Mommy Monday

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If you’ve got a little fan of Nature Cat in your house, you know that yesterday was Earth Day! It was crazy-hectic this weekend, so I didn’t get to talk with the kiddos about it. Luckily, they can’t read a calendar so we can celebrate today! Want to teach your kids about taking care of the earth? You’re in luck! I’ve found some great Earth Day activities!

“Stained Glass” Earth Suncatcher

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This project has little prep! Some clear contact paper and green and blue tissue paper and you’re all set!

 

DIY Crayons 

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We ALL have broken crayons somewhere in our house. Instead of tossing them, teach kids about recycling with this DIY project!

 

 

Milk Carton Bird Feeder

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Bird feeders are a great way to let your child show their creativity while also teaching about how, just because something may look like its ready for the bin, you can actually make something useful out of it!

 

God’s Creation Coloring Sheets

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Of course, the cornerstone of Earth Day should be that since God created the world, we should be good stewards of what has been given to us. These coloring sheets are a great way to help kiddos grasp the concept that God made everything so we should take care of it as an act of worship to Him!

 

Do you have any Earth Day activities you like to do with your brood? Share in the comments below!

Mommy Monday

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Huff the Babe recently turned two. If you’ve never been around a two year old, its a lot like this:

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So, needless to say, when we go out in public it takes a lot of mental and physical preparation. Basically, make sure you’ve stretched, properly hydrated, and have on clothes you don’t mind being stained.

Sometimes when we’re out to eat or shopping I can easily ignore his and Huff the Tot’s bickering, whining, or begging for things. Other times, I don’t handle it so well. Mostly because of the looks I get from other people. So when I saw this video circulating on Facebook, it really hit home:

 

Y’all, we’ve GOT to support each other. Motherhood can be such a rewarding role. But its also really, really hard sometimes. And you know what makes it even harder? Eye rolls, deep sighs, judgy stares, and “whispered” comments to other people. These things just make us feel like failures. And guess what? About 90% of the time, most of us already do feel like we’re failing: we’re not feeding our kids healthy enough, we allow them to watch too much TV, or we’re not spending enough time with them.

Here are some simple ways we can show support to other Mamas:

Give a knowing smile to a mom that’s dealing with a tantrum-throwing toddler. 

Tell her, “You’re doing great, Momma!”

Call up a mom friend and offer to watch her littles so she can go grocery shopping in peace. (And then maybe she’ll even return the favor later!) 

If your house isn’t equipped for little ones, tell the mom you’ll go with her and wait in the car with the kids while she runs errands! (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people do this for me! IT. IS. AMAZING.) 

Buy a $5 gift card to Starbucks and keep it in your wallet. If you’re out and about and see a mom having a rough go of it, slip it to her so she can treat herself later. 

If you see a mom with a restless kiddo and you’ve got your kiddos too, offer to walk around with her at the store so the kids can keep each other company and entertained! Who knows, you (and the kids) might even make a new friend! 

If your kids are in school and you don’t work, call up a mom with littles and ask if she needs anything. Even if she says she doesn’t need anything, at least she knows you were thinking about her! 

Buy a momma and her kiddos lunch while you’re out to eat. (This one could get a little expensive, BUT, if you get say, a Chick-Fil-A gift card and add a little money here and there, you can totally do this!) 

Do you have a neighbor that has kids? See if they want to go for a walk with you. 

I love it on those rare occurrences that both of my children are calm and listening when we venture out and about. I also love it when a stranger compliments them on their behavior. I know it encourages them, but it also REALLY encourages me.  So if you see a kiddo doing great, recognize it! You will absolutely make that mom’s day–I guarantee it. 

 

Do you have any other ways to encourage moms? Share in the comments below!

Mommy Monday

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One of my goals for 2018 is to try to get the kids to not watch as much television as they have in the past. I’ll admit it, my kids watch the big black box more than I’d like. According the Academy of American Pediatrics, toddlers shouldn’t be exposed to “screen time” more than an hour a day.

Whoops.

I’ve been trying to think of ways to keep the kiddos busy (so I can do stuff like actually go to the bathroom or blog) besides turning on the telly. I made a few “centers boxes” I found with items from the dollar store but Huff the Tot and Huff the Babe seem to really fly through them. I did a little research and found some awesome games that can either be played alone or together and are great for getting kids to think critically and problem solve!

 

Roll & Play 

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This game is great! We have one similar at the Mother’s Day Out program where I work and the kids love it! The premise is simple: roll the soft, plushy dice and find a card with the matching color. On the card is an activity you have to perform (sing a song, roar like a lion, etc.). And bonus–the cards fit inside a little pocket on the dice!

 

Camelot Jr. 

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Do you have a Minecraft or Lego-obsessed kiddo? Camelot Jr. is an awesome way to introduce your little one to spatial dynamics and architecture! This game (which can be played independently) comes with a variety of blocks and a booklet with instructions and is fun for the whole family!

 

Three Little Piggies

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This single-player game is similar to the Camelot Jr., but with a little twist. Using the familiar theme of The Three Little Pigs, this game includes a booklet with 48 challenges and encourages spatial insight, planning and problem-solving skills!

 

Last Mouse Lost

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One of the biggest problems we have in the Huffman Homestead is keeping the kids busy and focused on something when we go out to eat. For a kid, waiting 15-20 minutes for your food to arrive can seem like an eternity. And as soon as they get bored, all hell breaks loose: silverware goes flying, iced tea gets spilled, and someone (sometimes me) ends up in tears. This game is no bigger than a pancake is a great way to keep kiddos entertained on the go! Here’s how to play, according to Amazon.com: The mice have just finished feasting and need to scurry into their holes. Don’t be the last mouse standing or you might get caught by the cat! Players take turns pressing down any number of mice they wish in a single row. The player who presses down the last mouse loses the round. Whoever wins three of five rounds wins the game! 

 

Zingo Bingo

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A new twist on an old favorite, Zingo Bingo helps kids learn sight words and matching! This would be great for a playdate or even as a center in a classroom!

 

What are some of your kids’ favorite games? Share in the comments below!

Mommy Monday

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Today in my great state, schools are closed. Not because of inclement weather, but because the teachers are marching the steps of the State Capitol. I absolutely support the teachers in their endeavor to get funding for their classrooms, to create smaller class sizes, and to get paid for the hard work they put in week after week. Teachers deserve our respect and our support.

They’re are so many things I could say, stats I could provide, and stories I could tell to illustrate the need for proper funding, smaller class sizes, better pay, and improved working conditions for educators all around the nation. Instead, I’ll let this video speak for itself.

 

I stand with you, teachers! Keep fighting for our kids!

Mommy Monday

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Everyone feeling refreshed and well-rested after spending Spring Break home with your kiddos?

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Yeah, me neither.

 

However, since Easter is coming up, I found some great Easter-themed crafts that your kiddos can do {mostly} by themselves so you can sneak a few minutes hiding in the bathroom inhaling Reese’s Eggs!

 

Easter Mosaic Cross

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This craft is super easy! All you need to do is print off the cross and have the kiddos tear up some construction paper! Give them each a glue stick and let them go to town!

 

Paper Plate Flowers

Another super simple craft with little prep work! Plus, your littles can get in some cutting practice!

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Cross Sunrise Paper Plate 

This craft requires a bit more prep, but still super simple!

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Thumbprint Bunnies and Chicks

This craft would make a great keepsake as well!

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He Is Risen!

Pair this craft with The Story of Easter and you’ve got a great way to teach kids the real meaning behind this holiday!

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Popsicle Stick Chicks

Need a reason to eat up some popsicles? Now you’ve got one!

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What are your favorite Easter and springtime crafts? Share in the comments below!

Mommy Monday

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Last week, Huff the Hubs had his tonsils and adenoids taken out as well as had surgery to fix his deviated septum. When he told me he wanted to have these procedures done, I didn’t know too much about them. Then, I read about how awful it is to have a tonsillectomy as an adult and that you’re basically in a A LOT of pain and pretty much helpless for 14 days.

I was less than thrilled when he said he was making an appointment with an ENT to schedule the surgery.

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For one, I didn’t want him to have to go through all that pain and suffering (even though all procedures were very necessary–his deviated septum was so bad, the doctor said it was 90% blocked. Poor guy has been breathing out of only one nostril for his whole life!). And two, I know how men can be when they’ve got a tiny cold, let alone surgery.

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But, then I thought back to how sweet and caring Huff the Hubs was when I was recovering from giving birth both times. He really took great care of me. I also thought of something I read in my daily devotional the other day. Granted, it was about parent/child relationships, but I feel like it could be applied to marriage relationships as well. The writer of the devotional said, “Sometimes God uses the struggles of your child to sanctify you both.” I knew it was going to be tough taking care of The Hubs and 100% of everything else in the household. And, for a hot minute, all I could think about was myself: I’m never going to get any rest! I’m going to be so wore out and crabby! I’m stretched too thin as it is! 

But–as weird as this may sound–I’m actually enjoying taking care of him. I’m trying to take this time as a way for God to work in me, to show me how to have self-control and not complain, to show grace and mercy, and also to grow a servant’s heart. I know that, in this day and age, the thought of being a “servant” is met with gasps and statements such as: “I am no one’s ‘servant’!” But God calls us to love and serve one another (now, that doesn’t mean be a doormat and bow to everyone’s will; just wanna clear that up right meow). I’m talking about showing each other genuine love and care and not for praise or for what you think you may get in return. But serving with a loving, giving heart just because.

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Now, come Day 11 or 12 of HtH’s recuperation, I may be going a wee bit crazy (which means imma need some prayer, mmkay?) and I’m sure I’ll probably lose my cool. But for right now, I’m going to embrace this time of service as a “serving bootcamp” of sorts.

How can you be a blessing to someone today and mirror a servant’s heart?

Mommy Monday

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Sometimes I feel like we’re a little behind the times. Ahem, its 2018 and I STILL do not have a hoverboard, self-tying shoes, or food in the form of pills. Back to the Future really set us up for heartbreak.

However, I have found some gadgets that are sure to help you in your parenting journey and maybe, just maybe, make you feel a little more like one of the McFly’s!

If you’re a parent of a pre-teen or teen, I’m sure you’re already having the “Holy-Crap-My-Kid-Is-About-To-Be-Behind-The-Wheel-Of-A-Car” anxiety. Worry no more, because Autobrain is here for you!

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Autobrain is a small device (with accompanying app) that plugs into any car made after 1995 that can monitor speed, location, fuel levels, and battery levels. If the vehicle is in an accident, Autobrain automatically calls 911 and gives the location of the accident. This is not only great for new drivers, but for seniors whose older children may worry about them on the road.

New parents are usually walking around in a fog for about the first four months of their baby’s life. This means you can do a lot of crazy things from being sleep-deprived. Breaking your toe because you jumped out of bed to soothe a crying baby at 3:00 a.m. shouldn’t be one of them. Enter: Bright Feet!

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These LED-lighted slippers can help you maneuver the hellacious hallways while getting up at all hours to change diapers, feed your baby, or even do some late-night snacking!

 

Y’all, flu season really did a number on my nerves. Seriously. Everywhere we went I didn’t see people, I just saw piles of germs and bacteria waiting to attach to my family and I. My hands are literally cracking and bleeding because they are so dry from all the hand washing and Purell wipes I’ve been using. Thankfully, there’s a better–and more posh–way to sanitize my kids’ stuff!

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Meet Ellie, the first UV sterilizing pod! Here’s the skinny, according to the pod’s website: “Germs are a fact of life. Some bacteria are actually beneficial to us. But for dangerous, illness-causing, and potentially life-threatening bacteria and viruses—there’s Ellie with patented TRUVIOLET™ technology. Its digital UV light kills germs in a matter of seconds, eradicating E. coli, Salmonella, Staph and Listeria, plus antibiotic-resistant superbugs such as MRSA. It’s the most powerful, portable solution for sterilizing bottles, pacifiers and anything babies put in their mouths.” Yes, I’d like five, please.

 

Not only was I super-terrified of germs during this wave of the flu, but I was also scared that every sniffle, cough, or sneeze meant the flu! There were so many times I called the nurse’s line or wanted to go straight to the ER because I was sure we all had ebola. Thankfully, this was not the case. However, it does make me want to invest in the TytoHome Telehealth Kit!

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This kit can examine your child’s ears, nose, throat, abdomen, heart, lungs, and skin as well as monitor heart rate and temperature. The data can then be sent to your child’s doctor to remotely diagnose things such as ear infections, flu, upper respiratory infections, sinus infections, pink eye, and many more common ailments. And, you don’t have to drag your sick kiddo to the petri dish, er, I mean doctor’s office!

 

Now that its FINALLY starting to warm up outside, I’m able to take the kids out and go for a walk. After reading about the 4Moms Moxi Stroller, I want to snag one for myself!

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This ain’t your momma’s stroller, honey. This bad boy is PACKED with features! Not only does it grow with your baby (going from bassinet, parent-facing seat, to a forward-facing seat) but this stroller also has headlights and taillights, an LCD-screen that displays distance walked, speed, calorie burn, temperature, time, and battery level, and it can even charge your phone! That’s right–there’s a self-charging battery via generators in rear wheels! Holla!

 

BRB, gonna go on Amazon and get to shopping!