Virtual book club for kids

I love reading and I want my daughter to share the same feeling. So when I read about virtual book club for kids, I knew I would follow along.

I discovered it at the end of September, so I didn’t have much time to do the September book suggestions. The author was Mo Willems and because I live in a small (ish) town, my local library didn’t have a huge selection. And of course half of the Mo Willems books they did have were already out.

I was able to find 3 books, but not ones that were suggested.
I set up the reading experience as an indoor reading picnic ( idea from The Pinterested Parent).
I set out a blanket, fun snacks and our three books.

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We ate our snacks and read the books. Chloe was interested, but not overly.

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The books were ok, but I was disappointed I wasn’t able to find the suggested books.
Now that it’s October, there is a new author and new books. I will have more time to find books and do activities. Which I’m looking forward to.

What are your favorite kid books?

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Fall trees with handprints

Although it’s only mid September, my Pinterest and Facebook are full of fall and Halloween activities. I’ve been feeling a bit uninspired lately and seeing all these fall activities gave me ideas to try. I saw this activity for using handprints to make trees and thought it was perfect for Chloe.

The first step was getting everything set up. I drew the tree trunk with a brown marker, set out the paint and had a bowl of water for washing her hand. I also had some pieces of paper for her to paint while her hand prints were drying and for after she was done.

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I got Chloe in an apron, painted her hand and we placed it down a few times.

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I rinsed her hand off and painted it yellow and we made more prints. Then I decided that the prints should dry for a few minutes before doing the last colour. I gave Chloe a sheet of paper and let her play with the three colours (orange, red and yellow).

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While she was doing that, I talked to her about how leaves change colour and had her look out the door and see our tree that has green leaves with a few that are changing colour.

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After a few minutes, I brought back the tree and painted Chloe’s hand orange. We did the prints and then I moved it out of the way.

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I gave her more paper to paint on and then encouraged her to get messy and use her hands.

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Chloe loved this activity and wanted to keep doing it. I really should do more stuff with her like this…

Birthday party

Hi again, It’s me Adrienne, here for another guest blog post!
Today I want to talk about planning a Birthday party…for yourself!
I used pinterest quite a bit to get ideas, I even made a Birthday board to keep things organized. So first thing when planning a party, when do you want it? Morning, afternoon, night? Then pick a date & a theme. Next step invitations. I just made a Facebook event which I know isn’t all that creative but it was the best & most efficient way to get all my friends together in one place. I picked a sunday afternoon to evening, 4pm-10pm. It was a Birthday BBQ where I requested all guests attending to bring a dish of their choice, so a potluck. I supplied burgers, hot dogs, chips, ice cream cake, spinach dip (made by my lovely boyfriend Dustin) & beverages. Make sure that you find out in advance what your guests are bringing so you can prepare accordingly. You don’t want 6 people all bringing cheese bread. Or no one bringing a veggie tray. Or whatever it is that you have on your menu.

I hosted the party in my parents backyard. My best friend, Jenna let me borrow her small tent to provide cover over a banquet table that I set out. I decorated my table with a plastic tiffany blue table cloth from Party City, then cut a strip of burlap to make a table runner (burlap also supplied by Jenna) & a sparkly ribbon down the centre of that. I then sprinkled these pretty fake gems on the burlap to make it look a little glam. My boyfriend’s friend was kind enough to bring me flowers as a gift so I popped those on the centre of the table & it looked great. I did make a birthday banner for myself. I found the “Happy Birthday” off a free printables site but then cut out triangles for each letter. I glued each letter onto the triangles with a hot glue gun so it would stick really well & dry quickly. Then because I like a little sparkle on things I used mod podge on the top of 1/2 of them (I did every second triangle) & dusted loose glitter on top. I always recommend covering your working space in newspaper so you can tidy up easily & don’t get glitter on absolutely everything. On the other half of the triangles I used pretty trim stickers. I’ll make sure to include a photo so you can understand better. I then used a single hole punch on the tops of the triangles & strung a white thin ribbon through, I used scrapbooking paper for my triangles so they were nice & stiff & not flimsy (just a tip). My Dad & I hung the banner from the front of the tent. It was perfect I was so proud of it! It didn’t take too long to make either. So if you can’t find one you like at the store you can always make one like I did. IMG_0549.JPG

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Something I thought would be fun was to make a wish jar. A wish jar is a jar decorated or not that you ask people to leave wishes in for you. I opted to decorate mine so pulling out the mod podge & glitter, I went to work. I used a small sponge brush to apply the glue & just sprinkled the glitter onto the jar. There was lots of excess glitter that fell onto my newspaper work space so I folded the paper in half & sort of funnelled as much as I could back into the glitter container. I used expensive glitter from Michael’s but you can always get cheaper stuff from the dollar store. It’s all about how much you want to spend & how much effort you want to put in. You can still have a gorgeous party using less expensive things, however in this case I wanted the expensive stuff. I used a hot glue gun to attach the “Birthday Wishes” lettering, which were also from Michael’s, as well as the jar itself because I wanted a big jar. I did look at the dollar store first, they didn’t have any in the size I wanted BUT they did have small mason jars 3 for $2. I bought 15 jars total to be used as drinking glasses. I was estimating 18-20 people to attend my party. From Michael’s, I also bought pink & white striped paper straws & chalkboard stickers to put on the jars! They were a huge success & to be honest I copied this idea from my friend Keltyn (she’s super clever & artistic). In the wish jar I put a pretty piece of tissue paper & glued a bow on the top. It was beautiful!
Now, why is a wish jar important to me? It’s important because when you’re having a glum day or not feeling like yourself you can pop open your wish jar & read all the kind, sweet (or funny) things that your friends have left for you. They are like tiny presents. I am so happy I made one for my party.

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A tasty recipe for punch I found on pinterest I have to share with you because it’s so easy & delicious: 1 can of frozen lemonade, a big bottle of sprite, orange juice & cranberry cocktail. That’s it! So easy! I used the entire can of lemonade, the entire bottle of sprite, 1/2 the carton of orange juice & 1/2 the container of cranberry cocktail. Just taste test along the way. I also meant to put slices of orange & lemon for colour but I forgot but that would be pretty too. Oh & don’t forget to throw in the ice, keep it cold. I told all my guests that they could bring alcohol but to please be responsible, no drinking & driving. Everyone was respectful & responsible. Thank you friends!

I kept all the food (minus the burgers & hot dogs) & drinks inside the house to keep the bugs away & keep things organized. I made sure to hang a garbage bag outside for easy cleanup. A party always needs music so we popped some on. Also balloons! I bought a tank of helium at party city as well as white & Tiffany blue balloons. I had two of my boyfriend’s friends fill them up & gently let them float to the ceiling in the kitchen they looked really festive. This was Dustin’s idea.

Since I was going to be having all different people at my party from lots of different places, it was important to me to play an ice breaker game. I should mention I usually can’t stand playing most games, but this one was played right off the bat & it was speedy. I used a site called picmonkey.com to design a bingo game. I basically found a blank bingo sheet online & used that. Each box you had to write someone’s name. Whoever finished it the quickest won a prize, the prize was a $10 Starbucks gift card. This was fun it got everyone buzzing & excited. I’m so glad I went ahead with making it. Everyone was a good sport about it to. It can be hard sometimes to mingle with people you don’t know.

After the ice breaker game, Dustin & I decided it was time for people to eat. He fired up the grill for me & took care of the bbqing. Everyone had lots to eat I always make sure there is too much food because you never want to run out. For beverages other then my punch, I had icy lemon water outside, ginger ale & coke in a cooler inside & sparkling apple juice, a choice for everyone! Once everyone was stuffed I got to open presents! I can’t believe how spoiled I am! I didn’t request gifts but I got so many & wonderful, beautiful things! Thank you to all my friends, boyfriend & family for all the amazing things you all are so kind

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Now for my favourite part of my party! The piñata! I bought one of those colorful donkey piñatas & filled it full to the brim with sweets from the bulk barn, plus three $5 gift cards to Starbucks because I thought that might be a fun little surprise. However there was a twist, because grown adults could easily smash down a piñata with a stick, I had Dustin & his friend go around my house & find things to hit it with. I got stuck with a plunger! So just imagine me violently swinging a plunger in a party dress while blind folded, too hilarious! I must put a disclaimer though..there was a retractable snow brush in the mix & my poor friend Sarah thought she was good to go but 1/2 of it went flying off into the guests!! Oh dear! Luckily no one was hurt & nothing broke. So we all had a huge laugh about that. Jenna had a whisk, Leah had a cookie sheet. Dustin wrote all the items on paper & we put them in a bowl to pick. I went first & after that we just picked who would be next, it was a laugh riot!

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Once the piñata was smashed & the candy exploded everywhere it was time for cake! Dustin brought out the cake & everyone sang Happy Birthday. I felt so special & lucky at that moment! Everyone had come to my house to celebrate my birthday with me & that truly was the most special gift of all.

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Now, I had bought a bunch of things to make s’mores with on our outdoor fireplace but everyone was too full. So since I have so many s’more supplies I might try & create a s’mores Rice Krispie treat because why not! Dustin brought a game called cards against humanity. It’s rude & crude but hilarious. I don’t recommend it if you’re easily offended; it’s politically incorrect. Maybe go for the family friendly version apples to apples which is also fun.

Guests trickled out between 9 & 10 & everyone was gone by 11:15 pm. It was a huge success! All my planning & pinteresting had paid off! I wrote up thank you cards to all my guests & sent them off in the mail. My party wouldn’t have been complete without all my friends.

So quick recap here for party planning 101 with Adrienne
1. Pick a date & time
2. Location
3. Invitations
4. Food
5. Decoration & set up
6.Party games or activities
7.Music
It’s not hard to throw a party you just have to be organized. Thank you again to everyone who did attend my Birthday, it meant the world to me that you were there. I hope this helps you for organizing your next party. Make sure to look on Pinterest for great party ideas & more!

-Adrienne

Painting outside

Last week it was very nice out. We did a lot of playing in the backyard. But it seemed like Chloe got bored of the usual. She wanted to be outside, but sometimes she didn’t really know what to do.
She really loves painting and I had a few activities in mind to do. For her birthday, she got an easel, so that made it easier to take painting outside. The first activity we did was paint on the easel with water colours.

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Chloe thought this was awesome. She quite enjoyed this.

The next activity we did was rock painting. I grabbed a little bucket, gave it to Chloe, and told her we needed to go find some big rocks in our yard.

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Of course she went for the huge rocks. I had her pick out 3 rocks and we brought them back to our painting space.

I put paint into washed out yogurt containers, with a paint brush in each.

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I let her get to work on the rocks. She painted them all at the same time and not in the way that I was thinking. But that’s ok, because it’s her activity and she can do what she wants.

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The plan for these rocks is to hide them out in our yard and go hunting for them. But we haven’t gotten to that yet. Rain followed the nice weather.
These two painting activities were fun, easy and quick. I think Chloe was pretty happy she got to do them.

Teddy Bear/Stuffed Animal Picnic Birthday Party

Birthday parties. Tons of fun, lots of work. On the weekend, we had a party celebrating our daughters second birthday. For a few months, I flip flopped between themes. Chloe is into a few tv shows, but they are the less popular ones that don’t have merchandise at every store. Or any store for that matter. So I came up with the theme Teddy Bear Picnic, but bringing a bunch of stuffed animals that weren’t just teddy bears.

The colour scheme was blue and pink since I found blue gingham plates, napkins, basket liners and table cloths at Target (in the dollar bin at that!). I also found pink gingham plates at the dollar store for the cupcakes.

We decorated two windows with streamers, put up a happy birthday banner, and put all the snacks on a decorated table inside.

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We had lots of snacks, but the themed ones were:
Teddy Graham’s
Bear paws
Pink lemonade punch
Gummi bears

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The activities for the kids were minimal. There was a kiddie pool, stuffed animals, a blow up tent, sidewalk chalk, water table, and backyard toys. There was also colouring and toys inside because it was hot and windy out.

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For cupcakes, there were two kinds. Rainbow bit (from a box) with homemade buttercream frosting, dyed blue and pink, topped with a teddy graham. Then I also made homemade chocolate cupcakes with a honey buttercream frosting.
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For this party, I didn’t go all out. But I also wanted to put some effort in to pull off the theme. I am very happy with how it turned out.
Here is the birthday girl, about to get her cupcake
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Cupcake decoration and photo credits to Adrienne. Decorations and other work credit to Shannon.

Summer activities Pt. 2

Not too long ago, I wrote about some of the activities we had been doing with our daughter. You can find that post here.

There are a lot more activities to add to the list.

1) going for walks

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There are so many different things to talk about or look at during walks. It’s easy to make a game connecting to learning at home. Chloe likes to look at airplanes that fly over us and inspect every rock… Our walks take a while..

2) local festivities

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Recently, our community had a children’s fair with a petting zoo. This was a hit with Chloe. And the best part was that it was free!

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For Canada day, there was a reptile area set up. Chloe loves snakes. She was so excited for this and kept asking to see the snakes. She talked about it the next day too. I’m not particularly fond of snakes…!

3) rainy day exploration

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Playing outside isn’t only for sunny days. Kids love going outside when it is raining. Some need an umbrella though. Like mine.
The world looks a little different when it’s raining and toddlers are eager to explore!

4) going to the lake

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Even if the weather isn’t perfect, like when we went to the lake, it can still be fun. Kira and Chloe played away until they were too cold to play any longer. We also packed a picnic lunch, but Chloe barely are. There was too much fun to be had.

5) watering plants

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Chloe loves her watering can. She also likes to help her dad water the garden. Any chance she has to help water, she’s there! I could probably get her to water the entire back yard.

6) ice cream and Popsicles

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Because it isn’t summer without ice cream and Popsicles. And those things are even more enjoyable when shared with a friend. Cheers!

As the summer goes on, I will continue to post activities for toddlers.

What kind of things do you like to do during the summer?

Paper crowns

The other day, we were having a lazy morning and watching Mickey Mouse. In the episode, Mickey and Minnie make paper crowns. I asked Chloe if she would like to make paper crowns too. Of course she said yes and ran to our craft area before I could even blink.
To make the crowns (because yes, I had to make one for myself), I grabbed yellow construction paper and drew a crown.

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I then cut it out and traced it on to the construction paper. Once both pieces were cut out, I let Chloe decorate the pieces.

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With a few pieces of tape, I adhered the crown together. Chloe was very excited.

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Then I proceeded to repeat the steps to make myself a crown. I just used the scraps so it wasn’t as nice as Chloe’s.

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Chloe wore this crown all day. She even napped in it. I never knew something so easy and simple could be used the whole day. She also insisted that I wear it all day… Which I didn’t really want to do, but I did anyway since it made her so happy.
When Chloe went to bed, I put the crowns away, figuring we could pull them out in a few days. I knew she would want to spend the entire next day in a crown again.
Maybe tomorrow we’ll dress up with the crowns again.