Monday, April 24, 2017

Favorite 3...Children's books (at the moment)

I never have three favorite children's books...usually there are about 50. At BYU I took a children's lit class from a teacher that we called Miss funny to have college students just Miss Julie. She was a pre school teacher and was one of those people that is just full of magic. She had a twinkle in her eye and brought crates of books to each class. Her class was so easy (especially compared to others that had lots of reading and lots of projects) and she literally read books to us and taught us tricks to pass along that book magic to kids. She would pick books up and litereally hug was so funny...but we knew how much she valued and loved books.

I loved books before her class, but after her class it gave them more meaning and more magic. 

AND since we are hard core packing this week I wanted to document some of our "right now" favorites before we pack them up!

The Little Red Hen Makes Pizza 

This is a twist on the little red hen but it is HILARIOUS. We giggle about "pickled anchovies" and pizza makes everythign better--even books. The illustrations are a story in and of themselves. My mom got them for Caroline for Christmas and we just can't see ourselves getting tired of it anytime soon. 

Nature Anatomy and Farm Anatomy

I've always collected fictional stories but Caroline's love of these books remind me that nonfiction is just as important. I lovelovelove the illustrations of these books and they give you just the right amount of information. When we see a flower or food or plant or cloud or bug or animal we go to these books. Caroline loves just perusing the pages and I've caught her on several occasions just reading through and taking in all of information. There is also a food anatomy book that we will probably get sometime this year.

This is a pretty popular one and Uni the Unicorn will totally steal your heart. I love Amy Krause Rosenthal and it is so sad that she passed away this year because her books are pure reading magic. The story is sweet but the whimsical and bold illustrations take this story to a whole new level. Duck! Rabbit! is another favorite that she funny!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Florida Bucket List: Morikami Japanese Gardens

We checked one thing off of our Florida bucket list. When we first moved here Ben's class had a picnic at a park near the Morikami Gardens and ever since then I've wanted to check it out. Jen told us not to go when it is hot though...and after going that is definitely solid advice. 

I didn't really know what to expect in the gardens but it was gorgeous and we learned a lot about Japanese culture, gardens, and that you don't say "BON-ZIE" but "BONES-EYE" for bonsai tree (we had a brief lesson haha). And everyone was so nice! I think I will always be astonished when we receive somewhat decent customer service...but everyone was so wonderful that volunteered and worked there.

Caroline LOVED feeding the koi and looking at all of the fun fountains. We could have stayed there forever walking across rocks in the little streams. I loved that there was a whole children's area called "Japan through a child's eyes". There were rooms that walked you through a typical japanese house, school, train, and it was all perfect for Caroline to explore. There was a room devoted to the history of a South Florida Japanese settlement called Yamato---like one of the big street names close to us! I had no idea and the history around it was all so fascinating. 

The bonsai gardens were really neat to see and they even had a 400 year old bonsai! The rock gardens were Caroline's favorite for sure because--rocks were just screaming her name. It was so cool to see the raked rock gardens. Funny how lines and nature and pretty sounds can just make you feel so zen...we were definitely feeling it! I'm totally ready to go to Japan now!

After we went through the gardens we watched a film about Morikami (which reaffirmed why we will never take Caroline to a movie--well, at least in the near future) and it was pouring rain! We didn't have an umbrella and the it was kind of a walk to our car so we opted to go through the museum. There were beautiful kimono's, vases, and Japanese art. I've never really studied Japanese art but there were some really pretty pieces of art history.

Hooray for checking something off of our bucket list...and taking a break from packing and cleaning.

Anyways, the pictures were out of order...mainly they start at the end and end with the beginning!

Busch Wildlife Sanctuary with Friends

Ah! This was such a fun day! We met Kenzi, Liam, and Luke at the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary and went and saw all of the animals. It was a blast but it almost didn't happen! There were all sorts of storms that morning and once they cleared up at our house we hit the road to head up to Jupiter and then when we were like 10 minutes away it started POURING! We met Kenzi in the parking lot and packed in her car while the rain passed. Caroline and Liam had a blast telling knock knock jokes and it was fun to catch up without chasing kiddos for a little bit. Luckily it was the end of the storm and it wasn't muddy so we could still have our adventure.

 The best part was because it was overcast and not a million degrees that animals were pretty active. We saw the bears walking around and the florida panthers were out too! They had the huge tubs of alligators out this time--last time they weren't out because of a little cold spell. It was so much fun with friends!!! We spend a lot of time looking at the otters, the crocodile and alligator...they are right beside each other so it's cool to see the differences between them...and the turtles! We had some picnic snacks and then headed out! 

Most random play place

We are on our usual roll of "doing cool things that we didn't know about the entire time we have lived here right before we leave". My friend Kenzi basically talked me into a Miami zoo pass and always did the coolest things with her kiddos in Miami. Now that her husband is doing some rotations in West Palm she's been finding cool things to do in my neck of the woods.

Moving up here was really hard at the beginning because of the lack of lots of fun things to do. Not that there aren't fun things...but we seriously left the mecca of "all the awesome things" in Miami and between the zoo, the parks, and the children's museum up here--A LOT of things were letdowns and/or super expensive (seriously butterfly world and not hesitating to throw the zoo in that category). I don't have enough toes or fingers to count the number of times I'd ask moms I would run into fun things to do and VERY rarely would I get any new ideas of things to do. It was frustrating and an adjustment to find things on our own and not through word of mouth or recommendations.

ANYWAYS. So when Kenzi found this I knew that Caroline would love it. We all went but decided that it would be perfect for when we are packing and I have some work things to do next week so Ben might bring her back. This playmobil funpark place was fabulous. We walked in and there were tables and tables of scenes to play with...camping, police officers, swim park, princess castles, houses, boats, pirates, horses, name it, it was there. And I was pretty excited about not having to clean it up ha! And it was only a dollar! Now we had to exit through the store of all the toys but--for a dollar! I don't even care!!! Anyways. It was so much fun and hopefully we can hop back here before we move.

2.5 hours of fun!!! Seriously the best!

Easter 2017

We had a fun Easter! It was a quiet weekend at our house but we enjoyed celebrating our Savior. I can't believe that it is Easter! ((This year is flying by)) We had a dinner with a few families in our ward at the Wilson's. It was so nice to be with our friends and Caroline had a playmate. As soon as we walked into their house they showed us to their toy room and Caroline could have stayed there forever playing with Gwen. We also enjoyed conversing with other adults and bring in a home that's not full of boxes. ;) It was a happy Easter.

Caroline woke up bright and early and loved her surprises. I stocked up on some new books from thriftbooks and she got pjs, socks, play doh. We picked up some disney dolls when the store at our mall was closing so it was fun to "shop" my closet and pull out some fun things for her easter basket. It was enough to keep us entertained before 1:00 church.

Playing with play doh!

My mom got Caroline her dress the time time she was out here. I just love it. Caroline is really fond of twirling in her dress.