Category Archives: Kid activities

“Rain rain go away! Come again some other day!”

The last day of our beach vacation just got cut short due to the rain. There was so much rain in fact that I got a flash flood warning alert on my phone. 


Anytime I’ve ever received one of these alerts I’ve usually shrugged it off because I’m somewhere indoors with no plans of getting on the road. Today was different however. 
Within ten minutes of getting the alert, my five year old nephew looks out the window and says to my mom, “Nannie, your car is half way up with water!”  


What!?! We look out the window and found that water was covering the road and rising. The water level had almost reached the bottom of the car doors!
My dad ran outside to move the car and quickly became drenched – the water was higher than the tops of his boots! Of course since this was our last day, all of his other (dry) clothes were already packed and loaded into the car. 
Other than the rain, our beach getaway was a real success. The kids had a blast digging in the sand and hopping over waves. 



We enjoyed watching the animatronic animals and we devoured a yummy Volcano Cake at The Rainforest Cafe. 


We even got to celebrate the graduation of one of the big cousins!  


On the afternoon of the annual sand castle competition, people were being turned away from the beach so we didn’t get to see the sand castles. We planned to go the next day to see them, but then it rained. There’s no way the sand castles survived all that rain. I guess we’ll just have to do this whole beach weekend vacation again next year!


Early last week, my husband asked me if I wanted to go camping this weekend.  I’m always up for a camping trip, so my answer naturally was, “Sure!”.  Within minutes, my husband had us a reservation at a campground a half hour from Scarborough Renaissance Festival.

Camping and a Renaissance Festival in one weekend? Score! Now just to decide what to wear.  My husband secretly wants to be a pirate in real life, so I knew that his costume was set.  Since the girls had outgrown their pirate costumes from last year, I had to find them something new to wear.

A quick search on Amazon and I had the girls matching mermaid outfits! I could have purchased more elaborate costumes, but opted for simple and comfortable.  I didn’t want their costume to make them (and me) miserable all day.

I also found me a pair of mermaid pants! I was a little nervous about wearing such bold pants, but I have learned over the years that nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is out of place at the Renaissance Festival.  That’s what is so great about Ren Fest.  The attire ranges from everyday clothes to the most elaborate costumes (dragons, fairies, barbarians, etc) and everything in between.  I like to dress up, but still want to be comfortable and able to chase two little ones around.

The night before the fair, I made Kora a mermaid tail out of foam to wear with her costume. She loved it and showed it off to everyone we passed at the festival.  She didn’t wear it long, but thankfully it lasted long enough to get a picture of her in it with the ‘real’ mermaids!

Throughout the day, I received several compliments on my pants and on the girls’ outfits. As I am the picture taker of the family, I don’t appear in many pictures.  This is the only picture of me in my mermaid pants.  Aren’t they so shiny? I think I may have to buy another pair in a different color.

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The girls had a blast at the festival.  Kora loved the mermaids and had to say hi to everyone she saw in an elaborate costume.  The dragon Fireflicker was her favorite! Lila could have spent all day at the petting zoo.  She loves animals!

 

We had such a fun, yet very exhausting day.    I absolutely loved our pirate/mermaid combination.  In fact, I think I’m going to do a little work on making my mermaid costume a little more elaborate before the fall’s Ren Fest.

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In my Birthday Resolutions post a couple of weeks ago I wrote about wanting to go camping more often.  After this weekend, I can proudly say that I have my first camping trip under my belt!


My husband, his sister, and his dad planned a camping trip for all of our families for this past weekend.  We all met at the campground for a weekend of family fun.  And let me tell you, we had fun! My girls had a blast run around the campsite playing with their cousins and grandparents.


Saturday morning was spent down at the beach – the adults lounging in the shade and the kids splashing in the water and digging in the sand. (Well, except me and the baby.  We stayed back at the camper so she could take her morning nap.  With all the peace and quite, I ended up taking a little siesta too!)   By the time I finally made it down to the beach, it was almost time for everyone to head back for a little rest from the sun.  I hate that I missed most of the fun in the sun, but my nap may have been worth it!

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One of my favorite parts about camping came Saturday night – Burgers by Thomas! I may be a little bit biased, but I happen to think that my husband makes the best hamburgers.  (Don’t tell him I said this, because I don’t want to give him any ideas, one of these days I think he’ll decide to open up a burger joint!)  My husband usually does all the cooking when we go camping which I think is just fantastic.  I always enjoy food more when it is prepared by someone else!


Sunday morning we explored the Nature Center which had some interesting hands on exhibits for the kids.  Kora loved the fish and hermit crab tanks.  There was a bird spotting scope that we used to look at pelicans and boats off in the distance.  While some of the other adults were pouring themselves a cup of courtesy coffee in the sitting area, Kora and I ran across the parking lot to catch a Pokemon we hadn’t caught yet!


This was our first time to visit this particular campground, and I doubt it will be our last.  I was very happy with the facilities and its proximity to the beach.  They even have several events scheduled throughout the summer, so we made sure to grab their calendar of events for any future plans.  We had a so much fun camping this weekend, I’m ready to plan our next trip! Comment below and let me know how you like to have fun while camping.

 

 

 


I have a love/hate relationship with the town in which I reside.  You see, I live in a college town – the same college I graduated from many moons ago.  While in college, I absolutely loved living here.  But its different now.  Now, I love it and hate.  Totally depends on the day.

I haven’t done any research on the matter, but I feel that most towns that house universities are cities first and home to a university second.  But not my town. Where I live, the city has grown up around the university.  The town lives and breathes our university.

While I love my university and love football pregame tailgating, any inconveniences due to the football game can be frustrating when I’m not partaking in the festivities.  This may include more traffic on the roads or longer wait times to get a table at a restaurant.

Driving around town is nice and peaceful during summer and Christmas break as all the students have gone home.  During this time, the stores and restaurants are rarely crowded. But come school time, the population changes by 58,000 people.  The roads are now packed with cars and everywhere you look there are college kids hanging around.

Probably one of the things I dislike most about living in a college town is that it seems like the population is getting younger and younger.  I’m not sure when they started letting twelve year olds go to college, but they have.  My town is full of them!

Despite any inconveniences that living in a college town causes me, there are other times that I truly love living here.  The university provides many opportunities and resources that I would not have other places.

One such resource is the Infant Cognition Lab.  The lab accepts babies from 3 months to 18 months old.  I took my older daughter and now I’m taking my younger daughter.  We visit the lab once a month and the students run a brief experiment on Lila.  The students are researching the development of infants’ knowledge of objects.  The students monitor Lila’s eye movement to see how long she looks at particular objects and if she looks back to where an object once was.  For each visit, Lila earns $5 as compensation for our time and travel.  I’m putting my girls to work early! Both girls get a little certificate afterwards – Lila for participating and Kora basically for playing with toys while Lila participated.

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We also had the opportunity this weekend to visit the Veterinary School’s Open House event.  The students host a day long event and invite the community to come check out their facility.  Along with tours of the facility, they had a petting zoo, a cow milking demonstration, polo demonstrations, and Search and Rescue demonstrations. There were lots of reptiles available for the kids to see as well as some out to touch and hold.  One of the coolest things about the Open House was the Teddy Bear Surgery.  Several of the Vet School students did surgery on stuffed animals that the kids brought from home.  Kora took her giraffe that needed a little more stuffing in the neck. Doctor Sarah cut open the neck, added some stuffing, and then sutured the neck closed. The kids were wearing surgical mask and gloves.  It was the cutest thing ever.

Right now I am loving where I live and I am grateful for the opportunities that the university provides us.  I’m sure that feeling will change come graduation weekend when the town is flooded with people, but right now, I love my college town!


The movie “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” inspired the title for this post. My two year old loves to read which makes my heart happy! Sometimes I ask her to bring me a book to read to her, but more often than not, she asks me to read to her. And not only that, but I find her all the time just sitting reading to herself.

Now I know that she can’t actually read the words, but she’s looking at the pictures and she’s making up he own stories. Did I mention that this makes my heart happy?

I’ve been taking pictures of her reading lately and I wanted to share a few of them.


I caught her with an issue of Brides magazine…oh, wait…that’s from a George Strait song. I caught Kora with an issue of People:

She reads in the car:

She reads in the boat:

She even reads with a goat! Just kidding. But I should totally find a goat and have her read with it!

Our local library had reading logs to motivate kids to read over the summer. We took in Kora’s reading log at the halfway point to claim our halfway prize – a coupon book for the Great American Cookie Company. This led to a trip to the mall for a free cookie!

After marking the log for 30 days, we took it to the library to claim her prize – a new book!

Here she is showing off her new book to her dad. She is so proud!


Kora’s prize also included a free ice cream from Freddy’s!

Also over the summer we filled out a reading log from HEB.  After completing the log, we put it in an envelope and took it to the post office to mail off.  She was so excited when she received a package from HEBuddy with a certificate and t-shirt!

 

Hopefully Kora’s love for reading will continue as she gets older.  To encourage her, we read every night before bed and we visit the local library frequently.  She thinks she’s such a big shot as she’s browsing through all the books.  I’m hoping to introduce her to chapter books soon.  Any suggestions for good books to hold a toddler’s attention?


My parents were babysitting my brother’s three boys this weekend, so when I decided to visit with my two girls, it turned into a full time circus! It would have been entertaining to be a fly on the wall watching three grown adults trying to attend to all the needs of a 4 year old, 3 year old, 2 year old, and 2 babies. It would make for a great episode on some sitcom like I Love Lucy or The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Mealtime was probably the most harrowing. Each of the three bigger kids gobble up their favorite food on the plate and then quickly asks for seconds. “More pancakes, please!” says one kid. Adult delivers more pancakes. “More strawberries, please” says another kid. Adult delivers strawberries. “More pancakes, please,” the third kid chimes in. About the time the adult can deliver more food for the third child, the first one chimes in again.  All this is happening while the youngest baby is being bottle fed and the crawling baby is either A) trying to steal food off the bigger kids’ plates (while the bigger kids are screaming about what is happening); B) crying and screaming that she wants food; or C) climbing on something she shouldn’t be climbing.  Can’t you just picture Lucille Ball throwing pancakes to one kid like a Frisbee as she is chasing a crawling baby around the kitchen?

Between meals, was less hectic, but equally entertaining.  Similar to Maxwell Smart, Nannie battled the KAOS by inventing Independent Free Time, which I found to be a genius idea.   A timer was set and the kids got 15 minutes of free time to do what they wanted without being bothered by the adults! Sometimes the timer ‘accidentally’ got set for 25 minutes.  Oops!

The kids enjoyed their Independent Free Time but always seemed to want to play with whatever toy someone else had.  If Kid 1 and Kid 2 were arguing over a toy and you suggested Kid 2 play with another toy, Kid 3 would automatically run get the suggested toy and start playing with it.  This is easily an episode of The Three Stooges.

The crawling baby had one agenda this weekend: climb on top of the toy table. She would climb on top of the table and then an adult would come get her down.  Approximately two seconds later, she was back on the table.  Her determination was maddening…. and a bit comedic.


She also kept us laughing by her new method of getting around – she has started walking around on her knees.  It looks like it would be painful, but she seems to enjoy it. In my mind I’m picturing either the cantankerous Archie Bunker or the deadpan Bob Newhart making some commentary about this baby’s actions.

The whole weekend was full of sitcom worthy moments that kept me laughing.  We had some Andy Griffith teaching moments, some Seinfeld activities about nothing, and best of all, we had some Happy Days!

 

 


For the last couple of weeks I’ve been saving the caps off plastic drink bottles. I haven’t really had a plan for these caps; I just thought I could eventually use them for some craft or project. Today I decided we would pretend they were hockey pucks and play Bottle Cap Hockey. 

A tissue box with one of its sides cut out makes a perfect hockey goal. Kora laid down on the floor about four feet from the goal and started trying to flick the puck into the goal. 

She would give the puck a little push and it would slide about four inches. She would then army crawl to the puck and give it another little push. This would continue until she reached the goal. 


At some point while we were playing Kora found my bag full of bottle caps and decided she needed to play with all of them. 

I honestly don’t know if Kora had more fun playing Bottle Cap Hockey or if I had more fun watching her. Her little celebration each time she scored a goal was just too cute! 


Kora and I had a great time playing Bottle Cap Hockey today. My favorite part about today’s game was not the simplicity of the game or the fact that we were basically playing with recyclables. Those things are awesome, but my favorite part has to be how this game can be used to practice sharing and taking turns. Kora kept making sure that I got my turn to play too. My sweetie pie!