Hello… are you there?

Hello readers… followers… and anyone who just happens to stumble across this tiny piece of neuroticism that I share with the world.

So I realize that I’ve been bad about keep up with the blog lately. Real bad. So sad. So busy. busy busy busy. But that’s no excuse. So I apologize up front. In any case… outside of the every day things that I am personally going through as a parent to now 5 and 3 year olds…. what else can I offer to you on this blog? What else would you like to have a schedule or plan for? haha. Is it even possible to plan anything else outside of sleep and feeding? 🙂

Ask and you may (If I can conjure) receive.
keep-calm-and-write

Party time: All things Disney

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For my daughter’s 5th birthday, we went for a “Disney” theme. It was good timing as she now has gone to Disneyland many times and familiar with all the stories and characters. Having a Disney theme was definitely due to come! Oh and I had so much planning this one!  Let’s go over the details:

Centerpieces: I found lots of versions on Pinterest and went for a pretty simple one. Went into detail about it on the blog here.

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I was able to find a HUGE lantern on Oriental Trading on clearance for $5. Didn’t realize how big it was until it arrived. But my dad was able to rig some ears to it out of a foam board, lots of tape, spray paint. It turned out pretty good. Could also be used for a Deadmau5 party for sure! 🙂

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For the fruit display, my mom carved Mickey into a watermelon and also used cookie cutters to skewer some as well.

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Cake: Again, we got our favorite marble and bavarian creme with fresh strawberries from Renaissance Bakery (Ranch Events Catering). Went for a simple Minnie Mouse patterned design with the ears and bow on top.

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We had our usual photobooth set- up with template designed by Snapshots Photobooth. The kids and adults always love the photobooth.

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For the goodie bags, I had one of my friends who is a passholder and lives in Anaheim, collect the “I’m celebrating” buttons for me for a couple months leading up to the party. So each bag got an authentic button from Disneyland. The girls got Minnie ear headbands that got for $1 a piece in the LA Fashion District, and the boys had gotten a Cars glider that I got for $1 a piece at Target’s after-Easter clearance. What else was in those bags…. crayons from Target’s after-Halloween sale, and little playing cards as well.

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More on the pinata from previous blog post here. It was HUGE! $13 in Tijuana baby!

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Lastly, I put several of the costumes myself and blogged about it here. All except for Mike from Monsters, Inc. – which was actually a children’s costume that I got on eBay for $17 and then sewed to a $3 t-shirt from Michaels. It was to match my son’s Sully costume which I got half off the day after Halloween at Target last year (always think ahead!)

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Schedule Series: 10 Months and ONE nap! (and a 3-yr-old)

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Let me first start by saying that my son went down to one nap a few months earlier than my daughter did… and I’ll be honest when I say that I moved in that direction on purpose because I was trying to get them on the same schedule for my own sanity. It worked fine for him, he had no problem because it was something he was going to eventually be doing anyways. But as for me? Hallelujah! 12-3 is my favorite time of the day! Don’t bother me!

My daughter surprisingly has maintained the midday nap for years! At 3 years old, it was usually about 2-3 hours still. Then by 4 years old, it varied, some days longer (depending on how active she was in the morning), and some days shorter. Between 4-5yrs old, she started going to bed a little later (not by my choice!!!!) at night so that made her want/need that midday nap still. I wasn’t complaining though because it was no secret that I LOVE that midday break for myself. Besides, once she starts Kindergarten this fall… I’ll be saying goodbye to that break with her. UGH. I’ll have to say hello to some forced “quiet time” for her… but its not a full release of my mommy-duties, if you know what I mean.

Behavior Chart App: iRewardChart

After finding myself struggling more so with getting my soon-to-be 5-yr-old to get up in the morning and to bed in a timely manner… I started to search for a better reward system. I had purchased a behavior clip chart in the past (I just opted to buy a nice one on Etsy because I was short on time and lazy to make one myself), which had made some progress when we first started it – but it just wasn’t enough. See my thoughts on it here.

So I went back on the hunt for something better. I’ve seen all sorts of things floating around for a reward system, star chart, marble jar… all using the same concept of accumulating something in exchange for the behaviors that we want. I like that this is visually more clear to kids their progress and they see what they are working towards (vs. the clip chart that only shows progress).

I settled on iRewardChart Lite on Google Play for Android.

OMG… so far… One week in… this has been a parenting game changer for me. My daughter totally understands the concept – obviously because I know they have a marble jar in her preschool classroom. But I really like it because together, we decided on 4 simple things that I wanted her to accomplish weekly, and then we decided on the rewards that she would like to earn in exchange.

I LOVE that you can earn more than one star in a day and I LOVE that you can lose stars too (red stars). My daughter loves being able to click on the stars herself and track her progress. We talk about how many stars she has, and after a reward, how many she has left, and deciding how she wants to spend the stars that she has earned. Lots of learning opportunities here in my opinion.

I’m keeping it really simple to start with the following tasks: Sharing, Homework, Getting up on time in the AM, Getting ready on time in the PM. For her rewards, I just settled on a handful of things: A new $2 toy (right now she is trying to collect all the My Little Pony toys from McDonald’s), Extra 10 mins iPad time, A new book, A new iPad app, Movie Night, Ice cream. For the most part, each one is valued at 10 stars for now. As she gets more on point, I might up the value or add more enticing high value items. In fact, her birthday is coming up, and I told her that things she didn’t get off her wishlist, we can add to the reward chart.

My 2.5 year old is not quite needing this system yet. We are mostly just working on Sharing, No spitting, and Gentle Hands with him. But I ended up liking this app so much, that I paid for the full version ($3.99) and added him so that he didn’t feel left out with the “stars”.

Looking forward to seeing how this app works for us long-term.

Behavior Clip Chart

Halfway through the Feisty Fours, I was on a mission to curb some tantrums and all sorts of crazy behaviors that needed to be nipped in the bud! I combed Pinterest for ideas and saw a bunch of various Behavior Clip Charts that people made. I went on Google images and found lots of ideas both parents and classrooms used. There are lots of ways to create your own with just scrapbook paper and printing the wording on your own. Definitely an easy DIY!

However, I was strapped for time and a little lazy to be honest…. so I took it to Etsy and found this super cute Behavior Clip Chart with personalized clips for my two kiddos.

So we implemented this… and to be honest, it lasted well for a few weeks before it failed me. Mostly because we weren’t really diligent in enforcing it I think. But I don’t know…. I also think that it just wasn’t that serious in my daughter’s eyes. Perhaps moving up and down the chart didn’t yield enough reward nor consequence? It might work for some people… and I know they use similar in classrooms… but for us… it didn’t. It’s definitely still stuck on our fridge and perhaps I may find use for this method again at a different age.

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What’s in my Diaper Bag?

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Lucky me. I no longer have to carry a diaper bag wherever I go! Whooo! BUT – when I did… My bag had the following:

  • Change of underwear and pants
  • Extra pair of socks
  • Disposable bibs
  • Disposable placemats
  • Crayons
  • Mini coloring book
  • Stickers
  • Toddler utensils
  • Mum mums
  • Organic food pouches
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Wipes
  • Kleenex
  • Boogie wipes  (Seasonal)
  • Beanie
  • Foldable shopping bag
  • Sunscreen – My favorite for kids is Blue Lizard or Panama Jack
  • Potty seat – toddler
  • Diapers – 0-22 months
  • Extra Bottle liners for my Playtext Drop-ins (up to 15 months old)
  • Formula container
  • Toy
  • Scented bags (when still in diaper stage)