Join Us for Screen Free Week!

I know I just got back from my Lenten resolution, but I think some Screen-Free time is necessary after our 2 week vacation to Texas. I talked the Farmer into joining me to an extent (since his semester is winding down and he really needs email access for his students), but we've agreed that there will be no Screen-time during family waking hours.

We don't have cable and our TV is in the basement so Sweet P doesn't watch much TV anyway...the occasional movie or video on YouTube here and there. The Farmer and I watch a few shows on HULU, but those can wait for next week. Screen-Free week is more for me than it is for my kiddos at this point. I still have some projects I intended to do during Lent that need to get tackled during naptime.

This week, I'm not even going to check my email! I'll even be limiting texting and phone time (heads up to Auntie Rosita, Auntie Kannon and Gammie!) so that I am present for my kids as much as possible.

Want to join us? Go for it! You don't have to do anything special, except turn off the TV, the computer, smart phone capabilities, whatever you choose. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood suggests spending more time reading, playing outside, exploring and spending time with family and friends.

What will we be doing?
  • Playing pretend
  • Riding a bike
  • Visiting the library
  • Going on a family walk
  • Planting a garden
  • Going to the Tulip Festival!
  • Making a craft
  • Building a fort
  • Going on a scavenger hunt
  • Building with blocks
  • Writing a story
  • Trying a new food
  • Having a picnic
  • Going to the zoo
  • Having a Cinco de Mayo party!
  • Visiting a new park!
  • Date night!
  • Drawing with chalk
  • Playing with something new
  • Playing with water balloons
  • Going for a run as a family
  • Celebrating Sweet P's birthday (again!)!
What will you do?

{Weekly Kid's Co-Op} Link Up: Come & Play!

The Weekly Kid's Co-op

Yikes! Has it really been a week since I posted?! We have been B-to the-U-S-Y at the Farmer's house. With Baby Blue's baptism and Sweet P's birthday party, it's amazing we get any sleep around here. But I'm back and excited for our 2nd week as a hostess for the Weekly Kid's Co-op.

But let's talk about you! We had over 200 ideas linked up last week and I was lovin' all the Earth Day ideas! I'm delighted to share my 3 favorites with you!

I love this flannel board picnic from Miss Courtney Meets BoBo. Don't you just LOVE the salad? And peanut butter, jelly and marshmallow creme? YES please! 

This Earth Day craft from little lucky is so simple and lovely! I may need to try this with Sweet P even though Earth Day has passed...but isn't every day Earth Day?! 

I'm diggin' this sensory and motor skill Fishing for Shapes activity from Memorizing the Moments. We have some water beads we've been waiting to play with and may try this with something a bit more advanced like letters or numbers since Sweet P is a bit older. 

I'll have an "I've been featured" button up soon and I'll let you know via comment!

Let's see what you've been up to this week! Please remember to try to visit a few others and comment on, Pin, tweet and share your favorites!

{Weekly Kid's Co-Op} Foam Puzzle Bath Fun

The Weekly Kid's Co-op
This is my first week as a hostess of the Weekly Kids Co-op and I'm super excited to share this with you! And I, of course, hope you'll link up any of your fun kid crafts, projects and play activities! I am thrilled to work with such creative peeps and have been inspired by the fabulous ideas shared here! 

Since this is my first time I'll be sharing one of our projects with you, but look forward to highlights from the previous week's link up in weeks to come! I look forward to seeing what you have to share! 

Last week while rifling through our puzzles I found a foam alphabet puzzle and thought it'd be great fun in a bath! The outline of the puzzle is also foam and sticks right to the side of the tub. 
We spelled words on the side and she even found the letters to spell out her name! The letters were also fun to scoop up and pour out. 

Baby Blue really wanted to get in and play, too! 

Note: Our puzzle is from the $ store and the foam soaks up a bit of water. I laid the puzzle out on a towel and let it dry overnight before putting it back together.

Check out these other post for more bath time fun!
10 Easy Ways to Make Bath Time More Fun for Kids from Reading Confetti
Themed Sensory Baths from Growing a Jeweled Rose
Colored Ice Cubes from Dirt and Boogers
Shaving Cream Bath Paint from The Imagination Tree

Now it's time for you to join in the fun! Please try to visit a few others and remember to comment on, Pin, tweet and share your favorites!
The Weekly Kid's Co-op

DIY Magazine Canvas

My friend Mary pinned this awhile back and when I saw it I knew what to make TK for her birthday. I googled the phrase and found out it is lyrics from a song, but when I made the canvas from memory I mixed up the phrase a bit and mine says "and count the beautiful things we see." 
I have a plethora of magazines so cut everything out free hand and used Mod Podge to adhere it to the canvas.

TK loved it and I absolutely LOVE the saying. I'll be making one for my bathroom in the very near future.

So what are you waiting for? Go lay in the sun and start counting.

Happy Trails Trail Mix

I just might be my own hero this week. I attempted, completed and survived a 12 hour car trip. With both kiddos. Alone. Not to toot my own horn, but "toot, toot!" I'm pretty darn proud of myself.

And I only lost my mind once. Just kidding.

I was hoping we'd only have to stop 3 times, but it ended up being 6. An extra one for Baby Blue to eat again and twice for Miss Sweet P who, of course, had to go poop 20 minutes after the previous stop.

But we made it! And the kids did great. Look for an upcoming post about the activities, games and tips I used to survive the trip.

All that to say that we made some delish trail mix before we went and Sweet P started asking for it, oh, 2 minutes into the trip. She helped me make the healthy treat and it did not disappoint! Here's what we put in it!
The Recipe: Happy Trails Trail Mix

What you need:

  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries 
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 2 tbsp dried pineapple (with no added sugar)
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried shaved coconut
  • 2 tbsp almonds
  • 1 tbsp peanuts
  • 1/2 c puffed wheat (sold in a bag in the cereal aisle)
Add all ingredients to a large bowl or plastic baggy. Stir or shake until well-combined. Store in air-tight container or baggy for your trip. Or just make some to have any time!
So good and full of fiber and protein. I made a bag for myself, but omitted the puffed wheat and coconut and added chocolate chips. YUM!

Zoo Bingo

A few weeks ago Sweet P, Baby Blue and I made our first trip to the zoo this year. As we were about to walk out the door I had the idea of Zoo Bingo! I booked it down to the basement and grabbed our sticker box, a piece of cardboard, a ruler and a Sharpie.
I quickly drew a grid and found stickers of animals we might find at the zoo (and some I wasn't sure about). Sweet P stuck them on the grid (the bigger animals had to go on the back side). I grabbed some star stickers and we headed out the door!
We didn't find all the animals on our Bingo card, but she did make a Bingo! We play a lot of magnetic bingo so she does understand the concept.
This was such a fun way to talk to Sweet P about the different kinds of animals. It was a quick and easy activity that didn't involve printing anything and involved stickers!, one of Sweet P's favorite things.
Have you ever tried Zoo Bingo?

Why We Wait for the "Big" Stall

Why, yes, this is a post about the restroom. How did you guess?

Here's a few reasons why you should wait for the handicapped stall when using the restroom with 2 small children.

Last week we went to Target and I had to go potty. Bad. Might've been the coffee and bottle of water I drank on the way, but who knows for sure.

For some reason one of the Target's in town puts their potty in the VERY back of the store. Really? This is not ideal for me. Especially when you have to pass EVERY SINGLE aisle of toys on the way.

On this particular day Baby Blue needed a nap and had just fallen asleep in the Ergo (and I knew we'd be there well over an hour).

Once we got into the restroom I noticed the largest stall was taken. I couldn't wait so I stuffed all 3 of us into a regular stall and got down to business.

Me: Sweet P leave the lock alone (she unlocks it and the door starts to open). Arghh. (I pull the door shut and relock it--yep, pants around my ankles, baby in Ergo).

So then Sweet P decides to lean on the door and before I can say a peep the door SWINGS open just as someone walks into the restroom. Sweet P falls to her bottom and I grab the swinging door to close it (yet again) and squish poor Baby Blue in the process. Baby Blue squeaks and is done napping.

Next time. We're waiting for the big stall.

PS Every store on the planet should have a family restroom. Just sayin'.

You Can't Leave Your Baby With Me

Ok. I'm gonna bare all and tell you that I sometimes shop at Wal-Mart. I grew up with Wal-Mart being the IT store (until they finally built a Target) so sometimes there are just things I know I can get at Wal-Mart without spending $1,456,352 dollars.

I'll even go one step further and tell you that I sometimes buy my clothing at Wal-Mart and recently I found some really cute dresses on They were shipped to my house and some didn't fit up top quite as well as I would have liked (let's just blame it on nursing, shall we?). So I took them back to the store and looked for a different size.

The Farmer happened to be home that afternoon so I left him with a sleeping Sweet P and dragged poor Baby Blue to Wal-Mart with me. I had him in the carseat instead of the Ergo (which is rare 'cuz that carseat weighs a ton with that cute little boy in it) so I could try on clothes easily.

I found some options and pushed my cart up to the dressing room area. Here's the convo that transpired:

Me: 6 items?

Dressing Room Attendant: Yes, but the big one's taken (meaning the largest dressing room).

Me: That's okay. I'll just go in a regular one. (as I gather my things, including the diaper bag and am reaching for the carseat).

Attendant: You can't leave your baby out here. You have to take him in with you.

Inside my head: Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm........

Me: I wasn't planning on leaving him out here, but thank you (as I scooped the carrier on to my arm and finagled my way into a smaller dressing room).

Attendant: You'd be surprised how many people try to leave their baby out here.



Here's my PSA for the day: Please do not try to leave your baby with the dressing room attendant. Ever. Buck up and bring your baby into the dressing room. Always.

Happy Easter!

He is not here, He has RISEN! ~Luke 24:6

Happy Easter from the Iowa farmer's wife and family!

Shaving Cream Cross Garland

We shaving cream painted (sounds crazy huh?) a few weeks ago and I am FINALLY getting around to posting about it. It was so much fun and we have done so much with our paintings. It's like the craft that keeps on giving.

I found the idea at Little Wonders Days and knew Sweet P would LOVE this! The kid loves shaving cream and paint so this was the perfect craft for her!

We turned our finished product into a cross garland for our window and sent the extras as Easter ornaments to RoRo, TK, Nana and Gammie. Then, we used the scraps from cutting the paper into crosses to make an egg collage AND we still have some scraps leftover! We loved this project and it'll be so fun to do for other holidays in the future!

Here's a quick overview of how it went:

Spray shaving cream into a baking sheet or other container and mix around until the container is covered.

Drizzle paint over the top of the shaving cream and swirl with a paintbrush, toothpick, straw, etc.

Press your paper onto the shaving cream/paint mixture OR grab handfuls and spread it all over the paper.

Allow to sit for a few minutes (ours sat for several minutes while Sweet P took a quick bath).
Use a squeegee (or towel) to wipe off the shaving cream (the paint will remain!) and set out to dry.

Cut into the shape of your choice or hang to admire!

For the cross garland, I cut each piece of paper into 5 crosses.

I laminated the crosses so we could use the garland next year.

Sweet P lined them all up and helped me punch holes in them.

Punch a hole in each cross, then thread through a piece of yarn or string. Hang and admire!

Cut scraps into small squares or other shapes, cut a large egg shape out of cardstock or construction paper and glue scraps to egg to form a decorative Easter egg!

Whew! What else can we do with our scraps?!

5 Ideas for Plastic Eggs

Our plastic eggs definitely get a workout during the Lenten season! I think we've done something with them almost every day for the past 2 weeks and this week brings Easter egg hunts and the completion of our Resurrection eggs.

Easter egg hunts are always fun, but plastic eggs are so versatile that we try to use them as many ways as we can before they get put back into the seasonal box. We have 3 different sizes of eggs: mini, medium and large, and look for ways we can use each size in our daily activities.

Here are 5 Ideas for Plastic Eggs:

1. Put them in a Sensory Bin, a bin of rice or a big bowl of oats! Plastic eggs are great scoopers and opening and closing them helps fine motor skill development. Filling the eggs with oats and rice and shaking them is another fun sound activity!

2. Use them for sorting and matching activities. For some reason opening and closing plastic eggs never gets old for Sweet P. She loves discovering what is inside of each egg and also likes matching the colors when she puts them back together. Sort the eggs by color, size, or into containers using an ice cream scoop or egg tongs. Put numbered stickers on both sides of the eggs for a fun math and counting activity.

3. Stack them or use them for patterning activities. The round shape of the eggs allows them to fit into each other pretty well. Sweet P discovered stacking while gathering the eggs to put them back into a bag after she finished a tray they were on. She thought it was pretty neat and said, "Look at this, mama!" If you have various colors, you can also create patterns with the bottoms/tops of each egg.

4. Sound eggs: Use your plastic eggs to create sound boxes. Read more about this activity on our Sound Eggs post. These keep Sweet P interested for quite awhile.

5. Put them in the bath! Some of our plastic eggs have holes in the tops so they are fun to fill and pour out again and again! Sweet P loved watching the bubbles come out of the little holes when she held them under water. We also had fun seeing them float and sink when she filled them with water! Then, she built towers by stacking them all along the side of the bathtub.

Muffin Tin Monday: Easter
These foods don't really have anything to do with Easter, but RoRo gave us these cupcake liners and picks last year so we have been using them this week.

Sweet P helped with this lunch and decided where to put the liners and picks. I prepared/cut everything and gave it to her to place in the tin. She's always excited about a lunch SHE made!

Top row: baby cucumbers, carrots, fruit strip (cut into small pieces), cheese
2nd row: brown rice, olives, almonds, chopped asparagus
3rd row: kiwi x2, tofu x2