Valentine Number Sense Activity

Valentine_Number_Sense_Activity

Valentine’s is in full swing over here! We have decorated, crafted, played and eaten our fair share of Valentine themed everything, and we still have a week to go. I know people say it gets all “Hallmarky” but you won’t find me pouting on folks wanting to celebrate LOVE. Let’s do it every day! And let’s do it in February! And let’s do it on the 14th! Spread the LOVE. 

The afternoons are the hardest time of day for me. As a stay at home mom it seems the three-ish hours from the end of nap time until when dad comes home are the longest. Especially, when it is cold and or raining. I try to think ahead and have some type of activity to do with the big kids and this always helps pass the time. Seeing as we are doing all things hearts, the other day I threw together a fun heart and number sense activity. And you can too!

Valentine_Number_Sense_Game

All you need is some paper, a marker, dice & stickers. I changed things up a little bit between my four and two year old, but the game was played the same. 

For my two year old I drew a bunch of hearts and wrote numbers 1 – 6 inside them. I wanted him to work on number sense, both recognizing digits and being able to do one – to – one correspondence counting the dots on the dice. 

For my four year old, we are working on reading. So, inside her hearts I wrote number words 1 – 6. I wanted her to work on reading the number words as well as recognizing the number of dots on the dice without having to count the dots. 

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Here are what their papers looked like before we started.

Then they took turns rolling the dice and placing stickers on their paper, covering up the number digit or word they rolled. I thought this activity might be one and done, but they both asked to play again. Chickadee immediately and Sprout after he played trains for a little while! I love when activities can be fun for both of them and challenge them at their current ability levels! You could also extend this having your older kids roll two dice and adding them together. The numbers on the hearts could then be numbers 2 – 12!

Valentine_Math_Toddler

Love DOES

Yall, on Friday Mr. Groundhog “said” there is going to be six more weeks of winter. SIX. Please say it ain’t so! I’m with the folks saying #notmygroundhog

Go_away_pneumonia

We need Spring. Two weeks ago we found ourselves in the ER with Sprout. It was our first trip and we hit it out of the park. He started with a cough on Saturday, fever Sunday, and by early Monday morning had a rapid heart rate and seemed to be having trouble breathing. Off to the ER we went and a few hours later he was admitted with pneumonia. PNEUMONIA yall. Not even the walking kind. The on oxygen & breathing treatment kind. Poor buddy. It was heartbreaking to see him in that hospital bed. My heart broke for all the other parents in that hospital who were also sitting with their sick little ones and it was not lost on me that more than likely our stay would be short and others’ stays would be different. While serious, I knew he would most likely be okay. I was also very thankful for the wonderful children’s hospital that is Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and that we have access to it. So we were admitted to the hospital and there Sprout stayed for three days until he could sleep through the night without his oxygen levels dropping. 

Love_Does

And besides always listening to your mama/daddy instinct, there is something else I learned through this experience. LOVE DOES. I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about our village before, family and friends who are always with us and for us. Find your village, love on them, and let them love on you. My Mama dropped everything, called in a sub (she’s a teacher), and showed up within a few hours (2.5 of those were driving) to take care of Chickadee and Poppy so III and I both could be at the hospital with Sprout. LOVE DOES. A dear friend and neighbor picked up Chickadee from preschool while my mom was on the way and took her to lunch so I could have a second to breathe and feed Poppy before heading back to the hospital. LOVE DOES. Friends brought meals…and they didn’t say would you like me to bring dinner, they said I’m bringing dinner tomorrow. LOVE DOES. A friend sent her sister (an art therapist at the hospital) to come bring an activity to help us pass the long days of being quarantined. LOVE DOES. So many were “on call” should we need help with the girls, meals at the hospital, a hot shower near by…LOVE DOES. And the prayers, how we coveted those, they came from all over and gave us confidence that our little man would be just fine. LOVE DOES. 

Love Does is a book by Bob Goff. In the Amazon description it says Bob is the kind of guy that knows love doesn’t stop at thoughts and feelings. Love takes action. LOVE DOES. We have a role to play in the lives of those around us. And that role is active. I was reminded of that over our hospital stay. Show up. Act without worrying if you are imposing or if someone is going to say no. Because love is an action. LOVE DOES. 

Thankfully our little man is back to himself. But I am still crossing my fingers that the groundhog got it wrong. Poppy has bronchiolitis, however is trending in the right directions. Chickadee is taking on an ear infection like a champ. And I’ve been coughing since Thanksgiving. Come on Spring. 

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

Happy ALMOST Super Bowl Sunday!! Is your team in the big game? I can’t decide who I want to root for, the Patriots seems to win all the time, so maybe the Eagles. Have you asked Alexa who she is cheering for?? It’s pretty funny!

I’m popping in today to share a quick recipe for easy stuffed bell peppers. It’s been a crazy week so mama needed an easy dinner and this fit the bill! We had family in town over the weekend and had served both nachos and roast & carrots over rice, so I had some leftovers to work with. I actually use this same mixture to make zucchini boats as well so I guess it’s multi-purpose.

Easy Stuffed Bell Peppers
Yields 4
Delicious stuffed bell peppers
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Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 5 bell peppers (any color)
  2. 1 pound ground beef (cooked and drained)
  3. 1 cup of brown rice (cooked according to package instructions)
  4. Olive Oil
  5. 15oz can of black beans
  6. 15oz can of corn
  7. 1/2 cup salsa
  8. 1/2 onion, diced
  9. 1 tsp cumin
  10. 1 tsp chili powder
  11. 3/4 cup of cheddar or taco cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut the tops off the bell peppers and hollow out the insides. Then dice up ONE of the bell peppers. Place the remaining four bell peppers in a greased baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. In a skillet oven medium to high heat, saute diced onions and pepper.
  4. Once tender add in cooked beef, brown rice, black beans, corn, salsa, cumin, and chili powder.
  5. Stuff each pepper until full and then top with cheese.
  6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Then remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes. If you would like the tops a little crispy you can broil for the remaining 5 minutes.
Notes
  1. If you like a kick, add a little Tabasco sauce to the mixture as well!
A Step In The Journey http://astepinthejourney.com/
So, as much as I would like to say that my kids would eat this up in stuffed bell peppers, it just isn’t true. So to make theirs a little more kid friendly I would serve it over blue corn tortilla chips or even make a quesadilla using the mixture. They are still getting lots of good veggies! 

Enjoy!

Toddler Meal Ideas

Meal Ideas Toddlers

I’m NOT an expert when it comes to making toddler meals, but I am two kids in and working on eating with #3. What we feed our children has come a long way from the 80’s when frozen chicken nuggets, mac n cheese, and applesauce were king. A lot of this change is simply from the passing of time which hopefully brings knowledge…the idea of when we know better, we do better. It’s also from folks obsession with taking pictures of food and placing it on social media. And partly from the “real food” revolution (paleo, whole30, etc.). Now I won’t pretend to be a person who has ever done whole30, and my kids get churros at Costco….but day in and day out we find balance with meals like these below. So if you are in a rut of PB&J and a fruit cup, here are some simple breakfast and lunch ideas from an average mom doing the best she can! 

BREAKFAST

I think it’s important to always have some good protein at breakfast time. We traditionally think meat, but protein is found in cottage cheese, greek yogurt, and eggs too! Costco has great prices on organic greek yogurt, organic eggs & organic raw honey. And the Kirkland brand organic maple syrup is AMAZING. I didn’t put cereal among my ideas, but I do let them have it on Thursdays. They don’t go to preschool on Thursdays so I don’t have to worry about them getting hungry and bugging their teachers at 9:00am. They bug me for a snack instead :)

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Cottage Cheese | Banana Muffin | Clementines 

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Plain Oatmeal (sweetened with honey) | Applegate Sausage | Blueberries and Clementines 

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Whole Wheat Waffle | Scrambled Eggs | Cheddar Cheese

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Plain Oatmeal (sweetened with honey) | Pears | Homemade Granola

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Cottage Cheese on Toast | Scrambled Eggs | Clementines

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Plain Greek Yogurt with Granola & Blueberries | Whole Wheat Waffle with Real Maple Syrup

…..

LUNCH

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Deli Everroast Chicken | Cheese Slice | Pears | Green Beans | Sweet Potatoes

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Chicken & Cheese Quesadilla Rolls | Veggie Straws | Blueberries

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Chicken & Cheese Quesadillas | Berry Medley | Veggie Straws

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Veggie Muffins | Grapes | Cucumber Sandwiches (with hummus)

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Grilled Ham & Cheese | Apples | Avocado

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Gorton’s Panko Fish Sticks | Apple Sauce | String Cheese | Carrots

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PB&J Squares | Avocado | Veggie Straws

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Veggie Muffin | Cheese Squares | Grapes | Raisins 

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Deli Turkey | Raspberries | String Cheese | Avocado

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Grilled Chicken and Cheese | Apples | Hummus & Shredded Carrots

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Ham Rolls | Veggie Muffin | Cheese Slices | Hummus & Peas

…..

My kids LOVE hummus so I like to mix in all kinds of veggies. They also like dipping carrots and cucumbers in hummus. Costco has some yummy veggie muffins if you aren’t up for making your own. They are in the refrigerated section. We also eat a lot of dinner leftovers for lunch. The plates and bowls are from IKEA. We have two sets and use them constantly! 

So what are your go to breakfast and lunch ideas? Do you find yourself in a rut? Try mixing things up a little bit!

Three More Months with Poppy | 6 Months Old

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Our Sweet Poppy,

Each time I write I am in awe of how quickly time is passing. You are just the most joyful little baby and we are so enjoying our time with you! You smile every time you see our faces; the smile creeps up your face and when it reaches your mouth it lights up the room. Sometimes I am truly worried my heart might explode. Oh, sweet girl thank you for being the most perfect baby #3!

four_months

At your four month appointment you weighed 13lb 11oz and were 25.75 inches long. Long and lean. You are wearing size 2 diapers and 6 month clothes. You are starting to be more interactive and reach for things like toys, your dress and our fingers and of course they all go straight to your mouth. Maybe it was because you were teething! You got your first tooth October 24th and your second followed a week later on November 4th. Those two bottom teeth are the cutest. We celebrated your sister’s 4th birthday and you met your Great-Grandmother (Pop’s mom). She, as is everyone else, was smitten.  We became brave enough in early October to let you stay in the church nursery. We were a little nervous because you aren’t a fan of the bottle, but you did great (wouldn’t drink anything, but great otherwise!). You also started napping in your nursery this month. You like it dark and the white noise turned up and being still swaddled you sleep like a champ. I think you will be rolling over soon though. Finally, we celebrated your first Halloween. You were a banana split. EVERYONE was a fan!

Five_Months

At 5 months we finally moved you up to your room to sleep at night (November 13th). As I’ve mentioned before we are soaking up all the babyness and I think keeping you in our room a little longer was part of that. Since you rolled over for the first time, back to tummy, on December 5th you dropped your swaddle and you handled it like a champ. You fussed for about 15 minutes and then went to sleep, never looking back! A few days later you realized you preferred your tummy and have been sleeping that way whenever you are in your crib. You are still sleeping through the night and your mama is very grateful. I have to be on my A game to mother you three littles and sleep is crucial. Around this time you also found your feet and they are great entertainment in the car seat. You are still eating 4-5 times a day (no solids yet), although you are often distracted by your big brother and sister. You want to play with them so badly. They smother you with toys and love. Sprout loves sharing Bunny with you and Chickadee always gets a kick out of reading to you. We hosted Thanksgiving this month, so you got lots of snuggles from family and we also enjoyed a trip to the mountains with our small group. 

Six_Months

And now you are 6 months. Happy Half Birthday! You partook in so many Christmas festivities this month. And the weather matched the season this year. It snowed 6 inches down here in the deep south. You didn’t play in it much but you definitely experienced the magic! Other festivities included Christmas train riding at Stone Mountain, the lights at the Botanical Gardens, the Christmas parade downtown (that one you didn’t really like, those bands were a little loud!), and of course you met the BIG guy in red. We traveled to Alabama for Christmas and you had the BIGGEST blowout ever on the way. I’m pretty sure there was one every leg of the trip. You made the transition from one place to the next with ease though. It was a JOY to celebrate our Savior’s birth and you be there! We told everyone about your impending arrival last Christmas, so it was kind of full circle. I think you have hit a growth spurt as you started waking up again around 4:00am to eat. I am keeping perspective and cherishing some quite time together with you. We had our New Year’s in London party again and you rocked midnight in London with the rest of us. You are getting stronger and stronger and are pushing up when on your tummy. You also can sit up for a few seconds. I love watching you interact with the world. The sound you hear when you scratch your finger on a bumpy fabric, hearing a laugh and realizing it’s your own, using your legs to bounce in the exersaucer and making music with your feet on the piano mat. You are rarely fussy and all it takes to calm you down usually is picking you up. Finally, I think you are starting to ease up on your bottle strike. We are all happy! You have established a routine with your naps, usually around 9:00, 1:00 and 5:00. 

six_months2

We have so enjoyed these past 6 months with you and cannot wait to see how you continue to grow and develop! We pray you continue to be filled with God’s light and share your joy with all those you see. May you love like Jesus sweet girl.

Love, Mama (& Daddy!)