Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Preteen Parenting: Episode 1

I am the mom of a preteen.  That milestone sure came up fast. Olive is quickly approaching age 10 and we are figuring out preteen life together.

I'm trying hard to navigate this new parenting territory with positivity and patience.

Insert a new blog series: Preteen Parenting

Today we're going to talk about building a preteen wardrobe.

I think these will be good tips for your preteens and teens!

I noticed that we were entering a new zone with fashion and clothing.

Olive is starting to care more about trends and putting together outfits.  She has always cared about her clothes.  She's always had favorites.  She had a dress phase, a rain boot phase, Crocs phase, specific hairstyles and no shortage of opinions about what she wears.

She's paying attention to what her peers are wearing and taking notes of things she likes.  But she isn't exactly sure how to mesh seeing something she likes and making sure she likes it on her.  I want her to feel good in her clothes and feel confident.

My best clothing advice is to TRY IT ON!

Whether you order several sizes online and have them shipped to your house or pile in a dressing room with several size options, give your preteens a chance to try on the clothes they like.  See if they like it on themselves and build a wardrobe that makes them feel confident.

We spent one Saturday just the two of us and had the best time.   I talked to Kevin ahead of time and planned out a Saturday when he could be home with the boys so I could give Olive my full attention.  Shopping for clothes with little brothers isn't very fun for anyone.

ONE ON ONE time with your preteen might be hard to get, but it's worth it to make them feel special.  She had a Spring clothing wish list we talked through ahead of time and we got busy.  We headed to any store that she wanted to check out.  I grabbed size options for any item that caught her eye and she tried everything on.  Some things she hated and other things surprised her.

It was so fun to be with her and let her shine.  

I am a take charge kind of girl so it was good practice for me to be patient and let her take charge for a change.  I hung up the clothes she tried on and listened to what she had to say about each outfit.  I took mental notes and gave compliments.  We talked through likes and dislikes.  She grabbed some new basics and found some cute statement pieces.  We figured out her best sizes for Spring/Summer and we both felt more confident in her personal style by the end of the day.

I used my Old Navy rewards $, earned Super Cash and shopped end of the season clearance racks for killer deals.  We had great luck at Old Navy, Target, Meijer, thrift shops and Wal-Mart.

One of those moments I'll remember forever...

She was confidently carrying her bag of new clothes to the car, grabbed my hand and she thanked me for helping her find clothes she loved.  She said it was the best day ever.

I hope she always enjoys shopping with me!!

Preteens can be so much fun, I promise.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Teacher Mom: Water Painting

Water painting.  It is just like what it sounds like - painting with water!

We have been water painting lately and it is a big hit with my toddler.  

He loves to paint, but painting with real paint is so messy right now.  He paints everything but the paper, licks the paint and I have to watch him so closely.  Painting with water gives us both freedom to enjoy the painting process without any stress.  We'd 10/10 recommend it!



small bowl of water

paint brushes of varying sizes

a kitchen towel or two

toys to paint - cars, trucks, construction trucks, dinosaurs, zoo animals, Barbies or anything that can handle water.


Model painting the objects - carefully dabbing the toys with water and short/long strokes with the brushes.  The kids will imitate them.  Change water often.  I like to to small bowls of water to contain the spills vs giving him a huge bowl of water.

Warning: Animals might end up taking a "bath" in the water bowl :)

This is really fun to do outside when the weather is nice or at the kitchen counter while you're making dinner.  We've done both!  

It's a great time to name colors, name dinosaurs, point out heads, tails, spikes and butts! haha  Or to line them up in order from biggest to smallest.  Line them all up head to tail or to make a line of animals.

Older kids: I'm hoping to include the older kids in water painting with paint brushes on the patio this Summer.  They can paint whatever they want - write words, practice math, draw or do art with water on the concrete.  It would be really fun to add some sidewalk chalk into the painting process to see what kind of art the kids could make.


Car Wash & Nail Salon.

Leo loves to wash his cars and paint finger nails with water :)  Both are fun and minimally messy.

Happy playing!!  What things would your kids enjoy painting??

Monday, March 20, 2023

March Weekending

We had a fun St Patrick's Day weekend!  Lots of rainbow foods, lots of March Madness and lots of family time.  We even woke up to snow flurries yesterday.

Friday morning these cuties put on their matching shamrock t-shirts and were ready for school.  I dropped them off to Irish music blasting and Fletcher had some leprechauns visit his classroom.  His teacher went to great lengths to have leprechauns visit each of their leprechaun traps.  Fletcher's had a rainbow bridge built up the side of it and they had a popcorn treat.

Real life: About half the time, our group pictures end up with someone in a headlock or someone crying.  haha

We don't really do St Patrick's Day gifts, but I always do rainbow treat cups for the kids.  They loved the gold chocolate coins and a friend shared water beads with us.  The kids love them so they were so excited to have a rainbow to play with.

Leo got to spend some time with Mimi & Papaw because I had an appointment.  He had a blast and enjoyed a rainbow muffin tin spread for lunch.

All of my kids love a snacky meal like this.  These 12 slot mini muffin pans are hard to find, but if you've got one, they're just perfect for kid meals.

We made rainbow cupcakes.  Olive helped me ice them after school.

The big kids sorted their water beads by color and made a rainbow.

Kevin bought St Patrick's Day suckers for his class on St. Patrick's Day.  He said the college kids loved them!

Our kids loved the extras!

 Lots of silliness and lots of March Madness!  We love cheering for IU and were sad to see them knocked out last night.

I made another rainbow charcuterie board for dinner with homemade bread.

Fletcher went to a buddy's birthday party at a neat indoor play place called Deep Blue.  He loved all the climbing opportunities and time with school friends.  It's not easy to make friends at a big school so it always makes us so happy when the kids make friend connections outside of school.

Good job, Fletch!!

Olive and I did some major reorganizing, rearranging and work in her new room.  My sister gave her this desk and she's thrilled to have her own work space.  She currently shares a room with Fletcher, but is excited for the boys to share a room so that she can have her own room.  Eventually the kids will probably each move to their own room.  Fletcher loves to share a room so we'll do an Olive room and a boy's room.

I made my famous rainbow jello.  It takes hours - 20 minutes for every layer - but it is so good!  And so festive!  My jello loving teacher friend in Utah taught me how to make it years and years ago.  We all look forward to this treat every March.

Fletcher's friend from school gave out Crumbl valentines.  Each card was a gift card for one free Crumbl cookie.  He picked out their HUGE chocolate chip cookie to try and it was pretty yummy.  The kids loved it and it was one of the biggest cookies I've ever seen.  We all shared it and had some leftover.

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Friday, March 17, 2023

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  And Happy St Patrick's Day!

I'm lucky to have such fun blog friends and am glad you're checking in today.  We've had a good week.  Everyone is excited for the weekend since we've all been dragging with the time change.

Did you catch my blog posts this week?

Thrift with Me - come see all the treasures I found for just $12!!

Easy Rainbow Snack Board - perfect after school snack.

Rainbow Charcuterie Dinner Board - a family favorite any time!

Now on to the highlights of my week:

1 // Lucky to love you

I made my kids these fun rainbow cups for St. Patrick's Day.  The kids loved waking up to find them this morning with a note that said lucky to love you.  We've been eating Lucky Charms all week and I've got an Irish charcuterie board planned for dinner tonight.  They're all decked out in matching St Patty's Day t-shirts today.  I'll have to come back and add in a picture of them.

2 // Rainbow Foods

I made as many rainbow foods as I could this week!  An after school snack board and a rainbow charcuterie dinner boards!  If you want specifics on them, click on the blog post links at the top of the post or comment with your questions.  My family loved both of these meals!

3 // Leprechaun Trap

Fletcher's first grade class was tasked with creating leprechaun traps this week.  He worked hard on his with trap doors, hidden gold, marshmallows and something fun or funny on every side.  He was so excited to bring it to school this week.

But now I'm wondering - why does my 6 year old look like a teenager here??

4 //  March front porch

My front porch is all decked out for St. Patrick's Day.  I'll move on to tulips and Easter next with some birthday fiesta decor in between.

5 // Jordan Bakery Box

I got some fun orders for rainbow M&M cookies and Sourdough Chocolate Chip cookies this week.  Two of my favorite cookies!

6 // SLIDE

I was doing dishes after dinner and I hear Leo yelling SLIDE SLIDE.  I went to find him only to realize he was trying to use my bed as a slide for his SCOOTER.  Sweet boy needs a bodyguard.  He followed this up by falling down our stairs and a few other wild and crazy moments.  I really can't take my eyes off of him at this point in his life.

7 // Snuggles

Leo is busy all of his waking hours, but he wanted me to rock him to sleep a couple of times this week.  He demanded snuggles and I was happy to say yes.

8 // Dr Seuss Day

We were invited to a Dr. Seuss Day program for the entire first grade.  The classes worked hard to learn songs and then worked hard in their individual classrooms with some reader's theater plays.  We got to see both.  Fletcher surprised us by memorizing all of his lines instead of reading them.  The majority of the class read their lines so we didn't know what to think about him walking up to the microphone with no paper.  He was so confident.  And had zero worries about forgetting his lines.  We were so proud of him!

He said he wants to be a Youtuber and get lots of likes.  Haha.

Fletch doesn't love singing and performing, but he was so cute on stage.  After the craziness of the past few years, I am so thankful for the return of programs, specials, parents in the schools and all the things that make school so wonderful. 

9 // Fiddle Leaf Fig help

My big fiddle leaf fig plants in the entryway of our house have gotten so big and droopy.  I asked my dad to make me some plant stakes to help fix my problem.  I'm still on the hunt for the perfect mirror or art for this spot, but I refuse to settle for something I don't love, so it'll stay blank a little while longer.

Before - droopy and hitting the door.
After - tall and supported.  The leaves almost reach the top of the door trim now!

10 // Chilly Midwest

The cold temps are back in the Midwest, but the sun has been shining.  I snapped this gorgeous picture in our backyard when the kids were playing one evening.  We are enjoying more sunlight in the evenings even if we are all dragging in the mornings.

11 // Family Fun

We had a delicious dinner to celebrate our niece/cousin's recognition for good grades.  The kids love Addison.  I was too busy watching Leo to snap and people pictures or dessert pictures, but I did get a shot of our delicious dinner.

12 // My sidekick

Leo goes almost everywhere with me.  Sometimes it goes perfectly smoothly and other times it feels like chaos.  We had highs and lows in the sidekick department this week.  He was perfect for errands and hard at my doctor's appointment.  Great at Bible study and hard leaving the house when he didn't get to do every single thing by himself.  Win some.  Lose some.  

Moms of littles - you aren't alone if your days feels chaotic and unpredictable and wonderful all at the same time.  I'm right there with you.  Make those appointments and do those errands.  It'll be okay.  And bonus points to the people you interact with that smile and hold the door for you because they can see that you could use a hand.  That give your kid two Target stickers instead of one and make their day.  Or the ones who are extra patient and wait while you scoop your toddler up from the ground in a parking lot.  Those stories are all funny by the time the evening rolls around even if they leave you in tears or frustrated during the day.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  See you back here on Monday!

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