Thursday, December 20, 2012

Felt Snowman

This felt Christmas Tree is all the rage on Pinterest. We made one last year, but I was too cheap this year to go out and buy new felt. And since my 12 Days of activities is based around using things you probably have around the house, I decided to do just that!

I had a bunch of white felt left over from the Halloween costume I made Liza so I decided to create a "Build Your Own Snowman" activity instead.

Felt Snowman

  • Felt piece for backdrop (I had blue on hand)
  • White felt cut into three circles
  • Cut out felt snowman pieces (hat, eyes, nose, etc.)
  • Try it once with your kiddos and then turn the reigns over to them
I'll admit that I did this in just a few minuets and didn't try very hard to make the accessories and pieces to be cute! And I didn't have orange for a carrot nose. Isn't that sad? Oh well, she doesn't seem to mind.

I simply clipped up my backdrop to Liza's easel (you could tack it to your wall too) and let her assemble the snowman however she wanted.

Yah, that yellow spoon looking thing was supposed to be a pipe. Liza didn't see the resemblance :)

I haven't offered any instruction or guidance since this is all for fun. Who cares if she didn't put the circles in order of size. It's all okay.

Although, that is a great activity extension :)

I'll be back with a few more simple activities this week. I am pretty sure I won't finish all twelve, but I will try!

XO Sarah

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gift Tag Sort

I have an abundance of gift tags thanks to Target's super awesome after Christmas clearance. I haven't had to buy them in years. The other day I was wrapping a few gifts and Liza discovered my collection of them.

And a new activity was created. And I didn't have to do a thing. Can't beat that!


  • Gift tags (or anything you have)
  •  Dump out the gift tags
  • Let your toddler sort them 
  • OR for younger toddlers, dumping them out of a container and putting them back it would be very entertaining.


Have fun sorting and matching!!

XOXO Sarah

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Good afternoon, my friends.

We haven't been around the past few days because our hearts have felt too heavy. Our hearts are broken for the tragic and senseless loss of 20 beautiful children not too far from where we live. Our hearts ache as we think of the pain and helplessness their families must be feeling. We also grieve for the teachers and staff whose lives were selflessly given as they tried desperately to protect their students. Their children.

As a (former) teacher, I can tell you that your students become your children. For so many hours a day, you are their caregiver.

Their protector.

Oh gosh, I sob when I think of how the teachers must have felt. Their minds racing to figure out the fastest way to get their students to safety.

And my mind can't help but go there-this could have easily happened in my classroom while I was teaching. This could have happened in my niece's school. It could happen when my babies are in school.

Teachers don't just teach their students things out of a book and go home at night and forget about them. They are constantly on your mind. You wonder what/how you can approach subjects to help them to better understand, you wrack your brain thinking of ways to make them love learning, you come up with creative behavioral plans. Your job doesn't end when the bus pulls away from the school. It doesn't stop on school vacations. A teacher is always caring and thinking of his/her students. Teachers don't teach for the paycheck (which isn't much!). They teach because they love the children.

I wish more people knew this about teachers.

This tragedy has hit me very hard. I think a lot of people feel this way.

I have a group of friends that have inspired me greatly. They are doing things like paying off a family's lay-a-way in honor of the children who lost their lives. I want to do something to help too.

Ann Curry has challenged the nation to commit "20/26 Acts" of kindness in honor of each child and staff member, and I have decided to accept the challenge.

Take a few seconds to watch her interview here.

Today I brought cookies and party supplies to the preschool classroom where I used to work. It didn't cost me more than a few dollars and it felt good to do something simple for a group of children.

I am also choosing to smile through my tears and celebrate Christmas with gusto. I owe it to those babies to carry on.

Thoughts and prayers to you all.

I'll be back this week with the rest of my 12 days of Christmas toddler activities :)

XOXO Sarah

Friday, December 14, 2012

In Respect

In honor of the terrible tragedy that has happened in CT today, there will be no blog post from us.

Please, please keep these families who lost children and loved ones today in your prayers.

Hug your loved ones.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Snow Paint

It's Wednesday! We're getting closer to the weekend :)

The weather here in Rhode Island hasn't felt very Christmas like. In fact, it has felt a lot like spring. Rain and temperatures in the 60's. I can't complain too much because come January and February I will be wishing for weather like this, but around Christmastime we just like a little snow around here!
I found this tutorial (I really love her snowflakes...I just didn't have time to get that fancy!) on Pinterest a few weeks ago and decided to give it a whirl. This project cost me less than $2.00.
  • White foam shaving cream
  • White glue (we used Elmer's)
  • Paper
  • Paintbrushes
  • Glitter would be a super fun addition!
  • Mix equal parts shaving cream and glue in a bowl
  • Paint away

Liza was very excited to paint with her "snow."

The paintbrushes didn't make it too long. Using her hands was more up her 2 year old alley.

It was neat to listen to her explaining to me what the "snow" felt like. This conversation was unprompted and I loved every second of hearing words like sticky, fluffy and goopy come out of her mouth. It's the teacher inside of me :)

It took a while for these paintings to dry, but when they did it was pretty neat. The goopier parts dried nice a fluffy and it gave the illusion of snow. Liza decided to experiment with one of her pictures by peeling all the fluffy parts off. Added sensory experience, I guess!

I think that even big kids would like this activity. The would probably enjoy making a snow scene or some fun snowmen.

Try it out!

XOXO Sarah

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ramp Fun

In yesterday's post, I helped you use up some of those wrapping paper scraps you had laying around and today I want to show you how I used an empty wrapping paper tube to entertain my kiddo.

Ramp/Tunnel Fun:
  • Empty wrapping paper tube
  • Small ball or matchbox car
  • Painters tape 

  • Tape or prop up your wrapping paper roll
  • Let your kiddo send down a ball or car

When the hubby came home he told me it was a great idea, but he could make it way better.

 So, Mr. Engineer propped up the tube on a box and then added a little bowl (which he filled with rice to weigh it down) so that Liza could try and roll the ball down the ramp and into the bowl.

She thought it was pretty dang cool. Jumping up and down and cheering for her ball. 

I think daddy had just as much fun. Even though he won't admit it...

Just to be clear, I could have TOTALLY thought that up on my own, but you know, I was too busy. Busy making lasagna for dinner so I thought I did a pretty decent job keeping her busy so I could layer that sauce, meat, and cheese masterpiece up! Hehe :)
XOXO Sarah

Monday, December 10, 2012

Wrapping Sensory

It's Monday and Christmas is creeping up on me!

Do you have a lot of wrapping paper scraps laying around? If so, they will make the perfect filling for a sensory box!

Wrapping Paper Sensory Box:

  • Wrapping paper scraps
  • Kid scissors
  • Throw some wrapping paper (maybe add some tissue paper too!) into a container
  • Let your kiddo tear and/or cut it into pieces
You could tear it up before putting it in or let your tot have at it with a pair of scissors.

In the past,  I have also added tape and small boxes and created a wrapping station (or maybe make it part of Santa's Workshop!), but although I  am sure my girl would love to get her hands on some tape, I skipped it. Maybe next year.

Ya, she liked sitting INSIDE the box.

This is an activity that I only take out when I am around to supervise Liza with her scissors. I practiced with her and helped her to properly handle them. 

She insisted on holding her new Winnie the Pooh the whole time :)

That's what is inside our sensory bin at the moment, but it will soon change. I hope to whip up something fun in there before the North Pole party I am throwing for a few of Liza's toddler friends!
XOXO Sarah

Friday, December 7, 2012

Jingle Bell Painting

I love Fridays, don't you?

Today marks the start of my 12 Days of Christmas Activities for your tots! I'll post one or two ideas  for the next few blog posts. I will keep it real with you. Nothing fancy and nothing that costs much money (if it costs any at all!).
Jingle Bell Painting:
  • paint
  • jingle bells
  • paper
  • box or cookie sheet/brownie pan (something to contain the mess)
  • a kid to do the dirty work
  • Put a piece of paper inside a box or pan of some sort.
  • Dip the bells into some paint and then place the bells in the box.
  • Shake the box so that the bells roll around and paint the paper.

Liza preferred to "stamp" the bells on the paper. I think this was the case because the bells that I had on hand were pretty small and didn't roll around as well as I had imagined. I've never used bells before for this (usually marbles), but when I do it in the future I will find some larger bells so that the roll easier and jingle louder.

This is serious business my friends. 
The final product. It might turn into Christmas tags or a card once it is dry.

Christmas Fine Motor:

This activity just sort of fell into my lap. Miss Liza was begging me to play with some play dough so I took it out while I finished with my Christmas decorations. She was busy rolling and using cookie cutters when she found my faux berry garland and started picking off the "berries."

I automatically wanted to stop her, but soon realized it was a good fine motor activity for her. Why not lose a few of the already dingy berries?!

  • play dough
  • something small (in this case berries)
  • Let your kiddo stick small objects into play dough

Super simple. Don't run out any buy anything. Use things you have at home already. How about popcorn kernels or elbow noodles? Anything goes!

Have a wonderful weekend. I'll be back Monday with some more ideas!!

XOXO Sarah

P.S. None of my ideas are ever original. These kind of activities have been around classrooms for ages. I won't take credit for them ;)

Monday, December 3, 2012

One Year

Today marks the year anniversary of my grandmother's passing so I thought I would re-share my Mother's Day post that I wrote in her memory.

So if you're interested, please read a little about my grandmother, Dorothy May.

XOXO Sarah

Friday, November 30, 2012

Celebrating Baby Boy

Happy Friday!

I am very happy that Friday is here. I am looking forward to Liza's playdate this morning and to having my husband around all weekend. I hope to get our Christmas tree and house decorated and plan to sneak in a little extra mommy sleep. Or shopping. We'll see.

Last weekend, my mom graciously planned a shower for me to celebrate my baby boy. We tried to keep it very small with family and only a few of my close friends. I felt so blessed that anyone would come at all!

Here are a few pictures that I am very grateful to Katey for snapping!

The belly.

Sarah's Baby Shower-090 by kakeyb

Sarah's Baby Shower-089 by kakeyb

The punch was super cute!

The cake table.
The wishing tree.
Sarah's Baby Shower-037 by kakeyb 
Me and my girl.

 Sarah's Baby Shower-054 by kakeyb
No surprise here, Liza's favorite part of "baby brother's party" was the marshmallows!

Sarah's Baby Shower-065 by kakeyb
Laughing at Katey's gift. Pee Pee Teepees! Haha.

Sarah's Baby Shower-080 by kakeyb
With Katey!
Sarah's Baby Shower-095 by kakeyb
I truly am blessed beyond words and am so thankful for all those who helped me celebrate my boy. Just nine more weeks until my due date. SUPER crazy!
Have a wonderful weekend. I'll be back next week with some new ideas to do with your kiddos.
XOXO Sarah 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Elf Time!

I LOVE Christmas! I love the decorations, the presents, the kindness that people show, and I especially love the meaning behind the celebration.

The last few years, Elf On The Shelf has become a popular tradition in many homes and this year will be the first year we attempt that popular little Elf  in our house.

Elf on the Shelf
I'm a tiny bit nervous about starting this tradition. Will the creepy elf scare Liza? Is she too young? Will I forget to move it around? I am assuming that at 2 1/2 she won't really get it yet, but it might still be fun to do!

I've been looking around the web for some cute Elf ideas and I thought I would share them with you today.

Snow Angels-

Fishing elf-


Tea party elf-

Chef elf-

I'll start off keeping things really simple this year. That's the plan anyway. If Liza is super into it than maybe I'll make it a bigger deal then I am intending to at the moment.

Does an elf come and visit at your house?! Do you have any fun and silly elf ideas or stories to share with us?! We'd love to hear them!!

I will keep you posted on our little visitor and hopefully share all the adventures he brings to my house!

XOXO Sarah

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

K5 Learning Review

Attention Mom's of children in grades K-5, this post is for you!!

A few months back, Simply Mommies was asked to try and review an online learning program called  K5 Learning. I had my 3rd grade daughter and her 1st grader friend participate in the program. 

K5 Learning is an online reading and math program for kids in kindergarten through grade 5. It can be used as a supplemental study and as a reinforcement for what your child is studying in school. It helps to build students reading and math skills. 

Pros of the program:
  • User friendly
  • Automatic lesson plan selection 
  • Ability to add your own spelling words
  • Students are put at their appropriate levels based on the completion of the student assessment at the start of the program
  • No downloading necessary
  • No external links or advertisements making it safe for children as young as 4 years old
  • Ability for  your child to work at his/her own pace
Cons of the program:

  • The only issue I had with the program is that the old spelling words would continuously show up with the new weeks words. It would be a great addition to the program if the spelling words were organized by week. This way, students would not have to work the previous weeks spelling words.
 I did contact customer service regarding this and it was explained to me that if the student had spelled all the previous weeks words correctly then they shouldn't come up again. I experimented by going through all the words with my daughter spelling them correctly. Even after doing this, they would occasionally show up with a new weeks word list.

Overall, I really liked the program and both children found it easy to use.

The child in grade 1 often struggles to pay attention in her classroom. but did very well using the program. Her mother was pleased with K5 Learning program and appreciated that it was easy to navigate. Her child enjoyed being able to do a lot of the lessons independently.

My daughter, the third grader, loved using K5 for her spelling words every week. It gave her a great way to study for the upcoming test at school. She also enjoyed the math and reading portions of the program.  I felt comfortable enough with k5 to know that this was a safe site for her to navigate without adult supervision. It is extremely child friendly and the lessons always held her attention.

I highly recommend trying  K5learning

Click HERE for your free 14 day trial! You won't regret it!



Friday, November 23, 2012

Where to find the best deals online?

Happy Friday! 

I hope ya'll had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I have been kind of absent from the blog lately due to our move. We are finally settled into our new house. I have a few more boxes to go through but nothing major. Now I have to start thinking of Christmas! 

I didn't brave the black friday rush but I have been scouting out websites with deals instead.

My favorite website for posted deals is Hip2Save. She posts tons of deals everyday that are ongoing on the web. 

I have also been trying to look for cloth diaper deals for Sarah, since she is due in January with baby boy. 

Here are a few sites with cloth diaper deals today through Monday. 

  • Free Shipping with NO minimum 
  • 10% off storewide
  • Buy 2 get 1 free on Grovia
  • Buy 5 get 1 free on bumgenius freetime diapers
  • Ergo carriers 25% off 
  • Freebies on all orders over $15
  • Rumperooz 15% off 
  • To recieve these deals use code BLACKFRIDAY2012

  • Free Shipping on orders of $25 or more
  • 25% off Ergo baby carriers and accessories
  • Fuzzibunz Elite One Size Diapers, Buy 4 Get 2 Free
  • Grovia Buy 2 Get 1 Free on select prints
  • Discounts up to 30% on select items including:
  •  Thirsties
  •  Rumparooz
  • Moby Wrap
  • Boba Carriers
  • Glamourmom
  • Bummies
  • bumGenius
  • Flip
  • Planetwise 
  • Sophie Girafe
  • and many more! 

Also check out this black friday sale at Kelly's Closet. They always have good freebies if you spend a certain dollar amount. 

Have you gotten any good deals online today? What is your favorite go to website for all deals online? 



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Filled With Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful.

I am thankful for my husband. He is my best friend and I even enjoy grocery shopping with him. He is a wonderful father and works so hard to provide for us. I feel so lucky to have him.

 I sorta want bangs again.
I am thankful for my little best friend, Liza. She has brought me more joy than I ever thought possible and I treasure every second that I am with her. I know these days are fleeting and I want to savor every moment of them.

I am thankful for my growing baby boy. My excitement to meet him grows everyday (kinda like my belly) and I am beyond blessed to have the chance to love my little boy!

I am thankful for my parents. They raised me with ethics and morals and showed me what a true marriage is. They worked hard so my brother and I would never be without.

I am thankful for my brother. He might be a pain in the butt, but I still love him and I treasure our childhood together. See picture above :)

I am thankful for my niece. She will never know how much she means to me. There were many times in college that she brought me relief during stressful times and happiness during heartbreaks. And now I am so proud to have her be such an important person in my girl's life.

I am thankful for my grandparents. They have each influenced who I am today and I will forever be grateful to them.

I am thankful for my best friend. She is an amazing person and I have been very blessed these past 10 years or so to know her and be a part of her life. She balances me out and we are a classic case of opposites attracting.
Six years ago? We look so little.

I am thankful for all the other great friends I have in my life. There are many I don't get the opportunity to see very often, but they are a huge part of my life and I love them very much! I have a lot of friends like this. I'm blessed!

I am thankful for my home. I have to remind myself of this one pretty frequently, but I really am blessed to have a warm safe place to raise my family. I am thankful for my home. I am thankful for my home. :)
I am thankful for the blessing of staying home with my little(s). It doesn't make our finances easier, but it is worth every penny we don't have. I will forever be grateful that I am able to stay home and raise my children.

I am thankful for my education. It wasn't easy for me to work a billion jobs and go to school full time, but I am so glad that I did it. I am thankful that my parents instilled in me the work ethic that got me through those many years of busting my butt.
With my grandfather.

I am thankful for my gracious and loving God. He has shown me how to be loving, respectful, and compassionate to all people. No matter what. I have learned the beauty of forgiveness and hope.

I am thankful for Simply Mommies and for Katey. Working with Katey on this blog has brought me joy and challenges me to be a better mom and to really think about my writing. I am also thankful for the 5 of you that actually read our posts ;)

I could go on and on, but I am sure you're sick of reading. Try and make some time this week to think of the things you are most thankful for. It really helps me to keep things in perspective.

I hope you have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.

XOXO Sarah