Happy *almost* 🌏 Earth Day! ____ How are you celebrating tomorrow with your kids? My FAVORITE thing to do with the kids each year to celebrate is start our seeds for our garden. I love how excited they get about it, and how much they learn through the experience. ____ It's an awesome lesson in science, patience, dedication and work ethic - and one of the few things left in this modern world that teaches delayed gratification. 🌱💦🥒 ____ We added a literacy element to our garden learning with a printable Garden Journal! You can get yours through the shoppable tag on this post or at the direct link in my bio. The girls love saving seed samples and recording each stage of the process. ____ The seeds are all sown... now we wait!
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better... it’s not” - Dr. Seuss, The Lorax ____ Today’s Spring Break adventure found us at the brand new Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden and the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum. It is incredibly well done, fully interactive and my kids thought it was totally magical - just like walking through the pages of a Dr. Seuss book. Who better to encounter during Earth Day week than the Lorax! What’s your family’s favorite Dr. Seuss book? There were many on display I’d never read before! ___ If you are in New England, the trip to Springfield, MA is well worth it. Check out my IG stories for a look inside the museum itself.
Starting seeds in our Tinkergarten class last week was a good reminder (despite the less than co-operative weather outside), that we needed to get our seeds started too! 🌱Do you grow a garden with your kids? What do you like to grow? ____ No more perfect project for Spring Break or Earth Day this week. We got this super cool mini-greenhouse @loweshomeimprovement - it's made by Jiffy and comes with these compacted peat moss pods. You add warm water, they expand, and then you plant your seeds inside. It comes with a clear top you put over the entire tray until they start to sprout. Once you have a more mature seedling, you pick up the whole pod and plant it. ____ Technically, the kids could have dumped 15 cups of water on them, but where's the fun or learning in that?!? It said to add water slowly, so I had them do it with these @learningresources eye droppers - turned a 1 minute activity into a 20 minute one... and they thought watching the peat moss grow right before their very eyes was total magic!
This week, my kids are off on Spring Break... so we are taking full advantage and exploring... in and around our town and broader New England! What are some of your favorite stay-cation adventures on school breaks? ____ We got started a little early last Friday with my toddler's first @Tinkergarten class. It's a little explorers class for the toddler to preschool age group that meets in your local park. Last week, we hiked in the woods, explored nature's natural treasures, and then planted some seeds and read a fun book to match. This week, the kids are going to make and play in the mud! It's a great combination of directed and free play, perfect to prepare your child to go to preschool, all while enjoying the great outdoors. _____ During our hike, my toddler found this cool ocean mosaic-ish mural in our local park I had never even paid attention to before... but he can spot a goldfish from a mile away. Amazing how observant those little eyes are. ____ This is absolutely NOT sponsored, but for any interested in learning more... There are @tinkergarten classes in 49 states, led by over 1,500 leaders nationwide. Visit tinkergarten.com to see if there's a local class near you.
💭Mom, how did you know we could DO this!?!?! ____ Garage door + @magnatiles for the win! The truth is, I didn't think of this... but I saw this genius idea over at @playingwithchanel last month and I couldn't wait for a nice warm day to give it a try. @magnatiles are easily THE most played with toy in our house, by all 3 of my kids. They are expensive, but since we got them for my oldest's third birthday nearly 4 years ago, they have been played with every single day, and the only thing that has fallen apart from daily use is the box they came in (so now we keep them in one of our playroom cubby baskets). ____ Our refrigerator isn't magnetic, and neither are our slider or window frames, but it never even occurred to me that our garage doors are metal... but they ARE and the girls thought this was the coolest thing ever. Anything that keeps them this engaged, playing together imaginatively and collaboratively, is a huge #momwin in my book! ____ What's a simple way you've put old toys to fun, inspiring new use? You can see how else we've used our Magnatiles at the direct 🔗 in my bio for a fun Three Little Pigs inspired post 🐷
Other than the title to our home, this is probably the most expensive piece of paper I will ever own. A college degree didn’t come cheap in 2004... and today, it costs a whole lot more. Today, a degree from Notre Dame will cost you over a quarter of a million 💵😱 ____ Last week on Financially Savvy Fridays LIVE, I answered your questions on the best ways to save for college... but more importantly, I tried to frame how to think about college as a serious investment decision, that fits your child and what they want for their future, without burdening you both with debt you can't afford. ____ You can find a summary of the discussion - including all the stats around college, earnings, graduation rates, student loans, and 529 plans (how to save for college tax efficiently) - at my new How Do Parents Pay for College landing page at the direct 🔗 in my bio ____ Be sure to join me for FSF Live every Friday at 2pm ET (in about 45 min)! Today, I’ll be taking your questions on one of the basic building blocks of finance - risk and interest rates. Come ask your questions live, or catch the replay in my Stories through tomorrow. DM me with your family finance questions any time
Last week, I shared how you can teach your kids about money and math with affordable manipulatives around your house. Guess what? You can create your own literacy manipulatives for next to nothing too. This is one of my 4 year olds favorite learning activities that uses a DIY ABC bottle you can make in minutes for the cost of a box of pasta. ____ All you need is a clear plastic bottle and a box of @ronzonipasta alphabet pasta. I recommed a bottle with smooth sides, like this old Fuji water bottle, so your child can write on it and see the letters clearly. The letters also pop a bit more if you dye them - add a few pumps of hand sanitizer and 5-10 drops of food coloring to a plastic bag, then add your pasta and shake it up. Lay it out to dry and it will be ready to add to your bottle in an hour or two with a funnel. >>> SWIPE >>> for a close up of the bottle. _______ I made this last year, and we keep it in the literacy bin in the playroom. Today, she used it with a dry erase marker to find the letters in her name, and it wipes clean with a dry paper towel. The possibilities are truly endless, and can be used for anything from letter recognition to site words, even spelling practice for older kids. For a more detailed how-to and 8 more ways to play with your ABC bottle, visit the direct 🔗 in my bio
Happy #NationalSiblingDay! ____ Growing up as the oldest of 3 kids, I swore I would never have 3 kids myself... there was always an odd sibling out, and I lived through my sister’s epic middle child syndrome. And yet here I am with 3 kids of my own a few decades later. ____ But I also can’t imagine our family without these 3... my oldest, the constant perfectionist, who is wise beyond her years, and always looking to learn. My second, the non stop chatterbox and constant dreamer - who lives as hard as she sleeps (when she finally does!). And my baby, who gives these two girls a run for their tutus and makes himself heard despite being the smallest (for now) ____ If you had asked me a few years ago if I would ever find my kids engaged in a three way sword fight (one channeling Elena, one channeling a pirate, and one making do with a broom stick as a sword and dictating the rules of engagement - I’ll leave you to guess which is which), it’s not a scene I ever would have imagined, but now I can’t imagine it any other way. Watching them grow up together is magical, even if it is the cause of all my gray hair. And while it can be a struggle to have enough attention, enough hands to go around, I also know they are the best gift to each other I could ever give them. These three are lucky to have each other, just like I was lucky to have my sister and brother, then and even now with all of us separated by thousands of miles. ____ This is how they say goodnight to little brother every night. >>> swipe >>> for outtakes 🤣
Y’all today was such a Monday... _____ My girls were catty at each other from the second they woke up this morning. My toddler son has decided his new favorite thing to do is to make me chase him, no matter where we are. I somehow convinced myself today was a good day to start his potty training. And it all culminated in him gagging on a piece of calamari and throwing up in the middle of a restaurant while out to dinner with my in-laws tonight 🤦🏻♀️ _____ Thank God for wine, a gracious waitress, and the one hour of peace I got at yoga today thanks to the kids club at the gym. To say today I was surviving at motherhood would be an understatement. ____ For my sanity, after getting all the kids bathed and in bed, I dug out my go to favorite parenting tool... the kindness jar! I turn to this, not so much when the kids are not behaving, but more when I need to re-focus my own parenting - from one of constant referee and naysayer to more of positive reinforcer. And the coolest part? It works. For me, and for the kids. See exactly how we use our Kindess Jar at the direct 🔗 in my bio. ____ So here’s to re-centering my parenting and a new day tomorrow in advance of us all being home for break next week... and a long 3 months of summer just around the corner. What are your most effective parenting techniques when you or your kids need a change of pace?