3 Indoor Activities to Survive the Winter

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The winter months can be long + hard when you’re a parent of littles. In our household if we have a choice between playing inside + playing outside we always choose outside, but the winter cramps our style. This was my first winter with two kids two + under and its been challenging to say the least. We still try to bundle up as much as possible to keep our sanity + a partially clean house to have outdoor time. But on the days its just way to cold we have a few favorite toys I wanted to share. If I’m honest, these toys are used year-round, I just feel like they get used more in the cold winter months + hot summer days. Our normal days consist of staying in our jammies a little too long, taking baths as entertainment or distraction from boredom, + making way too many baked goods. And unfortunately, too many movies. Below I will show pictures + describe a few of our favorite toys with links to purchase! 

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#1 AIRFORT

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So Ezra is my child that loves to hide; and unfortunately not the hide + seek where moms gets a tiny break in-between each hide. He wants you where he is + engaged with him at all times. I’m really not complaining though, I love this age + I'm sad its passing by so quickly. But back to hide + seek…Everyday, day after day, we would have to go hide under the covers in our bed while he played. He could entertain himself for an hour straight (with mom + baby under there of course). It would always get super hot, because we weren’t allowed to have any outdoor(light and air exposure) cracks, per Ezra’s request. Also I don’t have the best posture- so crouching under the covers killed my back + neck. When I came across this on Instagram I immediately texted my husband + asked if it was ok if I got myself an early birthday gift. Of course he said yes having no idea I meant another toy for the kids. This fort is the best thing ever! I feel like this needs to be in every kids playroom! It comes in a tiny bag, which is great for storing when not in use. All you need to purchase separately is a box fan. You hook the fan to the fort + boom your kid’s imagination takes it from there. I love it, because there is plenty of headroom + it’s constantly breezy from the fan. Don’t worry, there’s a mesh guard so the kids don’t get any ideas about playing with the fan- a fear of mine. It is super easy to access in + out. Even our dog Luna has figured out how to come in + out.

#2 KINETIC SAND

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Ezra loves playing in our sand pit outside, but who wants a sandpit in your house?! This is the coolest thing ever. Zach joked + asked if we could buy enough sand for our outdoor sandpit. The sand doesn’t stick to anything but itself. Yes, you heard that correctly. THE SAND ONLY STICKS TO ITSELF. And all the mommas said AMEN! In these pictures we have two packets of Kinetic Sand + a plastic storage bin to keep it (free of dog hair). We have mini heavy machinery equipment to play in + it fits perfectly in our container. Perfect for mom, because I don’t find bits + pieces all over our house. Who doesn’t love organized chaos?! Ezra can build things in the sand pit + knock it over with his trucks for what feels like forever in toddler life. 

#3 HOMEMADE PLAYDOUGH

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What kid doesn’t love to play with playdough? I try to be as intentional as I can on what products my kids play with + if I can make a healthier alternative I try! Plus Ezra loves helping me do any tasks, so this is a win-win in his book. Do we slack sometimes + play with name brand playdough..well yea, but it is nice to make our own sometimes! 

RECIPE:

1 CUP Flour

1/3 CUP Salt

2 TEASPOONS Cream of Tarter

1 CUP Water

1 TABLESPOON Vegetable Oil

Drops of any food coloring

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

In small saucepan, pour the flour, salt, + cream of tarter.

Add the water + veggie oil

Turn burner on medium-low + stir

Once its combined together, add food coloring

Keep stirring for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on the heat of your stove.

Stir until the texture of the dough comes off the spoon

Let cool on parchment paper

Side Note: You do each color play dough separate. I don't suggest making a big patch then splitting it up + putting food coloring. When you cook each color it blends nicely through out the saucepan

A Peak Into Our Playroom

Our original plans for this room was a nursery for Ezra. But kids have a way of making you do everything you said you would not do. Both kids co-sleep, so our nursery quickly turned into a playroom. I love the boys playroom though. We have way too many toys, I'll admit. But, somehow they all get played with. In this post I'll address some of our must haves in our playroom.

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#1 A Chalk Board

We have a wall that’s behind a sliding door that has made the perfect chalkboard wall. Ezra loves drawing on it + really try’s to stretch Zach + I's artist creativity. Which is really none. I have been successful with Elephant heads. Which is good, because that’s our obsession at the moment. I used this chalkboard paint + painted the wall. Then got chalk + an eraser! Easy Peasy!

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#2 A Kitchen Set

This was Ezra's gift one Christmas + I love it! Im a sucker for all things wood. I found this one on Amazon + got all the accessories to go along with it. Ezra loves to cook in his kitchen, because he is use to helping mom in the real kitchen.

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#3 A Tool Building Table

Again, all things wood I am a sucker for + this is no different. I love this for little boys, because he gets to feel like he is building like DaDa does. It’s also nice that the colors match each piece of tools so that he understands the screwdriver goes with the screws, etc. 

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#4 Drum Set

They say "don’t force your kids to do things", but I truly believe about introducing our kids to everything (sports, instruments, etc) and letting them figure out if they like it or not. Everyone thought I was crazy for wanting my toddler to have a drum set because obviously that would be a lot of commotion. But I love it. I love watching him play even if he has no idea what he's playing. I love seeing his imagination + if it turns into something one day that’s great. If he isn’t musically inclined, that’s fine too! I just prefer to expose them at a young age! Zach + I both wish we would have learned/stuck with playing an instrument. 

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#5 A Kid Sized Table

This wooden table is a centerpiece in our playroom. We color, stamp, eat, + just about anything else on this table! I love wooden tables so this was a must for us! I love homemaking pizza for our lunch + in the pictures below you will see Ezra enjoying pizza.

If you want my recipe for homemade pizza comment your email below + subscribe! 

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If you love that sign as much as I do, you should check out our friend's website www.darkthreatfab.com + request a custom order!

XO Colleen Cashio

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Hello, World!

The Explorer

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Am I the only one who doesn't want my kids to grow up? When Ezra was a newborn I wished that stage away. It truly was an awful experience. But when he hit 18 months I was praying I could freeze time. It is the best age. They are so sweet, so curious, + like a sponge soaking up everything. It’s also a bonus because they think mom knows best. Now Ezra is two and a half years old + I still love the age he's in now. But I won't lie, I can see slivers of himself changing + evolving in his boyhood. It absolutely breaks my heart. I think most moms would agree at some point we've thought about experimenting with freezing time and living in an age for the rest of our lives; I have at least. 

I have been reading "Wild Things the art of nurturing boys" + y'all, honestly I've debated about stopping after chapter 2. It is going through explaining the different stages in boyhood: what to expect, how to help, etc., etc., etc. And I literally thought to myself, maybe if I stop reading time will stay still and I won't need to prepare for the next season because we can just stay nice + comfy right here. Sighhh… I know that's not true or possible. This book is so helpful though; I wish I heard about it before Ezra turned 2. I come from a family of all girls, so I knew nothing about boys. Which is why I had a mild panic attack when I found out I was pregnant with a boy. Y'all, boys are so different than girls. Reading this book has helped me in understanding boys better + help change some things up that I am currently doing. 

 

Ages 2-4 in the book are labeled as ‘explorers’, which is so Ezra. This child is so curious + it makes my heart skip a beat. I love just watching him play + talk. I wish I knew everything that was going on in his head. At this age though it can be frustrating that all they like to do is wrestle. Literally, it's all we do. Especially if you're in a compromised position like bending over to pick something off the ground, he uses that to his advantage and pounces! My mom jokes that every time she leaves our house she has a new battle wound. But rest assured the book told me that this is totally normal + good. Haha, well that's a relief! It's also hard that they can't sit still. Like ever. The only time we are able to get Ezra still, well semi still is in church. If you know me you know I am SUPER anal about what my kids eat. If it's not homemade + healthy you can pretty much forget about it. (I am a grandparents worst nightmare, sorry not sorry). But on Sunday mom sneaks him Cheetos + m&ms. It really bothered me at first, but he started sitting still in church, so bribery at its best I guess! This is also totally normal in the explorer stage. After reading this chapter I really realized I was putting too much pressure on him + myself in this area.  

Is there anyone else guilty of expecting too much from kids? Sometimes though I can tell Ezra just isn't mentally ready for things. Once I finally let go + give him time he totally gets it on his own. Key though- on his time frame, not mine or what textbook says. I have to constantly remind myself that each child, boy or girl, develops at different times. Growing up isn't a race. In fact, it’s not even about reaching the finish line. It’s more about enjoying each step and not dwelling on the imperfections. Example; Ezra was a slow talker. Which made me worry + made our lives frustrating. He would get so frustrated that he couldn’t communicate exactly what he was thinking, which ended in a temper tantrum. At his second birthday I was still really worried that his words weren't like his other friends his age. We tried flash cards. The WHOLE Shebang. My friend, who is a speech therapist, reassured me to just give it time. So I trusted her + thought his words will come whenever he was comfortable. Well what do you know! One day he woke up with a whole new vocabulary + we are constantly amazed at how good he can talk now. (Which sometimes doesn't work in our favor - it's a lot easier to tell kids ‘no’ when you cant understand them).

 

Here is a snip it from the beginning of the book, I think most boy moms will totally be able to relate! –

         “What’s Normal?

For as long as we have been working with boys and parents of boys, we have been asked the question, “Is this normal?” hundreds, if not thousands, of times. Usually, what is behind the question is a deeper, scarier concern that parents have: “Is my son normal?” Most often, the answer is yes, and much of the parents’ fears and concerns can be allayed by good information and education. But whenever boys are in the equation, you may have to broaden your definition of normal. (This is especially true for women.) Once you have a boy in your life, things you never dreamed of become normal.

With boys, you will find yourself saying things and hearing things that you never thought needed to be said or heard. Like the night my (Stephen’s) wife had to insist to our two-year-old twins that “sixteen times is really enough washing to get your penis clean.” Or the one-day my sons screamed from the bathroom, “Guys! Come see how big my poop is!” As a caregiver to boys, you will be blown away by how many thousands of times you will have to say things such as, “Please keep your feet to yourself” or “Don’t lick the floor” or “Hey! Farting is for private.”

Boys are quite their own creatures, yet there’s much about the way they respond to their environment, themselves, and others that can be explained by the various stages of their development. Understanding how boys develop is foundational to our worries and concerns as our boys pass through the different stages. (It also can help us sound really smart at PTA meetings.)“– Pages 4&5 in Wild Things the art of nurturing boys by Stephen James and David Thomas

 

At the end of each chapter they give you tips if you have boys in this age group. I can't wait for Zach + I to implement some of these things and see how it works for us. While keeping in mind some things that might work for some kids might not be the best fit for others. Dealing with boys is unlike anything I’ve done before, but now I feel so blessed to be a boy mom. It is such a huge responsibility. The boys in our beds now will be someone’s husband, someone’s father, + someone’s grandfather in the future. The prayers we pray now will impact future generations. Pretty neat if you really sit and ponder the seeds we are planting. 

XO Colleen Cashio

Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys
By Stephen James, David Thomas
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