Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Busy Bag Exchange

Like most moms of young children, I am famous for pinning hundreds of ideas and activities on pinterest for my child, and following through with about two of them. While going through my boards recently in an effort to come up with some new, easy at home activities, I was reminded of busy bags! The best way to describe a busy bag if you've never heard of it, is a self contained educational toy. It's essentially a bag that has a small activity in it that will engage a toddler's attention and stimulate their mind and probably their little fingers too. It can be great for traveling, when you need to cook dinner, when you're caring for another child....if you do a quick search for busy bags on pinterest, you will find thousands and thousands of results! 

As I looked through the many busy bag ideas on pinterest, it occurred to me how much easier it would be to make and shop for just ONE bag, instead of many bags. So I emailed some of my mommy friends to see if they'd be interested in a busy bag swap. We had eight toddlers in our group, so we each picked one project, and made eight bags of that one project. This past Monday, we got together at Allie's house and exchanged them all, and then we came home with seven new bags + the one bag we had made for ourselves. 


Here are all of the bags we brought home with us! M has actually only played with a few of them since Monday, but so far, each one has kept her attention for ten minutes or longer which is nothing short of a miracle these days!









As you can see from each picture above, none of these are that complicated. In fact, most are quite basic and cost close to nothing to make. We were talking at our play date on Monday when we exchanged bags about how we could do this again in a few months with all new activities. There are so many great ideas out there!

Now I need to to figure out how I want to store all the bags. I'm thinking some sort of rubbermaid box or maybe even a filing folder? Any other ideas?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fall is finally here

After a VERY hot week last week, yesterday we woke up to some cooler temperatures yesterday, and I'm beginning to think we may finally be entering fall here in North Carolina. I'm welcoming it with open arms after the hot and humid week we had last week. I haven't broken out the boots yet, but I have no shame in my pumpkin beer drinking game.

This past weekend, we spent a lot of time at home finishing up potty training. I could not be happier with how well M has done. By the end of Saturday, we went out to watch the Vandy game with J's alumni group here in Charlotte, and while it was terrifying leaving the house with her in underwear, she did awesome. I'm not going to do a post on it, but if you have any questions regarding potty training, feel free to email me! A few people asked on IG if I was going to do a post, but honestly, I don't want to share with the whole world how I got my little one to use a toilet. I will say though, Elmo underwear, M&M's, and stickers were game changers for my easily motivated toddler.



Like I mentioned above, we did watch the Vandy game on Saturday, and well...it was sad. But we're still representing with our new flag and flag pole we put out front on Saturday morning. I need to order a JMU flag now...especially since they did win this past weekend.


And I feel like I need to mention what took up a great deal of our weekend...


Oh my goodness, we're obsessed. We started it a few weeks ago, and now that we're wrapped into the story, we're flying through it. I won't lie, I didn't think it'd be for me, but I love it. 

And last but not least...a few toddler pictures. We are already having a lot of leaves falling in our yard (what's that about?!), and she's really into the "lellow" leaves. And she loves that they're crunchy.



Friday, September 5, 2014

Odds and Ends

1. We had such a great time with our friends who came to visit us last weekend! We took them to Block and Grinder for dinner on Saturday night, and if you're a Charlotte resident and haven't been, GO! It's probably my favorite place for a steak dinner in Charlotte! This is us at lunch on Sunday at JJ's!


2. We're potty training this week. Full on, no more diapers except for sleep, potty training. We may or may not ever leave the house again. I am feeling thankful right now for: moms who have been down this path before and can reassure me that she's doing great and give me advice, M&M's, AND beer. A beer hasn't tasted as good as it does when your potty training toddler goes to bed. I really can't complain too much, though. After a LOT of accidents on Wednesday when we started, she's done awesome on days 2 and 3!

3. We closed out our Labor Day weekend and summer with one last trip to the pool last weekend.




4. We have quite the little sous chef by our sides in the kitchen these days. She wants to help at all meal times and we're doing our best to find (safe) ways to let her stand in her tower and help. Last week she helped me make guacamole and had the best time!



5. I read 8 books this summer! That's a record for me...especially considering I read a total of 4 books in 2013. Any book recommendations? I'm currently reading Goodnight June by Sarah Jio. Not sure how I feel about it yet...also, if we're not goodreads friends, add me! I have a link in my sidebar.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Summer 2014: The Archives

Happy Labor Day Weekend! We have four good friends coming to Charlotte to spend the weekend with us, and we're really excited for the fun that we know will be had. I even planned ahead and got a sitter for M for Saturday night so we can take them out for a "real" meal, you know as opposed to a toddler meal where someone sits in her chair for .5 seconds and then wants to use everyone's fork and knife for the rest of the night as she puts stickers on everyones hands.

Anywaaaaaaaay....as summer comes to an end (sad face!), I thought I'd share a few fun summer photos and memories that never made it onto the blog over the last 3 months. We have had the best time this summer staying outside late, having pizza dinners at the pool, going on bike rides, frequenting the playground daily, and trying new art projects. While I do love fall (give me all the pumpkin beer), I am so sad to see this summer go. Experiencing summer with a toddler has made it so much fun!





















M has grown so much since the start of summer (not just in size, but in abilities too!), and with fall on it's way, I know that means it's time for her to turn TWO! Farewell summer 2014!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Around the web...3 things

1.) Last week, my friend Becca wrote out her thoughts on what's happening in our country right now, and you guys. It's powerful. It's good. It's raw. This is one of the best blog posts I've read all year, and it's really made me think about where I fit into my community and what I want to change. If you are a Christian, please take 5 minutes and read this post.


"Because we are the Church, and I am afraid that if we do not act, we will lose our credibility in a world that desperately needs real answers. Not more services, not bigger screens and louder songs, not new sanctuaries or more programs. But Jesus: the good news of the Gospel that gets lived out by actually walking alongside the fatherless. Alongside the widows, the orphans, the oppressed. "



2.) I went to JMU with Chelsea, and she is a mom who owns a small business where she refinishes furniture and on top of that has a gorgeous home that she has decorated and put together. I love following her blog and instagram and encourage you to follow her. I promise you'll be inspired!

Instagram: Chelsea's Garage



3.) I recently joined this Facebook Group called "Montessori on a Budget." J and I really love a lot of the principles that go along with a Montessori education, and we've both been doing a lot of reading on how we can better incorporate them into our home for M. I joined this group maybe 2 weeks ago, and I have loved seeing so many great idea and conversations about Montessori at home pop up into my newsfeed! If you're a mom of a young child who wants to do "more" at home, I highly recommend joining this group. It is a private group and you have to get approved, but I think I got approved within 24 hours of joining.