Saturday, March 18, 2017

Easy Easter basket idea

So, last year was my first time creating an Easter basket for my son. He was 2 years old at the time, and not really into Easter, except when he saw the pretty baskets at the store filled with toys and treats. I decided then that I wanted to create a tradition of our own by making his basket each  year myself and filling it with fun things that I know he really enjoys, I also created a few of our own surprise eggs since he loves to open those, too.

So, I grabbed my basket from Michael's and plan to use it for a few years. I picked up inexpensive items from Target for a few weeks that I thought he'd enjoy. Walmart had the cute clear plastic wrapping paper that I used to wrap the basket and the cute bow also came from Michael's craft store.

Check out how easy the basket was and how it turned out below:

Friday, February 24, 2017

How to keep Christmas spirit all year long

So, I just starting doing just this year. My son gets so many gifts from my family for Christmas that it's embarrassing to carry it all home. I also don't want my son to be overwhelmed and then quickly underwhelmed with all the toys and other gifts. I decided to take half of the gifts and put them in a hidden place in the house and wrap and give them to him when he does something special, for example last week he received a "gift" when he entered preschool without tears for a week. Other times he will receive a gift when he goes a week with no accidents at school or when winter time blues hit and he could use a pick me up because playing outdoors isn't possible due to the cold. It's actually a lot of fun because each gift gets a lot more attention and I explain to him who wanted him to have it, etc. Let me me if you do this, too!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Toddler boy Valentine's tissue box decor

We got the lovely email asking parents to help kids decorate a tissue box this year for Valentine's day, so we went with the lego theme as this is my 3 year old's favorite toy of the moment. Check out this tissue box, made with wrapping paper, bottle caps and shiny letter stickers from Michael's craft store.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A birthday at Sesame Place - Sesame Place review

We spent my son Shane's 3rd birthday at Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. Shane has grown to really connect with Elmo in the past year. He loves the show and has numerous stuffed animals that he tries to take everywhere we go. Sesame Place seemed like just the right place to celebrate, so we loaded up the car with food and family and made a  day of it. We drove up on Saturday and spent the day at the park and opted to stay at a hotel Saturday night, rather than drive back home that night after a full day of sun and fun. Here's my review of my experience at Sesame Place below!

Sesame Place Parking

There were two types of parking available one is a “VIP” parking for visitors with disabilities and there is regular parking. The regular parking is a dirt field and unmarked spaces. You do have to beware that drivers park very close and can possibly nick your doors. Parking costs about $18, so it was fairly reasonable.

Sesame Place Park Rules

Park rules are fairly strict. Even though we brought an infant along for the day at the park, the park turned us away with our cooler. We opened the cooler and the contents were all baby milk and baby food. We explained that we planned to be at the park for a long time and needed the food for our infant. The security told us that our cooler was too big and they didn’t care that the contents were infant formula that we didn’t want to leave in the car. Our cooler was only off by an inch on each side. I actually plan to lodge a complaint and took several pictures of other park goers who were allowed to bring in their coolers that were the same size or larger and one person actually had a bucket that was much larger. This was disappointing as we drove 2.5 hours to visit the park on a Saturday morning with an infant and toddler.

Sesame Food

The food at Sesame Place was just okay. You are allowed to leave the park and get a hand stamp and then return, so I would definitely leave the park for lunch and go to a restaurant or eat at home as the food wasn’t satisfying for the kids or adults and costs way too much.

Dine with Me Experience

We went to Sesame place to celebrate my son’s 3rd birthday, so we decided to purchase the dine with me experience for our family. The theme in September was a Cook Out with Elmo. This experience takes place indoors in a building near the entrance to the park and the experience included pictures with the characters and buffet style eating. Let me just say, it was by far the most fun we had at the park. The characters were lively and engaging for all age groups and the food was absolutely delicious! The barbecue buffet included brisket, pulled pork, London broil, chicken tenders and salads and macaroni and cheese and plethora of deserts (cakes, cupcakes, cookies, fruit). I was glad we decided to have the experience because my whole family enjoyed the meal and the characters led the kids in line dances and singing songs, it was perfect end to the day as we selected the Dine with Me for dinner at 5pm.

Sesame Place Rides

So, we arrived at the park around 11:15am and then left at 3:30pm and returned again at 5pm and my son only really got on 2 rides, and this was because of lines and him just getting adjusted to the park and the scenery.

I would really recommend bringing a swimsuit because the water rides rule. My son who is 3 really enjoyed the Count’s Splash Castle, where he got to walk through a fun maze of water and then go down a small slide and just splash and have fun. There are tons a reclining chairs for older adults to relax and enjoy the scenery, too.

Ticket prices

Ticket prices usually hover around $55, but we were able to get a Groupon for $35 for each person, so this was by far the best deal. There was another deal that SeaWorld/Sesame place had where you could purchase a ticket for $55 and return another time for free, but since we don’t live in the area, we thought we probably would not be able to return any time soon.
Additionally, if you happen to be season ticket holder for Busch Gardens or any of Sea World Entertainment’s other parks, you can purchase a discount ticket at the door for $35 with your season pass.

Overall, I enjoyed being at the park and most of all my son enjoyed it too. The park is small enough for kids don’t feel lost and parents don’t feel alarmed every minute that they will get lost in the crowd. We went on a Saturday in September and the lines for rides was moderate. I never felt that it was simply too crowded to have a good time. I would recommend thoroughly reading all park details before going and relax and enjoy the Sesame Street parade, which takes place twice a day on the main drag.

I’d love to hear about your experience at Sesame Place as well, please comment below.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Toddler friendly Beach trip – Colonial Beach, VA 4th of July edition

This summer has been majorly hot and I found myself really unprepared as far as toddler play dates and swim lessons and camps are concerned. Last summer (1 year old) we were super busy with activities and exploring and swimming. This summer we have been sort of taking it easy. This is really because Shane is working on building major potty and speaking skills so we spend a lot of time at the house. 4th of July was really no different, I think we really just wanted to give Shane a little beach without the fuss of crowds and of an amusement park or large beach.

I grew up in the Northern Neck of Virginia, so Colonial Beach was a natural choice. Colonial Beach is a quiet town for the most part, but has some great family activities…there are tours and great walking and bike riding scenery and the actual beach which rests on the Potomac River. There is also a casino that sits right on the rivah, which is what the locals call the Potomac.

We spent the day relaxing by the water and reading and eating “beach food”. I really enjoyed the 4th and never felt like I was anywhere else but home.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Best Little Hair Cut in Town

I initially didn't want to cut baby Shane's hair until he was 4 years old. That was until Shane's hair grew exponentially this summer and got totally out of control as he spent this summer in swim lessons and playing outdoors and putting anything that he could find in his hair. Shane also decided this summer that he didn't want anyone to comb his hair or wash and condition his hair. Every other evening  I have spent fighting with him in the tub to wash his curls and remove all the build up from the day. In July, I decided that Shane definitely needed a hair cut to make everyone's life just a little bit easier. His first cut was done by his Dad, who isn't a barber, so it was just a basic scissor cut to get some  hair off of the top, but not too much because it could only be so neat with the scissors. After this initial cut, we decided to take him to a barbershop....not a good outcome. We tried several barber shops and each time, got the same response from Shane which was Shane crying and trying to knock the clippers from the barbers hands. Not safe for anyone! After much research online and recommendations, we decided to take Shane to Snip-It's. Snip-It's a salon specializing in kids cuts and shampoos and parties and first time hair cuts. As soon as we walked in I knew Shane would enjoy the experience. The salon features bright colors, a castle to play with and colorful TV screens at each station. In the chair, Shane was offered a lollipop and a puzzle to play with, which was the biggest treat for him, he barely noticed that he was getting his hair cut. I enjoyed the experience just as much as Shane did and would totally recommend Snip-It's, The cut ran us about $19, but the experience for Shane was well worth the cost. Check out some pics of his cut, sorry I didn't take before pics, I really didn't think they would succeed in cutting his hair :)

Friday, August 21, 2015

What to eat

It seems like just yesterday when my sweet little boy only needed milk and a cracker and he was full for the evening. Now, I hear the scream of "Eat, Eat" every 2 hours and sometimes at 1am, like this morning. Sometimes he loves pasta and fruit washed down with a little juice, other days he doesn't want anything to do with either! My job is to make sure the he eats a healthy diet, but he doesn't always cooperate. During those times,  I feel that I am scratching my head and scrambling to find a meal that he can enjoy. After a lot of practice and food rejection, I've come up with a sort of formula that seems to work for him, especially during the times where he doesn't want to stop playing long enough to eat anything.

1. Try to always start a meal with a small piece of fruit. This summer a small piece of watermelon or strawberry does the trick. The fruit helps open up the appetite a bit so that even the most stubborn toddler will remember that he/she may be a little hungry.

2. Stay away from super dry foods. So, I don't know if it's just the summer time heat that does it, my little Shane doesn't really like anything that can dry quickly, such as breads and dry meats. I try to leave these foods for the end of the meal or make sure a light sauce like marinara is used to wet these foods a bit.

3. Cut out snacks close to meal time. This may be a no-brainer, but I think it's pretty important to make sure the toddler doesn't come to meal time feeling satisfied with the small snacks he's eaten in the last hour or two, because this is a sure fire way to ruin a meal.

These are just a few of my tips! Let me know any other great tips that you use to make meal time a little easier.