Non-Candy Cupid 

I’m sure I get it from my mother…but I feel like every holiday needs a little something special. OK…maybe a basket of goodies. I don’t go crazy, but while my kids are little I really want them to enjoy the holidays as much as I remember enjoying them. I know they won’t have the school parties I used to have or the celebrations because it takes away from instructional time…

Those days at school were the best, and I hate knowing that they are missing out on that as soon as they are in elementary school.

I don’t go overboard with candy. In fact I try to avoid candy as much as possible. Because we have stepped up baking in our house, we always have sugar around. Honestly, the last thing we need is more sugar.

This is what Hucklebaby’s Cupid Basket looks like. I still haven’t figured out if Cupid brings it or if mom and dad do. Anyone else have a suggestion? Who delivers the Valentine Basket?  

I have started a collection of fun baking pans for the kitchen… No way am I spending $20 a pan though. If you wait until the day or two before whatever holiday you are buying for Joann’s has them for 70% off usually and sometimes you can even get a discount on top of that. I was able to get the heart pan, icing and sprinkles for less than $10 after the discounts and coupons. No, I’m not a crazy coupon lady…I just get their texts and coupons in the mail.

I was also able to get the heart wooden pallet for a few dollars instead of $10 because of the 70% off. I love keeping these and decorating the house year after year. The Target Dollar spot is another great place to grab non-candy goodies. I always grab bath items when they have them. I really like “consumable” toys/ gifts. They are one less thing that clutters up the house, but still serve a purpose. 

Here are a few more things I grabbed from Target. Each one was only $1.

These blind bag items…they are a bit pricy for what they are $3-$5…but he absolutely loves them right now (thanks YouTube) and he doesn’t get them often. Plus I like them too. I just wish they had more geared toward some of the boy Disney shows, although we do love Callie and Doc. 

Cupid delivers…

Plus I couldn’t post my Valentine’s post without including this adorable picture of Hucklebaby. He woke me up to Banana Fosters pancakes, white roses and a framed picture of him and the baby (still working on a nickname here). He’s started writing letters in pancake batter…I promise to do another post about that soon. But he knows my letter is M…so he made me an M. Too much adorable to handle sometimes. 

Happy Valentine’s Day from ours to yours.

Valentine Cookies

Sometimes I see Charm City Cake products at Target and I think about grabbing a few and for some reason, I don’t think I have until now. As I was walking around the Valentine section these jumped out at me. While I’m sure I could make much better fresh strawberry cookies…I wanted to make sure I am still doing projects with Hucklebaby with a new kiddo in the house. Plus, only one week in with two kids, I’m still juggling my time and sleep. Hucklebaby has been incredibly sweet to his new baby brother and I absolutely melt when I watch them together.

I knew he would enjoy these, especially after his Valentine’s Day Party at school.    

There are three things in the box so look carefully. Cookie mix, mini chocolate chips and a tiny food coloring packet. I almost threw this away, it was stuck to the very bottom.

This dough was difficult for little hands to mix and got stuck in the whisk almost immediately. For adults this is fine, but for my little guy he got frustrated, so we had to dig out the dough a few times with a fork. He did enjoy that part though.
  

Time for the mini chocolate chips. Not gonna lie, not all of them made it in the batter. He asked to “try” a few and I couldn’t say no.:)

I’m big on working on his fine motor skills and using a cookie scoop is perfect for this. 

As you can see placement on the cookie sheet is still something we are working on. He’s not too concerned with the cookies baking together. 

In fact…he decided he wanted to make a crocodile instead of boring cookie balls…and why not. He was excited, so who am I to say no. This was his project and I love that he was being creative.

My only concern was how it would bake the large it got…but it was a learning experience for both of us. 

Sidenote: The food coloring is not forgiving…so if you don’t want pink hands all afternoon…don’t use it.

The finished product. Even though they were all shapes and sizes and not uniform at all, they all baked all the way through. The strawberry was not overpowering and mostly just tasted like a chocolate chip cookie with a little flavoring. I’m not crazy about them though. They left an artificial flavor in my mouth for a good amount of time after I ate them. I get that they have artificial flavor, but I had to eat something else to get the faint strawberry flavoring out of my mouth.

Would I buy them again…no. It makes me question if I want to try other Duff products…but I’ll probably give them another chance. If the next one gas the same after taste I’ll stay away.

And for those of you curious about the Crocodile cookie. It came out perfectly cooked…:)

Hucklebaby Book Club – Fred Friday

Hucklebaby is really into “monsters” at the moment. So anything that looks like a monster (friendly kind) he wants to see…talk about…look at…

Another weird reason I love this book…is my grandfather’s name was Fred. It’s such a simple name, but to me it is filled with an amazing amount of love.

Fred is able to see things no one else can. His world is surrounded by creatures that help humans without them knowing. You know…the strange things that may happen that as adults we never think about. Well… we are being helped by these beings.

Isn’t that such a cool thought? That we are surrounded by creatures that help us all the time? I kinda hope I have a purple one.

Hucklebaby loved telling me about the monsters and what they were all doing. He was very concerned they were in the street though… this kid…     

No one else can see them but Fred. But like everything else…that changed as he got older. He got busy.

Oh, Fred… Oh, Fred getting old…

Have you ever had those moments where you just stop and wonder…??? This book gets deep.:) OK…maybe I’m just having a moment, but honestly this book was very touching.

Fred realized that he had forgotten so many things that once made him who he was, and once he got back to himself, his friends were there again. But they had always been there helping him, he just couldn’t see it…  (insert weepy sound effect here). 

Peter Pauper Publishing is hosting a MEGA FRED FRIDAY GIVEAWAY from May 1st – May 29th for a COMPLETE SET of all TEN of thier critically acclaimed picture booksFred by Kaila Eunhye Seo, and EARLY COPY of All the Lost Things by Kelly Canby, Elephantastic by Michael Engler, The Zoo Is Closed Today! by Evelyn Beilenson, Simpson’s Sheep Won’t Go to Sleep! by Bruce Arant, Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley, Hank Has a Dream by Rebecca Dudley, Celia by Cristelle Vallat, Not the Quitting Kind by Sarra J. Roth, and Digby Differs by Miriam Koch!

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For your chance to win a copy of your own Fred by Kaila Eunhye Seo here’s a Rafflecopter giveaway. Free Fred.:) Good Luck…

Literacy on the Water – Toddler Style

I love looking at mom pages on Facebook for different weekend events…and not too long I saw this one. I usually screen shot them and when Saturday rolls around I can flip through the pictures and see all of the events I was interested in throughout the week, instead of searching through all of the groups and pages again. If I don’t screen shot it when I see it..I will never remember it or be able to find it again.

I wasn’t too sure what it would be…but we got there early before it got too hot.

It wasn’t overly crowded either. Yes. It was on the water…and it was a gorgeous day. I know, I know..It is something that I know we are spoiled with. Most of the events we attend have a beautiful Florida backdrop.

 

Each business that participated chose a children’s book and built a craftivity around it.

I’m not sure if they had to tell the craft to the planners because there were a few crafts that were exactly alike. Hucklebaby didn’t notice though.

  

Pinkalicious wands… well, Billiam wasn’t around so we made one…. hehehe…

 

 

 

 

    

So this one table had no books…no crafts…but they had bandaids and toothbrushes. Holy Moly. This is toddler jackpot. I can’t even explain the fascination Hucklebaby has right now with toothbrushes and bandaids.

 

 

 

            

The park where the event was, was located directly beside a railroad track… this was the closest we had ever been to a moving train. This conductor saw a park of kids and kept that horn going. He knew what he was doing.  Hucklebaby couldn’t take his eyes off of it. He couldn’t decide if he liked it or needed to get in the car immediately. Once it passed he begged for it to come back…:)

 

 

 

 

George was there!!! Yes, our first celebrity run in. 

Free crafts, books, trains and George. It was a great day. Thanks ELC!

After Testing Fun – Peeps and Eggs

State testing…who doesn’t love it?

After the kiddos sit for hours in silence doing their absolute best on state tests (hopefully)…I like doing something fun and a little out if the ordinary with them. Last week we were gearing up for Easter and as soon as I pulled out Peeps, I had their attention. 

I found really cool S.T.E.M. challenges on Teachers Pay Teachers to use with the Peeps. I decided on the Peep Rafts and the Peep Catapults. You see those Sour Watermelon Peeps? Um…hello? Amazing.

I placed the kids in partners and made them sketch out what the catapults should look like. I absolutely loved listening to what they were coming up with. They had to sketch it out and then explain to me what each part was doing and why.   

Please forgive the bare walls and rows of desks…remember we were testing so everything had to be covered or taken down. This is what team work looks like.

When the catapults were ready, they lined up behind the carpet. Some actually went quite far, while others…um…didn’t. Some of them tried to convince me that their Peep would go further if they could eat the ears…wink, wink…

What did the winners get?? Why their own pack of Peeps. I have to brag though, because they all shared with each other. The catapults turned out much better than the rafts.😉

      

The goal was to keep their Peep on the longest without getting wet. I almost feel like everyone was holding their breath watching the Peeps. There was an actual person on “Peep Patrol”. It was their job to monitor the Peeps and let us know when they hit the water. Some were quick and others had strong rafts.

These are really cute activities to do as the end of the school year rounds down too. Make sure to grab a few boxes and save them for a rainy day. Or after testing to get the kids focused on something fun.

I had the Peeps for science, but I still wanted to get a bit of math review in. For some reason my kids can’t remember to regroup until a few problems in. This should be something that is second nature to them by now, so I came up with a reverse egg search.

Each egg had a number on it. The kids had to find an egg (they weren’t really hidden) and then come back and match it with an equation. When they found the matching equation they could put the post-it and egg in their basket. Each egg had a random point number in it. So the person with the most points won, not the person with the most eggs. This encouraged my kids to take their time and make sure they were correct in their addition and subtraction. 

The post-its were easy to pull off of the board and on to the class white board for review. 

Some students solved all of the problems and then went out searching for specific numbers and some found the numbers first and used estimation to narrow down which equations to solve. It was interesting to see their mind work and how many different ways there were to place eggs with equations. 

If they matched the egg and equation correctly, they received the points inside the egg (from 1-10), if they got the egg and equation wrong…either because they were rushing and just trying to get the most eggs, or didn’t regroup….they lost the points. Yep, I’m mean like that. :) 

They loved it!!! I loved that my kids that took their time and used their strategies were the ones that did the best. Look how colorful the board is…I wish it always looked like that.

I’m so glad our testing is over for the year… I hope your kiddos did great on theirs too.:)

An Almost Sugar Free Easter Basket 

I can’t do an Easter basket of candy. I can’t. I’m afraid Hucklebaby has my love of sugar. One bite and he won’t stop until all of the candy is gone. I promise you this, if he doesn’t eat it all I will. Quickly. That’s the last thing either of us need. 

So I’ve told myself the same thing about Easter baskets and Christmas stockings. Little to no candy. My only Easter exception is Peeps. They are an Easter tradition around these parts.    

There is no candy on the inside of the basket. Just things and activities he already enjoys doing. I don’t go crazy. Most of the items are random things I grab throughout the year when they are on sale or in the Target dollar section. I would rather spend a few dollars on something we can do together than sweets that are only that. 

I’ve said before, I’m enjoying the creative time we have together and right now most of the things the Easter Bunny brought him are along these lines. He’s such a good bunny.   

Coloring books and sticker books are a hit right now. Hucklebaby has also started loving dry erase markers and tracing letters and numbers so luckily enough the bunny brought a few of those books.   

Even though painting is always a mess….I still love it. A little stepping stone with a frog on it and wooden reptiles to paint. I’m hoping he likes this little Melissa and Doug stamp set too.   

How cute is the Crayola toothbrush??? We still go through a toothbrush every week or so. Hopefully this one will last longer. The Mr. Bubbles are a go to. He goes through them so fast and is still excited when he gets new ones. 

And of course…we have to round out the basket with an Easter/Spring book.  

I’m thinking about grabbing him a personalized Easter basket if they go on sale this year. It’s about time I go ahead and get that done before he gets too old and cool for it. 😝

Easy Easter Teacher Gifts – “Pin-spiration”

Hucklebaby has six different teachers, so I can’t go crazy each holiday…

I loved this idea from The EveryDaySavy. She had it listed as Valentine’s Ideas but I think it’s perfect for Spring too.

I changed mine a little bit… and let me tell you why…

Instead of opening each package and sticking it through the middle (which I admit, is MUCH more adorable) I opted to tape my sealed lip balms to the back.

If someone sent an OPEN lip balm to me…I’m pretty sure, no matter how cute it was, it would end up in the trash before my lips. I’m just sayin’.

In my mind I would rather lose cute points and have his teachers actually keep and use the EOS. These are headed to school tomorrow…:)

Want to do it too??? Grab your free printable here.