Fall is probably the most beautiful season in Idaho, but I have to say that spring is a close second. One of my favorite things to do in the spring is go for a drive to one of the many local fruit orchards to see the flowers in bloom, so this past weekend we attended Cherry Hill Farm’s Blossom Tour. We were greeted with a goodie bag that contained dried cherries to snack on, and we were then instructed to turn our radio to a local station that gave a narrated tour as we drove through the orchard. The kids also had a scavenger hunt they could complete by spotting things throughout the tour. At the end of the tour we were able to park and walk around the orchard a bit and they also had a little stand where you could grab a souvenir or treat. It was such a fun and educational day with my boys.
This past weekend the kids had a 4 day winter break, which coincided with Valentine’s Day and a huge winter snow storm where we ended up getting over 8 inches of snow. This winter has been incredibly mild here in Boise, so finally getting a big snowfall made for such a fun mini staycation. We had a blast building a snowman, having snowball fights, drinking lots of hot cocoa by the fire, and enjoying Valentine’s Day together with lots of yummy treats.
I don’t know how it’s possible, but Christmas is next week! The time between Halloween and Christmas always seems to fly by. And despite Covid, our family has found some fun ways to celebrate and make the most of this holiday season.
A few weeks ago we had family Christmas photos taken. We normally get professional pictures of the kids taken with Santa, but since we couldn’t do it with Covid this year, our photographer found a fun way to incorporate a Santa photo into our family photos.
I had originally prepared the boys that we likely wouldn’t get to see Santa in person this year due to Covid. However we ended up getting to see him after all! Even though our visit with Santa may have been a bit different this year, we found a fun and safe way to see him. Some local businesses downtown Boise arranged a socially distanced, outdoor visit with Santa. It ended up being a lot of fun and the boys got to take a few pictures with Santa and tell him what they want this year.
This year 4th graders get to cut down a tree in the National forest for free through the Every Kid Outdoors program. With Covid limiting a lot of normal activities, this was the perfect year to spend a day in the mountains hiking and looking for our perfect tree. Our “perfect” tree ended up being a Charlie Brown tree, but the kids had an absolute blast and it was a fun way to make a special memory this year.
We attended a few local light shows as well. The Idaho Botanical Gardens is always a must do. They took extra steps to make it Covid safe and we spent a really lovely evening at the Gardens. The kids got to write letters to Santa and have some snacks from food trucks while we strolled and looked at the lights.
We also went to Caldwell’s Indian Creek Plaza light show. It’s a really beautiful display along the creek and there is also ice skating. It was just far too crowded to really enjoy unfortunately so we didn’t stay long.
This is what I wore the evening we went to the Caldwell light show and I’ve been living in this festive turtleneck. I had a zoom meeting a few days ago working on some of Evan’s ongoing therapy needs and I wore this top with cozy sweats. (Perfect for anyone working at home!)
Something else I’ve been living in lately is this “shacket” which is so on trend right now.
While some things have had to change this fall, many of our fall traditions are actually pandemic safe as they are outdoors and we are able to maintain a safe social distance. A few local businesses have also made adaptations and added some great activities that observe social distancing as well which have been a lot of fun and given us a feeling of normalcy.
I ventured out for the first brunch with a friend since March and it was really nice to get out for a little girl time! One of her sons has cerebral palsy and it’s really wonderful having friends who can understand life with a child with brain injury and all of the work and therapy that goes into it.
A few weeks ago we kicked off our fall festivities and stopped by the Halloween store to get our costumes and check out all of the spooky decorations! Afterwards we went to a “drive thru” fall festival after that was hosted by a local group here in Boise for medically fragile children and their families that we are part of. They put together sweet goodie bags and pumpkins for the kids to take home.
Evan and I have been working on a lot of fall crafts and activities at our at-home preschool. We had a full theme day where we read We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt, and then went for a walk where we gathered leaves, sorted them by color, made leaf rubbings, and made a fall leaf edible snack craft.
Our local zoo has been hosting a nightly Boo at the Zoo event which was a lot of fun! They limit tickets and you must follow a one way path through the zoo and observe social distancing. It was a lot of fun to experience the zoo at night and they had it all lit up with tons of lights and Halloween displays. They also had some trick or treat stations too and it was a really fun evening for the family.
One fall tradition that we never miss is apple picking! We love taking an afternoon and driving 45 minutes outside of Boise to the apple orchards. This is a pretty safe fall outing option as it’s outdoors and quite easy to socially distance.
We took advantage of the warm fall temperatures we’ve been having and invited friends over for a Halloween themed dinner and movie out on the patio which was SO fun! Outdoors is a significantly safer way to socialize as long as you still observe social distancing and masks. I made a hearty dinner of baked ziti, salad, and homemade apple pie before we bundled up to watch Halloweentown under the stars with popcorn and s’mores.
There’s nothing like fall bike rides where we can ride in perfect temperatures and soak in the beauty of the changing leaves. It’s always fun to see all of the fun Halloween decorations too.
We also went to our local pumpkin patch to pick our pumpkins and enjoy some of the fun attractions. It’s at a really rustic farm out in the country complete with hayrides, a corn maze, and apple cannons.
It has become a summer tradition for us to take a drive out to the orchard for an afternoon of cherry picking. This summer’s weather has been (like the rest of 2020) weird. Idaho is known for wild weather swings – but we’ve had a lot of unusually cool and rainy days this month. Although the day we went picking last week was cool and sprinkling rain off and on, it was a lovely afternoon. Life admittedly has been difficult since Evan’s brain injury in March, but every day he continues to amaze me with his progress. And going to the orchard to continue one of our traditions was especially wonderful because it felt so…normal.
I always feel like it’s very easy to get in a bit of a funk in the days between Christmas and the end of Christmas break, so this year I tried to plan several fun activities to make the most of the last days of 2019 and the first days of the new year. Last weekend we headed out to Caldwell to spend some time enjoying their “Winter Wonderland” at Indian Creek Plaza. We went just before Christmas and had so much fun we decided we had to return over Christmas break. We met some friends for dinner and did a bit of ice skating which was an absolute blast.
We also went to go see Spies In Disguise one afternoon. We were bored and decided to go see a movie even though we hadn’t heard much about this one. We were all pleasantly surprised! It was a really cute movie and my kids absolutely loved it.
We typically stay home, but this year we actually went out for New Year’s Eve! We went to a family friendly event that was held downtown with food, games, and music. Boise has a tradition of dropping a giant potato at midnight (only in Idaho!) and you could see it from the rooftop balcony at the party which my kids got a kick out of. We were too tired to stay out real late, but we had fun spending a few hours out on the town before heading home to cozy up on the couch (and watch the potato on TV).
We spent an afternoon swimming…
And an afternoon sledding in the mountains…
And we spent lots of evenings playing laser tag. Cole got these for Christmas and they were a HUGE hit.
On our last day of break yesterday, we spent the afternoon catching up with some friends visiting from Australia! The kids used to go to school together before they moved back to Australia and their youngest was one of Cole’s first school friends when he started Pre-K here in Boise. It’s always so nice to see them when they come visit a few times a year.
Us adults spent a long time talking about the fires there, and the situation is absolutely dire and devastating with no end in sight. If you would like to help, I wanted to share a list of a few organizations that who are working to help victims of the fire, firefighters, and wildlife:
WIRES (a wildlife rescue nonprofit)
It’s officially the most magical time of the year and holiday festivities have begun! Over the past few weeks we’ve attended a few local holiday events which were so fun and really got us into the Christmas spirit. Our first event was a holiday block party at one of our favorite Boise hangouts – Bown Crossing. It’s a cute little street filled with shops, restaurants, and our local library. The kids got to make ornaments, we listened to carolers, ate a great dinner at Boise Fry Company, and did a bit of shopping (while enjoying lots of hors d’oeuvres!)
My Sweater (J Crew, old – current style) | My Jeans | My Shoes (J Crew, old – similar) | Bag | Similar Earrings | Cole’s Sweater | Cole’s Shirt | Cole’s Jeans | Cole’s Shoes (Similar) | Evan’s Sweater | Evan’s Shirt | Evan’s Pants | Evan’s Shoes
This past week we went to another great local event at Scentsy Commons (the company is headquartered here). They have a beautiful Christmas light display every year, and on a few select nights they also have a live nativity, carolers, refreshments, and visits with Santa. It was a really lovely evening and so nice to pause and reflect a bit on the true reason for the season.
Besides just talking with the kids about the reason for the season, it is so important to me that our family actually takes part in some type of service and giving back. Cole’s school partnered with another local school for a wonderful service project this holiday season that Cole got to take part in. Each class had a category of needed items, and Cole’s class was tasked with shopping for and donating school supplies for children at a local school that has 70% of the students living at or below the poverty level. The PTA president spent some time really talking to the kids about the harsh realities these children face (for example how these children are so poor that they all share a family toothbrush), and how much giving these things truly means to these children. Together our schools were able to fill 526 boxes of gifts and every child from pre-k through seniors in high school were able to receive a gift.
Our family also spent this past Saturday afternoon driving around Boise and delivering some donations and Christmas cheer! Here are the causes we have decided to focus on this year, and if you are looking to make a donation this season these are all wonderful organizations!
Idaho Foodbank – They are in need of canned goods, pantry staples, and shelf stable milk. You can drop off donations at your local fire station from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm daily.
Boise Bicycle Project – They have received a record number of requests for children’s bikes this holiday season and they need gently used children’s bikes so they don’t have to turn anyone away! You can also make a financial contribution.
St Vincent De Paul – Each season they organize a no-cost Toy Store, where parents who cannot afford a gift for their child can go select a toy and stocking stuffers. Toys can be dropped off at their Toy Store located at 2160 S Broadway Ave Boise Monday – Saturday from 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Save The Children – This organization supports and provides humanitarian aid to migrant children and families at the US-Mexico border
Saturday evening we headed out to The Village at Meridian for dinner and some more holiday festivities. The Village really is so magical at Christmas with their beautiful decorations, ice skating rink, fire pits, water fountain show, and this year they added a really neat light show. We also tried a restaurant we’ve been wanting to try for a few months – The Donut + Dog. (Yep it is hot dogs & donuts!) It is a really fun casual place to take the kids!
We’ve also started getting our Christmas gifts wrapped and ready to go for friends and teachers! Preparing and wrapping teacher gifts is something the kids and I spend an afternoon doing together. This year I put together a little holiday themed gift basket for Cole’s teacher, and for each of Evan’s five preschool teachers we gifted them a cute festive set of earrings.
We also got our annual Christmas photos with Santa back! I so look forward to these sweet photos every year. If you are in the Boise area and interested in these photos next year (or are looking for a family photographer) I totally recommend Jenny Leigh Photography! She takes great photos and is wonderful to work with.
Boys Pajamas (Gap, sold out – similar)
I haven’t done a life lately post in ages, so I thought it was time to share a bit about what we’ve been up to the past few weeks!
Last Saturday the boys attended a birthday party for a friend, and then after we went to take our annual pictures with Santa! Here’s a little behind the scenes peek of their photo session.
On Sunday we went out to dinner with some friends to one of the kids’ favorite places where the kids get to make their own pizza.
I wore this outfit which would be cute for Thanksgiving as well! This top is from last year, and while it’s no longer offered in this color, it is back this year in a few other colors. I’m really loving the green.
The boys have been very busy with Taekwondo and both earned new belts! Evan now has his yellow stripe little tigers belt, and Cole is now a deputy belt and has officially begun preparing to earn his junior black belt. It is a pretty big accomplishment and we are so proud of his hard work and years of dedication to get to this point.
Evan’s preschool has the sweetest little tradition of holding a Friendship Feast the week before Thanksgiving where the kids make an entire meal and then eat together. I had the very special job of baking the apple pies the kids made and delivering them to their class. And I snuck a quick pick of Ev by their cute class teepee they had set up for the holiday!
Also how cute is this thankful (giving) tree at Cole’s school?!
On Saturday we kicked off our Thanksgiving break and attended the holiday parade downtown Boise. It’s always a fun way to kick off the holidays and get into the Christmas spirit! Afterwards we warmed up with some hot cocoa and went out to breakfast.
We also got our Christmas tree up! I really debated putting it up before Thanksgiving as we have company coming to stay and and didn’t know if I wanted to deal with that along with everything else. But I have to say I am happy we put it up and I love the new tree we got this year!
One of the things Cole and I really bond over is celebrating the holidays, and he and I especially love seasonal movies. We both love A Christmas Story, so when I saw the musical was touring here in Boise I knew that the two of us had to go.
Our family arrives this evening to spend Thanksgiving with us, so we’ve been super busy not only preparing for Thanksgiving dinner, but setting up for guests as well. And if you are in the midst of Thanksgiving prep as well and in need of any last minute recipe inspiration, here is a post I made last year with a list of some of my favorite, tried and true Thanksgiving recipes!
Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with food, friends, and family.
During this past four day weekend, the kids and I headed up to the orchard for our annual afternoon of apple picking. It’s always a lot of fun to head out into the country for an afternoon of fresh air and getting to play farmer for a day! Once we got home we baked up some of our harvest into an apple pie – which is going to be the first of many apple desserts over the next several weeks. Evan also brought some of his apples to his preschool to share with all of his friends. I recently bought the boys these shirts with Christmas in mind, but they made for fun mommy and me outfits during our afternoon of apple picking too.
We’ve hit peak foliage time here in Idaho, and it is really so incredibly beautiful right now that I am doing all I can to soak it up. Evan and I had to go run errands the other day and we made a detour to take a quick walk in the park.
The other night I had an unofficial girls night out with a meeting for Cole’s school art auction committee. Yes it was technically work, but we made a little time for some drinks and fun chit chat!
We also attended Cole’s school’s annual “Boo Bash” which is a fall carnival where the kids get to wear costumes, have dinner, and play some fun games. For the evening’s grand finale, the teachers put together a choreographed 80s dance routine which was pretty dang awesome! Evan had picked out this costume awhile back to wear to his school Halloween party, so Cole thought it would be fun to go as a team and be Evan’s prisoner for the night.
We had a three day weekend last weekend which was much needed. We’ve not had a ton of rest time since school started, and that extra day off was so nice. As I shared in a previous post, we spent a day out at the local pumpkin patch which was a ton of fun.
We had an absolute crazy storm last Saturday which did quite a fair amount of damage here in the valley. We were lucky to not be too affected in our neighborhood, but there were lots of downed trees and power lines, as well as property damage. With the unpredictable weather we decided to play it safe and skip soccer, and instead went out to breakfast. I ended up taking the kids to IHOP for their Addam’s Family breakfast specials, and then we picked up one of Cole’s friends and went to go watch the movie at the theater! It was a really cute movie and the kids enjoyed it.
Wednesday I got to go on a field trip with Cole to one of my favorite places here in Boise – the MK Nature Center! We learned a ton and I love getting to share these experiences with Cole and get to know his friends and classmates a little better.
It has become an annual tradition to snap a few fall photos of the boys, and the other day we took a few minutes to take some pictures. Here’s a few of my favorites!
This week we have parent teacher conferences, which for the kids means a four day weekend! We are enjoying the break so far with a trip to the orchard to pick apples yesterday, and looking forward to some more fun fall and Halloween activities this weekend.