Make Road Trips With Kids Safe and Fun with These Five Preparations {Plus A DIY Interactive Travel Map}

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FuelTheLove #CollectiveBias  Make road trips with kids safe and fun with these five preparations!

Make Road Trips with Kids Safe and Fun #FuelTheLove ad #CollectiveBias

Summer means road trips for a lot of families in America.  The roads are busy with families traveling to different destinations, family reunions, theme parks, and more.  Summer for us looks a little different, because this is Hubby's biggest time of the year.  He is a youth minister and spends a good amount of time traveling with his youth group, going to camps and service projects.  This also means that the boys and I are traveling a lot to spend time with Grammy and Grampy and our other family members while Daddy is away.

It's so important to have the van all ready to go before we leave.  Hubby and I work together to make sure these important tasks are done before we head out.

1.  Check tires, lights, and wipers to make sure they are road trip ready.  Doing this a few days before your trip makes your departure a lot less stressful!

2.  Buy or prepare a first aid kit in case of emergency.  Also, always have blankets handy in the cold weather, along with water, extra clothes, and plenty of snacks in case you are stranded on the side of the road for a while. 

3.  Check carseats, booster seats, and seat belts the day before you leave.  I always like to take the carseats out, clean them, have the kids sit in them and make sure the straps are adjusted properly, and reinstall them in the van.  Carseats should be comfortable for the kids, but the straps should be adjusted correctly and snug enough to actually protect the kids in case of an accident.

4.  Organize all DVDs, tablets, games, and any other suppies your child may need before you leave.  Make them easily accessible so they don't need help reaching things.  Pinterest has a lot of great ideas for this!  Keep in mind that it is good to have everything anchored down in case of a car accident.  Anything that isn't secured to the car will fly and become dangerous in an accident.  

Have LOTS of fun activities handy and available for kids to grab without unbuckling their carseats.  I created this quick DIY interactive travel map for the boys to be able to visualize our trip and see how much further we have to travel.  I just printed out a map of our trip and taped it to a cookie sheet.  Then, I printed out a picture of a van and the names of a few towns we would be going through.  I then attached all of the printouts to a magnet strip so the map can be interactive and the pieces can be movable.  You could do this with states, landmarks, directions, and more.

DIY Interactive Map for Kids #FuelTheLove ad

The Captain, 6, loves to read signs and ask about towns, cities, distances, directions, and more, so this project is perfect for him.  He can label the town when we get to it, or plan out the trip.  He can match the town name to the one on the map, too.  He loves moving the car to our current destination!

DIY Interactive Map for Kids #FuelTheLove ad

5.  Have your car's oil changed before you leave on your trip.  This is so important and so, so easy at Walmart.  They have a great Automotive Care Center that will do everything to prepare your car's engine for the road. Their trained employees will make sure your car is taken care of and will help you select the oil that is right for your engine.  And the best part is that you can drop your car off, shop for your road trip essentials, and pick up your car when you are done.  It's so easy and convenient!

When we drove up to the Auto Care Center, we saw a sign that helped us make our decision as to which Pennzoil oil to use.  

  • Conventional Motor Oil – Good (yellow bottle)
  • High Mileage Vehicle – Better (goldish/brown bottle – suggested when car milage is above 75,000)
  • Platinum (synthetic motor oil) – Best (silver bottle – Now made from natural gas)

Make Road Trips with Kids Safe and Fun #FuelTheLove ad

Since our van has over 75,000 miles, we went with "Better" for high mileage vehicles.  The Auto Care Center specialist quickly came to our car and asked a few questions, including what oil we would like.  She was very friendly and answered any questions we had about the oil change.  We left the keys in the van and unloaded the family to go inside and shop for our road trip.  When our van was finished, they called our name over the speaker and let us know it was ready.  When we were ready, we paid for our groceries and went back to the Auto Care Center to pick up the van.

Make Road Trips with Kids Safe and Fun #FuelTheLove ad All of the staff in the Auto Care Center were very knowledgeable and friendly.  The checkout was quick and easy and we didn't have unhappy kids waiting around while the van's oil was changed.  

Make Road Trips with Kids Safe and Fun #FuelTheLove ad

I know I can trust the Auto Care Center at Walmart for our road trip preparation.  And the best part is Pennzoil oil changes at Walmart are on Rollback through September 9th.  

  • High Mileage $35.88, compared to the regular Walmart price of $39.88. {Industry standard price is $46}
  • Platinum Full Synthetic $45.88, compared to the regular Walmart price of $49.88. {Industry standard price $66}

Pennzoil motor oil for high mileage vehicles is great because:

  • They help clean out sludge that other oils leave behind.
  • Designed for complete protection
  • Will allow you to drive an extra 550 miles per year vs. a dirty engine
  • Provides the best protection from friction
  • Helps to reduce leaks and oil consumption in worn or higher mileage vehicles
  • Pennzoil offers a free warranty that covers 15 engine parts that may fail due to engine wear or friction.

We are ready for our summer road trips with these five easy preparations!  

 

How do you make sure your road trips with kids are fun and safe?

Adventure + Education = The Wild Kratts! New DVD Out April 14th

This Wild Kratts post was brought to you by PBS Distribution.  All opinions are mine.

The Captain and D love anything and everything about animals. There are a lot of animal shows, but the one they both love and enjoy immensely is Wild Kratts.  The Captain has been a mega fan for about two years now, and still dresses up as Chris Kratt and D is Martin Kratt, of course!  They loved their Wild Kratts birthday party a couple of years ago, and still talk about how awesome it was!

Wild Kratts partyAlong with being loads of fun, the boys have learned so much from this awesome show!  I love TV shows that actually teach something instead of being silly the whole time.  The boys have learned about extinct animals like the Tasmanian tiger, cool birds like the Peregrine Falcon, and much more.

The Captain has seen just about every episode of the Wild Kratts, but having them grouped into thematic shows is awesome!  He flipped out when we received this new DVD in the mail.  Wild Kratts:  Shark-Tastic! is available April 14th and includes four episodes, two of which are bonus episodes.  The Wild Kratts talk about great white sharks, dolphins, and other sea creatures, like a hawksbill turtle, a tiger shark, a giant pacific octopus, a bowhead whale, a manta ray, and many more!

Shark-Tastic

In each episode of Wild Kratts, Chris and Martin Kratt take us on animal powered adventures.  In each episode, the Kratt Brothers are transformed into animated versions of themselves and the real life zoologists visit wild animals in their habitats and showcase key science concepts along the way.  Wild Kratts:  Shark-Tastic! contains these four episodes:  "Octopus Wildkratticus," "Tortuga Tune Up," "Speaking Dolphinese," and "Stuck on Sharks."

Wild Kratts airs weekdays on PBS KIDS.  Check your local listings and don't miss an episode!

Six Tips To Help Parents Get More Sleep

 Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Restonic and I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own. #GoToBed  Six tips to help parents get more sleep

I frequently joke that I haven't gotten a full night's sleep for about 7 years now.  I used to be able to sleep through the night, but then around the second trimester with the Captain, I had to wake up multiple times a night.  I either had to use the restroom, or my hips or back were hurting.  Then, of course, he was born and my sleep was interrupted by a crying baby….often.  He did not sleep through the night until he was about 18 months old, and even then, it was not every night.  Through three pregnancies, three newborns, multiple moves, sicknesses, and more, I can honestly count on one hand the nights I have slept 6 consecutive hours.  Baby Brother, at 16 months old, is working on sleeping all night long, and does great sometimes, but other times, not so much.  I crave a 20 minute "siesta" after lunch on most days!  

People do not realize how your sleep takes a drastic hit once you have kids.  Now, if you are one of the lucky ones who has a baby that sleeps through the night consistently, do know that you ARE lucky!  I have heard stories of parents with six year olds who still wake up in the night.  

The Captain did not sleep through the night consistently until D moved in his room when the Captain was 4 1/2!  It seems he just needed to know someone was nearby and thankfully, his little brother sleeping in the same room helped.  Hallelujah!  But there have also been nights when everyone is sick and we are up multiple times a night.  When Baby Brother was a newborn, I made this meme to add humor to our situation because for awhile, this was all too true:

wake up our parentsWe are on the verge of it all being behind us (hopefully!) but it isn't quite funny yet.  Some kids just don't sleep well and unfortunately, 2/3 of our sons are like that.  That's okay…we have learned to make the most out of our son's sleep habits and are counting our blessings for our one good sleeper.

Six Tips To Help Parents Get More Sleep

We have spent six and a half years thinking about, craving, and not getting enough sleep.  So, I consider myself a professional of parenting while not getting adequate sleep, and I have compiled a list of five tips to help every parent get more sleep, no matter what kind of sleeper you were blessed with!

1. Reevaluate bedtimes.  We found that no matter what, the Captain would wake up at 7:15 on the dot, most days.  We discovered that he was sleepy by 8 PM and so I started aiming for 8 for their bedtime.  This gives us more time to catch up on chores, veg out in front of the TV for a few minutes, spend time together, and finally, get to bed at a decent hour.  Every parent needs a little downtime, and bedtimes don't have to be super early or super late, just do what works best for your family's sleep needs.

2.  Don't be afraid to train kids to help themselves in the morning.  I know, I know, this might sound horrible, but there comes a time when kids are old enough to be independent.  We told the Captain that if he couldn't help waking up at 7:15, that he didn't have to wake us up until 8.  Call us lazy, but those extra 45 minutes are blissful, especially after the baby has been up during the night!  I sat down with the Captain, who is 6, and wrote out a list of things he could do in the morning.  He isn't allowed to watch or use a "screen" until 7:30, to allow his body to wake up naturally and so he doesn't think he can get up at 6 AM and watch TV.  He can pour himself a bowl of cereal, read books, color, etc.  Now, it took some training and a lot of worrying on my part.  I checked on him a lot during those first few mornings, and coached him through it.  He loves this special time when he is the only one awake and he knows what he cannot do.  I trust him to be safe and he likes the independence.  And on the days when D wakes up before we do, the Captain loves taking care of him and helping him with his cereal.

3.  Go to bed!  Set a timer for the time you want to be in bed.  Get everything you need to get done before that time and if you're not done, save it for tomorrow.  And, either leave your phone in the other room, or set another timer so that you will only spend 5 minutes on your phone and then turn it off (or silence it.)  Smart phones are a great convenience, but really do mess with sleep!  Go to sleep!

4.  Use a sound machine and put the baby monitor in the other room.  I leave the monitor in our bathroom, close the door, and I still hear him when he gets up.  I don't need to hear every single sleep noise, only when he needs me.  And the sound machine drowns out the annoying noises like birds in the morning, kid's sleep talking and noises, and more, but isn't so loud that it drowns out crying and yelling "Mommy!" when someone has a nightmare.

5.  Don't be afraid to nap.  Naps save me, no lie.  I am both lucky and cursed that I can only sleep for about 15-20 minutes and then I'm up.  Naps are a great way to recharge midday.

6.  Most importantly, don't take your sleep for granted.  It's simply not true that you can ever "catch up" on your sleep, so sleep when it's time and don't sacrifice your sleep for things that just don't matter and can wait until tomorrow.  Because you never know when the kids will be up sick or having a nightmare in the middle of the night!

 Visit Restonic for more information about getting a good night's sleep!  And make sure to follow Restonic on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news.  And follow the #GoToBed hashtag on social media channels, as well.

Fill Those Easter Eggs With A Better Easter Candy {free Easter word search printable and giveaway}

This Easter candy post has been brought to you by YumEarth.  All opinions are mine.

Easter CandyEveryone knows that my first choice for candy for the boys is YumEarth.  We've used it for all of the major holidays, in the homeschool treasure box, and even in last year's Easter eggs.  The boys all have a sweet tooth and while moderation is important, I think it is okay to let them splurge and be kids once in awhile.  I just prefer to give them the best candy, with best possible ingredients.

Here is a chart to help you differentiate between the different types of YumEarth candy:

yumearth

The boys are always excited to see a bag of YumEarth candy because they know it will be delicious!  I think the older boys love Sour Beans the best and Baby Brother really enjoys YumEarth fruit snacks.  They will definitely be in this year's Easter eggs.  Grab some today from Walgreens or Amazon.  Check out the YumEarth website for more information.

Make sure to enter to win some YumEarth candy in the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post, but first, check out this adorable Easter word search…perfect for family get togethers, Easter morning, or a homeschool activity.  Just click on it to open up a printable PDF.Easterwordsearch

Easter Candy Giveaway

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Spring Fashion For Boys That We ALL Can Agree On!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carter’s. I received a complimentary gift card to facilitate my review as thanks for my participation. All opinions in this spring fashion for boys post are my own.  #SpringIntoCarters #IC

#SpringIntoCarters #IC

Winter was long and cold, and we had record snowfalls in Texas!  While it was fun, we are so glad that spring is here and we can enjoy the sunshine outdoors.  Spring means green grass, flowers, Easter, and FUN!  I wanted to get the boys matching outfits to wear to church on Easter Sunday and for spring pictures, but apparently the Captain is "over" matching with his brothers, so we settled on coordinating outfits.  We went to Carter's and were greeted with adorable clothes in gorgeous spring colors.  The Easter shop at Carter's is full of vibrant colors, florals for girls, and new classics for boys.  You can go with dressy styles, coordinating accessories, and even "My First Easter" products for babies.

#SpringIntoCarters #adWhile I wanted to choose everything, I let the boys go with the mission of finding something that fit their individual styles.  D immediately went to a beautiful blue shirt …. of course!  He loves blue!  He held on to that shirt for the duration of our shopping trip.  He was so proud!  Then, the Captain worked with D's choice to find a cute plaid short sleeved shirt and some khaki pants.  I then visited the baby boy section to pick out the most adorable navy blue romper with marlins on it for Baby Brother.  We were set and everyone was happy!  Oh and Carter's always has great sales, which makes Mom and Dad happy.

#SpringIntoCarters #ad

After we had agreed on Easter Sunday outfits, I let them choose a few other items and I visited the clearance section.  The Captain loves sports clothes more than just about anything, so I let him pick out this outfit, that he wears every chance he gets, like during this trip to the zoo.
#SpringIntoCartersAll of the clothes at Carter's are stylish, comfortable, and fun!  There is definitely something for all personalities.  While we were there, I also picked up a set of adorable long sleeved onesies for Baby Brother.  They are so soft and comfortable.  I love to dress him in these at night because they don't ride up and expose his back while he sleeps.  They are also great for chilly spring days.#SpringIntoCarters #ad

Through April 5th, you can save 50% off of everything in the store!  BUT, before heading to Carter's to stock up on the new spring essentials such as tees, shorts, tunics, leggings, tops, polos, dresses, skirts, and much more, print out this coupon to save even more.  Or log on to Carters.com and use the code to save big without leaving your home.  (Note that this savings coupon expires April 5, 2015.)  Check out the Swim Shop while you're there and get ready for warmer days, now up through sizes 7-12.  I'll be going back to pick up some swimwear with UPF 50+.carters_0326_marchblogger_coupon

The New, Simple Way To Protect The Sheets from Bedwetting – PeapodMats {giveaway, too!}

This post that shows you how to protect the sheets from bedwetting is brought to you by PeapodMats.  All opinions are mine.

PeapodMats for BedwettingWhen kids and pets are in your house, it seems like accidents always happen.  Even with the best diapers or overnight protection, there seems to always be those nights when someone drinks way too much before bedtime and is far too sleepy to wake up and use the restroom.  Or when somone is sick with a tummy bug and can't make it to the trash can in time.  You know how it is!  Most often for us, however, it is an unanticipated, unknown deluge in the middle of the night.  I'll go check on the kids at 2 AM and D will be soaked and snoozing right through it.  So, I change him while he is half asleep, but I don't want to change all of the sheets on the bed, along with a mattress protector underneath.  So what's an easier solution?  Something that lays over the mattress that the child sleeps on!  I've tried this, actually…I threw a towel over the sheet, but it got all bunched up, wasn't comfortable, and didn't really absorb as much as you would think.

PeapodMats were created with parents in mind.  They lie flat on top of sheets and stay in place with a grippy material underneath.  This allows kids to sleep comfortably in bed without bunching underneath.  There is also no "plastic crinkle" sound every time the child turns over!  

PeapodMats

The PeapodMats are made with three layers –

TOP:  cotton terry for comfort and breathability, stitched grid to prevent bunching

MIDDLE:  cushioning fibers to absorb moisture

BOTTOM:  coated and brushed to prevent leaking and to grip surfaces

Unlike other products for kids, PeapodMats can be used for a lot of different purposes after bedwetting is over.  Think pregnancy, birthing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, travel mat, vehicle seat protector, beach mat, park mat, tummy time mat, changing mat, playpen mat, bathing mat, nap mat, sleepovers, campouts, adult incontinence, bedrest, and much, much more.  

PeapodMats come in different sizes and colors.  Check out the helpful PeapodMats website for more information.  Visit their "Retailers" information to purchase, or visit Amazon to see what's in stock!  

Win a 3×3 PeapodMat, available in winner's choice of color, (in stock colors only.)  Enter in the Rafflecopter form below!  US only, one entry per day, per household.  Good luck!
PeapodMats for Bedwetting giveaway

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Our Disney World Adventure (Including How We Told The Boys!)

Back in October, we decided to plan a trip with a homeschooling group on their Disney World trip.  Families from all over the country planned to venture to Walt Disney World in Florida the first week of March, and we were very fortunate to be able to go.  We somehow managed to wait until two days before we left to tell the boys, and we did so with a fun scavenger hunt and final reveal…a video of Daddy and I telling them we were going to leave the cold weather and go to Disney World on Monday!  We had an absolute blast and I'm sure you will hear more about it later, but first…check out this fun video of our boys learning they were going to Disney World for the very first time!!  

So many people have said to wait until the boys were older so they could remember the trip, but this was just a perfect opportunity and in all honesty, they were the perfect age.  The Captain and D both love Disney Junior, still, so they were able to enjoy that part of Hollywood Studios together, along with Baby Brother.  D was too short for a few rides, but he's also very agreeable and happily went to other rides with Baby Brother and me.  Baby Brother was very easy going and made this whole experience the more wonderful.  And yes, he won't remember this trip, but his brothers will, and we will, and those memories are ones to cherish.  We didn't like the idea of having to wait until our youngest was 8 to enjoy a family vacation.  We are SO GLAD that we went.  It was magical, fun, and such a great vacation!

Disney World

And by the way, if you insist on waiting until all of your children will remember….my husband went to Disney when he was 11 and does not remember much, at all.  ha!  So sometimes, you never know!

Have you been to Disney World or Disney Land?  I'd love to hear about it!

Avoid The Doctor’s Office with Doctor on Demand {free code}

All three of the boys were born during cold and flu season.  I always hated bundling them up and hauling them to a waiting room full of people with various illnesses.  Thankfully, they never caught anything from the doctor's office (that happens later when they touch everything,) but it still would have been nice to have other options.  Well, now you have a great option for staying home when you definitely do not feel like going anywhere.  Doctor on Demand is a healthcare service that allows parents and kids to stay in the comfort of their own home and receive quality medical attention.  Patients can receive Video Visits with board certified physicians, psychologists, and even lactation consultants via smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers.

A few months ago, I tried out the Doctor on Demand app for the first time.  It was fantastic for helping with Baby Brother's bad face eczema.  We were between well child check-ups and I did not want to lug three kids to the doctor and pay an insane fee, but we did need medical advice.  Perfect scenario for Doctor on Demand.  Another good opportunity came up recently where the staff at the boys' clinic actually called to ask if we would wait until Spring to bring the older two boys in for their well child check-ups because they had been having SO many come in with the flu and other viruses.  Of course I said yes, but that also meant that we had to delay asking about a few things for the boys.  That's when I knew Doctor on Demand would come to the rescue, again.

I opened up the Doctor on Demand app and entered all of the Captain's info…age, symptoms, etc.  We then were put in a virtual "waiting room" while we were connected to a doctor.  The wait was about 2 minutes, which was beyond reasonable.  I wait 2 minutes just to see the receptionist at the boys' clinic.

doctor on demand

We were connected to Dr. Olson.  He was very kind and introduced himself to the Captain and I. That's another thing about Doctor on Demand….you do NOT have to get dressed up and ready to go to the doctor when you feel bad already.  Look at my crazy hair!  I don't even care!  Doctor on Demand

Dr. Olson was so nice to us and listened to what I had to say.  He had me use the app to take a picture of a rash that the Captain had and send it to him.  He looked at it after it sent and made a diagnosis.  He then gave information about how to treat it and take care of it, and offered to call in a prescription to treat it, as well.  He also said that if it did not clear up in 2 weeks, to follow up with his regular physician.

With our insurance, a visit like this with the Captain's doctor would have been around $120.  (We don't pay copays, but do have a low deductible.)  Add in the cost of gas and loading up three kids in the van, sitting in the waiting room, being exposed to other sick people, waiting at the drugstore, etc.  Doctor on Demand saved us SO MUCH time, money, and possibly more sickness.  (While we were given a code to use for a free visit, it would have cost $40 for a 15 minute call.)

Doctor on Demand has a great promotion for the month of February.  First time visits are FREE this month!  If you think you or someone in your family has the flu?  Free consultation with a doctor.  Weird looking rash?  Free consultation with a doctor.  Then, if you do end up needing to follow up with your regular doctor, you won't be out any extra money.  Sounds great, huh?  Use code "CAPTAIN15" for your first FREE Doctor on Demand call!

I was also thrilled to see that you can visit with lactation consultants and psychologists.  Do you know how many people NEED to visit a lactation consultant or psychologist but don't due to anxiety, transportation issues, fussy babies, or other reasons?  I think that Doctor on Demand is doing a fabulous service for the people that truly need it the most.  

Learn more at the Doctor on Demand website and download the app today!

#FeelBetter

Encourage Independence With A Packing Checklist for Kids {free printable + giveaway, too!}

This packing checklist for kids shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GNKroger #CollectiveBias

 

#GNKroger #CollectiveBias restroom

Our boys are six and four and LOVE the idea of going to stay the night at their grandparents' houses.  They love their grandparents, but they still get a bit anxious when being away from home without us.  They do have each other, thank goodness, because I do not think they would actually stay at Grandma's house otherwise.  I want them to be comfortable when sleeping away from home and the first step to being comfortable is to take things that they are familiar with that provide comfort.  I also like to encourage independence by making a packing checklist for them to think about what they need, what the weather will be like, and what will make them feel most comfortable and enjoy the night at Grandma's.  (Click the image below for a free printable to download.)

 

Packing Checklist for kids

D is four and has been potty trained since he was two and a half.  He potty trained pretty easily, but we soon learned that night time was a whole different ball game!  We learned that bedwetting really has nothing to do with daytime potty training.  Many parents don't realize that bedwetting is a fairly common, developmental condition and they can't "train" their child out of it.  We did a lot of things like try to limit drinks after a certain time (yeah right!  If  my child is thirsty, I want him to drink!)  We also used different motivators to get him to want to wake up and use the restroom in the middle of the night but the truth is…he is a very deep sleeper, which is EXCELLENT for every thing except the issue of bedwetting.  The poor guy would wake up completely soaked and sometimes…he will not even wake at all!  I have checked on them multiple times at 4 or 5 AM and D is wet and snoozing away.  So yeah, it is definitely not something that we can train him not to do.  (According to a GoodNites® brand study, it's estimated that 1 in 6 children between the ages of 4-12 in the United States suffer from nocturnal enuresis, more commonly known as bedwetting.)

 

#GNKroger

So the next step was to accept it and not make a big deal out of it.  That's where GoodNites® disposable underwear come in.  We keep a stash in his underwear/sock drawer, he wears them under his pajamas and he stays dry all night long.  If it's wet in the morning, no big deal.  He will grow out of bedwetting eventually.  

 

#GNKroger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GoodNites® products are easy to find at Kroger and it lessens the embarassment for him when I am able to just throw them in the cart hurriedly and then go find new and fun fruits in the produce section!

GoodNites Disposable Underwear

 

Research from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that psychologically, children who wet the bed do not want to participate in fun activities, such as sleepovers, because of their fear and embarrassment.  D is able to enjoy his trip to Grandma's without worrying about wetting her bed because of GoodNites® disposable underwear.  That's why it is at the first of his packing checklist, because it's so important to make a fun, enjoyable, comfortable experience where the boys can enjoy their time with Grandma!

#GNKroger

I have shared with you what makes me feel comfortable sending my kids to an overnight stay at Grandma's.  What items do you make sure never to let your children forget? 

 

Enter to win the Pull-Ups and GoodNites Potty Training Sweepstakes!   There are 7 opportunities to win – 5 $100 Kroger gift cards and 2 potty training packs valued at $200 each!

Pull-Ups and GoodNites Potty Training Sweepstakes

Learning About Presidents’ Day {Plus a DIY Presidential Timeline!}

This Presidents' Day post was brought to you by Oriental Trading Company.  All opinions are mine.  This post contains affiliate links at no additional cost to you.

The Captain and D are both very intrigued by countries and leaders.  They love learning about the different countries, capitals, and lately, the presidents of the United States of America.  Presidents' Day is coming up in February, so I wanted to provide them with many opportunities to become acquainted with some of our great leaders from the past!  Homeschooling this year has given me freedom to teach different things that the boys show interest in, at their levels, and tie it in to other subjects and things they need to learn.

The first thing the Captain wanted to do was play this presidential matching game from Oriental Trading Company. There were far too many cards to begin with, so we found the matches and only played with about 1/4 of them.  It was fun to find the different matches and hear the Captain try to pronounce their names.  He does pretty well, but it is still very cute!  Each president has two cards – one blue and one red – with different, interesting facts.  We learned a lot about the presidents this way, plus it was fun.  Fun education is the best kind! 

presidentialmatchinggame2The boys also flipped over the presidents door border, (which is a steal at $1.38 right now, if you're interested!)  All of the presidents are displayed, along with their names, years that they served as president, and they are all in order, as well.  What a great way to capture the history of our country and a fabulous way to introduce the boys to a love of history.  The Captain loved quizzing my parents via FaceTime about some of these men, too!presidential door frameThe most fun the boys had in our study of the presidents was the fun masks!  12 presidential faces were fun to play with.  From George Washington and Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama….they love to pretend to be the presidents and try to talk like they think they might have talked.  These masks would be great for plays or pretending to give important speeches. 
presidentsday

That's definitely not all, just search for "presidents" at Oriental Trading and see the great teaching tools you can find.  

I used one of the 12 president rulers that came in a pack to create our very own presidential timeline.  I simply cut the presidents' faces out, which had their names and years served underneath, and made a timeline using sentence strips.  Each year was represented with a half of an inch (great since I had a ruler right there, ha!)  Then, I wrote each president's name in red marker and the Captain came along and matched each picture to the name.  Seeing it all on a timeline was educational to me, too, because I could see how many years (or days – some presidents didn't get to serve for very long!) each president was in office, how many terms, and incouraged the boys to ask questions about each president.  I mentioned earlier how the Captain was excited to talk about the presidents with his grandparents and show them his timeline….what a great way to learn even more and practice skills like math, writing, matching, measuring, and much more, all while having good conversation with his relatives!  

DIY Presidential Timeline for Presidents' Day

Materials needed:

DIY Presidential Timeline

Instructions:

  1. Write the years that began each presidential term, counting 1/2" for each year, using the presidential timeline ruler.  
  2. With a different color, write each corresponding president's name above the spot on the timeline that they served as president.
  3. Cut out each president's picture.
  4. Match each president's picture to the time period that they served and glue or tape to secure.
  5. Display your timeline and enjoy being able to visualize the history of our nation!

 

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