Friday, May 6, 2016

The 2nd Annual Mother's Day Mom Exchange: Reveal Day!

Happy Mother's Day Exchange reveal day! Elizabeth and I announced the exchange back in March, and today we, along with everybody that signed up, get to share what we received. Hopefully everybody received their packages, so please let us know what you got in a blog post and link up below. You can also share on instagram - #mothersdaymomexchange.

Sweet Turtle Soup

My partner this year was Elizabeth, fellow host and the mama behind Chasin' Mason Blog! She sent the greatest box to me, let me show you...
Sweet Turtle Soup - The 2nd Annual Mother's Day Mom Exchange: Reveal Day!
I spy Starbucks!
Sweet Turtle Soup - The 2nd Annual Mother's Day Mom Exchange: Reveal Day!
From Disneyland!!! Liz is well aware of my love for all things Disney, and that I recently completed my Disney World 'you are here' mug collection. Now I just need the one from California Adventure - time for a cross country vacay!
Sweet Turtle Soup - The 2nd Annual Mother's Day Mom Exchange: Reveal Day!
Isn't it beautiful? She also included a gift card to Starbucks, which I've since used to get myself a smores frap. Delicious.

Thank you so much Liz for such a magical Mother's Day surprise! I sent a box off to Nina from The Joni Journey, so head over to her blog to see what I sent.

All the participants this year:
Becky from byBMG
Courtney from Sweet Turtle Soup
Crystal from Hall Around Texas
Dara from Not in Jersey
Desiree from Macke Monologues
Elizabeth from Chasin' Mason
Emily from Raising Avery Mae
Erica
Jacie from The Fella Life
Johannah from The Sirois Family
Liz from J for Joiner
Mande from badbrewpack
Michelle - Instagram
Nina from The Joni Journey
Sarah from Seeing All Sides
Stephanie from Wife Mommy Me
Suzanna from One Hoolie Mama

If you joined us for this exchange, please link up below. We'd love to see what you all were surprised with!



Thursday, May 5, 2016

Teaching Together Blog Hop #8

Hey, everybody! Welcome to the Teaching Together Blog Hop. I, together with Whitney at Work it Mommy, Amanda at Tickled Pink, Courtney at A+ Life, and Beth at Our Pretty Little Girls, thought that a link up focusing on preschool activities, homeschooling ideas, and play at home learning would be a great way to pool together all sorts of fun and educational resources. A place to share and be inspired. Check back on the original post for full details, and/or past blog hops for great ideas!

Sweet Turtle Soup - Mother's Day Hand Print Flower Bouquet canvas

Mother's Day is this Sunday, so I thought I'd share the canvas Aria made for the occasion! If you've seen my A through M, and N through Z Hand & Foot Print Animal ABCs, then you know I absolutely adore anything hand and foot print art related. Aria and I have been slowly working our way through all the holidays and special event type days, making canvases for the occasion. Our most recent addition is this Mother's Day hand print flower bouquet!

The best part is how simple it is to make!

All you need:
- a canvas, nothing too large (I think ours are 10x10)
- finger paint (we use crayola)
- a large paint brush to paint tiny hands
- a little paint brush for the stems

Start by painting tiny hands with flowery paint colors and stamping the canvas towards the top. You can do a few or a bunch, Aria wanted to do a bunch. You can wipe the tiny hands clean between each color or just add the new paint color on top of the residue. We just added paint without cleaning in between stamps, and I think it added pretty pops of multiple colors to the hand flowers. Either way works!
Sweet Turtle Soup - Mother's Day Hand Print Flower Bouquet canvas

Let the hand flowers dry. Then paint a few green stems. Let those dry, and then add a bow. I'm not an artist by any stretch of the imagination so I like to keep it as simple as possible. You could also paint them coming out of a flower pot, and/or add a Happy Mother's Day somewhere. Or, instead of a bunch you could paint a row of flower hands and make a garden. If you have more than one kid you could do the garden idea with a hand from each and add their names by their flowers. You can't go wrong with hand flowers for mom!
Sweet Turtle Soup - Mother's Day Hand Print Flower Bouquet canvas

Here is a peek at all the other holiday canvases we've made over the years as well, most of them are hand and foot print art. The very first one we did was ghost feet for Aria's first Halloween! The leaves are potato leaf prints for the first day of fall, and the butterfly is for the first day of spring. The 4th of July fireworks are from a few straws taped together to make a firework stamp. We've still got a few holidays to go!
Sweet Turtle Soup - Holiday Hand & Foot Print Canvases


Sweet Turtle Soup

Please link up and share your teaching together posts below or on instagram/twitter using  #teachingtogetherbloghop. By linking up with us, you are giving us permission to feature your post. If your post is featured, we will include a picture and a link to your site to share the love. And, mark your calendars for the next Teaching Together Blog Hop on June 2nd!


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Spring Bucket List: try geocaching

Sweet Turtle Soup - Spring Bucket List: try geocaching

Another check for our Spring Bucket List. We tried our hand at geocaching over the weekend. We signed up at geocaching.com, downloaded the app, and headed out to find treasure. The first one took us a good bit to find. We felt like fish out of water - not sure where to look or how to open up the clues on the app. But, we finally figured it out and spotted the first cache in a bush. After that we found cache after cache until we were too hot to go on. It was a lot of fun, and I think Chris had the most fun. Aria was pretty middling about the whole thing. She wasn't super interested in hunting, and then she lost interest because it was so meltingly hot. We will either have to go early or later in the day, or wait until winter strikes again. I think if it wasn't so gross outside she'd enjoy the experience a bit more, but even so it was an enjoyable family outing. I would definitely recommend you give it a try in your area, but hopefully when it is not as hot.

p.s. Don't forget to bring a few treasures to add to the cache and a pen to sign your name to the log!

Sweet Turtle Soup - Spring Bucket List: try geocaching
Sweet Turtle Soup - Spring Bucket List: try geocaching
Sweet Turtle Soup - Spring Bucket List: try geocaching
Sweet Turtle Soup - Spring Bucket List: try geocaching
Sweet Turtle Soup - Spring Bucket List: try geocaching
Sweet Turtle Soup - Spring Bucket List: try geocaching

Sweet Turtle Soup - Spring Bucket List: try geocaching
Check out the rest of our Spring Bucket List:

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

[Cheers to Five Years] Disney Trip #24, day 3 - Anniversary at Epcot

April 12th -

Time to share the last day of our Cheers to Five Years Disney trip. With our annual passes expiring on the 12th we wanted to soak up a few more days of magic. So, we decided to lump my Birthday and our 5th Wedding Anniversary into a 3 day trip to celebrate. If you missed day one you can find that here, or day two here.

April 12th is our wedding anniversary, and whenever we can make it happen we love to spend the day at Epcot. After getting married that morning, we grabbed our best friends and celebrated at Epcot. We ate lunch at the Rose & Crown, we did a few rides, and we drank a few drinks strolling around the World Showcase. So, we like to celebrate our anniversaries doing something similar...just with a little lady in tow and less drinking.

Since we were up extra late the previous night we didn't set any alarms or have any inclination to get up for another early morning. Thankfully Aria was totally on board with the plan and slept in until sometime past 9. We got up, got ready, packed up, checked out, and hit the road for Epcot. Because our anniversary falls during Epcot's Flower & Garden Festival the bulk of our plan was to just eat whatever foods struck our fancy at the festival booths.

Here's what we tried:
Gaoli Beef Bun from Lotus House
 Gaoli Beef Bun from Lotus House - very yummy.

 Candied Strawberries from Lotus House
 Candied Strawberries from Lotus House - a sweet, crunchy, and extra messy favorite.

Vegetable Spring Roll from Lotus House
 Vegetable Spring Roll from Lotus House - nothing overly special, but still good. 
I also got the Peach-Oolong Bubble Tea but forgot to snap a picture - can't skip the bubble tea!

Pulled Pig Slider from The Smokehouse
Pulled Pig Slider from The Smokehouse - really good, a favorite of mine.

Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash from The Smokehouse
Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash from The Smokehouse - another favorite.

Smoked Pork Ribs from The Smokehouse
Smoked Pork Ribs from The Smokehouse - Chris really enjoyed this one, I did too but I let him eat most of it because I was running out of room.

Warm Chocolate Cake from The Smokehouse
Warm Chocolate Cake from The Smokehouse - I hated it, it tasted like smoke.

Cassoulet au Confit de Canard from Fleur de Lys
Cassoulet au Confit de Canard from Fleur de Lys - Chris mildly enjoyed the duck but the beans were too weird so he skipped those. He liked the duck offerings better from previous years here. I didn't try it.

Seared Pork Tenderloin from Urban Farm Eats
Seared Pork Tenderloin from Urban Farm Eats -  Chris really liked this one, and I would have tried it if I could have eaten another bite.

Pineapple Soft-Serve with Coconut Rum from Pineapple Promenade
Pineapple Soft-Serve with Coconut Rum from Pineapple Promenade - you just can't skip this one. I don't like dole whip, but add coconut rum? delicious.

Violet Lemonade from Pineapple Promenade
Violet Lemonade from Pineapple Promenade - this one was for Aria and she loved it. Super tart.

Walt Disney World, Epcot, World Showcase, France Pavilion, Chocolate orange from L'Artisan des Glaces
(Not part of the Festival) Chocolate orange from L'Artisan des Glaces - gag. The chocolate and orange ice cream, great. The tiny bits of orange peel I'm assuming, awful. It ended up in the trash. Everything else I've tried from there has been delicious, this one just wasn't my preferred texture.

In between bouts of eating we rode the Nemo ride, took our traditional anniversary picture, tried to play at the play ground but it was closed, checked out the butterflies, watched the Italian mime show, strolled around the countries, and saw O' Canada. After that we called it a day and decided to head to PF Changs for dinner because we didn't have enough food yet. Although most of the food we tried was during lunch time and when we had room in the tummy again there wasn't anything else we really just had to try at the booths, and PF Changs always sounds good.
Walt Disney World, Epcot, The Seas, Nemo
Walt Disney World, Epcot, World Showcase, Canada Pavilion
Walt Disney World, Epcot, World Showcase, Canada Pavilion

That ends this trip, and our passes sadly. Several of you have asked if we are going to renew, so I thought I'd give you a Disney pass update!

Way back a year ago the plan was to let our passes run out on April 12th, and then focus the rest of the year on paying off a student loan.

Then at the start of 2016 there was a job opportunity that would have had us relocating to Maryland. So, for weeks we were planning on moving - lots of purging, and apartment hunting, and talks with Aria. But, all of a sudden a few weeks before the move that job was no longer on the table. I honestly have no idea what happened. Chris was really bummed about it, it was a good choice financially but he is also from that area and was looking forward to being there again. I really had no desire to move to Maryland but it was just one of those things we couldn't pass up. Clearly with the move we weren't planning on renewing our passes.

And even though we aren't moving now (bonus from the move is that we were saving aggressively for a nice moving cushion, so when that fell through we took part of it and completely paid off the student loan that was our goal for this year - hooray!), we've still decided to not renew our passes for the time being. The prices have gone up, as they tend to do, but also Aria would need her very own pass. Instead of 2 expensive passes we would need 3, and Aria's isn't any cheaper than the adult price. So, we are taking the summer off from the parks. We really don't go too often during the summer because it is miserable and completely packed anyway, but we plan on reevaluating come fall. Aria has already put in a request to spend her 4th Birthday at Disney too, and really who wouldn't?

So, we are currently un-magical and Disney pass-less. But, that doesn't mean I won't be dragging the family to Disney property. We will actually be there this coming weekend for Mother's Day!

Disney Trip #24
And, last but not least the final video from our trip!



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Spring Bucket List: visit the zoo

Sweet Turtle Soup - Spring Bucket List: visit the zoo

The first activity on our Spring Bucket List has been marked off! Our zoo passes are set to expire at the end of this month and we really didn't take advantage of them much this past year. I don't think we went more than 2 or 3 times. So, I added 'visit the zoo' to our Spring Bucket List to motivate us to get in at least one more visit. It's just far enough away to be annoying, and we never make it further than a fifth of the (tiny) zoo before Aria is ready to go home. Zoo animals are clearly not her thing. But, we did make it before our passes bit the dust and Aria made it through the petting area, the play area, the water play area, and two thirds of a single loop of actual zoo animals before she let us know repeatedly that it was time to hit the road.

Sweet Turtle Soup - Spring Bucket List: visit the zoo
Sweet Turtle Soup - Spring Bucket List: visit the zoo
Sweet Turtle Soup - Spring Bucket List: visit the zoo
Sweet Turtle Soup - Spring Bucket List: visit the zoo
Sweet Turtle Soup - Spring Bucket List: visit the zoo

Sweet Turtle Soup - Spring Bucket List: visit the zoo