Mommy/Smith Boys weekend

This past weekend my hubby went back home to Texas to visit some old friends and family. It was a much needed trip, but unfortunately it came on the heels of him being away for work, so me and my little guys had a real nice stretch of quality time without daddy. And by that I mean, I had to get pretty creative to come up with fun stuff to entertain them so they wouldn’t spend all weekend looking at me saying, “When’s Daddy coming home?”

As a teacher, I loved lesson planning, so I was up for the challenge of planning some engaging activities that went beyond watching Paw Patrol and playing in our front yard. I’m not saying we didn’t do that too, but it was a long week/weekend so I needed more in my arsenal. Here’s how we spent our time…

Friday was a rainy day, so we spent it trying out a new game, playing with shaving cream, and going to the mall.


Sweet Brady was obsessed with this fish game!

When all else fails, play in the kids area and eat Chick-fil-a at the mall.


Straight from my bag of old teaching tricks…kids LOVE shaving cream!


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On Saturday, we had gorgeous weather. It was the perfect day to check out the Museum of Life Science in Durham. Or as I now like to call it, the Disney World of Durham. Good gosh, this place was amazing for kids. We were there all day and could have stayed longer! Thank you, thank you, thank you, to whoever created this place.


Train selfies!

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On Sunday, we got up and made banana muffins together.

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Then we went to the airport to watch the planes take off and land, and of course, pick up Chris!


We went straight downtown from the airport for a food truck rodeo.

And blissfully, Chris will be working from home ALL week this week. Woohoo!

I loved my one on one time with my boys, but it always feels better when our foursome is back together!

Earth Day- Kids Cook Monday

This Wednesday, April 22nd, is Earth Day. I recently saw a post from the website,  about some easy ways to celebrate this special day with little ones. I will admit, I was expecting a list of complicated tasks that inevitably would include a Pinterest-y type project…although I’m not exactly sure how that would help our Earth. Anyways, I was pleasantly surprised to see the list was so do-able, and that we (and probably you too!) love doing many of the ideas mentioned. Here’s some of the ways us Smiths are celebrating Earth Day this week- and most weeks!

1. Go “meatless” once a week. You guys, this is so simple. There are so many yummy meatless meals out there and if we all participated in this, it would make such a difference for our planet. For instance, did you know…?!


2. Shop for local produce and ingredients. We’re so lucky to have lived in places with great access to local, fresh produce whenever we needed it. Our family loves to hit up Farmer’s Markets to see what looks tasty and is in season. We have a really big market that is open year round and you can really find some great deals. Plus, the kids enjoy going and you really cut down on the amount of fuel/costs needed to transport your food to you.


Brady- “I’ll take those carrots. Those right there.”

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Our market finds this week.

3. Plant a garden. In Pennsylvania we had produce out the ying yang. There was a peach tree, pear tree, plum tree, tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers and squash in our yard. It was awesome! I’d love to get back into that kind of gardening again, especially now that the kids are at a fun age for helping me with it. For now, we are starting with some potted herbs. I love having fresh herbs on hand for all kinds of recipes. And what better way to teach kiddos about taking care of the Earth, than by showing them how we can grow and care for our own produce.


Brady was smelling the mint!


We’re growing Thyme, Mint, Basil and Flat Leaf Parsley.

4. And finally, my favorite way to celebrate Earth Day is to cook together! You can never underestimate the importance of teaching our kids where their food comes from and how to prepare it. Think of the impact we could make on our planet if the next generation focused on cooking and eating real food and we could reduce the amount of pre-packaged food waste that we create.


Today we used our market Asparagus and made a super simple tasty side dish. (Even Nolan ate some Asparagus!!) All we did was wash and chop our Asparagus, sauté them in some Olive Oil and butter, and then tossed them with some lemon juice and some of the Thyme and Parsley we just planted. Finally we topped it all with some shredded Parmesan cheese. So easy!


Herbed Parmesan Asparagus. This bowl just screams Spring!

Happy Earth Day Y’all! May you find lots of tasty things to grow and eat on our Earth!


Dinosaur Cupcakes- Kids Cook Monday

The other day we had a boring, rainy day in Raleigh. Chris was out of town and it was too wet and cool outside to do anything fun outdoors with the boys. In other words, it was the perfect day to bake something. I told Brady we should bake something fun and asked him if he had any suggestions. He quickly replied, “A Dinosaur Cake!” While I was not exactly sure how to pull that off, I knew we had to make it work because he was so proud of his idea.


This cooking session with B-Man was not necessarily about trying a fancy new recipe or pulling off some elaborate Pinterest project- but more about getting messy in the kitchen and having some fun. We didn’t pay attention to swapping out ingredients for healthier alternatives, in fact we used a boxed cake mix we had in the pantry. We indulged in sugar and fat and loved every minute of it. No regrets.

First, we made a list of the steps for making some really cool dinosaur cupcakes. We got out all of our ingredients and got to work.


Our to-do list for making cupcakes. He loves lists! He’s so my kid!


We used a boxed cake mix (watermelon flavor!) for our cupcakes. Actually, we used half of a package of cake mix because we really didn’t need that many cupcakes. We added 1 egg, 1 cup of water, and 3/4 cup oil. Brady helped crack the egg and stir up the batter. We put our cupcakes in the oven and got to work on our homemade frosting.



I used this recipe I found online for our frosting. Brady helped me use the blender to make it nice and fluffy and then we added in green dye-per Brady’s request.


While our cupcakes were cooling, Brady got to work picking out some of his favorite dinosaurs to top our cupcakes with.


Sidenote: Stop what you’re doing right now and go find watermelon flavored cake mix at Target. Smelled and tasted amazzzzzing!


B gave them all a bath so they were nice and clean.


Decorating the cupcakes was definitely Brady’s favorite step. He was so proud of how they turned out and even wanted to bring some to our neighbor’s house.


I loved this time in the kitchen with my Brady-Boo. He was so involved and so happy to be making his “vision” come to life! Also, despite the fact that he is not usually a dessert loving kiddo, he ate every bit of one of these cupcakes. He must’ve tasted the love in them!


Best. Rainy. Day. Ever.


I love that little finger sneaking into the picture trying to get a taste!


Dr. Seuss Day- Kids Cook Monday


Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! On March 2, people across the country come together to celebrate “Read Across America Day” in honor of Dr. Seuss. This is a day to not only recognize one of our most amazing authors, but also a great opportunity to for teachers, students, parents and children to come together to read and take part in literacy related activities. I always loved celebrating this day with my students when I was teaching, and now it is a day I look forward to enjoying with my own kiddos as a stay at home mom.

This year Dr. Seuss’s birthday falls on a Monday, so we made some tasty treats for “Kids Cook Monday” to go along with some of our favorite Dr. Seuss books.

We started by reading the most classic Dr. Seuss book, The Cat in the Hat. It’s funny. It’s silly. And, it’s always a crowd pleaser. We made some easy little fruit kabobs to go along with our lunch and story.


Then we read my favorite Dr. Seuss book, Horton Hatches the Egg. It’s the sweetest story about an elephant who promises to take care of an egg and goes through terrible circumstances but never leaves the egg. I just adore Horton’s selflessness and love. I always loved reading this book to my first graders and will never forget reading it to my Brady when he was just a tiny baby. Seriously, my favorite.

We made these cute little haystacks that look like a bird’s nest with blueberries to represent the egg that Horton was protecting. These are the easiest and tastiest treats.

Nest and Egg Ingredients


1 cup Butterscotch Chips
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
2 cups Chow Mein Noodles
1 cup of blueberries

Here’s how we made our nests…


Melt the peanut butter and butterscotch chips together in the microwave. (About 1 minute)



Stir the mixture until smooth.



Add the chow Mein noodles.



Stir until all the chow mein is coated with the peanut butter mixture.



Scoop spoonfuls of the chow mein mixture onto a greased cookie sheet.



Add blueberries to the tops and put into the refrigerator for at least a half hour.

While the nests are cooling and hardening in the fridge, let your littlest helper lick the bowl.

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These little guys are sweet, salty, crunchy and the blueberries are surprisingly necessary!


If you don’t have many Dr. Seuss books at your house, or you can’t make it to the library to check some out, look on Youtube for some awesome readings of some of his most popular books. This is one of my favorites too!

Hope you and your little one get to spend some time in the kitchen and with a great Dr. Seuss book!

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If you would like any more information about “Read Across America Day” or ideas for celebrating Dr. Seuss, check out this website!

Yogurt Parfaits – Kids Cook Monday

We’ve been on a Greek Yogurt kick here in the Smith house. Or as Nolan calls it, “Yoyo.” We have it in the mornings with granola and fruit, but I got to thinking how fun and easy it would be for our afternoon snack. I decided to set out our yogurt and a bunch of topping choices to make it like our own self serve yogurt shop. Most of the toppings were super healthy, but there was just enough yummy stuff set out to make it seem like a real treat.

Here’s our ingredients…


We used honey flavored Greek Yogurt, but you could certainly use plain or vanilla and add a little honey for sweetness. We had berries, bananas, chocolate chips, granola, and peanut butter for topping choices. Other yummy options could be blueberries, slivered almonds, coconut, crushed pineapple, or chocolate syrup. The possibilities are endless!


Brady was such a big boy scooping out his own yogurt and chopping up his fruit for toppings.



Of course Brady opted for peanut butter in his parfait!



Brady’s finished product- delicious!



Rollie Nolie got in on the action too!



I went with a chocolate strawberry combo with a little granola for crunch.

This would be such a fun activity for a morning playdate or birthday party. We’ll be doing this for our afternoon snack again, for sure!

Halloween- Smith Style

Halloween has never been my favorite holiday. It’s always been OK, but now that I have young kiddos, it’s a whole new ballgame. We had such a blast getting ready for and then celebrating Halloween this year. Our boys are at such a fun age and really enjoyed every bit of the festivities. Brady was obsessed with planning, creating, and wearing his costume that he thought up. And Nolan? Well, he was pretty much made for Halloween. Socializing with strangers, eating junk food, and being told how cute you look… that’s basically Nolan’s dream come true.

This year we let the boys pick out small pumpkins at the Farmer’s Market and they each got to paint them. Nolan mighta eaten a little paint. And of course, Brady meticulously painted every inch of his pumpkin as slowly and carefully as possible.

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Nolan’s on the left, Brady’s on the right.

For Halloween food, I turned to Pinterest. So many Pinterest ideas seem silly and over the top, but I can honestly say that our boys got a kick out of all the special food that we made. For once, we nailed a Pinterest inspired idea!


PB&J Spider Sandwiches


Mummy Hot Dogs


Jack-O-Lantern Ranch Bean Dip


Aaanndd… Fizzy Worm Juice (which was not Vodka and Sprite for us adults, if that’s what you were thinking. Ahem.)

As for costumes, this year Brady chose what he and Nolan would be. He’s been super into his Curious George books lately, so he decided that he wanted to be “The Man with the Yellow Hat” and Nolan should be Curious George. This totally worked for me because I had a monkey costume that I bought from Target on clearance at the end of the season last year, so Nolan was taken care of. However, Brady’s costume was a different story. Turns out, “The Man with the Yellow Hat” is not a very common pre-schooler costume, so we had to do some improvising. We found his shirt at the mall, the pants on Amazon, and well, yours truly made the hat. Thank you, glue gun!


Ahhh the cuteness!

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We took the boys trick-or-treating at the park by our house for their “Trick or Treat the Trails” event. They had a blast and I was so relieved to see that people actually knew what the boys were dressed as. Again, thank you, glue gun!


Once Nolan realized that people were just giving him candy, he was stoked! He tried eating it wrapper and all!

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Brady would not let Chris and I go without costumes, so last minute we threw together some cowboy costumes. When a 3 year old tells you to wear a costume, you do it.


We ended the evening by trick-or-treating with our neighbors in our neighborhood. After we put the boys to bed, Chris and I sat outside, gave out more candy, and enjoyed some more “Worm Juice.”


It was an awesome Halloween! We’ll probably need to detox tomorrow from all the sugar and excitement, but it was worth it. I’ll leave you with another favorite Halloween memory…Nolan’s first time listening to “Thriller.” HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


Drop a Beet!

Recently, I bought a whole bunch of beets for a recipe that Brady and I made for Food Revolution Day. I’ve never been a beet girl, per se, but they were pretty tasty in the Rainbow Salad Wrap we made. Nonetheless, we had a whole lot of leftover beets. I wasn’t sure what to do with them, but after seeing how amazingly vibrant and purplely-red the juice was, I thought, this would make a fabulous paint color!

I sliced the beets in different directions so they would all have a different shape. Then, we went outside and used the beet chunks like big stamps. This was easy, and not nearly as messy as I would have anticipated. If you ever have a leftover beet or happen to find them at a farmer’s market for a really cheap price, give this activity a try with your little one!

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