Saturday, October 29, 2011

We love this time of year...

This is my favorite time of year. The chill in the air, the beautiful colors of the trees and activities to keep us busy until the real cold hits. 

We've been spending a lot of time outside enjoying the the sunny cool days. Little Man spends time digging through leaves trying to find the best to add to his pile. 

He has been loving his remote control cars he received as gifts for his birthday. He likes to the jeep off-roading through the grass and over the little bumps in the yard. It gets stuck in mud sometimes though... 

We pull out the red wagon and CJ will ride while we go for walks. Or Little Man will put things in the wagon, like his Buzz Lightyear or all the pumpkins from our porch and take them for a walk.

We didn't make it out to the Pumpkin patch this year, but the hardware store had lots of pumpkins to choose from. I think Little Man had as much fun looking at all the Fall decorations and the Christmas decorations they already had out as he would have at a pumpkin patch. We let Little Man hand paint 2 pumpkins, then he decided to paint himself as well!

He also enjoyed helping his Daddy prep another pumpkin for carving. We thought he'd be excited to reach in and pull out the "guts" of the pumpkins- but he wouldn't touch it without a spoon!

We  have been making home made decorations, like pumpkins to go in the windows, witches and spooky spiders hanging from the arches in our kitchen. 

Little Man also enjoyed decorating the house with some things we've had on hand since before he arrived.

CJ received a Buzz Lightyear costume as a present and we have been working with him on saying 
"Trick or Treat". 

We also went to see Yo Gabba Gabba! Live, and wow... what a show! Little Man had such a good time, he loved the confetti flying through the air and dancing around to some of his favorite songs. We made him a shirt to wear to the show since I had a hard time finding toddler sized YGG apparel online. 

We are heading out to a Halloween carnival this afternoon and visiting with some family in from out of town tonight. Then it will be trick or treating on Monday. Busy time of year, but it's all fun... making decorations with your children, going on leaf hunts, baking treats, and just spending time with family. I think this is why this is my favorite time of the year!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Guest Post- Beating Those Autumn Time Blues for Free as a Family

Beating Those Autumn Time Blues for Free as a Family
Article submitted by Kathleen Thomas on behalf of Primrose Schools

About the author of this guest post:
Kathleen is a Marketing Support Coordinator for the Atlanta day care facility, a member of the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose Schools (located in 16 states throughout the U.S.) and part of the network of day care preschools delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum.

Beating Those Autumn Time Blues for Free as a Family

Are you tired of hearing "I'm bored." Well, the crisp air and the colorful leaves make autumn the perfect season to spend family time outdoors. Grab some jackets and soak up the stunning scenery. Don't let your children wile away the beauty of fall, playing video games or surfing the Web.
Research indicates that children who participate in nature improve their problem-solving abilities, confidence, cooperative skills, and even test scores. By allowing your children to explore and rely on their imagination when undertaking activities, they will enhance their creativity. Boredom will be a thing of the past.
By planning family fun activities for when schools and day care centers are closed and giving children a taste of the great outdoors in the beautiful fall weather, you can fight the ennui. Family fun activities don't have to break the bank. A little imagination goes a long way. Searching for ideas? Here are 10 wallet-friendly ways to beat boredom outdoors this autumn:
  1. Apple Picking – Take part in the fall harvest with a trip to the local apple orchard. Meander around picking apples with your family. Take the apples home and let the kids participate in making apple pies and homemade apple sauce with the bounty.
  2. Take a Hike – Soak up the beauty of nature by hitting the trails. Find a local hiking area that offers clear, safe, established trails, exciting scenery, and a little exercise. Allow the children time to explore the area and just enjoy each other's company. Pack a picnic lunch and stop half-way through for a healthy meal. For adventurous types with slightly older children, enlist the help of a seasoned hiker and take a full moon hike. Bask in the magical, quiet, hour.
  3. Play da Vinci – Purchase an inexpensive sketch pad for each child. Give them a box of crayons or colored pencils and head to a park that is rich in fall colors. Let the children wander around, drawing their surroundings. Collect some leaves so that they can create leaf rubbings to preserve the essence of fall. Be sure to pick-up items in nature that can be used for art projects on rainy days.
  4. Pumpkin Patch Fun – Farms are captivating places to visit during the fall harvest. As Halloween approaches, pumpkins take center stage. Take a family trip to a pumpkin patch. Participate in any fun activities, such as hay rides or a corn maze. Allow the children to walk around and pick their favorite pumpkin. When you return home, play some festive music, perhaps serve some gingersnaps and warm spiced cider, and let the games begin. Have each child draw their desired jack-o-lantern face onto their pumpkin using a marker. Then depending on age, either help them carve the pumpkin or carve it yourself. This will put them in the Halloween spirit.
  5. Star-Gazing – Astronomy is fascinating and it's not just a classroom activity. Pick-up a stargazing guidebook from the library. Be sure that it illustrates the locations of constellations. On a clear night with no moon, find a dark area away from lights. Put down a blanket so that the whole family can stretch out on their backs and gaze up at the stars. Using the guidebook, take turns identifying constellations.
  6. Send the Kids on a Mission – A scavenger hunt is the perfect way to keep kids' attention. Go to a park or other area of nature where fall is in full bloom. Write out a list of items for the children to find in nature and then let them loose. Not only will they get physical activity and have a blast, they'll also learn about the different leaves, trees, seeds, and more.
  7. Game Time – Add a little competition to your family time. Play a game such as basketball, soccer, flag football, or whatever your family enjoys. If your family isn't large enough for two teams, invite neighbors or friends to join you for a friendly game. Pair smaller children with bigger children on each team to even out the playing field. Kids will learn teamwork and cooperation.
  8. Obstacle Course – Set up an obstacle course with fun twists, such as puzzle solving. Invite some of the children's friends over and get ready for the peals of laughter. The whole family will enjoy being active in the fresh air. Of course, let the littlest ones have a head start.
  9. Rake Some Leaves – Raking leaves can seem like a chore. But children will feel important being able to help the adults. So grab your family and start raking. For added fun, create big piles of leaves and jump in!
  10. Take a Bike Ride – Bike rides surrounded by the vibrant colors of autumn are a simple pleasure. Spend quality family time together by choosing a route and going for a ride. Take note of the changes in nature
Autumn is truly magical. Immerse your children in nature and beat boredom with outdoor activities for the fall. There is no need to spend a lot of money. The natural scenery is free and taking advantage of it just requires some creativity and planning. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A year ago today...

A year ago today I began this blog. I had an idea of where I wanted to take it. But I haven't reached that yet, and that's okay. As you can see on my side note, this blog is about everything in the world and nothing in particular- which makes no sense. But such is life. Life doesn't make sense. But if everything was figured out, if we knew how everything was to turn out what fun would it be? Where would the surprises be? So while this blog hasn't blossomed to what I wanted, it has turned into being a place for friends and family to catch up on my little family, a place for other Mom's to find relate-able topics and a place for me to find peace by writing what's on my mind.

Readers of this blog have seen the ups and downs I've been through with raising my blessing I call Little Man. With topics such as the sadness you feel watching your child grow out of infancy, venting, and the occasional mommy mind. I have found an outlet with this blog, and in time's it's helped me get through some difficult things. Many remember this past April when I wrote about the tortured feeling of not knowing if your child is alive or not.  It took a few days to get everything out, but after I did and read it I felt relief not to be carrying those feelings around as heavy as I did. 

I've also had some fun along the way. Two pieces I've wrote wound up in the book Beyond the Diaper Bag. I've been featured on Gabba Friends, as well as in Charlotte Parent magazine. Little Man and Me just held it's first giveaway, and there are many other things coming up in the future for this blog! Exciting things! 

So I wanted to say thank you. Thanks for taking time out of your day to read my random thoughts, and for helping to inspire me more!

Thank you for being a reader of Little Man and Me!


Miranda & Little Man

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Don't forget...

If you are entering to win the FREE Farm Rich product, leaving a blog post comment is mandatory! All other entries are optional (although if you do them, you raise your chances of winning!). 

Go here to read about the give away and the rules!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Farm Rich Review and Giveaway!

I have a weakness for cheese sticks, so when I was contacted to do a Farm Rich product review and giveaway I was really excited!

I picked up a bag of my favorite, cheese sticks, along with some of my favorite marinara sauce. You get a large amount in a bag so they are a great for entertaining. Or pop some in the oven for a quick snack for your family. Like I said, I have a weakness for cheese sticks... sometimes after Little Man goes down for a nap I'll make a few to enjoy while catching up on some of my DVR shows. And since CJ's naps seem to be getting shorter lately I love the fact that it only takes about 10 minutes to cook just a few. 

Farm Rich has a large selection of products from mozzarella bites to meatballs. You can check out more about Farm Rich and the products they offer along with some awesome recipes- Farm Rich

I would recommend Farm Rich to other families, especially Moms who are looking for something to enjoy while taking a moment to unwind!

Wanna try out a Farm Rich product for free? Here is your chance! 
Farm Rich is giving TWO readers of Little Man and Me vouchers to receive a free product. Awesome deal, huh?

Here are the details on how to enter:

Mandatory Entry- 
Comment that you would like to be entered to win

For additional entries you can- 
"Like" Little Man and Me on Facebook
"Like" Farm Rich on Facebook
Share the love! Share this blog post with your Facebook friends so they can have a chance to win. 

The winners will be chosen at random on October 18th 2011 (which just so happens to be the 1 year anniversary of the start of this blog!). Contest is open to US residents 18 years of age or older only. Winners will be contacted by email and given 48 hours to respond. 

You can use this Rafflecopter form to enter below- good luck!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sit down to read. Stand up for children.

Tonight me and CJ read Llama Llama Red Pajama, one of his favorite books of all time. Tonight was a little different though- we were participating to set a reading record and help Jumpstart's Read for the Record.

You can participate too!

<Jumpstart's Read for the Record

Monday, October 3, 2011

Little Man's ShrekTacular 2nd Birthday!!!

Today my Little Man turns the BIG 2! We celebrated yesterday with a Shrek extravaganza. You may or may not know, but Shrek party supplies are a bit on the difficult side to find. We were forced to get extra creative to make this a ShrekTacular party. 

As the guests arrived they were greeted by a banner with some of our favorite Shrek characters!

I made CJ a special birthday banner to hang over the dessert table from scrapbook paper.

We set up a table with all of the goody bags for the kids to take home. Each little guest had a canvas tote bag with their name and inside were Shrek coloring books, stickers, home made "ogre-doh", temporary tattoos for the boys and little tiaras for the girls. There were Shrek silly bands for the older kids. 

We made cookies embellished with 2 on them as well as gingy cookies. 

A plush Donkey guarded the food table. We also had two small pumpkins and a jar of eyeballs as decoration. 

I made home made cake pops and wrapped blocks of styrofoam to display them on the dessert table. They were so yummy, and easy to make! 

A fabulous local baker made CJ's Shrek swamp house cake.

The dessert table- what a spread!

I decorated store bought cupcakes with home made cupcake toppers.

I made little cards with some quotes from the Shrek movies and put them out around the food and dessert.

I made Little Man a special Shrek Birthday shirt. I didn't get a really good picture of the front.

All of the kids really enjoyed playing in CJ's new playhouse!

And he had a blast opening up all of his wonderful presents!

The last picture taken of the day, which was the last picture of me with my ONE year old.

What a wonderful day we had spending it with our wonderful family and friends. Our little family is so blessed with so many great people. It still seems like it was only yesterday we brought him home from the hospital, were feeding every couple of hours and watching him take his first steps. And today my Little Man turns TWO (sniffle). 

Also, I made a video and showed it at the party. It is pictures and special moments of our Little Man from the last two years.