Baby · Life At Home

Tips For Reading With Your Baby

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One of the most important things you can do with your child is read. Read anything and everything. Read them books, read cereal boxes, read signs, read menus, read, read, read.

Why read if they don’t even understand? Why try if they won’t stay seated? Sometimes it almost seems pointless with a toddler or a baby.

I promise you it is far from pointless.

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Why you should be reading with your child:

It introduces them to a world of new ideas.

From shapes and colors, to letters and numbers books provide children with a wealth of knowledge in print form.

It helps to teach your child about communication.

When they see a word and hear you say it, it shows them what reading is all about.

Reading builds many skills for your child.

It helps build listening skills as you read aloud to them, and vocabulary skills as they begin understanding these new words. Reading books over again may build memory skills with common words or phrases.

It gives children information about the world around them.

From different places, to unique machines, and exotic animals reading can provide information to your child that they may not learn about otherwise.

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Tips for reading with your child:

For young children find books with bright colors, and little words.

Allow them to really take in simple pages at a time.

Find fun books with different textures or feelings.

Maybe there is something soft on one page, and something bumpy on another. Keep your child engaged and connected to the book with the sense of touch.

Find interactive books for young children that need more engagement.

Pop-up books are great for reading with young children, or find books that have pages that open up to something hiding. They are interactive and will hopefully keep the child engaged for a little longer.

Read aloud to your child with expression.

If there is a small character use a high voice. If there is a large character using a low voice. If there is a rhyme, say it in a song. Keep it light and fun.

Point to the words as you read.

When you point to the words as you read you show baby that when you read you are speaking the words that are written on the pages. They will eventually learn to do this too.

It’s okay if they chew.

It’s fine if the younger children chew on books because that it how they learn, but don’t encourage it. Hopefully they will soon learn that books are not edible!

Don’t be afraid to read the same books over again.

Young children love repetition and might love hearing the same book over and over again. It will help them learn phrases, and will help with their reading fluency.

Snuggle up.

Cuddling or holding your child while you read creates a warm environment for reading.

It’s okay to not finish a book.

It is completely fine if you don’t finish an entire book when you read with your child. In fact, you probably won’t! If they just want to flip through the pages, or they are finished halfway through the book, it is okay. They are still getting small doses of reading at a time and learning how reading works, and that is better than nothing at all.

Ask questions.

Ask your child questions while you read. Things like, “What is the girl holding? A ball! You know what a ball is!” Try to connect it to their life. Using pictures can be a huge help.

Read every day.

Try to get into the habit of reading every day. It will show children that reading is important, and that we use our reading skills every day.

Have fun!

Make reading fun any way you can! Sing, dance, clap your hands, make noises, whatever it takes to have a good time while you read with your child.

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Life At Home

How To Make Your Work Week Suck Less

Monday’s make up 1/7 of your life. This means that I am grumpy 1/7 of the time. You know what, a few other days of the week aren’t that great either.

The dreaded work week. Having to get through five whole days before the weekend. For the longest time I was living each day just working to get to Friday night to start my weekend.

And then my daughter turned one. Her first year was the fastest year of my life. Was it because I was constantly just working to get to the weekend? Was I enjoying the rest of the week at all?

Whatever it was I realized that I needed to really enjoy the other days of the week and not only live my life for Saturdays and Sundays. Here are some things I started doing to make my life easier Monday through Friday.

Meal prep for the week.

If you utilize your Sunday you can prep yourself for the week to relieve some stress for Monday through Friday. Make little snack bags for the kids’ lunches on Sunday nights instead of doing it five times throughout the week. Try to meal prep for the week so you know what meal you’ll eat which night, and don’t have to think on the fly each night. Try to get all the grocery shopping out of the way over the weekend so you’re ready for your week.

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Get organized.

Write out a schedule for the events or activities happening for the following week so you’re not caught off guard with the PTA meeting on Wednesday night, or the extra dance rehearsal right after school.

Choose your outfits ahead of time.

Whether it’s the Sunday before the entire week, or just the night before try to figure out what you’re going to wear for the next day. This will allow you more time while you’re getting ready for other things, or just keep you from rushing around each morning. With all this extra time you’ll look fabulous all week long.

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Find something you enjoy doing every single day.

I know with our busy schedules this can be hard to do, but try to find something small that can help you enjoy the day. Maybe it’s watching one of your favorite shows. Maybe it’s listening to your favorite podcast or playlist in the car on the way to work. Maybe you need to ditch your normal breakfast and make yourself a big fancy feast, or better yet, go out to eat for breakfast. Find something each day that will put you in a good mood.

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(shop this sweater here)

Make a playlist for each day of the week.

Instead of just listening to the same songs over and over again in the car, make a special playlist for each day of the week to listen to. Madonna Monday, Whitney Houston Wednesday, Funky Friday… shall I go on?

Let Monday be your cheat day.

If you’re dieting and have a cheat day, don’t use it up over the weekend. Use the extra time you have on the weekend to eat right and save your cheat day for Monday. It’ll make it easier to get out of bed knowing the deliciousness your day is about to reveal.

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Whether it’s the week or the weekend try to enjoy every single day of your life in one way or another.

Baby · My Other Kids

Easy and Cheap Classroom Gender Reveal

I never did a huge gender reveal with our family and friends. Looking back on it I wish I would have. There are so many neat ideas nowadays, like my friends who did confetti cannons!

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It’s a girl!

It’s always fun to share your gender reveal announcement with people, but sharing the news with children makes it even better. I was so excited to share the news of our baby’s gender with my students, and thought of an easy cheap way to do it. I wish I could have purchased small confetti cannons for each of my students, but made my own instead. While my students were sent to the library I got to work creating this fun way to announce.

I always keep Dixie Cups in my room. The ones I happened to buy were pink, green and blue. The students had previously guessed if they thought the baby was going to be a boy or girl. For the students that thought girl they got a pink cup, and the students that thought boy they got a blue cup.

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I then cut pink construction paper into small confetti like pieces that the students would be able to throw up in the air.

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After filling the cups with pink confetti paper, I took dark green, sparkly tape that could cover the cup. Because the tape was dark it made it easy to not see through the cup, even from the white bottom. I left part of the tape off the rim, so it would be easy for the students to rip it off when the big reveal came.

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Once I picked my students up from the library and brought them back to the room they each had a cup on their desk. We took the cups outside, and I explained how to unveil the surprise. They were so excited!

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I then told them I was going to count to three so they could look at the color inside. If it was pink it was a girl, if it was blue it was a boy. They’re adorable reactions were priceless!

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I then counted to three one more time to allow them to throw the confetti in the air to show the final gender reveal!

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It’s a girl! They were so excited, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to share with them! Of course we then cleaned up our mess. I mean c’mon… it was Earth day.

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What are some other fun ways to reveal the gender to your kiddos? Maybe I’ll start preparing myself for baby #2!

xo

Britta

Love

56 Date Ideas to Check Off Your List

How many bridal showers have you been to where they asked you to write a “date idea” on a popsicle stick or notecard? Probably about 2,397.

Are you serious? I can barely come up with my own date ideas that are interesting let alone find something fun for a different couple with different interests. I literally write “go out to dinner” every single time. Take that, bridal shower!

Although one bridal shower after writing my usual lame date idea I thought to myself, “If I wasn’t being such a sarcastic jerk, what would I write as my real date idea?”

I had no idea. All my ideas were basic or boring. I thought, “So this is why brides make other people come up with their own date ideas for them”. I took some time to think about the things my husband and I enjoy doing, and the things that our area offers. I did come up with a few that we have either tried or have added to our date night to-do list.

  1. Go gamble! Have a local Casino? Go in with a certain amount of money and see what you leave with.
  2. Grab a drink, or two or three. If you have a local winery or brewery go have a tour together and find a drink you both enjoy to bring home.
  3. Ride some rides. Travel to the nearest amusement park for some rollercoaster rides.
  4. Take a class together. Cooking, horseback riding, dancing, whatever you think would be fun to try.
  5. Find a local Escape Room and see if you can make it out in an hour.
  6. Go to a local ghost tour.
  7. Rent a cart and go golfing.
  8. Go to some silly dinner theater event like Medieval Times.
  9. Do a 5K together. Are you runners? Even if you’re not there are some fun 5K’s out there that you could try. It would definitely be okay to even walk!
  10. Ice cream date!
  11. Go to a local movie theater or local theater to see a popular movie or a performance.
  12. Rent bikes to ride around the city, or on a trail.
  13. Grab some gear and go for a hike.
  14. Go to a local sports event. Basketball, hockey, baseball, football, anything! It’s way more fun to watch sports in person than on TV.
  15. Volunteer somewhere together.
  16. Go ice skating. It’s even more fun if you’re both terrible.
  17. Netflix and chill, baby.
  18. Go snowshoeing.
  19. Putt-putt is where it’s at.
  20. Go bowling together.
  21. Buy a tent and go camping. Don’t forget the bug spray.
  22. Go swinging at a local park. You know you still love swinging.
  23. Laser tag guys, laser tag.
  24. Go kayaking together.
  25. Do a couples wine and paint night together to make paintings that go together.
  26. Go on a walking tour of your town together.
  27. Beach days are the best days.
  28. Go have fun at the arcade.
  29. Travel for a weekend getaway.
  30. Grab your winter gear and go skiing together.
  31. Embarrass yourselves at Karaoke.
  32. Stop by and see the animals at your local zoo.
  33. Pack yourself a meal and have a picnic.
  34. Go to an art gallery.
  35. Rent a boat for the day, or enjoy an extra challenge by renting a sail boat.
  36. Go work out together.
  37. Have fun geocaching.
  38. Go fishing together.
  39. Visit a museum.
  40. Go berry or apple picking together.
  41. Hot air balloon ride if it’s possible.
  42. Ride the waves! Go paddle boarding together.
  43. Have a game night competition.
  44. Go to a concert.
  45. Play truth or dare… if you dare.
  46. Have a date to remember and get tattoos together.
  47. Video game night. Who truly is better at Mario Kart?
  48. Have a photoshoot with a local photographer.
  49. Get lost in a corn maze.
  50. Build a snowman or something else interesting.
  51. Massages!
  52. Be those people and complete a puzzle.
  53. Go to an aquarium.
  54. Get cozy at the drive-in.
  55. Get hot chocolate and drive around to look at Christmas lights.
  56. Oh and don’t forget… go out to dinner.

Can you figure out which ones my husband and I have tried?

Travel

6 Reasons Why You Should Do the Wild Africa Trek in Disney World

Many people are aware of the Kilimanjaro Safari ride in Disney World.  It loads passengers onto a safari bus, and you travel through a savanna for about 20 minutes spotting random animals in the distance. It’s an enjoyable ride for all ages.

But did you know you can dive even deeper into this experience?

The Wild Africa Trek allows you a three hour experience of walking along a grassland path, crossing a rope bridge, and riding in a safari vehicle across the savanna.

It is amazing, and you should do it.

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You get a front row seat to the animals.

You get so much closer to the animals in this trek than in the safari ride. You are still far enough away that you and the animals feel safe, but you can get a wonderful view of these animals in their natural environments on the hike and in the safari vehicle.

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There are two guides that lead the way and follow behind.

As you go through your three hour tour (I cannot say those three words without singing the song from Gilligan’s Island), there will always be one tour guide in the front and one at the back. You travel in a group of eight so it’s very easy to ask questions to the guides and have conversations about the park and the animals around you.

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You wear special gear.

As you travel you get special equipment to wear to ensure safety and to provide convenience. You get a vest to keep any phones or items you want to bring with you, including the water bottle they provide. They even have a personalized name tag all ready for you when you get there. You wear a headset so when you’re all walking in a straight line your tour guide can just talk in their microphone and you will hear them well enough so you are not alarming the animals.

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You get to walk across a creaky bridge over alligators.

Yeah. For real. They harness you in, and the bridge has a net around the sides, but it’s still pretty sweet. I mean, look at those gators!

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They feed you.

After you hike for a bit, you finally reach an African post to stop and eat lunch. They will have prepared you a meal of first-class, African-inspired snacks. It will vary but you may possibly indulge in prosciutto, smoked salmon, fig cake with Boursin cheese, Brie and apricot, yogurt, hummus, and/or tandoori shrimp. Delicious.

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You get complimentary photo services.

Not only are the guides there to make sure that you are safe, but they continually snap pictures of you on your experience. Typically the front guide leads the tour and the back guide takes most of the pictures. They will snap pictures of you hiking, on the bus, at lunch, and across the bridge. They will make sure you get the website to access these pictures completely free of charge.

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If you’re not sold yet, I would recommend you look more into this yourself at Disney’s website. It is a fun experience for adults and children 8 years and older. You need to be in good health, and wear appropriate attire (shorts or pants, comfortable shirt and gym shoes; no flip flops).

You would need to make sure you signed up for a time beforehand because this is not something you can just show up for. It also does cost extra money, but let’s face it; doesn’t everything at Disney World?

If you have any questions or comments, or would like to share about your experience please contact me or leave me a comment below.

Enjoy!

Britta