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. 

Getting Ready For Easter – Plus an Awesome GIVEAWAY!!! 

We decorated for Easter the day after St. Patty’s day and I have learned in the past year or so that if I want to add on to my decorations, they must be Hucklebaby friendly.

I am loving anything that uses his fine motor skills at the moment, I’m sure that won’t change…and so when I see projects we can do together, that I can store away and bring out year after year…I grab them.

Thank you Target for providing a huge blue egg that was Hucklebaby level, that he carried around the store. Honestly watching him carry two of these at the same time was quite amusing. First project – around $5.

Next project…wooden eggs. In my mind, as I’m walking down the aisle, thinking what a great thing this will be, to pull the eggs out year after year and “remember”.

Oh, how I thought painting wooden eggs would be so wonderful…

It was a wonderful 4 minutes. We discovered it is much more fun painting arms and legs and what? I’m not supposed to paint my face.

Project ended.

You see that small red spot on the egg. Yep. That’s exactly what the egg still looks like. All the other ones are still bare.  I’ll pull these out again next year and see what happens.

Next project…egg stuffing.

This is Hucklebaby’s first year that he understands what he’s doing “hunting” for eggs. His school has a rule about NO CANDY…so gummies (as they are called in this house) are the next best thing right? Plus they are the only thing I could find that would fit in the eggs.

I grabbed eggs and gummies – 12 of both to be exact. Except Target only gave me 11. In the box of 12…they only put in 11. Easter Egg crisis. Come on Target? Do I have to count the gummies now? Is this how they are saving money?? Or is someone that boxes tummies laughing at all of the parents that are probably experiencing the same thing I did. Well played Target, well played.

Dear parent of the one kid that got a left over Valentine’s Fruit by the Foot in their egg… I’m sure it’s still good. :)

So after the painting and egg stuffing…a Pirate Egg is just what we need…   

I am reminding myself that things don’t need to be perfect. This is his time to be creative and find his way. They need to be his artistic choices. Yes, a toddler needs artistic choices. I’m sure it’s a thing.

Hook out of the top of the head? Perfect.

So this is what the directions look like and this is what my new Easter center piece looks like. :)

This time of year we love reading books about spring, chicks and bunnies. Want to know what our favorite spring bunny book is?

Guess How Much I Love You…A Hucklebaby Book Club Classic!

Did you know it’s 20 years old this year? To celebrate spring and Easter and just how wonderful this book is…Hucklebaby wanted to do a giveaway!

Each of 3 lucky winners will get a copy of the 20th Anniversary “Guess How Much I Love You” as well as an Event Kit with tons of kiddo activities.

Here is a link for additional activities if you already have the book in your collection.

Make Your “Own Guess How Much I Love” You Greeting Card 

 GHMILY story time set up

On winner will be selected from the blog – simply follow and post your favorite kid activity for spring.

Two winners will be selected from Instagram – follow @mariannafrances, repost the image with the #guesshowmuch and comment with your favorite kid activity for spring.

Feel free to do both for a better chance to win. Contest ends on Friday, April 3, 2015.

You get a chick…You get a chick…

There is one teacher in my school that hatches chicks every year. It’s such a cool thing for the kiddos to experience and I always wanted to do that with my kids. I finally asked her where she gets the eggs from…and I’m so mad that I waited so long to ask. Our Florida 4-H program gives you everything you need. All I had to do was contact them and they delivered it right to the room.

Today two wonderful ladies came with the incubator (it’s so much smaller than I had imagined), 7 fertilized eggs, and a daily flip chart of what the insides of our eggs look like.

I cleared off a table for the incubator because I imagined a huge thing, but this one is about the size of a basketball. It auto-rotates the eggs so we don’t have to do anything except put a few ounces of water in the center every few days. It makes a little noise before it rotates them, nothing too distracting…but all day today every one stopped to watch as the eggs rolled. I’ll admit I did too.

These are the eggs that were brought in. The initials at the top show which “mom” they came from. I’m sure it’s to keep an accurate chicken count. Maybe… I honestly have no idea…

Before they left, we were able to see the chickens that laid the eggs and where the chicks will go after they have hatched. No, we do not get to keep them forever. Although I don’t think some of my girls were listening when I said this and I predict a few tears when we have to say good bye.

The eggs are in. Only 21 more days to go. My kids think I know exactly what to do when they start hatching and were asking a million questions about it today. I had to act like I wasn’t gonna freak out as soon as I see a little beak poke through. I’m probably as excited as they are.

My only comfort at this point is that the presenters will come back in 10 days to “candle” the eggs…so we can see what is actually growing in them. I’m sure I’ll have my baby chick parenting questions fully formed by then.

I’m not sure how long the class gets to keep the chicks after they hatch… :) I think I should have asked…

I do love this chart that they left too. It reminds me of what I looked at when I was pregnant with Hucklebaby. We can all see what’s happening inside our eggs each day but I fear there will be a few parents upset when their kids swear they will no longer eat eggs after we watch what happens to the egg yoke… :)

Leprechaun Hucklebaby 

I love any reason to get dressed up. I’m trying to give that excitement to Hucklebaby as well. His school invited us to walk in the town’s St. Patrick’s Day parade this past week and I thought it would be a great experience.  He loved getting dressed up and really loved the green spray in his hair. He was my little Leprechaun Hucklebaby.

We arrived about 10 minutes before the start and found his school bus. We could either ride the bus or walk in front of it. Random Fact: Hucklebaby has never ridden a school bus… and after getting him to the first step of this one…he still has not ridden one. In case you were wondering, yes…his school has a short bus. :)

My mom happened to be in town for the day and came with us to the parade. Good thing I have extra boas on hand for occasions like these. :)

This kid…he makes me laugh. He just randomly picked up a rainbow umbrella that was there and started twirling. That green moo-stache stayed on for about 3 seconds.

Ready with our goodie bags of stuff to throw out…


The parade started…and then something happened.

Hucklebaby and I were walking with everyone else and he had a moment. Not an expected one though. He REFUSED to walk in the road. Would. Not. Do. It.

I blame myself. Everything is so concrete with him right now. Yes, no, black, white. I have made it clear that he should NEVER EVER go in the street. (that’s what parents do)

And now here I am making him walk IN the street, in front of a moving bus. He called me out.

I honestly hadn’t even thought of it that way. Parades go against everything we are teaching him right now. Stay out of the road, stay away from moving vehicles and don’t throw things at people. I just had to laugh, he was right.

So after 3 or so minutes of walking in the parade… we then had to walk beside our group in the parade. Yes. On the sidewalk. Where it was safe. Parade of one. Leprechaun Hucklebaby.

I wait all year for October…


I’m not sure why October is my favorite month. I love the feel of it. Everything feels a little “different”. Living in South Florida there isn’t that much of a change. It’s still mostly sticky. Uggg. Don’t even get me started on how I would love to wear layers. You’ve heard of a bikini body??? I have a layers body. A mighty fine one at that.

One of the main reasons I want to move north is to be able to experience a legit fall. Trees, hay rides, hot apple cider. I fake my way through fall in South Florida. All you have to do is crank the AC down and pull out cozy pj’s. I make the best out of my regional situation.

I have this problem…where as soon as Halloween decorations come out in the stores…I put them up at home. Yes, before October… I would keep them up year round…but even I know that is questionable.

The first gift Billiam ever gave to me when we were dating was this guy. Yes, a pirate skeleton. Romantic right? Every year we dig him out of the Halloween decorations, Billiam likes to remind me what a lucky lady I am.


Over the years…I have fallen in love with Dept. 56 Halloween Village Decorations. That love affair ended quickly when Hucklebaby was born. So I’ve downgraded to the Michael’s Lemax Village. (they are much cheaper) Think Tory Birch vs. Target purse of Halloween houses.


2 Halloween “Christmas” trees…uh yeah…


I’m still loving this Halloween house I made a few years ago. You can still see the original blog post here of how I made it.


Here are a few of my other favorite decorations from around the house. I would show you all of them…but I’m afraid you would judge me, and rightfully so.


I’ve been brainstorming Halloween costumes and don’t like any of the cutesy toddler stuff I keep seeing.

I think I am set on Daryl Dixon for Hucklebaby, I’m just not sure if it is too obscure… or age appropriate. But it does make me laugh. Then Billiam and I could be Zombies… :)


I’m also thinking that I want to be a “homemade” costume mom. My mom made my costumes… I feel like I should make Hucklebaby’s. That’s the great part of trick or treating. Praying your costume doesn’t fall apart…

Because I’ve scaled down my Halloween designer decorations…I’ve started adding to our collection of Halloween books. I want Hucklebaby to love this time of year as much as I do. Plus…I’ve got this thing about never having too many books.


Those books never stay organized for too long. I’m ok with that.

Because we love Halloween books around here…we want to spread the love! Here are the books that could be yours!


What are you/ your kids dressing up for to Trick-or-Treat? Plus…Hucklebaby homemade costume suggestions.

Comment below for your chance to win…


Make sure to follow @mariannafrances on Instagram for an additional chance at winning.