DIY Monster Toss

I am class mom this year for Drake’s Pre-K class. Our first party is coming up this week, a Halloween party, and I have been preparing to make it fun and entertaining for the kids. In the few weeks leading up to this party, I have been glued to Pinterest looking for ideas and decided I wanted to try to make a monster toss game similar to this one. Because I would need to be able to carry this in and out of Drake’s school by myself, I decided to only use one piece of wood for weight.

These are the materials I used:

  • 1 sheet of plywood
  • Paints (water based from Michaels)
  • Paintbrush
  • Pencil
  • Jigsaw

I drew out the monster outline and Mr. Chocolate cut out the mouth for me over the weekend  Then I sat outside and painted (with a little help from my little monsters).  It was quick and easy and took us only a matter of hours to complete.

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Christmas Pyjamas for the Family

Christmas jammies are a big deal in the Oatmeal household. Every Christmas Eve, we unwrap a brand new pair of cozy PJs to curl up in and eagerly await Santa. Now that Little Oats is in the picture, I’ve fallen in love with the idea of family pyjamas; coordinating looks for Mom, Dad, kids and pets! Everyone can get in on the snuggly PJ fun. Here are the best I’ve found this year:

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13 Toys that Encourage Fine Motor Development

Fine motor skills (or, the skills children develop as they learn to coordinate their hands and fingers with their eyes) are an incredibly important part of child development. Because of this, many children’s toys are created with development in mind. Lucky for the kiddos, these toys are also really fun! Here are some of Little Lion’s favorites, as well as some that are currently on our wishlist and some that I would love to get for him later in the future!

1. Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Boppin’ Activity Bugs - I don’t think a generation has gone by that hasn’t had some version of this toy. This one develops fine motor skills and also teaches babies cause and effect!

2. Plan Toy Punch and Drop - This is one of Little Lion’s favorite toys! He figured out how to put the balls in the holes pretty early on, and would push on them until they went in the holes. Later, he developed enough coordination to use the mallet to pound the balls through the holes.

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Kate Spade and Jack Spade for Gap

Kate Spade and Jack Spade have teamed up for a limited edition collection with the Gap that launched today. The signature bright, fun colors that epitomize Kate Spade make this collection perfect for the holidays! I saw it in person last night, and it’s gorgeous — many pieces are already sold out on-line (especially the toddler sizes), so going into a store might be your best best. Most of the items are available in both girl/boy and toddler sizes.

Here are some of my favorite pieces:

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Our Childcare Choices

We’ve gone through several different childcare arrangements with K and D! In summary, we’ve done SAHM, WAHD, Grandmacare, and preschool – although we tried unsuccessfully to find a nanny at one point. Now for the long version:

Back when K was born, I worked full time (outside the home with a longish commute), and took 3 months maternity leave. Since Mr. T worked at home running his company, when I returned to work he took over morning childcare duties. My MIL would come in the late morning to switch with him so he could get some work done. I worked an early schedule (6am – 2:30pm) out of the house before the boys were up, and with traffic was normally home between 3:30 – 4pm. I would relieve my MIL and then have K for most of the evening while Mr. T worked, often late into the night. This worked pretty well, although my MIL sometimes wouldn’t be able to come until the early afternoon, so Mr. T had to always keep his schedule flexible. We planned to enroll K in some kind of part-time preschool after he turned 2, to give Mr. T some more dependable work hours, and to give K the benefits of school (socializing, structure, crafts, etc). D ended up arriving a few days before K’s birthday, so we scrapped those plans as we dealt with other, bigger changes in our life!

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Mom Style: One Outfit, Five Looks

The key to getting the most out of your wardrobe is knowing how to mix and match items to create new looks out of the same pieces. This season, two of my favorite basics are these grey skinny jeans and this chambray button down  – actually, who am I kidding? This chambray shirt is my year-round staple, though fall is probably by favorite time to wear it!

I’ve been wearing these two items separately and together throughout the late summer and into fall, and I thought I’d share some of my favorite ways to style them together. Here are 5 different looks you can easily try with these two basics:

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Raising an Introverted Child in an Extroverted World

Last year, we cancelled Noelle’s 3rd birthday party because she kept shaking her head, saying, “I don’t want to blow out my birthday cake. I don’t want everyone to watch me.” So we stooped down to her level, looked her in the eye, and asked if she wanted a birthday party. She shook her head no, and that was that. It wasn’t going to be a very big affair either way, but we wanted her to feel comfortable and at ease on her special day.  She didn’t want any fanfare, so we obliged.

That is just one example of the introversion that has characterized Noelle since she was born. Not only is she introverted, but she is also incredibly sensitive, keen, and aware – I noticed this even at the tender age of 3 months. She is what can be described as an orchid child.

Orchid children, in contrast, are highly sensitive to their environment, especially to the quality of parenting they receive. If neglected, orchid children promptly wither—but if they are nurtured, they not only survive but flourish. In the authors’ poetic language, an orchid child becomes “a flower of unusual delicacy and beauty.” (source)

I especially love that sentence at the very end. It’s exactly how I see Noelle – as someone with unusual delicacy, thoughtfulness, and grace. I can just sit and stare at her for hours sometimes, observing her gentle, precise movements since she puts obvious thought into every move she makes.

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