A Timeless Treasure – Eric Carle

If you were to ask my parents what author I loved the most as a child, they would say Eric Carle without a second’s delay. I owned about every one of his books, in particular those that were readily available in the early 90s. There was something so magical about the interactive text and captivating illustrations. I vividly remember reading Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear? over and over again (mom and dad I apologize; I get it now).

Now in 2018, Eric Carle is still prevalent in the realm of childhood literature. He has expanded from books to animated pictures and toys. My sons are able to experience the beauty of his educational pieces in a way I did not have access to in the 90s (#jealous).

We have found Eric Carle to be a hit for both our three-year-old and our one-year-old. Through his books, toys, and animations, our children are receptive of his teachings. Here are our favorite Eric Carle pieces –

Books:

An essential part of our nighttime routine is the bedtime story (or three) and often all of the stories come from our favorite, Eric Carle. We are currently reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar (a classic), Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? (a new favorite), Have you Seen my Cat? (my original copy), and The Mixed-Up Chameleon (my toddler’s FAVORITE). With either impactful messages, educational components, or both, my kids are sent to bed with thoughtful and colorful images in their heads.

Toys:

The World of Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar Discovery Cube, 8” is one of my youngest’s most loved toys. With textured rings and fabric, peek a boo flaps, rattle, and crinkle sounds, it’s a sensory dream for a newly turned one-year-old. This discovery cube is plush, so he loves to cuddle it at night while he drifts off to sleep. With artwork from Eric Carle’s stories, the vibrancy of the illustrations, in my opinion, must ignite blissful dreams.

Eric Carle My First Smart Pad – PI Kids is a delightfully exciting educational toy that my three-year-old plays with often. “The electronic activity pad and 8-book library teaches alphabet, spelling, opposites, animal habitats, sounds, and sizes.” He calls it his “computer” and carries it around to conduct “business.” The beautiful illustrations and the familiarity of his favorite characters inspire him to sit down and absorb. As a parent, I LOVE it!

Animation:  

I don’t know about you, but we intake all our “TV” through Netflix. We love how there is an option to create a kids account. My son can access his favorite shows and we don’t have to worry about him watching something wildly inappropriate. Under the “Watch Again” tab is his Netflix account is The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Stories. Voiced by Brian Cummings and Linda Gray, some of his favorites like, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Quiet Cricket, and The Mixed-Up Chameleon, to name a few, are brought to life through animation. He likes to snuggle up on the couch in his “cocoon” made of blankets for 30 minutes (or more depending the repetition of his viewing) and relax. It’s fantastic!

With books dating all the way back to 1967 (i.e. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?), Eric Carle has been a staple in the lives of so many individuals including myself and now my kids. If you don’t have Eric Carle in your personal library I suggest you run to your nearest bookstore or public library and introduce yourselves to these beautiful classics of children’s literature.

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Brush-Baby: The Teething Game Changer

Alright parents, let’s talk about teething. We can all agree there is nothing worse than watching your poor, sweet, little baby writhing in pain from the continuous eruption of teeth from their tender little gums. My oldest (now three) would spout out three to five teeth at once, and his little brother (11 months) is following suit.

Continuously drooling, sticking everything in his mouth, and whining (you know the teething whine), my baby was pretty much screaming at me to get him the “goods” to fix his frustration. What are the “goods” you ask?  Brush-Baby!

When I tell you Brush-Baby is the gum soothing and mom sanity saving teething grace I always needed in my life, I am not telling a lie. This UK based company is dedicated to the healthy development of gums from teething to the loss of baby teeth as well as the formation of adult teeth. Their products are designed for babies, toddlers, and young children. Healthy tooth development and oral hygiene is important to instill at a young age, and Brush-Baby is there to offer all the support you need.

There are three products I know, trust, and we absolutely LOVE for our teething youngster: My FirstBrush and Teether Set, Chewable Toothbrush and Teether, and Applemint Teething Toothpaste.

My FirstBrush and Teether Set (£6.75 or $8.38 approx): This must-have starter set is perfect the little ones, ages 0-18 months. The First Teether is my son’s FAVORITE. The soft silicon bristles help massage and ease the discomfort of teething within seconds (no joke). The teether is dishwasher safe, which I know all my fellow parents out there can appreciate, and it has an easy grip with flower guard perfect at keeping that teething game safe. Brush-Baby recommends cooling the teether in the fridge or placing teething gel on the silicone brush, and folks, it’s a game-changer. Additionally, the FirstBrush is the perfect size for brushing those tiny baby teeth. With a small head, gentle bristles, and long handle for easier brushing, this toothbrush steps up the oral hygiene game.

Chewable Toothbrush and Teether (£4.99 or $6.20 approx): Similar to the First Teether, the Chewable Toothbrush and Teether offers much needed comfort for the teething aches and pains. This award winning, yes I said award winning, silicone brush can clean teeth and gums, while soothing gums simultaneously. This toothbrush/teether is designed to reach those pesky back molars that cause a lot of aches and pains. Perfect for babies and toddlers ages 10-36 months, you can feel safe giving your child this silicone teether (highest grade medical silicone).  You need to put this in your teething arsenal ASAP!

Applemint Teething Toothpaste (£2.35 or $2.92 approx): Now I am one of those parents that will often taste everything before I give it to my kids, so naturally I gave the Applemint Teething Toothpaste a try, and it was DELICIOUS! No wonder my baby is pawing at me for more. Brush-Baby has created a special toothpaste formula that has dental protection with the natural anti-inflammatory impacts of chamomile to help soothe gums. I know there is always a concern about fluoride with small children, but this teething toothpaste has low fluoride safer if swallowed and still healthy for the tooth’s enamel. The Applemint Teething Toothpaste is also gluten free, dairy free, paraben-free, cruelty free, suitable for vegans, and SLS free non foaming. This toothpaste is great for kids 0-2 years of age.

I have seen a complete transformation in my son’s teething process since we’ve introduced Brush-Baby into our teething tool belt. I wish I had these products when my older son was going through all of his discomfort. I will be ordering more of these products as my kids continue to grow. Again, with products are for babies, toddlers, and children, Brush-Baby will grow with our family. Will you introduce them into your family as well?

Thank you Brush-Baby!!

Follow Brush-Baby:

Twitter – @brushbabyuk
Instagram – @brushbabyuk
Facebook – Brush-Baby

When Dad Is In Charge

When you’re a mom, it’s assumed you are the one to always power through and take care of everyone at any given moment, but what happens when you get sick? I know, I know, what a horrible thing to say, but it happened! I have been struck by the flu. THE FLU! A three-letter word we as parents, especially moms, never want to hear. It’s like “he who shall not be named.” Don’t say it! Get it out of my house NOW!

The origins of my illness are unknown. Could it have been something my kids brought home from daycare? Was it someone I shook hands with from work? The list of culprits is extensive, but none of that matters, I have been out of commission and the three men in my life – husband, toddler, and baby – have been left to fight for their own.

Now, I will give it to my husband, he does a great job, but a screaming toddler and teething baby can take a toll on anyone. As I laid in bed with a headache like no other headache I’ve experienced before (the fluorescent lighting was trying to take me down), I just let go of my mom control issues and just assumed the following would take place:

(When dad takes the daily photo)

  1. Lotion? What lotion? My husband hates the feeling of lotion, so I assumed my kids will not be moisturized and fall victim of the winter chap.
  2. My toddler would be exposed to some Netflix series, well over his head. Today they watched Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, which I can’t complain too much. At least it wasn’t something ridden with gore and death. I’ll just have a nearly three-year-old question his existence on this planet. Swell!
  3. My children will bully their father. When you have two kids yelling at the top of their lungs, you give in. If my toddler will want puffs, pretzels, cheez-its, goldfish, fruit chews, pediasure, yogurt, and an orange and he’ll get it, because one screaming child is better than two.
  4. When they bump their heads, or face it with my child, fall off the couch, they get a rub on the head and a “you’re OK Bud” instead of some serious mom cuddles.
  5. Finally, my toddler may or may not wash his hands following the use of the potty. Who needs basic hygiene? Not my son!

I could highlight the things I would have done differently, but when it all comes down to it, my husband rocked it. He confirmed everything we speculated, he’s an AWESOME dad! While I was quarantined, my kids:

  1. Got quality one-on-one time with their dad.
  2. They were able to play lightsabers or ninja with their dad without mom chiming in on safety issues.
  3. My toddler was able to follow his dad around and help with his baby brother (who absolutely adores him).
  4. They learned about the infinite expanse of the universe with Neil deGresse Tyson
  5. Finally, they were showed how much they are loved by their dad – more than anything.

To say we are lucky to have my husband is a complete understatement. Hun, if I haven’t said it enough, I love you, the boys love you, and we appreciate everything you do for us!

Follow Makings of a Millennial Mama:

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Twitter – @ makingmillmama

DK Book Wish List + Giveaway

Reading together and sharing stories is a necessity in my household. My nearly three-year-old will not go bed unless we read three stories. I know what you’re thinking, “three stories?!” Yes! I truly cherish my one-on-one time with my toddler. With an 8-month-old it can be difficult to give him all of the attention he wants, but our nighttime routine is OUR time, so I’m OK with three bedtime stories.

The majority of our bedtime reads come from our good friends over at DK Publishing. From touch-and-feel books to encyclopedias all the way to flashcards and experiments, DK publishing has all of the books you need to keep a well-stocked bookshelf for you and your kids.

We want to share with you four of our favorite and most anticipated DK publications (even though our list could go on and on).

Pop-Up Peekaboo! Farm

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Finding a book my toddler and my baby both love has proven to be a serious task in the past, but with the Pop-Up Peekaboo! Farm book, we can all sit down and enjoy a book together. Under each individual flap is a pop-up surprise guaranteed to create lots of laughs and giggles. My oldest son loves to point out all of the animals to his baby brother (insert a collective “aww” sound). The baby loves his bog brother and gives him is full attention during Pop-Up Peekaboo Farm time!

Dinosaur A to Z

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Now, I’ve talked about this book in the past, and well, it’s still a favorite for all us. Folks, we read the entire, YES, the entire Dinosaur A to Z book every.single.night. My toddler probably knows more about dinosaurs than the most well-known and well-educated archeologist in the world (no joke). He thoroughly enjoys seeing the beautiful artistic adaptations, and every turn of the page is like seeing the book again for the first time. If your child loves dinosaurs, I strongly recommend you get your claws on this book (see what I did there?).

My First Animals – Touch and Feel Picture Cards

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My toddler is at the phase in life where he likes to learn new things, because he loves the praise that comes along with learning something new. The My First Animals – Touch and Feel Picture Cards is the perfect addition to our daily routine. Within this compact display are 16 colorful early learning cards your toddler will LOVE! Who doesn’t get excited when they see kittens and puppies?

How to be a Scientist – GIVEAWAY

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I grew up in a household with a dad who has his doctorate in analytical chemistry and I had no desire to learn science. The idea of going to my biology or chemistry class gave me an upset stomach. When we got our hands on Steve Mould’s How to Be Scientist book, I got excited about science. Oh how I wish they had this book when I was going through science classes. No matter how old your kids are, teaching them the importance of the sciences is essential. Who was Marie Curie? How do you make a compass? What is energy? These are all things you can learn in this gorgeous and educational book.

We love this book so much we wanted to give away a signed copy of Steve Mould’s How to be a Scientist.

Here’s how to enter:

Option 1

Follow us on Instagram @makingmillmama
Tag a friend in the comments section
For an extra entry, share the post in the your Instagram story

Option 2

Follow us on Twitter @makingmillmama
Like and Retweet
 

If you do both option 1 and option 2, you will have double the entries. This giveaway is not affiliated with DK Publishing, Instagram, or Twitter. The giveaway will run from Thursday, December 21, 2017 to Sunday, December 31, 2017 8:00 PM EST. The winner will be direct messaged if they are the winner and the book will ship following the New Year holiday. This giveaway is open to both US and International. Good luck!

What are your favorite DK Publishing books? Will you get your hands on these awesome books? Let me know in the comments below.

Follow DK Publishing:

Facebook – @dkbooks.us

Instagram – @dkbooks

Twitter – @dkpublishing

Website – www.dk.com/us/

Christmas Crafts for Siblings

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for new and cute crafts to do with the kids around Christmas time. Each year we gift our family members with new piece of personalized artwork. As the “director” of these artistic projects, I always try to do something different from the year before.

It was easier to create a festive craft when it was just one kiddo, but now with two, we have to come up with ways to incorporate both boys into the priceless masterpiece. My parents, in particular, love hand print and footprint crafts. So, I have come up with three Christmas art projects for siblings which include hand prints and footprints.

All paintings include toxic-free paints; safe for kids and animals.

Oh Christmas Tree!

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This cute craft highlights one of our favorite holiday symbols, the Christmas tree! Even though my 8 month old is only 4 pounds less than my two and half year old, my toddler has slightly bigger feet. For this painting, I pressed my toddler’s foot as the Christmas tree and used a press of the baby’s hand as the star on top of the tree. I added polka-dots and “OH” around the tree for additional pops of color.

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Perfectly Packaged 

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I used the wrapped presents under the Christmas tree as the inspiration for this colorfully pressed painting. As I was thinking about what hand prints looked like, I thought of a bow; the perfect touch to a perfectly packaged present! Since my kids are still little, this painting required a little more of a mommy touch with the designing of the present and the wording.

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Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

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Who doesn’t love good ole’ Rudy? Another hand print focused craft, the placement is critical. Have you ever tried to straighten your 8 month old’s hand as it is covered in paint in order to place it perfectly on the canvas? No?! It’s a challenge!! This is by far my favorite Christmas craft. Rudolph looks so cute (can I keep these out all year long?) and festive. You will want to make this painting with your kid(s).

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*Spoiler alert* for my family – you will be getting these crafts for Christmas. I challenge you to contain your excitement.

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What do you think of these sibling Christmas crafts? Do you think you will try these with your kids or kid? Let me know in the comments below or if you have any other craft ideas. I am always looking.

Merry Christmas and happy Holidays!

You Know You’re A Boy Mom If…

A boy mom is a special breed. We are in the trenches 24/7 collecting bugs, battling in lightsaber fights, and catching our children as they fling themselves off anything with some height. It’s a tough and messy job, but we are well equipped to take it on.

It amazes me the things my boys decide to do on a daily basis. Honestly, the depth of my imagination is not large enough to make up the things that my kids do. The way my household works, I should really have my own CBS comedy. We would be breaking all of the sitcom charts.

I thought it would be fun, well, more for you than me, to share some of the crazy things my kids have done; a list of instances that only a boy mom could really appreciate. Here is my list of 7 “you know you’re a boy mom if” situations:

  1. You know you’re a boy mom if you’ve been handed your child’s turd as a present.
  2. You know you’re a boy mom if you’ve been slapped in the back of the head by a LED blue Obi-Wan Kenobi lightsaber.
  3. You know you’re a boy mom if you’ve had to tell your child on multiple occasions that his penis is OK and it is not going anywhere.
  4. You know you’re a boy mom if you’ve learned every type of dinosaur and can recite them while giving your child a piggy back ride roaring at the top of your lungs. Quiz me; I dare you!
  5. You know you’re a boy mom if you’ve had to tell your two-year-old son not to wrestle his six month old brother. You’re going to win dude, I promise!
  6. You know you’re a boy mom if you’ve received a high five from your toddler congratulating you on your ability to poop in the potty (I am a big girl).
  7. You know you’re a boy mom if you’ve told your child to stop licking his boogers, the piece of gum off the floor, or the illustrations of food in his bedtime books.

These are just a few of my boy mom moments. The list could go on and on and on. Perhaps I will create a “you know you’re a boy mom if” list part two. That’s a thought!

What are your parenting moments?

4 Ways to Address the Loss of a Loved One with Your Toddler

Losing a loved one is never easy. I lost my best friends when I was in college and my Nana, also known as THE Nana in my family, last year. To say they were/are two of the most important people in my life would be an understatement.

I still mourn the loss of my loved ones, but as an adult I am able to process my emotions and understand what it means to lose someone that I love so much.

My Nana was a fighter; she battled through four, yes four, types of cancer. She is quite possibly the strongest person I know. I was able to spend the last minutes of her life with her and watched her battle until the very end. She never gave up! Her strength, hardworking attitude, and commitment to her loved ones are attributes I want my boys to have as they grow and develop into young men.

Wedding Day with Nana and Papa

My oldest was one and a half when my Nana passed away, but she had a very active part in his life and I was able to tell her that I was pregnant with my second son. I am so lucky that my oldest son was able to spend time with her, even if it was for a short period of time.

The girls and Rorie

When she passed away, I thought to myself, how am I going to explain this to my toddler? He has no understanding of death and what it means to have a loved one pass away. Here are four things I learned during this process:

  1. Speak in simple words – get as basic as you can, terms that well, a toddler would understand.
  2. Keep their memory present – Photos of my Nana are all over my house and my son will often go over to the pictures and point to her and say “That’s Nana!” She also gave him a number of books and stuffed animals. He knows that Nana gave them to him and he cherishes them deeply.
  3. Share all the love – Kids are so aware of our emotions. When we are sad, they will often become sad as well. When I was/am feeling sad, I go in for the hugs, kisses, and extra snuggles. It comforts both of us, not to mention, it’s one of my favorite things to do.
  4. Take care of yourself – We can’t support or little one(s), if we are not taking care of ourselves. Self-care is the most important thing you can do!

If you have lost someone special in your life, please know I am sending all of my love, hugs, and positive thoughts in your direction.

How have you explained this life process to your kids? Let me know in the comments below.