Sunday, April 22, 2018

Preschool or Kindergarten Graduation Gifts

We are approaching my first child's graduation from pre-k. Before I had children I thought it was ridiculous to celebrate such a small and silly accomplishment. Now that I have children I am thrilled to celebrate their education with them. She has already learned so much, such as phonics, numbers, writing, and even reading! I am happily surprised at the leaps and bounds she has made in her self esteem too. I love that when we go to the park or library now, she will go talk to a child even if she's never seen them before. Something she would have NEVER done before we sent her to school. I'm so proud of her, and happy to give her gifts to help her grow and feed her love of school and education as she grows.

Preschool Graduation Gifts

Preschool Graduation Ideas

1. Kindergarten, Here I Come!

First off, I love books for children. We can relive that time she graduated over and over again, and celebrate her accomplishments together! This book has lots of poems about the changes Kindergarten will bring. 

Here's the thing about Pete the Cat. He's a household favorite here. I think he's more popular than Mickey Mouse AND Catboy, and I'll tell ya, it's quite the accomplishment. This book might be a little over the head of the children who are graduating preschool or kindergarten right now, but I love books with great messages. This is a book of great Pete the Cat quotes about being cool and collected in life. Another great book of life tips is THIS book of "Suess-isms". 

Speaking of Dr. Suess, how can this not be on the list, am I right? Dr. Suess has been in our little one's life for years now, it's only fitting that he will be with her through her educational journey as well. We have one of these books for each of our kids and we put a little note in the front asking the teachers to write out a special note to the future them, and we will give it to each of them after they graduate high school. 

The beginning of their education career is a great time to start off a photo album and memory keeper for years to come. There are places to put things like a list of their interests, what they want to be when they grow up, and who their best friends currently are. If you get it now, you can fill in the information for this year. There are also envelopes for each year and places for their class picture

This adorable little bear is a great cuddly friend your little can keep for decoration in their room or even for cuddles on their bed. I love the teeny tiny little tassel! You can personalize it with the year written on the top, or embroidered in the foot.

6. A Special Trip
What better treat to celebrate your accomplishments than a trip for some fro-yo, or out to their favorite lunch place. Maybe a special trip to the zoo, or aquarium. Think of something your child loves to do, or a place they always ask to go, and go! Celebrate!

My children's Auntie bought this book for the family for Christmas last year, and sent it with all of the ingredients to do a few of her handpicked favorites. She's a science teacher, so I knew the experiments would be awesome. This book is a fun introduction to summer, when you can spend time doing experiments and answering all the "why" questions. The first thing we did was put dyed water in a bottle with some oil, and then we put an Alka Seltzer in it, and watched the oil dance in the water, it was beautiful! My children thought it looked like sparkles in the water. They couldn't wait to show everyone in the neighborhood their "experiment".

What are the best gifts you've seen or given for kindergarten graduation?
Do you give gifts for kindergarten graduation?

Friday, November 17, 2017

If Your Kid Hates Veggies, You Need to See This

If you are one of those parents who has a kid who loves all food, and eats anything you put in front of them, congratulations. You're too awesome for this post, and I'm not writing this to you. 

As for you, there, still reading. This is for you. Meet my son. He dislikes anything green, healthy, or not peanut butter toast. As his mother, I spend countless hours begging and pleading with him to eat his food, just one bite. Over and over again. Most nights end with my bitter defeat, and a plate full of perfectly wonderful homecooked goodness, not even one bite taken. I spend entirely too much time blaming myself, and wondering what I could have done differently to get him to eat. Perhaps I didn't eat enough veggies while he was in the womb, or breastfeeding. Maybe I introduced fruit too soon, and now he will never like vegetables. Or maybe he's just a three year old? He looks like a three year old. 

I've been desperately trying everything I can think of to get this dude to eat his veggies. So many questions haunt me while I lay in bed, contemplating what an awful mother I am to my vegetable resistant child. Why won't my toddler eat vegetables? How do I get my toddler to eat? Do picky eaters eat vegetables? On my to do list most days are things like "google how to get toddlers to eat vegetables" and "look up toddler recipes for hiding vegetables". But that's not exactly the way I wanted to get my child to love food. I don't want him to only eat vegetables if he doesn't know he is. I want him to eat them, love them, and ask for them. That's asking a lot of a three year old, don't you think?

I thought so too, until I found Veggie Buds Club, a subscription box for vegetables. No, it's really a thing that exists. Someone and their family put together a box to encourage a love of veggies by introducing a different veggie each month. November was broccoli, and I couldn't resist. I immediately signed up as soon as I found it online, and we got it within a few days (I purchased it November 3, and it got here November 6). We were hit with a terrible flu and have been out of commission for most of November, but we are finally starting to feel better, and working our way through this box.

You know when you bring your kid to the play place, and there's another mom there with her kids? You want to say hi, but you're nervous they won't like you or something? Then you notice some blaring similarity, like they also cloth diaper, or have the same diaper bag as you, and you think "OH MAN. I think we're best friends now!" That's really how I feel about this box. I found it, and I had to try it. I am not very easy to please, and I am so happy that we decided to dive in and purchase this. 

Each box comes with several different activities that encourage your child to interact with the veggie of the month:

There's always an activity book with an incentive chart for trying out the food each month (the stickers have broccoli on them!), and ways to include this month's vegetable in your meals, some coloring pages, crayons and a page of interesting facts.

A recipe to try that includes the veggie of the month!
A Veggie Craft! This month my children made a Broccoli Banjo!
Broccoli Game with everything needed to play
Broccoli seeds, and instructions to grow some veggie sprouts inside. 
If you decide to get the Veggie Buds Super Club subscription, you'll also get a cool felt veggie, and a book featuring this month's veggie!

I love how all of the different activities were separated into their own bags, with a laminated sheet with instructions. All of the different activities are branded with the same cute backgrounds of different veggies on the back, and I felt this box was prepared beautiful, with a lot of heart. Everything looks beautiful together, and is quality products, not just random things throw together and sold as a subscription box. I did not feel like I needed anything extra to supplement what we found. I feel like I found the greatest subscription box ever. 
Here are a few pictures of our Broccoli Banjo

 And here are my children (who normally don't get along) taking turns putting the seeds into the glass, and pouring water on it. It's been so fun to check on the seeds every day and see them sprout. 

The best part of this whole experience, for me, is watching my children's eyes light up when we offer them broccoli now. We used to fight to get them to take even one bite, and now they agree to MORE bites than we offer them.

If you're interested in this box, please click here and see for yourself.

What has been your biggest obstacle getting your kids to eat?

I am providing this review because I truly love the product, I was not given anything for free, or offered payment for this post. I do not receive anything in exchange for you subscribing either. This whole post is just my love for this subscription box, and the effect it's had on my family! 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

New Christmas Ideas Printable

Halloween is over, that means I can get excited for Christmas right? No? Just me?

Well, if you're like me, and OBSESSED! Then here is a great little freebie for jotting down those Christmas lists, or ideas for gifts. They seem to come and go quickly in these last few weeks before Christmas, so make sure to keep this handy when shopping or surfing Facebook. Or you can hand it to your kids and say "write down your top five".

This has six blank spots for ideas, so you can fill them out and have a list available when you're ready to sit down and get your shop on at your favorite online retailer, or bring it with you to the store while your kids are at school. Either way, it's a beautiful way to keep track of what you plan to get!

Join me in beautiful Christmastime-land, and help me think of ideas for my children! 

Friday, October 20, 2017

How Long Does it Really Take to Create a New Habit

How Long Does It Really Take To Create A New Habit? 

The most common knowledge I have found says creating a new habit takes 21 days. Doesn't it seem silly? Bad habits seem to take no will or reason to create at all, and can't disappear no matter how hard we try, sometimes. 

So how long does it really take to create a new habit? The answer is it depends. It depends on your mindset and it depends on how big of a change this new habit is from what you are currently doing. If your habit right now is enjoying a nice salty bowl of popcorn every evening after getting your children to bed, switching over to a less salty popcorn isn't going to take you much adjusting to achieve. If you want to give up popcorn all together, you might have a more difficult time, and it could take much longer. 

The question isn't so much "how long does it take to create a new habit" it's more asking "how long do I have to suffer before this new habit doesn't suck so much". Is there a light at the end of the tunnel where we don't have to break our back every day trying to give up this popcorn? When will this new tradition become automatic, so I don't have to try so hard?

It will be different for each person you ask, and for each habit they're trying to cultivate. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

It's a heck of a lot easier to make a new habit than cease an old one. 

Well that's not fair is it. We have to work harder to give up an old habit we don't even want anymore. Meanwhile, we strive to drink those eight glasses of water a day, and can't seem to get past three. It's so much harder to give up Facebook an hour before bed, or as soon as you get up in the morning. If it's possible, replace an old habit with a new habit. For example, if you want to give up soda, brew some herbal tea instead. 

Habits form faster if you stick to the same time and place each day. 

If you're going for a walk whenever you feel like it, you're less likely to find the willpower to keep up. Instead, schedule your walk every day after dinner, for example. You'll be significantly more successful with a specific time. Attaching your habit to something you're already in the habit of doing will also make you more likely to succeed. Who doesn't love success?

Remind yourself why you wanted to change your behavior in the first place. 

A consistent reminder will motivate you! Remind yourself every day why you want to put those sneakers on and work out. You want to stay strong so you can keep up with the kids and their expanding energy. Or use a visual to remind you those frugal habits you're working on will one day lead you to Disney World. Keep your reason on your heart and in front of your face, and it will help you stick it out. It will take time to build those habits and replace the old ones. But keep your eyes on the prize!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

How to Build New Habits

3 Steps to Creating New Habits 

We all strive to be better people, at least that's my hope for society. Perhaps we create new years resolutions, or we want to create new habits to reduce our social anxiety. I want to create fitness habits, or create healthy habits, or new eating habits. It may seem overwhelming to create a new habit and find a way to maintain it. I must need so much will power to convince myself to keep this new habit, right?

See also: How Long Does It Take to Create a Habit

Well, let’s talk about forming new habits, then. You have had times in your life where you intentionally want to change your behavior for the better and create new habits for yourself. This could be getting in the habit of eating healthier and drinking more water, maybe even meal planning. Or it could be moving more and taking the dog for a daily walk, as a way to help alleviate your social anxiety.  Or it could be work related maybe you want to create a more productive work space, or spiritual, or… There are so many areas in our lives that could be improved and made easier if we created new habits. 

Getting into the habit of doing something is often easier said than done. We seem to acquire bad habits without any effort, but getting into a “good” habit can be a little more challenging, have you noticed?

Let’s break it down into a three step process that makes it easy to follow until we’ve internalized the new behavior and made it a true habit – something we do automatically without having to think about, like brushing our teeth or getting on Facebook. 

Decide What Habit You Want To Start 

What a simple step, right? The first step is to decide what you want that new habit to be. Be as specific as possible to ensure your success. Don’t just tell yourself you want to exercise more, that's so abstract. What is more? How will you know that you're successful if you don't have distinct goals? Instead say something like “I will go for a 30 minute walk every morning at 7am”. Deciding what your new habit will be and committing to when and how you’re going to do it is half the battle. 

Remind Yourself To Get It Done 

The next few days should be easy peasy. You’re motivated and excited to get this done. Look at you! Being successful. You're thinking of starting your own support group for those former non work outters. You can tell everyone how successful you are just getting three days in. Girl I'm right there with you. Sticking to your new habit isn’t an issue. But a few days in you’ll notice that it’s easy to slip back into old habits. 

Maybe it’s raining and you don’t really want to go out and walk or maybe it's laundry day, and your day gets away from you. This is when it’s important to have a daily reminder. Set an alert on your phone or add the new habit to your daily to-do list so it's not lost in the shuffle. I take my children to school every day of the week, and I still have a list of things I need to do to ensure it all gets done. 

Make It Part Of Your Routine Until It Becomes A Habit 

It takes some time before a new behavior becomes a true habit, which will require little to no extra willpower to keep up with. Until then, a routine will keep your new habit at the front of your brain during the day. Even before the new behavior becomes automatic, a routine will help you get it done without having to spend a lot of willpower or relying on daily reminders. I love attaching new habits to old routines, it helps so much with remembering to get it done. 

Make a daily walk part of your after dinner routine, or instead of grabbing a snack from the vending machine at work to packing a healthy snack. 

What new habits are you working on? What has helped you become successful?

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