Afternoon Toddler Activity Guide | Week 4

Daily Afternoon Activity Guide Week Four

Today is Chickadee’s 5th birthday. Yall, how can that even be?? I feel like just made me a mama yesterday…while at the same time surviving those first three months feels like a lifetime ago. We are celebrating with a pancakes, princesses & pajamas party with some of her favorite 4 and 5 year old little girls. I can’t wait! She LOVES celebrating folks and is beyond excited that it is her turn!

This will be the last FULL week of October, so we are going to live up all things pumpkin (although let’s be honest, we are going to ride the pumpkin train through November too!) If you would like a copy of the daily afternoon survival activities you can check it out here! See below for this week’s afternoon toddler activities.

Daily Afternoon Survival Guide (1)

Make It Monday

Almond Butter Muffins

While we were on Whole 30 we cheated a little by eating the most AMAZING Almond Banana Muffins. It’s cheating because they say muffins are a bad habit and while all the ingredients are Whole 30 compliant, you are more likely to go back to eating “bad for you muffins” if you didn’t really kick the habit while on Whole 30. Anyways…they were amazing and yes we are eating muffins, but they are whole and clean and I don’t fell one iota bad for eating them! I found the recipe on Hustle and Heart Fitness, and it’s perfection. The kids agree. And the only thing that made these muffins even better….PUMPKIN SPICE Almond Butter. Yes, you read that right. I love having muffins around to go with breakfast or for the kids to eat for a snack. My one almond butter tip…leave it in the fridge upside down. The oil settles to the top, so if upside, it settles to the bottom! Win. And make sure it’s been in the fridge before you make this recipe. The muffins come out fluffier! 

Teach It Tuesday

Toddler Letter Match

Sometimes on Teach It Tuesday we all do the same thing, sometimes the kids to different things, and other times it’s the same activity but working on a different skill. That is what we have going on here & it’s great because you can adjust it to create the perfect activity for your toddler. Essentially you creating a matching game. I use this craft paper that goes with our easel and post its. Sprout is working on his letters, so he matched a stack of lower case letters (on the sticky notes) with the upper case letters on the craft paper. Chickadee practiced adding by solving the problem on the sticky note and matching it to the answer on the craft paper. Some other ideas would be subtraction, matching a picture on a post it with the word on the craft paper, number words to digits, 8 dots to the number 8…I’d love to hear any other ideas you have! My kids LOVED this and actually asked to do it again after round one and then again the next day!

Toddler Addition Sticky Note Activity

Wander There Wednesday

If you aren’t taking your kids to the library, you are missing out on some free, tax payer dollar FUN! My kids LOVE looking through books on the shelves, playing with the puzzles in the kid’s area, and we really like toddler time. Our library’s toddler time is on Wednesday (which works out!). I am sure your library has a toddler time as well. The library is right across the street from the duck pond, so on nice days we almost always walk around there before or after the library!
Thoughtful ThursdayPump Up With Pumpkins

I saw on Instastories this great idea from Elisabeth Hasselbeck for encouraging and sharing some love with your friends. The premise is simple: buy pumkins, write a note on the pumpkin (or draw a picture), then leave it for your friend/neighbor/grandmama/cousin to find! The kids loved decorating the pumpkins and then participating in a stealth delivery! Who could your kids encourage and share the love with today?

Free For All Friday

Is there anymore more classic than The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown? We had to introduce our kiddos, and of course we ate pizza!

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I hope you are able to implement some of these activities with your little one next week! I’d love to see pictures of your kiddos enjoying and you surviving your afternoons. Tag @astepinthejourney or use the hashtag #astepinthejourney if you share on instagram or Facebook! 

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Week ONE | Week TWO | Week THREE

**This post does contain affliate links, they cost you nothing but help me with my side hustle :)

Zucchini Spaghetti

Zucchini Spaghetti for Whole 30

In an effort to add to my Whole 30 recipe inventory I am sharing another recipe with you that is EASY and compliant. This zucchini spaghetti has actually made it into our meal planning rotation now that we are not on Whole 30 because it is so good and makes great leftovers. If you want to read more about the most amazing & simple meal planning strategy, check out this post where I tell you how I take the stress out of meal planning.

So I think the technical or culinary term for zucchini noodles would be zoodles and they have become so popular, that if you don’t want to spiralize your own, you can find them in the produce department or the frozen aisle of most grocery stores. But I suggest spiralizing because it’s cheaper and really easy! I use this handheld spiralizer my mom bought me a few years back, but they also have big fancy ones or attachments for your Kitchen Aid mixer if you want to go that route. 

Sweat Zucchini Noodles

You will want to “sweat” your zoodles (I spiralize one zucchini per person or double if trying to have leftovers!), so I like to spiralize right onto a baking sheet lined with paper towels. I don’t usually peel my zucchini, but lots of folks do so try it both ways and decide on your preference for future zoodling!  Season them with salt and then place in the oven on 200 degrees for about 30 minutes! Once they are finished take another paper towel squeeze out any remaining water by pushing down from the top. Sweating your zoodles will make your final dish a lot less liquidy since zucchini hold a lot of water when they are raw. You can either saute your zoodles in a little avocado oil for 5-6 minutes or throw them in your meat sauce while it is simmering about let them soften that way (about 10 minutes).

Sauted Zucchini Noodles

While the zoodles are sweating, now is the time to prepare your meat sauce. If I am not on Whole 30 I will sometimes used an organic & sugar free marina sauce with these meatballs. YUM! But if we are sticking to Whole 30 we want to make sure our meat sauce is compliant. Check out the full recipe for that below. 

Zucchini Spaghetti (Zoodles)
A simple Whole 30 dinner of zucchini noodles and meat sauce.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 zucchini per person (double if wanting leftovers)
  2. Avocado or Olive Oil
  3. 1/2 pound of grass fed organic ground beef
  4. 1/2 an onion, diced or 1/2 cup of frozen diced onions
  5. 3 cloves of garlic
  6. 1 16 oz can of diced tomatos
  7. 1 jar of Classico Roaste Garlic Spaghetti Sauce (or any Whole30 compliant sauce)
  8. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  9. 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  10. 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  11. 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  12. 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
Instructions
  1. Prepare zoodles according to directions above...spiral, sweat, squeeze.
  2. While the zoodles are sweating prepare your sauce.
  3. In a large pan over medium heat drizzle your oil. Then saute your onions until soft (about 3-4 minutes).
  4. Add minced/chopped garlic and cook until fragrant.
  5. Then add ground beef. Cook until brown throughout.
  6. Add remaining ingredients (diced tomatoes, spaghetti sauce & seasonings) and bring to a slight boil. Then turn your heat to low and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  7. You can cook your zoodles one of two ways. First, after sweating them you can saute in batches using a little olive oil for about 5 minutes or until they reach your desired tenderness.
  8. Another option is to throw them in with the meat sauce and let them simmer for about 10 minutes.
  9. Enjoy!
A Step In The Journey http://astepinthejourney.com/
Zucchini Spaghetti

As a quick FYI, these don’t taste just like regular pasta noodles. You can’t go into trying this dish thinking you won’t notice a difference from traditional spaghetti. However, zoodles are a great healthy replacement and this dinner is delicious, heavy on the veggies, and I promise you will feel so much better after eating zucchini spaghetti for dinner than carb loaded pasta! ENJOY!

Daily Afternoon Activities Guide | Week 3

Afternoon Activities_Week Three 

Week 3 is here, and so are cooler temperatures down south. Wahoo! Did you try the smoothie popsicles?? They were a hit all week with my little ones. We even ate them for breakfast! If you would like a copy of the daily afternoon survival activities you can check it out here

Daily Afternoon Survival Guide (1)

 You can find week’s ONE and TWO linked at the bottom! Feel free to jump in anytime. I’m excited to be building this library of ideas that I will be able to continue to pull from year after year! As we are getting closer to Halloween, this week we are embracing all things pumpkin, orange, & friendly/spooky fun!

Make It Monday

Halloween Painting

As I mentioned last week, Target is helping us out with our Make It Monday (however, you can find fun Halloween painting kits at most craft stores too. I grabbed a wooden die-cut of a pumpkin and ghost at Target a few weeks back. We LOVE painting around here and so I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to brake out the paintbrushes. I always have the kids use the back of their placemats when working on small projects and use the cheapo plastic brushes so they don’t have to mix colors. Although sometimes they do and that is just fine! 

Teach It Tuesday

How Do Spiders Spin Webs for Kids

When leaving the neighborhood last weekend we saw a huge spider web that went from a fire hydrant, UP to a street sign. The kids were amazed by the beautiful creation and started asking all kinds of questions about spiders and how the spin their webs. So following their cue Tuesday was all about spiders. Click here to see what we talked about, a cute video we watched, the adventure we went on and for a simple tutorial on how we created our own webs.

Wander There Wednesday

Wander there Wednesday

This week we went to the ZOO with Chickadee’s preschool class. It was so much fun to experience the zoo with her sweet group of preschool friends. The Atlanta Zoo is wonderful. It’s super shady, has awesome animals, a train, splash pad, playground and carousel. We are members and find ourselves venturing down there quite a bit! 

Thoughtful Thursday

We've Been Booed

Staying in our Halloween theme for the week, this week for Thoughtful Thursday we BOO’d our neighbors! What is “Boo-ing” you may ask? Well it was new to me too when we moved into our neighborhood. But here is the gist…fill a bucket with awesome treats and Halloween goodies. Then secretly deliver it to a neighbor, leaving a paper ghost on their door, and directions to pass a new boo bucket along to someone else in the next 48 hours. Eventually it works it’s way ALL around the neighborhood and everyone gets to be in on the FUN! It worked out perfectly that we were boo’d on Tuesday night.

we've been boo'd

Thursday we headed to the Dollar Tree to grab lots of goodies for one of our friends that is new to our neighborhood. Then the kids being as stealthy as a 3 and 4 year old could be left the bucked of goodies on their porch along with the ghost on their door! SO. MUCH. FUN. We drew our own ghost but there are lots of blogs out their with super cute printables!

Free For All Friday

We headed out of town on Friday afternoon. But first we ran by the library to grab some new movies. We try to limit our screen time day in and day out, but when we travel…give me all the movies! Watching Charlotte’s Web might be fun if you talked about spiders on Tuesday!

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I hope you are able to implement some of these activities with your little one next week! I’d love to see pictures of your kiddos enjoying and you surviving your afternoons. Tag @astepinthejourney or use the hashtag #kiddosurvivalguide if you share on instagram or Facebook! 

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Week ONE | Week TWO

**This post does contain affliate links, they cost you nothing but help me with my side hustle :)

All About Spiders | Spooky Walk

How Do Spiders Spin Webs for Kids

Last week we were leaving the neighborhood when we saw the most amazing spider web. To be honest I rarely would use the word amazing to describe anything spider related, but this web went from a fire hydrant all the way over to a street sign probably 6 feet away. It was incredible and as kids always do, they started asking questions…so I thought what a perfect Teach It Tuesday topic this would be!

First the kids predicted how they thought spiders made webs. We predicted where the silk came from, how they connect it to the poles/leaves/trees, etc. and talked about how we felt about spiders. Then we watched a video I found (an of course had previewed) on YouTube. Check it out here

The kids loved the up close clips of the spiders making their webs and catching the bugs. We actually watched it a few times!

Kid Spider Web Craft

Next we spun our own webs! The kids punched holes around the edge of a paper plate (great fine motor skill practice!). Then we threaded yarn back and forth until they had created their own spider web. And of course every web needs a spider, so we added one of those made out of paper. 

Spider Web Scavenger Hunt

Finally, we went on a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood. The kids love scavenger hunts and so this was the perfect opportunity to find real webs just like we had just learned about! I was worried we might not see one, but we actually found lots! You just have to look closely!

This was a great Teach It Tuesday! The kids learned a lot and so did I!

And I can’t pass up the opportunity to share one of our Halloween favorites….the Spooky Walk! It’s a cute song where the kids repeat and we like to do the hand motions!! Check it out!

Whitewashing Your Fireplace

IMG_0242 (1)

We have bought two houses in our married life and a requirement each time was always a fireplace. It seems silly I am sure, but hanging stockings from a mantle at Christmas time is just a must for me. Plus, it makes such a great focal point for a room. Unless….you don’t like the brick. Then it doesn’t give you that cozy up by the fire feeling. And that was the case with our fireplace. 

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This pinky brick, just wasn’t my cup of tea. Our house has both warm and neutral colors. The (new!) floors are a chocolate brown, the walls Smokestack by Behr, and the colors a mix of blue/teals, golds, browns, and neutrals (well, and orange right now because of fall and AUBURN football!). To be honest I was a little gun shy on painting the brick because I knew once I did , there was no going back. But after 3 years, I finally decided to do something about my fireplace that just didn’t fit. 

And yall, I don’t know why I waited so long. I feel like this is always the case with house projects. This DIY was easy peasy and my fireplace finally feels like home! I didn’t take any “in process” pictures because I was trying to knock it all out in one nap time, but I’m going to give you a pretty easy to follow step by step if your fireplace also needs a face lift. 

I started by wiping off the brick and taping the floors around the base of the fireplace (that rhymes!). Then I used a small sample I had of my wall color, Behr’s Smokestack, to “mute” some of the bricks that were the pinkest….simply getting a small amount of paint on my brush and dabbing the brick. 

Then came the whitewashing. I used a red Solo cup, because I knew I wasn’t doing a huge space and mixed equal parts white paint and water. Then I used a paint stick to stir together. Starting at the top and working my way down (and in direction of the brick) I brushed the paint on to both the bricks and grout. I worked in one area at a time whitewashing on…and then used a old cloth to dab/wipe off any excess. Wipe on. Wipe off. Repeating until I reached the bottom and the whole thing was washed.

See. Easy Peasy. I know tackling a permanent fixture in your house can be daunting, but if you are looking to transform your fireplace this truly is a simple DIY. I encourage you to take the plunge. And if you have any question, please ask!

Whitewashed Fireplace

Here is a little before and after.

Painted Fireplace Before and After

And here is a look at our whole living room! (Don’t you love that kid ride on toy accent!) 

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