We took back our yard last spring, fighting for control of the space against a formidible foe of Asian jasmine and ivy. Once we had established our dominance and set up an enjoyable outdoor room, it was time to bring in a table for the kids and some play structures. I’ve shared with you our DIY water table already, and today I’m showing our DIY wood table, stools, and play structure. We created them all from wood found in the neighborhood after a storm, for free, and will share how you can make them for your own family.
We are so ready for spring and getting back to our daily outdoor play routine. While my kids play independently pretty well outside, sometimes an activity or a little direction helps to get them moving. We often set up DIY outdoor obstacle course play for the kids using our existing lawn furniture and their outside toys. The course never looks the same and they are always up for racing around, climbing, jumping, and competing. Today I’m sharing how we set up outdoor obstacle course play as part of the Outdoor Play Challenge. Check out the rest of the Outdoor Play Challenge at Building Blocks and Acorns and grab a free printable play calendar with a whole month of fantastic outdoor play ideas.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know we love to play outside. We spend as much time as possible playing in our yard, at the park, and exploring our world. My kids ask to go outside immediately after breakfast if not sooner, and they both recognize the sound of the door opening and come running. Playing with a baby outside can be a challenge because there are dangers to avoid and they can’t do what their toddler friends are doing. I’m sharing five ideas for playing outdoors with a baby, all of which are super easy and simple. You can read about our discovery garden ideas here. (more…)
We are having so much fun with our latest homemade play dough this week. It smells and looks so fun, and the kids have been playing with it nonstop. The recipe is super easy AND taste safe for your little ones. My Pearl Girl puts everything in her mouth, so I try to make sure all of our play dough recipes are taste safe. You can see our sparkly snow dough recipe here, and our chocolate cinnamon scented sensory dough here.
DIY sensory bins can be a really fun (and cheap) way to keep kids entertained while giving them sensory stimulation and practicing important skills. Your sensory bin doesn’t have to be fancy, and the one I’ll show you today can be made with things you probably have in your kitchen in under 5 minutes. This simple rice sensory bin is so fun and my kids are obsessed with it. Read on to find out how to set up your own and also find other great quick and easy indoor play ideas from my friends in the Kid Blogger Network.
Living in Texas we don’t often get to play in the snow. The Bear knows what it is, but we haven’t had any yet this year. We decided to take matters in to our own hands and make sparkly snow dough to play with inside (and make our own tiny snowman). Because the Pearl Girl is still at the stage where she puts EVERYTHING in to her mouth (as you can see above), I knew I had to make taste safe snow dough. Read on to find out how to make your own, plus find fabulous snow dough ideas from the other 12 Months of Sensory Dough bloggers. Find more of our indoor play ideas here and preschool posts here. For more snowy fun check out my Indoor Snowman Building Ideas here.
Summer is here and we are ready to play. We were recently send a set of the new RoseArt Washable Sidewalk Chalk Paint
to try. We had a blast with it, and were able to use it for quite a few different activities. I love that you can mix up only as much paint as you want your child to use each time, and save the rest indefinitely. The paint washes off so easily and gives you a clean slate each time. I thought I’d share five fun uses for sidewalk chalk paint to help get your kids playing outside and learning this summer. (more…)
Today’s Festive Family Holiday Gift Guide brand review is all about the stylish wee ones. My sweet Pearl Girl helped me review a gorgeous pair of gold Freshly Picked baby moccasins and we can’t wait to tell you all about them. If there is a child on your holiday shopping list, these are a hot ticket item. Handmade in the U.S.A. from 100% genuine leather in sizes 1-10 (baby-preschooler), these shoes are durable, super cute, and won’t come off. Read on to find out what we thought about these precious shoes.
We spent Thanksgiving at our sister-in-law’s family’s ranch near Huntsville, Texas. It was cold but sunny and we had a great time. The MJD Ranch and the Goertz family is always so welcoming to us and we love being there and with them. Most of Jed’s family joined us there and we had a huge dinner complete with lots of football watching and outdoor playing. The Bear had the time of his life. Barns, cows, horses, and tractors are his favorites. The Pearl girl decided she did not approve of pack-n-play sleeping and let everyone know it throughout the night. This left us a little sleep deprived, but we still had fun. Sweet Bear slept through the uproar, but I when I asked if he’d heard her the next day he said, “Baby Ellie was crying all night.” Sorry buddy. It was bizarre, because she was waking up so angry and nothing appeased her. I tried every trick in the mama book. It stopped as soon as we got home. Babies be crazy.
Oh hay little Bear.
This precious boy is definitely on my Thankful list for 2013.
Here’s the rest. I’m 34, so I listed 34 things. There are many more, but I like the tradition of doing one for every year of life, taught to me by my sweet friend Betsy. I had all my YoungLives girls start this tradition at campaigners, and it was amazing to hear their lists. What are you thankful for this year?
1. Jed 2. Fisher 3. Eleanor 4. My parents 5. my siblings 6. YoungLives 7. being debt free 8. our house 9. staying home with my kids 10. this blog & the opportunities it provides 11. Grace 12. fall leaves 13. My grandmother moving to Dallas 14. blue mason jars 15. cupcakes 16. our new church 17. my salvation 18. Being a team with my husband 19. beach vacation 20. Jackson, my wonder wiener dog 21. fresh gulf shrimp 22. 3 playgrounds near our house 23. our neighborhood pools 24. MOPS 25. BSF 26. my new part time job with YoungLives Camp starting in January 27. new tires on our cars 28. a successful VBAC 29. the health of our family 30. the ability to breastfeed Ellie 31. cloth diapers 32. our budget 33. our emergency fund 34. God’s provision for our family.
Christmas card pic, obviously.
What’s weird about all the attempts at Christmas card pics is that the Pearl girl looks super mad. She is the happiest baby in the world 99% of the time. That 1% was during the night of our Thanksgiving trip and any family photo shoots. Ergh…
I’ve come to love a Texas sunset.
We tried to get a photo with all of the Eby cousins and their Paw Paw, but made the mistake of facing the sun. The sun is like kryptonite for my blue eyed people. This is the only one with most of the eyes open. The Bear loves his big cousins. We are so thankful for our family.
Family travel can seem out of reach when you are living on a budget, but it doesn’t have to be. With planning and strategy, we are able to have incredible adventures with our family without busting our budget. Today I’m sharing seven simple tips we’ve learned over the last few years living in financial freedom and finding space in the budget for travel. Before I start, let me say that we put travel on hold while we paid off all of our debt and created an emergency fund. While I believe travel is an important part of our lives, it is a luxury. Though we live debt free, we are on a teacher & part time blogger/non-profit salary, so we aren’t exactly rolling in the dough. If we can do it, so can you.