Friday, July 21, 2017

Favorite Faves: Soccer Camp, Dentist Visits and YouTube Kids

The last 2 weeks have been so busy for our family. Granted, I'm to blame for our busy schedule but still, it's been a busy 14 days. I've been looking towards this Friday and the weekend for quiet some time. We have plans to tackle a home improvement project, making leaving the house the last thing on our minds. Operation stay home and get things done kicks off tomorrow morning! With so much going on, here are a few highlights and random thoughts for this week.


ONE | SOCCER CAMP


Connor completed soccer camp last week and loved every single hot and humid minute of it. When asked what his favorite part of camp was, he said playing in the World Cup and having a British coach. He is so obsessed with all things English lately. Camp ran Monday through Friday for a little over an hour. Connor picked up new skills and was able to play in a mock game with other little boys in his group. What I loved about the camp most was that it was a small group of kids, just 4, giving each participant loads of one on one with the Coach James. Thanks to my partnership with US Family Guide, CJ was able to attend the camp free of cost but because of how awesome it was, we plan to sign him up again for one later this year.

TWO | WEEK AT A GLANCE


Speaking of busy weeks, I've been really struggling remembering what we have when. I know I could easily put "appointments" in my phone but I don't use my phone's calendar so I needed something that I could fill in each week and see our plans at a glance. I recalled Beth sharing a printable last year and visited her blog to print out copies of my own. Her free weekly planner is perfect. I fill it out, stick in on the fridge and BAM! I have my act together again.

THREE | TEETH OBSESSED

In last week's Little Letters I mentioned that I've been obsessing over my dental hygiene routine. Here is why: I've always had good teeth. I never braces as a kid and have had just one small cavity the year after C was born. Last year I had to have a dental procedure done to help fill in my teeth because I was grinding the down, creating valleys. Fast forward to this Spring and I had the same procedure done on the other side. But during both cleanings I was told that I had a lot of plaque. That Connor had some as well and it's often hereditary. I am not a fan of any type of dental work so I've been on high alert with my teeth since then. I brush 3 times a day, floss twice and use mouthwash every morning. One of my favorite toothpastes is Himalaya Botanique Toothpaste.


Their toothpastes combine Neem leaf – which cleans teeth and gives the formulation its sparkle, pomegranate – an astringent fruit that extract that supports healthy looking gums, Triphala – a traditional detox formula in ancient Ayurveda composed of the three myrobalan fruits for clean teeth and a radiant smile, and Xylitol – a tooth-friendly sweetener that has been clinically-studied to support good oral hygiene. Himalaya Botanique Whitening Complete Care Toothpaste also contains Papain and Bromelain, the enzymes from papaya and pineapple to help remove surface stains.

I tried the Whitening Complete Care toothpaste that is supposed to whiten teeth, freshen breath and help remove plaque (my biggest concern). My first impression of the toothpaste is that it tasted and smelled exactly like the products used at my dentists office. I'm eager to use it more and see if my teeth whiten and if my plaque issue is better at my next cleaning in October. This line of toothpaste doesn't have fluoride but at each check-up I have a fluoride treatment done and we drink tap water so I think I'm set there. 

If anyone is curious about this brand, their website offers free samples, or you can get 25% off on Amazon with the code F8DETJQL. Himalaya Botanique Toothpaste is also available at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Natural Grocers, and Vitamin Cottage as well as regional health food stores including PCC Natural Markets, Central Market, Mother’s Market, Earth Origins, King Soopers, etc.

For More Info on Himalaya Botanique Toothpaste:

FOUR | WILL & GRACE ENCORE


This isn't new news but I can't tell you how excited I am for Will & Grace this Fall. It's coming back to TV on Thursdays on NBC, the same channel that rips my heart out every week with This Is Us. Since I finished Brothers and Sisters, I am now moving onto W&G. I've watched a lot of the episodes but mostly the last 3 seasons. There are 8 seasons total so I have from now till September 28th to watch seasons 1-8 in their entirety and then start fresh with season 9. Which is a little over 190 episodes! Challenge accepted! Who will be watching the encore with me this Fall?

FIVE | YOUTUBE KIDS


I mentioned earlier this week that Connor was grounded from YouTube Kids. Here's the deal... I use computer time to keep Connor busy while I work on blog tasks. I try to keep it to an hour at a time and only once a day. This habit started out harmless but then he would have his iPad for hours on end whenever we needed him to be preoccupied. While this isn't the best parenting technique, sometimes you do what you have to do. Connor started watching videos of families living life, going on vacation, throwing birthday parties along with watching a gamer play videos. So instead of playing with the 1.1 million toys he has, Connor would prefer to watch other kids live life. That alone was annoying enough. But then Connor's behavior started going downhill. James and I finally connected the dots and took YouTube away. That was about 5 months ago. Things improved and he was given YouTube rights again. However, the behavior started again and he became obsessed with his iPad. He would choice it over any and everything. All he wanted to talk about where this YouTube personality or this family or what they had and what he needed because someone on YouTube had. He even went as far as to say that if he didn't get something that insert any kid from any YouTube family had then he didn't want to do it at all. He was under the impression that these kids were living normal lives and his expectations were ridiculous. It's now been a little over a month since he has last watched it and if we have it our way, he won't ever have access to it. To sum it all up, it was like Connor was hanging out with the "bad kids" at school and was picking up their less than desirable behaviors. That doesn't fly with us so removed the negative source and since then, the tantrums and bad attitude have nearly disappeared. Anyone else HATE YouTube Kids?


This weekend we are tackling our basement and I am eager to get started on it and purge, purge, purge! But before we do, Saturday morning we are treating CJ to a trip to the donut shop. Needless to say, I'm eager for tomorrow morning and starting the weekend off with a donut filled sugar high!

Happy weekend, friends!
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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What We Love About You, Connor J!

In just over 3.5 months we are going to be the parents of a 5 year old. I don't even know how that's possible. My mind struggles comprehending the fact that our sweet little CJ is no longer a toddler but a full-fledged preschooler. Because time has been moving quicker and quicker and our days are packed full, I wanted to spend some time this morning reflecting on the little things about Connor that we are loving so much lately.


... Every morning Connor climbs into our bed and sweetly asks to go downstairs. I've never meet someone so eager to get the day started.

... His willingness to try new foods is growing. He recently started eating cereal. Yes, cereal! Up until this point he had no interest in trying it but that's changing. This week alone he tried popcorn shrimp, biscuits/breads (he isn't much of a carb fan) and granola bars.

... "Take my picture please!" is a common request and then he has to see the photo. This is something that is both cute and a bit ridiculous. He has asked to have his photo taken next to a speed limit sign and of himself hugging a tree. Both totally random.

... Big Brother is his current favorite "big kid show". While this isn't the most kid-friendly show to watch with him, he loves it. He picked Kevin, the rodeo clown/cowboy, as his favorite.

... Give him a stack of Legos and he will be set for hours. He loves playing with them and will put his imagination to use for an entire afternoon.

... Soccer and swim are his sports and he thinks he likes swim more than soccer because "being hot isn't fun". He gets his love of cool temps and activities from his Momma no doubt.

... Everywhere we go he makes a friend or two. I've never meet a little person who is so eager to create friendships. I have to tell him often that I don't know how to get a hold of this person or that person because he wants to play with every single kid he crosses paths with. He truly has the sweetest heart.

... When asked what he wanted to do for his birthday he picked out 4 different themes and close to 10 different locations. He can't make up his mind but instead threw out there that we could do a party a day. I know we spoil him but even that is a bit much by my book.

... His school loving heart can not wait to go back to school. We don't go back till August 30th so he still has a bit of his Summer left. When I asked what he is so eager for he replied "I just want to be with my friends again Momma". See?  He really digs his people!

... He has been "grounded" from YouTube (that could be an entire post in itself) for 1 full month and yet still thinks we are going to Europe on vacation one day to meet Ethan Gamer. I was hoping his obsession with YouTube would fade since he no longer has access to it but so far no dice. We are holding strong though and this will be a YouTube free home.

Time is flying by so fast. I'm trying to savor every second of this season. Both the good and bad parts. Because it's not always happy, happy, joy, joy over here. I do have to say that this season has been a pretty good one overall. I'm enjoying the upside of 4 and am eager to see what 5 brings us.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Homemade Sidewalk Chalk Paint {Water Play}

Summer has arrived and with it comes the need to stay cool. One way we do just that is to include a bit of water in our day. What I was on a mission to do this month was to find ways to enjoy some water play from the comfort of home. Yes, we could head to the pool and cool off but some days, I don't want to leave the house so we have to get creative in how we stay busy. Using this month's children's book, "The Magic School Bus: At The Waterworks", as our guide, we learned about how water is cleaned, where it's stored and how we have access to it. Then we put it to use with the help of cornstarch and paintbrushes! 


"The Magic School Bus: At The Waterworks" is the perfect book for those kids who are constantly questioning the how or whys of things work, specifically the waterworks in your city. Join Ms. Frizzle and her students as they follow the trail of water, from its sky-high source to the school bathroom sink on this wet and wild field trip. After parking the school bus on a cloud and shrinking to raindrop size, Ms. Frizzle's class gets to see the waterworks from the water's point of view. If you are a fan of The Magic School Bus this is a fun book to share with your little ones. 

We put a bit of water to use and made sidewalk chalk paint for the first time. It's super simple to mix up a batch and is made with ingredients that are more than likely sitting in your pantry. 


How to Make Homemade Sidewalk Chalk Paint
Supplies needed are water, cornstarch and food coloring. To make your own sidewalk chalk paint, fill your container of choice halfway with cornstarch. I like using muffin tins from our local grocery store. Add you choice of colors. Add water to the colored cornstarch and give a quick stir. I always add the coloring before the water, because it distributes the color more evenly. I don't measure anymore, but the first time I made sidewalk chalk paint I found that I prefer a ratio of 1 part water to 1.5 parts cornstarch. It is a matter of preference. Some people prefer equal parts. In my opinion, you can't go wrong. If it's too thin add water. If it's too runny add cornstarch. It really is that simple.


Connor loved this activity. Not only did he help with creating the paints, he loved that he could paint the sidewalk and played Tic Tac Toe, a new favorite in our home. The paint dries quickly and looks exactly like chalk. It doesn't rub off easily so that makes creating pretty artwork fun for little artists. 



Cleaning up is simple too. Hand your kiddos the hose and let them spray away the paint, which of course gives you another way to have a bit of water fun. CJ loves using the hose and this was probably the highlight of his day. I would suggest cleaning up the paint quickly as the longer it's in the sun, the harder it is to remove it all from the cement.  


Looking for more ways to have water fun at home?
Check out these suggestions...