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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The Quad

Both kids LOVE going to Nana and Kappa's house. There is so much to do, see, play with, explore, and climb on. Up until now, we used their golf cart to take the kids around the property. This has to be one of their favorite things to do. Colton catches a glimpse of the cart and he is running over there patting the seat waiting for me to take him on a ride. Kappa recently got his quad fixed and it was sitting in front of the house when we went over there last weekend. Colton has not ever really seen or had a chance to play on it. He of course took every opportunity to check it out. Ryan even climbed on with him and started it up. Colton wasn't sure what to make of the noise, but it didn't bother him too much because he did not want to get off.
As soon as I took Colton's picture I remembered we had a picture so similar of Kailyn sitting on the quad at the same age. It made me smile looking at the two pictures, knowing that they are sharing these same memories even though they are 5 years apart. It's funny how much they both LOVED the quad. Daddy and Kappa are proud. Ryan can't wait to take Colton on his first ride. Here is a picture of both Colton and Kailyn on the quad. I am definitely getting these ones framed!

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