Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Not quite Wordless Wednesday

  You know one place that we go that doesn't get old is the zoo.  We do have a membership there which does help and encourage us to go but it's always different.  The animals may not change.  Most of the time.  Sometimes the zoo likes to change it up and relocate them to a different part of the zoo but usually everything is the same.

  However after having gone several times and days you get the opportunity to experience different things!  Sometimes the animals are more active in the morning, you might catch a zookeeper feeding the animals, interacting with the animals, or even seeing an animal in motion.  We rarely catch our tiger walking around.  He is usually in the farthest corner and slightly difficult to see but one day he was pacing back and forth growling.  That was neat to witness.  I would love to hear more noises from animals!  What kind of noise does a giraffe make or a kangaroo?

  I want to share with you some of the animals we have at our zoo!

The Bald Eagle sitting proud in his area.  I like this exhibit as there are no bars or windows.  Your view of this bird is clean and clear.

  These little fellas are fun to watch!  They are also a nice sight to see after you have finished with the small reptiles and nocturnal sections.

One day we went to story hour for the children and they read a book about armadillos and even had a real one there for the kids to see.  Needless to say my daughter loves to see them when she goes because she had such a up close encounter with them.

Ahh, the red panda.  This is one exhibit we always see if nothing else.  We have two areas with them.  One area is so neat as it has branches above your head where sometimes your lucky enough to catch them walking on.  The other area is spacious with a lot of things for them to go up, down and through.

  These two monkeys cracked me up this day.  It was as if they were siblings and one wanted to get down but the other just wouldn't move.  They were like this for awhile. I don't know who held out longer

The zoo has a few turtles in the lion area.  I have never seen a sign declaring them as residents so I think they are free loaders.  

The zoo is also home to a small blooming garden.  It is spring so it was nice to see after months of brown and barely green.

Last month we got to see the baby tigers.  The zoo always has something going on.  Unfortunately we are saying good bye to our elephants soon as they are being transferred to another zoo.

Hopefully this move will bring us another exciting animal to learn and view.

  Our membership provides us with many opportunities: discounts on meals and drinks as well as children's camps. We receive a newsletter and also receive invites and discounts to special events.

Check out your local zoo for a great family experience.

My local zoo is the virginiazoo!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Weekly Menu

  So last week was all over the place.  We ate at home we ate out, I might have even missed a meal.  Throw in a day of leftovers and that pretty much took care of my week.  So let's try again.

This week we are going meatless with an exception of salmon tonight!  Couple meals are from allrecipes.  I love that site but I do try and surf the net for different recipes.

Tonight's meal was salmon patties with and side of spinach.





Saturday, March 19, 2016

Miracles from Heaven (movie review)

  I feel like I cut it close to catch this movie for the week.  I didn't have a plan and only started looking at my options in the morning for an afternoon show.  It was a choice between two when I checked out what was available.

  I had previously saw an interview on the Today Show with Jennifer Garner talking about her role but was not set on seeing this movie.  Only when I actually read the summary and checked the time did I make the final decision!

  Boy, am I glad I did!  You know you are in the right spot when the theater is packed.  For weeks the theater has not been packed for a movie I went to see.  For weeks I didn't have to look for a seat.  This week I had to look for a seat (and don't get me started on the lovely lady who apparently bought a seat for her purse).

  I will refrain from spoiling this movie too much but will tell you to have some napkins for your dirty hands or tissues for allergies.  This movie will provoke watery eyes!   I will leave it at that.  You may come to your own conclusions but I will not tell you!  However I have heard from some people how they appreciate being told when they may need tissues!

  This movie is rated PG and runs for 1 hour and 49 minutes.  The cast includes: Jennifer Garner, Queen Latifah and Martin Henderson to name a few.  This movie is beautifully written! It's hits you to the core.  The actors all play a stunning role to bring this true story to life.

  A family is living life to the fullest until they hit a bump in the road.  One of their own becomes sick.  The world around them crumbles slowly around them.  You of course are concerned with why you but you also want answers and help.  How far will you go to fix your family?  How much doubt can you have?  Do you think it's only about you?  How many people really suffer?  What are you willing to give up?

  Take your whole family to this movie!  I was going to bring my youngest daughter but thought it might be too much.  She would get more from it at home where I can talk to her to see what she understands and help her in understanding.  However elementary, preteens and teens would be fine!

  This may just be the movie of the year.  Your not going to want to miss out on this! See it tomorrow! A great day with your family after family dinner or before.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane (Movie Review)

  So another week has passed and another movie I did see.  Over the weekend I got to see 10 Cloverfield Lane.  From the previews I had seen it was one of two shows that I wanted to see so I am glad I got out to see it.

  10 Cloverfield Lane is rated PG -13 and runs for 1 hour and 46 minutes.  It has a great cast to include: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr.  This movie is not exactly a thriller but more of a suspense mystery movie.

  With such a small cast of actors it's axing I didn't get bored following the plot.  All the actors played a great role.  An important role to keep the movie going.  They played convincing roles throughout the movie and I enjoyed all their unique acting styles.

  The movie circles around a young lady stuck, held captive, kidnapped or just residing there of her own free will in a home.  She tries to convince herself that all is well but slowly loses reality throughout the movie.  People have got to be lying to her with such a bizarre story how could it be true.

  Aliens, monsters , nuclear attacks whatever is going on outside you are safer in the house. Your alive if you stay inside.  How many people are prepared to ride out a national disaster?  How close are they to your house and are you friends with them.  The house was definitely set up to sustain life.

  I liked this movie as everything was kept clean.  A movie without couples making out or even kissing was nice.  This movie was about finding out the real reason why she was where she was and why was she there.  She makes friends with another individual and they will get out of that house one way or the other.

  This is a nice little snuggle with you friend movie and focus on the plot of the movie.  I enjoyed my tub of popcorn and watched the whole thing just wondering what was going to happen next.  The suspense was great.

  Check out the movie and see how it ends. This is definitely one you watch all the way through.

Monday, March 14, 2016

A Peek at our Walk

  So today we the kids and I went on our second hike with hikeitbaby.  It is such a nice feeling to be strolling with others.  It had been the kids and I for so long.  You almost feel safer with others with you.  I like how my kids are able to experience nature with other kids.

  Other kids may point out something one of us missed.  They pick up sticks, poke things and always look in the leaves and in the dirt.

  This group just proves that you can find a group of mom's anywhere and everywhere with a common goal!  To meet up and socialize, grab some fresh air and exercise in a more relaxing environment.


  Today was a very child friendly led walk.  The kids are able to walk at their own pace.  This allows them to explore and become more comfortable with nature.

  Moms came out with babies on backs as well.  Some trails are not stroller friendly so having this accessory is nice.

A nice 1.5 or 2 mile hike just before lunchtime makes for a nice intro to naptime.

In nature you never know what you will see.  Today we saw a red bird (not a Cardinal but, not sure what it was) and a squirrel!

I'm excited as I am going to start leading my own hikes.  This will be great for our outdoor adventures!  

Friday, March 11, 2016

No Excuse Mom Workouts (review)

  Yesterday I introduced you to hiking with your children and today I have another group to bring the kids to.  It's great to have a safe place, a free place, a place to socialize and a way to workout all embracing the fact that you have kids.

  No excuse mom is a group of women that meet atleast weekly to workout together.  Your leader coordinates the location and the workout routine.  You are free to bring your children as they will be inches away from you in a park or in the same room inside.

  Due to my injury I was unable to workout with them prior to now.  Today I went and this particular city was having a Zumba class.

Check out noexcusemom online to find the nearest location to you.  As the weather gets warmer they will be meeting up more in parks.  After your workouts let the kids run around about in the park or playground and everyone is guaranteed to have a much more relaxed calm afternoon.

This is a free group!  They meet in free areas and the workouts change regularly.  The ladies encourage each other and the kids either hang out in strollers or play amongst themselves.  This is a great social outlet and a nice slow way to get back some energy; that we all need whether we lost it from too many sleepless nights, or chasing toddlers.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Hiking with Children (a hiking group review)

  Do you know what's nice?

1.  Getting outside to enjoy the fresh air.
2.  Spending time moving.
3.  Meeting new people with a common interest.

  Today I finally got to join a group that I have been watching from the sidelines.  A group that supports, promotes and encourages you to get out and explore your neighborhood with your children.  You know I am not shy with my kids and hiking.  We have trumped through over a dozen state parks, paddled in boats and took on the Lighthouse Challenge in New Jersey climbing up 100's of steps!

  This group provides a platform to meet up with other individuals and their children to hike together.  Even if your a regular hiker or walk your neighborhood these guys provide an outlet to maybe see a new area.  They have regular and spontaneous hikes.  The hikes meet at different areas and offer different paces, trails, and offer hikes that are stroller friendly and some that are carrier only.

  The group is all based on volunteers but I'm sure it doesn't seem like work when your meeting up with friends for a regular 2 mile walk.  Today we (the kids and I) walked 2 miles with this group (you choose a group based on your preference of location, miles and child options be it stroller, carrier or walker.

  On our walk it took us to a new area! We saw some new things.

My kids made new friends 

And we got in some miles today!

Check them out hikeitbaby and see if they have a local branch for you to connect with.  It's a good way to get out and about.  Shake off those winter blues! 

All it takes is one step!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Easter Nests

  I saw this snack and assessed my capabilities.  The ingredients were minimal and everyday my talent is increasing in the kitchen so I gave it a try!

 There are a lot of options for your "glue".  I used butterscotch chips but you could have used chocolate chips or even marshmallows.  Once you have choosen your glue.  Melt it down.

 For my nesting I used Chow Mein Noodles but here is another area that you also have some options in.  You can use cereal, pretzels and shredded coconut.  Add your nesting to the "glue" and stir until coated.

I placed the coated nests in a muffin cup to hold the shape and contain mess.  It really isn't that messy but just in case.  This also helps with portion control .

We made a few but, I would like to go back and taste the other variations.  This is an easy recipe and you can make a bunch for a classroom treat or Easter party elsewhere in no time.

My kids did not assist me with this because of the hot candy but kids could come behind you and drop the eggs in!  

  This was such a cute snack and I'm glad I tried it and hope to use it again!  

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Nature Walk

  We got out yesterday and visited a local park.  To say I was amazed is an understatement about the park.  I had been here previously to rent a boat, went fishing here and even visited the visitor center.  I have taken note of the playground but never of the actual history of the park nor the plentiful abundance of trails.

We set out to explore this park and to walk the trail.  My kids first started walking trails last year and thoroughly understand what is involved in a hike. The good bad and ugly.  Good being new sights and catching a glimpse of wildlife and some interesting sounds.  The bad being catching a glimpse of wildlife.  The ugly being slipping on mud.


I love the initial enthusiasm on their faces before we get started.  They know I have their water and maybe a snack in my bag.  They trust me in every way possible.  They look at me for fun, adventure and as their tour guide.  I prep them. Encourage them even when we are driving to a location.  I know you will do good and I know you can make the whole walk.  They always agree and are eager to get moving.

Time frames and miles mean nothing to them but they still lead the way or walk beside me happy to be together and ready to explore!  I laugh at the maps we pick up as it seems when I walk I seem to add on miles along the way my sense of direction is not always 100 percent but then again I think the map may be a little off.

  Regardless as long as I keep my kids engaged with what's around us they have truly become my favorite partners in crime.  They point out things I may have missed and get the imagination going as they tell me what they think happened to the crooked tree of why theres mysterious mud on our path.

Take your kids out and explore with them.  Getting them acquainted and comfortable with nature.  Explore a short .5 mile trail or a longer 2.5 mile one.  Tell them about the birds you see, a specific tree or talk about the current season.  I do have my phone out taking pictures but this is one time I do spend with them devoted to their attention.

There is an app on my phone that keeps track of my steps an I aim to keep it busy this year as well as regain control of my fitness.  I have started giving myself a weekly mileage goal and plan to increase it every week.  It will be nice to see new places, get in better shape and make new memories with my family.  

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Weekly Menu (March week 2)

  I will post 4 meals this week as we have a birthday in the house so therefore one day this week will probably be dinner out.  I did miss last Friday as that too was a night out.

This week includes two chicken meals, a soup and a meatless meal.





  So there we have it.  Dinner for the week.  I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Uno Pizzeria (review)

  We do eat out not as often as we used to and that's good!  However if your going to eat out you might as well have fun with it.  We walked around the mall tonight and decided to eat at Uno's Pizzeria.  I hadn't been here in awhile and only remember I liked the pizza.

  Well they are more than just a pizzeria.  I started my meal out with a delicious goat cheese and walnut side salad.  The menu had a variety of salads, appetizers and sandwiches.  The kids menus have some creativity and variety as well.

  They have safari nuggets; which means they have exotic shaped nuggets.  I am almost sure even though I didn't taste them that these nuggets have got to taste better than plain old round nuggets.  The kids menu also has a build your own pizza! Ahh, hello I would like to make my own pizza!

The waitress brings out an apron and a pizza that you cover with sauce, cheese and pepperonis.

She had a lot of fun assembling her own pizza.  I must admit we didn't have as much patience as she did in this process but oh well on us.

I swear 15 minutes later if not longer we were finally able to help her top it off and get it sent out to cook.

Your name is written on a popsicle stick in order to keep the personally made pizzas together.  She was happy to see her masterpiece pizza returned to her.

  This table side entertainment by our very own family member made this meal one of my favorites.  She had fun and we had fun.  Dinner doesn't have to be a boring sit down and talk amongst yourselves.  It's nice to have a little entertainment while you dine.

  The overall restaurant was a comfortable environment for families.  There was a variety of tables and boothes.  Enough wait staff was hustling the floor.  Our drinks were topped off regularly and our waitress answered all our inquiries about the menu.  We will visit again soon.  They even have a make your own pizza birthday party!  What a nice treat that would be for a child and the friends!

  With such a broad menu in addition to the pizza selection this is a good place to visit.  They offer daily lunch specials as well as a pick a 2 item for $12 per person option.  Check them out and witness that they are more than just a pizzeria!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Zootopia (review)

  Disney's new movie Zootopia hit theaters today and I was as excited to see it as my kids were.  Zootopia  rated PG runs for 1 hour and 48 minutes and has a great cast lineup to include: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman and singing by Shakira.

  The movie is about when animals live together in their own world.  They live in cities, town and countries together getting along with all species regardless of predator or prey status.  In living in your world there comes jobs that need to be manned such as cops, farmers and mayors.

  The overall movie motivates you to do what makes you happy.  Be true to yourself.  You don't need to settle.  If your ambition is to be an police officer than work towards that goal and do it to the best of your ability.  Expect hurdles as that is realistic but work through that to accomplish your goal.

  Don't assume you know something about someone or a species because everyone is different.  Of course when your young and grow up your outlook on life changes.  We do mature with age and realize what's important and what's not.

  Some spots in this movie did surprise me.  We actually viewed this movie in 3D so that didn't help with some parts.  My daughter (the 5yo) did jump at parts that jumped unexpectedly at her.  Parts were a little darker and scary then what she expected.  She did state when the movie was over she didn't like the scary parts.  Some animals did get mean and attack.  There were growls and pouncing motions.  My 3 yo didn't cover his eyes nor make any comments but he did remove his glasses for most of the movie so maybe he didn't quite catch the same image, he didn't understand it, or it didn't bother him.

  Over all I did like the animation.  I like the characters.  I do believe the sloth parts was my favorite. Lots of jokes sprinkled through it that kids will not catch that adults will.  I probably would not rent this movie from Redbox but if we did I anticipate my daughter covering her eyes on the darker parts.

  It was a good movie. Maybe better for kids over 5 but you know your child better than anyone.  Perhaps if we didn't view this movie in 3D it may not have been quite as scary.  A majority of the movie is pleasant about 20% spread out is the parts that concerned me the most for being a child's movie.

  Regardless of my opinion.  I leave it up to you.  Would love to know how you felt after seeing it.

Bath Time Fun

  Bubbles, toys and even those fizzing bath bombs make baths fun for little people but, one activity that entertains my kids playing the over all of that are our foamies.

I was in a trade last year where there was a theme and we all made foam cut outs to represent that theme.  In that swap there were hearts, bunnies, shamrocks to name a few.  My kids still enjoy pulling these out to play with.

  These bath foams are a simple item to stick on the wall and create a scene around.  My kids ask to play with certain ones at random times.

 A variety of scenes can be made with flowers, rain and groundhogs.

  Does anyone know what Dr.Seuss books these are?

  You can make letters, numbers or focus on colors and shapes.  They are easy to make.  Pick up some foam material even available at the dollar store and cut out your desired item.  They are easy to cut.  You can get better foam options to includes colors at a craft store.

You don't need to be an artist.  Just draw your picture cut it out.
 That's it.

  Endless possibilities with this cheap inexpensive craft.  Bath time just got better.  Try it out for next time.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

We Love Dr. Seuss

  Although we didn't get to fancy with our breakfast other than waffles. (No green eggs and ham here).  We did take time out to read books, make some symbolic crafts and nibble on a special treat.

  When I told her it was someones birthday today and told her it was Dr. Seuss.  I asked her if she knew who he was.  She surprised me with Cat in the Hat.  So one point for my daughter whom is always paying attention to pull it out and surprise me later.

  Little man got the privilege of making spots for his puppet.

 His craft was inspired by the book Put Me in the Zoo!

The young lady had Green Eggs and Ham for her craft!  Although we are missing the ham; she enjoyed her green eggs!

My contribution to the day were candy green eggs!  I melted white chocolate and added a green m&m to the tops!  I am working on Thing 1 and 2 but, ran out of supplies so I will post when complete!

My kids had a lot of fun with today! How did you celebrate Dr.Seuss day?

Voting for kids by kids

  I did my civic duty yesterday and took the two little ones with me.  You know the two inquisitive ones.  I almost didn't take them to vote with me but I'm glad I did.  The experience opened their eyes to endless possibilities, a new vocabulary and a great introduction to their future.

  I explained each step as I went through the process and compared the importance of voting even for something as important as what's for dinner or pudding or ice cream for dessert.  So with anything what's better than a lesson, but a hands on lesson to sink it in.

  We had two presidential hopefuls.  Sophia the First and Leonardo the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

Each party was represented by their own spokesperson.

Cases were stated as well as a family history or the business they are in (fighting bad guys and living in castles).

 Every vote needs ballots.

 Every voting station needs campaign signs.

 We made special accommodations for voting.  A sticker was to be chosen and placed on the ballot.

 All ballots were collected in a specific box.

The spokespeople were together totally the votes!  

We are now following the laws designated by our new president.

 I don't have a problem with eating pizza but I hope we are not relocating any time soon.