Day 1230 | Back to DC


I'm taking a quick break from the blog as I head back to DC to meet two of the cutest little babies. In hopes of staying more present with them, I'll be living the blog-free life. A real vacation from all responsibilties...crazy!

In the meantime, take a few minutes to read my latest Visit Eau Claire blog post! Appropriately enough, it's titled, From DC to EC. I couldn't have planned this type of timing if I had tried!  

Day 1229 | Kindergarten School Pictures


Chase's kindergarten school photos came home in his folder today! It's funny how seeing that little envelope can still cause a rush of excitement. Chase is very happy with his school photo, so that makes me happy. Personally, I don't think his photo captures my little guy at all! I included a [real] smiling photo in the bottom-left so you can compare, but I'll keep my opinion to myself (and my favorite blog readers). 

As a side note, school photo orders are SO much less expensive here. I remember being appalled when we got Chase's first picture order form in DC (I even documented it here). I think we ordered on 3x5 and one class photo. In case you don't want to do your own comparison between the link above and the this year's order form (pictured in the collage), let me tell you that the most expensive package in EC is $43. Still no joke, mind you, but when you compare it to the most expensive package in DC at $135 (!!!!), all of a sudden you can't really complain. Yes, the packages do contain slightly different prints, but they are completely comparable...the EC one evens includes a digital copy! Crazy, right?!?

As a side, side note, let me tell you that living in Wisconsin has not been the huge cost of living decline that we were hoping for. With all the extra family and friends in town and the ability to do more because we don't have to fight crowds + traffic, we find ourselves spending more money living here. I know...I'm annoyed, too. This photo order, though, reminded me that some things in WI are more affordable than DC. I'll just have to be on the hunt for more of these deals.

In case you want to see what Chase's photo looked like from that first photo order, here he is as a two year old. It was a really good photo, I'll give them that. 




Day 1228 | Garden Debrief


Our garden is officially done for the season. My master gardeners were working hard this morning to clean up the remnants and plan for the spring (think tulips!). 

As a note to my future self, here are a few things I learned from my garden this year:

  • Add a fence. The critters in our yard are super intense and really impressive when it comes to their climbing activity. 
  • Pass on the leeks. We obviously didn't do our research on how to successfully grow leeks...they just din't grow!
  • Mind the shade. Turns out that some plants need more sunlight than others. Who knew? 
  • We love fresh produce. The boys really really loved picking the fresh veggies from our garden. It was about the sweetest thing ever.
  • Tomato + cucumber plants can really grow. I definitely didn't plan for the height that came out of these types of plants. Next year I'm going to be ready.
  • They need a lot of water. Like, every day. I was surprised, too.

As a further reminder,

  • Here's what worked well for us: cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, basil, and mint.
  • Here's what was so-so: green peppers (because of the critters) and carrots
  • Here's what didn't turn out: leeks and salad greens (turns out they need sun)


Day 1227 | A Tattoo


Robbe has requested that "the whole world" see his new tattoo (a bat). And specifically, Yaya, Zoe, and Nani. 

I'm just doing my part to make his dreams come true.  

New podcast episode!

The newest episode of Starr Struck radio is out! If you want to hear Mary Catherine and me complaining about how motherhood has wreaked havoc on our bodies, take a listen. It's entertaining, I swear!


Day 1226 | Weekend Recap


We did so much this weekend, that my normal posts just didn't cover it all. Luckily, I can sneak a weekend recap post in to give all the details.

Our Weekend Top Ten

  1. Dinner + conversating with family on Friday night.
  2. House tidying + cleaning 
  3. Lunching with our favorite 16 (!!) year old
  4. Badger football watching with our favorite Twin Cities Aunt
  5. Sunday school + church going on Sunday morning
  6. Podcast recording with Mary Catherine
  7. Chapter book reading with our favorite 5 year old
  8. 4-H meeting attending in costume
  9. Family apple bobbing (it's so hard!)
  10. Cupcake baking + eating with the birthday girl

Day 1225 | First 4-H Meeting


The boys and I attended our first 4-H meeting tonight. We lucked out that our first meeting was also a costume party. Spoiler: you can get a sneak peek at this year's Halloween costumes if you can spot our boys.  

Before they could enjoy the party, though, the boys had to survive the meeting. And they did! WIth this club, all the kids sit in the middle without the adults (a risky proposition for our 3.5 year old) for the entirely of the one hour meeting. I could not have been more surprised when they managed to sit there contently and attentively the entire time.  

I was in 4-H for 13 years growing up and I'm beyond excited to start sharing this with my boys.  

Day 1222 | Halloween Throwback


With Halloween right around the corner and me in full panic-mode trying to get this year's costumes done, I thought it would be nice to do a little throwback gallery of the cute costumes our little guys have sported over the years (see below). I imagine the opportunities for hand-made costumes is dwindling as the boys get older, but I'm happy to announce that we're pulling it off again this year. See photo above for this year's sneak peek  

5 years of happy Halloweening at our house:

Links to the costume Posts from the last three years:

Halloween 2014 - Hedgehogs
Halloween 2015 - Firefighter + Dalmatian (Plus a guide to your own diy firefighter jacket)
Halloween 2016 - Frozone + Tool Guy

Day 1221 | Walking Sticks


Every Monday + Wednesday, Robbe and I spent about 10 minutes on the playground at his school. We drop off Chase at 8:20 and Robbe doesn't start school until 8:40, so too short of a window to head home. Last week Robbe's school started a walking challenge so now every Wednesday we walk laps with the rest of the elementary school in hopes of winning a coveted game of flashlight tag with the gym teacher, Mr. Tom. 

To be clear, Robbe and I are the only two walkers for the 3 year old class (remember, he's one of only two kids in his class). We've got a lot of work to do to win enough sticks (that's how they count how many laps you've done), but we're having fun trying. He even wanted to run for a bit this morning to up our stick count. We got this, pre-k!

Day 1220 | Shaving Cream Alphabet


Man, I'm crossing kid-crafts off my list left and right around here. After Sunday's pumpkin activity, I realized that this shaving cream project has been taunting me for years, too. The idea? Put shaving cream (and in our case, green food coloring) in a ziploc bag, squish it around a bit, and release the air out of the bag. Your little one can create designs and shapes. Robbe and I even worked on letters. 

Quick + clean alphabet fun. Yay!

Day 1219 | Pumpkin Poundng


Looking for a quick + easy + mess-free fall activity? Here you go! I remember seeing the idea online last year and have been waiting patiently for pumpkins to show up again to try it out. See the details below.

Pumpkin Pounding

Things you'll need:

  • a pumpkin (or squash)
  • golf tees
  • a rubber mallet (or another type of hammer...but the rubber one works really well)
  • rubber bands

The basic details

  • Let the kiddos pound tees into the pumpkin however they'd like. I have to admit...I though this part was really fun, too.
  • When they've tired of pounding, offer the rubber bands to start making shapes and designs using the tees as the outer border. Added bonus? Fine motor skill honing. Woohoo!

There you have it. Super simple, right? And super fun.

Day 1217 | A Video Store


Remember when the only way to watch movies was to either buy them or go to a video store? Whoa.

We decided to open the boys' eyes to this crazy world on a dreary rainy day. To say they were excited is an understatement. 

Side note, I don't understand how a video place like this stays in business. Most of the movies are free or $1. How is that possible? I'm not sure this will be a regular weekend occurrence, but it sure was fun today.

Day 1216 | School Lunch Date


Robbe and I went in for our first school lunch date with Chase today. It's hard to say who was more excited, but it was probably me. 

It was kind of a weird lunch day, though, because the 4K + kindergarteners were on a field trip this morning and running late for lunch. Instead of joining him in the cafeteria, we got to eat lunch in Chase's classroom at our own private table. I was a bit bummed about not being able to interact with some of Chase's little school friends, but it was fun to be in the classroom (especially for Robbe as it was his first time). There might not be anything cuter than watching a three year old organize and carry his lunch tray, in case you're wondering.

And then, after our delicious lunch (chicken patties...whoop whoop!) and delightful lunch conversation, the boys had to wipe down our table. Classic Montessori. They loved it, though, and were very meticulous about making sure the entire surface was "the darker color."

Now we have to figure out how often is too often for school lunch dining with our favorite kindergartener. Hmmm...yet to be determined.

Day 1212 | Podcasting


As of today, I'm officially a podcaster. You might remember that I did some guest appearances on my friend Mary Catherine's podcast. I always had a blast doing it with her (who doesn't love an excuse to chat with a dear friend?!?). When she asked me to join as a co-host with her new mommy-podcast, I jumped at the opportunity. 

The first episode dropped today and our goal is to record two episodes per month. You can listen to the new episode here (there are also details included here about how you can win a free tank top!). Or, if you're new to the world of podcasting, see below for helpful tips to start listening. 

Thanks for listening! We really appreciate your support.


What is a podcast? 
A radio show or audio file that you get from the internet and can listen to at any time. You can listen on Mary Catherine's website (listen to each episode HERE), or you can SUBSCRIBE to get the podcast (directions below) so that it is automatically downloaded to your phone, tablet, or computer each time a new episode comes out. 

How do I get your podcast?
This is the BEST video I've ever seen explaining how to get a podcast (from the great folks at Serial). If you want to subscribe, as they explain in the video, you can do so through the Podcasts app on an iPhone or iPad, or in the Stitcher app on an Andriod device. Or, you can just listen by playing straight from the site, using the player embedded in the shownotes for each episode, which can be found here

How do I rate your podcast? 
If you want to rate us (thank you!) but don't know how, here are some simple directions. The only tricky part--if you're already a subscriber, you still have to search for the show in the iTunes store (search "Starr Struck Radio") in order to review it--you can't just select it from your podcast library. 

Day 1211 | The Inversion Table


After six weeks in PT with limited relief, I'm getting a little annoyed and very frustrated with the fruitless process of attempting to find some relief for my back pain. These days, I've moved onto a new chiropractor in hopes he can shed some light on what's going on.

His diagnosis? Degenerative disc disease (aka a bulging disc). I guess the space between two of my vertebrae (where the arrow is) is much thinner than it should be. If you have any experience reading X-rays, I'd love to hear your thoughts. :)

In the meantime, the chiropractor has recommended 15 minutes/day (for forever) on an inversion table (see above) in hopes it provides me with some relief. That, coupled with regular chiro appointments, is my best bet right now. I'm trying to stay optimistic about it but after so many failed attempts at treatment strategies, I'm not going to lie, I'm feeling a bit dejected.  

On a positive note, I'm spending my 15 minutes/day on the table meditating. This has been on my list for years now and finally I have some dedicated time where I literally can't do anything else. No excuses! Maybe I'll be able to help my back and cure my "monkey mind".