12.21.2014

tot school - christmas & hanukkah holiday week - age 3 1/2

We are officially back from our longest break from tot school ever. We wound up unexpectedly taking two months off and it feels so good to be back. I'm trying not to beat up on myself too much considering we didn't take a summer break, but we're back in action and Ethan was so, so excited to wake up and see a whole new set of tot trays waiting for him!

I did a holiday theme for our grand return back to tot school. Ethan is so in love with the holidays this year (we do Hanukkah and Christmas in our house) so I knew he would be extra excited to see this as the theme.

SNOW DOUGH SENSORY PLAY

I made up a batch of snow dough and paired it with some Christmas themed erasers from the dollar store and some cookie cutters. This tray kept Ethan occupied for hours every day until the dough finally dried out to the point where no added conditioner could save it. I loved watching him build snowman, make "sugar cookies" and create little winter wonderland scenes with the erasers. He had a blast with this one!

OPPOSITES AND LATKES

For this one, I made some "latkes" out of construction paper and labeled them with different words. On paper plates, I wrote the opposite words. I gave Ethan a spatula and he had a blast practicing balancing and working on opposites as he flipped each latke to it's opposite plate. This was a fun way to incorporate Hanukkah into our tot school lesson and he loved doing it!

ORNAMENT ADDITION

I found a tube of small ornaments at the dollar store. We used this activity to practice adding up to 5. Ethan got to place an ornament on each circle and practiced adding. When he counted how many there were total on each card, he found the corresponding number and added it after the equals sign. I think he liked this tray the least out of all of the trays, but he still really enjoyed it the first couple of times!

GIFT WRAPPING PRACTICAL LIFE ACTIVITY

Ethan has been obsessed with helping me wrap all of the holiday gifts this year, so I gave him a little tray to practice on his own. He got to wrap little boxes all by himself and trim the paper with his scissors if it was too long (which he insisted he didn't need to do, because the paper I left was "just right"). He did a great job!

SMALL, MEDIUM AND LARGE

For this tray, Ethan got to decide which gift would be wrapped in a small, medium or large box. I gave him a few sets of little cards each with a small gift, medium gift and large gift but each picture printed the exact size. Ethan got to think critically to figure out how to sort each item in size order. He really liked this tray!

PEPPERMINT VOWELS

I found some peppermint sticks at the dollar store in two different sizes and thought they would be perfect to make letters with. I turned this into a vowel tray where Ethan got to practice making the vowels out of peppermints. He was a little aggravated that his O looked more like a square, but he still enjoyed doing this tray and learning more about what letters were vowels and why vowels were important. From this tray, Ethan began seeking out and pointing out the vowels whenever he saw signs or words written somewhere. Surprisingly, we made it the whole week without him sampling a peppermint stick.

GUM DROP FINE MOTOR PRACTICE

I stuck some golf tees in a little box and gave Ethan a cup filled with gum drops. He got to use the tongs to pick up each gum drop and balance them on top of the tees. This was a little tricky so halfway through he gave up and decided to use his fingers which was still great practice for balancing.

SPARKLE SNOW SAND LETTER WRITING TRAY

This one is play sand, food coloring and some glitter. I paired it with little cards with the letters and Ethan got to practice writing each one. He is really into writing letters and words right now so he was so excited for this activity. He couldn't wait for my husband to come home so he could show him the way he could write his letters.

LINKING UP WITH:

Tot School Montessori MondayI Can Teach My Child

No Time For Flash CardsFor the Kids FridayThe Weekly Kids Co-Op



12.18.2014

hot cocoa ornament gifts

In my quest to maintain a no screentime home, I've sort of turned Ethan into a Pinterest monster. "Let's look on Pin-ter-est, mommy!" (Just an FYI, three year olds don't take well to pinfails.) Every holiday, we scour Pinterest to figure out something to make to hand out to Ethan's friends and his My Gym classmates. Ethan decided that Hanukkah and Christmas could be no exception and so we spent the past few days trying to come up with the perfect gift. I am trying really, really hard to teach Ethan that giving is such a big and special part of the holidays. I want him to love giving and spreading joy to his friends and loved ones. So, when he saw these cute little hot cocoa ornaments (original pin here), I couldn't say no!

We found our little ornaments at Walmart. They were less than a dollar a piece. They didn't have any clear ones available, but we picked out some fun colors and went with it. We bought a big tub of hot cocoa mix and picked out some little toppings (white chocolate chips, chocolate chips, marshmallows and crushed candycane/peppermint pieces which came in a shaker by Wilton).

Using a funnel, Ethan helped me scoop 3 tablespoons of cocoa into each ornament and then added the toppings. I fastened little gift tags to the tops and they're all ready for him to start handing out -- which he is so excited to do.

I think they actually came out pretty cute and they were such a fun little project for us to do together!

12.17.2014

hanukkah 2014

Hanukkah kicked off last night. We celebrated with a dinner at my parent's house and I made latkes by hand because my husband has Celiac and no one should have to go without latkes on Hanukkah. I second guessed myself as I hand-grated the third potato, but I think it was a great success. I am not a chef or a baker and in addition to my homemade gluten free latkes, I happily brought over a container of pre-made ruggelach from the grocery store and called it doing my fair share of the Hanukkah prep work. I will be boasting about making latkes from scratch likely until next Hanukkah, so, apologies in advance.

Ethan doesn't really remember or grasp much from the holidays last year so I feel this is the year where everything sticks. I'm trying to set up a nice foundation full of crafting and baking and traditions so that whatever sticks will be good things. I am submerging myself fully into Ethan's holiday joy but it's also hard knowing there is one child who won't be home for the holidays this year. It's a strange place to be and all I can do is hope I am succeeding at creating some magic for Ethan. We do Christmas and Hanukkah so, you know, double the pressure.

Although he didn't have much of an appetite for Hanukkah dinner, he found some room for ruggelach and dessert and a huge burst of energy when it came time to light the menorah. We did gifts at my parents house and then headed home for Ethan to open the Hanukkah gifts from my husband and I. I like the low-key vibe that Hanukkah brings. I also like latkes. If only there were eight nights of latkes.

I had initially wanted some nice frameable Hanukkah photos of Ethan. "Just smile. Please smile." I resorted to bribery. I resorted to promises of a trip to the beach. I begged. I pleaded. But eventually the best I got were a couple of snapshots of a filthy little boy in dire need of a haircut with ruggelach around his mouth, a huge sarcastic and annoyed faux-smile and no pants. Oh, but how these sum up Ethan at this age. They are just so very him -- and that's better than any staged smile any day.

Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate!

12.16.2014

one year ago today

One year ago today, two pink lines appeared on the home pregnancy test I took on a whim. I'm still not sure why I took it. I decided that I should have had stomach cramps by now and so I took it in the middle of the afternoon while Ethan sat at the table coloring in a coloring book. We had just returned home from a five mile walk to and from Starbucks with our friends. We had just been discussing future children on our walk and I had said I thought I was ready to try for another. I remember the feeling of excited panic when those lines appeared. I remember the way I couldn't wait for my husband to come home from work so I could surprise him but, by the time he got home, I was so anxious and excited that all I could do was thrust a box containing the pregnancy test at him.

One year ago today, I texted photos of those pink lines to my best friends and realized that they're all teachers and I had to wait so impatiently for three o'clock to roll around so they could see my texts to them. Freak outs and excitement and "oh my gosh!" and plans on how to tell our families. One year ago today, I ran out to Wal-Mart and bought a t-shirt and iron on letters. I couldn't get the iron to work so the "Big Brother" I had intended ended up just saying "Big Bro." The following night, Ethan wore the shirt to my parents house to help them decorate their tree. "Just don't say anything to Ethan yet," I whispered. "I want to make sure everything is okay first."

One year ago today, we began planning for a life with two beautiful children in it. We stayed up late into the night talking about names and nursery ideas and how I just knew the baby would be a girl. I just knew it. It had nothing to do with the fact this pregnancy was already and would continue to be so different from my first. For some reason, I just knew she was a girl.

One year ago today, I ordered a baby book on Amazon that matched the one we had for Ethan. I imagined a life with our two children. I wondered who she would be. A year later, I'm still wondering who she would be. A lifetime later, I will still be wondering the same thing.

One year ago today, our lives changed in ways that we didn't imagine at the time. We would be welcoming and mourning the loss of a child simultaneously, trying to make sense of the pain that we would never be able to make sense of. If the ending had to stay the same, I would still relive the beginning over and over again.

One year ago today, we learned Wylie was on the way. How two little pink lines changed our lives in such a big way.

introducing kids & coffee clothing

So, in the couple weeks I've been sans computer, I was sort of productive. Cutting to the chase -- SURPRISE! I now co-own a clothing shop with my friend Lisa! (If Ethan's shirt wasn't riding high, we could almost pass for put together in that photo. Almost.)

Lisa and I are huge Instagram shop fans (have you seen Ethan's wardrobe? I guess that's obvious!). I've watched in awe and amazement as my sweet friend Nicole grew The Striped Fig into something truly incredible. Lisa and I would put off bedtime by tagging one another in all of the posts about the cute shirts we saw and consequently fell in love with. We spend a good 98% of our time at My Gym open gyms raving about all of our wonderful ideas for our own potential line and then one day we finally wondered, wait, why not us?

We wanted to do a line that represented us moms. The tired moms with sticky floors and laundry piles that touch the ceiling (okay, fine, that's all me. I love you, Lisa, but you don't have a laundry pile and I don't know how I feel about that!) who consume more coffee than one person probably should. We wanted a line that could serve as a high-five to another mom who walks past us in the grocery store and feels a little less bad about the dishes in their sink or the fact they're solely running on espresso fumes by two o'clock. And we wanted a line for moms who like to laugh and appreciate some self-deprecation because sometimes you just have to laugh. You know, so you don't cry.

And, thus, Kids & Coffee Clothing was born!

It's been a whirlwind, but in the best way. Our first initial run sold out and our second order is on it's way to us. We want to keep everything fresh and won't keep one design around too long. Ordering is now open for our first design and then once those are gone, they'll be gone.

We would love if you followed along with us on Instagram (@kidsandcoffeeclothing) or liked our Facebook page, too.

Of course, we would love if you checked out our online store, too!

Photos courtesy of Jennifer Reina Photography aka South Florida's most incredible newborn photographer ever who deserves an award for her patience in dealing with us and our crazy kiddos!

How's that for a "what I've been up to while I've been gone" post?

We are so super excited to be able to finally introduce Kids & Coffee Clothing!

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