28 January 2014

my picks for best kid apps...


Lately I have been pretty impressed with the apps I have found for the boys.  We have an old ipad that we have deemed the kids ipad.  We had purchased a leap pad and returned it shortly disappointed.  Ethan's curriculum at his day school has impressed me with the things they start tackling at such an early age...touch point match, sight words, patterns.   My favorite thing about the ipad is they think it's cool to play with and don't realize the learning that is taking place.  However, I do limit screen time {combined tv and ipad} they are allowed each day.  Here are my favorite apps {actual app names} from the App Store:

Sight Words {free}
This app lets you customize the specific sight words your preschooler/school aged kiddo is working on.  You can create "sets" of flashcards that say the word as you touch the word or wait to hear the word once you touch it.  

Counting Lite {free}
This app is great for ages 18 months and up.  It simply places things on the screen such as giraffes as the kid touches each giraffe it counts them and the number that is spoken pops up.  Bennett loves this one!  They can choose easy (fewer items) or hard (10 or more items).

Letter Quiz {free and $}
This one is definitely worth spending a couple dollars on!  It has four different games:  tracing letters, matching upper to lower case letters, flashcards, and picking out a letters from 6 choices.  Both my 4 year old and almost 2 year play with this one frequently.

Shapes {free}
This app verbally states a shape and the kid touches the shape mentioned.  

Little Critter Digital Books {search for these, $15 for collection}
We are huge fans of Mercer Mayer's Little Critter Collection.  These are the perfect first digital book to download!  Each book has three options:  auto play, read it myself, and read to me (kids turn page).  These are great for all ages...Bennett enjoys them and Ethan.  Digital books on your ipad are great for traveling light too!

Dr. Seuss Digital Books {$5 each-$15 bundles}
These are much longer than the Little Critter books, but have the same three options.  They are great.

Goodnight Safari {free or buy $2}
This in an interactive book where you can read alone, have it read to you, or play games.  

The Boynton Collection {$10}
Sandra Boynton Books {Moo Baa La La La, Blue Hat Green Hat, Barnyard Dance, and the Going to Bed Book} are the perfect first digital books for baby and toddler.  They are interactive and yet again a space saver when traveling.  Two options of read it myself or auto play.  

Endless Reader {free or $3 for entire selection}
This app has precious graphics for teaching first words.  A simple word such as "go"  appear on the screen, then scatter.  You have to drag the G to the g  and the o back on the go.  Then a sentence appears and you hear word in a sentence.  

Endless Alphabet {free or $3}
This is the same maker as Endless Reader but focuses just on words, but has longer words such as "hilarioius."  This one too has modern graphics that teach words and word meaning.  Worth the $3!  Bennett is amazing at matching the letters to create words.  I think this app is perfect at building a broader vocabulary.  

Well those are my picks!  Sorry I couldn't figure out how to have a link to the app store for each app, but if you enter the title in bold in the search box...you'll stumble across them.

25 January 2014

little shark...





I wanted to take a moment to mention Ethan and his swimming.  He started swimming before his second birthday with lots of hard work in ISR.  We put him in this safety swim class because we moved in a house with large ponds behind it.  We then found he really liked to swim and went from there.  He has been taking classes with Swim America since he was three.  He works so hard each working on certain skills he has to master before moving up to the next group.  He has been working on the freestyle stroke and synchronized breathing.  He doesn't have meets yet so family and friends never see what he has achieved.  I wanted to share with our family and friends a little clip and photos of him in action.  I have learned that is so hard to photograph or video a swimmer!  I get so much joy out of watching him swim.  

look for the shark swim hat!



video


22 January 2014

gift giving




Valentines Day is around the corner and I can't help but to think about what to get my loves.  Last year David gave me a pair converse for Valentines Day.  My favorite valentines day gift ever!  Why?  Because I told him I'd rather have chucks than flowers and he listened.  And because he thought they are ridi shoes and still gave them to me.  

My point is this...give your loved one a little something that says your listening.  
Now if I can find that gift for him...

21 January 2014

one calls it lucky...one calls it blessed





The one thing you can't possibly understand or prepare for is the way your kids can make you feel. Today was filled with several moments with my boys that "grateful" doesn't even begin to describe. The unexpected compliment from my four year old boy {you look nice mommy} or the way the little one snuggles in to you just for a moment because you are his comfort. The feeling of celebration in their accomplishment of something so simple as a word spoken. Witnessing them growing into little people and to be so proud of type of people they are becoming. To be a parent to is to love more than you ever thought possible. I am overwhelmed at times by the blessings I've been given.  It isn't all lovely moments being a mother, but it's those perfect ones that makes it all worth it.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

15 January 2014

this is what's for dinner...


my winter restlessness has lead me to try new recipes.  I've been trying one to two new recipes each week some found in my cookbooks and others on my beloved pinterest.  I have to give credit where it's due...Pinterest seems to be the crowd pleaser at our house among the boys.  to be honest i am not much of a risk taker...however i was growing bored with our dinner routine and decided interesting is better than boring and expected.  here are three recipes that will be making a second rotation on our dinner table...


This is what we tried tonight.  Pesto, asparagus, and sun dried tomatoes over pasta shells.  The look I got from David {actually statement} was where is the meat?  If you follow the link she suggests serving it with a fried egg over the top.  Once I added the fried egg David statement changed to "I'd serve this in a restaurant."  Honestly, it looks a lot harder that it was and your veggies are camouflaged from the kids.


This garlic and brown sugar chicken has become a staple.  It's quick, you typically have everything on hand, and it goes with about anything!  We prefer paired with Uncle Ben's long grain wild rice, salad,  and edamame.  Try it!  If have clicked the link...yes it cooks at a ridiculously high temp.  Don't forget your non stick cooking spray on this one.


I love a good chicken tortilla soup.  I have pinned several and tried several.  I came across this slow cooker chicken tortilla soup one a few weeks ago and gave it a shot.  It's my favorite so far!  It seems fresh and light yet perfect for a cold wintry night.  I think this is more a girls dinner but hey you can't have steak and potatoes every night!  Oh- and a crock pot recipe to boot!  Those are the best kind to help avoid the 5 o'clock melt down.  



14 January 2014

wedding mention...



Remember that beautiful wedding we were in last summer at Rosemary Beach?  It
was recently mentioned on a blog and my little beach bum Ethan was featured.  I am fairly certain he looks more California than Nashville!  Whitney planned such a lovely wedding...every detail was thought out and executed perfectly.  You can see the blog HERE.  

If you are wondering why I am making such a crazy face in photo above, this was snapped when I saw Ethan for the first time after the ceremony.  He had been with the groomsmen all day and I was so proud of him and how well he did.  David dressed him and it was the first time I had seen him with his little suspenders.  
"I'll eat you up I love you so!"


13 January 2014

golden globes 2014


after working two tweleve hour shifts coming home to watch the Golden Globes
was just what I needed.  Here were my favorite looks of the night.  After watching
everyone in all the lovely dresses made me wish I had somewhere to go all dressed up!





07 January 2014

fourteen!









A New Year has just begun and while i keep thinking back to 2013 I can't help
but wonder how we can top 2013.  Call me a little sentimental!  Our little 
family had awesome vacations in 2013.  We kicked off the year at Disney World
had a relaxing time at Amelia Island, celebrated a bachelorette in Vegas, were part of gorgeous wedding in Rosemary Beach, unplugged on a camping trip in Canada
celebrated the fall in mountains with family, and David went hunting for week with his Dad and Brother.  David's company Dogwood Homes
built some pretty amazing homes and I had a several families leave an impression on my
heart at work that will always impact me and my nursing career.  Our boys have grown
bigger and remain joyful and healthy.  

As I look forward to 2014 I can expect that a dear friend will move faraway in early spring
to London.  This bittersweet move will hopefully lead to new adventures for
my own family in land of the Royal Family.  I hope to slow down and learn to sit
and read a good book with a cup of tea way more often than I do currently.  We 
only made one resolution as a family:  to use kind words towards each other.  I'm 
hoping this will help the boys {and us} learn to find better words to express
their anger and frustration when playing together. 

So cheers to a 2014!