Monday, June 6, 2016

One Spot Homeschool Haul

I went to Target the other night to get a few things and ended up browsing the One Spot (because, duh) and finding a bunch of things for our homeschool! I was super excited about it and thought I would share! I also got a bunch of things for our road trip coming up to keep the kids entertained that I may share at a later time. I actually didn't find what I went there for and only walked away with things from the dollar spot...whoops! It was fun though. I am really excited to see what kinds of things they will put out when it's back to school time! 
This year I will be doing home preschool with both of my daughters. They will be 5 and 3 1/2 in the fall. My older daughter would likely be ready to start kinder, but her birthday is right after the cut off here, and I think long term it will be really nice having them only one grade apart in school. My younger daughter just turned 3, but is very into school, reading, numbers, letters, etc. and has picked up almost everything she knows just through play and conversation so I am excited to see what she will do this year with structured learning! In many ways, they are close to the same skill and ability in certain areas so we will do a lot together! Because of where they are both at, we will do a more structured preschool year this year and my largest focus will be on learning to read (I think as of right now, at least). I am excited to share more about our homeschool plans for this coming year as I iron out the details! 
Ok, onto the stuff.

(sorry in advance for the not great lighting. It was getting dark and I had the ceiling light on, so of course, weird shadows...)

This little chalkboard clock was so cute. Telling time is one of the things we will be working on this year, so I think this will be perfect! It also gives them the opportunity to write the time so I think that will be great for practice writing numbers as well. I like how it has all of the commonly used time phrases as well, so they can learn those eventually (probably not until they master the actual telling of time!)  {$3}

LOVE these clipboards!! They are super thick and feel very sturdy. I think they'll be handy on days where we have worksheets to just clip their sheets onto their board for them to do that day. One of my girls favorite color is green and the other is pink, so these are perfect! Love the pretty shades of mint and pink! {$3 each}

I actually got these magnetic letters for an upcoming road trip. I always give them circle cookie sheets on road trips to do activities on, so I thought these would be perfect for that. I can call out from the front seat different letters for them to form words, they can try to create words, their names, etc. But I thought they would be a fun way to mix things up with school some days, as well! {$1 a piece}

These pencils and erasers are so cute. I mostly got the pencils because there were pink and green in the pack, so I figured each girl would claim their favorite color and then we always know whose is whose ;) They had so many cute eraser options, but I thought the fruit were fun! {$1 each}

One day at the library, I was reading the girls a book that had a map in the front of it. My younger daughter asked me to show her where we lived, so I showed her our state and some states she is familiar with (where extended family live) and she memorized their location right then and has had them locked in since then! I have been wanting to get her one of the state placemats, but I can't find one and don't really want to pay like $8 on Amazon for one. So I saw this book and thought it would be fun for her! Not at all necessary to learn at age 3, but she thinks its really fun, so we might learn more about states this year! This little book has facts about each's actually really cute! They had several other books as well, like presidents, dinosaurs and I think a few others. I thought they might think the solar system is interesting. They ask a lot of questions about why the sun stays out later in the summer and that kind of thing. {$1 each}

They had several different sheets of these window clings (map, numbers, letters, animals and I think some others). The girls know their letters well, but are still getting the last few numbers so I thought these would be fun. I also thought even in a few years when we are learning addition and subtraction these would be an easy way to mix it up with math on random days they are bored of it. "Hey, go do your  math problems on the window"...what 6 year old wouldn't love that?! {$1}

This window cling map will be a hit with my little one, I think! For now, I think we won't probably use the state labels and I'll just teach them to her and have her point them out as she is learning/wants to. Maybe if we still have this in a few years when they are able to read, they can use the labels :) {$1}

I also got her this giant felt USA map to play with. I'm not sure if we'll keep this hung up all the time, or just get it out occasionally. I feel like I sound like we are going to be hitting states hard this year, but we really aren't! She has asked about them a lot and thinks they are fun, so I just figured we will do them at our leisure and if she gets sick of learning about, that's totally fine! I thought this one was neat that it has different attractions around the country you can place. {$5}

Just over $20 for a bunch of great learning tools for this coming year! I am super excited to go school supply shopping in a few months. It was always my favorite day of the year growing up, and let's just be still is one of them! 

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Friday, June 3, 2016

If I Ran The Zoo

My husband had to work out of town earlier this week, so we decided to go with him just for Memorial Day and head to the zoo, since we don't get to go often! Our state's zoo really isn't all that big, but it is actually just the right size for toddler/preschool age! There are a lot of not super interesting animals (like prairie dogs? In a zoo??), but there are also a lion, tiger, seals, giraffes, monkeys and more. It is nice because it's never all that crowded, even on the most crowded days, so you can get right up to the exhibit and get a close look! Which is nice when you are trying to point out the tiger hiding in the bushes to a toddler ;) (That's always a fun game. No look over that over there...see where I'm pointing? Back by that, the other tree.....nevermind.)
We left mid morning and it's about a 2 hour drive so we got there just before lunch and decided just to have a picnic before we went in so we didn't have to worry about taking the cooler and food in. There was a perfect little playground and picnic area.
First things first, I wanted to see if they had those mist fans in the gift shop because it was SO hot out! I had no idea it was going to be that hot. I wore black LulaRoe leggings, which are really thick and I regretted it all day! My younger daughter doesn't handle the heat well (like her Mama), so I figured fans would be good. No mist fans, but they had these little fan necklaces that you crank yourself and the girls thought they were the best thing ever. 2, please! 
Onto the monkeys, then the African area. The giant turtles were *ahem* mating, so there was a lot of spectating going on by mostly male adults who thought it was hilarious. Lots of giggling and picture taking by pretty much every guest walking by while all the kids were completely oblivious (luckily) and playing on the drums and things. 

The zoo had this big Curious George exhibit set up. We thought we'd go to the storytime and meet and greet, but there was lots of other cool stuff when we got there. It was in this huge tent kind of thing which we thought would be nice but since there was no air flow it was way hotter than outside, even though it was shaded. So we stayed and played for a little while but left before the story time. 

The seals are always a favorite. They are usually very animated and show off for the kiddos.

We found a fun area where the elephant sprayed mist all over. It felt SOOO good and the kids wanted to do it about 20 times before moving on. 

The girls were looking forward to the "wobbly bridge" all day, and were excited when we finally got to do it at the end of the day! 

After the zoo, we cooled down in the AC at the Cheesecake Factory, which is always a great time. Love making memories with my favorite people! 

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Huge Costco Haul

I went to Costco over the weekend and ended up getting a TON of stuff! I needed to go to stock up on some staples, but I also needed to get some things to prep for some upcoming trips. I normally don't buy this much there but since we have some extra things going on over the summer, I wanted to get some of this extra stuff to make my life a little easier during the crazy summer months + easy road trip snacks!! I ended up spending just under half my monthly grocery budget, which is insane, BUT a lot of this stuff will last us for several months (like the coconut oil, tomatoes, tuna, etc.) AND like I said, there were some special circumstances...I don't typically buy many prepackaged snacks. I thought it would be fun to share what I got + what we love from Costco! 
Here is everything, but I will break it down into categories a little further!!

  • 10 lbs Old Fashioned Oats (we go through about one of these per month...yes, per month!)
  • 4.5 lbs raisins. Some Costcos carry the Sunmaid organic, but ours unfortunately doesn't. 
  • Canned organic black beans (I do cook my own dry beans but I thought these would be nice to have on hand for when I'm in a pinch and don't have any made or for easy lunches)
  • Canned organic diced tomatoes. This is BY FAR the best price I've found on organic canned tomatoes by a long shot. I also get the paste, sauce, and marinara but was already stocked up on all of those. 
  • Skipjack tuna. We LOVE this tuna. No added soy/broth, etc. that a lot of tunas have, if you care about that. It is a huge can with lots of protein and just really yummy! 
  • Kirkland organic lemonade. This isn't really a staple, but it's really yummy and we like it for a treat. I got this one to take on our trip. 
  • Coconut oil
  • Almond butter. 1 ingredient, large jar, good price.
  • Kerrygold butter. Best price I can find on it except when Aldi carries it on special buy over the holidays.
  • 3 lbs of almonds
  • Avocados. We usually eat about one per day at least, so I prefer to buy them in bulk when possible!
  • 8 lbs of strawberries. I know that's insane, but I got these Sunday and we are about 3/4 of the way through them! My kids inhale them and these strawberries were absolutely perfect!
  • 6 pack of red bell peppers (my kids prefer the red to any other color and will devour them, so I love that Costco carries an all red bag!)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Organic papaya. My kids didn't really care for this. 
  • Organic pears. Perfectly ripe!
New to me
  • Organic tortilla chips. We got the regular strips last time and they were only OK, so thought we would try these. 
  • Tzatziki dip. No one in our family cared for this, unfortunately. Anyone want almost a full container of it?! 
  • Ezekiel bread
Road trip food
  • Apple sauce pouches. I used to buy my kids pouches and they loved them, but they didn't fill them up even remotely and with 4 kids now I would have to buy a ridiculous amount of these things every week. That being said, they are very nice to have in the car and for something quick to grab and the kids will love these on vacation. Love the ingredients and price on this brand.
  • Figgypops tart cherry fig supersnacks. These look AMAZING. All organic/real food ingredients. I am super excited to try them, and it's been hard to save them for our trip! 
  • Sliced colby jack cheese. Will be easy for sandwiches on the road!
  • Fusion jerky
  • Veggie straw individual packs. I've never gotten the other flavors or individual packs so hopefully the kids like them. This was one where convenience won out on this and I paid a little extra for the individual packs for the car!
  • Organic fruit strips
  • Seaweed-this is for my sister for vacation. She loves seaweed.
  • Organic individual chocolate milks. A fun treat for the kids on vacation. 
  • Bagels for breakfasts on the road.
Other things I usually buy at Costco but didn't need this time: 
  • Chia seeds and flax. HUGE bags of them that will probably last me 6 months to a year.
  • Tomato sauce and paste, as mentioned above. Again, the BEST price I can find for organic. 
  • Oils-avocado, olive, etc. 
  • Protein powder
  • Marinara sauce-the Kirkland's organic is very quality ingredients and would be compliant with programs like Whole 30, etc. 
If you shop at Costco, what are some of your must-have items?! I love hearing what other people love to buy and eat! 
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