Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Sensory Activities and Shopping Lists (printable plan)

I have had lots of questions from my various instagram post about all the fun sensory activities we are doing this summer. For those that don't know sister is on a " Sensory Diet" and these activities are good for her development ( google it). Fenn also struggled with SPD as a toddler so he still loves all these activities and ideas, plus... it's just something different. They know that generally during the week days we will try one new " activity" or " experiment" and they really look forward to it. The surprise of what it will be is probably half of the fun. 
Don't go getting any wild ideas about how its just super fun and awesome over here though because some days might be fun and interesting and other days I might work 16 hours and they spend too much time on TV and iPads.. Just a reminder to keep it all in perspective when it comes to social media. That is a mere GLIMPSE not a whole picture... 

Because it took me hours and weeks to get a good plan together I wrote it all up in Evernote so that anyone else who wants to try it could just print and go. :) 

First off is this amazing little DIY table some mom put on pinterest. ( she has full instructions and materials list on her blog) . Bubs whipped this out for us and I spray painted it gold because, well everything looks better gold, and I had some left over gold spray paint on hand. 
These plastic bins are really helpful for keeping sensory messy projects contained. I also use an old vintage sheet ala Goodwill underneath the table to make mess less stressful. Sister can NOT stay inside the box to save her life.

Currently Sister is into Peppa Pig and Fenn is into Pokemon and Shopkins so I use small plastic figures for those for several of these little activities.

And also.. both of my kids LOVE watching you tube channels where they play with and review toys. If you have not reached this stage of parenting yet, you will. Most kids I know are really into this. Fenn asked me if he could make a video like that so I have been filming him talking about his toys and not only is it hilarious, but it is good for him to pretend and play and I like that he was inspired and wanted to do it himself. You can "Subscrive" as he says it to his you tube channel HERE. The actual videos are pretty loooonngg and boring but the last few seconds are hilarious. 

Next up: The Plan.....

Puzzles & Beans ( Mix puzzle pieces in the bean box and let kids search for them. 
1 Wooden Puzzle ( preferably with many pieces like ABC’s) , Several bags of dried kidney beans, Plastic box with Lid.  
Pouring Station
1 Long shallow Plastic box, multiple cups, measuring cups, funnel, dropper , food coloring or bath tabs. 
Orbeez & Toys
Bag of Orbeez, Plastic box with lid, spoons and scoops, small plastic toys of some sort. 
Frozen Block of Toys
Plastic Container or bowl, small plastic toys, salt, small blunt hammer
Salt Painting
paper, elmers glue, salt, paintbrushes, colored water
Ice Box
Ice Cubs, big plastic shallow Box, helping hands tools, colored water
Baking Soda Fizz
Pyrex or Plastic shallow dish, baking soda ( 2 boxes) Vinegar, food coloring , droppers
DIY Moon Sand
Flour, Baby Oil
Ivory Soap Clouds
Bar of Ivory soap, Food Coloring, Dropper
Sock Bubbles
water Bottle, food coloring, dish soap, sock, duct tape or rubber band 
Chains and Cups
Lengths of chain ( from hardware store), cups
Play Dough and cookie cutters/Tools
Sandbox and tools
Car Wash
Bucket, sponge, water hose, Scrubber, soap and riding toys
Box Playhouse
Big Cardboard box from appliance or furniture, markers/paint ,Scissors or exact knife.
Bake a Cake
Cake Mix, Pan, Icing, 
Paper Mache Head
Balloons, Newspaper, paint, glue, water, (decorations for face/hair optional)
Rainbow Spaghetti 
Spaghetti ( 5 boxes) , Gel Food Coloring, Big plastic box
Balloon Tennis
Balloons, Fly Swatters, 
Make a Water Blob
Painters Plastic, Iron, Duct Tape, Parchment Paper
Play Silks 
Play Silks, Empty Wipe Box
Make a Bird Feeder
Empty Tissue Roll, Peanut Butter , Bird Seed, String

Supplies List Via Amazon

Clear Boxes with Lids:

Bath Tabs ( I like these b.c they don’t stain and last about a year):

Helping Hands Sensory Tools:

Big Shallow Plastic Box:

Twisty Droppers:

Painter’s Plastic

Play Silks

Links to Explain Activities:

Ice Box Activity
Salt Painting
Baking Soda Fiz
Ice Block
Moon Sand Recipe
Soap Clouds
Sock Bubbles
Rainbow spaghetti
Balloon Tennis
Water Blob
Toddler Car Wash
Puzzles & Bean Box
DIY Bird Feeder
Foam Sand

Sunday, June 12, 2016

25 Weeks with Baby #3

I think I have ZERO posts about this pregnancy :( which is so sad but I have been too busy with the other 2 who are outside the womb! 
 I am almost 26 weeks and almost to the 3rd trimester PTL!  It was going by really fast till I hit about 22 weeks and started getting bigger and more uncomfortable. and I am gaining weight like WOAH!  up 6 lbs in the last 2 weeks. 
I cut out lots of my usual beauty products on this pregnancy(due to the chemical content ) after reading some studies of the chemicals found in those and how they effect fertility and pregnancy. 

Other Notable Pregnancy Symptoms:

  • Pregnancy Cold ( swollen sinuses etc)
  • MAJOR Braxton hicks contractions that feel like mu stomach filling up with concrete.Lots of heavy pressure.
  • I can't keep my iron up. I have been taking supplements but am still anemic on last blood draw
  • Baby is up to 2 lbs now and measuring big which is no surprise. I predict him to be as big as Fenn with a gigantic head and some hair like sister :)
  • Pretty tired and pretty irritable 24-7 ( yikes) 
  • Eating ice cream daily which is weird for me because it normally makes me sick and I never buy it. I hope it ( craving) goes away once i have this baby !

I don't think I have mentioned on here but we are having a BOY and we were all very excited about that!  Fenn especially wanted a brother. Due date is Sept. 23rd. 

Still have not settled on a name yet but right now we are leaning toward 
Radnor Michael Graham (and calling him "Baby Rad") . 

 He has no nursery as of yet and not even an idea of what that will look like yet ( yikes!)

I think my favorite thing about this pregnancy has been the fact that Fenn is old enough to understand and talk about it all. He has been so excited and so cute about it all. He wants to kiss my belly all the time. He fills my prenatal vitamin box every Sunday and each night will bring my pills to me with water to take. He also told me this week several times " Momma anything you want me to do , I will do it because you are Preg-a-NANT" ( **melt**) 
I just love hearing him talk about it all and am glad that I am getting to experience what it is like for a sibling to understand the whole birth process. This morning on the way to church he told me " When we move to our 4th house, we can have our 4th kid" HA and I reminded him how long it takes to get a kid here and that maybe 3 was enough for our family. Not sure he absorbed it HA

Monday, May 23, 2016

Gold Hardware in the Kitchen!

One of my current clients has the coolest gold hardware in her kitchen and it really inspired me to try it in my own kitchen. I have a billion pulls and knobs so I really wanted to avoid buying all new hardware, which lead me to a little trial DIY  run. 

I read THIS post and THIS post about spray painting gold hardware and got inspired. 

I bought this spray paint from Home Depot for $5.97

Painting it was super easy and the finish and color turned out great! 

However, even about 2 months later it still looks exactly like this because I can't make up my mind which one looks best. :)

I did a poll on instagram and Facebook and got some excellent feedback! However I am pretty sure it was 50% for Gold and 50% for silver.....

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Summer Schedule for the Kiddos

I have spent the last week pouring over the internet late at night to come up with a great schedule and activities for summer break. My boy loves some school and will soon be missing all that activity. Also with all of sister’s stuff she has going on we need to implement a “ Sensory diet” annnnnd then there is the thought in the back of my mind about how baby #3 is coming and we better get things as organized as possible before he gets here ( and get everyone more self sufficient  too) . 

Start with some Goals:

  • Get Sister potty trained
  • make sister use words to request anything and everything. ( No giving in to cries or demanding noises)
  • Teach Fenn to put his own seat belt on and off ( so I can move him to the 3rd row when baby #3 is here)
  • Get both kids involved in chores/responsibilities ( ones that help me out like making their own beds)
  • Take some day trips or fun activities to keep them engaged and educated. 
  • implement a currency system ( I learned this from kindergarten! See below)
  • Get Fenn to stop coming in our room at 3am ( plagued by bad dreams lately )

Set up a Schedule.

Routine is important for all kids, but especially mine with the sensory stuff. It is challenging for me as I have never been very routine and Erik and I both have very unconventional work schedules . Since Erik, Rose and I are all running this circus and need to be on the same page a routine will be super helpful.  Also gives kids an idea of what to expect so I don’t have to deal as much with badgering about whatever they want like say breakfast at 5am. “ The chart clearly says Breakfast no earlier than 6:30 AM” HA  We will see if that works. 

Copy of our new schedule:
( I am sure I will tweak this once we get going and see how it works out/fits)

Currency System:
I picked up  this sweet little trick from kindergarten. I bought a roll of raffle tickets from Party City and I call them “ Mommy Feathers” (at school they are called Eagle Feathers). I hand them out for each completed chore. I amp up the feathers for things I really want to encourage. Every thursday they can turn in their feathers to buy things from my store and I have a chart showing how many feathers it takes to buy things they want like fudge pops and pokemon cards HA.  

Then I searched pinterest for any fun arts and crafts or interesting activity we could do and made a list of those so that each Sunday when  I do menu planning etc I can plan out their activities and what supplies are needed and have that sorted out so whoever is in charge that day has everything they need. 
Most of my problems in life from from indecision… like not knowing what I want to cook all week, or how to do something so If I dig in and plan and make it easy for myself then I should be able to stick to the plan.

Also sidebar: I took all of these schedules and such to Fed/Ex and laminated them so we could use dry erase markers. While I was there I printed out and laminated THIS road trip scavenger hunt and it was great for our recent drive to Alabama. Fenn LOVES scavenger hunts and this kept him busy for quite a while. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Back Yard Project / Porch: Before and Afters

When we bought this house, one of our biggest objections was the sloped yard, and leaving what was still ( IMO) the most beautiful backyard in all of Brentwood.  We spent so much time out there and it was really hard to give that up. But as it goes with any move, you don't get everything on your list, and I had plans of creating a better space at this house.
Here are some great BEFORE Pics:

Step 1: Get rid of Tree and Brush. We did that in January or February. There were 3 or 4 large " Trash Trees" back there that made that black film on your outdoor furniture.

Step 2: Down goes the Deck. I always hated that thing but Erik loved it so we kept it for a year and never used it once. We did paint it during that year which you can see from the pics. :) . Losing the deck was a game changer because it made it seem so much bigger back there and opened up lots of flat space. ( Don't worry, the upstairs door will become a window)

Step 3: Stained Concrete patio, Retaining Wall, and lots of underground drains added just incase.
Step 4 : Landscaping, grass seed,  and Furniture. This is all our same furniture from the old house.  We made sure to leave room enough for Fenn to play basketball and for the kids to ride their little cars around and play with sidewalk chalk etc.

Still lots of projects left but oooo mmmm geeeee we are so thrilled to have an outdoor space again and we spend so much time out here.


We are currently working on my little granny porch. Before and After pics of that to come soon! 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Why I Love My Apple Watch

My dad bought me an apple watch last fall and I have really been enjoying it. I get lots of questions about it so I decided to just do a blog with some highlights for all you guys asking about it :)

Reasons Why I Like It : 

  • It is really comfortable on my arm. I never liked wearing a watch before e-watches came out. This watch is very low profile which I appreciate.I love the silicone band instead of a heavy metal one. 
  • I have all my alarms set on it. It vibrates my arm every time one goes off , for instance time for Ralphie's insulin, or time for Fenn to go outside to get on the bus. Life is busy these days and I lose track of time so I like these reminders. 
  • It shows my calendar appointments on the face. Love that. I glance at  it all day to see what is next. 
  • When using the maps on my phone, my watch face will reflect those directions( and vibrate to remind me to turn) so when I am driving I can just see my directions on my wrist on the steering wheel.
  • Shows the weather. I love glancing down and seeing what the outside temp is every day when I am getting dressed, or getting he kids dressed.
  • It makes a great remote control when you have your phone playing through a blue tooth speaker and want to control the music. 
  • I like monitoring my calls and texts on my arm so that I can see if its worth sprinting down the stairs to answer a call or not :)

Fav Apps for the Apple watch 

  •  Weather
  • Magic Guide WDW
  • Nike+
  • streaks
  • Cheatsheet
  • CityMapper

and the Not so Good.... 

I really really REALLY wished that fitbit would make a compatible app for the watch ( even if it was pricey). I like their platform and am currently wearing one of those too which looks ridiculous because i have on 2 watches. HA

The battery life is weak. I have to charge my watch EVERY night and that suck since I keep so many alarms on it. It is much more pleasant to wake up with your wrist vibrating than to a  harsh noise, but I can't sleep with it on and charge it at the same time.  Also extra chargers are very pricey.  

I bought this charging stand off Amazon for my nightstand and I love it. $10 and it keeps it on the charger all night and turns it into an alarm clock with that horizontal display. It also controls the cord mess. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fenn at almost 6 years old

Just some updates on my sweet sweet son! 

He will be 6 in July and it is blowing my mind. Erik and I are both loving everything about this phase we are in right now with him. He has LOVED kindergarten. Turns out all that consistency and scheduling was his love language and he has thrived in that environment more than we could have ever expected. We started him in Kindergarten early, ( I think he is the youngest in his class), so we were not sure how that would work out. His pre-school teachers thought he would do well, so we gave it a try and it was awesome. 
The amount of stuff they learn in Kindergarten is mind blowing. He has an amazing and fun young teacher and he hangs on her every word and cares about whatever she cares about. :)

His biggest interest right now is basketball. Below is a picture of him at Disney World Animal Kingdom with all of the animals he won shooting hoops in the arcade section. He was very proud of them. He plays in the backyard all hours of the day and night, in between most activities. 
It is refreshing for him to have a hobby like this because one of his other loves is playing Clash of Clans on the iPad and were are so happy to see him up moving around and staying busy and playing outside.

Breakfast with Sister. He generally goes to bed about 7:30pm and wakes up anywhere from 5:30am - 6:30 am. He has been visiting us in our bed about 3am lately due to bad dreams. I don't know what to do about them and have tried to discuss it but they are a result of playing a scary game on the iPad. I mistakingly didn't realize we were at the age that we needed to monitor and limit what he plays and sees on the iPad. We have since installed parental controls and a browser security called " Covenant eyes" that we learned about in Sunday School. We also do not allow him to play " electronics" away from home so that we can monitor what he is seeing.

He is still really particular about what he will eat. Bless his heart though because he has tried, several things over the year and just can not make himself swallow it. :( 

His current foods are Ramen Noodles, plain pasta, Cheese Pizza, Apple Sauce, Turkey Sandwich, Waffles, Lucky Charms, greek yogurt with honey and he LOVES milk ( much to my dismay).

He still loves any kind of arts and crafts. He made this in Sunday School.

Another shot of my handsome dude before school. He has started making some small commentary about his clothing. He likes sporty looking outfits & shoes. He is wearing a size 6 in most clothing and size 2 in shoes! He is about 47" Tall and weighs approx 60lbs. 

We recently hit a big milestone! Loosing TEETH! He lost his first tooth about 2 months ago. He woke up one morning and told us " Guys I had a dream my tooth was crooked and I woke up and it still feels crooked" . This went on for a few days until finally I caught on that "Crooked" meant " Loose". He ended up swallowing it sometime at school, but on tooth #2  he let me pull it when it was hanging on by a thread. Afterward we called all our people on FaceTime to show them his new gap and his tooth! HA

Another reason why I have been wanting to update the ole blog is because I have been talking to other moms in the TEIS system and going over our journey and I thought it would be encouraging for them with 2 year olds to see how much that has benefited Fenn, and our family.  It is hard to really understand that progress without seeing detailed updates at different ages and watching videos to show behaviors and skills.  Fenn has changed so much in the years that I have been blog slacking and I wanted to be sure and document his incredible change and turn around. Its hard to reconcile this sweet dedicated student with the non verbal aggressive 3 year old he once was. I praise God every day for it! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


It has been Busy Busy Busy around here lately!! So much happening and so much fun! 

Sister had her spring program. I can't say that she " sang" the songs but she sure put on a show! Lots of hollering and some sort of odd football touchdown dance at the end of each song. It was awesome. 

And Then Fenn was " Scientist of the Day" at school. He had to prepare and present a science project to his class. I had to work but Erik went and watched and took a video and it was awesome. His teacher provided the coat and goggles :) He did a great job and was so proud of himself. One of the best things about Kindergarten has been seeing him gain so much confidence through independence. Now if he would just dress himself every day we would be set! ha

Sister has been such a mischief maker lately! I mean 5 seconds is all she needs to bring down the world. I could write a book about all her shenanigans but this particular day, she managed to turn that buggy over while I was paying in the checkout line. Scared me to death !
She has been doing really well with her talking lately , and I feel like we may finally be turning the corner! Praise JESUS. She has been saying some new words like :
"two, three"
"more juice please"
"open please"

and young bro! ( aka Little Stevie) at PROM! We have not seen him in forever ! He is a busy teenage these days with a job and school and a band and a girlfriend! I can't believe he is about to graduate!  Also he is in this band called " Bad Life Choices" which I think is one of the best band names ever!  

Erik and Fenn had their first daddy/son race for the Moosic City Run. Fenn enjoyed it all but I don't think he totally gets what a race is about.  He looked super cute running to that finish line though! He is also in running club at school. Erik has run about 1000 marathons this year as it was one of his resolutions.  I need to figure out something cool and craft to do with all his medals.

And Erik loves to take these jokers hiking. You will probably NEVER catch me taking them hiking because that sounds super challenging, especially with the wild, runaway child sister. He is a good hands on daddy always spending quality time with them and keeping them active. 

I really need to do a post on baby #3. Sad that I have not done that yet but I just do not have the time to document everything like I once did. Really trying to revive the blog this year because I miss being able to look back at these posts and seeing them grow. 

Stay Tuned!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Disney World 2016

Disney 2016 was a good time! It was not without it's challenges going during spring break, while pregnant with sister being at a wild age/phase and wanting to run wild through the crowd :) 

This year we stayed at the Carribean Resort and it was awesome. The rooms were pirate themed and nice! The bathroom was really big and had a curtain to separate it so we let that be sisters room for the pack n play. 
The pol area was very cool, and the cafeteria was good too. More interested food choices than the usual resort food courts.

These guys were good travelers. We stayed in a hotel one night while in route ( we usually drive down because flying is harder to me with uncontrollable schedules and environments and hauling car seats and waiting on rental cars.)

We had a good trip but I doubt we will go back to Disney anytime after February again because of the crowds and line lengths. Both kids really enjoyed it and I think trips like that really expand their little minds. An italian girl working in Epcot taught Fenn to say Ciao! and he loved that and still says it. I heard him hollering to a friend when he got off the bus last week " CIAO!!" HA so they pick up lots of odds and ends when we travel.

Oh and a few other extras :

The Disney App has had some nice upgrades. You can now sell all of your pictures within that app ( they are traced through your magic bands to your account on the app)
- You can also see wait times in that app.  If you schedule your 3 fast passes back to back in the morning, you can then go to kiosk and get more. I never knew that before this trip.
- If you have an apple watch, you can download the Disney Wait Times app that is compatible with the apple watch and check wait times that way.

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