Summer Sensory Play – For Toddlers and Babies

I’m often on the lookout for fun activities that both my children can enjoy. As they get older, it’s much easier to find developmentally and safe things they both like. They even “play together” now sometimes, which I love of course! Toddlers are naturally more independent than babies, but there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy some sensory play this summer with both of your children, which in my case are both under two years old!

I am a bit of a minimalist when it comes to my kids. I love buying things for them, but I almost always get rid of something when we get something new, usually in the form of toys ;). I promote good, old-fashioned fun, and you wont see a ton of complicated homemade Pinterest devices here on the blog. I’ve been there, done that, especially as an elementary teacher. But over the years I’ve realized that kids will probably have more fun with a bin of recycled materials that I already had than an ornate sensory bin that I made myself. Just speaking from my experiences.

Therefore, below you will find some of our favorite, simple, inexpensive ways to ignite your child’s senses, practice motor skills, and have a lot of fun while doing so. Good old outside summer fun. Enjoy!

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In Honor of All The Moms in Our life – How I Became a Better Mom by Learning from Them

Being a mom can be tough sometimes. We not only compare ourselves to other moms around us and on social media, but we are our own biggest critics. It’s easy to feel inadequate when your only “job” is taking care of your children, but it’s also easy to feel on top of the world with a small hug or kiss from your baby.

While I was relaxing yesterday during nap time, I found myself scrolling through the photos on my phone. I was overwhelmed with wonderful memories and simple moments with the people I love. Many of these photos included all of the beautiful moms in our life, who love our family so much and are always here for us. I realized that although I often thank these women for dinner, or help with babysitting, or other small acts of kindness, I never really thought about how deeply they have impacted me as a mom.

I truly would not be the mom I am today without learning from the moms around me, and I am sincerely thankful for their love and support. Here are the ways I have become a better mom by learning from the special moms in my life.

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What’s on the Menu Wednesday

 

Spicy Chipotle Salmon with Garlic Zoodles! 

This week we are getting back into the swing of healthy eating, a few recipes at a time!

Monday night I made shells with peas and butter, a toddler favorite and comfort food for sure.

Tuesday I made Spicy Chipotle Salmon with Garlic Zoodles, “recipe” below!

Tonight we are having healthy pulled pork wraps. You can find the recipe here.

Tomorrow night we are having my “birthday dinner” at my in-laws and my mother-in-law is making eggplant parm! Can’t wait 😉

Friday we have chicken to use, but I have a feeling we may opt for takeout of some sort! If you have any favorite chicken recipes, feel free to drop them below.

Enjoy what’s on our menu this week!

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Monday Minute

Happy Monday! ^ That’s what we’ve been up to!! ^ It’s been tough to write recently with everything going on, but I’ve really missed my little corner of the Internet, so I’m going to make a conscious effort to put more time into my blog. Now that the weather is changing (very slowly 😉 ) we have been out and about more and James is loving it. In the past few weeks we’ve gone on hikes, played outside a lot, visited farms and played with baby animals, and spent lots of time with Nonnie (my mom) who is home from work after her hip surgery. Here’s what’s going on with me and my two under two!

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What’s New Wednesday

So, I missed Monday Minute, which means I am going to give you all an update on what’s exciting around here today! I’ll combine it with “What’s on the Menu Wednesday” although I don’t have a ton of great food ideas this week.

Life has been hectic lately, which I am ok with, but I haven’t had any time to sit down and write! We are selling our house, which is a little bittersweet, but I am SO excited to move on to our next adventure. Between house showings, little outings since it’s getting nicer around here, and me feeling a little under the weather, life is crazy! I wouldn’t have it any other way (besides being sick maybe!).

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The Stay-at-Home Mom Rut

The Stay-at-Home Mom Rut. You may have heard of it – we all go through “ruts” in life. The question is how do you get yourself out of it?! Or if you’re smart, avoid it all together.

We have been super busy lately, which I love! I am not a home-body. I love being surrounded by family and friends, trying new things and visiting new places. The problem is, as a stay-at-home mom, once the “busy” is done, you find yourself home again. Staring at the new, but same old, pile of laundry, dishes in the sink, floors that need to be vacuumed, and the two little people who you created who seem to need you every second of your day.

I feel like I have no energy lately (AKA I’m being lazy!), I find myself blaming everything on the weather (it’s called unpredictable spring!), I feel uninspired overall, and I have a list of things to do but I am too tired to do them by the time the kids are in bed!

You sometimes feel like you have SO much time but trapped at home and unable to do anything you want to do! Sounds crazy right? Well I’m feeling the stay-at-home mom rut right now.

We had a wonderful Easter holiday and a busy few weekends. In fact, I can’t look at my calendar and find a weekend coming up with no plans. There has also been a lot of talk of fun vacations and events this summer that I’m so looking forward to. The problem with that is – I have to be PATIENT! Like I always tell my toddler…

Sometimes I find it hard to relax; can you tell?

Anyway, when I find myself in the stay-at-home mom rut (it’s happened before!) I need to take my own advice and get myself back on track. I do this in a few different ways, and I’ll share them with you here.

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Trust

“And you ask “What if I fall?”

Oh but my darling,

What if you fly?”

Erin Hanson

Having trust is tough sometimes. We’ve all been through experiences that have tested our faith and trust and caused us to give up hope. It’s also a tough thing to admit. I’m feeling extra inspirational this week and inspired by the Easter holiday coming up, so I thought I’d share the toughest experience I’ve ever been through – my son’s birth. I hope you gain some inspiration as well, and remember to never be afraid to share your story or give up hope. <3

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Monday Minute – Easter Week

This is a special week for me, and probably my favorite time of year. Easter brings back so many memories for me from my childhood, and spring has always been my favorite season. Maybe because my birthday is in less than a month ;). I love the warm, but not too hot, weather, and the feeling of everyone coming out of hibernation from winter. Open windows, kids playing outside, the feeling of new life.

Easter is nostalgic for sure. Growing up in a Catholic Italian family and attending Catholic school, this may have been the most important day of the year! I can smell my great-grandmother’s Easter bread cooking, I can taste the sweet frosting on our famous “ginette” cookies, and I can hear my mom and Mema talking in the kitchen. I think it’s so special too because so many of the memories I had, I will be able to pass down to my kids now. I know we will create the famous Easter egg hunt, eat all of our favorite things that only come around once a year, and most importantly, instill the importance of the holiday onto them.

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