A simple new years eve celebration for kids

 

So we aren’t huge New Years Eve partiers over here. And by that I mean my husband and I don’t feel like we need to stay up till midnight. Or maybe I should say our bodies won’t let us?! Such is life with littles  🙂  I still want to celebrate in a little way so we just bump our midnight up to 7 o’clock!! We started doing this since we’ve had kids and its been perfect.

I usually just decorate a little, have a fun drink (kid friendly!), we turn a kids countdown on Netflix, end it with some loud blowers and maybe a dance party! 😉  If you need some lights to dance with, try this. I mean, its nothing crazy, but its fun to do a little something. When the kids are a little older I might start doing time capsules or something, but at this age they would probably just want to open it the next day! ha.

This year I grabbed a few decorations at Target’s dollar section (er, $3 section). The star garland is from an Etsy shop Cheerful Trimmings, but her shop is currently closed for Christmas. I would recommend her for other party garlands or banners you may need in the future, but if you need one quickly this one from Amazon looks great and is $9! I also decided to make my own kid-friendly-slightly-fizzy-drink. I think Sparkling Cider would be too “spicy” for their likin’ and it has a lot of sugar anyways! So I just mixed

Honest Apple Juice with a splash of Sprite…and garnished with a raspberry!

I did a trial run and it was a hit. I think the sparkly plastic champagne flutes made the drink THAT much better. The kids were giggling and giddy as they drank their “adult” drink. 🙂

A super easy snack idea is cheese stars and crackers! The cheese stars make it a little festive, but its still good healthy snack before bed. If you need a star cookie cutter, check out this one! I like having the different size stars because you can make the tiny stars from the leftover cheese and not waste as much! You could also make star sandwiches, cookies, etc.!

Here are a few books about New Years Eve we will be reading (click title to see more):

The Night before New Year’s Eve. A fun book that talks about New Years prep! I feel like reading books about the holiday or event just help everyone get more excited about it! 

Squirrels New Years Resolution. I think this is my favorite. Its a cute book that talks about what resolutions are. The animals make some sweet, character related resolutions and I think it can bring up good family conversation!  🙂 

Ok friends, thats all. Like I said, its nothing fancy…but if you have multiple littles, being too elaborate might be stressful. Or maybe I’m just speaking for myself?!! I was reading some ideas on Pinterest of different games and activities and I decided we would stick to our simple celebration for this year. Just spicing up some apple juice in a fancy cup and a straw already makes them feel like its a celebration. 🙂  I hope you can make some special memories together this New Years Eve!

xoxo

Danielle

Tips and Ideas for Surviving Break with Kids!

 

Christmas is coming which means … all the kids will be home from school!! I’ve seen a lot of, “I won’t be able to get anything done!” so I just wanted to share a few things I’ve learned since we started homeschooling (aka, kids home all the time)! Now, I’m NO expert in this, and this won’t solve all your problems, but I just want to help in anyway I can! I’m also encouraging myself with this daily, because I don’t/won’t ever have these things perfected. Ok, so here are a few tips and ideas:

  • Lower your expectations. Our children have lots of needs. Oh, wait, you knew this?! 😉 Its always “Mom, I’m hungry. Mom, can you help me? Mom, I’m hungry. Mom, I spilled. Mom, I finished going to the bathroom….oh wait, I’m not done yet. Mom, I’m hungry. Mom, he/she hit me. Mom, so-and-so took my toy! Mom, I’m hungry. Mom, I broke you’re stuff as we were bouncing off the walls. Mom, I’m not going to listen. Mom, you really think you can pee in peace? Mom, I wet the bed. Mom, I had a bad dream. Mom, I’m hungry. Mom? mom? MOM!!! WHERE ARE YOU?!”

And then times all that by the number of kids you have.

Ok, you get the point! HA! I’m constantly getting annoyed and then constantly reminding myself that yes, they have needs. My job is to care for the needs, nurture, love and be an example to them. And to be honest, sometimes I think they go overboard and we do just flat out need a break. Amen? But we have to remember that they do need us. They need our help, our love and our patience. And one day they won’t need us so much, remember that too.

 

  • Plan your days. I really noticed I had to do this when we started homeschooling. I had to be very intentional to plan ahead with school, outings, and activities. I try to plan and prep projects for them to do, game ideas, a fun outing I could take them on, or even plan just having a day at home. By doing this I can also plan MY tasks. If we are spending a whole morning at the zoo, I need to wake up earlier that morning to start some laundry, pack the lunches, and tidy up so we don’t come home to …well, our own zoo. If I don’t pack the lunches before, or while I’m making breakfast, I get way too behind and everything is more chaotic. It’s even HARDER to get out the door. While we are on this topic I will say I also plan their “TV” time. For example, if we are going to the zoo, I’ll get them ready and then turn on a show while I load the car and do a quick tidy. Use it strategically as an aid instead of turning it on just because they want it on.  🙂

 

  • Online shopping.
    It worked out really well because right about when the school year started our local Walmart started grocery pick up. If you haven’t heard of it, you order online, reserve a time slot to pick up, and they bring your groceries out to your car. All the things. It has saved me so much time and stress!! Before I would either take all 3 kids, or have to spend kid-free time…at the store. Boo. If you don’t have a store locally that does this, there’s also the option of Walmart delivery to your house with non-perishable items to your home…free of charge if you spend $35 or more. Or maybe you have Amazon Fresh! I do make Costco trips and a random store trip for a few things, but its better than doing a big shopping trip with kids! Anyways, maybe try something like this if you are worried about taking the kids out shopping when they aren’t in school (and not to mention fighting the crowds!).

 

  • When you have things you just have to get done (wait, when don’t we?!) try spending some quality time with the kids first, and then do your tasks. For example, sometimes if I do have to take them grocery shopping, I’ll take them to a park first…something they like, and something that burns some energy. If I have to get some work done around the house we will play out front first, or I’ll try to do something intentional with them. I then feel better about telling them, “Ok, mommy has to get some things done now”, and they usually do better after I focus just on them. Maybe you could set up some train tracks, set them up with a project, build a fort, etc. And YES, you’ll still be interrupted, but I do think it helps…even a little  😉

 

  • Make everyone have “down time” in the afternoon. Even if they don’t nap because they’re usually at school, still do it. Make a certain hour quiet time…aka, keep-mom-sane-time. I think its good for everyone. They can take a nap, read, play quietly with legos, etc.

 

  • Give them some chores to do, and maybe add incentives. As most of you know I’m on a purging frenzy. So last week I actually told my kids I would pay them if they got rid of toys! My husband said, “So we spend money on toys, and then we pay them to get rid of the toys?!” Ha! But, they got excited when they came out with some trinkets and got a quarter…they even went back for more things to give away. To me, its worth the $1 I spent  🙂

 

  • Use the crock pot. I know this is random but, when life is a little crazy, crock pots can help that mad dinner hour! Here are a few of our favorite recipes the whole family enjoys.

1. Chicken Pot Pie. My whole family loved this! And we even splurged and made the Pillsbury Grand Rolls to go with it.

2. Teriyaki Chicken. I just boil some rice and steam broccoli to make little chicken teriyaki bowls! I feel like what sauce you use makes a big difference, I like using this one.  🙂

3. Shredded Chicken. I couldn’t find a recipe for this but its something my mother-in-law shared with me and the whole family loves it because its basic! Here’s the jist: Throw in a few frozen chicken breasts, add a tsp or 2 of minced garlic and 1/2 a diced onion, cover 3/4 of the way with chicken broth, and then add some salt, pepper and a few TBS of cumin. Cook on high for about 6 hours. Shred the chicken then make burritos, tacos, or nachos!! Super yummy and easy!

  • Savor the time with them! Savor the fact you don’t have to rush them off the school. I love our slow mornings at home! Take a minute to breath and slow down…even if you have a million things to do.

Here are some ideas (if you need them) of things you can do:

  • Pack a picnic lunch and explore a new spot
  • Build a fort and watch a movie with a projector. (See here for a good priced projector!)
  • Pick a puzzle for the family to work on throughout break! My kids enjoy this puzzle and this puzzle! If you’re kids are a little older, click here and here for a few fun ideas!

 

  • Try a new park or indoor trampoline place (especially if its snowing where you live!)
  • Take them out for a treat. I love taking the kids to starbucks, letting them eat a bagel, and just hanging out together! It’s kind of our thing now. Sometimes it’s a little crazy, but its fun. I find if I’m away from all the tasks at home I can focus on them more.
  • Have a “theme” day. The other day we talked, crafted, and read about reindeer! I also printed a world map and they colored in where reindeer live. It was a fun way to learn! This is the book we read, and then I used good ol’ pinterest to print some things out!
  • If you are traveling, order a new book on CD! The DVD player in our car broke this summer and I’m actually glad about it! We now listen to a book on CD instead, and sometimes we mix it up with fun kid music. This is the book on CD my son is really enjoying, and these are some fun kid songs for the car!
  • Have a day with no plans. I think its just good for everyones soul sometimes  😉

I hope my simple ideas were helpful in someway! And I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas celebrating with those you love!!!

xoxo

Danielle

Book Ideas for Kids!

I want to start this post by saying there are so many good books out there! But because there are so many I feel like it can be  overwhelming to know which ones to get! So, I simply want you to think of this post as you and me sitting down over coffee, sharing some fun books we have come across! 🙂 Please feel free to leave some of your favorites in the comments below for everyone else to see!

(Just click on the title of the book and it will take you to the product link)

  1. Press Here. This is a fun interactive book that grandma introduced us to! If you haven’t seen it you should take a look  🙂 

2. Here we Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth. This is a book we recently got that talks about how vast the universe is! Its a good and fun little introduction to the solar system, etc.

3. O’Shae the Octopus. This is a sweet book about an octopus who has two extra arms. He discovers “that although it can be hard for others to accept his differences, embracing what sets him a part can truly make him sensational”. 

4. The Big Book of Bugs. I love books that are loaded with lots of fun pictures and learning! This is one of those books  🙂

5. This is How We Do it: One day in the lives of seven kids around the world.  The title explains this book! A book about 7 kids in different parts of the world and what a day in their life looks like. When we went through this book my oldest was so interested that some people live in huts and eat such different foods! I want to start opening my kids eyes to the diversity there is in our world!

6. Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. Our favorite part about this book is finding Gold Bug on every page! He’s a sneaky little guy that can be hard, but fun, to find!

If you have a wee little one  🙂  Things That Go- Flip-a-Flap Book might be a good option!

7. The watermelon Seed. My sister got us into this book! My kids think this crocodile with a wild imagination is hilarious!

8. This Moose Belongs to Me. This is just a fun little book book about a boy and a moose! And the cover is so cute I use it as decoration in the boys room 😉

9. The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings us Back to the Garden. This is such a good book on how all the stories of the Bible create an overarching message about God’s wonderful plan to redeem his rebellious people! “In The Biggest Story, Kevin DeYoung—a best-selling author and father of six—leads kids and parents alike on an exciting journey through the Bible, connecting the dots from the garden of Eden to Christ’s death on the cross to the new heaven and new earth.” It was even a good review and summary for me!

The Biggest Story ABC. This is a version for younger ones!

10. The Fox Wish. A sweet story of a little girl that shares her jump rope, to make the fox’s wish come true.

11. Nature Anatomy. A book full of fun ways to learn about nature! Sometimes I’ll open to a page and have the kids draw images from it!

Farm Anatomy. We don’t have the next two books but they are by the same author and look fun!

Food Anatomy

 

12. The 50 States. Its obvious what this book is about..but I just love books that are jam packed with fun learning opportunities!

It also has The 50 States Activity book that goes along with it. We don’t have it but its on my list!

13. Stars. A cute book about stars!

14.The Garden the Curtain and the Cross. This beautifully illustrated hardback book takes children on a journey from the garden of Eden to God’s prefect new creation!

15. Jayde the Jay Bird. “Come fly away with Jayde and see what happens when she finally gets the courage to sing loud enough for the whole forest to hear.”

 

16. Atlas of Animal Adventures. This book is all about animals!!

I’ve only looked through the Atlas of Animal Adventures Atlas of Adventures looks fun too!

I hope this gave you some ideas if you’re stuck in a book rut!!  😉

xoxo,

Danielle

 

Kids Holiday gift guide


If you’re like me, you don’t want your kids to accumulate a lot of “junky” toys that they’ll probably be over in a few days anyways. It just create more clutter in our homes…and we don’t need more clutter! And maybe you are already stressing out a little bit thinking about all the things they will get for Christmas??! Or is it just me?

I’ve put together a gift guide of items that encourage imagination, promote learning and creativity, and help burn energy!

So here you go, starting with outdoor activities moving indoors (Some of the beginning items are a little more expensive, but keep scrolling and they’ll lower in price if you’re not looking for bigger gifts!) ;-):

  1. iBert Front Safe-T-Seat front facing. This bike seat is so much fun for the littles…a front facing view! Our little guy loves this and it makes family bike rides a blast! I have gotten so many questions and comments as we are out riding around!
  2. Micro Mini Scooter. Another item our kids have used for countless hours (I mean COUNTLESS!) is the Micro Mini Scooter! It rides so smoothly and has 3 wheels to keep the kids safe! Its by far the best scooter we have come across! If your child is younger (under 2 or 3) you can buy a little seat that switches out for the handle bar! Click here for seat! If your child is 5-12 years, the Micro Maxi is the next step up. Our oldest has this. 
  3. Trapeze Bar. We have a trapeze bar hanging from a tree in our front yard and it is always popular with my kids and any friends that come around! I didn’t really want it at first because I thought it looked kind of tacky but, its definitely worth all the fun the kids have on it!
  4. Spin Out Bike. This bike is super fun for kids 5+! Mommy has tried it before and let me tell you…its spins fast! A little boys’ dream (or girls, but we know boys like fast!). 🙂  Our oldest got it for his birthday last year and he couldn’t reach the pedals very well so daddy rigged up some wooden blocks for the pedal. He loves it!
  5. Bubble Machine. My mom puts this in her back yard and all the grandkids love it! Its like a bubble dream come true and keeps the kids entertained 🙂 
  6. Kidkraft Vintage Kitchen White. This is a litter bigger item but as you can see from my instagram feed, we love our little white kitchen! I also added it because this is the best price I have seen it! 
  7. Easy Playhouse Cardboard. I realize this is basically a glorified cardboard box, but its a little more fun, especially if you need a gift idea! 🙂 Its fun for the kids to decorate and then once it starts falling apart…toss it. I love the idea of this! 
  8. Insect Lore Butterfly Growing Kit. This is a fun yet educational gift! We did this a few months ago and all had fun watching the process of caterpillars turning into butterflies. I will warn you that it doesn’t have the actual caterpillars, instead the kit comes with a voucher to purchase them, which is $8. So if you want to cover the cost you can just include $8  🙂 

9. Alpha-bots. These are fun, but a sneaky way to learn for little ones! The kids have to transform the letters into robots. Great for hand-eye coordination, problem solving, and imagination!10. Boogie Board writing tablet. My mom bought this for our oldest (who is 5 years old) and he thinks its so fun and cool! Even our two year old likes to use it. They can practice writing or drawing and erase it with the click of a button. Its a good way to keep kids entertained in a waiting room or in the car!Another option is the Boogie Board Scribble ‘n Play,11. Train Set in Wooden Case. This wooden case folds up into a little briefcase and all the trains go inside. When you’re ready to play, it opens into a fun little train track!  It’s a good toy for younger siblings to take along if they have to wait for older siblings at a sports practice, music practice, etc! I even take it to Starbucks for the kids to play with while mama sips her coffee 😉 12. Magnetic Blocks. These blocks are a good staple toy! They fit nicely in a little storage container and it keeps the kids entertained, all while enhancing creativity! 13. Car Mat. Grandma bought us a similar rug a few years ago and we still play with it! I don’t have it out, as we don’t have a lot of room, but I roll it up and store it in their closet. I think because they don’t see it every day its a fun activity when I do bring it out! 

Another option is this Black and White Canvas street map

13. Go Robot Mouse Activity Set. This is one item we don’t have YET, but its on the list to get the kids for Christmas! It was recommended by my friend who teaches Kindergarten, and I would trust her recommendation. Kids have to build their maze and then use the coding cards to create a step-by-step path for the programmable mouse! They have to problem solve and use critical thinking, but its in a fun way!

14. Omaker Portable Bluetooth Speaker. Ok, this item is PER request of my oldest Levi, lol. He was asking what I was doing while making this gift guide and I told him I was sharing some fun things we like with our friends. He said…tell them about DANCE PARTIES!! So I figured I’d share the speaker we use. 😉 Its a pretty reasonable for a bluetooth speaker! Its even waterproof and we take our dance parties out in the pool (I will say we haven’t gotten it wet, so I don’t know HOW water proof it is). Also, if you really want to spice up your dance party, like us, you need THIS

Thank you so much for reading my gift guide, I hope it was helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions.

xoxo,

Danielle

 

******BONUS******* Gift idea for HIM:

OK, guys can be hard to buy for (or maybe the man in your life is like mine and has a lot of hobbies and he knows exactly what he wants and just orders it himself 🙂 ). This is a super fun way for them (or you!) to kill insects, especially flies! lol My husband bought this for his brothers, dad and brother in law last Christmas because he likes his so much!

Bug-a-Salt Gun. Seriously, check it out.

 

 

«There are affiliate links in this post with amazon but I hope you know I would only share things I truly like! »