Tuesdays with Jacob

Mother's Day Weekend Camping Trip

May 14, 2018

Wow! Did we have the best weekend ever taking little man on his first camping trip! I can't think of a better Mother's Day present, we had the BEST time! We booked a cabin at the Okeechobee KOA resort, directly opposite an RV spot booked by friends of ours. The cabin was small, with just one full size bed and one set of bunk beds, BUT it had air conditioning and a porch swing! What more can you ask for? We packed up Friday morning and drove up that afternoon. If you're local to us in Palm Beach County it's only a 1-1.5 hour drive, and it goes fast! 




After unpacking and checking the place out we hit the pool before dinner. They actually have three pools - an adult pool, a family pool, and a kiddie pool that's only about a foot deep. The water was nice and warm and the kids had a blast. We grilled that night- hot dogs, hamburgers, pasta salad, chips, before going back over to the pool to watch The Greatest Showman on their big screen. They had popcorn, soda, and candy for everyone too.






After the movie we headed back to grill s'mores. I brought honey and cinnamon graham crackers, plus pizelles for the outside, and milk chocolate, cookies and cream white chocolate, and Reese's peanut butter cups to go inside with the roasted marshmallows. Sitting around the campfire is one of my favorite things to do, I LOVE the smell, and the breezy weather was just perfect for it. Smoke makes everyone smelly though so we were sure to take showers before bed. The bathrooms at the KOA are SO clean. Seriously, they even smell good. The showers are set up really well with each stall having a changing area and bench and then the actual shower in the back behind a curtain. It's always nice when your towel and clothes don't get soaked from the spray. 



Saturday morning we fueled up on strong coffee, eggs, sausage, and muffins before hitting the playground. The campground was running a Mother's Day craft station in the pavilion right next to the playground so the kids each made a keychain and a picture for Mom. The playground was a big hit with a slide, merry go round, monkey bar climber, and sand box.









Jacob threw a fit the whole way back to the campsite and it became clear that his late bedtime was catching up with him so we put him down for a nap and relaxed while everyone else went fishing. After lunch we hit the pool again before cleaning up for dinner. We went into town and had dinner at Pueblo Viejo. Everything there was really good - the kids menu was super friendly with tacos and quesadillas as well as chicken fingers, burgers, etc. It reminded us of our favorite Mexican restaurant back home! 






After dinner we went over to the North shore pier of Lake Okeechobee, which was our first time ever seeing the Lake! It's pretty big and we even saw an alligator and a rabbit. The pier is nice for walking and nature watching, and there's a nice breeze that comes off the lake. Back at the campground we lit another bonfire to use up the rest of our S'more stuff and then headed exhausted to bed. Jacob was so tired he fell asleep before we even turned off the lights! 







Sunday morning the dads left early for work back home while the moms and kids hit up the Mother's Day breakfast at the adult pool. It is super reasonable - nothing over $5 and they give you tons of yummy food. The plates were FULL! We had waffle and pancake platters, biscuits and gravy, eggs and sausage, everything was delicious! And since it was Mother's Day, Mommas ate free!




After packing up we began our drive home late Sunday morning. Jacob doesn't normally have other kids at home to run around with, (only child problems) and he was in heaven having kids to play with all day! They had so much fun together. 





It was such a fun trip, and we're definitely planning on camping more in the future! 

The After School Hustle

May 1, 2018

This post is sponsored by Pepperidge Farm but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

This is it folks. The final countdown. May, June, SUMMER. We are so close!! We can do this! Somewhere between the projects, end of the year parties, sports championships ... everything starts to feel a little more stressful than usual. Not that the late afternoon and evening hours are ever NOT stressful. They don't call them the witching hours for nothing! At our house those few precious hours between the last school bell and the last bedtime story is nothing short of NUTS. Sound familiar? We've gotten into a sort-of routine, and I thought I'd share what it looks like for us, in case any of these tips might help you too!


1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare. The minute my kid is in bed I'm already getting set up for the next day. Packing lunches, snacks, signing forms, setting out clothes, and just making sure everything in general is ready for the next day. This helps our morning go smoothly, and when our morning goes smoothly the rest of our day tends to follow suit. I also use this time to prepare anything that can be done ahead of time for the following days dinner. This leaves less prep work to do during those stressful evening hours.
2. Keep Snacks on Hand. When I'm packing the night before I'm sure to also pack some snacks. If little man gets hungry, he gets CRANKY. Nothing will derail your night faster than a cranky kid. I like to pre-portion snacks into snack cups or ziploc bags and keep them stashed in my purse. That way they're available on the drive home from school, while waiting at sports practices, etc. Goldfish are one of our favorite snacks because they're made with real cheese, have no artificial flavors or preservatives, and I know they won't spoil dinner. I like snack cups for the car because my son is pretty prone to spilling things out of ziploc bags. Having to clean up a mess in the car just adds one more thing to your already full to-do list.


3. Multi-Task. This helps get more things done faster. Snacks can 100% be done while kids complete homework. Flash cards can get practiced while they dress for activities. I like to get my kiddo settled with a snack and his homework and then get started on dinner while he's occupied. If he finishes, I send him to start getting dressed for his evening activities or put him to work helping with dinner. Many hands make light work!
4. Everything in it's place. One of the best pieces of advice I've ever been given is to have a designated spot for homework with all the tools they need so your little darling isn't wasting time wandering around the house looking for scissors, glue, a sharpened pencil, or anything else they may need. It's also helpful to stash anything they need for clubs, sports, or activities in one spot so that when you send them to get dressed they know just where to go to find everything. This will help you avoid those "MOM! I can't find __________________!!!!" while you're in the middle of helping another kid with homework, feeding the dogs, washing vegetables, or whatever else you need to get done.
5. Keep a routine. When you have a good routine in place your kids can anticipate how the evening is going to go and can be more independent. For us, that looks like a healthy snack (like fruit, yogurt, or Goldfish crackers) and homework while mommy makes dinner, followed by dressing for evening activities, dinner, then off to swimming or church. Once we get home it's bath, story, and then into bed. Since he knows what comes next Jacob is more helpful and able to complete some tasks on his own to help hurry us along. Once he's in bed I get started preparing things for the next day. (see #1)


For more on-the-go survival tips check out the Goldfish Pinterest page HERE. There are SO many helpful ideas there! And to learn more about Goldfish Colors, check out the Goldfish Colors page HERE. Goldfish Colors are also made from real cheese, have no artificial flavors, and the colors are sourced from plants! Happy moms + happy kids = win/win for everyone!


A Day at Blowing Rocks Nature Preserve

April 23, 2018

This weekend we got rained out of a planned Legoland trip, so on a last minute whim we decided on a beach trip to Blowing Rocks Nature Preserve. I've wanted to go for a few years now, and despite it's close location we've never made it up there! It's definitely one of the most unique beaches we've been to here on South Florida's east coast. Once you park you follow a short boardwalk where you pay your donation (suggested adult donation $2) and then you follow a path through the mangroves and saeagrapes until you end up in the sand! 



Once you follow the stairs down by the water turn right and head south for a little ways until you see the big rocks. This is where you want to set up camp, as it's where the "blowing" occurs. You need to be there at high tide to see it happen, when the waves come in and shoot up in between the rocks like a geyser, but low tide is cool too as you can see tide pools and get down into the water easier.




It was super windy the day we went and the tide was coming in so no one went out past putting their toes in. Jacob was perfectly happy to play in the sand and watch the water. The sand here is super dark, almost black which I'm guessing is from the limestone, but it's unlike any sand I've ever seen down here. The whole beach is amazing and we're so glad we made the trip up. There's a nature center across the street too, but by the time we left we were all hungry for lunch, so we didn't stop in there. We'll definitely be back in the future and next time we'll aim for high or low tide, instead of in between!