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How We Do Christmas

How do you do Christmas gifting for your kids? Do you just set a budget and shop til it's done? Do you forgo the budget and buy whatever you love? If you're anything like me, you have just as much fun buying gifts as the kiddos do receiving them. I love this little rhyme a friend shared with me a couple years ago. It's a great way to give a little structure to my gift choices!

I'm not making any vows to live by this forever, but I really like the idea of setting a standard for what gift-giving in our house will look like. I like that it keeps me accountable to a fairly simple wish-list instead of making Christmas about everything we WANT WANT WANT!

So this year for Christmas, we have committed to living by our little rhyme again (plus stocking). Something you want, something you need, something you wear, & something you read. Done and done!

So what's on our shopping list? Beckett will be 2 this Christmas and Charlie will be 4 months. Here's what's on their lists:

Want: A Kazam Bike! It has no petals and is supposed to be a great way to teach them to ride.
Need: A helmet to match!
Wear: University of Kentucky Gear. I haven't found it yet.
Read: A subscription to National Geographic Little Kids
He'll also get a stocking full of goodies.

We haven't completely figured out what we want for Charlie yet, but I'm working on it! 

What about you? Do you have a plan for Christmas? I'd love to hear it! omment below!

5 Fun Ways We're Counting with Cards

Flash cards can be totally boring. But they don't have to be! While some teachers are very anti-flash cards, I happen to think they're a cheap and easy way to provide consistent but versatile practice with your kiddos! We LOVE flash cards in our house.

October was a very busy month for us, so we've decided to carry on our Fall theme into November. Right now, Beckett is OBSESSED with counting. He counts everything he sees. So right now, he's loving his number activities. Here are five fun activities we're doing with flash cards!

Put them in Order
Ok. This may seem basic but I challenge you to make it fun! With Beckett, I start off the first three numbers in a line, and scatter the rest around the room. We count them in all the fun ways we can (he likes to walk on them), then we have a big exciting hunt to find the next number. When we find it, we dance and celebrate and put it in order. Really, it's not hard to entertain an [almost] two year old.

Group Objects
I have several sets of cutie manipulatives (toys) that support our current vocabulary & we use for various activities.  For this, I simply grouped some of them together. Then Beckett & I counted them and looked for the card to match.

Fine Motor Counting
I grabbed these fun eyeballs from Walmart the other day. Beckett thinks they're hilarious! We used them to count onto the number cards. These are also great for fine motor skills. They're super small & exersice that pincher grasp, plus are hecka hard to pick up off the hard wood floor!

Clothes Pins
This is my new favorite activity. Beckett is intrigued by the clothes pins but can't manage them quite yet. This will be a simple & fun way to exercise those little hands. We simply counted out the number of clothes pins that matched the card I chose, then clipped them to the card.

Eat Em!
Ok.. so Beckett actually came up with this because he's way more creative than I am. His spiders started eating the numbers and I just went along with it. "He's eating a FOUR?! No way!! Can he eat the... SEVEN?! Nom Nom Nom!!" He was so. entertained.

And that's all! Simple, quick, & entertaining! If you like these cards, you can grab the apple ones by clicking here or my brand new turkey ones by clicking here.

What activities are your Tots loving? I'd love to hear about them! Comment here or message me directly with any questions or comments!

I Have Fallen in Love: Freezer Crock Pot Meals, Take 2

A few months ago, I shared a list of crock pot meals I was preparing for after Charlie Grace arrived. It's been a couple months and we're running low on prepared meals. Let me tell you: I CANNOT LET THAT HAPPEN. This was my first experience with preparing and freezing meals in advance and I WILL NEVER GO BACK. Cooking is NOT my cup of tea. I just really don't enjoy spending time cooking when I could be having a root canal instead. [Ok fine. A little dramatic.. but REALLY.] So here I am again, with a brand new list of meals we plan to enjoy this month and some cutie cute labels to boot!

Grab the free download here. In it you'll find my two week plan (which I double), a shopping list for before you prep, and labels. Note that I prep 14 different meals but I make TWO of each. So my grocery list is for 28 meals! If you only want one of each meal, you'll need to cut it in half.

If you're lucky like me, you can get together with friends and do this part. Add wine and it makes it even better. Find a friend who will do all of the work while you watch, drink wine, and tape labels, and you've hit the jackpot! (Thank you very much, BFF Katie).

I also highly recommend crock pot liners. Seriously. They take my meal planning life from, "wow! This is easy!" to "I AM THE MOST BRILLIANT PERSON ON THE PLANET!" They are worth every penny. Don't let your husband tell you differently.

So all you need now are links! Below is the link to each meal that is included on this plan. 

I'd love to hear what you think about them! Leave a comment or contact me directly with questions or comments!