Monday, February 10, 2020

Valentine's "Class" Party Ideas

Happy Valentine's Week! 

Today I'm sharing some fun activities we've done to celebrate a nice low key, at home, valentines "class" party.

My number one recommendation happens to be totally FREE, and that is the Hearts Drawing Challenge from Yellow Spot: Sun - my kids LOVED this last year, and we will be repeating it this week!


This year we used an idea from Little Pine Learners and we made some clay and nature (or store bought) valentines.



The kids rolled out their clay...



...picked some petals and made their designs...




...and finished it off with a layer of Mod Podge.



These took two days to dry (air dry clay) and then I came through with a second layer of Mod Podge just as precaution. The reason we went with store bought flowers was the artificial dyes - I wanted the kids to still see some color once the petals dried. As you can see, the dye really came in handy here ;) You can also buy pre-pressed flowers that retain some bright colors, as well.



For the younger crew, I used Teaching Mama's baking soda heart idea. She is full of fun ideas, and I often check my emails for her newsletters and posts. I love her simple and fun experiments.





We also really enjoyed her Candy Heart Math sheets last year, and then we went to Teachers Pay Teachers to round up some more candy heart math and science experiments, as well!




Another really great freebie is the Valentine's Day Doodle Town by Andrea at Momfessionals. I, myself, love coloring and doodling along with my kiddos! 

That's a wrap on our Valentine's Day roundup. Make sure to tag me if you try any of these fun ideas!


Thursday, January 30, 2020

GROCERY HAUL + MEAL PLAN

Hello hello! If you're popping on over from my channel, here's the meal plan the goes along with my grocery haul:
Breakfasts are on rotation, right now here's what we've got going on:




Kids Lunches:

Salad bar is our go-to this week, I'll chop and prep a ton of produce for the week and store in glass containers, and then pull it out and set it out with either leftovers from dinner, cucumber cream cheese sammies, organic chicken tenders, or hummus/pimiento/crackers/nuts/PB oat balls (snacky lunch).

Adult Lunches:

John and I also plan to utilize the salad bar with sauerkraut and hummus as our "dressing", we also love a mixture of fruits and veggies, nuts, or chia pudding.


This week's dinners are as follows (click for recipes):


  • Sunday - Cajun "Chicken" Pasta, I swap the dairy for plant based options (ripple milk, vegan parm) and will probably use the Gardein chicken tenders to simplify my evening. 
  • Monday - Black Bean Taquitos (with the almond milk cream cheese), Guac, and Cashew Queso
  • Tuesday - Chicken Tenders or Gardein Tenders, home fries (pan fried potatoes), and chopped fruit - quick dinner between dance and a basketball game
  • Wednesday - Veggie Stir Fry (with tofu) and Rice (boiled in coconut milk) 
  • Thursday - Asian Noodle Salad (for most of us) or noodles, butter, and veggies for two younger ones
  • Friday - Ordering pizza
  • Saturday - Mexican Lentil Soup from the freezer  NEVERMIND! We have a birthday party that night, so soup will be saved for Monday since we're doing easy apps for the super bowl Sunday!


Snacks:

  • Chia Pudding (chocolate chip and peanut butter banana)
  • Coconut Mousse (recipe on instastories under "recipes")
  • Hummus/crackers/veggies
  • hard boiled eggs for the kids
  • homemade granola
  • various snacks in pantry (seaweed, Variety Fun box snacks, baked chips, raisins, etc.)
  • always have fruit and trail mix available

Monday, January 27, 2020

BEECH MOUNTAIN RESORT FAMILY GUIDE

Today I wanted to break down the wonderful Beech Mountain children's programs, because I couldn't find a ton of info out there when I was doing our trip research. Before I get into the details I just want to say once again...we LOVED Beech, the staff, the programs, the lessons, EVERYTHING. We didn't try Sugar, we plan to do that a bit next year, but since it was our first time, we wanted to lock in and get to know one place, vs acquainting ourselves with another location after becoming familiar with one the day prior. Make sense? The reason we chose Beech over Sugar was the fact that Sugar's nursery is contracted out through another company and Beech's is through Beech Mountain Resort. This tends to seal the deal for me, I often make our summer camp/resort vacation/etc. decisions based on who is responsible for our kids. That was truly our decision maker.

Let's start with the nursery!

Snowflakes childcare center was awesome. The director, Morgan, was so kind and called me personally the day prior to double check that she had our reservation correct. They do require reservations ($15/hr) as well as a packed lunch. We originally planned to ski the day prior so Annie's reservation was modified when we changed our plans earlier in the week, and it was super simple and quick. On our first day, she was there all day, we dropped her off at 8:30 and pulled her out at 3 to watch the kids finish their lessons. It's a little bit of a hike from the main parking lot where we needed to park in order to carry all of our gear, so you'll definitely need your little ones to be dressed in full winter gear for the walk in. Once she was all settled in the room, she stayed in the whole time. We packed her a sandwich, yogurt, and some popcorn, and then they also provided Teddy Grahams, Go-Gurt, Goldfish, and juice. Annie was the only reservation this day so she ruled the roost. The report I got was "Lots of Frozen, lots of snacks, and a solid nap." Morgan also texted me to let me know when Annabeth wanted to call to check in with me, and I was able to call when I could take a break on the mountain. All around, it was an amazing experience for her, I felt totally comfortable leaving her and enjoying a date day with John on the slopes, and Annie was so ready to go back the next day.

All of the info on their website can be found HERE.


TRAXX
Oh my, let me tell ya, if my kids could be homeschooled anywhere and by anyone of their choosing, it would be inside Traxx with their instructors. They LOVED their time at Traxx, and their instructors really had their attention the whole time. I've never seen anyone capable of getting my kids to focus as well as they did. 


We went the week following the Christmas/New Years holiday, and that was a wise decision, so it seems. Traxx has a 25 child limit, and they were maxed out the week before we arrived. My three happened to be 3 of the 4 students in Traxx the week we were there, and essentially, had their own instructors all day long. My boys stuck together with two instructors alternating, and Isabella was with another boy, but once her instructor believed she was ready to take the lift up, they brought in another instructor for the other student and she spent the second half of her day on the slopes with him. We actually rarely saw her after this point, because he had her up lifts that John and I...I...wasn't ready for ;)


Traxx provides students with their skis, helmets, snacks (fig newtons, lemonade, hot cocoa, chips), and lunch (burger, chicken, etc.), as well as their full day of instruction/breaks for $100. Literally. Worth. Every. Penny. Student's need to submit their lunch order prior to the day's start at 9, as well as bring their own goggles, and I believe their own bibs - we had our own so we didn't check. Their gear is kept in the Traxx building, so we didn't check theirs out and haul it around with us. 

Besides their instructors, they also have a room monitor (I don't know what to call her, lol?) who oversees helping them with their gear/snacks/etc. if needbe, and she is always in their classroom. I popped by once and didn't see Eli with his instructor and he happened to be inside with her having his goggles swapped out for a pair from lost and found because he broke his. They spend an hour getting acquainted in their room, two hours on the magic carpet with a ten minute break, then they have a one hour lunch break, and repeat the two hour block either on the magic carpet, or on the green freestyle slope if they're ready. Anything beyond that (i.e. Bella going somewhere else or going up earlier than lunchtime) is communicated very well via the classroom director if you ever need to check in. 


We respected their wishes (that are posted all over so you don't forget ;) ) to keep a distance and allow the instructors and students to stay focused, but occasionally if we crossed paths, their instructors would have them show us some skills, do an obstacle course with us, or just ski for a few minutes with us. I'm sure this was because they were the only ones, and is likely not the case on a busier week. By the end of their first day, all of my kids had been on the lift a few times with their instructors, and they were absolutely beaming.
Kids can be checked out at 3 and keep their gear up until 4:30, and also have a lift ticket for that time, so if you want an opportunity to ski with your kids but don't have a second day planned, it's a great little window of time to take advantage of without renting more gear! 




















Each kid had their own cubby, the parent check in area has all of the info you need, and behind the Traxx area is the Snow Camp area for 3-5 year olds. I can't wait to see Annie here next year! You can find more info on TRAXX HERE! Also, you can check out SNOW CAMP HERE.





 John and I also found the adult lessons VERY helpful, and we fully enjoyed the other amenities Beech had to offer while our kids were in their lessons - they offer ice skating, tubing, ski/snowboard lessons, a brewery, a restaurant, some small shops, etc.

Alright, this wraps up my winter series here on the blog, you can read post one HERE and post two HERE - back to the real beach, shall we??



Monday, January 20, 2020

WINTER VACATION 2020 || PART 2

Happy Monday! Last week I shared part 1 of our trip to Beech Mountain, and today, I'm sharing part 2. Next week I'll have the inside scoop on skiing Beech, everything from pictures of the childcare center, to food options, rental costs, etc., so if you plan to head there with your family, be sure to pop back in next week! 

Alrighty, here's where we left off:
 The drive up Beech Mountain is stunning.

The doritios are pretty great, too! We popped into the resort this evening to check out our gear (if you grab it after 4 you don't have to pay for the extra day, AND it saves you tons of time being fitted the next day) and have some snacks.

 We hit up Mast General Store every summer in Waynesville, so we really wanted to make the trek to the original Mast this particular evening.


 Then we drove a few minutes further into Boone for dinner at the Dan'l Boone Inn. It was SO GOOD.


 If you're anywhere near Boone I highy recommend this restaurant. It's set in Boone's first hospital, the decor is adorable, and it's all served family style. We only paid about $80 for our family of 6, and you can bring home anything you can wrap in a napkin ;)




The next morning, we were up BRIGHT AND EARLY to get the kids into their ski school and toddler programs on time. We figured it would take us quite some time to get everyone all geared up, and we were right. Once everyone was settled in, John and I signed up for a lesson, and we were first on the mountain. I definitely suggest traveling when kids are in public school. 



The week prior, ski school/lift tickets were maxed out, this week, there were a total of four kids enrolled in ski school, three of which were mine, and Annie had the nursery (reservations only) all to herself.



The kids loved their lessons, and by the time John and I looked out from lunch, they were already off the magic carpet and up the lift with their instructors.


We skied a little more and then picked our kids up from their programs at 3:30, then spent a little time in the play yard (practice area) with them until it was time to return their equipment. The kids equipment is a part of their ski school cost, so it had to be returned by a certain time to that specific location. If you're checking out standard equipment, you can do multi-day rentals, and keep it with you night to night.  


This kid DIDN'T STOP. Look at those rosy cheeks! He slept VERY well that night.


 Nachos, hot cookies, and a low key night of movies was definitely in order.

Up and at 'em and ready to roll!




John really enjoyed taking the kids up with him, I was way too nervous to handle myself AND a child on the actual trails, so I hung back with whomever wasn't with him at different times, and we practiced turns/stops and enjoyed mini races and obstacle courses (with either ski poles or cones at different points) in the magic carpet area.


See this picture? This is the last one from John's phone this day. Let's just say, we now have one of those "someone turned down the wrong course" stories to tell. I'll share more next week, but at one point Jesse said "Mommy, it was so scary and cool at the same time. I thought I was skiing and then I looked down and I was in the air, but then I landed and I was still skiing!" John, on the other hand came down, white as a ghost, and said "We're done!" lol!  



Oh, Beech Mountain, we LOVE YOU.


Fireplace, we also love you!


 Our last full day was slow and chill. We were all in recovery mode!


And carb loading mode.



Apparently, this is where my photos stop. We packed up the next day, hit the road, and again hit up as many Chick-fil-a's and gas station snacks as humanly possible. 

Thanks for tagging along, be sure to come back next week if you're interested in the logistics of ski school/packing/etc.!





bgrnd