10 Thoughts On Getting Ready in the Morning for Preschool.

MILA STARTED PRESCHOOL!

This morning Mila hit a huge milestone: preschool. It’s something we’ve both been excited for all summer. For the last week, she’s asked when she could finally go.

Today was that day!

If you like some of her preschool gear, check out her Success Backpack for links and information.

One part of the preschool process that I’ve been worried about are the mornings. It’s a lot to get two people ready… on top of two dogs too. So, I set my alarm extra early and this is sort of how it went… at least in my head.

Here are the ten thoughts I had over the course of getting ready for preschool this morning.

1. This is way too early.

5:45 came way too early this morning.

Thank goodness I laid everything out last night and know what I’m wearing today. Tonight, we’re going to sleep way earlier.

2. Be quiet and get ready quick!

Sneak into the bathroom. I can’t wake her up before I’m ready. This will go so much quicker and smoother this way.

3. I have plenty of time.

It’s only 6:05. I’m doing way better than I thought. Still, I should fight the urge to scroll. I’ll make some tea instead.

4. Time to wake her up.

I’m all ready. Everything’s ready to go out the door, there’s only one last thing that needs done… Mila!

A gentle rub on the back isn’t cutting it.

“Try to wake up and I’ll make you food. Remember, you’re going to preschool today.”

As I walk out, I hear her flip over to sleep again.

5. Get the dogs set up.

A dog and a puppy… what was I thinking?!

6. ‘I’m tired Mom.’ Me too, kiddo

She’s still asleep.. uh-oh.

I wake her up and get her on her feet. This helps a little bit, but she still looks like a zombie.

“I’m tried,” gets repeated over and over again. Believe me kid, I get it. Tonight, we’ll go to sleep much earlier. For now, it’s time to get ready.

7. Be a multitasking queen.

Breakfast. Hair brushed. Clothes. Teeth brushed. Bags in hand. Out the door.

Just your average multitasking queen.

8. Cheeeeeeeesey Cat!

Cue all the pictures.

We need one with her sign on the steps. I need to get the Instax film. I want to remember this moment and day for forever.

Here’s a few by the preschool sign just for good measure too.

9. This is it.

It’s time.

Walking her into school is such a rush of emotions. Is she ready? Will she be okay? What if she misses me?

10. It’s okay… she’s going to do just fine.

As soon as she walks into the classroom, she runs to play.

It’s okay, mama. This is what you’ve prepared her for for the last three years. It’s all apart of growing up.


Honestly, I’m so proud of Mila and her going to preschool. It’s such an accomplishment and milestone that deserves to be celebrated. I just hope she knows that she’s special and loved.

Are these thoughts similar to the ones you have when getting your kids ready? Let me know in the comments.

Self Care: Four Ingredient Pumpkin Face Mask.

September is Self-Care Month! Mila and I spent our first Sunday in September with a DIY Pumpkin Face Mask.

We love having spa nights and days at our house. It’s even more fun when we can make our own masks too. Since it’s almost fall and spooky season, I knew we had to incorporate pumpkins.

Pumpkin is SO good for your skin. It is full of vitamins, such as A, C, and E. There’s also antioxidants and beta-carotene packed in there as well. Obviously, I looked all that information up. All of that means that pumpkin helps reverse UV damage (perfect for after summer), improve skin texture, and increase collagen.

All things that make your skin happy!

The only four ingredients you need for this mask are…

  • 1/4 Cup of Pumpkin Puree (I used canned)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • 7-10 Drops of Face Serum

To make the mask, just mix all of the ingredients together until it’s consistent. It didn’t take long to do at all.

Then, apply and leave the mask on for fifteen minutes.

Removal is easy. Just wash your face with water and pat your face dry. I actually used a washcloth to take it off of Mila’s face.

Before putting it on our faces, I left it on the counter to get to room temperature. I personally don’t like when masks are super cold on my face. We took a shower and did a hair mask and it felt nice on our skin.

I applied Mila’s mask with my finger and mine with a spoon. It worked way better with a spoon.

Mila loved seeing her face covered with the mask. She thought it looked silly, but didn’t touch her face for the whole fifteen minutes.

After taking the masks off, I could instantly tell a difference. Both of our faces felt so much softer. I can imagine doing pumpkin masks consistently would really help.

Maybe with all the pumpkin recipes and crafts planned, I’ll have extra laying around!

I’m actually so excited that September is Self Care Month. With Mila starting preschool and our routine changing once again, it’ll be nice to take the time this month to get back to us.

What type of DIY masks do you like making? If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments.

Also, let me know what self care ideas you’re planning for this month!

Mom Tip of the Week: DIY Chalkboard Paint Door

When you have a little artist, walls and flat services are prone to getting drawn on. Since life is all about compromise, we transformed our front door into a DIY Chalkboard Paint Door.

It’s a really simple and fun switch. Plus, you’ll get the cutest drawings constantly.

So if you can remember, I posted a mom tip about how to get crayons off of walls and cabinets. There was also a permanent marker incident that took some time to get off.

The best solution for our family was giving Mila a space to create.

Since I wanted to paint my door black for a long time, it was the perfect reason to buy chalkboard paint!

You can buy chalkboard paint at any hardware store. There’s different colored chalkboard paint, I just preferred black. I know there’s a TON of different ways to make chalkboard paint all over the Internet too.

One suggestion I would make is to paint a base coat in whatever color you want your door.

Chalkboard paint is more expensive than regular paint. So, if you have a base color coat, you won’t need as much blackboard paint.

Always trying to save money!

I love that I’m able to celebrate Mila’s creativeness without losing my sanity with cleaning all the time.

If you don’t want to paint a whole door, you can easily frame off a piece of a wall to create the same effect too!

Would you create a blackboard space for your child? Or what’s your favorite way to encourage your child to be creative… minus the mess.


Looking for other ways to making parenting easy? Check out these mom hacks!

Preschool Activity: Back to School Activity Box

Back to school is an intense time for students of all ages. For children going to school for the first time they might be a little nervous. To help ease them into going their first year or just back to school in general, I created a Back to School Activity Box.

Mila will be starting preschool next week and I wanted her to realize how much she knows already. This box will hopefully give her that confidence she needs to succeed.

I made sure to add different activities that would hit all content areas that are tons of fun!

Even though the theme of this box is back to school, it’s mainly centered around the alphabet, colors, and shapes! Everything Mila needs for preschool. As always, these are just suggestions and if you do a Back to School Activity

Books

As always, I’m always encouraging Mila to read and explore different books. This set of books goes from a beginner level to a little more advanced for her. The A to Z by Sandra Boynton is a great way to get kids saying their ABC’s and just introduced to the alphabet. How to Bake a Book is adorable. I love how it talks about the components of a book and what makes a story… well, a story.

The hardest book in the bunch is I’m Allergic to School! It’s definitely targeted to elementary school kids, but I think it’s fun to read Mila the poems. She likes to listen and it has higher vocabulary that helps her learn more.

There’s a ton of different back to school books, but these are what we have on hand. As always, I’d love more recommendations in the comments.

Puzzles

Mila LOVES puzzles and putting them together. We have a ton at home that she does all the time. Even though these are more educational, she also enjoys floor puzzles too. I really love these three puzzles (even though she has hidden the black piece in both her color puzzles). They’re very educational and get her used to letters, words, and colors. The alphabet puzzle is a great way for her to understand that every word has a letter, since there’s pictures under each one.

Her name puzzle was off of Etsy and was totally worth it. She already knows how to spell her name and I’m pretty sure these helped the process! Plus, it’s adorable.

Fizzy Bomb

I had to add a little science in her box. I try to do a few science experiments a week for her. She likes seeing reactions. This fizzy bomb reminds me of a bath bomb, but it has a little charm in it for her to get. It’s so important to introduce science and get kids interested in the subject as early as possible! I also have different science experiments posted on the blog that have really interested Mila too!

Play-Doh and Mats

No surprise that I added play-doh to this activity box too. It was such a hit in both the Dino and Mermaid box. Play-doh is open ended and can help kids create with their hands. Plus, it’s a great for sensory play too!

To help her work with shapes, I added these mats with the page protectors from Target. In the box is a roller and kid safe knife to help her cut our shapes if she pleases.

You can also use play-doh to talk about colors and have them roll out different shapes too!

Coloring/Activity Books, Flashcards, and Sticker Activities

I love educational play! Mila has been so interested in workbooks, coloring books, and flashcards for a little while now. You can find these on Amazon, Target, or Walmart. I actually found a lot of things at the Target dollar spot.

Instead of ripping out pages in her alphabet booklet, I just let her explore the whole thing this week. Of course you can use whatever letters or workbook activities you’d like.

My favorite alphabet coloring book is A B to Jay Z, which name has changed. It has a ton of different pop starts that correlates to the particulate letter in the alphabet. It’s such a fun way to learn. You can purchase the new coloring book here.

I also gave Mila more stickers to play with this week. Like I mentioned above with the play-doh, you can have kids sort the stickers by color OR give them a pattern to follow. Mila does this for a little while, then loves to give herself tattoos. BUT stickers are always a hit in our house.

Another pop-it has made an appearance too. If your kiddo doesn’t have one, try it with them. It’s so relaxing for them and I want to make a post about different activities you can do with them too!

Resin Letters Match

You all know how much I love resin letters. I think they’re so valuable in learning them. Anything that Mila can pick up and inspect really helps her grasp what she’s learning. I also printed out an alphabet mat and used the page protectors for her to match them on their.

The opportunities are endless when it comes to using these letters. You can have your child organize them however you’d like. You can use them with sight words or really anything.

Again, if you’re looking to buy resin letters, I’ll always shout out Beags & Bubs. She makes amazing sets that you can personalize!

Other Activities

Here’s a list of other activities we’ve done in the past that could be easily incorporated in the box. I’ll also be posting some extra things this weekend and next week that you could use too. Stay tuned!


If you’d like to give me some back to school tips to help students transition to the new routine or being ready, let me know in the comments.

Want to see the other activity boxes we’ve done? Check them out:

Beach Pudding Cups.

It’s no secret, Mila and I love the beach. With her Mermaid Activity Box last week, I had her make a snack that matched: Beach Pudding Cups.

Honestly, I love that Mila loves the beach. She’s been to so many different beaches during her three years and each time she’s been obsessed. When we’re not there, she’s always asking to go back.

Anytime I can bring beach life to Ohio, I do my best to do so. I think this is why this snack was a hit with Mila.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this beachy snack:

  • Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • Graham Crackers
  • Gummy Fish or Sea Animals

First, make the instant pudding as directed in the box. I think all you need is milk with the pudding powder. It’s (the instant pudding) really simple if you’ve never made it.

Then, make graham cracker crumbs. I just blended in my blender!

Now it’s time to put it all together.

Get a clear bowl or cup and do a pudding layer first. I just eyeballed all the layers and didn’t do a specific amount.

Next, add a layer of graham crackers.

Repeat these steps until you get to the top. You want your final layer to be the graham crackers.

To finish it off, add fish and sea animal gummies. I also added a mermaid tail on top too. Next time I make this, I’ll mix blue food coloring to cool whip to make water too.

I think these Beach Pudding Cups are so cute for at home or even at the beach. Since I used our small Tupperware containers, it’d be perfect to put the top on and serve for a beach picnic.

Mila’s favorite part were the gummy creatures on top! She ate them all before she got to the ‘beach.’

This would also be a perfect after school snack since it’s so easy to make and out together. It made me feel like such a creative mom to do this with her.

She wanted to help layer the ingredients and did good too. So kids can essentially make their own after school snack!


What’s your favorite way to bring the beach home? Snacks, activities, or looking at old vacation pictures? Let me know in the comments.

Here’s a few of ours:

Garden Bloody Mary Recipe.

Sundays are perfect days for a little boozy brunch. This weekend I’m making a Garden Bloody Mary by using tomatoes from backyard!

It might sound a little daunting, but making your own tomato juice only takes on more step.

All you need for this drink is:

  • Tomatoes (1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes)
  • Olive Oil
  • 8 Basil Leaves
  • Lemon Juice (half a lemon)
  • 1/4 Cup of Water
  • 2 Ounces of Vodka
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
  • Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
  • Dash of Hot Sauce

Drink Mix

First, halve tomatoes. Then, put in a baking dish and drizzle with police oil and salt. After, place on the top rack of the oven and broil on high for 10 minutes.

Let the tomatoes cook before the next step.

Next, add cooled tomatoes to a food processor as well as the rest of the ingredients. Blend to a runny consistency. If it’s too thick, add more water… or vodka.

While it’s blending, prepare your cup. I love adding seasoning to the rim of any Bloody Mary. For this particular Garden Bloody Mary, I used lemon to coat the top ring. Then I poured salt, pepper, celery salt, cumin, granulated garlic, smoke paprika, and powdered garlic in a small bowl.

Once it was all mixed, I rolled the lid of the cup in the mixture. Any places that I missed, I added more lemon juice.

Then, add ice to the cup.

After it’s blended, you can either strain or put the mixture over ice in the cup.

Garnish

To top it all off, I had to garnish will veggies from the garden and the CUTEST little pennant from The DIY Party Co.

I just grabbed another cherry tomato, hot pepper, and an olive (from my refrigerator) and skewed them on a toothpick. You can use any ingredients you love to garnish, this is just my favorite, besides bacon!

Then, I got another toothpick and tape to assemble the pennant. I stuck this toothpick in the tomato to keep it upright.


This recipe was so much fun to make and I know it’d be a hit at any brunch party.

The BEST part about it is, I know where almost all the main ingredients come from. It brings me so much pride to be able to make my food after growing it. There’s a few more recipes from our garden that I can’t wait to share with all of you.

Let me know if you try this recipe OR your favorite Garden Bloody Mary garnish. If you don’t drink, I’d love to hear your favorite brunch food.

Preschool Activity: Mermaid Activity Box.

Another week, another activity box for Mila to explore. This week is a Mermaid Activity Box. Since summer is still here and she loves the beach, I thought it was a perfect time to do this theme. It’s fun, education, and a hit with Mila.

Although I over-themed it for mermaids, this could easily be altered to be more about sharks, fish, or any other ocean creature too.

Like the Dinosaur Activity Box, the Mermaid Activity Box is filled with sensory items, toys, books, and educational activities for toddlers and preschoolers. All of this fits inside a book box from Target so it can easily travel from place to place.

These boxes are such an easy way to help promote learning for you little ones with multiple family members and friends.

Every time Mila sees me start to take items out of the box and put new ones in, she gets so excited to see what she’ll be working with. I think by just getting her to sit down with the sensory toys, books, and activity worksheets, it’ll help her prepare for preschool. it can be a huge adjustment to start learning how to sit down for crafts and activities the first time they go to preschool.

Anyways… here’s what’s all in the Mermaid Activity Box.

Mermaid Books

I’m a big supporter of Mila reading books every single day. Even if she’s making her own words up with the pictures. Books help kids understand concepts, worlds, and places they don’t have the opportunity or option to explore.

These four books are amazing. I’ve definitely showcased three of them on past posts before. They’re just that good!

In all of these books, we love the stories, but the illustrations are just gorgeous. I think they really capture the ocean vibes with all the blues. Mila’s favorite for a long time have been the That’s Not My… series. She loves finding the mouse and learning new words that describe what the books about.

Here’s our musts for the Mermaid Activity Box:

I’m always on the look out for more books too. If you have fun ocean, sea, or mermaid inspired books you think we’d love, let me know in the comments.

Sensory Play Items

We love sensory play. There’s SO many options for kids to learn by feeling and exploring.

The beautiful resin letters are from Beags and Bubs. I shouted Danielle out last week for her letters and knew I had to showcase them for this activity box. She also created the seek and find activity too (the clear circle in the top left) and the sand play-doh. I would 100% recommend her to anyone. Her Instagram feed is beautiful and she can make custom letters that will be perfect for you child.

I also added her mermaid pop-it. Mila is just amazed by pop-its. Whenever she gets overwhelmed, i’ll give her one and it calms her. This one is adorable, but can easily be carried around too.

She also always loves slime and I gave her blue play-doh too. The seashells were included so she can make impressions in the play-doh. This will allow her to extend her play and be imaginative with the toys too.

Coloring and Sticker Books

I have a ton of different sticker and coloring books for Mila. She loves them both. For her sticker books, I usually have another page or cardboard for her to put them on too.

The two pictured above were found at Joann’s for cheap! The marker page was actually 70% off. Mila likes the way the black feels and I love that it’ll help her stay in the lines. I also have other coloring pages from older coloring books that she loves to color in.

Activity Pages

Like with the Dinosaur Activity Box, I flipped through Mila’s workbooks and found mermaid and ocean themed pages for her to use. Usually preschool workbooks will have a huge range of themes they use in their books, which is awesome for using different themes!

Again, I love preparing her for preschool by giving her these pages now. It helps let her know that learning can be fun!

There’s also a ton of printables on Pinterest you can find for activity pages too!

Mermaid Play Ideas and Ocean Crafts

All ready to be picked up in the morning!

The cute mermaid flag is from Celebration Stylist! They have so many cute printables.

Although they’re not added in this picture of the activity box, you can add so many other crafts and activities too. We’ve done so many ocean and mermaid themed sensory play and crafts that Mila has asked to do over and over again.

These crafts and sensory components can be put in bags or Tupperware containers to help organize them.

Wondering what crafts and sensory ideas you can do, check out this list:


Overall, this activity bin is so much fun and perfect for summer. Mila loved the girly-ness of it, but I love how it can easily be adapted for sharks or ocean play in general.

I can’t wait to share next week’s theme!

Again, if you have any suggestions about a theme or have something you’d like to see, let me know in the comments.

Banana Split Bites Recipe

It’s National Banana Split Day! Mila and I put a spin on this summer treat and made it bite sized. This recipe is perfect for toddlers or adults who want the taste of a banana split, but don’t want to commit to a regular sized one. I promise, these Banana Split Bites pack all the things you love about a banana split in one bite!

Before I go on… did you know banana splits originated from Ohio? Ernest R. Hazard invented the banana split in Wilmington, Ohio in efforts to attract college students to his restaurant. I think he was on to something!

Anyways, here’s what you need for this tasty treat:

  • Bananas
  • Whipped Cream
  • Sprinkles
  • Chocolate Sauce
  • Maraschino Cherries
  • Toothpicks
  • Any other ice cream toppings!

To start off, just cut your banana in little circles. I ended up freezing mine before assembling too because I love the taste of frozen bananas. Then, spoon ice cream on the banana. Add ice cream toppings and secure everything with a toothpick.

It really is that easy!

Mila and I used whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate sauce, and maraschino cherries. It would be fun to do classic toppings on different bites too!

This treat would have been awesome for our Ice Cream Bonanza. We did an ice cream topping charcuterie board. It would be so cute to do a Banana Split Bites bar where people can assemble what they wanted themselves. I think that’s a perfect fourth birthday idea for Mila…

We hope that you like our little bite-sized desserts! Let us know how you like it if you make them. Let me know in the comments your favorite banana split toppings.

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!

Toddler Activity: Dinosaur Activity Box.

No matter if your little needs to stay busy after school or during the day, activity boxes will help! This week, Mila has been enjoying a Dinosaur Activity Box.

Filled with books, educational worksheets, sensory objects, and dinosaur toys, Mila has been engaged with this activity box all week. Every time she goes to pull something out, she can explore a new way to play. That’s what makes these boxes so intriguing to kids.

I’m actually really happy that Mila is interested in dinosaurs. Here’s a little secret… dinosaurs are one of my weird fears. I mean they’re extinct. Since Mila is interested in them now, I’ve learned a ton about them. Thank you to all the authors who have simplified the terms and information to toddler books. I really think the dancing dino books have been a huge help into getting Mila interested in them.

Anyways, since Mila is in a weird in between of waiting for preschool while I’m at school, I thought putting together activity boxes would be perfect.

This is a low prep solution to keeping her engaged while she’s with my mom. I can imagine babysitters would love this idea too. All my mom has to do is grab the box and take it. Next week, I’ll have a different theme with similar activities.

Here’s what’s in the box…

Dinosaur Books

Mila learns best with books and activities. We’ve collected a ton of books in her three years, but they have paid themselves off with all that she’s learned.

A few months ago, we actually did a fun activity with Dino Dance by Sandra Boynton. Mila actually remembered it when she saw her activity box and flipped to their dances. It’s so nice to know she has that information stored somewhere.

The other books are just as valuable. We love them all and read them even without talking about dinosaurs…

Dino Dance by Sandra Boynton

Night, Night, Dino-Snores by Nicola Edwards

Five Dancing Dinosaurs by Little Hippo Books

Nibbles: The Dinosaur Guide by Emma Yarlett

Let us know your favorite dinosaur books in the comments! We’d love to grow our library.

Workbook Pages and Crayons

It turns out, Mila loves worksheets. She loves the idea of ‘working,’ so it’s made learning a breeze.

I went through all her different workbooks and found the dinosaur themed ones. Some of them talk about the letter ‘d’ and others are working on prewriting. Either way, they are her level and she’s learning.

I’d definitely recommend starting your toddler or preschooler with worksheets at home. Target and Amazon always has amazing options!

Resin Letters

Resin letters are a must to add to any activity. I love that they help familiarize kids with the alphabet in a fun way that they can hold in their hands.

For this activity bin, I obviously put ‘dinosaur’ in an egg for Mila to explore. She matched them up with the letters on the books and we went over them too. This particular set was made by one of my students. However, I love Beags and Bubs‘ resin letters on Instagram. I bought a custom set a few weeks ago and have used them a ton. They’d be a great Christmas or birthday present!

Dinosaur Toys

Pretend play is Mila’s favorite way to play. She likes to make up different voices and scenarios. I HAD to include them in her bin.

Not only did the dinosaurs dance, they played all types of different games with them too. Mila likes to make the dinosaur toys act out the books as well. She could pretend play for hours. This was no different than usual!

Play-dough and Slime

I also added some sensory play items in there for her too. She loves the different textures of the play-dough and slime. In this bin, I only put in ‘dinosaur colors,’ which are greens and blues. This way she can make foot prints, try to make dinosaurs, or just give her brain a little break.

Some of the other sensory items I added were beads, a dinosaur egg, and play-dough moulds.


Overall, this activity box was a success! Mila loved it and I love watching her learn.

I have a few ideas for future boxes, but would love to hear what you all would like to see too! Let me know in the comments!

Then check out these dinosaur inspired activities: