Giving Back

Looking back on your childhood you always have special memories that stick out more than others. One of those memories for me was in Elementary school. Our school bus driver was one of the happiest and sweetest ladies I’ve ever met. One Christmas she arranged with all the families a day to get all the kids together and pack shoeboxes for kids in need. I strongly remember how great it felt to be helping someone else. Now that I have children I want to instill that same drive to help others in them as well. The past few years we have been partaking in Operation Christmas Child which is organized by Samaritan’s Purse. As the boys get older I’d like to find other ways to help as well but for now, we are starting small.


So what is Operation Christmas Child? Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child, has collected and delivered more than 146 million shoebox gifts to children in more than 160 countries and territories. The boxes are filled with school supplies, hygiene items and toys. National collection week is November 13-20 and you can find your closest drop off location by checking out their website Samaritan’s Purse , you can also find suggestions on what to fill your shoebox with as well as make a $9 donation to find out who receives your box! If you can’t make it to the store or a drop off location before November 20 you could pack a box right on the website! You may also want to see if your local Chick Fil A is participating, when we lived in MD many of the local Chick Fil A locations were drop off points and even rewarded you with a free chicken sandwich.

Here’s a picture of our shoebox from last year. We included markers, pencils, coloring books, notepads, stickers, crayons, a soccer ball, yo-yo, soap, washcloth and toy cars.

 

How do you give back during the holiday season? We are always looking for new ways!

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Christmas Bucket List

So I am not one to skip right over Thanksgiving and I promise you I’m not. I have a post coming later this week with some Thanksgiving crafts. Today, however, I’m sharing our Christmas Bucket List. I love this time of year, not for all the gifts we receive but for all the family time this holiday brings. Whether we are out shopping together, meeting Santa, attending a local event or just baking cookies and watching Christmas movies at home there’s a lot of special family time Christmas provides. I’m sharing our list of fun local events we hope and plan to attend so if you’re in the Palm Beach area you’ll want to check some of these out. Some of these aren’t strictly local.

  1. Santa comes to the Gardens Mall- Last year was our first year attending this and we quickly knew it would become a tradition. This year on November 17 at 6pm Santa is arriving at the Gardens Mall for the holiday season. Everyone has a big Christmas dance party in the middle of the mall and awaits Santas arrival. The local radio station comes to DJ and they have Elves and Toy Soldiers on stilts dancing, which makes for a great photo op. Then Santa comes down the elevator waving to everyone. It truly is a magical event.
  2. Holiday Celebration at Downtown Gardens- This one we won’t be able to attend but still wanted to include for anyone who may be able to. Downtown at the Gardens is kicking off their Holiday celebration on November 25 at 5pm. It will include a tree lighting, polar express train rides, a visit from Mrs. Claus, Cookie and Milk station and letters to Santa station. Every night between then and Christmas they have a light show set to music.
  3. Palm Beach Boat Parade– This will be the first year we get to attend this one and we are so excited about it! This will be on December 2nd starting at 6pm. Click on the link to read more about it and to see the parade route.
  4. PBG Tree Lighting Ceremony- We did attend this last year and it was another favorite! December 6 from 6-8pm the Burns Rd rec center is starting their holiday season with a Tree lighting, face painting, live music, Santa and Mrs. Claus, cookie decorating and Christmas crafts.
  5. Santa at the Palm Beach Outlets- The outlets offers FREE Santa photos. I believe you receive one 4×6 and 4 wallets. The Santa we had last year was one of the best we’ve met, can’t beat a great Santa and free pictures!

I also wanted to include some events we have done in the past that you should definitely check out if provided the chance.

Last year we attended ICE!  at Gaylord Palms. Every year Gaylord resorts nationwide have ICE! and each year it’s a different theme, they rotate through the resorts. Our theme last year was Charlie Brown. My boys love Charlie Brown so I knew we HAD to go. They also had a free 30 min Cirque Dreams show in the center of the resort which was amazing!  I’ll be linking up a post all about this experience. It was so worth the money and a memory we will treasure forever.

Three years ago we attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom. This was another special event and worth the money.  Santa stars in a special parade, fake snow falls from the sky, special character meet and greets and complimentary hot cocoa and sugar cookies. All of this makes for a magical evening, as is any evening at Disney 😉 If you’re going to Disney but looking for a cheaper (free) alternative I suggest resort hopping to check out all the holiday decorations. My absolute favorite is the Grand Floridian, they have a huge Christmas tree and a life-size edible Gingerbread house, which is neat to see!

Another fun idea that could be found local to any of you is the Nutcracker. Over the years the women in my family have gotten together to see The Nutcracker at local theaters. This is a really fun day out for little girls as well as the older girls.

What events are on your Christmas Bucket list?

Fort McHenry Trip


mchenry


   Since the National Park Service’s (NPS) birthday is at the end of this month I’m recapping our trips to NPS. Today I’m going over our visit to Fort McHenry. 

Before our big move to Florida, we had a bucket list of things we still wanted to see and do in Maryland. So we spent a day out with my grandparents and my Mom. Exploring local and nonlocal parks, monuments, and museums are something I have always loved to do. Growing up my parents took us on many places, amusement parks (fun places) as well as National Parks where we could also learn. There is so much that can be learned from traveling and exploring new areas.

     When we first got there it was raining so we used that time to walk through the museum part where you can see all the old artifacts and they play a movie for you. Here are some pictures of inside the museum.

 

 

      By the time we were done inside, the rain had stopped. Next was looking around the fort. There were various videos playing in the different buildings and you were able to see where the bomb shelters were, where they slept and ate etc. It was very interesting to see what their beds looked like way back when. There was no such thing as a luxurious mattress to rest on at night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 I love this picture of Nathan taking a snack break. My boys eat all the time so we came prepared with snacks.

 

 The boys were eager to take pictures which made it even better for me!
 Before we even made it through the museum we stopped in the gift shop. When we were in England we started collecting a magnet for us and a pin for Lucas from everywhere we went. During our last few years, life has been so hectic that we haven’t been able to do as much sightseeing as we would like but we are so ready to get back to it! So this is actually the first pin I have collected for Nathan. In addition to the pins the boys each got to pick their own things out and since we were with my mom and grandparents they were kind of spoiled 🙂 They each got a t-shirt, Lucas got a super size pencil and a kids passport (more on that in a minute), Nathan picked out one of those light up toys where you push it and it spins around, a book and a toy cannon.  They were thrilled. 
 
In the pictures above you can see Lucas’ obnoxiously large pencil and also the green book. That would be the kids National Parks Passport. Which looks like this if you’re looking for one:
   This book is really neat and has little activities for the kids to fill out. They can check off which parks they have been to, which animals they see and they even get a stamp when they visit each park! We were slightly bummed since the people at Fort McHenry never mentioned the stamp to us or the Jr Ranger program they have. Looks like we will have to make one more trip out there. However, the booklet is available upon request or you can print your own here Activity Booklet Once your child completes it they get their own Jr Ranger badge. This seems like a good way to really get the kids interested and learn while having fun. We can’t wait to do more of these and explore more National Parks! 
 
    I’m not sure whether they truly loved Fort McHenry or just loved the gift shop but neither of them wanted to leave when it was time to go. In this Momma’s book that’s a win! 
 We visited during National Parks week so we had Free entry which makes it a great time to visit any of the NPS near you. Here are the 2017 dates for Free entry!
August 25: National Park Service Birthday 
September 30: National Public Lands Day.
November 11-12: Veterans Day Weekend.

 

What’s your favorite National Park?

Slime! 

      As some of you may know I work in a childcare center. During the school year I am a VPK teacher and during the summer, a camp counselor. I am always trying to come up with something fun to do to pass the time on the days they are in house. This week we made slime! Not going to lie I was a little worried about the mess and not totally looking forward to it. Partially because a few weeks ago we made marshmallow playdough and well that was a mess! Slime however was fun and easy! 

Here’s what you need: 

2 (4oz) bottles of Elmers glue

1Tbsp of baking soda 

2 Tbsp of eye contact solution 

Any food coloring you would like 

Glitter 

  1. Mix glue with baking soda until well mixed 

       2. Add in as much or as little food          coloring as you’d like 


3. Add in contact solution, you should be able to see it start “sliming” up but you may need to add a little bit more to get it less sticky. 

When finished it should look like this 

You can also add glitter, star confetti etc I also saw clear glue at Michaels which I thought would be cool with stars and glitter! Endless options and the kids are bound to have fun! 

Have you made any homemade crafts or recipes this summer? If so, please share! 

We Fly Together

When you first start dating someone you share your hopes, dreams and plans for the future. Some of these may be small and easy to accomplish while some, more time consuming and difficult. One of Zacks has always been to get a pilots license while one of mine is to travel, everywhere and anywhere. These two coincide pretty nicely 😍 

Not too long ago a friend and I were discussing lifelong goals and dreams,which I then began revisiting with Zack. I asked him his lifelong goals and discussed mine and then we made a plan to execute our goals. So often we get lost in the daily shuffle, the kids, work, housework, anything. We sometimes put ourselves on the back burner. I know if I don’t make a plan or write things down they won’t get done. If we don’t set a plan to achieve these goals they will simply stay dreams. So here we are on Zacks first training flight! The next few months may get a little hectic with his flights and studying but it will be well worth it!


As excited as I was to go up with him I was also nervous. I had never ridden in a small airplane before and was afraid I wouldn’t like the feeling but, it was awesome. Like one of those memories that will stick with you forever. It was so neat to see the beach, lighthouse, our work and other places we frequent from the sky. My head is already spinning just thinking of all the trips I want to do someday. I am so glad we revisited our goals and planned a way to start achieving them! 
What’s one of your lifelong goals? When your old and gray what would you regret not doing? Ask your spouse or significant other and make a plan! 

75 Family Movie Favorites

In this house we love family movie night, pretty sure it started when my husband and I were dating. We were always watching movies, new or old.  Movies remind you of your goals, ambitions, childhood, they make you laugh, cry and get your imagination going. Combine all that with some popcorn, candy or ice cream and it makes for a perfect night in. We have watched every Disney animated classic under the sun being the Disney addicts that we are, so we have been trying to switch it up. Lucas is now getting to the age that we can start showing some of our childhood favorites (non animated). So I figured a list of all of them would be nice to have and a good resource for any family. This list has a little bit of everything, some old, some new, some for boys, girls and some for teens. 

  • Most of these movies are PG however, there are a few rated PG-13. I always use IMDB to check out a movie before watching with the kids. 

1.Blank Check

blank check

2. Free Willy

free wily

3. Dennis The Menace

dennis

4. Sandlot

sandlot

5. Little Rascals

little rascals

6. Parent Trap

parent trap

7.Andre

andre

8.Ghostbusters

ghostbusters

9.Homeward Bound

homeward bound

10. Bridge to Terabithia

bridge to terabithia

11.Freaky Friday

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12.Wish Upon A Star

wishuponastar

13.The Karate Kid

karate kid

14.Richie Rich

RICHIE RICH, US poster art, Macaulay Culkin (top, center), Stephi Lineburg (top, right), John Larroq

15. Matilda

matilda

16. E.T.

et

17. The Secret Garden

secret garden

18. Mrs. Doubtfire

mrsdoubtfire

19.The Princess Diaries

princess diaries

20. Annie

annie

21. Home Alone

home alone

22. The Goonies

goonies

23. Wizard of Oz

wizard of oz

24. Cheaper by the Dozen

cheaperby the dozen

25. Troop Beverly Hills

troopbeverlyhills

26. Babysitters Club

babysitters club

27. Agent Cody Banks

p31339_p_v8_az

28. Clockstoppers

clockstoppers

29. Big Fat Lair

bigfatliar

30. Holes

holes

31. What A Girl Wants

what a girl wants

32. The Lizzie McGuire Movie

lizzie mcguire

33. Space Jam

space jam

34. Jumanji

jumanji

35. Honey I Shrunk The Kids

honey

36. Mr. Magoo

mr magoo

37. Back to the Future

back tothe future

38. Gremlins

gremlins

39. Apple Dumpling Gang

apple dumpling gang

40. Escape to Witch Mountain

escapeto

41. Shaggy DA

shaggy

42. Cool Runnings

cool runnign

43. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

sisterhood of the traveling

44. Spy Kids

spy kids

45. Mighty Ducks

"titleTreatment":"{[45,1908],[1223,879]}", "crop":"{[0,101],[1999,2717]}"

46. Big Green

big green

47. Heavyweights

heavyweights

48. Mary Poppins

marypoppins

49. Inspector Gadget

inspector gadget

50. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

willy wonka

51. Big

big

52. Field Of Dreams

field of dreams

53. Bad News Bears

bad news bears

54. The Muppet Movie

muppets

55. Who Framed Roger Rabbit

roger rabbit

56. Star Wars

star wars

57. Indiana Jones

indiana

58. Ferris Buellers Day Off

ferrisbueller

59.Grease

grease

60. Adventures in Babysitting

adventures in babysitting

61. Dr. Doolittle

dr doolittle

62. Goosebumps

goosebumps

63. Chronicles of Narnia

narnia

64. Series of Unfortunate Events

unfortunate events

65. Night at the Museum

night at the museum

66. Casper

casper

67. Remember the Titans

remember the titants

68. Yours,Mine and Ours

yoursmineand ours

69. A Little Princess

little princess

70. Charlottes Web

charlottes web

71. October Sky

october sky

72. Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium

mr magorium

73. Alexander and the Terrible,Horrible, No Good,Very Bad Day

alexander

74. That Darn Cat

darn cat

75. Indian In The Cupboard

indianincupboard

There you have it, 75 great movies for family night! What are some of your favorites? What did I miss?

 

 

 

Summer Bucket List 2017

Summer is such an exciting time! The weather is warm, the kids are out of school and it’s time for fun in the sun. It’s our favorite because we love spending time outside. 

Last year was the first year we actually made a bucket list since it was our last summer in Maryland. We had a whole list of things we wanted to do and see before moving and I’m proud to say we accomplished ALL of them 🙂 This years list is also fun because it’s our first Summer in Florida. I find the list so helpful for those days when you’re looking for something to do and to remind you of things your kids want to do. I know that if we aren’t intentional about trips or doing fun things, the time just passes and next thing you know school is back in session. It’s also fun to have the kids brainstorm and find out what’s really fun and important in their eyes. 

Here’s our list: 


Here’s some photos from out Summer Bucket List last year :

Do you make a Summer bucket list? What’s on yours? 

Graduation Baskets

How many of you have Graduation parties to go to this month? Looking for something cute? Between my husbands family and mine we have had our fair share of Graduation Parties the last few years!   I wanted to put together a cute little gift yet affordable. I found this first one somewhere on Pinterest (however can’t find the pin anymore) and thought it was adorable! We also included a gift card to Target. basket

Here’s the poem for anyone interested:

After completing MOUNDS

of homework and PIECING(Reeses pieces)

together all of your knowledge

you’ve finally hit PAYDAY, Graduation!!!

As you head off to college

Don’t listen to any SNICKERS

You’re no DUM DUM, you’re

one HOT TAMALE on your WAY (milky way) to

making 100 GRAND

Congratulations on your Graduation

SMARTIE!

My next basket was all made of things you could use in a dorm room!  I bought a mixture of items for dorm room  (dry erase board, command hooks, basket, bleach cleaning wipes) toiletries (shampoo, soap, lotions) as well as snacks, cup, detergent, notepads and tape.  I didn’t find a cute poem for this one but I’m sure there’s something out there 🙂 We included a gift card in this basket as well.

IMG_5356

What are some other cute ideas you have found?

Patriotic Wreath

It’s that time of year again, time to show our patriotism! This patriotic wreath will get it’s use with Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day!
I saw a few patriotic flags online and knew that I wanted something that resembled the American flag but also something a little different. Once I saw this chevron ribbon in Michaels I knew that was it! I purchased all my supplies from Michaels; one straw wreath, one roll of blue ribbon, 3 rolls of red and white chevron ribbon, a package of white flowers, some little star decoration and a letter A. It only cost me $15! I love Michaels and there coupons 🙂
I left the wreath wrapped in the plastic and then started wrapping the ribbon all the way around it to cover the front and back of it. I hot glued each end of the ribbon. One roll of the blue ribbon was the perfect amount to give it the flag feel. I also hot glued the flowers on. I picked these because they resembled stars but you could also use felt stars or buttons. The final finishing touches were the little star decorations and monogram letter. I will be using this wreath for years to come, it’s the perfect addition to our door!

 

New Year, Same Me 

Wow,can you believe another year has come and gone?  Time definitely flies the older you get. I wanted to do a little recap of our year and talk about my hopes for next year. 

2016 brought us many new exciting things! 

In the beginning of 2016 we were already working on our move to Florida,however we thought we would be going to Melbourne FL. Then in May my husband had been contacted by a recruiter from a company in Palm Beach FL stating she found his resume online and he looks like the perfect candidate for a job they have plus they like to hire Veterans. The whole thing sounded too good to be true, because if you know us things have not been easy over the last 5 years. The pay was quite a jump, the health insurance was incredible along with the time off and other benefits. The hiring process was long but after about two weeks we got the call that he got the job! Now it was time to start researching our new city after I had studied everything there was to know about Melbourne lol Him getting this job was just the first of a few great things that happened. 

Come June, I started looking for and applying to jobs in the Palm Beach area. We had finally set a moving date for the boys and I, which meant it was time to get things lined up. I called a few daycares and dental offices in the area. One daycare told me to email my resume as they are looking to hire. I emailed and quickly heard back. This was another big piece to our puzzle! I got the job and the boys could come to the daycare with me at no cost! This was huge! However I didn’t realize just how much of a blessing this job was going to be. Turned out I would meet two girls who quickly became some of my best friends. 

When we started this moving to Florida adventure,there were doubts from a lot of people and it was stressful to try and line everything up while he was here working and the boys and I were still in Maryland. However ,it has taught me that anything worth doing won’t be easy and if you set your mind on something you can do anything. I also learned to trust myself, many times during the year I had that gut feeling that this is what we were supposed to do and it’s paid off. I knew what I needed and didn’t stop till we got there no matter how many negative thoughts I heard. We spent a year living apart to make it work. I’d do it all again to get where we are today. 

We also had other memorable moments in 2016. I started the 21 day fix in April and lost 20 lbs which put me at the lowest weight I have been in 7 years! The boys and I got to visit lots of places on our Maryland\ Pennsylvania bucket list before we moved. We have already had a bunch of visitors here in FL with more planned for the new year as well. Nathan started talking so so much this year,he’s made incredible improvement (he has apraxia of speech). We finally got an IEP for Lucas which was not an easy task. I rebranded my blog and made so many amazing blog friend connections. The blogging community is awesome and I have met some wonderful ladies. This year overall I feel as though I found myself again and started doing things for me. We had a big year and while there were some downs we had many ups and they were big ups. 

I am excited to see what 2017 brings us! I’m hoping for more travel/sightseeing, and more memories made with my family and friends. I also hope to continue to grow my blog. I won’t say new year new me because I actually quite like myself, and am proud of who I am 😉 What do you hope for in the New Year?