Category / Preschooler

Age 3: Q3

Another quarter of age 3 has flown by. More independent than ever, so many little day to day details are changing and oh so grown up. You climb up on your stool and brush your own teeth (with a double check after), bring your dishes to the sink after dinner, rarely need a reminder to try and use the restroom, get your own clothes on (depending on the shirt – those are still tricky!) – and they’re usually on the right direction πŸ˜‰ More than once, you’ve woken up and come downstairs without us hearing. You grab your milk cup out of the fridge and climb onto the couch with the iPad and let us continue sleeping ha!

Summer was oh so good to us. There was SO much swimming and trampoline jumping and running around with the neighbor kids. Again, new levels of independence as you’ve been allowed a yard or two over – I won’t lie, we’ve enjoyed it, too, able to have a glass of wine on the patio or grill dinner while having an uninterrupted conversation. πŸ™‚

Your vocabulary and complex thoughts continue to amaze us. Just today at the park you told me you could do something that was a “big kid skill (skill?!) and I can do it because I’m a big kid because I’m almost four”.

We are equally as entertained by the mix-ups that still happen. As of late, you replace the word “respect” for when you mean “expect”. So instead of “that’s what I expected to happen” it comes out more like, “that’s what I’m respectin!” (You still rarely put a -g on the end of any word that ends in -ing. It’s all “pizza toppins” and “jumpin” and “roarin”.)

Speaking of roaring, the Jurassic Park love is real and you will sit through a good bit of any of the movies, captivated. You can name many of the kinds of dinosaurs and often impersonate them for us. The planets and stars are a new thing in your world and you ask almost nightly if you and Dad can go outside and look for them, after rockstar Dad showed you an app on his phone that lets you point it at the sky and learn what’s what. I do love that you’ll still enthusiastically take on some art projects with me – painting continues to be your favorite. You still want to clarify on Thursdays that it’s garbage day, but the need to run outside every Thursday is dwindling. How funny is it that I can’t quite type that fact without a little eye-watering. πŸ™‚

You love to do your version of break-dancing, and your favorite jams vacillate between “Ice Ice Baby” and “I Wish (I Was A Little Bit Taller)”. You’re obsessed with the idea of Easter and desperately are trying to grasp the concept of weeks and months to get a grip on just when that bunny will show up again with eggs.

Breadsticks are probably your favorite food at the moment, and you can take down nearly a whole slice of Costco pizza in one sitting. Donuts still rank high for you, but you still won’t touch chocolate milk. You’ll eat a handful of various vegetables but if we make a salad, you’re disgusted that we’re “eatin’ leaves!”. A lot of play revolves around pretend food and food prep — you still love to play restaurant or food truck with your tent or kitchen and take orders and deliver them. Maybe a restaurant career in your future?

Letters and sounds and early reading is clicking for you at a rapid rate. They’re in no linear order, but you can write each letter of your name without having to look at an example. It’s hit or miss but you can often tell us which letter a word starts with, and vice versa if we name a letter, you can (usually) come up with a word that begins with it. You’re sounding things out and you like to follow printed words and make up what they say, but sound as if you’re really reading them carefully. Long story short – you’re pretty desperate to be a reader, and soon.

Like any kid, you have a couple “hard no” things that you’re afraid of (tunnel slides are still one!) but when it comes to people, you are so certain of yourself. You’re always the first to initiate a new friendship, walking up and starting the conversation, and I can actually SEE you match pace with another child as a way to get closer to them — if they’re into something specific, you match their interest in it, or ask questions, or laugh at something silly they’re doing as a way to engage. You are sometimes annoyed if I jump in to the conversation — like if you could, you’d say, “Mom get OUT of here, you’re ruining my cool factor”. πŸ™‚

You’re high on life, that’s for certain. You love as fiercely as ever and tell us as much all the time without any kind of prompt. I hear you repeat things we say to you, but you MEAN them when you say them — “Oh Dad, I’m so proud of you for moving that big box all by yourself you must be so strong” or “Mom it makes me really happy that you brought me that snack, I’ll give you a hug because I know you love hugs”. <3

You can stall bedtime, be the most selective listener, and (annoyingly) pout and cringe at meals we put in front of you, but you make up for it all with a huge heart, great manners (most of the time), the silliest sense of humor, and an attitude that is all-in for any kind of adventure. We’re so crazy proud of the little person you’re becoming as you transition out of these toddler times and join the ranks of truly being a “kid”.

Love you fiercely.

Mom

Dragons Love Tacos Halloween Costume

I spent weeks taking this 3.5 year old to the store, browsing online, and generally asking him what he might want to be for Halloween. Anything I suggested was met with some variation of “meh” — until I proposed a character from one of his favorite books. If you have a kid in your life and haven’t read Dragons Love Tacos, do so immediately!

The ONLY opinion that was voiced was that he wanted to be a BLUE dragon with green wings. So off to Primary I went for their hoodie and joggers to get started.

If you are familiar with this book, you know the whole story unravels when the dragons get ahold of the spicy salsa. I grabbed an orange pumpkin bucket from the dollar store, spray painted it red, and we loosely followed the illustration as a guide, using scrapbook sticker letters for the label.

Dragons Love Tacos Halloween Costume | lifeinyellow.com

I bought a yard of the most dragon-ish green fabric I could find for the wings, tail, and horns. I am NOT a seamstress, but I managed to make a simple cone shaped tail, turned it right side out and stuffed it with stuffing. I added a single triangle “horn” to the end of the tail, and tacked the other two onto the hoodie. I bought a pair of children’s fairy wings at the dollar store to use as my base, covered them in the green fabric, changing the outline of the wings to be a bit more dragon and less butterfly. I sewed the top of the tail to the underside of the wings so he could put the whole thing on as if it were a backpack.

To drive home that this wasn’t just any dragon but a taco-loving dragon, I bought an “I Love Tacos’ button on Etsy and pinned it to his hoodie. We made a couple cardstock and tissue paper tacos and stuffed them in each pocket — after all, you have to have “pantloads” of tacos to host a proper taco party for dragons.

Oh no, dragon! You know what happens if you eat that spicy salsa!

Happy halloween — and happy costume creating — from our home to yours! <3

Classroom Halloween Treats: Witch’s Brew Bath Bombs

We’ve been busy over here whipping up all the magic potions so that Crew’s classroom friends can create some of their own for Halloween!

You may have guessed it — we made our own bath bombs, complete with spooky surprises inside!

This project was much easier than I expected (I was fully counting on some crumbling bombs and preschooler – and Mom – meltdowns) but I’m happy to report it was really pretty simple and straightforward!

It DOES help to have all your stuff ready, premeasured/open, so you can work quickly. (Once everything is mixed, you want to make your bombs before the mix gets too dry.) I did two batches; the first I followed the recipe below exactly (this made about five medium-sized bombs), and when those turned out well, I quadrupled it to make enough for Crew’s class of 24 and a couple extra friends.

My best tip is to spend a minute on YouTube watching an actual video of how to make these, because I picked up a lot of hints and it helped me understand better than all the written directions out there. In all I’d say we spent about $20 on everything (although I did already have the essential oils on hand). And if you keep scrolling I’m sharing a printable of the label we stapled across the top, so you can gift these as well!

After reading a few reviews of silicone versus plastic versus aluminum, I settled on this set of molds. I don’t foresee using the small one much, but the medium was perfect for stretching the batch enough to make decent-sized bombs for 24+ kiddos (and I’ll be making my own and gifting some at the holidays with the larger mold, which feels even more grand/luxurious). They worked like a charm with no sticking.

For our bath bombs, we knew we wanted them to be green (but not so pigmented they stain anyone’s tub ha!) so we used green food coloring accordingly.

THE RECIPE:

1 cup baking soda

1/2 cup citric acid (cheaper online than in stores)

1/2 cup corn starch

1/2 cup epsom salt

3 Tbsp almond oil or grapeseed oil

1 Tbsp water (add your drops of food coloring to this for even mixing)

Essential Oil as desired (for our quadruple batch I did about four drops each of lemon, tangerine, sweet orange, and bergamot)…Crew could not get enough of smelling them ha!

Our final “ingredient” was a bat-shaped ring (I bought a bag of 30+ at WalMart for a dollar) and they fit perfectly inside the medium sized mold. I thought these would be a fun surprise when the bomb fizzles apart in the tub.

TO MAKE YOUR BATH BOMBS:

After gathering your ingredients, whisk together all the DRY ingredients first. Combine the wet ingredients separately and pour them SLOWLY into the bowl, constantly whisking. The consistency should feel ALMOST as damp as wet sand – a tad more powdery, but still “wet”.

Scoop the mixture into both halves of your mold. Don’t PACK it in, but gently press enough to firm it up, and make sure both halves are overflowing. (At this point, I pressed the bat ring into one side.) Stick your two halves together and press them together, wiping off any excess that comes out the seam. Use your knuckles to tap firmly on either side of the mold so the packed mixture will slide out easily. I used a slight “twist” motion (like unscrewing a cap) to remove one side at a time, and laid them out on a sheet of wax paper to harden up. A lot of recipes called for 24 hours to dry but I think it only helps to give them a solid 48 hours before handling them in any way.

I was nervous about how durable these would be when loaded up dozens deep and handed out at school. My coworker had the genius idea to add some cobweb stuffing to the little ziploc treat bags (found at The Dollar Tree). I added a bomb and some stuffing to each bag, and printed and cut apart the following printable. (They should be about the size of a business card, before folded in half lengthwise). Stick them over the tops of the bags and staple in place. Voila! Witch’s brew for all!

Grab your free printable treat topper by clicking the attachment link below:

Witch’s Brew Printable

Happy Halloween!!

Fall Book List

Just give me alllll the fall reads — I’m not sure who is more excited for the season, me or my mini!

Our current list of must-reads:

The Scariest Book Ever has the boldest, most “popping” illustrations that are so fun to look at. This was a big hit last year when he was only two, but loves it all over again this year at three, and it’s funny for the adults reading it, as well.

Gilbert the Ghost I’ll admit, is better loved by Crew than by me. But it’s not too spooky and gets at the moral of being inclusive.

No Such Thing Β is probably my favorite of this list — from the beginning the character doesn’t believe in ghosts and explains away all the weird things happening, only to find out maybe there IS such a thing, in the end.

How To Make Friends with A GhostΒ is a little wordy yet for Crew, so I shorten it as I read. He laughs out loud out the antics of befriending a ghost, and I love the idea that your ghost is “with you” from your youngest to your oldest days.

ThankfulΒ is obviously a good read with the message of gratitude — I haven’t found many “Thanksgiving” books but of them, this is my favorite.

The Little Children’s Halloween Activity BookΒ is sure to keep Crew busy when we need a time-filler (restaurants, road trip, etc) and it’s nice to have something fresh in the mix, and relevant to the season. Always love Usborne’s activity items!

Vampirina Ballerina is one we checked out from the library to test run. I thought it was adorable, but based around a girl’s love of ballet, it didn’t hold Crew’s interest. I’d definitely recommend it for the girls, though!

Stumpkin is one I stumbled on at the bookstore the other day and will be going back to pick up. I’d never heard of it, but at first flip through, I love the story sentiments around the idea of being “perfect”.

Ghosts is another on our wish list — I try to add a new title or two each year, and this will likely be one of them!

Which titles did I miss???

5 Boy Outfits for Fall

I can’t tell you how much fun I have going through Crew’s closet each season. Maybe it’s the fact that kids literally get an ALL NEW wardrobe every year because they’ve grown, maybe it’s that everything is just cuter in little sizes…maybe it’s just that kids clothes are so much FUN! It was so hard to choose, but I kept it to five outfits (and one jammie set, of course!) using a bunch of my favorite pieces. Some items are purchased new this year, and some were bought ahead last year and are no longer available (NLA). I’ve linked exact products where I can, but at the very least, you hopefully come away with some fun *BOY* outfit ideas!

chambray shirt | cranberry tee (Target NLA) | numbers joggers | shoes | beanie (Etsy NLA)

velvet blazer (Target NLA) | pie tee | (SandiLake NLA) | pull-on jeans (Hudson NLA) | saddle shoes (similar)

sweater (Hanna Andersson NLA)| long sleeved tee | striped joggers | olive boots

FriYAY tee | yellow tee | pull-on jeans | Hunter boots

plaid buttondown | navy sweater | olive harem pants | moccasins

PSM tee | jammies

Favorite Backpacks for Toddlers and Preschoolers

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It’s that back-to-school time of year and there are SO many cute backpacks out there — but so many are HUGE and nearly impossible for the littlest of students to carry.

Today I’m sharing my favorites for the “pint size” packs — so many of these come in additional colors and prints, and BONUS, they’re all available on Amazon! πŸ˜‰

Post contains affiliate links.

The Book List at Three (and a HALF!)

If you’ve spent a minute on this blog, you know we are total suckers for children’s books around here. I always manage to find room in the budget for the bookstore, we go to the library on the regular for even more, and I’m always on the hunt for new recommendations from others as well. I blogged our most recent list here for age 3 here (and our 12-24 month list here) and only six months later, the interests continue to evolve and we discover even more awesome titles. Nothing is set in stone yet…but I think we might have a Halloween costume this year based on a favorite book. πŸ™‚ Below is a rundown of a few of the current favorites:

Square and Triangle (of the Shape trilogy) — I love the monochromatic illustrations in these books and the simple stories between the character shapes, that are laced with a little humor. After Triangle was a hit, I quickly reserved a copy of Square when it was released…and Circle is due out next spring.

I’m a big fan of Jon Klassen’s books, and similar to the shape series, there is some comedy woven into I Want My Hat Back, a simple tale of a a bear who’s lost his hat.

I wasn’t sure how Be Kind would go over (would there be enough “action” to the story to keep him interested?), but Crew was captivated by all the practices of kindness, and has been asking ever since on the daily, “that was kind, right Mom?”

I had added Stuck to our Amazon wish list, and happened upon it at the library shortly after. Let’s just say after out-loud giggles, this one will likely become a permanent fixture in our house. A funny story of a boy who gets his balloon stuck in a tree and throws item after item into the tree to knock it down, and by the end is throwing larger than life objects.

Another Oliver Jeffers book, we love the illustrations in Here We Are, a quick run-down of what it is to live here on Earth. The page with alllll the things living in the sea is particularly captivating and always generates a lot of questions. πŸ™‚

We received Shh! We Have A Plan as a board book when Crew was born, and I loved the illustrations (do you sense a theme here?) from the get-go. But recently, it has received all new life now that Crew really likes the STORY behind the pictures. (Crew lives out this story in our yard now with the birds — hilarious!) (We’ve loved every title by this author, and I think we need to own Little Owl Lost, next!)

The Book with No Pictures is in heavy rotation lately. Funny and silly, I love that it encourages more listening to the words and less relying on images to follow along. Be prepared to sound ridiculous when reading this one. πŸ˜‰

All of the above can be found on Amazon but I currently have a big Usborne order en route as I type this — we’ve never been disappointed by any of our reads from there and I’m anxious to check out the newest releases and share favorites from there, soon!

What are your kiddos’ current favorite reads??

Age 3: Q2

It’s the summer your freckles arrived. <3 Just in time for Three and a Half.

Let’s jump right in!

We got a SLOWWWW start to spring (snow through April!), but we managed to tough out plenty of adventures while we waited for the warmer temps to show up.

It helped that you’re getting more and more content to play with one activity at a time, for a longer period of time. Water beads and this science kit have been a serious win lately!

Some of the latest details about you and your world…

You detest stickers, but love stamps and temporary tattoos.You’re clocking in at 37 pounds and change, and stand about 39″ tall on a good day.

You love nothing more than when it’s “daddy, mommy and me — ALL of us!” doing something together, even better if the family is extended beyond just us.

You truly hate to disappoint us or be in trouble, and I’ve gotten a much better understanding of the term “threenager” this quarter — lots of dramatic emotion when you’re sad/upset and you can well up with real tears at the drop of the hat!

This seems to be especially true on days you skip a nap — which is why we’re keeping them for now! You fall asleep around 9 most nights, still often end up in our bed somewhere after midnight, and are up at 7 or so, still napping 1.5 to 2 hours most days.

Your eating habits continue to improve…your yes category is still significantly smaller than your no category, but you’ve expanded which veggies you’ll eat, you’ll try a taste of most things with coaxing, and you blew my mind when my HARD NO TO PASTA kid asked for spaghetti for dinner. We ordered some, assuming it would be our next day lunch for work, but you proceeded to eat a ton of it. Now if you would just give mac ‘n’ cheese a chance….it would change your life.

You’re trying really hard to grasp the concept of time – minutes, hours, months, and annually occurring events like holidays and birthdays. “How many minutes?” “What comes after Easter?” and “after I wake up from bedtime?” are common questions as you try to piece it all together. Even if it’s still months away, every week it’s something new you want to be for Halloween (most recently an acorn, before that a butterfly, before that a ghostbuster). Good thing you have some time. πŸ˜‰

We took our first vacation in over a year that was more than a quick overnight road trip, back in May. Let’s just say you were born to vacate — you ask weekly to go somewhere new again. It was such a treat to unplug for a few days and just be super present with little itinerary. I think you picked up on our lack of stress and distraction — in short, we had FUN!

Your coordination and bravery are increasing — we opted for a Ziggle for a new outdoor toy lately and it did not take you long to figure out how to propel yourself around and spin out in circles!

By far a highlight this quarter was a trip to the McNeilus plant on our way to a Twin Cities weekend with friends. After your news segment about loving garbage trucks went viral, the incredible team at McNeilus invited you to come tour the campus where they manufacture trucks for, among others, Waste Management. To say you were in heaven is putting it mildly! πŸ˜‰

We were so touched by the generosity of this company – they gave up their afternoon to show you around, let you test drive some of the trucks that were ready to ship out, and sent you with so much swag to take home!

The same trip took us to catch up with good friends who moved out of town, and they showed us around their new digs including the Minnesota Childrens Museum, and some other favorite kiddo haunts around town. The shot above doesn’t do this museum justice — you were literally bouncing about four floors up and surrounded by windows, among the St. Paul skyline!

You live for trips to the pool and are all about swimming independently as much as you can — you’re at that tipping point of being able to swim independently, but you aren’t nearly as good as you THINK you are — so we are watching you like a hawk, and when we want a little backup, we still bust out the puddlejumper. πŸ™‚

Three, just like every other age, is proving to be oh so fun. And as much as you love to tell us we’re “your favorite mommy and daddy” — you are OUR favorite, through and through, Little Man.

Keep spreading your magic.

Love,
Mom