My Week in Review- Dream Day, Disney, Wine in a Box and One Messy Toddler

I had quite an eventful week between a charity event and a Disney vacation! I’m back at home and catching up on things, so here’s a few highlights from the past week – 

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Dream Day with PRI Productions and Make-A-Wish foundation –

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This past week I suited up as Antiope and spent the day at an annual event that gives children with life threatening illnesses an amazing day to have fun and just be a kid. They get dressed up and then parade down a red carpet into an amazing wonderland of characters, candy, entertainment and activities. I was very happy to be a part of this incredible event!

 

All last week we participated in a 5 Day Toddler Messy Play Challenge put on by My Bored Toddler. Each day we had a different messy activity to do, take pics of and share. We did it the first four days (shaving cream, oobleck, jello and colored spaghetti) but skipped the 5th day, which was playing in dirt and K does that every single day at some point. My favorite thing was the oobleck, which is just corn starch and water mixed together to make a crazy paste that goes from hard to runny and back again depending on what you do with it.

I’m enjoying all the research I’m doing for an article on boxed wine. I’ve taken it upon myself to try out several brands of boxed wine to see if it is a more cost effective way of supporting my wine habit. Typically one box equals four bottles at a fraction of the price. My previous experiences with Franzia’s white zinfandel back in the day have made me hesitant to invest in an entire box of the stuff, but so far I’ve enjoyed the ones I’ve tried. My white zin days are long gone, so I’ve been focusing on the red blends. So far, the Bota Box RedVolution has been my favorite. But, the research continues!

We got four day Disney Explorer passes a while back, used just one day, then realized they were going to expire soon. So that’s how we found ourselves at three different Disney parks in three days in the middle of June. The heat was sweltering, so my biggest Disney tip is – don’t go in the summer! It was a fun little vacation though and K really enjoyed seeing everything, although there wasn’t a lot he could ride at the other parks. I think we will wait until he is at least 38″ tall before going back, because that seems to be the most common height requirement.

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That’s it for this week! How about you guys? Anything exciting happen? Any favorite boxed wines to suggest?

 

Watch out Betty Crocker!

My son surprised me by asking to bake cupcakes this week. He usually has no interest in helping out in the kitchen so I immediately dropped everything and got to baking! In full disclosure, I was doing yardwork and it was hot and any excuse to take a break sounded like an amazing idea.

Trying to do anything with a toddler is an exercise in patience, mostly me trying to teach him to have some and let the muffins actually cook. But we both had fun, the kitchen didn’t get splattered by batter (at least not too much) and I got to share a great new experience with my son. I loved how excited he was when I popped the beaters out the mixer and told him he could lick it! Probably right now someone’s going “ewwww raw eggs, he might get sick….” but whatever, I loved doing that as a kid!

The cupcakes were delicious and I was happy to get to use some leftover Miss Jones frosting from the sampling party I did last month.

I was starting to sense a theme when later in the week he asked to make cookies. We ran into a problem when he wanted the star cookies just like on the box. I’m starting to hate pictures on boxes and the high expectations that follow! I had no rolling pin and no cookies cutters so I improvised with a glass. Guess what I learned in a very loud screaming freak out way? Circles are NOT stars. Also squares and any other shape I may have had on hand do not equal stars. So I took that dough and squashed and pinched and made that kid some stars! The results were as supurb as expected:

star cookie fail by geekmama.com

So what do you guys enjoy making with your kids? I hope your results were as spectacular as mine. (haha) They may not be pretty but at least they taste good!

Tinkering around at Tinkergarten

img_8833Our adventure today was a Tinkergarten class, held at Cradle Creek Preserve in Jacksonville Beach, FL. Tinkergarten is an outdoor learning experience held at local parks, where kids 18 months – 8 years learn through play and exploring the outdoors. They have it set up in 43 states so far, so check out the website to find a class near you. They offer a free trial class, so we signed up to give it a try and ventured out on a cloudy drizzly Wednesday morning to go get our nature on.

We arrived nice and early and then discovered there were no bathrooms. As soon as I learn there are no bathrooms somewhere, I always suddenly, urgently have to pee. I wasn’t up for squatting in the woods (at least not this time) so we took a quick detour to the gas station and headed back. Our class leader Sara said she was looking into moving it to a different park with better amenities and parking. There were only maybe 4 spots in the lot, but you can park on the side of the street.

We got started with a little song and then read a story that just happened to be my favorite book from kindergarten, Stone Soup. After the story, the kids got to participate in making their own version of stone soup using dirt, sticks, leaves and whatever else they could scavenge. My favorite part was when they added the “seasonings” from a bag of lavender that smelled heavenly.

The age range for our class was about 2 – 5, so it was hectic but fun. There were wanderers and the occasional tantrum breakdown, but overall all the kids seemed to enjoy it. Keelan wasn’t sure at first, but after a few minutes he got really into making his “soup” with water and dirt and even went back for extra seasonings.

I’m waiting to hear if the class is going to be moved to a park with bathrooms before we sign up. I really did like getting to visit the nature preserve location because there weren’t any other distractions around, but I can’t be peeing in the bushes. I mean, I just met these people and it’s not exactly a kegger in the woods. 😆

Check out their website Tinkergarten.com to see if there is a class near you, and if not, you can also sign up to be a class leader in your area. I’m actually looking into that myself since I’d like to get paid to play outside with the kiddo!

The Collection Obsession

charm-necklaceWhen I was little (back in the 80s), the first thing I remember being obsessed with was my charm necklace. Or more specifically, the little charms that hook into the plastic chain link necklaces. The charms were everything from tiny unicorns to roller skates. I recall being quite the 3rd grade gangsta loaded down with charms.

Next it was jelly bracelets. I had them all the way to my elbows. Then Garbage Pail kids. I was out of the game before Pokémon came along, but it’s no surprise to learn that kids are still into the “gotta collect ’em all” mentality.

The Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Company is playing into that with their Surprizamals collection, which combines the surprise egg theme with the collecting aspect. There’s a surprise cuddly little animal inside each red ball. They sent me five free ones to check out and review. They retail for $4.99 and are recommened for age 3+. The age group for these is a little older than my son, but I knew he’d totally be into the surprise egg part thanks to his obsession with Ryan’s Toy Review on YouTube.

So this is how the tryout went:

Day 1, Egg 1

Saw red egg and immediatly lost it yelling “Surprise egg! Surprise egg!” Found a Fenley Fox inside. Liked it so much he slept with.

Day 2, Egg 2

Next I decided to take one to the playground to see what the other kids thought. We got a cute little Lola Lady Bug (ultra rare!), which one of the other kids promptly ran off with to bury in the sand. Before I knew it all the pieces were everywhere. Tags, egg halves, Lola… I did manage to get our lady bug back before we went home but her egg was nowhere to be found.

Day 3, Eggs 3 – 5

Got a unicorn. He’s decided he doesn’t like the tags, which really are long and cumbersome so I had to remove them.

Day 4, All the eggs

Egg halves are scattered around the house along with 3 foxes, a lady bug and unicorn. The little animals are so soft that every time I step on one I think I’ve stepped on a cat paw or tail. Keelan mostly likes to put them back in the egg and then open it again. I actually think his favorite thing is the egg.

The final verdict:

The materials say “hours of fun” but that’s kind of stretching it. But really, is anything hours of fun to a toddler? It’s more like, repeated fun with the bonus of an egg to play with and refill! I don’t think he quite gets the collecting aspect, but I can guarantee you if we see these at the checkout line he’s going to be begging for one.

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The Library Mystique

Am I the only one who gets really excited when they walk in the library? Like seriously, I think I get a little tingly. There’s just SO MANY BOOKS! Books about everything I could ever want to read about! And they’re all FREE!

booksWhen I was little, I used to love to spend the entire day at the library. I’d actually pack a lunch so I didn’t have to leave. (I know, nerd much?) I’d leave with 30-40 books at a time. My mom would sometimes quiz me to make sure I was actually reading them. I guess she didn’t want to lug around the giant paper bag of books if I wasn’t really using them.

There’s something mysterious and exciting about the library to me. One of my favorite After-School Specials was about a kid who got locked in a spooky library overnight. And then there’s the magical aspect.  The Neverending Story really helped solidify the possibility there’s an adventure waiting if you find just the right book.

Unfortunately I have badly neglected the library in my adult years, but am happy to say I’ve been rediscovering it with my son. I’ve found most libraries have story time and some even have arts and crafts for the kids. I’m hoping he will grow to love the library as much as I do. I think it will be harder since his generation is so tech based. But there’s something magical about books you just can’t get from a computer screen.

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