Rainbow Watermelon Pizza.

Did you know today was National Watermelon Day? To celebrate the occasion, we made a tasty little treat: Rainbow Watermelon Pizza.

This fun to make dish is perfect to take to cookouts or just to eat as a snack.

Plus… toddlers love to help decorate it too!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Watermelon
  • Fruit dip
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Pineapple
  • Kiwi
  • Blueberries

These are just the different fruits we used. You can use any that you like best!

First, cut all of your fruit into smaller pieces. I sliced the strawberries and kiwi, halved grapes, used pineapple chunks, and whole blueberries for ours.

Then, cut your watermelon into slices. Then you can make different shapes if your toddler would like. We used star cookie cutters for Mila’s.

After you figure out the shape of your watermelon pizza, spread fruit dip all over it.

You could also use whipped cream too!

Next, take the fruit and cover your watermelon. We ordered ours like the rainbow on Mila’s star and an inverted rainbow on my watermelon slice.

I absolutely love how these turned out!

It was such a tasty snack, but I bet they’d be a huge hit at family get-togethers or parties. I can even see it being an interactive station.

A melon-ion possibilities.

Yes. I absolutely had to throw a watermelon pun in the post somewhere. All of you would be disappointed if I didn’t after the Shark Week post! Which was just JAWesome.

No matter what you make these for, you won’t be disappointed with how they taste. And your toddler will love helping out with their snacks.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever made watermelon pizza.

OR

Comment your favorite fruit.

Toddler Activity: Olympic Ice Play

The Summer Olympic Games are heating up! Try cooling off with a fun way to get your toddler excited about the games with a science experiment.

This activity is easy to set up and keeps your toddlers attention for a long time.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Flowers (you could use other things for the rings)
  • Water
  • Container
  • Freezer
  • Ice
  • Brushes

For this one, you have to do a little preplanning.

The night before you want to do this activity, it has to be frozen. I used an old Tupperware container and filled it with water. Then, I added colored flowers that matched the Olympic Rings to the container.

To keep the flowers in place, I filled the containers lid and put something heavy on it in the freezer.

It ended up looking like this…

Next, I poured a little bit of table salt into a jar and got some brushes out too. To help the melt, I also gave Mila a little cup of water.

Everything was set into a bin to collect the water.

All I instructed Mila to do was rescue the ‘rings’ and that the salt helped make it melt.

While she worked hard on melting all the ice, we talked more about the Olympics and I showed her how it was spelled. She’s recognizing letters that are in her name and the ones she sees frequently!

She worked really hard on figuring out the best way to make the ice melt.

Her favorite was to dump a ton a salt on the ice, then water. It was so neat watching her figure out why it was melting and what helped.

It really did take her a while for all the ice to melt. I was impressed with her persistence.

Once it was melted, she enjoyed played with the letters and the flowers in the water. Water is always a great sensory component!

During this play time, Mila let me know her favorite Olympic sport was swimming… of course. She thinks it’s amazing how fast they can get through the water! I’ve also showed her some gymnastics routines that she enjoyed.

We always love sensory play and toddler activities.

It gives toddlers time to have fun while learning and parents time to get some things done! This Olympic Ice Play was a hit with Mila and I think a ton of other kids will enjoy it too!

Do you watch the Olympic Games? What’s your favorite sport?

5 Reasons Why You Should Sign Your Toddler Up For Dance.

It’s almost dance season!

Studios are holding sign ups and preparing for another great year. If you’re wondering if you should sign your toddler up for dance or what it’s even like, you’ve found the right post.

Here’s why Mila and I LOVE dance class and why your toddler should join in too!

Friends and Socialization

One of the biggest reasons I signed Mila up for dance was for socialization.

Since she plays by herself most of the time, I knew she needed to make friends. Let me tell you, her socialization and friend group most definitely expanded.

One of her favorite parts of going to dance class was seeing her friends. She learned how to play better with other kids, take turns, and the basics of friendship. That’s a skill that she’ll always have to use.

Plus, as a dance mom, I got to meet so many different parents. I’m so glad to know them and their kids.

Learn About Body Movement

Toddlers are awkward.

They fall and stumble. Somehow they’re always getting back up and running again.

Dance helps toddlers and kids feel comfortable in their own body. It lets them understand how to move certain parts and their capabilities.

I think Mila’s coordination levels went up since starting dance. Plus, she learned how to move her body so fast! Her teachers did an amazing job helping her learn all the moves and to trust her body at such an early age.

Practice Listening to Other Adults

Since I’m almost a full time teacher, but a long time sub, I selfishly wanted Mila to learn how to listen to other adults.

When they go to dance class, they are made to listen and be instructed by someone that’s not their parent. It can be difficult for them, but it’s so rewarding in the long run.

I’m sure that Mila will listen and do so well in preschool because of her experience in dance class.

It might seem like a small skill, but it’s helped her be more independent and happy with other trusted adults. I’m excited to meet her new teacher this year and to have Mila listen and love another supportive adult.

Confidence

As an adult, I would never be able to get in stage and dance in front of a crowd. Yet, groups of toddlers, kids, and young adult dancers did at their recital last year.

It showed how confident they were in themselves.

Mila’s always been confident, but when she danced on stage, that confidence oozed out. It even helped her and her friends do their talent show.

As a mom of a little girl, I want her to project confidence through all aspects of her life. By being apart of dance, she gets to practice that at such a young age. That makes me a very proud dance mom.

They have FUN!

Photo by Teri Stein

The most important aspect of anything during the toddler stage is having fun.

Let me tell you, toddler dance classes are chaotic to watch. At the beginning they’re running around crazy, but they’re smiling and laughing. By the end of the year, they know what’s expected of them and are still having fun.

Maybe I’ll call it organized chaos.

BUT… when they’re having fun they want to come back and learn more. Mila and I have so many great memories from dance class and are excited for another year of them.

Dance welcomes boys, girls, and whoever wants to join. It’s such an inclusive space that I’d recommend to everyone.

Local friends, dance studios are opening up. We go to Legacy Dance Studio and have had nothing but positive experiences. Mila and I would love to see you there too!

Have you ever signed your toddler up for classes or sports? What did you love about them?

Explore Clary Gardens in Coshocton, Ohio.

When it comes to local exploring, Mila and I are on a mission. Our latest go to place was the Clary Gardens in Coshocton, Ohio.

Located right by Roscoe Village, the gardens are a secret escape to play and learn for all.

There are so many aspects of the gardens that I love. Since I’m a planty person, seeing the different types of plants and flowers was magical. Believe me, everywhere you look is beautiful.

I’ve actually been planning on taking Mila here for a little while. On the Clary Gardens Facebook page, I saw them advertise their Story Walk and knew we had to go.

Mila is set anytime learning and being active is involved. So, we put our go-fasters on and went on our way.

Here were our favorite parts of the trip, besides the beauty of the gardens!

The Story Walk Trail

This isn’t a secret, the Story Walk was our favorite part of our visit!

Clary Gardens, the Coshocton Public Library, and The Frontier Power Company teamed up to make this walk happened. They plan to change out the story seasonally, so that means we’ll be going back!

This season’s story was Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae. It’s an adorable book about, you guessed it, a giraffe that can’t dance.

As you walk through the trail, you get to read more pages in the book.

Mila loved this and was searching for the page stands. Throughout the walk, I asked her to recap what happened from the pages before. She did amazing and was really engaged with the Story Walk!

The walk also lets you explore the gardens more. It gives you beautiful views of the property and a little walking trail that is safe for kids. Mila’s favorite parts of the trail was walking by the pond and going into the woods.

Mila taking the route less traveled.

This book choice was perfect for us too, since Mila loves to dance. She danced right with the different animals in the book.

It was a fun adventure through the gardens and I love seeing Mila’s love for reading expand. Spoiler alert, the giraffe dances at the end and Mila did a little celebration dance with him.

Check out the video at the end of this post.

The Octopus

Along the Story Walk was this big and beautiful, wooden octopus.

The octopus is all hand carved and hanging from a tree. He slightly sways if you touch him or the wind blows hard. This freaked Mila out a little, but she warmed right up to him.

I am completely amazed by all the details in the octopus. From the tentacle suckers to the big eyes, Mila and I both had a hard time walking away.

The size and detail reminded me of the wooden giants at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in Louisville. That was our last adventure before COVID. Except the giants were even bigger. It was still nice to be reminded of that memory.

When you go to Clary Gardens, definitely seek out the octopus.

Children’s Area

Since I’ve become a mom, finding a place where Mila can play is a must. Clary Gardens has a big area set aside just for this!

There’s different areas for kids to crawl through, climb on, and play. The sandbox was Mila’s favorite! Fortunately, there were buckets and shovels already provided for kids to use.

I personally appreciated the vegetable garden areas. Mila and I were looking to see if any had grown and trying to identify the leaves. Just another learning opportunity that we had to take.

The beautiful artwork at the side of the play area was so cute too.

After her time in the sandbox, Mila pointed out the colors and different things on the mural. She immediately ran up to the butterflies and pretended to be one.

This would be a perfect spot for a play date. You could picnic here (or any of the gazebos) while the kids played. The kids would have so many options to play and moms could get some shade and catch up.

Here’s a little compilation video of our visit. My favorite is Mila’s dance at the end.

The gardens offer even more too. Not only can you get married here or hold an event, it has a beautiful amphitheater too. There’s a few plays by Rogue Elephant Productions coming up in the near future that I need to go see.

If you’re local to Coshocton, plan out your visit to the Clary Gardens soon!

Have you ever been to the Clary Gardens? If not, do you have local gardens that are similar?

Christmas in July Snacks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A face only Mrs. Claus can love.

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

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

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

All you’ll need for these are;

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

Honestly, these are just as easy to assemble.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mila and I had so much celebrating Christmas in July!

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

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

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

I Made My Mudroom Into My Plant Room.

If you’re looking for your sign to do a home project, here it is! I took a few days and transformed my dark mudroom into a bright plant room.

My mudroom is the last room in my house that hadn’t been completed. It was different from every room and ended up a mess.

Since I’ve started collecting plants, I knew I wanted the majority of their home to be in there. It gets a ton of light and is really has no other purpose than housing Max’s kennel and my pets food.

Either way, the dark walls and unkept look of the room was bumming me out.

So, I changed it.

It took me about three days (toddlers) and a can of white paint to brighten up this space.

Like everything with home ownership, the rooms not complete. I want to add shelving, hang more pictures, and utilize more hanging plants.

It takes time though!

Right now, I’m focusing on all the positives features that I LOVE. I seriously keep looking in there and just smile.

This is what I get to see whenever I’m in my kitchen. I love all the brightness in this room. The back wall needs some art hanging up, but planning on adding shelving there.

It’d also look so cute with Christmas lights.

When summer is over, this space will have way more plants. The vast majority of my plants are outside enjoying the summer humidity.

For now, I get to showcase some of my favorite vintage pieces.

They make the room feel so much more homey and show my quirkiness too. I’ve loved finding some of these rattan baskets and shelves!

I mean, who doesn’t love a little rattan?

When my hanging plants come inside, there will be so many different types of vintage plant hangers. I can’t wait to see them all together. Maybe I’ll have to find more too. Just kidding… maybe?

When I realize I was committing to painting and redoing this room, I bought myself a sign for a little motivation.

A room I can showcase my love for both plants and true crime… just perfection. This piece will definitely be hanging where I can see it whenever I want.

Honestly, I’m excited for the room to get fuller, but summer can stay for a while longer.

My other inspiration to get this room done is Max. He needed an updated space too since this is where he has to stay some times.

Of course, it needed to be cute.

The organization of Max and the cats’ food is everything. I love that they have a place.

All of their treats and food have their own containers. Max’s treats are from a cleaned candle jar, which I’ll share how I did soon. Fun fact, big Crossroads Candles fit long dog treats.

Mila even approves of this space and treat container. She can easily climb up there and spoil her favorite dog.

This little space transformation was so needed.

Being a homeowner is a lot of work, but with a little time and paint, our whole house feels lighter and more complete. This feeling is what makes everything worth it!

What do you think of my mudroom turned plant room? Are you working on any home projects?

Support Local: Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market

On Wednesdays, we go to the market. More specifically, we head to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market in Dover, Ohio for food, entertainment, and a fun time.

Open every Wednesday from 3-7pm during the months of June to mid-October, the Market sets up at the Tuscarawas County Fairgrounds. It’s open rain or shine.

Anytime we can support local farmers, makers, and businesses, we do! So, we grab our canvas bags and go shopping.

Mila loves interacting with all the people and I love knowing where our food is coming from.

It’s a perfect combination.

It’s so fun watching Mila interact and explore different foods. She loves to pick out zucchini, all fruits, and flowers. I love that everyone is patient with her (and me too!). Somehow I feel like this is only going to strengthen her relationship with food.

My favorite part is trying out different vegetables than what we would normally pick out.

We’ve tried different squashes, baby carrots, and a vegetable called a kohlrabi. Kohlrabi looks like an alien vegetable, but tastes like cauliflower. I have a recipe I’m going to share soon with it.

We also love the homemade jams, puff corn, hot sauces, and flowers too. I guess you can say we like everything there.

Every time we go, Mila enjoys picking out fresh cut flowers to take home.

They add so much beauty to our home and are different every week we go. That’s the magic about buying local, it’s whatever is growing or read that week.

When you go to the Market, you’re not just going to get produce and leave.

The library brings crafts for kids every other week to do. You can either make them there or take them home to do later.

There’s usually entertainment, such as local bands and musicians too. Mila and her friends danced for a while one week. They had so much fun, as well as everyone else around too. It’s so special to watch a community come together and enjoy the moment.

Another added bonus is the food trucks and stands that join in on the fun.

I don’t know if anyone else is like me, but after I get back from shopping I get tired. Instead of rushing home to make food, we love ordering food and eating there. They usually have brick oven pizza that tastes so good!

Mila usually had sampled all of our produce by the end, but never turns down macaroons or ice cream!

Once you do get home to make meals, you won’t be disappointed.

Last week, I made an amazing BLT with all local ingredients. It honestly tasted fresh and so much better than usual. I definitely need to pick up more tomatoes and bread this week!

We hope that you can make it to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market this year!

It’s a great event for our community, way to educate our kids about food, and help grow our local commerce. You might even get to try an out of this world vegetable too!

Just watch out for Mila pushing her cart!

If you’ve ever been to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market, what’s your favorite thing about it?

My faraway friends, do you have a local farmers market you like to attend?

Explore the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

Mila and I love to find quirky, local adventures. One of our favorite places to explore is the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

It’s definitely worth the visit!

You’ll find this treasure located in downtown Sugarcreek, on the corner of Main Street and North Broadway.

We actually went to go out to the cuckoo clock, but got sidetracked by the Butterfly Exhibit at the Norma Johnson Center. If we’re nearby the clock, Mila and I like to get ice cream and watch the show.

It’s one of the places she asks to go quite frequently. I have no idea how she got so fascinated with it.

The clock plays it’s song and show every half hour in the summer. Its closed down in the winter, so be mindful of that if you’re planning a visit during the cooler months.

We got there a little early, so we walked around the block to explore… and take pictures.

The history of the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock is pretty cool. If you read the Ohio marker in the picture it tells you all about it.

Here’s a little recap of what it says:

Originally, the clock was at a local restaurant a few streets down. It was on the the cover of the Guinness Book of World Records in 1978. Then, after decades, it needed a major restoration. Two years after it was restored, the restaurant it was at closed down and the clock was moved to its current location.

I think knowing what the clock has been through and seeing the shear size of it, makes it even more impressive.

Once it was time for the clock to do its song and dance, Mila ran over to the bench.

The whole thing runs about five minutes.

It’s really cute to watch and Mila likes it too. You can always tell when it’s the half hour because there’s a little crowd all around the clock.

When it was over, Mila gave me her best cuckoo clock impression. I think she loves the dancing.

If you’re close to Sugarcreek or visiting Ohio, this should be on your list to see. It’s only a ten minute stop if you time it up right. Then you can get lunch, ice cream, or go shopping at the local shops.

It’s truly a sight to see and something that will make you smile. Your kids will love it too!

Local friends… have you ever seen the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock? What other fun things would you suggest people see?

Far away friends… what’s your closest “World’s Largest” to you?

My Toddler Designed a Tattoo… and I Got It!

Yes! You read that right. My three-year-old drew my latest tattoo. I loved it so much, I actually went and got it.

Toddler turned tattoo artist.

Tattoos are such a fun way to express yourself.

I have some that have a ton of meaning, one I just randomly got, and others that just make me smile. Yeah, they’re lifelong commitments and I know the whole ‘when you’re old’ comments. But, I still like them and want more.

This latest one will always be one of my favorites. I think I say that about all of mine.

A few weeks ago, I shared how Mila signed off birthday cards to other people. She draws a little creepy person and then scribbles for words.

Well, I really loved her creepy people and decided I wanted one of them tattooed on me.

So… I did it.

Before I went, I showed Mila the person I was getting. She was so ecstatic I was getting something she drew on me.

We talked about it a couple days before and I even heard her tell a few people too.

This is a big deal for her.

I love that I have the way she first drew people and seen the world. It reminds me that she pays most attention to facial expressions, if I’m paying attention to her, and legs. Which makes a lot of sense if you put yourself in a toddler’s shoes.

The tattoo took maybe thirty minutes to get. It was simple and quick to do.

Liz from Crown and Anchor Tattoo Club always does a great job on my tattoos. She’s easy to work with and is usually down for whatever pops in my head.

I’m sure it was super easy to decipher a child’s drawing, but she honored it, line by line.

When Mila first saw me after my tattoo, she immediately wanted to see it. She reminded my family that she was the one that drew it and was so proud when she saw it on my leg.

As much as I love it now, I know she’ll always love it too.

In the future, I’d definitely be open to getting more of her artwork. We’ll see what she comes up with. I’m most definitely getting her handwriting through. That is so special to me.

Would you ever get one of your child’s drawings tattooed on you? Or do you think I’ve gone completely crazy!?

Shark Week Paper Craft

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take a bite out of this…

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

Back to the craft…

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

After the pieces are set, glue them down.

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

I mean, just look at him.

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

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

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

Isn’t that fintastic?

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

What’s your favorite type of shark?

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