Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

We have a local farm about 7 miles from our house. They have lots of fun stuff for the kids to do around Halloween time. We were so busy during this time, but we managed to squeeze in an hour after Kailyn got out of school and took a trip to the farm for some pumpkins and fun. The kids had a blast, Colton cried and protested when it was time to go. This little guy, I'm telling ya, knows how to show you he is not happy. He was in heaven and had so much fun. The kids got to ride the ponies, play in the hay pit, sit on and explore tractors, and best of all picked out the perfect pumpkins. Next year we will make sure we have a little more time to stay a little longer, there was some fun things that we didn't get to do but we will next year.

 Colton's First Pony ride!! He wanted to go again so bad that he walked all on his own and got back in like. He screamed and cried when we picked him up and took him away. Little stinker.

 Always has been, and always will be Daddy's little girl.

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Kisses from my boo boo

Are the best kisses ever!!!

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Just because.......

I love my Sugar Bear soo soo much!!!

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Dinner for 3

When Ryan works, I dread having to cook dinner. By the end of the day both kids are running out of patience and energy. I am lucky if I step two inches without a kids under my feet. It definitely does not make cooking easy. So I try to plan simple, easy dinner ideas that will make my life easier, but give the kids a good meal as well. One of my favorite go to meals is pizza!! Homemade pizza that is. It is easy, fast, and oh so good. I even have the kids help me put the toppings on. I designate my own corner of the pizza since I like a little more items on mine. The kids just like cheese and pepperoni. They at least "think" that is all they are getting. You can't notice but underneath all the cheese, are cut up zucchini piece. Muuahahahah!!! They are eating their veggi's and they don't even notice.

I use whole wheat dough from Henry's, it's delicious! There is never a piece leftover, and the kids are happy, their bellies are full, and mama still has a smile on her face!
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Little Diva

Kailyn had some birthday money and gift cards left from her birthday so we decided to make a trip to the mall for a little bit of shopping. She wanted new clothes, and she was in desperate need of new warm stuff, so it worked out perfect! She got tired very quickly of trying all the clothes on. I use to be able to just grab things off the shelves and knew they would fit. But now I have to try everything on her. Everything fits so differently on her now that she is growing and growing. In the end she bought a bunch of fabulous clothes to add to her wardrobe. Many skirts of course, can't get this girl away from them. Plus mama had fun teaching her about sales, and coupons, and how to get the most for your money. Once I showed her that she could get 1 shirt not on sale, or 5 other items on sale for the same price, she was hooked!! Whoohoo teaching her the importance of wise money decisions already. This picture about sums up our day of fun, shopping, learning, and success!! Although I have to admit she enjoyed the shopping a little more than I expected, am I in for it when she is a teenager?

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I vacuum(ok TRY) to vacuum our house everyday. Between 3 dogs, 2 kids and 2 adults, the dirt can get ridiculous. However, a certain little person in the house began making this process very difficult. He took such an interest in the vacuum that I could not finish without him in my arms helping, or just giving up and handing the vacuum over to him.

I knew I had to get him his own vacuum. So I searched and searched until I found the perfect one! A blue and green dirt devil with a dust buster that actually works!! Are you kidding me? I can keep him entertained AND he can really help mama? Score! He loves it! He played with it for about an hour straight the first day. He still loves the real thing, but he will at least let me vacuum for about 5 min now before he starts asking for it.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Water Play X2

When I say Colton is obsessed with water, I am not exaggerating. He will play with water any chance that he can get. He doesn't even mind being rinsed off after a meal because I do it in the sink and he gets to play with the water. I was cleaning up the kitchen one day after dinner, I had my back turned wiping down the counters. In a matter of 30 seconds Colton had pushed a chair up to the sink and was playing in the faucet. He was having so much fun, I didn't want to stop him. So I filled up the sink, threw in a few new sponges and let him have a ball. This kept him busy for 20 minutes while I finished up cleaning. I am telling you, any time any place, this child will play with water.

Don't you love his little fluffy butt in his cute owl cloth diaper?LOVE IT!
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Clay Impressions

When Kailyn was a little over 1, we got her hand impressions done. We loved how it turned out, and have it up in our house still to this day. It's fun to have her compare it to the size of her hand now. So I of course wanted to do the same for Colton. We have a local ceramic/pottery painting studio here that does clay impressions. I organize a local moms group, so I set up a private appointment at the studio and a group of us took our kiddos to get hand impressions done. It was a lot of fun and the kids did so well. Now the moms get to have fun when we go back in a few days for a moms night out to paint the impressions. I highly recommend doing this for your kids. It's a great way  to "freeze" a memory of them being so little. They make great Granparent gifts as well!!Here are a few pics of Kailyn and Colton getting their hands done.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Spaghetti Sensory Play

We had some friends over the other day and I wanted to do something with the little ones that would be fun, entertaining, and educational as well. Colton is at the perfect age to really start increasing his sensory play. He is experimenting with more of the different ideas I offer to him. He is also developing more of his independent play. More and more he is going off on his own to play with his toys. I am not suggesting toys to play with as often as I use to. Even with his sensory play, I am beginning to be able to set it up as an invitation and let him go to town. Before I would set it up and let him play, but of course was right next to him for guidance, and making sure certain items were not going into his mouth etc. It's been so fun watching this progression take place. He is growing up too fast.
 His cutie pie friend Jordan is a few month older than Colton, so I knew the spaghetti would be perfect for the two of them to experiment with. All I did was boil and cook two boxes of spaghetti noodles. I used food coloring to give them a little bit of color. Next time I think we will skip the food coloring. I put all of the spaghetti in a plastic tub, put out some kitchen utensils such as spoons, spatulas, ladles etc, and an extra large tub and let them go to town. They LOVED it!! They ate it, squished it, stepped on it, sat on it, put it in hair, put it on each other, used the empty tub to transfer the spaghetti. They used the spoons to mix it, and move it to different locations. It was so much fun watching them. They played with it the entire playdate. Jordan was so cute, she could not get enough of the noodles. She constantly had a mouth full of them the whole time. She left with a big green mouth. Colton loved stepping on it and the bottom of his feet had an entire layed of spaghetti on them.This sensory activity is so easy, yet such a hit with the kiddos.
Benefits of Spaghetti Sensory Play:
*Use of imagination and creativity
*Good for motor skills- gripping, squeezing, transferring, grabbing
*Helps guide independent play when doing the activity alone
*Helps guide interactive play when doing the activity with more than one child
*Explores senses-Touch the spaghetti find out what it feels like, Taste a little bit of it, how does it taste?, Smell can you describe the smell, See what it looks like or what color it is, Hear the sound it makes when you squish it in your hands
Here are the kiddos having a blast!!

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Disney On Ice

My best friend April had some extra tickets to Disney On Ice. Like the awesome BFF she is, she offered them to us. I was so excited. I had been wanting to take Kailyn for a while, but just never got the chance. Kailyn was so excited, she didn't give a second thought to missing gymnastics to go. She was also happy to get to see her BFF Lucas. With the two of them in school now, it's been hard to get together. Makes me sad. These two have been best buds since the day Lucas was born. He is four months younger than K. So K was able to meet Lucas in the hospital on the day he was born.

We would get together ALL the time. Then this thing called work, school, and life got in the way, and we don't have a chance to see them as much as would love to. But we take what we can get! The kids had fun. Kailyn was mesmerized by it all. She especially loved the Princesses, and when the dragon from Mulan came out. It was a school night so we had to head home right after, but I enjoyed the time we got to see them. Below are a few pictures I was able to catch during the night. Lucas' little brother Brody was NOT feeling any of the picture taking, so I don't have any of him.

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Trip to the Fire Station

Last week was the Fire Department's yearly open house. They open up the main station to the public, and offer fun activities for the kids. They also provide crucial fire and safety tips for parents. We didn't get to go last year because Daddy was working, and Colton was only a few weeks old. So we were all really excited to get to go this year. The kids had a ton of fun. Kailyn new her way around, and was busy trying everything out. Colton took a little while to warm up to everything. But once that boy got comfortable, he didn't want the fun to end. I had to chase him down and strap him in the stroller to get him to leave. It was a fun day, we are looking forward to next year!!

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Monday, October 15, 2012

National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day

Wednesday October 17th is National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day. This is a great time for those who have children in school, to not only get to spend some special time with them, but to also see first hand what food they are being served at school.
For so long, the lunches at schools across America were going down hill fast. School were serving so much junk food, soda, and sugary drinks, it is no surprise that the children of our country have serious obesity issues. Recently schools across America have taken the steps to improve the food they offer children during the school day. Schools have started baning and eliminating certain  foods from the lunch menu. This is one of the best decisions schools can be making. Lunch is such a crucial meal for these kids. What they eat plays a huge role in a child's ability to learn. Allowing them to eat junk food, and too much sugar, etc, can  negatively effect learning ability. Children can become tired shortly after eating an unbalanced meal , and can have a hard time concentrating on their school work. By feeding a child a well balanced nutritional meal, we are ensuring that the body will have the nutrients and energy it needs to stay awake and alert for the rest of the school day.
As our daughter entered first grade, it didn't even cross my mind that I would allow her to buy her lunch at school. I was so put off by what I had seen being served in the schools, there was no way I would allow her to buy lunch. But then updated information regarding the nutrition program came home in her backpack one day. I was so surprised and impressed with all the changes our district had been making over the past few years. They had done a complete overhaul on the program, I had a complete change of heart, and we now allow our daughter to buy lunch at school everyday..
Here is an excerpt from our school's Student Wellness Policy:

Meals served through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs will:
• be appealing and attractive to children;
• be served in clean and pleasant settings;
• meet, at a minimum, nutrition requirements established by local, state, and federal statutes and regulations;
• offer whole grains when possible;
• offer a variety of fruits and vegetables; and
• serve only low-fat (1%) and fat-free milk 
The district also changed the policies when it came to bringing in food to the classroom for a birthday or class party. Below are the guidelines for bringing in outside food for parties:

 Celebrations/classroom parties offering food
Food items:
• Not more than 35% of its total calories shall be from fat.
• Not more than 10% of its total calories shall be from saturated fat.
• Not more that 35% of its total weight shall be composed of sugar, including naturally occurring and added sugar.
• Exemptions are nuts, nut butters, seeds, cheese packaged for individual sale, fruits& vegetables that have not been deep fried, and legumes.
Fruit-based and vegetable-based drinks that are at least 50% fruit juice without added
• Drinking water without added sweeteners.
• Milk products including 2%, 1% nonfat, soy, rice and other similar non-dairy milk
• An electrolyte replacement beverage that contains no more than 42 grams of added
sweetener per 20-ounce serving.
*Items offered must be commercially prepared, and stable at room temperature unless proper cold/hot temperatures can be maintained.

As you can see it eliminated a lot of junk, sugar, and processed foods. I am not at all opposed to my daughter having a cupcake to celebrate a classmates birthday party. But I find it reassuring that they have implemented strict guidelines and measures to ensure that it does not happen on a daily basis. Our school also provides a monthly lunch menu so we know exactly what foods are being offered on any particular day. They also provide a nutritional breakdown per food item served, as well as an ingredients list per food item. What amazing sources our district has provided for us. As a parent, this eases my mind knowing my child is getting a well balanced meal everyday at school.
On Wednesday, I already happen to be volunteering in my daughter's class. Even though I already have a food menu and good understanding of what is being served in her school,I will be staying the extra 45 minutes to have lunch with her so I can see first hand what the food is like. Not to mention, any time I can squeeze in some extra one on one time with my girl, is a win-win scenario. I encourage you as a parent to take an active role in participating in this nation wide event. Not only will your child LOVE getting to have a special meal with mom or dad, it will also show the school that you care about what your child is eating, and that you are taking the steps needed to make a change in their school if needed. Below is a link to some great resources that can help make your lunch day with your child a success. We as parents have to do whatever it takes to ensure that our children are being provided with a healthy and nutritional meal during some of the most important hours during their day. Have fun, and enjoy the day with your child.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Just add water

Water can be easiest, and most simple sensory play for kids. The best part is, it seems to be one of the favorites for kiddos. Just add water is my motto. Last night I needed to make dinner and read through Kailyn's school papers. Kailyn was in her playroom needing/wanting some alone time, and Colton was demanding my attention. So I pulled out the Tupperware tubs, filled it up with some warm water, threw in a few sponges, viola...Colton was beyond happy.

Well of course big sister heard how much fun he was having, so then water play turned into a party of two. Another tub was added, more sponges thrown in, the clothes even came off. Both kids took turns sitting inside the tubs pouring and playing with the water. I would have to say that evening water play was a success. Try it with your kids. I guarantee you they will LOVE it.

As a side note, the towels were down to protect the kids from slipping on the wet tile floor, not because I didn't want them to make a "mess". Messy play does not bother this mama. Daddy on the other hand....well we are working on it.
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Summer has come to an end

This year has been one of the hottest Summers that I can remember. I have the electricity bill to prove it!! With the temperatures consistently being in the high 90's low 100's, it made it difficult to go outside during the day. It was just too hot. But my kids are adventurers and they would get so antsy from being in the house all day. So we often went outside or to the park in the evenings, when the weather was cooler and the play equipment was not too hot to play on. I just had to share this picture from a few weeks back of the kiddos at the park. They had played on the playground for a while and K decided she wanted to go on a walk and explore. Of course Colton has to follow big sis everywhere. We were talking about the trees and the weather. I had told Kailyn that it's going to start getting colder, and we might be getting rain soon too. She said she wanted to enjoy her walk while she could, because once it rains, it would be too muddy to go through the dirt and bushes. That girl is so smart. So off we went to explore one last Summer night. I won't miss the heat and the electricity bill, but I will miss the full green trees, and the flowers, and dry dirt, and most of all the warm Summer nights to explore with my kids.

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