SUMMER FUN: Splash Pads in Southern California

What an expansive list! Kids love splash pads and this comes at just the right time. Soooo many new places to check out this summer!

SoCal Field Trips

SUMMER FUN: SPLASH PADS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

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Splish splash I was taking a bath!  I mean taking my kids to our local splash pad for some fun!

Where else can you go on a beautiful summer day that is free on most occasions and refreshing?

This summer several communities across the southland have designated certain areas in their cities as cool down stations.  Cool down stations are designed to help families ward off the heat when it reaches a certain temperature and becomes unmanagable.  Your local splash pad is sometimes one of those stations.

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According to Wikipedia, a splash pad is a recreation area, often in a public park for water play that has little or no standing water. This is said to eliminate the need for lifeguards or other supervision, as there is little risk of drowning.

However, I highly recommend that parents always keep a close eye on their childrenwhen playing at a splash pad.  With all the water flowing it…

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Toddler Eating: Organic Udon Stir-fry

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My nanny recently starting making this stir-fry for the kids and they love it! We use all organic products and low-sodium soy sauce. mhmmm

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I found these organic Udon noodles (they have other yummy Asian noodles as well, like Soba) on Amazon, so I usually buy a large box and have it stocked up in our pantry.

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Boil and drain udon noodles.

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Thaw and chop one cup of frozen broccoli
Shred one carrot
Thaw 1 cup of frozen chopped spinach

1/2 cup of diced tofu

Mince one clove of garlic. Heat 2 tablespoon of oil add garlic, cook until light brown then add all the veggies. Cook until the broccoli is tender. Add the noodles and mix. Add 1-2 tablespoon of low-sodium soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Add the tofu at the end, mix and serve.

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Still using the same organic tofu from Trader Joes – you see it in most of my recipes on here! 🙂

 

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This was a double batch made for a potluck. But the kids were loving it. For my little guy, I use scissors to cut up the long noodles a bit. Even as a finger food, the noodles and tofu bits would be fun!

My new favorite Pinata filler! Knobby Balls!

This year, my nanny was able to head down to Tijuana and pick up this HUGE, and I mean, HUGE pinata for only $13. It looked amazing, but then I thought… crap. what am I going to fill it up with!?!?
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I always high up the after Easter sale at Target to pick up the candy for my kids’ parties (stock up for May and July no prob). But I thought this year, it would be good to do a larger filler for the pinata. I saw these balls filled up with a pinata before at a local store…. so I went on eBay and found a listing for 50 of these 4.5 inch “knobby” balls for $19.99! Had to pay $10 shipping… but still!
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Got a foot pump at our local Ace Hardware store for $10. Which I could probably use in long run for other things anyways.

It was total success! For a bunch of kids 6 and under… they were totally happy with all the balls that came bouncing out of the pinata unexpectedly.
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Definitely going to do that one again!

Check out pix of my lil guy helping to fill the pinata. Heehee.
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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.

Annual Birthday Interview – 20 Questions

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Found this on Pinterest and started doing this with my daughter at age 3. The answers are pretty funny and interesting to see as they change throughout the years. Looking forward to starting my son’s interviews this year!

Here’s my pin and the original blog (this momma made a birthday album/book out of it).

and here’s the list of questions (customize your own of if you wish of course!)

1. What is your favorite color?

2. What is your favorite toy?

3. What is your favorite fruit?

4. What is your favorite tv show?

5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?

6. What is your favorite outfit?

7. What is your favorite game?

8. What is your favorite snack?

9. What is your favorite animal?

10. What is your favorite song?

11. What is your favorite book?

12. Who is your best friend?

13. What is your favorite cereal?

14. What is your favorite thing to do outside?

15. What is your favorite drink?

16. What is your favorite holiday?

17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?

18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?

19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?

20. What do you want to be when you grow up?

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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The perfect desk for my soon-to-be Kindergartner

Miss V is about to turn FIVE next month…. *sniff* and then off to Kindergarten she goes this fall. *double sniff*

So as she has been starting to have “homework” assignments from preschool and totally getting into drawing/writing, I’ve been on the hunt for THE desk. For me, I was looking for something simple, modern, dark wood, and little-people sized…. and look what I found!!!!

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I fell in love with this KidKraft desk the moment I saw it on Amazon. It looked perfect! But… it was selling for about $168 on Amazon and Walmart too. I had it in my Amazon shopping cart for months and months… until finally this week I found it on Craigslist!!! OMG! And for $100 LIKE NEW. Seriously. I was ecstatic. I picked it up the next day and it was in darn good condition. I must say that its pretty well built in my opinion and perfectly sized for my daughter. She definitely has some room to grow with it. Product info says its recommended for ages 3-8. So I’ll be happy to get a few good years of use with this desk.
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Funny thing is… I was definitely more excited about this desk than she was. I mean, she liked it… but the first thing she ended up saying to me was “But mommy, I don’t have a computer.” hmph. I’m assuming she’s just wondering because she sees that the two “big” desks downstairs both have computers on them. 🙂
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In any case, once I showed her that she could put whatever she wanted in “her” desk drawer and that she could decorate it with a picture frame… she got into it. I’m going to be in search of some cute desk accessories now. Oh. And I’m still on the hunt for a second one – for my lil’ man.

Thank you Craigslist!!! You came through like a champ!