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!
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
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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:
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.
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!
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…
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…
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 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!
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!
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:
It’s back to school time! Before I know it, Mila will be starting her first year of preschool. To help her start the year off right, I compiled a Back to School Success Backpack for her.
Although we didn’t get a supply list, I figured there were some must haves that Mila needed. I want her to feel comfortable going away to school for the first time ever. It’s a HUGE change. She’s going to thrive there, but if there’s a chance she’ll miss me or be a little sad, I wanted her to have things that made her smile.
Everything personalized I ordered from Etsy, but you can find non-personalized things at a ton of local stores. Mila loves personalized things because she’s familiar with ‘her letters.’
If you love any of these items, I’m going to list the shop and the item link below. That way you’re able to check them out. All of these shops have different colors and styles that will be perfect for you child. This is just what I knew Mila would love.
BIG surprise here… Mila just had to have a rainbow backpack. We love what rainbows symbolize to us. Plus, it’s pink. I know Mila will love taking this to school everyday and will remember to bring it back filled with goodies too!
This is my FAVORITE item in her first day of school success backpack.
Not only do we get matching bracelets, it’s super meaningful. I miss her all day when I’m at work and I have a feeling she might feel the same. Whenever she looks down, I hope she knows I’m thinking about her too.
Mila actually loves bracelets and I know she’ll take really good care of this one. Probably until it breaks!
One activity that really clicks for Mila are scavenger hunts. To help prepare her for school, I downloaded these really handy morning and night checklists from Celebration Stylist. They have a TON of different printables for almost any occasion you can think about. I’d definitely recommend their website for busy moms who don’t have the time to make decorations or items, but still want to incorporate them in their lives.
Anyways, we’ve been using these to help her understand what we have to do to make our days successful. At night, she’s already remembering what should happen next and is enjoying this routine.
If you’re looking for page protectors, I got this specific one from Target! They work so nice and let us reuse these every day!
This affirmation sheet is also from Celebration Stylist. For the last few weeks, I’ve been reading them all to her and they make her smile. These types of affirmations can really help boost a child’s confidence.
I’m putting this in her folder to take to school so she can remember them. My hope is if she is feeling down, she looks at this list and remembers who she is.
The last two items I’m making sure she has handy for her first day of school is a snack and one of her water bottles. I cannot go through the work day without drinking or snacking throughout. Even though I know her teachers will provide her with that, this is just an ‘in case of emergency’ type of deal.
I am so excited for Mila to start this new journey. Every part of me knows she will succeed and love learning and playing with her new friends.
It’s my hope that Mila will have all the tools she will need in this Back to School Success Backpack. In her three years, I’ve done my best to help prepare her for this step and now it’s time for her to shine. This will be another part of her life that I’m just insanely proud of.
I can’t wait to hear all her stories… and maybe share a few here too.
In the comments, let me know what you did to be successful. What did you send with your preschooler on their first day? Do you have any tips or tricks?
After that, check out how these other moms are prepping for back to school:
If you’re looking for a fun, ocean animal themed animal craft that’s not a mermaid, you’ve came to the right spot. This Cupcake Liner Octopus is easy to do and turns out looking cute!
When I say easy, I mean that Mila made her octopus with little assistance by me. Yay for independence and growth.
I also like that even though we LOVE mermaids, we’ve done so many this year. It was nice to switch up the ocean themed activities with a different sea animals. Mila remembers them from our trip to Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, which helped a lot!
The best part of this activity, you can find everything at your local dollar store for less than $5! Here’s what you’ll need:
First, have your child pick out what colors they want the octopuses to be. In our pack of cupcake liners we had pastels: pink, yellow, blue, and green.
Mila picked pink for her (of course) and yellow for me.
Then, to help your toddler succeed in this craft, cut four, long strips of scrapbook paper and tissue paper. These will be the octopus’s legs.
Then, glue together a strip of tissue paper and a strip of scrapbook paper. The scrapbook paper should be on top of the tissue paper. I folded them in the middle to help my guide where they should meet.
Mila did help me with gluing, but she doesn’t have the scissor skills yet to cut long strips. She enjoyed cutting some small pieces off though.
While the legs are drying, take two of the same color cupcake liners and glue them together. This reinforces the octopus and makes it stronger if you want it to hang longterm.
Then, it’s time for the googly eyes. Mila matched the octopuses’ body color with their eyes. She’s been obsessed with googly eyes so I knew I needed to have a craft that had them in there. It was a success.
Just glue the eyes on to the cupcake liner. For this, I flattened the liner to make sure they stayed.
After that, I had her used a marker to draw a smiley face.
Now it’s time to put the legs and body together!
I assisted her with this a lot because it’s a little tricky for toddler.
Take one of the legs and put glue on the center of the scrapbook paper part. Then, place it in the inside of the cupcake liner. It should look like the octopus has two legs dangling down.
After, flip it upside down again, repeat the gluing, and rotate how you put the legs so it’s opposite. You want to make a little ‘x’ in the middle.
While the first two strips dry on the octopus, help with the other one or wait until it dries a little more. I found it dried better if it was flipped on the octopus’s head.
When it’s strong enough make another ‘x’ with the remaining legs.
The legs should look like a star when they’re laying down. It’s hard to explain, but simple to do.
If you’d like to hang then, just take a string and scrapbook paper and glue it on top of its head. I put the string under the paper to give it a little more strength.
Now you’re all done!
Mila was super proud of our Cupcake Liner Octopus and I think they both turned amazingly cute.
If you try this craft out, let me know in the comments. Also, if you know of a cute octopus book, I’d love for you to share it too. It’d be a great idea to pair this craft with a book for other toddlers.
After that, check out how these other moms incorporated mermaids and sea creatures in their day too!
There’s nothing more special than a mother daughter date night! Instead of going out, Mila and I stayed in and practiced self care.
Since this first week back to school has been hectic, staying in and relaxing felt right. We both needed the rest and the together time to recharge for the upcoming week. Plus, we got to just focus on what self care we needed.
To begin the night, I took a hot shower where I put on a hair mask (seriously the mask I linked does wonders!) and used sugar scrub.
I never have enough time to do these extra steps! Setting aside this time made my skin and hair feel so soft and new.
Mila, on the other hand, had a bubble bath beforehand. She spent her time doing her own makeup. I didn’t know this, but she definitely was feeling herself and all the glitter.
We kept it on until right before bed because she liked it. When you have a self care night, you have to feel like your best self.
I can’t blame her for wanting to be covered in glitter.
After my lotion dried, we put on our favorite jammies. Then, we got our self care essentials for the night:
As a busy mom, I don’t always get to read as much as I’d like. Just even being able to read a few pages felt so nice. It’s also amazing for Mila to see me reading and enjoying it! I hope so loves English and language as much as I do.
The book she picked out is adorable! She often asks me to read it to her before bed. Now she makes up the story when she looks at it herself.
Throughout watching movies and reading our books, we snacked on our cheese balls and jello.
Mila asked for water, without Mio. I’m so proud of her positive choices. I told her she could have anything to drink and that’s what she chose.
We ended the night taking selfies and I painted Mila’s nails. I love that we both have dark purple polish on now. Anytime we can match, I feel like we try to do it. Even when we stay in.
It wasn’t long after her nails dried until Mila fell asleep. We had wiped her makeup off and she was just relaxed.
I ended the night watching dance moms and maybe had a few more cheese balls too.
Our night was pretty perfect.
We love being together and doing the things we enjoy. I can’t express how much joy Mila brings me. Hopefully she’ll be able to see the importance of self care as she gets older.
We all deserve to love and cherish ourselves.
Have you ever had a self care night with just your or with your little? What was your favorite activity?