Monday, December 15, 2014

Baking With Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough

Twas eleven days before Christmas and all through the house, not a cookie was being decorated...until mommy went to the store to buy Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough!! #sorrynotsorry #cheesefactorprettyhigh #lazymomresolutions

Seriously, though? Traditions like making sugar cookies and decorating them appeals to me on Instagram [so pretty] and not as much in real life [flour mess, sticky dough, somanydishestowash, icing everywhere, ginormous dose of sugar]. But for the sake of the kids.... And these already rolled out dough sheets do make things a thousand times easier....

So, we made cookies. These refrigerated sheets are ready to cut into -- just store them in the freezer until you're ready to begin. Ready? Then open them up and let the kids have at it. You can smash up and re-roll the leftover cookie dough if you're thrifty like me. Remember to follow the instructions and place the cookies two inches apart #onebigcookie and one pan in the oven at a time #rawinmiddle.

Then, decorate however you like and gobble them all up. #accordingtobuzz

Christmas Cookies with Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough
Christmas Cookies with Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough
Christmas Cookies with Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough
Christmas Cookies with Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough
Christmas Cookies with Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough
Christmas Cookies with Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough
Christmas Cookies with Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough
Christmas Cookies with Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough
Christmas Cookies with Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough
Christmas Cookies with Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough
Christmas Cookies with Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough
Christmas Cookies with Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough
Christmas Cookies with Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough
Christmas Cookies with Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough
Christmas Cookies with Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough

This post is brought to you by Nestle Toll House! They provided the cookie sheets and the inspiration to do this fun activity with my kids. When you click the links in this post, you benefit my blog! Thank you! 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

52 Adventures | Little Romps in the Woods Count

Maybe I should have titled my series "Two Adventures". #morerealistic It doesn't have quite same ring to it, though. I'm not going to give up, but I'm certainly having to adjust my expectations. We're probably not going to be in the mountains or doing something super awesome every single weekend. But we can try. We can imagine. We can call it good, even if it's nothing grand.

This adventure was sponsored by daddy's radio station asking him to go up and get things back on the air. We tagged along, driving fast through slushy muddy puddles and tromping through the six inches or so of wet snow, making trails to follow. Mommy needs new wool socks cause her little toes didn't last long. She also needs to let her fear of cougars rest a bit. #buzzlookslikeasnack

We didn't stay super long, but we got our dose of fresh air. It was something. We'll call it an adventure.

Snow Adventure
Snow Adventure
Snow Adventure
Snow AdventureSnow Adventure
Snow Adventure
Snow Adventure
Snow Adventure

Have you been adventuring lately? Post photos on Instagram or FB with #52adventures!
To see other adventures we take, click here. We try to do lots of fun stuff. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Real Life | Nerd Parties and Pizza

The house tonight is echoing with the sound of hot wheels screaming across the floor and banging into baseboards and table legs. I keep cringing and saying "is everyone okay?" and "don't crash them into the piano!" #lifewithboys

The darkness and wind is holding us hostage tonight. I'm thinking we might need to venture out for flashlight tag more often because the testosterone is pulsing through the stagnant air. I gave both boys haircuts since these first two photos were taken. They were looking rather scraggly [but I secretly like their long hair better]. We were visiting the engineering dept for their build-something-with-wires-and-stuff party and the kids were checking out this quadrocopter design as it was being tested.




I think a field trip to a local pizza shop is perfect for kindergarteners -- do you know a five year old who doesn't love pizza? They were all speaking the same language of love as dough flew into the air and came back down in perfect circles ready for sauce and cheese. Look at their excited little faces! I think their life goals just turned towards pizza tosser.





So. Flashlight tag? Capture the flag? Dare base with glow stick headbands? Kitchen dance parties? How do you recommend we survive The Long Dark Winter? It seems longer and darker this year. I bet really the answer to all things is cheese pizza. Maybe we just need to learn how to throw dough. #lastyearwedrovetoarizona #wewontbeescapingthisyear #hittinghardthingsheadon

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

How to Get Your Kids Interested in STEM Stuff #giftguide [Science, Technology, Engineering, Math]

I very firmly believe that children learn from play. They learn how to play, they learn what they like to play, they learn about real life from play. In our family, we have a daddy engineer who loves to pass on [genetically and environmentally] his love for all things electrical and technological. The boys, especially our oldest, eat it up like candy. So, for us, we're very intentional about creating an environment of play in which they can fill up their knowledge banks and become more excited about the creative process. This is a collection of things [free and otherwise] that we've introduced to our kids and loved. I just couldn't help sharing! Enjoy! 
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Snap Electronics
Our kids started on these when they were pretty young [three or four years old!] and we did have to replace a few pieces that broke, but my goodness, this stuff is FUN. You can build circuits that make sound effects, make lights blink, make the fan spin and fly up in the air, and sooo much more. This kit gets two thumbs up from each of our kids. You can find them at Amazon.com


LEGO Subscription Service [Pley]
This is the new kid on the block -- a monthly subscription to Lego. You create a playlist of kits that you would love to build and back and forth shipping is free! You build a kit, send it back when you're done and get the next one on your list. Brilliant!! My kids got their first set in the mail yesterday and already put together the coolest monster truck with shocks and a working steering mechanism. The first Lego set is free, so you should definitely check it out! Visit pley.com to learn more!



Robotics [Ev3]
Have you heard me rave about the LEGO MINDSTORMS kit yet? This stuff is cool. Pete saved his allowance money for quite a while and we matched his funds so he could finally snag one of these. His first project was a cute little robotic doggy that did tricks! I've been more than impressed with the things he has made these parts do. Two thumbs up from everyone!
Available at Amazon.com [watch for sales]!

Magic School Bus
We snagged this entire series of DVDs back when the kids were four and two. They've been watching them ever since [especially on long road trips]! It's amazing how many principles of physics, chemistry, electronics, biology and other STEM topics are covered in these episodes. It is so fun you really don't know how much you're learning. Not even a drag for the adults to listen to. :) Definitely two thumbs up from kids and parents in this house! Available for a pretty good deal here at Amazon.com.


Mythbusters 
Sometimes, instead of a bedtime story, we pull up a Mythbusters episode on YouTube.com or Discovery.com. Brilliant and hilarious. We've been watching these together since the kids were pretty young. Two thumbs up all around. Everyone LOVES it when there's a good explosion.

Mythbusters

Wild Kratts
This is a show we discovered in a hotel room this summer while traveling with daddy. I remember watching it when I was a kid, but it's a lot more hip now. The Kratt brothers are trying on creature power suits and rescuing animals and stuff! It's pretty educational and definitely entertaining. Check out videos at pbskids.com!

Wild Kratts

Scratch
A free online intro to programming tool for kids who love to tell stories and be imaginative! Pete started using this before he could read and continues to enjoy checking out other kids' projects and re-mixing them to serve his own purposes. The sky is the limit here! Check it out and see what you think at scratch.mit.edu/!



MIT App Inventor
For the more advanced reader [2nd grade?] -- another interesting way to explore coding and programming. There are tutorials that lead you step by step toward creating your own simple android apps! Pete went through a phase and isn't using this much anymore, but mentioned it in his thankful-fors tonight, so he hasn't forgotten about it! Check it out at appinventor.mit.edu/explore/!



TinkerCad
For the creatives and artists among us, this online designer will let you create 3D objects that are ready for printing! Seriously. You can have your cake and print it too. Pete went through a phase where he loved this, then moved on to SketchUp. Check it out and create a free account at tinkercad.com/

SketchUp
This software is incredible. My dad used it to sketch out his entire dream house plan including floor joists and gutters and even electrical outlets. Pete uses it to build houses just for fun, with swimming pools in the backyard and crazy roof-lines. If your child has an interest in design, check this out at sketchup.com/.



MIT YouTube Channel
Another super fun way to learn and gain inspiration is by watching videos made by inventors at MIT like this demonstration of a robotic cheetah. Crazy right? There's a whole lot more awesome to be found right here.  



This is just a sampling of the fun we've discovered! There's more to be had -- it's just important, we think, to whet the appetite and your kids will be learning for a lifetime.

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Affiliate links were used in this post -- if you purchase an item using one of these links, this blog benefits! Thank you!

Friday, December 05, 2014

On My Mind + December Goals

A few things that are on my mind:

+ Florida. I wish it were closer. We have two weeks off for Christmas and sitting here inside this polar vortex seems cruel. I used to enjoy the cold and snow and ice more. I'm afraid my kids are being kinda wimpy too. #mustgetoutmore #ugggh

+ Hair. We get it cut and it's too short. Then it grows. It's the perfect length for about four days #slightexaggeration and then it's too long. #repeatcycle Mine is at a good length right now. #enjoyingwhileitlasts

+ Darkness. I seem to be noticing it more this year. We're either at school or it's dark. Good thing they have three recesses. I miss our mid-day adventures by the lake.

+ Exercise. My goodness. This time of year is rigged. Food+morefood+coldtemps+darkness-exercise=grumpy and lumpy. It would be a good time of year to swim laps. If I could get my cold self out of bed and over to the pool.




December goals to keep us intentional and on task:
{here are last month's goals if you're curious -- not all completed, but most}

For the blog...
+Playing catch up this month -- I have a list of post ideas as long as my arm.

For our family... [staycation for us this holiday, so lots of activity ideas]
+Christmas parade
+Ice skating with friends
+Make and decorate the annual gingerbread house with grandparents
+Make cookie cutter cookies together
+Sledding in the mountains
+Roller skating
+Make sticky buns and do a ding-dong-ditch

For me personally...
+Girls' night out with a friend
+Time to work on the bloggy-blog
+A movie night with my husband [he hasn't seen You've Got Mail yet!!]
+Maybe I'll have time to sew??????? *fingers crossed* #butnotatoppriority