Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Tradition

It's the little things.... I tend to think big when I think of family traditions. Some ideas come and I quickly let them leave thinking of all the work that would need to be done to "keep up" the tradition. But yet there are other "things" that just simply start and morph into a tradition of their own. For our family, Friday lunches is one of those.

I am not exactly sure when it started but from as long as I can remember Erik has worked at home most Fridays. He has a little desk in our guest bedroom and so he can close himself off from the chaos of squealing girls and sisterly fights and actually get some work done. And then around 11:30 he emerges and screams LUNCHTIME and off we go. Lunch out on Fridays with Erik is one of the highlights for the girls and myself -it is usually the first meal eaten out since the previous weekend and it is just fun. We rarely venture past the three restaurants at the front of our neighborhood and so the people know us well and we have "our" table. Uncle John joins us often and so it is also time to catch up with our friend.

Friday Lunch is our little family tradition.

Playing Games

As I've mentioned before, we are a game playing family. Anna likes to play games before going to bed, Erik and I enjoy playing games with friends and now Maddie is getting old enough to participate as well. Game playing teaches the girls to take turns and I feel has lengthened their attention span (it can take forever to match all the Memory cards!). Here are a few of our favorites -

Family games-

- Snail's Pace Race: works on color skills; you work together to get a snail to the finish line, no one person wins
- Colorama: works on matching, colors and shapes
- Chutes and Ladders: Anna has a hard time following the board and Maddie is not quite ready for this game yet
- Candyland: works on colors and matching
- Leapfrog Go Fish: works on matching and alphabet skills
- Memory: matching and memorization; both of the girls are really good at this

Playing Memory

Hubby and my favs- (Erik and I tend to go for "serious" games, so they may not be enjoyed by everyone :))

- Carcassonne: the Castle
- Catan Card Game
- Scrabble
- Sequence

Group games-

- Why did the chicken: hilarious
- For Sale: bidding game
- Pickomino: easy to learn dice rolling game
- Don't Cook a Pooping Chicken: a group favorite, we enjoyed it so much we gave it a new name which actually made it online; all you need is paper and pen

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Joyful Noise

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise." Psalms 98:4

My girls love music, especially Maddie. For the past 2 weeks we have enjoyed going to "music class", also known as Musical Munchkins whose purpose is to "Offer a structured, Christian environment for children between the ages of 0-5 to create joyful noise through music and movement. " How perfect!

Maddie joined right in with the group and preferred to sit with the teacher while Anna quietly observed from my lap in between activities. The girls sang songs, played with drumsticks, shook bean bags, bells, played musical instruments and danced all around with ribbons. There was even a story and coloring page.

Musical Munckins Musical Munckins Musical Munckins

It makes me smile to see the girls having so much fun!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Kids Exchange

I would not be a very good Raleigh Mom if I did not mention the Kids Exchange that is taking place this week at the NC State Fair Grounds. The website covers everything in full detail and it can get rather complicated but the idea is that people drop off their slightly used kids items tagged with prices and then others come in and buy the items. What a fabulous idea!

Last year was my first year selling at the Kids Exchange and when I went to drop off my items I was in shock. It is hard to explain the scale of this sale. Racks and tables, very well organized by item and size were overflowing with items like I had never seen.

For some Kids Exchange is a huge source of income for them, shopping yard sales and tagging hundreds of items to bring in some extra money for their family. For others, it is the place they go to buy their kids entire wardrobe for the upcoming season at a great price. For me, it is a great opportunity to purge and clean out my girls closets to make a little extra money - the money from this sale is going to be used to buy some organization stuff for Maddie's closet :).

Monday, July 12, 2010


For the past few months Erik, Anna and I have been working with Maddie on her colors and at last she has learned them! A few fabulous resources that have helped:

Color Matching cards from

Homeschool Creations

A variation on the Color puzzles from


Color Matching games from File Folder Fun

And the most fun learning tool, playing I Spy. We've been playing I Spy as we walked around the neighborhood at night and Maddie really caught on. We now play in the car or whenever we need a distratction.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More July 4th Weekend Fun

Our weekend was full of two fabulous things - friends and food! Besides the fun time with Mimi picking blueberries we also enjoyed some cookout and swim time with great friends. Here are a few of my favorite pics from the weekend:


4th of July Weekend 4th of July Weekend

Staying cool in the pool

4th of July Weekend 4th of July Weekend

And the sprinkler

4th of July Weekend 4th of July Weekend

And just being cool (check out those shades!)

4th of July Weekend

We did not make it to any of the firework shows this year but opted to watch them on TV :-)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Millbrook Exchange Spraygrounds

I am a planner and I like to be prepared for everything - it keeps my anxiety at bay :-). Unfortunately it makes me hesitant to try out new activities with the kids by myself so its nice to have friends who explore Raleigh and know the coolest things to do. Today we met some friends at the Millbrook Exchange Pool which has a wading pool and sprayground that opens in the summer. I had heard lots of positive reviews on the place by friends but surprisingly I found very little information online about it. Due to swimming lessons taking place in the lap pool we did not get a chance to swim in there but here's some info about the wading pool and sprayground we visited.

Location: 1905 Spring Forest Rd, Raleigh; it is located in the Millbrook Exchange Park that also has baseball fields, basketball courts, off-leash dog park, tennis center, playground and probably a few other things I've missed.

Hours: The wading pool and spraygrounds are seasonal but during the summer they are open:
M-F 9am to 8pm
Sat 10am to 8pm
Sun 1pm to 6pm

Price: The price for admission at all of the City of Raleigh aquatic centers is the same. Residents pay $1.00 for those age 1-12, $3.00 for ages 13-54 and $2.00 for ages 55 and up. They accept cash, check and credit cards.

Wading Pool: The pool ranges in depth from 10 inches to 18 inches of water which makes it perfect for little ones. The pool was easy for my girls to get in and out of and the entire area was fenced in. I felt at ease as a parent knowing that my children were not going to go too deep and not be able to touch, were not going to get out of the fenced in area and that there was a lifeguard on duty. Inside of the wading pool area there were limited chairs and no tables - this was fine for us since it was HOT and I wanted to sit along the edge of the pool; there is also no food or drink permitted in the area.

Millbrook Wading Pool

Sprayground: As I've recently learned, Maddie is not a big fan of sprinklers and so as we entered this area she held onto me for dear life. The sprayground area has its own fencing and has areas where water comes shooting up from the ground, water cannons, buckets that dump water and other "sprays". The area was large enough that you could avoid getting wet if you weren't in the mood. I stayed close to the water to keep my feet from burning on the concrete, next time I'll wear shoes!

Millbrook Spraygrounds Millbrook Spraygrounds

Millbrook Spraygrounds

Overall it was fun but I think the heat did us in and prevented us from having a fabulous experience (high of 103 today!).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


On Saturday we met my mom at Herndon Hills Farms to pick blueberries and blackberries. The farm had several varieties of blueberries and all of the bushes were tall enough that you didn't have to bend over (for some reason I had envisioned the bushes being much lower to the ground). Both of the girls were fabulous at only picking the dark berries and in half an hour we had a pound and a half. The blueberries are delicious and at $2.75/pound, definitely worth the time spent. Most of the blackberries had already been picked when we got there so we only left with a few.

Blueberry Picking Blueberry Picking

Blueberry Picking Blueberry Picking