Goodbye Summer

My biggest challenge this summer was finding something for two kids to do, who are at very different stages in terms of play. We had some hot weather and the baby couldn’t really go outside for as long as my toddler, they were on different feeding schedules, nap schedules etc.  I also wanted to find things to do, not just get wrapped up with cleaning the house and doing things on the inside while my daughter should be outside being a kid!

Here are some summer tips that helped me:

Getting out early – My daughter just learned how to ride her bike and loves it πŸ™‚  If my husband wasn’t working, I would go out with her while he entertained the baby.  If he was busy or working, I would take the baby in the stroller as she rode beside us.  I’m sure you’re asking why I wouldn’t just take the stroller every time.  We have some hills in our neighborhood and I would find that she doesn’t really know how to steer or stop while going down the hill.  It would get a little tricky trying to catch and stop her/steer for her while pushing the stroller at the same time. I will get better at that, just may take a little more time πŸ˜‰

Children’s Museum – we spent some of the hottest days/afternoons at the children’s museum.  The kids had a ball and we were able to get some energy out as well as stay cool.

Mini Pool – We had this in our backyard and we would use it for a short time.   I could stick my feet in, I could push the baby in his swing while she played in the pool, and put the baby’s feet in every once in a while.

Daytime Baths – If the kids needed a bath and it was way too hot outside and inside for that matter, we took a bath and they got to play for an extended time.

Target – my home away from home.  My son’s formula was from Target and he went through it often.  Typically we went to Target every weekend, I would choose to go in the late morning when there weren’t lots of people in the store and when it was already getting pretty hot.  Target cooled us down while we were productive and getting things we needed.

Diaper bag to diaper backpack – I love totes!  I have 3 totes that I would use for the kids but this summer with the baby more on the move and going to the museum by myself with the kids, I needed all my hands.  Esp, needing to at times carry both of them.  So I switched to a backpack and never looked back.  I remember my sister doing this and her recommending it early on in my first pregnancy but I always wanted my tote.  The backpack is a life saver.  I can keep enough in it with out hurting my shoulders and can carry the kids when needed.

Sun screen – so far my kids are blessed with not getting burnt as soon as the sun touches them.  Since vitamin D is so important, I usually have my kids soak some up before putting sunscreen on them.  The one I have learned about, love, and trust is from Young Living.  I used it on my trip to Mexico and I didn’t burn once when I was there.  It also didn’t take long for it to rub into my skin.  I fell in love with it.  I switched my entire family to this sunscreen and it is for the most part, always in the diaper bag.

Homemade bug repellent – mosquitoes love my daughter.  I couldn’t find a bug spray that wasn’t crazy greasy and I trusted.  So I made my own.  I used water with lemongrass, lavender, tea tree, citronella, and peppermint.  It really seemed to work.

Lavender essential oil and peppermint essential oil – I would use these on bug bites.  Peppermint for me – it would stop the itch.  Lavender for my kids – peppermint is too strong and is a hot oil so could burn the kids, so the lavender would help heal their bites.

I hope these tips help someone next year like they did for me!

Won’t Be Able To Fight Bergens Forever

With the warmer weather finally starting to come around, we are loving being outside!!  There’s bubbles, sidewalk chalk, walks, feeding the birds, raking, and fighting Bergens happening at our house.  Yes, that’s right..fighting Bergens.  Watching my daughter grow up is amazing and so much fun.  Her imagination right now is awesome!  She’s just starting to play with dolls and action figures independently as well as make pretend throughout the house.

One day we were outside drawing with chalk and she looked up and goes “Oh no!  There’s a Bergen!!!” She started running around and using her chalk almost like a sword or a wand.  She really hasn’t watched anything with those things and I don’t think she even knows what those are, but that’s the best way I can explain the gesture she was doing.  She came to me and asked for help getting the Bergens.  (And for those of you who aren’t aware of Bergens, they are creatures that like to eat Trolls to be happy.)  So I got up, (slowly because I was recovering from the stomach bug) and we went around the yard spotting Bergens and pointing our chalk at them telling them to shoo and go away.

Well, the silly Bergens ended up being in our tree!!  So we drew on the tree and told them to go away.  My daughter, A, had SO much fun!  I was carrying her little brother around with us and he was smiling as well.  Daddy (who’s renovating our bathroom – post to come) would walk by and get a kick out of us.

A knew I still wasn’t feeling well so she ran slow and had patience with me since I couldn’t run and was holding her brother who is getting heavy!  We had fun and kept taking breaks and picnic’d outside for the first time.  There was so much to talk about.  All the bugs were out crawling and birds singing, it was a great day.  Yes, that was one afternoon haha

Fighting Bergens is exhausting and unfortunately they won’t be around forever.  I’m a full time working mom and weekends are so precious to me.  Kids grow up so fast and I feel like they lose their innocence even faster lately.  I’m holding on to anything that I possibly can and doing the best I can.  Just because I was sick with no energy or strength, didn’t mean that she didn’t have any.  Let me tell you, she has an endless supply of energy!  In the end though, she didn’t care that I couldn’t run, she just wanted to play in any way possible and to play with me.  I was able to learn so much about her and the little girl she is becoming through experiences like this and it’s amazing.

I hope all of you get to fight Bergens or chase alligators or pretend like your birds flying all over the world whenever you can.

Meal Prep With My Assistant

One of my weekend musts is also my weekly life savers – meal prep!! I have always struggled with it but now my lifestyle is forcing me to make it a necessity. The first week/weekend was hard and stressful but each week it has been getting a little easier. It’s just those new routines man hahaha so hard to get them started!

With working full time and the rush of a work week, it feels like weekends are the only time I truly get to spend time with my daughter. I would tell my husband that I needed him to watch her so I could meal prep. If he needed to work on the weekend, I was stressing myself out trying to find the time. When I would start prepping my daughter would gravitate to the kitchen anyways asking me what I was doing and wanted to help. So I figured why not. It’s a good quality time activity for us to work together and we could talk the entire time. She gets so excited to help and feels proud of what she does.

A loves to bake with me, help me clean the fruits/ vegetables and pack up everything I chop up. She tells daddy that she’s cooking and will talk about it later on. (As she gets older we can turn this into some great sequencing activities/conversations.)

When she bakes with me she helps mix everything in the recipe except the egg. I know I should follow most directions but I don’t separate wet and dry ingredients. I have her mix everything together in one bowl and once I put the egg in I stir the rest while she places the cupcake liners into the muffin tin. That is a great fine motor skill for her as well!

The different types of food that’s cut and washed to separate for us into containers are: apples, cucumbers, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and other veges. As she places the food into the containers…she eats it as well! She’s SO funny!! She fills each container that I line up to the top and will try putting the covers on. The covers are a little tough so I help her with those.

It’s a great activity for her to see me doing and to do with me. Yes, sometimes it makes more of a mess but I don’t mind that. She helps me clean too πŸ˜‰.

She has been helping me for a few weeks and we have moved onto pizza with daddy!

Best Way To Start A Day

I am so thankful that A loves going for walks! Being outside makes me happy but sometimes I get to caught up with what needs to be done inside that I don’t stop and smell the roses!! Having a child has completely changed that and I truely appreciate it. I love going for walks and running but need to make more time for it.

When we are rushing out the door to head to daycare and work, A will go over to her stroller and ask to go for a walk. She started this earlier in the winter where it wasn’t too cold and we would go for a quick lap and then jump into the car afterwards. She had fun, I got in a little bit of exercise before going to work where I sit all day, and it helps clear my head to prepare me for the day. What better way to start a day!! I’m so happy I see Spring in our future so we can start this up again. This morning she didn’t want the stroller but wanted to walk with me and of course Goofy tagged along 😊 Its the perfect time to talk about shadows and who’s is bigger/smaller.

It makes a difference in my life and teaching my daughter to go on walks and be outside even if it’s for a quick moment is important to me.

Whenever I try to work out I plan on carving out time. That’s stressful in itself some days!! But I’m learning that it doesn’t always have to be that difficult especially when I’m just starting up a routine, which is the hardest typically for me.

Cleaning, Organizing, And Forts Of Course!

We are starting to wind down from a very productive weekend. It has been fantastic!! We have been non stop doing something and it doesn’t feel like too much because we are getting lots done. My husband is finishing up our mudroom renovations, we have been organizing anything and everything, and keeping our toddler busy.

The flu hit A again last week starting over the weekend so we didn’t get to all of our weekend chores then. This weekend was about catching up but we took it to the next level! We tackled loads upon loads of laundry, organized the pantry, went through boxes of things that haven’t been touched since moving in together and then moving to our house, cleaned, moved everything in our entire basement and organized it, and I prepped tea!!

Last weekend I went to two of my favorite stores: The Mustard Seed and Misty Meadows. I bought herbs and tea for my sister and I. I wanted to buy everything but limited myself to the most necessary at the moment. I prefer purchasing my cooking herbs, spices, and certain teas there than anywhere else. When I came home it felt like Christmas!

So this weekend I needed to store and prep tea for home and work. Sometimes there isn’t enough time to do this but doing it saves a bunch of time! The weather was back to being cold and a snow rain mix and I needed a little bit of time to get things done so….time to make a fort with A! She gave me about a half hour which was huge! Especially considering since being sick she has only wanted to be held and still has a cough.

She colored and read books in the fort and then when she was done she really wanted to help me and for me to hold her. I decided to go out on a limb and have her help me even though it would probably end up messy. Well, I’m so glad I did! She had SO much fun and ended up doing a GREAT job!!

A told me she was working and then when we had to leave the counter and go get a tissue she was like, ok back to work! Haha! She called daddy to come look at her working and told our dog she was cooking. It was so much fun doing it with her and she made a mess but then I spilled a little bit of tea and made a bigger mess than her! I had her help me with my raspberry leaf, apple mint, and peppermint teas while I did my store bought blended teas that are a little more expensive. We made it through the whole batch and she was busy and had funπŸ˜„. I was really impressed with her work. She seems to never stop amazing me!

It’s Not Just For Squirrels

This time of year there is usually at least one get together where I make these tasty acorn treats.  They are really cute and easy to make.  No baking skills required πŸ˜‰

Mini vanilla wafers, Hershey kisses, frosting, and mini chocolate chips.  You can use whatever flavor or Hershey kisses and mini chips you would like.  I like to stick with milk chocolate.  It would be cute to make some with milk chocolate and some with the pumpkin spice kisses that are now out.

The longest part is usually unwrapping all the kisses.  I try to do that first. Then use the frosting as your glue.  You don’t need a lot, put a lil on the flat end of the Hershey kiss and place the vanilla wafer on top.  Then I dunk the flat end of the mini chocolate chip into the frosting and stick that on top of the vanilla wafer.  

This is a great activity to do with kids too.  My niece is 3 and she was helping me.  She unwrapped kisses and helped put the wafers on the kisses.  Our batch had a few less acorns…not sure where they went πŸ˜‰

Solo Cup Bowling

The newest toddler activity in our house is…Solo Cup Bowling and Solo Cup Pyramids.  Another great Pinterest find!  A has always loved Solo Cups.  Now instead of just the small, shot size, she loves the big ones.  Especially all the different colors they now come in!  We are boring and only have the red ones at the moment.

A didn’t really get the idea of rolling the bowl into the cups to knock them over.  I unintentionally set up the cups in front of the laundry basket and she kept putting the balls in there instead haha!  She really enjoyed stacking the cups though and lining them all up.  

Later on she lined up the cups on the coffee table and pretended to pour the water from her water bottle into them to drink.  The next day, I showed her the same concept with a tea set she had received for her birthday. 

It’s incredible to see the different ways she plays with toys now.  She is constantly learning new things and growing up so fast!  I’m hoping to run to the dollar store and grab some colored pom poms and different colored cups to work on colors and sorting next.  Even if she is too young for it, introducing it never hurt πŸ™‚  I hope you and your little ones get a chance to build pyramids and bowl together!