Spring Break in Sun Valley

Spring Break in Sun Valley

Sun Valley is one of our favorite places to visit, so we decided it would be a blast to spend part of the kids’ spring break there skiing and swimming! We arrived up there fairly early on Sunday (St. Patrick’s Day) and grabbed a quick lunch and did a bit of shopping. There is a toy store there that the kids absolutely love that we always visit, and I always love making a stop at Gold Mine Thrift Shop to check for treasures (they famously frequently have amazing designer donations!).

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We spent the afternoon swimming in the heated outdoor pool!

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Headed out to dinner! We stayed at the Limelight hotel and decided to just eat dinner there that first night as they have really good food and they also have live music. It was really festive for St. Patrick’s day, and we enjoyed just relaxing in the lobby listening to music while the kids played in the kids play area. We splurged on their truffle fries (which are amazing), and I also had a delicious arugula salad.

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Monday morning we let the kids play in the kids play room at the hotel for a bit before we headed off for a day of skiing. After skiing we swam again, and took an evening stroll around town.

Coat (Zara – similar) // Sweater // Jeans // Boots

On Tuesday we had yet another full day of skiing! The hubs and I ended up trading off watching Evan on the beginner hill, so we were each able to get some one on one time with Cole taking some more challenging runs.

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On our last night we went to eat at our favorite restaurant in town – Pioneer Saloon! It just has the coolest ambience (make sure to look for Ernest Hemmingway’s gun!), and the food is so good. I had salmon and a “Jim Spud.”

We had so much fun on our little getaway, and I always really appreciate vacations with my family. Life can get so busy, chaotic, and stressful – so getting away and just focusing on one another & having fun is just so important! Many of my favorite memories are our family adventures, and even small trips like this are such a treat for us.

Since getting back home from our trip, I’ve been trying to keep the kids occupied for the remainder of their spring break and come up with some “staycation” activities and fun for them. I’m planning on writing a post about the second half of our spring break with some staycation activities we’ve done in the next few days if you are looking for some ideas!Signature

Spring Trend: Pleated Skirts

Spring Trend: Pleated Skirts

Top (old – similar) // Skirt (sold out – alternate color option) // Earrings (J Crew – similar) // Bag // Pumps

Pleated skirts are a huge trend this spring, and I’ve been seeing them everywhere! (This is a fun article about the trend with some street style inspiration). A friend and I went shopping together a few weekends ago and we both ended up snagging this skirt (which looks so much more expensive than it is!). I wanted to share some other skirts I’ve been eyeing – and I’m especially loving the snakeskin print which is also another big trend for the season!SpringTrend2019PleatedSkirtsOne // Two // Three // Four // Five // Six // Seven // Eight // Nine // Ten

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Spring Break on the Slopes

Spring Break on the Slopes

Living in Idaho, we are really fortunate to have so many great options for skiing nearby. Bogus Basin is just 18 miles from Boise so it is super easy for us to pop up there anytime…but my absolute favorite place to ski (and one of my favorite places in the whole world!) is Sun Valley. It is only a 2 hour drive from Boise, and I always feel that I’ve been transported into this magical mountain village whenever we go. I love how it balances giving you a feeling of escape, yet they have so many amazing amenities like incredible restaurants, upscale shopping, and luxury resorts. And I’m so excited that we have decided to head up to Sun Valley little spring break getaway this year! I feel like a spring break ski trip is such a fun option for a family friendly and active vacation – and spring skiing (warm pleasant weather!) is a lot easier and more fun with small kids. Today I wanted to share a few tips and a packing list if you are thinking of hitting the slopes this spring break!

Look online for package deals: Many ski resorts will offer package deals including discounted or even free lift tickets which can help save you quite a bit of money. Also if you have ski resorts locally or in your state, check with the resort to see if they offer in-state residents discounts!

Sign up early for ski school/childcare: Ski school and childcare spots are typically very popular and fill up quickly, so I would book as early as possible. Although my husband and I have both been skiing for a number of years, I definitely prefer to leave the ski instruction to the professionals, and giving my kids lessons has taught them so much that I wouldn’t have been able to.

If renting equipment arrive early and fill forms out in advance: Renting equipment can be really time consuming, especially if there is a line. Get there early, and if you can have your forms done before you get there it will help make the process go a bit more smoothly. And if you do ski at least a few times a year, it’s absolutely worth the investment to purchase your own gear! Spring is a great time to buy as most ski shops are starting to clear out their inventory for the season. Also, many resorts replace their ski gear every year or two and have sales to clear out their rentals! We actually purchased both of our boys barely used, perfect condition Volkl skis from Sun Valley this past year for a great price!

Prepare for the sticker shock of lodge food prices (or pack a lunch!): The food at the ski lodges at Sun Valley is insanely priced. As in a hot dog is somewhere around $10 and a plain black coffee is around $4. A very simple lunch for our family is easily in the $60-$70 price range. Yes the ambiance of the lodge is nice, but I like to keep some extra snacks in the car should the kids want to eat…and eat…and eat all day.

Check out the other resort amenities: Even though we love to ski, there are also a lot of other amenities at the resort we like to take advantage of as well. Most resorts have pools, and we absolutely love spending an afternoon in the outdoor, heated pool. Some resorts may also offer ice skating, sledding, a sleigh ride, or other fun winter activities. And of course enjoying après ski appetizers by a fire at the resort is a must, especially if they are having live music!

Packing List:

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Poncho // Leggings // Toiletry Bag // Suitcase // Sunscreen // MoisturizerSpringBreakSlopes2019.2Ski Jacket // Ski Pants // Skis // Goggles // Mittens // Fleece // Vest // BaseSpringBreakSlopes2019.3Hat // Boots // Vest // Sunglasses // Sweater // Jeans // Swimsuit // Poncho // Fur Headband // BootsSpringBreakSlopes2019.4Ski Pants // Ski Jacket // Ski Trainer Harness // Edgie Wedgie // Gloves // Helmet // Boots // Sweater // Swim Trunks

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Making St. Patrick’s Day Fun For Kids

Making St. Patrick’s Day Fun For Kids

(Last year’s St Patrick’s Day Leprechaun Trap and treasure hunt)

I grew up in a very small, predominantly Irish Catholic community, so as you can imagine St. Patricks day was a BIG deal. The weekend of festivities was one of the big highlights of the year for the 1,500 residents in our town, and as a young child I remember being so excited about all of the fun activities to look forward to. We had a parade, sheepdog trials, lots of good food, and various performances. I remember one year when I was about 8 or 9, I was part of a square dance group where we got to dress up and perform (I remember being super excited about that big green twirly skirt).

Now living in Boise, most of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration festivities are directed towards adults, so there isn’t much for families. But since St. Patricks holds a lot of sentimentality and tradition for me (and thanks to a friend recently encouraging me to dig a bit into my family history where I discovered I have a ton of Irish ancestry!), I really like celebrating the holiday with my kids and teaching them about the history of it. And of course creating a little magic! Here’s some of the things that have become tradition for our family in celebrating the day:

Make a Leprechaun Trap

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A few weeks before the big day, Cole will start thinking about the design and start building his Leprechaun Trap. He gets so excited at the prospect of possibly catching one and it is a fun craft activity for a lazy weekend or afternoon. Pinterest has tons of cute ideas for creating one (also lots of ideas here)! We were really excited this year, so we’ve already finished ours (pictured!) and we are hoping this is the year we finally catch one! Having Leprechauns make a little mischief at your house can be a fun St Patrick’s surprise too!

Treasure Hunt For Gold

We haven’t been successful in catching a Leprechaun yet, but each year those mischievous little men will leave the kids a set of clues to go find their own pot of gold (chocolate coins)! Of course you can create your own clues, but Pinterest makes it simple with tons of free printable ones as well.

Tablescape and Breakfast

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Placemat // Napkins // Forks // Pot // Chocolate Coins // Milk Bottle // Straws // Banner

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Green pancakes and milk are such a fun way to start the day but you can also make it super, duper simple and have a bowl of lucky charms & some green fruit. I like to set the table with some fun touches like a St Patrick’s Day placemat and napkins/straws.

Traditional Meal

One of my favorite traditional Irish meals is Cottage Pie (basically it is Shepard’s Pie but with beef instead of lamb). I make this nearly every year for the holiday and it is a delicious comfort food dish. I think it would also be fun to make traditional soda bread and have the kids help as it is so simple, and also a fun educational dish in teaching kids about the origin of it.

Green Treats

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Shamrock cookie cutter // Gold Sprinkles // Shamrock Sprinkles

There are so many fun options for green food on Pinterest, especially desserts! (Tons of food ideas here) We also like making and decorating shamrock shaped sugar cookies with green frosting and “gold” sprinkles.

Educational Activity

Activity sheets and/or reading a St Patrick’s day book are fun activities that will also teach kids a bit about St. Patrick’s Day and Ireland. I found some free educational and activity sheets for my kids here. And if you are lucky, your local community may have some fun events or a parade to attend as well!

Wear Green

The easiest way to celebrate, and of course necessary if you don’t want to get pinched!

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Life Lately

Life Lately

Every year around mid February through the first half of March or so, like clockwork, I get in a funk. I’m at that point of winter where it really starts to affect me and I feel super lethargic and lack motivation to do anything. I just want to spend weekends curled up at home hibernating and am just over the crummy, cold weather. It was a worse February than most this year, with it snowing or raining nearly every single day. And it also probably doesn’t help that I’ve been battling a monthlong cold that just won’t quit. I’m really starting to crave sunshine, and on the first sunny, mild day we had recently – I felt like a new woman with more energy than I’ve had in ages! It has still been pretty cold here, but we’ve started to have some sunny days again I’m hopefully beginning to see my way out of my hermit tendencies of the past month!

Over the past weekend we finally went on our first family walk in ages. It felt so good to get outside and spend some time outdoors as a family. The kids could literally play with sticks and throw rocks in the river for hours.

We’ve also started working on some of our St Patrick’s Day traditions, planning a little spring break getaway, and looking forward to seeing good friends coming to town to visit this weekend. Boise’s annual Treefort Music Festival is also happening in a few weeks which is always a fun, family event! And we are also looking forward to the start of spring soccer (Evan is going to play this year!), the start of Evan’s swim lessons, and practicing for Coles annual Taekwondo tournament.

Watching: We’ve just finished watching She-Rah and the Princesses of Power series on Netflix and it is so good! My kids really enjoyed this show and it has great reviews. The second season is being released next month, so this is a great time to binge watch the first season with your kids! This probably shows my age, but I’ve been watching American Idol since the very first season, and am so excited that a new season started this week! They even came to Idaho for the first time, so it was fun to see some of the show’s footage of Coeur d’Alene.

Craving: I want everything spring, pastel, and floral printed right now, and and am loving so many Joie pieces at Saks Off 5th (one of my favorite places to shop for deals) – especially this gorgeous dress which would be perfect for Easter (I think I’m going to order it!). I’m also wanting to add a pair of straight leg slightly flared/cropped jeans to my wardrobe. Not sure that I’m cool enough for this style, but thinking about ordering these.

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One  //  Two // Three // Four // Five // Six  // Seven // Eight // Nine // Ten // Eleven // Twelve

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What I Buy At Trader Joe’s

What I Buy At Trader Joe’s

Ahh Trader Joe’s…one of my favorite places to go shopping (along with Costco and Target!). So many great things at even better prices. I have a few go-tos I always grab on a trip to Trader Joe’s, as well as a few sections I always browse. Today I’m sharing some of my favorites and some new products I’m loving!

Gummy Vitamins – Reasonably priced multivitamin for kids. I often grab myself a multivitamin there for myself as well.

Rosé Vinaigrette – I love a good vinaigrette so I was super excited to find this one! I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks really promising.

Granola – Great as a cereal with milk or a smoothie bowl topping

Cookie Cocoa Swirl – My kids are big bread/toast eaters and they aren’t huge fans of peanut butter or Nutella. This is a fun alternative.

Chia Seeds – I love adding these to smoothies (my kids love them!) and these are very well priced.

Gorilla Munch cereal – A classic that my kids absolutely love.

Roasted Cocoa Nibs – These are a great topping for oatmeal or smoothie bowls. They add some chocolate flavor without the guilt.

Reduced Guilt Pita Chips – I love pita chips and these are a delicious reduced calorie version that tastes the same as the regular ones!

Creamed Honey – Another delicious bread/toast topping that my kids absolutely love.

Organic Chicken Broth – TJs broth is delicious and well priced. I make soups often so I like to keep a few on hand.

Seasonal Treats – I grabbed these chocolate covered heart cookies for my kids a few weeks back for Valentines. They always have fun seasonal snacks!

Vanilla Bean Syrup – My kids absolutely love this vanilla bean infused syrup.

Rainbow of Honey – We add honey to smoothies and tea, and this rainbow of honey kit is not only good but it looks pretty sitting on the counter.

Cheeses – Trader Joe’s always has the best cheeses. Not pictured but I especially love their Burrata and also their Truffle Cheese. And I love adding feta to salads and the Mediterranean herb is especially good.

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie – For nights when you want a fresh baked cookie but don’t want to make it from scratch – just toss this one in the oven!

Pizza ingredients – I love homemade pizza dough – but Trader Joe’s does have really good refrigerated dough. I also like their pepperoni, shredded mozzarella & pizza sauce.

Green Goddess Dressing – I bought this after hearing a lot of good things about it. I’ve seen tons of recipes/uses for it on Pinterest and it is low calorie!

Pastry Pups – My kids absolutely love these. These are great for a lazy Sunday lunch or a play date. They are also nitrate free.

Hummus – I’m the only one in my house who really likes hummus – but this makes for a great snack with pita chips & a little feta.

Vegetable Samosas – These aren’t quite as good as the delicious Indian restaurant here we like to go to – but these are a pretty solid substitute.

Tzatziki – TJs has so many good sauces! We had gyros recently and this is so good & easier than making from scratch on a busy weeknight.

Frozen berries – Great for making smoothies

Jasmine Rice – I love their frozen rice for busy weeknights. So simple to prepare! Their brown rice is very good too.

Not pictured but my kids absolutely love their frozen croissants & they make a delicious Sunday morning breakfast.

And a few more things:

Sparkling Berry Lemonade – These are fun special occasion or picnic drinks! They have a few other flavors too.

Breads – I like checking out the various breads they have when I’m there. I like their pita bread & recently saw a cinnamon bread there that I want to try for French toast.

Baking ingredients – I really like their chocolate chips and also their seasonings!

Hand Soap – I always make sure to check out their hand soap section when I’m there. I got the cutest winter White Pine soap/lotion set around Christmas for my bathroom. I think this grapefruit one actually looks cute sitting on my kitchen counter too!

Candle – Their $3.99 soy candles are a steal & they always have new scents!

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(Kid Approved) Kale Ginger Smoothie

 The minute my kids walk in the door after school every day, they immediately ask me for a snack. It’s important for me to make this snack healthy and although I’m pretty fortunate that my kids love fruits and vegetables, they don’t exactly love salads and dark leafy greens. However they love this smoothie and request it as their after school snack several times a week!

Kale and Ginger Smoothie

Large handful of Kale (approx 2 large leaves)

1 banana

1 slice of fresh peeled ginger (approx 1/2 inch – and I use a spoon to peel the ginger)

1 cup of unfiltered apple juice (you can sub with unsweetened almond milk to lower the sugar content)

2-3 tbsp of honey

1 large glass of ice

Optional: I also like to add 1 tbsp chia seeds for some healthy fat and/or 1/2 cup berries should I have them on hand. You could also add protein powder to make this a meal replacement!

Mix all together in blender & serve! (This is the blender I use)

If you wanted to make this into a bowl rather than a smoothie, reduce the liquid content to make it thicker and top with toppings such as sliced banana, berries, shredded coconut, chia seeds, granola, and a drizzle of honey.

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