January 29, 2018

Groundhog Day Books & Activities

Groundhog Day is so exciting for kids, maybe because he's cute or maybe because they vote against each other on whether he will see his shadow or not?  When I was teaching, we always filled the day with fun Groundhog activities and learned about the background of this silly day. And because Groundhog Day is on Friday, I put together some books and fun activities for you to do at home or in the classroom! All books can be found on Amazon and are available for prime so you can get them by Friday.

Groundhog Day Books

1 - Grumpy Groundhog

2 - Punxsutawney Phyllis

3 - Groundhog's Runaway Shadow

4 -Groundhog Day!

5 - Groundhog Weather School

6 - Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day Activities

1 - DIY Shadow Puppets - Where Imagination Grows
2 - Groundhog Paper Plate Craft - Crafty Morning
3 - Groundhog Day Activity Pack - 3 Dinosaurs
4 - Groundhog Coloring Book - Enchanted Homeschooling Mom
5 - Groundhog Shadow Cut Out - Enchanted Homeschooling Mom
6 - Building & Tracing Shadows - How Wee Learn

So, what's your vote, do you think Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow this year? Are you hoping for an early Spring? I would love more Winter...but I'm also in Florida so early Spring actually means early Summer.

*This post contains affiliate links.

January 11, 2018

UP Themed First Birthday

I love planning birthday parties, and because I kind of didn't go all out for my son's party this year (as in I wasn't even going to throw a party until he asked so it is totally last minute), I thought I would throw it back to his UP themed first birthday that I never posted about. So far, it has been my favorite because the decor was perfect!

I'm not exactly sure where we came up with the idea of an UP theme, I literally think my husband just loved the idea of having a ton of balloons and we went with it. We did rent a helium tank to be able to fill up all of the balloons on our own, so it made that part a lot easier than driving to drive with a bunch of balloons in the rear-view. We used balloons for the cake, and also for the gift area. We also had the UP soundtrack quietly playing throughout the house as background noise. Obviously a Disney family.

For food, we did picnic type food with sandwiches, potato salad, fruit, and pulled pork sliders...as well as other snacks not pictured. It was perfect for a lunch time party and was incredibly easy to prep. The food table had the UP cake as a centerpiece, a stuffed Kevin and Paradise Falls money jar for decor.

We are lucky to have a local family friend who bakes AMAZING cakes for a great price. I gave her my ideas for the UP cake and she totally blew me away. The flavor was marble and the frosting was buttercream, the house and balloons were made with fondant and it just looked so perfect. Seriously one of my favorite cakes to date.

You can't have a first birthday without a smash cake, so of course we had a matching one made that Dax just LOVED. His was completely buttercream and he dove right in, careful not to get too messy. I took his birthay onesie off for the cake so he could put it back on later. I didn't do a typical high chair banner, but the I AM ONE balloons worked perfectly with the theme.

Daxton's "nanny" for the first 2 years of his life also happened to own her own in-home cookie business. Her cookies are DELICIOUS and oh so stinkin' cute! She made cookies to resemble the UP Wilderness Explorer Badges. We set these out on the main food table but they were used for our favors. I mean look how amazing they turned out!

I knew Dax's birthday outfit had to fit the theme, so he wore an embroidered balloon onesie from a shop on Etsy, and I added the suspenders for an extra touch. If you know Dax, you know he loves suspenders! We still have this onesie and I have considered cutting it to put in his baby book, but I think I will just keep it as is as a keepsake. He looked so cute.

I made a banner for our front door that said: ADVENTURE IS INSIDE - DAX IS ONE, and a happy birthday banner to hang across the windows inside. The front door banner had a burlap look and the inside one was rainbow colored. And then no UP party is complete without tying a bunch of balloons to your one year old's back and hoping he doesn't float away.

It was an awesome first birthday with so many family and friends celebrating our guy turning the big ONE.

January 5, 2018

Chicco NextFit iX Zip - Review

I have always been intrigued by the safety products that Chicco has to offer and have only ever heard great things about them. I hadn’t used a Chicco car seat until I tried out the Fit2, and after trying out and loving it with my youngest, I was excited to upgrade him to the Chicco NextFit iX Zip. Although he most likely had a couple of months left in the Fit2 before reaching the height limit, I wanted to make sure that I had another option lined up for when he was ready to upgrade to a convertible. When we upgraded my vehicle to a Ford Explorer, our larger convertible car seats no longer fit rear facing and I was most likely going to borrow my parent’s car seat for the time being so I was definitely excited to get the NextFit iX Zip to use and review, especially because I want to make sure I keep my 22 month old son rear facing for as long as possible.

When I first opened the box and took out seat, I honestly thought that it looked big and that it wasn’t going to fit in my SUV just like my other car seats, my husband was skeptical too. Imagine my surprise and delight when I installed the car seat and saw the amount of space between the installed car seat and the front passenger seat, I was even able to slide the passenger seat back quite a bit giving more leg room up front—it was pretty tight from his other seat!

The NextFit iX Zip can accommodate newborns who weigh as little as 5 lbs. with the newborn insert up to toddlers who weigh 40 lbs. in the rear facing position. When your child is ready, this seat can accommodate children in the front facing position up to 65 lbs. and 49” tall. My youngest is MAYBE 25 lbs. so he can be rear facing for a while without reaching the limit, though once 35 lbs. is reached, LATCH can no longer be used and the seat belt will need to be used to secure the seat. When installing the seat in the rear facing position, use the angle adjuster numbers 1-4 and ensure the level indicator is in the correct spot and that baby’s head isn’t falling forward.

Installing the seat using the LATCH system was seriously mind blowing. I have always had to put my weight into my car seats when installing, but not with the NextFit. There are 2 sides to the LATCH straps to tighten, first you pull to tighten the side with the number 1 and then you tighten the SuperCinch side of the LATCH….and let me tell you—it is SUPER. The SuperCinch gets the car seat very tight and secure without a struggle and pulls the LATCH straps tight for you, like a wench system. So easy! If you haven’t tried out the SuperCinch of the NextFit, head to your local baby store to try it out, it is an amazing feature and I am super confident in the rear facing install.

As if the SuperCinch LATCH system wasn’t amazing enough, the Zip part in NextFit iX Zip is also a car seat game changer. The top cover of the car seat zips completely off for easy cleaning/washing and the strap covers come off as well. No need to take out the entire car seat to clean if there is accident or small spill. Some other great features include the side strap pads for the legs/hips that actually stay open on their own to keep the harness straps open for ease of putting baby in the seat. I like these because the straps don’t dig and keep baby comfy. The harness straps tighten with a pull strap on the front of the seat so adjusting for the right fit is always in reach, and the harness is a no re-thread system that adjusts with the raising and lowering of the headrest, which has 9 positions.

This convertible car seat is packed with so many amazing features, I can’t believe I hadn’t tried a NextFit sooner! I would recommend this car seat to everyone, especially parents with compact vehicles as it is a fairly compact seat compared to many others, and parents who have disabilities or issues where tightening car seats may hurt their hands as the SuperCinch system does not require as much effort as a typical LATCH car seat. I LOVE the Chicco NextFit iX Zip, and have yet to find a feature that I do not like in it. You can purchase a NextFit iX Zip car seat on the Chicco website here for $349.99, or at Babies R Us or Target (prints vary by store).

*I received this item for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.