10 Halloween Crafts Inspired By Halloween Books

‘Tis the season for Halloween crafts to get kids excited! I love holidays and to extend the fun we always do crafts and activities throughout the month. The kids learn so much from them. I’m all about learning through play! It also gets them in the holiday spirit!

Five Little Pumpkins:

Five Little Pumpkins Halloween activity

After reading Five Little Pumpkins , we made this cute little Halloween craft! And then, of course, we listened to it again on YouTube as we created our project!

Also, check out our fun pumpkin experiment to go with the book.

Materials:
  • 9 Small Popsicle Sticks
  • Blue and Green Construction Paper
  • Markers
  • Pumpkin and Ghost Stickers (I got mine from Target Halloween department.)
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Give each child a blue sheet of construction paper. Draw a curved, hilly line on green construction paper and have your little one practice their scissor skills cutting on the line. (Trust me, their Kindergarten teacher will love you for this practice!) Glue down the hill on the bottom of the blue construction paper. Glue down three popsicle sticks vertically on the grass. Then glue or use your hot glue gun and have the children press them down horizontally to form the fence. Children should count out five pumpkins stickers and one ghost. Have them attach five pumpkin stickers to the fence and add one owl to the sky. After that, they can color in a moon or draw in a house like the illustrations in the book.

 

Monster Mask:

Halloween activity monster mas

Materials:
  • Paper Plate
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Cotton Balls
  • Google Eyes
  • Glue

Color only the edges of the paper plate with a marker. Don’t worry about being particular. Poke a hole in the center of the plate and cut out along the center circle of the plate. Use the center to cut out oblong semi-circle teeth and two horns. Color the horns and glue them to the top of the plate. Glue the teeth on the top and bottom of the inside of the circle. Stick cotton balls all around the circle using dobs of glue. Then glue google eyes of different sizes to the cotton balls. Once it dries it can be a work of art or a mask!

Read “Goodnight Goon” a parody based off of “Goodnight Moon”. You will be rolling with laughter as you read about one little goon who isn’t ready for bed.

 

 

Dem Bones Skeleton:

skeleton Halloween activity

Dem Bones Halloween Activity

Another simple but fun craft that has a great book, song, and video to go with it!

Materials:
  • Black Construction Paper
  • Q-tips
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Create a skeleton using Q-tips. If you need smaller sections for feet or hands just cut the Q-tips into smaller sections. Arrange the skeleton first to make it the way you want and then glue each Q-tip to the black construction paper. Add a skull either by a sticker, printed out skull, or draw one with white chalk or crayon. Read the book “Dem Bones” and then watch the song on YouTube.

Chalk Skeleton:

chalk Halloween craft

Materials:
  • Black Construction Paper
  • White Chalk
  • Q-tips
  • Glue

We traced each other’s hands on black construction paper using white chalk. Then we colored in the hands with the chalk. Glue Q-tips down for bones. For older children, you could also label the different bones with their names.

I enjoy reading Steve Jenkins nonfiction book titled “Bones” to go with this craft. It compares human bones to bones of different animals. Many of the pictures are shown in actual size! Check it out and create your favorite one!

Ghost Footprints-Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet:

footprint ghost Halloween activity

Materials:

This cute craft not only is fun but it also preserves those little footprints that grow WAY TOO FAST! Paint the bottom of the child’s foot. I usually just have them step into the paint on a paper plate and then rub it around all the toes and everywhere with my finger. Then I have the black paper ready on the floor and have them step down on the paper. Once the paint dries, draw a mouth and eyes with the black marker. Add the cute little saying and it’s the perfect Halloween card.

The cute book “Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet” is a great story with a lot of wonderful lessons to discuss with your children. Gilbert accidentally switches costumes with his sister and has to be a ballerina at school. We enjoyed talking about making the best out of a situation and being confident with whatever you want to be!

Spooky Forest:

spooky forest Halloween activity

Materials:

  • Black Construction Paper
  • Sticks
  • Googly Eyes
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Hot Glue
  • Hot Glue Gun

First, we went on a nature hunt for sticks and twigs. We broke them so that they were about the same size as the paper. Then the adult can hot glue the bottom of the twigs and the children can push them down on the black construction paper. With Elmer’s glue, the children can glue googly eyes between the sticks.

Enjoy the story “Where’s My Mummy” to go with this craft.

Room On the Broom:

Halloween activity

Materials:
  • Jumbo Popsicle Stick
  • Brown Ribbon
  • Brown Construction Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Trace each other’s hands on a piece of brown construction paper. If the child is capable have them cut out the hands. Glue them to the jumbo popsicle stick so the fingers point down. Tie a bow with the ribbon and glue that to the top of the hands. (Use the picture as a reference for placement.)

Read aloud the book “Room on the Broom“. We even found little puppets or figures that fit the story to act it out. We love to interact with stories, find out more here.

It is also showing right now on Netflix.

 Tape Mummy:

mummy Halloween activity

Material:
  • Masking Tape
  • Black Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Googly Eyes

Cut out a person shape in the black paper. Tear a bunch of small pieces of masking tape and have the children stick them to the person. Then have them glue googly eyes on for the eyes. Then enjoy the funny book “Skeleton Meets the Mummy“.

 

Marshmallow Mummy:

marshmallow mummy Halloween craft

Materials:
  • Orange Construction Paper
  • Black Marker
  • Glue
  • Small Marshmallows
  • Large Googly Eyes

Draw a large oval on an orange piece of construction paper. Draw in the lines of the mummy’s wrapping. Glue a line of small marshmallows in each section. Add googly eyes and you let it dry.

There Was An Old Mummy Who Swallowed a Spider” is another book with a cute spin on the original “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly“.

TP Ghosts:

Materials:
  • Paper Plate
  • Toilet Paper
  • Black Marker
  • Tape

Tear six pieces of toilet paper about arm’s length long. Tape them around the edge of the front of the paper plate. Draw a ghost face and you have fun, easy dancing ghosts!

Inspired by one of our absolute favorite books “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt“, we enjoy “We’re Going on a Ghost Hunt” this time of year! Kid’s enjoy chiming in on the predictable pattern as they listen to the adventures of four kids going out to find ghosts.

 

What is your favorite Halloween book? Do you have a fun project to go with it? Share below! We would love to hear from you!

8 STEM Halloween Science Experiments

Halloween is the perfect time to get everyone interested in SCIENCE! Check out these fun and engaging STEM Halloween science experiments that are sure to have everyone screaming with excitement!

SLIME:

Everyone seems to be in love with slime projects right now. This gooey, gross sensory experience is enjoyable for all ages. Slime will entertain my girls for an hour while I make dinner. That is a win for me!

We made a fun, glitter glue slime that is fairly mess-free and a great consistency. Directions are on the Unicorn and Rainbow birthday blog. That same week we were at one of our favorite hang-outs, the Children’s Museum, and the activity was making slime!

The greatest part about making different types of slime is that you can take them out and compare and contrast them. I make a T chart where we write things that are the same and things that are different between the two types. This gets kids observing like scientists by using their senses.

This great blog from Little Hands, Little Minds has a whole bunch of great slime recipes to use!

Suspended Silverware

Materials:

  • Fork
  • Spoon
  • Glass cup
  • Toothpick
  • Lighter

This is an old bar trick, with a lot of physics involved and a spooky levitation-like charm. Interlock the tines of a metal fork with a spoon. Insert a toothpick in between one of the tines. Carefully balance the fork and spoon on a glass (it is easier than it looks). Then for an added effect light the end of the toothpick on fire and watch the fire creep toward the glass. The flame will extinguish itself at the edge of the glass. Knock off the ash and observe. Hypothesize why this works, discuss the concept of balance and all the elements needed for a fire to exist. For your more advanced scientists, discuss the concept of center of gravity.

Frankenstein Hair

Materials:

 

This chemical change is one that will”wow” the kids! Order Poly A and Poly B from Loose in the Lab. Mix 1/2 ounce of each in a plastic cup using a popsicle stick to stir. The two chemicals will react and rise to form hot, foam that quickly hardens. Kids will be able to feel the heat of the cup and after it cools they can touch the large foam Frankenstein hair.

 

Bubbling Magic Potions

Materials:

Halloween science wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t include dry ice experiments! Many grocery stores and department stores like Walmart carry dry ice. I would call ahead to make sure. You want to pick up the dry ice as close to when you will use it as possible. Store it in the freezer until it is time for the Halloween science experiments. Warm a large pot of water on the stove. Place the hot water in each vase or container and then add a few drops of food coloring. Then drop in a little piece of dry ice and watch it bubble. The fog will roll off the container creating a spooky Halloween look!

Screaming Pennies

Materials:

Put a small piece of the dry ice on top of a Styrofoam cup. Place the edge of a penny on the ice and listen to it scream and howl. The kids can touch the penny and observe how cold it gets just by putting it on the dry ice for a few seconds.

**Don’t hold the penny on the dry ice for too long or it will freeze to your finger.

Disappearing Ghosts

Materials:

I modeled how to draw a ghost on the packing peanut with the black marker and then the children each drew their own ghost face. Then they dropped their ghost into a glass cup filled with about an inch of nail polish remover with acetone. Immediately, the water turn bluish from the ink of the marker and the packing peanut started to dissolve. After we had stuffed a whole bunch of ghosts into the cup and watched them all dissolved, we wanted to find out what would happen if we lifted up the residue. We made our predictions and then picked it up with the fork.

Ghost Droppings

Materials:

  • Baby Diaper
  • Scissors
  • Large Zip-Lock Bag
  • Plastic Cup
  • Water
  • Plate

Cut the diaper up into sections and place it in a large zip-lock bag. Zip it up and have the children shake the bag. Then remove the large diaper pieces. You should be left with a white powder. Have the children tell you what they think it looks like. Talk about the job of a diaper. What is it’s purpose? Pour the powder into a small plastic cup filled halfway with water. Swish it around slowly for a little while. Tip it on its side and notice that it has formed a gel. Dump it onto a plate and allow the children to touch it and observe the different qualities they notice.

 

Magic Pumpkin

Materials:

  • Reese’s Pieces
  • Plate
  • Cup of Warm Water

Arrange four brown Reese’s Pieces at the top of the plate and then create a circle of orange Reese’s Pieces. Pour a small amount of warm water into the middle of the circle. Then let the magic happen. Talk with the children about what they are noticing. After the center is completely orange, flip over one of the Reese’s Pieces and look at how the shell has dissolved.

Glowing Bubbly Brew

Materials:

 

These glowing drinks are sure to be a hit with all the little scientists! Turn off all the lights and make the area as dark as possible. Fill the cup 1/4 full with ice. Pour tonic into each cup just over the ice. Top off the rest of the drink with Sprite and toss in a Halloween eyeball. Enjoy!

 

These spooky STEM Halloween science experiments will definitely leave your kids yelling for more…SCIENCE!

In fact, at our party, anytime someone said, “science” we all responded by throwing our hands up and shouting back, “SCIENCE!”.

Safety Reminder:

As with anything, be sure to follow all safety regulations. Wash hands after working with chemicals and never allow kids to handle dry ice directly, as it will harm the skin if exposed to for a long period of time.

 

Unicorn Party for One Unique Little Girl

Do you happen to know a unique kid who you are unicorn and rainbows over? I sure do and that’s why I loved planning this fun unicorn party! Not to mention there are unicorns at every store right now! They are the hot thing, so of course it’s easy to find cute little unicorn party decorations.

Since my little lady turned three, I opted for a party in the later afternoon so that everyone could rest before the fun began. It also ended before dinner so we opted for the fun treats and snacks. Okay so truthfully they may have overdosed on sugar and were sent home without an appetite but hey, it’s a birthday party!

Fancy Finger Food

As tempting as it may be to make a large pan of mac’n’cheese and dye it all rainbow colored I tried to opt for a little less food dye. Instead I went for a rainbow fruit tray and a rainbow veggie tray…which I did need to dye the cauliflower purple.

Fruit Tray:

-Red: Strawberries -Orange: Oranges -Yellow: Pineapple

-Green: Green Grapes -Blue: Blueberries (not pictured in ours)

-Purple: Purple Grapes -Clouds: Cool-Whip

Veggie Tray:

-Red: Cherry Tomatoes -Orange: Carrots -Yellow: Yellow Peppers

-Green: Broccoli -Purple: *Dyed Cauliflower -Clouds: Ranch Dip

* To dye the cauliflower, just put it in a large zip-lock bag with a bunch of purple food coloring and a little water and allow it to sit for awhile.

Unicorn Horns:

Be prepared for a flashback to the 90’s when you bring out the Bugles for “unique” crunchy unicorn party treat!

Fruity Pebble Rainbow Bars

The other day as I was sweeping up the million little piece of fruity pebbles that had escaped their morning breakfast bowl it dawned on me…Rice Krispie treat Fruity Pebbles and then no more left over for cereal! That’s a double win! They are colorful, delicious, and super simple to make. Just follow the directions for Rice Krispies and just switch the cereal up!

Fruit Water

Extra fruit from the rainbow tray? Not a problem, just add it to the water to make it tasty and colorful!

Unicorn Cake

As many of you who have read about our other parties know, my mom makes all the cakes for the girls! It is tradition and according to the birthday girl this was her favorite thing of the whole day! We opted for fresh flowers for the unicorn mane. It was colorful yet a much simpler way of decorating. These daisies were pre-colored at Walmart but you could also grab white daisies and put the stems in food coloring and water to color the tips yourself.

Be sure to check out the other cakes in these great parties!

*“One-derful” Woodland Adventure

*Calling All You Party Animals

 

Dreamy Unicorn Party Decorations

Of all the parties that I’ve done for the girls, I think these unicorn party decorations were my absolute favorite!

Castle Fit for a Princess:

My good friend ordered this cute little pop-up princess tent as a birthday present for Em. It made for a perfect castle for the birthday princess and her friends to hide out in.

I made a rainbow balloon walkway leading up to the tent by poking golf tees through the bottom of the balloon tie. Push the tee into the ground and there you have it!

Rainbow Arch:
Notice my oldest wearing all the Target rainbow gear we could find. This will be reused for Halloween as well since we are carrying on the unicorn and rainbow theme!

The end of summer season meant pool noodles were on clearance! I found one in every color and taped them all together at the ends. Then I taped them over the back of two kids’ folding chairs. (If you wanted the arch to be up higher you could use adult chairs, you would just need to make the clouds bigger.) I then tied white balloons on the chair for clouds. The kids had so much fun running through the arch!

Clouds and Rainbow Streamers:

The girls had a blast helping create these sparkly clouds! I cut out a cloud shape from a sheet of tag board. Then if you watched my Instagram Story you saw the girls roll glue along the edges and sprinkle it with ALL the glitter (my husband’s favorite craft supply…). Attach streamers in every color below the clouds and you have the perfect backdrop.

Paper Plate Unicorns:

The verdict is still out on whether this looks like a unicorn or a pig but the girls had fun so that’s all that matters. We made these “unicorns” to decorate with for the party. For older kids it could be part of the activities you do during the party.

All you need is:

  • Paper plate
  • hole puncher
  • yarn
  • pink, white, and yellow construction paper
  • googley eyes
  • markers

First, punch out about 8 holes at the top of the paper plate. Cut out a pink nose, two white ears, and a unicorn horn from the construction paper. Glue them to the paper plate. Then glue two googley eyes on the paper plate. Cut out a different color yarn pieces about 8 inches long each. It doesn’t have to be exact. The kids can string the yarn through the hole and tie it on the plate for the mane. Then they can add anything they would like to make it their own with the markers.

Unique Unicorn Party Outfit:
Target dollar section has the cute gold number balloons! Stock up when you see them because they go fast!

Thank goodness for Target! They have the cutest unicorn leggings and unicorn t-shirts which worked perfect for this birthday party! The unicorn headband I ordered on-line. It’s super cute and very reasonable!

 

 

 

 

Lucky for me I could find some for the baby and myself (from the kids’ department) as well! I tend to have to get into the festive theme of the party as much as possible if I can.

 

 

I wasn’t the only awesome person who got into the unicorn party theme!

Games Galore:

I’m a sucker for themed games so of course I had a blast making these games for the party!

Pin the Horn on the Unicorn:
Just like the typical “pin the tail on the donkey” just with a unicorn and horns instead!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rainbow Parachute

I was shockingly surprised with how much fun the kids had with the parachute. I picked it up for fifty cents this summer at a thrift sale! A steal! We counted in different languages as we jumped and threw our arms up in the air. A few kids helped throw ball pit balls on the parachute and together we giggled as they popped up in the air. I was only slightly sadden that it wasn’t big enough for us to play “sharks” or to create a bubble that we sit on with our bottoms.

Prize Punch

This game was a little more time consuming to create but the kids LOVED it! I got two pieces of heavy duty (foam like) board from the Dollar Store. I traced a circle smaller than the size of the red solo cups. Using an xacto knife I cut out the circles. Then I taped a square piece of tissue paper (every color of the rainbow of course) over the back of each circle. After that, place a prize in a red solo cup and hot glue the rim of the cup down on the back side of each circle. (A word to the wise, if you are using suckers tape them down so that the stick doesn’t poke into a child’s hand when they punch.) Once it is complete the kids can take turns punching through the tissue paper holes to discover their treasure!

Toss the Ring on the Unicorn Horn

Play ring toss using rainbow colored cones from the Dollar Store and heavy duty twine rings.

Build a Unicorn Horn

Materials:

  • Waffle cones
  • white frosting with the sprinkle tops
  • Twizzler Pull and Peel
  • Plastic knives
My one year old literally did dig in!

The kids dug in to this craft! I placed a cone on each plate and put one container of frosting and sprinkles out for every few kids. Using the plastic knives, they spread the frosting over the cone. Then they sprinkled it with sprinkles and wrapped it with Twizzlers! And best of all they could eat it when they were finished!

Tattoo Station
A pack of colorful Melissa and Doug Tattoos, a bowl of water, and a rag created hours of fun! Everyone at the party got tattoos from big sis!
But be forewarned, they might end up EVERYWHERE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Party Favor

Unicorn Slime

  

The night before, the girls had a blast unicorn slime for all their friends.

Materials:

Mix the glue, glitter, and baking soda together. Slowly add the contact solution so that you can adjust the amount to make sure you don’t add too much! Continue to mix until the slime forms. Knead it with your hands. If you want it to be stretchier add a little water! Pop it in the containers and have you the birthday child hand them out as they thank their guests for coming to the party!

 

There you have it! One fun unicorn party for one unique little girl!

 

Cheers to 30 Years: My True Fear

It is time to kiss the good old 20s good-bye and begin the next chapter as a 30 year old! Yikes!

In all honesty, I guess the thought of 30 doesn’t really bother me. I’ve always been that girl who was ready for the next big thing, charging through life and taking it on head first. As a child, I started a few days’ worth of kindergarten and moved to first grade. I got work release my senior year so I could save up money instead of staying at school. I took college classes in high school so I could graduate college in 3 1/2 years and start teaching right away. My husband and I bought a house together about a month before we were engaged! We were married long before we decided to have children and well, as you can see we didn’t wait long between each one for the next one to come along! With all that being said…

I’m ready for 30 and for slowing down.

I look back on my life and think to myself…”Girl, why did you rush it?!” You can’t go back on that time again. You can’t go back to the days that you were a little kid running barefoot and free, playing kick the can till the street lights turned on. The days are gone where you sat on the phone for hours poring over all the things that happened that day at school. The anticipation of the dance… that “nerv-cited” feeling as all eyes were glued to you during the big game… that sideways glance that made your stomach do somersaults and kept you up all night wondering.

This was my childhood playhouse that my Dad (pictured here) built for me 28 years ago when I was 2!

It just makes me think of the Tracy Adkins song “You’re Gonna Miss This”.

20s were fun. Life was a whirlwind of late nights, exciting changes, and welcomed adventures.

But 30s…

30s will be even better. I’ve accepted the “mom-bod” that’s evolved. It is time to say to hell with it and just wear the darn swimsuit. Instead of worrying about what it might look like, I know now to embrace the changes. I have the wisdom and experience that can only come from time and experiences. My confidence has grown and matured. I now am okay being me and embracing the quirks that make me who I am. I realized as I looked around at all the family, friends, and neighbors that are here celebrating with me that I’ve got amazing support and love.

My cousin even surprised me and flew in to celebrate with us!

My True Fear of Getting Older:

Truthfully, the thought of my kids getting older is more frightening to me than me aging. I’ve always been the one that worries that I might miss something. What if I don’t see them do something big or I can’t be a part of an important moment?

One of my biggest fears is that the memories of them will not stick with me. Hence why I take a million photos. I want to hold on to everything they do and all their funny little nuances. The fresh baby smell and the touch of their smooth, buttery skin to be forever accessible to me. I want my senses to remember all the things that make them my babies.

This time when they are little is such a blur of sleepless nights, shower-less days, and more coffee than I should truly admit. You are so busy and engrossed in everything. The changes happen so fast and just when you think you have something figured out, it all changes again. It is somehow in that fog of being a mom of young kids that you are supposed to store all those important memories.

Somehow you are supposed to remember the moment even when at that time you didn’t realize it was so important.

It is true that you never know it is the last time until later on when you reflect back on it. As you pack away those tiny outfits you never realized it was the last time they were going to wear them. The last time they stare up at you when you nurse and you watch their eyelids growing heavy. That last time their tiny hand slips into yours as they trustingly gasp on to you when crossing the street.  That time when you held them and they wrapped their little arms around you and nuzzled their sweaty forehead into your neck, it was the last. You don’t realize that before long they won’t want you to carry them down to bed.

My honest fear isn’t me getting old. It is my kids getting older. I know that it will come with great changes and exciting adventures but this is what I know right now. Although it is crazy and stressful, it is beautiful. I am not ready to let that go.

So cheers to 30 years…and while I can’t slow down how fast my kids grow up, I can slow down the day-to-day so I can enjoy every minute.

How do you (or did you) feel about turning 30? Do you have advice for your 30s? Leave a comment and tell me your thoughts!

 

Embracing the “Mom-bod”: Tips, Tricks, and At-Home Teeth Whitening

“Mom-bod” vs. “Dad-bod”

Click the here to read about how my husband felt as a Dad to a newborn.

 

With all the news about the new hot “dad-bod”, I can’t help but think we ladies need to rally around the beauty of the new “mom-bod”. I mean hell “Dad-bod” is the new fad for men, so much so that Men’s Fitness and the Washington Post are writing about it! And they got that “bod” without creating a living being inside of them! So ladies, I’m here to raise a glass to the new “mom-bod” we ALL proudly say we have after growing a child inside of us.

 

There are a million different programs, shakes, pills or diets out there that I’m sure you have seen or tried in some capacity. Some work for some women and others not so much. Shaun-T and his Insanity work out program is what built back my stomach muscles after having a crowbar pry them apart for each c-sections. Still, there is no set of crunches or diet drink that will put you back to the twenty something girl you were before you had children…three of them in my case.

Even if you are back to your pre-pregnancy size or weight, there are still definite changes!

And while I have heard so many people say they are embracing their stripes and learning to love their new curves, it can be a challenge nonetheless. Your body will never be quite the same, but that is OKAY! You grew a person inside of it for heaven sake! Give yourself a little break and be proud. Instead of focusing on so-called “flaws” that you see when you look at your new “mom-bod”, let’s instead embrace the beauty and find ways to make you confident in the new you! It’s time to change our mindset and perk up what we can. Oh gosh, no pun intended on that one…I guess some things won’t “perk up” no matter how much positive energy we put into them!

It’s the little things…

Mom-bod or not, I’ve found that doing the little things can boost your confidence in yourself. Finding things that make you feel good about yourself after having children is crucial.

Mom Jeans, Maternity Clothes, and Muffin Tops

If you are anything like me, you have a closet full of clothes that fit well before kids and clothes that fit while you were pregnant. It’s time to change that! You need to make sure you have clothes that fit the new you! It is okay to let go of your pre-pregnancy jeans and toss the maternity clothes out the window. Start over and find a few outfits that really flatter YOU. Your body has changed and while your old clothes may be tight, your maternity clothes are probably frumpy. Invest in a few key articles of clothing that you can mix and match. Make sure you feel comfortable in them and like the way they feel. And don’t think just because you are a mom, that you can’t be trendy! You don’t need to settle for “mom jeans”.

Put Your Best Face Forward

No one warned me of the excessive amount of hormonal acne that would plague my face and jawline after having babies. It was to the point where I was trying everything including putting a call in to the dermatologist who was booked for MONTHS!

Finally, I went and had a facial which I’d never done before in my life. It was amazing! Painful, but amazing. The aesthetician was so real. She gave me a few washes and tips for some make-up that would help. I felt like I had been inundated with people trying to sell me their products lately and it was so refreshing to hear someone give it to me straight. So far, I can honestly say that my skin is starting to clear up. It feels smoother and healthier. Best of all, it is free of the  harmful chemicals that were in the other products. I spent more on cleansers and make-up than I ever have in my life, but feeling confident in my skin has been priceless. Instead of trying to hide my face, I’m ready to show it off!

This hat was my go-to when I wanted to help hide some of my face!

The moral: take care of your face. Spend the time and money on it because it’s what everyone sees each day when they look at you. Start now so you don’t regret not doing it a few years down the road.

Smiles Are Always In Fashion

Coffee is a mom’s best friend. If you are like me, you quickly slam a cup in the morning to get it pumping through your veins to keep up with the kids. Then evening comes and the wine is calling your name. You deserve it after all for keeping up with the kids all day. That combination, along with a few diet cokes here and there, do a number on the whiteness of your teeth. I’m sure your teeth have seen better days.

A smile truly is the prettiest thing you can wear.

Thank goodness for Smile Brilliant, a teeth whitening system that truly works wonders! I’ve tried the strips that slide off my teeth, I’ve painted on whitening with a little brush, and I’ve even gotten systems from the dentist. None of these really make a noticeable difference in my teeth other than the intense tooth sensitivity they created. This was not the case with Smile Brilliant!

Smile Brilliant has you make a mold of your teeth (that may sound daunting but trust me, it was super easy-I did it with three littles running around!) and then they ship you back custom fit whitening trays. This eliminates the need to go to the dentist and pay excessive amounts for them to create the trays.

Every day or every other day, you put the gel on your trays and leave them in for about an hour or longer. Then you brush and put a desensitizing gel on the tray for another 15 minutes. That’s it! Those that follow my Instagram story may have seen that I was taking walks, playing with the kids, and cooking dinner while whitening my teeth because it was that easy.

The Proof is in the Picture
Before (Top) and After (Bottom) pictures!

I feel so strongly about this teeth whitening system that I will be doing a giveaway to one lucky person for a $139 Smile Brilliant credit so that they too can up their “mom-bod” game with a brilliant white smile!

Enter here:

www.smilebrilliant.com/g/parentingtheprincipal

This giveaway is open for one week to all U.S., U.K., Australian, and Canadian residents. Smile Brilliant hosts the giveaway on their own website so that you do not have to worry about your email being sold to a third-party website.

Or use the code parentingtheprincipal10 to get 10% off your order of Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening System.

Cut, Color, Style…But Make It Easy

With all the hair that is falling out after having a baby, start popping those Biotin vitamins and book your appointment at the salon. Get a new cut and color that fits the new you! Make sure it is something that is easy to manage. Taking the time to style your hair every morning as a busy mom is darn near impossible. In my case it was the dark plum color for fall and long layers for a little body but still the ability for the mom bun!

You Gave Life…

Spruce up you but always remember, your “mom-bod” is amazing. It grew another human and that, my friend, is something to be proud of…stripes, loose skin, widen hips, flat butt and all.

Rock it Mama, because you are beautiful!

And our children are always watching us…

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tooth Whitening Gel

Puppets Aren’t Just For Pretend Play: 4 Ways to Use A Puppet at Home

I’d like to start this out by formally introducing you to Unis the Unicorn puppet that resides at our house.

Red flags are going up all over and you are about to click the little x in the corner because you are thinking I’m a crazy lady over here. DON’T DO IT! I promise if you stick with me, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Yes, we do have a puppet in our house that we use frequently. No, I’m really not usually the cutesy, song and dance type. Of course, I have my silly moments with my kids and bust out a few Disney songs here and there, but most people would classify as a type “A” person. Rules, organization, and structure are my thing. With that being said, puppets do play an important role in our house.

Traditional Uses of Puppets

Summarizing or Retelling a Story:

Puppets are most often thought of in the role of storytelling. They are great tools for children to use to retell a story because they can use their imagination to put themselves in the story. They can also practice the skill of retelling or summarizing a story through their character. Oftentimes, I will pair a puppet up with a book. We will read the book together. Then I’ll give the book to the children so that they can flip through the pages to use the pictures to retell the story. They will have the puppet “huffing and puffing the little house down” or “skipping off to grandma’s house” as they turn the pages of the story. Next thing you know, your kids will have all kinds of little trinkets out as props for the puppets to reenact the story!

Create Your Own Adventure/Story:

Another great, more traditional way, of using puppets is to have children create their own stories and adventures. This works best when I start out modeling a few made up stories myself first. Then I have them give it a try. When you model to children, they often try to emulate how you are acting. They will use different elements that you may use. Before you know, it the child will know that a good story often has a problem. Or you will start to hear the child wrapping the story up in a solution like ending. You will have started teaching the building blocks of writing without even knowing it.

Stories will start out very basic and some might even be the exact same stories you model and that is completely okay!

The more they do this and the more you model different examples, the more their stories will grow with depth and richness. It also helps to point out different elements of a story as you are reading together. Point out how the author introduces us to each character and tells us about the setting. Stop at the problem and discuss the fact that the character is at a point in the book where something is challenging. Pause at the solution and reiterate all the events that led up to the problem or conflict being solved. As you continue to draw attention to the story elements, you will notice your child using them when they are creating their own stories with their puppet.

Non-traditional Uses for Puppets

Let’s Get Kids Talking about the Tough Stuff:

We all strive for our kids to have the Lorelai and Rory Gilmore-type relationship, where the mom and the kid seem to talk about everything. No secret is kept from the other, and they seem to be able to talk through all the tough stuff life throws at them. (Sorry I’ve been on a Gilmore Girl’s kick lately…)

 

 

But, we all know that life isn’t that easy. Getting your children to talk through their emotions can be very challenging sometimes. Incorporating a funny puppet character can lighten the mood and make it a little easier for a child to share their feelings. Children get captivated by the unique looking little hand puppet. They forget that they are talking to mom or dad about hard stuff and spill how they are feeling to the puppet who seems to be able to relate to them. It becomes less intimidating to them.

A puppet can also help children identify their different emotions and teach them how to express their emotions appropriately.

Children often do not know how to appropriately express their emotions and need to be taught how. They need someone to model to them how to say how they are feeling in a polite way.

In comes Unis the puppet!

Unis can talk to the kids. She can tell them that she is feeling frustrated since her sister took her favorite toy right out of her hands! She can ask them for advice or share some strategies she used to solve the problem.

OR…

Unis: “I’m so excited for the first day of preschool!!!” I pretend to make Unis run, jump, and skip through the kitchen, accidentally bumping into mom who is making dinner! “I’m sorry Mom! I just can’t stop all these excited feelings in my tummy!” Mom is getting frustrated. Unis the puppet tells us, “I need to stop and take five deep breathes to calm down. Or maybe I can go outside to play for a bit to get some of these excited feeling out.” Then I can take the puppet off and talk to my four year old about whether she has ever felt this same way. I ask her if there was ever a time she was so excited that she felt out of control. She can tell me about that time or that feeling and ways that she may have expressed her excitement in a more appropriate way.

As adults, we often forget that we have to start at the basics and explicitly teach children how to handle situations.

I want my children to tell me when I do something they don’t care for or if something I did hurt them in some way. Sometimes those things are hard to hear and it is human nature to get defensive. But if the feelings are expressed in a polite manner, then I’m more open and receptive to them. I feel it is important to give them the skills and language to express their thoughts and feelings in a polite but confident way. In order to do this, they need modeling to show them how to respond to others correctly.

Often these skills or strategies are such second nature to us as adults that we forget that children do not know these things.

I think back to my first year of teaching, and recall being surprised that I had to teach the students that they had to write the letters between the two lines! It was lined paper, didn’t they just know that you write between the lines?! But they don’t. It was their first exposure to that kind of paper. They needed to be shown how, and they needed me to model both correct and incorrect ways. It is the same way for children when it comes to expressing their emotions and learning tools to help them manage their feelings.

Feelings are tough stuff…even for adults to express sometimes!

Whatever the feeling, the puppet can have that feeling too. Use the puppet as a way for the kids to feel safe sharing how they feel. The puppet can give them the strategies and language to express how they are feeling.

Teaching Behavior Expectations:

Much like using the puppets to share feelings, puppets can also be used to model correct and incorrect behavior. And trust me, your kids will love having the puppet model the incorrect behavior! Acting out these behaviors and modeling the different ways to behavior can show the children how they should handle situations.

 

You may remember my voice level chart from our PBIS in our house blog. I love to pull Unis the puppet out and demonstrate the different levels of voices and when it is a good time to use those types of voices.

When you talk about the behavior using the puppet, you aren’t singling out a child and using their mistakes as an example.

Using the puppet takes the pressure and the competition away from siblings and makes it a neutral example for them to see and discuss. This can help eliminate the feeling of being the “bad kid”/”good kid”. In fact, I just paused this blog to remind Unis the puppet how to use his quiet walking feet in the house so that the baby can continue sleeping…

I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and give a puppet a try!

A Little Bit About Unis the Puppet:

Unis is made from a company called Cate and Levi. All their products are hand-made and carefully constructed in Toronto, Canada. In fact, the owner, Josh Title, started his company because he saw that children’s toys were “lacking one of a kind, responsibly made, beautifully designed products”. He wants his toys to be “today’s plaything and tomorrow’s keepsake”.

I fell in love with not only the puppet, but also the backstory of this amazing company.

The fact that he started out putting together puppets out of old sweaters so that they were not only unique but also environmentally friendly is beautiful.  Everything Cate and Levi create is made from materials close to their home to reduce cost for everyone and to leave less of a carbon footprint. They have three main types of products: 1) One of a Kind Reclaimed Wool Finished Products 2) DIY Wool Crafting Kits 3) Softy Polar Fleece Finished Products.

Unis the puppet is the soft fleece product made out of a man-made fleece from a company right here in the U.S.A. It is actually made from mainly recycled plastic bottles! You would never guess this from how soft the puppet feels! Go check out the many different award-winning designs on their website!

And best of all, a percentage of the company’s profits are donated to help children in need. If you order with the code “ihelpmoms15” you get 15% off your order of $30 or more.

A Mom’s Letter to the New Teacher

Dear New (Fabulous) Teacher to my Baby,

Welcome to the new school year!

It is time to embrace the hustle and bustle of new friendships, adjusting to schedules, and saying goodbye to late summer nights.

I know you, as a teacher, have spent countless hours prepping your room to make it warm and welcoming. You have lovingly arranged each seat and meticulously written out each name tag. Each book on the shelf has been hand-picked and each pencil sharpened to fill the room with the aroma of pencil shavings. Your bulletin board is a work of art that you spent hours arranging and removing staples until you were sure it hung straight.

You’ve lugged in boxes of treasures from thrifts sales and second hand stores that you have scoured to find this summer and pulled crumpled bills from your wallet in order to pay for all the things to make the space as inviting as possible. Money that will most likely not be reimbursed. I know your late evenings have been filled with pinning ideas on Pinterest that fit with the units that you can’t wait to dive into. Your lesson plans are arranged and color coded with the new fine tipped sharpies that were calling your name in the office supply aisle of Target! Oh and don’t even get me started on Target! (I’ll remember that for teacher appreciation week…) It has been a teacher haven of gorgeous materials that some how they knew you needed to have!

I know all these things in such detail because I was that teacher once. The start of the school year was always my favorite.
Now as a mom, it has a slightly different pull on my heart. A mix of such bittersweetness.

I’m handing you my baby. I’ll warn you I may cry. She is my world and my everything and I’m giving that treasure to you. I’m entrusting that you will build her up with love and positive affirmation. You will guide her in her choices and remind her to always have a kind heart. You will hold her to high standards because just like me, you believe she can achieve them.

 

When she fails, which she will, you will remind her that mistakes are how we learn. You will guide her to hold her head up high and continue to try. Leading by example, you will show her how to include everyone and think of others feelings before making a choice. That beauty comes from within and not just by the cute dress that she wears. She will look up to you with those big blue eyes and drink in every word that you say. She will believe that SHE truly can be and do anything because you have built her up and shown her the world of possibilities that are out there.

And if that isn’t enough, you will also teach all that academic stuff.

It’s a big job. I know. But like I did, you will create a family with these children in the year that you call them yours. And for that I can’t thank you enough. You have the hardest, most important job but I believe in you.

THANK YOU!

Sincerely,
A choked-up, teary eyed Mom

My babies and me in from of my former school where I taught for six years.

*Featured picture Dear Humanity shirt from Future Idealist.

*Best Job Ever shirt from Ezra + Eli.

Another article that ties into this perfectly can be found on the Huffington Post here.

Kids’ Lunches to be “Jelly” About

Kids love a good PB&J and let’s be honest, it can be a parent’s lunch life-savor!

I’ve seen so many beautiful, healthy lunch options lately for back to school and that is great! I’m all for good health but I’m also a busy mom of three kids and know that sometimes a PB&J lunch is exactly what is needed. It’s quick, I usually have all the ingredients on hand, and best of all, I know the lunch box will come back home empty which means their little bellies were full!

Plus, the teachers on lunch duty will thank you for the ease of that classic PB&J. Jerry Brooks says it best in his hilarious video “First Week of School Stress”.  Seriously he will have you rolling with laughter!

 

So grab your Fit & Fresh Bento Lunch Kit with insulated bag and removable ice packs and let’s get packing! I’ve got unique ways you can change up a classic PB&J and make the rest of the lunch room “jelly” for your kid’s lunch!

Add Ingredients:

Nutella, Banana, Honey… Mix and match up these ingredients with your peanut butter and you will have a mouthwatering lunch sensation that will leave your kid begging for more.

Change up the Bread:

Have you tried a PB&J on a wrap?

What about in a pita pocket?

Or on a bagel or English muffin?

Here is my health PSA for this blog…Please check your bread and other related products for high fructose corn syrup. You will be shocked at how often you will see it in many of the breads you select! Try to avoid products with high fructose corn syrup.

Waffle Sandwiches

Peanut butter between two crispy waffles with a hint of maple syrup sounds like a dream. Buy the mini waffles for a fun bite sized treat or the larger ones for the full sandwich option.

Sushi Roll

Make your regular PB&J and then squish it down flat. Roll it up and slice it every inch or so. It’s finger food at its finest. I’d say throw in the chopsticks for added fun, but I know a few teachers who wouldn’t be very happy with me for that suggestion.

Tip-Use a rolling pin to flatten out the sandwich before you roll it up!

Apple Slice

A thin sliced apple section makes the perfect vessel to carry your PB&J. Plus they say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!”

Tip-Rub a little lemon juice on the apple to prevent it from going brown.

Shapes

Large cookie cutters can be a quick and easy way to make more intriguing sandwiches. Make them feel extra special by stamping out a cute character or animal in their sandwich. Or you can use a butter knife to cut away the edges to make a heart shaped sandwich.

Donut You Know You’re Special

What kid wouldn’t want a donut sandwich! Cut the sandwich into a circle and cut out a hole in the middle. Sprinkle a few colorful sprinkles on top and you have the cutest and probably healthiest donut!

PB&J Kabob

While this idea sounds cute and fun…it’s a lunch room nightmare! Those little skewers are a poking hazard. Let’s be honest how many kids can you think of right now that would see that little skewer and decide they needed to pretend it was a sword or might jokingly poke their neighbor with it. Do everyone a favor and leave the skewers for an at home picnic or opt for a popsicle stick instead!

And a sandwich can be more than just sustenance, it can be friendship forming!

If you haven’t read The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania Al Abdullah, I highly recommend it. It tells the story of two girls who are best friends and like to do all the same things! They eat lunch together and each day Lily eats peanut butter and Salma eats hummus but they think the other’s sandwich is gross! Pretty soon they have the whole cafeteria choosing sides between the two girls and their sandwiches. Things escalate and the girls have to visit the principal’s office. They decide it is time to put their differences aside. Each girl takes a risk and tries the other’s sandwich which propels them to create a multicultural potluck at their school! Of course the conversations that can propel from such a story are endless!

There you have it, easy and quick ways to fill your kids’ bellies and make all the kids “jelly” for their lunches!

Pop it into your Bento Lunch Kit that is BPA and PVC free and fill the other half cup portion pods with fruits and veggies and lunch is set! You can even add sides like yogurt and cottage cheese in the Bento box pods because it’s leak resistant! If your child is anything like mine, they will probably happily swing their lunch box at their side as they walk to recess. Leak resistant is critical when it comes to a lunch box selection for me. If will also stay cold since the snap-in ice packs are right next to your food and the lunch box is fully insulated. And, I don’t own anything that isn’t dishwasher safe! So at night, throw it in the dishwasher and it’s clean and set for the next day’s PB&J! Get your own Bento Lunch Kit at www.fit-fresh.com ! Plus if you use the code IHELPMOMS you can get 20% off your order!

 

For other ways to personalize your child’s lunch:

Sandwich Bag Lunchbox Notes

Brain Teacher Lunchbox Notes

Twin Cities Parks with Littles

Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN a.k.a. the Twin Cities has so many great parks and places to explore with your littles on a sunny summer day! Since the Twin Cities are right in our back yard it makes for a great day trip. I actually just returned from spending three days there with my three littles. I’m going to highlight a few of the fun places that we spent a good chunk of our time at. My kids loved these places and so we felt compelled to share these great Twin Cities parks with you so that you too can experience the fun!

Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Located in the Three Rivers District, this park seems to have access to everything you could want! It is home of the Richardson Nature Center . The center has many different events for families as well as a bunch of fun kits that the kids can borrow to catch bugs, explore the ponds, or go on a bird watching hike.

Along with having a variety of landscapes for walking and picturesque spots for a picnic, the main attraction to this park for us was their massive playground!

I mean seriously massive. This place spans 16,000 square feet and has slides up to 50 feet long!

A word to the wise I would definitely go with man to man coverage on your kids if you are a little more on the cautious side like I am. There is truly something for everyone at this park. I can honestly say I have never been to anything like this before. One look at it and you know why they have won awards for creativity and ingenuity!

There are multiple different play areas that are perfect for different ages and stages.

The toddler park is located to the left and has a small plastic climber with a few small slides. The only downfall to this part is that it is sand which we all know can be a little challenging with littles who love to put everything in their mouths.

There are only two swings at this playground so it does take a long time to get a turn if your little one has their heart set on swinging!

At the center is a play set that is the next step up. It’s got a lot of ramps and smaller slides for those kids who are a little too old for the toddler area but not quite ready for all the climbing of the other areas. This was where my two year old found her niche. She could run and climb on everything independently and wasn’t scared of going down any of the slides by herself.

All the other areas of the park are great for stronger, more independent children probably ages 4+ (depending on your child). A large area of the park reminds me of the McDonalds Play Area only on a much larger scale! It has netted tunnels that are a maze to me from down below. My oldest had a heyday climbing through these. Coming back to this park I would make her wear something super bright colored (avoid blue or black clothing-the color of the equipment) so that I could spot her as she spider monkey’s her way through all the netting. At one point I chuckled out loud as a large mass of children were climbing their way through ropes and sitting on a suspended chair because it truly did look like a troop of monkeys!

Good to Know:
  • It is completely free!
  • Bring lots of help (one adult to one child ratio is best especially with younger children) or try to avoid weekends/holidays where it may be extra busy!
  • Establish a meeting spot in case you do get separated.
  • Have kids wear bright colored clothing (avoid black or blue).
  • They do have a Visitor Center with bathrooms and concessions.
  • Pack a lunch, snacks, lots of water or drinks, and of course SUNSCREEN!
  • Towels, swimsuts, or a change of clothes may be helpful since there is an area that sprays a mist of water.
  • Wear shoes that are good for climbing but that can also get wet. The equipment and floors can get very hot so I would make sure to bring shoes.
  • Fenced in with only one exit (whew!)
  • Handicap accessible with ramps for wheelchairs and strollers
  • Open April through October (weather permitting) 9 a.m. to sunset

 

Central Park of Maple Grove

12000 Central Park Way
Maple Grove, MN

I can’t even begin to express how much fun the Central Park of Maple Grove is and how nice it is!

Let’s start out with the interactive fountains, a 2,100 sq. ft. area with 49 jet sprays and 18 arching sprays. It is a hot day haven for kids and parents alike! This feature is free and open seven days a week starting at 10 a.m. Bring swimming suits and towels and use their clean restroom facilities to change before heading home!

Fun fact: It goes into show mode from 8:45-10:00 p.m. where the fountains light up with different colors!

Next to the fountains is the playground with seven play zones, 24-foot climbing tower with tunnel slides, a hillside slide area, a 3 unique swing including one that was like a teeter-totter swing (I seriously considered making my sister try that one out with me!), and a 120-foot long climbing wall. This park is customized with unique play equipment you won’t find anywhere else. It really is almost like a piece of art!  Most of the area is rubberized so I would advise good play shoes since it does get very hot! A few areas are sand which can be a little tricky if you are still wet from playing in the fountains.

I want to go back in the winter to try out their LED lit 810 feet long ice skating loop! Check back and who knows maybe I’ll update you on this park’s winter features!

Good to know:
  • There is a picnic area as well as a lot of beautiful green space if you want to pack a lunch or snack.
  • They do have a small concession stand inside near the restrooms.
  • Be prepared with good shoes and sunscreen since there isn’t much shade so the ground gets hot and the sun is strong!
  • Changing areas and restrooms are available.

 

Van Cleve Park

901 15th Ave. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

In the heart of Minneapolis is a little park with a great wading pool for little ones. At it’s deepest it is 2 feet deep, perfect for little swimmers! It is open daily from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and will stay open till 10 p.m. if the temperature is over 85 degrees at 6:00 p.m. They do have a playground and toddler playground but truly the best part about this park in the summer is the wading pool! It is free for anyone to use and has been newly remodeled. Best of all, it isn’t crazy busy like a lot of the other parks I have mentioned so you can have a more intimate and relaxing time with your family.

(And it might just be on my winter ice skating list as well since they too have a rink in the winter!)

 

Como Park Zoo ad Conservatory 

I’m always surprised with the number of people that haven’t been to Como Park Zoo! We frequent it multiple times a year and are always please with our visit! It is a free zoo (donation based $3 for adult and $2 for children is suggested). Como is filled with elaborate gardens including a fun butterfly garden with moths, I kid you not, as big as birds, an amusement park, a splash zone, and of course a variety of animals! Every time we go we are pleasantly surprised with how active and engaging the animals are! The monkeys and gorillas are sure to put on a fun little show for you as they play together. And of course there is a whole carnival, amusement park with a splash pad to explore as well!

Before you go be sure to check out their website to find out what unique programs they are offering that day!

Good to know:
  • You can pack a cooler with drinks and food.
  • They do have a restaurant and concession stands.
  • Make sure you have comfortable walking shoes and sunscreen!
  • Strollers and wheelchairs are available to rent. Single strollers and wheelchairs are $5/day and double strollers are $8/day. Electric scooters are also available for $20/day.
  • There are multiple bathrooms throughout the area.
  • It is open every day of the year! (April-September 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and October-March 10 a.m.-4 p.m.)
  • Also in the area is Lake Como, mini-golf, a pool, and picnic areas!

Elm Creek Park Reserve

Elm Creek is the largest park in the Three Rivers Area. It has a wide range of things to offer including a whole area dedicated to disc golf, a nature center, an archery range and a swimming pond!

The play area itself is one of the largest in the state and offers something for each age group. It opened in 2011 and was a $1.2 million project, just to put it in perspective a little…

It is sectioned off into seven play zone which does make it a little harder to watch multiple children if they all want to be in different areas. I will say though I saw play equipment here that once again I’ve never seen before in my life and it had me wishing I was a kid again! It is designed to inspire creativity and imagination while exercising and strengthening gross motors muscles. For example, it has a 30 ft. dinosaur buried in the sand to climb and explore!

Take for example this awesome skateboard track:

If you haven’t explored this park, I highly suggest you give it a go! And plan for an all day event! There is plenty to do to keep everyone busy!

Good to know:
  • There are bathroom facilities right near the park in two different locations.
  • Picnic tables are around for adults to sit and relax or for a little lunch/snack break.

  • The play area is entirely wheelchair accessible!!!
  • The swimming area is located just to the right of the playground area.
  • You may want to bring your swimsuits and towels if you would like to partake in the swimming pond. It does cost $5 per person ages 1 and up to swim at the beach. But it is a very clean (chlorinated and filtered) water and beach to spend the afternoon. The water gradually increases from zero feet to six feet deep. It also has facilities located at the beach area for restrooms, changing, and concessions. There is a lifeguard on duty at the lifeguard stand. It is open Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend.
  • The swimming area has a wheel chair ramp into the three feet deep area and you can rent floating beach chairs.

Future Parks we will be visiting:

  • Centennial Lakes

Check back or subscribe so you don’t miss out on info on these parks when we go try them out! And of course be looking for more about our winter adventures as well!

 

 

 

 

Don’t Waste Your Money on These Baby Items

When we had our first baby, we took that register gun and went crazy! We thought we needed to have all the sheet sets and every gizmo and gadget out there. After all, every store and magazine will tell you a million must have items that you need for your baby. Your head will be spinning and dollar signs will be flashing behind your eyes.

So you take a deep breath and think why not register for it right?!
WRONG!

It wasn’t too long after having our second that we realized that there were so many things that we had that we truly didn’t need or really didn’t use! As a first time mom I just had no idea! Looking back I really wished I had another mom with me guiding me through the whole registering process. Someone who had been there and done that and could say straight up whether it was truly useful.

Breast Pump:

Hear me out here. Yes, buy a breast pump! It is important so your baby can still have your milk and you can still have a little freedom. I am a big advocate of pumping since I had to exclusively pump for my first born because she was born premature. BUT, most insurances now cover a hospital grade breast pump! Seriously, check into it. Don’t put it on your registry, instead submit your receipt to your insurance company. For more information on how this works please check out Two Boys One Pup’s How to Get a Free Breast Pump post!

Wipes Warmer:

Our first little baby had a warm wipe to wipe her bottom. By the time baby number two got here that thing never made it back out of storage. Sorry babe but that wipe is fine. It’s not going to bother them. And frankly, by baby number two we changed the diaper wherever we were at the time, mainly on the floor in close proximity to the other littles! This leads me to the next item…

Changing Station:

Want to save space in the baby’s room? Get rid of the changing station. Maybe you need it because getting up and down on the floor isn’t as easy for you. I totally understand that but for us it just never got used. We grabbed a diaper and wipes wherever we were and quickly changed the baby right there on the floor. (I do have secret stashes of diapers and wipes in the living room and in the downstairs living space.)

Crib Comforter Sets and Bumpers:

I know they look so cute and cozy. I know it adds to the theme of the room. I get it. But really, it isn’t safe for the baby to be around blankets and thick bumpers. For the first year of their life there shouldn’t be anything but a fitted sheet in the crib. Before the baby gets here the crib will look cute all set up with the comforter set and bumpers. Then, you will read all about safe sleeping and your mind will start racing. Next thing you know that blanket and bumper set will find its way to the back of the closet so you can have a little more peace of mind.

Baby Shoes:

Those itty, bitty shoes are SO cute! But I promise you that they will maybe be used once or twice before you decide that it’s more work than it is worth putting them on and off the baby. Not to mention most are stiff and boxy and your baby’s feet are growing like crazy. Give them room to grow and ditch the shoes. Plus, your baby can’t walk yet. Save the money to buy a good pair of shoes for them once they start walking.

Baby Laundry Detergent:

Any “free and clear” brand of laundry detergent will do the same as a detergent labeled for babies. Save yourself the time, energy and money and put their laundry right in with yours. Laundry with a newborn is daunting enough, don’t make it any harder for yourself!

Bottle Sterilizer:

This counter clutter will eventually end up in the back of a cupboard. When you first get a pack of bottles, sterilize them in a big pot of boiling water. After that, the dishwasher will do the trick especially if they have a heated, sanitize rinse cycle. Many pediatricians will even tell you that good old soap and water and a little elbow grease will get the bottles and nipples clean.

Bath Robes:

Take the baby out of the bath, dry it off with a towel, put it in a robe, take the robe off and put it in clothes. Reread that sentence again. I’m all for simplifying life and it seems to me that we are just adding a useless step by putting the baby in a robe only to turn around and take the robe off.

Baby Oil and Baby Powder:

I had some baby oil. I never used it on the babies. I think I finally just put it on my legs after a shower to keep them smooth. As for baby powder, there are a bunch of studies right now about how they can have major heath side-effects on babies. The powder goes into air that the baby is breathing and is said to cause breathing problems.

Orajel and Teething Tablets:

Also, a health hazard. The FDA has issued warnings about a benzocaine that is found in many teething medicine. In most cases, Tylenol and a cold teether or a wet washcloth is the best for keeping baby as comfortable as possible.

Baby Blankets:

It is so tempting to buy all those cute, super soft blankets. Trust me though, that is one of the go to presents for people to get for new babies. You will have so many blankets you won’t know what to do with them all.

Baby Food Makers:

Most people have a blender in their house already. Just toss the food that you want to use for the baby in your household blender. It does the same as those fancy baby food makers.

Newborn Clothes and Diapers:

Chances are your baby will be born bigger than most newborn sizes are made for. Newborn sizes generally go to 7.5 lbs for clothes and 10 lbs for diapers. As a precaution, grab a few outfits at that size and opt for a smaller package of newborn diapers. Most likely that will be more than enough to get you by. They grow FAST!

Of course everyone has their own preferences. If there is something on the list you still want or think is important then go buy it! I just wish I would have known a few of these things beforehand. But I guess the old saying holds true—“You live and you learn!”

Don’t forget to read my husband’s prospective on having a newborn!