A Full Day of Festive Toddler Food

Thursday, December 13, 2018
This post was written in collaboration with Kiddobloom, however, all opinions are my own.

You all know I love being creative. If you've been following along with our family for any length of time, you also know I love me a good nutrient dense meal or snack. So when the holidays come around, and I have a festive reason to combine these two passions of mine - you better believe I'm all in. While I've included a full day's worth of ideas here, you could certainly do them across a variety of days throughout the season. Feel free to pair your favorite holiday songs, activities and books alongside them as well!


Breath a Sigh of Relief with Smartbeat Video Baby Monitor

Saturday, December 8, 2018
This post was written in collaboration with Smartbeat, however, all opinions are my own.

As a mama to a preemie, I entered the world of parenthood to the tune of monitors. For the first few weeks of my little one's life, we had constant access to his heart rate, oxygen levels and more while he was both awake and sleeping giving us peace of mind that all was well in that tiny body of his. When we finally brought Asher home, I will admit, I had a difficult time being away from all of those reassuring beeps and buzzes from the hospital. The hardest for me was the nighttime when I needed to be getting much needed rest myself, but struggled with worries like "Is my baby breathing?" or "Is he okay?" throughout many of those first few weeks home together.


My Favorite Subscription Boxes for the Whole Family + A Giveaway!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018
This post was written in collaboration with Incredibundles, however, all opinions are my own.

I don't know about you, but I love a good gift that keeps on giving. Whether it be a membership to the zoo or a local museum, a subscription to a favorite site or magazine or even a set of new cleaning or baking tools that I can use for years, I truly value receiving something that can be enjoyed time and again.

Enter subscription boxes. This year I've had the pleasure of experiencing quite a few with my family, and I have to say, the joy of receiving a monthly box at your door, be it full of themed surprises or full of daily necessities, can be well worth the investment. Below I've compiled a list of some of my favorites (that I've either tried or I'm hoping to) for this holiday season that could certainly serve as long-lasting gift ideas for the whole family.


All Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu Season

Friday, November 2, 2018
October has come to a close and while the season of turkeys and holiday carols is drawing near, so too is another less festive one - cold and flu season.

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to attend a workshop on natural ways to prevent and relieve cold and flu symptoms with a few local experts in the field. I learned so many great tips and tricks, that I felt it only fitting to come back and share them with all of you. The following are a variety of highlights from the session as well as some things we intend to do and have on hand this season to help us combat the "bugs" ahead.

Creating a Safe Halloween for All

Monday, October 29, 2018
As a health conscious parent of a 2-year-old that is just beginning to understand and enjoy the spirit of Halloween as well as a former teacher who understands the wide variety of allergies that many children face on the daily, I have begun putting a much greater deal of thought into what types of "goodies" to share with our fellow trick-or-treaters. I want to ensure that what we are passing out is inclusive to kids with allergies, kids whose families seek to limit sugar and all kids who are just out looking to have a wonderful time while collecting a variety of fun things along the way.

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!

Valentine's Themed Activities for Toddlers

Monday, February 12, 2018

Last week we spent our days learning about L-O-V-E! And hearts - I'll admit there were lots of those too. Here are some of the books we read to start our "lessons" each morning:

Winter Themed Activities for Toddlers

Monday, February 5, 2018
We had a blast this week embracing winter! While we did get outside a few times to play in the snow, we also took advantage of the warmth and brought "winter" indoors for a variety of our activities. Below are a few of the books that we used to kick off our learning each day.

We began our week of winter themed fun with a snow sensory experience. I snagged some snow from outside while Asher was eating breakfast and then after our story, we dug in. He loved filling the measuring cup with the spoon and his dump trunk and then dumping it out to do all over again. You could certainly fill your tub with just about anything you have on hand.

Because Love is Everyday

Monday, January 29, 2018
This post was written in exchange for a Custom Pencil Portrait from Caleigh's Custom Fine Art Portraits; however, all opinions are my own. 

As this season of "love" approaches, I have been thinking a great deal about ways in which we can go about these next few weeks full of hearts, flowers and chocolates in a meaningful way with our little man. And while there will certainly be festive banners hung and Valentine's made in our home, I want to ensure it goes deeper than that. I want this little blossoming boy of ours to know not only what a heart is, but how to have a heart for people. I want him to not only understand love as gift giving, hugs and kisses, but something that is without conditions- something that is unconditional.


Shape Activities for Toddlers

Sunday, January 28, 2018

As Asher and I have gotten into more of a routine these past 6 months or so since I decided to stay home, one thing we are beginning to incorporate more regularly now is a learning theme for our week. It may be tied to something in which he is showing interest, the season, foundational skills, etc. I am kind of playing it by ear as we go at the moment! Either way, he is really starting to demonstrate a desire to know more about his world around him, using more vocabulary everyday and starting to comprehend texts, feelings, new concepts, etc., and it is so enjoyable to be along for the ride.

That being said, now each morning after we eat our breakfast together, we spend time reading a book related to our theme for the week and then doing a corresponding learning activity together. All of these activities are pretty quick to put together and require very few supplies - as this mama is on a time and monetary budget these days. So far though, we have both been absolutely loving having this additional bit of structured time to our morning, and I am seeing my little man truly pick up these concepts that we practice for just these small tidbits of time each day right before my eyes. Not to mention, he is connecting his new knowledge to all of the learning and exploring that takes place throughout his day. Win, win!

Creating Effective Morning & Bedtime Routines with Toddlers

Monday, January 15, 2018

I'll be honest, as first time parents with a babe whose favorite hobbies are eating and observing the world around him, our first several months of our little's life in the sleep department were beyond rough. One of the biggest game changers for us, however, was finally creating an effective routine for all of us and sticking to it each and every day. Now, I can honestly say something that during those long days and nights, I wasn't sure would ever come out of my mouth - our little man is a pretty darn good sleeper! Not only that, (and I don't want to jinx it) but our morning and bedtime routines run pretty much like clockwork around here these days.

Gluten & Dairy Free Toddler Snacks

Friday, January 5, 2018

This post was written in exchange for a t-shirt from Willow Co Design; however, all opinions are my own. 

This little man of our loves to eat. I should have known he would be a good eater from day one as he guzzled breastmilk like he just ran a marathon. As he reached the 6 month mark, we slowly but surely began introducing him to solid foods. I wanted to ensure that his palette became accustomed a variety of tastes, so we introduced everything from avocado to liver to peppers along with a variety of spices for flavor. Around the first birthday mark, as he began relying less on breastmilk as a main source of nutrients, we began introducing daily snacks into his diet along with his meals.