Sunday, December 1, 2013

Kids Craft Christmas Decor

Say that one ten times fast!  Between Tim and I we were really starting fresh with Christmas decorations.  He came with a cute ceramic tree from his childhood and a stocking and I had some ornaments my mom gave me along with ones I inherited from my Dad.  Now that we are in our own house and living on a budget I was really missing my mom's endless boxes of Christmas decorations.

Bear and I were feeling crafty and in the holiday spirit and made up some great easy decorations that kids can help with too (ages 3+)!

We made a Pom Pom Garland and a Christmas Star for the window.

Pom Pom Garland

Pom Poms in various sizes and colors
Thread - we used a sparkly silver thread we had leftover

Thread your needle - I didn't cut my thread to size since I didn't want anything to get tangled.  Have you preschooler choose the pom poms and help you thread them on. We used ones sized .25 inch, .5 inch and 1inch and used neon colors since that's what we had lying around from other crafts.  We didn't worry about the spacing until it was hung up.  We used about 38 pom poms spaced 2" apart to go over our big window in our living room.

Make sure when you are threading them to poke the needle through the center of the pom poms or they will fall off.  They didn't slide around once we spaced them out so we didn't bother to tie any knots before/after each pom pom (too much work)

Christmas Stars

Popsicle sticks - 10 per star and large or small size is fine.
Tacky Glue - I find this works best with popsicle sticks/wood crafts
Modge Podge - any finish will work fine
Foam Brush
Tissue Paper - any color(s)
Thread - for hanging

Arrange your popsicle sticks like shown below and use the tacky glue to hold them together on the ends in the shape of a star.  Let dry (this is a good time to make a pom pom garland or have a Christmas dance party).

Once dry tie your thread around the top of the star - cut long enough for your star to hang where you'd like when it is finished.  Using the foam brush and modge podge, paint on a thin (ish) layer on the back of the sticks and start putting on some tissue paper.  We found it was easiest to make 4 x 4 torn pieces of tissue and to work from there.  You want the paper to go over the edges of the sticks.

Then turn your star over and modge podge the other side and fold the edges over.  Add more modge podge and tissue paper until satisfied.  We only had two colors so we made a green star and a smaller purple star (broke the sticks in half for the smaller star).  Let dry and hang!  I think these would also look really cool with different colored papers collaged on.

What crafts are you going to do this winter?


Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Wow! It's been over a month since I've posted - oh dear!!

Quick update on toddler life:

1) Being 3 is hard.
2) Daddy's make good "bad guys" but also the best "P.I.C."
3) Getting a 3 year old who has never slept a whole night in his life to sleep takes persistence, patience and a routine but IS possible (we are on night three of 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep)
4) Napping is for adults too.

We have had a lot going on the last several weeks and I foresee a lot more chaos in the near future but, it's going to be OK.  We got a new washer and dryer last weekend - BEST thing we could have ever gotten!  If you need new ones I highly recommend the Samsung 4.2cu Washer and matching Dryer.  We got them on sale and what is usually a full day of laundry (6-7 loads) was only 3 loads!!

Anyways, I got a jump start on my Christmas shopping this year (I was pretty much done by November 1st) and I wanted to share some of the things I got that are my favorite...we overdid it...

Playmobils - I loved them as a kid and scored a few deals online so I got the advent calendar and some small sets for stocking stuffers.

Spiderman Action Figure - on sale at Target!

Accessories - Oddly, Bear really likes boy accessories (like cool superhero pins) so I got a bunch of those, a skull velcro belt (which is the best invention ever) and a hat

Spiderman Sweatshirt - it has a pull down mask in the hood!

Modular Race Track Set - I chose this over hotwheels because it was on sale and it came with a lot more pieces that go in a lot more different ways and works with matchbox cars too.

Lanard Engine Overhaul Set - This is the coolest of everything!  It's a toy engine with working parts that you can take apart and "fix".  Bear loves helping Daddy in the shop so we thought this would be perfect.

Train Set - Tim picked out one on ebay that is battery controlled and like 35 feet of track so that will be fun around the tree!

I got almost everything on Zulily - I recommend signing up they have awesome deals on kids stuff, women's stuff and stuff for the home.  I also always use Ebates for extra cash back :)

What are you planning for under the tree?


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Craft Necessities

Bear has been really into crafts lately and I don't always have a project ready to go so here are my Top 10 Craft Supplies to Keep on Hand

Markers & Washable Paint/Brushes
Craft Paper (that includes plain paper, construction paper, watercolor paper, anything)
Googley eyes
Pom Poms
Pipe Cleaners
Glue (Glue Sticks, Elmers, tacky) & Tape
Popsicle Sticks
Clothes Pins
Scissors (fun punches optional)
Yarn (multiple colors)

These are all cheap and can be stored in a Rubbermaid. From here, the supplies can be split into craft baggies or just let your little one be free with all of it.  We have a big cutting mat that I let Bear use on the floor since it’s plastic, it wipes easily and I don’t really care if it’s caked in glue.

Here are just a few crafts that you can do with these basic supplies..

Monster Buddies
Cut feet from the construction paper glue a pom pom to the feet and then glue on eyes

Halloween Decorations
Cut out ghosts, pumpkins, spiders, etc from the paper and hang them around the house.  We got glow paint for this so our ghosts glow in the dark but just as fun without.
Make a yarn web in the window and make pipe cleaner spiders to live there

You can also make houses from popsicle sticks, butterflies and airplanes with clothes pins, flowers with paper and pipe cleaners.

The possibilies are literally endless and if you are looking to spice up the craft selection you can keep these special items on hand too:

ShrinkyDinks (or equivalent)
Tissue Paper
Pony Beads
Fabric Squares
Puffy Paint

What are your favorite crafts?


Monday, October 14, 2013

Successful Potty Tips

In my mind I thought Bear would be potty trained by age 2.  It's a typical potty training story, we started out strong, lost interest, came back to it and then were forced to really go for it.  We are almost completely there.  Down to poops, night time and occasionally at nap.

Bear, age 3, decided recently to purposefully pee his pants at Nana's house.  Not certain what brough this one but once we hit a certain point in potty training I just kind of gave up, like, oh he'll just sort of do the rest on his own.  It does not work that way.  We had several incidents where poop was smeared on things (gross, I know) so we had to try something!

I am happy to say we're relatively accident free (except real accidents) and he goes poo in the potty almost every day.  Thanks to a clever idea from Nana, the phrase "Mommy, I need to sink a boat" has become quite common.

If you are down to the point where your child flat out refuse to poop in the potty try this:

The S.S. POOPNUGGET Battle Ship Tutorial

Now I had heard of little flushable boats or adding a goldfish to the potty to help with aim but would have never thought to use little boats as a way to get to #2

Get some old magazine or newspaper pages - these end up being about 3 inches long and dissolve pretty quickly.  Follow these instructions: HERE

I personally have never made these, thankfully my mom made a stock of them to keep in the bathroom but since they are working so well I will learn.

Stock up on boats and keep them in the bathroom (preferably out of reach - these are special boats with one purpose).  I don't offer the diaper option unless he is going to bed so if I notice him being quiet in his room (or clenching his cheeks) I ask him if he needs to sink a boat, he usually says yes, we drop it in and he...sinks the boat!

I would not use this option for aim since you dont want to flush a million paper boats down the potty.  We are on town sewer so beware if you have septic.  

If you are trying to get your little to practice aim, buy the Scrubbing Bubbles Gel Discs.  They are little gel discs that stick to the inside of the bowl.  Bear enjoys trying to aim his pee at the disc and there is no harm to the toilet since all they are made for keeping potties clean.

How are you tackling the potty?


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Solar Powered Pumpkin Jars - DIY

Thank you, Nana for this amazing craft!  My mom and Bear made these cute pumpkin lights (powered by solar garden lights) and I just had to share

You will need:

Paintbrushes (preferably with long handles)
Various glass jars (jelly jars, pastene jars, canning jars, etc)
Acrylic paint – think pumpkin and fall colors: Orange, Red, Brown, Yellow
Sticky-back Black Foam
Solar Garden Lights – Try Target, Walmart or clearance sales at HomeDepot for cheap
Electrical Tape

How To:

Put a dime sized blob of 1-2 colors of paint inside each jar and let your little ones use the brushes to coat the inside of the jars.  Cut out eyes, nose and mouth shapes from the stick back foam.  You can also do spiders, shapes or anything your imagination can come up with.  Stick them to the outside of the jars.

While the paint dries, remove the sticks from the solar garden lights and use the electrical tape to put the light up parts onto the top of each jar.  Make sure you pull the tape tight so they stay in place.  If you use mason jars, remove the lid inserts and tape the lights to the rings). 

Leave them in the sun and watch them glow at night!!

If you have trouble finding solar lights use the battery operated votive candles (Target, Walmart, craft stores and some dollar stores)


Thursday, September 26, 2013


As a mom I naturally worry about my child's academic development.  Facebook doesn't help, mom's are constantly posting their child's achievements, and I do it too.  I decided to make a list of the things my kid is great at, yeah he can't write his name or draw a face but there are countless other things that make me proud.  This is not a brag post but a reminder to stop and enjoy what your child is and can do, not what other kids can do :)

Say his ABCs and count to 23
Successfully crack an egg without getting shells in the bowl
Check tire pressure with the pressure gauge
Use the pedals on his tricycle
Explain the exhaust system (simply) on an 18 wheeler truck
He can spell his name
Make patterns on a peg board
Put on/take off his own shirt
He knows how to love his family and friends no matter what

Of course the list could go on but these are big ones for me...what are your little ones doing to make you proud?


Monday, September 16, 2013

Grab Bags - Preschool

It has been a stressful few weeks but we've gotten through it!  Bear did excellent for his surgery last Thursday and recovered almost immediately.  The nursing staff and Doctors at Mercy are AMAZING! We topped off the week with a great trip to Story Land in NH which was really fun because it was a surprise for Bear.  He was so giddy when he figured out where we were going :)

Iv'e bit off more than I can chew lately so, unfortunately, SillyKids Box is going to be QUARTERLY but will include more activities.  I just can't commit to a monthly thing when I am working a full time job and trying to start up a small business.

I poo-pooed Kiwi Crate for a while because I figured there was no way it could be worth the cost but recently received a deal from them and we got our first box.  I have to say, I love it.  What I ended up doing was splitting up the three activities in Kiwi Crate and the activities from last month's SillyKids Box and making grab bags for the winter (the boring times in Maine).  Take a look below:

Gallon Sized Baggies

Puke Bucket from the Hospital (shh) Don't worry, unused.

I am really excited to use all the activities and can't wait to add more!  I also got the "Creative Room" cleaned up this weekend (AKA my office/Bear's mini classroom/guest room).  And Bear spent some time giving play-doh hair cuts and painting pretty pictures for the walls.

That about wraps it up for now! Also, check out the August SillyKids Box post for some pictures of how te finished Robot City looks - updating it now!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August SillyKids Box is HERE!

Well, I finally got everything to work out!  I don't have the pictures up yet but will post them by the end of the week and the folding tutorials later today (I will just update this same post so bookmark it).


Edit 9.16.13: Here is how your Robot City will look after all the towers and building have been folded.  Don't worry about them being perfect, I cut these out (not Bear) because I ended up putting this activity into a grab bag and didn't want to have to deal with scissors so Bear's role will be decorating his robot and putting the towers back on.



Friday, August 23, 2013

The Simple Things

Lots of things going on lately from vacation to busy work days to potty training relapse.  I will, however, find a way to post the August SillyKids Box BEFORE September.  I had upload problems for about a week and when I finally got that to work my USB drive stopped working so I can't access my design files. Lame.

We took a wonderful 3 day vacation off Port Clyde, Maine at the beginning of the month to Hupper's Island.  This was the point we decided we need to find a way to work from home so we can spend every summer on an island.  If yo haven't visited a small island, I highly recommend it!

Since then we've traveled to Rhode Island for a wedding, spent a few days camping in Freedom, New Hampshire and are now looking forward to a nice quiet weekend at home.

Yesterday while driving home there was quite a bit of traffic on the highway but no obvious cause, then as I approached the worst part of it I saw a car pulled over and chuckled.  There was a mom with her son, about Bear's age, pulled off on the side for an emergency potty break.  I know this all too well!

On other news, Bear and I met with the Orthopedic surgeon last week about his trigger thumb and his surgery is scheduled for mid September to release the tendon.  It's minor procedure that takes about 15 minutes but he'll have to be put under so, naturally, I'm really nervous.  It will go fine though!

How are things with everyone out there?


Friday, August 16, 2013

Weather Willy Felt Board DIY

When I was little my mom made us a Weather Willy.  He was fantastic and made for a great project.  I made one for Bear last winter but he is just now starting to understand the concept and how to use this great learning tool.  I have a few adjustments to make to ours before it's the way I'd like but I want to share with you the general idea as well as the templates and how to.

Weather Willy is a daily activity for you and your child, it's short, sweet and simple and the name pretty much explains it.  Will is a kid, every morning he looks out his window and then decides what to wear based on the weather outside.  On a sunny day, he'll be rockin' his shorts and t-shirt and on cold rainy days he'll grab his umbrella and raincoat.

What is fantastic about this is you can tailor it to your area very easily - have fun with it.  If you live in an area with tornadoes, heck, make a tornado! If you have ice storms, make some nice icey shapes.  In a warmer climate?  Make lots of sunshine and different types of clouds!

I got all of my supplies at AC Moore but any large craft store will do (Michaels, Walmart, Jo-Ann Fabrics, etc).

You will need:
Picture Frame – ($10-20) I chose an 11 x 17” frame with a nice thick wood frame.

Felt – ($0.25 each) You will need to plan out your colors.  The attached templates work well for the Northeast so below is the list of colors I chose and how many. I bought 8.5 x 11 sheets so I’m going by that.

Background/Grass – 2 Light Blue, 1 Light Green
Willie –  Peach,  Light Brown
Willie’s Clothes –  Orange, Red, Yellow, Camo, Black, Lime, Dark Brown, White
Weather – White, Light Gray, Yellow, Light Blue
Tree – Dark Green, Dark Brown

Tacky Glue
Fabric Markers or Sharpies
Scissors (sharp ones preferred)
Printouts - Download them HERE

Note: Weather Willie can easily be made Weather Winnie – just make some dresses and longer hair!

For the Board:
Remove the cardboard from inside the frame – this is going to be your base.  Remove the glass (we don’t have another use for the glass in this project).  Glue down the two light blue felt sheets, lining the top edge of the felt to the top edge of the cardboard.

For the grass, cut one 11 x 5" strip and then attack with the scissors (make it look like grass) be careful not to cut the blades too small or gluing it down will be a pain.  Glue down your grass layer.

Place the cardboard back into your frame to the felt faces out like a picture and that’s that.

Willie or Winnie – Use the template to cut out your character.  My template is for Willy, Hair as well as the “undies” pattern.  For Willie, I used light brown for his hair and made his undies white but get creative.  Glue the hair and undies right to him so he doesn’t get cold.  Use markers to add features (eyes, nose, mouth, “pee hole” on the undies, etc). 

Now for the clothes!  I used the Willie template as my outline for all the outfits so they fit him.  Make sure all the clothes are a tiny tiny bit larger than Willie so he is covered. Here is a list of clothes & accessories I made…

Overall Shorts, Tee Shirt, Sneakers, Ball & Sunglasses
Raincoat, Rain Hat, Frog Boots & Umbrella
Camo Pants, Long Sleeve Shirt & Baseball Cap
Winter Jacket, Snow Pants, Boots & Beanie

Here are the different types of weather I made some pieces work with multiple forecasts..
Snow – Gray Clouds, Snowballs, Snow Lumps, Snowflakes, Snowman
Sunny – A Big Sunshine, Some Flowers
Cloudy – Gray Clouds (if you want to throw in some earth science make different types)
Rainy – Rain Drops, Puddles, Gray Clouds
Stormy – All Rainy Parts + Lightning Bolts

I also made some critters and scenery…
Robin & Blue Bird
Fox (included in template)
Evergreen Tree

Some other fun things you can do…
Make the backside of your board night time with constellations and planets
Make seasons using what you already have as well as some leaves

Bear and I plan to start a weekend home schooling starting at the end of August.  The school where he goes to daycare isn’t going to offer their 3 preschool until November and I’d really love to spend some learning time with him.  I am going to revamp our Weather Willy and include this in our “classes”.


Friday, August 2, 2013


They're sellin' like hotcakes over on Brickyard Buffalo!

Also, I've decided to permanently reduce the size of the complete sets from $212.00 to $156 (HALF PRICE!)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Blog Troubles

Hello Everyone!

Just a quick note that I have been having technical difficulties getting two blog posts up.  The links between my download site and blogger are not being friends right now.  We will be vacationing through Tuesday and then I'm back in business.

Keep an eye out for the tutorial and download links for how to make your very own Weather Willy or Weather Winnie as well as this months SillyKids Box with the theme "Super Kid".

In the mean time, head on over to Brickyard Buffalo to score yourself a Monster Sillybet for 30% off - just $8.40 each!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Monster Sillybets on BB

A while back I raved about some building blocks on sale over at Brickyard Buffalo and I am super excited to announce that Monster Sillybets will be featured with a mega-sale on their shop from August 1-4th!

In the mean time, stay up to date on all the sales and fun with Monster Sillybets by liking us on facebook ( and Instagram (@MonsterSillybets)

And in case we are not friends on facebook (yet) this is the theme for the August SillyKids Box to be released August 1st on the blog!

Do me a favor, spread the word friends!


Monday, July 15, 2013

6 Mom Must-Have Beauty Items

I didn't wear any makeup other than mascara until after my son was born and even then it was minimal.  After being introduced to some very amazing products through Birchbox - my routine has completely changed!  My reason for not wearing make-up in my pre-kid years was because I really didn't care to take the time to try it out.  Makeup was some scary superficial monster that didn't appeal to me.  Now at only age 22, I am seeing my physical self age and mature.  I knew I wanted to start playing around with some products but didn't want to spend the money on "good" products - turns out there IS a difference between $2 lipstick and $12 lipstick - who would have thought?

So I have put together a list of my 6 most favorite items so far - the list could be longer but to be honest I'm short on time.  These are some of the items in my five minute morning routine with some honorable mentions at the bottom.

1) Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair CC Cream ($39) I was introduced to this in April and have just now run out of the two small samples I received.  A little goes a long way and it got rid of several blemished (I picked my pimples alot as a teenager) and had made breakouts few and far between.  This is first in my morning routine.

2) L'Oreal True Match Powder ($10) This was one of the first powders I ever bought and I love it!  I use Almay foundation with this powder on top and it leaves off shine most of the day and gives a nice even, soft skin tone.

3) theBalm InStain Long Wearing Powder Stain Blush ($22) I have only been using this for 3 days and I am in love!  It lasts all day since it's a stain and I just use it in place of the other blush I have been using.  A little goes a long way so it is totally worth the price.

4) Birchbox Bobby Pins ($5) These are not only cute but they are over-sized boby pins that keep my massive amounts of hair out of my face.  I went swimming with one in my hair yesterday and only had to adjust it once when I got out.  Adds a bit of flirty color and goes with anything.

5) BADgal Lash Mascara ($19)  I haven't bought the full size because the trial size has been lasting a long time.  I got this free with one of my orders and it's fantastic for keeping in the purse.  Lasts long and adds nice volume.

6) essie Nail Polish ($6.99 each)  essie stays on long, doesn't chip easily and only requires one-two coats to look like the bottle color.  These are pricey so I also use SallyHansen Hard As Nails ($2-4) as well.  I've found that dong my nails makes me feel a little more pampered - even if I'm rocking mom jeans and a dirty tee.

I have a few honorable mentions that I used daily:

Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle ($21.50) I use this every day after my shower.  Adds shine, keeps my hair soft and makes it easy to brush.

COOLA Classic SPF 30 Moisturizer ($32)  I don't think I'd buy the full size because it's so much money but I've used this 3 times when I've spent the day at the pool/lake and no sun burnt cheeks.  It's also not greasy.

St Ives Apricot Face Scrub ($3.99) LOVE this - I use it in the shower every morning.  Gets off all the gunk and leaves your face super soft.

Sally Hansen Miracle Cure ($8.99) I use this as my undercoat.  I naturally have really nice nails with nice white tips for during the dry seasons they will occasionally peel.  This stuff saves them for sure!

To me, it's important to FEEL a little done up every morning, helps me get into the groove of my day.  In addition to all this wonderfullness, make sure you drink lots and lots of water.  It's fantastic for your skin :)

What are your must have items?


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Home Made Ice Cream (No Ice Cream Maker)

I have been looking around at different recipes and methods for making ice cream and I also have general knowledge about how ice cream is made anyway and I am an expert on how it should taste - yummy!

So I am not sure I'd really call this ice cream, it's definitely it's own but it is icy and it is made from cream, just no slow churning required and it's kid-friendly!

You can use a bag full of ice, you can use an auto ice cream maker, you can do the ever so taunting process of removing the mix from the freezer, mixing it then returning it every two hours or you can be lazy - like me...

Easiest Ice Cream Ever! (6 8oz Servings)

You will need:
One Pint Whipping Cream
8oz Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
Vanilla Extract

The above ingredients are your base ingredients.  You can really put whatever you want in there, fresh fruit, coco powder, shaved chocolate, vanilla beans, sprinkles, etc.  Also remember that you can substitute the vanilla for other flavors like coffee, mint, almond, etc.  I used vanilla because I wanted this to only be a $3 project and that's what I had on-hand.

Hand Mixer, Stand Mixer, Stick Blender, Blender or just a whisk (if you're ambitious)
6 8oz Freezer Containers - you can also use a big piece of Tupperware to make one flavor or small Tupperware.  I used the Ball Freezer Jars (in the canning aisle) because they are one serving, plastic, leak proof and we decided to make a bunch of different flavors.  They also stack nicely :)
Large Bowl (unless using a blender)

How to:
In your large bowl, whip the cream until you have soft peeks (about 3-4 minutes on medium).  Careful, whipping too long will make butter...gross.  Once you have soft peeks, add in 8oz Condensed Milk and 2 tsp Vanilla Extract (or other flavor).  Whip again until all mixed in and soft peeks return (about 30 seconds-1 minute).

If you are making one flavor, add in whatever flavoring you'd like now.  For the smaller batches, I used a 1 cup measuring cup to scoop out approximately what would fit in each jar and mixed each in a separate bowl with a spoon.

Scoop the mixture into your containers and put them in the freezer for 2-4 hours for the small and 4-6 for the larger batches.


Monday, July 1, 2013


So we've only done one of the activities but I figured I would post them as we do them!  We started with the Recipe for S'Mores since Bear was playing in his tent and it seemed fit.

Here is the great box opening...
The first look at the box.

"Woah! Cooooool!"

Roasting his first marshmallow

The "fire pit" in action


All toasty!

Now time to tie it all together into S'Mores-liciousness!

Don't forget to hashtag your pictures #SillyKidsBox


Sunday, June 30, 2013

It's Here! SILLYKIDS July Box FREE Printable!!

Well, I couldn't wait any longer - I just had to share a few hours early :)

This is the first ever totally free monthly "subscription" box for your preschooler - all I ask in return is that you share it with friends and follow the blog (but it's still not a requirement).

Here is how this works.  The first of the month, every month, I will post a blog with a link to download and print a set of activity cards with a theme, shopping list, a craft, a recipe, a toy, an activity and an educational game.  All you have to do, I print it out, grab your shopping list and head to the nearest dollar store (I shop at the Dollar Tree and Target unless otherwise specified) many of the items used a some you probably already have on hand.

Each box I have budgeted $20 - some months will be less, put all the purchased items and the printed cards into the box and present to your preschooler (SillyKid) when you see fit!  Please read through the parent letter and activities before jumping in - all of the crafts/activities can be done 90% by your toddler but you will need to step in for certain spots.

Please, please share pictures of your cuties doing some of the activities - I will share mine as we do them - if you're an instagrammer, find me: PlusPeace and look for hash-tag #SillyKidsBox

Drum-roll please.....

SILLYKIDS July 2013 Monthly Box: Camp Kid!!

Download your copy: HERE!

If you have any questions or comments feel free to do so below.  Also please be respectful, all the drawings, pictures and instructions are written/illustrated/taken by me.  Please feel free to share with friends but do not sell or copy any of the materials.  Some of the crafts, recipes and activities were found online or taught to me by others somewhere down the line so this is my disclaimer that not everything in here is "original" just adapted :)

I also threw in an action figure for an additional $1.  You can definitely tailor this to your kid - be imaginative!


P.S. Look for our pictures of the activities throughout this week!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

SillyKids - My Own Box

I have been doing Citrus Lane for Bear for about 8 months now.  I REALLY liked it up until about May's Box which I didn't feel was as age appropriate as it had been.  I decided to give it one more month's try and wasn't thrilled with this box either.  I love this company but I think Bear has outgrown it.

I looked into other boxes for kids his age.  I was not impressed with Bluum we got a sun hat that was styled for a baby but was even too big for me and starfish sunglasses that were definitely not for us - totally fine, we put them into the "Birthday Box" for when we have a birthday to attend. I also looked into craft boxes but just didn't see the value there - yes, all the supplies come to you, ready to go but I can just as easily mix supplies we already have into some new items for some fun crafts.

Citrus Lane was $25/month so I've decided to make my own little boxes for Bear each month with a budget of $20 with things I know he'll like and activities he'll enjoy.

I have 6 months of boxes planned out with the perfect mix of toys and activities!  At the beginning of the month I'll post a shopping list, a free download and some instructions.  All you need is a printer, a box and a pre-schooler with a big imagination!

Since I didn't set a huge budget for this project and each box will contain a Recipe, an Activity, a Craft, Something Educational and a Toy, I will primarily shop at the Dollar Tree - If you don't have one near you, a lot of these things can be found very cheap anyway!

The first "box" will launch on Monday July 1st with the first them ever:

Will you join me?


Saturday, June 22, 2013

My Kid is Three

My kid is how old?? THREE?!

I get Parenting Early Years and found this months issue particularly good.  It went through some things that your kid is doing and learning by age.  I kind of stopped paying attention to the milestone stuff when I realized how generalized the milestone ages are.  For example some kids walk as early as 9 months and others not until after their first birthday.  I do however always notice when Bear learns something new, like how to make the "spider man hand in web-shooting mode".  You would think that would be something really simple but his hands were never used to only bend certain fingers at certain times so this was a really big deal for him.  It took us over a week and yesterday he finally nailed it.

The article outlines a few things that I didn't even think to notice...

Use scissors - safety scissors of course and we have been practicing cutting on the lines.  Not quite there yet.

Put pants on - he can certainly take them off easily and usually get them up but the band on his undies get stuck on the way up.

Put a shirt on - this ones tricky.  He's just recently shown any interest in putting his own shirt one so he tries for a while until his arms are all stuck and them I step in.

Some that were not on this very short list - putting on slip on shoes, using the pedals on a tricycle (still working on this one) and making mom and dad dinner.  Ok I added in that last one but to be fair Bear made me dinner last week and it was splendid!

Here is what Bear made - Pizza Croissants

You Will Need:
Baking pan lined with tinfoil
Pizza Sauce - we used the kind in a squeeze bottle - easier for small hands
Italian Blend Shredded Cheese
1 Tube of Croissant Dough (pillsbury or store brand)

I let Bear do all of it,  I ripped the tinfoil and opened the tube.  He pulled them all apart slopped on the pizza parts and (sort of) rolled them up - more like a fold.  I popped them in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes and PRESTO! Your Kid made dinner.  Served with apple slices.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Choking Hazards, Birthday Party & Bye Bye Baba

Over last weekend we had Bear's Birthday Party - can you believe he's THREE?!  Me either!

Bear has never really been one to put things in his mouth that are hard and small so we just assumed the risk wasn't there anymore.  The morning of Bear's party he was playing in the hallway and the two bedrooms while we were steps away in the living room, getting everything ready.  He came out and showed me a quarter he found on floor and asked me if he could put it in his piggy bank.  Of course I said yes and went back to what I was doing.  About 10 minutes later I head him cry out kind of muffled.  Tim and I both knew it was a weird cry and bolted to find him.  He was on our bed with the most terrified look on his face.  He was scared, I was scared.  Something took over me immediately and I looked in his mouth, leaned him forward and smacked his back – out popped a quarter.

This is scary and it was very real.  I am not saying this to scare anyone, but learn from our mistake.  Even if your child is older and doesn't seem to put things in his mouth, he may and when you least expect it.  Be prepared, know how to handle the situation and make sure your partner does too.

When you clean up, look around for things like bottle caps, coins, buttons and other items you probably don’t think about often.

On happier news, Bear’s party went great!  It ended up not raining but was a bit cloudy so we had emergency tents set up in the yard.  We have WAY too much food still in our fridge (I may have over-shopped) but he had so much fun so all the running around, cooking and decorating was well worth it!

Since the choking incident Nana brought up an excellent point.  Now that his teeth are strong enough to break through things (like rubber sippy cup tops) it may be time to bid them farewell. 

Since we got rid of the original Baba last year Bear has adopted the new soft top sippy cups as the new Baba.  He was pretty content with our method last time, I told him I was going to give them to a new baby who needed them now that he was a big boy and didn’t need them anymore.  He never asked for it again.

Since this method worked so well, we thought we would try it out again!  This time Bear decided to be a little more involved which was great.  I mentioned that it was almost time to pick out new big boy cups at the store and time to say goodbye to baba but he just screamed at me and said no.  So I dropped it. 

About an hour later I said we needed to go grocery shopping and he got all excited, looked at me and stated “I am a big boy so I can get a new cup!!”

At the store he picked out two new cups, a Lightning McQueen hard top sippy and a new hard top cup with Mickey on it that said “just like mommy’s cup” on the label and the top looks sort of like a starbucks coffee cup but doesn’t leak, neat!

When we got home, Bear helped decorate a box to put the old Baba’s in to mail to a kid who needed them now.  We used rubber stamps, markers and I even let him put the postage stamp on. 

Night time was hard at first, he kept asking me if his box was still there and we had to go look out the window to make sure it was there.  He had a few short moment of panic while trying to fall asleep when he wanted the baba but I laid down with him and we talked it out.  I explained that we give lots of things away when we don’t need them anymore like clothes, toys, etc so someone else can enjoy them just like we did.

He woke up several times during the night to ask “Mama, can I have my…..big cup?” and then this morning was curious why the box was gone and who was going to get it.  Luckily I have a friend with a baby boy and she agreed to take a picture of her son with the box to show Bear.

Very excited – this worked exactly as planned!


Friday, June 7, 2013

Some Days I Don't Feel "There"

I am being very honest in this post so please - only helpful insights..

My son's behavior has taken a major turn as of late.  He hits, screams and kicks.  I know to some degree this is normal for a three year old but it seems to be escalating quickly.

I was just flipping through a board on WTE about Stay at Home Mom's feeling guilty about having their husbands be the bread runner and them getting to spend the day with their children - something they ENJOY doing.  One woman posted that more women need to be staying home with their children and, in turn, the men will be more responsible etc.  I don't agree with this since it simple does not work like that for the majority of American families, and quite frankly, its a little ignorant to say things like that.  The cost of living is too much these days and jobs don't pay what they used to.  Suuure if your husband is a doctor or engineer, but what about the average lower-middle class who work in industries like manufacturing or construction?

I digress, what I pulled from her response that has stuck with me is this: Many women who work, are too mentally exhausted to give their children their full attention by the end of the day.

THIS IS MY PROBLEM!  No, I am not blaming my job on my son's recently terrible behavior, I am blaming myself because I also recently discovered this quote:

"If you choose the lifestyle, you quite simply have to accept the results it produces."

This was not aimed at this context but I think it works for everyone and every way of living.  Do not blame anyone other than yourself for choosing to live the way you are.  No, I can't just up and quit my job, but I can focus my attention on my son 100% when we are together.  I don't need to do the dishes, I don't need to check facebook but I do need to make sure my son grows up understanding responsibility, respect and humility.  He needs to be able to make good decisions on his own, in real world settings and it is my number one priority to not only display that for him, but to teach him HOW to do that.

His recent behavior change is not really anger but a cry for me and for Daddy to play with him, to teach him, to love him and to show him.

Now I am the one feeling guilty, I feel like I've been taking something away from my kid but I need to remember it's not too late.  He's only three, the past doesn't matter, NOW is what matters!


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Coconut Nutella Fudge Pops

Tim and I used to make Nutella Whipped Cream and eat in on Strawberries.  By far, our favorite summertime desert!  I will include the recipe for that too at the bottom.  I had intended to make that tonight for desert but discovered the strawberries to be rotten.  Huge bummer considering they cost like $4.99. 

I was looking around the fridge and cupboards for some magical food to fill that creamy Nutella craving that would pair with the heat outside. I decided to break out the Popsicle molds and try out some Popsicles! 

Coconut Nutella Fudge Pops (makes 6) 

2 Heaping Spoonfulls of Nutella
8oz Heavy Whipping Cream (or just Heavy Cream)
Handfull of Shredded Coconut (Sweetened)

Stick Blender
Large Ziplock Baggy
6 Popsicle Molds

Kid Friendly Recipe!

In you bowl pour in the heavy whipping cream.  Use the stick blender to make stiff peeks.  If you've never whipped cream before keep checking it - if you go too long, you'll have butter.  

Once you have stiff peeks, add two heaping spoonfulls of Nutella.  Blend again until smooth - only 4-5 pulses.  Toss in a handfull of coconut and fold in with the spatula.  

Open up for ziplock and fold down the sites (this makes it easier to stuff).  Scoop out the mixture into the bag and twist the top like a piping bag.  

Cut off a 1/4" nub on the corner of the bag and pipe into the popsicle molds.  

Do not fill to the top, after filling 6 you'll have a little left in the bag.  Tap the molds to make the mixture settle and pipe more in to make them filled to the line (most molds have a fill line).  If there is any left - safe to eat!

Now put the stick/covers on your molds and freeze for 2.5-3 hours (until hardened) and of course this is the hardest part.

I don't add any sugar, Nutella and the coconut have enough sugar in them for us!  To make just the topping for strawberries or as fruit dip, stop before adding the coconut and pipe or spoon over cut fruit.  For icecream topping do the same but add chopped walnuts - yum!

What is your favorite summertime treat?