Jessica is a family lifestyle blogger living in Raleigh, NC with her husband, four sons (8, 5, 3 and 1). Jessica started thebkeepsushonest.com in November of 2009, but has been blogging since 2003. Jessica writes about family life, recipes, travel and products for families. She is also a Work-from-home-mom who manages marketing and social media for a local accounting company.
I’m not a really trendy gal but I have style preferences, they might not always fit in with what is currently on-trendy but I like it so that is all that really matters.
I’ve decided to make a little collection of a few things I’ve been crushing on lately. Some of them are things I own, some are things I want to own, none of them are sponsored.
Vertex Earring from Ash Jewelry – I just ordered these and they should be arriving at my house sometime today! I love the simplicity and uniqueness of these earring and pretty much everything else from Ash Jewelry.
3. Azure Necklace from the Flourish Market – I bought this as a birthday present for myself and I love it. It’s from Purpose Jewelry and is handcrafted with love by young women rescued from sex trafficking in Mumbai, India.
I knew going into this month it would be a busy on but I didn’t realize I would blink and it would be over. We celebrated 2 birthdays, went on vacation and wrapped up our final days of school and poof, here comes June.
It was fun filled month and I tried very hard to live in the moment and savor each special event.
I’m a planner and I like to think a few steps ahead while I’m working which is great for my productivity but not great for the every day. As a stay-at-home mom who also homeschools every day can seem sort of mundane as we work throughout our daily duties but over the past few years I’ve been working on being intentional with things during each day. I’m trying to remember to put down my phone and to-do list and take a mental snap shot of my family as life is happening. I’m not great at it yet but I think my intent of being intentional will eventually work it’s way into a routine of being intentional. *fingers crossed.
So with that being said here are some literal snapshots of our past month, primarily our trip to Charleston, SC…
Disney Pixar’s “Cars 3” is cruising into theaters on June 16th, so to prepare for the racing excitement the boys and I took a little trip to the NC Museum of History to learn about the history of auto racing in North Carolina.
We aren’t big NASCAR or racing fans but North Carolina’s racing history dates back to the 1930’s and is currently a billion dollar industry in our state. So we felt obligated to learn more about what makes it such a popular sport. We got to see champion driver Richard Petty’s stock car and other popular racing memorabilia.
The boys were rather disappointed that none of the cars had eyes or could talk like the one from Cars but they are very excited for the upcoming “Cars 3” movie.
Juicy Juice has launched a limited-edition “Cars 3” product featuring beloved characters like Lighting McQueen. Juicy Juice “Cars 3” 100% juice will be available in 8-pack juice boxes in Apple, Berry, Fruit Punch and Grape, and multi-serve bottles in Apple, Berry, Fruit Punch, Cherry, Kiwi Strawberry and Strawberry Watermelon. Look for these specially-marked packs, find your code, go to juicyjuicegame.com and enter to win awesome prizes such as movie tickets, toys and activity sheets.
Head to your grocery store to buy limited-edition Cars 3 Juicy Juice and while you wait for June 16th to check out this fun Piston Cup Race Maze.
For months Joe has been talking about seeing the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie for his birthday. Almost every year we go see the latest super hero movie for his birthday since they are usually released in May so I knew Guardians of the Galaxy would be up this year for his birthday. To say he was excited when we went to the screening on Monday night would be an understatement.
To be honest I fell asleep during the first Guardians of the Galaxy, not because I wasn’t interested but because we were watching it in the comfort of our living room and I was spending most of my nights up with a new baby. But I was very excited to see this movie even though I didn’t totally follow the plot because I missed most of the first movie. (Now I will have to go back and re-watch it.)
I thought it was a very fun (I literally laughed out loud several times) movie and a great touching story. There was action, romance, comedy and drama. Toddler Groot was adorable and Drax was hilarious. I loved Kurt Russel as Ego. And the soundtrack was super fun.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a lot of fun, accessible enough for casual fans, and has lots of cool details for nerdy super-fan types like myself to freak out over for days. It is very well written, brings a surprising amount of depth to its’ supporting characters (looking at you, Yondu), and adeptly switches between heartbreaking and irreverent much the same as its’ predecessor. Baby Groot, a character-development choice that had the potential to Jar-Jar-Binks up the film or even the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, instead pays off in spades as he steals all of his scenes with adorable, 100% accurate ass-faced toddler behavior. Chris Pratt delivers another solid performance as a now-grown-man taken from earth before he learned that He-Man stopped being cool at age 13, who continues to deal with a complicated family history exacerbated by the unexpected arrival of his absentee biological father (Kurt Friggin’ Russell). Also he saves the galaxy some more too. So to sum up, this movie is what a summer blockbuster should be, and also what a movie should be, and also should probably win some awards or something if they gave awards to movies for being enjoyable instead of being pretentious. Also Kurt Russell is in it. I guess I probably could have just said “Kurt Russell” and stopped there. Kurt Russell.
In Theaters Friday, May 5th
I received passes to the featured event in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own.
The North Carolina Zoo has a new exhibit called the Dino Bus which takes you on a brief tour of robotic dinosaurs that are only accessible via the Dino Bus. Since our boys are really into dinosaurs right now we decided to try out the Dino Bus tour on our most recent visit to the zoo. We have a membership to the zoo which gives us the opportunity to explore small sections of the zoo each time we visit. This time we decided to explore parts of North America and the Dino Bus.
The Dino Bus has 3 pick-up and drop-off point. There are actually 2 separate Dino Bus routes for which you have to buy two separate tickets. To ride both routes you pay $4 per person. We bought our tickets at Junction Plaza. We parked in North America and walked straight through only stopping at a few exhibits until we reached Junction Plaza (which is about a mile walk). Then we ate lunch and bought our tickets for the Dino Bus. We had to wait a good while for the bus to arrive (probably 20 minutes or more). Our first tour took us through the dinosaur exhibit in Africa. There were about 5 dinosaurs on that route and our driver was very friendly and shared as much as he knew about the dinosaurs, he was very up front stating that he wasn’t a dinosaur expert and most of the kids would probably know more than he. We were dropped off at the entrance to Africa where we then had to catch the shuttle to the entrance of North America. We waited another 15-20 minutes for the shuttle and were dropped off right outside North America. We then waited another 10-15 minutes for the second Dino Bus that took us through North America to Junction Plaza where we started. This drive of this bus wasn’t as talkative and really only told us the names of each dinosaur as we stopped to look at them. We only saw 4 dinosaurs on the North American size but there was a dinosaur that spit water at you so that was fun! On each tour we were taken behind a gated area of the park probably employee only access areas to see the exhibits. It felt a little like Jurassic pack as the drive pushed the remote to open the large barb-wired fence.
Overall, it was a fun experience but a very lengthy process, we probably spent at least and hour and a half (or longer) with our Dino Bus experience. The boys had a great time seeing all of the dinosaurs, especially the one that spit water! If you have a kid that loves dinosaurs (of if you love dinosaurs) I’d recommend that tour if you have time to spend waiting for all of the different buses. However, we probably won’t do the Dino Bus again as it was very lengthy and we didn’t really learn much about the dinosaurs on exhibit.
We did learn from our first driver that the NC Zoo is planning a huge expansion over the next 5 years which will include 3 new continents. The NC Zoo is already the largest natural habitat zoo in the United States, so I’m excited to see how they develop the new exhibits. Being the largest zoo means a lot of walking, we probably walked over 3 miles on our most recent trip and we only saw North America, not Africa. This is why we have a membership, even though the zoo is over and hour away it’s so huge it would be impossible for our family to make it through everything… plus the membership is a great deal for larger families.
We took another homeschool field trip this week. We went to Chapel Hill, NC to visit the Kidzu Children’s Museum. I found a Kidzu Groupon that allowed 4 of us to get in for essentially half price. I’ve seen a lot about Kidzu on social media over the past few years and have been wanting to take the boys for awhile. It was actually a much shorter trip from our house than I was expecting, it took less than 40 minutes for us to get there and a little bit longer to get home because we hit some rush hour traffic. We left our house around lunch time hoping to avoid some of the morning crowd. It was a little busy when we arrive a little before 1pm but within 30 minutes most of the people with small children left (nap time). (It was just me and the three older boys as Abel was at home taking a nap with Joe.)
The museum is located in a mall type shopping center. In the shopping center is a movie theater, a few specialty shops, A Southern Season, Chick-fil-a, a pizza place and Maple View Ice Cream. Kidzu was much smaller than I was expecting. We visit Marbles in Raleigh frequently and the entirety of Kidzu is about the size of one exhibit at Marbles, although they do pack in a lot of fun into that tiny space. The areas were divided up nicely and all of the toys and play structures were great quality. It was beautifully decorated with vibrant original artwork that complimented each play space.
The Makery was probably our favorite spot. It has special hours and didn’t open until 2pm but the boys loved it. They did science experiments, crafts, played with tools, colored and much more. I really liked that they have different themed activities on a daily basis. The activities were lead by friendly staff members that gave children the space to create within the space’s guidelines. I personally liked the Make It, Don’t Take It rule where you can create whatever you want but you don’t get to take it home, instead they put in on display. It keeps my house from becoming cluttered and the kids feel proud to display their work on the shelves.
Overall, it was a great trip and I recommend anyone that is in the Chapel Hill area to check it out. The regular pricing is a little high, $7.50 per person but I think the Makery itself makes it worthwhile. They do offer memberships which again are on the high side, I think a 6 person membership which our family would need cost around $175 a year. We pay $100 a year for our Marbles membership and we certainly get our money’s worth out of that museum since it’s so close. Basically, get the Groupon deal if you want to go.
After we finished playing we ate some Maple View Ice Cream and strolled around the shopping center a bit before heading home.
I love spring and we spend almost everyday outside when the weather is agreeable or not. However, my allergies are going nuts. Thankfully this spring hasn’t been covered in a huge yellow cloud of pollen, yet… I still keep my Scotties tissues on hand since I never know when a sneeze attack will occur.
The other day the boys and I visited the J.C. Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh for a little field trip. It is such a gorgeous place filled with amazing plants that are native to North Carolina as well as some unique plants from around the world. I love all of the plants but I do not love all of the pollen.
The itchy watery eyes and sneezing are the worst. Scotties has the comfort, strength and softness I need to keep exploring the outdoors with my family. They have 3-ply and 3-ply with aloe for layers of comfort.
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The other day the boys and I took a field trip to the J.C. Raulston Arboretum. It was a gorgeous spring day and we needed a fun and free outdoor activity. We’d never been to the arboretum so I thought a new adventure was due. The boys liked exploring the expansive park for a while but Jude just wished to find a shady spot so he could finish his book and Simon kept laying down wherever he could. Noah however was interested in some of the more unique and beautiful plants… and the bees.
The arboretum is a beautiful place to explore and hopefully as the boys get older all of our outdoor nature adventures will lead them to enjoy such places. I think they would love one of the kid programs they offer so I might look into what events are planned for the next few months.