9 Creative Ways To Play With All Those Cardboard Boxes

Hey friends! Just FYI, I’ve decided to put off our letter of the week series until after the New Years! There’s just so much going on, AND I have a ton of Christmasy activities I want to do.  Christmasy is a word, yes? hmmm…

So, how many Amazon boxes do you have floating around your house right now?! Lots, with even more on the way?! Too many to mention without it being embarrasing? Ya, us either 😉 Here’s 9 fun ways to play with them while you wait for recycling day!

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1. Make a reading nook/Coloring fort

We’ve done this a few times and its perfect for the HUGE box we get every 3 months filled with our random house paper products. I took my exacto knife, cut a ton of X’s in the top and pushed christmas lights through the holes. I left books inside for K to read. One time, I made it a fun activity to put stickers all over it and throughout the week we colored it with markers.

2. Guessing Game

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We did this last week for G week! You can find that post here. Cut a small hole in the top of a box and put a small item inside. Ask your little to guess what the item is only using their fingers to feel it. It took a few tries for K to get the idea, but once he did, he loved it! He even pulled the box out of the recycling bin to play with again once Daddy got home that evening! img_3713

3. Roads

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I cut boxes up into strips and laid down a maze of roads all over the living room. I did a messy job of taping them together, just so they kind of stayed in the right place, but I didn’t waste much time making sure they were straight or perfect. If your kiddo likes to play with cars/trucks/tractors, trust me, do this.

4. Sorting

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You see where this is going right?! I had K sit on the floor and I POURED all the balls on him. Just for fun. I tossed red, green, yellow and blue pieces of construction paper in the bottom of my boxes, along with a few balls, and he knew what to do right away. If you don’t have these balls, you can have them sort literally anything, food toys vs animal toys, different color magnets, different shapes or colors of cardboard. Use what you’ve got.

Pro Tip Here… Don’t Pour 250 ball pit balls on your kid right before nap time, then expect them to happily get to work sorting. Most likely, they will sort like 26% of them, then you’ll have to pick up the rest while they watch Doc McStuffins. Or something like that.

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5. Towers/Castles and Imaginative Play

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K is really into dinos and dragons, Mr. Destructo likes to drop any kind of “structure”. This was actually the inspiration behind this post! I just kept building his “castles” or “houses” and told him that we were dragons or dinos and we roared and smashed the boxes down. over. and over. and over. We’ve clearly been watching too much Shrek. Also, random side note, but both of my kids LOVE playing with plastic solo cups. We’ve been playing with the same solo cups that were left over from K’s first birthday party. Anything can be a block!

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6. Sensory Bins

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Our very loved disposable pan that we usually use for sensory bins was donated to a water leak in our basement. So, last week I had to find a sensory bin solution on the fly. I cut the sides down of a large box and taped up the rough edge. I also taped the inside too so that all of our rice didn’t get stuck down in the crevasses.  Last week, K played with this foam bath toy and rice set-up for 43 minutes. 43 minutes friends.

7. Ball Run

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K loved this! I couldn’t even finish it before he went to town. We were super low on tape so I was trying to Macgyver it together, not my finest attempt.. Sadly,  right before I took a picture, he fell into it and totally destroyed it. It looks a little sad in this picture here. Next time, I’ll make sure to reinforce it MUCH better.

8. Ramp and Car Garage

Ramps of the past were basically just single pieces of cardboard that I leaned up against a large toy and we pushed cars down. It works, but he almost always bent it. But friends, my ramp game has improved.

K knows the drill when I get that look in my eye, so he was very patient while I was building and talking to myself. I just kept giving him tape and pieces and he “made his own” while I worked on his. Then I pulled out the paint, because I thought it would be super fun to paint it and give it some parking spots and such. (Painting a ramp-garage is way more fun than folding laundry) There is 2 ramps and on the far side, there is a tunnel too. Vin, if you’re reading this, THIS is where all the duct tape went. 😉

9. Cardboard Trees

I cut out some cardboard trees (and also some stars that we haven’t done anything with yet.. maybe we’ll paint those and put them on the tree.)  It’s a toddler Christmas over here, for sure! These trees are really cute and super easy. I cut and painted them green while K was asleep, then he helped me put them together and decorate them. He’ll do just about anything to get to play with glitter glue. While we decorated, K explained to me that we needed to make Santa’s cookies soon. He’s also requested blue cookies for Santa. Toddlers.

That’s my list, thanks for reading! What other fun activities do you do with cardboard boxes?! Let me know, we love new ideas! 😉 happy Fri-yay!

Cheers,

🦖 B 🦕

Letter G

Hey Friends! Happy Sunday! Our week got a little messed up, our water pressure tank went out, so there was no water at our house while V spent 2 days working on that. {AWSUM} So, we weren’t able to do 4 of my fun ideas, kinda stinks, but I’ll just have to save them and try to incorporate them into another letter! Disclaimer, I feel like this post is a little forced, so my apologizes in advance for that! (Jump ahead if you don’t want to read about my feelings!  😉) I’ve just been feeling a little sad lately. Lately, I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time with lots of my out-of-town family, it’s just left me feeling sad. Sad because seeing everyone makes me realize how much I miss them! After high school, I moved away for college and I never made my way back, which wouldn’t matter at all, because everyone else has spread all over the country. My soul-friend is in Boston, bestie is in Georgia, some are on the wrong side of Michigan, or in Indiana, in S.Carolina, a bunch in Texas, some in N, Carolina.. I’m not complaining, I wouldn’t have my life any other way because I met V, and now we have built this amazing little family together, but I still really miss my people. It’d be nice to call and just meet up for coffee, and not have to book a flight, take out a small loan and make a plan for 8 months from now, ya know??? So, you all know who you are, if you’re reading this, I’m sad, so move closer to me already. 😉

On to the post!

G is for Grapes Do-a-Dot Sheet

K has been really into these sheets lately. I figured out, it’s all about the timing. There’s a sweet spot like an hour after he wakes up, but before he gets all wound up when he’s willing to sit down and do these sheets. Any other time of the day its a no-go. So, here is my G is for Grapes sheet, and I also printed the G is for Gumball sheet from TheMeasuredMom, you can find it here, and a fun gumball machine printable here from pre-k pages, and we went to town with dots. There’s so many fun modifications for these sheets!

  • finger paint dots
  • put under sticky contact paper and fill dots with pompoms
  • use dot stickers
  • use a wine cork as a stamp
  • use chalk and do circle practice
  • laminate sheet and color in dots with white board markers

Grass Hat

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This was too cute. I had K help me put 2 pieces of green construction paper through our shredder, I stopped it half way, then I taped the two pieces together to fit his little head. Voila. Grass hat. I had visions of cutting the grass and putting items on his hat, but none of that happened, and he loved wearing his green grass hat around. Too cute and SO easy.

G is for Glue & Grass

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I put 2 more pieces of green construction paper through the shredder. Take my advice, and shred 1 piece, maybe only half of 1. Shredding 2 pieces is over kill, for sure. Then I printed a G Outline, I had K help me spread glue around the G and then we put the “grass” all over the G. Adorbs.  I also planned on having him use grapes to fill the G, but that didn’t make the cut this time.

G if for Guitar

After dinner most nights, we spend 30-45 minutes just playing with K, then we spend a half hour or so winding down. So, one night, I had V dust off the ol guitar and play us some music, and K loved it! He ran around and danced and really seemed to enjoy watching V play! It makes my heart just melt to see these two find things they both enjoy! So much fun!

Gordy the Giraffe

We looked through our first words book, and found a giraffe to make out of felt. I drew out the giraffe on paper first, then while I worked on cutting the felt, K “helped” by cutting the paper giraffe. While he napped, I sewed up our fun lil guy. This was a fun animal to choose because there are so many things for us to count! 2 ears, 4 legs, 5 dots, 6 hairs.. K loves him, hes been sleeping with him all week.

Grape Structures

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For a morning snack, I cut a ton of grapes in half and we made structures out of grapes using toothpicks. We built a couple mini houses and a teeny castle for Gordy the Giraffe, who is clearly much too large for his castle. I was surprised how into this K was. Definitely a fun snack and an even better learning opportunity!

G is for Blueberry Vanilla Granola Bars

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I’m not going to lie to you guys, this was completely coincidental. I had planned on making granola bars, not even making the G connection until the moment we started making them!! K is a cookie and bar monster, he says “bar please” at least 2 times a day. So I try to keep something homemade on hand because store bought granola bars are jam packed with sugar! This recipe, unfortunately is no exception, but they’re made with honey, so thats a tad better! Who am I kidding, they’re basically cookies, but they’re delicious. This time, I let K run the standup mixer, and help me pour in the ingredients, and he did a great job. I have a feeling I’m going to have a great helper in the kitchen in a few years!

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Guessing Game

This turned out super cute and fun! I took a small amazon box, and cut a small hole in the top, just big enough for K’s hand to fit through. Then I grabbed a few small items, and told him he had to reach in the box and use only his hands to guess what was in the box. I had to help him hold his hand inside the box while he felt the item to guess what it was, but eventually he got the idea. He loved this! When Daddy got home that evening, we played again with him, and he had a great time running around finding little items to try and trick daddy.

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Here are a few of the items I used for our guessing game.

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G books

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These are the books we pulled out for this week. I’ll be honest, we didn’t do a very good job of intentional reading. Next week, we don’t have much planned, so I plan to focus a lot more on reading!

Glowstick Ball Pit Bath

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This was hilarious. I got this idea from an amazing Momma at the library and I couldn’t wait to do it! I told K all day that we had a special “surprise” for him, because I knew he would just love it! The build up gave me some leverage for his behavior for the day too. 😂 We often do glowstick baths in the dark when he’s having a day, but this time we also poured 250 balls in the bathtub with him, and he went NUTS. It was super hard to get a picture of both the balls and the glowing water, so use your imagination. The biggest downfall for this, honestly was cleanup. Dumping the balls IN the tub was easy peasy, however, picking up and drying 250 balls, was a total pain in the balls. ha. Next time, I’ll do this during the day, then bribe him with something yummy to pick them up for me. 😉

Movie: the Good Dinosaur

We picked this gem up from the library. Have you guys seen this?! We’ve watched it, exactly, everyday this week. And holy cannoli, it’s super cute, but I’m not crying, you’re crying!

Grow Chart

There’s always a dud! This was it. Which is unfortunate, because I thought this would be fun! So I took a large roll of paper, (that I ordered on amazon specifically for this activity) and rolled out enough to fit J and K on, and I drew an outline around them. I drew their pants, and shirts, and hair. I am most definitely not an artist, so I will not be sharing pictures of this one. I thought it would be interesting for K to see his actual size, and I thought he would enjoy coloring himself.. I was wrong. He didn’t care. He was more interested in the marker caps. 🤷🏼‍♀️ I’m going to hang onto them and see if I can repurpose them. I’ll let ya know!

That’s all for G week! Thanks for reading friends! Leave me some love, is anyone following along with their own letter of the week? Don’t forget to click follow for email updates! 😘

Cheers,

🦕 B 🦖

Letter F

Hey Friends!! Happy Sunday! V and I went out to a lovely Christmas party at a friends house last night, and we woke up this morning both agreeing that we are far too old for this. We can no longer hang. Nope. I didn’t even get wild, but 2am is just too late for this Momma. I like dinner at 5:30 and to be in my cozies and curled up by 9pm, so, I’m basically like 92 now.

Every week I tell myself I am going to work on my posts throughout the week, so that I’m not rushing with my sleepy thoughts on Sunday afternoon, when I really should be meal prepping and activity prepping and ordering groceries and folding laundry and sweeping and of the other 983 other things I should be doing. But here we are, 1:30pm on Sunday, and I have a million things to accomplish before 7pm. {Yawn} I’m definitely going to bed at 7.

Next week, I’m definitely going to work on my time management, pinky promise.

Okay, F week! I have lots of favorite F words, 🙉 Here is my F-word bank. This is what I start with for each week, a word bank at the top of my notebook page, so that I can find toys and inspiration in our house. And write down ideas as they come to me. I’ve decided to start sharing my word banks to help you find ways to easily incorporate some of these ideas if you choose to do so!

F: fox, fire, friends, four, five, feet, float, flower, fly (insect), fly (verb), foam, foil, fog, fizz, fruit, feelings, felt, frog, firetruck, firehose, firehydrant, fish, food

Obvi there are many more, but this is what I worked from.

F is for Firetruck

I will include my super cute dot sheet at the bottom of this post, along with a few others free printables. K was much more interested in artsy activities this week, so we used our purple do-a-dot marker and counted each of the dots on this sheet. I’ve found that K is much more willing to play with these markers when I give him 1. If I offer him all 6, or give him color choices, he spends his time playing with the markers, twisting off the tops, screwing around and not really focusing on the task at hand. Give him 1 marker, no choice of color, and he gets right to business. TODDLERS 🤷🏼‍♀️ amiright?!

A few modification ideas:

  • finger paint dots
  • put under sticky contact paper and fill dots with pompoms
  • use dot stickers
  • use a wine cork as a stamp
  • use chalk and do circle practice
  • laminate sheet and color in dots with white board markers

Ff mini book

I found these books at TheMeasuredMom, you can find them here. She has a ton of fun letter of the week ideas and inspiration! F is one of the letters that K doesn’t pronounce correctly. Instead of fish, he says Pish, fork is pork, you get the idea. So, all week, I would have him watch my mouth, and we would say “Ffff, ffff, fffff, fork” and by Thursday maybe, he started actually making the F sound! I was so pleased! So now he says “ffff, fffff, fffff, pork”. So. Progress. 😂 baby steps.

Flower Sensory Bin

We went to the dollar store for a few new things, and I let K pick out a bouquet of fake flowers, we got some new rocks, and some red sand, and I made him a rocks and flowers sensory bin. Guys. Do. This. Today. This activity is seriously everything. He has been playing with it all week, and the best part about it, I have given him 0 direction for this, it’s been completely open and imaginative play. He’s picked out some of his play cups and shovels and filled them with rocks and sand, he’s played in it with his tractors, he played with the rocks in paper towel rolls, one day incorporated some matchbox cars. He dumped in all over the floor one day which was super fun, but other than that, it’s been a huge success. 10/10, 5 sparkly stars.

Playdoh F

I printed an F outline and we played with playdoh. My biggest suggestion when it comes to playdoh, is, again, don’t give them any choices. I picked out 2 colors for him, and left the rest in the closet, other wise he would have just spent the entire time emptying all of the playdoh containers. Sometimes this is fine, but I had a goal. First we rolled out the playdoh, which is tough for their little hands to do! Then we made the F out of snakes and balls and we smushed them as we talked about the F sound and words that start with F.. “fffff, fffff, fffffff peet” 😂

F is for Fire

I had 2 fire activities planned, and they both were super cute. The first, we used red, orange and yellow paint, and sponged it into Ks foot and made “F is for Fire” with a foot print. Adorbs. He loved this.

Generally, we talk a lot about fire because we have a wood burning stove in our living room that heats our home during the winter. We occasionally do not put up the gate around the stove, because we are trying to teach K how to be safe around the stove, and how to be responsible. He gets it, but, let’s be real. he’s 2, so we still keep the gate up most of the time. We taught K sign language before he was talking and one of the first signs he learned was fire.. he’s a pyro just like his Daddy.

Fire Rescue

I built a simple structure out of Duplos and set up a little scene, with a guy, and his 2 Duplo dinosaurs. I also made a “fire truck” out of his Duplos. Then I mixed some shaving cream and red and yellow food coloring and I put it all over the house. I sat K down in front of it, told him there was a fire, and we needed to save his guy and the Dinos and put out the fire to save the guys house. I gave him a spray bottle and he went to town! He LOVED this! He sprayed and sprayed and sprayed and talked to the guy about the fire and fire truck.

It was adorable. Then, when he was soaked and everything was covered in shaving cream, I tossed his little tush in the kitchen sink and had him give everything a “bath”. Real talk. All in all, he played with this activity for nearly 2 hours, which is a lifetime. Do you have any idea how much I can do in 2 hours?!

Ff post its

Another super easy one, takes just a few minutes to throw together! I took a handful of post-it’s in 2 colors. I wrote “F” on one color and “f” on the other, and then stuck them all over the place. We’ve done this many times, and I switch the room we play in, or the color of stickies, or even the difficulty of getting to them. This time, I put a piece of contact paper on the dishwasher and had him sort the posits that way, but you could also have a bowl for each to be sorted in instead!

This is a great activity for when I want to calm K down, when he’s getting really wound up, when I need to get him off the tablet, or when I need him to go play in the living room so I can mop the kitchen. Easy peasy!

Modification ideas:

Older kids- Use postits with all letters, call out various words and “starts with” “ends with”

Sorting modification- use same color postits and F and f. Work on the difference between capital and lower case.

F is for Food

I decided to let K help me make a recipe. So we made some almond flour cheesey crackers. He loves to help, but I’m a little neurotic, so this time I vowed to let him do a little more than I normally do. He got to crack the eggs, mix the dough, use the rolling pin, cut out some crackers with a pizza wheel.

He did really well!! It’s honestly amazing how much he can do when I stop worrying about the mess we are making and just let him, and myself, have a good time. Crackers were yummy too!

Fast vs Slow on FOUR

I set up some construction paper tunnels in the kitchen and grabbed some matchbox cars. I purposefully counted to “ffff, ffff, four” instead of 1, 2, 3 and then I pushed the cars through the tunnels, sometimes they went fast, sometimes slow. He definitely understands fast vs slow so this activity lasted all of 4 minutes. I wasn’t even going to mention this, but I don’t want anyone thinking that every activity that we do is a winner. That is most definitely not the case. Sometimes they’re total duds.

F is for Frog

Speaking of dud! I cut 4 lilypads out of green felt, and K and I hopped around on them like frogs one morning, we had a blast! Then I thought I’d cut more lilypads, and since I was out of green felt, I made them various colors. I imagined I could call out “purple” and he’d frog hop over to the purple. I laid down a blue blanket, made our rainbow lake, got a cute little turtle and alligator toy to complete my rainbow lake scene. I went live on IG because this was about to be adorable… guess what.. He refused and still keeps refusing to do anything with the 13 rainbow lilypads I made for him. Pshh.. 😂 I’ll get him eventually. Mark my words.

I had a few more activities I really wanted to do, but we had a super busy week and I ran out of time!

I love the feedback and comments I’ve received so far! Keep in mind, I’m totally winging it over here, so it seriously means the world to me when I hear from you guys! I’m gonna go make some coffee and get to planning the week ahead, thanks for reading!

Fun printables 👇🏼

F_Dot_Firetruck

F Outline

😘

X

🦖 B 🦕

Letter A & B

Hey Everyone! We did letter A & B before I started this blog, but I keep noticing people clicking on the tab and it bothered me that I didn’t have anything there! So, here is atleast some pictures of a few of the artsy fartsy things we did! AND I promise to redo A & B, write a good post and take decent pictures! Please let me know if you want printables for A & B, I have them, I just haven’t had the time to upload them. I’m happy to share!

Check out Letter C and on to follow along with us as we play and learn!

My Kitchen Favs

Hey Everyone! So, I love to cook and bake and I find nothing more satisfying than making something from scratch! I just wish I could convince my oldest stinker to eat anything I make! toddlers,  pshhhh. I, obviously, have no classical training in the kitchen, I learned a lot from my folks and grandparents and good ol YouTube has taught me quite a bit. Seriously, I was too embarrassed to call my mom once and ask if there was a difference between green onions and scallions, and how to chop them. YouTube has EVERYTHING. So, I thought it might be fun to write a blog post about my favorites in my kitchen, fun right?

Firstly, we despise our coffee pot. Does anyone have coffee pot that they love, because we surely don’t love ours. We woke up to a dead Mr.Coffee a few years back and our current maker was a “umm shit, we need one NOW”  purchase. A sure way to piss me off is to mess with my coffee. And, when you shop for a coffee pot, you’re going to pay either $15 or $200, nothing in between… I’m clearly not rolling in the dough over here, so, $200 is pretty steep, where are the $70 happy medium old reliable coffee pots out there?! Anyways, I kinda hate it. I mean, sure, it makes my lifesaving liquid gold every morning (and afternoon), but why does half a cup of coffee drip onto the counter from the side of the carafe every time we pour a cup of coffee? And why does the little coffee apartment leak grounds into the carafe like 90% of the time. AND, my least favorite thing about it, is why does it beep so. freaking. loud. Theres no way to turn that feature off!? That’s the last thing I want to hear before I’ve had a cup of coffee, 4 drawn out loud obnoxious beeps. Trust me Mr. Coffee maker, I will not forget about you, no need to be loud and needy. Anyways.. I’m supposed to be talking about things I love. whoops.

My absolute favorite item of my kitchen are my knives and my knife magnet.

I don’t have a ton, but I also truly only need like 3 good knives. V let me pick out 2 fancy knives for Mothers Day this year, and I’ve been cutting all the things since! They seriously slice through a sweet potato like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I have a couple IKEA knives, which I was pleasantly impressed with, but the real heart throbs of the kitchen, are my Zwillilng J.A. Henckels Twin Four Star High Carbon, Stainless steel 8 inch chefs knife, and the 6 inch utility knife. These bad boys are made in Germany and I LOVE THEM. I just looked on Amazon, and the Cyber Monday deals make these like half price what we paid, which is amazing. Go buy them now.  I never realized how necessary a good knife was in the kitchen, until I had one. If you like to cook, even a little, or you have to cook, to keep your people alive, you need a good knife for meal prep. Do yourself a favor and check these guys out. #NOTSPONSORED, by anyone. How do I get these guys to sponsor me?

Next item on my kitchen must haves, and I know this might be silly, but is my Cuisinart toaster oven.

And hear me out before you unsubscribe from my blog all together! This little gem, is a LIFE SAVER, and I use it daily. Its 6:20am right now, and I’ve already used it today. It preheats and bakes up dino shaped chicken nuggets for the toddler in like 13 minutes. Does anyone know how long it takes a conventional oven to preheat to 425 degrees? Too damn long. When shit is hitting the fan, I need to be able to make food for the crazed toddler as fast as possible, because, apparently, you’re not supposed to feed them cookies for dinner. It NEVER burns toast, and I can also roast a ton of veggies in 32 minutes flat. After I chop them up with my handy knives (see above) toss them on a baking sheet, drizzle some avocado oil on top, my toaster oven is preheated in like 2 minutes, and I’m done and I can move on to the other gazillion things I still have to do every evening before dinner. The baby is eating purees now, and I’m so proud of him, but I seriously have to start the dinner dance at like 3:30 to have dinner on the table by 5:30, which is craaaazy talk. I will do anything to save some time and not compromise the integrity of my home cooked meals. Trust me on this, toss your toaster, get a toaster oven. I’m not including a picture of mine, because it’s disgusting and old and I need to submerge it in a bath of lemon juice and baking soda to get it clean again.

I find a lot of cooking inspiration from the internet, of course, but I love my cook books. There’s something about following a recipe from a paper book, I will always choose something from my cookbooks over the internet. I love writing my thoughts in my books too, “10/10 make again” “V hated, B Loved” “Add double ginger” It’s hard to do that on the internet. My current favorites are Thug Kitchen and Thug Kitchen 101.

I just got these for my birthday this year. They are hilarious, sarcastic, smart ass-y, and jam-packed full of healthy recipes, my kind of books. The Thug Kitchen books are vegetarian recipes, we are meat eaters, but we like vegetarian recipes too. This is where my favorite cauliflower tacos recipe came from. So Good!!

Next is, One Pan, Two Plates by Carla Snyder.

This book is SO PRETTY guys. Food photography is tough, but Carlas got it going on. I love that these recipes only use 1 pan, the down fall is no left overs, and as much as I like to cook, I live for leftover nights, because that’s the only time I get a break from my dinner responsibilities. So, I usually double these recipes to make enough for the 3 of us, and it works out perfectly.  The Flank Steak and squash hash seen on the cover is incredible, I make that one fairly often.

Of course, my Magnolia Table book by Joanna Gaines.

duh, Chip and Jo are like the cutest humans alive. She has such a great outlook on life, and I don’t have words for those chocolate chip cookies. Come on. Winner.

Lastly, is Lodges Cast Iron Nation.

If you use cast iron pans, like we do, this book is incredible! It’s super pretty, and has some amazing ideas for fun ways to use your cast iron skillets!

Which is a perfect segue way into my next favorite. I love my cast iron skillets, I have a large skillet, a small egg skillet, a tiny sauce pot great for warming up sauces or dips, a dutch oven, and a flat bacon/pancake skillet. V’s mom has been getting us cast iron every year for Christmas, and we’ve got quite the collection these days. So, one day I came into the kitchen, and V was throwing out all my old pots. These pots were old, I think they came from my grandma when I first moved out on my own, the teflon was peeling, they were in rough shape. He was right, but come on, you can’t just toss all my pots and expect me to be able to cook meals! So, I made an emergency run in search of non-teflon pots, and the sales lady talked me into this Calphalon stainless steel 12 inch everyday pan, and I do not regret this purchase, at all!

It’s super versatile and amazing. I use it to saute veggies and boil noodles and cook grilled cheese. It literally is good for everything! It’s not coated, it’s dishwasher safe, it looks exactly the same as the day I bought it! Shiny and pretty. It’s safe on range or glass cooktops. The top for it is clear glass, which is necessary for me and I also like that the side pan handles are small, so it takes up less space. Get rid of those coated pots friends, they’re bad news, all you need is some avocado oil and nothing sticks! Sadly, I’ve burnt plenty of stuff in this pan, they get hot a lot faster than what I’m accustomed to, and its no big deal.

What are some of your favorites? I’m always on the hunt for new awesome cook books and goodies to keep in my kitchen. Please leave me a comment of your favs! I’m excited to share our Letter F week with you later this weekend. Thanks for reading friends.

x,

🦖 B 🦕

Family Traditions

Hey Everyone! I hope everyone is having a relaxing weekend and for everyone here in the US,  I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving. Guess who was wishing folks from Australia and Europe “Happy Thanksgiving” on IG.. ha, YUP-this girl.. So, to all my friends NOT in the US, happy weekend!

So, for the Thanksgiving holiday, we took a short 3 hour drive to my folks house. We got to visit with family, which is always amazing and super exhausting. My sister, we will call her Moses, (because that’s what I actually call her) came over to my Moms and we all made like 15 sides, enough food for a small army. It was a super fun day, and I’m pleased to annouce we DID NOT burn the rolls this year. There are a few staples for Thanksgiving that we make, but most years we try to shake it up a bit and make a few new things. I’m working on a post of a few of my favorite recipes. Food photography is tough, kuddos to all you food bloggers out there. I’m not sure I’ll have pictures.

Thanksgiving 2017 was quite the memorable one, the guys tried to deep fry a turkey without the proper equipment (and likely too much laughter and beers). They deep fried it to holy heaven and back. So. Funny. This is my brother B proudly holding the ash turkey, we ate a whole lotta sides that year.

So this year, the guys had their 17 pound redemption turkey, and my mom smartly roasted a 2nd  “backup” turkey… So much faith. So much turkey.  The redemption turkey turned out great, and the backup turkey (and wonderful stuffing) wasn’t done until 3 hours after we ate. One of these years we will get it together.. Until then, I’m gonna keep taking pictures (proof) and laughing about the fun memories we make.

A long-standing family tradition we have is to go to Pine Crest Christmas Tree Farm on the Friday after Thanksgiving. This is arguably more important to me than Thanksgiving Dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some corn casserole and pumpkin pie, but I love my traditions more. Every year, someone goes. When I was growing up, it was always my folks, and my siblings. Now, the family has spread across the US, we’ve increased in numbers with babies and significant others, decreased in size due to divorces and breakups. Some years a few of us have to work, or don’t make it into town, so each year is a little different, but each year, someone goes and gets a tree.

You may not know this about me, but I am super sentimental. I love traditions, and family heirlooms, and I just want to know everything from my grandparents. They have so much knowledge, so many memories. It’s such a humbling thing to sit and talk with them about their parents, their memories, their childhood. I want to collect all those sweet memories, dusty pictures, delicious recipes and pretty dinner plates to give to my kiddos. I find the idea of forgotten memories to be really chilling and thinking about it makes me super sad. Memories, heirlooms and traditions are all super important to me. I sure hope my boys care about this stuff someday.

Anyhoo, this place is so fun. It’s in the middle of nowhere USA. Back down like 5 miles of tiny muddy dirt roads, you have to pull over to let oncoming cars with their newly cut bundled tree tied on top pass. Parking is a mess, and there are people everywhere. I’m doing a really great job of selling this place, huh? Normally, this type of thing would be a nightmare for an anxiety ridden person like me, but it’s far from it. It’s a dream! They have tractors and big beautiful horses that pull you around the farm to the type of Christmas tree you’d like. They sell a gazillion personalized ornaments inside the barn, give out free hot chocolate and coffee (and lots of it, this place is busy busy busy). It’s charming, and family owned, the best way to get into the christmas spirit and I find it all super inspiring. I have such sweet memories of being a little girl and being at this farm. At that time, it was just a little building, and a house and a couple horses. Now, what they’ve grown into, is amazing. The young guy driving us out to our tree of choice, Douglas Firs, was clearly very knowledgable about the horses and the farm. I figured he was a family member, and that just made my sentimenal heart throb. I love it. I find it all so inspiring because I think it shows that anybody can do anything with the right tools. This family has grown into such a memory maker for my family, I can’t help but love them for creating such a wonderful sentiment for myself and my family.

What fun family traditions do you have? I’m anxious to start some traditions that our boys can enjoy for their childhood! Maybe in 30 years they’ll be sharing how much fun they had doing X,Y, and Z. One can only hope!

I’m looking forward to starting our letter F week tomorrow, and getting back into our routine. It’s been a fun few days, but I’m sure I’ve gained 14 pounds at this point and we have no food in the house, so it’s time to get to work! Thanks for reading everyone! Have a super Sunday and a great week!

x,

B

Letter E

Hey Everyone! As letter E comes to a close, I feel like most of what we did this week was a streeeeeetch. We don’t have a ton of stuff in our house that starts with an E and K wasn’t into anything artsy fartsy this week. So, we didn’t do much coloring or painting, and sadly, my super cute E is for Elk Dot sheet and some fun counting E sheets all sat out waiting all week with no success. I usually try to follow his lead and not push too hard, I just have to be more creative, or switch gears. I did invite him to sit and color with me at one point, and I convinced him to practice his circles for like 3 minutes. I’m sure it was only because I pulled out the forbidden glitter glue. Mark that one as a win for Momma.

Eyeball Wash

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These Halloween eye balls got some use this week! K was being particularly grumpy one day (everyday) while I was trying to make dinner, so I made some soapy water and tossed this “eye ball wash” together. I didn’t have this one planned for the week, but it worked! Any kind of “wash” always does, and this time I added a level of difficulty to it and told him he had to use the tongs to handle his eyeballs. I sat with him for a few minutes, helped him pick up the balls, wash the balls and then set the balls on the drying rack. Then, I stepped away to finish dinner. Every so often I’d hand him a random kitchen utensil to add some more interest, and keep him entertained. Whatever you do next week. Do this. It’s easy and clean up is a breeze!

E‘s in Gelatin

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For whatever reason, I’ve held onto these boxes of gelatin since like 2001. (I’m not a hoarder, swear.) I don’t even know why I bought them in the first place. Clearly, it was meant for this very moment because it was a slam dunk. I had a hard time finding instructions for gelatin online, so here’s what I did.

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Add 1 cup of cool water to a bowl, sprinkle 4 packets of gelatin on top. Allow gelatin to rest for 1-2 minutes. Add 3 cups of hot water, and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Add coloring if you so desire. I planned on adding color after the gelatin slightly set, so it would be all swirly and neat looking, but I got side tracked (imagine that!) and I missed my opportunity. Spray another bowl (or a mold) with some cooking oil, and dump the gelatin onto toys. Refrigerate for 3+ hours.

I picked out the few E toys I could find, an E magnet, an Egg Magnet, an elephant, and a bunch of other random stuff and carefully organized them in the bottom of my mold and when I poured in the gelatin, they, of course, floated. So after about 1 hour 20 minutes into the refrigerator, the gelatin was set enough that I could push the toys down and the gelatin filled back in around them. This probably wasn’t necessary, but you know me, overthinking things since 1916. 😂 Anyways, he loved this! Next time, I’ll let the gelatin mold hang out outside of the fridge for a few hours before I let him dive in, because it was just so cold on his little hands! He really got into playing with it after it warmed up a tad.

Ellie the Elephant

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I had a totally different intention with this, but it morphed into something super fun! I’ll be honest, this activity started out mostly for me, I’ve been itching to sew something lately. First, we picked out an E word from his huge “first words” book. The illustrations are adorable and super simple. I drew out our chosen elephant on 2 colors of felt that I obviously let K choose. Then, we practiced cutting and cut out all the parts. He was surprisingly into playing with all the parts, building the elephant different ways. We talked about tusks, and her ears and eyes.

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We (I) decided to call her Ellie, then K, unwillingly, went down for his rest. When he woke up, Ellie had come to life!! He was SO EXCITED! For the rest of the week, a lot of our play was based around Ellie. He took her to sleep, she went to play dates with us. He loves her. On Saturday, he was hell bent to build Ellie a house with his magnatiles, and demanded Momma AND daddy helped. So cute. I will DEFINITELY do this again. FOSHO.

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E Books 

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  • The Little Engine That Could
  • King Elk                                                            
  • Elephant Family
  • How Do Dinosaurs Eat Cookies
  • Ee See it. Say it. Hear it.
  • Eyes, Nose, Fingers & Toes
  • P is for Potty (Elmo)

I told you. BIG Stretch.

Eggcrate Buttons

I found this on, what I believed to be, a Japanese Montessori website, at least I hope that’s what it was. I definitely don’t speak or read Japanese, and I don’t know if it’s sketchy or not, so I’m not sharing the site. 😂

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I first tried this gluing the buttons directly to the eggcrate, but K hasn’t had a whole lot of button practice so he had some trouble with it. I removed the buttons and glued a small bead between the egg crate and the button, and while it compromised the effectiveness of the glue, it definitely helped him. Next time I shouldn’t need to use the bead. I cut a couple strips of felt, macgyvered the pony tail holders in place. And voila! Took me and my trusty hot glue gun all of 10 minutes to make.

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helpful hint: add some beads or something with some weight to the inside of the egg crate. You can tape it up if you’re worried about your little one getting to the beans. K loves removing tape, so taping it would only distract him from what he’s supposed to do. A little weight will help keep the egg crate in place so little hands can focus on the buttons!

Elephant Feet

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This was way more hassle than it was worth, but it was pretty cute so I’m sharing. We made some elephant feet out of cardboard from the recycling bin. I cut the holes for his feet out of the boxes. Word of advice, cut them small! K helped me cover the boxes in grey felt pieces. Then we cut 6 semicircles and glued elephant toes to the front. It didn’t take us long to make them, and it was super cute watching him stomp around like an elephant, but really hard to capture on camera!! You can totally use construction paper, tissue paper, or even newspaper for this! Older kids could color white printer paper.

Egg Sink/Float

This was a HUGE hit, pulled it from a science experiment book I looked at while we were at the library. You could easily do this with only 2 or 3 jars too! For older kids, the experiment is meant to be about bouyancy, and salt levels and all that, but for a 2 year old, we talked about sink vs float!

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Supplies:

  • 4 jars with water
  • food coloring (optional)
  • 4 raw eggs
  • salt

Add increasing amounts of salt to jars 2, 3 and 4. Add 1 drop of food coloring, you don’t want the water to be too dark in color, or it’s hard to see the egg! Sadly, I can’t tell you how much salt I used. Basically, I put the eggs in the jars, and slowly added salt, and stirred them until they started to float. Jar 3 floated a little. Jar 4 floated a lot.

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Another huge hit. After he broke an egg, K started acting like he was afraid to play with them, so I gathered up some random stuff in my kitchen for him to play sink vs float. K loves helping with eggs, we go through a lot of them here. He especially likes to help me peel hard boiled eggs, so, he was a tad rough on these raw eggs. NBD. Clean up was a breeze, it all just went directly into the dishwasher and I cleaned the table (and chair and floor). 😂

E-Train

This idea came from @DayswithGrey on IG. She comes up with these Breakfast Invitation activities to keep her kiddos busy and entertained in the mornings, and they are always amazing. She rocks. Her version of this was a lot more detailed, but for K’s speed, we just did an E and e. For another level of difficulty, I could have thrown another letter or color or shapes in there. Since I was having some trouble with his participation this week, I decided to make it pretty simple.

Eyeball Slime

oooo Slime. I thought K would be all over helping me make this, he’s usually quite the sous chef in the kitchen. But, he found some kid on YouTube playing with monster trucks, and everybody knows that monster truck videos trump whatever nonsense mom is up to, right? This was my attempt to pull him out of the land of YouTube. I made it myself, which was fine, because once I was done making it, I was no longer allowed to touch it!

I decided to make “fluffly slime” because, well, why not? Plus, fluffy slime smells like shaving cream! So, we made fluffy slime and added some silly googley eyeballs! At first, he was super hesitant. He only touched it with his doctor tools. (Hes obsessed with Doc McStuffins– I got him a doctor kit this week. I’m shaking myhead at myself as I’m typing this) It took him a while to really get into it.

Every time he plays, its different. Sometimes he takes the eyeballs out, he pulls and squishes it between his fingers. Other times, he lets it fall off the table and just watches as it slowly stretches all the way down to the floor. Sometimes he sits quietly and pulls out the eyeballs and then makes new homes for them in the slime. Fluffy Slime for the win. 💪🏼

Eggcrate & Pipecleaners

This was another on the fly idea. I took another egg crate that I saved for this week.  (Note to self: Egg crates are seriously so handy to have for kids activities!) I made some holes, and then I gave K different colors of pipe cleaners. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but, I’m a pretty frugal Momma. A lot, like the vast majority of the supplies I have for this stuff is from the dollar store. Every couple of months, I go to Dollar General and buy like $20-$30 worth of new goodies, and that’s what we work with! I like to use things from the recycling bin, and random stuff around the house that I just never throw away. Again, not a hoarder. 😉

On the bottom of the egg crate, I cut some more holes, and I colored them the same colors as the pipes cleaners, so he could flip it over and do it a little differently. This activity got us all the way to naptime, AND he continued to play with it on his own while I unsuccessfully tried to get the baby bear to nap. I saw him playing on the monitor and it made my heart soooo happy.

YAY, letter E! I told you guys, super stretch! Next week is Thanksgiving, Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We are going to do a couple fun turkey crafts and talk about being thankful next week, so we aren’t going to do F until the following week. Next week, maybe I will work on writing up about A and B. We did those letters before I started this blog. No promises though, next Thursday, I’ve got a hot date with some Mac & Cheese and Mashed Potatoes.

Thanks for being here! Let me know if you do any of these with your kiddos! I’d love to see or hear some feedback! 😘

• don’t forget- closely supervise and join in on the fun! •

Ee printables👇🏼 K, byeeeeeee ✌🏼

x,

🦖 B 🦕

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Mom Friends

Mom friends— never have too much of a good thing right? There’s no question that being a parent is incredibly rewarding, but its also super freaking hard and lonely. And sometimes, kids are assholes. I’ve always valued my friendships, but now more so than ever, this Momma desperately needs mom friends to maintain the little sanity I still have. Mom friends who are willing to help lift each other up on those super hard days. Somedays, the baby doesn’t sleep, and the toddler wants cookies for breakfast and wants to use the tablet, but the battery died and is throwing a world ending tantrum. All before the coffee pot is done. Cookies for breakfast? FINE DUDE. GO. These are the moments that my mom-friends save my ass, big time. And I don’t mean to down play my friendships with my non-mom friends, because, let’s be real, that’s the only real connection I have to what’s going on outside the 4 walls of my house. So, they are QUITE important as well. This morning was particularly difficult, I didn’t get much sleep last night, so I had 0 patience for my cookie monster going nuts over the dead tablet this morning. I told you guys, I can’t come between him and Blippi in the mornings, shit gets crazy. So, I sent out a couple of feeler texts to see if any of my mom-friends were available. Nope. Not surprised, its hard to throw a last-minute play date out there and expect it to work out. It never does. After I got everyone bundled up, we packed up and went to this massive church near by that’s like a Mcdonalds Playplace on roids. And they have coffee. Done and Done.

Most of the Moms that I’m closest with, have a situation very similar to mine. Whether our kids are basically the same age, they are also stay at home mommas, or they live nearby.  Even just a year or so difference in kids age is a variable that throws the whole thing outta wack. I don’t know about everyone else, but I’ve definitely forgetten a lot of stuff. And when my friend asks “Hey, when did you start oatmeal, did K ever not poop for like a week??” and I have no idea, then I have to go back and look in my notes. Welp, I didn’t record the poop thing, so, maybe? It’s just not nearly as natural as going through all those milestones together, and living in the chaos at the same time.  The other big issue is naps! When your nap times don’t coincide, it’s basically a deal breaker. Nobody. NOBODY is keeping their kid up for a playdate and dealing with the cluster fork aftermath of a kid with no nap. It just doesn’t happen.

Distance is a big factor too! Driving 30 minutes to get somewhere might seem like nbd to someone without kids, but when you have to tote around 2 kids, backup clothes for both, diapers, undies, sippycups, bibs, a few toys for the car, the blankets and 45 pounds of snacks. Then roll the windows down on the way home hoping they don’t fall asleep because they will not stay asleep through a transfer from the car seat. And, all this for a 2 hour play date. It’s just not worth the hassle.  Maybe the least important, but you also need to sort of agree on parenting methods. Sorta.

So, what I’m trying to get at, is, it’s hard enough making friends as an adult, let alone making friends who have so many variables closely matching your own. There’s no way that, after Brady was born, Miranda was that close to Samantha, Carrie and Charlotte. It’s not that I doubt the friendship, but meeting up for coffee and drinks multiple times a week? Sorry HBO, but I call bullshit. Anyways, I’m rambling again, I’ve clearly had too much coffee today.

So, today I thought to myself, “I should try to make some new Mom-friends”.. And, my friends, we have finally arrived to the point of this blog post.

I decided to step out of my comfort zone. Last time we came here to play, there was kiddos everywhere, and parents everywhere, it was a mad house. Maybe not the most laid back situation to start conversation, but whatevs. I’ll try. I’m generally a pretty quiet person until the ice is broken, but I’m not very good at being the one to make the first move. You’d think, that in a huge group of parents, who have so much in common, this would be easy. Folks, I am here to tell you, IT IS FAR FROM EASY.. It’s like dating. You can’t be too eager and come off desperate. Don’t talk about your kid too much without asking about their snotty kiddo, thats rude. Don’t make it super obvious that you haven’t spoken to another adult in like 3 days. If you’re chatting, and the kid comes over, interact with their kid, but not too much, again, it’s weird. So, then, your kids played super well together, do you suggest running into them again to play? Do you secretly plan to go there on the same day next week, and hope to run into them? Maybe that time it’ll end up in sharing phone numbers so you can text and meet up on purpose for play dates. Yes. It is ridiculous. At one point I thought, “Maybe I should have thrown on some mascara, and my lips are super chapped, thats gross, what will they think?”  I can’t make this shit up.

Attempt 1: Mom #1 was sitting near our stroller, she was roughly my age, with kids close to K’s age. A kiddo ran over to her so I said “she is adorable, look at those curls! How old is she?” Ice broken? No. not even close.  😂 She just answered my attempt at small talk and made a very indicative face. You know that face you give a friend when you both see something and you’re trying to get them to read your “holy shit, make it stop.”  thoughts. You know the face.  It was clear that I needed to stop talking. Got it.

Attempt 2:  Also my age, super involved into kiddos play. She was super nice to me, we chatted for a few minutes, but she was like really into playing. And, I’m an invovled mom, but.. not that involved.. how do I put this nicely… At this point, I felt we had some parenting differences that I couldn’t overcome. So, no such luck. How do moms make friends?!? This is crazy! There were nearly 10 moms in the same area, our kids are all sharing buggers, but none of the parents are even talking to each other… hmm..

Maybe they’re all just exhausted and just need a minute to mind dump. The kids are busy and happily playing, and the Mom’s are just chilling because right now, there is NOTHING that they need to do. Possible and more than likely. I’d probably be doing the same if I hadn’t had an ulterior motive.

K couldn’t make it up part of the structure to get to the huge slide, and I had a sleeping baby in my ring sling, so I couldn’t very well climb in there and help. A sweet little girl started helping him up and she played with him until she had to leave, she was with Mom #1. At least her kiddo was polite. Then K was left trying and trying and trying by himself to get up this huge step. He finally got it and the pride I felt for him was crazy, I was like “YAY BUDDY YOU DID IT!!! SUCH A BIG BOY” No wonder these Moms didn’t want to talk to me. Don’t care. I was proud of him.

It’s so hard to sit idly by and watch them interact with other kids, especially when those other kids aren’t nice, or aren’t listening to him, or just barrel right through him. I’m so used to being his biggest help. But I can’t intervene, I certainly can’t punch a 6 year old for being mean to my baby. 😂 He’s got to and will learn to stick up for himself, right?

Mom #3 was a doll!! I broke the ice, and she immediately offered some information about herself, and then we talked about homeschooling for a short while.  It’s definitely something that we have been thinking about, but still not sure. Her 2 kiddos played great with K, they seemed like very nice, sweet kids. She told me they liked to play outside, and go hiking in the summer. I could totally see being mom friends with her, she seemed outgoing, a little sarcastic, and ecletic. I really liked her. But, at one point she pulled a book out of her bag. I totally got the memo. She’s probably got a mountain of laundry at home, and here I am, cutting her free time short. I would have liked to talk to her longer, but I told her it was nice chatting, and I’d let her get to her book while she had 2 free hands and busy kiddos.

At this point, K was getting tired and hungry, so I was ready to shut things down and pack up. But I ran into a Mom and Dad with a little squishy peanut. I asked how old she was, the Mom snapped “10 weeks” definitely letting me know that she didn’t want to chat. Then, I saw her and her husband snickering, obviously making fun and laughing at Mom #3, whom I liked. I decided they super sucked and I definitely don’t want to be friends with assholes anyways.

Kindness is Ganster. Don’t be an asshole.

I finally peeled K away from playing only to get out to my car and not be able to get J’s car seat in, or be able to put my stroller in the back of my car because people are parked so close to me. Maybe I’m irritable and tired, but I feel like this is super rude and it makes me crazy angry. (On the way home, I daydreamed that 1 of the 2 SUVs belonged to mom #4, which made me more mad, and then liked her even less bc she hypothetically parked so close to me. She should know better, Mom#4 was a dick 😉 I joke!) Stop parking so close to me. It’s 25° out. I shouldn’t have to move my damn car to get my littles in.

Anyone else make up elaborate situations like I do and then daydream about how you would handle it and what you would say?? Please tell me I’m not the only one who is doing this crazy stuff.

So, those of us who have a handful of mom friends should really count our blessings. Because, it ain’t easy out there. The friend dating scene is rough. Anyways, Thanks for reading my nonsense. 😉😂

x,

🦖B🦕

Letter D

Hiii Friends! Happy Sunday! It’s the final day of Letter D week, and usually on Sundays, K’s day is full with fun Daddy time and we don’t do much structured play, it’s a free for all!! Today K and Daddy are having a blast on a huge excavator playing in the backyard!

Anyways, first things first. I just want to leave a small disclaimer here. My intention with these activities is simply to make sure I’m spending some special time with K everyday. I know he’s learning no matter what we do, BUT, I have no idea what or how he’s learning. I have my bachelors in Health Sciences, so aside from my motherly instinct, I have 0 formal training in education. I’m not going to pretend to have any idea how he’s processing or what’s happening in that beautiful little head of his. I just know what works, that he’s having fun and we are spending quality time together, on purpose.  So, fair warning in case that’s what you’re looking for.

Anyhoo, I’m feeling a lot better after my sassy day yesterday. Sometimes I feel like I just have to be grumpy for a day or so, just get it out of my system. Feeling more like myself today, and I’m ready to talk about the letter D!

So the first thing we typically do on Monday morning, over coffee and yogurt, is talk about our letter for the week. K really loves to watch Blippi in the mornings while he wakes up with his yogurt and milk, and I don’t dare get in the way of that. That boy loves Blippi. Blippi is a damn genius. So, once he starts getting ants in his pants, I suggest a dot sheet. For D week, I made D is for Duck sheets!

So fun. Those PDF’s will be available for download at the end of this post! So, for these dot sheets, we often use our do-a-dot markers. They’re basically bingo markers, but for kids! (AND THEY ARE NOT WASHABLE- YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED) So, if you don’t want to buy these dot markers, there’s a zillion other ways to play with these sheets.

Fun Modifications:

  1. Use little cereal/pompoms/paper circles and have your little place a cherrio/Pom in the circles. Makes the sheet reusable.
  1. Fill in the circles with markers or crayons!
  2. Use fun stickers, or dot stickers (also fun) to fill the circles.
  3. Finger paint and make “dots” in each circle.
  4. Tape up some contact paper, put the printable behind it and stick pompoms or cut up paper to the sticky contact paper (WE LOVE CONTACT PAPER. I use it at least once a week. You can find it at the dollar store, or on Amazon! There’s something about a sticky wall. We often leave ours up for a few days, I usually find random things stuck to it. Presents from my people.)

So, then I wanted to see if K is actually retaining any of this. Sometimes he knows the letter, or he repeats D is for DINO! Sometimes I get a blind stare or he answers my question with any number of wrong words, like “pineapple, or rocket ship” super good try buddy. So, what I’m getting at, is he may be too young to be learning the actual letter, and that’s a-okay by me, I know he’s learning a lot. He’s learning patience, fine motor, and gross motor. He’s learning routine, independent play and how to be bored. So, when I prepared this next activity, that’s where my head was.

So, I wrote A, B, C, D on some extra large lima beans, in different colors, just 4 of each. Then I wrote, in the corresponding colors, A, B, C, D on the inside of some paper cupcake liners. And he totally got what I wanted him to do with very little prompting. BUT when I asked him what the letters were, they were all “D”. So, we just talked about colors and sorting, made silly fart noises and sang the Doc Mcstuffins song. He played with this activity a couple of times this week! At one point I pulled the beans out again and we played with them in some playdoh. Super fun. (Beans are a huge choking hazard, and they turn into mush, so their extra dangerous. Please, with any of these activities, always supervise and keep out of their reach!)

Then, we painted some toilet paper rolls. Real talk here, I have an obsession with collecting this kind of stuff, nothing is garbage anymore! I organized K’s “stuff” last week in his new room. (honestly, it’s like 90% my stuff. Those HUGE boxes of markers/colored pencils/crayons existed long before K was even thought about. The amount of paper I have hidden in this house from V, is really embarrassing. I went through a short phase where I spent an ungodly amount of money on scrapbook supplies. Then I made like 2 cute scrapbooks, and 10 years later, my kid is using this expensive ass paper as cutting practice. #killinit.)

Anyways. We painted TP rolls, (I’ve got those coming out my ears too), and we let them dry over night. The next morning, we cut them up to make “beads” and then I gave him some yarn and we…I made a super fun necklace, that K doesn’t care about. at all. Not even a little. 🤷🏼‍♀️ sometimes activities don’t work, he will get down with painting weird stuff though. Sometimes I give him things from the recycling bin to paint. Genius right? (and free.) ⭐️

I’m just now realizing that this necklace activity had nothing to do with the letter D. I have no idea where I was going with that one. 😂 Must be why he hated it.

One morning, K was being extra grumpy pants, and I had to get breakfast going and pack V’s lunch while J was still asleep. So, I grabbed a disposable aluminum cookie sheet (I LOVE THESE, another thing I use constantly, and they’re basically impossible to ruin, we’ve been using the same 4-5 of them for a year for this kind of stuff) and I quickly drew a “Dd” with shaving cream, and he played with that shaving cream for like 45 minutes. which, as I’m sure you know, is basically like 7 years in toddler time. Do this. Immediately. K smelled like after shave for a few hours. It was cute.

Some of the activities I come up with on the fly turn out to be the best ones! The activities that take a while to set up and are more intricate, like making TP roll necklaces, those are the kinds he doesn’t care about. Keep it simple.

Next we’ve got a letter D scramble sheet, PDF below! These are fun. Again, you can use just about anything for these. We used our Do-A-Dot Markers this week. But we could have used mini dinos, paint, markers, stickers, cereals, animal crackers!  You could play with an eye dropper or a medicine syringe and drop colored water onto the sheet (inside an aluminum pan!) I assume all kiddos are like this, but K LOVES to play with household items. So, look around your house and use what you have!  (or come to my house and take some of these markers! I’m not even playing with you, I probably have about 200 markers. Ehm, K has 200 markers.)

Next, we made a D is for DINO hat! I can’t remember where I found this to give credit at the moment, I’ll look into that. Anyways, we used 3 pieces of construction paper. I don’t know why I didn’t take pictures of this, because you should all definitely do this with your littles. Huge Hit, he wore it all week. To the grocery store, while at a pottery painting play date. (I’m getting so side tracked writing today!) So, It’s difficult to explain without pictures, so looks like we are making another d is for Dino hat so I can take pictures! To be continued. 😉

I pulled out all the letter D books I could find from our collection, and when we went to the library to play with friends, we picked out a bunch of letter D books. Dinos in tractors, Ducks going potty, where do diggers sleep at night, Ducks in the Truck, DIG. You get the idea. So, I tried to make sure we read at least 1 “d” book each day. And we did. We read Dinos in tractors ev.er.y.day. multiple times a day. Sometimes Momma read it to K, sometimes K read it to J, sometimes K read it to himself. We haven’t even touched the other books.  K is obsessed. I’m for sure going to have to order him one for his book shelf. Dinos driving tractors? Forget about it.

We painted with duplos. Super easy and he was into this for a while! We have quite a bit of super abstract art hanging on the fridge this week! Side note on this, rinse the paint off of the blocks immediately. Not that it was hard, this washable paint is the best, but I was not super excited to get paint out of those little crevasses.

Theres a few activities that I have in my arsenal that are guaranteed winners, and we always return to. This is one of them. I put his puzzle pieces in his sensory bins. This time we used some packing peanuts that I’ve added to my hoarder stash. Amazon doesn’t use packing peanuts, I wonder where these came from. Not important. As K says, “packing peanuts awesome”. So, we used, you guessed it, a D is for Dino puzzle this time, and I buried all the pieces. As he played with the packing peanuts, he found each piece, and put his puzzle together. Usually, then he’ll bury the pieces all by himself and do it over again. winner winner.

The next day we played with another sensory bin, his colored rice! I’ll post about that another time. I printed cards with pictures of things starting with D, buried them in his favorite rice, and taped up some sticky contact paper. He found each card in the rice, and stuck it to the wall as we talked about what the pictures were, counted them and such. (Those are not real bugs, btw. just a very effective distraction to the toddler. 😂 The week of Halloween, we played with toy cockroaches and bats in his rice sensory bin, and these little guys must have gotten left behind. I’d for sure burn my house down if I found a bug that big in it. 🔥 Nope nope nope. )

After he lost interest in the cards, I was still enjoying my hot afternoon coffee, so I grabbed his mini dinosaurs and tossed them in his rice, along with a kitchen spoon and a metal bowl. I told him to save his Dinos, with only his spoons. I was trying to help him work with his left hand, but he’s much more comfortable with his right, so he wasn’t having my suggestion. Then I handed him another spoon, one for both hands, and that worked! He scooped and poured for quite a while. The metal bowl is important. Maybe not for all kids, but my kiddo LOVES the sound. So he drops stuff in the bowl and it clangs nice and loud and he loves it!

A lot of my friends worry about doing rice because the rice obviously goes everywhere but, in my house, the cleanup-time to play-time ratio makes this a #winner 100%. K has gotten A LOT better, but sometimes he gets wet and wild and that rice does end up everywhere. When he first started with the rice bins I opened up an entire sheet and put that on the floor. It makes clean up a breeze for the times that I look over and he’s dumped out all the rice out and is rolling in it like a pig, or better yet, when he pours it all over his head, down his shirt, and in his pants.  😂 this happens far too often.

He has a small toy broom and dust pan, and he knows we clean up together after rice. If he’s helpful, he gets what we call a helpful treat (a tictac) AND he gets to use the handheld vacuum to clean up the rice that escapes the sheet.. he’s awesome.

What do you think? What fun activities have you tried with your littles? If you try any of these, take pictures and please tag me! I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with. Here’s the PDF’s, Let me know if you have any problems.  I’ll find a better way to post these, but for now, here ya go! As always, thanks for being here, and have a super rest of your weekend!

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D_dot_Duck
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Letter_Scramble_D
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D_Outline

I had a request for some number sheets, Here’s what I’ve come up with so far!

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Counting_Lines1-5

 

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Counting_Dots1-5
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Counting_Vehicles

Next week: E is for Elk!

x,

B 🦖🦕

•••••••••••••

(Friendly reminder: always supervise and join in on the fun during letter of the week activities)

About my “meeeeh” days. Where’d the sun go?

I’ve been trying to start my Letter D post for a few days, and it’s just not working. I’m so crabby! It’s not good folks. J hasn’t been sleeping, so I haven’t been sleeping. There’s a mountain of laundry to put away. The entire kitchen needs to be organized. I need to rotate J’s clothes to 9m stuff, and figure out where the hell to store the NB, 3m and 6m stuff he’s already outgrown. I need to take pictures of the never used bassinet and put it online to sell. I started a gallery picture wall project, and naturally the project took on a mind of its own and now I have to repaint the living room. Right. I’ll get right on that. 😂 That’s the short list guys. I need an assistant, and like 16 or 37 million dollars.

Unless I’ve had an ungodly amount of coffee, it’s really hard to be witty and charming when I’m just exhausted and pissed off. Nobody wants to read “exhausted and pissed off”, right? Cuz, right now, I could knock your socks off if that’s what’s you’re into. 😆

(And before anyone says it, I know, I know, I know, they’re only little once, believe me, I’m trying to make every day and moment count. But, I still have to find a way to fold all this damn laundry, sleep a few hours a day AND keep my sanity in tact. Right?) So, unless you’re gonna come over and join the laundry party I’m throwing this evening, I don’t want to hear it, Susan.

Short back story- Since the day we came home from the hospital, J refused to sleep anywhere but with me. So, at first, I was like, whatevs, I tossed his squishy tush in a sling carrier and I was back to being a hands free momma getting shit done. That’s all well and fine during the day, then night happens. Only wants to sleep with me, will wake up EVERY 30 MINUTES and cry until I go get him. And real talk here, my primary responsibility is to take care of a toddler and an infant. The toddler doesn’t give a shit if I’m tired, so we are in pure survival mode over here. It’s unfair to K for me to be spread so thin and so tired. So, I give in, the baby sleeps with me at night. Naps in his crib. sometimes.

I imagine this is pretty normal for moms, but, I feel like I’m being pulled in 100 different directions by things that need me, but all I really want to do is take a quiet shower.. or sleep in. (I never appreciated sleeping in like I should have!) Maybe fold the laundry at a comfortable pace and not ending up short of breath because I’m moving as fast as the cashiers at Aldi. 😂 You know what I’m talking about. “Slow down Debbie! Where’s the fire?!”

Anyways, I’m a pretty low key person. I don’t ask for much. But somedays, meeeeh, and this week has been extra meh.

We’ve had lots of good days, sure! Had a couple really fun play dates, and it was nice seeing some of our amazing friends. Thank goodness for good friends.

T-Rex Sighting at Discount Tire! I mean, come on. This kid. 

I try to take a deep breath, and just go 1 hour at a time, but I’m just so tired. I’m so short, and we have entirely too much stuff. I want to donate all  of our things. I, also, have to actively remind myself to be nice and patient and that my sleep deprivation isn’t anyone’s fault, so I can’t punish them with my crabass attitude. But that sucks and sometimes it just takes over and I end up being a huge bitch. Then I feel terrible and mom guilt sets in and it’s a whole thing.

Somedays, I’m like, “B, a blog? Really? YOU DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS” but, that’s unfair to me. I enjoy writing about my life. This is for me, and I will continue it. Mic drop.

Anyone else feeling meh these days? If so, Im sending you some good vibes so we can perk up together! Do you have any helpful hints for turning meh days around? aside from like 45 hours of sleep, send me your ideas! 😘 I will get it together and have a Letter D post for you tomorrow. Pinky promise.

Now, I’m gonna go warm up my cold coffee, kiss my littles, slap on a smile and make some breakfast. Thanks for listening. 😘

X,

🦖 B