Saint Patrick’s Day with the Petites

st patricks day reading

Oh my goodness I love all things Ireland.  So naturally I am obsessed with St. Paddy’s day.  My entire family dreams of Ireland.  We were lucky enough to spend two weeks there and fell deeply and madly in love with the people, the sites, the landscape, the general feeling we had the entire time we were there.  I think given the opportunity to relocate there, we would pack it all up and go in a heartbeat.  Now that I’ve put that all out there, I wanted to share some of our favorite books about Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day.

Fiona’s Luck– The illustrations in this book are lovely.  I also love that it talks about a very clever young girl.
Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato– A rather funny story about a man who, you guessed it, has a very large potato.

The Night Before St. Patrick’s Day – Cute little story that follows the same pattern of writing as the Night Before Christmas.

This Is Ireland – This book is more for older children, my 4 year old doesn’t really enjoy it, I love it and think it is neat, but I think she will like it a lot more when she is older.

King Puck– We love this story.  The illustrations are really cute and the goat talks, what more can you ask for?  I also like it because we drove through Killorglin Ireland and I think that makes it even more fun.

Tim O’Toole and the Wee Folk (Picture Puffins) – This is a cute little story about a man who struggles with following directions and the consequences of that, added bonus – wee folk.

Happy Reading,

Erin

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Meal Planning and Organization

meal planning organization

I have read all about people who plan their meals a month in advance.  When I started out working in the real world, there was a teacher that went shopping once a month and had a monthly calendar printed out that she listed all three meals a day, I was in awe – she was amazing, she had healthy fresh lunches every day and saved a ton of money.  This is something that as I got older, and now have a family of 3.5 (I give the smallest petite a .5 because she’s only 8 months old, so she doesn’t eat a whole lot) I think about a lot.  On Pinterest there are many websites that have been pinned about how these amazing moms create healthy meal plans for their family.

-Why-

What I have noted is that when I plan a weeks’ worth of dinners, I save a ton of money over a months’ time, what I mean by a ton is about $400, I could use an extra $400 each month.  I know this sounds crazy right, but seriously, look at what you spend in any given week and then create and stick to a meal plan, it will be a lot less I am sure.  I think that this works because you aren’t stopping off at the store on the way home, when you’re hungry and tired and just want something quick, which odds are isn’t terribly healthy or affordable.  Because you have a plan you don’t have to come home and do the look in the fridge for inspiration and see none then call for takeout.  Another bonus is if you plan out two weeks in advance you can buy in bulk and save a little here and there.  I will say that I always had to stop weekly for produce, no matter how well I planned, we’d either eat it or it wouldn’t last longer than a week.

-Pitfalls-

Where I seem to usually struggle, is that I will get a plan and then on the day I am supposed to eat, grilled chicken salad, I want a giant cheese burger.  Or even better, when I was working if I had had a long day and didn’t want to cook and wanted some amazing Thai take out.  The worst was when I would stop off for something premade, like at Whole Foods, $50 later and I have half a green salad and a cookie.  These are the areas that are always my personal pitfalls.

-How to Make it Work-

I am trying to figure out a menu situation that will be practical and pretty all at the same time.  I need something that will help me to keep up with this, I don’t want meal planning to be a tedious endeavor or I won’t stick with it.  I know if I plan well that we can save money and eat healthier.  Sounds like a late New Year’s resolution to me.   Ugh, another pitfall, in the weekly meal planning process, I tend to forget the meals I make, and then I get stuck with some variation of grilled chicken, tacos, soup, salad, grilled steak, pork chops – repeat, repeat, repeat over and over again until I never want to eat it ever again.  This was my thinking in choosing the boards that have the meal cards, that you can rotate through.

-Let’s Make this Happen-

The best way, in my opinion, is to have some sort of organizational system. Here are some of my favorite menu planning ideas for small spaces:

option 2 option 3 option 1 option 5 option 2 Option 1

 

I love all of these creative ideas, now if I could just choose one and stick to it.

-Erin

 

Valentines for the Petite

crayon

This year we made crayon hearts, we did this a few years ago when she was 2, but she doesn’t remember so we did it again this year.  It is really a fun craft to do.  When I first read about this on pinterest 2 years ago, there was no mention of the things that can go wrong when you’re making them.  So I wanted to add some insight for people making these.

You need a lot of crayons… and not dark ones, there are a surprising amount of dark colored crayons in any given box.   It is also a lot easier to get them out of the pan if you are using a silicon heart shaped pan.  When I went to make these a few years ago, I could only find a 6 cup heart muffin pan, this one would be a lot better since you would get 12 crayons at a time – using less crayons.

Another area to look out for when you pull it out of the oven, you don’t want to jiggle it too much or the colors will blend together giving it a more mixed up look (unless that is the look you’re going for, then jiggle away).

Things you’ll need:

  1. 4-5 boxes of 24 crayons (take out the dark colors)
  2. xacto knife
  3. regular knife
  4. muffin pan

You’ll want to set the over to 250 degrees.  Cut the pieces into about a centimeter size, it doesn’t need to be exact.  Mix them into the cups the way your petite likes the best.  Pop in the oven.  Using the silicon pan it will take about 17-20 minutes to melt the crayons.  If using a metal pan, about 15 minutes.

I watch it so it doesn’t go completely liquid, you want it to look a little bumpy on top.  It doesn’t smell terribly when you’re melting it, but if you have a petite or someone who is more sensitive to smells be aware.  You’ll want to keep them in the pan until they are completely cool.

The petite making her Valentine’s for her friends with lots of very thoughtful crayon piece placement.

Happy Valentine’s Eve!

crayon

Our Favorite Valentine’s Day Books

valentine booksI love books, from the time the petites were in the womb working on growing little ears, I read books to them.  They have amassed quite the collection of books.  I have a book tub that I keep holiday and seasonal books in, this has worked really well for us.  We have quite a few Christmas books, one for each day of the month.  But for Valentines day we have just selected a few favorites.  What is neat about having a hidden book tub, is that when the books are pulled out around the holiday it is almost like having a whole new set of books.

The books in the image above are my petite’s favorites, not all of them are specifically about Valentine’s Day, some are about love or kisses, which we like just the same.  There is one that I think we will add for next year when the littlest petite can open flaps. Fisher Price Little People Valentine’s Day is Here!

Valentine Friends, If Animals Kissed Goodnight, The Biggest Kiss, Minnie’s Valentine, The Night Before Valentine’s Day, The Best Thing About Valentines, Crocodiles Need Kisses Too, Amelia Bedelia’s First Valentine

What are some of your petites favorite Valentine reads?

You’ve Got Mail

My petite got a little mailbox from her Nana for Valentine’s Day, she loves getting and sending mail.  In fact she has 5 steps you must follow to send a proper letter.Envelopes

  1. Write the letter
  2. Get an envelope
  3. Get a stamp
  4. Address the envelope
  5. Take it to the post office

This is a routine ritual that we’ve been doing for months, so I thought it would be fun to make her some envelopes that she could use with her new mailbox.

To complete this project you don’t need a whole heck of a lot of things.

  • felt (5 pieces)
  • sewing machine
  • scissors
  • ric rac (optional – use a light to burn the edges so they don’t fray over time)
  • Velcro (optional)

It is rather amazing that this whole project took one nap time (with interruptions, probably 1 hour)

I love that this whole project to make four envelopes of all different sizes took 5 pieces of felt (that’s about $1.25), the rick rack was from another project, but it’s such a small amount less than half a yard I am sure.  I used Velcro on the back to hold it together, but you could sew the envelopes so that they don’t pop back open.

Steps:

  1. Cut the size you want and fold into three parts
  2. Cut the ric rac and burn the edges so they dont fray
  3. Sew the ric rac on or use the zigzag stitch to sew the address
  4. Then sew on the stamp (I totally messed up sewing the heart on one of them…oh well – I’m guessing the petite is not going to mind)
  5. Sew up the sides, I did a back and forth on the ends so that it won’t come apart when she opens it
  6. Put the Velcro on (I did this after I sewed them because I forgot about it, might be easier to do before you sew the sides)

I love the finished copy they are so cute.  I also cut out hearts to go in each one of them from the left over pieces.

Happy ‘almost’ Valentine’s Day.

Erin

Valentine’s Gumdrops

gumdropsLet me just start by saying I LOVE Pinterest.  I was looking up fun things to make for Valentine’s treats with the petite and she saw these and we had to make them.  The recipie is from Mom on Time Out – my daughter loved them and they are incredibly easy to make.  The hardest part was the waiting till it was time to get them out.

 You only need a few ingredients, I will say the next time we make them I might try cutting down the sugar and seeing how they end up.

If you’re looking for other delicious Valentine’s treats check out Mom on Time Out – she has amazing recipies.

Enjoy,

Erin

Reflections on Consumerism and Raising the Petites

My Sunday morning was spent drinking a cup of tea and reading about this amazing Mom in Britain: Hattie Garlick.  She created this blog to chart her journey of a year of opting out of “kid consumerism” after reading about her journey, it really got me thinking and reflecting on my spending for the petites and what it means and the implications of kid consumerism.

I reflected about the money that we spend on “things” (as you can see, the petite doesn’t lack things) , how going Target to get the necessities can mean spending close to a hundred bucks and how many of those bucks are spent on things that we don’t need, that aren’t nourishing foods, are poorly made, or just simply over indulgent – over time these things really add up.  How it is almost impossible for me to walk past the children’s clothes section and not just grab a cute onesie or pair of jeggings.  Rationalizing these choices with false need or inflated reward.

What I mean by inflated reward is that now whenever, and I mean seriously every time, we go to the store my 4 year old wants something.  A snickie (snack item), or small toy, whatever, she now, through my own creation will throw a fit if she doesn’t get something.  I also know for a fact that I say if you are a good girl while we are running errands you can have _____.  So now, I have created this little petite who has been conditioned that good behavior in a store is not expected, but is rewarded.  So now that I am aware of what I’ve done, comes the process of undoing it.  We, as a family, have spent a lot of time talking about earning things.  The petite has a Responsibility Chart and when she does the items on it she can earn something from a prize bag (mainly Target dollar Hello Kitty Items). I wish I could say that I didn’t need to break it, that I didn’t have moments where I just wanted to take the easy road, but that isn’t the case.  But breaking the “what do I get” now is imperative.

Just this week I was chatting with a friend who is still teaching and she was saying that her kids always say well “what do I get?”  Turning in homework, showing up on time, being polite and kind, participating – what do I get?  It is funny to me, because even when I was in grade school which wasn’t that long ago, I graduated from high school in 1998,it wasn’t like that.  Honestly I don’t remember thinking when there were team challenges in class, I wondr what does the winning team get?  Umm…the WIN!  You turned in your homework or you got in trouble.  What you got was a grade.  Somehow now that is not enough.  There were consequences, now in place of accountability and responsibility we have entitlement.

What got me really thinking about Hattie Garlick’s journey to opt out of child consumerism and if there is a link to this entitlement.  I don’t have the answers I am just one mom trying to do what is best in a realistic way for my petites to ensure that when the are older they don’t firmy believe that the world owes them something.  That instead they believe that they can contribute something to the world instead.

-Erin

What’s in my Diaper Bag

diaper bagI love how other bloggers out there write about what is in their purse of their diaper bag etc.  I wanted to go ahead and talk about what is in mine. I don’t carry a “diaper bag”, I prefer to carry a large purse.  I have always had large purses even before I had kids.  Now that I have two little petites I find that my love of large purses has come in handy.

So here goes (starting at the bottom and going up):

  • diapers
  • wipes
  • mam binkies (usually loose not in the case)
  • hat for smallest petite
  • a zipoc bag with change of clothes for the smallest petite (under the hat
  • cute zippered bag:

Band aids, Neosporin, medicines and more lipsticks 🙂

  • burp cloth
  • wallet
  • sunglasses
  • blue folder for coupons (I wish I was an amazing coupon user, but alas I’m not)
  • Grab and Go coloring pages (Target dollar bins)
  • Kleenex
  • Altoid case with crayons in it
  • hand sanitizer
  • lip gloss
  • chapstick
  • lipstick (I confess, I cleaned out my bag a few weeks ago and had 9 lip gloss/stick items)
  • lotion
  • ziploc bag of snacks for the older petite
  • reusable bag (Because I always forget them in the car)
  • mole skin notebook
  • pen

I laugh at all of the stuff that is in here.  When I was cleaning out the bag, I had a good handful of dirty fruit snacks, raisins and some form of smashed cracker.  I also found a diaper that was dirty from God knows when…gross.

Most of the time I am shocked at how heavy my purse is, but when you empty it all out, you can see why it is heavy.  I will say that I have won that game at baby showers where you mark all the crap in your purse more than one time.

A Wee Little Baby Shower

I am so excited, I am hosting a baby shower for a dear friend.  She is having a little girlie, so naturally everything must be PINK! I have spent quite a bit of time scouring pinterest to find the best ideas and cutest themes.  For the nursery they are having a pink and grey elephant theme, so that is going to be the theme of the shower too.

Wish I could say these were my original thoughts or ideas, but they came from here:

1/2/3/4 & 5/6/8

Where to buy these items:

1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9

I’m so excited for the little touhes that are going to make this shower special

-Erin