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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(It’s Still) Winter Looks And Sales

(It’s Still) Winter Looks And Sales

Coat // Sweater (J Crew, sold out – similar here & here) // Jeans // Boots (these are on sale at many other retailers including here, here, and here)

Evan’s Coat // Sweater // Jeans // Boots // Hat (old – similar)

Ahh, Idaho weather. Just when you think we lucked out with a mild winter and an early spring, winter makes a big appearance during the second half of February. News reports are saying there is a (slim) possibility of getting 11 inches of snow over the coming weekend. It may end up being too warm and we will end up just getting a ton of rain – and I’m not sure which forecast sounds worse right now. Anyhow, I’m trying to make the most of it with wearing some of my favorite winter pieces and browsing sales for good deals on winter essentials.

Coat (J Crew, sold out – similar here, here & here) // Sweater  // Jeans // Boots // Hat

Coat // Sweater // Jeans // Boots // Sunglasses

My Sorel boots (I’m wearing above) are my most worn boots during the snowy season, and they are worth every penny. They truly keep your feet warm & dry (I even have them for both of my kids!) and this is a great time of year to snag them as the sales are fantastic! It’s also a great time to grab a warm coat (or two or three!), sweaters, and cozy accessories with all of the winter inventory going on sale.

SALE PICKS

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A few more good sales this weekend:

Nordstrom: Take 40% off select styles

Macy’s: Take 20% off markdowns with code BIG

Ann Taylor: Extra 40% off sale styles

Bloomingdales: Take 25% off almost all permanently reduced items labeled EXTRA 25% OFF

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My Favorite Products From The Ordinary

My Favorite Products From The Ordinary

I was introduced to and have been using a number of products from The Ordinary for a little over a year now. If you haven’t heard of The Ordinary, they are a Canadian skincare brand and they were founded on the idea of creating transparency in the beauty industry. When doing research to start the company, founder Brandon Truaxe came to realize that most skincare companies have a markup of around 95% as the active ingredients in products really only cost pennies to produce. That high markup comes from lots of filler products, luxury packaging, and marketing. The Ordinary sells very simple products that only contain the active ingredients that truly work – with no fancy fillers or frills. The products can feel a lot less luxurious than higher priced products (many are quite tacky or slightly awkward to apply), however the prices are too good to be true (as in most products are under $10) and the products are highly effective. Today I wanted to share my favorite products I use from the line!

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 // Hyaluronic Acid normally occurs in our skin, but as we age the amount we naturally have decreases. Hyaluronic Acid acts as a magnet for moisture, retaining large amounts which helps keep the skin hydrated and contributing to a plumped appearance. Hyaluronic Acid is a must for anyone who is interested in their skin’s hydration & appearance, and you really can’t beat the price of this one. This is a must in my skin regimen and I use it as a first step every night in my skincare routine. I’ve heard it is a great dupe for the Peter Thomas Roth Hyaluronic Acid.

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% // Niacinamide is also known as vitamin B3, and this product is great for clearing congestion, brightening skin tone, and I’ve even heard it does have some anti-aging properties. I have noticed a huge improvement in my skin with this in preventing breakouts & clearing blackheads and this is a product I can’t live without! I use this product at night prior to applying serums/moisturizers. It can pill a bit with application, but I’ve found it applies best by patting it on the skin rather than spreading it, and letting it sink in a bit before applying anything else. I’ve heard this is a good dupe for Paula’s Choice Niacinamide.

“Buffet” // This is a recent addition to my skincare regimen as I had heard so many great things (and I have a friend who swears it is her favorite product from the whole line). This product is a mix of peptides, probiotics, amino acids, and hyaluronic acids and is supposed to target general signs of aging. The product is supposed to help stimulate collagen production, as well as help relax muscle contractions (aka Botox in a bottle!), however there are some claims that peptides are not super effective. Yet I’m excited to give this one a try and see if I notice improvement in my skin after a few months of use! I have heard this may be a good dupe for Lancôme’s Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Serum.

100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil // I use this oil almost nightly, and this oil is great for targeting signs of aging, reducing irritation, and for hydrating. While is it is a lightweight oil, it can make your skin look a bit oily so I would recommend it for night only. I apply this just prior to applying moisturizer.

100% Plant Derived Squalane // Squalane is sometimes known as the “non-oil oil.” This is a great hydrator and it helps with the skin’s moisture barrier. And it is great for people with oily skin as it won’t cause breakouts. This product is really a gem, and I primarily use it during the day for a little extra hydration prior to applying my moisturizer. It wears well under makeup without making your face oily or greasy feeling. It’s an amazing dupe for the Peter Thomas Roth version.

Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA // This is a new product to my line up and I purchased it in hopes of reducing a sun spot and a few freckles I have! This product is supposed to reduce the look of spots and hyperpigmentation, and even help with lightening acne scarring. I apply this every morning prior to applying a vitamin C serum. I haven’t been using this long enough to see if it is effective, but I am hoping I see some positive results after a few months of use! So far I’ve not experienced any negative effects after a few weeks of use.

Marula Oil // This oil is a great hydrator and helps brighten skin tone. This is a somewhat heavier oil, so I typically reserve this for post peel, or during the winter months when my skin is needing some extra moisture. This is a great dupe for Drunk Elephant’s Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil. I recently tried the Drunk Elephant version, and while it’s a nice product, I don’t see enough of a difference between the two to justify the significantly higher cost.

AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution // I absolutely love this exfoliating peel. It brightens, evens out my skin tone, clears congestion, and leaves skin incredibly soft. This is a bit messy to apply (I’ve heard it called the vampire peel!) as the product is a red, runny liquid that you spread on your face & leave on for up to ten minutes before rinsing. However the results are worth it! I’ve heard this is quite similar to Drunk Elephants T.L.C. Sukari Baby Facial (which I have not tried), that also uses AHA/BHA. (**I just want to note – this is a very strong peel – so if you are a beginner with peels/acids I would highly recommend that you start with a gentler product than this one.**)

What I’m planning to try next:

Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG // This product is supposed to reduce the look of puffiness and dark circles, so I’m curious about trying this one as a daytime under eye treatment.

Lactic Acid 10% + HA // I’ve heard this exfoliating treatment is a good dupe for Sunday Riley’s Good Genes, and I love a good exfoliator!

Glycolic Acid 7+ Toning Solution // I’m actually a big fan of Mario Badescu’s Glycolic Acid Toner, so I’m curious to try this one to compare!

Have you tried The Ordinary?!

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