Yes! Day. The Day I Said Yes to Everything.

A guest post my Jenny Oberhaus.

OK, let’s get real…

Y’all, I’m tired.

As a stay-at-home mom of an almost-5-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy, juggling two part-time jobs that I also do from home (can you say “multi-task”?), I am tired.

I’m tired of pretending to be interested in the intricacies of my son’s Minecraft village. I’m tired of feeling like a PR rep for the food I’m trying to convince my daughter to eat (“But Sweetheart, this type of mac and cheese is all the rage with First Graders these days!”). And I’m tired of staying up way too late just to relish in the peace and quiet that only exists after my darling children are snug in their beds.

But – truly, truly, TRULY – the thing I’m most tired of is saying “no.”

All. Of. The. Time.

I sound like a broken record of negativity and I’m over it. So I took a page from a friend’s playbook and declared a “YES! Day.” It’s meant to be an entire day when you literally say ‘yes’ to everything your kids ask to do. Being the Type-A, control-freak kinda gal that I am (and for our family budget’s sake), however, I did mentally set a few parameters:

  • Activities that charge a fee or admission were OK (within fiscally responsible reason).
  • Other purchases were OK as long as the kids used their own money. (I still see this as fun for them because I often say ‘no’ to the junk they want to buy… Even with their own money. Yes, I am that mom.)
  • I didn’t announce YES! Day ahead of time, lest they stay up all night scheming about how to take the fullest advantage of the opportunity. Heck – I didn’t even announce it that morning. I just started saying ‘yes,’ which was a sneaky-sort-of fun for me. [Insert evil mom laugh that will later be used for when I threaten to embarrass them as punishment.]
  • And, finally – and this is more of a suggestion than a guideline – I did this on a day where we had little-to-nothing planned. Otherwise, I’d inevitably find myself slinging the N-word all day long just to make the day work.

Yes!Day

So, our YES! Day went a little something like this…

YES #1: During breakfast, my son asked me to play Gangnam Style on my phone. I obliged and, as usual, I start dancing. Then the kids asked to join me.

Why, YES, you can!

So we danced like fools in the kitchen while our Eggos waited patiently.

YES #2: I had already planned to take the kids to the movies so, after breakfast, off we went. I paused at the concessions stand, fully prepared to rack up points on my Old Navy Visa by buying popcorn, candy and even – gasp! – soda. But the craziest thing happened: Nothing. They didn’t ask for a single thing. [Mom scratches head.]

YES #2, again: After the movie, they hopped on one of those scales in the lobby that charges a quarter to give a digital weight reading. Well, both of my kids plus two of their friends hopped on simultaneously, I actually put the quarter in (this is the anomaly), and we learned their combined weight was 164.3 pounds. It was such a cute moment and 25₵ very well-spent.

YES #3: I needed to stop at the grocery store on our way home from the movie and – despite the fact that it was almost lunchtime – they each delightedly scarfed down a cookie from the deli.

YESSES #4 & #5: We topped off our day with a post-dinner trip to the splash pad (their favorite place for summer fun) and stayed up past bedtime to enjoy popsicles in the driveway.

At bedtime, I finally divulged my secret. I got a strong finger wag from my son who – with the spirit of a spunky, 75-year-old school teacher – semi-scolded me with an “I thought something was going on today, Mommy.” My daughter, on the other hand, was quicker to mentally replay the day and recall moments she really could have capitalized on. In retrospect, she was a bit miffed.

I have a feeling they’ll both catch on much quicker when the next YES! Day rolls around.

Did I have to say “no” for some things? Of course. But they either (A) had no bearing on the current day (No, you can’t have a playdate with Alex this weekend, he’s out of town.) or (B) were for their protection (No, you can’t skip through the Kroger parking lot without holding my hand). Aside from my aforementioned parameters, I really did my best to stay true to all other requests.

All in all, I mark our first-ever YES! Day a success. I’m 90% sure I confused the heck out of my kids with all those yeses. I’m 95% sure that I typically say “no” entirely too much and for things that don’t really matter. And I’m 100% sure we all had a blast.

I think I’m ready for the next YES! Day!… Well, almost.

 jenny

How to Make the Most of Your Garden Crops- Cucumber Edition

Our kids LOVE cucumbers. It is their #1 go-to snack. So naturally, when planting our first vegetable garden, we bought a few cucumber plants. Little did we know that they would THRIVE and we would be faced with a new dilemma. What the heck do you do with so many cucumbers?! One can only consume so many dipped in hummus or tossed in a garden salad. “We should have planted zucchini!” I exclaimed, because I know there are so many different ways to cook with it. Little did I know that these savvy people had already come up with incredible solutions to our cucumber conundrum.

whattodowithcucumbers

Sure to impress, these vegan cucumber avocado rolls from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken are far easier to make than they look.

cucumber-avocado-rolls-easy-appetizer

The Housewife in Training Files had me at strawberries, and then cucumbers, and then feta, and then poppyseed dressing…  perfection.

A refreshing and crisp salad with spiralized cucumbers, juicy strawberries and feta salad all topped with a fruity poppyseed dressing!

This simple, refreshing cucumber noodle salad from The Healthy Maven only uses 7 ingredients- most of which you already have in the pantry!

Get ready to detox winter with this Healthy Cucumber Noodle Salad with Avocado Dill Dressing. With spiralized cucumber and a creamy avocado-based dressing, you'll be begging for this salad side recipe all spring and summer long!

This innovative cucumber & cantaloupe salad from Lori’s Culinary Creations will surely tantalize the tastebuds!

Cucumber & Cantaloupe Salad with Capers and Fresh Mint  l  www.lorisculinarycreations.com  l  #CIC #salad

This incredible basil, chive, cucumber and corn salad from Sumptuous Spoonfuls will surely be a crowd pleaser  at any summer soiree.

Basil Chive Cucumber & Corn Salad ~ Sumptuous Spoonfuls #cucumber #corn #basil #salad #recipe

The Midnite Baker may have cornered the cucumber market with these two tasty recipes!

                           Creamy Cucumber Salad | bakeatmidnite | #salad #cucumbers #recipe       Half Sour Pickles | bakeatmidnite.com | #pickles #cucumbers #recipe

This delicious tomato, cucumber, avocado salad from Green Valley Kitchen makes great use of all of the season’s colorful tomatoes to accentuate the cool cucumber.

One of my FAVORITE summer dishes! Tomato, cucumber, avocado salad. So colorful, flavorful and easy too !

My favorite thing about going to a spa is the cucumber water. Try this extra flavorful version from Krystal’s Kitsch.

Drinking water is more fun when it's infused! This easy recipe combines a few of my favorite flavors along with ice cold water. Drink up!

This colorful and zesty Mediterranean Cucumber Tomato Salad from Ceara’s Kitchen will be the perfect addition to any meal. You could even treat it as a salsa on top of chicken or fish.

Mediterranean Cucumber Tomato Salad

One of my favorite soups is a classic gazpacho. Here’s another awesome summer soup- chilled cucumber avocado soup from Pickles & Honey. It is nice and creamy, made with only real, wholesome ingredients.

One of my favorite summertime soups!  I love that this recipe has no cream or yogurt... wonder if it still tastes creamy?

This marvelous cucumber mango salsa from Oh My Veggies is the perfect accompaniment to any grilled dish. Throw it on top of steak, burgers, chicken, fish, or just your classic tortilla chip for a refreshing burst of flavors.

Cucumber Mango Salsa

Put your garden cilantro to use as well with this flavorful cilantro-lime cucumber salad from The Food Charlatan.

Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad

No foodie roundup is complete without a festive beverage! Check out this creative recipe for a Cucumber Martini from Happy Hour Projects.

You can also find all kinds of non-food related uses for cucumbers such as beauty secrets and cleaning products here or here!

Stay tuned for my next garden round-up – those tomatoes are not far behind!  What crop would you like to see a round-up for?

creative cucumber recipes

 

Children’s Fitness Easter Egg Hunt

Although Let’s Eggercise can easily be adapted for children, here is a cutesy rhyming version to get them engaged and egghausted.

Here it is, sweet and simple:

Print the rhyme below, cut each couplet below the dashed line into strips, place the strips inside the eggs, hide the eggs in your yard.

Start off by reading these first three stanzas aloud to set the challenge.

GetHopping

The Easter Bunny is very wise,                                                                                                                                      He knows to stay healthy he must exercise.

So join him on this hunt for eggs,                                                                                                                                Let’s run and jump and stretch our legs.

Hop to the first egg and do as you’re told.                                                                                                              Open the egg and uncrease the fold.                                                                                                                 ————————————————————————————————————————————

Cut up the following ideas (or use your own) and place one inside each egg.

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My ears are long and like to flop.                                                                                                                                 Stand on one leg, and do 5 hops.

My feet are very big and long.                                                                                                                                        Do a dance and sing a song.

My coat is very soft and furry.                                                                                                                                       Run as fast as you can. Hurry hurry!

I have a bushy white cotton tail.                                                                                                                                     Pretend to swim away from a whale.

I have white fur on my back.                                                                                                                                          Do 10 super jumping jacks.

I have a pink, twitchy nose.                                                                                                                                        Reach up to the sky, then touch your toes.

On my cheeks you will find whiskers.                                                                                                                        Lay on your back and make your legs do scissors.

I can use my teeth to saw a log.                                                                                                                                    Squat down low, do 5 hops like a frog

It doesn’t matter where you are,                                                                                                                                 For 30 seconds, jump like a star.

I carry my basket on my hip.                                                                                                                                           When you go to your next egg, be sure to skip!

because the easter bunny said so

You could always conclude with a game of Easter Bunny Says.

Share photos or exercises you create! Be sure to #strollersavvypinchallenge

 

Eggucational Activities

A quick Pinterest search for educational Easter activities for my son opened my eyes to a whole world of incredible, eggucational ideas involving plastic Easter eggs!  (You can buy them here or here.   Stock up after Easter for even better deals!)

The teacher/organizer in me decided to help you out by categorizing them by developmental level. Keep in mind, all kids learn at different rates and these are just general guidelines. Simply click on any image to link to the original source for information on each activity.

over 50 Learning

Note, all of these can be modified to meet the needs of your learner. Here are a few ideas:

  • Make it easier by matching the top and bottom colors of the egg. Make it more challenging by using different colors for the top and bottom.
  • All of the language activities can be made more difficult by adding more complex vocabulary, longer words, irregular patterns, etc.
  • Math can be modified by using larger numbers, adding more complex skills, incorporating more than one operation into problems, higher level problem solving.

Before we get started, here is one more tip:  If it is something you only want for a one-time activity, use a dry-erase marker and wipe clean after use to do another activity. However, many of them make for great playroom activities year round- my son LOVED matching numbers and practicing upper and lower case letters with his eggs last year.

Babies

For babies, sensory bins are where it’s at. Seeing, touching, feeling, listening, exploring (and yes, tasting, so be careful) is their primary mode of learning. You can also begin working on colors, emotions, and animal sounds.

     tool for teaching emotions in kids of all ages     Easter Sensory Bin Texture Eggs Tactile Sensory Play Activity   Easter Sensory Bin for Toddlers | www.GoldenReflectionsBlog.com  water play with plastic Easter eggsIMG_2563

Put construction paper in shredder to make grass - then let students sort eggs into proper container.Easter Egg Washing Set Up

Toddlers

There is a vast range of abilities at this stage. Focus on number and letter recognition, beginning letter sounds, counting, shapes, colors, and patterns.

   Number Snake with Plastic Eggs         Find the Chick Easter 1-20 Number Recognition Game Egg Activity Easter Egg Shape Hunt! A fun and educational Egg Hunt without candy.      IMG_2559Easter holiday kids activity game idea. Mix and Match your plastic eggs for a fun preschool game!! Could also be cute Easter basket gift idea.   IMG_2561

Eggciting Beginnings  

Preschoolers (ages 3-5)

Again, there are huge developmental differences in this age range. Focus on early literacy skills, sight words, word families, patterns, number correspondence, basic addition and subtraction (precursors to multiplication and division), classification, and experimentation.

Egg Word Families 2  TheHappyTeacher: 8 Educational Easter Egg Activities!      Basket of rhymes   You searched for contraction easter egg - Teaching with Nancy | Teaching with Nancy Counting Coins - love the versatility of plastic eggs for centers at Easter!preschool science lesson sink or float  IMG_2531  IMG_2572

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Plastic Egg Duck and Bunny Craft for Kids 

Primary Grades K-2

Expanding on a strong foundation, primary grade students are ready to work on fact families, place value, phonemic awareness, antonyms, synonyms, telling time, and building words.

 

  

Basket of Antonyms  Short and long vowel sort landscape Reading Two-Syllable Words with Easter Eggs {free printable included} | This Reading Mama

 

  

Intermediate Grades 3-5

Turn things up a notch in the intermediate grades. Combine several different operations at once, use larger numbers,  focus on fractions, percentages, and decimals. Study contractions, figures of speech, state capitols, the arts.

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 Contractions with plastic eggs ~ easy to match and then write on paper to show your work (Or, have an adult quickly check the eggs for accuracy before pulling apart and scrambling for the next center visitor.) 

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Middle And High School

This could easily continue with older kids too, but they might be too cool for it. Periodic table elements and symbols, anyone?!IMG_2571

Here are some other ideas:

  • Balancing chemical equations
  • Inventors and inventions
  • Famous literary quotes
  • Bible Verses
  • Sports teams and mascots
  • Metric Conversions
  • Foreign Language Vocabulary Terms

Adults

Oh no, I didn’t forget you!  Time for some EGGSERCISE!

Eggsercise2

 Please share any other eggcellent eggucational ideas you have tried!

 

Some More Eggucational Activities

Compiling the eggceptional list  of eggucational activities really got me brainstorming. Here are the descriptions of my personal additions!

Babies:

Pick an egg, say the animal sound and have the child choose the picture of the animal that says that sound.

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Toddlers:

Match the beginning letter sound with the picture.

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Preschoolers:

Match the geometric shape with the number of sides.

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Match the picture with the word.

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Work on division skills by sharing eggs equally amongst a specified number of people. Work on classification by sorting eggs by color and graphing the results.

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Find rhyming words and put them together. Extend this activity by asking them to add another rhyming word to the pair. IMG_2531

Primary Grades K-2

Match the shape with the correct name. Incorporate a variety of geometry terms such as acute angle, line, vertices, etc.

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Intermediate Grades 3-5

Match Equivalent Fractions

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Match a mixture of decimals, percentages and fractions. This is an incredibly valuable skill in the “real world”!

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Really challenge them by doing this mixed math activity. It can be adapted to any academic level and really gets them thinking in different ways.IMG_2570

Help reinforce memorization of states and capitals.  IMG_2522

Make big numbers by placing varying digits on each egg half. Have students grab any 2 halves and put the egg together to create a new number.  Have them write the number out, emphasizing proper comma placement and then read the number aloud. You can even make it into a game by seeing who can make the highest number.

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Middle And High School

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Here is a list of ideas for middle and high schoolers:

  • Balancing chemical equations
  • Inventors and inventions
  • Famous literary quotes
  • Bible Verses
  • Sports teams and mascots
  • metric conversions (cm, mm, dm)
  • foreign language vocabulary

Please add any other eggcellent ideas you come across. Be sure to #strollersavvy!

Let’s Eggsercise! An Easter themed workout.

Eggsercise2

  1. Cut out 10 strips of paper.
  2. On each piece of paper, write down an exercise.(Feel free to substitute as you see fit (haha!) )
    • Push-ups
    • Planks
    • Burpees
    • Wall-sits
    • Jumping Jacks
    • Squats
    • Lunges (both sides = 1 rep)
    • Sit-ups
    • Torso Twists (both sides = 1 rep)
    • Star Jumps
  3.  Fold each piece of paper in half.
  4. Randomly place the strips of paper into different colored eggs.
  5. Pick an egg and do the assigned number of reps for the exercise you chose. (For planks and wall-sits, multiply that number by 10 and do it for that many seconds. So if you choose green, that would be 5 x10, or 50 seconds.)
    • Green= 5
    • Pink= 10
    • Yellow= 3
    • Blue= 7
    • Purple =2
  6. Keep going until you have completed all 10 eggs. If you want an extra challenge, scramble up the papers and do another set or four!

Now Hop to it!

Be sure to check out this fun children’s fitness Easter Egg Hunt too!

17 Great Ideas to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

All of these wonderful St. Patrick’s Day ideas have  put nutritious food in our bodies, creative activities in our hands, and a big dent in the Stroller Savvy Pin Challenge! Not bad for a non-Irish lass!

The Foods:

We have truly been eating the rainbow and feeling great!

Pinterest Challenge 4Rainbow Detox Soup

Consider this tasty detox soup I made last night. It was by far the tastiest I have had, and I would have been pleased receiving it from a restaurant. Tomatoes, red onion, carrots, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, kale, broccoli, celery, and purple cabbage along with many antioxidant-rich spices.

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Original Pin:  http://www.theglowingfridge.com/cleansing-detox-soup/

Keeper?  Yes! I doubled the recipe and froze some for later!

 Challenge5Pepper Egg

 

Sure to impress, this simple yet fancy looking egg-in-a-pepper dish adds a fresh twist on your ordinary fried egg. It was far easier than I expected and tasted great!

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Original Pin: http://www.sixonesixblog.com/2014/05/egg-in-pep.html

Keeper? Yes!

Challenge6Shepherd’s Pie

An Ol’ Irish favorite with a healthy twist. This low-fat, veggie-packed Shepherd’s Pie is topped with a cauliflower puree! The whole family loved it and the coconut oil added a nice flavor.

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Original Pin: http://www.buzzfeed.com/christinebyrne/cauliflower-not-carbs?utm_term=.edDvlMELD&sub=3566540_4609988#.ld89QlPJmy

Keeper? Yes!

Challenge7Rainbow Salad

This fabulous salad can be adapted to use any ingredients you desire. I used red beets, shredded carrots, yellow tomatoes/garbanzo beans (I intended to use yellow peppers, but Hubby and Jake at them before I could), a mix of spinach, broccoli and kale, and purple cabbage.  I didn’t follow the dressing recipe exactly. I didn’t use anchovies or capers, but my concoction of greek yogurt, dijon mustard, honey, garlic, seasoning mix, and olive oil was actually quite good on this. I love the use of red beets and purple cabbage since they aren’t foods I eat often, but they are so yummy and nutritious!

IMG_2155IMG_2159Original Pin: http://www.scalingbackblog.com/savory-bites/shredded-rainbow-salad-with-greek-yogurt-caesar-dressing/

Keeper?  Absolutely! We threw some rotisserie chicken on the leftovers for another delicious meal.

HChallenge8ealthy Green Eggs

A healthy twist on green eggs, these garlic and kale filled eggs were so simple and quite tasty! My 4-year old and 18-month olds even agreed.

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Original Pin:http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/03/01/recipe-green-eggs-and-ham/

Keeper?  Definitely! This will become a regular rotation in our breakfast repertoire.

Challenge9Avocado Shrimp Salad

This nutritious salad is an easy go-to meal anytime. The creamy avocado makes it dressing optional. Beware- the shrimp is spicy!

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Original Pin: http://www.thebestrecipesever.net/2014/03/shrimp-and-avocado-salad-with-miso.html?m=1

Keeper?  I will make some variation of it again, but I would most likely just grill the shrimp without all of the added spice and ingredients. It would certainly save time too!

Challenge10VEggie Guacamole Rainbow

We made this simple, delicious snack. I didn’t get a picture before the kids attacked it, so this one is from the Family Fun magazine. I made my own version of guacamole, which is simply mashed up avocados, diced tomatoes, a little minced garlic, and a splash of lemon juice.

Over the Veggie Rainbow: This Saint Patrick's Day snack provides a golden opportunity to entice your kids to eat fresh vegetables.

Original Pin: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/149392912615962366/

Keeper? Absolutely! Can’t go wrong with veggies and guac!

The Crafts and Education:

Challenge11No St. Patrick’s Day is complete without the appearance of leprechauns! Here is a cute, cheesy craft that we used as our seasonal wall decoration. It was fairly simple, but me being the genius that I am didn’t think to just buy orange plates and took the extra step of painting white plates orange. I probably spent more on the paint than I would have on new plates. I like to think the stiffness from the paint enabled us to curl the beards better…

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Original Pin:  http://happyhomefairy.com/tag/leprechauns/

Keeper? Yes! My son loved it. I love these kinds of cheesy decorations to put a fun twist on the holiday and capture a memory of this point in time.

Challenge12Nor is any St. Patrick’s Day complete without Fruit Loops!  Jake only gets to eat them when we stay at hotels with continental breakfast, so he was tormented all week looking at the box in the pantry. He was so excited that we invited some friends over to do Fruit Loop crafts with us!IMG_2170First we made the fruitloop necklackes. I recommend a large blunt tapestry needle to help thread the cereal on the string- especially for the younger children.  This kept them all quiet and actively engaged for quite awhile!

It also made for some hilarious conversations. Every few pieces J would inform me “this one is too big (or too bumpy, or weird…) and will look ugly on the necklace. I think I should eat it.”

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He later became a walking commerical. “I am hungry and don’t have time to go downstairs for a snack. I think I will take a bite out of my necklace, chomp chomp”.

Original Pin: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/149392912615851129/

Keeper? Definitely! He  has already made three! As he gets older he can work on creating interesting patterns.

ThChallenge13is activity was incredible for sorting and fine motor development. It kept his attention and turned out so cute! He wanted to do a second one with any color all over 🙂

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Original Pin: http://thebubblyblondeteacher.blogspot.com/2012/02/st-patricks-day-craft.html

Keeper? Yes!

Challenge14

This was a simple, fun craft. The biggest challenge for me was cutting out shamrocks, because I am just that bad at drawing! I ended up tracing an image from the computer and cutting it out on construction paper. We cut up different patterns of scrapbook paper with varying shades of green, covered the shamrocks with glue sticks, and applied our “mosaic tiles”. Of course Jake added some TMNT stickers- they are green, right?!

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Original Pin from: http://www.happinessishomemade.net/2014/03/11/st-patricks-day-kids-craft-mosaic-paper-shamrocks/

Keeper?  Yes!!! Easy, cute, held interest. I even used them as a front door decoration in the middle of a wreath.

Challenge15This was another fun one. I cut out a pot from construction paper and drew lines on a piece of construction paper to help guide the shape. J and ROY G. BIV are on a first name basis by now. IMG_2142

Original Pin from: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/149392912615978065/

Keeper?  Yes. It was cute and fun, but I REALLY despise paint. See why here. Oh the sacrifices we make for the sake of our children’s enrichment and entertainment!

Challenge16This was another simple one. All we did was cut the tops off of peppers, dip them in paint, and stamp them onto the paper. The babies were able to do this one, and all three kids really enjoyed it! We skipped the step of drawing stems, so they don’t really look like shamrocks, but that’s okay 🙂

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Original Pin from: http://www.learnplayimagine.com/2012/03/peppers-and-shamrocks.html

Keeper?  Yes! I look forward to experimenting with all different types of materials- acorns, apples, leaves, etc. I love that all ages can enjoy it. As they get older, challenge kids to form more intricate designs.

Jake also had a blast doing educational worksheets. I remember loving thematic worksheets as a kid- it is a “break” from the traditional learning and even though you are reinforcing the same skills it doesn’t feel like it.

Challenge17He amazed me with how easily he was able to identify which word did not fit into the the word families and got some great reading practice in with this one:

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Challenge18This counting one was a little too basic for him, but he still enjoyed it. It was fun for him to be able to do it completely unaided.

IMG_2233Original Pin: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/FREE-St-Patricks-Day-Literacy-and-Math-Printables-1109851

Challenge19He had a blast with this domino activity. He would pick a domino from a pile, tell me how many dots were on each side and then add them all together. I was impressed when he didn’t flinch at the higher sums!

IMG_2237Original Pin: http://myfabulousclass.blogspot.com/2014/03/crafty-sundaywith-some-freebies.html

Keeper: Of course! I will always seek out thematic educational activities to meet their current academic level.

Challenge20He absolutely loved this craft. He put it together quickly and finished with an impromptu play about how clouds change for different types of weather. It was awesome.

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We will do a few more activities on St. Patrick’s day, but I wanted to make sure you had some ideas to prepare yourself for the holiday. Have a Pintastic time!

Don’t forget to add your pins to the Group Challenge and #strollersavvypinchallenge

 

 

 

 

 

Stroller Savvy Group Challenge

Universal ChallEnge:

The Universal Challenge involves YOU.  Think about what challenges Pinterest poses to you. What do you want to work on? What have you been avoiding? Which pins stand out to you? How can you grow as a person through this challenge?

Since the year is 2015, let’s see how fast we as a community can accomplish 2015 pins. I say “fast”, but the same rules apply.

strollersavvypinchallengerules

1) Challenge yourself to try new things. Only pins you have not done before count for this challenge.

2) Choose pins from a variety of genres in order to grow in different areas of your life.  My personal Pinterest page includes ideas for travel, recipes, workouts, crafts, education, books to read, decorating, refurbishing, new skills (sewing, knitting), cleaning, organization, etc.

3) Be creative! If you create your own pin, it counts as 3 points.

4) Don’t just do pins for the sake of doing pins. Choose pins that reach out to you for some reason. Seek out pins that work towards your personal goals or make you feel good. (For me that entails healthy eating, fixing up the house, and spending quality time with my children.)

5) Follow @StrollerSavvy on Instagram and add your completed project. I will update our running tally. Be sure to #strollersavvypinchallenge and any other relevant key words. Share the challenge with friends!

*** If you aren’t on Instagram you can still participate in the challenge by posting your completed Pinterest projects here!

Bring it on, Pinterest!

Pinterest is a metaphor for my life, taunting me every step of the way. I hear the quiet whispers- “you wish you could do this”, “you are all talk”, “so much to do, so little time”. It is yet another giant to-do list, filled with lofty goals intertwined amongst the easily achievable. And like my Instagrampinchallengecrazy, messy life, I love it.

As with any other obstacle I’ve faced in life, I am not going to let it bring me down. I am going to take control of it, one tiny image at a time. Why? Because I WANT to! Unlike my typical monstrosity of a to-do list, these are things that I actually want to do.

This ingenious social media tool has taught me some hard truths about myself. It has also motivated me to overcome these realities and strive to improve upon them.

 1) I am a creative person trapped in a 1st grader’s body.

Seriously, ask my college art methods instructor. He asked us to draw a tree, so I did. He then held mine up and illustrated the point that my art instruction must have stopped around 4th grade, as exemplified by my art skills. It was harsh, but he had a point.

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So you can imagine the problem this poses to a Pinterest addict such as myself. I see so many awesome ideas I want to implement, but when I go to make them they are horrible. Yet I still WANT to make them.

I see every craft, experiment, etc. as a creative outlet that is further developing my skills. I see the projects I have made and feel a sense of pride in whatever minute accomplishment I achieved. I am still that kid who wants her work displayed on the refrigerator! Once I learned to let go of the perfection aspect, I realized that painting actually relaxes me. Sometimes I literally just make a mess of brush strokes on a piece of paper just to have a little meditative moment. (Adult paint by numbers are another awesome invention!)

I also believe my children will cherish the keepsakes I am making for their rooms. After all, when deciding what to keep from my own childhood home, it was the personalized items that I saved. It didn’t matter if it was ugly, outdated, or amateur, it was made by someone who wanted to show their love.

2) I used to have a brain.

Really, I did. However, now thanks to Pinterest, I hardly ever use it! Incredible ideas abound on Pinterest, so why reinvent the wheel?

That said, I find that my creativity is inevitably unleashed when I start on a project. With the exception of recipes, since I am truly a neophyte in the kitchen, I try to use Pinterest ideas as more of a starting point. I often gather 20+ ideas for one project and use these ideas as a springboard for my own creations. If I try to copy something verbatim I am always comparing it, seeing all of the flaws. If I stray and create with my own interpretation, my own vision, or even just my own color scheme, the comparison takes a backseat to the excitement and anticipation. Sometimes that means crapping it up and making a terrible mess of it……. but, it’s about the journey, not the destination, folks!

 3) I am a woman of the perpetual to-do list that never gets done.

Pinterest has only magnified that. I currently have 4,365 pins. Four Thousand, Three Hundred, sixty-five. But unlike my massive list of household chores and extraneous things that need to be done, I actually WANT to do these things. I think that makes it bother me even more. I want to do them, and I still don’t!

4) I can’t cook.

A recipe can sound so simple, but I always seem to muck it up. I am impatient in the kitchen. I don’t really want to wait for things to simmer, but I am starting to see the reason for it, for “layering” flavors rather than just throwing it all in one pot. I want food to taste good, but despite my best efforts, it is usually just okay.

However, this is one that I am not going to back down on. Feeding my family wholesome clean foods is one of my utmost priorities, and that can’t happen with prepackaged grocery items.

As with anything, the more I practice, the more comfortable I become, and the better I will be. Pinterest is a great place to find and store recipes and has motivated me to try things I never would have tried in a million years.

 5) I was spoiled growing up.

I wasn’t spoiled financially or with material things; I was spoiled by the fact that my parents took care of the housework and didn’t force us to do chores or tasks that didn’t interest us. (Due to unfortunate events, they never got to teach us these things as we got older as they had planned to do.) So as a result, I have a lot to learn as an adult! Things that come easily to some have been quite the learning experience for me! Ask my poor husband about the time I put dish soap in the dishwasher in our first apartment…..

Laugh all you want, but I really do want my laundry to be clean, my closets organized, my life to feel more structured. I want to be comfortable going into someone’s house and just helping, but that is hard to do when I am not confident in my own abilities. I can give you workout tips, create a lesson plan or jump into most physical activities without batting an eye, but ask me to put dishes away in someone else’s kitchen and I freeze. Pinterest is helping me to improve in so many of these areas!

So I am declaring a two-fold Pinterest Challenge. The first one is personal, the second is universal.

Stroller Savvy Pin Challenge

Personal Challenge:

My personal challenge is: 1000 pins.   I was originally going to set the time frame at 1 year, but I am hesitant to do so. I think it’s a great goal, but here is why I left it off:

I don’t want to do pins just for the sake of doing pins. I know myself. If I am simply trying to reach a target number, I will start choosing the quickest, easiest pins just to reach that number. That will have far less benefit on my personal growth and defeats the purpose of the challenge.

My intention is to implement these great ideas that I have pinned for one reason or another. These tiny images struck a chord with me and I am going to see where they take me. Some will take a half hour, some will take weeks. I am going to focus on the ones that make sense for me and my family at the time without being pressured by deadlines.

Universal ChallEnge:

The Universal Challenge involves YOU.  Think about what challenges Pinterest poses to you. What do you want to work on? What have you been avoiding? Which pins stand out to you? How can you grow as a person through this challenge?

Since the year is 2015, let’s see how fast we as a community can accomplish 2015 pins. I say “fast”, but the same rules apply.

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1) Challenge yourself to try new things. Only pins you have not done before count for this challenge.

2) Choose pins from a variety of genres in order to grow in different areas of your life.  My personal Pinterest page includes ideas for travel, recipes, workouts, crafts, education, books to read, decorating, refurbishing, new skills (sewing, knitting), cleaning, organization, etc.

3) Be creative! If you create your own pin, it counts as 3 points.

4) Don’t just do pins for the sake of doing pins. Choose pins that reach out to you for some reason. Seek out pins that work towards your personal goals or make you feel good. (For me that entails healthy eating, fixing up the house, and spending quality time with my children.)

5) Follow @StrollerSavvy on Instagram and add your completed project. I will update our running tally. Be sure to #strollersavvypinchallenge and any other relevant key words. Share the challenge with friends!

A few sidenotes:

1) I started my personal challenge in February and will be updating my progress soon. (Technical difficulties!)

2) I will be adding pins that I feature on this blog to the Stroller Savvy Pinterest board in order to make it easier for you to locate pins that interest you. Follow me there!

3) You can follow the challenge by:  Signing up to receive email updates, following me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter.

Happy Pinning!!!

Stroller Savvy I am

       Today is Theodor Seuss Geisel‘s Birthday. A beloved children’s author, celebrated by many, I thought we should join in on the fun. Having been sick all weekend, it was as basic and make-shift as could be. My childrens’ joy in this simple effort proved to me, yet again, that these gestures don’t have to be elaborate and can still be just as special.

       Last night, when I told my four-year-old that we were going to have a birthday party for Dr. Suess in the morning he got so excited. I explained that we were going to make green eggs for the celebration and since he loves to help, he asked how we were going to do that. After telling him we were going to use kale and spinach, a look of dismay came across his face. This angst was NOT because of the ingredients (we eat them all the time)-  rather it was because he couldn’t understand why we weren’t invited to the real party! (I didn’t have the heart to tell him that Dr. Suess passed away 24 years ago, or that even if he was living we most likely wouldn’t have been invited anyways.)

      There was a time when in order to make green eggs and ham I would have busted out the food coloring in order to dye them the correct hue. However, with our healthy eating lifestyle, I knew there had to be a better option. Thanks to one of my favorite blogs by Lisa Leake, I came across this easy nutritious recipe.  Fortunately we always have spinach or kale in our fridge and freezer (a daily staple in our smoothies). I didn’t have an onion so I subbed in garlic and omitted the butter. It was so incredibly simple- took no longer than it would have  to make our usual smoothie or scrambled eggs- and it was delicious!

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         As for the rest of the party, I quickly thawed out some frozen strawberries, sliced up a banana, and stacked them to make Dr. Suess hats. My son and I gathered some of our favorite Dr. Seuss books and together we read aloud as we ate our yummy, wholesome breakfast.

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          Never has a party been that simple and nutritious!

So in summary:                  

                                                           It’s Dr. Suess’s Birthday, so you say.                                                                                                              We weren’t invited, but had a party anyway!

                                                       We keep fresh produce in the house.                                                                We do not welcome any mouse.

                                                               We did not have any ham.                                                                          Certainly not Spam in a can.

                                                      So we made green eggs and party hats.                                                                                                          We read his books and laughed and laughed.

                                                          We read, we ate, we had fun.                                                                                                                                  A great healthy party for everyone.

                                                   We do so love green eggs and ham,                                                                                                                     Time to clean up- Stroller Savvy, I am 🙂

Even the most discerning firefighter loved it!

Even the most discerning firefighter loved it!

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The babies even joined in on the fun!