Tips For Traveling To The Big Island Of Hawaii With Little Ones

How we survived with our 5-year-old non-swimming triplets

At Hapuna Beach State Park playing with spoons and stacking cups.

At Hapuna Beach State Park playing with spoons and stacking cups.

Condo Hotel

 

1. Instead of staying at a traditional hotel, stay at a condo with concierge service. This way you can do all the laundry you need to without the hassle. For someone who does a lot of laundry, like it or not, this was a g-dsend! We had a number of accidents. This would have gotten really complicated without this service. You can keep eating cheap (well, for Hawaii at least) by cooking, or ordering take-out at the condo if you want. This can be helpful for little ones that can’t sit still at a restaurant, as well as for inconsistently picky eaters. (We have both.) Another great part is you still get some cleaning service to clean your bathroom and make your bed everyday. Also you have available a concierge service to help you book and plan your outings, and find deals. We grilled one night on the beach. The kids are still talking about it!!! Of course the kids could not get enough of the pool. I had no idea that my kids that were scared of the beach on our last vacation would want to spend all day and night in the water this year. Keep in mind this is coming from my non- swimmers. I have heard from several sources the pool is a loved place for little ones on vacation.

The view from our condo

The view from our condo

 

Check the weather for your side of the island and pack for varied weather

 

Warming ourselves in a steam vent at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Warming ourselves in a steam vent at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

2. Make sure to check the weather for the section of the island you will be on. One side of the island can be at least 20 degrees different from the other side, and much wetter or drier. We stayed on the Kona side. This side is very dry. It may get rain but it does not last long. It also is much warmer. While we were visiting it was 80 degrees on average while the other side of the Island was in the 60’s. If you plan to go back and forth between sides make sure you dress and pack accordingly. Even though I packed our luggage for this, the day we went to the Hilo side I totally forgot all our warm clothes, and rain gear. We were lucky to be able to buy rain ponchos but that did not deal with the cold. My kids were miserable. I know everyone would have been much happier if we had dressed properly and been more prepared. In all the excitement it is very easy to forget. Also think about what side of the island you want to spend the most time on. It can take 2-3 hours to drive from one side to the other. When booking places this is something to think about. If I had realized my family would want to see the other side as much as they did, I would have booked part of our trip on one side and part of our trip on the other side. I would do this because who wants to spend so much time driving on a trip? I had no idea this is what my family would want to do. I thought we were just going to spend time on one side of the island. Keep in mind even when you stop a lot, the kids get sick of being in the car eventually, and driving for hours on unfamiliar roads does not feel like vacation for the driver.

 

This meal brought to you by Costco

This meal brought to you by Costco

 

Bring Your Costco Card

 

3. Make sure to bring your Costco card. This was a lifesaver. This is where the locals go to do their shopping because of the deals. We were told about this from several people before the trip and were so glad we brought it. Remember everything has to be shipped here for the most part, so food even at the super market is not cheap. On our first family trip my father was astounded (and not in a good way) about the prices at the supermarket. He had mistakenly thought that relying on the neighborhood grocery store would make eating cheap. Your Costco Card will help keep cooking for yourself an affordable option. 

 

Don't want to leave Dad for a second

Don't want to leave Dad for a second

 

Make sure your seats are together on the airplane

 

4. One of our flights got moved, and on that flight we were not seated together. We had only 2 seats together. I begged people to move and for the most part people were awesome and moved. But even with that I ended up with 2 kids by themselves. That did not go well. The travel-weary kids cried relentlessly, until finally the flight attendants were willing to step in and help. I felt awful making people play musical chairs on a jam-packed plane for us. I am not sure how when they changed our flight they did not make sure to keep us together. It is worth the extra expense to make sure you are seated together. It is unlikely your children will be okay sitting far away from you. 

 

Luau

Luau

 

Think about your kids when picking a luau

 

5. Some luaus are more set up for little kids than others. When I was a child I went to a luau that my parents picked because it had all kinds of cultural activities for the kids. They had you make lei. We got a chance to play with poi balls. They showed us dance moves and the pig roasting. They showed us how they made their te leaf skirts. To this day I remember all of the activities they showed us. I was blown away. 

On this trip I wanted my children to have a similar experience. The one we went to did not do as many of these activities. They only did lei making, gave the kids fake tattoos and briefly showed them the pig roast. I was a little disappointed. Our travel agent assured us our luau had much more for young travelers, but it did not. So it is worth getting a full list of kids’ activities if this is a focus of yours, asking detailed questions, and comparison shopping for luaus if you have time. Each one has its own unique flavor, and not all are particularly kid-friendly. None of them are cheap. 

Another thing to consider is how your kids will react to loud music or fire dancing. My kids were very excited to go. All of them pretended to do the dances. But then in mid-luau my daughter got scared. She was terrified of the loud drumming, stomping, and shouting involved in the native dances of the Pacific islands. She was not used to seeing fearsome warrior costumes, twirling weapons, and all of the fire. She was so frightened that my husband took her and walked her around the hotel and nearby town until it was over. My other kids were fine. She still remembers it fondly, but I was not expecting this reaction. I wish I had talked to them about how much of an assault on the senses these dance performances would be, while reassuring them no one would really be assaulted. I think with a little front loading, I could have prevented her from being so scared. So be prepared that the cultural performances featured at a luau might be shockingly foreign to your children, and think about how you might ease those worries ahead of time if you can. The luau is best done at the end of the trip because it is an excellent closure to your trip. No matter where you go, your kids will remember it forever. 

 

You can travel without checking your luggage

Packing to Leave

Packing to Leave

 

6. Each one of you can have one purse sized carry-on and one small bag in the cabin with you. So my husband and I each had a backpack with our clothes and things. Then I had one backpack where we packed all the kids clothing. We brought 2 other backpacks that I packed with activities and toys for the plane. So we had 5 backpacks in all. I also had a large purse where I put snacks and wipes, my computer, five pairs of earbuds, and our documents, in other words, the things I'd want to have within easy reach at all times.

I also put a small emergency supply of snacks, wipes, plastic bags, and pull ups in each of the other bags. We put my son in pull ups from door to door in both directions, because he still has accidents when he is deep asleep. We also brought a couple of extra small bags for items to bring back. We did not bring Swimmies flotation devices. We bought them there, and the kids loved them so much we were able to bring them back, because we ended up under-budget for bag space, or payload, if you will. 

My son would not part with his toy parrot that he sewed himself but if lost would be irreplaceable. He wanted to bring a play backpack with him to hold his parrot. I tried every tactic to try to convince him to not bring this parrot doll. I knew if it got lost he would be devastated and this would cast a very dark shadow on his trip. So I ended up convincing him to allow me to safety pin it to his bag. I told him he could only have parrot when he slept and then he would have to pin it back onto his bag in the morning. He was okay with this. In the end parrot never left his bag. He forgot all about him once we were in Hawaii. I have heard horror stories where stuffed animals got left in bedding when laundry was done at the hotels and stuffed animals ended up lost or mangled. So I always make sure to not let the kids leave their toys in their beds in the mornings. 

If you can get backpacks with wheels for the kids it will be a life saver. Even those ones they can ride on would be worth it. My husband thought I was nuts for wanting this, but after him and me carrying all the luggage he finally agreed that next time it would be great if they could pull their own luggage. 

I was so glad I brought those extra bags because we did bring things back with us. On some of the flights my carry-on was considered too large even though it fit inside the clear plastic box the airline placed in its waiting area without a problem. Fortunately I was able to quickly transfer some things to our extra bags and voilà, no more problems with bag size. 

We brought twice as many toys as clothes. Why, do you ask? Because we washed a small load of clothes every night, but toys required no similar upkeep, and kept them happy. When we were making meals or wanted to take naps the kids were happy to be playing with their toys. They were seldom bored or asking us to entertain them, so we could just sit back on our balcony and watch the waves. The toys are as much for your sanity as for theirs. So take half the clothes, and twice the toys, you originally planned on bringing. You will thank me!!!!

 

 

RIDE-ON KIDS' LUGGAGE THAT FITS IN OVERHEAD COMPARTMENT OR UNDER SEAT 

http://amzn.to/2f23EuE 

 

Things I brought on the trip for the kids: 

Water bottles – we filled them once we past security 

Wipes 

Plastic bags 

Pull ups 

Gum

Legos - (Lego Classic Quad Pack) 

http://amzn.to/2uS8rmb 

Wikki sticks 

http://amzn.to/2f27Jim 

Coloing books 

Stamps 

Playfoam 

http://amzn.to/2vZzk7R

Jack and Annie – The Magic Tree House books – long chapter books that we read through out the trips. I bought brand new ones so they were so excited to read them. We read them wherever we went. It helped that they're adventure stories, so that even the less action-packed moments of the trip felt fun. 

http://amzn.to/2vN6OcE

Letter beads for making necklaces 

http://amzn.to/2vgU2Sg

Plastic canvases and yarn for sewing 

http://amzn.to/2frBSYy

Small loom 

http://amzn.to/2hIaoOW

Puzzles 

http://amzn.to/2vjwqe9

Crayons and paper – These crayons won’t roll all over the plane and help with developing grip.

http://amzn.to/2hIrXP7

Play-Doh and small Play-Doh tools 

http://amzn.to/2unDaKF

Small easy-readers – This gave us lots of books that did not take up lots of room 

http://amzn.to/2hHIDpT

Earphones 

Earphone Splitter so more than one person can share a device 

http://amzn.to/2hHfOK1

Kid friendly DVDs 

Foil – kids would wrap things and pretend they were giving gifts 

Puppets 

http://amzn.to/2vgPlI2

Magnetic blocks

http://amzn.to/2wrx49L

Water Reusable Painting Book

http://amzn.to/2frAzsw

Tiny animal dolls (safely tethered by their safety-pin leashes)

http://amzn.to/2wrLIxq

 

 

 

Beach and Pool Toys

 

7. We brought plastic spoons and stacking cups for beach and pool toys. They were perfect for playing at the beach and the pool. They were total hits! On the plane you can 

have them use them to pretend they are cooking and baking cakes. You don’t need a lot of beach toys. The kids really don’t need much to be entertained. Leave the big, complicated toys at home. This way you don’t have to lug so much stuff. Save the beach toys for the beach at home. You can an always buy them there if necessary, but I assure you you won’t need them. People will often give you these kind of things for free when their vacation is over, and their luggage has thickened a bit in Hawaii. We were bequeathed an inflatable raft, unsolicited. The kids loved it. When we left we passed it on to another family. 

 

http://amzn.to/2wrTVlg

 

Snack Time

Snack Time

 

Snacks

 

8. Food, food, food and more foood! This is the answer to happy kids on a big trip like this. Make sure to have tasty (preferably heavy and filling) snacks and fresh cool water close at hand at all times. There may be time to catch a bite between flights. Maybe not. We found this to be difficult at a number of our transfers. Trying to get food between flights was very stressful, because we always were cutting it close. It was a mile walk or more, plus or minus a short shuttle ride or two, to make a connecting flight in three of the major airports we traveled through. So have food with you -- maybe even something as substantial as sandwiches -- so you don’t have the added stress of hunger on top of travel weariness. You will have to buy nearly all food and drinks on an airplane now, making any food acquired between one airport parking lot and another very expensive. Well-fed kids are happier than hungry kids any day. Well-fed adults are much better suited to handle the surprise problems that any seasoned traveler has learned to expect regularly.

 

Who needs earphones

Who needs earphones

 

Computer

 

9. Do bring a computer with WiFi capacity and a DVD player. Our kids did enjoy watching movies. This is something we do not do except on vacation, so this was a huge splurge for the kids. On our plane on the way back, you had to rent the entertainment equipment. My husband and I were not used to seeing this. I was happy I had my computer, but of course I had problems and could not get it to work. My seats power was out. I wish the airline had been a bit more in-my-face that I needed to download their free media-watching app onto my computer or smartphone ahead of boarding the plane, if I didn't want to rent anything onboard. I did get some nice vouchers though. I look forward to using them this year!!! But I will make sure to bring it in the future because of this flight. It was expensive to rent the equipment. I was glad I did bring the ear phone connectors so the kid could share devices. Funny enough, my kids found the earphones uncomfortable and enjoyed more just watching the movies without sound. 

This still blows my mind, and is testament to how much of a treat motion pictures still are for my children. Do check what your airline's entertainment options are online before you even buy tickets. Ask about any software you'll need to download before you switch on Airplane Mode, so as to keep your trip as cheap and low-maintenance as possible.

 

Engrossed in Toys

Engrossed in Toys

 

Take the toys for your trip out of rotation

 

10. A few weeks before our trip I took the toys for the trip out of rotation, that is, unavailable for take-out from the toy bank. This made those toys fresher and more exciting on the trip. The kids could not wait to play with them, and didn't tire of them mid-trip. 

 

Lei Making

Lei Making

 

Bonus: Easy Fine Motor Activity to do before you leave. 

Make lei 

• Get a needle and thread 

• Go outside and collect flowers (you can also buy silk flowers or buy some from the store) 

• String the flowers using the needle and thread 

• Place around the neck, then tie in back. 

• Put on some Hawaiian music and get into the mood to the packing mood for you vacation. My husband discovered that Maui's KNUQ FM broadcasts online; I'll let you be the judge of whether ukulele belongs in reggae.

Mahalo,

Tova

 

Mahalo

Mahalo

If You Can Only Invest In One Area of Your Homeschooling Classroom What Should It Be

Inside Bonus:  25 simple easy activities that you can add to your homeschooling today

Today as I was working on a project for a client I had an epiphany.  This one area kept coming up in my work with clients and my own children.  When I looked at this area closely, I realized it impacts so many areas of our children’s education.  On top of this, I noticed that by putting a lot of emphasis on this one area you can build a foundation for so many other areas.  As I pondered all these connections my mind also posed the question: If I could only invest in one area of homeschooling, what would I invest in?  Some of us have more resources than others, so this is really an important question to look at.  It also helps us stay focused on getting the most bang for our buck, when educating our children.  I am always trying to do more with less.  For instance, I’m always looking for activities that teach more than one thing.  This means spending less time in the classroom and more time playing.  This is always in my mind when planning units for clients and myself. 

 

So by now you are wondering, what is that area? The area is your ART CENTER.  Why would that by my number on choice?  For one, if you allow you children to choose their own materials to create, they will become super creative.  I do not believe in doing lots of arts and crafts projects that look like they came from Pinterest.  If you want to motivate your kids, create near them, and before you know it they will be creating all on their own.  Show them how to use the materials and let them go.  You want them to do the cutting and drawing.  And why is that?  Because you want them to build up fine motor skills. Why are fine motor skills so important?  They are important, because they develop writing skills. 

 

I have never talked to my kids about making books.  I have been thinking this might be something I would do down the line with them.  Yesterday they just started creating their own books all on their own.  They are not writing yet.  We are just starting to work on them making their letters.  But here they are asking for my help with making books.  They had me binding them and writing down the words they wanted in their books, while they drew and decorated them.  I just love to hear the stories they come up with. What a wonderful project they came up with all on their own!

 

When I think about how reading is taught, I actually have been going about it from what I consider a backwards perspective.  When I think of learning to read I think of sitting down with a book, but with my kids, I have been starting with writing.  I have been using Montessori Movable Letters to have the kids create words and stories to send to friends and family.  (Let’s just say the grandparents love this!!!)  The kids love sharing their ideas.  This has been motivating for them to start learning to write, and has encouraged their interest in reading as well.  Now if the kids had not had the opportunity to work with art materials they would never have wanted to draw pictures for their stories that they are now sending to others.  When kids are very little, art supplies are a fantastic sensory experience to boot.  Few kids don’t love smearing paint everywhere or pounding Playdoh.  Again here they are being creative, getting sensory stimulation and building fine motor coordination!!!  How can you go wrong?!

 

As they get more adept at working with these materials you can start to have them build all kinds of creations. I used to take a bunch of these supplies and some recycling materials and put them out for the kids in an ”inventors box”.  I would watch the kids create all kids of amazing things.  I still love the simple plane my son made from popcicle sticks and glue.  Something so simple that even flies (well, a bit).  These supplies can be used for all types of STEM challenges.  I am looking forward in the next few weeks to taking out our inventors box out, and seeing what our kids can build to keep an egg from breaking when dropped from our balcony.  This is a classic STEM challenge that is so easy to do at home.  I can’t wait to see what 5 year olds can come up with. 

 

I am always using my tiny supplies like pompoms for math counters.  I find so much inspiration looking at my art supplies when I am creating my math activities.  I bet you will too, if you take a few minutes to rummage around your supplies. 

 

Even history can be brought to life using art supplies. You can have the kids make dioramas or pictures of what they have been learning about.  We have even tried to recreate some historic toys using our art supplies.

 

If you want to help develop emotional skills your art center is another place to start.  Giving a 2 year old stickers can actually help develop grit.  They will not be able to do it right away.  They will be frustrated.  They will want you to do it.  You can certainly show them some tricks to make it easier like bending the page a bit, but don’t do it for them.  Let them struggle.  You can have them draw about their emotions and then you can discuss them.  It is a great place for them to practice sharing.  It is amazing seeing little kids share simple thing like markers.  At first they will just grab them out of each other’s hands, but with a little direction soon they will be sharing and taking turns with the materials.  Just make sure to put out a small amount of supplies, if your focus is sharing, to force your kids to share. I bet you never thought of your art center as a place to teach emotional skills.  I hadn’t.

 

The other money saving thing is that you can use these same supplies to make so many of your own materials.  This is where Pinterest is invaluable.  If you are a DIY person, this is where you can shine, and save lots of your hard earned money.  I am always amazed by the incredible things you can make yourself for your classroom.

 

 

If you had asked me this question a few weeks ago, I am not sure this would have been the first thing that popped into my mind. The more I look at it this question the more I am convinced, if you are on a tight budget this is the area to invest in.  And you don’t have to go broke doing it.  A dollar store will have many, if not all the supplies you will need to start your own art corner.

 

I also wanted to share the work that inspired this post.  One of my friend’s husbands came home a few days ago from the hospital.  He had had a stroke.  This was unthinkable because he is a very young man.    He has to learn all of his basic motor skills from scratch.  She asked me if I could create some fine motor activities for him.    He is at a 2 or 3 year old ability level at the moment.  But we are hoping before you know it he will be functioning back at his previous ability level.  I made a list of fine motor activities to get her started, and explained how she could make them harder as he progressed.

 

I must emphasize that these are not glamorous activities.  They are simple.  She does not have time to make elaborate activities.  So I gave her basic activities that work, and are easy to implement.  This is something I focus on all the time when I am creating and choosing activities for my clients.  I give them easy to implement activities because I want them to spend their time interacting with their children with time-honored activities that work.  I don’t want them to spend lots of time trying to make materials or figure out how to turn them into an activity.  My purpose is for them to spend time educating their child and connecting with them.  So some of these activities you already have at home, and you can start today.  Some of these I am sure you are already doing, but it is a good reminder of all the simple things you can add to you repertoire to help develop your kids’ fine motor skills.  For some of the less simple activities, I have shared links to where you can buy them.  Even some of these activities you can probably borrow from friends or buy at consignment stores.  I hope you enjoy this list of no-fuss basic fine motor activities. 

 

 

 

25 No Fuss Fine Motor Activities for 2 to 3 year olds

 

 

 

1. Puzzles - with knobs – start with big knobs work to smaller knobs and then just smaller and smaller puzzle pieces.

 

 

2. Playdoh - Paint with big brushes and then move to smaller and smaller brushes

 

3. Duplo  - then move into smaller and smaller legos

 

4. Screws

 

5. Putting pompoms into small containers like toilet paper roll

 

6. Crayons - small broken ones are the best to work on proper grip

 

7. Coloring books

 

8. Stirring – helps with writing letters like o

 

9. Gluing

 

10. Bean Transfer – Have your child transfer beans by hand from one container to another.

 

11. Spoon Bean Transfer – Work on 3 finger grasp by having your child transfer beans using the proper grip from one container to another.

 

12. Hole punching

 

http://amzn.to/2p7Cv8I

 

13. Tongs - Move pompoms with tongs to cup cake holder.  You can move to smaller and smaller tongs and pompoms.  You can also use practice chopsticks

 

http://amzn.to/2q0zLPv

 

 

14. Stringing beads start with big ones then move to smaller and smaller

 

 

15. Pipette water from one cup to another or use to paint with colored water

 

http://amzn.to/2pSbTe5

 

 

http://amzn.to/2pS8jjR

 

 

16. Peg boards

 

http://amzn.to/2plkbtD

 

http://amzn.to/2pScDQ6

 

 

17. Busy book  - work on fastening

 

http://amzn.to/2p7TPj1

 

18. Socks and Coats -Putting on and taking off socks and zipping coats

 

19. Snap and Lock Beads

 

http://amzn.to/2pSchZQ

 

 

20. Suction Cup Game

 

http://amzn.to/2qDNbAE

 

 

21. Sewing Cards

 

http://amzn.to/2qMCZD9

 

 

22. Cutting Book

 

http://amzn.to/2p7z2vD

 

 

23. Bottles - Open and closing bottles and jars of different sizes

 

 

24. Mazes - This maze book has been great before the kids could just start to make letters.  Makes you work on control.

 

http://amzn.to/2pRS4Ug

 

25. Writing Without Tears

 

Get Set For School – My First School Book

 

http://amzn.to/2p7TnRM

 

Letters and Numbers For Me

 

http://amzn.to/2pRW9rp

 

Kick Start Cursive

 

http://amzn.to/2qMTboi

 

 

We are using this system for our writing system.

 

You may want to consider cursive because it is often very useful for those who have learning difficulties.

 

You can also have him write over and over in the book using different color markers.

 

26. Tweezers - You can use tweezers to move dried beans and beads from one container to another.  You can also get dried corn and take off the kernels.

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Amazon.  I am also an educator and not a medical professional.

 

Why am I an affiliate because I use Amazon everyday and it is easy to share what products I use in my home.  As a mom of triplets that hates to go to the store this has saved my life.  Also, it is a way for me to get paid for sharing my homeschooling ideas with you. 

Behind The Homeschool Curtain…… with Erin Grieger   (A Homeschooling Fitness Coach)

Erin Greiger

 

When I first started homeschooling, I was so interested in how other moms were doing homeschooling.  I have to say I still find this fascinating! It is amazing all the ways you can go about reaching your child!!!  I am always looking for more ways to reach more children.  I am sure you do too!!  I also love connecting with more moms and educators.  I know many of my blog readers are thinking about homeschooling or just starting out.  I thought it might be fun to hear about other mom’s experiences with homeschooling and how they manage it all.  Even if you have been homeschooling awhile, hearing about others’ experience may give you a new idea or perspective. I know it always does for me!  So I have started this new segment on my blog called Behind The Homeschool Curtain.  I am hoping to have moms from all backgrounds, walks of life, and styles of homeschooling share their experiences.  If there is anything you really would love to hear from these moms please share your questions, or if you would love to share your experience please contact me.  

 

Today I would love to share Erin’s story!!!  She is a mom I have been following for awhile on Instagram.  I find her dedication to fitness, her family and homeschooling inspiring.  After seeing her posts I am always encouraged to get back to my workout.  So I love hearing how she does it all!  Whose homeschooling story are you dying to hear? I want to know!!!!  Do share!

 

 

  1. Tell us about your family?

 

God blessed me with the BEST husband.  My perfect mate :-)  His name is Wes and we've been married since June 2004.  We have 3 girls - Ellie (8), Adelynn (5) and Laylie (3).  

 

         2.   What made you decide to homeschool?

 

Short answer, God placed it on my heart.  But it took time for me to come around!

 

My mom really started talking to me about it as soon as I had our oldest. I started talking to a lot of moms who homeschool, looked into different curriculum, doing it myself, following a guide, homeschool classes at the library and YMCA, etc.  In fact the options are so overwhelming it almost stopped me in my tracks.

 

Then I felt like God really narrowed the options to 2, Classical Conversations (CC) or another K12 program another mom at our church follows.  So we went to the CC open house in the fall, but no plans to homeschool until the following fall.  I kept praying, "Lord, how do I choose?  Show me how to figure this out!"

 

Then in Dec, the director at CC called me and they needed someone to work in the nursery and she asked me if I'd be interested.  This was our way to "check it out" to decide.  It just so "happens" that the church where CC is held is right across the street from Ellie's school (she went to half day kindergarten).  And it just so "happens" that the time that CC ends gives us 25 min to eat lunch there and I drop her off at school.  Had the timing or the location been any different, this wouldn't have worked.  This gave Ellie (and me) the chance to see how this group and curriculum works for us.  And we loved it and it's been 2 years since!  

 

 

3.  How did you get started with your business?

 

I taught fitness classes since college to keep myself accountable to going!  Then I became a personal trainer because I knew when we had kids I wanted to be at home.  But I quickly learned to make any money as an instructor or trainer, you'd have to be at the gym for a lot of hours and usually early in the morning or in the evening.  That was not going to work for our family.

 

So my boss at the gym asked if I heard about online fitness coaching.  I hadn't and I was skeptical to be honest.  We prayed about it a lot and I felt the Lord telling me to give it a shot.  So I actually started online coaching when I was pregnant with our oldest.  I started growing my business when she was about 3 months old.  I just started with an hour/day while she napped.  

 

I love it because it gave me some "adult" time, I was able to help others, especially moms and I felt lead by God to do this! Even during the first 2 years I'd pray a lot, "Are you sure you want me to do this?"  Every time He affirmed, so here I am today!

 

 

 

4.  You are a very busy lady.  You run a business and homeschool your 3 daughters.  How do you find time to work out?

 

Honestly, it's not about "finding" time, it's about using the time you have.  We all have the same hours in a day, you're either going to run your day, or it will run you.  

 

Now as a mom, I don't believe there is anything as a "convenient time" to workout.  For most moms it's usually in the morning before the kids wake up (this is what I do), during nap time, or after the kids go to bed at night (this is what my hubby does).  

 

It's waking up early (or staying up late!) and getting up even when you don't want to.  Which is usually how I feel every morning.  BUT I know I'm a better mom when I get my exercise in, so I get up and do it anyway!  

 

 

5.  How do you keep dedicated to eating healthy?

 

MY JOB!!!  haha People say to me all the time, "How do you stay consistent?"  I made it my job so I'd HAVE to stay consistent!!  A lot of coaches on my team became coaches to help with their OWN accountability. Being a coach is about your JOURNEY, not being perfect.  People don't relate to that.  So I bring people along on my journey!   

 

 

6.  What has been your biggest struggle with homeschooling?  Have you found a solution to this?

 

Keeping the younger kids busy while doing school with the oldest and my oldest having a willing attitude towards school!

 

Somedays I feel like I have a solution, other days it seems all goes wrong!

 

For my younger 2, I let them watch a Leap Frog video, get out puzzles, color time, my preschooler has an activity book, and then give them free play time together.  

 

For my oldest, we talk about attitude and how God wants us to behave and always be learning and growing.  Sometimes that works ;-)  

 

 

7.  What is your guilty pleasure?

 

Brownie with chocolate ice cream and hot fudge :-)

 

 

8.  How do you connect with your daughters?

 

They love it when we just have "play" time.  I honestly, love doing school with them, I think that's a great time to connect.  We play game, go on bike rides, do activities and projects together.  At least once a month we plan something out of the ordinary to do together as a family too!  

 

 

9.  What is your biggest struggle as a mom?

 

Not feeling guilty, finding a balance and having peace about taking time to work my business!!  Right now I work my business 3 hours/day (not Sunday).  In the grand scheme of things, I don't think that's a lot of time.  For me, it's also good to have a break.  But for the kids, all they want to do is play all day long :-)  So I struggle with that.  

 

 

10.  What is something you want to share with my readers?

 

God first, family second, your business/passion third :-)  Be able to say NO!  Set boundaries for you and your family.  Pick your top 3 priorities and when you're asked to do something, ask yourself, "will this bring me closer or further from our goals/priorities as a family?"  That answer will help you answer that question!  

 

If you need any guidance with your health and fitness I'd LOVE to help you too!

Find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/erin.grieger1 - send me a friend request and tell me how you found me!

Or email me at Erin4Fitness@gmail.com

http://www.eringrieger.com

 

GOD BLESS!

Erin

 

Fitting It All In with KidsFitMatters

Run For The Hills

The other day I was very lucky to get acquainted with Eric Bridges from KidsFitMatters.  He introduced me to his awesome site that is geared toward families that want to find new ways to get fit together.  I am sure if you are like me, you are always looking for new ideas for how to do just this.  I was super lucky I even got a chance to interview him. When you get a chance, check out KidFitMatters on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.   I would love to hear what your favorite things were that you found on this site.  I have to say I am falling in love with its recipe section.  At the moment I am really in need of some new ideas.  The kids are sick of everything my husband and I like to cook.  This will be my new go-to site for this.  Here is what Eric had to say about what KidFitMatters is all about.

 

1. Can you tell us a bit about your site?

KidsFitMatters is all about helping Moms lead their family towards a Happy, Healthy, and Fit lifestyle.

 

2.  How was “Kids Fit Matters” created?

 

KFM was founded by a 2 young dads (working on their dad-bods), some old grandpa (who owns a gym that realized there wasn’t a lot of talk about Kids Fitness. They pulled in a fitness expert they knew (a chick we call the mother of content) and KidsFitMatters was born. As dads and fitness experts, they knew they could make a difference. Once the idea was born, it was just a matter of getting the team in place and making it happen.

 

3.  Who do you see benefitting most from your site?

 

We talk primarily to moms, but dads, grandparents, teachers or anyone else interested in kids’ fitness also benefit from visiting our site. We talk about the hard stuff, the cute stuff, and everything in between.

 

4. What do you want parents to walk away from your website thinking about?

 

We want them to feel like they are understood. Parenting isn’t always a walk in the park and we get that, because we are parents too. So being a safe space to talk about anything is important to us.

 

5.  How can homeschoolers benefit from your site?

 

The recipes and exercise would be the most beneficial to homeschoolers. Recipes because sometimes you need a new idea. Exercises because it is so important to factor in movement breaks and try different things with kids. Doing a quick 5-7-minute break can help kids clear their mind, wake their body, and have better focus for the next task at hand.

 

6. What educational challenges do you think the families you serve face?

 

Parents can struggle with how to integrate physical activity into their child's daily routine. While they know it is important, they struggle to find activities that the child enjoys while reaping the benefit of full-body exercise.

 

7.  How do you want your brand to be seen in 5 years?

 

KidsFitMatters.com will be the tool parents use to educate themselves on how

to keep their kids healthy through a well-rounded approach to fitness,

nutrition.  We will be "The Voice" of kid's fitness and nutrition.

 

 

8.  How has “Kids Fit Matters” affected your followers?

 

We like to think in a positive way. We love when our articles spawn a discussion and help parent’s understand new ways of thinking or see new studies being completed that might affect their children as they grow.

 

9.  What is one surprising thing you want my readers to know about your brand?

 

We love to move. Our whole team is guilty of being that squirmy child in school. So we stand while we work, walk while we work, anything that keeps us moving helps us concentrate and the more we concentrate, the more we can put out there on KidsFitMatters.

 

Ace Those Days

Being Decorated -One of my new favorite ways to Ace Those Days!

Being Decorated -One of my new favorite ways to Ace Those Days!

Ace Those Days

 

We all have them… Those Days when we are sick, or the kids are out of sorts. Perhaps, we simply woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and just want to whine “I don’t want to do it.”  Of course, when one is homeschooling, we want to have as few of Those Days as possible, but they happen.  So, why beat ourselves up about having an ‘off’ day?  Instead, let’s talk about HOW we can give ourselves a break, and make the most of the day.  Here’s a list of survival tactics that won’t drain the little bit of energy, patience and ‘mommy brain’ you have available.

 

1.     Talking

 

Channel your inner toddler, and ask your kids questions.  You know what I’m talking about – who, what, where, when, why, how - use them.  Your kids will talk to you to their little hearts’ content, because they get a mommy time/bonding time combo, and all mom had to do was sit with her tea and ask question and listen. With this activity, you are giving your child time to practice their conversational skills.  You certainly don’t want your child to grow up and be one of those adults who can’t have a simple conversation.  This practice is often lost in the fray of a normal crazy day, but when used strategically, you get super mama points for just being there.  This is surely a win-win approach!

 

2.     Reading

 

It is suggested you read to your child a half an hour everyday, even when they’re in the womb.  You can never read too much to your child.  This is one of my favorites when I feel sick.  I don’t have to move, or think.  My child can get me a book, so I don’t have to leave my nice warm couch.  And they will be entertained for hours doing this.  Read them things that rhyme.   This will allow them to see how sounds work in words that are similar.  Do read them the same book as many times as you can muster.  It will help develop their memory, concentration, and help them recognize words as you read.  Of course also read them your favorites, as well as theirs.  Ask them question about the pictures and the story.  This helps them become aware of details.  It also allows them to become engaged in the book, and allows them again to work on their conversation skills.  Reading is not just about saying the words on the page.  You are exploring an adventure, while teaching them to analyze and really think about what they hear and see.  Since we all know that a half an hour a day does not always happen, this is the perfect time to put a little extra time in.  This special time with mama will help develop a love of reading.  Reading is one of the best gifts you can give you child.  It opens the doors of the world in so many ways - including the doors to learning.  Helping a child develop a love of reading is one of the first steps in developing a life long learner. Can you beat that?

 

3.     Playing  

 

This is the day to get out the dress up, take out all the car toys, or just go outside.  Build something. Take out the kids’ favorite toys, the ones you know they will play with for hours.  Then just be there.  Drink your tea, and rock in the rocking chair.  The kids will develop their play around you, and you won’t have to move.  Again talk to them, and ask them questions.  Let them make you a part of the play.  Take the time to observe them - really enjoy them.  This is a great time to assess where they are at in so many areas.  How are they playing?  What do they like to play and play with?  Who do they pretend to be?  Who, and what, is important to them?  How is their language developing?  How are their motor skills? What do they need help with?  Before you know it you will have lots of ideas for things to work with them on, and feel inspired for a new day tomorrow. The both of you will also have an awesome day of building memories of really being together.  Isn’t this what it’s all about? 

 

Now a day you thought was just a waste, became recharging, and super productive!!!  Go super mama!  Even some of your most ungraceful days can be some of your best!!!  So keep this is mind when you roll out of bed on one of those days.

New Multiple Moms Biggest Fear (dun dun dun….)

New Multiple Moms Biggest Fear (dun dun dun….)

 

 

Kids running in opposite directions.  (By the way, this is actually a hard thing to capture in a picture!)  I know for a fact so many mothers don’t leave their houses for years due to this fear.  This includes many mothers who just have more than one kid.  Singleton parents, as the multiple parents call you, we get it!  When you are outnumbered, you are just outnumbered.  What do you do?  No one wants to stay in their house forever.  I’m sorry, coffee will not solve all our problems.  Let me tell you, I have spent hours pondering this question.  Yes, you can have another adult with you.  But sometimes you just want to go to a place with your kids yourself, like what you imagined being an adult would be like.  I strategized.  Number one solution is find a place which is fenced in.  Surprisingly that is not common.  I still don’t know why.  Anyone working on town and city planning committees, get on this!!!  All towns should have at least one.  All parents would give a huge sigh of relief.  Let me tell you I looked and looked for such places.  I could not find them.  Of course I found a few after my kids were older and this was not such an issue.  I did find some places with large fields around them, but my kids still wanted to run into the parking lot.  So this was only sort of a solution.  But something I realized that most towns do have is tennis courts!!!  And you can use them for a fenced in play area.  Here are a few of the activities I suggest to parents that want to take full court advantage!

 

Tennis Court Gross Motor Activities for 2 year olds

 

 

  • Stomp and Catch board

                   (Check out our homemade board video on Instagram)

Great way to practice catching

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000LQFLDE/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000LQFLDE&linkCode=as2&tag=ataleoftwoboy-20

 

$20.14

 

 

  • Plastic bag kite

 

 Penguin Waddle Race – Have the kids try to walk with a ball between their legs.

 

 

 

  • Follow the leader: clap, crawl, walk, run, pretend you’re different animals: bee butterfly, bear crawl, flap arms like a bird, crab walk, hop skip, jump, gallop, march, spin, twist, roll, wiggle, fly like an airplane, shake your hips, kick, end the game by pretend sleeping – (This is also a great time to practice letter sounds by using actions all starting with the same sound)

 

 

  • Play with streamers

 

 

  • Hula hoops – You can get a few.  Have them jump from one to another.   You can have them climb through them.  You can have them practice throwing balls through them.  You can have place balls all over the court and then have the boys gather them all inside the hoop.

  • Sponge water fight  - You can also do a version of duck duck goose with drip drip drop

 

  • Balloons and noodles

   

  • Parachute/ Sheet Play  - bounce balls/stuffed animals/props on the sheet and try to keep them on, you can walk clockwise and then counter clockwise,  row-row-your-boat, hide underneath, give kids a ride on it, follow the leader, give one child a spin in (the center) the washing machine

 

 

  • Tag, ring around the rosy, red light green light

  

  • t-ball

http://www.amazon.com/Little-Tikes-TotSports-T-Ball-Purple/dp/B00F5Y4XTU/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1459387415&sr=8-5&keywords=t+ball+set#Ask

$15.99

 

  

  • spoon carry – Use a large spoon to carry a large ball across  the court

  

  • bag/sack race – Have kids jump in a bag across the court

 

 

  

  • lines of court – practice heel and toe walking, jump the lines (including sideways), tiptoe, frog jumps, hop

 

  • horse ride – have them ride brooms alone or together (This is a great way to work on cooperation.

 

I promise there will be a day that you will be able to take them to play area without another adult without all mayhem breaking out, but in the meantime stick to the court. 

Iron Chef Has Nothing On Raising Triplets

Iron Chef has nothing on raising triplets

Having triplets is like being on Iron Chef, with more of everything you don’t need and less of everything you do need...  WHILE you are sleep deprived, AND one child /1/ is holding onto your leg AND another /2/ is screaming at you…  and YET ANOTHER /3/ is undoing everything you just did. Of course, at the same time you will be learning to use any free parts of your body as appendages (this includes parts like elbows and hips.).  Believe it or not, you will also have a BLAST because HELL YA it’s IRON CHEF!!!! And you are magically the caretaker of three beautiful new lives. It makes you the most organized Mother Fucking Badass... who, with unimaginable fortitude, gets to places on time, and even early.  Watch out World! Here we come. Bring on those questions because even putting the kids in the car is a wild adventure!

 

To Be Or Be Seen

Recently I was asked by a client to help them develop eye contact with one of their 2 year old twins.  I was amazed how little activities were out there that would be appropriate for this age.  Another reason, I was taken back by the lack of activities was the fact that eye contact is an essential skill for social development. Here are a few activities that I found and created.

 

 

 

 

Eye Contact Games:

 

 

Model correct behavior:

 

Always get down on eye level and make eye contact.  You may even want to sit on the ground right next to your child.  When necessary touch them, you can touch their hands, shoulders or chin, or maybe even on their nose.  Don’t talk to them from behind your computer or phone.

 

 

Praise: Praise your child when they are looking at you.

 

 

Requesting:

 

Whenever your child requests something remind them to make eye contact.  Do not give them the requested item until they make eye contact. As the child makes a request play “dumb” if they are not making eye contact and pointing.  When necessary hold the item requested “hostage” place it on your forehead. Don’t give the item to them until they point at the item, ask for the item and make eye contact.  Remember pointing and eye contact are related expressions.  You want them to relate physical expressions with facial expressions as well since they both show intent.  Together they make the message the child is trying to express clearer.  This should go along way to helping develop this skill.  You can practice this with any game or activity where requesting is part of the activity.  

 

 

Visual aid reminders:  Googly-eyes or bright sticker on your “third eye” are great reminders

 

Peek –a- boo:

 

This tried and true game is where many of us began to develop eye contact.  A great time to play it is during diaper changes.

 

The Eyes Game  - Is another great variation of peek-a-boo.  

 

http://www.amazon.com/Eyes-Game-Phaidon/dp/071486689X

 

 

Hello Panda – This was much loved peek-a-boo book in my house.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Hello-Panda-Die-Cut-Animal-Board/dp/1445432528/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461934084&sr=1-12&keywords=board+book+Panda+a

 

Any book with cut outs can be used this way.

 

Screen Costume Chase:  

 

Make a screen with a hole at your child’s level.  Put on costume behind the screen. Then, you should peak out of the hole.  After that, come out and chase/ tickle child.  When they get the hang of the game, don’t chase them till they look at you.

 

 

Puzzle game:

 

Take a favorite puzzle or a new exciting one, and place the pieces around the room.   When the child makes eye contact and requests a ride.  Then give them a ride on your back or carry them to pick put the pieces.  As each piece is found place it in the puzzle until the puzzle is complete.

 

 

Fishing game:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Doug-10-Piece-Magnetic-Fishing/dp/B000KMHBFA/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1457984951&sr=8-3&keywords=fishing+game+for+2+year+olds

 

Once your child “catches a fish” they need to put it in the “bucket”.  You can use any container to be the bucket.  The child can only get the bucket once they make eye contact with you.

 

Swing:

 

Have one adult push the child. Then, have the other one play peek-a-boo with them.

 

Doctor/Vet and Nurse Game:

 

Have the child be the doctor, and you can be the nurse.  Have the child indicate what tool they need next.  Do not give them the next tool until they make eye contact.

 

 

 

 

 

Store:

 

Have your child pretend to be a costumer in a store.  They can’t buy their item until they hand you the money with eye contact.  Then, they can receive their item.

 

 

This is a great list of things to say to encourage eye contact:

 

http://thesocialexpress.com/improving-childs-social-skills-making-eye-contact/

 

 

Inspiration:

 

Feel free to check out my MB Pinterest board to see where I some of these activities came from, and inspired many of the others.

 

https://www.pinterest.com/mmbconsulting/mb/

 

 

An important note, if this is something that you are very concerned about, and/or you don’t quickly see an improvement after trying out these suggestions, I do suggest talking to your doctor about your concerns.  They are several concerning reasons a child may not be making eye contact.  I am an educator and not therapist so keep that in mind.


 

Avalanche of Change

Avalancheofchange

Avalanche of Change

 

 

As an avalanche of change is sweeping me away, I wanted to embrace these changes.  I wanted to be present.  I wanted to set intentions instead of just letting the changes sweep me completely away.  I wanted to put my stamp on the avalanche.  As my birthday approached I realized it was the first in many months of changes that I am sure will affect who I am forever.   

 

At this moment, I live next to my parents, who are in the same house I grew up in.  We are “the Raymonds” from the tv show Everybody Loves Raymond, except with triplets, and going through residency.   I have traveled, seen some of the world, lived in other states and abroad.  However I have always known I was going to return to my bedrock,, my home town.  This time is different.  This time there is a chance I might not return.  

 

My husband just got his first job in another state.  We are moving to a little town.   Everything about this town could not be more different from where we live now. We had bought a house, and had planned on living there for the rest of our lives.  So now I mourn these changes, these dreams and visions of the future.  I am trying to embrace the adventure, and the wonder of going it alone.  No more support net as we walk the tightrope on our way through raising triplets.  All my emotions are mix of excitement and fear.  

 

As my birthday approached my husband started asking me what I wanted to do for my birthday.  Since I have given him a pass on all that is family life for this year, so he could finish residency and get a job, he wanted to give me a day to relax.  At first this sounded amazing.  I could not remember the last time that happened.  Then I realized I had nowhere to go.  I could not rest in our house.  I have tried that before.  I’m sure you have too!  You know how that goes.  With all these changes I did not want to do something as luxurious as going to a hotel, since money may be at a premium soon.  All my friends were busy with their families or lives.  So I started to rack my brain.  What could I do alone?  I wanted to feel relaxed and refreshed.  I wanted to get in the right mindset as I began the preparations to uproot and change our lives.    I also did not want to do something that would take all day so I could spend the afternoon and evening with friends and family.  On top of this, I wanted to find something that I had never done before, and that I would not be able to do once we moved.  Certainly not a tall order or anything.

 

Finally after much thought I came up with a sensory deprivation tank.  Ok. Waiting.. Waiting...  There is the reaction!  I mentioned it to one of my mom’s groups and I got all of the reactions.  Most of them thought this was a CRAZY idea for a birthday gift for myself.  The gift of being in a watery coffin - THAT sounds relaxing and fun!?

 

This was something I had always wanted to do.  I could never justify doing it before.   But it was something I could not do where we are moving.  Certainly it was something I had never done, and may never get the chance to do again.  Although I don’t have a problem taking time to evaluate and face death, I don’t usually do it on my birthday.  However it is eventually hard to avoid and  I thought this is one way to face it head on, even if only a bit.  

 

Believe it or not I had an amazing experience!   That day my morning had started off rough. I thought I had a dance lesson, and there had been a scheduling mixup.  I decided to practice because I did not want to go all the way home.  I spent the time waiting for the studio to open for practice by relaxing in my car and catching up on facebook.   I was glad when I finally got started on my adventure.  Since the morning had been tough I wasn’t convinced that the rest would go well.  The drive itself from my house was daunting, but I did get there in one piece.  It was heavy northern NJ driving at points but not as bad as I’d imagined.  I am not much of a city driver.  

 

When I finally got to the location, I was still not sure what it would be like.  Upon entering, there was a nice but very cramped sitting area.  I had to wait as they got the tub all set up.  

 

So when it was finally my turn they brought me into this room that looked like a bathroom, a really nice bathroom.  It had a sink and a modern fancy shower with all the settings and the rest of the room was filled with this big “pod” like tank.  It looked right out of a Sci-Fi movie.  It was kind of weird - the juxtaposition of the tank in this normal bathroom.  Was I really ready to get in?

 

Then I was told to rinse off in the shower, and I could get in.  The receptionist showed me how everything worked.   At one point she asked are you ok?  I am guessing I looked like a deer in headlights.  I was trying to take it all in.  But later I realized I must of not taken it all in.  

 

They had suggested I turn off all the lights in the room but when I first got in I was not so sure about doing that.  I wanted to see what I was doing when I got out.  The cool thing is once you get in you can control the lights in the tank.  You can also open and close the tank.  They play relaxing new agey music.   I finally got in.  It was nice and warm, and felt like the perfect bath temperature.  The water has salts in it, which make you float.  I started to relax and enjoy the music.  

 

Of course I feel strongly about things getting in my eyes. So I moved my hair out of my eyes, and then I felt like I got a bit of water got in.  The keep a little spray bottle handy to rinse your eyes if this should happen.  Of course I had to use it.  I am always washing my eyes.  I knew this would happen no matter how careful I was.  But it was no biggie.  I washed my eyes, and again tried to enjoy the music.  

 

The big moment had come and I got brave enough to turn off the lights.  I realized the receptionist had been right about turning out the lights and there was a tiny line of light still.  Not exactly what I was going for.  So I decided to get out of the tank and turn the outside lights off, and I was able to turn most of them off (with the exception of one).

 

I had also been told that if you open the tank it will get cold.  And did it get cold, fast.  I was not even out of it for a half a minute and it got cooler.  It was not the end of the world but I preferred the warmer water.  At first being in the tank felt like a sauna and it was almost too much, but now it was much cooler.  I looked and looked but I just could not find the switch to that last light. Annoying.  I decided I would just close my eyes and enjoy.  So I got back in and settled into the water and music.  They play the music about 10 minutes in the beginning and 10 minutes at the end, to help you transition in and out of the tank experience.   I really wished the music had been a bit longer.    

 

The experience of floating brought me right back to my experience of being at the Dead Sea.  I had really enjoyed floating in the Dead Sea, but ohh did it burn.  I had no idea how many little cuts you can get without realizing it.    This time I listened to all the advice they gave me about this.  They said not to shave a day or two before.  I totally did this.  They also gave you Vaseline to put on your cuts.  My toe had a little cut on it and I slathered on the Vaseline.  I had none of the burning of the dead sea.  I still am not sure why that happened at the Dead Sea because I’m sure I did not shave right before going.     This was one of my major concerns going in, and was happy to find out it was not an issue.

 

They also give you earplugs to protect your ears from the water and to help create a completely silent experience.  I thought these would bother me like my eyes but it was not a problem.

 

As I floated I felt like I was floating in a velvet blanket.  As my body moved slightly here and there the water would also move so it was like riding small waves.  Every once in awhile I would connect with the “pod” and I would push off the side and begin floating again.  I felt like it was at the end of the world, floating on the warmest flat sea, floating off into the unknown, which is sort of what is happening in my life.  I felt totally relaxed, and I truly did get time to think about all the changes to come.  

 

No, I did not have an incredible vision or super-deep thoughts.  As I waited in the waiting room I had seen a huge poster with an extensive list of health benefits.   I could fully believe that some of these benefits are true or are true for certain people.  Some of them seemed like a stretch.  They did say it can help back/hip pain and I was looking forward to this benefit.  In my case it did not help the pain but I did not have the pain in the tub and it was relaxing.  It was refreshing and rejuvenating.  I had signed up for the shortest time not knowing what to expect, but after this experience I would certainly go again for longer.  They do say it takes a few floats to have the full experience.  The receptionist told me I certainly did not have the full experience because of the little sliver of light in the tank, so I guess I will have to go back some day!

 

This blog had been a long time coming.  And this first post has taken way longer to get written than I imagined, but I thought it was fitting to be my first one.  I welcome everyone to join me on my new adventures.  This will be one of many, I’m sure, as I investigate and adjust to my new home to come, and as my brand new business continues to take off.

 

Liebster Award

Recently, I received the Liebster award.  Thanks so much for sunshinedaisesmessybabies.com for awarding me the Leibster award.  I feel very honored to have received this award so early in my blogging experience, and to be awarded it by another awesome mama!!!  She blogs about mothering and beauty products.  Her specialty is makeup, so if you are looking for some awesome tips, she is your woman. 

 

This virtual award is a way to welcome new bloggers to the blogging community.  Today I have the pleasure of sharing 4 awesome blogs with you!!!  I am very excited to be awarding these bloggers with the Liebster award.   These bloggers all have less than 2 years experience and have fewer than 100 followers.  As part of the award process, bloggers are asked to answer a few questions.  Here are the questions I am asking of my nominations:

 

What inpires you to write?

 

What is the first thing you do in the morning?

 

If you could be any animal what would it be?

 

If you could invite anyone to dinner who would it be?

 

What is one important thing you learned from your parents?

 

What is one thing you would change about your education?

 

What is your favorite comfort food?

 

What time of day do you like to write?

 

Tell us about the crazist thing you have done lately?

 

What place brings you the most peace?

 

 

DRUM ROLL….. My nominations for the Liebster Award go to:

 

 

 

http://www.thescrappyentrepreneur.com/

 

Her blog name says it all!!!  Her info is golden for new entrepreneurs.

 

 

 

Julia Henrichs from Projects and Parenting

 

Julia blogs about parenting twins! Let’s give her some multiple love!!! I can’t get enough of her blog.  A mama after my own heart !

 

http://www.facebook.com/projectsandparenting

 

Tammy Fanning

 

Tammy blogs about inspiration, and finding your passions.  She is an aspiration coach.  I always feel great after reading one of her posts!

 

https://www.facebook.com/tammy.fanning.18

 

 

Brienne Lindman from Nerdy Parent Life

 

All my geeky mamas out there this one is for you!  It is always great to see someone out there blogging from our tribe!! 

 

nerdyparentlife.blogspot.ca

 

 

 

Please, take a moment and check out these fantastic blogs! You don’t want to miss out with their heart filling goodness!!!

 

 

I was asked as part of my nomination to answer a few question about myself, so here are my answers.  I hope you enjoy learning a bit more about me!

 

What is my dream vacation?

 

At this point in my life it does not matter where it is as long as it is a beautiful place.  However it is also vacation where everyone gets along and amazing memories are made with my family.  The food also would need to be incredible.

 

What are 3 things you never leave the home without?

 

I never leave my house without my phone.  My new key chain/wallet lanyard lets me be hands free with my kids.  Let me tell you with triplets it has been a lifesaver.    I upgraded to this after “My Crazy Ballroom Night” (see blog for details).  I always have a jacket with me because I am always cold. 

 

If you could be in any profession and be very successful in it what would it be?  If money were not an object I would go back to my roots, and be a full time raft guide.

Although, a competitive ballroom teacher comes in close.

 

Red or white wine? Red baby!!!

 

Where do you think you’ll be in 5 years?

In five years I will have a full client roster of parents for whom I am writing personalized Montessori-inspired curricula and helping their children become life long learners.  

 

 

What is one thing your reader might not know about you?

 

My husband and I hiked in the Himalaya’s for our honeymoon.

 

What is your tv guilty pleasure? Extreme Houses

 

If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?  Ithaca, NY

 

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would buy? One of those round the world trip tickets for my whole family.

 

What is one piece of advice you would give your 16 year old self?  To embrace the questions of life.  They will always be there but that is where the deep work is. 

 

What is the biggest hurdle you’ve had to face as a new blogger & How did you overcome it?  Promoting my blog has been a huge hurdle.  Promoting myself still feels a bit weird.  I am still figuring it all out.  But right now I am doing research and trying all kind of ways to connect with people.  The fun for me of blogging is getting a chance to connect with people all over the world, and to share my passions.

 

Why did the chicken cross the road? To give their chick an education.

 

 

Crazy Ballroom Night

I had a crazy night last night! I know it sounds nuts but an emergency is just what I needed!!!   While I’d say it was barely an emergency, I did have to call 911.  What really amazed me about this experience was generosity - how many people were willing to help. What Mr. Rogers said about looking for the helpers is so true.  They are always there when you look, which is truly an amazing truth in this crazy world.  

 

Many of the people who helped me barely speak English. I know them in passing, but I don’t know their names.  And some people I’d never seen before came straight from the street.  

 

So let me fill you in on my crazy night!  My day began with taking my cold-stricken kids to school, and once home, being called to pick up my daughter.  She was having such a tantrum that the school didn’t  know what to do.  Of course, I live so far away that by the time I got there she was fine.  She went on to spend all day playing and not acting sick at all.

 

At the end of the school day, my daughter and I picked up the other kids to take them to ballroom dance class.  When I finally pried my daughter off my leg and got the kids into class, I took my own dance class to rejuvenate.  My everyday life has been so stressful that I’ve been taking extra measures to care for myself.  I love dance, so this is “me” time.

 

I’ll fill you in - there have been incidents the last couple of times we’ve been at dance.  Like 2 weeks ago, my key fell off my keychain at the studio.  My friends at the studio were super helpful. We looked in the car, around the car, in our bags, and all over the studio.  We probably looked in each place 3 times.  To this day there is still no key.  My husband could not find the spare key either, so he had to come get us in his not-so-child-ready car.  Of course when we got home I found the spare key in my purse, which had been “thoroughly” searched by my mother and husband before they came for us.  Then he and I had to return to get the car later that day. After all that hassle, the last thing I expected was another major problem but it was coming.

 

On the night of the emergency, dance things seemed to be going well.   The kids got themselves dressed in a reasonable time.  I was loading them into the car in the dark. While I situated my son in the back seat, my daughters were fighting to turn on the lights in the car, and pushing all the buttons they could find.  Since I was in the back I couldn’t intervene much.  All I could do was suggest taking turns.  By the time I was done with my son, they decided that taking turns was a good idea. Unfortunately they got  themselves all crammed up between the front seats. While dealing with all this drama I put my purse down.  Next I put one of my daughters in her seat, and while I was doing this my third child got herself half-buckled.  At that moment, I was happy to see her take the  initiative.  Now, my car has this nasty habit,  after you open it it will lock the side of the car you are not on.  At some point I remember hitting the unlock button again to make sure the whole car was unlocked.  So I closed the car door to go to the other side and finish buckling my daughter in, then realized I did not have my keys.  I tried to open the car again but it was locked.  I could not open any of the doors.  I am still not sure if it was me, or one of the kids that hit the lock button. With all the tussling, it could have been anyone!  


 

So now I was starting to freak out. What do I do?  I kept trying to get my daughter to unbuckle herself and unlock the door, but she seemed to be unable to get herself free.  She started to cry, which led to everyone crying.  After a few minutes of this I went back into the studio.  I sent someone out to stay with the car while I tried to call for help.  Someone let me use their phone of course.  I think my phone was in the car.  I called my mom.  She didn’t think she could follow my directions to get the spare key, no less drive in the dark 45 minutes to the studio.  Did I tell you everything in my life is 45 minutes away?  The school, the studio, my husband’s work.  Nothing is close. Soon we’ll be moving, and I look forward to things being closer.

 

I ask if anyone knows the number to the police department, but no one knows.  So finally I am forced to call 911.  The responders then call the police and tell me someone is on the way, and to call back if I manage to get into the car.  During this time my daughter figured out how to unstrap herself.  So suddenly half the studio was outside trying to help my daughter figure out how to open the door.  She can’t see because it’s dark outside. Finally someone at the studio has the bright idea to use the use the flashlight on their phone and shine it in for her. Then we were able to direct her to hit the right button.  Luckily we got all this done and I called the police before they arrived.  I’m sure I’ll say this a billion times in this blog, but my life is never boring.  Even mundane things like going to dance lessons seem to take on a life of their own.  When I finally left the studio I was so grateful for all the people who had come to help!!!  It was so heart warming!


 

When I got home I watched read a post by a man who lost his wife in Paris.  I was so moved by it again.  Here was my little so-called emergency compared to this utter tragedy that breaks my heart.  How someone could face tragedy with such love and grace.  Some days you really need to connect with the people who bring light into this world and maintain it.  I will continue to search out those lights and bring them into my life. And when my children get older, and there is a tragedy, I will share this man’s words.  I want my children to choose love and life, and to be a light for others.


 

Here is the man reading his words:


http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/11/18/paris-attacks-man-letter-isis-wife-killed_n_8592844.html

BLAST OFF!!!

 

 

Foreword

Recently I designed a space exploration unit for a family with 25-month old twin boys. The family asked for this unit because the boys were starting to learn the names of planets and showing an interest in the topic. But not only did the children have a personal interest in the space theme, so did the parents. This was exciting for me, and a huge win for everyone. I believe in tailoring educational topics and materials to your children’s interests. This is a key element of planning. If nothing else, do this, because it’s empowering to find a topic that you and your children are interested in. That way you are more likely to teach this topic with passion, and your kids will catch your enthusiasm!

When I set out to create this unit, I kept in mind the current abilities of the children and where they need to grow. I sought to create well-rounded program that kept in mind the whole child.

When I started to create my own materials I found many things for toddlers and babies, but not many things geared for specific ages and developmental levels. Thus, I was initially tailoring things to my own children. Age two was when I found it most difficult to identify activities that matched my children’s levels of ability. Why is this age so hard, you ask? In my experience, the options are limited because children are still putting things in their mouths and they are just starting to acquire language abilities. However I found my kids could do a fair amount more than I would have expected at this age. They could tackle materials targeted beyond their age group. I am sure if you look you will find the same. So here I’m offering a window into the work I do - a program geared for 2-year-olds. I hope you enjoy this unit as much as my clients did.

-Tova Ladley

Space Unit

Join our astronauts at lift-off !

1) Toddler Rocket Launch: Take the small M&M containers (a tube shape) and then using a paper cone, add antacid and water and voila, a small bang! Just right for their first launch. This is a great time to introduce the term “chemical reaction”. 

Now that our rocket is ready to travel, where are we going?

Link - Kids activities Antacid Rocket Experiment

http://kidsactivities.about.com/…/The-Antacid-Rocket-Experi…

2) Planet Walk: Astronauts will tiptoe, hop, and run while flying between planets. This is a great way to teach and reinforce the names of the planets, while working on gross motor skills. 

To Print out planet images:

Link - Planet images

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/…/-I…/s1600/The+Planets+Collage.jpg

 

Astronauts ready for added difficulty:

Planet hopping stepping stones can be used, and are great for working on numbers

Link - Planet stepping stones on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss…

 

While we are flying about the stars, we can’t forget to visit some constellations, and discover a few of our own.

3) Constellation Discovery: While orienting ourselves in space we took out our guidebook “Zoo In The Sky”. This award-winning book will give your astronauts the foundation needed to create their own constellations using star stickers. Don’t forget to have your astronauts name their constellations. I loved the names my little astronauts gave them!!! To this day, I have them hanging in our classroom. Stickers are a great way to help children develop resilience and fine motor skills. Don’t forget a great astronaut has to be challenged and struggle to plant their flag among the stars. Don’t do it for them. You can guide them with an example or verbal instructions. But keep your hands off their stars.

 

Now it’s time for them to write their name among the stars:

4) Moon Dust writing: Take baking soda and color it with food coloring until gray. Just add drops of food coloring and mix it in. You can use a bit of water to help mix if necessary. Then add glitter to make it more fun. You can pour it onto baking trays. Then have kids draw in it with their fingers. Focus on circles and lines. These are the first shapes they will need to master to begin writing. 

If they get tired of this... you can have them play with the powder in cups and pour in baking soda to make eruptions. This is a great time to have them compare what happens when water (versus vinegar) is mixed with the baking soda. You can discuss that one causes a chemical reaction and the other does not.

Link - Learn play imagine moon dust activity

http://www.learnplayimagine.com/…/erupting-moon-dust-prewri…

 

It is time to start investigating some planets:

5) Planet Exploration: The Astronauts must find and investigate items on planet “blanket”. Difficulties arise as a 2-3 blanket storm appears to be hiding the items. But it would not be exploration without some problem solving! Let the kids find what’s hidden between and under those blankets!

 

Mission Control has called to check in:

6) Mission Control (Simon says), Body Parts: Mission control says wiggle your toes, Mission control says clap your hands… When all body parts are checked, Blast-Off!!!

 

Wait!! Did we find a new life form?!:

7) Playdough Aliens: Have your astronauts discover their own aliens with Playdough and odds-and-ends from around the house and (of course) googly eyes. Open-ended play is the best way to help your children develop their creativity. Give them great materials and maybe a quick example, then walk away. It will also lead to kids who can never be bored, and who are able to play on their own. Plus, it’s not possible to have too much Playdough - it’s great for building fine motor skills. 

http://rainydaymum.co.uk/world-space-week-2012-playdough-al…

Listen! Is that music I am hearing in space?

8) Space Dance Party: Click, and listen to this music inspired from space data: Link - The Guardian, Space Voyager Music. Even astronauts need to boogie. Add a little spice to your dance party with beach ball “planets”. See how long you can keep it up!!!

http://www.theguardian.com/…/space-voyager-music-solar-syst…

 

Even Astronauts need to eat. It’s time for a special astronaut snack:

9) Moon Snack: Take Oreos open them up and make them full or half moons. Create a bunch of them and then have astronauts match them. When they match them then they are ready to eat. I am sure after this snack they will be thirsty. This is a wonderful time to have your astronaut work on asking for a drink. Don’t forget aliens like to say “please” and “thank you” too!!! Astronauts won’t be prepared to meet other life forms if they can’t ask for food and drink politely. On another note, even new astronauts can benefit from being exposed to fractions. When exposed early with hands- on materials they will catch on faster than most earthlings.

 

Oh no! Our robot has gotten off track we need to chase it down!!

10) Robot Chase Game: Don’t forget our astronauts need to work and play with others. The classic chase game does just that. 

Honing one's sensory skills is essential for an astronaut!

If you ever wondered why this is important, check out this excellent article:

Link - PBS, Child development and sensory play

http://www.pbs.org/…/sensory-play-early-exploration-throug…/

 

11) Star matching sensory box: With this star matching sensory box, your astronaut will be cataloging stars in no time.

http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/…/star-color-matching-an…

 

What Landry? Astronauts have laundry? Of course they do!

12) Sock Match: Have your astronauts match their socks next time you do the laundry. I am sure they have to do this on the space station. Practical life skills are just as important in space as in real life. Have your astronaut join in on as much household work as you can. You will thank yourself in the long run. 

 

It's time to say goodnight to the moon:

13) Goodnight Moon Collection: Collect items that are in the pictures of the popular book “Goodnight Moon” from around the house. Place this in a pile on one side of the room. Point to a picture of one of these objects in the book. Ask your astronaut to name it. When astronaut names the item correctly, ask them to run across the room and retrieve the item. Do this until all the items are collected and book is finished.

Link - Goodnight Moon on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1…

 

Now that the moon is going to sleep it's time to get ourselves ready for sleep, astronauts need their sleep too! Here are a bunch of books that my astronauts recommend.

14) Space Books:

Link - Bizzy-Bear-Rocket

http://www.amazon.com/Bizzy-Bear-Rocket-Nosy-…/…/ref=sr_1_2…

 

Link - Lets-Explore-Moon

http://www.amazon.com/Lets-Explore-…/…/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0…

Link - Why-Does-Happen-Planets-Atmosphere

 

http://www.amazon.com/Why-Does-Happ…/…/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0…

 

While reading books on space, ask your astronaut where certain objects are in the book. They should point at the picture. Also, have them do this with objects around the house. Pointing is an important skill for counting, and is one of the first steps in reading.

 

Finally our minds need to relax along with our bodies so we can start our journey among the starts tomorrow.

15) Mindful Stars: Take a transparent bottle fill it with water, glitter and stars. Turn it over and observe while calmly breathing. This is useful anytime during the day when emotions are running high. This has been a part of our nighttime routine for a long time.

 

I hope you will join us again on our next adventures at Mama Bear Consulting (mamabearconsulting.com)! We hope your night is filled with stars!!!

 

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