Top Tips for Back To School Prep: The Ultimate Guide

Back To School Prep

We are half way into the summer already and my kids are excited about starting a new school year soon. I’m starting early to make sure that not only are the kids prepared but that I’m prepared as well! And luckily by starting a little early, I have time to get everything organized and ready for a smooth transition from summer to school.

Top Tips for Back To School Prep

  • Before the school year starts, prepare your bins, canisters, folders and more with these tips for back to school organization with sight words.
  • Meet the teacher before the school year starts, if possible. Since my daugther is going to a new preschool, we have a meeting scheduled to meet her new teacher before school begins.
  • First day of school pictures can be fun, but you may be putting your child’s safety at risk. Read about the back-to-school picture no-nos before snapping those pictures.
  • Preschoolers with first day jitters will love reading these encouraging books about the first day of preschool.
  • Check out these 10 Tips for Starting Kindergarten if your little one is making the transition from short preschool days to the longer days for kindergarteners.
  • Does your child require vaccinations before starting school? Help them cope with these five tips.
  • Make a back to school bucket list to remind you to review important things with your child, such as a safety plan, how to make friends, and refreshers on concepts learned in the previous year.
  • Do you normally have trouble getting into a good routine? You’re not alone! Here are 10 tried and true back to school routine tips.
  • Bedtime routines can be particularly difficult for children who are attending school for the first time this year.
  • It’s easy to get out of practice with reading and writing, but these free resources can get your child back into the swing of things before school starts.
  • If your children will be walking to or from school, now’s the time to nail down the safest, quickest route.
  • Start some fun back to school traditions this year. Start thinking about which ones you’ll implement now.
  • Your children will have less time for chores now, but that doesn’t mean they should forgo them altogether. Here are some before and after school chore charts to help your kids nail down a good routine.
  • Prepare a homework station with pencils, paper, crayons, highlighters and anything else your child needs to focus on homework.
  • Start a cute back to school countdown to get your kids excited about the upcoming school year.

Finally, don’t forget to label all the things! Whether your kid is going into preschool (like my youngest) or heading off to college, it’s always helpful to have a pack of personalized labels on hand. Right now Oliver’s Labels is excited to introduce their new Shopkins™ line of labels now available in their Special Edition design category.

The official launch of this new line is on Tuesday, August 22nd as part of their annual Back-to-School 15% off sitewide sale (excluding gift cards), however, this week only our readers get to enjoy an exclusive offer just for you! 

Use promo code ACraftySpoonful before checkout to SAVE 20% on Shopkins™ design themes! Offer valid Aug. 15th – 22nd.

You’ll love the bright and fun labels available! There are so many great features and options such as:

  1. Don’t lose another jacket to the lost and found bin! Fun new designs encourage your kids to label all of their items so they don’t lose anything when it’s taken out of the home. Have a Shopkins™ fan at home? Let Cheeky Chocolate, Kooky Cookie, D’lish Donut, Strawberry Kiss, and Apple Blossom help keep your child’s belongings out of the lost-and-found bin.
  2. Found-It Lost & Found Code: Found-it™ is Oliver’s Labels FREE online lost and found system. When you choose to add Found-it™ to your labels, we print them with your very own unique I.D. If your item is reported found, we send you a notification email right away. Oliver’s Labels acts as an intermediary between you and the person who has found your item.
  3. They have a school packageEverything you need for back to school all in one place! The School Package features: 20 x Original Labels, 30 x Mini Labels, 6 x Shoe Labels, 1 x Large Bag Tag, 3 x Mini Bag Tags, and 35 x Stick-eez™ Clothing Labels.

How do you prepare your kids for heading back to school?

If your child is starting Preschool or Kindergarten, check out these great ways to prep before you begin! 

(just click on the photo)

5 Back to School Tips for Preschool Parents

Preparing for Kindergarten with Preschoolers

5 Back to School Tips for Kindergarten

 

Back to School Prep + a Morning Routine Checklist for Kids Printable

It’s 3 weeks until the kids get into the back to school grind and we’re in full on prep mode over here. Making lists of all the things we need to still grab off of the teacher’s school supply lists, digging out the old meal plan ideas and calendars we put away over the summer, and doing all of our back to school clothes shopping. Luckily, with the help of our sponsor, Sears, we were able to grab new backpacks, lunch boxes, shoes, and outfits for each of the older two in one painless trip! 

By the time summer ends, we are all ready to get back to the grind and welcome the structure that school brings to our family. But sometimes it can be hard to jump right in. So in an effort to help the kids find their routine again, we’ve created these simple morning routine check list reminders to remind them of what to do next once they get up in the morning. 

Not only do these check lists help us prep for waking up earlier, and getting ready in a short period of time instead of having all morning, it also helps get the kids in the school mindset instead of the summer mindset. And by starting a few weeks before school starts, they don’t go through the initial shock of transitioning from summer schedules to fall schedules. 

Back to School Prep

With this transition also comes the hassle of getting everything ready for school as well. Each child has a school supply list that includes the easy and not so easy items to grab plus they have each grown like weeds this summer (2 shoe sizes!!!) and needed a bit of a revamp in their school uniform wardrobe. To make things easier we headed to Sears for a one-stop-shop solution for our back to school clothes needs. 

Even though the kids wear uniforms, we do like to let them pick out their own back packs and lunch boxes. So before jumping into the hassle that is trying on clothes, we headed over to the Land’s End backpack and lunch box selection in our local Sears store. Both kids were happy to be able to have the option of choosing their own set and it got them in the right mindset for our next stop… clothes! 

Uniform shopping is pretty easy. We grab some tops and some bottoms, then try everything on to make sure that everything fits well. When we settled on the right number of shirts and bottoms, we headed over to the shoe department. We can only wear all black or all white shoes so sometimes this can be a challenge. Luckily we were able to find exactly what we needed and scored 2 pairs of shoes for each of the kids. My fashionista daughter insisted on the slightly sparkly flats in addition to her tennis shoes because, “I need choices, Mom!” Sears is here to help you gear up with all kids’ shoes on sale starting at $9.99.

Here are a few things to note when heading out for your Back to School shopping: 

1. Try Everything On

I know it’s something that I hated doing as a kid but that time spent in the store trying things on and making sure they fit will help out in the long run! 

2. Get Fitted for Shoes

We would have never known that my son grew 2 shoe sizes over summer if we hadn’t gotten his feet measured. He was still trying to cram his shoes into the same size he came into the store with. 

3. Print Out Your List

So you don’t forget anything, make sure to print out your school supply lists and a list of clothes, gear, and accessories that you’ll need to pick up. I don’t know how many times we thought we were done with back to school shopping when we realized we needed that one other thing. 

Morning Routine Checklist for Kids

Now that the back to school shopping is all wrapped up, thanks to Sears, we’re working on our back to school morning check list to prep the kids for the first week back at school. You can grab this free printable by clicking here and printing it off! We suggest laminating each check off so your kids can add a clothes pin and move it down each step as they go in the mornings. 

Another great option is using the colors of each step and color coding the time on a basic wall clock in each of the kids’ rooms to keep them on schedule! We use this idea for our afternoon schedule to make things run smoother once we get home from school! 

Click here to print Morning Routine Checklist for Kids

How do you prep the kids for the back to school transition? 

Shop at Sears in-store for your back to school apparel, footwear, and gear! Plus get an extra 20% off when you spend $50 or more thru 8/12 to gear up on all the back to school necessities to make this year amazing. And don’t forget to check out the Sears shoppable back to school digital catalog for fun looks and outfit inspiration.

I participated in this sponsored campaign for SEARS. All opinions stated are my own.

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Instant Pot Mexican Rice Pudding

When you’re juggling work, kids, and life, it’s nice to have a dessert you can make with little to no effort to enjoy at the end of the day. This Instant Pot Mexican Rice Pudding is the perfect dessert to do just that! And it hits all of the right spots. 

Our lazy summer has turned into quite a busy one. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve been able to test out recipes to share here so when I had a craving for rice pudding, I knew I had to try it out in the Instant Pot to see if I could re-create one of my favorite desserts. With the help of the instant pot doing all of the work, I’ve gotten fairly close to replicating my favorite Arroz con Leche. This is the perfect dessert to dish out after a long day of juggling work and the kids when I want something no one else will steal bites of. 

One thing I love is that this recipe makes enough for 2 of my 3-cup Pyrex glass dishes. That way I can stack them in the fridge and take out 1/3 of a dish to enjoy. Because when I need a little comfort I don’t want to think about portions. 

You could try switching out the half and half with all milk but I feel the half and half adds a bit more creaminess to the dish. Also, if you have a ceramic pot insert for your Instant Pot you can reduce the amount of rice that may stick to the bottom of the pot. I’ve also found that there may be some spittle when releasing the pressure. That’s OK! Just put a dish towel over the top of your Instant Pot when you depressurize. 

5 from 1 vote
Print

Instant Pot Mexican Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche)

Course Dessert
Cuisine Instant Pot, Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup milk
  • cups water
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • cup sugar
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Rinse rice well using a mesh colander.

  2. Add half and half, milk, sugar, water, and salt to Instant Pot

  3. Add rice to liquid mixture and stir

  4. Place lid on Instant Post, seal lid, and close vent.

  5. Press the Porridge button. The rice will take 20 minutes to cook on this setting.

  6. When the timer beeps, allow the pressure to release slowly for 10 minutes.

  7. After 10 minutes, press the Cancel button and open vent to release pressure.

  8. When depressurized, open lid.

  9. Add Sweetened Condensed milk and vanilla.

  10. Sprinkle with cinnamon and stir until well mixed, adding a splash of half and half if needed for creamy consistency.

  11. Store in individual glass containers and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

  12. Refrigerate and serve or enjoy hot!

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Raising Money For Schools: Where To Start

There’s a lot we can do for our school by simply signing up for programs that already exist. And there are way more than just the “known” programs we’ve seen. Check out these great programs for raising money for schools the easy way!

Raising Money For Schools Where To Start

Over the past two years, I jumped onto the parent teacher organization bandwagon and joined my son’s school’s PTG board. As someone who has made social media and this blog her job over the past few years, I decided to use the skills I’ve learned – networking, promoting, and marketing myself essentially – for something good. And with that, I stepped up into a brand new role for the school – the sponsorship coordinator. Basically, I would reach out to local and national businesses and ask for their support.

But in addition to reaching out to local businesses for donations, there’s a lot we can do for our school by simply signing up for programs that already exist out there. And there are way more than just the “known” programs we’ve seen.

In an effort to make things easier on me, I decided to do a little research and ask fellow parents and teachers to share what programs their schools are using – public and private – to raise funds. And, of course, I’m sharing that with you! 

Below is a list that I’ll continue to add to and update with ways schools – teachers, parents, students, the community – can raise money easily and with little effort. If you have any other tips or tricks that can help, they’d be warmly welcomed! 

Raising Money For Schools: Where To Start

eScrip –

eScrip is a simple and easy way for schools to earn money by selling gift cards and receiving rewards by having parents and individuals register their reward cards and their debit/credit cards. Every time a purchase is made, depending on the retailer, a percentage of the sale is given to the schools. An added bonus? You can buy a gift card to the store you’re using your rewards card at and receive double the bonus (rewards for buying the gift card and then rewards for using your rewards card). You can find out more on how to register – like less than 5 minutes and you’re done – by going to their site here.

eScrip also has a program called ForgetMeNot™ that you install on your computer to remind you when you visit one of the shops online that gives back. You can also click when you see the ForgetMeNot™ reminder to activate your earnings and to access all available coupons & offers. Save money while earning for a great cause.

Box Tops for Education –

Now most schools are already utilizing this program but it does take a little extra work. If someone on the PTG or PTA board isn’t already in charge then this might be someone you’d want to reach out and find to act as the Boxtops coordinator. Once the school is set up, its as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4!

  1. Find Box Tops on hundreds of products.
  2. Clip Box Tops from each package. Do the school a favor and make sure you follow the edge carefully and trim all Box Tops before turning them in. While doing this check to make sure the Box Tops haven’t expired.
  3. Send the Box Tops to your school.
  4. Box Tops are each worth 10¢ for your school.

Fore more info, visit the Box Tops website.

Campbell’s Labels for Education –

Labels for Education a fun and easy program where families and members of the community work together to “Earn Free Stuff” for their school.

By collecting UPCs and beverage/sauce caps from many participating products and supplementing your earnings with bonus offers, your school earns points that can be redeemed for Arts, Athletics, andAcademics merchandise.  Explore the online catalog to see what your school can earn.

If your school or organization is not one of over 60,000 registered with the Labels for Education program, you can help your school enroll by contacting your school principal and asking them to appoint a coordinator, or you can volunteer to be a coordinator. The school coordinator helps by managing the school’s account, program communication, point collection, and redeeming points for merchandise for the school.

America’s schools and organizations have earned over $114 million in merchandise over the Labels for Education program’s 42 year history. You can find more info here on their website.

Target REDcard Take Charge of Education® –

I don’t know what it is about Target but every time I go in, I come out at least $100 poorer. Sure I *needed* that dollar spot notebook, and those throw pillows for the couch, but if I could also be benefiting my son’s school while shopping there too I’d feel a LOT better about the amount I spend there. If you have a Target REDcard, choose your kids’ elementary school, the neighborhood middle school or any other eligible K–12 school and they’ll donate up to 1% of your REDcard purchases at Target stores in the U.S and at Target.com. More info can be found here to find out how to sign up.

Amazon Smile –

Do most of your shopping online when you’re not shopping at Target? Amazon has a program that’s just for you! By shopping through your school’s Amazon Smile link you can help earn 0.5% of the purchase price for your school. AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets you enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the eligible charitable organization of your choice. More info can be found here if your school isn’t already signed up.

* I must note that when shopping on Amazon through eScrip, it looks like Amazon donates 1.2% of your purchases back. So I’m not sure if it’s better to go through Amazon Smile or eScrip when shopping on Amazon. Maybe it’s possible to take advantage of both? Please comment below if you have any experience!

Shoparoo –

Oh yes, there’s an app for that. Shoparoo is a quick and easy way for schools to earn money by having the user scan receipts from any store, big or small, that sells grocery items to earn Roo Points (cash donations) for your school. Whether you’re shopping at a supercenter, dollar store, or local convenience store – it doesn’t matter where you shop or what items you buy – Shoparoo will make a cash donation for every receipt! Submit up to 20 grocery receipts within a rolling 7 day period. Here are some examples of grocery retailers:

  • Grocery Stores
  • Convenience Supercenters
  • Club Stores
  • Drug Stores
  • Liquor Stores
  • Dollar Stores

There’s even a program for non-grocery stores. For more information, check out the Shoparoo app website and download the app today!

Do you know of a different program that supports schools or offers funding?

This post was originally shared on Aug 12, 2015

Tips for Making Potty Training Fun for Kids + A Free Potty Training Chart Printable

This post is sponsored by Pull-Ups.

When your child has finally shown all of the signs of readiness and is eager to potty train, you may think the journey will be an easy one. But sometimes their interest loses steam. By making potty training fun for kids, you can bypass that disinterest and keep your child engaged! We’re sharing a few ways we’ve had success at making potty training fun for our kids, including a free potty training chart printable, with the help of our sponsor, Pull-Ups Training Pants.  

Tips for Making Potty Training Fun for Kids

Make the Potty Accessible and FUN!

When a child is learning how to potty train, access is key. And when a child doesn’t know the path to the potty, you may be providing a block in the road without even realizing it. Make sure that your child’s potty is accessible. Whether this is a small, portable potty seat, or a toilet cover and stool that is near or on the regular toilet that allows them easy access without having them fall in. Yes… my child has fallen in the toilet before…

Now, access to the potty isn’t just for when you are at home. When you go somewhere new, make sure to talk to your little one and point out to your child where the nearest restrooms are in the area you’re in and assure them that as soon as they feel the urge to go, they can let you know and you will help get them to the potty. Sometimes kids get nervous that they’ll miss something when you’re out and about or if they’re playing. By reassuring them that their toys will be there when they are done or that they’ll return to the same spot they left, they’ll feel better about stopping to go. 

Keep Your Child Involved

When your child is first starting to show signs of readiness, get them involved. Allow them to pick out their own pack of Pull-Ups in the theme or style they like, take them to pick out their potty or potty cover, and get them involved when you’re heading out of the house by making sure their potty pack is ready to go when you’re on the go. What I’ve learned through trying to keep my kiddos involved is that Pull-Ups is more than just a training pant – Pull-Ups.com has tons of simple ways to make potty training easy and fun for parents and children to start together, with guidance on how to tailor the journey based on your child’s unique personality. In fact, 3 of 4 moms prefer Pull-Ups©!*

Pull-Ups provide an award-winning design specifically to help teach potty training skills. They look and fit more like underwear, which means they’ll give your child the independence to slide their pants on and off. They also provide consistency for any learning style throughout their potty training journey. What does this mean for you as a parent? Less frustration! 

Pro tip: Bring a travel potty pack with you when you’re traveling around with your toddler. Your potty pack should include a few pairs of Pull-Ups, a travel potty seat, some potty seat covers (in case you need to use the big potty), and wipes.

Create a Success Chart 

Who doesn’t love receiving a sticker when they do something they’re supposed to? I know I love them. Your child doesn’t necessarily need a physical reward at first. When your child has success on the potty (because we don’t focus on the failures) let them mark off their successes each day on their own Potty Training Success Chart. This allows them to take control and see the marks when they succeed on the potty – how fun! 

If your child needs a bit more encouragement, you can use incentives after lots of success too. We’ve had great luck with chocolate candy and lollipops. Not only are they easy to store away, they’re also travel-friendly and are small. Once they’ve had success for a full week, you can start letting them pick out an item from the dollar store or dollar section of your favorite store. 

Click to Print Potty Training Success Chart

Share your Big Kid’s Big Moments 

Think you might be ready to start potty training? Share your Big Kid’s Big Moments on Instagram or Twitter using #DisneyAndPullUpsSweepstakes for a chance to win a vacation to Walt Disney World with your family! Hurry though – the sweeps ends on August 4 and you don’t want to miss a chance for a FREE trip to Disney!

What do you do to make potty training fun? 

*Pull-Ups offering includes product, packaging and in-pack prizes and activities vs. Pampers© Easy Ups©.

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What To Ride At Legoland California: A Height Based List

I am a Legoland California ambassador. I receive a 4 pack of tickets yearly as an ambassador however all opinions are my own.

What To Ride At Legoland California - A Height Based List

My kids absolutely LOVE spending time at Legoland California. It’s such a fun place for kids and there’s something for everyone there. But there are some attractions with limitations and if you don’t plan ahead before going, your kids might be disappointed to find out they can’t go on a ride they were looking forward to. 

We’ve been going to Legoland since my son was 4 so we’ve been able to scope out all of the rides and figure out what rides were best for the heights of our children at the time of our visit. So we’ve put together a list of what to ride at Legoland California based on height. Hopefully it’ll save you from a melt down mid-line when your child realizes they can’t go on something. But if that does happen, a fresh churro con chocolat might make things better. 

Quick Tip: Take a photo of your kids at this height check at the front of the park (by the maps) as a quick way to remember how tall they are throughout the day AND as a great memento of your time at Legoland California. We now always take a photo here to have progression shots of our kids throughout the year. 

What To Ride At Legoland - 48 inches and over

What to Ride With Toddlers/Preschoolers

No Height Restrictions

  • Dig Those Dinos
  • Fairytail Brook
  • Playtown Theater
  • Heartlake Fountain
  • Friends Forever Stage 
  • Heartlake Stables
  • Village Theater
  • Legoland Express
  • Duplo Playtown
  • Fun Town Stage
  • Lego Club House
  • Factory Tour
  • Soak n Sail
  • Hideaways
  • Pharoah’s Revenge
  • Lego Showplace 4D Theater
  • Duplo Play
  • Coast Cruises
  • Miniland
  • Model Shop
  • Block of Fame
  • Jay’s Lightning Drill
  • Zane’s Temple Build
  • Kai’s Spinners
  • Cole’s Rock Climb

34 inches

  • Safari Trek
  • Sky Patrol
  • Fun Town Police and Fire Academy 
  • Flight Squadron
  • Skipper School
  • Captain Cranky’s Challenge
  • Lost Kingdom Adventure

36 inches

  • Coastersaurus
  • Crug’s Run
  • Cragger’s Splash
  • Cragor Reef

Legoland Heartlake City - mia's riding camp

What to Ride With Big Kids

40 inches

  • Kid Power Towes
  • The Dragon
  • Knights Tournament
  • Aquazone Wave Racers
  • Crooler’s Twist

42 inches

  • Mia’s Riding Camp
  • Lego Technic Coaster
  • Bionicle Blaster
  • Orange Rush
  • Splash Out
  • Twin Chasers
  • Build a Raft River
  • Lion Temple Wave Pool

48 inches

  • Lego Ninjago The Ride

Age Restrictions

  • Junior Driving School (3-5 years)
  • Driving School (6-13 years)
  • Cargo Ace
  • Lego Mindstorms

Things to do at Legoland California - ride the sky cruiser

Before you go, print out this height restriction guide so you have all of this info handy! And be prepared to have a LOT of fun! 

When is your next trip to Legoland California planned? 

Inspire Your Child’s Independence Through Potty Training + a First Day of Preschool Printable


From picking out her clothes in the morning (always requesting a “pretty dress” to wear), to telling us when she has to go to the potty, to expressing a desire for learning, the time has come to countdown to our youngest child’s first day of preschool. She may only be 2, but she is more than ready to start in the fall when her big brother and sister start back again. And lucky for us, there’s a preschool right on campus next to the kids’ elementary school. How convenient is that? 

As Norah shows us her desire for independence, I’m reminded of how much independence potty training gives our little ones. As we pass through our potty training readiness check off  and move towards our preschool check off, I’d love to share a few ways you can inspire your child’s independence through potty training in this post sponsored by Pull-Ups Training Pants.

Inspire Your Child’s Independence Through Potty Training

Just as our kids find it important to make choices like what they are going to wear and what they want for breakfast, learning how to go potty is a big step in independence. If you’ve ever heard a child insist that “I do it!” then you know that if their desire to do something is strong, there’s more of a likelihood of them succeeding. This plays a lot into the potty training journey once your child has shown signs of potty training readiness. 

There are a few things you can do to help inspire your child’s independence through potty training: 

  1. Teach your child how to slide their pants and Pull-Ups on and off Pull-Ups Training Pants provide an award-winning design specifically to help teach potty training skills. They look and fit more like underwear, giving your child the independence to slide their pants on and off, while also providing consistency for any learning style throughout their potty training journey.
  2. Share how your child can tell if they’ve had an accident – Pull-Ups Cool & Learn Training Pants provide a brief and gentle wetness that mimics the feel of real underwear to help teach your child the signs of when they need to go.
  3. Offer other ways your child can express their independence – let your child pick out their own Pull-Ups at the store and purchase them. This gives them the power to choose what they’ll wear and what design they love. My daughter goes crazy over her Princess Sofia and Palace Pets designs. 

Pull-Ups is more than just a training pant. Pull-Ups has simple ways to make potty training easy and fun for parents and children to start together, with guidance on how to tailor the journey based on your little one’s unique personality. In fact, 3 out of 4 moms prefer Pull-Ups vs. Pampers® Easy Ups® – including product, packaging and in-pack prizes and activities. When we have a dry day, we put one of the special stickers inside my daughter’s favorite package of Pull-Ups on her potty training progress chart. 

First Day of Preschool Printable

We’re hoping Norah is on her way to potty training success before her first day of preschool. But just in case she’s not quite there yet, I am confident in the independence we’ve inspired through our potty training journey. Every child is different and every child learns and adapts at their own pace, so we’re in no rush!

If your child is about to start their first year of preschool too, celebrate by printing out this First Day of Preschool sign.

Click to Print First Day of Preschool Sign

Click to Print First Day of Preschool Sign with no dates

 

Think you might be ready to start potty training? Share your Big Kid’s Big Moments on Instagram or Twitter using #DisneyAndPullUpsSweepstakes for a chance to win a vacation to Walt Disney World with your family! Hurry though – the sweeps ends on August 4 and you don’t want to miss a chance for a FREE trip to Disney!

How does your toddler show their independence? 

Back to School Teacher Appreciation Gifts + a Tutorial

It’s the start of a new school year and to show our teachers some back to school love, we’ve created this simple back to school teacher appreciation gift! 

Back to School Teacher Appreciation Gifts + a Tutorial

Ahhhh! The most wonderful week of the year. Back to school week. Where the kids head back into the loving arms of their teachers and mama gets some time to work uninterrupted (well… with the baby). While they enjoy learning and playing and being taught by someone other than me, I can get things done and FINALLY get back to a semi-normal schedule working from home.

And because of that, I felt the need to thank the teachers. Thank them for being there for my kids, taking them under their wings, and actually getting them to listen when you teach them fun things like sight words, money, reading, subtraction, getting along with peers and everything else they’ll be learning this year.

What better way to thank them than by giving them a small token of appreciation. Or a large token. So as part of the school’s PTG, I proposed a gift idea for the teachers. A simple thank you in the form of some candy, popcorn, and a Redbox gift code. Plus some extra school supplies for them to take as needed and some gorgeous flowers for the Teacher’s Lounge.

Back to School Teacher Appreciation Gifts - flowersBack to School Teacher Appreciation Gifts - school supplies and flowers

I don’t know about you but receiving a flower delivery just brings a huge smile to my face. It makes me feel good. And always brightens up the house or office. So one of my favorite things to give when it comes to a gift giving occasion for a birthday, celebration, anniversary, etc is flowers. And most of the time I’m sending them to my mom out of state. But this time around I decided to send them to my son’s school as a thank you to his teachers before the beginning of the school year.

With them I paired some extra school supplies I purchased throughout the summer when back-to-school sales were going on and supplies were dirt cheap. Why not stock up and spread the love with extra supplies when you know at least one teacher will need the extras? Then I figured it’d be nice to create an individual gift for each teacher from the PTG. So I threw together this cute little package and purchased some Redbox codes for each teacher. These came together in a few short minutes and were so easy to make!

Here’s how:

Back to School Teacher Appreciation Gifts + a Tutorial for a Redbox Gift

Teacher’s Rock Back to School Gift

What you’ll need:

  • Redbox codes (you can purchase them in batches of 5, 10, or 20)
  •  individually wrapped microwavable popcorn
  • Full-size candy
  • ribbon
  • clear packaging tape
  • scissors
  • pen or fine point permanent marker
  • Teachers Rock printable

Back to School Teacher Appreciation Gifts + a Tutorial - supplies neededBack to School Teacher Appreciation Gifts + a Tutorial - materialsBack to School Teacher Appreciation Gifts + a Tutorial - Redbox codes

What you do:

1. Print out this printable. Cut to size and write in the teacher’s name and Redbox code. Remember that each code is unique so keep track of which codes you’ve already used. 

2. Grab a popcorn package and a candy along with your ribbon and scissors. Measure out how much ribbon you’ll need to wrap around the candy and popcorn and cut the ribbon to size. 

3. Grab a large piece of mailing tape (a little smaller than the size of the square printable) and place in the middle of the candy sticky side up. Bring the ribbon edges over to adhere to the center of the tape so each side of the ribbon sticks to the tape. 

4. Place the printable on the tape and ribbon and press down gently to make sure that the tape adhere’s to the back of the printable. 

5. Pass out to the teachers! 

Back to School Teacher Appreciation Gifts + a Tutorial from PTG

What is your ‘go-to’ gift for others?

This post was originally published on August 30th, 2015

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Surfers’ Cove at Legoland California

I am a Legoland California ambassador. I receive a 4 pack of tickets yearly as an ambassador however all opinions are my own.


LEGOLAND Water Park is bigger, wetter and better this summer with the addition of the newest California beach-themed area, Surfers’ Cove, opening June 30, 2017.

In celebration of 4th of July, LEGOLAND® California Resort salutes Carlsbad Fire Department, Carlsbad Police Department and Carlsbad Lifeguards for protecting our city and beaches this fourth of July weekend by inviting them and their families to spend the day at the official opening of Surfers’ Cove at LEGOLAND® Water Park!

Surfers’ Cove is the latest California beach-themed expansion of LEGOLAND® Water Park and features Riptide Racers, six water slides extending 100-feet where guests can jump on mats and race against each other for the fastest time. After competing, racers can pose with a LEGO® winner’s trophy for a photo opportunity to capture their big win! Kids can enjoy Wipeout Lagoon — an epic “spray ground” where multiple water jets splash on and off creating a wave effect.

Plus, LEGOLAND Water Park’s culinary team has created Beach Street Tacos to enlighten taste buds of water racers of all ages. And, of course, cool LEGO models add to the beach theme including LEGO surfers, LEGO seagulls, LEGO crabs and a LEGO lifeguard. A surfing dog model sits on top of a wave at the peak of Riptide Racers perhaps as a “judge” to see which racer reaches the bottom quickest!

The opening day of Surfers’ Cove kicks off with a little friendly water slide racing competition of the “red, white and blue”…meaning the firefighters, lifeguards and police officers. Two people from each team will race against the other teams and the lowest time after three races determines the winner. The prize? A LEGO surfer trophy, of course!

The LEGOLAND Water Park is open seven days a week now through August 2017. For ticket prices, operating schedule and additional information, visit www.LEGOLAND.com or call 760-918-LEGO (5346).

Want to see what’s coming up at LEGOLAND California? Read on!

 

Brick-Or-Treat Party Nights Halloween Celebration at LEGOLAND® California Resort – Last Saturday in September and Saturdays in October

LEGOLAND® California Resort is getting ready for Halloween with San Diego’s biggest kids’ Halloween party, Brick-or-Treat Party Nights! Every Saturday night (Sept. 30, Oct. 7, 14, 21 & 28) starting at 5 p.m., guests can enjoy a Ghost Cruise adventure, a new pop-badge challenge, a new theater show in Castle Hill, costume contests, dance parties, LEGO® pumpkin patch building, live music, costume entertainers, and safe trick-or-treating at treat stations with specialty items, candy carts throughout the Park and two bonus treat stations inside SEA LIFE® Aquarium. LEGOLAND® Hotel joins in the fun with its own Halloween party on Oct. 31. For information and event pricing: (760) 918-LEGO or www.LEGOLAND.com.

 

LEGOLAND® California’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony! – November 27, 2017

LEGOLAND® California’s Nightly Tree Lighting Ceremonies kick off Nov. 27 when a celebrity guest lights the world’s tallest LEGO® Christmas tree in the annual tree lighting ceremony. The LEGO tree stands more than 30-feet-tall and is made of more than 245,000 forest green DUPLO® bricks. The festive event features entertainment, fireworks and a visit from Santa! Activities are included with regular Park admission. Kids 3–12 $89; Adults $95. Parking $15. 

 

Holidays at LEGOLAND® California Resort– November 18, 2017 – January 1, 2018

Live entertainment, twinkling lights and festive cheer await guests during the Holidays at LEGOLAND® California Resort! Beginning Nov. 18, kids and families can enjoy nightly tree lighting of the Park’s LEGO® Christmas tree decked with spectacular lights and LEGO ornaments. The fun continues in Heartlake City with festive holiday songs and dancing with LEGO Friends Live and a touch of a snow flurry. The holiday fun concludes with the annual Kids’ New Year’s Eve Party on December 31. All activities located inside the Park are included with regular Park admission. Kids 3–12 $89; Adults $95. Parking $15. Celebrate the New Year with LEGOLAND® California Resort’s Kids’ New Year’s Eve Celebration – Dec. 31, 2017

 

LEGOLAND® California’s New year’s Eve Festivities – December 31, 2017

Don’t let bedtime spoil your fun! New Year’s Eve festivities kick-off early at LEGOLAND® California Resort with a party that lets kids ring in 2018 without missing their bedtime! Like the famous ball dropping in Times Square, Kids’ New Year’s Eve features live music, entertainers and a countdown of its own with a huge LEGO® brick that drops 22-feet into 2018 followed by a spectacular fireworks display at 6 p.m. The party includes performances by some of the top children’s entertainment groups in the nation. All activities are included with regular Park admission. Kids 3–12 $89; Adults $95. Parking $15. 

Potty Training Tips for Parents



So the time has come. Your child is showing potty training readiness signs, so you think you and your child are ready to start. But where do you start? What do you need? And just how difficult is this going to be? These potty training tips below, sponsored by Pull-Ups, will help outline a few things I’ve come to pick up after seeing my two kids learn to use the potty.

They might work for you, they might not! But I can tell you one thing. Potty training varies from child to child and can be a drastically different experience from one to the next.

Potty Training Tips for Parents

1. Wait until your child is ready

There is no magic number for the perfect time to start potty training. Some kids are ready as early as 18 months and others will be closer to 4 years old. Don’t try and force your child to potty train too early or else it can become more difficult than it needs to be.
My son started showing all of the signs of being ready to potty train at around 18-20 months. He told us when he went pee and poo, loved to sit and play on the potty, and had a great attitude about the potty. Since I was pregnant with my daughter I decided to wait until after she was born to start the potty training process with him.

At age 2 we decided to try potty training but quickly realized after my son regressed that this would only be accomplished if we followed his terms. We tried again to re-attempt potty training with him, but it wasn’t until he was ready at 3 1/2 that we actually had success.
We do still have times where he has accidents on occasion while my second daughter has none. But guess what? It’s all normal. We just deal with it in a calm and caring way and move on.

Want to check and see if your child is ready for this potty training journey (because it’s not a race)? Visit Pull-Ups.com to check out the Readiness Check List and see if your little one might be ready.

And that brings me to my next tip…

2. Don’t get frustrated

I know, easier said than done right? But it’s true. Your child will feed off of your energy throughout the journey and they’ll take your frustration as a leveraging tool against you. They know they have control over you when you react negatively.
I let my emotions get the best of me with my son and sometimes I was not happy with the way I reacted to accidents. I just wanted him to go on the potty and be over it, but it’s not that easy.

Potty training is an incredibly important milestone for toddlers, and it’s also an opportunity for parents to work together with their children. It sounds daunting to so many parents, but why not make it fun?

It’s important to partner with your child every step of the way instead of trying to run the show. But it’s also important to listen and watch for their cues. My first daughter surprised us all when she decided she was ready for the potty at 25 months. She simply asked for big girl underwear and in a few short days was having no accidents at all.

I didn’t get upset or frustrated when she would only go on the little potties, refused to potty in public, and held herself until she got home, or made me run from one side of the zoo to the other to use the small potties in the Children’s Zoo. We went along with it and learned not to question her if she said she didn’t have to go.

Now that my second daughter is starting to show signs of readiness (dry when she wakes up, verbally lets us know when she’s gone potty, shows signs of interest in sitting on the potty), we’ve started slowly introducing the potty to her.

And she is OBSESSED with her Pull-Ups. Motivation is key here. Pull-Ups Learning Designs Training Pants have an underwear-like design and all-around day and night protection. And she is motivated to get to wear her Pull-Ups when we go out of the house. By letting us know when she needs to go, or trying to go before we leave the house she’s on her way to potty training success.

3. Be Prepared

Because my first daughter didn’t give us much time to prepare and react to the fact that she was ready to go and wasn’t looking back, I’m happy that we had a few key things on hand to make the transition easy.

The key items I always keep with us are:

  • Little potty – We have a little potty in the kids’ bathroom as well as in the back of the car just in case
  • Extra Pull-Ups – Once your child shows an interest in the potty, grab a few packs of Pull-Ups to keep in the house. Stash some in the car and in your purse just in case. Pull-Ups Training Pants help your child recognize potty training as a significant milestone in their development by providing independence, teaching physical and cognitive skills, and offering a consistent representation to your child of their potty training journey. So, once you buy those first pack of Pull-Ups, never go back to diapers!
  • Sanitizer – your child will miss the potty sometimes (or all the time) and you’ll need to clean it up
  • Extra clothes – just like when they were babies and had a blow out or two, an extra set of clothes is a must in the diaper bag. With Pull-Ups you won’t have many true accidents but it is still helpful to have on hand.

4. If they regress, don’t stress

As I said before, my son regressed after being potty trained for 6 months. He did eventually hop back on the potty training wagon and was successful the second time around. Sometimes our kids might seem ready but they have other plans.

Pull-Ups has simple ways to make potty training easy and fun for parents and children to start together, with guidance on how to tailor the journey based on your little one’s unique personality. In fact, 3 out of 4 moms prefer the Pull-Ups offering* including packaging, in-pack prizes (like stickers) and activities on Pull-Ups.com.

*vs Pampers Easy Ups

Follow your child’s cues and just go with what they’re telling you. If not, you might make it worse for the second (or third) time around.
Good Luck!

Let’s Get Ready to Potty Contest

You could win $1,000 and be featured in an upcoming issue of Parents Magazine by telling Pull-Ups how you got your kids (and yourself!) excited to start potty training and made the journey fun.

Three runners-up will win a 1-month supply of Pull-Ups Training Pants. The contest will run through June 30 so enter now at parents.com/itstimetopotty!

Have any great potty training tips for parents? I’d love to hear them!

Potty Training Tips for Parents

Potty Training Tips for Parents be prepared



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