Welcome to Wildlife Wednesday

You guys, I freaking LOVE animals, especially reptiles and amphibians. When I was a kid, my heroes were Steve Irwin(The Crocodile Hunter) and Jeff Corwin and my dream was to be a herpetologist and discover a new species. I was always bringing some new animal home, whether it be frogs, turtles, lizards or snakes(much to my mother’s dismay). My mom would take me and my sister out for hours to local ponds and ditches with a bait net and we would swish it through the shallows to see what cool critters we could come up with. This is a tradition that I plan on continuing with my own children, so the ‘lil Burghers have decided to introduce a new series: Wildlife Wednesday.

wildlife wednesday

I am hoping to take the kids out at least once a week to explore local ponds, streams, lakes and parks. If you are local and have recommendations for places to explore or if you would like to join us on our adventures, please hit us up in the comments. My goal is to observe the beauty of our world, to educate and entertain our readers, but most of all, it will be a vital bonding experience with my children that I can cherish forever.

snapping turtle

Evan and a baby Snapping Turtle

I should also add that I am not a professional zoologist, but I have a fairly decent knowledge of the wildlife we will be encountering and have many years of experience catching and handling them. Especially when it comes to snakes, please use caution; and kids, never pick up a wild snake by yourself. I will be going over snake guidelines in another post, including how to tell if that snake in your yard is venomous, or just harmless pest control.

I truly believe that it is important to learn all we can about these beautiful creatures so that we can learn to protect them for generations to come. Maybe we will even inspire some of you to go and check out the critters in your own backyard.

Until next week, happy herping, ya’ll!

{Be sure to follow along with Wildlife Wednesday on social media with #wildlifewednesday & #lilburghers for extra content!}

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What We’re Reading: May 22

Every so often, we get a chance to receive books in exchange for a review here on the blog. All opinions on these books are 100% our own. These What We’re Reading posts also contain affiliate links – thanks for supporting the ‘lil Burghers with your clicks!

What We're Reading

What We’re Reading: May 22

As we get ready for the next to last week of school (seriously, where has time gone?), our reading is starting to increase. The kids will be part of the Summer Reading Program here in Kittanning, so we want to be sure the kids are ready to jump in.

The Twins (Books for ages 0-2)

Hoot & Honk Just Can’t Sleep by Leslie Helakoski pretty much is the story of our twins – “’some chicks like day, others like night. Some sleep in the dark, and some in light”. With irresistible illustrations and adorable rhymes, this story of baby owl and baby goose is perfect to share with babies and toddlers. Follow along as the babies (whose eggs hatched in the wrong nests) find their way to get bedtime just right. Sterling Publishing, March 2017; available on Amazon and at other retailers (MSRP $14.95).

Big Little Hippo by Valeri Gorbachev is another great one for our girls, especially Isla who wants to be grown. When you are the smallest in your family and just can’t wait to grow, the struggle is REAL. Ask Isla or Big Little Hippo. With a good message about helping others, this book is sure to be a pleasurer. Sterling Publishing, April 2017; available on Amazon and at other retailers (MSRP $14.95).

The Bigs (Books for ages 6-10)

Redwall, Book One was one of Greg’s favorite series when he was growing up. He reserved this plus the next two from the library and has been reading it to The Bigs before bed every night. I’d tell you more, but it’s like a secret society of readers in there, so you’ll just have to trust the fact that I hear lots of “keep reading!” squeals coming out of the room. Redwall is available on Amazon (MSRP $9.99).

Elly and the Smelly Sneaker by Leslie Gorin is a good modern-day girl retelling of the classic, Cinderella. When a girl wants to be just like all the other kids, her fairy godfather grants her a wish to trade in her glass slippers for sneakers. This is a good, quick read with The Bigs before bed or when we just need 10 minutes of chill time before a sporting activity. Sterling Publishing, April 2017; available on Amazon and at other retailers (MSRP $14.95).

The Adults

This post has made me want to revisit my love for reading. I can tell you something I should be reading for work, but have yet to get past the Introduction. Let’s save that for another installment so I can update you, ok? Greg will be taking the kids to the library, so perhaps that’s incentive to find some more reads throughout the summer.

Have you started a summer book list? For you, the kids, or both? What is on your must read list?


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Not an Only Child

This girl is blessed. She’s blessed because she is not an only child. Although there are plenty of other things that make her blessed, I’m going to stop and focus in on this fact for a few minutes. 

not an only child

This weekend, Greg and Evan are away camping with the Rangers. As a mom, I really should have been excited to have a weekend with just my girls. The honest truth is that I was scared.

No, I wasn’t scared of being outnumbered (which includes two two-year-olds). I wasn’t scared of someone breaking in or creeping on the house. I wasn’t scared of someone getting sick and me having to clean it up (one of my worst mom-qualities).

I was scared of Arianna being alone without her brother. 

Those two are such a pair. They might fight like cats and  dogs, but they are truly a pair. Perhaps not gifted as built-in besties like Ava and Isla, but one would think The Bigs are more the twins than The Twins are.

Without Evan, Arianna faced the need for constant attention. She was bored. She was tired (but wouldn’t nap or sleep because SCARED). She was hungry. She was not hungry. She was clingy. I knew this is what I was in for, but I didn’t really prepare myself.

Driving to work on Friday, I remembered that the Y had Kids Club, so I registered her. When I got home, she was mad that I had. Registering meant she was going and going meant she needed to take a swim test that she knew she wouldn’t pass. Not passing meant she was going to have to stick in the kiddie pool without her brother. Deep down, she finally admitted that taking the test was the thing because she was scared. I told her to just admit she couldn’t pass and that she wanted to stick in the kiddie pool. It worked, and I got an hour and a half to power clean the toy room while the girls played in the living room. Mom win.

On Saturday, she woke with the sun and had to entertain herself until I was ready to get out of bed. When I finally did, I found her in the bed with me (sneaky chick!). We worked on breakfast together then headed off to softball practice.

The afternoon was an impromptu visit to a Lularoe fundraiser so I could pick up something from a friend and I left with an unexpected gift from another. We dropped supplies (blankets) off to Greg and Evan and she clearly wanted to stay. But little brother was in the boy zone and no girls allowed was heard loud and clear. Before we left, he did give her some candy, to which she noted was a nice thing.

But the rest of the weekend has been everything I was afraid of. It was like she was magnetized to me. I’ve yet to use the restroom alone. I’ve been paying bills and trying to blog and she’s right beside me. I only got to write this post because I told her it was time to shower before church.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids, all of them. But Arianna is definitely blessed that she is not an only child. Especially blessed with her little brother, her partner in crime. And she, like me, is counting down the hours until he gets home.

Maybe I should have just got her the darn fidget spinner. 😉

 

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What to Do When Mom Won’t Buy You a Fidget Spinner

(*articles may contain affiliate links*) Hey, guys. It’s Arianna. Today I’m going to offer up some ideas on what to do when mom won’t buy you a fidget spinner. Trust me, I know from experience. My mom won’t put one in our Amazon shopping cart. The struggle is real.

“A lot of people have them,” Evan says. “Some of the fidget spinners spin for a long, long time and that’s why I want one.”

If you’re like us, and don’t have a fidget spinner, you will have to come up with something else to do instead. Here are my suggestions!

What to Do When Mom Won’t Buy You a Fidget Spinner

Balls. You can use them like they are a fidget spinner. So like you twist it on the carpet and you can throw it up and down. It kind of looks like it when it twirls around, especially if it is different colors like a baseball or softball. If it’s just like a plain color like red, whenever you throw it, it looks like a fidget spinner that is one color.

Help put away the groceries. It will keep your mind off spending money on toys and remind you that mom and dad just spent money to fill your hungry tummy!

Make a fake computer. You can fold a piece of paper in half and draw on it so it looks like mom’s laptop and pretend to blog along beside her.

Play with your brother and sisters. You can draw pictures with them, fix their guitar, play monkey in the middle, or watch some Sesame Street.

Clean your room. Who knows. You might find something else really cool that you forgot about and you can play with that instead.

Not beg and complain. Fidget spinners are a fad! Soon enough, you will find something else to make you happy. Don’t make mom feel like she is messing up the mom thing by not buying everything you want. Give her a hug and be good!

If you don’t know about fidget spinners, here are some facts:

  • They are two or three sided and can have a color on each side.
  • You can spin it with your thumb or fingers, or even spin it on your head.
  • You can use them to relieve stress and help you pay attention.

If you have a cool mom, she can head over to Amazon and get you one like this galaxy fidget spinner that I really, really, really want (sorry for begging, Mom!). Maybe if you do some chores, you’ll end up with a surprise!

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My Half Marathon Journey: Race Recap

It’s time for the final post in my 2017 half marathon journey – the race recap! (*articles may contain affiliate links*)

half marathon journey

 

 

It’s hard to believe that almost a week has gone by since the 2017 Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon (in which I ran my second Half Marathon). Life has been super busy ever since the weekend of the race and has finally slowed down enough for me to breathe and think about the run. It’s race recap time!

Race Recap – The Prep

The Flat Lay: It’s tradition before a race to put together your race outfit, the flat lay. I put Flat Becky together before we headed to dinner, but this is when my nerves set it. I knew I’d be a mix of cold then hot and I started to freak out. I decided to go with my Fila pants (with some mesh around the calves) and the work running t-shirt, nothing under or over it. But maybe something under it. Or not. (I’d decide later that night to go with my 2013 Turkey Trot long sleeve under it, a decision I now regret). The Bigs asked that I wear my hat, which I was perfectly fine with as the day looked like it might be a bit rainy and overcast (in hindsight, ha).

flat lay

Carb-Loading Dinner: Work put on a beautiful dinner at the St. Clair Country Club, but I was challenged by the carb-loading part of race day prep (thanks to my body’s dislike of gluten since Whole30). I gave in and had some tortellini and even though I sort of regretted it that night, I did not regret the energy the next morning. Greg and I got all fancy but forgot to grab a photo with our phones.

Sleep: Plain and simple, it came super easy. Big props to my mom who stayed the night so we could sneak in (although Isla and Arianna woke on our arrival) and out. With about 6 hours of sleep, I figured this would bode well.

 

Race Recap – Before the Start

Mile 0 – Getting to the Half: Greg and I woke at 4:00 AM and left the house by 4:45. We were parked and waiting by 5:30 – decided (correctly) to get a spot in a garage on the North Shore. It was only $5 and connected right to the “T”, which took us right where we needed to be, Gateway Plaza.

I had to find the porta-potties twice because nerves. We wrapped in garbage bags but I wasn’t sure if I was too cold or too warm. Greg and I parted ways at about 6:45 – me to Corral D and he to Corral C. I was worried I’d not given him enough time, but it turned out we had plenty.

After the National Anthem played, we waited and waited. I’d taken my inhaler but needed to take it again because almost an hour passed between when I thought I’d need to take it to start. I gave up my garbage bag early, around 7:15, and wished I’d still had it. The gun time was delayed because there were cars on the course. It ended up not being time for us back of the packers to go until 7:45.

I crossed the starting line at 7:49 AM.

Mile by Mile Breakdown: The Good Half

I used my FitBit to conserve my phone battery – because I killed my phone in 2013 – and it logged 13.44 miles. Something was definitely off, but I’m using that for my mile breakdown. This is the unofficial time! 

Mile 1: The fast one. Pace: 11’46”

This seems to be the one that always gets my heart pumping and my legs moving. It’s always fast, even with others who are trying to navigate their way through the swarm of people trying to run their first mile, too. We were still pretty packed in, like sardines, but I made the best of it and worked my zig-zag. I felt good, just right in the heat department, but shedding the gloves as we went down Liberty.

To my left, a guy caught a garbage bag and went spinning top over bottom for about 15 feet, saving his landing and moving on. I was impressed!

To my right, there were four guys, Marathoners, running in Star Wars costumes. I’d see them until we broke at mile 11. Behind me was the 12’35” pace group, the group I wanted to stay ahead of. About 0.5 miles in, they lost me – gone to the point I couldn’t see them anymore and to the point I was scared this wasn’t going to go well. It was too early to feel that, but I felt that.

Interestingly, my FitBit showed 1 mile just as I got to the 1 mile marker, and my time was an exact match on the clock (against gun time).

Mile 2: The Familiar One. Pace: 11’53”

This began my familiar trail, the roads I run at lunch. I knew this section of the course so well, I could have closed my eyes and did it. This felt so good and I didn’t see things going downhill in any way. Who cares that I couldn’t see the pacers any more, what I knew was no others had passed me from behind and were nowhere to be seen behind me, either.

I snuck a peak down toward my office, thanking God for the changes in me since taking this job, for the way they support this running thing. Next thing I knew, mile 2 was DONE.

Mile 3: The 16th Street Bridge. Pace: 13’23” 

This one felt like it took forever, like it was stretched out farther than I remember during my training. I felt good as I took the hill to the bridge and kept my eyes on those around me who seemed to be pacing about the same as me. I prayed for them to keep up their pace and endurance because I was motivated by them.

Mile 4: East Ohio Street. Pace: 13’25”

This was a mile I could have done better on. It was mostly flat, save for the journey up to East Ohio, and full of people cheering. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember seeing the 4-mile marker, but I know it was there.

Mile 5: Downhill and Excited. Pace: 12’56”

I knew my pace had slowed a little, but I wasn’t discouraged. We were looping around the North Side with some downhills and water stations. I was encouraged going uphill to the Urban Impact cheer team, fiving the crowd. This mile felt good and I knew I’d round a corner any second and see Greg (who had finished his 5.3 mile leg about 30 minutes after I took off).

Mile 6: Cranky begins. Pace: 12’48”

As this one started, I saw Greg. He had beat his goal for his relay leg and looked excited. I handed off my gloves then asked him if he’d gotten a text about my time. He hadn’t. But wait, he had, so he came running after me. He told me my average pace at 4.4 was 13’11”. I pouted. This wasn’t going to be a PR at that pace. What was going wrong? I felt so good and now so confused. I was passing PNC Park then Heinz Field, I should have been so happy. This part of the course was ROUGH – lots of pot holes. Eep. Something kicked in, though, and I tried to make up for the time.

Mile by Mile Breakdown: The Bad Miles

Mile 7: The West End Bridge. Pace: 13’47”

As I headed toward the West End Bridge, the cold got to me. I didn’t feel trained, I felt like an imposter. I slowed to a walk as I crested the hill to the bridge, trying to get it back together. I started to jog and a $20 bill flew under my feet. Not even money was gonna stop me. With the walk, this was one of my slower miles, but I felt a fire in me that I didn’t want to let out.

Mile 8: The inhaler part one. Pace: 13’52”

In the West End, the spectators rocked, as usual. One of them was a college friend. She probably doesn’t know it, but I high fived her as I went by. I swore I was actually moving in the West End, but as I got to the end where we head up and out, my lungs were screaming. I stepped to the side and grabbed some energy gels and two puffs of my inhaler. I realized I was no longer cold, but not hot.

Mile 9: The strip club. Pace: 13’01”

As the course took us through Carson Street, the sun started to shine and I started to feel woozy. Really woozy. Like I was going to need a medic. I realized I was starting to overheat, quickly. How the heck, when all the spectators were bundled up in hats and gloves? After I ran past a line of soldiers, high fiving us, I knew I needed to do something to get cooled off. A cup of water to the chest and back didn’t help, so I tried to take off my long-sleeve. It was stuck, so I had to go to the side of the road and peel it off then put my other shirt back on. It wasn’t pretty, but it was necessary. At this point (TMI ALERT) I also realized being a woman brings its own fun challenges to the race – I NEEDED a bathroom but I was not going to stop to make any adjustments. Eep. 

Mile 10: The smack. Pace: 13’39”

Greg had traveled across town to see me at the 2nd relay exchange. When I saw him, I stopped. My first intention was to give him my long-sleeve, but then I told him I was done and ready to quit. I was physically uncomfortable and way too hot. That’s when the asthma attack started. It’s also when he told me how proud of me he was and that I needed to take my inhaler and get moving (SMACK!). So move, I did.

Mile 11: The flat-ish one. Pace: 13’07”

The course boasts this as the flatest mile. Sure, it wasn’t bad, but I was disappointed that there was no gu and barely any water at this point. I saw my kids’ faces in my mind and kept pushing, crying, but pushing. I watched the time on my FitBit slip quickly from an average of 12’45” per mile to 13’01” and stay there for most of this mile.

Mile 12: The worst. Pace: 14’59”

There’s no nice way about this one. I was done with hills. My broken toe was throbbing. My pants felt so heavy and I was afraid I was going to pass out. My shirt was drenched in sweat, but I couldn’t get cooled down. I decided to power walk this entire mile, across the Birmingham Bridge and up Fifth Avenue. I don’t know how I ran this mile in 2013, but I did. As soon as I got to Jumonville, I knew I wasn’t going to be swpt, so I told my body to get it’s act together. According to my FitBit, I was still going to PR if I just kept moving.

Mile by Mile Breakdown: The Finish

Mile 13: Like the wind. Pace: 12’11”

Get it together, I did. I flew down Fifth Avenue, refusing any more water. I felt good all over again, because I’d lived through the uphill battle. I barely had time to realize we were running past PPG Paints Arena or to realize how close I was to the finish.

Mile 13.1 (then some?): The tears. Pace: 11′17″

I zipped through the final steps. My FitBit told me I was done, and when I saw the time and the fact that I had the official 13-mile marker just ahead in my sight, I knew a PR was not going to happen. I cried my way to the finish line, pushing hard (especially when I saw Greg) and not stopping until I crossed into the end. It wasn’t enough, to PR, but it was enough to finish. I didn’t quit, and I could have.

I cried as I was handed my medal. I cried as I got my finisher’s photo taken. I cried because I did this again, 4 years, +2 more kids, -30 pounds +75 pounds – 25 pounds, + a major surgery,+ a job change, + a move, + so many other things later. I felt mad about not PR’ing, but so proud.

Once I found Greg, I saw the pride in his face. He had talked to the kids and they were proud, but I needed to hear it.

Once I did, all my anger at myself went away and I enjoyed time with my hubby and co-workers.

Will I do it again? Abso-buc’n-lutely. I cannot wait for 2018.

Timing

Unofficial: 13.44 miles, 2:55:54 minutes, 13’05” pace

Official: 13.1 miles, 2:55:43 minutes, 13’25” pace

 


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My Half Marathon Journey: Part 10

Follow along with me as I share my half marathon journey – I’ll be running my second half in Pittsburgh on SUNDAY! (*articles may contain affiliate links*)

half marathon journey

 

If I had a penny for every time I’ve squealed that “It’s Marathon Week”, I’d be a rich woman.

You guys. It’s Marathon Week (squeal!).

This journey has been a good one. It’s been mentally and physically tough and rewarding, as a run like this should be. It’s brought me to tears of pain and tears of joy. It’s shown me just how much love abounds in my life. And it’s got me back on track to be a healthy mama to my kids (again).

Sunday is about more than the run. It’s about believing in myself and knowing that I didn’t do this alone. It is totally a God thing.

Training Plan Status

Sunday 4/30: Rest, which meant lots of time in the hammock and listening to the rain (later in the day).

Monday 5/1: What things are ahead for me must be amazing. The heat was there, I mean THERE. It had to have been mid-70s and I just couldn’t breathe, but dang did I run. I didn’t believe my MapMyRun or my FitBit, but both matched and this run had me feeling all the things great about Pittsburgh running. Distance: 3 miles Pace: 12’25” per mile

Tuesday 5/2: Tapering is no fun but NEEDED. I did a 5-4-3-2-1 HITT with Arianna and felt so lame. But right. Can that make sense?

Wednesday 5/3: Another Wednesday run that proves all the other runs wrong. The temperature was perfect for my asthma. I felt like I was just out for a casual stroll, not even a jog. Just before mile one (at 30th street), I looked up and saw a Pittsburgh Marathon van driving “the course”. I got giddy, thinking maybe they were invading my run, asking me to be an official blogger for the Pittsburgh Marathon for 2018, or maybe asking me to share my running story with them on the highlights with UPMC. When they kept going, I sighed a small bit of relief because while being one of their official bloggers is a goal for me, busting my butt to decrease my pace was a goal, too! Then my phone said “1 mile complete. Time, 11’22 per mile” and I about fell over. No way. Yes way. AHHHH! The amazingness of this run continued, even with an increase in pace as my path went through the Strip district and I had to wait for cars and other pedestrians. In the end, it was my best training run. Distance: 3 miles Pace: 11’55” per mile

Thursday 5/4: Again, tapering, so no YFit. I went to the Y and did 10 minutes on the treadmill at a slow walk with a 45-second 10’54” run every 2 minutes. Next, I did some YFit moves with really super light weights. When Greg got back from his last run before he does the Relay, I called my gym time done.

Friday 5/5: Here we are. The end of my training. I did a shakeout run this morning in the rain. I felt like a slow motion running scene in a movie, ridiculous but what I needed. It was slow, but the pace I need to be at or under on Sunday. Distance: 1.31 miles Pace: 13’12” per mile

Current Progress

February Miles (follow me on Nike+): 35.91
February Average Pace: 13’32”

March Miles: 60.05
March Average Pace: 13’21”

April Miles: 60.12
April Average Pace: 13’15”

May Miles: 7.33
May Average Pace: 12’29”

Current Projected Finish Time at May Pace: 2:43 (-10 minutes from my 2013 pace of 13:13 / 2:53)
Current Projected Finish Time average of all training (13’10”): 2:52’48” (-12 seconds from my 2013 pace of 13:13 / 2:53)

What’s coming up next? Packet pickup and Expo, resting tomorrow/work Marathon dinner, then THE BIG DAY.

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If you’re running in the 2017 Pittsburgh Marathon events, let me know. Be sure to follow along on my social media – I’ll be using #fitmomintheremaking #pghmarathon and #runpgh with my shares!

Read the rest of this series:

My Half Marathon Journey: Part 1 (March 3)

My Half Marathon Journey: Part 2 (March 10)

My Half Marathon Journey: Part 3 (March 17)

My Half Marathon Journey: Part 4 and 5 (March 31)

My Half Marathon Journey: Part 6 (April 7)

My Half Marathon Journey: Part 7 (April 14)

My Half Marathon Journey: Part 8 (April 21)

My Half Marathon Journey: Part 9 (April 29)

Read other Pittsburgh Running Blogs through Steff’s linkup: Run Steff Run


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Star Wars Crafts for Kids

*articles may contain affiliate links*

Tomorrow is May the 4th, better known to most of us as Star Wars Day! If you’re looking for fun crafts to do with the kids (or let’s be honest, yourself after they’ve tired out), we’ve rounded up some awesome Star Wars crafts for kids that you’re going to want to get working on! Follow the tutorials in the links below, then come back and tell me what your favorite(s) were. Oh, and May the Fourth be with you!

star wars crafts

Star Wars Crafts for Kids

1. Lightsaber Christmas lights from Desert Chica
2. Darth Vader Craft from Kidz Activities
3. Yoda paper bag from The Joy of boys
4. R2D2 luminaries from Diy candy
5. Yoda puppet from Coffee cups and Crayons
6. Star Wars R2-D2 Craft for Kids from Mom Inspired Life
7. Paper Plate Darth Vader Puppet from The Chirping Moms
8. Light Saber Sensory Bottles: Star Wars Activity from Little Bins for Little Hands
9. Star Wars Craft: Chewbacca Puppet from JDaniel4’s Mom
10. Star Wars Lego Mosaic from Childhood 101
11. Princess Leia Bookmark from The Start Button
12. Star Wars Inspired Paper Plate BB8 Droid Robot from Fun Learning Life
13. Light Saber Pencils from Keeping it Simple Crafts
14. Star Wars Party: Jedi Training Badges from Daze and Knights
15. How to Make a Star Wars Inspired Light Saber from Pool Noodles from Disney Family
16. Star Wars Craft: R2D2 Pencil Holder from Crafts by Amanda
17. DIY Lightsaber that REALLY works from Lemon Lime Adventures
18. Easy DIY Star Wars Fleece Blankets from Mom Endeavors
19. DIY Star Wars Fabric Converse from Something Monumental
20. Star Wars Craft: Crayon Resist Death Star from Fun-A-Day
21. Star Wars Paper Lanterns from Adventure in a Box
22. No Sew: Star Wars Costumes from Sophie’s World
23. Star Wars Princess Leia Cupcakes from Paint Brushes and Popsicles
24. Chewbacca Paper Portrait from Geek Dad
25. Star Wars Count & Clip Cards from Raising Little Superheroes

star wars crafts for kids

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These crafts and activities would be great not just on May the 4th but for any Star Wars themed event. Tell me which of these Star Wars crafts for kids you liked best…or if you have your own ideas to share! Bonus points if you recognized I’d be super excited by the toilet paper roll ideas (if you’re new around here, I’ve been collecting toilet paper rolls for years with every intention to make some of these crafts).


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Evan’s Innovation

(*articles may contain affiliate links*) When I was a kid, I tried my best at becoming an inventor. I was that nerd that was in the Invention Convention club, creating things we thought would be the next best thing. (Peterson’s Better Ketch-up’er actually just got thrown out, but if you a Heinz Ketchup fan, you’d have loved my idea.) Evan’s innovation might just be the next best thing to hit our house this summer.

The twins were busy using a bubbles inside bubbles fan (which, by the way is super cool and a new favorite of mine) when he lost his patience with sharing with two two-year-olds.

He grabbed up Grammie’s fly swatter and made his innovation, a bubble blower that would also blow tons of bubbles!

There’s no telling what made him think this would work, but he totally nailed it.

As I’m typing this, Arianna came for a visit and told me that he has also put cookie cutters in bubble mix and blown bubbles! Whoa, dude! (Apparently, pretzels don’t work so well as bubble tools, they also get smooshy when left in the bubble mix over night.) 

Next up, we have to make Grandma’s bubble solution again this summer. Promise a blog post on that to come, but for now, we’ll be picking up bubble solution in bulk to keep up with all these bubbles.

 

 

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Ari’s Theme Park Friend

Greg and I are so proud of our oldest. She keeps growing up in ways that we don’t explicitly teach her, ways that she just gets from being with us.

Like when we were at the theme park in Wisconsin. Greg and I were busy trying to keep the twins entertained and ensuring Evan wasn’t throwing up everywhere (he had a stomach bug a few days before, we were overly cautious for good reason). Arianna took matters of having fun into her own hands and made a new friend.

The girls played and played until the park closed down, running back and forth between all the rides in the (indoor) theme park then checking in with us every so often. Like, we didn’t have to tell her to make sure we knew where she was, she just did it. This filled up my mama heart with joy.

As moms, we often worry that we aren’t doing the right thing. We get anxious over wondering what someone is going to say because you are letting your kid run around an enclosed theme park and ride rides without you being there riding the bench to be sure everything was okay. We worry that we haven’t taught them to be kind. We worry that we aren’t doing enough.

But then one day, your kids will wake up and surprise the heck out of you just like mine did. She acted grown up but not disrespectful. She was kind and attentive, far less shy than I have come to expect. She blew me away with her attitude and energy that day.

And she gave me hope that the next generation will be able to see beyond the things that matter not at all and see the things that matter most. Love and kindness.

Thank you, Arianna, for making a new friend. Your Mama and Daddy are so proud.

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Take Your Kids to Work

(*articles may contain affiliate links*) On Thursday, my office participated in Take Your Kids to Work day. The Bigs were thrilled to accompany me, commute and all.

When the alarm went off at 6:30, I heard a chipper Arianna sweetly tell Evan it was time to go to work. This was far from the usual GET UP FOR SCHOOL NOW that I’ve heard her scream on work from home days.

I knew that donuts were our first activity, but our bellies don’t handle sugary goodness too well without a base, so we headed to our local Dunkin’ Donuts and got breakfast sandwiches (though Evan was all “skip the bread, just give me meat” about it). Next up was the commute which wasn’t too awful but yet just good enough to show them what I have to go through each day.

We got to the office and Evan immediately started to dig into my zen garden, making the floor and my desk not so zen. Related, later in the day we also had approximately 1100 cups, totally taking away the calm that is usually my desk.

 Arianna helped me out by doing some work in Salesforce – she created a report folder! While it wasn’t coding, I was proud of my ‘lil coder. 🙂

It was time to head to Peace, Love, & Little Donuts, a place I’ve never been but was worth a slightly upset stomach from glutens. Their samoa donut is on point. Evan and Arianna loved their choices, too.

It was time to settle back into a normal day, so several of my co-workers had some activities for the kids. It of course didn’t keep them from trying out all the markers in the conference rooms, drawing me pictures, or eating all the chocolate from our snack drawer. Evan even got to help put together a shelf for our relaxation room!

After a pizza lunch and some quiet time drawing up logos and posters, it was time for us to head out for soccer practice. The kids were chatting the whole way home about how cool my work is (I agree) and how they hope they get to do it again next year (me too). So blessed to have this time with them!

Tell me! Did you get to participate in Take Your Kids to Work day? I didn’t as a kid, but I often was with my dad on visits which was always super fun. This was the first time my kids (even though school age) were allowed to participate – so glad they both got to experience the first time together!

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