Martin Luther King Jr. Day resources for you and your family

Martin Luther King Jr. Day ⭐️

Whether you homeschool or not, I hope these resources spark up some great conversation between you and your family and deepen your understanding of the importance of this day!

For parents, because having background knowledge is key

More for parents

I Have a Dream speech

Video for kids (Remember, this is supposed to spark conversation)

Elmo MLK Jr Day

Coloring pages

Word search

Activity

Free reader

Flip book

Color by number

MLK Jr Smiling When my kiddos were really young, they attributed his serious face as someone who was “mean.” I had to explain that he was serious and passionate about the topic at hand. I think this is a great photo to show your children. It’s just so beautiful!

Books: Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., National Geographic Readers: Martin Luther King, Jr. (Readers Bios), I am Martin Luther King, Jr. (Ordinary People Change the World), I Have a Dream and so much more!

I hope this helps ✨

xxoo Kate

The Bug Bite Thing

One of THE most irritating things about summer in our neck of the woods is the dreaded mosquitos. We have a lovely sliver of spring when they haven’t hatched out of hiding yet, and it’s simply glorious. When they do come out though, they arise with a vengeance.

Nothing is worse than being eaten alive… and then to deal with the itchiness afterwards is the literal definition of “UGH!”

I learned something new the other day. The reason we feel itchy is due to a reaction caused by the saliva/venom the bugs leave behind just under our skin.

Bug Bite Thing is a suction tool that extracts the irritants which in turn alleviates the itching, stinging and swelling!

Bug Bite Thing is reusable, kid-friendly and works on mosquitoes, bees, wasps, ants and other biting insects! The tool can also be used to remove splinters and other embedded objects!

I get it, it sounds a little too good to be true, but they come with a 100% guarantee so there is no harm in trying!

You can find them in black and white here: Bug Bite Thing.

Enter my giveaway over on Instagram for a chance to win a couple for yourself – there will be more than one winner! *giveaway now CLOSED*

xoxo Kate

Halloween Movies That Are Actually Appropriate For Young Kids

I absolutely adore Halloween movies but now that I’m a parent with children of my own, I am realizing that most Halloween movies are pretty inappropriate… Even one of my favorites, Hocus Pocus, is about witches sucking the lives out of children. Most parents will say “oh my kids don’t even notice,” or “they look right over those details,” and that’s great but my kids aren’t like that. They analyze everything. They were terrified watching Frozen 2 because of the water scenes because they were afraid she was going to drown. In other words, scary movies aren’t really their “thing” right now. Someday we will be able to enjoy some of my Halloween favorites but for now, we need some “gentle” titles. Here are some that I’ve complied in case you’re in the same boat as I am. For reference, my kids are ages 5, 3.5 and just about 2!

It’s the Great Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown “The Peanuts gang celebrates Halloween while Linus waits for the Great Pumpkin.” – IMDb


Hotel Transylvania (there is also a 2 and 3) “Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count’s teenaged daughter.” – IMDb


Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie “Lumpy teams with tiny Roo for a Halloween adventure in the Hundred Acre Wood, in this animated tale about friendship, bravery, and teamwork.” – Amazon


Toy Story of Terror “Woody and the gang are held up at a roadside motel and members of the group start to disappear from everywhere. Woody and set about getting to the bottom of the mystery.” – IMDb


Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest “George and Allie visit Renkins’ farm on the occasion of Halloween and learn of a spooky legend about a scarecrow who attacks people wearing hats. The duo try to get to the bottom of the mystery.” – Common Sense Media


Monsters Inc “There’s a reason why there are monsters in children’s closets—it’s their job. Monsters, Inc. is the most successful scream-processing factory in the monster world, and there is no better Scarer than James P. Sullivan. But when “Sulley” accidentally lets a little human girl into Monstropolis, life turns upside down for him and his buddy Mike.” – Pixar


Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit “Wallace and his loyal dog, Gromit, set out to discover the mystery behind the garden sabotage that plagues their village and threatens the annual giant vegetable growing contest.” – Amazon


Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey’s Monster Musical “Who, or what, is making a curious clanging, banging noise? With the right Monster Mouseketools and help from YOU, this mystery will soon be history!” – Amazon

Mickey’s Treat “Everyone’s invited to Big Pete’s Halloween party. But the gang needs to reach Trick-Or-Treat Tower before the moon is full, or the gates will lock and the party will be over before it even starts. Can they get through the foggy woods, past the Candy Corn Patch and over the drawbridge in time?” – Amazon


Room on the Broom
“Based on Julia Donaldson’s picture book, telling the story of a kind witch who invites a collection of animals to join her on her broom, though her cat thinks it will get too crowded. Her new friends make themselves useful, however, when the witch is threatened by a fearsome dragon.”


Super Monsters Save Halloween “The Super Monsters use their powers to get their neighbors in the Halloween spirit, then help a nervous friend see there’s nothing to be afraid of.”


Double, Double, Toil and Trouble “On Halloween night, two precocious little girls try to save their parents from their nasty old aunt’s greedy clutches. Magic abounds and they meet mysterious new friends along the way.” – IMDb


Spookley the Square Pumpkin
“Poor Spookley is a pumpkin with a square shape rather than round. He’s teased by other mean round pumpkins. But he receives help from a Scarecrow and his 2 bat side-kicks and 3 very funny spiders.” -IMDb

As always, I recommend you check out the film before you commit to viewing them together because it’s an awful feeling when you’re in the middle of watching something and realize “oh wow, that was not something I wanted my kids to see….”

I hope you and your family are able to enjoy some of these and have a Happy Halloween friends!!

xxoo Kate

My goals for 2020

Honestly, the word “resolution” turns me right off. Every year I set myself some goals. I do my best to achieve them but I also go easy on myself. Life is very fluid. We never know what waves are going to come crashing down or when. We don’t know when a currants is going to pull us for a loop, or ten. We are all out here trying to live our best lives and that’s that.

Here are some goals that I’d like to accomplish this year–

Graduate College. I’m going to take a second to brag here and mention that last semester I went to school full time with three littles at home and made the honor roll with a 3.90 GPA. *thank you, thank you* Honestly, I have no idea how that happened because I was shooting for “passing grades” but I’ve never been one to do a mediocre job… when I do something, I’m all in. In a couple of weeks I start my final semester and I’ll hopefully graduate this May with a bachelors degree in Community Health Education.

Travel. I think I’m adding this one to make myself feel better and more motivated about my situation. My husband has some work out of town for a couple of months this year and I’m trying to psych myself up about traveling 1,100+ miles away and living out of a hotel with three kids. I love traveling… but traveling with kids is well, … yeah.

Adjust my parenting. I was a frazzled, short tempered, angry mom not long ago. Of course I still have my moments of “AHHHH” but I’ve already made some big changes. I want to continue to change my mindset and actions. I’ve been reconstructing my parenting and would love to keep up the positive relationships I’m building with my girls. I also want to say the words “no” and “be careful” less because I think it’s important for kids to figure out their own boundaries.

Take care of myself. This year I am on team ME. I’m saying “sorry, I’m busy” when I don’t want to go do something. I’m going to take hot saunas, voice my mind and spend more quality time with myself. I’m going to allow myself to ask for help and quit carrying a around freaking mountain on my shoulders because damnit it’s heavy!

Read the Bible Chronologically. I’d like to read more books in general but this is something I’ve been wanting to do for two years now. I have started it four different times and then just stopped for one reason or another. I really, really want to do this.

As you can see, my aspirations are quite random but very relevant to me and my life. I hope to be able to achieve my goals because they’re all life-changing adjustments and accomplishments. Have you set any goals for yourself?

xxoo Kate

How to make orange slice garland

Orange Slice Garland

Prep time: 5 minutes

Baking time: 3 hours

Materials

  • Oranges (I used two and got about six feet of garland)
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Parchment paper
  • Baking sheet
  • Twine
  • Something to punch a hole (nail, screw etc)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  2. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Thinly slice your oranges cross-wise (no thicker than 1/4-inch thick
  4. Pat dry your orange slices with a paper towel
  5. Arrange orange slices in a single layer across your baking sheet

6. Bake for approximately 3 hours flipping them over half way through baking

7. Bake until they are dehydrated but not burnt, add time if needed and check on them as they’re nearing the end of baking

To make the garland, poke two holes at the top of each orange slice. I used a drill bit I found in my husband’s tools but you could use a screw or nail or anything that can poke a small hole. Thread the string or twine through, making sure to space evenly apart from each other. When all of the oranges have been threaded, tie off in loops on the end and hang wherever you please!

The garland looks great on a mantle, over a window or on a wall!

xxoo Kate

Gift guide for active toddlers

We all know what it’s like to get ants in our pants. Kids especially need to burn off their energy because they have so much of it. Some kids are just climbers, others could use a little help with coordination but nearly all kids just need to move. These gifts are perfect for just that!

1.Pikler Triangle I just found out about these within the last 2 years and they’ve fascinated me ever since! They’re perfect for climbers and can be used before your child can even walk. Additional attachments can be purchased like slides and more! I talk more about Pikler triangles here.

2.Toddler Slide If you decide against a Pikler and you want something a little more simple, you can’t go wrong with a slide. Kids love slides and no one says you can’t have one indoors!

3. DIY balance beam This year we’re asking Santa’s elves to make this beam and a Pikler for Christmas. I must say, the triangle is kind of complex to make but even I could make this balance beam! Balancing is a skill that must be mastered so why not make it fun?

4.Bilibo seats These versatile play objects are multi award winning and perfect for open ended play! The possibilities are nearly endless including rocking , hiding, spinning, standing on and more!

5.Balance board The balance boards were originally found in Waldorf schools but made their way into people’s homes. These are great for imaginative play, strength building and exercise. They can be used by children of all ages.

6.Mini trampoline It’s important for kids to stay active and this is the perfect pastime activity! My middle child loves to bounce and I’m here to tell you that this trampoline provides an exceptional energy-burning outlet for toddlers.

7.Gonge hilltops My girls got these for Christmas last year that they’ve been a hit ever since! They are one of the few things that get used every single day. Hilltops develop children’s ability to estimate distances and make them familiar with heights.

8.Pod swing These can be used indoors or outdoors but we plan to use it inside because my kiddos and I get some serious cabin fever (we have 8 months of snow). These hammock swings help develop a child‘s sense of balance and body awareness but at the same time can be used for relaxation.

9.Rock wall Our home is a child-centered zone. I want space for the kids to explore and have fun because why not?! Who says you can’t make a rock wall inside your house?

10.Bounce horse The only thing my oldest daughter wanted this year was a pony. She suggested a real one but we decided he or she would be too cold outside and too big to live inside so she decided to ask Santa for a “toy pony that she could ride on.”

11.Tunnel I don’t know what it is about tunnels but kids love them. They’re great for imaginative adventures. As a parent, I like these ones because they collapse down and store very easily!

12.Basketball hoop I’m going to be honest and say that we use the basketball hoop just as much as our girls do. There is something so satisfying about throwing a ball from across the living room and making it. Things get pretty heated between my husband and I but hey, the kids like it too. It’s a fun family activity!

13.Indoor play gym Also known as a Swedish wall, this play gym comes with it all- ropes, rings, climbing wall, ladder, ramp, swing. All of these features are great for climbing and coordination skills!

14.Sit n spin My girls love to spin… and spin and spin! They always end up smashing themselves off of things and getting hurt so with this sit n spin, at least they’re sitting down!

15.Indoor climbing dome These domes can be used outdoors but if you have the space, indoors too! They’re great for climbing and hours of fun!

xxoo Kate

Christmas Gift Guide for Toddlers

Judge me if you must, but I’m totally that person that puts up the Christmas tree before Thanksgiving. No it’s not up yet but I’m already getting antsy. My husband gives me a hard time about my eagerness every year. Some people may say that I’m getting ahead of myself but I just like to drag out the excitement for as long as possible. It’s my favorite time of the year!

I’m not all about the presents, that’s not what brings me joy. I love getting together with family, celebrating Jesus, the lights, the smells… I could go on.

While I don’t focus solely on the gifts, I really do love Christmas shopping and gift giving. I start to think about it quite early, hence this post coming out in October…

I like to buy things that will be well-loved and last a long time. I’m really into open-ended play, wooden toys, and things that spark imagination. We are not a one hundred percent Montessori or Waldorf family however I do like to incorporate their values and ideas.

I don’t like toys that make noise or flash because they do all of the work for my children. I’d prefer to listen to my girls “vroom-vroom” their own toys rather than a recording that plays over and over, even when they’re done playing with said toy. I avoid these types of things because one of my favorite sounds in the entire world is listening to my daughters imaginations run wild. They’re hilarious.

So whether you’re ready to put up the tree or not, the holiday season is fast approaching so best be prepared. Not to worry because I have the perfect toddler gift guide for you!

Around Christmastime this year, my girls will be 3.5 years old, one month shy of 2 years old and our third daughter will be 3 months old. Olive, my baby won’t be getting a whole lot of toys since she’s so young so for this guide, I’m focusing on my big girls!

Here’s what’s on our list…

1. Play Kitchen (IKEA $79)

I like this kitchen because the height of the legs can be adjusted to three different positions so it actually grows with my kids. I also love that it’s not made from colorful plastic because I prefer neutrals!

2. Play Kitchen Accessories (IKEA Pots+Pans $9.99, Utensils $4.99)

At first I was eye-ing up a Melissa and Doug pots and pans set but it was $24.99. For just $14.98 I’m able to get both of the sets pictured above from IKEA. And again, I love that they’re not plastic!

3. Dollhouse (IKEA $34.99)

I love the simple design and wood features of this dollhouse from IKEA. There are so many fun “hacks” and ways to decorate and personalize it as well. It can also be hung on the wall so when my girls are “over” dollhouses, it can be used as a cute shelf!

4. Dollhouse Furniture (IKEA $17.99)

The furniture is well made, trendy and the perfect pop of color. I know my girls will love them. I’m also a fan because there isn’t a million pieces to keep track of!

5. Dollhouse People (Target $19.99)

I love that these people are wooden but also bendable! The parents are 4.5 inches tall and the kids are 3.75 inches tall so they’re small but not so small that they will get lost. Even though they’re bendable they can still stand up!

6. Balance Board (Etsy $51.89)

At first I was interested in a Wobbel board but at a price tag of over $150 and needing to be shipped overseas, I decided to look elsewhere. I found this one on Etsy with awesome reviews. The balance board originally made their appearance in Waldorf schools but made their way into people’s homes. These are great for imaginative play, strength building and exercise. They can be used by children of all ages.

7. Baby dolls (Target $21.99)

All toddlers seem to love baby dolls. At least for my girls, they love being little “mamas.” The open ended play scenarios are nearly infinite. It’s my own personal preference but I don’t want to get them into collectible dolls where they end up wanting a bunch of them and then they end up all over the house. I think one baby each is more than enough!

8. Wooden Doll Cradle (Target $26.99)

Again, just trying to avoid plastic. I think this cradle is super sweet and just the right size for the dolls mentioned above.

9. Tea set (Target $18.99)

I love “tea time” at our house and I know the girls love to have pretend tea parties and picnics but I wanted them to be able to have dishes that they could actually eat and drink from. Tin was an option but they aren’t very sturdy. I also love the colors of these!

10. Puzzles (Target 28.49)

My oldest daughter has developed a love for puzzles lately. I think puzzles are a wonderful option for quiet time activities and as a mom of three young children, silence from time to time is much appreciated! I like the wooden puzzles because they’re much more sturdy than other options.

11. Grimms Rainbow Stacker (Bella Luna Toys $95)

When I first saw the price tag on these rainbows, I laughed. I thought, who in their right mind would spend $100+ on such a thing?! Well now I would! Grimms rainbows have AMAZING reviews and they are so versatile. The arches can be used as a nesting toy but also bridges, tunnels, trains, boats and so much more. These rainbows definitely spark the imagination!

12. Train set (IKEA $9.99)

My youngest daughter has become obsessed with “choo-choos.” You really can’t beat the price on this set either. We used to have a train table but it was bulky and always looked messy. This set can be build up anywhere and then taken down and easily stored.

13. Picasso Tiles (Amazon $49.98)

I’ve been hearing amazing things about these tiles. Children of all ages sit and play with these for hours and the possibilities are endless. I have to be honest, I don’t know how much my children will like them but I know my husband and I will, ha!

14. Play Silks (Etsy $95)

Play silks are a Waldorf staple. They are amazing for creative play. They can be used for dress up, puppet shows, forts, and so much more! They are the perfect, open ended toy.

15. Popsicle Molds (Amazon $8.99)

I love the idea behind the molds with a stick, like a classic “popsicle” but for my messy toddlers, these are so much more realistic! They are reusable silicone sleeves with a cap! There are so many healthy recipes made with yogurt and fruits so my kids are getting a treat but it’s also good for them!

16. Temporary Tattoos (Ducky Street $3)

I love Ducky Street tattoos because they are inexpensive and the designs are unlike any others that I’ve seen. There are so many designs to choose from!

17. Vintage Wall Art (Retro Planet $4.29)

I am in love with these vintage posters. Obviously these are very personal to our style but someone else out there will agree with me that they’re cute! They will go perfect in my daughters bedroom and you can’t beat the price!

18. Swaddle Wall Hanging (Modern Burlap $26)

These swaddles are just so beautiful. I’ve been admiring them for a while. You can use them as a blanket yes, but my intention is to use it as a wall hanging. The scriptures are powerful and the simplicity of the white swaddle with the fancy black lettering is just what I’m looking for. I’m in love with the “Child of God” one!

19. Shopping List Game (Amazon $11.87)

I’ve heard wonderful reviews about this game. I am a board game lover and want to start my kids young. I was trying to find a game that my girls and I can sit down and play to spark their love for games early and this one is perfect for their ages. If your kids love it you can buy extensions with more foods or with clothes!

20. Pajamas (Target $ vary)

My hope is that my daughters can each open up a present with pajamas on Christmas Eve so that they can wear them the next day on Christmas! We always lounge around the house for the majority of the day so it will be perfect! And honestly, kids are just the cutest in their little jammies anyways!

Check out some cool gifts we received last year by clicking here. What are some things on your wish list this year?

Happy holidays!

xxoo Kate