Girl Scout Fall Camp

Hi Followers,

Hope you had a wonderful summer. Both my daughters are in school now and I’m finding my way back to my blog that I love. It is so therapeutic to write and record our adventures. I enjoy reflecting on our past to keep track of tradition or find new activities.


Fall Day Camp


Recently I organized a Girl Scout Day Camp for 100 girls. It was a lot of work but I enjoyed every minute. The girls had the opportunity to earn 3 different badges including the new climbing badge released this summer.

Image provided by Girl Scouts

At the end of camp, I asked everyone what badge they enjoyed earning the most. Hands down it was the climbing badge where they learned climbing vocabulary followed by climbing a 24 foot wall.

I hope every girl had a great time and I have to thank all the camp volunteers for making the camp a success!! Thank you again!

The 10 Essentials To Bring With You To Disneyland

This last week my family and I went to Disneyland and it was magical. Mostly due to the kids excitement but a few key items made it more ‘magical’ and worry free for me aka mom.


Happiest Place On Earth


  1. Sunscreen – being a mother of two small kids, sunscreen is a big one for me. I’ve had long conversations with my mom friends about what sunscreen if the safest and most effective. Some of my friends swear by the Honest brand while others are a fan of Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen. Neithe for me; I buy the CeraVe Baby Sunscreen Lotion for my kiddos with their sensitive skin.
  2. Lunchbox – with my kids’ feeding schedule of every other hour, I was worried my food bill would be huge at Disneyland. Most fast food meals for my family of four costed around $50 so one of my carry ons was a cooler bag filled with snack food and breakfast supplies. I’ll write another post on my tips and tricks of bringing food on the airplane.
  3. Phone lanyards – so I was surprised I didn’t see more people walking around the park with this type of lanyard but I loved mine. You use your phone so much checking line waiting times, reserving Fastpasses and linking pictures on the Disneyland app. Losing your phone at the bottom of the purse means losing time or a precious moment when your kiddos see Mickey Mouse for the first time. I loved having my phone easily accessible.
  4. Power bank – As I mentioned before I used my phone a lot and the power didn’t last the day. By about 2pm, I was trying to make that 1% last for emergency calls only. If you forget a power bank, Disneyland does have charging stations in just about every land.
  1. Poncho – this is only important if you plan on going on Splash Mountain and Grizzly River Run or if there is a chance of rain in the forecast. But picking one up at the dollar store or in bulk online is way cheaper than at the park.
  1. Power cord – so important if you want to charge your phone halfway through the day. I forgot mine the first day. Not a mistake I made twice.
  2. Small backpack – this was a common thing in the park. I noticed a lot of parents with a small backpack that was easy to take onto the rides.
  3. Reusable water bottled – there are a lot of water fountains at the part. We would start the day with juice in the bottle from the hotel room while we finished breakfast then switched to water for the rest of the day.
  4. Stroller – aka the napper. My toddler took a nap in the stroller on the first day which was such a blessing. Naps are so rare these days that when she takes one she usual stays up until 9:30-10pm. This is way past her bedtime of 7pm but with the fireworks starting at 9:30 she was able to see them before going to bed that day.
  5. Large pens – for the characters to hold while signing your autograph book. On the last day, we went to the Princess Breakfast Adventure and one of the souvenirs from the experience is a oversized pen. As soon as I saw it, I knew we should have gotten one for the whole trip. The characters have such big hands. I bet they would have appreciated it.

Bonus

11. Pennies and Quarters – a great cheap souvenir. There are some great penny press machines throughout the park so remember to bring a coin purse full of shiny pennies and quarters to operate the machines in the parks. Each machine costs 50 cents plus a penny to press.

Bee Craft

To celebrate May Day, we made a bee craft and practiced our use of glue sticks. Without bees, there would not be flowers. They are so important in cross pollination and reproduction of flowers.


Critical Skills to learn before going to Kindergarten.


Gluing is a critical skill preschoolers should learn before going to elementary school. Some other skills according to Education.com included but not limited to:

1. Writing

2. Letter Recognition

3. Beginning Sounds

4. Number Recognition and Counting

5. Shapes and Colors

6. Fine Motor Skills (like holding a pencil)

7. Cutting

8. Reading Readiness

9. Attention and Following Directions

10. Social Skills

A great tool that Education.com refers to a lot is Play Doh because it develops fine motor skills and is a safe object to practice cutting.

Once the bee was assembled, my kiddos ran around the room pretending to be bees. They built a hive aka fort. After resting in the hive, they ran from toy to toy collecting pollen.

I precut all the shapes so they just had to assemble the paper with glue.

Supplies:

  • Yellow paper for the body
  • Black paper cut into strips, triangles, mini rainbows for the mouth and antennas
  • Parchment, tracing or velum paper for the wing
  • Glue sticks

Easter Parade

A family tradition during Easter is to go to the Easter Parade in Snohomish, Washington and this year my Girl Scouts Troop got to participate in the parade making it extra special for us. Plus it is the only Parade for Easter in Washington State making it special for everyone else too.


Loads of candy


One of the prerequisite of being in the parade was bringing candy to hand out as we walked the mile and a half stretch down 1st street.

Last year when we were sitting on the sidelines, we gathered a whole basket of candy. So I knew I needed to pick up a lot of candy. I found Tootsies frooties assorted 5lb (2.27kg) from Amazon to be the best value because it offered over 700 pieces of candy for less than $20.

Even with more than 700 pieces, my troop was so good about giving everyone a candy that it didn’t last the whole parade. Another troop was kind enough to share their candy with us. Now I know for next year.

I am so lucky to have so many wonderful parent helpers in our troop. There was no way I could have watched all the girls handing out candy on both sides of the street. We all had a great time! Happy belated Easter!

Tulip Field Tradition

Every year my kids and I head up to the Mt Vernon to take our annual picture in front of the tulips.

Did you know? Tulips are one of the only flowers that continue to grow after you cut the stem.


Tulip Town or Roozengaarde


Tulip Town and Roozengaarde are both great locations to see the blooms but here are a couple of differences:

Roozengaarde:

  • They have a beautiful garden to the left of the entrance. The planning that went into the garden was impressive. Each bed has a gorgeous display of different tulips of early and late bloomers.
  • The food options are delicious with hamburgers/hotdogs and snacks like kettle corn.
  • 2 different stores set them apart from other locations. A specific tulip store with fresh cut and potted flowers.

Tulip Town:

  • As you walk through the gates, there is a wonderful indoor display of different tulip types. If it is raining, this is a wonderful option for kids.

  • Similar to Roozengaarde, they have a beautiful garden to visit. Their flowers are fenced off to protect them from the grabby kiddos.
  • The fields aren’t fenced off and have a tractor that will take you around the exterior. Great hay ride for the kids.

Both locations are great options for that annual picture in front of the colorful tulip fields.

Bowling Fun

Bowling on a rain day. It was a lot of fun. We rented a lane and shoes which was more that I thought it would be but I feel bowling is a right of passage. You have to try it once.


Bowlero


We went to Bowlero in Lynnwood. Each lane had it’s own large tv and ours was playing the Minion movie which we didn’t really have time to watch. After one game, all our wrists were tried. I didn’t really know we were going to exercise our arms when we went out there. It was a good workout.


Fun for the Whole Family


My toddler helped me with my turn. The bowling lane included a ramp that she could push the bowling ball down onto our lane. I had to hold the ramp because she would push it with all her might.

My 5 year old daughter didn’t use the ramp and actually got a couple of spares. Totally on luck. She won’t watch the ball going down the lane. She would walk back then wait until the pins fell before turning around. It was pretty cute.

With every pin that fell, there was adding and subtracting to learn or just counting. How many pins are left? Counting for the toddler and kindergarten.

Hope you find a fun outing for those raining days. Summer is almost here. I’m counting the days.

Animal Interactions

Looking for something fun to do during spring break. I recommend the Outback Kangaroo Farm located in Arlington, Washington. They have tours at 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm from Thursday to Sunday. Be sure to show up 20 minutes before the tour because you aren’t allowed to see the kangaroos otherwise. The tours always start on time in my experience.


Outback Kangaroo Farm


Beautiful peacocks welcomed us in the parking lot. I haven’t seen peacocks with such prefect tail feathers before.

The first half of the tour, we visited the different kangaroos on the property. It appeared to be 3-5 different types of kangaroos available to pet. The kangaroo are so soft.

There were an set of albino kangaroos. Mother Nature Network has an awesome article on 22 different albino animals. They are so rare. Check out the article here for the full list of animals.

The second half hour we visited and fed the other animals which included alpacas, donkeys, goats, emus and lemurs. I think my husband was about to adopt a lemur. They are so friendly and active.

Did you know? Lemurs are lead by an alpha female. Sorry King Julian.

My toddler laughed every time an animal ate out of her hand. She loved it and kept demanding more animal food. So sweet.

Their address is:

10030 State Route 530 NE

Arlington, WA 98223

United States

Rhodes River Ranch

One of the best kept secrets in the outskirts of Arlington is Rhodes River Ranch. Every meal comes with a show.


Dinner and a Show


The Restaurant at Rhodes River Ranch is located in the beautiful foothills of the Cascades. Offering a unique dining atmosphere for casual gatherings, the restaurant overlooks an indoor horse arena.  The food is delicious. My favorite thing is the candied bacon. If it doesn’t come with your meal, I recommend ordering it on the side.

There was a herd of beautiful Palomino horses being trained as we ate. Palomino have a gold coat with white mane and tail. If I owned a horse, I would love a palomino.

So happy to have completed my kindergarten’s first Spring Break. I hope it was one to remember. As a mom, I was worried about making this week special even though we didn’t go out of town. Our stay-cation was just what we needed. Happy Friday!!

Putting Down The Golf Green

My daughters and my dad went to the mini putt putt golf course today. Beautiful outside and beautiful course at Snohomish Valley Golf Center. Win win. Here we are at hole 9 overlooking the pond.


Adding at Every Tee


This 18 hole mini golf course has a bridge, two ponds with a waterfall and vista of the Cascade Mountain Range. It is super busy on the weekend but they have extended hours with their new overhead lights. Also, there is a wonderful covered picnic area. Prefect for birthday parties or your next picnic outing.

Thanks to grandpa for helping the toddler with her form. She had a lot of fun. Whether she putted, threw or pushed the ball into the hole.

My favorite hole is number 5 where you can literally putt your ball into the pond if you aren’t careful since there isn’t a rail between the edge of the green and the pond. Luckily we didn’t take a swim today but very inventive for a mini golf course.

Both the kiddos helped move our balls into the holes. I think we all were under par on each hole but it doesn’t really matter since my oldest was in charge of the scorecard and beat us by at least 10 putts. I came in second so I can’t really complain. Lol.

This week I’ve been making a point to ask…

What their favorite moment of the day was? My daughters loved playing golf today.

Another good day! Happy Thursday!

Ceramic Easter Eggs as Kids Craft

As an Easter tradition, we go to the ceramic painting studio and each kiddo paints their Easter egg to add to our collection on the dining room table. I love reminiscing about their techniques and color choices. As a baby, my kiddos did handprints on the eggs.


Color Me Mine


What an interesting name? I love them because the paint is non toxic and washes off clothes. Every Tuesday is 2 for 1 studio fee or Wednesday is 1/2 price studio fee for kids.

This year my oldest daughter is interested in having everything Easter color theme. If you can see her fingernails in the picture, they are a rainbow of bright pastel colors inspired by Easter and her egg matches.

My youngest daughter chose banana yellow, charcoal and pink. Very interesting but I think it will be beautiful. Great color combo for a sitting or living room.

Did you know? If you read in a yellow room, you hold your focus and absorb more of the book. Interested in the other colors, learn more at Kaplanco.com.

Sorry off topic… we can pick them up after Friday at 6pm. So excited to see their cute creations. Happy Wednesday!!

Free Event at the Local Libray

Day 2 of spring break was full of fun. We started at the pool for preschool splash time. Then went across the street to the library to build blocks while we wait for the special event presented by Sno Isle Library.


Museum of Curious Things


The Museum of Curious Things was visiting the library. It is a travel museum in a cool Airstream travel trailer. With a quick look inside, I knew It wasn’t for my kiddos. There were animal skeletons inside. I’m sure it was educational but I’m not ready for my kids to grow up that quickly. I know I’m being selfish so I googled what is an appropriate age to discuss death with my kids? It sounds like talking about death is good for kids based on Psychology Today‘s research.

Also, Lesson Learnt Journal has a lesson plan to teach preschoolers about skeletons and their functions. Now, I kind of feel bad we didn’t check it out… Next time.

Inside the library’s conference room, there was a display of the different animals in resin. Each animal had a different fun fact.

Did you know? Starfish have no brain and no blood.

To end the day, my daughters picked two different bug embossed prints for their crayon rubbing. Crayon rubbings is a great gross motor exercise in holding the paper still so the crayon can reveal the bug below. I helped hold my toddler’s paper still so we could recognize the ant print. I didn’t do the best job. I need to work on my gross motor skills. Also, remind the kiddos to use the side of the crayon instead of the top otherwise the picture isn’t as clear.

What do you think? Do you think talking to preschooler and/or show them skeletons is too early? I’d love to hear your feedback.

Board Games with Math for Kids

To kick off spring break, Amazon dropped off our monthly subscription to their STEM club. Board games that promote math by adding and/or subtracting as your pawn moves through the game. These games we played with Alexa, whom kept my 5 year old honest and me too.


Math is Fun


We started with Ocean Raiders, a game designed for 2 to 4 players and ages 5 and up. My toddler and I teamed up against my 5 year old daughter but we couldn’t beat her lucky streak rolling the dice. She was able to move her blue barrel to the end without landing on too many whirlpools that suck you back to the beginning.

The second game in our Amazon box was Cloud Hoppers which is my favorite of the two. The objective of the game is to lead your two aliens to the ground level of a planet to retrieve a beautiful flower. By using subtraction, your aliens start at their spaceship on tile 50 and you have to subtract your dice rolls to make it to the planet’s flower on number 20. This is designed for kids over the age of 6 years old but with my help my girls loved playing this game too.

I look forward to sharing our spring break adventures with you tomorrow. Happy Monday!

Paint a Pony

Yesterday, my daughter had a play date and when they started to get bored of running around the house I broke out this cute My Little Pony 3 piece painting kit. Peace and calm finally settle across the house.


My Little Pony Craft


I love this set because my 2 daughters and a friend were all able to paint their own plaster figure. Surprising no one wanted the same figurine. My oldest daughter loves Twilight Sparkle while my youngest daughter loves Pinkie Pie and happily our guest wanted Fluttershy. What luck.

My oldest didn’t want me to take a picture until her Twilight Sparkle was completed but her need for perfection caused her not to finish by the time for the play date to end. She will have to finish painting tomorrow. Nice 2 day activity for the price of one.

My toddler decided Pinkie Pie should now be navy blue. Now I wish more ponies on the show were a dark color like Princess Luna. It was perfect for her.

The kit includes 6 paints, a brush and 3 pony plaster figurines. Here is a link to a similar set available on Amazon called Paint Your Statue. Hope you have something like this in your house to add peace and quiet time.

ABC Puzzle

I once heard if you do activities with your children that you love, your children will have a joyful memory of the activity as an adult. I’m not sure why I love these ABC wooden puzzles but we can play with them everyday.


Melissa and Doug Toy Review


Melissa & Doug Self-Correcting Letter Puzzles is a wonderful toy to start to learn about letter sounds. We start by mixing up the tiles then I grab a letter and ask my toddler to find the matching picture. For example, Butterfly goes with B and so on and so forth.

Only matching letter and picture puzzle pieces fit together. Letter pieces feature both capital and lowercase while picture pieces labeled each image with the word below it.

My toddler was so proud when she found matches. Well, I was proud of her too.

Girl Scout Thank You Postcards

Girl Scout cookie sales are almost done. One more day. As we come to a close, I want my daughter to send her customers a thank you note so they know how appreciative we are for their support. We made postcards from the empty cookie boxes that are littering our house.


Postcard Craft


So a postcard can be cut from every cookie box except Toffee-tastic. That box is too small. Since we already have the boxes to make the postcards, we just have to pay for postcard postage which is cheaper than regular mail at 35 cents. For more info, check out usps.com.

Postcard size:

Min: 5” x 3.5”

Max: 6” x 4.25”

If you don’t have cookie boxes, here is a link to a free Girl Scouts printable thank note.

This could be a great project for the Clover or Gloria Badge. Happy last day of cookie sales!!

Kite Craft for Toddlers

Today, my toddler and I were in charge of the play group at our church. It is a great way to meet other moms and for the toddlers to run off some energy. My toddler took a nap afterwards which is rare these days.


Kite Craft


As part of the play date, we supply a craft for the toddlers. This time they made kites with paper, string and ink bingo dobbers.

I precut a 8×11″ paper into a kite shape. Then let the kiddos dab the ink wherever their heart desired.

Sometimes the toddlers splattered the ink but it was pretty cute. My daughter only used pink, purple and blue. I love seeing her personality show through her choices. Once she was done adding color, I hole punched the two sides and tied a string. With her completed kite, she ran around the room holding onto its string to let the kite fly.

Supples:

  • Medium weight paper
  • Ink bingo dobbers
  • String or yarn
  • Hole punch

Paper Bag Puppet

On Thursday last week, my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop invited a firefighter to visit. He gave an awesome presentation about fire and car seat safety plus ran them through some drills. Words can’t describe what an awesome job he did. Thank You Everett Fire Department!!


Firefighters Craft


After he left, I planned a craft for the kids to make out of a paper lunch bag. Each girl got to create a puppet firefighter to take home with them. I hoped this would spark a conversation about what the firefighter spoke to them about but they were so excited I’m not sure I needed to do a craft too.

Anyways, the project is pretty easy. I precut the basic shapes for each girl so they just needed to make a couple cuts and glue the pieces of paper onto the bag. I made a board with step by step instructions. Here are the steps:

    Add hands and arms
    Add white shirt
    Add outfit
    Add hat
    Add boots
    Add details (so they can personalize them)

At the end of the meeting, the girls got to take home their cute little puppets and knowledge of fire safety. It was a great meeting. Hope they don’t ever have to apply their knowledge but happy the girls now know what to do.

I’m in love with Chick Fila’s New Toy

At our recent trip to Chick Fila, my kiddos got this adorable forest diorama. This toy is a smaller version of a pop out and play set available at PetitCollage.com which may be my new favorite educational toy manufacturer. It comes in flats sheets with stickers of paw prints and tails. My toddler loved piecing it together and adding the stickers across the board. The animal tracks appears to have the animals all huddled in one corner for awhile.

In addition to the animal puzzles, there are mushrooms to match on the board. So much fun. Other pop up and play sets available on their website are outer space, mermaids, pirates and zoo. I want to buy them all.

I could see combining any of these toys with a fiction or nonfictional book so the kiddos can physically see what the story is about.

Is there an educational toy you love?

I’d love to hear about in the comment field below. Happy playing!

Classic Train Set

Playing with the classics is always a good time. In 1936, Skaneateles Handicrafters were one of the first toy companies to make a wooden toy train and track very similar to that used by most companies today.


Engineering Skills for Kids


My kiddos love playing with the wooden trains. It isn’t their first choice in toys but once they get started they will play for hours. Learning about magnetism with the cars connections and track layout are great skills gained from wooden trains.


IKEA vs Kids Destiny Brand


When I started to look for my kids first wooden train set, I didn’t realize there were so many options. We originally purchased Kids Destiny Wooden Train Track 59 Piece Pack which states it is 100% Compatible with All Major Brands Including Thomas Train Wooden Railway System making this a great starter kit.

A year later, we were gifted an IKEA train set. I assumed the two sets were compatible. However, the two sets are not compatible. The plastic connectors of the IKEA train tracks doesn’t fit in the inserted connectors of the Kids Destiny tracks. Both are great train track sets but not together.

As you can see in the photo below, we mix and match them but it takes extra planning where the different tracks can go. Kids get a little frustrated and I have to help make it work.

When researching what skills are developed from wooden trains, I was surprised to find a long list at ChildDevelopment.com. Here is some of the concepts that I found interesting. Check out their website for a full description.

• Understanding/recognising items.

• Vocabulary.

• Following instructions.

• Turn taking.

• Counting.

• Requesting.

• Grammar.

▪ Pronouns.

• Moving Concepts.

• Imaginative play skills.

▪ Boundary setting.

▪ Motivator.

▪ Expand play.

Dance Class

I’m feeling so proud today. It took 6 months but my toddler has turned a corner this week. She walked into dance class with no hand holding or bribes. I know it sounds bad but for moms with ‘attached at the hip’ kiddos they will understand. I feel like this is a huge step in her trust in me that ‘mama comes back.’


Class Overview


My kiddos attend Turning Pointe Dance Centre in Snohomish Washington. The staff is patient, educated and fun. The amount of Ballet terms I know now has sharply increased since my daughters started classes. Both girls started dance class at the age of two.

Dance Term:

  • Relevé – Tip toeing or A rise onto the toes.
  • Sauté – simple jump in the vertical direction.
  • First position – The legs are rotated, while heels are together.
  • Plié – A bend of the knees and the torso is held upright.
  • Tendu – A “stretched” from a flat foot to a pointed foot.

For a full list of terms, check out Orthopt.com.

At this age, I found it hard to find any classes or sports that little kids could attend. There are swim lessons available at 6 months old and gymnastics at 18 months old but this is a class they can do by themselves or with mom.

Dance class works on their gross (full) body control as well as listening to tempo and choreography. There are drop in classes to try for about $8-10 depending on the length. At the end of the year, they have a performance to show off their new skills. I’m looking forward to it.

Happy Dancing!!

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