Making Easter Special For Kids

Making Easter Special For Kids

I have to say Easter is one of my favorite holidays. Of course there is the important religious aspect, but even if you are not particularly religious I feel that Easter can still be a time for taking a moment to pause and reflect on the symbolism of new beginnings, hope and miracles. I’m also all about the cultural aspect of Easter celebrations and the start of spring along with bunnies, flowers, and baby chicks. And there are so many fun family Easter events and activities to partake in, which is of course right up my alley because I love celebrating every holiday in a big way and making it fun and memorable for my kids.

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Color Easter Eggs: We always spend an afternoon coloring Easter eggs – because it isn’t Easter without it! We usually just use simple store kits, but they do have some really pretty options these days (I really love the metallic ones). You can also just use food coloring as well. And these are so “extra” but I really want these darling aprons for the kids!

Make Easter Cookies: We make and decorate frosted sugar cookies for several holidays throughout the year. It has become tradition to make our themed cookies and we always have so much fun sitting down together as a family and decorating them.

Visit the Easter Bunny for Pictures: I always joke that the mall Easter bunny looks a little creepy and strange, but it has become a fun tradition to dress the boys in cute spring shirts and go see the bunny for photos.

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Go on a Easter Egg Hunt: We always attend at least one community egg hunt in the days leading up to Easter (last year we went to an evening glow in the dark one which was really fun!), as well as have our own small egg hunt at home on Easter. When we first started having our own little egg hunt, I didn’t think the kids would be super excited about it and did it more as an activity to keep them busy during the day. However it has become a must do as Cole will literally start talking about it weeks before the holiday and making sure we will have one. And on Easter he will ask all morning long about how soon we can have our egg hunt – so needless to say it has been a hit. At our house the Easter bunny brings baskets in the morning, and mom and dad set up the egg hunt in the afternoon. I also spotted this Easter Egg Hunt Sign Kit the other day and it is soooo cute. I really want to get it!

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Easter Baskets: Of course Easter isn’t complete without Easter baskets! The bunny always drops them off at our house very early, so the kid’s baskets are waiting for them first thing in the morning! With the weather warming up, I like having things in their baskets that get them outside as well as practical things they can use into summer. This year I found so many ridiculously adorable things in the Target $5 and under section! Things like bubbles, sidewalk chalk, kites, gardening supplies, pool toys/swimsuits, and a few treats are perfect basket fillers.

Bunny Plates // Carrot Napkins // Bunny Cupsimg_9082

A fun breakfast: I like setting up a cute, festive tablescape and adding a little craft or something the kids can work on at the table. There are so many cute Easter breakfast ideas on Pinterest, but if you are strapped for time (or don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen if you are making Easter dinner too), a make ahead breakfast casserole you can simply pop in the oven is a great option. Also just decorating a simple bowl of oatmeal or making a bunny pancake is another fun option. I also like this springtime waffle bar idea or even just dyeing pancakes pastel colors would be cute! Last year I served these Peeps fruit skewers at dinner, but they would be cute at breakfast too.

Watch a fun show: To get the kids to settle down after the morning excitement & pass the time until dinner, we like watching a spring or Easter themed movie or show. My boys just recently watched Watership Down on Netflix (they loved it!) and this would be a great Easter Day watch. A Charlie Brown Easter is a classic, and we also really enjoyed Hop last year! This year I’m thinking that we may watch Peter Rabbit.

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Dinner as a family: We used to go out for brunch, but after several years of feeling that it was a bit of a hassle trying to get dressed up and drag the kids out, we started staying home and we have found it to be a lot more fun and relaxing. I always cook a big meal (I personally love a traditional ham!) and sitting down to dinner together with my family. While we aren’t regular churchgoers, we still observe the religious aspect of the holiday and talk to the kids about why we celebrate Easter. My husbands father’s family was Jewish, so we also like to talk about Passover so they can understand a bit about their family background and beliefs! I always use my mother-in-law’s vintage Pottery Barn spring plates – with the bunnies and flowers they are just perfect, and of course sentimental as well.

Wishing you and yours a blessed and happy Easter!Signature

Life Lately

Life Lately

Top // Jeans // Sandals (Topshop, old – similar) // Sunglasses // Barrette // Necklace // Bag — Evans Shirt // Jeans // Shoes

Things have been BUSY around here. It seems like we went from hibernating and dealing with a long, miserable winter – to hitting spring going 100 mph! We finally got Evan enrolled in swim lessons which has been long overdue. So far he’s loving them and he’s already seeming a lot more confident on the water! He also started soccer last weekend and I’m so impressed at how hard he’s trying and how good he did (especially since it was a cold & rainy morning)! He scored 2 goals during their cute little scrimmage so I was a very proud mom!!!

We also finally added a new member to our family…a sweet little kitty named Max (or Space Cucumber depending on who you ask!). Cole has been begging for a pet for ages so we have been seriously talking about it for months now. On a whim my husband took the kids to the shelter & they fell in love with this kitty. He’s been a little under the weather with some kind of tummy upset/sickness since we got him (not gonna lie – it hasn’t been pleasant), but after a trip to the vet last week he seems to be turning around and doing much better. Cole has also been busy working on preparing for his annual Taekwondo tournament coming up next month!

We are finally getting outside a bit more and enjoying the beautiful spring weather here in Boise. We visited the Easter bunny last weekend, and took a little stroll afterward enjoying some of the pretty blossoming trees that are all over town right now! Ev and I also had a fun mommy/son day on Friday since he didn’t have school, so we went to lunch and went shopping for his soccer gear.

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Cole’s shirt // Jeans // Shoes

And as for me…I’m going back to school (sort of)! I am an RN, but decided to take a break while my kids were little as nursing can be such a draining career – plus with my husbands job requiring a lot of travel I needed to be able to be home for the kids. Now that they are getting older, I’m feeling ready to dip my toe back in and possibly start back up on a part time basis or explore some non-clinical telecommute opportunities. I took my first step and enrolled in a nurse refresher program and it feels exciting to be getting ready to put scrubs back on soon!

Happy Friday!Signature

Spring Break Staycation

Spring Break Staycation

After spending the first half of our spring break on vacation, I wanted to continue the fun for the rest of our break at home with a staycation! We have finally started to have some nice spring weather here in Boise, so I definitely wanted to take advantage of that and get outside! We live just down the street from the Oregon Trail, (embarrassingly we’ve never done the walk along the trail before) so I thought that would be a really fun, educational activity. I didn’t even know they had signs posted periodically along the trail sharing some fun facts, and that along with the beautiful views and warm weather, made for a really fun afternoon activity.

I had seen this cardboard rocket awhile back, and had thought it would be a really fun craft idea for the kids during spring break. While out running errands we stopped and bought it, and it was an afternoon of total fun putting it together and decorating it. The kids even put on astronaut costumes/space pjs to really get in the spirit and play.

Similar rocket here and here // Astronaut costume

Going to get frozen yogurt is always a special treat, so we made a stop for some one afternoon!

We spent an afternoon taking a walk along the Boise river and went to a small stream near our house. The kids can spend hours throwing rocks in the water and playing with sticks.

We also had a special family movie night complete with popcorn and the kids each got to pick out a candy – just like going to the movie theater!

It’s been a little rough getting back to our routine, and am really looking forward to summer vacation. With only eight more weeks to go, I know it will be here before we know it!Signature

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.

My Jacket // Pants // Boots // Skis img_2443

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 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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