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Friday, September 27, 2013

A Tiny Mouse for Tiny Hands

Earlier this year, I decided that my son really should learn to use the computer, especially a mouse. He's so used to finger swiping with my phone that I thought I should teach him to use a mouse. In my opinion, I don't think they will even be around much longer. Everything's finger swiping and with schools becoming more equipped with iPads, I think the mouse will be harder to find.  

I started off by trying to get him to use our mouse.  Well that was a big fail.  First off, he had no idea what I was even talking about or trying to teach him (I think he was too little).  Second, his hand was just way too tiny for our mouse!  After a few failed tries I decided to search for a more child friendly mouse.  I began searching Amazon and came across this...

It looked perfect!  We ordered it and when it arrived we couldn't wait to try it out.  It really was perfect for my son's hand.  I was sure it would work!  I was wrong.  The mouse was fine but, my son wasn't grasping the concept.  He loved playing on  He just had no idea how to use the mouse.  The picture in my head of my son navigating his way through the site vanished.  UGH!  Was I really going to have to sit here and do all this every time he wanted to go on the site I just paid a ridiculous amount of money to join?  Well...yes lol.  I did.  For a few months.  It's really hard to do that while caring for my baby as well.  One day recently I finally decided to give the mouse another try.  This time, it "clicked" (pun intended haha).  He understood what it was for!  I sat beside him with my hand on our wireless mouse, waiting to assist.  I assisted a bit at first but eventually I let him take over.  

For someone who has been using a mouse most of her life it was extremely difficult to sit back and let him slowlyyy move the mouse and slowlyyy click the button.  He figured it out doing one of the toddler coloring activities on the website.  I think since the arrow turned into a huge marker, it really help him see where to move the "arrow" and what to do with it.  Literally with in a few days he figured out how to navigate through a portion of the site.  I love that whatever you hover over or click speaks to you or flashes.  It really helps him.  Whenever he exits out of the art part it asks if you would like to save your work.  He always orally responds "yes," nods, and clicks the correct button lol.  Too cute!

I'm thinking of changing the arrow to something larger in general.  Perhaps it will help him more.  I think the fact that the mouse is smaller and has two color coded buttons (saying "click the left button" means nothing to him but he understands "click the blue button") really helps. also has a mouse tutorial.  He did awful that first time we tried it. We haven't tried it again but watching me, playing the art activity with the large marker, and playing the pop the bubbles/balloons games have really helped him grasp the concept.  I will let you know if I discover any other helpful tips or sites!

Freebie Friday #3

It's everyone's favorite day! I'm so proud I didn't forget! I won't lie, I started this post earlier and saved it so I wouldn't forget lol. Hey, life of a busy mom. Planning ahead is an essential part of survival!  Today's freebie is a place value mat!  These are great to print on cardstock and laminate.  Each student can get one and can reuse it or they are great for Math Centers!  Click on the pick and it will lead you to my TPT store to download the product!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Surviving Your First Week Back to Work After Baby #2...Whew!

Uh oh. I've been a bad, bad blogger.  Apologies for not updating in a week.  And missing Freebie Friday...again lol.  It's been a big adjustment around here.  Really big.  I'm having a hard time juggling it all again and work isn't even stressful (yet). I know it's going to take some time but it's so hard!  Thank god for Grammy.  My mom is amazing.  She watches the boys 6 hours a day.  If it weren't for her, chaos would ensue in my house!  She not only watches my boys but I also come home to clean dishes and clothes!  I am so very blessed.  My husband is wonderful as well.  He's a big help with the boys!

I really miss my boys while I'm gone.  After my oldest was born, I was home with him for 5 months.  I then started my usual summer job which was right near my mother.  So close that she would even bring him to me to nurse!  AMAZING!  I didn't have as hard of a time with the feeding adjustment with him because he would also get a bottle of formula after he nursed.  I never seemed to satisfy him so it's just what we had to do.  When my summer job ended the end of that August, I was jobless until Thanksgiving.  That was 3 more months with my oldest.  I was so lucky!  This time around is so different.  My baby is almost 4 months and had been exclusively nursing.  I was really heartbroken to introduce formula and to be away from him for so long.  I have never been one to get a lot when I pumped. I tried but my body doesn't seem to respond the same to a pump as it does my own sweet baby.  We introduced him to formula I believe in August knowing that I needed to prepare him for when I went back to work.  He drank it then stopped one day.  Turned out he decided it needed to be warmer than what we were giving him lol.  We were just glad that was the problem!  Now he only gets formula when my mom has him (2-3 bottles during the work week).  Once in awhile he will get it on the weekend should I be away from him.

My second largest problem is cleaning.  I like things to be clean.  I wish things could be NEATER in my house but I will settle for clean.  Unfortunately, there's not enough time in the day for me to stay on top of things like I did before.  I'm so mad at myself for not doing one more big clean before I started work so things would be a little easier to keep up with.  Grrr.  I plan on doing that this weekend!

Overall, I had a good first week back and have learned a lot.  Let me share with you some pointers to have a successful first week back!

*TRY to get all your ducks in a row.  I know that's a lot harder than it sounds, trust me!  Try to do what I didn't do!  Give your house a good cleaning before you go back.  If you can, get yourself and your family in the habit of picking up and pitching in BEFORE you go back.  I'm totally still working on that one lol.

*Do something for yourself!  You should always take time for yourself but try to pick one more thing to do for you before you go back.  Mine was clothes shopping BY MYSELF!
*Do one more thing with your kiddies.  My mom and I took the boys to the aquarium.  My dad bought us a membership so we can just go whenever!  It's great!  We made it there one more time and it was so much fun!
*Accept and welcome help.  I have a hard time with this.  I think it's because I have a routine down and know what should be done, how it should be done, etc.  I take that out on my poor hubby the most.

*Plan your meals!  I haven't posted this yet but this summer I adopted a food planning "system".  It's nothing crazy but I bought a calendar whiteboard for like $3 at Target.  I plan our meals for the week or more.  I do it so I don't forget to take things out of the freezer, have to run to the store a million times, or be at a loss for what to make.  It's really great.  Like I said, nothing crazy.  Just a little something to keep the train on the track!  I also try to think of things that will last as the following nights meal as well (meatloaf, ziti, etc).  Please don't be afraid to do EASY meals like pizza bagels!  Easy to make and fun!  
*Talk with other mommy friends. Venting helps.  Feel free to vent here too!
*Breath.  No really, BREATH.  I need help with that one too.  Definitely easier said than done.
*Remember, it will all work out.  It really will.  Maybe not exactly the way you envisioned it in your mind but it will!

I really hope my posts can help even just one of you!

Monday, September 16, 2013

First Day Back (plus a celebration freebie!)

Oh how I missed my boys.  My sweet, sweet boys.  I thought about them all day!  But I knew they were in good hands with Grammy.  It also helped that I had a really great day and I'm super excited about this job!  I ACTUALLY HAVE MY OWN SPACE!  Those of you who know me know that this is extremely exciting news for me.  Here's a pic I took today.  Once I get it all set up I will take another pic.  It's also too small and will be made bigger :)  YAY!  It's not in the picture but I have a gorgeous window right across from here with a nice big windowsill for me to store stuff too.  Fun fact, there are groundhogs living outside the window and I saw them today!

I don't have too much to say today except that it was great, I have my own space, and will be tutoring K-5.  Hopefully that means I will be creating all sorts of great things!  In celebration of today here is a freebie!  To enjoy these owl bookmarks click on the pic bellow!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

After Baby Clothes Shopping

Yes ladies I'm going to talk about it! I'm starting my new job tomorrow and don't yet fit into the clothes I bought last year.  This lead to me having to do what I've been dreading for the past 4 months.  After I had my oldest I was in complete denial about what happened to my body.  I spent many, many years a size 2 due to all the dance classes I was taking and teaching.  When I married my husband and moved out of my mommy making me healthy meals house, things changed.  I went up to a 6.  I didn't like it but I accepted it and knew I was still small (man I'd kill for that now).  I didn't even gain a lot with my son but due to the lack of dancing, getting older, and my life just overall changing, my body just wasn't what I remembered.  TOTAL DENIAL.  I bought the size clothes that I needed to after I had him but I hated it.  I even bought cheap stuff just to buy it with the mentality that "I won't be this stupid size much longer."  Let me tell you, it took me a year and a half to get back to a "good size" (whatever that means).  I was getting happier with my weight and finally bought new clothes but still wanted to be smaller.  Then, I got pregnant again lol.  The vicious cycle!

Thanks to a wonderful friend of mine, I was supplied with an AMAZING maternity wardrobe!  It was FABULOUS!  Gap maternity, Pea in the Pod, etc.  I felt fashionable and pretty!  After #2 was born I actually felt good about my body.  There wasn't a drastic change like last time and I didn't have a c-section this time around.  Overall, I was much happier.  It being summer you can get away with cuter and comfier clothing.  I kept wearing my maternity shirts and tank tops because I could lol.  I also bought a lot of exercising shorts and skirts.  I wasn't working this summer so I didn't need to squeeze myself into "real" clothes.

It's getting cooler now and I go back to work.  I couldn't put it off anymore.  I had to go.  This time around, I was ready.  Here's what I learned from my experience today:

*Do NOT go into the store with a bad attitude.
*Do NOT go when you are pressed for time OR have the kids!
*Do NOT go in expecting some kind of miracle (you will be greatly disappointed).

*Do NOT go in thinking what I did the first time around, that you will just get something to get it and you won't be this size much longer.
*Try on clothes you already own to guesstimate what sizes to try on.
*Grab at least two sizes for each item.
*Try on the larger size first.  You will be less upset if what you try on is too big rather than having to go up a size!
*Do NOT be cheap!  I'm not saying buy a bunch of $50 sweaters and $75 pair of pants, but if you can, splurge a little on a few items.  You also don't need to buy everything at once.  I saw some cute heavy sweaters but resisted the urge because I don't need them just yet.

*Try to look for the best in everything.
*Remember, size is just a stupid number some MAN invented to make women feel bad ;)
*It is about how you FEEL.  So what if those pants are a size 14?  They look amazing on you!  You rock those pants girl!  Embrace those curves (your husband will want to later)!
*Go outside your normal "comfort" zone.  I'm not normally a dress or skirt person.  This summer I realized that they are quite comfy and helpful to new mommies!  I even bought a skirt and dress today!
*Try a store that you might have avoided before for fear of buying "old lady" clothes.  I used to think this way about Marshalls and TJ Maxx.  Both places are hit or miss BUT I scored big time at Marshalls today and will be returning!
*Remind yourself that if you had a personal trainer, chef, nanny, and housekeeper you too would bounce back in six weeks and then some!  I don't know about you but I'd rather spend those six weeks in my pajamas, on my couch, nursing and cuddling my sweet baby!
*Remember you are beautiful.  Yes you are.  I'm not just saying it.  You are gorgeous.  You have a gorgeous baby or babies.  They love you.  They think you are beautiful.  They say so with their eyes and smiles every time you look at them.

With all of that said, I had a really great experience today.  I came home feeling really good about myself.  I was ready to pack away the maternity clothes (not the tanks though because they are PERFECT for any woman looking for comfy LONG tank tops), go through all of the clothes I had downstairs (small sized stuff I was desperately hanging onto and larger stuff I bought the first time around that made me feel icky), and start fresh!

 Because a girl can't have enough sparkles in her life!

Sorting through the chaos.  Donated a lot.  Now I can buy more! :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

How to Make a Halloween Themed Sensory Bin

First, and foremost, I love, love, love sensory bins!  We have one filled with different beans and small construction vehicles.  My oldest calls it "Wanna play beans?"  Unfortunately, it's hiding because he refuses to pick up his mess.

This post will be on how to make a Halloween themed sensory bin.  I can't take credit for this idea, I was merely inspired by a Pin from Nuturing Naters.  Click here to see examples of their awesome sensory bins!

My journey began at Target.  I really wanted to hit the Christmas Tree Shop and the craft store but we weren't having a cooperating morning!  So I opted for Target.  Right away I hit the dollar section.  You know, considering how long Halloween things have been out already I was greatly disappointed with the selection and that they didn't have their big Halloween section set up!  I found some really great stuff between the dollar section and craft section.  And yes that is Clifford eating a grilled cheese in the corner lol.  We multitask in my house!

Everything was a dollar except the pompoms, beans, and stickers.  But they weren't much more than that.  I also stocked up on a few things for my Thanksgiving bin.  Here's a peek!

I only bought 3 bags of beans with the intent of making pumpkin scented rice.  I will be trying out a recipe I got from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails!  Should you only want beans then I suggest buying perhaps 6 small bags of black beans.  You can be the judge once you see what the 3 bags look like in my bin!  Here's the end result.  He loves it!

As you can see from the last photo, Clifford and our dog wanted in on the bin too!  All in all this was a really fun pretty inexpensive activity!  We are both looking forward to many other themed bins.  My husband, however, is cursing Pinterest ;)  Oh hunny, you have no idea what I have pinned to my Halloween board!

Tomorrow we have gymnastics in the morning and Daddy's company picnic the rest of the day.  I will hopefully get a post in at some point.  I'm looking forward to blogging about a motor skills activity I have planned, mastering his "Tiny Mouse" on the computer to play on ABC Mouse, and revamping the site!  Enjoy your Friday night folks!

Freebie Friday #2

Our favorite day of the week here at BM&HB!  This means two whole days with Daddy.  Yay!  It also means a freebie for you!  This week is looking ahead.  October is sneaking up on us in case you haven't noticed all of the candy, pumpkins, and costumes that have been in stores since August...AUGUST!  Ugh another rant for another day lol.  Here's a cute calendar I created just for you!  Happy planning!

Thursday, September 12, 2013


I've been trying to create some cookie sheet activities for Grammy to do with my oldest while I'm at work (that's right I got a job!  Happy the search is over for now BUT I do greatly love being home and wish the government would pay me to stay home and raise amazing children lol).  We tried out our first one today which is called "Build-a-Shape."  I went to Walmart and purchased a cookie sheet for a whopping 97 cents lol.  I also bought regular sized (4.5in) and small size (2.5in) popsicle sticks.  I still have to buy a laminator and magnetic strips (everything kept slipping on the tray especially with toddler fingers at work). I created printables of different shapes.  I tried my best to size them so the sides would fit one of the two popsicle stick choices.  This is important so that he could build them correctly and get the sides right.  Here's what we did today:

 He did a great job!  I must say that he's quite smart when it comes to his shapes.  He's known them for probably close to a year now (Grammy has been so amazing with teaching him things).  He was able to tell me the name of the shape and then we would count the sides together.  I need to put magnetic strips on everything because he was getting frustrated with them not staying in place.  We only a did a few because he has the attention span of a gnat today and isn't having a very happy day :(  We also did my "Rainbow Chip Cookie" activity.  He really enjoyed that one, mostly because of the colorful pom-poms involved!  I will post more on that tomorrow.  Click on either of the above images to go to my TPT store for this activity!

I'm looking forward to either doing a one stop trip to Target or hitting the Christmas Tree Shop and craft store tomorrow.  I've been inspired to make more sensory bins.  We have one with beans and trucks.  I have lots to post on and so little time!  Work starts Monday.  Not 100% sure but I believe I'm working with 4th and 5th graders on Reading so I will be expanding my ideas and activities!  Enjoy your  night!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Potty Kits!

I have been meaning to post this for awhile now considering tomorrow will be 3 weeks since we went cold turkey with potty training.  Let me tell you, it worked!  Well it works for us.  You need to know your child and yourselves.  It's not for everyone that's for sure.  If you didn't like cleaning up what was in a diaper you are NOT going to want to clean up what happens when you go cold turkey!

Enough of that.  Here are my potty kits!  This is my car potty kit.  I keep it in my trunk along with a potty.  Trust me when I say KEEP A POTTY IN YOUR CAR!  I used to laugh when I would see moms having their kids go in the trunk in a parking lot but now I get it!  The kit is a small cheap plastic container from Walmart (I have a diaper kit too).  Inside I have flushable wipes, extra underwear (at least 2 pairs), hand sanitizer (I keep it in a bag so it doesn't get everywhere if it leaks), ziplock bags (in case there's icky clothing!), garbage bags (he sits on one in the car), and stickers!  Obviously keeping M&Ms in the car isn't a good idea so I made sure I at least had the stickers!

My travel potty bag comes with us whenever we go somewhere, especially a store!  I actually find it more essential than bringing my baby's diaper bag in a store.  Basically it is an extra small bag we had laying around the house.  He likes it because it's his bag and he can wear it.  Inside I have exactly what I have in the Car Kit.  The only difference is that I will often put an extra shirt and pants in there (not pictured).  I change that out based on needs.  Inside the travel kit I have flushable wipes, extra underwear (at least 2 pairs), hand sanitizer (I keep it in a bag so it doesn't get everywhere if it leaks), ziplock bags (in case there's icky clothing!), garbage bags (he will sometimes sit on this in a cart but we're now past that need), and stickers.

Of course, the ONE TIME I left the bag in the car instead of bringing it into the restaurant, he had an accident.  He kept feeling like he had to poop the whole time there so my poor husband had to keep bringing him to the bathroom (I was wearing the baby in my amazing Maya wrap!).  Next thing I know my husband comes back and whispers in my ear "Just letting you know your son's not wearing any underwear."  If mommy had used her noodle the underwear could have gone in one of my baggies and not the restaurant's bathroom garbage haha.  Oops!  What a nice birthday dinner for Daddy.  Welcome to my world hunny!

Potty training is going absolutely amazing.  The only time there is an accident is if he can't get to the potty fast enough for #2.  He is getting so much better with recognizing that feeling.  It's usually an all day process and requires many potty trips, stories, hugs, and rubbing his back because it "hurts."  Now that you know how it's going for us, let me know how it's going for you and what your advice/tips are!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Freebie Friday! (yah I know it's Sunday!)

Whoops!  It's been quite busy in my house these past few days.  My little one was sick on Thursday and then we got free Yankee tickets for Saturday!  Wahoo!  In other words, I missed my promised "Freebie Friday."  This weeks freebie are 9 different colored flower border clip art images.  These are great for labeling or using in your own TPT files that you are creating!  I better post this quick because the boys will be home from doggy school (I will be posting about that later!) and then we're off for a birthday celebration for Daddy. Click on the sample below.  It will lead you to my TPT site to download the ZIP file for free!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Are you a "backseat parent?"

Eeek,  I've been found guilty of being a "backseat parent."  What's a "backseat parent?"  It's like being a backseat driver but with parenting.  I'm home with the boys all week.  We've got a system.  I know how to word things to them, what sets them off, how their routines go, etc.  On the weekends when my husband is home and helping out (he is so wonderful by the way!) I've been apparently becoming a backseat parent.  I've been putting my two cents in a little too much lately.  I don't mean to!  I know I need to take a step back and let him go with his parenting style and figure out what works with him and the boys.  Any thoughts?  Anyone else find themselves in this situation?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Hot dog! I sold my very first thing on TPT!

My husband is currently laughing at BUT I sold my very first thing on TPT!  Granted after they and PayPal take their cut I made $.90 but it's a start!  I'm also not looking at this as a source of real income lol.  It's for fun and a way to unleash my inner teacher!

As a celebration of my first sale, here's a FREEBIE!  I would like to institute a "Freebie Friday" but I have to see if I have enough in my bag of tricks!  Today's FREEBIE is a printable die sheet.  Super lame right?  WRONG!  I can't tell you how many times this came in handy!  I usually print this on cardstock, laminate, cut out, and tape together.  You can write whatever you want on them.  Students losing them?  Who cares!  They are so easy to make and remake!  Click the image to download.  Enjoy!