My Top 7 Summer Must Have’s

With summertime I am out and about so much! These are My Top 7 Summer Must Have’s.  I like products I can use while on the go with my kids and a night out.  I need things that are helpful and easy.  There is not a lot of time to focus on stuff that takes a long time, so it has to be easy to use while chasing after my two and four year old.  These products make my summer easier and also make me feel awesome at the same time.

 

My Top 7 Summer Must Haves - I am on the go all summer long with my kids. These are my favourite products for summer to make my life easier & help me feel awesome.

 

My Top Summer Must Have’s

 

1. Large Utility Tote & Cool Clip Thermal

These items are essential for me.  A Large Utility Tote that holds up to 50 lbs and is easy to pop things in and out while running errands, going for play dates or to the park.  I use mine for groceries and library runs, super easy to carry things around easily while juggling my kids.  I use my cool clip thermal a few times a week, it is great for packing small snacks for the park or while running errands.  Mine usually has cheese strings, an ice pack, diet Pepsi, and sandwiches.  Easy, healthy snacks even while on the go.

 

2. Sunscreen Face Stick

I may just be lazy, or just that I don’t like the feel of sunscreen on my face.  But I LOVE these Sunscreen Sticks!  Super easy to apply to your face, and I even use it on my kids as they act like I am trying to water board them when I apply sunscreen to their faces.  At least this I can apply in seconds and they stay still for.

 

3. Silver Icing

I have a few friends who recently became stylists with Silver Icing and I am hooked!  The clothes are great while I am out and about with my kids.  Granted these clothes are the first non-maternity, non-breastfeeding clothing that I have worn in about five years.  I may be biased!  But seriously moms, find a consultant near you (or check out the link above for mine) and feel awesome while chasing your kids during the day.  Then look great for date night at night too!

 

4.  Jamberry Nail Wraps

I am still so in love with these nails!   I use my Jamberry nail wraps for my toes.  I always have them on my toes for a cute pedicure.  Who has time to worry about their nails??  I put these on my toes and forget about them for a few months (except when I look down and think about how cute my toes are).  It’s a great activity to do with my four-year-old daughter too.  She loves them so much and is always excited to get her nails done.

 

5. Bootay Bag

Totally biased as I LOVE getting surprises in the mail.  I am totally in love with Bootay Bag.  Getting a nice little package with new pretty panties in the mail makes me feel great.  Pair that with my Jam nails and Silver Icing clothes and I am ready for a night out with my hubby!  Seriously, two pairs of adorable panties right to your mailbox.  Who wouldn’t love that??  Guys, it’s a great gift for the lovely lady in your life!

 

6. My Happy Planner

I am still so addicted to my planner.  I need a large planner with different slots to keep track of my home/mom/family life, blog posts, and my own business too.  This lets me keep it all together, and a spot to add my notes, like reminding me to do yoga and walk three times a week.  I LOVE my planner so much!!  But I also love how close it is to scrapbooking, I love washi tape, and I also love stickers, what’s not to love!

 

7. Knitting

Or other on-the-go craft.  I love bringing my knitting with me to the park, in the backyard, meetings, anywhere.  Sitting and watching the kids is so easy while knitting, in fact, most moms are on their phones (and no I am NOT judging I do it too, only time to check your e-mail, log your food for the day, check in with your partner for dinner, grocery shop, or just relax and play candy crush) so while knitting I actually pay MORE attention as I am watching them the whole time while my hands are busy.

 

My Top 7 Summer Must Haves - I am on the go all summer long with my kids. These are my favourite products for summer to make my life easier & help me feel awesome.

 

 

 

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DIY Sugar-Free Freezies

DIY Sugar-Free Freezies - A delicious treat to enjoy on a hot day with your kids.  Healthy frozen treat with no added sugar.

It’s summertime and that means it is really hot in Ottawa, Canada.  My kids like to endulge in cold treats.  Especially when playing outside.  I thought it would be a great idea to come up with a DIY Sugar-Free Freezies recipe to give them on hot days.  I prefer to give them things without sugar added (aka naturally sweet) for health reasons.  Lately studies are saying how bad sugar is for you.  I am on Weight Watchers and sugar is a lot of points, so I try to keep it for the really good treats.  I’m not totally crazy about sugar, I let them have timbits and cake.  Plus I know my hubby is always giving them ice cream and chocolate when he is eating it.  But I try to help them make healthy choices and eat healthy as much as I can.


DIY Sugar-Free Freezies - A delicious treat to enjoy on a hot day with your kids.  Healthy frozen treat with no added sugar.

DIY Sugar-Free Freezies

 

DIY Sugar-Free Freezies - A delicious treat to enjoy on a hot day with your kids.  Healthy frozen treat with no added sugar.

My kids had so much fun helping me assemble the ingredients and mix them together.

The waiting part was very hard for them though!

DIY Sugar-Free Freezies - A delicious treat to enjoy on a hot day with your kids.  Healthy frozen treat with no added sugar.  DIY Sugar-Free Freezies - A delicious treat to enjoy on a hot day with your kids.  Healthy frozen treat with no added sugar.

DIY Sugar-Free Freezies
 
Author:
Recipe type: Frozen
Ingredients
  • Banana - ripe
  • Mango - cubed
  • ½-2/3 c greek yogurt (I use 0% fat)
  • ½ c of coconut milk
Instructions
  1. I mixed everything together and blended it with my hand-help immersion blender (but a regular blender or food processor works well too) until smooth with no chunks.
  2. Next using a spoon I filled up the silicone freezie molds and put them in the freezer until after nap time.

 

Now is the fun and sticky part!  I let the kids take the DIY Sugar-Free Freezies outside (not on my clean floor please!) to enjoy them.  Then get sprayed with the hose (which they think is awesome) or swim in the kiddie pool to clean off.  Success!!  Kiddos and hubby liked them!

Check out this recipe for DIY Sugar-Free Freezies #freezies #freezie #Popsicle Click To Tweet

 

What is your favourite recipe to use in freezie or Popsicle molds?

DIY Sugar-Free Freezies - A delicious treat to enjoy on a hot day with your kids.  Healthy frozen treat with no added sugar.  Follow Raising Fairies and Knights’s board Vegetarian Yummys on Pinterest.
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Pinkalicious Bubble Wand & Bubbles

Pinkalicious Bubble Wand & Bubbles - Join the #monthlycraftingbookclub to celebrate Pinkalicious-themed crafts this month.  Make some bubbles & bubble wands!

This month in the Monthly Crafting Book club we are doing the Pinkalicious series.  I decided to make Pinkalicious Bubble Wand & Bubbles.  My four-year-old daughter, Bee, LOVES the Pinkalicious books.  They are about a little girl who loves pink, unicorns, cupcakes, mermaids, and lots more.  Perfect for little girls.  My two-year-old son loves them too, but he is easy going and loves all books.

I did some searching on Pinterest for Pinkalicious ideas and was happy to come across Pinkalicious preschool work pages and colouring pages.  I printed them off for my daughter to do during afternoon quiet time.  My son still naps so we use this time to do home work pages and keep learning.  Sticking to our Pinkalicious theme today was great.  I am mentioning this as if any of you are interested you can find school work-pages on Pinterest too.

I decided to take advantage of some of the amazing weather this week by doing bubbles and home-made bubble wands with the kids.

Pinkalicious Bubble Wand & Bubbles - Join the #monthlycraftingbookclub to celebrate Pinkalicious-themed crafts this month.  Make some bubbles & bubble wands!

Pinkalicious Bubble Wand & Bubbles

Pinkalicious Bubble Wand & Bubbles - Join the #monthlycraftingbookclub to celebrate Pinkalicious-themed crafts this month.  Make some bubbles & bubble wands!

Pinkalicious Bubble Wand & Bubbles - Join the #monthlycraftingbookclub to celebrate Pinkalicious-themed crafts this month.  Make some bubbles & bubble wands!Bubble Wand Instructions

 

  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Pony beads (or other kinds)

 

String the pony beads onto the pipe cleaners, filling up maybe the bottom half to two thirds.  Wrap the end of the pipe cleaner back around and inside the bottom bead to hold.  On top shape it into a circle, diamond, heart, etc.  Whatever shape you want!  I did find that it helped to keep the circles small. I liked to do figure eights as they were more likely to work and make the best bubbles.

 

Pinkalicious Bubble Wand & Bubbles - Join the #monthlycraftingbookclub to celebrate Pinkalicious-themed crafts this month.  Make some bubbles & bubble wands!Bubble Instructions

 

  • 2.5 cups of water
  • 0.5 cups of corn syrup
  • 0.5 cups Dawn dish soap (apparently this one works best, you can try another if you are brave).

 

Pour the water and corn syrup into a large glass bowl.  Microwave for about four minutes.  Then pour in the dish soap and stir well.

 

Pinkalicious Bubble Wand & Bubbles - Join the #monthlycraftingbookclub to celebrate Pinkalicious-themed crafts this month.  Make some bubbles & bubble wands!Play time

 

I poured the mixture into little bowls and let the kids go nuts!  They had so much fun dipping over and over with their home-made bubble wands.  My son has a tendency to spill bubble mixture a lot.  Intentionally and accidentally, I mean WHY would anyone put their feet in a bubble mixture bowl??  A two-year-old can find a reason!  At least with home-made stuff I don’t feel like he is pouring money down the drain.  We made tons of bubbles, caught lots on the sticks and had a blast.  We were all super sticky afterwards but had a great time!

Have a #Pinkalicious time making a #bubblewand & #diybubblemixture with your #kids #summerfun Click To Tweet

Pinkalicious Bubble Wand & Bubbles - Join the #monthlycraftingbookclub to celebrate Pinkalicious-themed crafts this month.  Make some bubbles & bubble wands!

Follow Raising Fairies and Knights’s board Monthly Crafting Book Club on Pinterest.

Pinkalicious Bubble Wand & Bubbles - Join the #monthlycraftingbookclub to celebrate Pinkalicious-themed crafts this month.  Make some bubbles & bubble wands!

Check out what the other bloggers have come up with below:

 

Have you seen the other Monthly Crafting Book Club Challenge books we covered this year?

Come join us for the Monthly Crafting Book Club. Each month we focus on a different book and encourage early literacy by pairing it with a craft.

January –Ladybug Girl Wings

February – Giraffe’s Can’t Dance Craft

March – How do Dinosaurs

April – The Hungry Caterpillar

May – Camping Themed

June – Pinkalicious Series

 

 

 

 

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S’Mores Craft

S'Mores Craft - Do your kids love camping and summer?  Time to roast marshmallows and make some S'Mores crafts with your kids and celebrate some camping themed books.

Do you love camping?  We LOVE to read camping books in the summer, actually all year long.  Something fun to make alongside reading the book is a fun S’Mores Craft.  S’Mores is the epitome of summer to us.  Roasting marshmallows on the campfire is one of the best parts of camping. My kids love doing this every  summer and reading camping books starts to get everyone excited for upcoming camping trips.

Materials Needed:

  • Glue gun, paint  brushes, something to put the paint in
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Paint: brown, white, & yellow
  • Googly eyes
  • Gem (or something else for a nose)
  • Glitter glue

 

How to Assemble

  • Firstly, paint the Popsicle sticks.  Make sure you have four sticks per each kid.  Paint two of them yellow, one each brown and white.  Let them dry.
  • Next have an adult use the glue gun to glue the Popsicle sticks together.  The yellows are the cookies on the end, the brown is the chocolate in the middle and the white is the marshmallow for the middle.
  • Glue the google eyes and gem stones on wherever your child directs you to.
  • Using the glitter glue make a smile for your S’more Craft dude.
  • Optional: add magnets on the back to put him on the fridge.  Or add a string to hang it up.

What would you do with your S’More Craft?

S'Mores Craft - Do your kids love camping and summer?  Time to roast marshmallows and make some S'Mores crafts with your kids and celebrate some camping themed books.

Have you heard of the Monthly Crafting Book Challenge yet?  Every month we have a book, author, or theme and come up with a craft to accompany the book.  The hope is when we combine a fun book with a craft it makes children more excited to read and brings the book to life.

Get ready for a #summer of #camping with some #campingbook related #crafts Click To Tweet

 

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Check out what the other bloggers have come up with below:

S'Mores Craft - Do your kids love camping and summer?  Time to roast marshmallows and make some S'Mores crafts with your kids and celebrate some camping themed books.

 




 

 

Have you seen the other Monthly Crafting Book Club Challenge books we covered this year?

 

January –Ladybug Girl Wings

February – Giraffe’s Can’t Dance Craft

March – How do Dinosaurs

April – The Hungry Caterpillar

May – Camping Themed

If you like Camping make sure you check out some of my other Camping related posts below:

 

 

Banana Boats - Try making these delicious camping desserts on the open fire, or at home for a camping feel. Easy to personalize and make vegan.

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S'Mores Craft - Do your kids love camping and summer?  Time to roast marshmallows and make some S'Mores crafts with your kids and celebrate some camping themed books.

Camping Menu

EASY CAMPING MENU IDEAS - In need of an easy camping menu to make the most of your time outdoors? Tasty, easy and sure to get everyone eating? Check out these stand-byes.

Camping is so much fun but can be exhausting.  You want an easy camping menu that the kids will eat, minimal time to prepare, and not a lot of cooler space being used since it is at a premium while camping. It is the best time for good food, but with minimal amounts of effort!

These are my go-to meals to have on our camping menu that my kids actually eat.  I can prepare stuff  before we leave and easily grab extras in town to supplement as the cooler gets emptier so I can fill it again.  Pretty much tasty, easy meals, with minimal amounts of effort so we can spend more time chilling with friends, exploring nature, playing at the beach, or enjoying a campfire.

For breakfast we enjoy eating:

Banana MuffinsChocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins - FBYogurt, cereal, instant oatmeal, fruit, overnight oats premade at home and kept in the cooler.

We make muffins at home and pre-freeze them to stay fresh and keep the cooler cool.  It is such a great and easy breakfast or snack.  A staple of mine for sure when planning our camping menu.

If we feel like making more effort, then of course we do scrambled eggs and home fries, but it depends on our effort and cooler space. We also have to be mindful of keeping little hands away from the Coleman stove.  I look forward to making this next weekend camping though for breakfast.

For lunch we throw together:

Easy Lunch Quesadillas - IGUsually a modge-podge of things.  I pre-cut veggies for sandwiches and to dip in hummus or another veggie dip.  Hard boiled eggs, sliced cheese, crackers/pita/tortilla/buns.   I pre-make chickpea salad and/or egg salad sandwich filling for easy sandwiches.  Or we just stick to PB & J since it is easy and the kids love it.

Salsa & chips is a favourite too.  We may even eat it with leftovers from dinner (taco salad, chili, etc.).  My kids love black beans so that’s an easy thing to throw in with the salsa to eat.

One of my good friends always pre-makes quesadillas to bring camping and my kids swarm her like flies to get bites too.  Wrap them in tin foil, then toss in a zip lock bag to keep it out of the water at the bottom of the cooler.

Looking for some #easycampingmeals check out these favs #campingfood #campfirefood Click To Tweet

For dinner we enjoy:

Dinnertime we usually have everyone contribute stuff to make joint meals easier.  These are our favourites.

Dorito SaladDorito salad, or walking tacos, or quinoa taco salad, all the same thing.  Perfect because like tacos everyone personalizes theirs so you get exactly what you want.  A great hit with the kids.

Crockpot Vegetarian Pasta SaucePasta is always super easy, especially if you throw together a salad to go on the side.  I make the pasta sauce in advance so it has some protein in it to make it more filling, but you can even just bring a jar of tomato sauce and use that.  Plain still tastes good!  Again, if pre-made I freeze it in zip lock bags to stay fresh until we eat it and also help keep the cooler cold.

We make frozen chili in advance too (again freeze in zip lock bags to stay fresh and keep the cooler cold).  We add whatever fits in the cooler and we have on hand, nacho chips, grated cheese, cut up avocados, sour cream, etc.  It is always a big hit and super filling.

Hobo Dinner IGOf course if you have a campfire you can roast veggie or meat hot dogs on it for a fun hands-on meal everyone is sure to enjoy.

If you start the campfire early enough you can always make foil dinners.   These are a favourite of ours while camping, but they take two hours to cook by the fire so make sure you start them early or plan for a late dinner.

 

Banana Boats - Try making these delicious camping desserts on the open fire, or at home for a camping feel. Easy to personalize and make vegan.Is it time for dessert yet?

If you have a campfire then you can make Banana boats for dessert!!  THE BEST CAMPING DESSERT!

 

 

EASY CAMPING MENU IDEAS - In need of an easy camping menu to make the most of your time outdoors? Tasty, easy and sure to get everyone eating? Check out these stand-byes.

What are your favourite go-to meals while camping?  Do you go for tasty or easy or both?

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EASY CAMPING MENU IDEAS - In need of an easy camping menu to make the most of your time outdoors? Tasty, easy and sure to get everyone eating? Check out these stand-byes.

Monthly Crafting Book Club for August – Back to School Books

Monthly Crafting Book Club for Aug - School Books - It's time for back to school! This Monthly Crafting Book for August is focusing on Back to School books with crafts to make reading more fun with your kids!

Every month I gather a group of bloggers together to participate in the Monthly Crafting Book Club, a great way to encourage kids to read by incorporating a craft (or activity) to go along with the book.  If you are a blogger and want to join us join our Facebook group to see the upcoming books you can choose to participate in. Check out some of our past ones:

January – Barnyard Dance

February – If You Give A Moose A Muffin

March – ABC’s

April – Piggy in the Puddle

May – Five Little Monkeys

June – A Camping-related book

 

Pete the Cat Rocking School Shoes - IG

This month in the Monthly Crafting Book Club we are focussing on books related to back to school.  There are so many AMAZING back to school books that it is way more fun to see what everyone comes up with then by all doing the same  book.

After visiting the lirary and browsing their selection of books my daughter fell in love with Pete the Cat and his Rocking School Shoes.  In 24 hours I have had to read it at least 10 times…….. Thank goodness it’s a library book and goes back in a few weeks!  Anyways, after reading it I knew a craft with Pete’s red shoes would be PERFECT!  So we decided to get messy and do a painting activity for Pete’s red shoes.

Pete the Cat - Rocking in my school shoes - Come read the book and make the fun craft with your toddler/preschooler/child.

MATERIALS NEEDED

  • Pete the Cat Book
  • BIG paper, or a roll of paper
  • red paint
  • A marker
  • Rain boots
  • A bucket
  • Plastic plate
  • Soap
  • Optional: a kiddy pool all set up…..

HOW TO DO IT

First we filled up a bucket with soap and I got the kids to wash their boots, clean boots are important for painting with them.  While the kids did that I filled up their kiddy pool for easy washing once they are done getting messy.

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I chose to use rain boots instead of flip flops or running shoes because my kids are little and rain boots won’t be as slippery, plus it won’t ruin their shoes.

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I put a plate on the floor with red paint, then had them step in the paint with their boots and dance around the paper to make their cool cat rocking shoe foot print.

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They were having so much fun we also tried one without the boots in their bare feet in the paint.  They loved that too!  Squishy, squashy, messy fun!

Have #messyfun with your #littleones & paint in your shoes! #petethecat Click To Tweet

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When they were done we wrote a fun quote from the book on the paper and hung it up to dry.  Now for swimming bath time fun!

Pete the Cat - Rocking in my school shoes - It's time for back to school! This Monthly Crafting Book for August is focusing on Back to School books with crafts to make reading more fun with your kids!

 

I love this activity as even my one and a half year old son can easily participate too.  My three year old daughter gets stimulated but so does my son.  It can be hard to find activities that they will both enjoy and painting, especially with boots, is such an easy and fun one!

What is your favourite back to school book?

Monthly Crafting Book Club for Aug - School Books - It's time for back to school! This Monthly Crafting Book for August is focusing on Back to School books with crafts to make reading more fun with your kids!

Check out some other awesome crafts for back to school from other bloggers based on their favourite back to school book:

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Froggy Title

Pete the Cat - Rocking in my school shoes - pt

Come see the #backtoschoolbooks for this months #monthlycraftingbookclub #childrensliteracy Click To Tweet

Next month we are doing:

It's Pumpkin Day Mouse Have you seen my

 

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Getting your Freedom Back as a Mom

Getting Your freedom back as a mom - ig

This past week I had the amazing experience to go camping with my two wonderful children (3 and 1.5 years old), my sister, friends, and other acquaintances at an awesome festival we visit each year.  It is an amazing experience, the only place I go where I can really feel the “village” still has an effect.  Everyone helps to look after each other’s kids (even the child-less adults are moms for the week), we don’t wear shoes and get to run wild in nature hearing bands, attending workshops,  doing crafts at Munchkinland for the kids, swimming daily, and playing at the park.

I have been attending this festival every year for about eight or nine years.  I did it last year with a 2 year old and seven month old baby, and honestly it was hell.  Trying to juggle the two of them (even with help) was awful.  I was an emotional wreak and broke down more than once.  Trying to get the two of them to cooperate for naps and bedtime was just awful, after last year where it was seriously challenging and hard I knew no matter what this year could not be as bad!

This year was a JOY!  My children were amazing!  My daughter was at the age where she could be independent and play on her own while I put her brother down for a nap.  My son LOVED exploring nature and had a blast studying plants and wandering around enjoying his freedom.  They visited friends at neighbouring campsites and I didn’t even have to worry as it was only 10 feet away!

Last year I felt so tied down, I couldn’t attend any workshops, go to any of the nightlife activity since I had to be at the tent with the kids, and my emotions were so raw from trying to juggle a baby and a cranky toddler.  I was thrilled with how different this year was.  Yes they are still children and have their moments, but it was great to see everyone playing nicely (for the most part!) together, both kids had friends their age there from some of my BFF’s so we had two 3-year-olds, 2 1.5-year-olds and other kids around those ages who popped in and out regularly to play.  That combined with the five adults to look after them and back each other up was great.

13872712_10155161292169478_4642200756022411313_nAlthough I still couldn’t make it to any workshops or nightlife this year, I didn’t mind as much, I still got to leave the site with the kids and check out the vendors, and the swimming, that is what gave me my freedom back.  Moms, have you heard of a PUDDLE JUMPER??  It is a LIFESAVER!  I used to have to hold my kids in the water, neither are big enough to swim on their own, then we discovered the puddle jumper, and my life has changed forever.

 

I always loved to swim, I was a fish and loved to be underwater all the time, with kids, you can’t really do that, I was really limited since I am always with my kids, and although I still loved swimming and went in the water, I mostly stayed at waist height playing with the kids.

You give up so much as a mom, get your #freedomback! Click To Tweet

13659164_10155161293509478_3227132755319959401_nFast forward back to the camping festival, with both kids in puddle jumpers, I got to SWIM!!  We swam out to the floating dock every day, my kids love to swim and I was thrilled they would go on an adventure with me to the floating dock.  In case you are panicking, there was at least one adult per kid and we were always close to the kids swimming, even in their pudde jumpers.  Once at the floating dock we all climbed on board, my daughter was content to sit on the dock and count for people jumping off, but my son (18 month old) LOVED to jump off the floating dock, sometimes into my arms sometimes nowhere near me.  It was amazing.  I loved to see my kids have so much fun and for me, I got a little freedom back this week.  It may not seem like much, but to someone who loves swimming (and doing anything really on yor own) once you have kids, you realize you have to give up stuff you never even considered before (like going swimming underwater with no child in your arms).  If there is a way to give you back some of your freedom easily, then go for it!

For me it was a simple puddle jumper (you can buy it at Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire, Amazon, or we got one free from our local buy nothing group) that helped me get some freedom back.  Now my kids could swim WITH me instead of on me, so we were all comfortable going deeper and could do so safely.

Maybe next year I will make it to a workshop, maybe I will get to swim to the dock alone, maybe I can hit up a concert or fire pit and dancing or other night life, for now I am content to be near my kids and satisfied they are safe and happy, but when they are ready for more independence I cannot wait to get back some of mine!

 

What is one thing you didn’t expect you would have to give up when you became a parent.  Comment below!

Please do not forget to share this post with others!

Getting Your freedom back as a mom - pt

 

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Camping Hacks

Camping Hacks - Going camping is so much fun! But challenging with young kids. Try these Camping Hacks with kids to make your life easier and camping more fun!

 

Do you like to go camping with your kids?  I sure do! Although we always have a blast, I have picked up some tricks over the years to make our trip more enjoyable and comfortable. Here are some of my favourite hacks while camping with my kids.

Pillow case 1

This may seem like an odd hack, but after a week camping it was useful to me and other campers thought it was neat so I thought I would share it.  Instead of changing your pillow case before camping, bring the clean pillow case in your luggage, change it after your tent is set up.  I found my pillows got super dirty in the car and sitting on the ground or picnic table during unloading.  It is much better to change it once in the tent for a clean pillow.  Then use the dirty case as a laundry bag, put all your dirty clothes in there during the trip so it is easy to cart home and take straight to the washing machine to be cleaned.

Pump soap & solar shower

This was my sister’s genious idea, combined with my soap.  Bring a solar shower with you.  It is only like $10-15 at Wal-Mart, a great investment if you camp a lot and also good for showers while camping.  Fill it with water and hang it from a tree, put some soap near by, I just brought regular pump soap, it is easier than a bar and can sit at the bottom of the tree on the ground.  After using the outhouse or port-a-potty or bush you can easily wash your hands afterwards!  My three-year-old could manage to wash her own hands, which made our life much easier. Great to wash your hands after playing in the dirt, questionable beach water, and before meals.  A simple cleanliness station, which makes you feel MUCH better camping.

Potty

My daughter can go to the toilet herself at home, but at three I don’t want her traipsing to the port-a-potty on her own and they are pretty nasty.  We bring her potty with us, I take out the center (for catching the poop and pee) and she can easily bush pee on her potty independently without needing us to run her to the camp bathrooms.  With the hand washing station above she can wash her hands afterwards on her own too.  Being able to have your child go to the bathroom independently is a great blessing while camping as it saves you time and effort.  She knew when she had to go poop to tell us and we would take her to the port-a-potty, no one wants to clean that up out of the grass!

Wagon 1

This one is depending on the ages of your kids.  We have a pop-up wagon that is AMAZING.  It can be used to help cart all your camping gear to your tent, store stuff at the site, help you transport kids around the site easily, hold all your beach toys, towels, water bottles etc. while going to the beach, and if you have to walk to your car help transport groceries from your car and/or kids to the car for errands into town.

Thermal BagI brought an extra thermal bag (I LOVE my Thirty-One thermals!) on the way up for drinks and veggies that didn’t fit in the cooler.  Once they did I used the bag for ice runs to keep the ice solid longer.  It worked great!  Driving to town and back plus walking to and from the parking lot meant at least 10-20 minutes that the ice was out of the freezer before going in the cooler.  A thermal bag to transport makes a difference and it is cold carrying it against your body so some extra protection between you and the ice feels better too.

Sarong fence

This one is great for close camping quarters and festivals.  Use those clothes lines like a fence. Bring string/rope to tie up around the perimeter of your camping area (also a great way to mark off your area so no one comes camping in it during festivals) then bring old curtains, sheets, sarongs, and clothes pins.  Pin them up on the clothes lines around the camp, it’s pretty, and you get more privacy!

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Have outside and inside bags

In a week camping we did not let one single mosquito into our ten (and let me assure you there were tons!).  I have a three and one and a half year old so that is saying something.  Trips into the tent are kept to a minimum and usually reserved for nap times and bed time.  I have a bin outside the tent with stuff we need regular access to like sunscreen, bug repellent, toothbrushes, hats, bathing suits, and flashlights.  Stuff is easier to access outside and you keep the bugs out of your tent with minimal trips.

 

Solar Lights

These are awesome and cheap.  You can take ones from your yard, or pick some up at Dollarama before you go.  Stick them out in the sun during the day to charge, then at night you can put them around your seating area and/or the edges of your tent so you can see where the tripping spots are.  It is great for checking on sleeping kids too, enough light to see them and like a nightlight, without having to flash your flashlight at them and wake them up.

 

Don’t forget to bring a flashlight too! Check out these cool flashlights, every camper needs a good flashlight.

 

Camping Hacks - Going camping is so much fun! But challenging with young kids. Try these Camping Hacks with kids to make your life easier and camping more fun!

What are your camping hacks?  What makes your life easier while camping?

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Camping Hacks - Going camping is so much fun! But challenging with young kids. Try these Camping Hacks with kids to make your life easier and camping more fun!

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Epic Water Play Summer Edition

Epic water play summer - Summertime is the perfect time to play outside and enjoy some water play!  Here are some great (free or cheap) ideas to keep the kids busy playing.

As you can tell if you read my winter edition epic water play post, I am a big fan of water play.  It is a  great way to keep kids busy, help them practice different motor skills like pouring and scooping and also just foster their creativity and imagination by playing different things with the water.  You can really spark their imagination when you add in different toys, kitchen utensils, etc. so they can have a chance to make believe what they think it should be used for.

Epic water play summer - Summertime is the perfect time to play outside and enjoy some water play!  Here are some great (free or cheap) ideas to keep the kids busy playing.

Here is my epic water play summer addition:

I think that setting up your outdoor play area is an essential part of summer survival regardless of what age your children are.  Summertime is the perfect chance to be outside and play.  You don’t necessarily need to have a lot of toys out there, but you need to be organized with activities and ideas of things that they should do out there to keep them busy.

I’m going on my third summer with outdoor play being a very important part of our summer plans.  Having a perfectly set up deck has always been essential for me.  Two summers ago I had a toddler and I was pregnant with my second child.  I had a lot of dizziness in my first and even into my second trimester, incredible vertigo where standing up made me so dizzy it was like I was drunk.  I wasn’t even safe to drive most of the time and trying to keep up with the busy active toddler was really difficult as all I want to do was lie on the couch and not move, as I am sure many people can attest to in their pregnancy.  I learned early on that summer how essential it was to keep my daughter busy outside while giving me a place where I could sit and watch her without having to move too much because moving made me dizzy.

I am sure it does not need to be said but you need to be cautious and ensure your child’s skin safety before you go outside to begin with.  When we go out I know we will be outside for a bit, so I try to put sunscreen on, then rash guard bathing suits with long sleeves so we can play outside for hours and not worry as much about getting burned.  None of us go anywhere without our water bottles either. I also try to set up the activities in the shade so they are not in the direct sun.

Looking for some fun #waterplay activities to keep your kiddos busy? Look no further! Click To Tweet

Toys I found useful for various activities in our backyard:

  • Little kids pools
  • Water table
  • Big swing set and slide
  • Toddler-size slide and climbing structure
  • Sports equipment (t-ball, foot ball, baseball, soccer ball, etc.)
  • Ride-on toys
  • Push toys
  • Buckets, cups, of various sizes
  • Random water or bath toys
  • Nets (like on a stick from the dollar store for catching stuff)
  • Bubble wands and solution

Water table

The water table may seem extravagant but for three years it has been a big part of keeping my kids busy outside.  My kids just love playing in the water.  Even though my son was only six months last summer, he loved the water table.  He figured out how to stand up and hold onto it and he could still play with it by “furniture cruising” around the ends of the table.
As with indoor water play, any kind of  waterplay is all about the set up.  If you can be really organized a few days ahead of time that is even better.  If you know the weather is going to be really really hot this is the perfect time to get organized for your waterplay battles.  Take some old yogurt containers and freeze some plastic animals inside.  I went to  the dollar store and bought a whole bunch of animals specifically for this purpose. I freeze the animals in the bottom of the containers of water (you can add food colouring for fun if you want) then when it’s time for us to actually go outside and play I put the frozen containers in some hot water so that it melts a little and I could get the ice out of the container.  I put all the frozen blocks of ice in their table and they can practice trying to get them out with hot water and tools or they can just practice letting it float around the table until the animals float free.  Either way they love the addition of animals throughout their water play to play with as well.

Another idea is to take some ice cubes and color them with food coloring before you freeze them, this will help the water get a dozen different colors.  They can also practice mixing different color ice cubes together and see what color it forms.  Random kitchen utensils also make a lot of fun, as do colanders, whisks (for some reason ??),  measuring spoons and cups.

Water table play

We have water toys dedicated for outdoor play to keep it fresh. I would just let them play for hours out there and they would have a blast. I even set up the blowup pool with cold water and the water table with hot water so they can experience the difference between temperatures. I would fill up parts of the water table with soapy water so they can practice giving animals a bath.  It is also a great way to get them to clean up their own toys.  Sponges are a lot of fun in the water table to see how much it absorbs and try squeezing it out.

All-around water tables are a great way to keep your kids busy in the summertime, especially when they are getting Squirrley towards the witching hour waiting for daddy to come home from work.  This is the best time to stick them in the water outside and have them play for a bit.

water bubble pool

I even fill up the kiddy pool with bubble bath and the kids can have a bath while playing in the pool!  Two activities in one!  We eat most of or meals outside in the summer too and before you know it you have been outside for about four hours enjoying the sun and making it so the fresh air will help them have a nice deep sleep that night.

Water kiddie pool

Some ways to keep the entertainment fresh with a kiddie pool:

  • Using a net scoop up plastic toys, or play fish.
  • Fill up watering cans and water the garden.
  • Scoop up water in cups and pots and pour it into a bucket/water table/etc.
  • Fill up with bubbles and use as a bath time.
  • Have the kids fill up the pool with the hose, it’s great practice aiming.
  • Plastic boats, squirt guns, tons of possibilities for play!

What is your favourite way to keep the kids busy outside?  What activities do you like to use to keep the kids busy?

Epic Water Play Winter Edition - IG

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Epic water play summer - Summertime is the perfect time to play outside and enjoy some water play!  Here are some great (free or cheap) ideas to keep the kids busy playing.

 

Nature Stone Spiral Craft

Nature Stone Spiral Craft - Nature Stone Spiral Craft - Walking a spiral is a great meditating tool and a fabulous way to de-stress, why not make a craft to teach the benefits to children?

I love spirals! A few years ago I went to a women’s retreat (Women’s Red Spiral) and we each brought a stone to contribute to the spiral and then paint red. It was beautiful and a great memory.  Spirals are great for a lot of purposes, but a stone spiral circle is used frequently for meditating. You make them big enough so it is like a path to walk. If you need to de-stress, want to meditate, or just connect with nature this is a great way to do it. Just take a deep breath (ground and centre) and walk the spiral to relax and let your concerns fall away.

I decided it was time to introduce my daughter to meditating and stone spirals, but in an age appropriate way for a three-year old.

Materials Needed:

  • Canvas for painting
  • Coloured paint: green, brown, silver, white, black
  • Sponge and paint brush
  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • Assorted stones

Instructions:

  • Dampen your sponge a bit and squeeze out the access water.
  • Put some dots of paint on your canvas, green and brown mostly, I like to add some silver to add a bit of shimmer.
  • Use your damp sponge to lightly brush the sponge across the canvas and mix the colours together.
  • While that dries, take the kids outside to collect some little stones.
  • Using a paint brush, I used black paint any colour you want will work though, paint a spiral on the canvas, starting from the centre and working its way out.
  • Heat the glue gun and try to tap off some of the dirt off the stones or they won’t glue as well.
  • Using the glue gun attach the stones one at a time to your spiral.

Nature Stone Spiral Craft - 1Nature Stone Spiral Craft - 2

 

To play with your spiral you can teach your child a few different ways, these were my favourites:

 

I taught her to use her finger and try to deep breath as she traced the spiral to the centre with her finger, then back out again still tracing with her finger.

 

I went through her toys and found little Strawberry Shortcake figurines and brought those out for the kids. Using the figurines they “walked” the spiral with the figurines and traversed the stone spiral in and out with them.

 

It may not exactly be meditating but it’s a start to get them to calm down and relax, maybe learning some breaths as they go.  I love the look of concentration on their face as they focus on the spiral, I may even use this if she is freaking out and needs some help calming down.

 

Nature Stone Spiral Craft - Walking a spiral is a great meditating tool and a fabulous way to de-stress, why not make a craft to teach the benefits to children?

June Kid Craft Challenge: Nature Inspired Craft

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Nature Inspired Portraits by The Resourceful Mama

Mud Kitchen Food by The Gingerbread House

Flower Petal Suncatcher by Play & Learn Everyday

Nature Stone Spiral Craft by Raising Fairies & Knights

Nature Stone Spiral Craft - Walking a spiral is a great meditating tool and a fabulous way to de-stress, why not make a craft to teach the benefits to children?

Follow Raising Fairies and Knights’s board Crafts – Baby, Toddler, Kids on Pinterest.

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