Things on Thursday: Our Easter Baskets

Quickly wanted to follow up on Easter.  I always forget to post pictures of what the Easter Bunny left behind.

Here are the boys’ baskets.

Easter baskets

Lucas recieved a gardening basket.  {remember my inspiration board}  In it are two books about gardening, some gardening tools, gardening gloves, an egg maracca, seads for planting, some beeswax modeling wax, some chapstick and a lovely european chocolate bunny.

Gardening easter basket

Ezra recieved a karate basket {again remember this inspiration}  In it was the wooden karate belt display, a new cap, a personalized karate tshirt, a lego karate dude, an eraser, chapstick and a european chocolate bunny.

Karate easter basket

They each loved all of the items in their baskets!



We hosted Easter brunch at our home this year.  I didn’t take many pictures as I was busy cooking and having fun.

I will give you some highlights.

We decorated eggs {the night before}


We hunted eggs.



We played kickball {Ezra’s idea and it was so very fun to have all the kids and adults play together.}  I didn’t take pictures of this because I was too busy running the bases!  Haha.

The kids played in the shrubs.


Ezra and Grandpa practiced karate {Have I mentioned that my father is taking karate with us?}

karate practice

We chatted and talked.



We ate.  A lot.  It was yummy.

After everyone went home in the afternoon there was a bike ride.

That was our Easter.  It was a lovely day!

Ezra’s Bedroom Progress

I have been hesitant to share Ezra’s room with you because the honest fact is that much of the time it is covered in Legos.  I don’t think covered in Legos is a good look so I really have not had the opportunity to take decent pictures of it.

Also, he is transitioning from a young playful space to desiring his room to be a bit more sophisticated {read that as tween land}.  This has been an interesting area to navigate as he still much wants to play with certain toys and have them accessible to him {hence the Legos everywhere}, but he also does not want it to look like a playroom covered in toys.  He definately has his own style and really wants to have a hand in what we do in his room.

tween boy room

We have found some great ways to make his room feel mature, yet still be fun.  I finally feel like we can share some of the progress.  {There is still much to do in this room}.

Lego Organization- I shared my little lego guy organizer made out of a silverware tray.  This has really been a nice touch.  I was finding Lego guys everywhere.  He just has so many that he loves but never really knew where to put them.  Now he does!

lego organizer

Pin Collection- I also shared his simple pin collection on his lamp shade.  This has been another great way to display his collection without it taking up more space.

dresser top

Trinket Jar- Ezra is a bit of a packrat.  He will hold onto wierd little things he finds: keys, balls, marbles, trinkets, coins, little toys.  They would lay all around which made a big mess and a lot of clutter.  I bought a $10 glass jar at Target and made a deal with him that he could collect and hold onto whatever old junk he wanted as long as it fit in that jar.  It seems to have worked.  {note  picture above that it is super full…haha.  He even still has the Valentine’s Love note I sent him years ago!}

Here is a shot of his big boy room.  He chose to use Behr’s Catalina Coast paint, the same color we used in our dining room.  He really liked the color so it seemed an easy enough choice.  Over the bed we found an antique rowing oar to hang from a local antique store.  I love the way it looks.

tween boy room

For lighting Ezra really wanted to pick out something sophisticated.  I tried to guide his decision a bit, and we landed on a simple drum style fixture for the ceiling and a hanging pendant for his bedside.  {This is on a remote control just like Lucas’ globe nightlight.}

boy lights

He wanted his bedding to simple, cozy and masculine.  {He actually picked out the comfortor and pillows for his birthday last year.}

Of course, he uses his lap table for a sturdy work surface and for playing Legos.  I am so happy that he enjoys the handmade gift I made him.

{I am pretty positive that the Jack Sparrow poster may be on its way out.  He was getting a karate belt organizer in his Easter basket remember?}

There are a few areas that need some help but again, it is a work in progress.  His bookshelf is in a state of constant disarray, and I am thinking of fixes for that problem.  Also note, there are more Legos up there.  Seriously??


We hung an enormous map on his wall right after we moved in.  {Seriously best investment ever.  He knows so much about where countries are etc, simply from having exposure to it.}  I would like to frame it out with some reclaimed wood or trim.

wall map

As you can see, his TV stand {doesn’t use it for watching TV, but for watching movies on the weekends with his brother} is a bit cluttered with Legos and hats. This is another area we are working on solutions for.


I am so happy that his room is coming along.  More importantly he loves it.

Anyone else stuggling with Tween space control?  Anyone else want to scream with clutter and sloppiness?  Please tell me I am not alone.

Any hat organizing, clutter controlling ideas to pass on???



Wooden Lego Guy Organizer

My son loves Legos.  I find Lego guys everywhere.  He would leave them on every surface possible in his room, dressers, end tables, shelves and even his window seal.  On top of that issue, he was always losing them because they didn’t have a specific place.

I searched around and tried to find a wooden Lego guy display.  {I found one HERE and HERE}  I just was not happy with the price tags of these displays.  No way was I paying $50- $100 to store plastic toys!

I refused to put some plastic crap on the wall like the lego guy holders I saw in stores.

One day I stumbled upon a silverware drawer organizer while walking the aisles of Target {I think it was $12}.  On a whim I brought it home on the chance that it would work.

Here is how it worked out as a Lego guy organizer.

 lego organizer

Ezra loves it.  We may even get another at some point as his Lego guy numbers are always growing.

For now it lives on his wall holding some of his favorites.

tween boy room


Things on Thursday: Games to Try

This is a follow up post to Tuesday’s favorite games post.  Once we discovered the world of games outside of Target we just couldn’t go back.  I was in awe that quality still existed in the world.  It seems all of the great games that we grew up playing either A- no longer exist or B- are now cheap, plastic crap that doesn’t last.  Seriously, we bought both battleship and Guess Who and both are JUNK!  It is very frustrating.

I truly feel like buying quality items for our children will help them love and appreciate them more.  Then there is the health factor about all of that cheap plastic crap made in China, but that is another topic altogether.

So on to some games we are dying to try as a family.

Carcassonne-  This game looks like a more complex version of Catan Junior which our entire family loves.  It is an adventure strategy game and has some awesome reviews.  Find it on Amazon.


Ticket to Ride-  Some friends of ours have tried this game and said it was fun.  It spans ages so we are hopeful that when we do try it that the entire family can play it together.  Again, it is an adventure strategy game which our family seems to enjoy.  Find it on Amazon.

 ticket to ride

Dix it- This reports to be a game for creative minds, which we happen to have a few of around here.  It looks very fun.  It appears to be a game that one would not grow tired of as well.  This game is for older kids (8 and up) but I think Lucas could handle it with a little help also.  We have found he can play many of the older games with just a little assistance.  Find it on Amazon.


The Love Letter-This is a game of luck and deduction (think clue?) where you are trying to get your Love letters to the princess but also try to figure out what your opponents have in their hands.  Looks fun and thoughtful.  Find it on Amazon.


Peaceable Kingdom- Race to the Treasure Game-  The Peaceable Kingdom Games are very well made- they had one out for playing with at a local toystore to check out.  This one is for a younger group (5 and up) and again the games are about working together to reach a goal or treasure in this case.  I think our Lucas would enjoy this one.  Find it on Amazon.

 race to treasure

Family Pastimes- Harvest Time- This game is a cooperative game that I think would be fun to play with the kids around harvest time in our garden.  There is planning and skill involved in building your garden and timing it correctly for harvest.  Fun!  Find it on Amazon.

 harvest game

Do you have anymore to add to our list?

Our Favorite Family Games

Over this last winter we really started spending time playing more games together as a family.  It seems Lucas (age 4) finally was at an age that he would play along, even if with a little help was needed.

Santa brought us a few new games and we invested in a few as well.  So this post is going to be dedicated to games that our family loves and also a few that we want to try out.


Ok, seems like this post is gonna be a list.  So here it goes.

Catan Junior -Santa brought this game for Ezra this past Christmas. Everyone loves this game, even mom and dad.  It is a fun strategy game where you barter with wood, molasses, gold and goats to purchase boats and fortresses.  You must build your empire to aquire 7 fortresses before anyone else.  It is very fun and even Lucas can grasp the basic idea.  Buy it HERE.

Blockus- We were given this game by some friends and it is really fun.  Again it is strategy, simply try to take up the most space on the board with your colored pieces.  It sounds easy, but it is a challenge when everyone else is trying to do the same.  Buy it HERE.

Forbidden Island-  This one is ALL of our favorites.  It was another Santa gift and it gets played A LOT!  It can get quite stressful as the island is slowly sinking out from under you as you play, but it is a great practice in teamwork as there is not just one winner but all players are working together to save the island.  So very fun!  Buy it HERE.

forbidden island

Sleeping Queens-  This is a great one for a quick game.  We all love this one too.  The artwork on the cards is really adorable and it is a fun race to get the right amount of queens before your neighbor.  This one gets played often.  Fun fact, this game was created by two little girls who had a dream about it one night and their father helped them make it come to fruition.  How cool is that?  Buy it HERE.

Frog Juice-  I really thought this game would be more fun.  We do like it but it isn’t requested very often.  It is one of those games that once you play it a couple times there are not many new ways to play or strategies to learn.  I like the artowrk though and the general premise of the game is fun.  Not gonna lie, this one isn’t asked for much anymore, but it is a far cry from a creativity and interesting level than anything sold at Target.

Cardline Animal Addition-  This one really helps you use logic and you also learn a lot while playing.  You have to put the animals in order in a line by either size, life expectancy or weight.  Both boys can play this easily and it helps learn nurmeric sequences.  Not only are they learning about numbers but they also seem to learn a lot about animals at the same time.  In my opinion this is an any age game.  Preschool to Adult.   Buy it HERE.

Snap-  This game is for younger kids, but Ezra enjoys playing it with his little brother also.  You flip over cards until they match and be the first to yell SNAP when they do match to collect both cards.  Gather all of the cards in the deck to win.  Easy, fast and fun.  {This one can drag on for quite awhile.}  Buy it HERE.

Ogres and Elves- We gave this board game to the boys for Valentines day.  We bought it because there are three ways to play it. As the children get older you can play it differently to make it more complex.  It is fun on the easiest level, we are yet to play the middle hardest version, but I think we are ready to give it a try.  This game is part of the Family  Pastimes brand which posts cooperative games where there is not only one winner but all working together for the same goal.  Buy it HERE.

ogres and elves

Don’t Rock the Boat-  This is a really fun game.  Not much strategy to it, but very challenging.  You have to balance all of the little weighted penguins on the ship which is balanced on top of an iceberg.  Even as an adult I have had a hard time getting those penguins on.  Buy it HERE.

dont rock the boat

Math Dice- This is a game that we have actually used for school.  The idea is to roll the dice and beat your opponent to finding a math equation closest to the total of another two dice.  Example- the two dice that determine your answer are 5 and 6- so 5*6=30.  You need to make an equation with the others that comes closest to 30 without going over.  The three other dice rolled are 4, 2, and 3.  You can make a plethora of equations with these three numbers, but the closest to 30 would be 4*3=12*2=24.  If you holler it out faster than your opponent you get a point.  Fast and fun!  Buy it HERE.

Spot it- Another fast and fun one is Spot it.  Each player gets a stack of cards.  One card it put down in the center.  You look at the cards against your top card and find the object in common between the two.  Each card WILL have one object matching all of the other cards in the deck which is kind of crazy.  So see the match faster than your opponent and be the first to run out of cards in your deck.  This is a great game for young and old children.  My four year old can beat me at it easily.  FYI- they have an alphabet version also for preschoolers working on letter recognition! Buy it HERE.


Pin Collection Storage

Ezra has taken to collecting pins lately from every place we visit.  The trend started with our trip to Disneyland last May where we participated in the pin trading program they have {learn about that HERE}.

Here are some he has collected so far.  He keeps in Disney trading pins seperately, in case anyone was wondering where all the Disney characters were…haha.

pin collection

We are simply storing them on his lampshade.  I contemplated making him a wall hanging but real estate on his walls is a bit limited so this seemed to be an easy resolution.

lampshade pin collection

I love that each one remembers a place we have been over the last year, and I am looking forward to seeing it grow.



Karate Tournament

We are enjoying a lovely Spring Break, but I couldn’t let a major event go by without sharing.

Last weekend Ezra and I competed in our first karate tournament.  Let me tell you, it was one of the most nerve racking experiences I have ever had.  I don’t know if I was more nervous for Ezra or for myself, but my heart was pounding out of my chest for much of the day.

Ezra won third place in Kata Forms.  We are pretty proud of this as he competed against all 8-12 year olds and many of them were much higher belt ranks than he.  Third place is a GREAT accomplishment!

karate tournament 2


Here are Ezra and I with our trophies.  I won second place in Kata Forms against the 18 and over class.  I too competed against higher belt ranks and people who were doing some pretty fancy black belt forms, so I was shocked that I even won anything!

karate tournament 1


We are enjoying taking the karate class together so much.  I cannot see us stopping until we reach our black belts.  It is such a nice stress release and it seems to be something we both excel at.

Thanks for sharing our victory!


Remote Control Globe Nightlight

Our little Lucas is afraid of the dark.

I had a brilliant idea of taking an old globe that we had and turning it into a light fixture for night time.

globe nightlight

There are small pin point holes drilled sporadically through out the bottom half of the globe so that light from my light kit poked through.  You can find a light kit HERE.  I reattached the two globe pieces with some dark blue washi tape…worked like a charm!

globe nightlight

In order to make it easy for Lucas to control while laying in bed I installed a remote control outlet (found at Target HERE).

The light is plugged into this outlet that lives under his bed.

remote control outlet

Then Lucas can control it with this handheld button.  This way he can shut it on and off while laying in bed going to sleep.

remote control light kit

Lucas loves his nightlight.  He says it makes a mountain and cloud design on his wall which he loves.

Since it is Tuesday and I like to share tunes on Tuesday how about a light themed tune?  This song by Wilco called What Light has always done it for me.  Just makes me smile.  I love that my boys know the words and sing along.



Moab Camping Trip

For years we have been wishing to take a trip to Moab, UT (about three hours from our home), but we never seemed to find the time to make it happen.  After reading my girlfriend Krista’s post about Moab a few weeks ago (check it out HERE), we decided to just make it happen already!


We set out with the best intentions, we readied the camper and got on the road.  However, we had a little delay right on the Colorado border…bummer!


We did make it (thank goodness for spares), and had a wonderful weekend hiking.

We took the kids to  Arches National Park because it bosted the most kid friendly hikes.  It did not let us down.  We spend the entire day hiking, picture taking, sight seeing and just having a great time.

Here the boys and I are sitting in Double Arch.


This picture from back at the trail head will give you an idea of how majestic it is and how far we climbed.

double arch

Here are my three hikers headed up the trail.


Here are some pictures of Windows Arch.  We decided it looked like a face standing back.

windows arch



I am so proud of my little Lucas on this trip.  He was such a trooper and hung in there when his feet hurt and he was tired of walking.  Here he is when he made it to the top of Windows Arches (which is a pretty easy little hike).

moab lucas

Ezra was such a great helper on this trip.  He helped Paul set up and level the camper (at 9:30 at night since we were late getting in), he helped his brother hike and was just a pleasant boy to be around.  (Those of you with nine year old boys might understand why that is something to be thankful for.)


We didn’t do the entire hike to Delicate Arch because we were not positive that Lucas could handle it and it was toward the end of the day.  We did, however, do the trail to the Upper Viewing Area which was  still a pretty good little jaunt and had a great view over a canyon to the arch.

moab delicate arch

We stopped by the Balanced Rock and walked around for awhile also.  We had a bit of photo fun here!

moab balanced rock



We had a great trip and already have a bucket list for when we go back.  We would like to hit Canyonlands National Park next time, and we think this zipline adventure would be a great time, also we have heard that The Hole in the Rock is fun.


 For more info on Arches National Park go HERE.