June 25, 2016

The 17 Year Cicadas are Ruining My Daughter’s Summer

There is a buzz in the air…and no, it is not something exciting. If you live in southwestern/southeastern Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, the extreme western tip of Maryland, northwestern Virginia and most of West Virginia, then you probably know what I am talking about. It is cicadas and they are ruining my three year old daughter’s summer. Luckily, they won’t make a return for another 2-17 years, depending on exactly which species are born, but I can’t wait for them to just be gone so we can enjoy going back outside again without her running in fear from the BUGS!

They really are gross, but seem to be pretty harmless (see images for gross factor). They are huge and I understand why a little kid would be afraid of them. Male cicadas make the most annoying noise I have heard in a long time (except for the mockingbird that seems to be jumping from neighbor’s house to neighbor’s house). Plus they fly around and have no sense of direction. No joke here – cicadas will literally fly right into you without a care, smack you in the face (yup…happened earlier today), and keep on going. 

If you are lucky enough to not know what I am talking about, here is a little background on these bugs (and I am getting the heebee jeebees just reading more about them):

  • The males are the ones who are actually making all of the noise, which is their call for a mate (talk about dumb female bugs – I’d never mate with anything that made such an annoying sound). 
  • The female will scrape a groove in a tree in which she lays her rice-shaped cicadas eggs into. Unfortunately this negatively effects the tree as the fluids from the tree become a food source for the babies. 
  • Due to the cicadas eating the tree fluid, the leaves may turn brown and branches could potentially die depending on the trees strength. I have a 3 year old tree in my backyard that just looks horrible now.
  • When the young cicada is ready to move on, it makes its way to the ground and finds the trees roots in which it feeds on, underground, for another 2-17 years, depending on its species. Talk about disgusting! 

It seems like they have been quieting down the last couple of evenings (compared to others) so we do get to enjoy the last bit of the day outside, but we can’t wait until they are gone for good. I have heard they will be gone by the 4th of July so fingers crossed that is true! I just want to be able to play outside with my children without being attacked by bugs.

Do you hear the cicadas where you live? If yes, where are you located? If not, what is your most annoying bug that your kids dislike?

June 16, 2016

A Trip to the Strawberry Patch at Triple B Farms

Last weekend, the kids, a neighbor and I all piled into the car and went to Triple B Farms in Monongahela, PA, for their annual Strawberry Festival. It is a big deal this time of the year to take a trip to the strawberry patch and pick your own berries.

We got to the farm about an hour after the festival began and the parking lot was packed. I thought we were doomed with crowds but was shocked to find that it didn’t seem like there were as many people as cars in the festival areas.

Capri was really excited as she was already familiar with Triple B as it is also where we get our pumpkins every year. The first thing we did was walked over to learn about the different animals on the farm and take some funny pictures! We observed the goats (but this is nothing new to my kids as we have goats at my in-laws farm). However, we did get to see a peacock but Capri was upset that it didn’t spread its beautiful wings. Maybe next time! We skipped the other animals that were there. I saw some chics and ducklings but we all know how Capri feels about the chickens (dislikes, very much).

Onto the next fun part for the kids – the blow up bounce and slide area! There is a great big blow up slide that she couldn’t wait to get in and then a smaller one for the little kids (and parents if they want, but thanks to my neighbor for coming, I didn’t have to crawl in!) Cam really enjoyed his time in the small bounce area and Capri could’ve went up and down the slide 100 times if we let her, but it was getting really hot (like 85 degrees hot) so it was time to move on.

We hit up the duck race water table so Cam could splash around a bit and actually participate in something. And then we went on the hayride! This is where you would gather your baskets and make your way to the strawberry patch to pick your berries, except we decided to not do that because of the kids and just rode the wagon back to the festival.

And now my favorite part – the food! It was 11:45 a.m. when we ordered and luckily we got there before noon because they were going to stop serving the pancakes topped with strawberries and whipped cream. I was so happy I was able to get these as they were delicious! Capri had a hot dog (which must have been fantastic because she ate the whole thing so fast!) and we shared a strawberry smoothie. Unfortunately, Cam fell asleep so he ate lunch at home (don’t worry…he had strawberries and the rest of our smoothie).

The last stop was into the store so we could buy some strawberries and Capri got to pick a sweet treat for being good all day. Go figure she picked chocolate dirt dessert fudge.

We had a WONDERFUL time at Triple B Farms and most certainly will be returning for whatever festival is next, and as always, for our pumpkins in the fall. If you are in or near the Pittsburgh area, you should certainly plan a trip to Triple B Farms as it isn’t far away! 

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June 2, 2016

Cam's First Birthday - A Shark Themed Party

I know I have said this before, but I can't even believe Cam is already 1. Moms - you get me about how fast a year goes by! So to celebrate, we had a shark themed birthday party. Etsy was my starting point for the hunt for decorations. I then went to PartyCity.com and the Party City store for the rest. Our cake came from a local baker (check out the info. below!) I also wanted to thank everyone at Cox Market for some of the food and side dishes. It was gone before I had a chance to get a picture...so obviously that is a good thing!

Shark Bubble Favors & Squirt Guns

I bought the kids two things to keep them busy during the party: squirt guns and bubbles. The squirt guns were from the Party City store and even though they were cheap, they worked perfectly! The bubbles were also a big hit! Luckily I was able to find these super cute shark themed bubble wands on Etsy.

They are the perfect size for little kids because they can actually blow and get the bubbles to come out. And of course they all thought it was so cool that they had sharks on them. Even the wand was shaped like a shark tooth! The detail, people, was awesome! I highly recommend these bubbles. Check them out on Etsy from MadHatterPartyBox.

Shark Pinata

It is a family tradition to always have a pinata at birthday parties. Last year I actually made a Toodles pinata (you know - from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse). But I figured a shark would be a bit harder and now I just don't have time for crafting. I found this cool shark pinata at the Party City store. I filled it with the candy AND toy bag this year and the kids loved the whistles and mini frisbees. Each kid took 3 hits at the pinata and then we let one of the stronger boys have at it! And you know what? It wasn't a rush for the candy and toys. Someone else mentioned that it was the calmest, most organized pinata yet. Guess we have done enough of them that they have learned!

Shark Candle & Cake

I always try to find a cool candle for the birthday cake. This year I came across this AWESOME number 1 with a shark on it on from TheCraftyPair on Etsy. Of course it was perfect and went great with the shark cake from Shortbread City designer desserts, a local bakery in Monessen, PA. The cake was two tiers and had a very cool shark fin on it. We had more than 30 people at the party and I still had a bit of cake leftover. It was so fresh too! In fact, Tiffanie, the owner, wasn't even finished with the cake when we arrived just 15 minutes early to pick it up. Now that's fresh! Cam loved every bite of his smash cake. Please check out Shortbread City designer desserts if you are local and tell her I sent you!

A Shark Present

To stick with the shark theme, I found this awesome shark pirate plate and bowl set made by 3littleflowers on Etsy to give to Cam. Owner, Anelys, is super sweet and makes sure you get the product that you want. She takes a personal interest in the gift and even checks in afterward to see what the receiver thought of it. She does a lot of products so please be sure to check out her shop! She is even offering my readers a special discount or freebie! You can get 10% off any purchase OR a FREE placemat with a plate and bowl set purchase. Once you have added your items to the cart, just enter CHOOSYMOMMY10 for the 10% off. If you are buying a plate and bowl set like I got Cam (whatever design you choose), just make a note in the "notes to seller" section that you would like the free matching placemat with your bowl and plate set from The Choosy Mommy. How cool is that?! (expires 7/2/16)

Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate Cam's birthday with us! We had a great time and can't wait for Capri's party next! Stay tuned to see how a 3 year old plans a party...hahaha!