Preschool Activity: Farm Activity Box

Another week, another activity box! This week’s activity box theme: FARM!

The last two weeks, Mila and her class have been learning about farms. To extend her learning about it, I thought some farm themed activities while she’s at home and when she’s off on Fridays would be fun!

This theme is also a ton of fun because we live in a rural area where a lot of people have farms and farm animals. We can go to different ones and actually see them. It was also a great time because we were just at our county fair where we saw all of the students’ farm animals and 4H projects that they worked so hard on. It was a way to be active while learning too!

Since we can’t go back to the fair or a barn every day, this activity box was perfect for her learning.

There’s a ton more activities you can do too, this just was easy for her to take to her grandma’s house on her day off.

I hope you love everything that’s inside. Let me know if you have other suggestions.

Books

I’ll never stop saying this: WE LOVE BOOKS!

Books help kids discover and learn about the world around them when they can’t get out and see it. Plus, it helps teach them lessons too.

These books are all ones that we’ve read so many times. I think Mila’s favorite is the farm sound. She’s had it since she’s been really little and it helped her learn different farm animal sounds. She also loves the Peek-a-Who and can even read it to me… more like look at the pictures and remember what it said.

We also love the Usborne “That’s Not My…” series and have almost all the farm animals. Sandra Boynton books are a big hit with Mila and this one always makes her laugh.

Lately, Mila has been obsessed with sheep, so The Sheep Who Hatched an Egg has been a new book that we’ve gotten. It’s a really cute book about sheep’s hair and caring about others. I’m unsure how super farm related it is, but Mila’s obsessed!

The Sheep Who Hatched an Egg by Gemma Merino

Farm Sounds by Usborne

Peek-a-Who? Are You My Mom? by Scholastic

Are You a Cow? by Sandra Boynton

That’s Not My Pig… by Usborne (we use all the ‘That’s Not My’ series with farm animals)

Painting and Play Dough

Painting and play dough are our two go to activities in our house. Mila loves them both and plays with them for a long time.

The farm animal ‘paint with water’ activity book from Melissa and Doug is a huge hit. There’s 20 different animal scenes that are perfect for learning about the farm! I also love that there’s paint on the top of every single page. It came with a brush too! All you need to do is a have a little cup of water and they’re good to go! Mila loves to paint, so I limit how many pages she does at one time!

I always include play dough in Mila’s activity boxes. They help her use her imagination in play and allows her to make shapes with her hands. I thought she might use the different colors to make animals, grass, and maybe just a farm scene. Who knows what she’ll create!

Matching Game and Threading

These two activities are Mila’s favorites!

The first are the threading boards. We got these from Mila’s preschool sale and they’re a blast to work with. It’s helped Mila’s coordination and motor skills. Plus, the scenes are so cute. There are a ton of threading activities that you can find on Amazon as well. This set (not pictured) is so cute and from Melissa and Doug!

Mila’s other FAVORITE game is the ‘grab it’ game. Essentially, you fill the red thing with the scare crow up with chips that have animals in it. When it’s your turn, you grab a chip and see if it matches to your board (the green barn). The first to fill their board up wins.

This game is so educational for us. Not only does it help with matching and animal recognition, it’s taught Mila to take turns and we practice animal sounds too. I found this game at Aldi, but you could make one too. Personally, I would use matching cards with farm animals and then have each player grab them from the deck. Essentially it would be the same thing.

These matching farm animal cards would be great!

Other Farm Fun Activities

Some of the other items that are in her box was her sheep that her great grandmother made, resin letters (of course), and a quick piggy clean up activity.

You could add any stuffed farm animal and multiple ones. At this stage, they really get into pretend play and it’s so cute to see.

As always, I’ll suggest to get a set of resin letters from Beags and Bubs. They’re the best!

The quick piggy clean up activity is a hit and doesn’t take too long to make at all. All you have to do is print out or draw a piggy. Then, put it in a ziplock baggy. When it’s in there, you just use black or brown markers to make the pig ‘dirty.’ Then, instruct your kiddo to clean the pig with a paper towel or sponge. They can also make the piggy dirty by drawing on it too.

I wanted to share two things Mila has done in preschool that I think would be a fun addition to this box as well. They’ve done a TON of other activities, but I thought these were just the cutest!

First is a story that Mila told her teachers and they wrote down. I actually love capturing her stories and recording them. It allows kids to be creative and see the importance of their words. Also, it’ll be so cute and funny to read when she gets older too!

I think she did a pretty good job!

This next activity was something that Mila talked nonstop about.

It’s a cut out of a big with brown paint. So, they got the pig dirty. I’m unsure what type of paint they used, but if I were to do this, I would probably put a drop of dish soap in the paint and mix it. This way it helps with clean up! Plus, what toddler doesn’t like getting dirty!

I hope you loved all these activities and items.


Let me know in the comments how you felt about this activity box! It was a lot of fun putting it together and watching her interact with it.

What activity box would you like to see next?

A Letter to My Son, Who Died, on National Son’s Day.

Dear Jensen,

It’s National Sons Day and parents are posting pictures of their favorite little guys.

When I see everyone’s post, I smile because every child is so special and worthy of being shared. They’re proud of their sons and when it was National Daughter’s Day, they were all proud of their daughters too. Just like I was when I posted Mila’s picture.

On that day, I paused and thought about all the grieving moms and dads whose daughters died. I know that sting of seeing other kids grow.

It helped me prep myself for this day, because I wish I had pictures of you at five.

Instead, I get to post my favorite pictures of you when you were born. It’s my day to share how proud I am of my son, of you. I get to talk about how you made me a mom and how even though you’re not here with me, I get to love you more and more every day.

You and Mila both know that every day in our home is kid’s day. In different ways, you and Mila are the focus of everything I do.

I still get to buy the ‘boy’ things and Mila brings them to your bear. She still talks to you all the time at home. Sometimes she even talks for you, with her deep Jensen voice. It always feels like you’re right there with us and I know you’re there. Just as much as Mila is celebrated, you are too, my sweet boy.

On this Son’s Day and all the future ones, I want you to know that you are never forgotten and that I’m so proud to be your mom.

You were the one to teach me how to love unconditionally and to show me the meaning of life.

I love you and miss you always.

Love,
Your Mom

Guess What I Got For My Birthday?

I’m officially twenty-eight years old! It seems like the years are getting shorter, but way more fuller.

To make my life even crazier and busier than it currently is, I surprised myself with a little gift. Our family has grown… again. This time by four more furry feet.

Yes…we got a puppy!

It was sort of spur of the moment, but the idea of a new dog has been in my head for the last few weeks. I feel like Max has been super lonely with school starting. He loves other dogs too and it’s just been something I’ve considered.

Plus, Mila and I love puppies and dogs too! The more craziness in our house, the better.

So yesterday, I found the perfect little guy for our family. I can’t wait to see how big he grows and how he fits right in with us.

Everyone… meet Toby!

He’s a Bernese Mountain Dog who is twelve weeks old. His paws are massive and he has the prettiest grey eyes. For a puppy, he’s calm and just loves on us.

Mila knows his name is Toby, but calls him ‘tube-y.’ It’s cute and he still runs to her.

Even though puppies are SO much work, he’s the perfect birthday present. I’m so happy with him and just smile when I look his way.

Max is obsessed with him and was like a mother hen helping him out on his first night at home.

Fingers crossed for more sleep tonight though!

Do you have any puppy tips or tricks? I’d love to hear more in the comments!

The Forgotten Kindergartener.

It’s back to school time.

Backpacks are filled up. Kids are excited to meet their new teachers and see their friends. Parents are watching their kids grow and learn. The elementary schools are getting a new group of students: kindergarteners.

They’re giddy and so cute. Moms and dads are snapping pictures with their kids walking into their school, in front of the door, or the school sign. It’s how it’s supposed to be.

Kindergarten teachers see their classroom fill up. Every desk is filled. They start to remember their students’ names and smiling faces. A huge classroom full of kindergarteners exactly where they’re expected, needed, and wanted.

But, I have the forgotten kindergartener.

There wasn’t a school list sent out to me. I didn’t get to prepare him to be away from me all day. No first day of school pictures or the last hug goodbye. There will never be ay more growth or learning or anything.

We don’t get to meet his teacher or have them remember his name or smiling face. He won’t get to run to my car in the pickup line and tell me all about his day.

He won’t wake up the next day and join his new friends for day two, three, or ever.

Because I have the forgotten kindergartener that I’ll always remember.

As much as I’m happy to see all the smiling back to school pictures this year, I’m really sad the one little boy’s pictures I want to see won’t be there. I’ll never get to see his smiling face or hear him talk.

Every day I know this fact, but it’s days like what was supposed to be his first day of kindergarten that it just hits a little harder.

Child loss and the grief that comes along does not just go away with time. You get stronger as a person, but it still is the most pain I’ve ever felt. Especially when you remember all that they should be and what you wanted for them.

Even though I didn’t really know how much I’d feel before Jensen’s first day of school, Mila and I did some positive things in his name.

We actually got the kindergarten supply list. A few days ago, we went out and bought what was on the list to donate a backpack. Mila helped pick out the different supplies and knew we were donating them for Jensen because some other little boy might need those supplies.

I packed them up with care, with Mila’s help and we went on our way to donate the backpack.

As hard and sad as it was, I’m always thankful to do things to honor Jensen and his life. This is definitely one that I hope to be able to do every year for him.

No matter what or how many years it’s been… I’ll always remember my baby boy.

25 Self Care Activities for August.

Hello August!

I’m completely shocked August is here. Summer is flying by, but there’s always time to focus on self care.

As parents, we sometimes forget to take care of our mental and physical health. It’s hard to fit it all in. Here are twenty-five self care activities that you can do all August long.

They can even be fun if you have littles with you too!

1. Take a walk

2. Read a book

3. Do a paint by number

4. Journal

5. Bake a cake

6. Listen to a podcast

7. Binge a new series

8. Go swimming

9. Take a drive

10. Tend plants

11. Visit a market

12. Go kayaking

13. Call a friend

14. Go to lunch

15. Buy your favorite coffee

16. Look at the stars

17. Pick flowers

18. Dance

19. Volunteer

20. Go on a walk

21. Cuddle an animal

22. Put new sheets on your bed

23. Take a phone free day

24. Go fishing

25. Try something new

No matter what you decide to do this month, make a little time just for you.

You are so important.

If you feel selfish for taking you time… your kids will benefit from your self care too! A happy mom or dad leads to happy kids.

You and your happiness matters.

What self care activity do you plan on doing this month? Any that you’d add to the list? Let me know in the comments.

My Response to My Daughter Being an ‘Only Child.’

Grief is an ever-changing entity in my life.

Since losing Jensen, I’ve heard the wildest things in efforts to help me ‘get over’ his loss. Now since Mila is three, it’s evolved.

I’ve not been shy in talking about how things can come off as rude or intruding. Honestly, I don’t think that anyone means to come off that way. They mean to be helpful, but it’s just not.

Anytime anyone mentions me having one child, I always let them know “I have two.”

Here’s what I wish I could say…

“Don’t you want more kids so she’s not an only child?”

I have more kids. He just died.

She’ll never, ever be an only child because one came before her. I’m fact, Jensen will always be her big brother. Not even death can take that away from her, him, or me.

If you have a conversation with Mila, she’ll tell you who her big brother is. She’ll let you know he lives in her heart and she loves him.

When we have guests, she shows his pictures off and wants everyone to hold Jensen bear.

She is definitely NOT an only child.

“It has to be lonely for her not having a brother or sister?”

Just because her brother isn’t physically here, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a relationship with him. She talks to his pictures and bear. When I hold his bear for too long, she gets jealous. She misses him dearly and always wants us to read his book. Her relationship with him is beautiful.

Mila also has an amazing set of kids she’s with all the time. Friends and cousins love her and play with her whenever she asks. She is in dance classes and will be starting preschool too.

She’s not lonely.

“Don’t you want to give her another sibling?”

She has a sibling.

My daughter grieves her brother. She wishes he was here and could come to our house all the time. We talk about him because he’s a part of our family. Our family just looks different than most.

If she were to have another sibling, it wouldn’t take away that she misses Jensen. Just like how no other child could fill his spot for me.

When she talks about missing Jensen, Mila has never asked to have another sibling.

She already has one.

One other thing… don’t ask intrusive questions about private lives. If you were supposed to know what was going on, you would.

It’s rude to assume that everyone can have a child easily. For a lot of people, it’s not.

Some people are healing from abuse.

Some just like their family unit just the way it is.

It’s been a year…

It’s been a year.

One whole year of not feeling your skin on mine. No false promises that have slipped through my ears. A complete year void of you.

The seemingly impossible feat of filling that void seems a lot more possible now. Even when I saw the signs from you and felt that tiny second of longing, I remembered.

I remembered the mental and emotional abuse. The abandonment. Every terrible thing you brought.

But, I remembered something more important — me.

I remembered the long nights of healing. The comfort of family and friends. Everything wonderful I’d never get with you.

The seemingly impossible feat of filling that void was possible because of me. Even when I slipped, I remembered my growth, happiness, and her smile. Oh, I remembered.

One whole year of doing what was right for me. No false promises going through my head. A complete year full of my growth.

It’s been a year.

What Makes a Super Papa?

A few days ago, I shared an old letter to my Super Dad. I read a few parts of it to Mila and saw her smiling at the picture.

“He’s a Super Papa, don’t you think?”

“Yeah. He my Super Papa… but why?”

We’re head deep in the “why” stage here, so I wasn’t too surprised at this question. Instead of answering her, I turned that question back to her for the next few days. During that time, I’ve wrote down all the reasons Mila thinks her Papa is her Super Papa.

Swims in the pool with me.

Let’s me surf.

Walks.

Gives me ‘nacks.

Catching the moon.

Gets rocks.

Plays with me.

Go fishing.

Tells stories.

Makes me smile.

I give him a heart.

Everything that makes him super in her eyes is being present and there for her. After she would tell me her reason, she would tell me she loves her Papa and wants to go to their house.

As she wrote in his Father’s Day card, she sung, “I love my Papa Ridgway. My Papa Ridgway loves me. He makes me happy. This is me and this is him.

I don’t know the true definition of a Super Papa, but I think Mila has it right.

Those important to you aren’t important just for one reason. It’s the millions of little things that let you know they care about you. The moments that she identifies him as super might seem like simple pieces to some, but are everything to her.

It’s the difference of making a regular man a Super Papa.

Happy Father’s Day to all the father figures positively impacting the kids in their lives. You help make the world go round. Good father figures need recognized and celebrated, especially today!

Thank you to any father figure who is putting the work in. It takes a village to raise a gold generation.

A Letter to my Super Dad.

*This letter was originally written in 2013. I’ve been reflecting on fatherhood so much this week, that I remembered this letter and wanted to share it again. So my dad could be reminded of how much he meant to me then and still today.

It’s hard for me to think a ton of negative thoughts about fatherhood, because I have one of the best.*

Dear Dad;

When I close my eyes, I can easily imagine a few people. Most notably is my family. When I picture my mom, I see her smile and hear her laugh. It gives me a warm feelings. Logan’s picture in my head is him a football uniform. I sense a strong, but welcoming feeling. My dad is more complex. I picture a him smiling too, but much taller than he actually is. He is almost always busy with something, like in his work clothes or making me breakfast. It’s a very comforting and protective feeling. He is my Super Dad and not anything less.

Almost twenty-one years ago you and Mom began something magical. The two of you were in love and soon after your family grew. Even though I obviously do not remember being brought home or anything about my beginning years, I can only imagine how much your lives changed; it mostly brings a smile to my face. A little over a year afterwards, my baby brother was brought home and even though it was the end of our family, it was the start to my beautiful life.

This weekend, you went through a tragedy I would never wish on anyone. I hope I never have to lose Logan; he, just like you and Mom, mean the whole entire world to me. From Friday night to tonight, I have witnessed every single emotion I know develop and be acted upon through you. No one should ever have that much go through them at once. I am very sorry you lost your brother and I am even more sorry and sad about the pain you are going through.

I know I’m not the best daughter.

When I was much younger, I gave unlimited hugs and love. In my eyes you were my everything, along with Mom. Every spring when we got our bikes out, you retaught me how to ride again. You taught me so much, much more than you realize. Through your actions and words I picked up on good and bad, right and wrong, and I mimic your emotions.

As I grew up, I pulled away from hugs and wanted to distance myself so I could grow up. Just like you, I became stubborn and set in my ways. We always have to be right and there’s nothing wrong with that. Even though I did things you disagreed with, you would always stick up for me. I think that meant/means the most to me. You could’ve just said I was making dumb decisions to others, but you always stood up for me. Even if it was when someone made me cry or someone that doubted my decisions, you had my back. I’m sorry I tried to differentiate myself and rebel against you guys. It wasn’t anything you guys ever did, it was just me finding myself. When I graduated and went to college, I know it made you upset when I would text Mom first, but I did not do it purposely. I went to Italy and tried my best to talk to all of you. But when I moved back home, I feel as if it bought us all back closer than ever before. On the mornings where we eat breakfast and talk start my day off wonderfully.

Through all of this time, you worked to make Logan and my life better and comfortable. There are days where you will work well into the night, just to make sure we get what we want. You devote your time not only to your family, but it makes me so happy to see you spend time doing things you love. On Friday nights, you are so happy to be on the field. The people I graduated with to the football players now all respect you and appreciate you to no end. You have impacted their lives even in a small way. Sometimes I think you believe we take you for granted, but I assure you that is not true.

You are the most important man in my life and will always be; even though you think that won’t be true sometime in the future. The way you raised me has and always will impact and effect me and the things I do. When people tell me I’m a good student, worker or person, it is a direct reflection on your parenting. You’re more than just a parent too. I can talk to you, joke around or I don’t have to say anything if I can’t. You are hard working, caring and even though we can argue, you can make me laugh or smile anytime. My relationship with you is unlike any other relationship I have. I can’t imagine not having you in my life.

For selfish reasons, this weekend’s events have made me think about what would happen if I lost you… Honestly, I don’t know what I would do. I would not only lose my father, but one of my best friends too.

I just want you to always know I love you and I thank you for everything that I accomplish; without you I would be nothing. I promise to hug you more and call you first more. (Not just when my car breaks down on the side of the road.) I hope I never see you as sad and upset as you were this weekend. It really hurts me to see you like that, although I know those emotions are normal. Like I’ve said many times these past few days: I am so sorry.

I love you Dad and I promise I will always be your little girl.

5 June Affirmations for Self Love.

With post school craziness, I’ve been lacking on setting aside time for self care. I knew for June that I needed to make self love affirmation cards to remind myself to take time for me.

Since I love painting, I did random doodles to be the backdrop for my affirmations.

I love that they can be as simple or complex as I want to make it.

For this month, I wanted to focus on how colors made me feel. It seems like I always am drawn to rainbows, so I’m not surprised that’s what I drew. All the other colors were straight from my emotions and I tried to get the words to match.

Here’s my June affirmations this month. I also shared my cross between watercolor and digital art. Please feel free to use and share them if you’d like!

I spread love wherever I go.

I choose to let go of past anger.

Just keep shining.

I will ride out this wave.

You are important too.

Affirmations are so important for me to do. I hang them up in my kitchen where I can see them. They don’t have to be big pieces of paper to make a huge impact.

These little reminders will help me remember to make time for myself this summer. Mothers need self care and self love. This is mine.

Even if it’s five minutes, make sure to take time for you.

You’re important. You deserve it.

What affirmations or quotes have been speaking to you lately? Let me know in the comments.