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Friday, July 25, 2014

NYC-Niagara Falls-Michigan

 Lady Liberty

 My Grandma's apartment building when she lived in NYC.

 A boy & his baguette.

 NYC Public Library.  In his element.

My sweet Bella, who drove in just to have brunch with us!

Books & Games--perfect for my kiddos.

  On to Canada...

  Finally to our destination.
 Our baby bamboo, from our dear friends, The Miravites, made the trip.  
It helped make our new house cozy.

"Slowly but surely" has been our unpacking motto. 
Our only "finished" room, aside from the purple paint that Tate is requesting we change. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Be Back Soon! Moving Again...

We have left Norfolk, headed to NYC, then to Niagara Falls, and then finally to Michigan.  It was torture by vacationing!! (Paul planned many, many stops with very little sitting time.  Or, as I like to call it "coffee with pinterest time".)

I will have photos later, as I sit surrounded by lots of boxes, and can barely get the kids fed at this point.  We have had a trip to the ER, a shower-pipe-poop-fountain explosion, and Paul has a cold flu thing that has knocked him out.

I am very excited to be at my forever home, but hey, I'm human and unable to keep up with it all.  Grateful for the very little things at the moment... xoxoxo

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Norfolk, VA with kids

Paul and I have been making a list of all the things that we like to do in this area with little kids.  Some of of our suggestions are obvious, others are things we discovered as we lived here, as we saw what our children enjoyed.

In no particular order:

Book Exchange-Wards Corner--They will give you a credit when you bring in your used books.  It is set up like a book store, and has a small toddler play area, and you can use the credit to buy new books.  The kids LOVE this.  (You can also buy books for half of the value.)
VA Childrens Museum in Portsmouth-there is a great cafe across the street.  They also have donuts and ice cream for a post museum treat.  I love the soup in there.  Another option is Artisan Bakery, which is also close by.
Music at Ocean View Beach, Norfolk  This is one of the many events sponsored by The City of Norfolk via their Festevents.  I don't recommend going to this beach when they aren't having events or when there are no lifeguards.
Skinny Dip Frozen Yogurt- in Ghent (Colley Rd.)
Hermitage Park-The park is open to the public and has a nice fence around it, and is shaded by trees.  There are also many kids events held at the Hermitage Museum.
Winter Whale Watching Boat at the VA Aquarium
VA Aquarium and Adventure Park-They also have Toddler Tuesdays.
Sandfiddler Cafe for breakfast, and then quick beach trip across the street.
Mermaid Factory- Paint your own mermaid or buy mermaid paraphernalia, especially "There Goes a Mermaid" book by Lisa Suhay. ("Mermaids and Yellow Jack" is actually my favorite book written by Lisa, but you have to get that on amazon.)
Jungle Golf Mini Golf (there is always a coupon!) and King Neptunes 3D Golf.  You can host an event in the winter at King Neptune's for a very low price, as the oceanside is empty at that time of the year.  During peak beach time, you can pay to park at Jungle Golf, (which is one of the cheaper places to park), and they will give you a free game!
Larchmont and Pretlow Libraries-Both have play areas and lots of events.
MacArthur Center-Toddler Play area on 3rd floor
East Beach, Norfolk-Because of the rock jeties that are in place there, the water forms a shallow pools of water, making it perfect for little ones.
Norfolk Botanical Garden- They have an entire children's section with a splash pad, which is barely even mentioned on their website.  There is also a small cafe, and tons of places to have a picnic.  Currently, they have a butterfly exhibit, which is also geared toward the little ones, as well as a huge sand area with hammocks and toys.  You can definitely spend an entire day there.
Lambert Point Rec Center-Chess club, climbing wall, mini adventure course, lots of kids events
Beach when it is COLD-During the colder months, dress warm, pack a thermos of hot cocoa, a blanket, and bring the sand toys!
If you are military, we love the Little Creek or Oceana pools.  They are like mini water parks.  Also Ft. Monroe Beach Club is amazing.  It is on the Bay, and has a pool, tiki bar, restaurant, volleyball, and live music.  Lastly, Pierside Lanes-$1 games on Wednesdays.

If you have any other suggestions or questions about any of the above, please feel free to send me an email or comment below.  I love this place, and will be sad to leave the area.

Our most recent trip to the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hot Weather Eats or Snackapalooza

In the summer, the kids eat around the clock.  We don't stick to our normal schedule as much, and therefore eat a lot of "snacks".  I think Soleil's middle name might be snack, as she constantly asks for one.  Here is a few things we have been noshing on.  Because of the heat, I try to use the crock pot as much as possible.  This is also allows us to eat at any time, keeping the food warm for later eaters.  
This salad is from Panera, and one of my favorites.  I took a photo so that I might make it at home.  (It hasn't happened yet.) 
 Chicken+Romaine+Strawberries+Blueberries+Pineapples+Pecans+Mandarin Oranges+Dressing

 Tomatoes+Basil+Fresh Mozzarella Pearls+Cucumbers.  I added celery as well, but it doesn't go.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Is it only the FIRST week of Summer?

We have been sooo busy and done so many fun things, that it definitely feels like Summer.  I am thrilled to have both kids home, and it is a great distraction from the fact that the moving truck comes in TWO DAYS.

Swimming in the cold water hot tub.  
(Tate came up with the idea and it has been used daily in the 95F heat!)

Girls Night Out with Roxanne.
We had dessert at the local Dessert Bar, and then we wandered around Rite Aid,
trying on nail polish like we were 14 years old spending our babysitting money.  
It was awesome.

Artisans Bakery; Portsmouth, VA
Yes, you have to drive through the tunnel to get there, but worth the trip.
It is only open during the week between 11-3, but they have REAL baguettes.  
 Children's Museum; Portsmouth, VA
When you make a summer rule of no screen time until after 4pm, no one even asks for it.  
Instead, they create their own library.  I can't believe how many hours they have played with this!  

 VA Aquarium; Virginia Beach, VA  
 He would stay at the sting ray tank the entire trip if I let him.
 We had a lovely surprise from one of the giant turtles.
 In the fairy garden under the Adventure park at the VA Aquarium.

Chesapeake Bay; Norfolk, VA
 We were so lucky to have our dear friends, The Miravites, come for a quick visit before our move.  

 Busch Gardens; Williamsburg, VA

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Mr. Lemoncello

We are listening to this audiobook. It is sooo good!

The trailer will give you a better idea, but it is about a bunch of kids who are locked in a library and have to figure out the puzzles to win the grand prize from Mr. Lemoncello.  Tate, age 8, looks forward to listening to this every night after Soleil goes to bed.  He loves books and libraries and games, so it is perfect.  The author has a scavenger hunt available to libraries, and we really want to try and do it once we settled in our new home.  

Any book recommendations for kiddos??  I'd love to hear.

And on that note, we discovered an independent book store in Norfolk called Prince Books. (Yes, a few still exist!) 
Tate was thrilled, as it is cozy and perfect.  It has a little cafe, and as Tate noticed, it "has books we haven't seen before!"  They have a combo of indie titles, as well as popular bestsellers.  

It has that "Shop Around the Corner" feel.  If you don't get my "You've Got Mail" reference... Here are photos from the bookstore from that movie:

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Soleil's Pink Tea Party

"I'm 4?  Today?  I'm a big girl now?"

After the kids ate, they went to the library and living room, where I pulled out all the pink, baking, and tea party books.  This worked perfectly, giving me a minute to set up the craft.

Craft activity--bead bracelets!

Many of the decorations came from the dollar store.  This is how I made the chair dressings.

 Use the stem of the faux flower to poke a hole, and then pull ribbon through the hole.  (I guide the ribbon through at the same time as the flower stem.)
 Tie a knot.
 Poke flowers through in a cluster, and you are done.