watery Cream ($12). This cream is light, but super moisturizing. I use it at night before I go to bed and can literally feel the moisturizer sinking into my skin as I sleep away. I wake up and my face looks radiant! At $12, it’s not expensive and definitely comparable to drugstore prices. Since it is water-based, a little goes a long way so one jar lasts a while.
Rice Water Bright Cleansing Light Oil ($7). I gently wipe my entire face with this light oil and it melts away makeup (I don’t wear much, just powder and blush). It really gets my face squeaky clean for the face cream.

Wonder Pore ($9). This product claims to tighten pores and balance skin. I think it really does seem to do the job!

And, that’s it. Just 3 products. As I said, I see great results and I am liking it. Now that I know Korean skincare products work (for me), I am going to add a little bit more to my regime and see if I can do better. Now that I am old, skincare is a top priority for me. I will make sure to report back next time :)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

National Museum of American History

This past weekend we went to the National Museum of American History in DC with the purpose of visiting the newest exhibition, Wegmans Wonderplace. This brand new exhibit, designed for kids 0-6 with hands-on learning opportunities, just opened last month. I had wanted to take the kids there over the winter break, but unfortunately, they were both coughing up a lung so we didn't make it. Now that everyone is (mostly) healthy, it was time to check it out!
As usual, we got there just when the museum opened at 10a. We always go right on opening time to avoid crowds and to find a parking space.

We (ahem, I) excitedly headed straight to Wegmans Wonderplace and....well, left less than 10 minutes later. Haha. To elaborate, I thought the space was very nice, but small and toddler-ish. There were several different play areas, including a children's kitchen inspired by Julia Child, a tugboat, and a farm stand. There was also a small play structure in the middle for kids to climb. Perfect for little kids, but a bit too babyish for my bigger little kids :) Still, I am sure Anna and Will could have learned something new had we took the time to read the displays, but the place was also just packed with wiggly children and their parents so once the kids said they were done, we left.

Tip for the locals: If you are planning on visiting Wegmans Wonderplace, get there early. The place is popular and you will have to wait outside when it reaches capacity. We got in right away, but when we left, the line was pretty long. If you can swing it, I would go on a weekday.
^^Behind them, through the glass panels, is Wegmans Wonderplace.^^

After leaving Wegmans Wonderplace, we went next door to Spark!Lab, which is another hands-on exhibit for kids. According to the museum website, this space is for older kids (6-12) and the theme changes on a regular basis. Right now, the theme is "Things That Make Sound." Here in the above picture, the kids and Luke were creating an invention that makes sound using the supplies (cardboard, rubber-bands, strings, tape) provided. It was kind of cool and definitely makes you think a lot :) There were several stations, but we only tried a couple.
Surprisingly, the museum was very fun for Luke and me. I loved seeing all the neat stuff in Object Project, like an old Mac from the 80's or a monstrous top-loading VHS player. Man, it sure makes me feel old when I can recognize the stuff (some actually used!) on a history museum display!
The America on the Move exhibit was also very cool. Near the end there was a Greyhound bus, which Luke explained to the kids that he once traveled from California to Virginia on that bus. "It took a whole week!" I know I am sounding like a broken record, but it was all very interesting and fun.
We had a great time and I am really looking forward to going back again in the future. Maybe once the kids are older (and can read), we can slow down instead of rushing through it. Either way, it was time well-spent!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Making Magnets for Our Disney Cruise

We are gearing up for our very first Disney cruise! I hope it lives up to the hype and we have a fabulous family time! Naturally, I have been researching the heck out of it and trying to absorb all the information. One thing I learned is that apparently personalizing your cabin door with magnets is kiiiiind of a big deal, so I am jumping on the bandwagon! I tried and it worked out okay....and now I am here to share my rough step by step newbie's guide on making magnets!

1. I tried my best to find free Mickey and Minnie graphics online, but in the end I bought them on Etsy from here and here. They were absolutely worth the $4 I paid. The graphics were consistent in size, high in quality, and very easy to manipulate and use in Photoshop. It saved me lots of headache.

After I purchased the files, all I had to do was add our names (using Waltograph font) to the Mickey and Minnie heads in Photoshop.
2. The only other thing I had to buy for the project was magnet sheets. It was $8.50 for 5 sheets, so not exactly cheap, but I am just glad that the sheets ran through my printer just fine. I was pretty worried about that because the package clearly stated "ink jet" and I thought they might get jammed in my laser printer.
3. The magnets sheets aren't too thin, but aren't very sturdy either, so I decided to laminate. I have the laminator and a bunch of laminating pouches at home so I didn't have to buy anything extra. If you don't have a laminator, you can skip this step, but be careful to not rub off the ink...it rubs off easily.
4. Then it was time to cut. Luke did the job for me :)
Annnnnnd, done.

I made 5 magnets -- one for each of us and a family one -- and I am really happy with them! They are not entirely flawless, though. When I printed a test page on regular paper, it printed the black color evenly. Unfortunately, it did not on the magnet paper. As a result, I can see faint blotches on the magnets. Still, they are handmade with love and I only spent $13 (as opposed to $40-$50 for a family set on Etsy). Now our cabin door will be easier to spot in the sea of identical cabin doors :)
^^The family one is the biggest. Luke's and mine are also slightly bigger than Anna and Will's. Note: the picture is full of glares...they are NOT the actual blotches.^^

Had I wanted to spend even less, I could have just printed on cardstock, laminate, and attach magnets in the back. But it was definitely fun and rewarding to experiment with magnet paper. If I ever see a sale, I am loading up!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!