Sensory Play Part 2

December 4, 2020 at 3:28 pm (Family Stuff, Mom Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I wanted to follow up with some more sensory play ideas we have found since getting our table. If you are new here, here is the first post on sensory play, where we talk about our table and some items that are super helpful!

First, get a funnel. These come in a pack of three and are collapsible silicone. Makes putting it all back SO much easier!

Another thing we’ve fallen in love with are these super cute jars from Busy Littles! You can even customize your jar with her, just message her on Instagram to order!

These are so fun because she adds acrylic letters and numbers that she makes! We got an alphabet that she customized to a camo theme! We also got one of her winter jars and a rainbow number jar. The boys LOVE them all!

So, what have we learned? That ANYTHING can be added to a sensory bin! The boys love that they can mix, stir, explore, dump, and keep the fun going for hours. Ok, minutes. They are kids. But still, its impressive. And anything that entertains both a 7 year old and a 2 year old is impressive in my book!

Also, here’s a peak at the Christmas box from Little Creators Texas too! We still love these also!

Have you tried sensory play yet?!

Jess,

XX

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Sensory Play

November 21, 2020 at 10:15 pm (Family Stuff, Mom Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I have been working hard to make Barrett’s time while Brantley is in study time more educational and interactive (and Brantley’s breaks too) and include less cartoons.

So I’ve added some sensory play! And its going SO well over here that I thought I would share some of the things we are using and loving!

First, it’s totally not necessary, but the table we got it super handy! I got the boys the Ikea Flisat table. Its under $50 and is great quality. The two tops are removable and their Trofast bins hang from underneath. This concept is awesome! I can take the bins out to wash them, refill them, or even store things in them. The table tops are wipeable and not the type that get crud caught in the vinyl edge, these are solid! I also added the Sundvik chairs, as opposed to the stools they recommend with the table.

We now use this area for all kinds of crafts, coloring, sensory bins, and even snacks.

The large wooden bowl is from Walmart for about $7. The small set is 4 from Amazon. I also added the set of wooden spoons from Amazon. I even have my own set of wood bowls for charcuterie boards because they were so cute. πŸ˜‚

Sometimes we add things like rice, beans, popcorn kernels, and pastas to the dishes. This is a huge hit. Albeit a little messy. πŸ˜‰

I highly recommend some Magic Erasers (these things are like mom gold!) and a little broom like this one for clean up.

These plastic jars are awesome for saving some of the fillers or kids’ creations for a while to use again.

And this wire bin (similar) actually has two more that stack on top, but the bottom one on wheels fits perfectly under the table to corral some things.

You don’t need a ton of stuff and can definitely wrangle some things from around the house. These are just the items we started with to keep organized in making sensory fun.

One thing I’m loving so that I don’t have to think up all the ideas on my own is the premade and themed kits from Little Creators Texas. Her play dough kits are so fun! Here the boys are playing with the fall themed kit. They LOVE it and keep coming back to play again!

I also have some kinetic sand, fake snow, and water beads that we can switch into the tubs. And you can add in any little bits like pinecones, blocks, wooden people,, letters,, shapes… the list is endless. This set up has already given these two hours of entertainment. I am impressed. And I can say that I see their wheels spinning and them learning from this kind of interactive play already. I highly recommend.

We already have lots of ideas for new things to try too, so if this kind of thing interests you, be sure to follow me on Instagram, where I will show more things we use for interactive and sensory play!

Have you made any sensory bins yourself? What did you use?

Xx,

Jess

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Why I Love My Cricut

August 12, 2020 at 7:55 am (Mom Stuff, Projects, Scrap-booking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of <a href=”Cricuthttps://lnk2.io/wjcWg2L”>Cricut</a>. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have had my Cricut Explore Air 2 for a few months now, and to say I’m in love is an understatement! I’ve always been a crafter, but this things really helps me step up my game! Here I am going to talk about the 5 things that I love about my Cricut!

1. Its easy to use! I was truly shocked at how easy this machine is! Not going to lie, I was intimidated at first. I worried where to start and if I would be able to figure it all out. Yup. I was. Best place to start? Pick a project and jump in. They really mean it when they say their motto is “beginners luck every time.” I learn tricks and get braver each time I use my machine, but I definitely agree that picking a beginner level project and diving in head first is a great way to start and will prove to you how easy it is! Check out this shirt I made as one of my very first projects:

2. Support! That brings me to the second thing I love about my Cricut. Its like having a whole community of creators to support you. Have a question? Worried about where to begin or which type of project to do? They’ve got an answer! Not only does Cricut have a team you can email or chat with, but they have numerous pages where you can reach out to their pros or other crafters with tons of experience. They’ve all started somewhere and learned lots and are at the ready to make sure you love your machine and projects. I would know. I wasn’t sure how to customize the design I wanted to make myself for this bag, and the Facebook page group had almost immediate answers for me!

3. Ideas! This also leads me to another thing I love about Cricut, the ideas! I never worry about having a creative block. There’s no way. The ideas of projects to make are endless, for every single occasion you cak dream of. Really. You can find ideas galore on Pinterest, and Instagram, or Cricuts’s Facebook page. And my favorite place for inspiration? The Cricut emails! They send seasonal emails showing the new ideas and templates added to Design Space, their app for making. How did I know about the new infusible ink and coaster blanks to make these? One of their idea emails! Light bulb!

4. The options! Got a bright idea to make? You can! And Cricut can help you do it! The options they supply for you is endless. Or almost. Not only do they help with the ideas, but they make it easy to find all of the supplies you need to make visions come to fruition. They have coasters, bags, shirts, materials, pens, markers, vinyls, decals, iron ons, and the widest variety of patterns in their supplies you could imagine! Sparkles, holographics, leopard, wood grain…their possibilities are never ending! Not to mention, cricut has other machines like the EasyPress, and tools like mats, cutters, Nd weeders, to make all of the options come to life!

5. Capabilities! This machine not only cuts paper and vinyls. I was shocked to learn what all it really can do. Like blown away. It can cut leather, poster board, felt, fabric and even wood. But it doesn’t just cut, it can score. And it can draw! Yup! Shocked?! Me too. You can insert pens and markers into the blade holder and it can draw or write, making handmade cards, letters, signs… mind blown.

The capabilities combined with the Cricut options alone shows you that the possibilities are truly endless. I cannot wait to do another project every time I finish one! And now all of my gifts will be one of a kind made by yours truly!

Here’s a quick breakdown of my latest project, a sign for our kitchen.

Choose a board and a quote. My board is a faded, chipped, barn board from our barn. (I’m sure to some the white paint left on one corner and the odd shape caused by years of cattle wear are not pretty, but we loved this board! πŸ˜‰

Then, start on the Design Space app, and find my design template here. My board is 5ft long, but you can edit the design to adjust measurements. Once you send the design to the machine and it cuts it on vinyl, weed the excess pieces out. Use transfer tape to pick up your design and stick it down in place on your board. You could add flourishes to the ends of your quote too! You can change this design and even choose your own color vinyl. I used matte clear coat over the board to ensure no edges lift since I chose an old, rippled barn board for my project. Add a hanger or two on the back and hang. Easy peasy and a great one-of-a-kind, beginner-friendly project!

Have questions? Need help or ideas? Just ask! 😘

XX,

Jess

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Muscatine Iowa Area Sightseeing

July 13, 2020 at 8:12 pm (travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Summer is here! We’ve been quarantined long enough, so we are off to see all the sights, but distantly! So, we thought we would round up some of the things to do and see outside and at a distance, here in Muscatine area, Iowa. Enjoy!

1. Wilcat Den and Saw Mill- this is one of my family’s favorites in the area. Its historic and beautiful and there is plenty to do here! You can camp or stop for the day, hike the many trails, and explore the historic buildings. There is a school and an old church and even a mill. The old bridge over the stream at the mill is a gorgeous sight to behold. PLUS… you can swim in the stream and go up to the waterfall! Its an amazing experience and the whole family loves doing it!

2. Weed Park- one of the best parks I’ve found, anywhere. Picnic areas, pavilions, historical plaques and sights, gorgeous views of the Mississippi, beautiful landscaping, and a pond with ducks, geese, and fishing for kids. Plus, they have two playgrounds that are awesome. And once back to normal they have a waterpark. Totally worth a visit for everyone in the family.

3. Discovery Park- during normal times, they have an indoor center to see interactive wildlife features and even take classes. Currently, you can still see all they have to offer outside. There are numerous trails to walk, most paved, through gorgeous views, wildflower patches and even see wild animals. They have a butterfly garden and owls outside to view too. They also have a pond where you can fish!

4. Muscatine River Front- plenty to do down here, even distantly! You may not be visiting the pearl button factory museum right now, and even the splash pad is not turned on yet, but it’s still a beautiful, relaxing, and even entertaining area of Muscatine. You can walk the gorgeous river front, even stopping to read the plaques about the city history. You can play at the play ground. You can even take photos with the clam digger statue. And there are a few downtown restaurants up the block that offer outside dining!

5. Swinging Bridge- you have to drive about 15 minutes out of town for this one, but worth the drive. The Swinging Bridge in Columbus Junction is a sight to not miss. We visit each year for the views and a photo. Read about the bridge’s history, walk across if you dare, snap some photos, and even hike the lower trails. You will love this one!!

While you are out in the Columbus Junction area, you can see the historical marker for Convict Highway! πŸ˜‰ Just a super old road, but you can read about how the convicts of the time built it!

Muscatine also offers several parks with awesome playgrounds, a skate park, and a disk golf course. Plus plenty of sites indoors once that is safe again!

We also love to camp and boat. I can recommend places for that too! Enjoy! πŸ˜‰

XX,

Jess

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I’m in the House and I’m Saving Astronauts!

May 25, 2020 at 7:53 pm (Family Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Me may be in the house, but we aren’t bored! We have been saving astronauts around here!

Yes, astronauts. We found a new family fun activity and had to share!

It’s interactive and had us all using our brains!

We recieved a packet with a map, puzzles, and clues. You get started by texting the abandoned astronaut lost in another dimension. She texts back and asks for you help. She gives you clues, helping your family work through the puzzles and brain teasers in order to find the information that will help to return her to Earth.

Through communicating with the astronaut via text, we were able to figure out the puzzles and find the clues to return her home safely! It was like we were really in this with her!

We all played together (while the 2 year old napped) and it definitely was fun for all ages! The puzzles even had the teen and adults wracking our brains. The 7 year old loved helping and setting up our clue station. He was super amused with how you figure out some of the clues!

Overall, we all had a blast! What a fun way to get in some family time and do something totally different during these times where we are cooped up a little too much! We highly recommend!

Right now you can use code jessimariel for 10% off at Adventurous.co. Also, go give them a follow on IG at @adventurousco

I hope you all enjoy! Let me know what you think! πŸ˜‰

Xx,

Jess

*I have been gifted the game and compensated for the post, but all opinions are my own!*

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Quarantine Ideas

April 28, 2020 at 6:36 am (Family Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

We remind the kids every day that we are “safe at home”, not “stuck at home”. And truly, we are blessed. But, sometimes it can be a little overwhelming having everyone here full time. I want to keep them all entertained, educated, occupied, happy…

Here are just a few ideas that may help during this time!

1. Follow my craft idea board on Pinterest! I add ideas to it as I see them, so check it out for some of the things we have tried and some we still hope to try!

We have loved some of these! One true favorite was shaving cream art! Smear down shaving cream in a pan, add drops of food coloring and swirl them in any pattern with the end of a paintbrush. Lay a thick piece of paper on the colored cream and press. Lift up and scrape cream off the paper with a spatula. Look what it leaves behind!

2. Educational apps that make learning fun! I know we all try to limit screen time. But we all need a break and a little help too! There are several we love, but one that the 6 year old can use by himself is Book Prunelle. It’s an ebook platform for kids , featuring powerful stories to inspire them to become the next generation of conscious kids. They tackle challenging topics in an entertaining and child-friendly way to help kids grown mindful and kind-hearted. Cool, right?!

You pay for a subscription by month or year, but right now you can try the first month for free! And you can use the code JESSIMARIEL5 off of either subscription too!

They have books like this one explaining the Corona Virus in terms kids understand!

3. Read with Dolly on Thursdays! The boys both loved this for some reason! Dolly Parton reads a story live on YouTube every Thursday and saves it to her channel to watch anytime. The boys were glued. And mom cleaned the kitchen! πŸ˜‰

4. Duo appto facetime anyone. Maybe you knew about this? I did not, but was so happy to learn! With this app, any type of phone can video call one another. Now the kids can video call with grandma and grandpa!

5. Neveo journal making! Neveo lets you add photos all month to an app and at the end of the month they put together your pictures and captions into a journal to be send to grandparents, friends, etc. So helpful for keeping up with some of those seniors that can’t get out right now! Use the code SUPPORT for two free months of 50 photo journals!

I hope these little ideas help even a tad bit. Hang in there. Give yourself grace. We’ve got this.

XX,

Jess

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The Landing Strip

April 20, 2020 at 1:29 pm (Projects) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

A landing strip, a command center, the drop spot. No matter what you call it, every house should have one. It’s a place for all the family “stuff”.

I call it a landing strip. In this house we actually have it split up a little, but it’s whatever works for you! When you come in our backdoor, we have hooks for each family member. Bag and coat go there. There’s a little hook station for car keys. And we have a small rack holding bug spray, sunscreen, sunglasses, wireless speaker, etc. But there’s still other “stuff” that accumulates. What do you do with it?! Enter our landing strip.

He we have a stash spot for everything else so that we stay organized and don’t lose important things! We use the chalk board for calendar notes and grocery lists. And each of the boys and mom and dad have a basket. We put bills in ours. The boys put homework and such in theirs. I keep a pen jar on the shelf. Here is stash stamps, a candle lighter, a marker, and pens. If you need more than that they you have to go upstairs to the office. πŸ˜†

The antique mirror got a metal insert painted with chalk paint. The little chalk marker tray below it is an antique door stop out of an old barn. The baskets are from Hobby Lobby. The shelf is a custom design I requested from Jason. He added and welded the flourish at the top of the brackets.

Here’s my tid bit of advice. Have a place for the “stuff”, whatever you may call it. I truly believe in “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Even if you don’t organize that far, at least set up a zone with a calendar and pens and notepad. Have a spot where you put mail and homework. Always put your keys in the same location. I promise you that these tricks will prevent you from losing important things or searching frantically for the lost items!

And just for fun, here’s a shot of what it looks like more often than not. πŸ˜‰

Anything else you would add?

XX,

Jess

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What’s In My Planner (And How To Keep Busy Life Organized)

October 30, 2018 at 4:33 pm (Mom Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

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Chair Love

April 18, 2012 at 8:51 am (Inspiration) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

These have been a very busy past few weeks. Work, work, work, wedding, wedding, wedding. Time for projects? Maybe a little. I came across this gorgeous blue velvet chair on Pinterest this morning during my coffee. This office looks gorgeous and I think I’d be much more productive in a space like this, just in case anyone wants to help me out!

Aaaah, peace. Even while working so hard! Have a great day everyone! πŸ™‚

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My Life Gets Even Busier!

March 3, 2009 at 4:54 pm (Tid Bits) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

In addition to my full time job, planning a wedding, caring for two puppies and a fiance and decorating our first home, I also get to be a student again now!Β  I just got accepted into grad school!Β  I will be starting my master’s program in forensic psychology online with the Chicago School of Professional Psychology this coming Monday.Β  I am excited and nervous.Β  I will be busy, but that’s the way I like it.Β  So, if my post slow a bit once in a while it may be because I am doing homework!Β  Here are the books for my first term:

book21

book-1

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