Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend!, Part I

Our overall Memorial Day weekend was activities-filled, but not full to the brim either. Each day we had at least one outing and some downtime at home.

Here is our Saturday...

The most exciting part (for the kids) about our latest trip into DC was taking the new-ish silver line metro. Believe it or not, it was only the kids' second time riding on the metro. The first time was nearly two years ago, to the zoo, which they said they don't even remember. Now that they are older, I am sure this experience will stick with them for a while. They laughed and had a ball and were officially the two happiest kids ever to ride on public transportation.
It was a hot day in DC, but except for the walk to and from the National Air and Space Museum, we were mostly indoors. Museums are still a hit or miss with us, because the kids are still a bit too young to appreciate them (heck, I still don't truly appreciate them either), but I think they still enjoyed it and got something out of it. They definitely surprised us when they named all the planets, starting with the one closet to the sun.
^^Click here for a comparison picture of Anna inside the airplane!^^

Our trip ended with froyo from a food truck!

After DC, we came home for a late lunch and nap. Then the kids played with their water table and these jelly water beads, and that kept them entertained for a good hour. Finally, we played two new board games (Hoot Owl Hoot and Race to the Treasure -- both cooperative games so Will doesn't freak out when he doesn't win) and finished watching Wreck-It Ralph after dinner. A decent day :)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, May 23, 2016

monday morning catch ups.

This is a very short "catch ups" post, because not much is going on with us!
Barnes and Noble summer reading program 2016
/1/ The kids completed the annual Barnes and Noble summer reading program, and each got to pick out a free book. This is the best program ever and we do it every summer. This year, Anna picked a Pinkalicious book and Will a superhero. If you are interested, complete the Reading Journal and head to your closest BN between May 17 to Sept 6! Although they say the program is only for kids grades 1-6, we have been doing it for the last 3 years. The other reading program we will do is through our local county library, but that one doesn't start until late June.
/2/ Anna had her very first piano recital! She did a super job playing duet with her teacher, and although I could tell she was shy, she still marched up there and did it. Man, I am so relieved that the recital is behind us...because all month I was worried that she would chicken out at the last minute. Whew, she didn't :) Here is the video I took of her performance, if you like to see.

/3/ Other happenings: We watched Zootopia (pretty good!), I dropped the camera and broke it (sadness, so much money down the drain), and I am shopping for a new summer wardrobe (trying LOFT for the first time).

/4/ It's only Monday, but I am already thinking about the long weekend. Extra *extra* long for me because I am taking Friday and next Tuesday off. We are staying in town and have no big plans, but I have some personal days that's either use-it-or-lose-it. Well, I am certainly not going to "lose it". So, two whole days of me time (kids still have school), WHAT will I do???

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

tuesday morning catch ups.

/1/ There was finally a break in the rain on Saturday morning so we took the kids to "rainbow park" . We have been going to this park for years and the kids are not sick of it yet, especially not the carousel :) 
/2/ Another week, another new activity book for Anna. Currently, she's really into this one. Luke's sister gave it to us a couple of years ago, and I had been waiting to give it to Anna until she was old enough. Well, I think 6 is just right. She can do the whole thing independently and is so creative with it. I am a fan of activity books!

/3/ Believe it or not, we are thinking about getting a dog. We already got a name picked out - Taro! Yes, after the root vegetable, haha. I am still not convinced that it will actually happen because I really do like our dog-free life. But then I also think how fun it would be to have a little Yorkie running around the house again... Maybe things WILL be better this time? Anyway, we have been talking about it so much that Anna now includes "Tarow" in her drawings. So funny and cute.
/4/ I am solo parenting this week while Luke is in Vegas for work. The kids are older now, so it's really not bad at all. Sure it might take longer to get out of the house and we might skip bedtime stories and play tablets instead, but it's all good.

/5/ This last one is a big milestone for our family. So....we paid off our mortgage! Today! Just this morning! When we bought our first house in 2010, I never expected us to pay off our 15-year loan in under 6 years, but - wow - I am super proud of our accomplishment :) Congratulations to us!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

tuesday morning catch ups.

Again, just a quick post to keep a record of our family life.
/1/ The kids attended a bounce house birthday party and had SO. MUCH. FUN. This particular bounce house, Sport Bounce of Loudoun, is about a 30 minute drive for us. The kids have actually received several birthday party invitations with this venue in the past, but this was our first time there. The birthday boy is a good friend of Will's at school, so we decided to go this time :) It did not disappoint. Bounce houses, slides, pizza, cake, pretty much heaven on earth for the kiddos.

/2/ As I mentioned yesterday, we hosted a BBQ over the weekend. It was another last-minute gathering, but we somehow managed to have 12 adults, 4 kids, and 1 baby. We had a fairly simple spread -- steak/chicken kabobs, ribs, hot dogs, potato salad, macaroni salad, corn on the cob, veggies with dip, and fruit. And of course, people brought desserts -- cheesecake, Duck Donuts, and ice cream bars (Haagan Dzas - yum). It was pretty successful! The adults talked and the kids played outside (thanks to Anna and Will's older cousins for keeping watch!) I am already planning the next cook out and I want to include burgers on the menu next time.

/3/ Speaking of next time...next time, we will know better on how much to buy to feed a crowd. I think we bought over $40-worth of food than necessary. Not that the food will go to waste, since we will eat them eventually...

/4/ Anna received this My First I Can Draw doodling book for her birthday and has finally gotten around to draw in it recently. The book is pretty cute, with easy to follow step-by-step instructions to draw all sort of animals. Even Will, who's reluctant to draw, does very well with it! Sometimes we all sit down and draw together, which makes me feel like a good mom. I need to get Will his own book though, because Anna doesn't like him drawing in her book. Often he will just sit on side, handing her gel pens instead ("What color would you like Anna? Dark green?").

/5/ I signed the kids up for swim class at the local rec center this morning. This will be our second attempt with the rec center swim classes. The first time we did it was at least two years ago, with parents in the water with the kids, holding them the entire time. We were not motivated to go after the third class. This time, the kids are old enough to be in the water on their own so hopefully it will be more effective. They will be in two separate classes, but at least starting around the same time, with Anna's ending 15 minutes later, so not a lot of waiting around, which is a big plus.

/6/ Right now, Anna is super into McDonald's Happy Meal emoji plush toys. She has two that she hangs on her backpack like they are the greatest things ever. I guess to her they are :)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mama's Test Kitchen: Yummy Honey Chicken Kabobs

Honey Chicken Kabob
Once we decided to host a BBQ over Mother's Day weekend, I knew I wanted to make some chicken kabobs. These kabobs were so good and juicy, and even though the sweet honey flavor was not terribly noticeable, it was still excellent. No dry and rubbery chicken here! This is another keeper recipe that I am sure to make over and over, whenever we cook out again.

A review on Yummy Honey Chicken Kabobs:
Result: 4+ out of 4
Will I make it again: Yes! At our next BBQ!
Chef’s Notes: I didn't marinate the veggies, but did marinate the chicken breast overnight. I also liked our veggie options - green and red bell peppers, zucchinis, and mushrooms.
^^Everything tastes better on a grill.^^

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Clifford Live!

I really should start playing the lottery because I won again :) This time, it was 4 tickets to see Clifford the Big Red Dog Live! musical. Anna and Will have read Clifford books here and there, but they are certainly not die-hard fans or anything. But, of course, I wasn't about to let the tickets go to waste either, so off we went this past Saturday afternoon. The Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas...40 minutes away...seemed so far that Anna said that it was "like a road trip." Her father couldn't agree more :) Once we got there though, parking was easy, picking up our tickets was a breeze, everything went very smoothly!

As for the show itself, I really didn't know what to expect. Would it be stupid and boring? I was prepared to leave at intermission if that was the case. In then end, we stayed until the cast took their final bow. The show was very entertaining! The songs ("Birdwell Island" was my fave) were totally catchy! And so very age appropriate for my 6 yo and 4 1/2 yo! Thumbs all the way up!

This is definitely something we would have never otherwise done if it wasn't for winning the tickets at DC Thrifty Mom, but it turned out to be a great night out!
The musical was the highlight of our Saturday, but the rest of our weekend was pretty full as well. A play-date, birthday party, dinner out with new friends. As the kids get older, they love having other kids to play with and it's forcing me to become more social. I am an introvert through and through, but I am trying my best.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!