Saturday, April 25, 2015

Animal Jam!

This morning, Scott, the kids and I headed to the Pacific Science Center for Animal Jam! I had been invited earlier in the week to check out this new game but honestly I hadn't paid much attention to what I had actually been invited to other than a free morning at the Pacific Science Center. After learning more about the Animal Jam's game, I'm super stoked to share it with Molly (Maggie can learn about it when she's a bit older). 

Briefly, Animal Jam is an online playground for kids who love animals and the outdoors. Players create animal characters and dens to feed their curiosity about animals and the natural world around them. This game was created in partnership with National Geographic and features a classic playground role playing game infused with life sciences. Players can learn about Animal Conservation and talk to real life scientists; like herpetologist, Dr. Brady Barr and marine biologist, Dr. Tierney Thys. 

Molly LOVES animals and often plays zoo in our playroom. She likes to line up her stuffed animals and take care of them by feeding them, providing medical care and most importantly, cuddles. All animals need cuddles according to Molly. She is currently very interested in tigers and dinosaurs, even though the later are very much extinct. Creating unique animals, learning about their environments and decorating their dens is going to be right up Molly's alley. 

We had a great time at the Pacific Science Center this morning. After a hearty breakfast and presentation, we roamed the center for a few hours. We saw butterflies, dinosaurs, a live snake show, played in the tots area and learned about germs. Molly is really into germs lately too. 


I particularly loved the butterfly exhibit. They had butterflies coming out of their cocoons which is exactly what Molly has been studying in co-op this week. We spent a long time watching the butterflies struggle out of their homes, wings all wet and then slowly spreading their wings. The butterfly area had some gigantic butterflies too. They were beautiful! 


Thank you to Animal Jam, National Geographic and the Pacific Science Center for providing my kids with a fun morning to explore, learn about science and this fascinating new game. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

NEEDED: Yard Advice


Most of the time, I love our yard but every Spring I begin to hate it. Our yard requires A LOT of weeding which is fine if I had time to get out there and do it. Unfortunately the girls get bored after a few minutes and try to run into the road while giggling in the face of danger. I've been slowly working on re-doing the yard to reduce the need for weeding but I have one corner that I have not been able to come up with a solution for.


We have a beautiful, wee Cherry Tree that is surrounded by irregular rocks. The previous owners planted heather around the tree and it was pretty but the grass and weeds quickly grew up between the plants. Last year, I covered the ground around the tree with cardboard and covered that with topsoil. When Spring arrived, the grass has taken over and covered the area beneath the tree. I spent 4 hours last weekend, pulling out grass and weeds and am now left with a blank canvas.


The advice I need is what should I plant under the tree that either stops weeds/grass from growing in OR hides them well. I've been thinking about decorative grasses or a flowering plant or just flailing around. What would you plant?
Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Comfortably of Routine

I've written about routine before. There is a comfort in having a routine and for me, there is calmness is knowing that things happen on certain days at certain times. Last year was full of uncertainty, change and little comfort. This year, I've been working toward simplicity which has also meant a dive back into routine. 

12:15 p.m. Time to clean up from breakfast and lunch while Molly plays. #adayinthelifephotochallenge

We have our daily routine which changes according to our planned activities every day and that has been working well. It is my weekly routine that has needed some shaping. I have a lot going on with my two kids, freelance writing, taking care of my Mom and maintaining the home front. 


I based my new weekly routine on my old weekly routine:

Monday is for Errands. I do all errands on Monday from stopping by the library to going to the store to returning things to friends. During Maggie's nap and Molly's quiet time, I concentrate on getting some writing work done. I can usually get a good hour or so in. 

Tuesday is for Laundry. Molly goes to co-op in the morning so Maggie and I play and start the laundry. I concentrate on clothing laundry on Tuesdays. I tend to save towels and sheets for later in the week but get started on them if I have time on Tuesday. I also concentrate on getting more writing work in during Maggie's nap and Molly's quiet time. 

Wednesday is for Cleaning - I clean half the house (Playroom, Living Room, Dining Room and Bathroom) on Wednesdays during Maggie's nap and Molly's quiet time. If Molly doesn't want to have quiet time then she helps me clean. She loves washing windows so I put her to work! I love having a clean house but I don't like cleaning every day. I do have the kids help me pick-up every night and we try to wash dishes every day so cleaning days are focused on actually cleaning. This is also a day we visit my Mom in the morning. We see her at other times but we almost always see her on Wednesday. 

Thursday is for Cleaning, Part Deux - Molly has co-op in the morning and I work in her classroom. I clean the other half of the house (Bedrooms and Kitchen) and launder the sheets, towels and kitchen rags during Maggie's nap. Molly has usually given up on quiet time at this point in the week so either helps me or watches a show. If Maggie takes a long nap, I get more work done then. 

Friday is for Big Projects - Friday is a pretty open day for us, other than gymnastics class in the morning so I like to use it to focus on getting bigger projects done. I've fallen behind on my goal purging the house with the Bowl Full of Lemons 14 Week Plan. I got behind on the office and am getting back into it. I have a HUGE list of home improvement plans to tackle too. I'm planning to talk more about this later but the list is basically some small things like painting, putting up some new house numbers (because ours are a weird, ugly font) and bigger things like new insulation and a new cover in our backyard.

Weekends is for Catching Up and Fun - I try to take time on the weekend to head to a coffee shop to get some work done and get in some swatching time. I also try to work on the yard and garden on the weekends when Scott is around to wrangle the kids. 

As with everything in life, this routine has it's ebbs and flows but I have found that when I stick to it, I feel calmer, more accomplished and most importantly happier. 

8:05 pm Gathering clothing so I can start the weekly laundry #adayinthelifephotochallenge

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Creative Goddess Restoration Periods, Being Strong and Working Your Butt Off Make Up This Week's Links Around the Web

Fields of Gold

Buying Organic 101 Great information from Weelicious!

Creative Goddess Restoration Period I love this. This is a great thing! 

Box Top Hate! I can already see myself as this Mom. "No! I'm not going to buy you some process crap because your school needs box tops. Here's $5. Leave me alone."

Please don't tell me I'm strong I have this friend who says the right thing at the right time. I'll text her and say, "OMG! LIFE IS TERRIBLE!" and she'll reply, "I do not envy your life right now." I need that honesty. I don't need to hear that it will get better. Sometimes I just need to hear that it does indeed suck because some days it does indeed suck. 

I worked my ass off "I could say: “Follow your heart,” but I never did that. I worked my ass off instead." If only more people were honest about the hard work that gets them to their successful point. This is an honest and awesome article about the woman behind some of the best tasting ice cream out there. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Earth Day Goals!

One of my goals this year is to "Become more thoughtful about how I consume products and produce waste. I want to compost more, recycle more and produce less trash." With Earth Day happening tomorrow, I've been thinking about this goal a bit more.

We have been doing awesome on the composting front. 95% of our leftover food waste (potato peels, the kid's uneaten food, etc) is composted nightly. I'm still trying to find the best kitchen compost container for us but right now we've been using a plastic bucket. It works ok but I know that with the weather warming up, we need to come up with a covered solution.

Recycling is also pretty awesome around here. Even Molly knows to check the container before tossing anything into the trash as most of our trash items can actually be recycled.

As for producing less trash, I feel like we have a lot of room for improvement. We recently switched from cloth diapers for Maggie to disposables and that has increased our trash output. I was not keeping up with the laundry and the diapers were the tipping point. I may still go back to cloth but for right now, disposables are where we are at.

I did find this interesting infographic on ways to help the Earth on Earth Day and I'm going to work to adopt more of these ways. We do already bring our own bags into the story (you have to pay for bags here so that's a great incentive to bring your own bags) and most of our bills come electronically. I could however bring my own cup when I get coffee (which is rarely) and while I use environmental cleaners, I could make more of my own (Pinterest has a ton of ideas!) What are you doing for Mother Earth as Earth Day comes around?

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