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Thoughts on Year-Round School

We are in the midst of our first track-out on the year-round school calendar. After every 9 weeks of school the boys get 3 weeks off for track-out. This is our first year not only sending our kids to public school but also adhering to a year-round calendar. And I have to say that I really love this schedule, once I got past the typical mindset of 3 month long summer breaks which is how I grew up.

We have completed 2 weeks of track-out with this next week being our final. What makes this time so great is that while Jude and Noah are out of school Simon is still on a traditional calendar so he goes to preschool every day from 9-1. With Simon in school during the mornings I’m able to take Jude, Noah and Abel out on little outings around town. That one child difference make things a little bit easier. Then because Joe works from home I’m able to take the big boys out for afternoon adventures while Abel naps.

So far we’ve visited several parks, met up with friends, visited our favorite museums, gone bowling, and even took a short trip to Great Wolf Lodge. It’s been such a great break. I’m glad we have one more week off but I’m also glad the boys go back to school next week.

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Jude read the first 2 Harry Potter Books over break. Photo Oct 12, 3 26 16 PM

We went bowling and Noah scored almost 100 on our first game. Photo Oct 12, 12 04 21 PM

Of course we had to get some Halloween Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Photo Oct 12, 11 29 48 AM

One of our favorite places, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science     Photo Oct 07, 11 34 15 AM

While the big boys were off selling popcorn for Cub Scouts, Abel and I visited the fire station. Photo Oct 07, 1 31 13 PM

We even got to see Santa Photo Oct 09, 4 06 46 PM

Jude built and epic castle at Marbles Kids Museum

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We checked out the Ninja Warrior park in Apex Photo Oct 03, 10 06 32 AM

The carousel at Pullen Park is only $1 and was on the top of our to-do list. Photo Oct 03, 6 45 30 PM

Knightdale Community Day Photo Oct 04, 6 47 01 PM Getting ready to Trick-or-Treat at Great Wolf Lodge

Design Center Meeting – Building a House

Last week we had our Design Center meeting which means we selected all of the interior finishes for our new house. It was a 2.5 hour meeting (which is surprisingly shorter than I was expecting). We selected everything from flooring to door knobs to bathroom tile to the fireplace mantle.

Since we are building in a pre-planned community we had “standard” options which are built into the cost of the house and “upgrade” options. Some of the upgrade options were ridiculously priced so in a lot of areas we stuck with standard options because it’s just cheaper to upgrade some of the items after we move in. (For instance 1 cabinet in the kitchen to be upgraded to a pull-out trashcan was $600!) However, most of the larger items like flooring, tile, cabinets, counter tops, etc… were reasonably priced to upgrade.

I tried to take a lot of pictures of our selections so I would remember but also so I could share them with you.

The very first thing we selected was our kitchen faucet. Weird right? Well, there is 1 standard style of faucet and you can upgrade the finish of the faucet but we just went with the standard which was the Moen Arbor in Chrome.

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Then we selected our bathroom faucets. Same deal except we had 2 standard designs to choose from. We selected the Moen Eva set because it looked easier to clean.

Photo Sep 13, 9 55 42 AM Then we picked our fireplace mantle. We were given two standard design options and several upgrade options. We picked one of the standard options, it’s called the Wescott and we selected a slate fireplace surround which was also a standard option. (we had a few different materials/colors to choose from) *Note the picture shows a brass fireplace screen ours will be black and a different style.

Photo Sep 13, 10 02 25 AM From there we started selecting our kitchen finishes. This part took a little bit longer since we selected our cabinets, counter tops, back splash, grout, and flooring. Everything we selected was an upgrade but still very reasonably priced. We selected white shaker cabinets for the main cabinets and pewter shaker cabinets for the island. The counter top we selected is a quartz called willow white with a standard edge. We also upgraded our kitchen sink to a single bowl instead of 50/50. Our back splash is a arctic white matte subway tile, Datile Rittenhouse with gray grout. All of the cabinets in the house will have Richelieu Hardware, transitional metal pull in brushed nickel.

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The flooring we selected for almost all of our downstairs is Armstrong Classics Country Side Hickory.  We have carpet in all of the bedrooms and upstairs, we didn’t upgrade the carpet because I know with 4 boys it’s sort of useless at this point to invest a lot into carpet. We picked a simple beige color Mohawk carpet.

For the boys bathroom we went with the standard shaker style cabinets in a standard color option, espresso. The counter tops in all of our bathrooms are standard quartz in willow white. The boys bathroom will have 2 round under mount sinks.

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The flooring in their bathroom is a standard vinyl, Armstrong Initiator. This will also be the flooring in our laundry room.

Photo Sep 13, 11 36 46 AM As you can tell we aren’t investing too much $ in the spaces the boys will use because I know they will be hard on any surface they encounter.

All of the doors in our house are a 3 panel style and all of the door knobs and hinges are a standard brushed nickel.

Finally, the master bathroom. We went with the same white shaker cabinets and quartz counter tops in willow white. However, we will have rectangular under mount sinks. Our flooring will be Shaw tile, Serenity 13 x 13 dark gray tile with matching gray grout. Our shower tile and bathtub surround are a glossy subway tile with gray grout.

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We also went with all the standard lighting which I will probably change all of it after we move it. It’s a basic brushed nickle ceiling lights and chandelier.

Finally, we upgraded the entire interior paint color from Kilim beige to Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray.

That’s pretty much it for now. We had some upgrade options that were just too expensive and in the end really didn’t matter. We spent a little extra money on some upgrades we knew we would appreciate years from now.

We’re building a house

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Our future backyard at sunset

So last week we signed the contract to build a home. This is huge because not only is this the first house we’ve built but it will also be the first house we will own.

When Joe and I were engaged and planning our wedding (10 years ago) we had a lot of friends that were also getting married. While they were planning their weddings they were also buying their first homes together. We decided to wait to buy our first home and I’m so glad we did. Never would we have imagined that we would have 4 kids. We most certainly would have bought a house that was way too small. Also, as we’ve lived together in several different homes over the past few years we have a good idea of what kind of space we need and what works best for our growing family.

I don’t know if this new house will be our forever home but we are treating it that way. I’m trying to imagine our 4 little guys growing into large teenager boy it’s difficult to imagine but I’m trying to plan ahead.

We still have a lot of work to do before they even start building the house (there are so many choices to be made) but we are extremely excited, and a little bit anxious too. However, we are terribly sad to be leaving our current neighborhood. We have the best neighbors ever and our kids have made so many great friends. That being said, we are only moving 5 miles away. The hardest part of this move will be leaving our great neighborhood. But I see this opportunity as a chance to make more friends.

I’m going to try to document and share our home building process on here, and Instagram too. I’ve had so many questions answered by reading blog posts and have loved reading about other people’s experiences of building their home.

Weekday Adventure: J.C. Raulston Arboretum

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.

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Easter 2017: Jude gets baptized

This past Sunday was Easter Sunday and Jude (8) got baptized at church. It was such an exciting day. He has been asking about “bapatism” for over a year now. We’ve talked on and off about it and he watched baptisms the last time they had them at church but this time he said he was ready.

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After church we had lunch with my parents and grandmother and had a small Easter egg hunt for the boys. It was a pretty great day.

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How A Snack Became Our Family Time

Every day around 3pm my kids are begging for a snack. I’ve learned to have a snack ready or else they will start to raid the pantry when I’m not looking. So each day we set aside a few moments to have a family snack. Sometimes it’s something quick and easy like crackers or a cereal bar but there are days when I put forth a little effort and put together something fun and healthy. That’s the key with making healthy snacks for kids… make it fun too.

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Now that the weather has started warm up I’ve been making Juicy Juice Ice Pops with our fun Ice Pop molds.

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The kids get a giggle out of the silly characters and of course love the delicious flavor of the Juicy Juice.

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We typically eat our Ice Pops outside so I don’t have to worry about drippy juice on my kitchen floor! As we sit around the patio table we talk about our days and just enjoy a sweet moment together as a family. The time may only last as long as a kid can get through their ice pop then they’re bouncing off to the next activity, but sometimes they linger at the table a little longer to talk. I love my afternoon snack dates with my boys.

Did you know that all Juicy Juice products are made from real juice, with sweetness that comes only from the fruit and no added sugar? Plus, Juicy Juice contains no high fructose corn syrup, no cane sugar and no artificial sweeteners.

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CONTEST: Search for Chief Family Time Officer

Juicy Juice has launched a nationwide search for moms, dads and other grown-ups who help find the fun amid busy schedules. Families can enter by visiting juicyjuice.com/familytime to submit a photo of themselves enjoying Family Time along with a caption or tip on how they make the most of quality time together. Nine finalists will receive a month’s supply of Juicy Juice and a copy of Sinclair’s book, while one grand prize “Chief Family Time Officer” winner, determined by fan vote, will be selected to receive a month’s supply of Juicy Juice and the ultimate family time getaway – an all-expenses-paid four-day/three-night Luxury Included® vacation together to a Beaches Resort in Jamaica or Turks & Caicos.

CONNECT

This post has been sponsored by Juicy Juice. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

Saturday Adventures: Historic Yates Mill

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On Saturdays, our family likes to explore all of the fun places within a short drive of Raleigh. We frequent many of the Raleigh and Wake County parks so I thought I’d share some of our Saturday Adventures with ya’ll.

This past Saturday we ventured to Historic Yates Mill located in south Raleigh. Yates Mill is a part of the Wake County Parks system and offers a variety of rich historical activities and exploration as well has beautiful nature.

We started by visiting the Finley educational center which had a good deal of hands on learning and information about the history of the mill, local agriculture and local history. The boys enjoyed playing with the dress-up clothes, puzzles, and learning about how mills work.

Then we venture down the short path to explore the historic mill. The boys were fascinated with the water powered mill. We briefly walked the Millpond trail crossing over the mill bridge and up the stone steps that overlook the mill. We didn’t walk around the entire pond as it was getting close to lunch and the smaller boys were ready to go eat.

On a previous visit the boys and I walked down to the pond boardwalk were we encountered several people finishing and bird watching. We saw a beautiful crane at the shore of the pond.

I can’t believe I’ve lived in the Raleigh area most of my live and until this year had never visited Yates Mill. It’s a beautiful historic site and wildlife refuge. We will certainly be back to explore more the park.

 

Keep Holiday Traditions Simple

I always have these grand ideas of baking sugar cookies from scratch with the boys and decorating them with icing and fun candies. But then reality sets in and I remember that I have to help all of the boys with their cookie decorations and none of them are particularly helpful in the kitchen, especially not Abel. Abel loves to pull out all of the pots and pans and any other cabinet he can reach in the lower cabinets. So instead of baking sugar cookies from scratch a bought a cookie decorating kit and let the boys enjoy the fun part of Christmas cookies.

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