How to Create a Weekly "Clean" Routine

Thursday, September 6, 2018
This post was written in collaboration with CleverMade, however, all opinions are my own.

A few months back, my husband and I sat down and developed a weekly cleaning and organizational schedule for our home. Prior to this we had things that we loosely accomplished the same day each week, but I always felt like we (or maybe I, in particular), needed more structure to ensure that everything we wanted to accomplish got done on a more consistent basis. While things do come up, I have found that having this plan in place has definitely given me more peace of mind as we navigate our busy weeks.

Gluten/Dairy Free "Comfort Food" Swaps for the Whole Family

Tuesday, July 24, 2018
This post was written in exchange for products from Kiddiebites, however, all opinions are my own.

There have been so many adults and kids alike that have made the switch to a gluten and even dairy free lifestyle over the past several years either out of necessity or desire for a healthier lifestyle. In doing so, I often hear individuals at the start of their journey share concerns of missing out on some of their former favorite "comfort foods". That being said, not only has the food industry come a long way in ensuring many of these are still made available to us "free" folks, but also there are an incredible array of recipes out there now that provide us with alternative and creative ways of going about making many of these goodies that then nourish our bodies in the particular way we need or desire.

My All Natural Morning Routine Must Haves

Friday, June 1, 2018
This post was written in exchange for products from Beauty Counterhowever, all opinions are my own.

As a mom, it is important to me that my morning "beauty" routine is quick and easy. As a woman, it's important to me that this same routine is one that supports my body in a natural way. I am all about utilizing the bare basics on the daily. And by "bare" I mean, simple, but also clean, without any harsh and potentially toxic chemicals lurking in them. If you haven't ever visited the EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, I would highly encourage you to head there and search the products you are currently using. It will break them down by ingredient and tell you what health impact each may have.  The results may surprise you. That being said, the following are a few of my favorites, filled with only the good stuff, for getting my day started off on the right foot.

Easy Activities to Do with Toddlers Right Outside your Front Door

Tuesday, April 24, 2018
This post was written in exchange for bottles from Pura Stainless; however, all opinions are my own. 

When you live in a place where winter occupies half the year, you learn to embrace the cold. But my goodness all, when that first warm, sunny day finally arrives, it feels like heaven on your skin. That first opportunity of the year to let your toes wiggle free, to head out without a jacket and to just sit on your porch and let the breeze brush across your face - there is just nothing quite like it. We had that first day of official "spring feels" here this week, and we are just soaking it all up.

Last spring little man had just started crawling and was still pretty immobile, and I can already tell this year is going to be a whole different ball game. The minute we head outside we are ready to jump in every puddle, pick up all the sticks, point out all the bunny "poo poo" and give mom a near heart attack as we dart toward the street. Because of this, I have no doubt we will be out an about at the park, on the trails, at the beach, you name it this summer, taking in all that the great outdoors has to offer and explore. That being said, there are those days too, when you just feel like sticking a little closer to home. And because of that, I have been working to brainstorm a few things we can do this summer right from the comfort of our front porch to not only enjoy the fleeting season of warm weather but continue to learn and explore our world while we are at it.

Spanish Color Activities for Toddlers

Monday, March 12, 2018
Asher has been right on the cusp of figuring out some of his colors for weeks now, so I thought I would spend a week giving him a little boost. While we still certainly have some work to do, it was great to hone both of our brains in this week on some of these basic concepts. Let it be noted that while the activities/colors you see below are in Spanish, you could certainly adapt any of these ideas into your language of choice.

We kicked off our week on Monday with an overview of the colors by learning a new song about them that we would sing each day throughout the week. I found and adapted our song from Spanish Playground (sung to the tune of "10 Little Fingers") and wrote it out on large construction paper utilizing the corresponding crayon color for each name in the song. As you can see, it's nothing fancy by any means, but it served its purpose to kick off our lesson each day.

Teaching a Toddler about Race

Monday, February 26, 2018
Raising a racially conscious child is something that has been important to me even before my child made his way onto this earth. Being a teacher, it is a topic I've thought about often, in order to be responsive to the diverse array of students that come into my classroom and so that I can seek to give them all a platform for bringing their wonderings about this topic to the forefront.

Research has shown that children are able to nonverbally begin categorizing people by race and gender by six months of age (maybe even earlier) and that by ages 3-5 children not only categorize people by race, but even begin to express bias based on race (Winkler, 2009). To me, this brings two key ideas to the forefront - first being, that neither children, nor we as adults are "colorblind". Colorblindness is more or less this idea of  "I don't see color" or "I see everyone as the same". But the fact of the matter is, we do and we should see color. We should be acknowledging each person's uniqueness, personhood and experiences. It's important. It matters. The second being, that we need to be talking about the concept of race and even racism, for that matter, with our kids long before they enter their school years. It needs to be something that we do on an ongoing, everyday basis through our everyday interactions.

This week I began to introduce some of the very basics of race to Asher. We read stories and did activities which enabled us to begin to have these conversations that I intend to continue and build upon as he grows. I want him growing up in a space where it is not only safe to talk about it, but it is encouraged and it is normal.

Olympics Themed Activities for Toddlers

Sunday, February 18, 2018

In honor of the Winter Olympics taking place over the course of these next few weeks, we took the opportunity this week to learn a little bit about the games and how to play some popular winter sports. As with all Olympic events, we kicked off our week by lighting our "Olympic Torch".

To make our torch, I snagged a flashlight floating around our house and simply wrapped a piece of tissue paper we had on hand around the top (you could certainly use orange or yellow as well). Then I wrapped aluminum foil around the based to cover it as well as hold the tissue paper in place. We closed all of the windows in the bedroom and had a blast watching our torch light up the ceiling and walls and making shadow puppets. After our torch lighting ceremony, we headed to our craft area for a little fine motor activity where we created the fire of the torch by gluing scraps of construction paper to the page. I drew an outline on the top prior to gluing to help guide Asher, but as you can see, one little friend didn't quite make it in - and I think it just adds character!