Pre-K Apples Unit | Organizing Tot School Materials

I get questions all the time about how I organize and come up with tot school themes and ideas. The truth is, a lot of work goes into it but it doesn’t have to be all hard work.

I have fun creating Pinterest boards by theme; when I have extra cash in my PreSchool fund, I think of what I can buy that will be the cheapest. Maybe I don’t even use it for a year!

Think:

  • Dollar Store items
  • Discounts and coupons
  • End of season “super sales”
  • Bulk

At the beginning of each month, I go through each file folder and small plastic storage tubs containing each month. These bins and folders are marked with pre-chosen themes. So, pre-choosing your themes is half the battle! (I suggest doing it all at once and putting it on a Google Doc or some other cloud storage or internet app). Then, select the appropriate amount of tubs.

For items that I think I will use but don’t want to fit in some gigantic tub, I simply print out the activity or write it on an index card and throw it into the bin! Pool noodles, outdoor toys, sports equpiment, etc.

For small items (even fast food toys that somehow fit a theme, if I can sneak them aside they will help drive a concept home later and entertain, instead of simply occupy them for five seconds).

Stacking red flour-filled balloon “apples” – Tutorial in video below!

To get a quick idea of how I organize, watch the intro of this week’s video (first sixty seconds). The rest of the video shows some of our apples activities – and diving into our first book: Ten Apples Up On Top by Dr. Seuss.

You can now find MommaAMommaB’s favorite products on Amazon Storefront!*

*I do get a small compensation from products purchased directly through our Amazon Storefront links. We only post products we personally own and recommend!

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I Tried It: Color and Co. Online Hair Consultation & Custom Color Subscription

Watch the extended review and application process:

My Color and Co. box arrived yesterday, and I tried so hard to do my due diligence as a product reviewer and follow every single step. Although I did pretty good I will admit that I was so excited for this hair color that I only did 24 hours out of the 48 hour allergy test.

I figured if I wasn’t experiencing any irritation at that point, I was probably good to go. Still, the company recommends a 48 hour spot test on a patch of skin to test for irritations.

Interestingly, if one has a tattoo, the likelihood is increased. So take your test! Don’t be like me!

I had run out of shampoo and conditioner this week, my last two showers consisting of baby products. It was past time to go shopping, and I happen to be professionally licensed in massage therapy so I am able to shop at CosmoProf, which sells products to the pros. Though I was tempted by SO many things in there (because I only go about twice per year, it’s always a magical event), I survived basically unscathed, with only my two basic needs…plus pumice stone. 

A lovely employee pointed me to a new line of clenditioners (that is, a cleansing conditioner…whaaaat?!) that actually came in a rose gold tone. This brand markets itself as “…a conditioning cleanser that replaces your shampoo”.

I had explained my project (buffering that harsh demarcation between my roots and my platinum ends, using a rose gold, etc.) making sure to note that I had never been a ‘warm’ kind of blonde (give me purple shampoo all day!). I didn’t want to invest in a shampoo that was meant specifically for this rose gold, which may not even turn out to suit me.

She pointed me to a product that is perfect for all shades of blonde, one that happened to be on sale (I think she likes me. Ha!). Those product reviews are coming, soon.

For my actual Color and Co. review, I simply rinsed the color out after 20 minutes as directed, using the conditioner sample included in the kit sent to me. I didn’t want to alter the results so I skipped my tinted clenditioner for now. 

Interestingly enough, I was able to squeak by using only one of the two application doses that came in the kit (complimentary for those with long hair). I don’t recommend living on the edge like that, but I figured the worst case scenario involved me frantically mixing the second batch with a partially-coated head of hair. I didn’t end up needing it; now I have enough for a second dye job!

The joy!!!

THANK YOU INFLUENSTER FOR PROVIDING ME WITH THIS FREE

PRODUCT FOR MY REVIEW | ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN

Additional products seen in this vlog:

Links to my Amazon Store – I may receive compensation from linked sales. Thank you!

July in a Snap

Well, here we are, nearly through summer and I am posting an entire July vlog in one sitting.

In September.

Alas, I hope you’ll forgive this busy mama.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCc9ZJDucNo&t=1s

Coming Up:

Lots of fun vlogs coming up, and a potential partnership with one of my very favorite childhood brands to launch their “new ride”…

Can it be true??? It is!

Also, my Color and Co. box is here! I am currently undergoing the 48 hour allergy test patch (on the inside of my elbow) and then it’s on, baby!

Follow me on Instagram for the most recent updates – with videos to follow on YouTube.

Color and Co. Unboxing and (gulp…) SELF DYEING!

See you in the next video…

Back To School | Welcome To School

Well it’s September already (how did that happen?) and time to put away the water wings in favor of pencil sharpeners. I mean, replace the kiddie pool with lesson plans. I mean… figure out what the heck I am supposed to do with my toddler all day long!

I hope to eventually add direct links to my website, but for now you can find many of my digital resources on TeachersPayTeachers.com under MommaAMommaB.

I keep my prices as low as possible for you guys, as this is just something that is a passion project right now.

Thanks for your continued support, it really means a lot to me.

Luckily, I started most of my lesson planning last year, slowly picking themes that would interest my then-twenty-month old, and which would carry over into the 2019-2020 “school” year.

My child is now 28 months old and attends a drop-in preschool 1-2 days per week. The rest of the time he is with me, as I stay home full time with him and our infant.

I have tried so many activities over the summer that I was sure were going to be a hit, which turned out to be a major flop. Or too messy. Or… whatever. I don’t even include those in my blog, so rest assure whatever I post has been tried and tested around here!

Still, I hope you and your student will take these ideas with a grain of salt, because toddlers, man!

September Themes available! TeachersPayTeachers store: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Mommaamommab

I try to include additional play ideas and adaptations when possible, to get the most mileage from your materials.

Cheers to a successful school year!

*Click “Tot School” in my expandable menu to find resources to suit every month of the school year

Magnetic A-Frame Board Review (Our new favorite for Tot School!)

We were recently asked if we would be interested in testing a product that may suit our needs as parents and home educators, in exchange for our honest feedback.

We were happy to film a short video to share a more in-depth review. You can find it here:

What I especially loved about this product were two things it wasn’t even intended for: water and chalk! Though I don’t recommend it for those uses, especially not for long term use (as it isn’t cured for water exposure), we had a blast putting this thing to the test. No pinched fingers, minimal frustration, and a huge amount of knowledge opportunities.

 

Favorite ways to play:

One simple and inexpensive idea is to use the magnetic/foam letters as templates to trace out a word onto card stock – I use dollar store note cards or flash cards for this purpose. Have your child ‘match’ the outlines. Great for fine motor, pincer grasp, and a host of other skills for developing minds and muscles.

We currently have the lowercase set packed with pre-filled flash cards, in a travel pouch (zipper pencil pouch from the Dollar Tree) along with a small magnetic lid that is just the right size for a flash card. This makes for an excellent and quiet take-along kit!

You can find this product, along with a few of our other favorites, on my Amazon Storefront*:

https://www.amazon.com/shop/mommaamommab

 

*When customers visit my page and shop on Amazon, I get compensated for purchases in a similar fashion as with the Amazon Associates program. I can now send my followers to shop their favorite products in one place with a trusted e-commerce leader.

Water Tummy Time Play Mat Review

After a long road trip we were so excited to come home to a package in the mail containing this fun play mat! I only wish I had this when my first born was a baby – but as a toddler he got a huge kick out of it playing with his ten month old sister.

This play mat has gone through hours of stomping, splashing and tossing, and still hasn’t sprung a leak. I am super impressed; and plan to taking it with us to visit relatives out of town soon. We received this item in exchange for our honest review.

I should have read the two very simple directions in the back so that was my own problem (when I filled the air compartment first). Otherwise this product appears to be self explanatory. (Also: the water drips you see at the end of this video are from the mat being filled in the sink, not from any leaks! That video clip was actually filmed first, and the plug is very secure, similar to an kid’s inflatable pool.)

The company ( Giftinthebox ) has so many great stocking stuffer or kids present ideas available on Amazon. Check them out, they have enabled free shipping to Prime members! We are two moms and we approve this product.

*Thank you to Giftinthebox for gifting me this product in exchange for my honest feedback.*

When customers visit my page and shop on Amazon, I get compensated for purchases in a similar fashion as with the Amazon Associates program. I can now send my followers to shop their favorite products in one place with a trusted e-commerce leader:

Shop My Amazon Storefront

 

Mess-Free Activities for Pre-K, Home-School, Tot Programs

Mess-free activities for your pre-k, homeschool or tot programs:

00:00:20 Tints, Tones & Shades Felt Activity Mat with Dollar Tree “Jenga” game pieces
00:00:45 Pattern Matching Cards (Available for FREE at https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/-Free-Mini-Snowflake-Erasers-Pattern-Matching-Version-2–4240535?aref=myl642e3 )
00:01:06 Sorting
00:01:38 Water Break and Trampoline Time!
00:02:18 DIY Fishing Game
00:02:48 Flash Cards – Open Ended Discussions are the best (“tell me about these cards”).
00:04:30 Sissy is Walking!
00:05:03 Ice Cube Smashing
00:05:24 Car Wash Station
00:07:47 Fine Motor / Sorting with Tongs and Mini Hair Ties
00:08:14 Coloring / Markers (We like the Mess-Free Magic Markers!)

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Looking for a product you’ve seen on a previous video or post? It might be mentioned on my Amazon Storefront: https://www.amazon.com/shop/mommaamommab

Thanks for watching!

Ipsy Glam Bag – I Tried It

This month I decided to take a chance on the $10 ipsy glam bag.
For those of you who don’t know, this is a monthly subscription service for beauty and skincare sample-sized products which are curated each month and sent to your doorstep.

Since I love a good surprise, and since $10 is really an affordable expense for us, I decided to give it a go.

But just for one month.

I didn’t *really* want to get myself into an avalanche of samples, and truth be told I had just gotten a few sample sized products over the summer which will probably last me until 2027 (…or whenever they expire). However, I have been really trying to step it up a notch again and look like I give half a care about my appearance after two wild years of raising very young children. So, bring it on!

See the full review, here:

 

 

 

August Be Like

We have been trying to catch up around the house, and with social media, and with family and friends while simultaneously live less technology-dependent summer lives and being on the road every weekend. Summer for the Hightowers are crazy, but then again so are the winter holidays…

We are pretty accustomed to hanging on for dear life around here, while life throws us one curve ball after the next and we struggle with making “the right” huge life changing decision every few months, or so it seems (sell a house, take a new job, try for babies, raise babies, remodel, travel, invest, spend, splurge, save, sign up, cancel).

Just when life decides to slow down and school season starts back up, I feel like I should have a bit more time. My wife won’t be working overtime at the job sites a few towns over, and our baby is getting more comfortable in her own crib with every passing night.  I actually have a place lined up where my toddler can play with others and do fun activities for an average of 5 hours per week.  We have one more big vacation lined up (Hawaii) and our other summer travels should be easy, short car trips.

This fall, we have an October birthday for the big girl (Me! I will be thirty five! And also, we will have a one year old on the sixth). So instead of breathing and relaxing or finally reading a dang book, I decided to write this post! Sign up for youth soccer volunteering (a serious bucket list item for me, and something I have dreamed of doing since I was around ten years old). Do all the things!

Because though life is busy (and yes, sometimes crazy), these moments are the sweetest. My son yelled across the table at me today “that cheesy bean is gonna make you TOOT” and laughed so hard at himself he about fell off his chair. When I laughed he told me no, in fact it wasn’t funny at all. Which made it funny. Until the whole family was laughing, and I wasn’t even mad about how many beans were in however many people’s hair; nor was I contemplating how bananas got glued to the underside of the table, dead center, when nobody has left their chair and nobody’s arms are that long. I didn’t care that I would for certain be the one tasked with cleaning up this banana and roughly 80 percent of all other discarded bananas, until my children move out. Then I will only have to deal with trying to get my wife to try a banana – because they are so good for you!

I was just present in the moment and grateful for this food and thankful for this family. (Even if it’s kiiiiinda their fault that I can’t write a cohesive blog post these days. Someone, please tell us all to slow down one of these days.  But not too soon.)

Amen.

 

img_6784

For extra cuteness, check out this week’s product review vlog!

 

lovemamab

 

Pee Slides Down The Potty

*This blog freely mentions bodily functions, including pee and poop as the title insinuates.

—–

Just like that, we have a potty trained two year old. I am still shaking my head in disbelief (but mostly because it took me so long to update this blog; I wasn’t too surprised my kid picked up the whole potty-in-the-toilet thing).

Since the last update I started boning up on the book “Oh Crap! Potty Training” by Jamie Glowacki and a few light bulbs went off in my head. I think he really is ready to do this. It’s me that’s terrified. 

So…we went for it. Long story (really really long story) short, we are officially halfway through our third week and we are in underwear and shorts with minimal accidents, mostly when he is trying to get to the toilet and can’t quite make it but after he is on his way and so far, only at home.

This week he used the toilet at his playgroup twice, and last week he used a few public toilets at the market and gymnastics. I am so proud of him!

Thank you, thank you very much. No, stop, you’re embarrassing me! Ya’ll are too kind.

I couldn’t have done it without the help of SUMMER, MY WIFE, THOMAS THE TRAIN UNDERWEAR and JAMIE.

Seriously. The book was a savior, and the second my wife got home she watched him like a hawk and reminded him and helped when he needed it while I got to focus on other things that needed my attention. Like the infant that I will hardly mention in this post (it’s brother’s turn to shine! But Dakota is great and sweet and pulling herself up to stand using all the things – chairs, brother’s potty chair, my leg…).

We all spent many hours in the first three days hanging outside by the kiddie pool, him buck naked, Dakota and I mostly nekkid. Per the book’s recommendation, we graduated into elastic waisted shorts after the first few days (or ‘block one’), even going commando to the mall which was terrifying for both him and I, but I think we both played it pretty cool.

Skipping the undies helps the brain rewire itself in a way that that snug turd-catching apparatus is gone. Undies or briefs feel like a diaper, plain and simple. For us, I think this was the game changer that facilitated us in helping him ‘catch’ his accidents in the first days: Stop a pee mid-stream, hold it, and finish in the toilet.

Poop has it’s own chapter and can be difficult to deal with. In our case, we had a few days of tummy aches as he held back for a couple days, and a couple incidents where we have made 20 trips to the toilet because “poop is coming” but then he is too anxious to sit and let it happen. We also have had 20 trips to the bathroom for marble turds that also somehow require 100 yards of toilet paper.  

I think we’ve turned a corner (which makes me think of a looping intestine. Parenting is so gross, turns out). He’s so amazing and smart and potty training just validates how ready he is. He has been asking to go to school, and so I’ve been experimenting with dropping him off places for a couple hours at time and he is living his best life this summer. So much love for that kid.

Just as I think we’re getting close to sleep training with undies he’s decided to pull a wild card and sleep in front of his bedroom door, despite me moving his bed closer to it, as he likes to peer under the door until he passes out. Happily, though, never making more than a few bangs as he rolls around for a bit trying to get comfortable, a stray foot slamming a wall or the hollow door.  Alas, I am going to try to get him back into bed before I risk potty training.

Pee on the sheets, whatever. Potential poop on the carpet I just cannot get behind.

…Then I remind myself that wouldn’t be the first time there’s been something questionable and kid-related on the floor. #momlife

And if you thought the Baby Shark song was bad, it’s creators Pink Fong has found a potty training version.

“Pee pee slides down the potty,

Wee wee wee wee wee wee

Potty potty see you when I pee again!”

(Repeat ad nauseam)

Thank me later.

lovemamab

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