Conversations with a 3 Year Old

QandAadayforkids

How do you feel when you wake up in the morning?

I feel I want my monster trucks.

Describe a time when you were sick.

It was like this…(makes a sort of snorting noise)…like that.

Which toys have you outgrown?

I play with my toys so I can grow up so I can play with my toys.

How do you feel about brothers and sisters?

I’m a big brother and I touch her arm, look at her eyes, and pet her head and look at her eyes.

What bugs do you like? What bugs do you dislike?

Nobody can let the bugs eat me…and spiders and bees.

Is there something you can’t stop thinking about? What is it?

The dishwasher.

If people could see inside you, what would they see?

A fart noise.

Whom would you love to have sitting in your room talking to you?

But you’re talking to me. (Confused look)

What is your favorite drink? Why?

Orange juice. Because we don’t have any orange juice.

What kinds of animals do you like?

Elephant that stomps. Camel. A sheep and a giraffe. Dogs.

I used to dislike ____, but now I think I like it.

The griddle.

What would your perfect day be like?

It would be a bouncy ball.

Pick a parent. What is the most important thing to that parent?

Grandpa is the most important thing to his parents. But Mommy’s aren’t. And Daddy’s aren’t. And the bathrooms aren’t. And the cabinets – open and close.

What was the last fruit or veggie you ate?

I never eat a carrot. I eat real food. Not pretend food.

B’s Birthday Fun

My little guy turned 3 recently. What?! We had an awesome week hanging with family, traveling to Niagara Falls, and a semi-homemade interactive birthday cake.

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IMG_0150Bummed he wasn’t able to play with his cake just yet.

IMG_0154That sweet face when he realized we were all singing Happy Birthday to him.

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IMG_8147His “I just did a good job blowing out that candle” pose.

IMG_8148Finally getting to play with the cake! Excavating the icing.

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IMG_8153Miss C holding Great-Grandma Margaret’s finger. So sweet. 

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Stitch Fix Review #1

It’s here, it’s here! I only checked the package tracking like 20 times and anxiously awaited its arrival when it said OUT FOR DELIVERY. Then, after Little B was down for a nap, I slipped out to the mailbox and brought it back to my room. It was like Christmas morning in my little world…aaaaannnndd, cue the baby crying. Grr.

Settled Baby C down for her nap….ok, back to my Christmas morning.

Then, commence the happy dance when I opened this beautiful box and unwrapped the gems inside.

This is my Stitch Fix experience and I’m in love. No driving to the store.  No long hours finding something that fits right. No lines. No dragging the kids to the mall.

It’s awesome. And I’m hooked now. My first fix was awesome. Valerie is awesome. The new clothes are awesome.

Stitch Fix 1-007How It Works

  • Go to Stitch Fix website. {Referral Link}
  • Fill out Style Profile (info about your size, shape, what you do, what you like, Pinterest board, etc.)
  • A stylist picks out 5 clothes/accessories and mails them to you.
  • Try them on. Keep what you like. Send back what you don’t within 3 business days.
  • Cost – There is a $20 Styling Fee charged when the box ships. This fee is added as credit, however, towards the purchase of any items you choose to keep.  Each item has a price listed and you checkout online after you decide what you will be keeping. If you keep everything, it is 25% each item. {More about cost below}

Here are the styling cards that come in each box.  They tell you how to style each of the pieces.  This would be fantastic if I owned all these different items.  Got some great ideas though!

Stitch Fix 1-008The Fix

1. Colibri Solid Tab Sleeve Blouse — {KEEP}

This is my favorite fall color. It is fitted and loose in all the right places. It’s versatile and has interesting details. I’ve been looking for something EXACTLY like this, and it came right to my door.

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Stitch Fix 1-001

Stitch Fix 1-002

Stitch Fix 12. Sam Hi-Lo Short Sleeve Tee — {KEEP}

Loved the material and the casual nature of this tee. Perfect for my daily “uniform”. However, it did fit a little clingy as I walked about the house. I didn’t really like having to adjust the shirt so that it didn’t bunch up around my recently-pregnant midsection. It wasn’t horrible by any means, but it wasn’t fantastic either. I ended up keeping this top because the 25% off the box (after keeping everything) ended up being more than the cost of the shirt. As I work to lose some of this baby weight, I think it will become more flattering. Right now, it works well under a loose fitting cardigan.

Stitch Fix 1-0033. Adorra Skinny Jean – {KEEP}

Oh my word. These are the best jeans. I will definitely get my money out of these puppies.  They are comfortable and slimming. Watch out, yoga pants.

Stitch Fix 1-0054. Henry Birds on Branch Infinity Scarf — {KEEP}

I love infinity scarves. They are easy and beautiful. This one with all these adorable little birds sitting on branches. So stinking cute. It’ll go with everything.

Stitch Fix 1-0065. Durante Tie-Dye Draped Cardigan — {KEEP}

I never would have tried this on at the store. But it’s so cool. Again, interesting details. Kinda edgy. Flowy, right length, right fit.  I feel slightly Breakfast Club in this cardigan and I’m cool with that.

Stitch Fix 1-004That’s it. Keeping it all. First box.

I just signed up for Automatic Fixes – which means I will be getting a box every other month to update my wardrobe.

About the Cost…

Yes, these items are certainly more than what I would typically spend at the store.  Honestly, I would probably look at the price tag and not even try them on. I’m more on the saver side of the spender/saver spectrum.

But…I saved time. I saved stress. And I might even save money over time if you look at it in a quality vs. quantity light. This tired and busy Mama is okay with spending a little more on something that makes me feel great.  Just ask my family – I’ve been super nice to them today while wearing my new threads.🙂

Here are some ideas to help with the cost of Stitch Fix.

  • Use your referral link. Whenever someone signs up for Stitch Fix using your referral link, you get $25.
  • I saw one review where the woman limits herself to keep only 1 items per box. This would take some willpower to choose if you like more than 1 item, but it’s not a bad idea.  Example: the scarf in my box was $28. After the $20 styling credit, if I would keep only that it would be $28 – $20 = $8. Not bad for a beautiful scarf. {{UPDATE: I’m not sure where my head was at, but I forgot to factor in the $20 styling charge when the box ships. This would cancel out the $20 credit on the final bill.  Essentially, when all is said and done, the scarf would still be a $28 item. Does that make any sense?? Sorry for the confusion!!}}
  • Think of it as cost-per-wear. Better quality = longer life = more wears. I guess only time will tell if this is true.
  • Set a clothing budget, track it, and stick to it.
  • Don’t forget to factor in the time, gas, and stress savings.
  • {UPDATE} Make a plan for a capsule wardrobe. This has so many advantages, some of which include time and sanity savings as well as cost savings. I like these articles on a capsule wardrobe.

Have you tried Stitch Fix? Did you like it?

Tot School 2014 – Week 5 and 6

The Plans – Week 5 and 6

  • Bible/Devotional book
    • The Beginner’s Bible for Toddlers
  • Habits
    • Morning routine – Dressed, brush teeth, make bed
    • Going on the potty “all by myself” and all that that en-tails….pun intended.
  • Living Book – Sonlight P3/4
    • Read from Harper Collins Treasury
    • Read from Mike Mulligan and More Treasury
    • Read Robert McCloskey books
    • Read Noah’s Ark
  • Independent Activity
    • Magnetix
    • Playdough
    • Puzzles
  • Season 1/Episode 3 – Zeroes to Doughnuts (Lesson: Os)
    • Read Curious George Learns the Alphabet (episode base on part of this story)
    • Go to buy donuts, have B ask for 1 dozen or hand a paper that says 1 dozen as in the episode…share with firefighters or other community helpers {B shared with the guys that mow our neighborhood grass :)}
    • Read Zero is the Leaves on the Trees
    • Practice tracing 0s
    • Playdoh 0s
    • “Step 2 times, step 4 times, step 0 times” game outside
  • Season 1/Episode 3 – Curious George, Stain Remover (Lesson: Levers)

Books…

beginnersbible

harpercollinstreasury

move it

everyone shouted pull

zero is the leaves

noahark

mccloskey

mikemulligan

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  What we loved…

  1. These BOOKS…all are so loved by us now.
  2. Turning the kitchen table into Noah’s Ark
  3. Finding a bunch of things around the house that looked like zeros or doughnuts
  4. Eating doughnuts..duh.
  5. Meeting friends for story time at the library.

IMG_0967{Noah’s Ark}

IMG_0969{Pizza Boats}

IMG_0970{Animals + Fire Truck safe in Noah’s Ark}

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IMG_0111{C’s spot at the library}

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IMG_0119{The time when B flushed gobs of toilet paper and the toilet started overflowing with gushing water…onto the floor and out into the hallway, dripping down onto our electronics in the basement. :/}

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IMG_0134{Hehehehe. Love that face}

IMG_0975{This slide quite literally cannonballs your kid out…this is before the landing and face plant.}

IMG_0976{An unusually warm October day.}

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IMG_0998{Caps for sale!}

Tot School 2014-2015

Tot School 2014 – Week 4

The Plans – Week 4

Books…

beginnersbible

harpercollinstreasury

  What we loved…

  1. Building blocks together
  2. Taste-testing cookie dough
  3. Eating baked cookies with milk (Sonlight P3/4 activity)
  4. Adding stickers to the package we sent to Grandma
  5. Meeting friends for story time at the library.

IMG_0965{Eating a bowl full of mush (cream of wheat) – Goodnight Moon activity}

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Tot School 2014-2015

Super Easy Slow Cooker Homemade Yogurt (No Straining) & Refrigerator Oatmeal

This is one of those recipes that I had to ask myself…why have I not been doing this forever?!? I am amazed at how easy it is to have a bunch of homemade yogurt to put in my fridge for a lot less money than buying it at the store.  Also, I love knowing EXACTLY what’s in my yogurt.

My recipe for slow cooker homemade yogurt has been adapted from Money Saving Mom’s recipe here.

This step is NOT necessary, but….If you would like a thicker yogurt or Greek yogurt, here are some tips for straining your yogurt. If you do this, you can save the whey that is strained.  Freeze in ice cube trays or containers.  I have made this Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffin recipe using strained whey.

Interesting articles about uses for whey…

Whey in baking

How to Use Leftover Whey

I used to strain all my yogurt, but found that the extra step was too much for me.  Now, it works out great to make my yogurt into refrigerator oatmeal.  The oats soak up some of that liquid and it makes for a great texture.

Here’s the recipe.

Super Easy Slow Cooker Homemade Yogurt

Ingredients

  • About 12 cups Whole Milk (I pour enough milk so that it is roughly 2 inches from the top of the slow cooker)

    • Note: more or less…I’ve used 8 cups with this same recipe before and it turned out the same)

  • 1/2 cup Plain Yogurt

    • Note: This recipe is pretty forgiving, so this amount can be altered if needed. For the first batch, you will need to buy plain yogurt from the store as a starter.  For future batches, just reserve 1/2 cup from your last batch of homemade to use as a starter for the next one.

Tools

  • Slow Cooker

  • 2 Bath Towels

  • Whisk

Step 1: Pour milk into slow cooker.

Step 2: Turn slow cooker on LOW for 2-1/2 HOURS.

Step 3: Turn slow cooker OFF, *UNPLUG SLOW COOKER*, and let sit for 5 HOURS.

Step 4: Mix in plain yogurt using a whisk.

Step 5: Wrap slow cook with 2 towels, each towel in a different direction. Let sit 12 – 18 HOURS. Make sure slow cooker is unplugged!

Step 6: Ladle yogurt into containers or make Refrigerator Oatmeal (see below).

Step 7: Refrigerate for 8 HOURS.

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Maple Blueberry Refrigerator Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 C. Old Fashioned Oats

  • 1-2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup

  • 1/2 C. Yogurt

  • 1/2 C. Blueberries

Step 1: Combine all ingredients in a container in order listed.  Stir gently to mix.

Step 2: Refrigerate 8 HOURS.

 

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Tot School 2014 – Week 3

We spread this week’s plans out over the span of two weeks because we had some very special people come to visit – Grandpa & Grandma Black.  Such a wonderful time for all of us and I am sitting here feeling so grateful for family that spends their time and money to come see us – it takes so much sacrifice to travel our way and I’m really appreciative of that generosity and love.  And you’d think we’d give them a vacation🙂 but they spent a lot of their time helping us corral two little ones, cooking, and doing dishes!…couldn’t be more thankful for those two.

Well, after a few weeks of planned activities, observing how little B reacts to the books/activities, and too much time reading blogs, I am tweaking a couple things.  Starting with Week 4, we will be using the Sonlight P3/4 Fiction, Fairy Tales, and Fun for Little Learners curriculum for some guidance in what to read and to make things easier planning-wise for me.  This guide is mainly just a big checklist of classic stories and fairy tales to read aloud to B with easy activities (pretend play, cooking, etc.) that encourage quality time and a love for learning about the world around him.

I still would like to do the Before Five in a Row book that I talked about here; however, it has been backordered on Amazon a long time…so we decided to go a different route.

I was a little leery to buy the huge package of books that comes with the Songlight P3/4 curriculum, so I just purchased the companion guide for now.  We visit the library almost weekly, and I was able to see through the online catalog that our interlibrary loan will have all the books we need. We checked out the first book already, Harper Collins Treasury, and have started reading through the stories.  B is loving the stories and has asked to read a couple of them twice.  I love watching his enthusiasm for reading grow and look forward to the simple (and already planned out) activities that go along with the stories.

We will also be dropping the Fitness Fun Busy Book.  I feel like there is enough structure for B with the other activities.  I’d like him to have some time to decide what to do on his own when we go outside.

The Plans – Week 3

  • Bible/Devotional book
    • The Beginner’s Bible for Toddlers
  • Habit
    • Morning routine – Dressed, brush teeth, make bed
  • Living Book – Paddington
    • Make a suitcase (from a cereal box), scrapbook, and orange marmalade (orange playdoh in a jar)
    • Have tea (milk) with cakes or toast/jam – use little teacups
  • Independent Activity
    • Binoculars
    • Poker chips
    • Fall sensory bin
  • Curious George – Home for Pigeons (S1:E2)
    • Feed the birds and use binoculars to watch them
    • Examine bird seed to see what birds eat, sensory bin
    • Make a home for birds or bird feeder

Books…

beginnersbible

duckling gets a cookie

harpercollinstreasury

pigeon finds a hotdog

pigeon takes a bath

paddington

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BigThoughts

sillysnacks

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 What we loved…

  1. A special trip to the store to buy binoculars and using them to look for birds
  2. Drinking about 10 cups of milk out of a tiny cup while Mommy tensed every time B picked it up…these were my tea cups from Italy (only ones I had)…yes, I’m nuts to let my toddler use them.
  3. Mo Willems books…Pigeon Needs a Bath was probably the fave.
  4. A wonderful visit from Grandma and Grandpa.🙂
  5. …and the camera. Can you guess which photos are B’s?

 

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Tot School 2014-2015

Tot School 2014 – Week 2

 The Plans – Week 2

  • Bible/Devotional book
    • Big Thoughts for Little People
  • Habit
    • Morning routine – Dressed, brush teeth, make bed
  • Living Book – Guess How Much I Love You
    • Chat: Who do you love? How big/fast/tall is your love?
    • Act out book
    • Sing Skinamarinkki Dinky Dink
    • Measure how long he can stretch is arms, how high he can jump
  • Independent Activity
    • Plastic animals
    • Detective Kit (see below)
    • Puzzles
  • Curious George – From Scratch (S1:E1)
    • Make a detective kit (magnifying glass, spoon, flashlight, tweezers, ruler, camera, etc)
    • Plastic animal tracks in playdoh
    • Look for animal tracks outside
    • Play with magnifying glass outside
    • Eat cannoli!
  • Fitness Busy Book
    • Riding Toys (13% on Kindle)
  • Cookbook
    • Broccoli Haystacks

Books…

guesshowmuch

 

 

 

 

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BigThoughts

 

 

 

sillysnacks

 

 

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What we loved…

  1. Camera…so, we (the parents), no longer own our camera…it is now B’s camera.  Or so he says. He loved taking pics throughout our week, and I am definitely NOT posting the crystal clear, full-frame picture he got of my behind!
  2. Detective kit + moth (see pictures below).  He examined the moth with a magnifying glass. He pick up the moth…with scissors. He photographed his own eyeball. He photographed the moth. He stepped on the moth.
  3. Tracks in the play-doh.
  4. Acting out the book Guess How Much I Love You.

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This was the – “We are NOT going inside” – face.

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Tot School 2014-2015

Tot School 2014 – Week 1

We had such a wonderful first week.  I was so amazed at the change in B’s attitude on the days we did these activities – the quality time we spent together must have contributed to this! Lesson learned!

The Plans – Week 1

  • Bible/Devotional book
    • Big Thoughts for Little People
  • Habit
    • Morning routine – Dressed, brush teeth, make bed
    • Potty-training
  • Living Book – Make Way for Ducklings
  • Independent Activity
    • Explore toy cars – screwdriver and toy cars
    • Busy Bag – Clothespins and Pipe Cleaners
    • Puzzles
  • Curious George – Flies a Kite (S1:E1)
  • Fitness Busy Book
    • Hopscotch (12% on Kindle)
  • Cookbook
    • Strawberry-Kiwi Smoothies

Books…

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 abook

 

 

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BigThoughts

 

 

sillysnacks

 

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What we loved…

  1. The Curious George theme.  Many times a day, our almost-3-year-old gets nicknamed Curious B.  He is just at that age. What does this do if I drop it down the stairs? What will happen if I try to stop the water from running out of the faucet? No wonder it’s his favorite show. These science/nature activities are right up his alley and he likes relating them back to the show he watched.  When we flew the kite, he wanted me to help him go with the kite into the wind so he could fly with the birds like Curious George.🙂
  2. Clothespins! They were stuck to everything he could think of.
  3. Reading books on the couch under a blanket. Sweet memories.🙂
  4. Making smoothies – dear future wife of B, the way to this man’s heart is certainly through his stomach!

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Tot School 2014-2015

Tot School 2014-2015 Overview

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what types of things I would like to do with B this year.  I think I’ve nailed down a few plans that I’m really excited about (and hopefully left lots of time for the unplanned too!) and I think will give us some great quality time playing and learning together.

In addition to our ‘school time’, with the arrival of this sweet little girl, C, her big brother will also be getting some chances to do more independent activities..just discovered the advantages of having “busy bags” on hand…thank you, Pinterest.  Hoping to keep this year sweet, simple, and fun for all of us.

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Here’s an overview of our tot school plans.

Bible Time @ Breakfast

The hope is to read through one short story each morning and chat about it over breakfast.

Big Thoughts for Little People: ABCs To Help You Grow

The Beginner’s Bible for Toddlers

The Jesus Storybook Bible

 

Before Five In A Row

We will read each book as much as B would like throughout the week and do some of the activities while C is sleeping.  It may take us more than one week to get through a row.

We purchased ours here.

I was sold after I downloaded the sample Goodnight Moon lesson.  I think B will love these stories and the activities that go along with them. I’ve also been doing some reading on Charlotte Mason and her thoughts on education.  She has some pretty fascinating ideas that I hope to modernize and adapt to our lives/beliefs.  This book will fit great into the intent of reading lots of “Living Books”.

Edit: We have now decided to start out with Sonlight P3/4 Fiction, Fairy Tales, and Fun for Little Learners because the Before Five In a Row book we ordered from Amazon is backordered.  The P3/4 is another curriculum that is focuses on reading good books together and doing simple activities that encourage discussion and quality play time together.  We’ve started it already and I can tell it is going to be fun for both of us!

Curious George Inspired Nature & Science Activities

This is B’s all-time favorite TV show.  We watch it through Amazon Prime, on the PBS Kids App, or on the PBS TV station. I’ll be planning 2-3 activities and books to go along with one of the episodes each week. I’d also like to take pictures and videos for B to look back at and talk about what we learned…a scrapbook of sorts. Here’s week one which we’ve already started…

Curious George Flies a Kite (Season 1: Episode 1) – Wind Theme

  1. Fly a kite.
  2. Make a windsock and put out a pinwheel (B calls these wind flowers🙂 )
  3. Take a wind walk and videotape things blowing in the wind.
  4. Read The Complete Adventures of Curious George (Flies a Kite) and Feel the Wind.

 

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The Fitness Fun Busy Book: 365 Creative Games & Activities to Keep Your Child Moving and Learning

Because this sweet toddler of mine loves to be on the move and play, I will be using 2 or 3 activities per week for mornings we are home.  I got the kindle version of this book for free through Amazon, so that’s a double bonus.🙂

 

Sesame Street Silly Snack: Cooking With Kids

B loves to help in the kitchen when I’m cooking something, and even more so he loves to be the taste-tester. He picked this book to cook through.  I’d like make one recipe from this book each week and include him in the whole process; from making a shopping list to following the directions in a recipe.  Hopefully by the end of this year he will be making us dinner every night…haha…just kidding.😉

 

Numbers, Letters, and Shapes

We found these books via ABCJesusLovesMe curriculum.  They are pretty adorable and interactive. B loves them, so this will be how we talk about numbers and letters.  Shapes will just be pointed out throughout our day for practice.

myonebook

 

myabook

 

Habits & Routines

There are a few habits and routines I would love to be intentional about this year because I think they’re important.  This will take discipline on my part too. Here are a few we’ll be working on…

  1. Teaching him how to ask for something, instead of demand.
  2. Teaching him how to ask to go somewhere, instead of just going. This will be for his own safety when we’re outside or in public places like a grocery store or mall.
  3. How to let us know he would like our attention without interrupting a conversation with another person.
  4. Morning routine
  5. Night time routine
  6. Potty training…eek!

Well, that’s pretty much it for our school time.  There will probably be some changes along the way as we figure out what works best for us, but I’m looking forward to the adventures we have in store!

Tot School 2014-2015