Monday Sparkles - Fall Box

There's nothing better than coming back from summer break to find a new Monday Sparkles box waiting to be opened!  The fall box is themed “Back to School – Survival Kit” And I think this might be my favorite one yet!

Here's a closer look at what’s inside the box:

Ottilie and Lulu Face Wipes: Natural gentle cleansing wipes with soothing rosewater scent. Perfect for on-the-go cleansing.

Musing Compact Mirror: Keep it in your backpack for on-the-go touch ups and to always start your day with a smile.

Unicorn EarBuds: You’ve got style and because they are unicorn. They are the cutest accessories for your laptop or iPod.

Decorative Patches: Use the patches to decorate your shoes, backpacks, shorts, jeans, t-shirts, hats... the possibilities are endless!

Decorative Pins: Because you need them to go with your new patches.

“Survival Kit” Pouch: Perfect for carrying small school supplies, toiletries, snacks, and chargers. Also great for organizing smaller items in your sports bag.

Annie’s Organic Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars: Super yummy snack to share with a new friend.

Monday Sparkles is a tween subscription box company for girls ages 8-12. Their mission is to help girls celebrate the power of positivity and bring Earth, love, and sparkle to their lives one box at a time. They also want to teach the girls the value of giving back. So for each subscription sold they will donate $1 to either a charity or a worthy organization. For this box they’ve partnered up with Girls On the Run Napa Solano.

 

Happy Easter

What are you up to this weekend? We’re having an easter egg hunt with friends and their kids today. I can't wait to see the excitement of my kids eyes when looking for easter eggs at the winery while we enjoy great vino and company. Easter is one my favorite holidays to do crafts with my kids. Thanks to Say Yes blog we learned how to make perfect polka dots eggs. Hope you have a relaxing weekend and a Happy Easter with your family!

 

Loving Learning

My kids attend a progressive education school where they embrace a hands-on approach to learning that integrates disciplines that challenges students to ask questions, research real-word problems, and design and build their own solutions. For more than a century progressive educators have touted the importance of creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration - what is currently called the “4 Cs.” Sadly, most schools don't teach with these concepts in mind. For example, programs that offer the opportunity for the 4 Cs like art, music, and physical education have been cut from many lower school curriculums.

I see how my kids learn by doing rather than memorizing information. They love to learn and are eager to go to school everyday. This is how we should expect our kids to feel about school. As a parent I highly recommend getting the book LOVING LEARNING: How Progressive Education Can Save America's Schools. This is the way we should teach our children. They all deserve better learning environments.

Below are some of my son's first grade art projects. What can I say, I'm a proud mama. Can you tell this boy loves orange?!

 

Perfect Playdate

My kids get two weeks off from school during the winter break. The first week we are usually busy with activities in anticipation of Christmas. The second week we either take the kids to the snow or we play with the toys from Santa. This year I (Santa) got my kids subscription boxes from Avery and Austin, Kiwi Crate, and Monday Sparkles. We had so much fun crafting and connecting with each other through art projects, slime making and journal writing. I love when my kids get to have the perfect play date with mommy through creative play! (OK, we did have some screen time since we had to catch up with six episodes of Star Wars in order to see the seventh). 

Play camera kit from  Avery and Austin . Water colors from Target.

Play camera kit from Avery and Austin. Water colors from Target.

Busy box  from Avery and Austin

Busy box from Avery and Austin

Projects from  Kiwi  and  Tinker  Box

Projects from Kiwi and Tinker Box

Get the Journal  here.

Get the Journal here.

 

Our Family Holiday Tradition - Gingerbread House in the City

Four years ago we took the kids to San Francisco to see the enormous gingerbread house at the Fairmont Hotel. Since then we've made this our family holiday tradition. We are big believers in public transportation so we usually take the ferry instead of drive. The kids love it. They get to ride in a big boat, enjoy the view, eat donuts and drink hot chocolate. We feel very fortunate to have this option available to us as commuting on the San Francsico Bay is hard to beat. 

Once we arrived at the Ferry Building we got fresh bread from Acme Bread Company and then walked to Philz Coffee for a cup of hipster coffee. We then took the cable car up California Street to the Fairmont Hotel. After the kids see the gingerbread house, write a letter to Santa and explore around the hotel we walk to Chinatown for lunch. This year we added one more stop - the San Francisco Cable Car Museum. I'm so glad we went to see how the cable cars work. It's pretty amazing and a must see. You'll be amazed at the mechanics and also learn a lot about the history of one of two National Historic Landmarks that move (New Orleans’ St. Charles streetcar line is the other). We ended our trip with ice cream back at the Ferry Building, and two tired parents. What is your family holiday tradition?

 

Celebrating and Remembering Sienna

We lost our dog Sienna over the summer while the family was away on a road trip. We received a call from our parents that she was in critical condition and in severe pain because of advanced stages of an aggressive cancer. We had a hard decision to make to end her life and we had to say good-bye over the phone. The whole family was saddened that we couldn't say our last farewell in person.

Today would have been her 10th birthday. We wanted to celebrate this day and remember her at her happy place - the beach. Sienna loved the water and there was no greater body of it than at an ocean beach. She would swim so hard and gulp so much saltwater that she made herself sick. But as soon as she got the salt water out of her - usually a really gross regurgitation - she was right back in the ocean frolicing in the waves. She was probably a surfer in her previous life.

Rest in peace Sienna bear. You are free now to see the world and swim all you want. We love you and you will always be part of our family and our hearts.

Happiest Birthday To Our First

She was our first everything. First pregnancy, baby, granddaughter to our parents, preschooler, kindergartner, and tween. It isn’t always easy having to be the one who goes first, actually I think it’s rarely easy, but what a fantastic little guinea pig she has been. Especially to me! When I brought her home from the hospital I almost can’t believe we survived the last nine years. I learned everything about being a mother from her, and she is the apple of my eye!

Thank you for being patient and loving and kind with me. I absolutely love being your mama. I hope the next nine years of discovery are as interesting and wonderful as the first. I hope I don’t make as many mistakes, but I’m sure I will. 

That’s what happens to the first after-all.

Happy 9th Birthday Babydoll!

 

Happy Halloween 2015!

This year, our oldest daughter chose her costume. Since she is entering her tweens she went for the evil costume. Daddy’s first reaction was “Is that age appropriate?” I laughed out loud and said “Yes dear it’s totally fine.” I can’t wait to see Daddy’s reaction when both of our girls are sixteen and go to prom.  :-)

Our son was not feeling the festivities this year. Even though I tried to hype it up with some awesome costumes, he simply wanted to be a ghost. Not a fancy ghost with all the scary accessories, but just a white bed sheet with two holes ghost (three holes in this case). When this boy makes up his mind there is no way to change it. I guess that’s a virtue right? (Sigh….)

And this year my youngest daughter couldn’t wait to be Princess Elsa. All month she kept asking and talking about it.  Sometimes she would tell a stranger on the street, “I’m going to be Elsa for Halloween!” before even saying hello! So we found an incredibly over priced and terribly made Elsa costume. Note to self: it's my fault for thinking that an Elsa costume will be in every store. NOT. SOLD OUT. Almost everywhere!  We got lucky though and got the youngest to a happy state.

We are ready to go trick-a-treating and we wish you all a wonderful Halloween!

 

Happy Birthday Husband

Today is my husband’s birthday so I thought it’s appropriate to share many reasons I love him so much!...

He is unbelievably smart, and ridiculously funny

His laugh is infectious

He makes some kick-ass tacos

He is adventurous and loves to find new places to visit

He watches me eat a whole pint of ice cream and won’t judge

He reads the New York Times and The Economist (I know...very sexy, right?)

He makes me feel like I’m the most beautiful woman in the world. And pretty much rocked my world for the last 14 years. 

He gave me three awesome children and then became an amazing dad to them.

In short,

Happy Birthday to my Mr. Awesome!

You are my favorite!

Love you so much…..

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Meet Our KidLikeThat and One Happy Girl

This girl is full of life and sass! She is such an imaginative, curious, beautiful, intelligent and happy little being. Leah is my baby who's not so much a baby anymore, but a real big girl. A girl who will tell you she's big now, but who still wants to be held and cuddled by her mama once or twice a day and get cozy with daddy on the couch. She started in the transitional kindergarten at the same school as her brother and sister this year. She couldn’t be happier and is stoked everyday to be there. She enjoys painting, making new friends, and singing "her songs" and reading “her books” of which she has about ten. 

With each passing day I find myself echoing those dear grandmothers at the market who remind you that, yes, it does go so fast. I want her to know that at this young age she has taught me more about life and myself than I have learned from any school or lesson. She has helped me to be more patience, and has given me countless moments of happiness.

// Target top - Similar skirt - Target boots //

 

Family Activities in Sandpoint, Idaho

We try not to over schedule on our vacations, but we like to have at least an outing per day so we can see and enjoy our surroundings. Below are activities that are kid friendly and fun. We did a long road trip with much more to come including Glacier and Yellowstone. Stay tuned!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Creations  a fun, friendly, fantastically artsy place

Creations a fun, friendly, fantastically artsy place

Sandpoint  City Beach

Sandpoint City Beach

Lake Pend Oreille boat ride on  Shawnodese

Lake Pend Oreille boat ride on Shawnodese

Art walk and downtown graffiti a must see 

Art walk and downtown graffiti a must see 

Can't make it to New York to see the Statue of Liberty? No problem! you can find a mini one in Sandpoint

Can't make it to New York to see the Statue of Liberty? No problem! you can find a mini one in Sandpoint

Mya went kayaking with my dear friend  Belia

Mya went kayaking with my dear friend Belia

We love to visit local farmer's markets.

We love to visit local farmer's markets.

Day trip to  Schweitzer Mountain

Day trip to Schweitzer Mountain

We got lucky on the way to  Schweitzer Mountain  and saw a mama black bear with her cubs

We got lucky on the way to Schweitzer Mountain and saw a mama black bear with her cubs

Goodbye Sandpoint. We hope to be back soon.

Goodbye Sandpoint. We hope to be back soon.

 

Farmers Market

Last Saturday we took the kids to visit our local farmers market. I love seeing all the beautiful fruit, veggies, and flowers, as well as try all the yummy, fresh, organic, and gluten free treats. Such a perfect way to to begin the weekend. 

If you are visiting Napa, I highly recommend a stop at the Farmers Market every Tuesday and Saturday for some local and in season produce.