Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Different Turtle

When we go to the Greensboro Science Center, there is one animal that the boys always want to be sure to see.  It lives on the lower level.  We were a little worried when the cage wasn't where it was last year, but when we asked, we found out it had just been moved to a different room.

Do you see anything a little bit odd about this turtle?
Or maybe, you're just seeing double?
So what I'm really wondering is....does the turtle have one name, or two?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Greensboro Science Center

Every summer I take the boys down to Greensboro to spend a fun day with my aunt and uncle, Pam and George.  This year, they took us to the Greensboro Science Center.  It had some new exhibits since we were there last year.

Like penguins!

And stingrays.  And a tank of sharks with a real diver that the boys just loved.  

But what was really cool was the new pirate exhibit.  The boys got to look through telescopes to try to spot the pirate ship.  And I enjoyed looking at cases filled with various treasures brought up from sunken ships.

They also had those hurricane machines, where you go in and shut the door and it creates hurricane winds.  I thought the twins would be a little scared.  But nope.  The boys went in the hurricane machines over and over and over again.  I think they would've been happy to just do hurricane machines all day long.

Pierce learned how to work a robotic arm, and used it to pick up a coin and deposit it in a bucket.

Outside, there was some leap frogging.
And I fell in love with the smartest cockatoo.  He came right over to me and when I whistled, he whistled back.  Cort and I played with him for a while, but when we went to leave he threw a terrible tantrum.  I have never heard such a racket.  In the end, we stayed for a while longer because we felt too guilty to walk away.  If you go to the Greensboro Science Center, be sure to visit the cockatoo!  He's a real charmer, and he seemed desperate for attention.

The boys groomed the little goats for a while.

And took one last shot as pirates before heading out to lunch.
What a great time we had with Pam and George!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Plum Organics Mighty Tots Prize Pack Giveaway

Disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Plum Organics.  The opinions below are entirely my own. 

A big box came in the mail last week.  The boys were very excited to see what was inside.

They were so delighted to find it stuffed full of snacks from Plum Organics.  We have long been fans of their organic snacks for children, and it is a brand that I buy regularly at the grocery store.  Full of flavor, easily portable, and completely healthy (with added vitamins, minerals, and omega 3s) -- they are snacks that the boys and myself approve.  Plus, they are the perfect addition to the well-balanced school lunch. 

My boys need snacks like these, because they are always so active.  They were excited to see a new purple cape from Plum to add to our three (!) costume drawers.  When we run errands in town, I never know if I might have a superhero or a knight or a frog (or all three) along for the ride.  Our costume drawers see more action than all of the toys in our house.

I'm also happy that Cort has a healthy snack to eat in lieu of other things.  The other day, I caught him with a bouncy ball in his mouth.  He knows he is not supposed to do this.  When confronted, he quickly popped out the ball and hid it behind his back.  His response?  "Mom, you just dreamed I had a bouncy ball in my mouth." 

The boys unanimously decided that they liked the strawberry Mighty 4 Bars the best.  I don't think they realized they were stuffed with 11 essential minerals, chia, and yogurt.  They just loved the strawberry flavor.  But truly, all of the snacks were enjoyed by all!
Check out this adorable video from Plum Organics (Pierce, Cort, and Reid could totally relate to the desire to have their own pirate ship):

One lucky reader is going to win the same prize pack that we received!  Pictured below, it includes Mighty 4 bars, Mighty Puff 'ems, and Mighty 4 Pouches.  And let us not forget the fabulous mighty cape!  This is just in time for adding to your back to school healthy snack stash!
To enter to win this fabulous prize, just click on the Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Easy Peasy Summer Squash Pot Pie

The past couple of summers, I've had no squash.  It has been depressing.  I just love summer squash.  Fortunately, in January my blogging friend, The Texan, emailed to let me know I should plant my squash with radishes to prevent those destructive squash bugs that have caused me so much garden misery the past couple of years.  Do you know what?  It worked!  And now I have the happy dilemma of summer squash everywhere!  My mom suggested I try my aunt's summer squash pie recipe.  She told me the basics (not having a copy of her recipe) and I came up with my own version. 

2 summer squash, cubed
1 onion, chopped
3 tbsp. butter
1 12 ounce bag frozen mixed vegetables
1 can cream of celery soup
2 refrigerated pie crusts
Salt and pepper, to taste

Steam mixed veggies in the microwave, as directed.  Cook squash and onion in butter on medium heat until tender.  Mix squash, veggies, and cream of celery soup. Put one of the pie crusts in a pie pan and prick a couple of times with a fork.  Pour squash mixture into crust.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Layer second crust on top.  Bake at 425* for 18 minutes. 

This was really easy to pull together, and very tasty.  I'm going to try to make a few for the freezer.  After all, I have twelve more summer squash to use up....

Just a note to my regular readers - I will be posting on Thursday instead of Friday this week, so be sure to stop by tomorrow if you have time! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Fourth of July

For the Fourth of July we decided to head to a balloon festival in Lexington, on the campus of the Virginia Military Institute.  It kind of ended up being the balloon festival that wasn't, because the day was too windy and they couldn't put up the balloons.  Nevertheless, there was some fun to be had.  The festival was on the parade grounds, and the surrounding architecture seemed like castles to the boys.  We have been studying the Middle Ages and the Renaissance all summer, so it's no wonder they imagined castles.

The boys were decked out in fun gear.  The twins decided to wear superhero capes, Pierce was wearing "spy gear" and all three boys had some festive glasses given to them by one of Pierce's previous teachers.

The glasses were really funny.

The highlight of the day was meeting Ginny, from Let Your Let Shine blog.  We have been blogging friends for ages.  Ginny takes the most amazing moon and sunset pictures around.  She and her husband, Phil, delighted the boys.  Pierce enjoyed a chess game with Phil and was amazed by his magic tricks.  The boys were kind of wild that day, but luckily Ginny and Phil didn't seem to mind.
We stayed until after dark to watch the fireworks show, which did not disappoint.
It was a fun outing, and much better than our July 4th activities the past couple of years.
Perhaps, we'll be back for more next year, and the balloons will get to go up.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sculptures at the Library

Recently I was driving by a library, and noticed they had some neat sculptures outside.  I was working at the time, but later I made it a point to drive back and walk through them.

The are so serene.

Love this quote.
As someone who loves reading and libraries, I couldn't resist these sculptures.
I'm glad I took a few minutes to go back and see them.
Readers, is there some sort of landmark you've been meaning to go check out?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Speedy Summer

This is a picture I took of the boys at Highland Park. 
Summer is going much too fast. 
In just a few weeks, it'll be time for back to school.
The boys completed three reading programs this summer.
Now we get to reap the rewards - free ice creams, hamburgers, water park tickets, baseball games and the transportation museum.
I doubt we'll get all that done in the next few weeks.
Especially since Pierce has robotics camp still, and the twins have Knight in Shining Armor Camp.
But we can try!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mocha Mini Trifles Recipe with International Delight Iced Coffee #IDelight

~~It's deep summer and the perfect time for light chilled desserts. This creamy trifle is a cross between tiramisu and a bread pudding. It comes together easily, is kid-approved, and is perfect for sharing delight with friends on a lazy vacation morning at the beach.


1 cup milk
1 cup International Delight mocha iced coffee
1 package (3.4 ounce) instant vanilla pudding
8 oz. frozen whipped topping (thawed)
1 package Ladyfingers*
2 1/2 tsp. instant coffee granules
1/2 cup boiling water
squirt whipped cream (optional)
sprinkles or toffee chips (optional)

Mix the pudding with 1 cup of milk and 1 cup International Delight mocha iced coffee for 3 minutes on medium. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix boiling water with coffee granules and stir until dissolved, then pour over the ladyfingers. Set aside. Once pudding is prepared (it will not set up completely) fold pudding in gently with thawed frozen whipped topping. In mini trifle dishes or mugs, layer ladyfingers and pudding mixture. Chill in the fridge for an hour. Just before serving, top with whipped cream and sprinkles.

*Ladyfingers can be found in the bakery of your grocery store. They are not in stock all the time at my grocery, and I often have to ask for them from the baker. Sometimes, I will buy extra when I see them and freeze a package. If you cannot locate ladyfingers, you could substitute small chunks of sponge cake.

Paul and I really enjoy the International Delight iced coffee flavors. I especially love it as a early drink after I've been outside feeding the horses in the early morning humidity. I've also discovered that they are perfect for mixing into recipes and bringing new flavors to your creations. Like them on Facebook for other inspiring recipe creations.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Lions in the Park

While killing some extra time recently, I took the boys to see an interesting lion fountain in a Roanoke park.

Pierce was particularly intrigued by where the water was going and how it flowed.
Pierce always wants to know how everything works.
The twins, on the other hand, just wanted to know if they could climb in.
Even though it was a hot day, the answer to their question was no.
Poor Cort and Reid.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fit for Fairies

When downtown I often drive by a couple of hippies who have created a marvelous but tiny garden in the roots of an old tree.  I always enjoy seeing what they've created. 
Little herbs are tucked into crevices.
Painted rocks, and rock gatherings, are arranged in patterns.

The tree itself boasts a number of paintings with added decorative leaves.

Now all it needs are for the fairies to come.
Readers, don't you just love stumbling upon folk art in the community?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Another Trashy Find

If you've been following along for a while, you know I've grown to love these trash cans in Roanoke that have historic pictures on them.  Tucked away in various neighborhoods, they are solar compactors that send an email when full. 

I lucked into another one a couple of weeks ago, on the corner of 5th Street and Mountain Ave, just beyond the entrance to Highland Park.  I love the black and white shot of kids going down a huge old slide.  You don't see slides like this anymore - too dangerous I suppose.

If you're interested in the three other trash cans I've found, you can see pictures here and here.  I believe there is just one more for me to find.  I could look up the location and track it down - but it's much more fun to be surprised in my wanderings through town. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Boxley Goes to Her Summer Home

I've always wanted a summer home.  I've read so many books about families who head to some cottage on the beach for an extended summer vacation.  Doesn't it sound marvelous?  Lazy days, ocean air, crabbing and low country boils? 

While it doesn't seem to be in my cards, our tortoise, Boxley, is more fortunate.  She is a red footed tortoise, and spends most of her time living in a large tank in the twins' room.  But in the summer months, she gets to visit her summer home. 

For now, we have created this using a puppy playpen.  Her water is there and her log for shade.  It can be moved every couple of days so she gets fresh greenery.  She loves roaming through the grasses, eating leaves and clover and the occasional worm. 
Later, perhaps we will build her a more permanent summer home, as many tortoise owners do, using planters.  Perhaps this is the trailer-park equivalent of a tortoise summer home.  But you know what?  Boxley?  She's not complaining!

Happy Fourth of July folks!  Hope you have a great one.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Broken Humerus Update

Pierce broke his arm on June 1st, so it's now time for an update.  Nine days after his surgery, he started complaining of a sharp pain where the pin was located.  I tried not to panic when I discovered one of the pins sticking out of the cast.  Indeed, when we took him in the next day, x-rays showed it had slid out of place a bit.  His doctor explained that this was the downfall on using pins instead of screws, but that pins were still preferable with children as they are easier to remove.
The pin was still holding the bone well enough to leave it in.  Pierce got a clean cast and we headed home for another 10 days.  We tried to keep him quiet.  He was certainly bummed not to be swimming or riding his bike.

At the next appointment, x-rays showed the bone was 80% healed.  Pierce was getting sores on his arm from the cast, so they decided to remove the pins and the cast.  The pin removal hurt somewhat, but Pierce did a great job taking deep breaths.  Pierce's arm still had some swelling, but looked good overall. 

Now, Pierce has gauze and an ace bandage.  He is learning how to move his arm again.  We go back in a few days to see how his range of motion is doing.  He's been quite the trooper, but I know he'll be happy when he's cleared for bike riding again! 

In the meantime, Pierce received tons of support from friends and family.  He got many get well cards and even a couple of fun activities and books to keep him busy while he was laying low.  News traveled through the grapevine, and he got cards from three former teachers and his principal!  His first grade teacher invited us to meet her for lunch last week, and it made Pierce so happy to see her.  It warmed my heart (and Pierce's) to see so many people caring about my little boy, and taking a few moments from their day to send him get well wishes.  What could make a kid feel better than that?