With spring flowers here, we’re ready to learn about as many of them as we can! To do that, we created a DIY Flower Book.
Although we only started off with one flower, I’ll make sure to update our other flower pages.
Since Mila picks flowers all the time, we had to press and keep them for a while. I thought it’d be cool to see everything in a book for us to review and go over at the end of summer.
All we had to do is start with a base. Here’s the supplies we used:
For the actual book, I ended up using cardboard from a brownie box. It was easy to cut and I liked how it was thin cardboard too. Then, I used modge podge to paste scrapbook paper on to the cardboard pieces.
After it was dried, I used stickers to write “Mila’s Flower Book.” Then I hole punched the top corner to connect the book with a pipe cleaner.
For the inside flower pages, I just used computer paper. You could definitely do thick card stock paper or other scrapbook paper too. I’ll probably use others with some of the other flowers.
I figured we’d start with tulips since the ones we picked are starting to die.
All we did was dry the flowers, have her draw them, me draw them, and we went over the letters in tulip. It was a fun learning experience for her!
We can’t wait to get started on the other flowers. I think dandelions will be next and some of my Mother’s Day flowers too.
What’s your favorite flower that we should study? Let me know in the comments.
Ohio is a state full of hidden gems. Our favorite local one is Dundee Falls in Dundee, Ohio. With a short hike, you’ll find a beautiful waterfall and peaceful scene.
Besides the view, I love that Dundee Falls is perfect to explore for people of all ages.
For our first adventure of the season, Mila, Josh, and I all went to Dundee Falls. Mila and I have been there quite a few times, but it was Josh’s first. My family has taken Mila since she’s been one and she’s always loved it!
It’s only about a mile hike from the start to the falls. Then another mile back. It’s not long at all and it’s shaded by trees. That makes it so nice for a hot summer day.
Some things I would suggest people to bring when they come to Dundee Falls are a change of clothes, water bottle, and sunscreen.
Since it’s the first time Mila and I’ve went so early in the year, I did not expect it to be as muddy as it was. If you’re planning on visiting in the spring, prepare for the slippery mud! It’s sort of everywhere.
This time, we went a different path from normal. We crossed the stream before the falls and went the long way around.
It was fun seeing them from a different view and just getting to explore. I did fall like ten times, but it was still a blast. We also got to climb over the river rocks and just get completely immersed in nature.
If you go the regular way to get to the falls, you do have to climb down a little rock way. This is normally somewhat slippery, but it was even more muddy which made it a little difficult to get up. I can imagine it was tricky to get down too. BUT there were so many people able to get up and down of all ages and ability levels. Just know it’s not accessible for those in wheelchairs or other limiting abilities.
Mila’s favorite part is actually getting into the water at the falls. She just loves to play and jump in it. She always looking for fish, frogs, and whatever else she can find too. At this time of the year, the water felt nice. I fell in the deeper water under the falls and was soaked. It wasn’t too cold for me to get back.
Our trips to Dundee Falls are so informative and an amazing sensory experience for Mila too. We loved pointing out wildlife and talking about cleaning up our Earth.
Speaking of… the trail and park in all is really clean. People who visit are mindful of their trash if they bring a picnic. They’re also really nice too. I’ve always had positive experiences visiting Dundee Falls. Some people even bring their dogs, which is always so cute!
The three of us had an amazing time Exploring Dundee Falls. Mila and I might have ended the trail completely muddy and soaked with water, but the adventure was worth every second.
Once you’re done visiting Dundee Falls, I would suggest making a short drive to the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock. We go every time we’re near Sugarcreek! It’s Mila’s favorite.
Another place you have to visit is The Wallhouse. They have such great ice cream. It ends the day perfectly.
If you’re from Ohio, let us know some trails or places we should visit next! Or let me know your favorite place to go to where you live. Maybe we’ll have to go too.
If you’re wanting to help plan on getting the most out of spring this year, this DIY Spring Bucket List can help! Not only will it motivate you to get everything you want done, it’ll look great in your home.
Wall hanging (message me if you’d like me to make you one)
First things first… it’s time for a family meeting. Have a talk with your family about what you would all like to do this spring. This will look different for every family.
Once you figure this out, it’s time to print.
The Letter Vee has some bucket list items already on their site, but also gives blank cards too! This way you can easily write down what you’d like. For our ‘other’ items, I just used a normal pen and you could easily see my writing.
Next cut them out and use a hole puncher for each tag.
I actually taped the tags on spring scrapbook paper to give it an extra pop and used a daisy hole punch. The extra details made it so cute.
We also decided to use pink, grey, purple, and light blue yarn to connect our tags.
All you have to do is a light tie on a piece of the yarn or ribbon on your wall hanging. I just shuffled them around so we could easily see them.
You can add as many bucket list items you’d like.
Our plan is to take pictures with each bucket list item. When we do it, we’ll pull it off and make a little scrapbook of our spring.
It’ll be a fun way to record what we do and reflect on it at the end of the year.
Either way, we’re super ready for springtime and to start pulling items off of our bucket list. We can wait to keep you all updated.
In the comments, let me know what’s on your spring bucket list.
Mila and my’s favorite part about this October was her Tiny Ghoul Gang Party. It was a fun way to get all of her friends together and celebrate Halloween!
She had been asking me for weeks about having a party. For some reason she was convinced that her birthday was this month… and not six months away. Instead of fighting that battle for six more months, we invited her preschool and dance friends over and had a Tiny Ghoul Gang Party.
When I first decided to throw this party for Mila, I came up with a pumpkin painting party idea. She loves painting and crafts and I figured her friends would too.
I had a ton of Halloween activity ideas pinned and saved on Instagram. There’s so many creative people in the world, I’m so thankful they share their ideas! It was easy to find things for the kids to do.
Thankfully it was minimal prep too!
The main party activity was pumpkin painting. We literally laid down an old blanket and table clothes, set out paint and brushes, then let the kids have at it. Honestly, they went right to wanting to paint pumpkins which took me by surprise. If I would have known that, I would’ve got the paint out beforehand. Thankfully, there was a great group of parents who immediately jumped in and helped out!
Besides paint, we also let the kiddos put googly eyes on their pumpkins to decorate too! They all turned out adorable.
This activity is messy. Obviously. If I were to do this again, I’d have found more tables or gotten pallets for the kids to use. Just to stabilize the pumpkins and keep the brushes and paint upright.
I just talked about these in another blog post. They’re one of my favorite Halloween activities and went pretty well with a big group of girls. The hardest part was finding the letters of all the girls’ names.
Before the party, I made all of the brooms. If I would do this activity again for kids, I would have their name beads already set out or put in a bag.
Again, there was an amazing group of parents their with us that helped out!
Technically I had three sensory areas set up, but we only got to two. The one sensory play idea that wasn’t used was a potion making station. I think that was fine because it ended up getting cold, which is never good mixed with wet clothes.
The one bin that was used the most was the spaghetti bin. There were eyeballs, fingers, and spiders that the kids could find. But, a couple of them (mostly Mila), ended up just eating the spaghetti… yum. They all did seem like they loved playing with this sensory bowl.
Maybe for the next Halloween party, I’ll do multiple cold spaghetti bowls.
In the other sensory bowl was ‘monster soup.’ It just had torn up tissue paper, Halloween colored sensory items (balls, pipe cleaners, etc). The girls really enjoyed this too!
Bobbing for Apples:
Like I stated above, the cold and water don’t really mix, but the girls really enjoyed trying this. It’s just your classic bobbing for apples game. The ones who participated did really good… the others volunteered to just eat the apples.
Halloween Egg Hunt:
Mila helped prep this activity. I found Easter eggs that looked like jack-o-lanterns at Target. We filled them up with candy and Mila spread them around the yard.
I’m not sure how well she hid them… but the kids loved running and finding them. It was an easy activity and got them playing independently.
We also had a few throwing activities that I didn’t get pictures of. One was to throw rings around pumpkin stems. Again, easy set up and fun! Then my mom found this game where you throw a ball in pumpkin styled cups. What kid doesn’t like throwing?
I think all the kids loved what we had set up. There was Halloween music playing in the background, so we got to see some dance moves too. When the kids didn’t have a guided activity, they just ran, talked, or played on the play equipment too. I don’t think any of them were ever bored during the party.
It was so much fun to see Mila’s favorite groups of friends come together.
I promise I had every intention of making this party have more food than dessert. It just didn’t manifest that way.
The food spread was mostly a dessert bar full of Halloween treats. To be honest, I bought all the desserts. I did not have time to make everything, besides adding extra Halloween sprinkles to the cake. Still, I loved how it turned out!
For the food, we had fruits, veggies, cream chicken, mummy hot dogs, and a skull meat and cheese plate. Plus, there were buckets of chips and a sweet Halloween mix too.
I was actually surprised with how much food was eaten. Of course I still had leftovers, but the majority of it was gone!
We also started a fire and had s’mores too.
To make it a little more special, I made Ghoul Gang shirts for the girls. I think they turned out adorable and even made myself a sweatshirt.
It made for really cute pictures and I love getting shirts, so I knew Mila’s friends would too.
We also made baskets for the kids to take too. It was just a trick or treat bucket filled with goodies for them to take home.
The best goodies for me was watching all of the ghouls having fun. Their smiles and laughs are the reason why any parent does what they do for their kids. I love that this group of girls get to grow up together. Just knowing Mila will have friends going into school and through life brings me so much peace for her.
I am so thankful for all the parents that let their kiddos come. Mila has talked about it almost every day since.
Throughout the madness of the day, Mila and I didn’t get a single picture at her party. This isn’t too crazy. We rarely remember to get pictures together.
Once we got home, she thanked me for her party and gave me a big hug. That’s when we got the picture.
I love being her mom and having the ability to do these types of things for her. Something tells me she’s going to be a kid that wants a party for all occasions. Fingers crossed we’ll be able to do it!
Even when life is crazy, it’s party days like those and the hugs after that make the hard parts worth it.
I can’t wait to see what we come up with for next year’s Halloween party.
Have you ever threw your child a Halloween party? What was your favorite activity at yours or Mila’s?
Studios are holding sign ups and preparing for another great year. If you’re wondering if you should sign your toddler up for dance or what it’s even like, you’ve found the right post.
Here’s why Mila and I LOVE dance class and why your toddler should join in too!
Friends and Socialization
One of the biggest reasons I signed Mila up for dance was for socialization.
Since she plays by herself most of the time, I knew she needed to make friends. Let me tell you, her socialization and friend group most definitely expanded.
One of her favorite parts of going to dance class was seeing her friends. She learned how to play better with other kids, take turns, and the basics of friendship. That’s a skill that she’ll always have to use.
Plus, as a dance mom, I got to meet so many different parents. I’m so glad to know them and their kids.
Learn About Body Movement
Toddlers are awkward.
They fall and stumble. Somehow they’re always getting back up and running again.
Dance helps toddlers and kids feel comfortable in their own body. It lets them understand how to move certain parts and their capabilities.
I think Mila’s coordination levels went up since starting dance. Plus, she learned how to move her body so fast! Her teachers did an amazing job helping her learn all the moves and to trust her body at such an early age.
Practice Listening to Other Adults
Since I’m almost a full time teacher, but a long time sub, I selfishly wanted Mila to learn how to listen to other adults.
When they go to dance class, they are made to listen and be instructed by someone that’s not their parent. It can be difficult for them, but it’s so rewarding in the long run.
I’m sure that Mila will listen and do so well in preschool because of her experience in dance class.
It might seem like a small skill, but it’s helped her be more independent and happy with other trusted adults. I’m excited to meet her new teacher this year and to have Mila listen and love another supportive adult.
As an adult, I would never be able to get in stage and dance in front of a crowd. Yet, groups of toddlers, kids, and young adult dancers did at their recital last year.
It showed how confident they were in themselves.
Mila’s always been confident, but when she danced on stage, that confidence oozed out. It even helped her and her friends do their talent show.
As a mom of a little girl, I want her to project confidence through all aspects of her life. By being apart of dance, she gets to practice that at such a young age. That makes me a very proud dance mom.
They have FUN!
The most important aspect of anything during the toddler stage is having fun.
Let me tell you, toddler dance classes are chaotic to watch. At the beginning they’re running around crazy, but they’re smiling and laughing. By the end of the year, they know what’s expected of them and are still having fun.
Maybe I’ll call it organized chaos.
BUT… when they’re having fun they want to come back and learn more. Mila and I have so many great memories from dance class and are excited for another year of them.
Dance welcomes boys, girls, and whoever wants to join. It’s such an inclusive space that I’d recommend to everyone.
Local friends, dance studios are opening up. We go to Legacy Dance Studio and have had nothing but positive experiences. Mila and I would love to see you there too!
Have you ever signed your toddler up for classes or sports? What did you love about them?
On Wednesdays, we go to the market. More specifically, we head to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market in Dover, Ohio for food, entertainment, and a fun time.
Open every Wednesday from 3-7pm during the months of June to mid-October, the Market sets up at the Tuscarawas County Fairgrounds. It’s open rain or shine.
Anytime we can support local farmers, makers, and businesses, we do! So, we grab our canvas bags and go shopping.
Mila loves interacting with all the people and I love knowing where our food is coming from.
It’s a perfect combination.
It’s so fun watching Mila interact and explore different foods. She loves to pick out zucchini, all fruits, and flowers. I love that everyone is patient with her (and me too!). Somehow I feel like this is only going to strengthen her relationship with food.
My favorite part is trying out different vegetables than what we would normally pick out.
We’ve tried different squashes, baby carrots, and a vegetable called a kohlrabi. Kohlrabi looks like an alien vegetable, but tastes like cauliflower. I have a recipe I’m going to share soon with it.
We also love the homemade jams, puff corn, hot sauces, and flowers too. I guess you can say we like everything there.
Every time we go, Mila enjoys picking out fresh cut flowers to take home.
They add so much beauty to our home and are different every week we go. That’s the magic about buying local, it’s whatever is growing or read that week.
When you go to the Market, you’re not just going to get produce and leave.
The library brings crafts for kids every other week to do. You can either make them there or take them home to do later.
There’s usually entertainment, such as local bands and musicians too. Mila and her friends danced for a while one week. They had so much fun, as well as everyone else around too. It’s so special to watch a community come together and enjoy the moment.
Another added bonus is the food trucks and stands that join in on the fun.
I don’t know if anyone else is like me, but after I get back from shopping I get tired. Instead of rushing home to make food, we love ordering food and eating there. They usually have brick oven pizza that tastes so good!
Mila usually had sampled all of our produce by the end, but never turns down macaroons or ice cream!
Once you do get home to make meals, you won’t be disappointed.
Last week, I made an amazing BLT with all local ingredients. It honestly tasted fresh and so much better than usual. I definitely need to pick up more tomatoes and bread this week!
We hope that you can make it to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market this year!
It’s a great event for our community, way to educate our kids about food, and help grow our local commerce. You might even get to try an out of this world vegetable too!
Just watch out for Mila pushing her cart!
If you’ve ever been to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market, what’s your favorite thing about it?
My faraway friends, do you have a local farmers market you like to attend?
Mila and I love to find quirky, local adventures. One of our favorite places to explore is the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock in Sugarcreek, Ohio.
It’s definitely worth the visit!
You’ll find this treasure located in downtown Sugarcreek, on the corner of Main Street and North Broadway.
We actually went to go out to the cuckoo clock, but got sidetracked by the Butterfly Exhibit at the Norma Johnson Center. If we’re nearby the clock, Mila and I like to get ice cream and watch the show.
It’s one of the places she asks to go quite frequently. I have no idea how she got so fascinated with it.
The clock plays it’s song and show every half hour in the summer. Its closed down in the winter, so be mindful of that if you’re planning a visit during the cooler months.
We got there a little early, so we walked around the block to explore… and take pictures.
The history of the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock is pretty cool. If you read the Ohio marker in the picture it tells you all about it.
Here’s a little recap of what it says:
Originally, the clock was at a local restaurant a few streets down. It was on the the cover of the Guinness Book of World Records in 1978. Then, after decades, it needed a major restoration. Two years after it was restored, the restaurant it was at closed down and the clock was moved to its current location.
I think knowing what the clock has been through and seeing the shear size of it, makes it even more impressive.
Once it was time for the clock to do its song and dance, Mila ran over to the bench.
The whole thing runs about five minutes.
It’s really cute to watch and Mila likes it too. You can always tell when it’s the half hour because there’s a little crowd all around the clock.
When it was over, Mila gave me her best cuckoo clock impression. I think she loves the dancing.
If you’re close to Sugarcreek or visiting Ohio, this should be on your list to see. It’s only a ten minute stop if you time it up right. Then you can get lunch, ice cream, or go shopping at the local shops.
It’s truly a sight to see and something that will make you smile. Your kids will love it too!
Local friends… have you ever seen the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock? What other fun things would you suggest people see?
Far away friends… what’s your closest “World’s Largest” to you?
To get to the exhibit, all you have to do is park in the lot by the red barn. Then follow the signs up to the pavilion you saw when pulling in. I promise you can’t miss it.
Mila was so excited to see the butterflies, she ran up the hill to get to them.
Under the pavilion, the NJC crew had butterfly crafts, face painting, and information. Plus, the main event: actual butterflies!
The butterflies were in a screened off section of the pavilion.
Inside, there was a lady who was extremely knowledgeable about butterflies. She was such a huge help in teaching kids the different parts of the butterflies and how to handle them.
We learned that we shouldn’t touch butterflies with our fingers, they eat with their proboscis (which is like a straw), and they love to eat rotten fruit, but prefer flowers more. Also, that Eric Clarke wrote that caterpillars made a cocoon, but it’s actually called a chrysalis!
Those were the main takeaways. There was so much more information.
If you’re wondering why Mila has the q-tips, it’s a good question. Since you shouldn’t touch butterflies with your finger, q-tips are the best option to be interactive with butterflies.
They’re dipped in watermelon, which some butterflies like. You can get them on there so they drink the juice. Then they can either fly away or you can transfer them to a flower. You get to see the butterflies up close AND they get to stay safe.
After we visited the butterflies, it was craft time!
The NJC had a free paper butterfly craft. It consisted of coloring the wings, cutting them out, and assembling it together. Mila and I tackled this one together!
Then, she got to get her face painted, with a butterfly of course. She picked all her favorite colors: pink, blue, purple, and a silvery color. The butterfly was very unique.
It was her very first time getting her face painted! I think she was a little nervous, but overall stayed as still as she could.
Immediately after, she wanted to do a little photoshoot and ran on the hill.
I guess you could say she was happy with the finished product.
After face painting, she made some sand art.
They had crafts that costed up to $5 that were butterfly themed. She choose to do the sand, but they also had concrete garden stones kids (or adults!) could paint too.
Before we left, Mila said goodbye to everyone, especially the butterflies.
A few weekends ago, Mila went fishing for the first time.
We decided to go for Father’s Day. It’s been a while since my dad and I have went, but we had been talking about it in front of Mila. She had been asking for days and it felt like the perfect time. Father’s Day weekend was a free fishing weekend, so we got a few fishing poles and found a spot by the lake.
What I didn’t realize was how different fishing was with a toddler. Just like my thoughts on Mila’s dance class, I knew I had to share what was going on in my head here too.
Feel free to laugh along with me.
What’s the difference between worms and night crawlers?
Seriously though… what’s the difference? Plus, is it really kosher that I’m buying whatever they are at a gas station? Either way, thank goodness I don’t have to touch them. Maybe Mila will be braver than me.
There’s a lot of gear and snacks that go into fishing.
Thank goodness Papa is here to get everything in working order.
If it was just Mila and I today, there wouldn’t be a ton of fishing. It’d be more of me chasing her around than casting out and catching! She’s grossed out by the worms… I guess we have more jobs for Papa.
It’s time to fish!
It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Our poles are ready. Mila is excited to catch a big fish. Let’s see if we can…
Toddlers and sharp objects are not a good combination. Especially when said sharp objects are being hurled through the air. I guess we should have started with some ground rules to begin with and a few practice casts.
Why am I doing more fishing than her?
After the first few casts and no fish, Mila is highly disappointed.
Apparently in her mind they were all going to flock to the worm/night crawlers. I guess no one sent out the being patient while fishing memo to her.
I got one!
Cue the yelling to Mila to help me reel the fish in. As she ran over, I realized I probably scared the rest of the fish away, but this was a BIG moment for her.
No, you don’t have to touch the fish.
After the intense reeling, she eyes up her prize. Once it starts wiggling around, she’s not so sure about touching it. Finally, I convince her to pet it before we throw it back in. Of course, Papa had another job of unhooking it.
Thankfully, Mila stepped up and threw it back in the lake.
I need to catch all the fish for her!
Hours seem to pass quickly and her excitement makes me want to catch even more. We do our normal fish routine, but mixed in is the patience memo she missed.
I guess the boredom helped her get more brave in touching the worms.
This is pretty relaxing.
As it’s time to pack up, the day has been quite relaxing… minus the almost getting hooked every time Mila casted out and the persistent whining. Right before we leave, Mila proclaims that next time we catch a really big fish so we can eat it.
I guess that’s a goal and story for another time.
Have you ever been fishing with your child? If so, what was your favorite part of the experience?
Looking for other camping related activities? Check out these fun ones.
Smokey Lane Farms was a smaller farm that had two areas to pick strawberries. It also had places for kids to play and farm animals.
When we first got there, we started picking in the first field. It was pretty sparse since it was the last day, but Mila seemed to find a lot.
I’m pretty sure she ate more than what ended up in her bucket.
Who can blame her right?
One thing I wish I would have done before we started picking was to tell her what to look for. She picked small berries, mushy berries, or any that her eyes could see.
If I could go back, I would have told her to get big, light red berries that were mushy.
Live and learn!
After we found a bunch of strawberries in the first field, we took a play break.
She went down the slides, jumped on the air trampoline, and attempted to climb the ropes. Good thing mom was there to help out a little. I think her goal right now is to solo swing across the monkey bars.
We also ended up strolling through their green houses and checking out the farm animals.
After playing with some new friends on the playground, Mila was ready to tackle the second strawberry field. Thankfully, there were bigger strawberries so I could show her what we were looking for.
Let’s just say… she ate a ton of those too.
In all, I think we were at Smokey Lane Farms for like three hours or more. We loved finding the strawberries and just being outside.
It was the perfect day to go: not too hot or cold.
One thing I’d suggest to parents is to bring water. Mila drank a lot and it was nice to have some on hand.
We obviously didn’t need any snacks!
Not only was it nice to get outside with Mila, we love exploring new places.
It’s been years since I’ve been strawberry picking and it was Mila’s first time. Maybe it can turn into a fun first of summer tradition with our family.
I love having the opportunity to start and keep these types of family outings. Mila loves exploring and I know I do too.
Maybe we’ll have to try their blueberry you-pick!
Since we have a huge bucket of strawberries, it’s time to make our strawberry recipes and enjoy them.