Monday, December 20, 2010

Guest Post by Holly at Nap Time- Winter Family Fun

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This fall I have been enjoying an incredible series of posts done by Holly from Holly at Nap Time called Fall Family Challenge.  She has the best and most creative ideas of things for families to do together, activities that I would never think of.  So, with winter quickly approaching I asked Holly if she would be interested in doing a guest post on From Chalkboards to Strollers with some ideas of Winter Family Fun.  Lucky for me (and you), she agreed.  Yay!! 

Holly is the mother of an adorable 13 month old girl.  Her blog is about providing moms with the inspiration they need to survive the day, while focusing on children's products, recipes, and family entertainment ideas.  She's an average mom living the average life, but living every moment to the fullest.  Make sure to stop by Holly at Nap Time and take a look at her wonderful blog!

Winter Family Fun- By Holly at Nap Time

We’re coming into a day and age when families are spending less and less quality time together.  Jobs, sports, extracurricular activities and electronic devices keep us all busy, and often the time that we do spend together with our family leaves us staring blankly at one another in boredom.  I blame it on lack of creative thinking, or the mere fact that families just don’t spend enough time trying to come up with family focused activities.

Luckily for me, my daughter is still at an age where she has no choice but to hang out with mom and dad.  That’s not to say that I don’t realize these days are limited. I’m making it my goal to stockpile ideas for future outings and activities so that when boredom strikes I’m armed and ready. This Fall, I’ve been showcasing a “Fall Family Challenge” in which I’ve taken each letter of the alphabet and tied it to one (or in most cases, several) fun family centered ideas. The reception has been extraordinary, so when Liz asked me to do a spin-off and tie in Winter Family Fun in a guest spot, I was thrilled! Thank you for the opportunity, Liz!

Go See the Lights 
As a child I absolutely hated car rides, except for at Christmas time. I lived for those moments when after my mom finished cleaning up the dinner dishes, she and my dad would suggest going for a ride to see the lights. These days, even more people get into the holiday spirit with giant inflatables and walk-through wonderments. Remember what it was like to see the whole world light up around you as a child? Make sure to share those memories with your family! Many cities host a “tacky light tour” – meaning an area where lots of people have dressed up their homes for Christmas. Some offer rather expensive limousine tours or carriage rides, and a lot of botanical gardens also put on a show as a profitable way to stay open for business during the dormant season. We recently took our daughter, toted in wagon, to a festival of lights here in Virginia, and the “Wows” and “Whoas” that came out of her little 13 month old mouth just melted my heart with the holiday spirit. 

Play “Snowed In”
This idea is perfect for the growing family. The younger kids will eat up the imaginative play, and your older kids will secretly delight in it as well! The game is simple – pretend that your family is snowed in the house for a weekend. 12 feet of snow encompass your entire house, you’re stuck. Let your little ones show their survival skills in setting up a family “nest” of blankets in the living room; the place where for the next 48 hours you’ll watch movies together, play board games and share family memories. How about a pizza? No can do – the delivery man would never make it! In advance, stock up on supplies that will allow your kids to be creative in the kitchen and make their own special dishes.  A perfect family retreat without leaving your own home! You’ll be amazed at the bonding your family does in this short time. (Also a great idea for couples looking to reignite a relationship!)

Snow Treasure Island Hunt
Who doesn’t like a good mystery? Get the whole family involved in this chilly weathered treasure hunt. Bury a chest of goodies out in the snow and create a map with clues on how to find the prize. Argh, matey! No snow in your neck of the woods? Try an indoor hunt, with hidden spaces like inside the dryer or under the stairwell. Check out the full details over at Disney’s Family Fun

Create a Little Winter Wonderland
We have all seen them, in store windows across America, those little decorative towns with perfectly painted houses and people, lampposts with working lights and dainty little cobblestone walkways. As a child, I could stare at the little utopia for house, imagining what it would be like to be in it. 

If you’re like me, you know that you don’t have the time or money to create such a Christmas ambience in your home. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help your children create their own. Given a table top and some stuffing (to be used as snow, of course), help your little one come up with a world all their own, with recycled shoe boxes, empty cocoa tins, Lego men, block sets, dolls, and action figures. The holidays are a time of coming together, and toys should be no exception. You’ll be smiling on your child’s little utopia until the snow melts away in the spring. 

Mush! Mush! Be a Snow Guide
For toddlers, it can be hard getting around in a snowsuit! (Not to mention bending your arms and legs and learning what mittens are!) That doesn’t mean that they should be left out of the winter fun, though. Children of this age love to go for walks, and this is the perfect opportunity to pull them along in a sled and point out the different objects around you. Trees, pinecones, wreaths, cardinal – with most of the world around you dusted in white, it’ll be easy for your little one to point out the pops of colors they see. Don’t forget though! The sun can be bright for those little eyes when reflected off the snow. Pack along a pair of sunglasses and make sure to put some Vaseline on those cheeks to keep them from getting chapped!


Holly, thank you so much for this wonderful guest post and all your incredible ideas, both in here and in your series Fall Family Challenge! 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It Finally Happened

Pin It Now! It's been over 2 years but it finally happened...I'm sick!  I have been so lucky that it's been that long.  I think I have some kind of super immunity from my days teaching.  But my luck has worn out and yesterday afternoon I started feeling kind of crummy.  One of my friends that I hadn't seen in a long time invited us to their Christmas Lighting Party and since I had just started feeling under the weather, not even sure I was sick yet, we went a head and went (now I feel so bad about going, I really hope no one else gets sick).  But by bedtime last night, I knew I was really sick.  Congested, coughing, sore throat, achy body, headache, but luckily no fever.  

Eric offered to stay home today but he missed work yesterday, he had a dentist appointment in the morning and I had a doctor's appointment in the afternoon (completely unrelated to this).  So I know missing another day would put him so far behind and I didn't want to do that to him, so I'm toughing it out.  So far it's not too bad, it amazing what a little medicine can do.  I don't feel great but much better than I did this morning when I woke up.  Hopefully I'll get over this soon and without anyone else in our family catching it.

On to more exciting (and interesting) things.  For the past 2 weeks or so, Avery and I have been working on learning different body parts.  She's still not always a fan of getting her diaper changed so I decided that teaching her body parts during that time would be perfect, a great distraction.  Now, she can show you where her nose, ears, eyes, mouth, head, feet, hands, arms, legs, knees, elbow, fingers, and belly button are.  She can also say nose, mouth, head, feet, belly button, and elbow.  Well, kind of say, as well as you would expect from a 14 month old!  Since she's doing so well at that, we have also started working on what animals say.  She can now tell you what a horse, cow, and sheep say.  It's so cute!  I just can't get over how much she has changed in the last few months.  It's so fun to watch her grow, learn, and change!

Avery has also gotten so much more interested in books lately.  Before she would listen to them if I started reading but she had a short attention span for most books and it always had to be me that initiated the reading.  Well, now she will bring me books through out that day.  She'll carry it over to me, say book, and then sign please.  After I read it once, she'll usually sign more please and we'll read it again (not uncommon for this pattern to happen up to 10 times).  She definitely has her favorite books, she loves Good Morning, Good Night, On the Move, Peek-a-Boo Kisses, The Petting Zoo, and Pat the Bunny.  I love seeing her develop a love for reading and books, makes me so happy!

On the Christmas front, I have finished all the shopping for our family and my family (and have for about a week now) but haven't started Eric's family at all.  It's not my fault though, Eric won't tell me what to get them!  I keep telling him that I am happy to go get everything, all he has to do is give me some ideas but he keeps procrastinating.  I really hope he comes up with something soon, I do not want to be stuck doing too much last minute shopping.