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March 20, 2019

Game: Release the balloons

Inflate a balloon, but don't tie it. Hand it to a kid - that kid can let it go. Watch in amazement as the balloon zooms around the room! Repeat! We had one go into a garbage can and still talk about it :)

March 4, 2019

Fun Easter Basket Ideas that aren't candy

Fresh Crayons!

And they can live in a bunny box.

You know, quarters and stuff.





Sidewalk Chalk

Other fun ideas

February 24, 2019

My 0.02: Apps for kids age 2 to 5

Khan Kids (educational game)
Scratch Jr.
Sprinkle Jr.
Fruit Ninja
FlightCtrl HD
Skee-Ball HD
Temple Run
Plants vs. Zombies
Caroling with Santa
Color Switch

My 0.02: Apps for kids under 2 years old

< 2 years old:
Facetime (kids prefer this to the phone for talking with Nana and Grandpa)
Baby DJ
Sparkabilities (Babies 1 HD, Babies 2 HD)
Kid Art
Magic Piano
Itsy Bitsy HD
Old Mac HD
Sound Touch

PBS Kids

This is a great resource for parents:

There's craft ideas, games, and links to some wonderful PBS content.  

The mailing list also sends valuable emails periodically.

Khan Academy for Kids - Two Thumbs Up

It's a delightful app which includes games and puzzles.  It's for kids in preschool and perhaps a bit beyond.

When you do well, you get to give surprises to the animal friends, which itself is also just lovely.

My 3 year old loves this as one of his favorite apps / games, and one of his favorite ways to learn.

Google Play store:

February 23, 2019

A quick guide to Disney

I'll start by saying that this was the first vacation we spent a lot on since our honeymoon - air travel for 4, many days at the hotel park tickets, $3.50 waters, etc.  But it was a great trip and we loved it.

I love taking notes, so here are some brief, hopefully helpful notes on seeing the mouse.

6 months out you can make reservations for fun princess and character experiences.  We liked:
*Perfectly Princess Tea
*Cinderella's Royal Table
*Disney Hollywood Studios breakfast with Sofia and Doc McStuffins

Starting with this, I did it all through the Disney app (My Disney Experience), linked to our room reservation number (we stayed on resort - it's nice being on the monorail with the Magic Kingdom - you can do that with Grand Floridian, Polynesian, or The Contemporary)

Get the app.  You gotta just do it now.  We'll wait.

2 months out, you can start booking your Fast Pass.  Some rides that we really needed it for were:
*Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (this is amazing - was my kids' first fast coaster and they loved it)
*Space Mountain (Lulu went on it!)
*Thunder Mountain (lots of fun!)
*Soarin' around the world (Epcot)
*Toy Story Mania (really fun target shooting game at Disneyworld Studios - though Slinky Dog looked good too)

You can go from the airport right to resort with Disney's Magical Express.  It's great - do it.  They take your checked bags right from the plane and they magically show up in your room.

Once in Orlando, we enjoyed:
*Rides in the morning - if you're staying at one of those hotels, you can show up at 8am and the lines are short; it's also not too hot then
*Eating at our hotel - we loved Gasparilla Island Grill (we also picked up snacks from there - hard boiled eggs, apple slices, carrots)
*Napping during the day
*Pool, then park and rides (note that if you spend your 3 fast passes in the morning, you can sign up for another tough to get ride at night - refresh by clicking the time button on the app)
*Watching the fireworks (at 8pm)

We also really enjoyed this food:
*Dinner at Be Our Guest (with the Beast - the food is amazing.  And we got to be late for a Fast Pass with the receipt from there!)
*Citrus Swirl ice cream in Adventure Land

Honorable Mention rides (worth doing once):
*Tea Cups (so much fun for our family!)
*It's a Small World ride
*The Carousel in Fantasy Land (Prince Charming Carousel)
*Peter Pan ride
*Dumbo and Aladdin Flying Carpet (very similar rides); spinning 15 ft in the air.
*Barnstormer (roller coaster for little ones)

We heard great things about, but didn't:
*Book a VIP Tour (front of line for rides, but super-expensive)
*Go to Animal Kingdom
*Spend a lot of time in Epcot
*Ordering food on the app and just picking up at the window
*Go to the castle just before the park opens for a daily princess opening ceremony

Other good things we did:
*Bought strollers
*Wore hats and sunblock (in February!)

Two mistakes we made:
*Polynesian luau dinner isn't the best for young mousketeers
*Epcot is a lot for little ones, especially in a day with other things.  It's also not super-easy to get to.

There are lots of other resources too, like:


February 3, 2019

My 0.02: Great goody bag items

This post is meant to house some of the best things we've ever gotten or given in goody bags.   Ages 3-5.


Melissa and Doug Stickers

Slap Rockets

Glow rings

Play Doh


Inflatable Microphones

This magic trick

A small car or crane is always fun.

Game: Treasure Map

Kids love games, and they love puzzles.  So make them a treasure hunt!  Draw a map:

And lead them to a prize, which could include treats like Gummy Bears and Hershey Kisses.

I also taught Lulu some words, and gave her clues which required her to read to solve the puzzle :)

January 6, 2019

The Double Squeeze

When I'm holding Lulu's or Lincoln's hands, I give them a double squeeze and I say "Double squeeze because I love you".  Fun fact: They now do that to me too :)

January 1, 2019

Baby Gear that's expensive a worth it

Baby Gear isn't cheap. There's lots of expensive stuff you don't need or even want, and more expensive isn't necessarily better. We didn't love the 4 Moms swing. We didn't love the Phil & Ted stroller. We didn't get a baby wipe warmer.

 But here are the things I feel are worth paying up for:

Double BOB Stroller

If you have 2 kids, this pushes like a dream. Great for running, just fits inside many doors. And it still is useful with kids who are almost 4 and 6! My wife says, "The double bob is the best".

Bugaboo Cameleon3

We got this as a gift and loved it.  This and the double bob are the only 2 strollers we still have, years later.

Motorola Baby Monitor

There's a million brands, and most are probably fine.  The main things we loved about this were:
1) Remote tilt, pan, zoom
2) Temperature display

Chicco Infant Car Seat

A solid Car Seat

Crane Humidifiers

These are seriously great humidifiers. 

Junka and Airplane

This is a great game where Mommy is lying on her back and has the kids up on her legs.  She says, "junka, junka, junka junka, junk-a junk-a" and then the game is over.  It can also end with a flip.

An alternate version is called "airplane" where you pretend the child is an airplane.