Encourage outdoor play this fall & winter!!

The leaves have changed, the air is more crisp, which means colder weather, shorter days but no matter the weather our family loves to find different ways to make time for play. It's so easy to get wrapped into all the holiday activities, but our family believes in the magic of outdoor play.  The season may get busy, but you can never be too busy for play. Playgrounds are free play as well, and what is better than free?!?!

The weather changing never means staying indoors for us! We always make time to get outside weekly, and because of that my boys do not mind being out in the cold. They are pretty active, and would much rather being outside versus watching TV as a result. Never be afraid to be a little cold! To make it even better, we like to invite friends along with us. The more the merrier!

IPEMA's  Voice of Play website highlights the scientifically proven physical, social, emotional and cognitive benefits of play. Here are some of the benefits of play that they listed:

  • Self confidence & self esteem
  • Encourages being social
  • Release of emotions
  • Brain and skill development 

Here are a few ways to sneak in outdoors play:

  • Visit a playground weekly! Even if it is just 30 minutes, it makes a world of difference.
  • Go for a nature walk.  Make little scavenger hunt sheets to encourage exploring!
  • Go for a neighborhood walk.
  • Visit a zoo, or a recreational park. As long as you bundle up you can still have fun, plus being active definitely warms you up!

This post is sponsored by the Voice of Play.

The post is brought to you by Activate by Bloglovin and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
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Udemy's Online Courses!

Udemy offers a great variety of online courses, at such great prices! I was recently selected by Mom's Meet to test a course. I went for the photography course. What mom doesn't want better pictures of her kids, or daily adventures? I love photography, but there is always room to improve.

The photography course is currently $10 which 71% off the original price. This is a STEAL! I love it! The course is about 5 1/2 hours long total (doesn't have to be done in one day), and whether you are a pro or a beginner it really gives you some great tips / insights into creating beautiful photographs.

I found the instructor to be great too, very likeable and easy to listen to. As a busy mom of two, I don't have all the time in the world to take classes right now -- which is why I am thankful for these online, affordable classes. Plus once you complete the course you get a certificate of completion!

Thanks to this course, I really learned some new tips for producing great photos, which no matter how great you can edit -- it all starts with the great photograph in the first place. I enjoyed the courses, and can definitely see myself signing up for another one!

I learned a lot of about lighting, how to focus on your subject, and about manual shooting.

Check out the course here, and see what else they offer. Sign up now for a great discount!

***I was given this course free of charge, in exchange for my honest review.

DIY homemade "sand"

This super simple recipe, made for hours of fun with the boys. It is a bit messy and makes the floors pretty slippery! But truthfully, cleanup was rather easy. If done inside, I definitely would throw something under the bucket / table you are using.

Here's what we used:
2 cups of corn flour
2 cups of brown sugar
10-12 tablespoons of vegetable oil

You'll want to mix the sugar and flower together, until well blended and then add the vegetable oil slowly. Mix together until the liquid is gone, and enjoy! We used the sand for several days, we had a top to our water table, so it was perfect. Plus, the sand smells SO good because it has brown sugar in it.

Pumpkin Patch 2016!!

We went to visit our favorite pumpkin patch over at Brookedale Farms again, for the 6th year in a row. It's a special farm to us, and it is really awesome there. Brookedale has a kids play area, U pick (from the vine!!!) pumpkins, and horse-drawn hayrides. The hayrides are done by Gene, who is 80 years old. He has been doing this for years, and the two horses he has are amazing!

The whole feel of this farm, is so family friendly. There are also other great spots next door to this farm. They also sell delicious local jams, honey, salsa, etc. Brookedale always has a great selection of pumpkins, but this year they did get hit by the hurricane which affected their fields.

Luckily, we still found three good pumpkins from the field. And as always we enjoyed another year at our favorite farm in the area. The boys totally weren't into picture taking, so I didn't get a ton of shots but they had a blast.

Review: 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza in Chesapeake!

A couple days ago, the family and I got the opportunity to go check out 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza in Chesapeake for the first time! It's the only location in the Hampton Roads area and just recently opened. It was a bit of a drive for us, and in the middle of a rain storm, but it was definitely worth it. I love trying new places, and we had never been here. I've loved pizza since as a kid we briefly lived in Italy and ate a lot of pizza. Here we found that it was a small place, with big taste!

My first impression was how awesome all the fresh available ingredients were, and the fact that it was pretty much a pizza bar. I love burrito / salad bars but this place really topped it especially with both the quality and taste. The employees were also very fast, and friendly with our order. We got mozzarella cheese, fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, black olives, and pineapple. I loved the brick oven! Our order came out super fast too, there was literally no wait. We also got buffalo wings with ranch, which were definitely up to par with their pizza.

They offer unlimited toppings, though they recommend not over-doing it so that the pizza cooks evenly. The prices are comparable to other pizza places such as Dominos, etc but the quality is much higher. I've had some HORRIBLE pizza, but this pizza is not greasy, cheap tasting! 1000 Degrees Neapolitan pizza has a great taste to it -- I especially love the fresh mozzarella.

 They also offered salads, bread sticks, wings, gelato -- and much more. Our oldest was definitely wanting to try the gelato, but it was past his bedtime. Next time we are giving it a try though, it looked delicious! Our experience was very positive, a great clean restaurant with friendly employees and tasty food. It is definitely a family-friendly place, and what better way to spend a night with family than making your own pizza?!? I love how casual it is -- yet exceeds your expectations.

I highly recommend replacing your usual pizza place, and trying 1000 Degrees Neapolitan pizza in Chesapeake! The taste is one of my new favorites in town, and we look forward to returning again. Once you taste their pizza, you won't wanna go anywhere else. Now, I will say that there is ONE con to 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza.....;) the fact that they don't deliver! Just kidding! The whole experience of watching them top their fresh dough with toppings of your choice is part of the fun. We can't wait to go back!

**Note: I wrote this review in exchange for dining here. All thoughts are my own, and my personal opinion. I wasn't compensated in any other form.

Grayson is 2!

Oh how the time flies! Yesterday was our youngest son's birthday, and he turned 2. It is crazy how fast kids grow. He is a sweet little boy! He has begun talking in full sentences, he loves garbage trucks, monster trucks, work trucks, and anything trucks. Also trains -- loves them.

We celebrated with friends and family, and had a little cookout. He had a great time! Here's to a great year of being 2.

Healthier is Happier nail polish Exchange!

I'm loving this Zoya nail polish exchange! Take your old, toxic nail polishes and exchange for a healthier option.  Here's the information offered on the Zoya website:

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