5 Indoor Winter Activities for Kids

5 Indoor Winter Activities for Kids

Cabin fever is brutal during the winter, but having some super fun indoor winter activities for kids on standby can help a mom out in a pinch.

I literally just spent this entire day feeling like I was losing my damn mind. I had kids crying, whining, watching too much TV, snacking nonstop, and just being all around pains in the ass. I’m in desperate need of some indoor winter activities for kids.

So I sat down and made a list of 8 things I can do with the kids to help with this cabin fever, and get them out of my hair for at least a few precious moments.

When the weather is decent, I usually bundle them up for a walk or just let them roam our backyard. If I’m feeling adventurous we will go for a hike, the local park, or maybe even a museum. But lately, the weather is so wet and chilly that I just want to stay bundled up inside my nice warm home.

Indoor activities it is then!

One big piece of advice I have though… prepare ahead of time. Don’t just pin this article to come back to later, because chances are when you actually NEED an activity you’ll be too frazzled and annoyed to do it with any joy.

Instead of waiting until the kids are climbing the walls to get things prepped, do it now! Like today, or this week. Then you’ll have all the activities ready to go.

Indoor Snowball Fight

This is seriously fun. It makes you feel like a little kid again.

You can either DIY some snowballs by making pom-poms out of yarn, or you can get fancy and order a kit off of Amazon.

But basically it’s just a bunch of snowballs made of soft materials safe to toss around indoors.

I made pom-pom snowballs, and while the making of them is a little tedious, it was definitely worth it! Using a pom-pom making I got for cheap off of Amazon made it a little easier and faster, but you can do it with just your hands or a piece of cardboard too.

Once done, just divvy up the balls and go at it!

Wet-on-Wet Watercolor Painting

I had never done this type of painting until I found it while researching Waldorf education, where it is über popular.

You just take some watercolor paper, soak it in water for about 10 minutes, then lay it flat on a painting board and go to town with painting.

I like to just give my kids 1-3 colors at a time, and I only give them primary colors (blue, red, yellow). By limiting the color choice they have, they will naturally learn how just a few colors can blend together to make many other colors! So fun.

Even my 2-year-olds paint with us and have been since about 18-20ish months. For them, I just give them each one color to play with.

When you put watercolor on wet paper is moves around and makes cool patterns. Easy and fun.

I love this tutorial from Sundays with Sarah on YouTube.

Bake or Cook Together

Even if your kids are still pretty small they can help in the kitchen.

My 5-year-old can make popcorn from scratch in the air popper, toast for herself and her brothers with butter and honey, and she even cuts up fruit herself.

The 2-year-olds have started learning to cut with safe crinkle cutters. Their skills are pretty rough, but it’s a start.

Winter is such a great time for baking because the warm oven heats up the house and the scents are so cozy and welcoming. Talk about embracing some hygge this winter. This is an essential indoor activity for kids.

My favorite things to make with my kids are pancakes and cookies, though I want to start baking bread with them and even churning out own butter in small churns.

Build a Fort

I still vividly remember gathering up all the blankets from my home when I was a kid and building my own personal fort during one, particularly snowy winter season.

Just like with the indoor pillow fight, this simple activity is fun for parents too. How long has it been since you made a fort?

I know for me, it had been years until I remembered this time-honored tradition and showed my daughter how to do it.

You can go old fashioned and just grab whatever is around the house, or you can get all fancy with a fort making kit from Amazon. Another option to really splurge is to invest in some giant playsilks you can use.

Create Sensory Bins

My kids love love love sensory bins. I mean, who wouldn’t?

I went over all the details on sensory bins in this post, but to cut to the chase, you fill a bin or box with some sort of filler like rice, oatmeal, beans. Then you add in various items and let the kids go to town with their hands or tools like scoopers.

For example, around Halloween I created sensory bins filled with rice and bunch of skulls, bats, and pumpkins I got at the dollar store.

They will keep kids entertained for soooo long, but one piece of warning… they get messy. So have the vacuum on hand.

What do you think, mama? Will you try one of these? Which of these indoor winter activities for kids makes your must-do list? Share in the comments.

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Stomach Bug? Try a Smoothie for Flu that’s Toddler Approved

Stomach Bug? Try a Smoothie for Flu that’s Toddler Approved

Need to get some nutrition in your little one ASAP when they have a stomach bug? Try a smoothie for flu that is delicious AND nutritious.

A few years ago, when my daughter who was then a toddler had the stomach flu, I jotted down this post to give other moms some ideas of what to feed their sick little ones. This smoothie for flu symptoms worked really well for my daughter then and might help you get through this flu season.

(Just a quick heads up that this post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase something I recommend then I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

Fair warning. This post may get a little gross. But I’ve come to realize that is one thing motherhood is… gross.

Yes, there are those beautiful moments of cradling your sleeping child and feeling like everything in the world is right.

Then, there are the times you’re cleaning poop out of your bed.

Today, we’re talking about the latter. 

We are currently on day six of my toddler, Carolyn’s, first real stomach bug. Thankfully we have had no vomiting (fingers crossed it stays that way).

However, I’ve been up to my elbows in the nastiest poop with which I’ve had the pleasure of coming in contact. I keep expecting it to pass, and I haven’t been super concerned because she shows no signs of dehydration. Besides the occasional crankiness, she’s mostly been her normal self.

But I’ve reached the point where I feel I need to do something to help.

Google is my number one mommy tool (besides calling a doc when it warrants it). Unfortunately I got a ton of conflicting information on toddler tummy troubles.

What do you feed a child with a stomach virus?

The most recurring advice was to follow the B.R.A.T. diet for them. That stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast.

Supposedly these are easiest for an upset stomach to digest. Then, I read that this diet is too restrictive and that there’s not a lot of evidence that it helps at all, or parents stick with it too long. In fact, some sources pointed said it is better to try to give your kid a more rounded diet to keep them well-fed, making it easier for them to recover from the illness. 

So, what’s a mommy to do?

Well I decided to kind of combine all this into a pretty simple strategy.

First, keep pushing the fluids on her. If breastfeeding, that’s a great way to get fluids and nutrition to babies and toddlers, but water is also awesome.

Then I’ve come up with this smoothie concoction that includes some of the B.R.A.T. foods, probiotics, and some supplemental nutrition.

Of course, if your kid is sick, don’t just take my advice but call your pediatrician, please!

Smoothie for flu symptoms

Honestly, I totally eyeballed the ingredients, but I will try to give you an idea of measurements as well as why I chose each ingredient.

Once you have your ingredients, just throw them in the blender and liquefy! 

1 Banana – This is recommended as part of the B.R.A.T. diet

1/2 cup organic vanilla greek yogurt – You could really use any kind of yogurt you like, but this is our favorite. I added this because she loves yogurt and because it contains probiotics to help with digestion.

1/2 cup applesauce – Another food recommended in the B.R.A.T. diet

1/2 cup of white grape juice – I saw this recommended as an alternative to sports drinks or Pedialyte to help with hydration. 

1 tbsp Green Vibrance – There are a ton of different products you can use like this, but this is the brand I like and have been using for years. It’s basically green drink in a powder, lots of superfoods in powder form. I add this to give her a little extra something in her diet. 

Let me know how you and your little one like this recipe for a smoothie for flu in the comments below!

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5 Things I’ve Learned from 5 Years of Motherhood

5 Things I’ve Learned from 5 Years of Motherhood

My firstborn recently turned 5 years old, and it has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. But I now feel like I’ve crossed some threshold in motherhood, and would love to impart the bits of wisdom I’ve accumulated to you.

These are five of the many lessons I’ve learned being a mom for over 5 years now. I’m now the mom of a 5-year-old girl and twin 2-year-old boys.

Motherhood is a wild ride, but one I would gladly take over and over again.

1. Everything is a phase

I remember the nights I spent hours trying to get my daughter to just go to sleep. I wondered if she would ever fall asleep on her own and sleep through the night. I wondered if I would ever get to sleep for more than two hours at a time again.

But tonight she just took her new Olaf doll and laid down in bed, said goodnight to be, and passed out in minutes.

For the most part, all the worries and problems we have with our children are just phases that pass. Teething, developmental leaps, no sleep, cluster feeding, growth spurts, etc.

The problem is that you just trade one hard phase for another most of the time. It’s just that the new phase is different with unique challenges. That’s the gig. It never is truly easy.

But that’s ok. Learning to accept that it IS hard, but whatever hardship you are in now will pass helps you feel like you can do it. Like you aren’t crazy, and you aren’t the only one struggling.

Everyone struggles at some point, and eventually, that struggle will pass.

2. Actions speak louder than words

Kids model what you do. They pay attention to what you say, how you say it, the actions you take, and tons of small things you probably aren’t even aware of.

The old saying of “do as I say, not as I do” really does NOT work with kids.

You are the first and greatest role model for your children. They will learn from you both the good and the bad. They’ll copy your best traits and your worst.

So pay attention next time they don’t speak respectfully, forget to say thank you, have a ‘tude. Where did they learn that?

Many times if I take a sec to assess the situation, I realize that I’m the one who has been short with her lately, and I need to tone it down and be more pleasant.

Likewise, sometimes I catch her doing something adorable, kind, or ingenious and I swell with pride knowing she learned it by watching me.

3. Put yourself first

A part of me still cringes at this advice.

For one, it’s basically a cliché at this point, but it is still so freaking true. You know how I said above that kids model what you do?

That means that in order to teach them the most important lessons and model the best life possible for them, you actually have to live it!

So, personal development, learning patience, kindness, self-discipline, self-care, self-love. These are all things that you must work on mastering yourself if you hope to impart them to your child.

This goes beyond the basic elements of taking care of yourself first as a self-care regimen. This is more about putting your own well-being, growth, and development above anything else.

Unless you are the only perfect human on this planet, you still have work to do to improve. This isn’t a reason to punish yourself for your imperfections, but rather just something to consider. What are some places you could work on? Maybe being more patient? What about reading a few more books instead of scrolling Facebook so much?

It’s about determining the traits that you hope your kids will have and then ensuring you have the first as a model.

4. You’re going to screw up, and that’s ok

As much as you might try, you will not be a perfect parent.

No one is.

So the flipside of putting yourself first and ensuring you are working on being the best parent, you also have to realize that you never land at perfection.

You’ll lose your temper sometimes, you’ll say the wrong thing sometimes, you’ll accidentally hurt their feelings sometimes. No relationship is perfect, including the ones we have with our kids.

The key here is to apologize and make amends.

I know when I’ve been a little too harsh or short with my daughter, and I go and apologize to her as soon as can as often as I can. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it’s modeling to her how to deal with conflict.

5. Enjoy it

New moms are so sick of hearing about how they need to enjoy being a mom, and it goes by so fast. But it does!

These 5 years both feel like they passed in the blink of an eye and seemed to go on for centuries. Sometimes it feels like life stands still, and others it flies by.

So be present. Be there. Pay attention. Let go of any and all bullshit. Let go of expectations you have that weigh you down and distract you from enjoying this time.

Time is the most precious thing we have. Spend it wisely.

Hug your kids, tickle your kids, kiss your kids. Be silly your kids, play games with your kids, take a break from the work to dance around the house with your kids.

Savor it.

Soak it in.

As proud as I am of my little girl, and no matter how amazing she is now as a big 5-year-old, part of me mourns the loss of my toddler. The tiny baby I carried all over and nursed for years.

She’s changing.

The changes are amazing to watch, and they are so rewarding. To watch her grow and develop into a kid is incredible. But it’s also bittersweet.

So I take it in as much as I can and just hold her in the tiny moments I can.

Time moves on. Change is inevitable. But if there is one thing I can do it is be grateful for today.

Cluster Feeding Tips to Survive Your Newborn Feeding Every Hour

Cluster Feeding Tips to Survive Your Newborn Feeding Every Hour

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Why Boys Need to See Frozen 2

Why Boys Need to See Frozen 2

Frozen fever has overtaken my home, and it isn’t just my little 5-year-old princess belting out the songs. My tiny princes, just 2-years-old, can be heard uttering the phrase “let it go.”

The first Frozen broke the mold when it comes to Disney princess movies, and Frozen 2 has taken it a step further.

The boundary-breaking princess empowerment is so important for little girls.

I can only look back and imagine how it would have impacted me to have Anna and Elsa to emulate instead of Ariel… You know, a movie about a princess finding her own voice instead of a princess giving her voice away for a man. (No hate. I still love the Little Mermaid and all the OG princesses.)

But I was also thinking over the last few days about how having movies like Frozen and now Frozen 2 will have positive impacts on the boys who watch them too.

There is a key moment that happens in Frozen 2 (no spoilers) when Anna finds herself in a bit of a jam. Her bf, Kristoff, rides in on (not a white horse) his reindeer, and says “I’m here. What do you need?”

That tiny bit of dialogue shows exactly the role that men play in this story.

Kristoff is NOT there to be Anna’s savior or take credit for saving the day.

He’s there to support her.

I’m not going to lie. That tiny little piece of this movie made me tear up a little. For so many women, this is all we have ever truly wanted even if we didn’t know it.

Not a man to save us as damsels in distress, but to be a partner who gives us a boost when we need and then steps out of our way when they aren’t needed. (Which of course we would do the same for them.)

Kristoff is the opposite of toxic masculinity.

He’s an exceptionally well-balanced version of a “masculine” man. He’s a man that young boys can emulate and look up to, while hopefully also looking up to the female characters in the story too.

I’ve always considered myself a “feminist” in that I believe in equality, but I never thought much about how inequality also harms boys and men too in a much different way.

You know… the whole notion that boys shouldn’t cry, be emotional, vulnerable, or basically any version of human that displays what is perceived as weakness.

This causes a lot of pain for our boys, just like being oppressed hurts our girls, the boys are being harmed through this type of thinking.

Until recently there were not a lot of men for boys to look up to in movies that were truly well-rounded individuals with healthy emotional lives.

Kristoff though? He is.

Beyond the way he supports Anna in a very modern way, he also has a deep emotional world which is put on display through his new song “Lost in the Woods,” a song that delves into his feelings for Anna.

Finally, it can’t be overstated how important it is for boys to see women who are powerful and in leadership roles.

The Frozen sisters each have their own strengths (and weaknesses). Both are powerful fully form and multi-dimensional characters. They are women that a child could and should look up to for one reason or another, including male children.

As women claim more power for themselves in the real world as well as imaginary worlds of film, boys will need to be able to work under and with women in order to be successful.

If they are only ever exposed to art, stories, film, etc. that shows men in the positions of power, how will they be able to exist in a world where the power dynamics are changing (and hopefully continue to change)?

So take your boys to see Frozen 2. It’s time boys had female leaders to look up to, and male supporters who are emotionally intelligent and non-toxic.

Cluster Feeding Tips to Survive Your Newborn Feeding Every Hour

Cluster Feeding Tips to Survive Your Newborn Feeding Every Hour

Want more breastfeeding tips? Find us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.facebookinstagrampinterest Got a stage 5 clinger who won't let go of your boob? Like your nipple feels like it's now permanently attached to your little squish? You've got a cluster feeder....

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The Best Way to Breastfeed Twins

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Resilience for Kids. Why I’m Teaching My Kids How to Fail.

Resilience for Kids. Why I’m Teaching My Kids How to Fail.

The older I get, the more I believe the key to happiness and success is being willing to fail. This doesn’t mean you have to seek out failure, but rather it’s about learning how to fail in a way that propels you forward and helps you learn.

I grew up a smart kid. I was placed in gifted programs, and getting outstanding grades in High School was smooth sailing. I wasn’t an all-star athlete, but I played on the varsity basketball team as the starting point guard.

For the most part, I just didn’t have to try that hard to succeed because I was blessed with gifts that worked well for me in my early life.

But once I got to college, and then work in the real world followed by motherhood? Things changed.

I graduated college with a 3.0, I had a tendency to skip a lot of morning classes, not study and cram at the last minute, and be up all night before turning in a paper exactly on the deadline.

These tendencies followed me to my jobs, and these mixed with depression, being a new mom, and other personal issues led to me being fired from a job I worked for most of my 20’s.

When I look back, I don’t really regret anything because at this point in my life I am very happy. Life isn’t perfect, but it is damn close. BUT, the thing that tortured me more than anything until I hit my 30’s was a need for perfect AND a fear of failure.

I had so many things I wanted to try in my 20’s, like quitting my job to go to law school, or grade school. I wanted to quit my job and travel the world or break up with that boyfriend. But I was too afraid.

The unknown had me paralyzed. And that paralysis kept me trapped in relationships and jobs I didn’t enjoy anymore.

Luckily, life finds a way to push you out of the nest. Ironically my fear of failure is what created failure in my life by way of one engagement breaking up and getting fired. Two things that I lamented at the time, but I now see as incredible blessings in my life.

My fear of failure was also part of the reason my marriage almost ended in divorce.

My husband and I had a very romantic start to our life together. Within six weeks of getting together, my then-new boyfriend was suddenly proposing to me on a beach in Puerto Rico, where we traveled to pretty much on a whim. Nine months later we were married.

But it just seemed too good. And as much as I wanted to believe in our relationship, part of me holding myself back from being totally IN the marriage because I just couldn’t believe something that good could just happen to me. I was afraid it would fail, and so behaved in ways that almost ensured the failure.

The reason I had an almost phobia of failing was that I never had really failed in my past, and never learned an important skill… resilience.

This is one of the virtues I am most keen to help develop in my children.

My daughter doesn’t like to lose. She has a bit of a fit when someone beats her in a game or she falls off the monkey bars. My message to her? Losing/Failure is part of the process.

I don’t try to make her feel better about her attempts. I don’t sugarcoat the truth, that she came up short. I admit that yes, that try didn’t go so well, but she has another shot at it. She can either accept defeat or keep practicing until she masters what she wants.

I’ve been a big fan of Brené Brown for many years now. Her work has been instrumental in my transformation from perfectionist to resilient myself. I think this quote sums up the lessons I hope to instill in my kids:

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”
― Brené Brown, Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Reading that quote I realize that what I was truly missing for so long was courage. The thing that is required to get over the fear of failure and to actually find the strength to be resilient is courage.

Ironically, it is motherhood that has taught me courage. Because as a mom you have no real choice but to be courageous, model that courage, and teach it to your children.

Hell, even the very act of bringing children into this world can be terrifying! It takes a lot of courage to give birth, no matter how you give birth.

And I guess it is also the only way to truly teach our children resilience, courage, and the willingness to fail.

The way is to model it. To do it ourselves.

So that’s what I’m doing. Teaching my kids resilience and how to fail by doing it myself first.

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Steal These Gift Ideas. My Kids Christmas List This Year.

Steal These Gift Ideas. My Kids Christmas List This Year.

Feeling overwhelmed with filling out your kids Christmas list this year? Use my list for my 2-year-olds and 5-year-old as inspiration

Despite my best attempts to keep things to a minimum when writing my kids Christmas list, I went a little overboard with Christmas the last two years. When you’re a parent, it’s easy to overspend on your kids Christmas list.

If you have the resources, then go ahead and stack those presents ceiling high for Christmas morning if that gives you and your kids the most magical day.

But for me, I have been working hard at cultivating a minimalist lifestyle that involves minimal waste and also learning to live with less. I’ve been learning that abundance sometimes is born out of restriction and making do with less.

For example, my kids have been playing with the same core group of toys everyday for over a year now. I occasionally swap some of them out, but for the most part, they are good with what they have and do not NEED any more toys.

I’m no Grinch though. There will be toys under the tree, but I’ve done my best to be thoughtful about the process. So I’ll share that thought process behind my kids Christmas list this year.

My attempts at the four Christmas gifts idea

By now you might have heard of the four Chirstmas gifts rule?

It’s super easy to learn and remember. Each child receives four gifts, and they are:

  • Something they want
  • Something they need
  • Something to wear
  • Something to read

This rule is über popular among the minimalist mom community. The rhyming scheme gives it some fun and flair. It’s practical but still fun. It’s enough for children to get that good old fashioned Christmas morning experience without breaking the bank.

Following this rule was my goal for this Christmas, and I both succeeded AND failed at it.

I did keep our kids Christmas list down to mostly 4 items per child, and then 2 items that they all share. BUT I didn’t follow the cute rhyming scheme.

Instead, each kid got 3 toys and 1 item to wear.

I did cheat a little and I also got them all one of the same gift, and one gift for them all to share.

So, what were the items I chose for our kids? Here’s a rundown.

For my 5-year-old daughter

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

This is one of the gifts my daughter requested for Christmas, and so it had to go on the kids Christmas list. We went to Disney World this year, and so Mickey is still on the brain. She love imaginative play and playing pretend. I know she’ll use this not just to play pretend with Mickey, but all of her little toys. She likes to mix and match all her favorites. 

Catboy Cup

I got this super cool PJ Masks cup for my daughter last year and it broke! But for a $6 plastic cup, I didn’t expect longevity. So I decided to replace it this year because she loved it so much. 

Elsa Shoes

My daughter fell in love with these at Target and quickly added them to her Christmas list. This and the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse are the only two items she actually asked for this year. She’s easily pleased. For her birthday she literally only asked for one thing, and I complied! Why heap stuff on them they didn’t even ask for?

Our Generation Doll

almost sprung for the American Girl doll, but the one I really wanted for my daughter was like $200 and I just couldn’t bit the bullet on that one. So instead I opted for this much more affordable doll from Target that still looks like my daughter with curly hair and dark brown eyes. She did NOT ask for a doll, but I wanted to choose something for her that would be a surprise. Plus, she loves dolls in general, but doesn’t have one of this style.

For my 2-year-old boys

Animals

My boys looove animals. I had bought them a bucket of a bunch of them, but they turned out to be pretty low quality with the paint not even really put on properly. So I decided to get them some higher quality animals for Christmas. This was a must-have kids Christmas list item for our 2-year-olds. I decided on the farm animals and safari set.

Stacking Toys

I try to keep any new toys I get for the little ones to be as educational as possible, but still super fun. So I decided to get them some new and more advanced stacking toys that will challenge them but still be totally fun. The bottom one is extra awesome as it spins, plus they love rockets!

A Doll

After I got my daughter her doll I realized I needed one more item for the boys. So I figured I’d just get them a doll too, and  I was so excited to find this adorable little guy for each of them! I think he’s the perfect doll for little boys.  A week or so ago I was reading them a book about babies and they loved pretending to feed the little baby in the book, so I think these will be a big hit for them!

Rain suits

A friend of mine has Oaki these rain suits for her boys, and I think they are so perfect for outside play when the weather isn’t the best. I decided months ago to add them to our kids Christmas list. You can use them when its wet and rainy, or bundle up underneath and use them as a waterproof later in the snow! I got them a size up so they will last a long time and have plenty of room for bundled layers.

For ALL the kids

Melissa and Doug Easel

My kids all love to draw, color, and play with letters. So these easels were a no brainer for the kids Christmas list when I saw them on sale on Amazon. I got one for each of them so there will be no fighting! (though somehow I’m sure they’ll manage to)

Train Table

This was the big splurge on the kids Christmas list this year! Last year we also got them all one large item to share, which was a kitchen. This year the train table seemed the best call, and something all three kids could get use out of. I’m super excited to see if they love it!

What do you think of our kids Christmas list this year? What’s on your list? Let me know below in the comments!

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