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!

We Went Strawberry Picking. Here’s Our Experience.

Strawberries are the fruit of choice in our house. When I let Mila know she could actually go strawberry picking, we had to leave immediately.

Of course she had to dress for the occasion and picked out this fitting outfit.

Since strawberry season is coming to a close in Ohio, we had to find a place that was still doing you-picks. I ended up finding Smokey Lane Farms in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

It was actually their last you-pick day!

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.

I think we’ll be doing strawberry chocolate chip cookies first!

Have you ever been strawberry picking? What’s your tip to finding the perfect strawberry?

Also, if you’re from Ohio, what other local adventures should we try?

15 Things To Do With Your Toddler This Summer

Summer is OFFICIALLY here!

Mila and I love the warm months and everything to do with our time off. It may be hard to think of fun things to do with your toddler in the heat, but getting outside is so important.

We’re going to track our time outside until next summer. Our goal is to hit 1000 hours and I have a feeling the majority of the time will be when the sun is shining bright. 1000 Hours Outside is a movement to get outside and lessen screen time. They have a fun coloring page to track your hours and I think it’s a fun little challenge.

I also think about how Mila and I only have EIGHTEEN summers together until she goes off to college or enters adulthood. We’re going to try to make the most of them.

This is summer 4/18.

Here’s a little list of what Mila and I will be doing this summer. I can’t wait to see all of our adventures.

Create a Scavenger Hunt

You know how much Mila and I love scavengers hunts. They’re easy to make and can be done anywhere outside. We love to do them in our backyard, but have also done them on hikes, walks, and on vacation too!

Scavenger hunts are great ways to keep your little busy and you can join along too!

Go to the Zoo

Zoos are such fun places to explore. There’s all kinds of different animals and kids are just in awe of them. It may get a little hot during the summer, so make sure to pack extra water.

I’d also suggest trying to go early in the morning or during zoo nights!

If you’re in Ohio, check out the Columbus and Akron Zoo!

Go to the Pool

Mila and I’s FAVORITE summer activity is going to the pool. We love to swim and just relax in the water. She’s also started asking to go to the waterpark. She loves the slides!

For us, swimming passes the time so quickly and cools us down. It’s also fun to play pool volleyball, make floaty forts, and play Marco Polo! Pool days have unlimited opportunities to play and learn.

Watch the Clouds

One way to engage your child’s imagination is to watch the clouds. Ask them what they see in the sky. Mila tries to make up stories along with them too. Let’s just say, she always has me laughing with what goes on in her mind.

Stargaze

Summer means staying up a little later than normal. Just like watching the clouds, stargazing with Mila opens up different conversations than normal. She asks about the moon and how to get to space. We also try to find different constellations, but I’m not very good at finding them right away. I promise I’ll be better at the end of summer!

Play with the Hose

Some days you can’t get to the pool, but still want to play in the water. We love playing with out hose and the attachments with it.

It’s a fun and simple activity that I think most toddlers love.

Just like going to the zoo, going on a walk or hike can be hindered by the heat. Make sure to stay hydrated or go when it’s cooler.

If you go on a hike, it could be fun to go somewhere where there’s water to be cooler too!

Tend Your Garden

If you started a garden, you’ll probably have to tend to it.

Tending your garden can be so much fun for you and your toddlers to watch flowers, fruits, and vegetables grow. It’s even better when you can pick and eat what you’ve helped grow!

Have a Fire

Extend your time outside by having a fire.

You can make food, like s’mores, and just enjoy the moment. We also like telling stories. Anytime there’s light that makes shadows, Mila thinks it’s story time! It’s also a fun way to wrap up a pool day or time spent with family.

Blow Bubbles

This is pretty self explanatory, but deserved a spot on the list!

Play with Chalk

Playing with chalk is not only creative for kids, it can be a great learning activity. You can do color recognition, practice shapes, and even help learn letters too!

Also, it always brings a smile to my face when I see sidewalk chalk art when we go on a walk.

Go Somewhere New

There are so many places to explore. Recently, I’ve joined an Ohio Facebook group to see if there are any quirky or fun new places for Mila and I to go. Honestly, i already have a huge list of things to do this summer and beyond.

If you’re in Ohio, I’d totally recommend going to the Fountain of Dogs in Mt. Vernon. It’s still one of the places Mila asks to go frequently.

Go on a Road Trip

Just like going somewhere new, going on a road trip is another fun option. Mila is finally loving the car. It’s a blast to sing songs together and watch her see the world around her.

The opportunities are endless when it comes to road trips!

Volunteer or Donate

No matter if you volunteer or donate your time officially or just on your own, it’s important to show your child how important it is. On our walks, we’ll pick up trash. When we have extra money, we’ve taken dog food to the humane society.

It’s a way you can get outside and help your community too.

HAVE FUN!

This is the most important thing on the list!

No matter what you do this summer, just make sure to have fun. Kids are only little one times in their lives… and I think it’s magical to watch your children experience this time too. I know I’ll be having just as much fun as her this summer.

What is your favorite thing to do on this list? And what’s something you’re planning that you’d add?

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?

Unicorn Flower Crown

What’s more magical than a unicorn? A unicorn wearing a flower crown!

With flowers popping up everywhere and our love for being outside, we combined the two for another fun backyard activity.

Mila and I LOVE unicorns. I swear when I found out I was having a girl I bought all the rainbow, pink, and unicorn items I came across. Its no wonder why Mila loves them.

Since I know she is interested in backyard adventures (scavenger hunt, birdhouse motel, fairy-tale garden, and nature crafts), I figured we’d do another one.

As always, you’ll have most of the items you’ll need on hand.

Here they are:

  • Cardboard
  • Sharpie
  • Pen
  • Yard full of flowers

All you need to do is cut a cardboard piece to whatever size. I had just recently bought candles and they came in the cutest, smallest boxes. They turned our perfect doe this activity.

Then, try your best to draw a unicorn ‘head.’ To simplify it, I obviously just drew the eyelashes, hair, horn, and some hair.

It’s not perfect by adult standards at all, but Mila thought it was the best thing ever.

Next, poke holes where a crown would be. I just used a pen to push through the cardboard. It would have been cute to do a pattern on a bigger piece of cardboard. Maybe next time!

All that’s left is to let your child explore the outdoors.

I let Mila pick ANY flowers in the yard and flower garden. For some reason, she was intent on picking the little white ones.

To keep the flowers from falling, I had Mila thread the stems in. If your little can get long stems, this will help. Then when she went back to look for more, I made little knots from the excess stems.

If you have an older child, this might be good practice for them!

Once she was all done, she gave me the biggest smile possible. Then ran inside to place it on her favorite shelf. It needed the prime spot.

Toddler activities do not need to be crazy intense for your child to be engaged and happy. Most of the time, it only take a piece of cardboard and creativity from a parent!

Even though we love unicorns, this activity can easily be tailored to your child’s animal preference.

I hope you and your child enjoys this activity! Let me know in the comments if you’ve done something similar or what animal you’d draw.

Before you go, check out how these moms included magical animals in their play:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Butterfly Activity

And I just think that whatever our eyes touch should be beautiful, tasteful, appealing, and important.

Eric Carle

Children’s book author and illustrator Eric Carle has gifted us so many stories. Each help us learn about the world around us. I loved reading his work as a kid and Mila loves it now. I was so sadden to hear about his death in May.

His books inspire us to slow down and find the beauty in all parts of life. Even with a paper plate. I am so thankful for the lessons he’s imprinted on so many of us. His words will echo throughout generations.

In celebration of Eric Carle’s life and our favorite book of his, we made a transforming craft. By following along with The Very Hungry Caterpillar, we turned a paper plate caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly.

Here’s what you’ll need for this activity!

The only prep that was difficult for this activity was drawing a caterpillar/butterfly shape on the paper plate. It ended up looking like the big caterpillar at the end.

Mila did not question it, so I think it turned out good. It does make me giggle though.

This activity is quite simple though. It actually reminds me of this years St. Patrick’s Day book activity. Pretty much every time the caterpillar eats, your child should put a dot of paint on the caterpillar paper plate.

I tried to get Mila to do big dots of paint, but she refused. It still turned out cute.

You can also correlate the colors too. Whatever color food the caterpillar eats, they can put it on the caterpillar.

It was also a great way to practice counting too. We counted the food on the page, then again when she was painting. I actually love the holes in the book to help them count.

When it gets to the page with the not so hungry caterpillar and it’s cocoon, just flip the paper plate to where the paint is touch the other side. Then press down so the paint can transfer to the other side.

I pretended that the folded up plate was the cocoon. Then we counted to fourteen (two weeks in the cocoon) and flipped the paper plate as we turned the page.

Mila was shocked with the activity. I don’t think she knew we were making a butterfly. She just thought we were painting just to paint again.

The reveal of TWO butterflies was quite exciting.

In the end, it was another fun activity to do while reading one of our favorite books. I’m sure we’ll find more with it too.

Mila has been reading it by herself too. It’s the cutest thing. She swears the caterpillar eats a hot dog, not a sausage during his binge.

Not matter what, I love the message Eric Carle’s books have brought to our lives. We will always read them and do fun activities with. He has left a legacy in our lives forever.

What’s your favorite Eric Carle book?

Strawberry Mint Sun Tea

One of my favorite summer drinks is sun tea. It’s so easy to make and even more refreshing. Since I’m still battling the mint take over, I thought I could combine my favorite flavors. Out of it came Strawberry Mint Sun Tea.

When I first got my house, my grandpa gave my my grandma’s sun tea container. It felt like such an honor. I usually put iced tea in there when I make it. Now it feels like when I make sun tea, I can connect with her.

Even though I used a different container for this batch (thanks toddler and dog!), it was magical seeing the transformation. Mila loved it too.

Here’s what we used for our Strawberry Mint Sun Tea:

  • Big glass jar with a tight lid
  • Tea bags
  • Strawberries
  • Mint
  • Water
  • A sunny day

Obviously I didn’t put specific amounts for the ingredients. There’s a reason why (there’s always a reason).

The size of your jar or container determines what you’ll need. I personally used six tea bags and then just eyeballed the strawberries and mint. Maybe around seven strawberries and a handful or two of mint!

It’s all about preference! But, I made a l it take cheat sheet in case you’d like some guidance.

The first thing you need for sun tea is a sunny day! With summer coming up, you’ll have no issues with that.

Honestly, all you have to do is fill up your container. Then, put all the ingredients in. We mixed it around to activate the mint leaves, but it’s not needed!

Once every thing is in there, shut the lid and stick it outside.

It’s truly that simple.

We let it stay outside for around seven hours. I could tell it was time to take it in by the color of the water. Again, this is all about preference and what you like in a tea.

To serve, I strained the strawberries, but let the mint leaves come through over a small jar of ice.

It was so refreshing. The mint made it taste so cooling.

Although it didn’t need sugar, Mila asked for it to be a little sweeter. So, you can add sugar if you’d please. Again, tea is all about how your taste buds like it!

Sun tea is so fun to make and your kids will constantly be checking the water. It’s like a little science experiment.

We’ll be making another batch of sun tea soon enough!

What’s your favorite thing to add to tea?

While you’re at it, check out these other amazing iced tea recipes!

Weird Things My Toddler Does: Part 16

You know we had to be back with all the weird things my toddler does. This time, it’s a mix of cuteness and weirdness. You can decide which.

Mila loves birthdays. She thinks it’s so much fun to pick out gifts and cards for the occasion too.

Usually, I take her to the dollar store and let her go wild. She’ll pick all the things that remind her of the person or toys that she can play with them. One time, she chose blue paper plates for her grandpa.

See… weird.

The even stranger part are her card choices, from the inside out.

I’ll take her to the card section and let her pick out any card that she’d like. Sometimes it can get a little crazy. I mean, look at this choice for hee grandma’s birthday…

Before purchasing this must have card, I read it to her. She disagreed with my reading skills. Then she let me know it said: ‘Happy Birthday, Gigi!’

That might be a little embarrassing when she gets older.

Alas, the card was a hit. It caused a lot of laughs and she seemed to be proud of her choice. Even though it was a weird little mix up.

On the inside of each card, she’s learned to sign her name by drawing herself.

As you can see, when Mila draws people, there’s a few parts missing. The big circle is the head. Inside of it are a mouth and two eyes. The two lines at the bottom are legs and the stuff on top is hair.

It may or may not look like a chicken nugget person, but she sure is proud of signing it this way. One day, even though the way she does thinfs is weird, I know I’ll love these strange, little people that she loves to draw. Plus, the gifts that she handpicks are usually my favorite of all.

She might be a little weird, but she has a big heart. Isn’t that the real goal of parenting?

Has your child ever given you a random gift?

Toddler Activity: Beach Sensory Play

Sensory play is so important for children to learn about the world around them. Since it’s almost summer and we just got back from the beach, I knew Mila would enjoy this sensory bin.

They’re also great if you need a minute to yourself. Sensory play can extend imaginative play and your toddler can be as creative as they please. This translates into more time to do a quick chore, sitting down for a second, or playing with them!

The best part, I already had all the materials and it was easy to do.

Here’s what I used:

To make the ocean part, I laid down blue tissue paper on the bottom of the box. Then tore up other pieces of tissue paper to be the water.

On the other half, I added sand colored packing peanuts. These are so amazing and I reuse them in Mila’s play frequently. I didn’t even have to buy them, just reused from other packages.

Then, I added candy fish to the water, mermaids, and seashells.

For the beach, I used resin letters to spell out beach and then added fairy garden beach accessories too.

Before we started playing with the bin, we read How to Catch a Mermaid. This is one of Mila’s favorites! She’s a little obsessed with mermaids at the moment.

The book prompted us to hide the mermaids and she played with the bin to find them. It was such a cute activity. She also loved talked about the book and pointing out what accessories we had in the bin with what was in the book. It really was a hit!

Mila enjoyed touching the tissue paper and packing peanuts. I had her explain how they felt in her hands and what colors they were.

We also talked about how to spell beach, the letters in it, and what color they were. Resin letters are such a great investment and can be used all the time! They’re pretty cute too!

Her favorite had to be when she realized she could eat the fish! She loves sour candy, so it was a pleasant surprise for her.

Mila actually asked me to keep the box together for her. I guess that means she really likes it. She’s constantly playing with her mermaids and talking about the beach. It must make her feel like we have a little part of it at home!

The best part of sensory play is watching your toddler be imaginative. We’ll definitely be using this one over and over again.

What’s your child’s favorite type of sensory play?