Toddler Schedule & Sanity

I’m a person who needs routine and a schedule. If I don’t have a plan for the day I am way more likely to sit and do nothing. I’m still trying to work out the best way to coordinate a schedule with little lady R and after months and months of trial and error I think I found one that is fun and simple.

weekly schedule

I found a few different ideas on Pinterest that I coordinated into my own schedule. I love that it gives us at least one thing each day that we can do. That way if we do nothing the rest of the day I still feel accomplished, we least kind of.

Make Something Monday
This is my favorite day because I LOVE crafts! On the days we do nothing, we at least do some sort of craft. I’m not afraid of getting messy with crafts either, I encourage paint, glue and I even have an upcoming project involving glitter! Yes glitter and a 2 year old!

dot paint qtip paint

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got paint dotters from a friend for R’s birthday and they are fabulous! All the painting sans mess! On the left we used a q-tip as our “brush”. We also swear by our Color Wonder markers!

Get Outside Tuesday
Pretty self explanatory but this is our guaranteed outside day, we get outside other days but this one I try to make longer. Park playdates, water play, bike ride and more.
This is an easy day too because, thanks to my amazing husband, we have an AWESOME backyard! On our most basic Get Outside Tuesdays we just hang out in the playhouse and enjoy the sunshine ūüôā

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What’s Cooking Wednesday
Another one of my fave days! I enjoy showing and teaching R about cooking and she loves trying out new skills. Plus it gets me cooking more; I’m not much of a cook so I enjoy this aspect too. She’s even started using butter knifes to cut bananas and a few other soft items.

make something
Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins, Broccoli Cheese Balls and Strawberry Jam
coconut donuts
Coconut Date Donut Holes

A lot of the time I have her help me with my snacks or dinner for the evening but it really is fun for everyone. Added bonus? It keeps her busy while I’m cooking so she isn’t fussing at my feet, SCORE!

Time to Think Thursday
Science Day!! Last week we did baking soda and colored vinegar for fun eruptions.¬†We love sensory bins! Our favorite is our rice bin (if you have dogs DON’T let them eat this stuff, it’s not pretty!)
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How fun is this!! And easy, plus I get to eat the rest of the Skittles bag woot woot!! Another option for this day is checking out the library or library storytime. R loves books so this is her happy place. Today was a library day and she had way too much fun. We spent 2 hours there, most of it was spent rolling around on the floor and bouncing around the room. It was absolutely adorable!

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Tumble time at the library!

Fun Time Friday
Right now I’m part of a Friday Adventure Group so each Friday we find a fun activity in the area and head out. Hiking, amusement park, museum, etc. ¬†But once preschool begins we are only going to do the group once a month so R and I will find other fun adventures for the other weeks. There are SO many amazing things to do here in the Bay Area (be on the lookout for an upcoming post about my Bay Area Bucket List).

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BEACH DAY!

This schedule helps me keep my sanity and gives R fun daily activities. Plus it’s easy. One of my earlier plans was trying to coordinate more of a preschool schedule but I was too ambitious and most of the time we just ended up doing nothing I had planned. Plus Pinterest has way too many ideas and it was completely overwhelming. The themed days help narrow down the options too. Try it, see what works for you!

Learning To Find My Way

If you know me from my pre-baby life you know I was a work-a-holic (honestly who am I kidding, this hasn’t changed). It’s something I seriously struggle with now that I’m a stay at home momma. And as R gets older I find it even more of a struggle.

When R was young….well, she didn’t really do anything. Babies are blobs and to keep my own sanity I volunteered for everything¬†and added even more to my plate. I currently volunteer with five¬†different organizations and put in countless hours. But as R’s getting older she actually needs me more so than as a baby. She wants me involved with her activities, teaching her, playing with her and being present. I can’t sit and respond to emails while I’m breastfeeding anymore and she even actively asks me to put my phone down these days. It breaks my heart that a statement like that has to come out my 2 year olds mouth ūüôĀ

A couple months ago I joined an online mom/wife group and began something called Project Reset (check out The Home Loving Wife for more info). Essentially the goal is to figure out your values and prioritize your life based on those values. It took me some serious time to think about my values and how I was prioritizing my life around those values. I realized that I was not prioritizing my life based on how I wanted to live my values.

After some serious soul searching I realized it was time for changes in my life. I needed to cut back on my volunteer work, I needed to spend more time with my family, I needed to spend my time with the people I love not spend my time constantly responding to emails and managing people.

So this year has been huge for me as I’m discovering the things that really matter to me. R is becoming more interactive, more fun but also more demanding and it’s harder to find time with my hubby. I’m STILL trying to figure it all out, I don’t have all the answers. But I do know that I’m taking steps to understand myself better, to create a positive family environment and to lead by example for my daughter.

I spent the morning with a couple fabulous mommas at the beach. The overcast sky and mild temperature was actually amazing. I’m a jeans and t-shirt kinda lady and it’s been crazy hot here so I was excited to enjoy a “comfy” day. Digging my toes in the sand, watching R play with her friends, shrieking about the coldness of the water. It truly was perfect and ¬†it was exactly what I needed to start off a weekend of focusing on my family.

This weekend I promise to keep my phone away more, to be present and excited with my daughter and to take some time to cuddle with my amazing hubby. Every step I take gets me closer to living out my life with purpose and happiness. I’m excited for this new journey I’m on!

10 Things to Know for Camping with Tots

This past week was spent with R’s besties camping out in the woods and celebrating the little ladies 2nd birthday! I can’t believe she’s 2!

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A tradition Matt continued from his childhood is waking up to a room full of balloons, so even though we were camping we kept it going!

Outside of celebrating her birthday we spent lots of time enjoying the great outdoors.

Ok, so let me preface this by saying that I haven’t been camping in YEARS! I went a lot as a kid, both with family and Girl Scouts, but it was probably high school the last time I camped. This camping was “supposed” to be easier because it was in cabins. But I swear tent camping would have been easier than these cabins.¬†It was nice¬†to have a stove and electricity but otherwise these cabins were basically death traps waiting to happen! Okay maybe I’m over reacting a little but seriously there were nails sticking out, broken benches, ugh.

We had such a blast! But I gotta say I’m quite happy to be home. Sleeping in my own bed and having a playroom to “lock” my kid away in is pretty damn awesome. We were too¬†ambitious, we planned on staying 7 nights, we lasted 5….barely. So here are a few things I learned while enjoying the great outdoors with the little ones:

10.¬†Don’t Do It!
If you’re thinking of going, just don’t. Instead put up a tent in the backyard and play outside. It’s much easier

9. Wrap your Kid in Bubble Wrap
They are toddlers. They fall a lot. Enough said.

8. Don’t forget the First Aid Kit
Believe me, you’ll need it. The bubble wrap I suggested above will help but I swear you’ll still need it. Likely for yourself too. One of our mommas cut open the bottom of her foot on the first day, not a fun way to start out the trip but she was a trooper and stuck with it.

7. Man on Man Coverage versus Zone
As often as you can, try to have just as many parents as there are children, or at least older children who can help the tots. The ground is uneven, there are hills to fall down, streets to get run over on, animals to get stung by, and a million other things to mess up the kids so you need as much coverage as possible

6. Lots and Lots and Lots of Spray
Bug Spray – I swear everything bites while you’re camping. We had flies, mosquitoes, freaking everything! I hate the damn bugs. Sunscreen – apply, apply, apply! I know, applying sunscreen to toddlers usually ignites lots of screaming but imagine trying to apply sunscreen to a burnt toddler. Give yourself a chance of avoiding a crispy lobster child by applying constantly

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5. Remember, it’s Camping
That means it’s dirty. Really dirty. And toddlers attract dirt. They also really love putting dirt in shoes and then pouring it on each other and you

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4. Go During the Week
This will allow you the weekend to recover from the crazy. Originally we planned Saturday to Saturday but after 5 days we were totally done. The last day was spent sitting in the grass entertaining our kiddos in the campground laundry room. That’s right, the laundry room. But the good part is we then had¬†Friday-Sunday to get ourselves back to some semblance of alive before the hubby had to go back to work Monday

3.¬†Nap Isn’t Just for the Kiddos
The kid takes a nap so you should too. The sun is exhausting, it’s hot, and you deserve it. It’ll keep you ready for more beers (see below). Plus it’s a family trip (not a vacation because anything that requires you to chase toddlers and be up by 7am is NOT vacation)! The perfect time to attempt to catch up on your missing sleep

2. Bring Lots of Booze
After chasing your toddler for hours all you are going to want after bedtime is a very large cold alcoholic beverage. But don’t drink too much, you need to be prepared¬†to wake up in the middle of the night¬†when something “scary” wakes up your little one and then again at the crack of dawn with a tot screaming in your face for breakfast

1. HAVE FUN!
Even though we were EXHAUSTED by the end of every¬†day, we had such an amazing time. R had SO many firsts and it was¬†exciting¬†watching her explore. She went on a boat, she went tubing, had lots of ice cream, played horseshoes, played tether-ball and more. ¬†The adorable factor was on ¬†point for¬†80% of the week (the rest¬†was spent sleeping or stressing about safety). It was the longest and most fun week I’ve had in ages

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In the end it truly was a great trip but my final recommendation? Don’t plan on going for a week. ¬†I think 2 nights tent¬†camping would have been perfect. Next year we will still enjoy a 4th of July #bestiesweek, and R’s ¬†birthday, at a cabin but more VRBO or AirBnB style. (We might be wimps but oh well)

Enjoy a couple nights of outdoor fun and excitement and then head home to relax for the rest of the weekend. It’s totally worth it!

Out to Eat

I would consider Matt & I¬†to be some what foodies and this is definitely a trait we’d like to pass on to R. So I’d say we indulge often in the going out to eat fun ūüôā But as R has gotten older, taking her out to eat has gotten a bit more difficult. So one day I went on over to my trusty Pinterest and searched for “restaurant bag”. There weren’t a ton of ideas but this is the one I enjoyed the most: Restaurant Kit

The next day I went to Target and found the perfect bag. Deciding what to put it in was the hard yet fun part. I wanted enough things so that I wouldn’t have to change it out often (I’m lazy) but not too many that it’s too heavy for R to carry herself.

So here is my bag:

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It has two large compartments that have smaller compartments inside. Check it out:

 

In the end I included quite a few things that R loves. Here is my list:

  • Color Wonder paper that I cut down to fit on a small clipboard
  • 4 Color Wonder markers (I choose markers¬†so that crayons didn’t melt in the car)
  • 3 mini puzzles
  • 1 magnet board with alien magnets
  • Reusable sticker books (thank you to my MIL for getting these for our trip to Hawaii!)
  • A set of lacing cards
  • Mini books (also thanks to my MIL)

So…..quite the array of items to keep her occupied and happy. So far we’ve used it twice and it’s been great! I don’t pull it out right away. We start with just letting her be and then when we can tell she’s getting antsy, that is when it break it out. I love that it’s all contained in such a nice and compact way too! R also LOVES the bag. She gets excited to carry it and knows that fun is coming when we pull it out. So far I’d call this one a success!

What are your tricks to keep the kids occupied while out and about?