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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lunch Box Notes

A lot of parents cry when their little one goes off to Kindergarten for the first time.  I didn't expect to be very emotional.  I had prepared for this day for many years.  And Ava was only signed up to go to half-day Kindergarten, which meant that we'd have all afternoon and evening together.  Not much different than Preschool.  Here are some pics from her first day.

Sidney is REALLY going to miss Ava.

Everyone is smiling and excited and happy!

After going to half-day Kindergarten for ONE day, Ava decided that she was ready to go full day..."as long as I won't be too sad that she'll be gone all day."  What??!!??!!  I was NOT prepared for this.  Cut to morning drop off on day 2 of full-day Kindergarten:


This image of my little Ava and her giant back pack walking off to school so brave is burned in my mind and I still get choked up when I think about it.  Yep, I'm that mom.  Oh well.

To make sure that Ava thinks about me at least once during the day, I made these cute little Lunch Box Notes.

I used a few craft punches and card stock to create the note cards.



If you don't have craft punches, Michael's has come cute note cards in the dollar bins.  I'm a sucker for the dollar bins.  Here are the ones that I bought:

What to write on the Note Card?

Keep it simple
Ava is just learning to read so I kept the message simple.  Some ideas are:
- I Love You
- Try Hard
- You are a Great Kid
- Be Kind
- Do Your Best
- Be a Good Listener
- Raise Your Hand

Decorate
I used stamps and stickers to decorate the note card.  Michael's has stamps in their dollar bins and you can buy huge packs of stickers for a dollar too.  You could also draw pictures.



Jokes
Kids love jokes.  Click here for a link to lots of kid-appropriate, printable lunch box jokes.

Count Down
Is there a special occasion coming up?  Maybe a birthday or holiday.  Count down the days to that special day on your lunch box notes.

If you have a color printer, you can find tons of free printable lunch box notes online.  Click here for a Pinterest search.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Kids Birthday Party Venues in St. Louis


I started collecting ideas for kids birthday party venues.  So far we have only had family parties at our house for the girls but now that Ava is starting Kindergarten, I'm sure it's just a matter of time before we have our first kid party.  I thought I'd share my list - and feel free to share any other ideas in the comments section!

ABC Chefs Cooking Academy

Abra-Kid-Abra

Adrenaline Zone

Aggie's Tea Room

America's Incredible Pizza Company

American Girl Store

ArtMart

ArtScope

Art Unleashed

Baked Goods Pottery

Big Joel's Safari

Bounce U

Bricks 4 Kids (Legos)

Brunswick Zone Bowling

Build-a-Bear Workshop

Butterfly House

Challenger Learning Center

Cheer Legendz

Children's Illustrated Art Museum

Chuck E Cheese

City Museum

Circus Kaput

Creve Coeur Ice Arena

Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary

Dance Inc.

Dave & Busters

Dave Simon's Rock School

Dierbergs Cooking Party

Dream Play

Eckert's Farm (Belleville)

Forest Park

Frisco Train Store

Gametime Sports

Glazed and Confused

Grant’s Farm

Great Skate

Gymboree

The Hairy Elephant Hair Salon

Hardee's Ice Plex

Hi-NRG Gymnastics

Humane Society

Joann Fabric and Craft Stores

Juggling Jeff

Jump 4 Fun

Kick'n Karate ATA Manchester

KidzArt St. Louis

Knockerball! West STL

Kokomo Joe's Family Fun Center

Kramer’s Marionettes

Lego Store - West County Mall

Little Gym

Little Medical School

The Lodge Des Peres

Mad Science

Magic House

Michaels

MidWest Soccer Academy

Miss Kelly's Gym

Missouri Botanical Garden - Children's Garden

Monkey Joes

Museum of Transportation - Creation Station

My-Gym

My Handyworks

My Room Rocks

Myseum

Nascar Speedpark

Olympiad Gymnastics

On Your Toes Dance Studio

Once Upon a Bash

Ozzie Smith's Sports Academy

The Painted Pot

Painted Zebra

Party Curls

Pick Paint and Fire

Pinot's Palette

Play Your Art Out

Pole Position Raceway

Pottery Hollow

Pump it Up

Purina Farms

Reading Habitat

Rock Show Academy

Rocking J Ranch

Schnucks Cooks

Shaw Park Ice Rink

Sk8 Galaxy

Skateport Plaza


Snip-Its Hair Salon

Sports Fusion

St. Louis Carousel at Faust Park

St. Louis City Parks

St. Louis County Parks

St. Louis Event Space

St. Louis Gym Centre

St. Louis Science Center

St. Louis Zoo

St. Peters Rec-Plex

STAGES Performing Arts Academy

Steinberg Skating Rink

STL Creative Play

The Studio Brentwood

Suson Park Animal Farm

Sweet and Sassy

Swing-A-Round Fun Town

Team Central Gymnastics

That Painting Spot

The Teacher's Lounge

Tippi Toes Dance

Totally Adorable Salon

Toy Tyme Play & PARTaY Room

Tracy's Karate

Upper Limits Indoor Rock Gym

Vetta Sports

Wabash Frisco and Pacific Railroad

Wehrenberg Theatres

Whimsical Creations Face & Body Painting

Whole Foods

World Bird Sanctuary

World Martial Arts Academy

Xcel Gymnastics

Yucandu

YMCA


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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Back to School Shoe Shopping

I loathe shoe shopping.  For me and for my girls.  We all have sensitive feet and nothing really ever feels good.  When I'm buying shoes for Sidney and Ava, I always know that it could be a big waste of money because after a week Ava will complain that the shoes no longer feel good and Sidney will have huge blisters on her ankles and heels.

We are now facing another hurdle.  Ava's new school has very strict rules about shoes.  The two that are going to be tough are: 
    1) Ava must wear socks and 
    2) the shoes have to be color-less (i.e.; only solid white, black, gray or brown)
First, Ava hates socks.  She honestly hasn't worn socks in over 3 years except for a couple of times this past winter when she went out to play in the snow.  Second, finding a color-less shoe limits our options considerably.

Knowing that Ava will need a lot of time to get used to these socks and shoes, I started the search at the beginning of summer.  There is one brand of shoe, Tsukihoshi, that Ava loves.  


If you have a kid that doesn't like tight shoes, I highly recommend Tsukihoshi,.  This particular style (with the large Velcro strap) especially.  I found a couple of pairs that should work for school (Ava chose the gray pair). Keep your fingers crossed for me...today is Ava's first day of school!!


Also, I recently discovered Brooks tennis shoes for myself.
These shoes fit like a glove.  I could sleep in them and be comfortable.  I loved them so much that I bought two pairs.  Check them out if you have bad feet like me.

And if you have any other good shoe recommendations (kids or adults), please share!

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Kindergarten Here We Come!

I feel like a kid going back to school again.  Dreading the first day of school.  Starting to feel the sadness when Fourth of July rolled around, knowing that summer was half over.  Trying to distract myself with school preparation in the weeks before the first day.  Now we are mere hours away from Ava's first day of kindergarten and I think I've finally accepted that this is happening.  I'm on board now.

We met her teacher, saw her classroom, found THE backpack and matching lunch bag,  I labeled the bejesus out of every school supply we bought and of course I made her back to school sign.

If you are running out of time and need a free printable sign, there are LOTS to choose from! I love the idea of taping the sign to a ruler!
Click below for the links to the free printable signs (listed clockwise starting at the top left corner).  All of the grades are available in addition to the ones pictured above:

To celebrate Ava's first day of Kindergarten, the girls and I made cupcakes.  My girls love treats more than anyone I've ever known!


Ava and Sidney are into Bubble Guppies right now.  I used my flower and circle punches to cut out the shapes from card stock and I double stick taped them together.  Then I went into my secret sticker stash and found some Bubble Guppy stickers and stuck them on the circles.  Then I taped a tooth pick to the back of the flower and stuck them in the cupcakes. Molly is their favorite Bubble Guppy because she has pink hair so I found some pink icing for the cupcakes too!  Oh, and everything was "Sidney-Friendly" (i.e.; dairy, egg and nut-free).  Click here for the recipe.

Now I'm going to mentally prepare myself for Sidney's first day of Preschool.  Boo hoo.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

9 is FINE

Tim and I celebrated our 9 year anniversary in June.  With three kids aged 5 and under, I wasn't expecting much of a celebration.  Then my parents offered to watch my kids - all three of them - for the entire weekend.

Wholly cow.  An entire weekend without my kids.  I could hardly imagine what that would feel like to have no responsibilities for 72 hours.

While I would have been perfectly happy spending those 72 hours catching up on my sleep and freeing up some space on my DVR, a VERY smart friend of mine suggested that we book a room at the Chase Park Plaza for a couple of nights.  O.M.G.  This was the best weekend I've had in a long time.

Here's what our three days/two nights at the Chase looked like: 
...sleep in late
...hit up the coffee bar in the lobby
...lay at the pool
...try to beat level 65 on Candy Crush
...call my mom and make sure everyone is still alive
...have lunch on the pool deck
...lay at the pool some more, have some drinks and listen to live music
...shower
...see a movie at the hotel's movie theater
...go to dinner
...walk around the Central West End while we work up an appetite for dessert
...witness the 6th annual World Naked Bike Ride through the CWE
...eat dessert somewhere in the CWE
...go back to the hotel and catch up on Mad Men on Netflix (we are on Season 3!).

If you live in St. Louis or plan to visit St. Louis, the Chase is the perfect place to stay if you're looking for a relaxing weekend.  It's in the heart of the Central West End within walking distance to tons of restaurants and shopping.  There is a beautiful outdoor pool at the hotel, a salon and spa, a few shops, a movie theater and great restaurants.

This was such a special anniversary weekend.  To be able to spend time with Tim uninterrupted by kids is so rare.  I can't thank my parents enough.  They are THE BEST - especially my mom who always seems to remember what it feels like to have little ones even though it's been between 35 - 45 years since my brothers and I were little.  I hope I'm half as good of a mom and grandma for my girls.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Fun Paint & Brushes

Ava just pointed out that we haven't done many "at-home" art projects this summer. Instead we've been to the History Museum every week to do art projects. It sure was great being able to show up, have a bunch of art projects to pick from, make a big mess, clean up a little and then leave!

Now that the summer programs are winding down it's back to reality. Unfortunately, I'm still feeling lazy!  When Ava and Sidney asked if we could do an art project, I couldn't come up with anything spectacular.  Thank goodness these girls love to paint.  I found these fun paint brushes stashed away.

This is my new favorite washable paint - Rich Art Color.  It comes in lots of fun shades.  You can buy it at Hobby Lobby for $7.99 - $8.99.
Metallic
Neon
Glitter

Then to top it off, I poured some paint in spray bottles and let the girls go to town on gallery wrapped canvas  panels.  Lesson Learned: Don't add too much water to the spray bottle.  It will become a watery mess (which your kids will love but their clothes will not).


 We had to paint in the garage because it started raining as soon as we got set up on the driveway.
 I was told by our Parents As Teachers educator that the muscles in your fingers are the last muscles to develop.  For kids learning to hold a crayon or cut with scissors, strengthening these muscles is important.  Playing with sponges, Playdough, spray bottles, clothes pins, etc. are great exercises.  Here is a great article with other finger strengthening ideas.
My Parents As Teachers educator always comments on how my girls sit in a "W" position and how bad that is.  It seems almost impossible to correct.  If you have any suggestions, please let me know!

Enjoy the last days of summer!

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Friday, August 9, 2013

Toe Blooms Winner

The winner is ......

Brittney said...
Clara looks so cute, perfect picture Cathy! The toe blooms are such a cute product-like baby flip flops that won't fall off!
Here are the Random.org results:



Congrats Brittney!

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Monday, August 5, 2013

GIVEAWAY - Toe Blooms and Toe Buds

I love Plum District!  I have found some awesome products and deals there.  My latest find are these super cute Toe Blooms for Clara!!



Oh how I wish I discovered these sooner!  Like, three girls ago!  They are perfect for a pre-walker in the summer and they can be worn over socks in the winter.  I (or I guess I should say Clara) got so many compliments on them the first day she wore them.  No joke - Grandmas with iPhones were taking pictures of Clara's feet and looking up Toe Blooms online.  These would make a great baby shower or newborn gift!

They also sell "feet decorations" for boys called Toe Buds.  Seriously cute.



The Owner and Founder of Toe Blooms, Hallie House, is a mom of three little ones.  She has very generously offered to send one lucky person a pair of their very own Toe Blooms or Toe Buds.


To enter the giveaway:
1.  Click the link (top right) to follow my blog
2.  Leave a comment on this post with your email address

The winner will be announced on August 9th.  Good luck!


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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Weekend Wish List: August 2-4, 2013

This will be my last Weekend Wish List :(  The summer is almost over and it's time to start getting ready for school.  Don't forget that this weekend (August 2-4, 2013) is the Back to School Sales Tax Holiday in Missouri.  Be sure to check the website for a list of cities and counties that are NOT participating in the sales tax holiday.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 2nd

Farmers Markets

First Fridays in the Grand Center 


St. Louis International Children’s Film Festival


Prairie Farms Summer Zoo Weekends: Friday - Sunday @ 8am - 7pm


Pick Your Own Peaches and Blackberries at Eckert's Belleville and Grafton Farms @ 8am - 7pm


Picture Book Walk at Quail Ridge Park @ 8am - Dusk


Sensory Friendly Film: The Smurfs 2 at B&B Theatres Wildwood 10 @ 9am


Taubman Prestige Outlets Grand Opening @ 9:15am


Art @ Your Library @ 10am & 2pm


Marvin's Musical Revue at Bob Kramer's Marionnette Theatre @ 10am and 1pm


Storytelling and Crafts at the Missouri History Museum @ 10:30am


Schnucks Des Peres Family Day @ 11am - 9pm


Fitness Fun Friday at The Magic House @ 4pm - 8pm


Feast in the Park at Laumeier @ 5pm - 8pm


Fridays at St. Clair Square: Kids Eat Free and Dora The Explorer @ 5pm - 7pm


Jungle Boogie Friday Night Concert Series at the Zoo @ 5pm - 8pm


Live Music at the Boathouse @ 7pm - 11pm


Summer Concert Fest at Eckert's (Belleville) @ 7pm - 9pm


Hawthorne Players Present: The Secret Garden at Florissant Civic Center Theatre @ 8pm


Aladdin, Jr. at the O’Fallon Municipal Centre at 8pm


Mary Poppins at the Muny @ 8:15pm


Flick and Float at the Kock Family Aquatic Center @ 8:15pm - 10pm


Skyview Drive-In Movie Theater


SATURDAY, AUGUST 3rd

St. Louis International Children’s Film Festival

Farmers Markets

Shark Week at the St. Louis Zoo

Pick Your Own Peaches and Blackberries at Eckert's Belleville and Grafton Farms @ 8am - 7pm

Picture Book Walk at Quail Ridge Park @ 8am - Dusk

Children's Garden Club at Queeny Park @ 9am

Family Food Saturdays at the MO Botanical Garden @ 9am - 4pm

St. Louis Public Schools Community Empowerment Festival at Chaifetz Arena @ 9am - 1pm

Schnucks Des Peres Family Day @ 10am - 7pm

Art @ Your Library @ 10am

Marvin's Musical Revue at Bob Kramer's Marionnette Theatre @ 10am and 1pm

Clydesdale Camera Day at the Anheuser-Busch Tour Center @ 11am - 1pm

Delta Dental Health Theatre Summer Fun Health Series @ 11am - 1:30pm

Dora the Explorer Meet & Greet at Chesterfield Mall @ 11am - 1pm

Back to School Healthy Snack Demo at Whole Foods Town & Country @ 12pm - 2pm

Compton Hill Water Tower open to the public @ 12pm - 4pm

Justin Roberts & The Not Ready for Naptime Players at Voce @ 12pm

Lewis and Clark Fife and Drum Corps at St. Charles Historic Main Street @ 12pm - 1pm

Live Music at Missouri Wineries in Augusta @ 1pm - 5pm

MV Mississippi Open House at the Melvin Price Locks and Dam @ 2pm - 5pm

Babaloo Concert at the St. Louis County Library Headquarters @ 6:30pm

Summer Concert Fest at Eckert's (Belleville) @ 7pm - 9pm

Gateway Grizzlies vs. River City Rascals @ 7:05pm

Chesterfield City Park Amphitheater Concert Series @ 8pm

Hawthorne Players Present: The Secret Garden at Florissant Civic Center Theatre @ 8pm

Aladdin, Jr. at the O’Fallon Municipal Centre at 8pm

Skyview Drive-In Movie Theater

SUNDAY, AUGUST 4th
St. Louis International Children’s Film Festival

Farmers Markets

Shark Week at the St. Louis Zoo

Pick Your Own Peaches and Blackberries at Eckert's Belleville and Grafton Farms @ 8am - 7pm

Picture Book Walk at Quail Ridge Park @ 8am - Dusk

Schnucks Des Peres Family Day @ 10am - 7pm

Wabash Frisco and Pacific Railroad @ 11am - 4:15pm

Dora the Explorer Meet & Greet at Chesterfield Mall @ 11am - 1pm

Back 2 School Blast at the St. Louis Dream Center @ 11am - 2pm

Family Sundays at St. Louis Art Museum @ 1pm - 4pm

Ferguson Sunday Parkways at Robert Superior Neighborhood @ 1pm - 4pm

Marvin's Musical Revue at Bob Kramer's Marionnette Theatre @ 1pm

Live Music at Missouri Wineries in Augusta @ 1pm - 5pm

Hawthorne Players Present: The Secret Garden at Florissant Civic Center Theatre @ 2pm

Gateway Grizzlies vs. River City Rascals @ 6:05pm

Aladdin, Jr. at the O’Fallon Municipal Centre at 8pm

Skyview Drive-In Movie Theater

I hope you've found some fun family activities on my Weekend Wish List.  See you again next summer!

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