Christmas in July Snacks.

Christmas is officially SIX MONTHS away! I can’t believe 2021 is halfway over.

To celebrate the occasion, Mila and I made some Christmas inspired treats. Then, we cleared out some of her older things to give to others. ‘Tis the season of giving.

The three snacks we made were Strawberry Santa’s, marshmallow ‘Olaf’s,’ and frozen hot chocolate.

Each are pretty easy to make. They all include one of Mila’s favorite things: sugar.

For the Strawberry Santa’s here what you’ll need:

  • Strawberry’s
  • Whipped cream
  • Sprinkles
  • Food coloring

To make this little guy, all you need to do is cut a strawberry in half. Then, add whipped cream to the middle to make Santa’s face and beard and to the top to make the fluff on the top.

A face only Mrs. Claus can love.

I made his eyes with food coloring… I’ll admit, he looks like a creeper. But let’s just say Santa has some shades on. For his mouth, I added a red sprinkle.

Out of the three, this was my personal favorite. Yeah, I know I’m on a strawberry kick this summer.

Mila’s favorite was the Marshmallow Snowmen. she obviously named them Olaf’s.

All you’ll need for these are;

  • Marshmallows (2 per snowman)
  • Chocolate chips
  • Sprinkles
  • Toothpicks
  • Food coloring.

Honestly, these are just as easy to assemble.

I stuck the toothpick through both marshmallows to keep the snowman upright. Then, I pushed the chocolate chips in as eyes and buttons. Finally, an orange sprinkle made the perfect nose.

For his smile… I just painted on food coloring because that would have been too many chocolate chips.

I think I also wanted to showcase that I actually know how to paint on a circle to a face.

I think this was Mila’s favorite treat. Mostly because she loves Olaf and the nose made her giggle.

Last but not least, the frozen hot chocolate was so easy to make.

All I did was take a hot chocolate packet, milk, and ice to my blender and mixed it up. It turned o it really good. Then I put it in the Santa mug and topped it off with whipped cream.

After our little snack, we took the time to go through Mila’s old clothes, toys, and baby accessories. I think the sugar rush definitely helped Mila get through it.

It was nice to clear up some closet space for Mila and giveaway a few toys.

I told Mila she was Santa’s little helper. Then reminded her he’s always watching so to keep being a good girl!

Now she won’t take off her Santa headband! We’ve been reading Christmas books and watching Christmas movies too. I guess she’s already excited.

Mila and I had so much celebrating Christmas in July!

It’s always nice to make something special for Mila. AND I love teaching her early on that giving is important.

Ww have a little work to do for when Santa’s not watching, but it’s a start.

If you’re looking for more ways to celebrate Christmas in July or want to have a little party to celebrate, check out how these moms do it:

Shark Week Paper Craft

Duuun dun duuun dun… look out, it’s Shark Week!

This might be the first year that I’ve ever participated in Shark Week. They’re one of my biggest fears… good thing I live in Ohio. But, I’m raising Mila to be fearless, so we did a toddler-friendly shark inspired craft!

The set up is reminiscent of our Frida Kahlo portrait we did earlier this year. Just shark inspired.

Here’s what you’ll need to hammer it out:

Since Mila isn’t the Steven Spielberg of using scissors, I prepped this activity. If your kids are older, they’ll have fun with this.

All I did was cut out different shapes of the shark and waves for her to put together.

  • Light blue for the background
  • Newspaper for the shark’s body
  • Black for the shark’s mouth and pupils
  • White for the eyes and teeth
  • Dark blue for the waves

Honestly, I just free-cut everything jaws because it was easier and I knew it wasn’t going to be ‘perfect.’ I’m so happy I did because the shark’s expression is amazing.

Once your done cutting the pieces out, have your child assemble their shark.

I let Mila place the shark’s parts however she wanted. She also had her toy shark for reference. The only thing I did tell her was that a shark’s mouth is FULL of teeth.

Take a bite out of this…

Shark’s will have 30,000 teeth over their lifespan. I told Mila that, but she doesn’t really know 30,000 is a huge number.

Back to the craft…

While Mila was working away, I found the letters to ‘shark’ in the newspaper to cut them out. There’s always an opportunity to learn letters, so we take them.

After the pieces are set, glue them down.

So, Mila’s shark is the only shark I probably would not be afraid of seeing in the water.

I mean, just look at him.

He’s not very ferocious and makes me laugh every time I look at him. I don’t know if it’s how big the eyes are or the mismatched teeth…

All I do know is Mila is extremely proud of her shark.

He’s currently hanging on our fridge. So every time I look in our kitchen, his bewildered face makes me smile.

Isn’t that fintastic?

We hope you liked our Shark Week paper craft! It’s always fun to see your child creating and learning at the same time.

What’s your favorite type of shark?

I’d you’re looking for other Shark Week activities, check these more ferocious ones out:

Support Local: The Little Theatre of Tuscarawas County.

Mila and I got all dressed up to meet some friends for a play! It was Mila’s first. She was so excited to see The Little Theatre of Tuscarawas County put on The Little Mermaid.

Okay… she was way more excited than this picture shows. This was after watching and she was tired!

The play took place at Dover High School‘s auditorium. It provided comfy seats, a decently sized stage, and an overall nice atmosphere.

I will say… Mila and I did get lost finding the restrooms though.. oops!

We met Mila’s dance friend, her sister, and mom there. The girls were SO excited to see Ariel. The potential of meeting here was in the air. All they had to do was watch one of their favorite stories unfold in front of their eyes.

Since it was there first play, we explained how they worked. The lights would dim when they play would start. We had to stay quiet while the lights were dim and they were on stage. Clap after the songs. No eating and drinking while we were watching.

The first time they saw Ariel was like magic. Every time she left the stage, they wondered where she went!

It was so cute seeing their excitement and hearing their little chatter. Thankfully the people in front of us didn’t mind toddler talk and their seats being touched.

Honestly, hearing all the kids in the theatre made it extra adorable.

The play would be in two parts with an intermission in between. I’d say the break was definitely needed with two three year olds.

Although I won’t give too much away about the play (you know the story), the intermission took place right after Ariel lost her voice. Hopefully if you go the next two nights, this can help you plan for your littles.

During intermission, the girls took some pictures, ate a snack, and got some of Ariels treasures!

Her treasures were some mermaid inspired merchandise. Mila got a necklace, ring, lipgloss, tattoo, and shell. They also had crowns, keychains, and so much more.

One really cool option was writing a note to a cast member. Mila and the girls chose to write their note to Ariel!

During the second part of the play, the girls were getting tired. Somehow knowing they were about to meet their favorite mermaids kept them awake.

Honestly, I was so impressed by the play. It’s the first local one I’ve been to in a couple years. The actors were amazing. I laughed so many times throughout the entire thing. Sebastian had me laughing out loud every time he was in stage! The music and singing amazed me too. On top of that, the props and costumes were on point too.

It was just such a great play.

As they play ended, the girls knew it was time to meet all of their favorite characters. It was so interesting watching Mila interact with different characters.

She ran up to King Triton and gave him a big hug. On our way home, she told me, “Ariel’s daddy is so cute!” No wonder why she ran up to him then! When she saw Sebastian, she had to go talk to him too.

I mean, just look at their costumes!

Then, she saw Ursula. Mila refused to even stand beside her. I absolutely loved her costume, makeup, and performance. It’s quite comical that Mila wanted nothing to do with her. She knows she’s ‘evil’ in the movie.

The girls met other cast members and took their pictures. Mila also did not want a picture with Flounder or Prince Eric. I found this perplexing because she loves watching them.

While we were meeting with other characters, Ariel snuck in the room.

Mila was so giddy and just happy to see her.

The actress was so patient and gave each child time to talk. I think that’s such an important thing to do when portraying a Disney princess. It’s a huge deal for kids and she understood that.

I wish I could tell her thank you again!

The night was absolutely beautiful. We got to spend it with great friends watching an amazing performance! The added bonus of meeting Mila’s favorite characters just made it sweeter.

Although the rest of The Little Mermaid performances are sold out, you should still check out The Little Theatre of Tuscarawas County. They put on different shows throughout the year. I can only imagine they’re as great as this one!

I can’t wait to see what they put on next year for the kids. Mila and I will definitely go.

Maybe one day she’ll want to try theatre too. Who knows? No matter what she does, I’ll be there cheering her on.

Until then, Mila and I have plenty of mommy-daughter date nights ahead.

What was your or your child’s first play?

If you’d like to support The Little Theatre of Tuscarawas County, check out their website. They provide a ton of great ways to get involved with local arts.

Toddler Activity: Marshmallow Painting

S’mores are obviously a huge part of our summer. We have tons of fires and we’re always craving the gooey treat. Sometimes, you can have a ton of leftover marshmallows. Instead of just throwing them away before they get hard, try this Marshmallow painting.

It’s a fun way for kids to play with their food and wait for the s’mores to get done!

If you’re by the campfire making s’mores, you have almost everything you’ll need.

  • Marshmallows
  • Paint
  • Sticks
  • Canvas

To start this activity off, I had Mila go find sticks. It gave her some time to explore and find the perfect ones.

While she was doing that, I prepped the painting area. All you need to do is find a spot for your canvas, get a palette (I used old cardboard) to put the paint, and get out marshmallows.

Once Mila got back with the sticks, I stuck the sticks in the marshmallows to make a ‘brush.’

Before she started painting, I asked her to tell me a campfire story through her art. So, while she was painting, she was telling a big story. Everyone color represented something different.

The storytelling part of this activity is my favorite! People have been telling stories around the fire since the first humans.

I can’t remember exactly what Mila’s was about. There were a lot of details.

What I do recall is the story was about me, Mila, and Max. We rode on a bike to get plants and a tree. She was purple, I was pink, Max was orange, the plants and tree were green, the bike was blue, and there’s some colors she used again that I don’t remember why.

I should have been recording her tell the story, but I didn’t think about it until after. Either way, when I look at her little painting, I smile.

Afterwards, we enjoyed a little s’more and told more stories. It was such a fun activity to start our evening. Summer nights like these are my absolute favorite.

In the next week or so, I hope I can start writing down her stories. She’s been telling a lot of them and I want to make sure I always remember. When I do, I’ll make sure to write a post about it in case you’d like to do something similar.

Have you ever painted with marshmallows before? If not, what’s your favorite camping or summer craft you did as a child?

Here’s some other summer/camping crafts you might want to check out too!

DIY Stars and Stripes Sign

Hello July!

I can’t think of a better way to start the month of than a DIY sign. Especially when a three year old is doing all the heavy lifting! With the Fourth of July right here, it seemed fitting to do a patriotic Stars and Stripes sign.

On Pinterest and Instagram, I’ve been seeing so many cute, patriotic signs. I knew Mila and I had to make one too. When I went to Joann Fabrics last, a wooden sign was calling out to me.

*I’ve looked all over Joann Fabrics’ website and Amazon to link the sign. There’s nothing comparable, but something still could be in your local craft store. Whenever I go, there’s a multitude of wood signs! Plus, you might find something else you like more!*

Unfortunately, I got too excited to actually take pictures of the plain wood. I painted the outside of the sign blue. Then, red and white went on the ‘stripes’ in the middle.

I just used craft paint and it worked fine!

Usually, I set up Mila’s activities and projects when she’s asleep or working on something else. When she saw me painting, she was not happy with me! She didn’t understand why she wasn’t painting either! Oops.

I promise the next part makes up for my apparent painting betrayal.

After the sign was dry, I laid out her part of the activity. She requested we use light blue in the sign too… which was a fantastic choice.

All we ended up using was:

Of course, I laid down brown paper to protect my table and a paper plate to dip in the paint.

Thankfully this isn’t the first time Mila has used something other than a brush to paint. She knew she had to push down hard to get the paint off.

It always amazes me how she creates art. I have no idea what her method is, but it always turns out so cute.

She ended up layering all the star sizes and blended the colors. I love how some of the stars turned out ombré from navy to light blue. The pops of light blue are actually my favorite.

Since the sign wasn’t huge, it didn’t take too long to fill the inside up.

I went back and forth on adding words or something on the blue ring of the sign. Eventually, I decided it was perfect how it was. I didn’t want anything to take away from the stars. Sometimes less is more.

If you can’t find star cookie cutters, sponges would be an amazing alternative. We haven’t used sponges to paint a ton, but it’s on our list this summer!

I am SO happy with how our DIY Stars and Stripes sign turned out. It’s proudly hanging on our front door now.

My favorite part is just making art with Mila. It’s something I’ll always treasure.

The next few days will be ones to treasure too! I’m excited to see her react to our community’s festivities and fireworks. As a child, I loved being around my family for the Fourth and hope Mila does too. Check out her second Fourth of July here.

I hope you have a fantastic July as well!

Do you craft or make signs for different holidays? If so, which is your favorite holiday to craft for?

Toddler Activity: Mermaid Swim Party

With summer heat waves, it can be hard to stay cool when you’re outside. Our favorite way is to add water play to our routine. This week started off with a Mermaid Swim Party.

Every day, I like to do a hands on activity with Mila. In the summer, that usually happens first thing in the morning. It’s a great way to set the mood and guarantees extra learning for the day!

A win-win right?

Since Mila loved the beach sensory play activity earlier this month, I thought I’d bring those themes back.

The best part, we used actual water this time!

A mermaid swim party wouldn’t be complete without these:

This activity was pretty simple to set up. The hardest part was getting the sprinkler in the hose.

All I did was setup the sprinkler (which wasn’t that hard at all), grab the items for the sensory bin, place them in, and fill up the bin with water. That’s all!

Before I let her play with the bin, we read a book. I believe reading books everyday is so crucial for a child’s development. They’re able to expand their vocabulary with every new word they here and start becoming familiar with sight words.

For this activity, we read That’s Not My Mermaid from the Usborne series.

It was a fun stepping stone to get her describing the differences of our mermaids during the activity. Plus, Usborne books are so educational. We love this series and find different ways to learn from it each time.

I would recommend the That’s Not My series to anyone!

After we read the book, I showed Mila her sensory bin and let her do whatever she wanted with it.

She went wild!

Between the water, the mermaids, and the sprinkler, she thought it was the best activity. I loved the way she reacted to it all. It’s always so much fun to see her growth through play.

I’d love to say I watched her the entire time, but she played with this activity for two hours. Yes. You read that right THREE HOURS.

For some reason, she really just thought this was a blast. We did different educational activities like talking about the resin letters and talking about the differences in the mermaids. She also loved pretending and making up stories about them.

At one point, Mila even got into the sensory tray to try to play with them more.

Eventually, after three hours, Mila was finally done with this activity and playing with the the hose. I was amazed that she was so engaged. It allowed me to wash the dishes, change the laundry, and tidy up. Of course, I kept checking on her, but it was hot!

Honestly, it makes me so happy to see how much she loves to play, use her imagination, and be outside. If creating simple activities helps, I’ll keep doing just that.

What are some of your favorite ways to beat the heat waves? Do you stay inside or like to play with or in water too?

Make sure to check out these other water inspired play ideas too!

You’ll never believe what Mila did…

Throughout parenting Mila, I’ve been pretty open about the ups, downs, and plain weird things that she does.

I could go on and on about her messes. There’s been powder sugar, grout, and flower all over my house. Her and Max love to play in the mud. Then there’s just her every day messes that always seem to accumulate.

This time though… I was shocked.

WARNING! I’ll be talking about bodily fluids so if you’re squeamish, don’t read on.

Mila has been potty trained for a year. It was fairly easy for her since she hates the idea of pee and poop. I was always thankful for the somewhat easy, but comical potty training times.

For some reason, in the last month, she’s been having an issue going number two in the potty.

It might be because she’s busy playing and doesn’t want to stop. Honestly, that’s the only thing I can chalk this story up to.

One night, I was making dinner and Mila wanted to chill out in my bed. I think she was watching a movie with Max and playing with her stuffed animals. When she plays, she constantly talking, but then it got quiet.

Every parent knows that when kids get quiet, something is up.

All of the sudden, I heard her yell, “Mom, I need help!” Then ran in there to see what was happening.

Her voice was coming from the bathroom, but the sight I saw in the bedroom was haunting.

At first glance, there was popcorn everywhere. Then on closer inspection, there was poop underneath of the popcorn. It was everywhere and I couldn’t quite comprehend what had happened in the moments before.

Poop covered in popcorn was all over the floors and on the bed. It was a trail going into the bathroom.

So, I followed the trail and saw Mila.

*not taken from the popcorn poo incident*

She had climbed on the toilet and cried while she told me she didn’t make it to the potty.

I hadn’t noticed…

Her body and the toilet was covered in just the poo. Not quite knowing how to go about the situation at large, I put her in the shower and cleaned the bathroom first.

Then I just stared at the… scene in the bedroom.

I didn’t know how one would ever clean up popcorn crusted poop, but I quickly found out.

The term ‘rage cleaning’ took a new meaning.

After I had a mini breakdown while cleaning, I had to ask her about her thinking. I just could not understand the popcorn addition.

She told me she threw the popcorn over it so Max could eat it. Her explanation was, he likes popcorn she he could just eat both. I guess like a chocolate bar? As she continued to explain, I realized she did it so she could cover her tracks.

I didn’t know if I should laugh, be mad, or how to feel after the whole thing was over.

What I did know was that I had to share with others. Shockingly, after I did, friends and family let me know they’ve had similar potty mishaps. Just minus the popcorn wildcard.

Hopefully some were able to laugh at Mila crazy idea and realized that motherhood is wild. No kid is perfect and I just like to keep it real.

Has your toddler ever done anything similar or is mine just a little bit crazy?

Pinky Got Out! Children’s Book Review

Happy National Pink Day!

Did you ever know there was such a thing? Me neither! Yet, if you peered into our house, you’d think we’d know all things pink.

To celebrate all things pink, Mila and I read and interacted with our latest Little Bookish Wardrobe box. Inside was the book Pinky Got Out! by Michael Portis and illustrated by Lori Richmond.

You may be wondering, what’s in the box? (Not meant to be read in Brad Pitt’s voice from Seven.)

In the box was the book, that beautiful PINK outfit, and a little craft. Mila wasn’t that into the craft this month. It was a mask and I think she doesn’t like the feeling on her face. Maybe when she gets older we’ll revisit.

But, she LOVED the glorious pink skirt, hair piece, and leotard.

I have to admit… it does look pretty cute.

Back to the good stuff though.

Little Bookish Wardrobe always picks out engaging books. This book was just so much fun for Mila to interact with.

It’s set in a zoo with a flamingo named Pinky that likes to get in a little trouble. A group of students are on a field trip and quickly take notice in the flamingo’s antics.

Throughout the book, the class see and learns about different animals, which is very educational to the reader too.

I didn’t know some of the facts in there!

The best part, even though it’s educational and you’re learning about animals, it’s fun for children to find Pinky. He escapes to every animal enclosure and always looks like he’s having fun.

Mila’s favorite part of this story is finding Pinky and laughing at his silly whereabouts.

The illustrations in this children’s book are amazing. I love the way Pinky looks. Even though the pictures are simple, they’re very impactful and help make this book fun for adults and children.

It’s a great way for kids to stay focused, recall what they’re looking for, and laugh along the way. I also like how there’s so many opportunities for learning extensions.

You can also quiz your child about the different animal names, what sounds they make, or the information from the story.

This would be a perfect book to read before the zoo or really anytime at all!

We hope that you have an amazing National Pink Day and check out Little Bookish Wardrobe. It’s a great way to get new books and additions for your child to fall in love with stories.

Do you do anything special for holidays like National Pink Day? If not, what’s your favorite pink thing?

Or you can check out this amazing pink Strawberry Fluff by Mom Buns and Mayhem. It looks so yummy and only has two ingredients. Plus, you all know my strawberry obsession lately!

Toddler Activity: Balloon Pop Artwork

Toddlers love throwing things, balloons, and making a mess. I’ve found a way to incorporate all three with this Balloon Pop Artwork.

For Mila’s third party birthday in April, (I still haven’t wrote about it. I’ll get to it as soon as I can!) we did a Young, Wild, and THREE theme. That meant animals prints, fun games, and friends. The day was truly a celebration.

Anyways, one our favorite parts was all the littles creating a huge piece of art. It was a carnival style game that the adults had a lot of fun watching.

This set up was inspired by the balloon throw game at fairs and carnivals.

And yes… we used darts.

Here are the supplies we used to create the balloon pop artwork:

  • A huge canvas
  • Paint
  • Balloons
  • Darts
  • Tape
  • A crazy group of kids

I want to start off saying that this project was a little more difficult than I thought. Honestly, I didn’t think through the getting the paint in the balloon or how to get them to stick effectively.

Yet… here are my tips to help! Plus a funny story or two.

The first thing you need to do is get the paint inside the balloons. Like I just said, this is not easy at all. If you have a trick of how to do this, please let all of us know. Hopefully that tip will help someone else out.

Anyways, after trial and error, I found the best way to put paint in a balloon are these steps.

First, blow up the balloon and let the air out. Second, stretch out the hole and squeeze paint in the balloon. Then, blow it up.

It sounds way simpler and easier than it actuality.

At first, I tried filling the balloon with a straw. It helped for a little bit, but pulling it out put paint everywhere. Which isn’t good when you still have to blow the balloon up.

BEWARE…

With one balloon, I had it half blown up then accidentally let go of the opening… that meant, all the air and paint in the balloon sprayed back on me.

It covered my face and shirt. Some got on my teeth and in my mouth. It just was not a great time.

So, there will be some trial and error.

After you’re done blowing up balloons, you have to tape them to the canvas.

I’d suggest not taping the balloons on or getting the activity outside until you’re ready to do it. The balloons will pop in the heat and tape doesn’t hold really well on canvas.

Yes… some balloons did pop prematurely in my house. It was a mess the entire time. But made me laugh too. What’s life without laughter?

Once it’s time to throw down, just set it up where you don’t mind paint getting every where.

We lined the kids up and told them what to do.

They all took turns really well and had a lot of fun with it. The littler kids had a harder time, but as soon as they realized they could throw hard, it got a lot more fun.

If you have kids close to the canvas, they will get paint on them!

Anyways, it took them a while to actually pop all the balloons. They started inching up after a few rounds.

Even though it was messy, I’m obsessed with out the Balloon Pop Artwork turned out. It’s actually the first piece of art someone sees when they walk into my house right now.

I love that every time we look at it, we remember how much fun Mila’s third birthday was!

Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever done an activity like this? Or let me know what your favorite carnival game is.

Before you go, check out how these moms incorporate the carnival in their play…

Toddler Activity: Flag Hunt

Happy Flag Day!

To celebrate the occasion, we went on a Flag Hunt and talked about the importance of flags. Mila was surprised with how many flags were in our little community!

To start off, we did not intend to go on a mini flag hunt. There were just so many at the beginning of the walk! At the beginning, she was very enthusiastic to find flags and ran over to touch them.

Our town always has a lot of American flags up, just more throughout the summer with Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day.

Most cities or towns will have flags at these places:

  • Schools
  • Post Offices
  • Police Stations
  • Town/City Hall
  • Monuments
  • Any Government Building

We also found them on our towns telephone poles, fences, and yards. Although we didn’t go on anyone porch, Mila was pointing them out on there too.

I didn’t expect her to find as many as she did.

Some roads had a lot of telephone poles, so she was constantly saying, ‘there’s one, there’s one, there’s one too!.”

At one point she did ask why there were so many flags and what it meant.

Right now, she associates hearts with love. She’s starting to understand there’s some association with objects and feelings. Probably not as complex as our flag, but you have to start somewhere.

I told her that the flag represented where we live and that’s the United States. That’s a big concept for her since she’s just started to learn our town and state.

When I saw her look of confusion, I asked her what a heart meant. She, of course, knew. Then I told her the flag meant pride, community, and togetherness for some people. That seemed to make a little more sense.

She enjoyed talking about the colors of the flag and the stars more.

I also want to mention, beware if you’re flag hunting on a hot day. When we went, it was very humid and a tiny bit miserable.

Mila and Max were dragging their feet. At one point, Mila defeatedly dropped her head walking home. She most definitely let me know how hot it was most of the time though.

Leave it to a toddler.

So, if you go on a flag hunt, make sure you bring lots of water or go on a cooler day!

If not, you might get these types of looks of disappointment.

Either way, we had an educational walk that was engaging and got us outside for about an hour. Next time, we’ll bring more water and maybe a cold rag.

As always, let me know if you do this activity with your child and how they like it.

How do you talk to your toddler about our flag, the USA, or community? Is there any activities you’d like to share?