Six Toddler Essentials

Six Toddler Essentials

The toddler years can be a wonderful, but sometimes frustrating, part of your child’s life. You will find yourself repeating “Don’t touch that” over and over again, they will outgrow outfits over night, and you’ll learn something new every day. Life with a toddler is full of curiosity, hugs, smiles, and the occasional tantrums. You may also suddenly realize that most of the things you received at your baby shower are items you no longer need. Today, I’ve put together a list of affordable products that will help you through the toddler years.

**This post contains affiliate links. We may get a small commission, at no additional charge to you, for purchases made from our links. All opinions are our own.**

Bath Spout Cover

Your toddler is likely mobile now and has outgrown their baby bath tub. Keep their heads and hands safe with a spout cover.

Supportive Shoes

When your child reaches the toddler years, it is time to get rid of those adorable little soft shoes and get more supportive shoes.

Two Piece Pajamas

Once potty training starts, it is also time to say goodbye to one piece pajamas. Easy to remove clothing can help prevent accidents.

Potty Training Toilet

Choosing a potty is an important step! We picked one that looked like a real toilet and then moved on to one that was attached to our toilet seat once we were further along in the process.

Travel Stroller

You are probably ready to be done with a bulky stroller by now, but if you have a young toddler, it might be a few years before you are done with strollers. My four year old still likes to ride in hers from time to time. If you haven’t yet, now is the time to pick up a very light weight stroller.

Straw Cups

Getting rid of the bottle was easy for my daughter, but getting her to drink out of a straw cup was a bit harder! She hated everything but soft spout sippy cups for the longest time. Sometimes, you just have to keep buying different cups until you find one that clicks!

Your sweet toddler will be a preschooler before you know it, so try to enjoy this stage as much as you can! If you are already past the toddler stage, I’d love to hear from you! What products were essential for your little one when they were a toddler?

Are you buying for an infant? Check out this video!

My Preschooler’s Favorite Things To Do At Living Treasures Animal Park

My Preschooler’s Favorite Things To Do At Living Treasures Animal Park

Living Treasures Wild Animal Park in New Castle, Pennsylvania is a great destination for families who are looking for a more intimate wildlife experience than you can find in many zoos. The animals are well looked after, are kept in high-quality enclosures, and seem to be pretty happy. We have taken several family members with us on visits to the animal park and they’ve all raved about their experience. Today, I want to share my four year old’s five favorite things to do while we are visiting Living Treasures.

Talk To Prairie Dogs

The prairie dog enclosure is set up wonderfully for little ones. The glass front makes it easy for even the smallest child to get face to face with these little creatures. My daughter will sit down and have a chat with them while she watches them scurry around.

Hang Out With A Giant Snake

Living Treasures is home to a gigantic snake. They also have a much smaller snake that you can hold for a photo. When the snake is right on the glass, my curious preschooler loves to just hang out with it for a few minutes.

Press The Parrot

When we are waiting to enter and usually when we leave, my daughter loves pressing the button that makes an animatronic parrot talk. It says several different things, so it can be lots of fun to press the button more than once.

Watch The Flamingos

Flamingos are a family favorite. They are so colorful and graceful.

Walk With Goats

The goat petting area at Living Treasures is a lot of fun. There are always tons of baby goats to pet and feed. They also have a smaller area that has goats and sheep.

We always have a great time visiting Living Treasures! It’s much more intimate than a traditional zoo! On top of that, it is very educational and you can feed most of the animals!

Paper Sandcastle Craft

Paper Sandcastle Craft

This week, we have decided to bring a day at the beach home with some fun activities and crafts! Yesterday, we built a “sandcastle”. This craft is extremely easy and only takes a few materials!

**This post contains affiliate links. We may can a small commission, at no additional charge to you, for purchases made from our links.**

Materials Used

Construction Paper (White and Brown)

Scissors

Glue

A Crayon or Marker

To start, I drew several sandcastle “parts” for my preschooler to cut out. If you are doing this craft with a younger child, you can do the cutting. If you are doing this craft with an older child, you can let them draw the sandcastle themselves and have them cut it out afterwards.

After the cutting was done, we drew a door and windows. Next, my daughter glued the castle together. I let her put the pieces on the paper however she wanted them.

When your little one is done, you will have a one of the kind sandcastle that you don’t have to worry about washing away!

Little learners enjoy pairing a book with a craft or activity! Here are a few suggestions.

You Don’t Have to Be Perfect, But You Do Have To Be You

You Don’t Have to Be Perfect, But You Do Have To Be You

While most people think self-acceptance is the same thing as self-esteem, the two are actually quite different. Self-esteem is the value we have in who we are, while self-acceptance is our ability to embrace all aspects of ourselves. Simply put, it means both understanding your value and fully embracing your personality and actions.

 It is not enough to just accept the positive in yourself. To truly experience self-acceptance; you must also accept your quirks and weaknesses. It is not easy to accept the things we may not like about ourselves, but once we start accepting who we really are, we can begin the process of meaningful self-improvement. Self-acceptance can be difficult at first, but here are a few suggestions to help you along the journey!

Don’t Rush Things

The process of accepting yourself takes time. It is not easy but loving the person you are will make you happier. Not only will you feel more at peace with yourself, but you will connect better with others as well. Once you accept yourself, you will have an easier time finding others who also embrace you for you. Learning to accept yourself begins with understanding that one does not have to achieve perfection and that it is okay to simply exist just the way you are. A great first step is learning to accept your mistakes and to acknowledge that both good and bad things are part of life.

Get To Know Yourself

Many people have no idea who they truly are. Self-discovery is a necessary step towards self-acceptance.  Even though a lot of us can love and accept others as they are, we still harshly judge ourselves. I believe that is because humans hate to recognize our own weaknesses. Once we truly get to know ourselves, we can choose to accept everything that makes us unique. Journaling is an amazing way to get to discover more about yourself. Try to set aside fifteen or twenty minutes a day just to write out your feelings and thoughts!

Accept That There Are Things You Can’t Change

There are things you can do to change your life for the better, but there are also things that will never change. Wishing that you could change things that will never change is just a waste of time and energy.

To be happy with who we are, we must let ourselves accept all who we are, flaws and all. Take the time to be kind to yourself and learn to overcome that inner voice that says “you are not good enough”.

Forgive Yourself

In order to forgive ourselves, we have to admit that we have made mistakes in the past. This is incredibly difficult, but it is also a crucial step towards self-acceptance. As long as we feel like we are not good enough to deserve forgiveness, self-acceptance can seem difficult. Remember that mistakes and failures are part of being human. They also help us learn and grow. Every misstep is a stepping stone on your path through life. Take responsibility, acknowledge your mistakes, and try to use those mistakes to work towards better choices in the future.

As you learn to accept yourself, you will also be able to work towards becoming the best version of yourself you can be. This will bring you happiness and success.

Four Tips For A Great Trip To The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium

Four Tips For A Great Trip To The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium

Yesterday, we visited the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. The zoo, which offers winding paths, cool shady wooded areas and beautiful exhibits, is a great place to spend a day. Today, we want to share four tips for a successful visit to the Pittsburgh Zoo!

Get Ready To Walk A Lot

Your adventure at the Pittsburgh Zoo will begin with a ride on an escalator from the area where you purchase tickets to the actual zoo entrance. There is also an elevator for strollers and those with mobility limitations. After you exit the escalator or elevator, you will find an area that has a bathroom, gift shops, and a place to get some food! There is also a carousel in that area. Once you pass all that, you’ll go down a path through a tunnel and then the actual fun starts! The Pittsburgh Zoo has a wide range of animals including lions, elephants, giraffes, gorillas and polar bears. The aquarium is home to a huge variety of fish, sharks and other marine life, some of which you can even touch!  If you have trouble walking long distances, you will definitely want to bring or rent a mobility aid.

Arrive Early And Leave Plenty Of Time To Explore

This is not a zoo that you want to visit if you only have an hour or two. There is just so much to see! It was super busy yesterday, so it took us an hour and a half just to purchase and eat lunch. There are also two big play areas that children will want to stop at. A lot of the animal exhibits are very detailed and worth taking time to appreciate!

Take A Lot Of Pictures

There are so many photo opportunities! The very natural looking habitats make this zoo a great please for wildlife photography and there are also plenty of neat places to take pictures of your family! My daughter loved the giant polar bear they have near their amazing polar bear exhibit. She also loved getting to see how tall she was compared to a baby elephant.

Don’t Forget To Pack Sunscreen And Sunglasses

The Pittsburgh Zoo has tons of shady areas, but you’ll be getting a lot of sun exposure too. No one wants to end a fun day with sunburn. If you get extra hot, there are a few fans that spray cool mist located through out the zoo.

We had so much fun exploring everything the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium had to offer. My four-year-old learned a few new things about animals and she really enjoyed the play areas! Don’t forget to check back to read more about our travel adventures in the future!

You Won’t Hear “I’m Bored” With These Fun Summer Activities

You Won’t Hear “I’m Bored” With These Fun Summer Activities

Summer is such a fun time of the year! You can spend a day at a local water park, take a trip to the beach or just enjoy a day with your children at the park. Even with all the fun things your family does this time of year, summer boredom will still likely hit your home at some point. Today, we want to share a list of crafts and activities that will have your preschool aged child learning fun new things all summer long.

Crafts

Dinosaur Fossil Craft

Easy DIY Pipe Cleaner Flower Craft

Lego Crayons

Paper Plate Watermelon Fan Craft

Toilet Paper Roll Bird Feeder

Handprint Sun Paper Plate Craft

Bubble Wrap Butterflies

Educational Activities and Worksheets

Sunscreen Painting

Farm Themed Cutting Practice

Summer Preschool Worksheets

Cleaning Pennies With Ketchup

Twenty Great Blogging Moms You Should Follow

Twenty Great Blogging Moms You Should Follow

Parenting can be a lonely journey at times! Most of us have a support system that includes friends and family, but today, I want to share some amazing blogs that can help moms feel a little less alone! This list is full of twenty real moms who are sharing their own passions and advice in a variety of ways!

  1. Saving Talents: Tiffany Thomas is a chocoholic former math teacher and homeschooling mom with Crohn’s Disease. She and her husband Phillip (who is an engineer) work together on the blog Saving Talents. Tiffany blogs about parenting and marriage, chronic illness, and faith.
  2. Marley’s Menu: Marley lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband Rob, their baby boy Charlie, and their two dogs Zazu. She thoroughly relishes every step of the cooking process—from sourcing the ingredients, creating beautiful flavors with them, and enjoying the final product as a family. With the environment always front of mind, Marley stands strong in her belief that you can live a modern lifestyle while still making sustainable food choices. At Marley’s Menu, you can expect to find recipes that everyone can enjoy and to learn little green tips along the way to live an attainable sustainable life.
  3. Nina Kneads To Bake: Nina writes a sweet and savoury baking blog. She started the blog when her daughter was about 6 months old. Now she also has a 5 month old son. Work on Nina’s blog has been very part time since she has a toddler and baby at home. Early mornings and nap times times are when she is most productive.
  4. Champagne & Coffee Stains: Ali is from Minneapolis. She is a toddler mom and expecting baby number 2 this summer! She shares her family’s (mostly) healthy recipes, toddler activities and play ideas, fitness for moms and all things peloton!
  5. High Chair Chronicles: Kate is a mom to a wonderful 4 year old boy who was the pickiest eater from the first time he tried solid foods. She worked hard to teach him to enjoy food and started her blog to help other parents of babies and toddlers overcoming picky eating and sensory issues and to share all her tips and advice.
  6. Two Pink Peonies: Audrey of Two Pink Peonies is a mom of two toddlers. She shares easy, family friendly recipes and kids activities.
  7. All About Baby Blog: Linda is the creator of All About Baby Blog. She started the blog as a creative outlet and hobby because she lovse sharing helpful hacks for parents! You can also find lots of information about pregnancy along with fun crafts and printables for your kids on her website.
  8. In The Playroom: This blog written by a team of two mums from the Uk, Anna and Luciana who are best friends. The site covers kids activities and play ideas as well as topics for moms including relationships, health and fashion.
  9. Ugly Duckling Bakery: Joanne is an infectious disease physician who dreams about starting a bakery one day. She has been cooking and baking all of her life, but started sharing more on social media in 2020 during the pandemic. She started the blog in January 2021 to share all of the food that comes out of her kitchen. It’s called the Ugly Duckling because she does not fuss to make things look perfect. On her blog, you’ll find weeknight dinners, weekend dinners and baking adventures of all kinds.
  10. A Dime Saved: Robyn is a millennial mom on a tight budget! She loves sharing tips and tricks to help you live your very best life all while saving a dime or two! She loves reading, spending time with her kids and cooking so check my blog for all the best ways to do that on a budget.
  11. Mum’s Creative Cupboard: Louisa is the face behind Mum’s Creative Cupboard. She has two kiddos and she loves all things creative. She creates simple and fun play activities for toddlers and preschoolers with the focus on less prep, more play!
  12. CulinaryShades: Alpa from CulinaryShades is a mom of two kids. Her blog is all about vegetarian and vegan cooking.
  13. One Fit Mamma: Kallie from One Fit Mamma is a mom to one toddler and two fur babies. Her goal in life is to help other moms be fit and active during pregnancy and after they have their baby.
  14. Homeschooling In Progress: Christy is a homeschool mom of four who enjoys laughing and learning with her kids. She believes a homeschool day can be manageable and enjoyable. Christy shares tips, ideas, and activities to simplify the homeschool day so homeschool parents can feel confident and enjoy teaching their kids.
  15. Everyday Thrifty: Nicole is a mom that will inspire you to be frugal and still have a full life! Her family paid off $68K of debt in just 16 months. And now, she loves to teach other moms practical ways to save money and live a full life even on a budget.
  16. The Craft At Home Family: Sacha is a former teacher and stay-at-home mom of four young kids who loves to cook, craft and create fun activities for her family. She loves to share crafts, activities, printables and recipes on her blog to help inspire parents, caregivers and teachers who are looking for fun things to do with kids!
  17. Our Wabi Sabi Life: Debi and the team from Our Wabi Sabi Life are all about making the most out of this imperfectly perfect life. This blog shares easy recipes for the whole family, simple crafts, DIYs on a budget, and lots of family fun ideas!
  18. A Tiny Trip: Daphna is a homeschooling mom of four kids under the age of ten. A former backpacker, she now helps parents travel and explore the world and their own backyard, with little ones in tow. On A Tiny Trip she shares practical travel guides and positive parenting advice.
  19. Hess Un-Academy: Charlene is a homeschooling mom of seven who blogs about homeschooling a large family. She and her family enjoy having fun and going on adventures together. Her blog focuses on making home education as fun and simple as possible. 
  20. Feels Like Home: Tara is the mom of a tween and a teen who works full time, homeschools, and blogs on the side. Her site, Feels Like Home, features food, family, and faith topics. Since 2007, she has shared over 350 delectable recipes spanning everything from cheesy comfort food to vegetable based healthy fare. In the family section, she shares fun activities for kids as well as parenting advice and encouragement. In the faith section, she shares Christian Bible studies and prayers for moms.

Five Reasons Waldameer Is The Best Small Amusement Park We’ve Ever Been To

Five Reasons Waldameer Is The Best Small Amusement Park We’ve Ever Been To

There is so much to love about one of the oldest amusement parks in Pennsylvania. Waldameer might be small, but it has attractions for the entire family! Today, I want to share five reasons why Waldameer is my family’s favorite small amusement park.

Not only does Waldameer offer rides and water attractions, but it is also free to just walk around and enjoy the old school environment! Guests can choose to buy wristbands or individual tickets, so if you want to just ride a little, you do not have to pay for a full day of rides. It is also free for non-riders to just walk around and enjoy time with their families. The water park does have charge per person to enter.

Waldameer has recently expanded the water park a lot and since we did not visit last year, we cannot wait to try out all the new things! Each year, they make improvements or add new rides. Because of the pandemic, most of the improvements this year were just cosmetic changes, but it definitely looks nice!

This year, we bought season passes to Waldameer, so the reasonable prices of food in the park is a major perk! They have pretty basic theme park food and sweet treats. There are also plenty of shady places to sit and eat. If you want, you can even bring in your own food!

Waldameer is located in Erie, PA and is super close to the entrance to Presque Isle State Park. If you don’t want to spend a whole day there, you’ll have no trouble finding more to do. We rarely make a trip to Waldameer without taking a drive through Preque Isle while we are there.

I’ve been going to Waldameer since I was a child and I don’t think I’ve ever waited more than a half an hour for a ride! The park can get crowded, but the lines are usually pretty short! We recently visited on opening day and the longest we waited for anything was ten minutes!

While Waldameer isn’t known for record setting rides or a large amount of roller coasters, it is still the best small amusement park that we’ve ever been to! They offer a wide range of family-friendly activities and attractions that keep us coming back for more!

Paper Plate Umbrella Art

Paper Plate Umbrella Art

Recently, we’ve had a lot of rain! I know the saying is “April showers bring May flowers”, but this way it is more like “May showers make for long hours”. To pass the time, we made this fun rain inspired craft!

**This post contains affiliate links and a gifted item. All opinions are our own.**

Materials Used

White Construction Paper

Decorative Paper

Black Construction Paper

A Paper Plate

Glue

Scissors

Crayons

The prep work for this craft will only take a minute! I cut the paper plate in half and then cut out raindrops from the decorative paper. To finish getting ready, I cut a thick J shape from the black construction paper.

Next, I gave my daughter crayons so she could color the paper plate.

After she was done coloring, I helped her glue the J shape on paper. Next, we glued on the paper plate.

This tee was #Gifted. You can get your own here and use code NSCM10 to save on your purchase!

To finish this easy art project, I had my daughter put glue all over the white paper and then glue on the raindrops.

Book Suggestions

Little learners love pairing a craft or learning activity with a book! Here are a few suggestions.

If you like this craft, please share it with a friend!

Ten Strawberry Packed Recipes

Ten Strawberry Packed Recipes

May is National Strawberry Month and in preparation, we want to share some amazing strawberry recipes! National Strawberry Month may not be widely celebrated, but it could easily be one of the most delicious months of the year! Strawberries are bright, juicy and can satisfy your sweet tooth.

Strawberry Heart Pop Tarts

Photo Credit: Ugly Duckling Bakery

Healthy Strawberry Gummies 

Photo Credit: maple + mango

Strawberry Slushie

Photo Credit: maple + mango

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

Photo Credit: All Ways Delicious

Strawberry Jello Parfaits

Photo Credit: Cincyshopper

Tropical Pineapple Strawberry Swirl Smoothie

Photo Credit: Peas and Crayons

Mini Strawberry Shortcakes

Photo Credit: Quiche My Grits

Strawberry Frappuccino

Photo Credit: Milk + Pop

Strawberry Coconut Cupcakes

Photo Credit: Quiche My Grits

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Photo Credit: Little Sunny Kitchen

I’d love to hear from you! Have you heard of National Strawberry Month? What is your favorite thing to make with strawberries?