Monday, July 31, 2017

Road Trip Ready: Hitting the Road with Toddlers

Let me interrupt this post before it even starts.  I wrote this post before we left for our road trip last week.  I was anxious like you would not believe.  I was so silly being so worried, or maybe because I was so worried I was overly proactive in my preparations?  The trip was awesome, and all of these items were sooo helpful on our trip.  With 32 hours in the car with 2 littles, we did NOT use screens at all for entertainment!
So consider this a "tried & true" road trip kit!

Quite honestly, I have no idea how this is going to go.  I'm completely out of the know.  Say a prayer!  You see our kids have never been in the car longer than an hour, and when we've gone to the ranch during that hour we've traveled during nap time.  It's been easy: load up the car, and as soon as they are ready for their nap time, hop in that car, when they wake up we're at the ranch.  This time will be VERY different.  Road Trip Ready Hitting the Road with Toddlers Life with the Hawleys
I know families travel all the time, but this is a first for us.  We have not been anywhere since before kids, so this is certainly new territory for us.  We're headed to a family reunion in Nebraska for the Mr.'s family & it will be a 16 hour drive, without stops.  I imagine with 2 little ones it will take us much longer.  So in preparation I gathered as much as I could from friends & Dr. Google for activities in the car with toddlers.  This is what I packed:DSC_0438
Do you remember earlier this year when I posted about matching stickers? Well I took that idea and put it on a paper towel roll lol Same concept of having to match both colors and shapes/numbers except on the cardboard roll.  I figured this would take a lot of rotating and more hunting for the image than just the worksheet.  I think Dutch will really love this one.DSC_0444
What kid doesn't love snack & pipe cleaners?!  I figured the kids could work on fine motor skills (and snack) by threading the puffs onto the pipe cleaners.  I also figured we could make lots of things with the pipe cleaners, i.e. jewelry, animals, cards, things we see on the side of the road....limitless options :-) (actually we ended up making our own fishing poles and fish out of the pipe cleaners. It was really fun for everyone!)DSC_0445
Happy Baby Superfood Puffs ~ Pipe Cleaners (I just got at the grocery store)
Dutch made these fun popsicle puzzles with Aunt Nana on her visit last fall.  They are really easy and fun to make so I think pulling these out in the car will be fun.  I also want to introduce Go Fish! to Dutch.  I think he'll love it!DSC_0447
Magnetic paper dolls; that is the best way I can describe these.  Each scene comes with a magnetic portfolio and many characters that you can add and use to create fun.  I only got three, but there are so many to choose from!  If you are homeschooling multiplies I would recommend getting these so that one child can play with these while you're working with another.DSC_0448DSC_0450
There are several Usborne products that I have on reserve for the trip, & just because they will be so easy in the car.  This magic painting book is ah-maz-ing! (I want it for myself!!!)  All you have to do is add water and brilliant colors come out of each page.  So fun and easy for the car.  I also have these travel cards (sent from Aunt Nana) that I put on a ring for the car.  Each card has a unique activity and all dry erase.  Fun things like creating a face, following a maze, creating an ice cream sunday, etc. I also have 3 of the Wipe-Clean dry erase books (also gifted from Aunt Nana!- thank you!).  Each book is packed with fun and educational activities that we will use well after this trip in our school room.DSC_0451DSC_0452DSC_0454
Ya'll I'm the worse mother ever; I hate stickers.  I never liked them as a child, and I certainly don't now.  I've been hiding this sticker book for about 2 years, so I figured this was the perfect time to show it to Dutch.  A sticker book will delight him for, well hopefully, for hours lol  Dutch got one of these Smithsonian books for his birthday and we read it constantly!  Since he liked the one he got for his birthday so much I got him another one for the road.  There are several sections in each book, and each one comes with flash cards and a quiz at the end.  I really can't even express how much Dutch likes these.  I can't wait to see his face with this new one.DSC_0455
A friend recommended these to me, and goodness was she right!  I initially ordered 2 of these books and totally forgot I did. So when the kids saw me open the Amazon package they of course dove right in, which led me to order several more because they enjoined them for hours but I wanted to keep some novel for the trip.  Needless to say I tried to keep my eye out for the package when the second batch arrived.  Let me tell to about these.  These are flip books that each come with their own pen/brush that you fill with water (easily with a water bottle in the car).  The pages are white and with the water they change colors and reveal fun colorful pictures.  And get this: as soon as they dry they go back to the white page and the kiddos can do it all over again!  Completely reusable!  Go ahead and check these out; I highly recommend the Bible Stories one.DSC_0457DSC_0458
Well if you didn't think I was obsessed with Melissa & Doug's Water Wow products with the image above, I think I will seal the deal here.  So these cards are the same deal.  The cards come with a ring and a water brush. I LOVE that these cards on a ring so that they are fun to flip through but we also wont lose them in the car.  Again you just add water to the brush and you're able to see what animal is represented by the letter.  We are also going to use these in our homeschool classroom, especially tracing the letters and working on letter sounds.DSC_0461DSC_0466
My dad got this magnetic set for Dutch for Christmas and I've saved it for the trip!  Gotta keep things novel!  So there are a bunch of wooden and magnetic pieces that you shape into different items based on the cards.  But also you can use a dry erase marker on the board to draw scenes around the figures that you build.  I think this will be great in the car because everything is contained in the box that can easily sit on a lap, plus all of the pieces easily fold up into the case.DSC_0469DSC_0472
Y'all I can't believe I scored these at a consignment sale, but I DID!!!!  Please don't just look for clothes at those kinds of events because you really can find some good deals.  These are wooden boards with magnetic balls & pens that are attached (no pieces to lose!!!).  We've had family members come visit us and even play with these. Not going to lie, but I've lost myself in these before also lolDSC_0474
And lastly, I've order lots of new books that my kiddos haven't seen so that we will have some fun new stories to read in the backseat.DSC_0479
I'm as ready as I think I'm going to be for this trip.  Say a big 'ole prayer for us.  Here goes nothing.....on the road again!!!!!DSC_0442
xoxo Darby

Friday, July 28, 2017

Chipotle Salsa

I can't even believe this, but I've never made least I can't remember ever making it.  I've made pico de gallo & guacamole thousands of times but never salsa.  Salsa isn't hard or even costly to make, so why haven't I ever made it?! I figured that I better change that.... STAT.  Well let me tell y'all, this recipe is not your ordinary salsa.....this one has got some kick to it.  So if you like heat, this is the salsa for you :-)Chipotle Salsa- Life with the Hawleys 1
From the Kitchen of Darby Hawley
16 oz plum tomatoes (whole or diced)
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic
7.5 oz chipotles in adobo sauce (only use 1/2 the can first, you can always add more if you want later)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
juice from one lime
1 tsp raw honey
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1.5 tsp sea salt

1. Preheat your broiler.  On a cookie sheet, place tomatoes (drained but reserving the juice for later), onions, and garlic. Broil for 15 minutes but stirring every 5 minutes to make sure everything gets soft.
2. Scrape the contents of the cookie sheet into a blender, along with the rest of the ingredients plus 1/2 cup water & the drained juice from the tomatoes.  Puree & then let sit for 30 minutes before serving.
3. Enjoy!DSC_0546Chipotle Salsa- Life with the Hawleys 2
xoxo Darby

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

One Room School House

Since Christmas I’ve had an idea for a school room rolling around in my brain.  We have been doing our school work in the living room and in Dutch’s bedroom, back and forth for 2 years & it was just becoming an issue.  (Yes, a first world issue, but an issue none-the-less).  I had a small closet of all of the school stuff but because it was such a small closet everything was double stacked in height and depth and I just couldn’t see what we had.  You know if you can’t see it you’re not using it, and I wanted to be able to use everything.  Not to mention that this tiny closet was in the nursery so I couldn’t do any prep while the kids were sleeping, which makes NO sense at all for this phase of my life with two lively little ones demanding mama’s attention.  We had a guest room that was used maybe 8 days a year when we had visitors.  It made me feel like we never really got to use a space that we could definitely use.  Once our guests for the year left, the switch began.  I rotated 3 closets and made this guest room into my favorite room in our house! One Room School House- Life with the HawleysHawley Homeschool
So let me share this new room with you!!! Since it is the former guest room, there is a full bathroom attached which is great for little ones to have a potty close, but also the sink is awesome for art projects.  The big walk-in closet of the guest room has now become the school closet, so all manipulatives & art supplies are organized, stored, & still easily seen. I have 2 carts in the closet (one for each child) so I can just roll that day's materials out for each child. I have the bookshelf low so that I can have baskets of activities for the kids to choose from since I tend to lean in the Montessori direction. (I still have plenty of space for our Montessori stations).  I also have a dry erase board with the objectives for each day.  My kiddos like to check-off each item that we accomplish.DSC_0309DSC_0312DSC_0314DSC_0316DSC_0318DSC_0281DSC_0317DSC_0320DSC_0319DSC_0322


Wooden Chalkboard & Dry Erase Easel ~ Bookshelf ~ Kitchenette ~ Wooden Table & Chairs ~ Rolling Carts ~ Glider ~ Cream Secretary Desk (similar) ~ Shutters for Art & on Wall (from Hobby Lobby) ~ White bookshelf (antique show) ~ Cream chair (antique but here is similar) ~ Lamp with Burlap Shade (I made but here is similar) ~ Art Supply Organizer (mine is from Hobby Lobby but here is a similar) ~ Sheepskin Rug ~ Mobile (I made as a decoration for Ellis Birthday Party) ~Dry Erase Clock ~ Posters on closet doors (numbers, shapes, alphabet, position words, & opposites)
Since moving into the school room for school & play it has been so much more convenient.  School is simpler and organized.  I have plenty of time and space to plan before the actual school morning.  We can actually see & access all of our books!!!  All around it is just so much better and way more enjoyable!DSC_0364
For those of you who are teachers or homeschoolers, what have I not thought of?
What could I do better?
What rookie mistakes am I making?!?!
xoxo Darby

Monday, July 17, 2017

Staple Summer Salad

This salad is the perfect accent piece to any summer meal.  It's fast, and last-minute, and easy, (and wont heat up your already hot summer kitchen!).  There are various versions of this salad, but this is the one that I've been making lately.  It feels very nostalgic & comfortable.  Do you have a salad like this in your rotation?Staple Summer Salad- Life with the HawleysFrom the Kitchen of Darby Hawley
1 cup English cucumber, diced
2 cups multi-colored cherry tomatoes, quartered 
3/4 cup sharp cheddar, cubed
1 tsp dijon mustard
2-3 tbs apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp coconut sugar
1 tsp EVOO
sea salt & pepper, to taste

1. Chop everything & gently mix in a bowl.  Be careful not to break the tomatoes.  Cover with saran wrap and place in the refrigerator for an hour or so.  Then serve cold.
2. Enjoy!DSC_0590
xoxo Darby

Friday, July 14, 2017

What Does He Hear?

Sometimes I think that what goes on in my head is lame.  I mean I debate over the best diaper pail & rehash what the kids ate that day and if I'm doing enough as a mother, wife, friend, sister daughter..... But I'm super blessed and really just over-analyzing a bunch of "first world problems."  How could I have anything worth listening to? I wouldn't want to listen to me, why would anyone else, let alone, the God of the Universe.  Have you ever wondered what it might be like to be Him? What must He hear on a daily basis? Thousands upon thousands of prayers?  He hears all of that and STILL wants to listen to me rattle away about my tiny worries? It doesn't make sense, does it?  But it's true!  The God of everything has the pleasure of listening to the stars & the whales sing and He still wants to hear my worries, & YOUR thoughts and worries.  How GREAT is our God?! Check out this short clip of what it might be like to be God and hear what He hears.
You are a treasure and are heard just as much as all of the stars in the heaven & the whales of the sea.
You are beloved, a precious child of God.
Sing along with the stars & whales!
If you're not at a place in your walk with God where you feel comfortable coming before Him, please let me pray for you.  On the sidebar of the blog I always have a button you can click on to submit an anonymous prayer.  I'm posting it below also in case you have a prayer request.  We love to pray for our readers & it would be a privilege to lift you up!

xoxo Darby

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Accidental Success~ Sweet Potato Pasta with Chicken

I made this accidental success a couple weeks ago, and posted it on Facebook mostly because I shocked myself.  I knew I needed to write this recipe down because it was so so so so surprisingly good.  It was one of those nights where you look in the fridge 30 minutes before dinner and throw something together hoping it will be edible but turns out to be a hit!  Not only was this simple, healthy, & delicious, but it was done in about 15 minutes and only required one dish to cook!!! Y'all promise me you will make this and tell me what you think!Sweet Potato Pasta with Chicken- Life with the HawleysFrom the Kitchen of Darby Hawley
10 oz sweet potato, spirals (I purchased)
1-2 tbs bacon fat
1 lb chicken tenders, diced into 1 inch pieces
1-2 tbs grass-fed butter
1/2 large red onion, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered (I use multi-colored cherry tomatoes)
sea salt & ground pepper, to taste
goat cheese

1. Melt bacon fat in medium-high skillet (I use cast iron).  Add seasoned chicken, with sea salt & pepper, and cook until golden brown on both sides.  Then remove the chicken and place on a plate.
2. Add butter to the same skillet to melt, then add red onion.  After about 3 minutes, when the onion becomes translucent, add the sweet potatoes.  After another 3-ish minutes add the tomatoes to warm and break up a little bit.
3. Bowl the sweet potato spirals and top with chicken and garnish with goat cheese.
4. Enjoy!DSC_0305
xoxo Darby

Monday, July 10, 2017

Summer Time Ring Toss

I don't know about you but my kids go stir crazy if they're in the house too long, but in the summer we can't go outside too much because they will burn up.  Not to mention that it is crazy hot!  I've been trying to get creative and bring outdoor activities inside without braking everything.  Ring Toss & Horseshoes for Hot Summer- Life with the Hawleys 1
Dutch got this ring & horse shoe toss set for his birthday and it has been the perfect game to play inside.  I simply stuck the posts into a can of play-doh and let the kids start throwing.  Not only can they throw these super light rings and horse shoes without braking anything, but it is also working on fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, & getting some energy's a win for everyone!  DSC_0327DSC_0340DSC_0341Ring Toss & Horseshoes for Hot Summer- Life with the Hawleys 2
I can't find the exact ones that Dutch got, but these are similar.  What are y'all doing inside to get energy out of little ones and have fun?!?!
xoxo Darby
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