Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tired of Just Feeding Them Sandwiches 4 Lunch?

Look what I found?! If you need more fun & easy lunch ideas for your kiddos besides the came ol' same ol', then here are 177 great ones! These great containersin the pictures can be found at and the silicone baking cups can be found at Michaels Craft Supply. Enjoy!

-M&M Momma!i=696914291&k=YxmUd

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Snack Station Idea

What a super awesome idea I found on Pinterest. Create a snack station full of healthy lil' goodies that you can keep out for your kiddos to come & grab  throughout the day. You can bag the snacks ahead of time so that they are is reasonable portions.

They also had the idea for creating a snack station for inside of the fridge where you can keep pershable snacks like veggies, cheese, indivdual portioned yogurt, & fruit.

I have found with multiple kiddos that always keeping fresh sippy cups out with water that the kids can easily access is also a wonderful idea. I swear, it is right when I get on the pump that everyone magically wants something to each or drink :)

-M&M Momma

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Letting Each Kid Shine

After a small break from doing Gymboree classes, my two middle daughters, Asher & Austin, started back up last week. Two and a half year old, Asher is a seasoned vet, but it was 19 month old, Austin's 1st time. So at first, Austin was extremely apprehensive in the new class. It was a whole new experience for her. So although she is usually very bold & daring, with her sisters out of the picture, she was forced to learn to stand on her own two feet. At the beginning of her class, she kept asking me to hold her & repeatedly tried to cling to me, staying right by my leg. Now, as a mommy, I immediately wanted to give in & "rescue her" from the situation by picking her up to let her know it was alright but I know better than that. I had to put myself in check. After all, I was already right there in the class with her & I knew she was safe, so instead of picking her up, I walked with her over to each activity, holding her by the hand to help give her that lil' boost of security. Then once we arrived at an activity, I sent her over to participate at each station with the other kids. As class time time progressed, Austin really started coming into to her own. I could even see a change in her walk as she began to confidently strut & screech from one activity to the next. Pretty soon she didn't even check to see if I was anywhere near her. It was really cool to see her have something to call all her own - her own class, without her sisters, & in 1 session I got a glimpse of what positive things could potentially come out of giving her this bit of independence.

In addition to having Austin in her very own class now, I strive to include her in other things to help boost her confidence level, realize she is capable, & let her "shine" on her own. I love doing art & science-type projects with the ladies & I have to admit they would be a lot easier to do with just Aidann & Asher, but Austin is now at the age where she A) notices when she is not included, and  B) needs those opportunities to see she is capable of participating in "big girl" things too!  I think these are examples of small things we can do to help eliminate some of the negative traits we sometimes see in the youngest and/or middle children, such as lack of confidence, shyness, being unsure and indecisive, not wanting to try, indifference, inferiority, etc.

It is so important not to let any of your kids fall into the shadow of their siblings. It is so easy to do! The bigger kids tend to want to answer for and/or help their younger siblings with things they are very capable of doing on their own. Heck, we even have to fight against not doing this ourselves. I have posted about it before, but it is something that is very important to keep in the forefront of our minds on a daily basis. We need to be careful not to compare kids and work on praising each & every one of them for the wonderful things they do & make, because they are being the best they can be. One kid may be more calm & easy-going while another may be a lil' more outgoing & loud. One may be very neat and orderly while another is more messy and "all over the place". This is okay! As parents, we need to allow our kids to develop as individuals! Two of the exact same thing make one of them unnecessary, right. I always ask my kids, "Does Mommy want you to be like Aidann? Does Mommy want you to be like Asher? Does Mommy want you to be like Austin? Does mommy want you to be like Adley?". They, of course, shake their head "no" until I say their name & then they reply, "You want me to be the best A____  that I can be!".

Asher is also not the oldest & so we definitely made sure we started her early in her own class at Gymboree, at around 1 1/2 years old. Now that we are back from our 3 month hiatus, Aidann is too old to do it anymore & I noticed Asher starting to embrace & step into the role of being the "big sister" with Austin even more then normal during the fifteen minutes their classes coincide. I don't think those lil' curls could have bobbed up & down anymore as she confidently dashed from each object to show Austin how to do it. From an early age, we fought against letting Asher slip into that role of feeling less important or capable than her big sister, Aidann, because there was a point she tried being shy, talking very softly, & claimed she wasn't capable of doing a lot of things. We had to make sure we never "fed into that". As a result, I have seen our lil Asher grow and develop in leaps & bounds as far as her independence and in developing autonomy, but it is a continuous fight. Yes, we must fight to never let her "slip under the radar", continually making sure she gets equal attention, accolades, & opportunity compared to her sisters. She knows she is a significant member of our family and she is noticed for the part she plays!

It can be hard not to compare kids or to let them hide in the other ones shadow (baby them), but it can be done if we just make the choice to work at it. I know I want each of my kids to be confident, happy, & successful individuals doing what they love!

-M&M Momma

Collecting the balls,
learning about hard vs. soft

Freeze dance

Parachute fun!

Showing lil' sister the ropes

Asher's class!


Collecting "seashells"

Relaxing with big sister

We love our special lil' character

Guess who can finally sport a ponytail?
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Saturday, June 23, 2012

What the Tom? & The Potty Princess

Just recently I got my lil' girls tiny Tom shoes. These lil' shoes are such a great buy because there are no laces to deal with, match almost everything, & toddlers as young as Aussie can feel independent putting them on by themselves. Well, these are the reasons I got the 3 older ladies them, but the girls simply think they are so cute & literally drag them everywhere. "Don't worry, Mommy. I found Tom!". You would think we added a new member to our family with how much they talk about them. In fact, the other night when I went to check on the girls I noticed a few new additions that had snuck under their sheets too!

-M&M Momma

Austin is currently finishing up potty training & about to venture into 24/7 big girl panties territory. Well, I guess potty training can be a pretty tiring thing. No, not for me for her. 1 minute the lil' princess went off to use the restroom & the next thing I knew there was complete silence...Usually not a good thing with toddlers-lol. But I guess she just dosed off on the potty chair. Ha ha

-M&M Momma

Her lil' head was bobbing up & down :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Places 4 Kids in AZ

Some places in AZ that are always fun for kids to check out are...

  • Pump It Up
  • Cracker Jax
  • Wet & Wild-Jr
  • Play Grounds Fun Zone & Cafe
  • Mccormick-Stillman Railroad Park
  • Cerretas Candy Factory (make a chocolate pizza)
  • Jambo! Park Indoor Amusement Park
  • Enchanted Island
  • PHX Zoo
  • Wildlife World Zoo
  • Out of Africa Wildlife Park
  • Makutus Island
  • Bounce Jungle
  • Jump Up
  • Arizona Children's Museum
  • Arizona Science Center
  • Arizona Puppet Theater
  • Hall of Fire Museum
  • Heard Museum
  • Desert Botanical Gardens
  • Chuck E Cheese
  • Splash Pads
  • Local Libraries


And the list goes on. Arizona does have stuff to do if you are looking for it :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I Feel You...

The ladies had just settled down at their lil' blue IKEA table to enjoy a special activity, watercolor. Bibs were in place, cups were full of water to clean their brushes off with, papers were clean & white & ready to be painted up by the lil' toddlers' brushes. The girls' smiles could not have been any bigger when they finally heard the words, "Go ahead & get started". Asher reached for her new clean pallet of paints & at the same time accidentally knocked her fresh water cup all over the table. Papers were now soaked & Asher began to cry, "I am so sad I knocked the water over, Mommy". I quickly told her how it was okay to be sad about it, but she also had to understand that it was an accident & those happen sometimes. This whole thing could easily be fixed with a few paper towels, some new paper, & a fresh cup of water.

Between 2-5 years old children really start to explore emotions. They are going to experience everything from anger to disappointment to sadness & so on. As parents it is our duty to help them learn to identify which emotion they are feeling & guide them through the appropriate way of handling them. Its definitely okay to feel things & its important to be able to verbalize & express how we feel, but it is also important to understand that while some ways to express emotions are okay, other ways are not. For example, if a child is mad at the way another child is not sharing with them, they do need to be able to say how it hurts their feelings when that child chooses not to share but punching them, grabbing the toy & running away with it or throwing a tantrum are not the best solutions.

Right now my kiddos are definitely in the early stages of identifying their emotions. I do my best to help them first identify how they are feeling by using the key words, "How did that make you feel?". Sometimes kids like to go to the blanket answer of  "I don't know", but in my book that is not an acceptable answer. Kids are smart & we need to encourage them to use those brain powers. At first you may have to guide them through it, "When your friend Sally chose not to share with you, how did that make you feel? Did you feel happy, like laughing & singing? Or did it make you feel a little sad, maybe like crying?". After you have worked with them to identify which emotion they have felt, then you can work together to help them formulate a solution, "How do you think we could fix this? Maybe you could try letting Sally know how that hurt your feelings when she did not share with you?". Maybe you could even help the other child to understand by saying, "Sally, what if someone did not want to share with you? Would that make you feel good? That would not be a very nice choice". This could help "Sally" understand having the feeling of empathy towards others, not just thinking about how she feels, but also thinking about how the other person might feel in a situation.

Since I have been working with the ladies more & more, I have definitely noticed a change in how they communicate, "Mommy, I felt disappointed when you said we could not do that" or "I was very excited we got to go to the park today!". It is amazing to see kids so young expressing themselves beyond throwing a fit, pouting, screaming, and/or lashing out in anger or frustration. As parents, we have to know they are capable & raise our level of expectation. I cannot stand when someone sees a kid throwing a fit in a store because they didn't get something they wanted & people simply say, "Kids just being kids". Since when is that type of behavior okay? Since we decided to accept it & excuse it off.

In addition to helping your kids understand emotions through talking with them, there is also some really great literature out there that is written in such a way your child can easily understand it. You can also make or buy flashcards showing kids the different faces with the corresponding emotions on them. My kids & I are doing a craft where we are going to go through magazines & cut out the different faces we see that express different emotions.

1 final note before I close. While it is okay to feel sad, angry, disappointed, frustrated, & so forth for awhile, we also have to teach our kids that we do not let the negative emotions stay in control of us. We can't let these emotions dictate the rest of our day & our attitudes. We have to find a way to "push past" them, overcome them, change what we are thinking, & ultimately, choose joy. This is something some adults even find challenging within themselves sometimes. And while teaching and equipping our children with this very important tool of "rising above", we too must do our best to make sure we are modeling the same thing we are imparting to them.

You can't make your kids not feel things, that is just not healthy, but you can teach them the proper ways of handling different emotions.

-M&M Momma

Hanging @ Pepa's house for Father's Day

Compliments of her sisters

Out to eat with Papa for Father' Day

Play date!

Having fun at their buddies' house

Having fun with Zayden!

After 1 crazy tea party, lol

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