How To Survive Yucky Weather With A Toddler!

It is rainy and cold here today, so it is only fitting that I write about how we stay busy and sane when the weather doesn’t want to cooperate with outdoor time.  Being a stay at home mom has been a big adjustment for me and it has taken me a while (still does on most days) to get into a routine that keeps Avery stimulated and me from going bonkers!  Then throw in a rainy day and Bam! We start to feel a little looney.   We start the day at 7:00am and end at 7:00pm and she only naps oh I’d say 45 minutes in-between and the rest of the time we rage.

I don’t know about everyone else but staying at home gives me cabin fever and with my anxiety can make some days seem like ground hog’s day with no end in sight.  So, having some fun activities outside of the house is the only way to keep this ship afloat.  We try to get out and about in the morning to held aid a long nap (sometimes for both of us!) Then in afternoon we keep ourselves busy with indoor activities.

Below are some of our favorite activities and places that we love and keep Avery and mommy happy!

Out Of The House Activities

Gymboree

This place is hands down our favorite place to party.  You can find us here three to four days out of the week!  Gymboree offers music classes, free gym, age appropriate play and learn classes and our new favorite, art class!  We belong to the Gymboree in Lafayette, Ca and we opted for the unlimited membership and it has been the best investment we have made as far as activities go.  The staff is super friendly, and the gym is clean and such a fun and safe place for Avery to explore.  They are all over so check your area for a local Gymboree.  I promise you won’t be disappointed!   Click Here to check out their nationwide site.

artclass.jpgThis is Avery at her first art class (don’t be fooled by the face, she had a great time!)

Library Story Time

We are lucky enough to live in an area that has a few fantastic libraries and boy do we take advantage of them.  The library is one of Avery’s favorite places to go and we really make use of that library card.  We try to make it to Story Time at least twice a week and after it is done Avery proceeds to run around the entire library checking it out and then we head home with a stack of new books (free!) to read.  We can easily kill 2 ½ hours there.  We have a fantastic story time that includes a very talented man who sings, plays the guitar and really engages the kiddos.  It’s a perfect combo to get a very active toddler worn out!

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One Heart Music Class

Now this is local to Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek but check in your area and I am sure there are music classes offered which are truly worth it, especially if your little loves to be silly and dance.  This is such a fantastic class because Avery LOVES music.  It is a 40-minute class where the teacher plays his guitar, engages the kiddos and ends with a floor full of instruments for the kids to play with and dance to music.  He does a fantastic job of introducing different genres of music and his own written songs are so fun, interactive and really get the kids to think!  Avery runs around the entire time and by the end she is smoked (perfect for right before nap time!)   If you live in Norther California head Here to check out registration for these amazing classes.

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Lindsay Wildlife Museum

This is another local spot in our area but check in your area because you may have something like it! Lindsay Wildlife museum a wonderful wildlife sanctuary that rescues and rehabilitates animals and for a yearly membership kiddo can go any day and run around and check out all the animals.  They have quite a few hawks, owls and other beautiful birds as well as a few adorable guinea pigs, a rabbit and a few more fun critters for Avery to see.   They also offer educational classes, live animal showings and so much more!  If you live in the Bay Area this place is great to check out.  Go to their site Here to see all that they offer!

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Indoor Activities:

Painting and Baking

We just purchased this learning tower on Amazon, and it is one of our best buys yet!  It allows Avery to be at the same level as me so she can feel like a big girl and participate in either painting or baking.  (we have been doing this a lot lately.)  It is a bit bulky, but we leave it in the corner of the kitchen and bring it out when we need it.  For me, letting Avery be up at my level and learn about what we do in the kitchen has been fun and entertaining, a messy!  For painting we just tape a large piece of paper down on the counter and let her have at it!  See below Shop This Post to find this learning tower!

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Playing with Murphy (The dog)

Now we are lucky enough that our golden retriever is a built-in playmate of sorts.  And it helps that he is gentle and basically lets her crawl all over him (see photo below).  They literally play keep away from each other, tug of war and they cuddle.  This buys me at least 20 minutes of freedom!

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Peppa Pig

Yep, I am going to say it, we watch TV.  I allow her 1-2 episodes of Peppa pig depending on the day and she loves it!  Usually one in the morning when I am doing the dishes and one at night when I am cooking dinner.  I know everyone feels differently about this but for us it works, and I know she is learning and loving it! As you can tell from the pic below she doesn’t sit still for very long so she really only sees a portion of an episode!  Moderation people!

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And if you are feeling adventurous get outside in the rain! Jumping in muddy puddles is one of our favorites (and Peppa Pigs too).

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I would love to hear what you do with your littles on a cold and dreadful day so comment below and share!

Enjoy Lovelies!

 

 

Inspiring Reads for Little Girls!

We just wrapped up Avery’s second Christmas and although it was a world wind of traveling, visiting family and friends and jumping from crib to crib we had the most amazing time! We got to watch as Avery opened presents and really enjoyed the process as opposed to last year when she was too young to really understand.  And even though she was gifted every kind of toy, doll and clothing item you can imagine, she naturally gravitated to her favorite, books.  I still have a vision in my head of her surrounded by a baby Minnie Mouse quad (yep she loves it!), blocks, trinkets and all sorts of kiddo goodies and she was just sitting there engrossed in one of her books.  One of my favorite things about our daughter is her love of reading as this was a favorite past time of my father’s and mine.

I have been reading to her since she was an infant and she has fallen in love with it which makes me so incredibly proud.  One thing I have tried to do recently since she is into more big kid books is to find books that relay strong messages to her about who she is and what she is capable of.    

My wishes for her are to be strong, confident, love herself and to know that she can do whatever she puts her mind to and below are some of our favorite books that do just that!  These books each have such special stories about how to love yourself, dream big and never give up.  Enjoy!

Dream Big Little Pig! Written by Kristi Yamaguchi

This adorable book is written by Kristi Yamaguchi the Olympic figure skater.  Kristi started her Always Dream Foundation in 2012 to promote childhood literacy because of her love of reading.  This book sends such loving and encouraging messages to keep trying activities and you will find what is right for you.  The words and the illustrations are beautiful, and Avery loves this book (especially because she loves pigs) This book is one of many in this series with different characters and inspiring messages.

Rosie Revere, Engineer Written by Andrea Beaty

Now this one is a favorite in our house because my husband is a civil engineer and I will be honest Adam and Avery are two peas in a pod, so I can see her wheels turning when it comes to putting things together and building.  Rosie is a young girl who loves to create and invent.  Although she is discouraged by teasing and taunting, she perseveres and does what she loves!  It is such a fun and vibrant book that encourages imagination and gets little ones to start thinking about creating and sends a message to be who you are with no apologies!

Dear Girl, Written By Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal

Now this one is my all time favorite and I am so happy that Avery likes to read it repeatedly (I am talking like 10 times in a row!)  As a young girl I had such insecurities and I wish there had been a book like this to remind me what is important and how to love myself.  The message this book sends is to love all of yourself, freckles and red hair and birthmarks and all! It inspires the reader to believe in themselves, be silly and to always enjoy every moment of life.  It is such a care free book that sends a strong message that girls should trust their own inner voices and that their emotions and feelings are not weaknesses but strengths.

Julia, Child Written by Kyo Maclear

This book is such a good read and not just for kiddos!  When I read this to Avery it makes me feel like a kid again and reminds me to relax and not be so serious about life.  It is a book about two friends who are in no rush to grow up and through cooking they stay young and carefree.  Such a sweet read!

Little People, Big Dreams Amelia Earhart Written by Ma Isabel Sanchez Vegara

One of many in this series, Amelia Earhart is one of our go to books during story time. Avery is obsessed with the sky and anything in it.  She loves books about rockets and space and flying so this is a perfect fit because it also teaches her history and that no dream is too big.  Plus, the pictures are so pretty!  This series also has books about Coco Chanel, Rosa Parks, Ella Fitzgerald, and so many more amazing women in history.

Hope you and your little ones enjoy these books as much as we do!

Chat soon Lovelies!  

Survival Tips for Traveling With Toddlers!

We just got back from Thanksgiving in Northern Nevada, where my husband and I grew up, and we were thinking about how much easier it used to be sans toddler.  Sitting in traffic for 4+ hours to head back to where we currently live in Northern California is no small feat but add an 18 month old baby girl who only wants to run, play and in her words “out” the entire drive and you are headed to meltdown city for all parties involved.

Luckily, we have done that drive enough over the past 1 ½ years that we have learned what works and what doesn’t as far as keeping little miss Avery Jean entertained and content in the back seat. Now to say that it is fool proof is laughable, but we have found some great toys, books and other distractions to keep the peace in the car.  Now please remember all kiddos are different and what works for us may not work for your little one but by golly these have been life savers for us and I think we have enough great ideas below that you are bound to find something that makes road trips with the fam a little bit easier.

The first thing we try to do is time her nap with the time we head out.  We make sure to have a bottle ready (yes I know at 18 months she should be done with babas, we are working on it people!) and we hit the road and that usually gives us about an hour of uninterrupted Howard Stern Sirius time.  Now I know that is not always doable but if you can, give it a shot.  Yep, she cries for a good ten minutes and throws her bottle about 15 times but after that she falls asleep.  I know, exhausting right?!

We also give her a teether because I swear all of the rest of her teeth are coming in at the same time!   We love this one because it is a little dolly as well.  We got this from our favorite store Five Little Monkeys in Walnut Creek.

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Once she wakes up from that nap, we try to delay the tried and true tablet for as long as we can.  First toy out of our toy arsenal is a good book.  We make sure it is a size that she can hold in her car seat and easily turn the pages.   Now with Avery we are lucky because she LOVES books but not every kid does.  If your little one does try some of these:

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Now let’s be real, those books last oh I don’t know 10 minutes maybe 20 if we are lucky so we are on to the next.  Avery is talking a lot and is like a sponge with words to she loves these word flashcards.  She looks at one, then throws three, then looks at more.  They may be all over the back seat by the end, but she is very entertained with them and loves making the sounds and saying the words on the cards.   We got these on Amazon!

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Once that is done, we move on to art!  She is easily entertained with her mini etch a sketch for a while and we really enjoy the quiet time in the front seat.  We got ours on Amazon and its pretty indestructible, i.e. being thrown all over the car doesn’t phase it.

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If after these if we still have not reached our destination, we sing some songs, ask her what sounds all the animals in the entire zoo make and then we give in to the tablet.  There really is only so much you can do before you just want to relax and not entertain your little one.  Now this may be controversial since she is 18 months but yes, we do let her look at our tablet.  We only use it for long road trips, but we are alright with her watching a Peppa Pig movie or some baby genius if it gets us through the car ride.  I know it can be a touchy subject but if you are alright with your little one watching something, we love our Amazon Kindle and we bought this headrest mount from Amazon as well!  Pop up on the headrest in front of her and you are good to go!

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With the holiday season upon us I know a lot of you are on the road and I hope that some of these tips and tricks help you for a safe and relaxing road trip!

And if all else fails make sure you keep a golden retriever in the backseat for some entertainment like we do!

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Chat soon Lovelies!