Monday, August 21, 2017

Total Eclipse

Today is totality about the eclipse.  See what I did there? ;-)

I'm going to be completely honest.  Up until the week before school started I didn't even know there was an eclipse happening.  However, I started seeing things shared on Facebook about our schools changing dismissal times for the day so that peeked my interested and I started reading more about it.  The schools had decided to delay dismissal by 45 minutes so that the kids wouldn't be on buses during a time when 1) they might be temped to look at the sun without direct adult supervision and 2) other drivers on the road might be too busy looking up, creating unsafe road conditions for buses.

And so it began.  The discussion and hype surrounding the eclipse began to grow and before I knew it that was all anyone was talking about.  Even my Glee station on Pandora jumped on the bandwagon!

Well as the eclipse drew nearer and nearer I felt totally unprepared! It reminded of when the meteorologist predict snow for our area.  Complete and utter mayhem.  One of the biggest topics are the solar eclipse viewing glasses and whether or not the ones you purchased were real, fakes, approved and on the NASA list.  Really?!  People were seriously lined up outside of stores to buy these glasses last minute when they learned of a new shipment that had come in while others were meeting up in parking lots to sell extras they might have ordered.  It has been a total frenzy, but the warnings about going blind if you look at the eclipse without the proper viewing glasses has been enough to scare anyone!

Another thing that is a hot topic is kids viewing the eclipse at school.  Our PTA purchased eclipse glasses for all of the teachers/students, but only 3rd - 5th graders with a signed permission slip are allowed to go outside to watch.  Kindergarten through 2nd have to watch indoors on a live stream while other schools are not letting anyone go out to watch.  Our school had the kids wear yellow if they were team sun or black of they were team moon, which I absolutely loved.  Boo-Boo was thrilled because any excuse to dress like a highlighter in neon yellow from head to toe is a good day in his book.  The teachers are doing all sorts of fun activities today so I know it's going to be a memorable day for them!

The last crazy thing about all of this is the rush on items like Sun Chips and Moon Pies.  Yes, just as if it were a snow storm and the stores shelves are bare on the milk and bread aisles, the same thing has happened with eclipse snacks.  And I'm just as bad as everyone else because Heaven forbid my kids' classes not get to have a fun snack to go along with their eclipse viewing party! But hey, I love any excuse for a theme and a little celebration so I jumped on the bandwagon.

I'm planning to head to the school and watch it with my kiddos.  We are in the 97% path, so not totally dark, but still is going to be a pretty cool experience.

To celebrate this fun event I decided to make a few eclipse themed treats to send it to school for the kids to enjoy.  These rice crispy treats were super easy to make. I just cut out circles to represent the sun and the moon and sprayed it with spray food coloring and stuck them together with icing.

And if a full moon causes kids to act crazy at school, can you imagine what teachers will be dealing with on a day like today?  I figured they needed a little treat for themselves also!

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Favorites

Hooray for Friday!  We have a super busy weekend ahead, but I'm always up for a weekend, no matter how busy so I'll take it.  Today I'm linking up with some of our favorite bloggers to share my Friday Favorites for the week.

I have some foot issues that cause a lot of pain from time to time. I haven't been to the doctor, but I am pretty sure it's plantar facetious possibly combined with something else.  I generally live in flip flops all summer long and I know that probably doesn't help.  Often if I wear very flat shoes with no arch support the next day it is so painful for me to walk, especially first thing in the morning.  A few weeks ago I was having more pain than normal and we happened to be walking through Target when I spotted these sandals. I tried them on and, oh my goodness, they were SO comfortable.  I wore them pretty much every day for the next week and you know what?  The pain in my foot gradually went away as the week went on. I just know it's because these are molded to my feet and offer arch support unlike flip-flops or other sandals do.  

They are now officially my favorite shoes! I wore these in the airport on the way to Montana last week and that was a real test because you know  how much walking you do in the airport.  The other bonus is that every single time I wear them I get multiple compliments!  Everyone wants to know where I got them and they are shocked to learn they are less than $25 from Target!  They come in several colors, but I loved the fun metallic gold color that literally match everything. 

Now that I know I love these I am leaning towards purchasing these Birkenstocks in black patent leather that a friend of mine has, but I can't quite pull the trigger because these Target ones are serving me well for the time being.  

A few weeks ago I bought both of my girls book lights for when they read at night and I decided I needed one for myself also!  Sometimes I read books on the Nook app on my phone, but often I also read real books and don't want to keep the Mr. up at night.  Well, the first time he saw me using it was on the plane last week and he literally laughed out loud and took my picture because he thought I was such a dork.  Ha!  Well the tables turned when he tried to read and couldn't see because our window wouldn't stay up.  I offered him my book light and he just laughed.  It is definitely my favorite little accessory for reading and traveling! 

Any other Descendants fans out there?  My kids and I loved the first one and were so excited when Descendants 2 came out a few weeks ago.  They watched it over and over and started singing the songs non-stop so I downloaded the soundtrack and now it is our favorite thing to listen to!  We're always singing it, listening to it in the car and dancing any chance we get!  

We love books and new books make it more fun to read, right?!  Over the summer I discovered the store Half Price Books and it is now our favorite place to go for books!  They sell used books for deeply discounted prices and you can resell your old books (although I don't think what they give you for it is worth it).  We had a little extra time to spare between practices earlier this week so we popped in and we got a couple of books for only $5!  It made the kids excited about reading and made our reading home work time a little less painful so that is a win in my book!   

Last but not least this week is a favorite moment I had.  My little guy is a HUGE baseball fan. He loves to play it, he loves to practice it, and he loves to watch it. He pretty much would eat, sleep and breath baseball if he could. 

We had a rare afternoon at home yesterday and he wanted me to see if there were any baseball games on TV that he could watch.  We found the Little League World Series and he was glued to the TV! He was fascinated by the fact that these were kids and not grown ups and watched their every move. 

His interest and excitement was infections and it made me drawn to the game also. We sat and watched baseball together when I could have been doing a ton of other things around the house.  However, hanging out together, talking about plays and watching what he loves was probably my favorite moment from my week! 

I hope everyone has a great weekend!  We'll see you back here on Monday! 

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

***GIVEAWAY*** Stick 2 Me Labels

Happy Thursday, Friends!  Remember last week when I shared about the Stick 2 Me labels that are so perfect for back to school?

We've been using them on everything and just over the weekend they came in handy.  I had labeled all of Boo-Boo's baseball equipment and the other moms noticed and commented on what a great idea that was.  There were stories of lost batting helmets, mix-ups with bats that look similar and water bottles never to be seen again.  They loved the ideas of using the labels on more than just back to school items!

Our school is big on technology and often the girls have bring your own device days where they get to bring iPads or other technology to their classes.  The teachers integrate learning through apps and other websites the kids can view on their devices.  However, the idea of sending in an expensive iPad with an 8 year old kind of makes me nervous so I'm always sure that the labels are all over both the iPad and the cover!

Well, our friends at Stick 2 Me have partnered with us to give away a set of labels to one of our luck readers!  All you have to do is check out THIS Facebook post for all the details.  Simply like the Stick 2 Me Facebook page and share our Facebook post about the giveaway and you are entered!  Winner will be announced tomorrow so hurry to enter now!

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Montana Ranch Trip {Part 2}

Yesterday I shared part 1 of our Montana Ranch Trip and today I'm back to share the rest of our trip.  This day I was super pumped because we were going on a cattle drive!  Now, this was not one of our original activities that we had signed up for, but after talking to several other guests they told us it was a must so we made the change.  

I had ridden horses during summer camp as a kid, but it had certainly been a while and the Mr. and never ever been on a horse before! We got introduced to our horses (Mr. had Hawkin and I was riding Cash) and then got a little lesson on how to handle and direct the horses.  

We had to prove that we could have them go where we wanted them to by maneuvering around some cones, etc. and then we got a short break before heading out to where the cattle were.  

As we left the pins and started walking along the trails it was gorgeous.  Wild flowers everywhere and I couldn't believe we were just walking along in the pasture.  Everyone's horses kept stopping to eat and our guides told us it was like a giant, never-ending salad bar for them.  Ha!  They told us to try to not let them eat while they were "working," but that didn't always happen.

When we came over a hill and saw the cattle by the lake it as such a picturesque scene.  

So we got a lot of training on how to ride a horse, but then we were kind of thrown into the cattle drive part.  All of the sudden next thing we knew we were helping lead the cattle to a different pasture.  

It was pretty simple because as we walked behind them they just kept walking along, but once in a while a stray would get separated from the herd and one of the more experienced ranch workers would give us instructions of how to get it back. 

I must have taken close to 100 pictures and endless video.  It was just so surreal to be on the horse with cattle right at my side and this gorgeous backdrop that seemed to go on forever!

I felt like a real cowgirl and it was SO MUCH FUN!!!  

I mean, I seriously could be convinced to move to Montana and do this full time.  

The Mr. got into it also and ended up feeling pretty confident in his horse riding abilities by the end of our cattle drive.  

We spent close to 2 hours on the cattle drive and I could have done it all day long!  

When it was time to head back we grabbed lunch and then I did an archery lesson while the Mr. did mountain biking and then we both went on a little hike around some of the ranch property.  

On our hike we saw two deer just pop out of nowhere and run right across the path we were taking! 

It was getting overcast, but still so pretty to look at. No houses, no roads, no cars, no stores...just so quiet and peaceful! 

That evening there were lots of fun activities planned on Main Street.  Cowboy Cal showed us all sorts of rope tricks...

We got to brand leather coasters to bring home...

And we just enjoyed our last night of vacation.  It was so nice to experience simpler times and a slower pace for a few days.  We came back home and jumped right back into school events, soccer tournaments, cheer and baseball practices and our normal crazy busy life.  

The whole time we were there though we kept saying how much we though our kids would enjoy a trip like this.  All of the activities and outings were so much fun and something we'd love for them to get to experience.  I'm going to be looking into other family friendly dude ranch type vacations for us because it is something we'd love to do in the near future!  

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Montana Ranch Trip {Part 1}

Last week the Mr. and I got to go on an amazing trip to a Ranch in Montana.  It was seriously one of the coolest trips we have ever been in.  We've actually been to this ranch a few times before, but always during the winter so being there in the summer was a completely different (and better in my opinion) experience. Anyone remember the show Hey Dude?  It was one of my favorites growing up and being at this ranch during the summer totally reminded me of that show. 

We were greeted by some of the ranch workers on horseback as we arrived. It was the perfect way to set the tone for what we could expect the rest of the week! 

It is a working ranch and is 18,000 acres in size. It's absolutely gorgeous and it seems as if there is nothing around for miles and miles.  Totally different than where we live.  

The little town that is set up in the center of the ranch is just like stepping back into the Wild West days.  It has buildings that are original to that time period that have been moved to the ranch and many serve purposes such as meet rooms, guest rooms, a saloon, etc. Everything is authentic though and so much fun to look at.  

We were staying in a little cabin building and everything, down to the details in the bathroom, is well thought out! 

After getting settled in we made our way over to the General Store where we picked some boots and cowboy hats.  Everyone there was decked out in western attire and it was so much fun having theme wear! 

We couldn't get enough of the hats! 

We spent the rest of the day exploring a little, taking in the sights, and just enjoying a simpler and slower pace of life for a change.  

The next day we started our activities and I would explain that the ranch is like camp for adults.  There were numerous activities we could choose from and I had really hoped to try some new things I wouldn't otherwise have a chance to do.  

First up was clay shooting. We had amazing instructors that went step by step with us.  They taught us about the mechanics of the shotgun, what to look for when the clays were pulled and how to point and shoot.  I had beginners luck because I hit every single one of my first 10 shots or so!  

The Mr. had a blast also and he was like an old pro.  He even won the little competition we had going on with our group and got the special clay as a souvenir trophy to take home! 

After a quick lunch we were off on our next adventure of riding ATVs.  Now this is something I could have done without, but it as still a fun way to see a lot of landscape on the ranch.  

We were each in our own ATV with a guide who helped give us tips and steer us in the right direction.  We got to drive part of the time (and I was super slow during my time driving) but then the guides jumped behind the wheel and showed us what these vehicles could really do.  

This was how I felt about that! 

We were dusty and dirty after that ride so it was nice to clean up and enjoy a fun happy hour and amazing dinner that evening.  

I got to try the Huck Margarita everyone kept raving about and it was totally as good as I had imagined.  When we had arrived at the airport in Montana I kept seeing signs for Huckleberry Slushies (still regretting not getting one of those), Huckleberry Jam, etc.  I asked our bartender and apparently the Huckleberry is native to the northwestern United States and found many states in this region, including Montana.  It's like a cousin to a blueberry and we had lots of Huckleberry foods (yummy ice cream and more!) on this trip.  However, this Huckleberry Margarita was, by far, my favorite! 

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the second part of our trip!

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