During Times of Tragedy, Why Not Hate Less, and Love More?

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My Heart Breaks

A controversial subject I know, and I usually stray away from controversy, but it is something that is weighing heavy on my heart, as I see this same situation play on repeat. During tragic events, why can we not hate less, and love more?

You see, there have been two tragic accidents, yes, accidents, that I have seen in the news this week. Though I am sure there are hundreds more that have happened around the country as well, these are the two that had my heart breaking:

The first tragic accident happened in Jackson, Mississippi. A sleeping, six year old boy was left by his mom in a running car sometime after midnight. She ran into the store, and when she came out, her car was gone. Three young males had stolen her car with the child in the backseat. When they found the car, the young boy had been shot and killed. This breaks my heart.

The second tragic accident happened in Houston, Texas. A two year old child drowned in her home pool when she wandered off. There are some reports that say the parents were asleep at the time, and there are some reports that say they were talking with friends when it happened; however, it has been reported that there was no foul play. It doesn’t matter to me the circumstances, as the results are the same. A poor child lost her life, and again, my heart is broken.

My heart breaks for the victim’s families, the lives lost, the suspect’s and their families, and for our country.


You see, I didn’t even have to read the comments below the articles to know what they said, but I did, just so I could be factual in my writing. Here are just a few:

“…complacency is how things like this happen…”
“…It seems like this ‘tragic accident’ was preventable.”
“…died as a result of stupidity!”
“…it was her fault. Bottom line.”

Y’all, I had to stop reading. Those are just a few of the hundreds of comments on these articles. Given, not all of the comments were negative and placed blame. There were several kind hearted people offering their condolences and prayers, but it made me sad that the hateful comments were there to begin with, as you know these were the comments that were focused on the most.

It Could Happen to Me… and You

Maybe there were bad choices or mistakes involved in these accidents, but we all make mistakes, and I am sure these parents are putting enough shame, guilt and blame on themselves without us doing it for them. Can you imagine what that’s like? To know that if you would have done one minor thing differently, your child could still be here. Those parents will replay those tragic days in their heads over and over again for years to come. I know I can’t imagine what that’s like, and I pray I never have to know, but the thing is, I am human, I make mistakes, and it could indeed happen to me. What everyone needs to remember, is it could happen to anyone. We have to stop responding with, “I would never ______.” How would you like people to respond should it ever happen to you? Grace, compassion, love, and respect are only a few of the emotions that come to my mind.

You may be saying, “Well, I would never leave my child in a car,” or “I have a fence around my pool.” That’s great, really. I commend you for those precautions you are taking to keep your child safe. But what about the thousands of other choices you could make that could ultimately cost your child their life? What a difficult question to think about. Sure, most parents would never do anything intentionally to harm their child, but that’s why we call so many tragedies, accidents. The intent was not for someone to be harmed, or in these cases, killed.

Just the other day, I was unloading the car. I had brought both boys inside, and the back door that opens up to the garage was open as I was carrying things in. Well, don’t you know one child locked the door, and the other child shut the door. Want to know where I was when this happened? I was outside with one child, and the other child was inside and couldn’t unlock the door. Sure, he was only in there for 5-10 minutes, but do you know all of the horrible accidents that could have happened to him during those 5-10 minutes?

Regardless of the baby proofing in our home, the boys still manage to get in every single cabinet and every single door. What would people be saying about me should something horrible have happened? Do you think I intentionally locked myself out of the house with my 17 month old inside? It was an accident, much like these, that thankfully left no one hurt.

We Don’t Know the Facts

I understand that there is anger, frustration, and sadness, as their should be, but why should one choose to be hateful in their words and actions to the parents that have just lost their world? How will that help them? What will that change? It will only make them feel worse. Is that the goal of the hateful comment? If so, that is very disheartening. If not, why make the comment to begin with?

The fact is, 99% of us do not know all of the facts of either of these stories, and we probably never will.  That is ok.  And it is also ok to be upset and angry.

Be angry with the suspect’s that ended a child’s life, sure, but even then, should we spew anger towards them or their families? I don’t think so. And I’m sure by now, many of you are red in the face with disagreement and anger towards me. You know what? That’s ok. God created us to have these emotions and feelings; however, there’s a right and wrong way to show those feelings, there’s a right and wrong way to disagree with someone, and there’s a right and wrong way to react to stories as these. The right way is not to show hate. The right way is not to place blame. The right way involves grace, compassion, love, and respect.

The Church

Immediately after reading the comments on these articles, the following verse came to my mind:

“When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you which is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.'” – John 8:7

Another thing that really saddens me about this is the public claims these people make about their personal lives. I’m not going to lie, I did a little bit of social media stalking on the people that were making these comments just so I could see exactly what I thought I would see. These are people openly saying they are Christians. These are people with First Communion pictures posted. These are people saying they’re “born to love.” Ironic isn’t it? No wonder Christianity gets a bad rap. Had I not already had knowledge of the Church and a relationship with God, I wouldn’t want to be a part of a Church either whose first instinct is to run and place blame instead of to run and show love and empathy.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am a sinner. I have judged others. I have shown hate. I am horrible at forgiving people, as I tend to hold a grudge. I know I have not always shown a great example of Christianity. I want you to know I don’t think less of these people for the comments they made. I don’t know these people, and I wish them no ill will. I will chalk it up to they made a mistake in their words. They let their anger and sadness get the best of them. I am simply saying that the way our world has decided to handle such tragedies breaks my heart.

Hate Less, and Love More

We would be in a much better place if we stopped saying, “that would never happen to me,” and start saying, “I’m so sorry for your loss. You must be devastated. Please know that you and your family are in my prayers.”

You know what the best part of that statement is? You can say it to everyone involved. Clearly you can say it to the heartbroken families that lost their child. You can say it to the suspect’s families, as they are no doubt heartbroken over these events as well. And you can absolutely say it to the suspect’s themselves, as they have undoubtedly lost a lot, such as their freedom for starters. If they aren’t clinically diagnosed with a mental health issue, they are probably devastated in some form, and they probably need your prayers more than anyone. Sure it wouldn’t be easy, but then you can pray for yourself that you may find the strength to forgive and the heart to show compassion. I know I have had to pray that same prayer myself and will have to continue to pray it in the future.

Let us be the change we want to see. Let us hate less and love more. And most importantly, let us show our children how to treat others with grace, compassion, love, and respect. 

As Ellen Degeneres says at the end of every show, “Be kind to one another.”

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Rocking Motherhood

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Some Days

Some days, I feel like the day is never going to end. Some days, I am counting down not only until bed time, but also nap time. Some days I feel like I am nothing but a WWE audience member (sometimes in the ring), mediator, and a robot programmed to feed, change, clean up and repeat.

But then there are the days that everything goes right. The days where no one goes to timeout, there are no tantrums, and everyone is happy for the most part. Those days are few and far between, but by the grace of God, they do happen every now and then.

Rocking Motherhood Challenge

On Mother’s Day, I was approached by an amazing mom blogger, Beautifully Imperfect Mama, to be a part of the Rocking Motherhood Challenge. I’m not going to lie, I may have possibly accepted the challenge before I fully knew what it entailed.

You see, the whole basis of my blog is to be real and authentic. I strive to show the reality of parenthood through our everyday life. It’s not pretty. It’s not sunshine and rainbows. We definitely don’t have it all together. We don’t even have half of it together. It’s hard. It’s really, really hard. I yell too much, I lose my patience, I hide in the laundry room (just til I count to about 30 and regain my cool), and I usually have no idea what I am doing.

So when I realized that with this Rocking Motherhood Challenge I would have to write down ways I am in fact rocking motherhood, I panicked a little bit. It was too late to back out, and that meant I would have to brainstorm. I mean reallllly brainstorm. It is far easier to think of ways I am failing motherhood than rocking it. Added note: I hate compliments. I don’t take them well, so to give myself a pat on the back makes this even more challenging.

Reasons I’m Rocking Motherhood

So after my brainstorm session, these are the reasons I came up with as to why I am Rocking Motherhood:

  1. I am teaching my kids manners, and they are indeed polite. We strive very hard around here to teach and demonstrate how to use our manners. We have taught please, thank you, you’re welcome, excuse me, I’m sorry, it’s ok, and a few more. We are from the Deep South, so we also teach our kids to say ma’am and sir. The reason I know I’m rocking is because one, we were in the grocery store the other day and ran into someone turning the corner. The first thing our two year old said to the person was, “I’m sorry.” It was completely unprompted. Also, we were in Hobby Lobby yesterday, and as we passed each person, he would say, “excuse me.” Mom wins right there y’all.
  2. I am educating them, and they are learning. When we moved to Houston and decided that I would start staying at home with the boys and no longer teach, I felt like I lost my identity a little bit. It was not an easy choice, as I love to teach, but it was best for our family. Over time, I have realized that I am still teaching, but now, I am teaching my own children. What a special opportunity I have been given. The most rewarding part is when you see what you’re teaching them actually sinks in. When James busted out with “diamond” the other day as we were practicing our shapes, or when Weston all of a sudden makes a new animal sound, I realize I am succeeding.
  3. They’re loved fiercely, and they know it. Through our good days and our bad days, I try to tell each child multiple times throughout the day that they are loved. I also will ask them, “How much does momma love you,” and they will respond with arms opened wide saying, “thiiiiiissss much!” That turns all bad days around. More importantly, we teach them of God’s love for them and the relationship He desires to have with them.

My Challenge

So even though this was absolutely the true definition of a  challenge for me, I am grateful to Beautifully Imperfect Mama for nominating me. It allowed me to think of the ways I am actually Rocking Motherhood, and I know if you sit down and think about it, you are too! Let me know how you are rocking motherhood.

To continue this uplifting challenge, I am nominating some fellow mom bloggers out there to tell us how they are Rocking Motherhood:

Bohemi Mama
Brooklyn Boy Mom
New Adventures in Mommyhood
My Own Unexpected Journey

Click on their names to visit their awesome blogs and follow their motherhood journeys.

If you want to learn more about the Rocking Motherhood challenge or would like to take it yourself,  visit White Camellias for more information.

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Shape Activities for Toddlers Using Our Learning Tubs

The following post contains affiliate links.

Learning Tub Series

Next up in our Learning Tub Series is a look inside our Shape Tub. If you missed the others posts thus far, you can get a look inside our Alphabet Tub here and our Animal Tub here. Also, I have written about shape activities a couple of times in the past, but many of those are larger activities that don’t necessarily go in our Learning Tubs; however they are super fun for little ones!  You can check out those fun shape activities here and here. We could spend a whole day just talking about shapes around here!


Sidenote: Can you just take a minute to celebrate with me that BOTH of my boys are playing independently right now?? And they’re happy doing it. That NEVER happens. They always want momma right there with them. If I get more than three feet away from my two year old, he always asks, “Momma, where are you gooooinnng?” Insert why I need Jesus and wine many days.  Love them fiercely, but wear and tear y’all.

Want to know how I achieved this? I simply emptied their toy baskets on the floor and let them go. They have all of these toys and never play with the majority of them. Sure, I have a GIANT mess to clean up, but they’re happy, and I’m getting things accomplished. Sometimes, the mess is worth it. Instead of feeling guilty about this, I’m going to remind myself that them learning to play independently is an important skill.

Shapes are Fun

Shapes are fun because you can see them everywhere! To help your little ones learn about shapes, you can simply go on a Shapes Hunt around your house. I use to do this when I taught first grade. It’s really fun when they get to be about six, as they’ll start learning about 3D shapes, and as you know, there are many 3D shapes around us; however, if you have toddlers like me, you can simply look for those flat, 2D shapes.

A Look Inside our Shape Tub

I am all about simple, easy activities that allow me to teach my child an important skill. Let’s face it, I don’t have the time (a one year old an a two year old) or energy to create anything too fancy. I am also all about using what you have at home. It’s not easy to put everyone in the car just to buy one material to create an activity that will probably be eaten or destroyed at some point. As always, should my kiddos master what’s inside the Shape Tub, or simply need something new to engage in, I can rotate the activities inside them to spice it up a bit. I never thought I’d being saying “spice it up a bit” in regards to shapes… my how life changes when you enter the kid phase of life. Without further ado, here is a look inside what we have in our Shape Tub right now:

  1. Books – If you’ve read any of my past posts, you know I try to always start activities with books that relate. It’s the teacher in me. Literacy is sooo important, and I want my boys to love books like me. I actually don’t have many shape specific books, but that’s ok because there are many books that don’t necessarily pertain to shapes but have illustrations that provide great shape practice.These are the books currently in our Shape Tub: Brainy Baby Shapes and Colors (Use this link and this book is only 25 cents right now! Added bonus you can work on colors too!), Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses (This is not a shape book, but on just one page alone, I found ovals, rectangles, a pentagon and a circle. Not to mention, I LOVE  Pete the Cat books!), and Little Dino’s Egg. The last book is not a shape specific book either, but it is one of James’ favorites right now, and as you can see by the picture below, it has lots of shapes you can talk about in the illustrations! If you use that link for this book its less that $1.50, which is a STEAL! Such a cool book.
  2. Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks – My boys love these blocks, and they teach so many skills besides just shapes. They help with fine motor skills, they help teach kids how to sort, and they’re different colors, so you can work on not only shapes, but colors as well! We also have used this blocks to make shapes out of play dough in the past. I would use play dough more if my boys would decide to stop eating it.
  3. Craft Stick  Shapes – All you need for this activity is some craft sticks (I like the jumbo size) and some velcro (I like the precut round velcro – less work for me). I simply put the velcro dots on the ends of the craft sticks, and James puts the sticks together in various shapes. Clearly, we can’t make a circle or an oval, but we can make squares, rectangles, rhombuses, pentagons, trapezoids, etc. The trick here is to make sure you have the correct velcro pieces on the sticks to make sure they can match up to form a shape. I suggest preparing by making one shape at a time yourself so you can make sure they can be put together as a shape. You can then keep the pieces sorted in baggies to make it easier. If you get the colored craft sticks, this would make the process easier, as you can know all the blue sticks make a square for example.
  4. Sweet Shapes – Again, another activity in which you only need two materials – toothpicks and marshmallows. Depending on the level of your child, you can either build shapes yourself out of the toothpicks and marshmallows and have your child identify the shapes, or you can have your child create the shapes themselves. You can even start off doing it and showing them and then make they would be ready to do this themselves. Added bonus: they get a yummy snack along the way. Simply use the marshmallows at the corners of the shapes to connect the toothpicks together. The toothpicks will act as the lines of the shapes. Go over shape corners and lines as well as an extra lesson with learning shapes.
  5. Shape Sorting – The last thing in our Shape Tub is an activity that I found on Pinterest here. The materials I needed: sharpie, construction paper, card stock, and glue. We started off doing simple shapes like a circle, triangle, and square, but as your child learns more, you can do the same activity with more difficult shapes. Again, discuss lines and corners or how circles and ovals have neither. This was fun and allowed James to practice gluing which was great fine motor skill practice.

As Always

As always, I hope you enjoy! What shape activities are you doing with your little ones?

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Animal Activities for Toddlers Using Our Learning Tubs

Learning Tubs

Incase you missed yesterday’s blog, I have decided to do a series this week about the Learning Tubs that I do with the boys. Yesterday, I gave you a look inside our Alphabet Tub, and today, I am going to give you a look inside our Animal Tub, which includes several activities you can do to help your child begin to identify animals and their noises while also working on their literacy and motor skills.

Meeting Children’s Needs

I think one of the biggest adjustments going from one child to two is that you can’t meet every need of both children at the same time or at the exact moment in which they want or need something. Sure, I meet their needs, but one child might have to scream and cry for a minute or two before that need is met. Or said child may have to play independently when they don’t want to while I’m working with the other child. They both want my undivided attention all. the. time. I need a clone.  

Go ahead and cue that Mom Guilt; however, I have become very good at blocking out crying and tantrums over the past 17 months. I’m totally ok with that because to me, you don’t want to give attention to negative behavior anyways.

With all that being said, I have found it more and more difficult to teach James and Weston at the same time. Y’all, they’re only 15 months apart. Again, how do those homeschool momma’s do it?? Weston can’t do the things James can, but he WANTS to. This means if James is working on something at the table, Weston is pulling it off the table. If I am sitting in the floor showing James something, Weston is sitting in my lap knocking it out of my hands. If I give up and try to give Weston the same thing James is doing, Weston eats it. Jesus. And. Wine.


Oh it takes me back to teaching. Differentiated Instruction. For all 23-30 students. You are to meet every child’s needs, by yourself, without the resources you need, with kids on a minimum of three different grade levels, but you better get it done and you better make everyone happy in the process. It’s called differentiation. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED teaching, but that is the reality of what a teacher does day in and day out.

One of the things I loved most about the last school I taught at is that we truly did do whatever it took to meet the needs of every child. We wanted to meet those needs, and we did, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. Some days though, that seems easier than meeting the needs of my own two kids. At least no one was throwing things at me, having a toddler tantrum, or throwing down because I gave them a blue plate instead of a purple plate.

Animal Tub

So within our tubs, I try to put activities that either both kids can do and enjoy, or I put in activities on different levels (differentiation – see what I did there) so that they can be doing different things at the same time – ha, in a dream world anyways, you know that doesn’t actually happen. Animals are a little easier to do this with, as it’s a great skill for Weston to work on, as it’s more on his level. It’s much easier for me to enrich an activity for James, as there are some things that Weston just isn’t cognitively ready to learn yet.

Here is what we have going on in our Animal Tub this week:

  1. Books – As always, I start off reading the boys books on whatever subject matter we are discussing. I’ve been doing this with James since he was born, and now he loves to read! Weston isn’t to that point yet, but hopefully, he will be the same way. We are really enjoying Old MacDonald Had a Farm, Noisy Farm, baby’s very first noisy book farm, and I Spy in the Jungle (Jellycat Book). The boys especially love the two books with the noisy buttons they can push, because well, toddlers.
  2. Puzzles – We have multiple animal puzzles the boys enjoy, but we have two specific puzzles that are great for younger toddlers to start off with: Fisher-Price Growing Baby Animal Activity Puzzle and a Melissa and Doug FarmWooden Chunky Puzzle similar to this one, only with different animals. We also have this puzzle, which is made of several mini puzzles. It is better for James, as it is more difficult. Not all of the mini puzzles are of animals, but I sort the animals out and have James piece them together. There are only 3-4 pieces per mini puzzle, and it allows him to see the different sections that make up the animal as well as the spelling of the animal.

    You probably can’t tell, but this is an example of brother pitching a fit he can’t get on the table to do what James is doing.
  3. Fisher-Price Little People Farm Animal Friends – These have been great for both James and Weston. Weston uses them to practice animal recognition and noises, whereas James using them to match the animal to either animal flashcards or the animals we are reading about in a book. For instance, if we are reading a book and it shows a cow, James will pick out the cow farm animal and show Weston that they correspond with one another.
  4. Beach Ball Animals – So we use a beach ball because it’s what we had, and I’m all about using what you have. Don’t reinvent the wheel people! But you could also make a cube out of paper if you’re crafty to have the same results. I simply put a picture of a different animal on each section of the beach ball (just google a picture and hit print). We throw the ball back and forth and which ever animal it lands on (aka whichever animal James feels like doing), has to be named, and he has to tell me what noise the animal makes. I also have him act out how the animal moves. This is an easy activity to differentiate as well, as you can interchange the animals and make them more difficult as they progress. WARNING: If your kids like to destroy things like mine, there will be a small window of time before they rip the pictures off. Shocking, I know. Just being real. 

These are the things making up our Animal Tub this week! I will alternate books, puzzles, and activities as the boys start to master them or disengage in the current ones. What animal activities do you do with your little ones?

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A Look Inside Our Organized Learning Tubs

The following post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are 100% my own.

Teacher Voice vs. Mom Voice

Since I’m staying at home with the boys now, they aren’t in school daily, so I try to make sure that I am teaching them the things they would be learning if they were in daily school. Let me tell you from experience, I think it is much easier to teach other peoples children than your own. You homeschool mommas deserve a medal. Isn’t it amazing how with someone else’s kids you can totally mostly keep your patience?

I definitely had my “teacher voice” when I was in the classroom.  Just ask my husband. He didn’t like when I used it on him, unbeknownst to me that I was using it.  Anyone that has ever taught knows what I’m talking about. That voice where you don’t have to scream or yell, but the students know you mean business and willingly comply. Why can’t there be a mom voice? Oh wait, there is, it’s called yelling at your kids and they still don’t do what you ask of them. Sounds like a double standard to me. So you’ll listen to the teacher, but not me? Ok, cool. Even though in all reality, I would MUCH rather my child listen and behave for a teacher than for me if they can only choose one.

Teacher Supplies

This past weekend, Chad and I started going through our garage. Our house in Houston doesn’t have as much storage as we had in our previous house, so we had a lot of boxes stored in our garage. To get rid of some clutter, we pulled out all of my teaching boxes (the majority of the boxes in the garage to begin with), and I started going through them. It’s hard to get rid of stuff if you teach because you are always thinking about the fact that one day you may need that binder filled with materials from a specific program at that one school you taught at five years ago. The struggle is real.

I was excited to go through the boxes, because I was looking for two specific things: my flair pens, and my hot glue gun. I didn’t find the hot glue gun, but I did find my beloved flair pens, and that made my day. If you don’t have any, they’re amazing, and you should definitely invest in some. I found some other exciting things that I pulled out to use with the boys, and that made me start thinking of different ways I could work with them at home.

Teacher Mindset

One of the easiest ways for me to get in the mindset of teaching my own boys at home is to remind myself of things I did when I taught in the classroom. Many teachers, myself included, would do what we called “tubs.” When I say tubs, think of centers. It is basically different activities that students are doing pertaining to a subject you have taught them. They are called tubs because the materials you need to do the activity are in a plastic tub type container, or in my case, plastic green baskets.

I mostly did tubs during math time. For instance, if we were working on multiplication there may be six different multiplication tubs. Each tub would contain an activity that would help the students practice the skills that were taught, i.e. multiplication on the iPads, a multiplication game with dice, a multiplication art project, etc.

Most teachers do tubs their own way depending on their teaching style and what works for them. I am super Type A and like routines and an organized classroom, so my students didn’t rotate, the tubs did. That way, everyone did every tub at their own desk and I didn’t have to worry about how everyone got to the next place and if they had all their materials and if so and so went through their desk, etc. Trust me, you have to think about these things, or there will be total chaos. Side note: Just typing this out and talking about classroom management really makes me miss teaching. I’m a dork.

Our Toddler Tubs

I started thinking about how implementing tubs with my boys would be a good way to keep things organized and also a good way to make sure they are working on the skills I want them to be learning. I keep the tubs packed with the materials we need to learn about a certain topic, and I can easily change out the materials when the skill is either mastered, or the boys need a change up. I of course make sure to include books on each topic as one of our tub activities.

Instead of focusing on one skill in my tubs such as a specific math skill, I created one tub for each of the topics I want to focus on with them at the moment: shapes, colors, letters, animals, and numbers. Now, throughout the day, we do other activities that focus on fine motor skills, gross motor skills, independent play, arts, etc., but those aren’t in the tubs.

With all of this being said, I thought I would break our tubs down and tell you what we have in them and what we have been learning about lately. Today, I’m going to give you a look inside our Alphabet Tub. Subscribe here to make sure you see the next blog post with a peak inside the other tubs!

Alphabet Tub

It always seems so easy to find skills to work on with James and so difficult to find things to work on with Weston. Weston can’t do the things James can, so I have to keep him occupied when I try to work with James. Then, when I try to give him an activity to do, it inevitably goes straight to his mouth. I’m just telling myself he is hearing everything I’m telling James.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, so don’t tell me otherwise.

Clearly, Weston isn’t quite ready to learn his letters yet, but he can listen as we sing the ABC’s, read the books with us, and he enjoys playing with some of the activities in the tub while I’m working with James, even if he is just chewing on the cards or throwing the letters.

Here’s a look at what’s inside our Alphabet Tub:

  1. Books – We always start each tub by reading books that go along with the topic. Here are some of the alphabet books we are enjoying right now: Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom, LMNO Peas, ABCer’s, and Litter Critter’s ABCs. The best part of all of these is that they are great for toddlers, and they are all less than $10 on Amazon!
  2. LeapFrog Magnetic Letters – These are great because you can change out the letters, and each letter sings a song using the sound(s) that letter makes. I have been working on letter sounds with James lately, so this is great for him. They are meant to be used on the refrigerator, but I let the boys play with them on a cookie sheet so that we can use them during our tub time at the table.
  3. Little Hands ABC Flashcards – These are amazing because they aren’t just your typical flashcards. They are touch and feel cards, so it is a great sensory activity as well.
  4. ABC Matching – This activity is super quick and easy to make. You simply need wooden craft sticks and wooden clothes pins. I wrote uppercase letters on both the craft sticks and the clothes pins. If your child is older, I’d write uppercase letters on one and lowercase letters on the other so they can learn to match the corresponding letters. I wrote the letter on the clothes pin going sideways so that when we clipped it on the matching craft stick you could see both letters to reinforce that the letters matched. Added bonus: this is a great fine motor skills activity. It is difficult for Jame to open the clothes pin, but it’s great practice, and he loved this activity! Although he isn’t identifying his letters yet, he is becoming familiar with them and is recognizing which letters look the same.
  5. DO-A-DOT Markers – If you’ve read some of my posts in the past, you know I love these markers! They can be used for so many different activities. I simply take a piece of card stock and draw a large, uppercase letter on the paper (top to bottom). I then have James pick a DO-A-DOT marker and have him dot along the lines of the letter to help him practice making that letter.
  6. Melissa and Doug On the Go Water Wow! Splash Cards – Y’all, I know I put these on my Rainy Day Activities post, but that’s how great they are. Not only are they mess-free, but they also have this set of alphabet flashcards that your child can “paint” and the card reveals an animal that begins with that letter.

ABC Activities

I hope you enjoyed a look inside our Alphabet tub! What letter activities are you doing with your little ones?


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Rainy Day Activities

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Rainy Day

So, one of the worst things around here is when our two very active boys cannot get outside. They would live outside if they could, especially James. I’m not going to lie, I love being outside too, so it makes me go a little stir crazy when I’m stuck inside all day.

Today is going to be one of those days where it is supposed to rain ALL. Day. Long. Not only that, but tonight is a night where Chad has to work late (past the boy’s bed time), so that means an already long, rainy day is that much longer.

Passing the Time

I hate those days where you look at the clock and it seems like time is creeping by so slowly. Sometimes, I have to find activities that make the time pass a little more quickly. Seeing as we will be stuck inside all day, I knew I was going to have to come up with some rainy day activities for us to do to make that clock tick a little faster. I know, I’m horrible for even saying that, as I should be “enjoying every second” because time goes by fast, but y’all, let’s be honest – sometimes as a toddler mom, you do wish time to go by a little lot quicker. That’s the reality, so let’s not sugarcoat it. Add a very grumpy, teething toddler into that mix, and I’m counting down til naptime too! Just give me all the Tylenol, people.

Rainy Day Activities

So here are some activities we have on the agenda today. Some we have done before, and some are new, and I’m most certain that a few, or all, will not go as planned and have a few tantrums along the way, but hey, that’s life as we know it.

  1. Oobleck – I loved making Oobleck with my students when I taught first grade. Dr. Seuss books are some of my favorites, and when you have a fun activity to go along with a book, that makes it all the better. Now, trying to read Bartholomew and the Oobleck to my one and two year old would be a nightmare in itself, as it’s long and their attention span is not, however, they loved playing with the Ooblck, and what a great sensory activity! For older ones, it is fun to talk about how it is both a solid and a liquid.The recipe is very easy – it’s a 2:1 ratio of cornstarch and water. Two parts cornstarch, one part water. I used 1 cup of cornstarch (that’s all I had on hand), and 1/2 cup of water, and that was plenty for my two boys to play with. Of course when I did it in the classroom, we added green food coloring to go along with the book, however, I let James pick what color he wanted, and he chose orange, so we played with orange Oobleck. A fun activity that took time off the clock!

  2. Let’s Go Fishing! – James has really been into fishing lately, which is kind of funny, as he’s never been fishing, and my husband doesn’t fish. I’m  not sure where he picked that up from, but regardless, we put these fun fishing poles in the boys Easter baskets this year, and they are loving them! They’re meant to be used in the bath tub, which we do every night, but today, I just plopped the boys in the empty bathtub in their jammies, and they went fishing!
  3. Painter’s Tape Highway – I. Love. Painter’s Tape. It is amazing, and I find so many ways to use it with the boys. I originally saw a picture on Pinterest that I piggy backed off of. I would link it, but the link no longer works. The picture showed painters tape going over the furniture and carpet like it was a road for the cars. We happen to have a large open space between our kitchen and den that was perfect for making a road with painter’s tape. So, I made a road, a garage for the trucks/cars, a helipad for the helicopter, and I put the boys play tunnel on the road for the cars to go through. The boys loved this activity! James even rode around on their Mickey car like he was driving on the road. Help us all when that kid can drive.

  4. Painting – Pretty simple, get out some paint and create a project. We use this paint, and it is a very easy cleanup. We do handprint/footprint art all the time because their little hands and feet are so cute I figure I might as well do as much as I can now for keepsakes down the road. Plus, they love to have the paint on them!
  5. No-Mess Painting – We have three great no-mess painting activities that James really loves. We have the Melissa and Doug On the Go Water Wow! Reveal Pads Set, Melisa and Doug Water Wow! Splash Cards Set, and the Crayola Magic Water Paint set. All of these are amazing and they only need the brush and water!
  6. Window Markers on Pyrex Dishes – We have these Window Markers, and the boys love them! Now, they aren’t quite responsible enough to take them and only draw on the windows, so I let them draw on a Pyrex dish. The clean up is pretty easy if you wash it off as soon as they’re finished. Then, just stick the dish in the dishwasher for additional cleaning.
  7. Tupperware – Y’all, my boys LOVE to play in my tupperware cabinet. When I’m cooking or need to get something accomplished, I let them pull it all out, and it keeps them busier than most any activity I can do with them. They stack and build and create and honestly, I think it’s a great hands-on, creative learning experience for them. Without prompting, James told me he was building a castle. I didn’t see it, but he did, and that’s all that matters! It allows them to use their imagination and their problem-solving skills. Win-win for mom and kids!

  8. Popcorn and Movie Party – Let’s not forget what a rainy day is best for – popcorn and a movie! I know, I know, this involves screen time. A little is ok, sometimes a lot is ok if you’re having one of those days, which around here, happens. If yours aren’t ready for popcorn, just substitute their favorite snack. Make a pallet on the floor and enjoy some quality time. Attention span around here isn’t very long, but I have found that my boys LOVE this movie, and this movie, so maybe yours will too!

What Rainy Day Activities Do You Do?

I hope y’all enjoy some of these activities on your rainy days! What activities do y’all do to pass the time when it rains?

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Why We Take Our Kids to Church

Easy Like Sunday Morning, Only Not

People always refer to the Lionel Richie lyrics “easy like Sunday morning,” only I can’t help but think that Sunday morning isn’t easy at all.

During church this morning, and even after church this morning, I sit and ask myself why we take our kids to church? It certainly isn’t an easy task. It definitely leaves me frustrated, and it may be paranoia, but I feel like everyone is looking at me and wondering why I can’t control my kids. To top it off, I usually don’t leave feeling like I’ve heard the message for the day. Instead of listening, I’m fetching snacks, crayons, and sippy cups. Instead of praying, I am juggling kids between arms, saying “shh, be quiet” and trying to keep said kids from tearing up the hymnals. Instead of joining in fellowship with our church members, I’m counting down how many songs we have left until mass is over. And let’s not even discuss all of the preparation it took to get to church in the first place and how we are always running out the door.

Needless to say, all of this has me contemplating why we go through the same routine of taking our kids to church every Sunday morning when it leaves me asking for Jesus and wine, when I should have gotten both of those things at church. Joking about the wine at church, people. I’m fully aware that’s not the purpose of the wine at church.

Let’s Get it Over With

We either go to 7:30 mass or 9:00 mass on Sunday mornings. I’m not going to lie and say we don’t sometimes enjoy that 7:30 AM mass because it allows us to go ahead and get it over with. Terrible, right? But it’s true because we know the ordeal that it is to take two toddlers to church. Let’s not even discuss that family that has seven kids under the age of about 12 who all sit so perfectly quiet like little angels from heaven. I NEED their secret.

Our kids usually wake up pretty early, so if we go to 7:30 mass, that means we are home around 8:45, and we have the morning to play, and the boys seemingly do a little better at that time of day. If we wait and go to 9:00 mass, the boys usually end up hangry and tired, and we usually end up alternating kids in the cry room or the atrium, or when it’s really bad like today, we end up outside because even the other people in the atrium and cry room with their kids are looking at your kid.


Chad and I both come from devout Catholic families. We both attended Catholic school, and I taught at a Catholic school. There were certain behaviors that were expected of us growing up, and in return, we have those expectations for our kids. That seems to make church even more difficult sometimes. We have to remind ourselves that they are only two and a half and sixteen months, however, there’s a fine line with saying that. At what point do you stop saying, “They’re only ____.”

A couple of weeks ago, we were both standing in the atrium with both kids, so yeah, they were both acting up, and he looked at me and said, “Do you think we expect too much out of them?” and I answered, “Yes, probably so.” But truth be told, I’m ok with that. I want to have high expectations for our kids in every aspect of life. I expect them to behave in church, I expect them to behave at school, I expect them to be kind and friendly with good manners. Those expectations will continue and only be met with more and higher expectations as they grow older. I will expect them to do chores, I will expect them to do well in school, I will expect them to work hard at everything they do. Because if you don’t have high expectations for your kids, they will never meet them, and they will never reach their fullest potential.

So Why Do We Take Them To Church

So, that brings me back to my original question, why do we go through the trouble of taking them to church when it is anything but easy? I’m not going to lie, I had to sit and think about this. I had to ask this question to Chad. He always seems to have better answers to questions like that than I do. Thankfully today, our answers pretty much lined up together.

Here is the list of reasons we came up with as to why we take our kids to church:

  1. First and foremost, we take our kids to church for the obvious reason – to know God and to learn to praise, worship, and celebrate Him. We pray with our kids at home, they know about God and Jesus, we read Bible stories with them; however, they need an understanding of God’s house, the sacraments we celebrate within the Church, and our church family that joins together with us in a weekly celebration of our Lord. They need to learn about the Sabbath and how to keep it holy. We want our children to grow up in the Catholic faith as we did, and to do that they must be present. The only way they can truly learn about these things is by taking them to church and showing them exactly what it means to be present.
  2. Simple, it goes back to expectations. If we take them now, they will know what behavior is expected in church as they get older. It is a little more difficult with our sixteen month old, as he’s too young to really understand why he’s being taken out, but we can already tell that our two year old is starting to figure it out and starting to behave better overall. Not only is he already learning how to behave, but he is also learning about the liturgy. He already dips his hand in the Holy Water and does the sign of the cross, he already shows us his prayer hands, he already does the sign of peace, and he already repeats things the priest says. Imagine if we took them to church for the first time at five. Sure, they would understand you telling them to sit there quietly, but they would be asking a million questions because the whole concept would be foreign to them. Hopefully by five, we have children that are taking part in the service and asking about the meaning behind the different parts of the liturgy because they will already know how to act in church.
  3. If we don’t take our kids to church, what will happen to the church? Think about that for a minute. What would happen to the future generations of the church if no one takes their kids? There are so many answers to that question, and none of the answers are good ones.
  4. We want our children to grow up with a faith community just as we want a faith community for ourselves. A community they can have that supports them in all aspects and helps them to grow in their faith like we need a community to support us. We want to see others bringing their kids to church too. We want to support others by saying, “Hey, we get it. It’s hard. I see you battling your kids like me. Let’s do this together. Let’s raise our kids to show each other the same support and love for their faith that we are showing each other.” How comforting is it when you see another parent battling their child look at you with that face that says I get it! The struggle is real! It is beyond comforting for me because I’m reminded I am no alone. I am part of a community of believers.

Our Desire

I’m sure if I sat longer and contemplated, which I’m sure I will do later, I could think of several more reasons as to why we take our kids to church. Regardless of the exhaustion and battles that comes with bringing our children to church each week, we will continue to do it. We will continue to do it because we are raising kids that we hope not just know who God is, but have a true understanding of how much He loves them and how much he desires a relationship with each of them. We want them to be true examples of showing others Christ like love and forgiveness. What better way to learn that than in His house with fellow believers?

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Color Activities

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Teaching at Home

I like to think I am teaching my kids things while I’m staying at home with them. Sometimes I do a good job at this, and some days, Mickey Mouse, Zooptopia, and “independent play” take up our time. We all need days to relax, right?

James has pretty much mastered his colors with the occasional mix-up between red and green. I’m pretty sure my grandfather that was color blind mixed up red and green too, but we just won’t worry about that right now.

Being a “Fun Mom”

I see all of these, what I consider “fun moms,” doing fun, messy things with their kids, and I think, “Wow! They’re such a better mom than I am. I would never let my kid do that because I don’t want to have to clean up the mess.” So, against my better judgement, I tried to do a couple of “fun mom” activities, and let’s just say I was quickly reminded that I’m just not a “fun mom,” and I’ll have to be ok with that. The levels of Jesus and wine that were needed after our first two color activities were through the roof. Needless to say, I opted for a low-key, no-mess third color activity. I will say, the boys loved all three activities, which may make me consider doing them again should I have some soothing worship music on and a bottle of Moscato next to me.

Color Activities

  1. Bath Time Painting

    First, let me say that this makes a HUGE mess, yet I have done it more than once because the boys like it so much. The positive: it is contained to the bath tub, which is semi-easy to clean up. I would make sure to do this activity right before bath time, as if your kids decide to paint their entire body’s head to toe like mine did, they’ll need a bath promptly after.I have read in the past that people have mixed food coloring with shaving cream and let their kids paint in the bath tub. Sounds like a great idea unless you have a 16 month old like me that eats EVERYTHING. I certainly didn’t want him eating shaving cream, so I tried to think of something else with a similar consistency but was also edible, so I quickly came up with whipped cream. Maybe not the healthiest choice, however, it gets the job done.

    I took a muffin tin and put whipped cream in each muffin section. I would recommend using a large muffin tin sheet (12 sections) if you have one, as the paint will go quickly! I had one with 12 sections, so that is what I used. I put a few drops of food coloring into each section of whipped cream and stirred it in.

    Before I let the boys paint in the tub, I made James name the colors, and I would ask him throughout the painting session which colors he was using… until they all became mixed together and became a very ugly orange/brown color combo. Lots of fun, but lots of cleaning up!

  2. Color Sorting with BlocksLet me preface this one by saying I think I made this one more of a mess than it had to be. Weston was napping, and I like to use what I have at home for activities, and what I had was corn meal. Bad choice. dumb choice. Something like sand or uncooked rice would work much better, be a little less messy, and wouldn’t get in your toddler’s eyes like corn meal. Duh.I took a plastic tub I had and filled it with our beloved Mega Bloks. These blocks are great for so many things! Once I put different colored blocks in the tub, I covered them up with the corn meal. This is where next time, I would cover them with sand or uncooked rice. Although it would take a lot of rice I suppose. Anyone have another suggestion?

    Once the blocks were completely covered, I took James outside. Outside is key to make sure you don’t have the mess inside. He  immediately started digging through the tub to find the colored blocks. Every little boy’s dream. He seriously loved doing this!

    When he would pull a block out, he had to tell me the color of the block, and then he had to place the block on the matching color of construction paper that was on the ground. Eventually, he sorted through all of the blocks and matched them each with their corresponding color. When he was finished coloring, I gave him some measuring cups and funnels to play with in the corn meal for a bit. He did a great job, and it was fun, but cleaning up the corn meal that blew everywhere was not.

    Added tip: Do not do this activity on a windy day. Whatever you choose to cover the blocks with will blow everywhere, as will the construction paper you’re using to match the blocks to. Next time, I will know this. Hey, you live and you learn.

  3. Beach Ball ColorsAfter trying the first two activities, I needed something simple and mess-free. My boys LOVE any activity that includes a ball to play with, so the beach balls were a hit. I had two extra beach balls lying around from James’ 2nd birthday party, so I blew them both up. It was important that I had two because they must each have one, or WWIII is going to break out.I started by making James point to each color on the beach ball and name it, which he could do successfully. We then simply would throw the ball back and forth and say, “I spy _____,” and name/point to the color we saw. After a few rounds of this game, I would pick a color on the beach ball, he would name it, and then I would make him find an object in the house that was the same color.

    The best part: the beach balls: they are providing lots of entertainment beyond the color games!


Overall, each activity was fun, kept the boys entertained, and as much of a mess they made, I would do them again just because the boys were happy, and I do feel like colors were practiced/reinforced. I guess maybe I have fleeting moments where I can call myself a “fun mom.” Enjoy, and be sure to share any color activities you are doing with your little ones!

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I Dropped My Son. On His Head.

Parenting Fail

Latest Parenting Fail: I forgot to mention in my last post that I straight up dropped my child. In a gas station parking lot. On his head. People saw it happen. I hid with him in the front seat.

The Story

The story goes something like this:

We were traveling to the beach and about 45 minutes into the drive, Weston had a dirty diaper. Of course he did. Nothing can be too easy around here. Anyways, instead of putting shoes on both kids and towing them into the gas station bathroom by myself, (Chad wasn’t going to the beach for a couple of more days), I had the bright idea to change him in the front seat of the car. That way, I could leave James strapped into his carseat, and I wouldn’t have to put anyone’s shoes on. Great plan! Only, it wasn’t.

Fast forward. I get his diaper changed, mental note to self, he is way too big to change him in the front seat of the car anymore. If you don’t know our angel baby 16 month old, he is a little on the bigger side. I say that with all the love in the world.

After having a child that is not even in the first percentile for weight, I gladly welcome our 99th percentile baby. Our two year old has been stuck, prodded, tested, seen more than a handful of specialists, and put on several special “diet” plans because he can’t gain weight (another post for another time), so I’m over the moon about having a chunky monkey!

He looks like a baby and acts like a baby, but 2T clothes are almost too small for him. He weighs almost 30 pounds, and he has the juiciest thighs with a plump little bottom. I tell you all of this so you can visualize the event that led up to me dropping him.

The Event Itself

So, the diaper is changed, and we’re pulling up our 2T shorts. “Pulling up his shorts” is really more of a “shake him into his shorts.” Remember those juicy thighs I was telling you about? Yeah. So, I’m shaking. He’s laughing. He decides to lean forward while I’m shaking, which results in him falling on the concrete head first. The laughing quickly turned to crying. Oh. My. Gosh. I just dropped my baby, on his head, on the concrete.

Shrieks. Shrills. Hysterics. Of course there was a car right there with a man in the front seat that I KNOW had to have seen the whole thing play out, so I quickly scoop him up, rock him in the front seat, repetitively say I’m so sorry, and hide until that car leaves the gas station. Talk about feeling like the worst mother in the world. I was shocked that man didn’t call Child Protective Services on me. I’m not going to lie, I straight up would’ve been questioning some moms ability had I seen her do what I did.

Catholic Conscience

Remember that time I wrote about that Catholic conscience of mine? Well, it was fully active after this event. When I was pulling out of the gas station, I saw a cop car with the passenger door open. It crossed my mind that they might stop me to make sure I was a suitable parent and that my child was ok. Needless to say, I think that was all a little paranoia, and the cops really didn’t know anything about the incident.

Of course my mom called and I had to tell her what I did. Then, I had to call Chad and tell him I dropped our perfect, little baby because well, Catholic conscience. The conversation went something like this:

Me: I just feel like I need to tell you that I just dropped Weston, and he hit his head. He’s ok, but I would feel guilty if I didn’t tell you.

Chad: Laughs a little. Well, ok, you didn’t have to tell me that. Are you ok?

Me: Yes, I’m fine. I just feel like the worst mother in the world and am waiting on CPS to contact me. And yes, I had to tell you because when you see him in a couple of days you’ll see the big bruise and knot on his forehead and ask me what happened.

Chad: I think he’s going to be fine. You’re not the worst mother in the world. You’re a great mother. It happens. Now when he’s a teenager and doing something stupid I can tell him well son, your mother dropped you on your head as a child.

Me: That’s not funny.

Thank God for an understanding and forgiving husband.

For the next two hours, I constantly looked in the rearview mirror to check on him and make sure he hadn’t fallen asleep because that’s the one time I would have woken a sleeping baby!

Feeling Better About your Parenting?

Feel better about your parenting skills now? Good. That was part of the purpose. We all fail. Some (me) more than others, but fiercely love them, and all will be well.

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Five Little Monkey’s Jumping on the Bed

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The Day From You Know Where

After about a month long hiatus, I figured it was about time I get back to blogging. We have had a fun-filled month with family and friends visiting, and then we capped it off with an Easter trip to the beach with more family. Fun, fun times, with a few glasses of wine, and many a times of me asking Jesus to just help me make it one. more. minute.

Yesterday was the day from you know where. We had to literally take it one minute at a time yesterday on our way back from the beach. It quickly, or I should say slowly, turned into a 10 and a half hour drive with two not so happy toddlers. Lots of crying. Lots of whining. Lots of crying. Lots of screaming. Lots of tantrums. Did I say lots of crying? I had to take a minute to pray a few times to ask for help to not completely and utterly lose it on my children.

Don’t worry, we finally made it home, and would you like to know what happened next? Chad went to pick up our bulldog from the vet, so I was trying to be helpful and unload the car while he was gone. Well don’t you know our sweet, little 16 month old decided to lock himself in the house. Yep, that meant James and I were locked out. My keys and phone were inside. Thankful for a nice neighbor that let me use her phone, and Chad was home shortly after to let me reunite with that sweet baby. I was pretty sure he was inside eating dog food, however, instead, he just completely destroyed the laundry room with emptied puzzles, straws, and flash cards. On the positive side of that, I was thankful that was all he got into. He naturally wanted nothing to do with me and clung to Chad. You know, I just have to maintain that Mom of the Year status.

If I wouldn’t have had a headache from that fiasco of a day, I would have had one, large glass of wine, but instead, I thanked God the day was finally over and went to bed.

I Have My Own Monkey’s

Needless to say, I feel qualified to write a post on five little monkey’s because I have two monkey’s in my house every day. Wild monkeys at that.

Today, we are trying to get back into somewhat of a routine which means story time, music time, free play, and lots of timeout sessions. During our read aloud this morning, I read two different versions of the popular story, Five Little Monkey’s Jumping on the Bed. We read this book and this book. Since teaching, I’ve always loved reading different versions of the same story. It is a great way to working on comparing and contrasting. Obviously, my kids are too young for that skill, but we still have fun reading the similar stories.

Activities Related to the Story

This book has a lot of different activities/skills you can do with your kids of various ages. As said before, with your older ones, you can work on comparing and contrasting if you read different versions of the book. For your little ones, this is a great book to practice counting and repetition. This is a repetitive story, which simply means the same phrase is repeated throughout the story. See if your little one catches on to the phrase and can repeat it each time with you. Also, it was a good book to practice body parts with my 16 month old. Every time we read “bumped his head,” we would practice patting our head to reinforce this body part we have been learning.

Once we read the story, I turned on our Apple TV and clicked on YouTube, which I love so much, and searched for, “Five Little Monkey’s Jumping on the Bed”. Several songs/videos popped up, so just choose one you like best. My boys like this one, and I know it is appropriate which can sometimes be a concern on YouTube. Not only did we sing and dance which are great Arts to incorporate into a lesson, but we also acted this story out using our monkey craft, which I will explain next!

Monkey Craft

Let me preface this craft by saying, under no circumstance should you tell your child what you’re preparing for. AKA, don’t tell them you’re making a monkey. They’ll just sit there and say, “I want monkey! I want monkey!” until you’re ready for them to do the craft. Also, for the love of God, just prepare this craft when they are nowhere around – nap time, bed time, whatever works for you. This will take care of the previous issue as well. It does take a few minutes to prepare, so if your kids are anything like mine, they will be torturing one another, going through all of your cabinets, and making you stop to put them in timeout while you’re trying to get everything ready. Which in turn, makes it an even longer process. So take my advice, and prepare ahead of time.


Construction Paper 
Popsicle Stick (I used plastic forks)
Tape (I used painter’s tape)


I used this picture as my monkey inspiration as far as how to draw it out.

  1. Get two pieces of different colored construction paper. Preferably a dark brown and a light brown. I used a brown and a tannish, yellow color. You need two different tones to complete the monkey’s face.
  2. On the darker brown, draw a similar shaped monkey face as pictured below, and cut it out. (Ignore the poor lighting. It looks orangish, but it is just a standard brown.)

3. Using the lighter color of construction paper, draw the inside of the monkey’s face as pictured below, and cut it out. Once it is cut out, draw two eyes as seen blow, and cut them out as well. The monkey will end up being a mask.

4. Also with the lighter colored construction paper, cut out two monkey ears as pictured below.

5. Once all pieces are cut out, you will want to start gluing the monkey face together. Now, since my boys easily destroy all crafts we make, I decided to glue the face onto card stock to make it less flimsy, and harder to destroy. Stay posted to see how long card stock takes to disassemble. With that being said, once the darker/larger part of the monkey face was glued onto card stock, I again had to cut out the monkey’s eyes to get the mask effect. See pictures below to see how I glued the face together.

6. Next, take a black sharpie and draw the monkey’s features on the face and ears to make it pop.

7. Turn the monkey face over and tape or glue a popsicle stick to the back of the face in order to make the mask. I did not have popsicle sticks, so I used a plastic fork. I used painter’s tape instead of regular tape to help enforce it a little more. Elmer’s glue probably won’t hold the stick on very well, but if you have a hot glue gun, that would work well and definitely be harder to take off.

8. Then, it’s time for the fun part for the kiddos. My son loves a bandaid, and I’m convinced after teaching, all kids do. And, they think it fixes everything. This is when I started asking James some comprehension questions from the story. It’s never too early to work on comprehension! Definitely a much needed skill for your child to learn. We talked about what happened to the monkey and that he got a boo boo. We talked about where his boo boo was and how we could fix it. He put two bandaids on the monkeys’ head as pictured below.

Disclaimer: Before James and I made his mask, I made one for my 16 month old, as I knew he couldn’t do the craft, but he could play with the mask and do the other activities with us. For his monkey, I used standard colored bandaids, and you can see in the picture below they kind of blended in with the monkeys’ face. So for James’ monkey, we used some Lion King bandaids I had, and they popped a little better.

9. Last, sing the song and act out the story with your child as they use their fun, new mask!

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