Board Games for Preschoolers

21 Jan

My husband’s family grew up playing board games constantly. (In fact, they still do.) He fondly remembers family game nights as a major part of his childhood, and these are memories we’re aiming to create for our kids, too.

One of the definite benefits of having two kids the same age is that they can play at the same level right off the bat. It has made for a fun family dynamic (even if there have been some tears over learning how to be a “good loser” — a useful life skill!)

This past year we’ve begun acquiring an array of games appropriate for preschoolers, and after Christmas we have a fully stocked household. We’ve got some classics: Chutes and Ladders, Candyland, Sorry!, and Perfection. But our two favorites are by far the below:

SequenceCaroline is obsessed with Sequence for Kids and requests that we play it multiple times a day. I like that it actually requires that the kids learn strategy (unlike very simple games like Candyland or Chutes and Ladders). It’s essentially an advanced Connect Four with fun animal cards, including two “wild cards” that help make the strategy fun. Highly recommend. We have spent hours and hours playing this one.

SumSwampOur second favorite game is Sum Swamp, which as the name indicates is an addition and subtraction game. This is great for practicing budding math skills and helping kids become confident with numbers.

Let me know if you have any game suggestions. What were your favorite games as a kid?

Wishing you all “happy gaming” with your families!

Bookworms: Teaching Your Kids How to Read

30 Aug

My girls don’t attend an “academic” preschool. Theirs is play-based and we love it. I figured that when the time came, I’d end up supplementing a lot of their early academics at home.

During the end of the past school year, it became obvious that they were ready to start learning how to read. “Mom, how do you spell ‘ninja turtles'”? “Mom, how do you spell ‘ice cream'”?

I did some internet research and found this book on Amazon:

51meUDdquRL._SX383_BO1,204,203,200_It’s not a new book (published in 1986), but it has over 1,500 four or five star Amazon reviews. I thought I’d give it a shot as a summer project.

We’re now exactly halfway through the 100 lessons, which has taken the whole summer. I am totally amazed by the results! The book provides a script for the parent, so you know exactly what to say while being the teacher, and an entire lesson takes no more than 15 or 20 minutes (which, frankly, is all the attention span a 4-year-old is going to give you).

The girls pick up the lessons at a different pace, but they are both reading now. It has been incredibly exciting. At lesson 50, we still have a long way to go, and I’m not interested in rushing the process. Due to their age, we may end up plateauing or repeating lessons, and that’s OK. I’ve just been so impressed by this book that I had to share it. It’s perfectly designed for anyone to use.

That said, of course preschoolers don’t need to know how to read yet, and pushing kids that aren’t ready probably isn’t a great idea. However, if your kids are ready to try, I highly recommend this book and its approach.

Summer (Sun Protection) Things

24 Jun

Summer is here, which means I’ve switched into full sun protection mode. We’re outside pretty much year round and sun protection is always on my mind, but I step up my vigilance game when the UV rays get even more aggressive during the summer months.

Here’s a round up of my favorite products this year:

Costco is offering a great selection of protective kidswear right now. The girls are loving this wide-brimmed hat (below). Best part is that it’s fully adjustable to accommodate growing heads.

CostcohatCostco also currently has full body swim suits. We bought these for the girls and they cover up arms, back, shoulders, tummy, and thighs, leaving only calves and feet needing sunscreen. So convenient!

Super soakers!

Super soakers!

For sunscreen, my two picks this year are The Honest Company SPF 30 and Babyganics SPF 50. These sunscreens are both mineral-based and recommended in the EWG 2015 Sunscreen Guide for Safe Sunscreens.

For my own coverage, I’m a big fan of Athleta’s UPF tops, which provide SPF 50 and can be worn in and out of water. I also have a bit of summer hat obsession and am rocking this one and this one right now.

Sunscreen-wise, you can’t go wrong with anything La Roche Posay.

For lips, I have searched far and wide for a chapstick/lip tint that provides SPF but doesn’t taste or smell bad. This Sugar Nude by Fresh lip treatment is the best I’ve ever tried!

Lastly, and totally not sun protection-related — here’s an idea for “inside-out coffee” that is a genius fix for iced coffee lovers!

What are your best picks for the summer months?

 

 

Father’s Day Gift Idea — Kid Questionnaire

9 Jun

Looking for something easy, and funny, for the kids to give dad this year for Father’s Day? We’re trying out this fun questionnaire below, borrowed from my friend Tish of Kale and Crayons. The answers will undoubtedly give you some insight into your kids’ perceptions and will certainly be “keepers”!

Without any prompting, ask your child these questions and write down exactly what they say. Enjoy!

1. What is something Dad always says to you?

2. What makes Dad happy?

3. What makes Dad sad?

4. How does Dad make you laugh?

5. What was Dad like as a child?

6. How old is Dad?

7. How tall is Dad?

8. What is Dad’s favorite thing to do?

9. What does Dad do when you’re not here?

10. If Dad becomes famous what will it be for?

11. What is Dad really good at?

12. What is Dad not very good at?

13. What is Dad’s job?

14. What makes you proud of Dad?

15. What is Dad’s favorite food?

16. What do you & Dad do together?

17. How are you & Dad the same?

18. If Dad was a cartoon character who would he be?

19. How are you & Dad different?

20. How do you know Dad loves you?

21. What does Dad like best about Mom?

22. Where is Dad’s favorite place to go?

 

Twin Art Collaboration

14 Apr

My girls spend hours upon hours coloring with markers. Hours.

Kelly likes to free-hand draw.

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Portrait of me with baby Luke

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Pirate ship with parrot, sun, and crocodile

Caroline prefers to color between the lines.

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And then one day, they decided to work together to create this masterpiece. Kelly drew the outline and Caroline colored it in.

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Space ship blasting off to the planets and stars

The best part? The idea was all theirs. And Kelly drew the two of them as astronauts so they could be together in space.

It’s a twin thing!

Twinthusiasm the Book is Here!

7 Mar

I’m excited to announce that my e-book, Twinthusiasm: Survival Lessons for Your First Year Parenting Twins is published and ready for download! Please feel free to share with any twin moms or mamas-to-be.

Twinthusiasm-Final

The e-book is available at:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

Description:

“Navigating a twin pregnancy and the first year with two babies can be more than a little crazy. Twinthusiasm: Survival Lessons for Your First Year Parenting Twins offers moral support and useful tips – served with a dash of humor – to help you survive the wild ride.

Twinthusiasm includes helpful insights on preparing your home during your pregnancy, asking for the help you’ll need, breastfeeding, getting your twins on a schedule, handling sleep deprivation – as well as time savers, money savers, and sanity savers. Bundling encouragement with practical advice and personal anecdotes, this book serves as a cheerleader for multiples parents everywhere.”

If you read it and like it, consider leaving an online review. Thanks for your support!

Valentine Pinterest Fail

14 Feb

Some moms are awesome at Pinterest projects. My attempted valentine’s craft landed me in the nailed it category.

Inspired by a friend’s holiday gift, my goal was to do footprints of the girls framing Luke’s footprints, which were supposed to be the “heart” in the center. I wanted to give these out to their grandparents as valentines.

Going with the valentine’s theme, I busted out the red paint. This was a mistake. Three kids with red paint underfoot = my house looking like a crime scene. Even the best version of their footprints ended up looking super creepy:

20150210_153132I quickly came to the conclusion that this wasn’t quite giving off the “I love you” vibe that I was going for.

Time for a back up plan. Luckily, I had a purple stamp pad on hand and was able to salvage our project:

20150210_163312This is much cuter, right? And it has the added benefit of not looking like CPS needs to come to my home.

Have you ever had a Pinterest fail? ;)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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