The Amazing Grape Cutter

This may seem weird how excited I am about this little tool, but I love it! I was wandering through the store when I saw my new favorite gadget. It jumped into my cart so quickly!

First, my kids love fruit. In any form. They adore grapes, but they are such a pain in the you-know-what to cut into pieces they won't choke on (stupid grapes). This thing is great. It quarters the grapes so quickly that I won't dread buying grapes anymore. I took a bunch off the stems and then cut a huge pile in a minute or so! This is a bowl after they had eaten most of them.

I am planning to use this a ton in the future as Alex starts eating solid food. You could cut up all sorts of things into little bites quickly! Now, go to amazon and buy one for yourself right away!


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Even More Favorite Kids Books

I’ve come across some more cute kids books recently that I thought I should share. If you want a reminder of the ones I have picked before, they are here and here. These are some of my favorites and ones my kids love.
The first are these Poke-a-Dot books. This alphabet one is so cute! The girls love poking the dots (they make a similar noise to popping bubble wrap) and finding the pictures to match the letters.
This ocean themed one is a cute, repetitive (but not annoying) book with fun pictures…and a whole lot of poking. It keeps Dannie busy for ages!
A friend told me about this book while we were hanging out at a bookstore. It was one of their favorites and has become a highly requested book around here. It’s short, but fun and a little silly.
A great (teacher) friend gave me this interactive book years ago. I recently sent it to our niece for her birthday. The kids have to press the dots and something happens to them on the following page. It’s fun to watch the wheels turn in their little heads.
I had heard about this picture-less book all over the place and got it for the kids with a gift card. What a great purchase! The first time we read it, neither of them got it. I had to explain and make them listen. Now they both know what comes next and laugh throughout the book. It’s a fun one for kids because the reader has to say funny things, and if you really act like the book is in control, fun will be had by all!
These next two came highly recommended from another friend. She bought one for Maddie’s birthday, and we got the other. I love the stories in them both and the pictures are so adorable. Yay for engineers!
I just love all the stuff this little architect builds!
We got Silly Tilly from a Scholastic order from Maddie’s school. It’s got fun pictures and a very silly goose. There’s lots of fun rhyming and the girls think Tilly is quite amusing.
Maddie has been asking a lot about recycling. I found this one through Scholastic as well. I like it because it has a good story about recycling and the different ways it can be done. The kids help clean up a dirty space and learn what can and cannot be recycled. There’s also more detail you can read at times for older kids.
So these are some of our current favorite kids books. What are some of your current favorites?
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Sibling Love

Maddie and Dannie love “helping” when I take pictures of Alex. Or really when I do anything with him. These pictures cracked me up. He’s really going to be in trouble when he gets a little older. His sisters are going to pick on him and dress him up. One day he will have his revenge. :)

Let’s start with the sweet one. They look innocent, don’t they? Don’t let those sweet faces fool you, though! (Ok, Maddie looks like she’s plotting something.)

One of Maddie’s favorite things is to put toys on Alex’s head. The ring is usually the culprit.
He’s used to this one.
Then they got fancy and added a second toy to the mix.
Maddie finds this amusing.
But wait….”I have a better idea, mom! Hahahaha!”
Alex thinks this is fun. Really, he thinks the girls are laughing with him when they’re actually laughing at him.
Once he figures this out, the game isn’t so much fun.
“Why are you just sitting there and not helping me, mom?”
“I know what I can try.”
“Take THAT sister! Wait. She’s enjoying this. Crap!”
At least I’m fairly confident it’s mostly out of love!
But I’m happy to see Alex fighting back and learning to hold his own. :)


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I broke down and bought myself a SodaStream. I really don't like drinking water, but have come to like sparkling water. A friend of mine has one and raves about how much she loves it and uses it all the time. I must say, I'm hooked. I have started drinking more water than I normally do and it's just plain fun to make it!

If you're on the fence, I say go for it! I haven't tried the drink mixes that come with it because they are packed full of sugar. I have definitely found a new gadget I love, and I'm looking forward to trying some flavor conditions of my own with it!

(Also, I got the “Jet” and found the best price through Target with free shipping and 5% off with my redcard.)


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Wiggle Works

Last month, Maddie was invited to a birthday party of a girl in her preschool class (side note, this girl's parents have quickly become some of our closest friends here and we hang out with them all the time!).

Wiggle Works is a cute little place located inside a mall. They have a bunch of bright colors and inflatable toys for the kids to play on. Just take a look!

The kids had a great time and I can't wait to take the kids back. I saw recently on their Facebook page that they are moving to a different location in the mall, so they have a few new things and a bigger space! What a fun place for the kids!

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Alex * 5 Months Old

Alex is 5 months old! This little guy just melts my heart. He's such a sweetheart and my tiny snuggle bug. He loves his mommy and his smile just lights up the room.

The biggest things I have noticed from him this month are his babbling (this kid just “talks” all day long). I've taken a couple videos because he just acts like he's having a serious conversation.

The other thing is his hand control. He's gotten great at grabbing toys, holding them, chewing on them…he makes the funniest slurping noise when he's chewing on his hands.

He still rolls all over the place. He will roll from his back to stomach the instant you lay him down. He can roll back to his back, but he doesn't really know what he did. He still hasn't become very comfortable on his stomach enough to lay his head down. He just gets mad and rubs his face on the carpet.

This lack of love for his stomach is going to become an issue soon at bedtime. He loves being swaddled and at some point I am going to need to stop that and he's not going to like it. He gets drowsy most of the time just after you swaddle him. The tighter you get the blanket, the better.

He has been getting slightly better with naps and will fall asleep without the swaddle. But he usually needs to be very tired for this to happen.

The girls are still enamored by him, they hug, kiss, play and help with him all the time. Maddie loves to sing and dance to entertain him and he just lights up whenever his sisters are around. It's so sweet to see how much they all love each other.

Also, he's very fascinated with me while he eats. He pulls my hair, hits me in the face, grabs my glasses or necklaces, puts his finger in my mouth or nose, pokes me in the eye, scratches me…it is quite fun. :) Thankfully he eats pretty quickly so it's usually short-lived.

Happy 5 months little love bug!


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Bothell Landing

My friend invited me to a nearby park the other day. It was a gorgeous day, so we packed lunches and headed there after school. The park is right on a river and has original historical buildings near the park. There's a bridge that crosses the river onto the Burke Gillman Trail. We wandered, played and I can't wait to go back again!


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Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery

My mom came to visit us during her spring break from work. One of the fun things we did (that I had been wanting to do) was go to Chateau Ste. Michelle. It is only about 15 minutes from my house and since we had a nice morning, we went to visit and take a tour.

The grounds were beautiful. They have a small area with grape vines near the entrance (which I didn't take a picture of), but their vineyards are in another part of Washington.

The tour was quick (took about 30 minutes), informative and fun. This location bottles Riesling. The machines weren't running the day we were there, but it was still really neat to see.

There were lots of boards/displays to read (which I didn't spend much time doing because the kids were with…and because I usually just look at the pictures).

There were many barrels of wine being stored. It's amazing to think of the amount of wine they can store inside them.

They also do a concert series at the winery in the summer. There was a big sign of the artists that played in 2014.

After the tour, they lead you into a big room for the wine tasting. We got to try three different wines: Chardonnay, a summer blend and Merlot. Yum!

Then you can go into another room for a paid sampling or browse the gift shop and wine shop. I was going to buy some wine, but decided I would wait for now. I'd love to go back and do a more thorough wine tasting when I don't have three kids with me and then I will buy some!

The kids were all really good and I think they even had fun. Maddie was even listening because she was able to tell Chuck about it later. They offered crackers to the kids and grape juice. So if you take kids with you, that might be fun for them. The winery also has a couple of peacocks on the grounds. We did see them from a distance as we left, but weren't close enough to get a picture of them.

Overall, it was a lot of fun and a fun morning outing to do. I don't think I would go alone with the kids because well, wine sampling with your kids was a little awkward. But if you bring a friend with, it wasn't nearly as weird. :) I will definitely be back, though. And I think I'll make plans to check out the other winery across the street, too!

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Maddie’s 4th Birthday & Party

I'm about a month late writing about this. I couldn't skip it, so better late than never!

In the midst of our move, our sweet Maddie turned 4! She's turned into quite an amazing little girl and we are so proud of her. She's silly and caring and sensitive and helpful and smart and understanding and sassy and independent. Moving was hard on her. Leaving friends and family, her house and things she was familiar with. But she's been a great big sister and after some talks and snuggles, she has adjusted well.

She loves school, so I made sure to find her a school to start when we got here. We have since changed to a school closer to home and she loves every minute!

She's a singer, actress and a comedian. She loves putting on clothes to dance around and sing. Her newest love is singing and dancing in front of the mirror….usually in a million different outfits or a bathing suit. :) (I did the same thing at her age!) She also loves making up songs. They are hilarious, ridiculous and so very off-key. But she sings with such passion! It's just heartwarming!

Back to her party. I met a couple new friends online (and an old friend) who have kids the same age, so they came as well as our wonderful friend, Kelly (who spoils our kids rotten…in a good way!) and her fiancé. And it so happened that my dad ended up being in town for the party. We were still in temp housing at the apartment, so we rented the theater room. I got some activities, snacks, popcorn…and we ordered pizza for lunch. We put a movie on the big screen and skyped with our moms. It turned out great! Here's a few pictures.

We are so happy her birthday turned out so well even with all we had going on. And thank you to those of you who were there and sent her gifts! You all made a four year old feel very special!



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Crockpot Fajita Soup

I had a request or the recipe. Since I changed so much, I figured I should do a post to show how I made it.

I have to say that I'm not usually very good about finding a recipe and modifying it. Especially the first time. Usually, I would try a meal following the directions and then change it up the second time. I guess I was feeling daring.

HERE is the original recipe I found on Pinterest.

These are the changes I made:

  1. Eliminated the chicken. I decided to make this a vegetarian meal.
  2. Instead of adding two cans of cream of chicken soup, I made my own “cream of anything” soup mix that I also found on Pinterest. I used vegetable bouillon for the mix. Then added the recommended amounts of mix and water for two cans worth.
  3. Used vegetable broth instead of water.
  4. Added a can of pinto beans.
  5. Added a bag of frozen peppers and onions.
The meal was really good and so very simple to make. I'm already counting down the days until I can make it again! This is definitely going to be a staple in my rotation of meals and I think you should try it, too.



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