Here's a snack your kids will love. I used to make these for Caleb all the time when he was younger, but it had been a while since I last made them! I forgot how much he liked them. Today I made a batch and not only did he really like them and asked me to put them in his lunchbox for snack tomorrow, but Chloe liked them a lot, too - and she is my picky eater.
They're pretty simple to make and they're a healthy alternative to chips and goldfish!
The kids are back in school, vacation time is over, and you finally have a little time for yourself. Aside from catching up on whatever projects you laid to rest while wrangling your kids all summer long, what's next on your list?
I'm planning on picking up a couple of good books and making a dent in my "Want to Read" list, catching up on some work, and getting back into some kind of a workout routine. But I also definitely want to take care of myself with some great beauty treatments! Read on to see some of my top beauty treatments that I think you should try out.
A Hydration Facial with Dr. John Martin
I recently had the opportunity to visit Dr. John Martin's office in Coral Gables and receive a hydration facial. I had a great experience and great results from the facial. Especially after all the sun exposure, pool water, and sunscreen, my skin was in some desperate need of TLC. I had Microdermabrasion, extractions, masks, and radio frequency done, and I could definitely see and feel the difference in my skin just a couple of days afterwards! I would definitely recommend a facial at Dr. John Martin's office!
Laser Hair Removal at Semper Laser
Years ago, I did laser hair removal on my face and underarms, and I had really great results. Another area I had wanted to do for a long time was my bikini line. Since you can't have sun exposure for two weeks before or after treatment, now is the perfect time to get it done! Semper Laser in South Miami has some great deals. I've gone once and have already seen the results of my treatment - I'm sure after my 8 treatments I'll be good to go!
Is there any better way to relax and indulge? Book yourself a massage and add a scrub or exfoliation and a soak. Your skin will be in heaven! Take advantage of Miami Spa Month and the great prices available before it ends in a couple weeks!
What else are you looking forward to now that your kids are back in school?
Take it easy, mama.
Summertime, especially in sub-tropical climates, call for extra special beauty products. Add in to that being a busy mom (being busy and a mom goes without saying, but you get it...), and I need products that do double and triple duty. I've rounded up some of my favorite hair, skin, and makeup products for the summer and put them all together in this post for you. Keep reading to find out how I adjust my beauty routine for the summertime.
The constant sweating, the humidity, the pool and the beach are all wreaking havoc on my hair this time of year, so there are a few products I really love that help to keep my hair in tip top shape - that plus regular visits to my stylist for trims!
There you have it! All my summer beauty faves in one place!
This post is sponsored by Smartick. All opinions are my own.
When I taught middle school, I taught the same students in both 7th and 8th grades. Every year, in August, I had to cover and review with my eighth graders basically everything I had taught them the previous year. It made for a boring first two months of school because the kids felt like they had already learned the material (they had), and I felt like I had already taught it (I definitely had). The summer slide is real, friends, and if we aren't actively seeking to push our kids and practice learned skills with them, they will forget those skills.
I'm not saying we need to sit and do lessons for an hour a day, but we do need to make sure that we are regularly reviewing skills they already have. Caleb is in preschool, which means he's not needing to retain copious amounts of knowledge. But we have been making sure we continue to practice the skills that he mastered last school year.
We have been using a couple of things to help us keep those skills honed. In Caleb's case, it has been mostly letter recognition and practice in writing his letters. But there are also skills like logic and reasoning that he gets on a regular basis when he's in school and he might not be getting as regularly at home. So what are we using? A couple of different things!
Smartick is a leading online math program for children ages 4-14. It consists of daily 15-minute sessions and can help your child master the math foundations, develop critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Smartick has collaborated with the MIT G-Lab, published by Harvard Business Review, and has been spotlighted as an Apple app favorite. Harvard research shows that children are more likely to forget their math skills, as opposed to reading, over the summer - learning loss isn't a joke! You can get a better scope of the program and register for their free 15-day trial at www.smartickmethod.com.
Caleb has been doing his lessons daily and he calls it his "work". He likes that I let him do his lessons on the iPad, and he is excited to complete them. Once he completes his lesson, I get an e-mail that tells me how he did on that day's lesson, what his speed was, and how many he answered correctly/incorrectly so we know if we need to work a little harder on anything in particular.
Want to try Smartick out? The awesome people over at Smartick have graciously offered you - my readers - a 25% discount on your first subscription. If you're new to Smartick, use this link to register and redeem your discount. If you have already signed up, apply the code: ToddlerandTopknot directly to your account from the Parent Page. Still have questions? You can reach out to them directly via e-mail or phone: firstname.lastname@example.org / 617-903-8842
Kindergarten Tool Kit
The Comprehensive Kindergarten Toolkit helps build a basic foundation of reading, writing and math skills as your child prepares to enter Kindergarten. The lessons are simple and written in a way that any parent can be a "teacher" to their child. The Toolkit comes with a booklet that contains lessons and information on teaching your child those lessons. It focuses on 10 main Kindergarten goals. It comes with four sets of flashcards (Upper and lower case letters, numbers 1-20, 25 Kindergarten sight words, and 10 colors and shapes). It also includes a whiteboard, pen and eraser, and a piece of sidewalk chalk. We have been using the letters, shapes and color cards mainly, but my goal is to start working on some of the sight words in the last few weeks of summer.
Magic Sketch Boogie Board
The Magic Sketch Boogie Board is an e-writer. This particular model has inserts with pages that can be traced, and some of those pages include letter practice. Whenever we have an outing, I pack the Boogie Board in my bag - it's lightweight, compact, and keeps him entertained. He doesn't always have to use the letter practice pages - there are coloring pages, mazes, and a few other sheets. It doesn't make noise, it's got a replaceable coin-cell battery that lasts for 5 years (yay for one less device charger!), and it's durable.
Sometimes I will model a word for him and he can copy it. Other times we dictate letters to him and ask him to write them, or we write the letters and ask him to identify them.
The Big Fun Preschool Workbook
I've shared this workbook before in my stories, and it's been a big hit. It's got activities for fine motor skills, for letter practice, and all kinds of stuff. It's done in a way where Caleb doesn't feel like he's "working" and that's always a good thing, right?
At the end of the day, I always try to make it fun. When we drive, I point out letters and numbers and ask him to name them. I'll have him count the number of grapes I serve him, and draw the number in the air. Magnatiles and STEM-based toys are always great (LEGOs count!), and anything that helps him learn a little about science (like the Melissa and Doug Magnetic Puzzle pictured above). If you're interested in some more toys that can be helpful for practicing some of those preschool concepts, check out my recommendations here.
Happy learning, friends!
When Chloe was born, we used our Doona stroller, and that was basically all she used until after she turned one. Once we knew she needed something bigger, I did a little research and found that the Zoe XL1 was a fan favorite. I mentioned it to my parents, and they ordered it for Chloe as a gift for her first birthday.
While Chloe was in her infant seat, Caleb never asked to sit in the stroller. But the minute we switched over to the Zoe, every time we sat Chloe in the stroller, Caleb would tell us he was tired. We ended up carrying Chloe and pushing Caleb in the stroller - not exactly convenient, nor the point of having a stroller for her.
Since we loved the Zoe XL1 so much, I reached out to them to find out if we could work together. They ended up sending us the XL2 double stroller in exchange for my honest review, and I'm so happy they did! Having a double stroller has been so much easier - I don't know why I fought getting a double stroller so much at the beginning! I think it might be because I feared I wouldn't fit through a lot of spaces with it, but after using it for the last couple of weeks, I have been able to fit through doorways that I definitely never would have anticipated fitting through (including the ones at home!).
A lot of the things I loved about the Zoe XL1 are still relevant with the XL2. Living in the sunshine state, one of my absolute favorite things about these strollers is the canopy. Of every single compact stroller I have seen, the Zoe is the only one whose canopy extends so far down. It has a basic two panel canopy, but it can be expanded as it has two hidden panels - one that's folded in, and another that can be zipped up when it's not in use - totaling FOUR canopies with UPF 50. The canopies are independent of one another, so if one of the kids is napping and the other is paying attention to whatever we are doing, one canopy can be up and one can be down.
A couple of other things I love are how maneuverable it is, and how easy it is to open and close. The XL1 I can open and close one-handed. The double requires both hands, but it is still very easy to open and close. It is a Disney-approved double stroller, and it comes in at 19 pounds, so it can be gate checked with most major airlines.
I also love that each seat reclines, has a 5 point harness, and has an adjustable footrest. The stroller comes with a parent cupholder, child cup and snack holders, and a double belly bar. Have more than two kids? The XL2 can be turned into a triple or a quad stroller with the purchase of their tandems!
I also worried that with the kids size differences, the ride would be "off," but I haven't found that at all. Caleb has napped in there, which means it's comfortable enough for him, and when he does decide he wants to walk, I'm okay pushing Chloe by herself, too. There is tons of storage space underneath, and it made our trip to the zoo last week so much more tolerable since I was able to keep them contained when I needed to!
They also have some accessories that you can purchase, including a half belly bar, an organizer console, rain cover, and a storage bag/backpack for traveling.
The awesome people at Zoe were kind enough to set us up with a 10% off promo code, too! Use "jenise10" for your 10% discount, through June 30, 2019!
When I say that this double stroller has everything I was looking for in a double, I'm not kidding. I have a video review up on my stories highlights on Instagram, so you can check it all out in action on there.
One thing you might consider a drawback if your babies are tiny - you cannot put an infant seat on this. I figure it's worth mentioning!
Let me know what you think! And if you end up with a Zoe stroller, tag me when you post pictures of your kids in it, I'd love to see!