Happy Earth Day {2020}

Every day is earth day in our house, but on Wednesday we went a little more intense than normal.

Michael took an Earth Day Pledge and has since failed on his “shorter showers” promise. Otherwise, he’s doing great.

Earth Day pledge

We made some amazing cookies that were SO EASY. We picked a sugar cookie recipe on Pinterest (this one!), separated the dough into two bowls (go a little heavier for one of the bowls), and added food coloring (one bowl green, the bowl with more, blue, since Earth’s surface is 71% water). And mix, mix, mix.

Earth Day Cookies

Once you’ve got your colored dough bowls, pinch pieces of each dough color, combine them, (see below) and roll them lightly. If you roll them too much they’ll get marbled. Just a quick roll to combine should suffice.

Pinching cookies together

Bake per the recipe’s instructions…

Earth Day cookie dough balls

And, voila! Delicious and festive.

Earth Day cookies finished

Some of our other fun resources for learning about Mother Nature: (no affiliate links, since I can’t figure out how to do that…)

What did the tree wear to the pool party? — Swimming trunks. This and may more Earth Day jokes.

Nature Activity Book

My Encyclopedia of Very Important Animals (My Very Important Encyclopedias) 

My Encyclopedia of Very Important Dinosaurs: Discover more than 80 Prehistoric Creatures

Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World

Gross as a Snot Otter (The World of Weird Animals) 

What else should we be reading? How did you celebrate Earth Day/Week? Tell me below! 

Halloween recap {2018}

What a Halloween!

We dressed up, paraded, trick-or-treated, and ate and ate and ate.

Most of my creative juices went to Michael’s Mater costume, which was a work of art.

From the front:

Mater costume

And from the back… a working tow hook!

Mater costume

And let’s not forget the working headlamps once dusk hit! (Don’t you just love the pie tin radiator/candy dish!?)

Mater costume

Mater was WAY too big to wear to school for Michael’s class parade, so we pulled this Captain America costume out of the closet. Look at these little super heroes!

Apparently Michael grew a bit… Look at his shoes and fake shoes.

Little super heroes

Brandon and I phoned in our outfits, thanks to Target. They were fun and easy– fine by me!

Waldo Halloween costume

Of course we had some festive eats too… Our many-layer dip was so easy and paired perfectly with orange and black chips from Wegmans:

Halloween seven layer dip

And some sweet treats, “blood” courtesy of food coloring and corn syrup, applied with an infant medicine dropper, edible axes made by Wilton, bought by me:

Bloody ax cupcakes

We carved pumpkins too. All around, the perfect holiday!

Carving pumpkins

Love your Elf on the Shelf!

It’s already mid-November, which means in a few short weeks our Elf on the Shelf Train will be returning from the North Pole, to make sure our sweet boy actually stays on Santa’s “nice” list.

We met Train last year, shortly after my son’s third birthday. It was the perfect age to begin.

24 days of new Elf activity is a lot of work.

To prepare, I did my homework and created a calendar for our Elf. The hour or so I spent on Pinterest and creating the calendar was totally worth it.

I have a tendency to doze during my son’s bedtime, so the calendar was a guide to help my husband and I both to place Train, even if we didn’t want to.

I bought a couple of items to ensure our Elf’s success: a package of cotton balls, a dry-erase marker, a couple of cheap gifts (stocking stuffer type things) found at the Target One-Spot or Dollar Store.

Read our 2018 calendar here. (This includes a weekend trip to NYC, so some hotel Elf action)

Read our 2019 calendar here.  (This includes another quick trip, this time to Seattle)

Here are some of my favorite Elf poses from last year. This year I’m most excited to use the leftover spider web from Halloween to have Spider-man suspend Train.

Elf on the Shelf with North Pole breakfast

Train with his North Pole breakfast

Elf on the Shelf visits the Sprinkle Spa

Train visited the Sprinkle Spa. So relaxing!

Elf on the Shelf coloring

An easy one: your Elf can be coloring or practicing their letters!

Elf on the Shelf "Chilling" out

Just “chilling” out in the snow (cotton balls)

Elf on the Shelf reading to his dino friends

Reading a new train book to his dinosaur friends

Elf on the Shelf in the tree

Another easy one: suspended in the tree!

Elf on the Shelf racing stuffed animals

Are they racing or is the T. Rex going to eat the deer!? Elf attached with unscented floss.

Elf on the Shelf calling Santa

Uh oh… Santa wants to talk. Another easy one!

Elf on the Shelf just hanging out

Mr. Bedhead found his Elf, just ‘hanging out’

For more ideas, visit my “Elf on our Shelf” Pinterest board.

Happy Elf-ing!

There’s always the Elf Surveillance Camera if you’re not interested in the Elf.

Last minute {children’s} Valentine ideas

In case you missed it, Valentine’s day is THIS Thursday. (On Feb. 14)

If you’re a little behind and still figuring out what to do, allow me to give you some great ideas.

Assuming you have an Amazon Prime account, you’ll be able to start and finish these with time to spare!

For space lovers…

You’re out of this world!

Space ducks: unite!

For dinosaur lovers…

You’re dino-mite! Thank you for being my friend-o-saurus!

These valentines are DINO-riffic!

For construction lovers…

We bought these cars (Michael loves them so much he’s keeping some to play with!) and I made these simple tags with four fitting phrases:

Construction valentine tags

You are TONS of fun! You MOVE me! I totally DIG you! LOADS of love!

Here’s the construction tag PDF for you. Print it, cut it, tie it, and you’re set!

I totally dig you!

Finished product: construction valentines

Finished product: construction valentines

Need even more ideas? Head over to Pinterest. Happy Valentine’s day!

2018 {Year In Review}

While 2018 wasn’t the best year for the blog, we had a blast in real life.

It was our first full year in Buffalo, including our first winter and full summer. (Apparently Buffalo doesn’t have a spring or fall with climate change the way it is. I’m pretty sure it went from snow to sweltering this spring and same for the fall.)

2018 started off with travel. We celebrated a late Christmas in Seattle and loved catching up with everyone.

Brandon taught his first class during the spring semester. He taught a mere 550 inquiring minds. Overall it was a positive experience and he’s getting ready to teach the class again in early 2019.

Over the summer, we took advantage of our flexible work schedules to celebrate some of our good friends’ love, traveling to Arizona and the Hudson River Valley. Both trips were so much fun and will be their own blog posts in the coming year.

Szerwos take the Grand Canyon

Our introduction to the Finger Lakes, en route to the Hudson River Valley

 

For Father’s Day, we went camping at Letchworth State Park, a first for Michael. We went with our best Buffalo friends and enjoyed it. We hope to camp again next spring/summer.

Father’s Day camping at Letchworth 2018

We continue to explore Buffalo and have really perfected our tour for guests who visit. That’s a blog post for another day, too.

Niagara Falls: One stop on our Buffalo tour

Professionally, I launched Delaware Park Living in September. It’s a monthly neighborhood newsletter magazine for the residents of one of the most established communities in Buffalo. I’m the publisher of the publication, which means I get to work with the residents, business sponsors, and our central design team to make a beautiful 30-40 page magazine each month.

Presenting: Delaware Park Living

Halloween 2018 was pretty epic. I went all out and created an award-winning (seriously! I won $100 for it!) Mater costume for Michael. He continues to love playing in it. I’m working on a “how to” tutorial for the costume as there isn’t a complete one currently online. Brandon and I phoned it in and were both Waldo. We’ve already started thinking about Halloween 2019 costumes though.

Where’s Waldo? Hanging out in Buffalo!

Halloween costumes

Mater with his two besties

Michael’s day-time costume: Captain America.

Captain America with his super squad

We finished up the year with a pre-Christmas holiday trip to NYC. We’ve been there before and seeing it in all of its holiday splendor was magical. We caught up with friends, shopped the holiday pop-up markets, rode through Central Park in a horse-drawn carriage while sipping hot chocolate, and walked more than 13 miles one day, among lots of other fun things. I think we should make it an annual tradition!

Rockefeller Plaza all done up for the holidays

The only thing missing was snow! {Central Park Carriage Ride}

Merry Christmas from NYC!

We’re actually looking forward to our Buffalo winter and the snow, and all of the adventures we have planned for 2019. We can’t wait to share them with you. More posts in 2019, I promise.

What’s Michael doing these days?

Our 3.25 year old is SO active. He loves running and jumping and can move for hours… unless you want him to walk beside you on a neighborhood walk. Then his “shoes are hard” and he requires holding.

Michael knows the alphabet (both the song and capital and lower case letter identification) and can count to 20.

He’s back in swim lessons and getting more and more comfortable bobbing underwater. He loves school and has several best friends.

He’s sweet and sassy and still even likes to snuggle sometimes. Michael learned Christmas carols this year and his favorite song is Jingle Bells which he’s recently re-titled to “Jingle Smells.” He’s been using the potty since his third birthday and loves using potty words any chance he can (toot, tooty, poop, poopy, etc).

2019 resolutions

A new year, a new me? Not exactly. I’m pretty pleased with myself and my habits going into 2019: we’re eating less meat and more veggies, drinking a ton of water, exercising often, and living a generally healthy and happy lifestyle. (I totally nailed those 2018 resolutions!)

BUT, there is always room to spice things up a little, right?

So, without further ado, my goals for 2019:

2019 resolutions

I also want to read more, so please share your favorites in the comments below! My goal is 12 books; one per month.

What do you think? What do you have planned for 2019?

National Doughnut Day {2018}

This week we’ll celebrate National Doughnut Day on Friday, June 1.

It seems like there is a new National ____ Day every day, but this is a holiday we can really get behind as doughnuts are some of our favorite foods.

In Seattle, we had our favorite shops and doughnuts: Top Pot (maple old-fashioned, apple fritter) and Daily Dozen Doughnuts (assorted dozen or a dozen sprinkled).

We love Daily Dozen Doughnuts so much they made an appearance in our wedding photos! {Photo by Mike Fiechtner Photography}

We were sad to leave them, but pleased to find that Buffalo is a doughnut city too! Buffalo also fancies itself an expert in wings (duh), pizza (the greasier, the better), and ice cream (it’s so good! That’s for another post!), among others.

We’ve sampled most of the doughnut-eries in Buffalo and Donut Kraze is hands-down our favorite shop. Brandon doesn’t have a favorite doughnut yet and always tries the classic or seasonal favorites. Michael always gets the white cake doughnut with frosting and sprinkles. I opt for the blueberry old-fashioned (it’s like eating just the crispy parts of a blueberry muffin) and a bagel egg sandwich that I share with Michael.

Weekend breakfast goals.

Michael and his favorite breakfast

As you get ready to celebrate National Doughnut Day the best way you know how, let me offer some ideas and recipes I found on the internet that are sure to be your new favorites:

Travel the Ohio Donut Trail with us? We’re legitimately looking into a trip…

S’more doughnuts

Triple dipped chocolate peanut butter doughnuts: Two of Brandon’s favorite flavors!

Catnip doughnut with pink frosting: I met the owner of this Etsy shop at Craft Camp last year and fell in love with her catnip toys, especially this doughnut!

If you still haven’t had your fill of doughnuts yet, keep reading some of my favorite doughnut posts: