May is a busy month here and it's almost over! There is less than two weeks left of preschool, which means the kiddos last summer as a preschooler begins on May 31st. We've been busy celebrating spring, Mother's Day and this week, my birthday! We went out for a fun birthday lunch with all the cousins and grandparents yesterday. It was a lot of fun and the kids always have a blast playing together.
Menu plan for dinners this week:
Monday: Spaghetti and meatballs, salad
Tuesday: Chicken Fajita salads
Thursday: Slow Cooker taco chicken soup
Friday: Pizza and salad night
Saturday: BBQ? Not sure yet!
Sunday: Sesame Place for fun and fireworks!
What's on your menu for this week? Check out the other menu plans at Organizing Junkie!
Monday: Black Bean Soup with cornbread. Kiddo made the cornbread and was very happy to help.
Tuesday: Carnitas! Easy recipe: In the slow cooker add one sliced onion. Place a small to medium sized pork roast on top. Pour a jar of your favorite salsa ontop (16 oz.) Sprinkle either a generous tablespoon of your favorite taco seasoning or Chili 3000 from Penzey's, like I did. Cook on low for about 7 hours. Shread the roast and stir the contents of the slow cooker to combine the meat with the salasa and cooking liquid. Serve with taco shells or tortillas and garnishes.
Wednesday: Stir fry chicken and veggies with brown rice.
Thursday: Pasta night! Might make 360 chicken parm to go with a small serving of pasta with sauce. Salad.
Friday: Pizza night! We haven't had a pizza night for a few weeks because I was sick of it. It's time! We'll probably make our own! Kiddo loves white pizza with garlic.
Linking up to Organizer Junkie!
The weekends have been so busy for me that I just don't feel like typing up a post come Sunday night, hence the lateness of this. I need to get back on track! May is such a busy month and by June school will be out and even more busy!
I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival on Sunday with a few of my knitting group buddies. We had a blast! The weather was beautiful and the festival was not crowded! I had never gone on a Sunday before, but I think this may be the day I go in the future. We saw lots of sheep, alpaca, and even some bunnies. There was tons of yarn and fiber everywhere. I really didn't need any more yarn, so I limited my purchases to one skien of lace weight alpaca yarn from Tess' Designer Yarns in a pretty saphire blue and one mini skein of super wash merino in purple for my bee keepers quilt. I also found a really pretty shawl pin. My son wants to join me next year to see the sheep and eat fair food. We'll see....
With the warm weather now, there is a lot of outdoor playing going on, which means the kiddo is digging in the dirt and sandbox, sliding across the lawn for fun, and getting all sweaty. It also means he is taking lots more baths to get clean. As a Purex Insider, I had the chance to try out a new bath product for kids, Dial Kids Body & Hair Wash. I let my son pick which scent to try out, and he chose the Peachy Clean scent that is formulated for kids ages 2+. There are versions for kids ages 6+ in Watery Melon and Berry Cool scents, too. The Peachy Clean version is specially formulated for sensitive skin. I am really glad that we were able to try that version out, as everyone in my family has sensitive skin.
My son used to fight getting a bath, especially having is hair washed. Switching to a kids' body wash combined with a shampoo really helped and made him feel like a big kid. He was excited to try out the Dial Kids Body & Hair Wash, as it was also a combo product. I love that it is tear free, hypoallergenic, free of artificial dyes or added parabens and Ph balanced. With his sensitive skin, having a very mild cleanser is really important. We both really like the peach scent, as it has a light fresh soap scent. His hair smells lightly of peaches the day after washing, which I just love! So far we are really loving this new kids' body wash! My son has not had any skin reactions to it and he has not complained about it bothering his eyes when having it rinsed off his hair. It gets all the little boy dirt off easily and without a fight. This is a product we will continue to use in the future!
For more information and to stay up to date with Dial products, check out their Facebook page.
Disclosure: As a Purex Insider, the Dial brand provided me with a sample of Dial Kids Body & Hair Wash in exchange for this product review. The opinions expressed here are honest and based upon my (and my son's) experience with the product.
For at least a year and a half now, my five year old son has been asking to visit New York City. He knows about it from a.) Curious George lives there and b.) his daddy works there about once a week. Christmas 2012 I gave him a book for kids about visiting NYC, but we delayed going because it just seemed so overwhelming. Back in March, I had the chance to go to NYC with my husband for a fun night out to celebrate a friend's graduation and move at Café Boulud, near Central Park West. It was a fun night and I realized how easy it would be to get to the city via NJ Transit, as long as the kiddo was ok with taking a very long train ride.
Since being a train conductor is one of his life goals, we decided it was a great time to try a day trip to the big apple. Plus, the weather has been BEAUTIFUL for walking around a city. We surprised the little guy on Thursday night and told him that we would be getting up early the next day and heading to the train for our day in New York. He was so excited! (OK, he still says he really thought he'd get to ride on an Amtrak train, but I promised that will happen some day...)
After a quick taxi ride, we made our first stop at the Central Park Zoo, which despite the movie, does not have the same animals that appeared in the Madagascar movies! We brought a picnic lunch with us from home and enjoyed our lunch watching the Sea Lions kiss! The penguins put on quite a show, while the polar bear was snoozing in the shade. The zoo was really tiny and completely manageable. We saw every exhibit, including the children's zoo that was a block away, in about two hours.
We spent the rest of the day visiting toy stores. First up, the Apple Store on 5th Avenue. The store is that glass structure. There is a round elevator and a circular staircase that goes down to the actual store. It was mobbed. Then we headed to FAO Schwartz, which was in the building behind the Apple Store. In my memory it was much more amazing. I forgot that Toys R Us owns it. They did have a massive amount of toys for sale, along with some unique things, like live superheros available for photos. I let my kiddo pick out a toy as his souvenir. He chose an NYPD car set and a model Taxi car.
We walked many many many blocks that day. We visited M & M World, which was an overpriced candy store that played too loud music and was too crowded (I felt so old there...it was so annoying!) We had dinner at Bubba Gump's Shrimp in Time's Square, which was really good and had great views of the Good Morning America building. Time's Square itself was packed. It was about 4:30 on Friday afternoon and the area was filled with so many people and sights. It was overwhelming. The digital ad displays are amazing and overly abundant. We didn't know where to look first.
We concluded our trip with a ride on the ginormous, 60-foot high ferris wheel inside the Toys R Us in Times Square. That toy store was really impressive! Needless to say, the kiddo found even more NYPD cars that he wanted. (Other than train conductors, he loves police and firefighters!) The ferris wheel made be feel queasy, but I survived! We got to ride in a taxi made out of Megablocks. My favorite one was the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe gondola! Isn't it cute?
Someone also got to meet the "real" Geoffrey! The kid's favorite animal is the giraffe. The zoo didn't have any, but I think this one made him just as happy!
It was a great first trip to NYC for the kiddo. He can't wait until we go back! Next time we'll have to visit the Empire State Building.
I completely forgot/ran out of time last week and never typed up my menu plan. Oh well, the nice weather had something to do with it!
I tried out a new way to cook pizza, based upon an awesome video tutorial by Steph at Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom. I had heard about grilling pizza, but was always fearful of the dough falling through the grates of the grill and catching on fire or worse. She made it look so easy so I decided to test out our grill and the method. It was easy and everyone loved the results! I did slightly overcook the one pizza, but that was just a timing and temperature issue that I'll work out next time. Since we make pizza almost every Friday, this will be a great way to bake it in the hot weather without heating up my house! I think it would even be fun to make individual sized pizzas with different toppings for a BBQ or summer party.
Monday: Chicken Stir Fry with brown rice
Tuesday: Skinnytaste Flounder Piccata, salad
Thursday: Salsa Chicken in the slow cooker, with tortillas or rice and salad. This recipe is ridiculously easy and really tasty! Perfect for soccer night!
Friday: Taco Pizza, salad
I'm linking up to Organizing Junkie, where there will be many more menu plans to check out!
Last weekend my spring fun was going to the Spring into Summer Mom Mixer with my local blogging friends. It was a blast. I have to thank all of the brands that participated and those who provided some samples for me to try: Lands End, Lee, Koru Yoghurt, QVC, Send the Trend, McDonalds, Johnson's Baby Cares, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, Hershey's, Clean & Clear, and Neutragena.
I enjoyed learning about so many of the brands, besides Lands End, of which I was already a fan! Seeing the folks from Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation was a highlight. Besides having the chance to chat with a friend who works for the Foundation, I was able to pick up info about hosting a lemonade stand. My son loves lemonade and even held his own little stand last summer after seeing a Curious George episode about it. He wants to hold another one this summer and I think we'll look into hosting one to benefit Alex's Lemonade. I have already introduced the idea of it to him and tried to gently explain why Alex started her stand without getting into too many details that a five year old couldn't understand. He really wants to make money for Legos, but I think donating it will be a more valuable lesson!
Hershey's sent home in my bag a really cute craft kit for making a Kisses case. The case holds four or five kisses perfectly and will protect them from being crushed in my purse. I managed to keep it away from my son too so that it is mine! (OK, I'll share probably since Kisses are one of our favorite treats!) Hershey's also sent me some info to share about their Moderation Nation program, that includes a fun website filled with tips to live a balanced lifestyle. They mentioned that one Hershey Kiss is only 25 calories, making it a nice little treat. My son's dentist also recommends them as opposed to sticky candy that can cause cavities.
Another fun treat discovered at the Mom Mixer was Koru Yoghurt, from Koru Dairy. It's a new brand of creamery-style yogurt in our area. They gave out samples to try and even sent me home with some samples to share with my family. My son has declared it to be his new favorite yogurt! It really is delicious. Our favorite flavors were the peach and the strawberry + goji. It isn't sold in my local grocery store yet, so I'll have to request it!
Thanks again to Whitney and Colleen, along with all the brands, for a fun and social morning!!
Disclosure: As a participant of the Mom Mixer I received a bag of samples and information from the different brands. I was not required to write about my experience. I did not receive any monetary compensation for participating.
So now that it's starting to feel like spring weather, my family has jumped into spring mode and has been participating in fun outdoor weather activities. Here's a little wrap up of some of the fun things we've been up to with the kiddo:
We vistited the Morris Arborteum to check out the cherry blossoms and the Big Bugs exhibit. The trees were beautiful!! Someone had fun climbing a few and running around. He loved following the map to find all of the 11 bugs throughout the gardens. From giant ants to a floating dragonfly, we found them all. This huge ladybug was particularly cute. All of the sculptures were made out of fallen trees and willow branches by an artist from Long Island. They will be there all summer, so I'm sure we will be back to see them again.
We took my son's favorite form of transportaion, the train and subway, and caught a Sunday afternoon Phillies game on opening weekend. It was a rather boring game, which they lost, but it was a nice day. My husband even won a baseball from the opening game! My son made his own homemade sign to cheer on the team. He loves that he has learned how to print and copies the spelling of words he doesn't know. I can't always read what he writes, but its wonderful to see his skills emerge.
We have tickets for some summer games, so hopefully we'll see a winning game then!
We visited a local playground with a friend. Can you see the absolute joy in his face as he ferociously rocks in that little car?
We took the train into Philadelphia for a "surprise" visit to see Daddy at work and have lunch. We snapped a few photos at the train station for a school project. He will be star of the week this week at school and we made a poster describing him. For his favorite place, he said it was SEPTA's Suburban Station. Not Disney World or Sesame Place. No, the train station in underground Center City Philadelphia. He wanted a photo of himself in front of the name of the station. This is his new smile...his Lego Man smile! (He even showed me the Lego minifigure he is trying to imitate!)
We had fun at lunch and then walked over to Sister Cities Park near the Parkway, along with a walk to Logan Square/Circle's fountain.
He had the chance to go back to the Parkway the next day with Daddy for the Philadelphia Science Festival. He checked out the Philadelphia CSI truck, did some science experiments and even got to climb on a real SEPTA bus, something that he has wanted to do for weeks! (He has a planned bus route he wants to go on in our neighborhood. He is obsessed!)
This week spring soccer starts. It will be his first time playing for our Township. He didn't want to do the intramural team, so I found an instructional soccer group for preschoolers. I hope he meets some local kids that he'll be in Kindergarten with next fall!
Held at the Bellvue Hotel's XIX Restaurant in Philadelphia, it was a fun morning spent socializing with other bloggers, meeting some wonderful people who work for the brands who participated in the event, and learning.
I really enjoyed the presentation by Lands End, who make at least half of my wardrobe. They focused on their 2013 Swimwear line and described all the new features, including great tips on how to get a perfect fit in a bathing suit. Something that I absolutely loved was learning that they are now selling swim shirts with SPF protection for women that do not look like surfer rash guards. My son and husband have been wearing rash guards for sun protection at the beach, but I never found one for women that was flattering or feminine. This season, Lands End is offering their swim tees that have SPF 50 protection, are lightweight, and fast drying. They come in lots of colors and patterns and I hope that they are popular so that they continue to offer them in the future. I went home that day with plans to purchase one for our upcoming beach vacation, since I am really tired of sitting on the beach with a sweatshirt on to protect me from burning. I ordered the violet colored one, because I love purple!
I have been a Lands End customer for years. My son has a thing for fabrics. He loves how my cotton clothing from Lands End feels. In fact, if I'm not wearing a Lands End item, he tells me I'm not feeling snuggly enough. (He is a slightly crazy and cuddly five year old!!) He has many LE items too, as their kids clothes are awesome! His winter coat for the past four years has been from LE.
Disclosure: I did not receive any monetary compensation for attending or writing about the Mom Mixer. I really have been a LE customer for years and the opinions expressed here are honest. I did recieve a tote bag from LE. I was not required to write about the brands or event.