Life Lately

Life Lately

At the start of summer I (foolishly) convinced myself we wouldn’t be all that busy. I would have tons of time to study for my nursing refresher, finish all the projects I have lined up around the house, and of course keep my kids perfectly busy and entertained every day. Ha! I’m not exactly new to this mom thing so I certainly should have known better! While I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job making the kids summer fun & keeping them engaged with lots of activities…I’m really slacking on the personal front. I’m really behind on my studies, I have only begun getting some of my home projects rolling and I haven’t been getting many workouts in. Motherhood is ALWAYS humbling and a reminder that you can’t be superwoman and something always has to give. But right now, I am enjoying the time I’ve been spending with my kids and the memories we are making this summer. And I know I will finish everything – it’s just taking me longer than I had planned! Such is life.

What we’ve been up to…

First – we got our family photos back! We work with Tamara Kenyon (who is the most amazing photographer here in Boise!) and as always, I’m thrilled with how they turned out. Here’s a few of my favorites:

My dress  //  Cole’s shirt/shorts  //  Evan’s shirt/shorts (similar)

This year we purchased passes to the local waterpark – Roaring Springs – and we’ve been spending a lot of time there. It is actually a great waterpark and a ton of fun! It has even received recognition for being one of the top water parks in the country on TripAdvisor. We’ve also got Evan in swim lessons downtown every Saturday morning. It’s a little rough forcing ourselves up and out the door every Saturday, but it’s also kind of nice getting an early start to the day/weekend – plus we’ve been going out for breakfast every week after his class is over! We’ve been going to The Griddle and it has become one of our favorite breakfast places.

 Breakfast quesadilla – highly recommend that and their breakfast burrito! I also love their omelettes. Their sweet options (like the waffle with a scoop of ice cream & their french toast) look incredible but we’ve yet to try them.

The other day I took the kids to the park and then somehow convinced them to also do a short hike (they may or may not have complained about being bored and hot the whole time). But I really enjoyed it and couldn’t believe how many wildflowers there are this late in the year!


We also spent an afternoon at our local zoo. They are currently undergoing some renovations so I’ve been excited to go check it out this summer! I think the new changes are going to be really positive and looking forward to seeing it once it’s completed later this summer.

I wore this outfit which has really become a summer uniform for me. This is now my 3rd pair of dark green, paper-bag style shorts that I’ve purchased this summer. They are just the perfect casual mom shorts, that still look pulled together and the color is a perfect neutral.

Tee // Shorts // Shoes // Bag // Necklace // Sunglasses

As you may have seen in my previous post, we went cherry picking last week which was a ton of fun for the whole family. If you live in the Boise area, you must get up to Emmett for fruit picking this summer! Such a short drive, yet you feel so removed from the city. I wore this outfit that day and I have to point out my new entry way mirror! Overhauling my entry way is on my to-do list and this mirror was my first update. I’m on the hunt for new lamps next!


My shirt (J Crew, old – similar here, here, here, here) // Jeans // Bag // Necklace // Lipgloss

Another home project I’ve been working on that is almost finished is my pantry – and I can’t wait to share about it on here soon! That has been a project that is literally years in the making. As in I’ve been staring at Pinterest inspiration for years and thinking “one day.” I’ve finally just bit the bullet and I am SO excited about how it has come together…and my family is pretty happy with how functional it has been for everyone too!

We also spent an afternoon at the Boise Train Depot this week and I wore this cute skirt that I scored on major sale! I can see it being styled so many different ways and will be wearing it a ton the rest of the summer.

Top // Skirt // Earrings // Similar bag

Have a great weekend!


Cherry Picking (And Homemade Cherry Pop Tarts)

Cherry Picking (And Homemade Cherry Pop Tarts)

My top (J Crew, old – similar here, here, here, here) // Jeans // Sandals // Necklace // Lip gloss // Evan’s shirt (Gap, similar) // Cole’s shirt

Friday was an unusually cool summer day here in Boise (our high was mid 60s!), which I thought would be perfect weather for spending the afternoon at the orchard picking cherries! We always have an absolute blast going out to the country for a few hours and enjoying the tranquility – and my kids love getting to feel like little farmers for the day!

What is almost as fun as picking the cherries is eating them once we get home – and making delicious treats! I thought it would be really fun to make some homemade pop tarts with our harvest and found this recipe which I modified with just a few little tweaks. I’m not gonna lie…these are labor intensive and take a long time to make! (Next time I would make the crust and filling at night & refrigerate overnight, then assemble & bake in the morning). That said my husband said these are one of the best treats I’ve ever made!





  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced and frozen
  • 1/2 cup ice water


  • 4 cups fresh cherries, pitted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water


  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Pink food coloring
  • Sprinkles


Make the dough:

  • In food processor, mix flour, salt, and sugar together by pulsing a few times. Add the frozen diced butter & pulse until coarse crumbs form. Set the food processor to low and add the water in small amounts at a time until dough comes together. Do not over-work the dough (you want to see bits of butter within the dough). Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour to overnight.

Make the filling:

  • In a small saucepan, stir together the cherries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the cherries are soft and bubbly. Lower heat. Whisk together the cornstarch and water, and stir into the cherry, stirring constantly and slightly mashing cherries with spatula or wooden spoon, until a thick jam forms. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to cool.


  • On a lightly floured surface, roll dough with a rolling pin into a large rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the dough into 3×4 inch rectangles. This should make a total of about 20 rectangles. Place 10 rectangles on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Whisk the egg and water together, then lightly brush the edges of the dough on the 10 rectangles. Place 2 tablespoons of cherry filling in the center of each rectangle. Lay another rectangle on top, pressing the edges with your fingers and then crimping with a fork. Continue with remaining pop tarts. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, along with the remaining egg wash.
  • While the pop tarts chill, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F with rack placed in the center of the oven.
  • When the pop tarts are ready to bake, lightly brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle the tops with sugar. Use a fork or skewer to poke small holes on the top of the dough to allow the steam to escape. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool before glazing.

Make the glaze:

  • In a bowl whisk together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Add a drop or two of pink food coloring. Drizzle over cooled pop tarts and top with sprinkles.

*Note – I use this cherry pitter and I highly recommend it!


Everything You Need For The Ultimate Pool Day

Everything You Need For The Ultimate Pool Day

We spend a lot of time at the pool in the summer. My kids are absolute fish and between hitting up the neighborhood pool with friends, weekly swim lessons, and going to the local water park – we typically spend 4-5 days a week at the pool in the summer months! Today I wanted to share what we pack along in our beach bags in order to have the ultimate pool day!

My swimsuit // Similar beach skirt // My hat // Sunglasses // Cole’s swimsuit // Evan’s swimsuit (similar)


Beach bag I am a huge fan of Mar y Sol beach bags – they are so roomy and are stylish enough to carry beyond the pool.

Wet swimsuit bag I always have a few wet swimsuit bags stashed in my beach bag and this jelly one is so cute.

Waterproof phone lanyard I have been that mom who has dropped my phone in the water before, so this is an essential.

Hat I’ve been all about the visor this summer since it allows me to put my hair up in a messy bun while still wearing my hat.

Towels This multi-pack of plush chic looking towels is a great essential.

Sunscreen I love spray sunscreens for their ease of application (and re-application!). I also always look for a sunscreen with 50 SPF.



Goggles I always have multiple pairs stashed in my beach bag. These also have UV protection.

Water shoes The bottoms of pools can be rough and sore toes at the end of a day aren’t fun for the little ones. Water shoes are also great for protecting little feet from the hot concrete when getting in and out.

Water guns As a mom of boys, we pretty much can’t leave for the pool unless we are armed with water guns.

Water toys This kit has tons of toys to keep your kids occupied for hours.

Puddle Jumper Life Vest While my little one is in regular swim lessons, he still isn’t fully swimming yet. These floaties were recommended by Cole’s swim instructor when he was little, as she said they still help facilitate swimming.

Inflatable This inflatable will definitely make you the coolest kid at the pool.

Kid Towels Of course the kids can use just a regular old towel, but these personalized towels are a lot of fun!

Pool Games Book Keep giving them new fun game ideas all summer long.



Water bottles Its so important to make sure kids stay hydrated, so we always pack along water bottles.

Cooler After an hour or two of swimming my kids are always starving, so I make sure to pack along a cooler with some snacks!

Speaker I bought my husband this wireless, waterproof bluetooth speaker, and it is great for packing along to the pool.


Keeping Kids Minds Engaged During The Summer

Keeping Kids Minds Engaged During The Summer

I do feel very strongly that kids should have a lot of unscheduled fun over summer break and days filled with swimming, picnics, playdates, and popsicles. Our family (like most!) is heavily scheduled throughout the school year with school commitments and extra curriculars, and the kids need some time to rest and relax! However, academic regression over the summer months is a real concern – in fact, studies have shown that kids achievement scores decline over summer vacation by one month’s worth of school-year learning. While I do allow my kids a lot of unstructured, fun time – I do have a few summer rules at our house to make sure that we are still making time for some educational activities every day.

My biggest rule is – the kids are required to read for a minimum of 20 minutes a day. Typically we will sit down together at night and read as a family – and it is something the kids really look forward to (and most nights we read well beyond our minimum time)! Video games are restricted to Friday-Sunday all year, and we continue this during the summer months. We also take advantage of numerous library programs offered over the summer (the kids just finished their first reading challenge and already each earned a free book!), and I typically will buy the kids inexpensive toys/games that have some educational value as I see things throughout the year to give them over the summer months. (I also try to think ahead at holidays like Easter & Christmas for gifting things they can play with over summer!). We also visit our local zoo and Discovery Center several times over the summer, and am also thinking about looking into the Art Museum for kids’ activities as well. In today’s post, I wanted to share some great games and activities for fun learning at home this summer!



FamilyGamesBattleship // Hi Ho! Cherry-O // Spot It! // Chickapig  // Zingo

My older kiddo (he’s eight!) loves playing Battleship with his dad. This game is great for critical thinking as well as some math skills (like axis awareness). Hi-Ho! Cherry-O is a great game for younger kids teaching them basic math skills like counting, addition, and subtraction. Spot It! is a great game you can take anywhere with you, and develops focus, visual perception skills, speech-language skills, and fine motor skills. Chickapig is an award winning game for ages 8 and up. The game takes a bit longer to play, but it is simple to learn while still being highly engaging, competitive, and teaches strategy! Zingo is another award winning game which is great for teaching pre-reading skills.



OutdoorEducatinalBug Catching Explorer Kit // Go Find It Scavenger Hunt // Telescope

You certainly don’t need to spend any money to simply get kids outside and observing nature. That said, having a fun exploration kit can help kids connect with their inner explorer and encourage them to find bugs, learn direction with a compass, and look for all kinds of critters with binoculars! I love the simplicity of this scavenger hunt which makes it perfect for even little explorers. And if you weren’t already aware – June is a great month for stargazing! Jupiter is visible to the naked eye (it’s located right by the moon!) this month. We went stargazing the other night and with our small telescope, we were even able to see Jupiter’s 4 largest moons! I also highly recommend the SkyView app for finding constellations and planets (it is so cool!). Boise also has a few great (and free!) outdoor educational opportunities like the MK Nature Center and the Oregon Trail walks.



STEMtoysGemstone Dig Kit // Snap Electric Circuit // Magnatiles // Legos // Osmo

For Easter Cole was given a similar gemstone dig kit and he had an absolute blast excavating and learning about the types of stones! He was also gifted a similar, smaller snap electric circuit to this one, and it is a super fun and educational toy (this one above was a toy of the year nominee!). Both of my kids absolutely LOVE playing with magnatiles. This is one of their favorite toys that they both reach for over and over. Legos are always another favorite option, and they can spend hours coming up with their own creations! And if I’m going to allow my kids iPads during the week – it must be for something educational. Osmo has been a huge hit in our house for several years now!



KidsArtEasel // Artist Kit // Illustory Book Writing Kit // Camera

Both of my kids really love to draw, and it’s something they do nearly every day. My younger one has fun using the easel, while my big one uses an art set that has everything a budding artist needs! My older one also likes writing and illustrating his own short stories and comic strips, so I am loving this kit which also includes printing and delivery of their very own book! Both of my kids always have fun taking photos with the iPad, and I think upgrading them an actual camera they can pack around with them this summer would be a lot of fun for them.



SensoryToys.jpgSlime // Play-Doh // Water Beads // Water Table

My kids love slime. As in they are literally entertained by it for hours. Play-doh is also a lot of fun, especially a kit like this that includes cutters. These water beads look so cool and have a ton of different educational activities you can do with them (sensory, sorting, counting, colors, hand/eye coordination) and there is even a fun gun you can buy to shoot them (if you have boys you know how guns make everything more fun)! My little one has a water table at his preschool, and it is his absolute favorite thing to play with on the playground! We have an old one that has seen better days, and I’ve been eyeing buying this one.



LettersNumbersMath Facts Wrap Ups // Alphabet Chalkboard // Dog Man // Don’t Push The Button

Cole’s teacher this past year was really big on the kids learning their math facts very early on in the year. We are now working on multiplication and division facts at home to give Cole a little head start for 3rd grade! Early reading activities are something we are working on with Evan this summer, and we just recently purchased this chalkboard we can take with us to practice writing and simple word recognition. And of course lots of reading for everyone and these books are a few favorites we’ve been reading on repeat!



ImaginativeToysDress Up Kit // Grocery Store // Kitchen // Tool Set

Giving kids time and opportunity for imaginative play is so important! I love seeing my kids using their imaginations and coming up with games! My little one absolutely loves playing dress up, shopkeeper, play (or real!) cooking, and he has this exact tool set and is completely obsessed with it.

Here’s to a fun and educational summer!Signature

Father’s Day Gift Idea: Hand-painted Flower Pots

Father’s Day Gift Idea: Hand-painted Flower Pots

Father’s Day is just a few days away and if you are still in need of an idea, I wanted to share the gift the kids and I came up with this year! We are really big on doing thoughtful, homemade gifts for Father’s Day, and the kids absolutely love presenting a gift that they have made themselves! My husband is big into gardening and plants, so I thought this year creating painted planters filled with flowers for our patio would be a lot of fun – and something my husband would really appreciate.



Terra Cotta Pot

Spray paint

Acrylic paint


Drop cloth

Clear coat

Potting soil

Flowers of choosing



Place drop cloth down to protect area (be sure you are working in a well ventilated space or outside!) and spray pots evenly until they are covered with base color of choosing. Allow to dry.

Once dried, paint your designs with colored acrylic paints and allow to dry.

Once dried, spray protective clear coat over the entire pot (inside & out) to seal, and allow to dry.

Fill with potting soil & plant flowers!



The kids and I also put together this fun lottery card “bouquet” to gift dad as well!

Each of the kids also filled out a questionnaire “Fun Facts About Dad” that I printed on cardstock to present to dad on Father’s Day, along with cards and we will be making his favorite homemade breakfast!

Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing dads out there!


Summer Camping Trip at Redfish Lake

Summer Camping Trip at Redfish Lake

Today’s post is a very photo heavy one with lots of photos of the camping trip we took last week! Several months ago we reserved a campsite at Glacier View Campground at Redfish Lake just outside Stanley Idaho (a few hours from Boise). We had some friends join us, and the kids really had the time of their lives building forts, playing at the lake, roasting marshmallows, and staying up late to make wishes on shooting stars! I confess, although I love nature and being outside, I’m not really much of a camper. But I did love seeing how much fun the kids had and camping really is such a terrific experience for them. The campsite was really nice and clean with actual toilets (a real luxury when camping!) and they also had playgrounds for the kids. It was also walking distance to the Redfish Lake Lodge which was darling (I would love to stay there one day!) and they had tons of water activities to take advantage of. We also had lunch and ice cream at the lakeside restaurant one day, which was a real treat after several days of cooking at the campsite. I still can’t get over the beauty of Redfish Lake and the Sawtooth Mountains – it is truly an incredibly stunning place. We even had a group of deer come visit us at our site one night (and the camp hosts let us know to be cautious as bears had been sighted recently!).

The kids had so much fun, and they are already asking when we can go on our next camping trip! Being prepared and having good gear also made a big difference in making the camping trip a lot more enjoyable, and I wanted to share my gear recommendations and camping tips!


Utensils // Stove // Tent

Roasting forks // Over fire grill // Air mattress

Cast iron cookware // Lantern // Percolator // Water Jug (perfect for a handwashing station)


  • Prep all food beforehand! I had burger patties formed & frozen with wax paper between them, pancake mix prepared and frozen, and also made an overnight breakfast casserole that was ready to throw on the stove the next morning! Having everything prepped ahead of time saves a lot of time and makes things a lot more simple.
  • Use disposable dishes. Yes I know it’s not the most eco friendly, but it sure is a lot easier to use as many disposable things as possible.
  • Bring bug spray and sunscreen. You definitely get exposed to the elements, and you are going to need these!
  • Make a foot washing station to keep the tent clean. I placed a door mat placed by the door of the tent and we made the kids take their shoes off before going in. I also had a plastic pan of water by the tent door to rinse off feet that were really dirty.
  • Rinse free bathing options. I packed along rinse free shampoo and lots of baby wipes to clean off a bit in-between showers.
  • Be prepared for temperature extremes. The temperature swings were pretty wild on our trip. The days were really hot (we wore tanks and shorts), but at night it got down into the low 30s. We were prepared with really warm sleepwear, as well as warm sleeping bags, multiple blankets, winter coats, and wool socks.
  • Bring first aid supplies. The mosquitos would often come out earlier than expected, and we would get a few bites before getting bug spray on. And despite being vigilant, Evan leaned up against the fire pit and got a small burn to his leg. I made sure to have lots of skin ointments as well as Tylenol, Motrin, and Benadryl.
  • Pack toys and camp decorations to keep kids busy. While I was busy cooking, I had several activities to keep the kids away from the fire and busy. We had balls, frisbees, sand toys, bubbles, bug catching kits, and glow sticks. I also brought along some solar lights and tasked the kids with making our campsite “homey.” They also were given camp chores to keep busy helping out as well!

Happy camping!


School’s Out For Summer (Evan’s preschool party and teacher gift ideas!)

School’s Out For Summer (Evan’s preschool party and teacher gift ideas!)

It’s finally here…school is out for summer! Last week was an absolute crazy whirlwind of class activities, parties, and coordinating teacher gifts. I really procrastinated too this year, so it was a lot of late nights last week trying to pull everything together! (And yes Ev is wearing high-water pants because he soaked himself at the water table at school and the only change of clothes I had were a pair of too small pants…mom fail).

I had signed up to organize Evan’s class party at the beginning of the year. And wouldn’t you know it – I completely forgot. After a reminder from his teachers, I scrambled to come up with some ideas. One of his teachers had mentioned that the kids loved to play pretend ice cream bar at their little playhouse – so we thought it would be a blast to turn it into a real ice cream bar on their last day! I grabbed some cute summery flamingo print cups with a matching serving tray (as well as some pink cutlery, napkins, & tablecloth to match), and a coordinating pom pom garland at my local dollar store. I printed some ice cream cones and a little banner I found on Pinterest to finish off the decorations. One of the moms sat inside and served the kids their choice of ice cream, and we had a little table next to the “ice cream stand” where the kids could go add their choice of toppings! We also put together some really fun and simple activities and games with sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and a spoon/egg relay race!


I was also tasked with a craft and I wanted it to be something somewhat meaningful to take home as a last day of preschool keepsake. I somehow remembered Cole having a popsicle stick picture frame craft he had done years ago in preschool (which we still have!) and remembered I have a Polaroid camera collecting dust in a closet. I found a few cute inspiration ideas on Pinterest, and put together these little picture frames for the kids to decorate at the party, and then take home with a photo of them on their last day of preschool!

img_0948Popsicle sticks // Mini clothespins  // Jewel stickersimg_0947I assembled the frames by hot gluing 3 popsicle sticks to the back, and glued a mini clothes pin on the front for them to attach their photo with.img_1162img_1283img_1165

I also sent each child home with a party favor/gift which I thought would be perfect for them to play with over the summer.

img_1055Bucket/shovel set // Printable Tag

And as a thank you to the kids’ teachers this year, I got them each a gift card to a local ice cream shop…which isn’t your typical ice cream shop. While they are family friendly and do have incredible fresh made ice cream in unique flavors – they also have booze infused ice cream and alcoholic floats. They have been incredibly successful and popular, and also happen to be opening their 2nd location soon just down the street from the kids’ schools – so I thought it would be a fun treat for the teachers to be able to swing by after a looong day at school and treat themselves! It’s definitely something different than I’ve done in years past – but I thought it would be something they weren’t likely to get from someone else, and it’s always nice to support local businesses as well!

fullsizerender-3(Boise friends – be sure to go check out The STIL!) Printable card holder here

And if you are still in need of teacher gift ideas, here are a few other ideas I’ve bookmarked for next year:

358cd65b-ed54-40d6-b4b9-cb04a8db11e0one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight