• Activities for Girls

    101 Winter Bucket List Activities for Young Kids

    This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my coffee drinking habit if you use these links to make a purchase. It does not cost you anything extra +  you’ll keep me supplied in caffeine. It’s a win for everyone, really.

    As I sit here writing this, it’s Winter Break in my neck of the woods so my Kindergartener + 3-year-old preschooler are home ALL. DAY. LONG. EVERYDAY.

    This means that the baby’s schedule is all off, too.

    Le sigh…

    Fret not my mommy friends. Here are 101 Winter Break activities you can do with your young kids so nobody dies before heading back to school. 

    #1 Build a Snowman

    If you’re lucky (or unlucky) enough to have snow, dress your kiddos in their snow gear and head outside to build a snowman.

    #2 Bake

    Most kids love to help in the kitchen. Let them help you bake cookies or a cake. Give them “safe” activities to do like adding some ingredients or stirring and mixing.

    Leave popping your masterpiece in the oven to the adults.

    #3 Arts + Crafts

    Buy or bring out that craft project you’ve been hiding in the closet. I’ve been saving our Gingerbread House for Winter Break.

    Coloring books or plain white or construction paper, crayons, markers or watercolor paint are also great winter day supplies for arts and crafts.

    #4 Museum Musings

    We have the privilege of living near Washington DC so we have free access to great Smithsonian museums. Pack up the kiddos (don’t forget snacks and drinks) and head out to a local or nearby museum for the day.

    Children’s museums might be your best option. Please touch museums are likely the most fun!

    #5 Read

    I’m an avid reader and my kids love books, too. Turn off the TV. Put away the iPads, phones, and Kindle and read some good old-fashioned tangible books! A Mighty Girl did a 2018 year in review of books that are separated by age + have some great options.

    See #6 for other great options in this area.

    #6 Check Out the Library

    Both in Florida and here in Virginia, I’ve been blessed with wonderful library systems. Check out your local library. Libraries often have creative and imaginative children’s programs. 

    We’ve done everything from music programs to building your own car out of a cardboard box and supplies so you can watch a movie at the “drive-in.”

    Even if the libraries don’t have something going on the day you’re seeking refuge, take your kids to the library. Some libraries have play areas and activity areas in the children’s section. Have them check out books or read a stack of books there! Check out DVDs and watch a movie at home that isn’t on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.

    #7 Make a Floor Bed + Watch a Movie

    Especially when it is a cold, help your kids make a bed on the living room floor with blankets and pillows. Snuggle up together and watch a kid flick.

    Add popcorn, of course.

    We do this frequently with our kids, cold or not. They love it!

    #8 Build a Blanket Fort/Tent

    Along similar lines, use chairs and blankets to build a fort — you know, like you did when you were a kid. Bring in the flashlights, books, toys or whatever. Hang out in your tent for a while.

    #9 Eat Under the Table

    My middle daughter (+ the dog) love to hang out under the dining room table. Our table always has a tablecloth of some kind so it’s a little like a fort/tent for them. (I suspect the dog is there for the food, but…)

    Make breakfast, lunch, or even dinner, climb under the table with your kiddos to eat!

    #10 Host a Playdate

    Odds are you aren’t the only mommy or set of kids about to lose their mind. Invite your mommy friends and their kids over for a playdate. 

    If you’re really lucky, one or more of your kids’ friends will invite them over to their house, instead, for a playdate. (This happened for my oldest today so she is at her friend’s house as I type this.)

    #11 See a Hockey Game

    My girls love to watch hockey. We watch it on TV. We take them to hockey games. They even watch my husband play hockey with his amateur hockey team.

    #12 Have a Dance Party

    Put your fave tunes on your phone, radio, or SmarTV + JUST dance. My girls love to dance + sing so this is always a big hit for at least a few songs.

    #13 Take a Walk/Hike

    It might be a little cold outside but you can still bundle up + take a walk. Walk a nearby trail or a trail in your neighborhood. If you have sidewalks, simply take a stroll around your neighborhood.

    Check out the animals that are left roaming around in the winter weather. Remark on the condition of the trees, plants + bushes now that the winter weather has set in.

    #14 Host a Tea Party

    Set up your kid table + chairs. Put on some fancy duds. Serve “tea” from a teapot in teacups. Use a real tea set or plastic kid one–your call.

    #15 Puzzles

    Pull out + put together that puzzle that’s been hanging out on the shelf. My girls especially enjoy the big, huge floor puzzles. They seem to equally enjoy the smaller ones that we can do on the floor or the table.

    #16 Play a Game

    Play a board or card game that is age appropriate. My kids got a deck of Go Fish cards for Christmas from my sister-in-law. It was good for a few hands of Go Fish with each of the older two girls before they went back into the box.

    #17 Paint Rocks

    My oldest received a rock painting kit for her birthday. This provided hours of fun for the two older girls. You can just as easily use rocks you find outside along with the paint, brushes + art supplies you already have to decorate the rocks. Take them with you on your next walk to place in “public.”

    #18 Go See the Lights

    Find the best houses or neighborhood in town. Load everyone into the car + take a tour of the lights around the holidays. My kids only lasted for about 4 or so houses this year but they truly enjoyed checking out all of the festive lights + decorations. Some of the houses really went all out!

    #19 Drink Hot Cocoa with Marshmallows

    Buy + make hot cocoa with the mini marshmallows already in it or add your own! Make sure it cools off enough so the kiddos can drink it without burning their mouths but this is big, tasty fun for all ages.

    #20 Go Ice Skating

    Indoor ice rinks are just as fun as outdoor ones so find one in your area + don some skates with the kids. Even if your kiddos aren’t able to do it on their own, most rinks have walker-type things they can use to help support them while they skate on the ice. Pack their bike helmets for safety!

    #21 (Carefully) Roast Marshmallows

    Roast marshmallows over your fireplace or outside fire pit. My kids don’t really like the taste of the roasted marshmallows but think roasting them is a ton of fun.

    #22 Have PJ Day

    Stay in your PJs all day!

    #23 Donate Toys

    Spend a day or half a day cleaning out your child’s room. Throw away old + broken toys. Put toys that you can donate in a box. Drop it off at Goodwill or a local women’s shelter. This clears the clutter + can make room for new items that might be coming their way at Christmastime.

    #24 Gaze at the Stars

    Head out on a clear night to do some stargazing. My girls also get a big kick out of the moon–especially when it is “following” us as we drive in the car.

    #25 Pop Popcorn

    Buy old fashioned popcorn kernels. Put some oil in a big pot. Add the kernels + a pot top. Your kids will get a big kick out of watching the kernels pop + explode into fluffy popcorn they can eat in front of the fire or while you snuggle in to watch a movie.

    #26 Visit the Fire Station

    Set up a tour/visit to your local fire station. You can also be on the lookout for the dates that they offer these. They usually let the kids tour the firestation + climb around on the truck. Sometimes they even offer a fire safety talk + dress up in their uniforms + gear so the kids can see what they look like in it + learn the use for each piece of equipment.

    #27 Watch Planes Land + Take Off

    We have a couple airports close by + a couple of spots where you can park the car to watch takeoffs + landings. Positioned correctly, the planes literally take off + come in for a landing RIGHT over your vehicle.

    #28 Build It at Home Depot

    Home Depot offers free kids classes on some Saturday mornings. Check the schedule for your local store. Kids build something new at each class, which is a great way for them to get some hands-on experience with tools.

    #29 Indoor Play Places

    When it’s cold outside, it can be hard to head to a playground, which makes indoor play spaces great! Our local rec center has low-cost indoor play days. where they set up soft obstacle courses for kids that are crawling up to about age 5.

    Paid indoor play places are also a fun option.

    #30 Scavenger Hunt

    Create a scavenger hunt + have your kids search the house for the items on your list. If it’s a nice enough day, this is also easy to do outside for items they can find naturally (a funny-shaped twig, a leftover leaf, etc.).

    #31 Eat Ice Cream Sundaes

    Build ice cream sundaes. Add sprinkles, fudge, or your favorite toppings to your fave flavor of ice cream + enjoy a cold treat on a cold day.

    #32 Make Shadow Puppets

    You can open the shades to let the sunshine in or head outside + use the natural light to make shadow puppets.

    #33 Build Indoor Snowmen

    Use marshmallows, stick pretzels + chocolate chips to build edible snowmen. You can also opt for the non-edible kind with glue, pom poms, felt + twigs.

    #34 Have a Snowball Fight

    If you have a snowy day have a snowball fight.

    #35 Go Sledding

    Another snowy day activity, go sledding down a hill.

    #36 Make Smores

    Roast marshmallows. Add graham crackers + chocolate bar pieces to make smores.

    #37 Swim Indoors

    Head to a local swim place, rec center, or indoor pool for some indoor swimming.

    #38 Take a Bubble Bath

    Put on your bathing suits and take a bubble bath. Add bath or pool toys for some extra special fun.

    #39 Make a Rainbow

    Add food coloring to pasta + then add the pasta to a sensory table or big plastic bin. Put cups, measuring cups + scoopers for some homemade sensory fun.

    #40 Decorate a Cardboard Box

    Decorate a cardboard box any way you like. Turn it into a car + then watch a movie in a drive-in theater. Create an aquarium. Build a house.

    #41 Make Paper Dolls

    Cut out paper dolls + clothes. Color + decorate the clothes. Dress the dolls.

    #42 Go to the Movies

    Find a crybaby matinee or a movie for kids playing at the theater. Take the kids to the movies. Most have seats for kids to sit in the movie seats without them folding up on them + it doesn’t matter if there’s chatter, meltdowns, or fidgeting.

    #43 Create a Picture Book

    Fold + staple or put a ribbon spine on some paper to create your own book. Have your kids color the pages as you write your own story with them.

    #44 Play with a Doodle Mat

    Use a large clear plastic shower curtain. Place it on the floor + give your kids dry erase markers for their own giant doodle mat.

    #45 Kiddie Pool Ball Pit

    Drag the kiddie pool inside. Fill it with plastic balls, pom poms, balloons or cotton balls for some ball pit fun.

    #46 Make Crayon Wands/Shapes

    Gather up + melt all of your old, broken crayons. Soak straws in the melted crayons + let dry. You can also use cookie cutter to shape the crayons into hearts, stars, etc. so they can color with fun-shaped crayons.

    #47 Paint in the Tub

    Buy or make bathtub paint. Let them paint in the bathtub + just wash it away when they’re done.

    #48 Make Wrapping Paper Roll Swords

    Turn wrapping paper rolls into swords. Decorate the tubes as you wish + then have a sword fight.

    #49 Have a Pillow Fight

    Bring out the big bed pillows to have a pillow fight.

    #50 Indoor Hopscotch

    Make an indoor hopscotch mat to play hopscotch. When you’re don playing with it, roll it up + put away for later.

    #51 Pots, Pans + Spoons Band

    Make music with items you find in the kitchen–like pots, pans + spoons.

    #52 Backwards Day

    Eat breakfast foods for dinner + dress with your clothes on backwards. It’s sure to bring out the giggles.

    #53 Make an Activity Jar

    Use slips of paper + a jar or large craft popsicle sticks + a jar. Help your kids write down activities or chores on the sticks or slips of paper. Put them in the jar. On a day when they say they are bored, have them pick an activity from the jar.

    #54 Jump Rope

    Bring out the jump rope + skip rope. Clear enough space so they don’t knock anything down in their efforts!

    #55 Cuddle in Front of the Fireplace

    Snuggle up in a blanket bed in front of the fireplace. Read, watch a movie or take a nap.

    #56 Ice Experiments

    Fill different containers with water. Add food coloring + put them in the freezer. The kids are fascinated as it transforms into colored ice. Let the ice melt for colored water.

    #57 Plant an Inside Garden

    Gather pots or a planter, potting soil, seeds or flowers. Help your kids plant a garden + watch it grow.

    #58 Make Playdough

    Homemade playdough can be fun to make with the kids. Then, you can play with it!

    #59 Bowl at Home

    Set up plastic jugs or a tower of plastic cups like bowling pins. Have them roll a ball to knock them down.

    #60 Go Bowling

    Head to your local bowling alley to play a couple frames of bowling.

    #61 Paper Plate Ring Toss

    Cut out the center of paper plates to make the rings. Create the tower by taping a paper towel or toilet paper roll to the center of a paper plate. Play ring toss.

    #62 Pop Bubble Wrap

    Save up the pieces of bubble wrap that come with your package deliveries or buy some rolls of bubble wrap that you can roll out. My kids love to jump up + down, run + jump + pop the bubble wrap with their hands.

    #63 Freeze Bubbles

    Blow bubbles and place them in a container, on the bowl of a spoon or on the bubble wand. Place the bubble or bubbles in the freezer.

    #64 Help with Chores

    I’m not sure how long this will last but my 3-year-old + 5-year-old love helping with chores! They put their own clothes away, help put away the dishes (like silverware) + vacuum. You’ll have to choose age-appropriate chores but it’s like a game to them.

    #65 Rubber Band Can

    Use colored rubber bands and have the kids stack them around a tin can. This is great fun, builds a rainbow + is good for sensory motor skills.

    #66 Ribbons in a Bottle

    Cut different ribbons into strips. Kids can spend hours trying to push the strips into the small neck of a plastic bottle. As an added bonus, this is a great activity for fine motor skills.

    #67 Magnet Fun

    Use a magnetic easel or your refrigerador. Use letter, animal + shape magnets to teach your kids their letters, shapes, colors + animals! My girls also have doll magnets that they can dress up with magnet clothing, shoes + accessories. Not only is this a great activity for home but also makes a great road trip activity.

    #68 Pom Poms Through a Tube

    Tape a paper towel roll to the wall (at the height your child or children can reach). Put a bowl, bucket, or bin on the floor under the roll opening. Have them drop colored pom poms through the top of the tube so it lands in the bowl underneath.

    #69 See a Play

    Find a kid-friendly production (like the Nutcracker or Cinderella) in your area. Take the kids to a live theater production.

    #70 Cotton Ball Snow Art

    Help your kids create snow art with cotton balls, construction paper + glue. They can make snowy clouds, snow balls or snowy scenes with the fluffy fun stuff.

    #71 Sponge Paint

    Cut up sponges. Give the kids some paint + construction paper. Let them create picture with the sponges dipped in paint. You can glue on googly eyes, ribbon, glitter or sequins to complete the pictures.

    #72 Make a Bagel Bird Feeder

    Tie a string through the hole of half a bagel. Spread peanut butter or nutter butter on both sides of the half bagel. Cover with birdseed. Hang from a tree to watch the birds that have stuck around for the winter have a feast!

    #73 Duct Tape Ball

    Make a ball out of colored duct tape. You might have to start out the center of the ball + then help them wrap pieces of tape around it to create a ball.

    #74 Washi Tape Art

    Give them different color rolls of washi tape. Have them apply strips of washi tape to pictures to add new elements to the pictures, such as a fence to a picture of a farm or whiskers to a cat picture. You can buy a reusable activity book + washi tape set by Melissa and Doug.

    #75 Build Painter’s Tape Tracks/Town

    Use painter’s tape to build a roadway, track or an entire town on the floor. Your kids can use their own feet, toy cars, trucks + vehicles to play on the pretend track or town.

    #76 Don’t Let the Balloon Touch the Ground

    Blow up a balloon + pass it back + forth to each other. Don’t let the balloon hit the ground. A variation of this is balloon volleyball. You can use a string tied to two chairs to create the volleyball net.

    #77 Walk Like a Penguin

    Blow up a balloon. Have your kids put it between their legs to walk across the room like a penguin.

    #78 Build an Igloo

    Give your kids a plate, a stack of ice cubes, a paintbrush + small cup of water. Have them build an igloo. They can use the water between the cubes to help get the ice cubes to stick together.

    #79 Make a Letter Book

    Use a notebook or binder with clear protector sheets. Print, draw or create each of the letters of the alphabet. Have your kids color + decorate each letter. Find object pictures or draw objects on the sheet for each letter that starts with that letter. Assemble the letters in order in the book.

    #80 Listen to an Audiobook

    While you’re crafting, drawing, riding in the car or just hanging out, listen to an audio book for kids. My kids especially love the nighttime audiobook that helps them fall asleep but any kids’ book will do. You can buy the books from places like Audible or borrow them from the library to download on one of your devices (like an iPad or smartphone).

    #81 Play Dress Up

    Whether you drag out the costumes or dress up clothes your kids have or give them yours or your husband’s clothes + shoes, dress up can provide hours of entertainment. They change outfits a million + one times + they role play with each of the different costumes they wear.

    #82 Ping Pong Ball Catch

    Use Solo cups + a small ball. Toss the ball + have your kids try to catch it in their Solo cup (doesn’t have to be a red Solo cup).

    #83 Silly Selfies

    Take silly selfies of you with your child or kids or have them take their own selfies (which is silly enough as it is). Print out the pictures onto paper + let them draw on their faces (making hats, mustaches, makeup, etc.).

    #84 Puzzle Piece Hunt

    Hide all of the pieces of a wooden puzzle around the house. Have your children hunt for the pieces + then match them back to the slot where the piece goes on the board.

    #85 Paint Chip/Color Match

    Pick up some strips of paint chips from your local hardware or paint store. You can also use construction paper. Have your kids hunt around the house to find items that match as closely as possible to each color. You can set a timer on your phone or the stove to see who can match the most items in a short period of time.

    #86 Crepe Paper Maze

    Tape crepe paper strips across a hallway to create a “Mission Impossible” type maze. Have the kids try to get through the openings of the crepe paper strips without touching or breaking the strips.

    #87 Island Hop

    Make islands around the living room using pillows, blankets or other items. In between islands is the water. The kids can hop from island to island. If they touch the floor they fall in the “water.”

    #88 Laundry Basket Basketball

    Have the kids shoot “hoops” with any type of ball into a laundry basket. Of course, if you have an indoor kids’ basketball hoop, you can use this instead!

    #89 Dryer Sheet Ice Skating

    Put one dryer sheet under each foot to create “ice skates.” Kids can skate around on a bare floor without scratching it.

    #90 Make a Calendar

    This is a great way to teach your kids the months of the year + the days of the week. You can make the calendar sheets yourself or print blank ones from online. Help your kids to write the name of the month + the days of the month in the right slots. Have them decorate the month with stickers or drawings that represent holidays or special dates of the month.

    #91 Pillowcase Race

    Kids fit perfectly into a pillowcase for a pillowcase race (like an old-fashioned potato sack race). You can use painter’s tape or masking tape to mark the finish line on the floor.

    #92 Blow Bubbles

    Bring out the bubbles + all of the fun bubble wands. Have an inside bubble blowing par-tay! Turn up the music + dance with the bubbles. See who can catch the most bubbles, catch one of their nose, toe or other body part + who can pop the most bubbles. Added bonus, popping bubbles may help clean parts of your house–gratis 🙂

    #93 Parachute Sheet

    Parachute play is always a fun activity at birthday parties for kids. Turn a top sheet into a parachute. Have the kids + adults grab each corner for some parachute play + fun!

    #94 Action Dice

    Make dice out of cardboard boxes (big + small enough for little kids to roll). Write + draw activities on each side of the dice (Do 5 jumping jacks, skip in place for 3 seconds, do 2 push ups, etc.). Take turns rolling the dice + completing the actions.

    You can also do themes, such as animals. Draw or print, cut + paste an animal on each side of the dice. They have to act like the animal they roll.

    #95 Fashion Show

    This can be fun with new clothes that the kids just received or costumes/dress up clothes. Everyone dresses up + there’s an adult announcer. You announce the fashion show as each child takes their turn walking the runway.

    #96 Go on a Bear Hunt

    You can read “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt” first, or not. Hide a stuffed teddy bear around your house. Have the kids search + hunt for it. You can tell them if they are hot or cold to help them find where you hide it.

    #97 Musical Chairs/Spaces

    Use kid-size chairs felt circles or even wash cloths to make “spaces.” Play a game of musical chairs.

    #98 Walk Like a __________

    Pick different animals + walk down the hall or around the house like that animal. Some options can include people walking such as like a ballerina or a baby. Dinosaur, elephant, frog, + penguin are fun options.

    #99 Cosmic Yoga

    Turn on YouTube videos of Cosmic Yoga episodes. Your kids will spend hours following along doing yoga poses with the out-of-this-world yoga instructor.

    #100 Camp Inside

    If you have the room to erect your real tent, go for it! Otherwise, you can use the blanket fort or a bed fort for a camping experience. The kids can sleep in the “tent” in their own room or the living room, complete with sleeping bags + pillows.

    #101 Pom Pom/Button Tin

    Use a muffin tin. Cut + place colored paper in the bottom of each tin. Give the kids a bunch of buttons or poms poms. Have them sort + match the color of the buttons or pom poms to the color of the paper in the bottom of the tin.

    You can download the 101 Winter Bucket List for Young Kids + check off your items as you complete them!

  • Family Health

    How I Went From Being Skeptical to a Believer in 2.7 Seconds

    This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my coffee drinking habit if you use these links to make a purchase. It does not cost you anything extra +  you’ll keep me supplied in caffeine. It’s a win for everyone, really.

    A few years ago (OK, probably almost 5 years ago), my mom started using Essential Oils. Around this same time, her friend had a DoTerra party that she invited me to attend.

    I admit that I sat at that party (probably with a sourpuss look on my face) as a firm non-believer in the power of these oils that came in these pretty itty-bitty looking bottles.

    While I do believe in magic and miracles, I didn’t think it came in a little essential oil bottle.

    The Moment I Saw the Light

    From that party, I took a couple sample bottles home and promptly shoved them in my linen closet (You know, the one that is stuffed with all kinds of things linens and otherwise and is in complete disarray.) tp maybe never be found again.

    I’m not sure quite how much time went by but I started to come down with a cold. I had that itch in my throat and that tickle in my nose that told me something was coming my way. Oh joy!

    I decided to try out the oils. I used the OnGuard and Breathe (for immune boosting and breathing). Lo and behold, it worked. The OnGuard helped me to ward off falling prey to more germs and the Breathe instantly cleared up the congestion I felt coming on so I could, wait for it…breathe!

    This is the exact moment I went from skeptic to believer.

    I don’t sell essential oils, but I sure do use them and I sure do believe in its powers. 

    Take Control of Your Family’s Health

    I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV 🙂 but here is what I do know… no one is ever going to care about your health or your family’s health as much as YOU do.

    No one is going to be as powerful of an advocate as you are for yourself (or for a loved one). No one else is as motivated as you are to achieve long-term health and holistic wellness.

    This, exactly this, is why it’s imperative that you arm yourself with knowledge and resources that equip you to be the most effective advocate possible.

    And the next time illness or injury strikes, you’re going to have the confidence to take an active role in your health, and be able to include tools like herbs, essential oils, and other natural remedies in your staying-well arsenal.

    Please do not misunderstand me. I still go to the doctor. I still take my kids to the doctor. We still take medication, when necessary, and get our vaccinations. 

    I do find that when I use the oils, however, it decreases the times we have to visit the doctor because of an illness or take that over-the-counter medication.

    That’s why I’m so excited to share a popular resource with you — the 2018 Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle. It’s only available for 2 short days, though.

    Not only is it just in time to help you stay as healthy as possible this winter and holiday season, but if using more herbs, oils, and natural remedies is one of your goals for 2019, you’re going to find ALL the tools and resources you need to make it happen.

    It’s a complete library of natural remedies that you can trust and rely on as you take charge of your family’s health.

    When you buy the Herbs & Essential Oil Super Bundle, you’re getting access to:

    • 22 eBooks
    • 4 eCourses
    • 6 printables
    • 2 membership sites

    … all curated to give you an insanely helpful collection of carefully researched resources to equip you to take charge of your health, with remedies you choose – at a price that’s too good to miss.

    Of course, we and our family members are still going to get sick. Having natural remedies at hand doesn’t guarantee perfect health or provide superhuman powers to ward off the many germs that make their way around.

    But, with the help of traditional wisdom, modern science, and smart natural remedies, you’re empowered to respond to the things that come your way, and protect and nurture your health far more effectively.

    The bundle is just $29.97, but only until tomorrow at midnight!

    Go check out the Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle and see everything that’s included.

  • Daily Life,  Parenting Girls

    2019 Mom Goal

    I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. And I’m definitely not one for picking a “word” for the year.

    I’ve had business goals since I went full-time as a writer in 2008 but this year I’m setting a Mom Goal.

    Mom Goal

    In 2019, the one thing I’m going to focus on perfecting is being present.

    When I say be present, I mean to be more present with my children.

    To put down my phone more.

    To close my laptop.

    To ignore the dishes, vacuuming, or picking up.

    To just be.

    To read more with them. To answer more of their questions. To just sit with them, cuddle with them, and snuggle with them.

    The Days Are Long

    You’ve probably heard the saying that the days are long but the years are short.

    I’m feeling the effects of that more and more these days. Maybe it’s because my youngest is turning one in February.

    Maybe it’s because I know she is my last baby and time has flown by. Maybe it’s because my oldest went off to Kindergarten this year or my middle daughter only has one year of preschool after this one before she heads to Kindergarten.

    I’m starting to realize they won’t be little forever so the dishes, laundry, and whatever else can wait.

    For now, I’m just going to be…here. With. Them.

  • Daily Life

    How I Get 4+ Hours of My Life Back Every Month (+ Keep My Sanity)

    Because my husband + kids insist on eating three meals a day with a cajillion snacks in between, I have to grocery shop.

    I’m not sure if I despise anything more than dragging one to three kids through a grocery store (or any store for that matter) while they point at anything and everything asking if they can have it.

    I’d almost rather have a prostate exam–and I don’t have a prostate.

    Plus, who has time for that? Here are some time management tips for moms like you + me so we can get some of our time (+ a glimpse of our life) back.

    Amazon Subscription

    Since my first daughter was a baby, I have subscribed to diapers, wipes, and eventually pull-ups through Amazon. Then, along came baby snacks and baby food, and eventually teething wafers, etc.

    Nothing saves more time than my shipment showing up once a month like clockwork. I don’t have to even think about it because there it is right when I need it.

    Time management tips for moms at its best right here.

    Honest Co.

    I now subscribe to the Honest Co. diaper and wipe bundle instead of getting diapers and wipes from Amazon. I found the bundles through Honest Co. to be comparable in pricing to Amazon and the diaper patterns are so cute.

    Seriously, though, the Honest Co. diapers and wipes don’t have any chemicals that smell funny or irritate the baby’s skin.

    I can choose different designs (if I want to) for each delivery, season, or holiday or stick with the same designs. I can also set the delivery schedule for whatever timeframe I want.

    The timeframes are more flexible than Amazon subscription and if you need it right away the price doesn’t change like it does on Amazon.

    Chewy

    Around the time my husband was traveling for work a lot, I decided schlepping to the pet store to wrestle a 40-50lb. bag of dog food into my cart, then into my truck, and then into my house wasn’t my idea of a good time.

    Call me crazy.

    This is when I found and started using Chewy.com. This too is on autopilot so I don’t have to think whether or not Lola or Poppy needs food. The dog and cat food just shows up on the schedule that I have set.

    Life changing.

    Instacart

    My latest time-saving obsession is Instacart. I have been using it on a weekly basis for the last month for groceries from Aldi.

    I L-O-V-E that I can use my phone to add items to my shopping cart as I have a few minutes or realize that I am out of an item. Then, I can choose the date and the time slot that the groceries show up.

    I especially have a fondness for the fact that I can “watch” the app as my shopper goes through my list to approve or decline substitutions as they shop. I have also discovered that I can go through my cart ahead of time to choose specific replacement items, request a refund, or allow the shopper to choose a replacement.

    Mind blowing!

    Jet and Boxed

    Another one of my greatest discoveries is Jet.com and Boxed.com. They are respectively the BJs and Costco of the online world. While you can’t buy too much in the way of fresh items, you can buy non-perishables in bulk (or singly from Jet).

    Again, add everything to your cart and it shows up at your door. The only thing I wish both of these sites offered is a subscription service so I could set certain items to show up regularly rather than having to manually shop for them when I need them.

    Not a deal breaker but it would be nice.

    So, there you have it, ladies. I save at least four hours (if not more) each month by not having to leave the house to shop for diapers, wipes, pull-ups, dog food, cat food, or groceries. I can shop in my not-so-flattering-to others (but super comfy) yoga pants, play with my kids, work, or what-ev while my groceries and goods are heading my way.

  • Recipes

    My Quick + Easy Go-To Dinner for My Family

    Before I had three little people hanging off my leg demanding things, I L-O-V-E-D to cook and bake.

    Fact.

    Now, meh, not so much. Don’t get me wrong. I still do it almost every night but the joy is gone 🙂

    Seriously, though. Here is one of my fave go-to recipes because it is quick, easy and pretty healthy.

    Ingredients

    • 1-2 boxes of premixed herb pasta (I use the Aldi one but you can use whatever one you want/like)
    • Fresh brussel sprouts (1 bag)
    • Fresh spinach leaves (1 bag)
    • Zucchini (1-2)
    • Yellow squash (1-2)
    • Yellow onion (medium)
    • Broccoli

    Directions

    1. Prepare the herb noodles/pasta according to the directions on the box. The Aldi one takes about 5 minutes to prepare each box. I use two boxes so that I have enough for all 5 of us.
    2. Prepare the brussel sprouts. I steam them in the bag they come in (I use the fresh ones from Aldi that are in the bag). After I steam them in the microwave, cut the brussel sprouts in half. 
    3. Slice the zucchini and the yellow squash.
    4. Slice the onion.
    5. Chop the broccoli from the stems.
    6. Add all of the veggies to a pan and saute. Cook until veggies are to your desired tenderness.
    7. Add veggies to pasta.
    8. Enjoy!
  • Activities for Girls

    10 Rainy Day Activities for Young Kids

    As I sit here writing this, it’s raining. It’s forecast to rain ALL day today and I think into tomorrow.

    Le sigh…

    Fret not my mommy friends. Here are 10 rainy day activities you can do with young children so that none of you go bat@#$% crazy 🙂

    #1 Jump in Muddy Puddles

    Dress your kiddos in their rain gear and head outside Peppa Pig style. Let them splash and play. Let them jump and run.

    One of my oldest daughter’s fondest memories (She’s five and we did it when she was two) is the day we did this while her baby sister (at the time) was secure, warm, and dry in her baby seat sitting inside the door of our breezeway.

    Of course, it goes without saying (Oh look, I said it) that you should only do this if it is not thundering and lightning. 

    #2 Bake

    Most kids love to help in the kitchen. Let them help you bake cookies or a cake. Give them “safe” activities to do like adding some ingredients or stirring and mixing.

    Leave popping your masterpiece in the oven to the adults.

    #3 Arts + Crafts

    Buy or bring out that craft project you’ve been hiding in the closet. I’ve been saving our Gingerbread House for Winter Break but today might be the day it comes out of hiding just a bit on the early side.

    Coloring books or plain white or construction paper, crayons, markers or watercolor paint are also great rainy day supplies for arts and crafts.

    #4 Museum Musings

    We have the privilege of living near Washington DC so we have free access to great Smithsonian museums. Pack up the kiddos (don’t forget snacks and drinks) and head out to a local or nearby museum for the day.

    Children’s museums might be your best option. Please touch museums are likely the most fun!

    #5 Read

    I’m an avid reader and my kids love books, too. Turn off the TV. Put away the iPads, phones, and Kindle and read some good old-fashioned tangible books!

    See #6 for other great options in this area.

    #6 Check Out the Library

    Both in Florida and here in Virginia, I’ve been blessed with wonderful library systems. Check out your local library. Libraries often have creative and imaginative children’s programs. 

    We’ve done everything from music programs to building your own car out of a cardboard box and supplies so you can watch a movie.

    Even if the libraries don’t have something going on today, take your kids to the library. Some libraries have play areas and activity areas in the children’s section. Have them check out books or read a stack of books there! Check out DVDs and watch a movie at home that isn’t on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.

    #7 Make a Floor Bed + Watch a Movie

    Especially when it is a cold rain, help your kids make a bed on the living room floor with blankets and pillows. Snuggle up together and watch a kid flick.

    Add popcorn, of course.

    We do this frequently with our kids, rain or not. They love it!

    #8 Build a Blanket Fort/Tent

    Along similar lines, use chairs and blankets to build a fort — you know, like you did when you were a kid. Bring in the flashlights, books, toys or whatever. Hang out in your tent for a while.

    #9 Eat Under the Table

    My middle daughter (and the dog) love to hang out under the dining room table. Our table always has a tablecloth of some kind so it’s a little like a fort/tent for them. (I suspect the dog is there for the food, but…)

    Make breakfast, lunch, or even dinner, climb under the table with your kiddos and eat! They are likely to think it’s the best thing since you let them jump in muddy puddles.

    #10 Host a Playdate

    Odds are you aren’t the only mommy or set of kids about to lose their mind. Invite your mommy friends and their kids over for a playdate. 

    If you’re really lucky, one or more of your kids’ friends will invite them over to their house, instead, for a playdate 🙂

  • Daily Life

    8 Things in My Diaper Bag I Can’t Live Without

    This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my coffee drinking habit if you use these links to make a purchase. It does not cost you anything extra +  you’ll keep me supplied in caffeine. It’s a win for everyone, really.

    I’m on my third baby and third time carrying a diaper bag. And, my oh my, have the items in my diaper bag changed from child to child. 

    #1 Diapers

    Duh, right? I mean, it’s right there in the name of the bag for God’s sake but you wouldn’t believe how many times I have grabbed that bag, ran out of the house thinking it had diapers in it, and when it was time to change the baby no diapers in sight!

    Now, before I leave the house, I always check the bag for diapers and stock it with at least 5 at a time, which in theory, should last me for more than one trip to the store, outing, etc.

    #2 Wipes

    Wipes are magical creatures. Not only do you need wipes to clean dirty bottoms but wipes clean up almost anything. I’ve even been known to clean my bathroom with wipes (Don’t judge.).

    I always make sure I have a package of wipes in my bag and if I’m running low, I grab a new package and dump it in there before heading out the door. 

    #3 Changing Pad/Mat

    My diaper bag came with a changing pad/mat and this thing is a godsend. I use it in the bathroom on the changing station but it also comes in handy if we have to change a diaper in the back of our Suburban or anyplace where there is no changing station for baby. 

    #4 Complete Change of Clothes

    I also make sure that I have a complete change of clothes for the baby. Shirt/onesie, pants (shorts or skirt, depending on the season), and socks. You’re going to want to change these out as baby grows and as the seasons change.

    Of course, you’re also going to have to change it out after the incident that renders it dirty. 

    #5 Butt Paste

    We have gone down the road of what feels like a million diaper rash creams. Our oldest had the most sensitive skin and breakups. Our second daughter was somewhere in the middle and the youngest seems like she has the least problems in her diaper area.

    For the two older girls, I always had a tube of Boudreaux’s Butt Paste in my bag. With the baby now, I always have a tube of the Natural Boudreaux’s Butt Paste.

    This stuff is life changing. It seems to work better than any of the other rash creams we have tried. 

    #6 Sippy

    I always pop a sippy cup with fresh water in it. This way if we stop off to eat somewhere or the baby gets thirsty in between nursing, she has a cup she can drink from without making a total mess. 

    #7 Bib & Placemat Set

    I didn’t do this for my first two but for the third, I always carry a placemat with “bowls” attached to it and her matching bib. Place it on any table and she’s ready to eat. This way she doesn’t have to eat off the table and she won’t toss restaurant bowls or plates on the floor. 

    The matching bib is one of those that has a pocket at the bottom so it catches a lot of food during mealtime. When the baby runs out of food on her placement, she starts to eat the food that her bib caught 🙂

    Both go directly into the dishwasher when we get home and then put back in the bag for our next time eating outside of the house.

    #8 Wet Bag

    Whether it’s to hold clothes from a blowout or other mishap, a wet bag holds the dirty clothes until you get them home to wash them. It also protects the rest of the items in your diaper bag from getting unmentionables on them. 

    After three kids, you really learn to perfect what does and doesn’t go into your diaper bag. It can truly feel like you need to drag everything and the kitchen sink out with you when you’re taking baby out into the world. 

    The truth is that there are only a handful of items that you truly need and this list pretty much sums it up.

  • Daily Life

    10 Cringe-Worthy Questions Only Moms of All Girls Are Asked

    I have all girls. I’m a girl mom. I have a 5-year-old, a 3-year-old, and a 10-month-old. I know other girl moms that have only 1-3 girls. I know lots of boy moms too that have 1-3 boys and that’s all they’re ever going to have.

    When I journey out in public with all three of my girls, people stare, people smile/smirk, and people ask questions.

    It amazes me, sometimes, the questions that they do ask. These are 10 that make me cringe (and sometimes laugh). 

    #1 Are you going to try for a boy?

    We only have girls so surely we want and are going to try for a boy, right?

    Wrong.

    My husband and I always talked about having three kids. We have three. We have three girls. I’m done. Unless God has a different plan (and sometimes he does), we are not trying for a boy.

    I asked my husband the other day if he would ever consider adoption.

    His response, “Adopting what?”

    I said a child.

    He said, “I think we have enough kids.”

    Touche, hubs. Touche. 

    #2 Do you have a lot of pink in your house?

    Why, yes, we do have a lot of pink stuff in our house, including two bedrooms that are painted pink. My girls do love pink, but they also love blue and purple and yellow and orange…

    When Kate draws, she often draws with rainbow colors, so all colors are represented equally in our home 🙂

    #3 Do girls run in your family?

    I’m not much of a runner myself but my husband runs (He is in the Army). 🙂

    I have a huge extended family and it is quite a mix of boys and girls. My husband’s family is much smaller but it is still a mix of both boys and girls, so no, girls don’t run in our family any more than boys do.

    #4 Are you disappointed none of them are boys?

    Uh, they are human beings and blessings — each and every one of them. Honestly, before I became a mom, I wanted to have five boys (yes, you read that right). It’s probably why I wound up with all girls 🙂

    I had a miscarriage between my second and third daughter and a piece of me wonders if that was a boy or a girl. I don’t wish any of the girls I have were boys, though. 

    These are the blessings I am supposed to have and these are the girls that I am supposed to raise. 

    #5 Is your husband disappointed he doesn’t/won’t have any boys to play/watch sports with him?

    *Sigh*

    This question is typically followed by the statement, “He must be disappointed.”

    NEWSFLASH: Girls/women like to play and watch sports, too!

    I am not athletic but I do enjoy watching hockey and college football (Go Noles!) — although it was hard for me to watch my college football team this season. 

    My husband, on the other hand, is athletic. He played baseball and wrestled in high school. He played and still plays hockey now.

    Our two older girls love sports. They watch hockey and football with us. Both also play sports. One is definitely a little more athletic at this point but both are active participants.

    The baby just rolls a ball around and laughs right now 🙂 The verdict is still out on her.

    #6 Does your husband hate being the only guy in the house?

    It is true that he is the only guy in the house. Even the dog and our new kitten that is coming home next week are girls.

    We actually joke about this when people ask. We say, “Even the dog is a girl!” Soon, we’ll have to say, “Even the dog and kitten are girls!”

    He’s not upset now, but when the non-furry girls start to date, he probably will be.

    #7 You know you have to pay for all THREE weddings, right?

    This one really makes me chuckle. In my former single life living in Miami, I was a wedding planner. 

    According to “etiquette,” yes, we are responsible for paying for all three weddings but pump the brakes. They are 5, 3, and 10 months. I think we have some time to save up our pennies for their weddings.

    AND, who knows if all three will marry or want a big wedding or pay for their own wedding. 

    It’s too soon to tell. 

     #8 Did you cry when you found out the sex of the last one?

    Uh, no.

    The truth is that my third is my rainbow baby. I cried when I heard her heartbeat for the first time. I did not cry when I found out she was a girl. We actually laughed knowing that we were going to have three girls.

    We also knew that this is our last baby — that we’re not going to have any more kids so we knew three girls is what we get!

    All three of our girls are answered prayers. I know that sounds cliche but I met my husband and had all three of my girls later in life (38, 39, and 42). I always wanted to marry and have kids so when I actually got to do all of that, the last thing I did was cry (except for maybe some tears of joy).

    #9 Did you do things to try to have a boy? You know there are things you can do to try for a boy, right?

    Uh…

    This one always renders me speechless (and it’s hard to render me speechless).

    I think it’s because I’m truly unsure about how to answer this question. Do they actually want to know how my husband and I get busy in the bedroom?

    Really?

    Probably not, right?

    #10 Do you know how lucky you are?

    This question is usually not from the same people who ask some of these other contradictory questions.

    The answer to this one is yes, we do.

    My husband and I both always wanted kids. Now, we have three beautiful, smart, funny, and kind people — yes, people. They happen to be girls and that’s not what’s important.

    What is important is the kind of people they are now and the kind of people they turn out to be.

    Have you read the book, “This is how it always is?” It’s an interesting book because it’s about a family with five boys and the youngest is transgender. It’s about how they deal with helping their son to feel comfortable in his own body as a girl.

    My point is that I don’t see them as boys or girls. These are my children. These are people that will do great things for this world. These are human beings.

    BTW: I’m giving away my copy of “This is how it always is.” If you’re interested in winning it (totally free), enter by leaving a comment below. I’ll pick a winner at random and ship it to you.

    No strings. No gimmicks. Just a free book for your reading pleasure. 

    US/FPO/APO addresses only!

  • Gifts for Girls,  Girl Birthday Parties,  Holidays for Girls

    #1 Reason I’m Giving My Kids Experience, Not Toy, Gifts

    Have you seen that YouTube video Girl Moms vs. Boy Moms, where they paint this picture of what it is like to be a mom to a girl in a light that it’s all cupcakes and kitten licks, while being a boy mom is all chaos and mayhem?

    To this I say poppycock!

    I have three girls, a 5-year-old, 3-year-old, and 10-month-old. Every single one of them, including the baby, is like a hurricane (and I know hurricanes because I am from Florida).

    In fact, this is what the older two girls’ room looked like this morning (I’m embarrassed to even reveal these pictures):

    This isn’t even the worst I have seen it look, either. The “stuff” doesn’t stay in their room either. It seems to overflow throughout the rest of the house, which means I get to spend every night walking through the house picking up the items nobody else bothered to pick up and return to their rightful home. 

    I have tried all sorts of toy clutter solutions. I bought those pretty bins to put on shelves. I bought a toy bin holder. The best of the toy clutter solutions that I could find is to stop buying toys.

    The Top Toy Clutter Solutions

    This, my fellow mamas, is the #1 reason I vow to not buy any more toys as gifts. This does not even include the 9lbs. (I wish I was exaggerating) of trash, toys, toy parts, books, cups, pieces to various games, arts and crafts pieces, and papers I cleaned out from behind and underneath their bunk bed.

    Ridiculous.

    I was so angry while I was cleaning out this mess. This is exactly the moment that I proclaimed no more.

    On the way home from church last week, I had this exact conversation with my husband. I told him that our house is too small, they have too much crap, they don’t take care of the crap they have, and they don’t put away the stuff they have so NO MORE STUFF.

    I told him that I think we should give them experiences instead. 

    I would rather spend our money on taking them to the theater (our oldest has been asking about seeing The Nutcracker) or catching the Fancy Nancy live show that is in the area, or having them dine with their dolls at the American Doll Bistro.

    I’d rather pay for an extra vacation each year.

    I’d rather fill their calendar with even more free library programs than we already attend or pay for additional dance classes, soccer, or whatever the heck it is they want to do than to fill our house with even more stuff that nobody cleans up but me. 

    I would rather deposit extra money into their college funds than spend one more dollar on stuff.

    Educational Toys & Books

    We have overflowing bookshelves of kids books. We have bins bursting at the seams with puzzles and educational toys and games.

    At this point, we don’t need anymore. Plus, the two older ones, especially, have educational items in their kindergarten and preschool classes.

    PLUS, we can borrow and return most of these items from the library!

    This, this, and this are all the reasons why I am choosing to just say no. In the eyes of my kids, this probably makes me “the worst mom ever” but I can live with that. In the long run, they’re not going to remember or benefit from all of the stuff they have.

    The experiences they have, however, they will remember for a LONG time. 

    What about you, Mamas? How do you feel about toys and all of the stuff your kids own?

  • Girl Birthday Parties

    7 Steps to Create the Perfect 1st Birthday

    I’m getting ready to plan my third 1st birthday party for my youngest daughter. Two have gone before her and as a former event planner (in my former single life in Miami), I tend to go a little crazy with it and tend to be a bit of a perfectionist (I know, there’s no such thing as perfection but tell that to my inner planner.).

    I write this post as much as a reminder for myself as to share with you the steps to take to create as perfect of a birthday party as possible.

    Step #1 Pick A Theme

    Whether it’s a character theme, color theme or some other theme, picking a theme for the birthday party makes it easy peasy to plan E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. It’s sort of like homing in on a niche if you’re opening a business or writing a blog.

    When you have a theme, it really narrows down the options for all of the party items you need and want for the party. For example, if you’re having a pink and gold theme, you automatically know that you need pink and gold decorations.

    If you’re having an outdoor picnic/BBQ theme then picking foods like hot dogs, hamburgers, pulled pork sandwiches, and watermelon is easy.

    The theme for my oldest daughter’s 1st birthday was a ladybug theme.

    For my second daughter, it was a pink poodle theme.

    I’m still working on the third daughter’s theme but I better work quick because her 1st birthday is two months away:)

    This might lead you to the question, “How do I choose a theme?” I admit I spent hundreds of hours in Pinterest-land coming up with ideas for themes and then for the ways to pull the theme off.

    In the end, though, the themes came to me rather simply. My oldest daughter is Kate but we called her Katie Bug the Ladybug when she was little — hence, the ladybug theme. We also call her (still) Kate the Great so we easily could have pulled off a superhero theme, too.

    I sang a song to my second daughter, Audrey Grace has a pretty face, to the tune of the Big Bopper’s Chantilly Lace (changing the words to fit a baby and a blue-eyed girl instead of a brown-eyed girl) so it was natural to have a 1950’s sock hop pink poodle theme.

    I can’t say I am having the same luck with my third. I do sing Emmy Anne to the tune of 2 Live Crew’s Get it Girl. Probably, not appropriate for a party theme, though 🙂

    Leah, over at Home Growen published a series on planning a Winter Onederland Party. You can check out the series for ideas, free printables, and more. 

    Step #2 Pick a Date

    This may sound so like duh to you. Of course you have to pick a date for the party but it can be a tiny bit more complex than you think. You have to consider holidays and long weekends or dates that might be out of the question for your invited guests.

    If you’re planning to have the party at a place or venue, you have to pick a date that the location is available. Even if you’re having it at home, you have to pick a date when you can have your home guest-worthy.

    For all of these reasons and more, pick a couple of dates. If your first choice is booked at the venue you want, go to your back-up date.

    Step #3 Pick a Place

    You really have to have a theme and a date in place in order to move on to all of the other steps of planning a 1st birthday party. The next big decision is to nail down the location. If you’re hosting the party at home, then it’s not a problem to quickly move on to the next steps.

    If you’re booking a venue, then you have to locate the one you want that can hold the number of guests you’re expecting and that is available for your party date. Usually, the venue also needs to fit into your budget.

    Step #4 Order + Send Invitations

    For the 1st birthday, I still send pretty/fun/festive hard-copy invitations. (Subsequent birthdays get Punch Bowl invitations.) I chose shops on Etsy that provided custom invitations (and party supplies like decorations) that fit my theme.

    Step #5 Plan the Menu

    I always try to coordinate the food and snack items with the theme. So for the ladybug theme, I served red and black snacks and candies. We also served hot dogs and hamburgers, which did not necessarily fall into that category.

    Same was true for the pink poodle party theme. We served hot dogs on an old-time hot dog roaster (50s-style), popcorn, along with pink and white candies and sweets.

    Step #6 Decide on Decor

    So far, we have had 1st birthday parties at our home. For my oldest daughter, we rented some tables and chairs and black and red table covers. I bought a banner, hanging decorations, and wall decor from Etsy. I bought ladybug paper plates and cups, along with red and black utensils from an online party store that had a ladybug pattern I liked better than the local party store.

    My sister-in-law is such a good sport so if I forward her the files, she prints the decorations and cuts them, assembles them — the whole shebang! Some Etsy sellers offer downloads so you can do this yourself or they will ship you the finished products.

    Audrey, of course, had pink poodle decor, favors, etc. As you can see in the picture, we also did chalkboard signs. We also opted for favors so this is something to consider when you’re ordering/buying the supplies you need and want.

     

    Step #7 Order a Cake (Don’t Forget the Smash Cake)

    For the 1st birthday, we always go big or go home when it comes to the cake. Kate and Audrey both had a two-tier cake. Both also had a smash cake that was all their own.

     

    Go forth and party 🙂 I’ll keep you posted on the baby’s 1st birthday party, which theme I end up choosing, and how it all turns out. She turned 10 months yesterday and I think she’s super excited that there is cake in her near future!

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