Educational Gifts For Kids: Green Kid Crafts

Educational Gifts For Kids: Green Kid Crafts

This post contains affiliate links. Educational Gifts For Kids: Green Kid Crafts.

Green kid crafts pin

Are you struggling to find fun, original, educational gifts for the kid in your life? We just had our first experience with Green Kid Crafts, and it already has my kids begging for more. There is so much packed into the little green box it’s a great choice for any child.

Review of Green Kid Crafts

First of all, let me be clear, in no way shape or form am I a science mom or have ever had much interest in science. I studied history, geography, French, international studies, etc. in college. I believe took astronomy and geology for my two required college science courses because they looked the most interesting.

However, I think this is part of the reason why I love Green Kid Crafts. First, there is a ton to learn about and explore. These are activities my kids love (especially my son) I would never have put together on my own. Also, it was so nice to have everything required for the experiment or activity right there on hand with clear directions, multiple options, and great thought-provoking questions for the kids to consider.

As a disclosure, we were sent a free sample box to review to be an affiliate for Green Kid Crafts. Now, you can choose to be an affiliate for so many things out there. There are certainly many options for monthly subscription kid themes. I have to say this is my favorite of all the monthly subscription boxes out there we’ve received. Why? Because there is simply so much to do. In addition, both the 4-year-old and the 8-year-old thought it was awesome!

If you’re in need of a creative and fun educational gift for a child, try out Green Kid Crafts and share an experience. It’s not just a toy to sit in the corner and gather dust.

What is Green Kid Crafts?

Green Kid Crafts is a monthly subscription for discovery boxes for kids 3-10 years old. They focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math), providing opportunities to spark the imagination and trigger those higher thinking questions and skills. Each box has a different theme; the one we were sent is titled “Outer Space”.

Firstly, as stated, the kits are geared toward kids 3-10 years of age. The younger ones will need more help and guidance in reading the directions and doing the activity than the older ones. Actually, I found I had to almost work with the older child more to get her to slow down, do things in order, and make observations. A lot depends on the personality of your child!

Alien with Green Kid Crafts preview

From their own website, Green Kid Crafts describes their product as:

Developed by teachers, crafty moms and STEAM experts (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) to support key developmental skills for kids ages 3-10, our products celebrate creativity with craft projects and activate thinking, questioning, inquiring, and original creation as we guide children through fun science experiments.

Who would enjoy Green Kid Crafts as a fun, educational gift?

Firstly, as stated, the kits are geared toward kids 3-10 years of age. The younger ones will need more help and guidance in reading the directions and doing the activity than the older ones. Actually, I found I had to almost work with the older child more to get her to slow down, do things in order, and make observations. A lot depends on the personality of your child!

Green kid crafts balloon experiment

These are fun and accessible for any kid. However, I think those who would especially enjoy it would be those who may already have an interest in science, discovery, and a patience and determination to figure out how things work. You know those kids who at age 2 were trying take apart the door knob, turning it back and forth, and testing the locks? You can practically see the gears in their heads working as they try to figure out the why does it do this? My son and my brother were both this way at a young age, and my brother ended up an engineer so there you go!

For parents, this is a quick and easy way to enjoy active learning with your children. You get to participate and see them discover and get excited learning about the world around them. I personally love the fact I didn’t have to go figure out a bunch of experiments and activities and gather all the supplies!

Need more fun activities to do with kids?

Many of these awesome ideas are great for any season!
Read it here!

What I like about Green Kid Crafts

  • The kits are pre-packaged and ready to go with nearly everything you need. The only things we needed for our “Outer Space” kit were a little cooking oil and dishwashing liquid.
  • Plenty of supplies. We were able to do the experiments multiple times for both my son and daughter. (You can also order extra in your kits for siblings)
  • A variety of activities. We learned not just about one topic but many. Included in our box we had a Planetarium Kit, Space Sand Kit, and a Rocket Balloon Kit.
  • Each kit of the three we received in our box has multiple experiments and discovery opportunities.
  • Excellent directions and thought-provoking questions to help kids explore.
  • The different kits take a good amount of time to complete. I would not recommend doing them all at once but space them out during the month for kids to really enjoy and think about.
  • STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) focused. Great for getting kids exciting about learning and experimenting outside of school.
  • Promotes key developmental skills.
  • Educational and fun for adults helping kids as well. Granted, I’m not a scientist, but the space sand was fascinating to learn about!
  • New learning theme each month.
  • Earth-friendly materials are used. The supplies chosen can be composted, recycled and/or reused whenever possible.

Practical details and how to get it

There are several options for boxes and subscriptions. You can order a one-time box and renew it every month or get a 3, 6, or 12-month subscription, which is totally awesome, and I wouldn’t mind being given to me as a gift myself! See this link for current prices and options: Give the gift of creativity with Green Kid Crafts!

The child in your life will get their own exciting package in the mail every month with endless opportunities for discovery, imagination, and fun. What kid does not like to get something in the mail? They fight over just holding it on the way home from the mailbox at our house!

In conclusion and my opinion

I’ve said a lot of good things about this product and company, and our experiences so far are very favorable. I really like the idea of encouraging the growth of the “whole child” and the focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math). Moreover, as a person who has never really had much interest in science for myself, I found myself getting excited about the experiments with the kids. The only con I can think of to mention was that the air pump for the balloons didn’t work as well as I would have liked, and that was not a problem as I could blow them up myself.

With my own eyes, I saw them learning new things about materials, jet propulsion, and the night sky. Their faces lit up with excitement and enthusiasm for learning with very little effort on my part. This would make a wonderful gift from any grandparent, friend, relative, or whoever.

What are your favorite science experiments you remember doing as a child? Post them in the comments!

I think my most memorable was when my science teacher had us do a bug collection with 25 different species. I felt like I was collecting bugs forever! A close second most memorable was when the squid ink exploded all over me during a dissection…ack! I still can picture that table and middle school classroom!

Kid-Prepared Mother’s Day Brunch Menu

Kid-Prepared Mother’s Day Brunch Menu

This page contains affiliate links. Mother’s Day brunch menu.

Do you need a Mother’s Day brunch menu for the kids in your life to make a memorable impression for Mom or Grandma? This is my go to quick brunch for women’s events like baby showers, a ladies get together, a book club, or any fun gathering. It is a proven formula, and I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t enjoyed it. So for some pampering and a show of appreciation for all Mom does in our lives, give her a rest and make something she will love.

Test your patience Mom day

Today was one of those mornings for me. The 4-year-old was happy and looking forward to “Z” day at school and then bam! We forget the backpack. Now, do you really need a backpack for a 2 and a half hour preschool class? Not really, but it’s a fun thing to carry around and put our “jobs” in before going home. The child completely lost it and would not go in the building without his backpack. Did I have a million things to do while he was in preschool? Yes.

We had a talk next to the car trying to be reasonable and explain how he wouldn’t need it, and Mommy would bring it at the end of school. No luck, and the kid is stubborn. So amid the screams, running back to the car multiple times, I admit to myself. It’s a test your patience Mom day. We all have them. So people! Plan something nice for the Mom in your life and show some gratitude to the person who navigated you or others through the childhood fits, trials, stubbornness, and growth.

Why should kids prepare a Mother’s Day brunch menu?

Mother’s Day is an awesome opportunity to do something nice for some of the most important people in kids’ young lives. Instead of buying something and wrapping it up and telling the kids what Mom or Grandma is getting, give them a part. Make them invest some of themselves in the effort. Yes, it will take more time, patience, and clean-up, but the smiles of pride and joy as they present Mom with a homemade breakfast or brunch on a tray or at a family party is well worth it.

My kids love to be involved in cooking and preparing gifts for others. Their faces light up, and of course the four-year-old states, “Yes! I can do it myself for Grandma!”

Mother's Day brunch menu

This year use a Mother’s Day brunch menu for kids to treat Mom, Grandma, or that special person in their lives to a little luxury and pampering.

Make Mom a Fresh Carrot Orange Mango Smoothie!

Carrot smoothies

Get the recipe here!

Mother’s Day brunch menu

Kid-prepared Mother’s Day brunch menu

Yogurt, fruit, and granola parfaits

Yogurt parfait side view

To begin, our menu includes some simple, healthy, pretty, and oh so tasty ingredients to give Mom some energy for the day. Presentation is a huge part of making food enjoyable so embrace the aesthetics while choosing the best foods at the same time. Who can resist a beautiful yogurt parfait with fresh fruit and granola?

This is a fun thing for kids to prepare. First, gather the ingredients. You’ll, of course, need yogurt in one or more flavors. We like vanilla when adding fruit to it, but if Mom likes blueberry or coconut Greek yogurt, go with her preference! Also, cut up your fresh fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, mangos, or whatever you want. Next, take a bag of a favorite granola and begin layering. Start with a layer of granola, then fruit, then yogurt. Depending on the size of your glasses you can repeat this process 2, 3, 4 or more times! Lastly, top with a sprinkling of granola and the main fruits in the parfait.

Yogurt parfait close-up

Scones (home-made or store-bought)

Along with the parfait, you can include a little indulgence. I absolutely love fruit scones but rarely make them. Choose whatever flavor Mom or Grandma love, and if you have time help the kids make them from scratch. However, you don’t have time, buy some at the store but have the little ones take them out of the package and place them just right on pretty plates.

Order a scone recipe book from Amazon here: Scones: The Ultimate Recipe Guide

Quiche

Then, add a little savory to the menu with a dainty Quiche Lorraine or whatever flavor Mom likes. Quiche is not really that difficult to do, and if you buy a pre-made crust in the pan it’s a simple matter of whisking together 5 eggs, 3/4 cup cream (or milk), and 2 cups flavoring ingredients (such as spinach and gruyère cheese or ham and cheddar cheese), then pouring it into the shell to bake for 45-50 min. For a good printable recipe click on the link here.


Does anyone else have trouble letting yourself allow the child to crack the eggs? Arg. All that salmonella (maybe?)! I’ve had to make a choice to let that anxiety go, she can do it! Moreover, if we get a dropped egg on the floor, a smashed eggshell in the egg mixture, or raw egg all over our hands it can all be fixed, cleaned up, sterilized, or whatever. Sigh. Let it go, let it go…

Mimosas or Orange Juice

Orange juice

Next, we have our Mimosas (mmmm!), simple orange juice, or possibly an Orangina? Decide if you want an adult to take care of the adult beverage portion or have the kids take care of everything with an attractive glass of bright orange juice.

 Coffee or Tea

St. Patrick's Day tea

At a morning brunch, I find coffee a necessary piece of the puzzle for my true enjoyment, but provide tea or coffee or even hot cocoa depending on the tastes of your VIPs.

Mom’s favorite flower in vase

First, don’t eat the flower! Nearing the finishing touches, place a cheerful single or a whole bouquet of flowers in a vase for Grandma or Mom in her favorite flower and color.

Child’s hand-drawn card

Last but certainly not least, don’t forget the kids’ hand-drawn Mother’s Day cards with hand-prints, flowers, squid, bison, or whatever the child is moved to share with Mom. They will be cherished.

Mother and daughter

In closing

To all my hard-working moms out there, I get it! Don’t forget to take a moment out and pamper yourselves! You are amazing and soooo important to those kids and their futures.

So today, the same day we had the meltdown in front of all the other preschool parents in the parking lot, we also had the end of the year program. The child took an interest, got himself dressed in a “church shirt” with suspenders and tie, and actively participated in singing, dancing, and doing motions in a 17 song/rhyme program. Every song he looked at Mom proudly with a big, beautiful smile from ear to ear. Love on your littles while you can and appreciate every day.

The Ultimate Homeowner’s Travel Prep Checklist

The Ultimate Homeowner’s Travel Prep Checklist

This post contains affiliate links. Homeowner’s Travel Prep Checklist

Homeowner's Travel checklist

So you did it! You booked that big vacation for the entire family to go to Provence, to London, or to Florida for three weeks this summer. Of course, you have your itinerary, ideas about where to eat, what to do, where to stay, and all that jazz. You may even already have your suitcases and carry-ons planned. However, have you thought about your house, your home and all that will go on there while you are away?

Use this ultimate homeowner’s travel prep checklist to safeguard your home while you are away.

We all love to prepare for a vacation but can often forget about what will go on at home while we’re gone. Make a thorough plan for while you are gone so you can enjoy your vacation with the peace of mind everything’s been taken care of for you back home.

Homeowner checklist preview

Don’t be surprised or caught in the last minute panic. Of course, I will be in a panic about something, but let’s limit it as much as possible, right? Just enter your email below, and the document will be sent to you to download. Then come along with us as we continue to prep for summer travel!

Need a journal for kids to reflect on your travels?

Get your free kids’ travel journal from Explorer Momma.
Read it here!

Here is my ultimate homeowner’s travel prep checklist

Homeowner's travel prep checklist

When you leave town do you take care of your home necessities?

  1. Stop your mail.
  2. Put a hold on any newspapers.
  3. Find a pet sitter or reserve a pet care location.
  4. Find someone to water plants inside and outside the house.
  5. Give your contact info to a trusted neighbor who can keep an eye on things as they come and go or have a friend or relative check on the house every few days.
  6. Find a house-sitter if necessary.
  7. Make sure the sprinkler system is set.
  8. Change your thermostat settings so your heater/air conditioner isn’t constantly running while no one’s home.
  9. Turn off and/or unplug computers, coffee pots, blenders, or other electronics.
  10. Contact your home security company if you have one to let them know when you’ll be gone.
  11. Schedule or reschedule any lawn care and the bug or pest control as needed.
  12. In winter plan for someone to complete necessary snow-removal.
  13. Cancel dairy or food home deliveries while you’re gone.
  14. Pay all bills due while you’re gone or set them to pay at the appropriate time.
  15. Set timers on outdoor and indoor lights used consistently in the evenings.
  16. Straighten the house and make beds, wash dishes, and unload the dishwasher before you leave so you come home to a calming and welcoming space.
  17. Call credit card companies to let them know where and when you’ll be traveling.
  18. Leave copies of passports and other important documents where someone can locate them for you in an emergency.

Click on the pictures to compare outlet timers and wifi smart plug outlets on Amazon:

There is so much to think about when you’re traveling, especially with kids. As a homeowner, we have to think of all the things we’re leaving behind and still have to take care of while we’re away. Make that house a home for your family and make a plan! Use my homeowner’s travel prep checklist, and limit your risk of utter and complete Home Alone panic while you’re on that airplane to Paris.

Enjoy your travels this summer to the fullest!

Also, I’d love to hear where all you’re traveling! Put a comment in below and let’s get excited about those plans to explore!

A Baby Giraffe and 10 Tips for the Perfect Denver Zoo Visit

A Baby Giraffe and 10 Tips for the Perfect Denver Zoo Visit

This post contains affiliate links. A Baby Giraffe at the Denver Zoo.

Denver Zoo pin

Are you planning a trip to the Denver Zoo or any other zoo for that matter? Is your little one begging to see that adorable new baby giraffe? My family loves the Denver Zoo, but it can get extremely crowded or overwhelming if you don’t make a plan. Before you go keep in mind my tips for a perfect zoo visit.

1. Meet Dobby, the baby giraffe!

First of all, oh my cuteness! When you arrive at the Denver Zoo, grab your map and head in the direction of the giraffes. Amid the cries of, “So cute!”, “Awww!”, and “The sweetest ever!” you will see the most adorable baby giraffe named Dobby. Yes, Dobby – isn’t that just the perfect name? I may be gushing a bit, but Dobby was a huge highlight in our recent visit to the zoo. I didn’t have the giant-lensed camera like the gentleman just down a bit from us, but we still got some good pictures of the little guy.

Dobby, the baby giraffe Denver Zoo giraffe family

Dobby was born February 28, 2017, and we saw him April 18. He seemed comfortable in front of our small group and walked around by himself and amongst the other giraffes. Furthermore, I am certain that with a glint in his eye he winked and smiled just as we turned to walk away. Surprisingly, some of my own family do not believe this assertion! Therefore, I strongly suggest you go to the Denver Zoo and see for yourself!

2. Get a membership

Going to the zoo, the natural history museum, the aquarium, and others can be costly for a family. We absolutely love the zoo so even though we don’t live in Denver I purchased a zoo membership. I ended up getting the individual and guest membership, but there are family memberships as well as several other different kinds. Compare the membership options here: Denver Zoo Memberships. 

What do I like about a membership? For one, it saves me money. If we go to the zoo more than 2 times this year it pays for itself, and anything after that is a bonus. I have the satisfaction of suggesting going to Denver and visiting the zoo at little cost other than gas. Most memberships include 1 or more additional free guest passes, tickets to ride the train and carousel, and a discount on food and other purchases. Be sure to include to tally these in your comparisons if you’re considering it.

Another thing I like is that this is an outdoor, educational activity for kids. If you’ve read much from me you’ll know my son absolutely loves animals, and he is fascinated by their different ways of survival. The Denver Zoo is a huge place, and there is always a new animal for him to discover and learn some amazing fact about. He loves to tell me and other family members all about what he’s learned. Of course, as a mom, this is a huge win for me too!

Eagles

3. Visit the zoo on a weekday

This may be a no-brainer to some parents out there, but when should you visit the Denver Zoo? Well, before we went last week I double-checked their website to be sure it was not a free day or a special event day. For example, there were added advertised activities and shows for kids during Spring break. Did we go at that time? Accidentally, yes, but then we changed our plans and did something else because the crowds were so overwhelming.

If your family doesn’t mind crowds definitely attend some of the special events, but my 4-year old gets stressed with a lot of people around and immediately wants to leave. He loudly lets us know of his unease, and it’s not fun for anyone.

Conclusion? Visit the zoo on a weekday, maybe a Tuesday or Wednesday when there are no special holidays or events happening.

Denver Zoo camel

4. Pick the main things you want to see and plan out your route

The Denver Zoo is a huge place, and you will wear yourself out running back and forth to see the specific animals requested by the kids. “Mommy, I want to see the alligator, and the gorillas, then the elephants!”

These animals are far apart at the zoo so take a moment to look over your map and plan your basic route around. If the kids are worried about certain animals make a point to show them on the map and let them know when you’ll see them. Your feet will thank you.

Monkey hanging

5. Plan out the shows you want to see beforehand

This goes along with planning your route. If you want to see any of the shows take a look at the sign as you enter for the daily show times. It’s located just after the ticket taker or you can ask in the visitor center.

I highly recommend the sea lion show as it’s one of our favorites!

In summer there are more show times than other seasons so don’t assume times from past experience. If you don’t want a screaming kid who’s devastated they missed the elephant show, it’s always good to double-check. Planning is good.

Are you looking for more educational experiences in Denver for kids?

Read all about our awesome trip to the Denver Downtown Aquarium!
Read it here!

6. Denver Zoo activities

What can you do to make your visit more educational? My daughter especially likes to use a scavenger hunt page to find specific animals. Then it becomes a game to her and almost a race to find the animal with its new fun fact.

Another fun thing to do for older kids is to give them their own naturalist journal. Depending on your child you can give instructions or not. I tell my daughter to sketch and label the animals she sees and write one to three sentences describing interesting things about it. Possibilities include physical description, what the animal eats and how it gets it in the wild, how it moves around, how it protects itself, etc.

You can order a fun naturalist journal like one of these from Amazon. Click on the journal to take you to the Amazon site:

7. Make a search for new animals

Go see some of the lesser known animals. Tell your kids to imagine they are going to discover new animals and introduce that animal to the world! Next, you or one of the older kids can introduce the new-found animal to the group and give some facts about them.

For example, on our last trip I fell in love with the fossa. The fossa is a predator that lives in Madagascar, has the longest tail for grabbing onto trees, and a surprisingly small head. I was fascinated watching it walk around its habitat.

8. Take a stroller or wagon and bring your lunch

Even though my son doesn’t use his stroller much anymore I still brought it to the zoo. As I’ve stated, it’s a large place! If your child gets tired of walking they can ride in the stroller, and you have the added perk of a place to stow all your gear.

Also, to save money you can pack your lunch and stow it in the stroller with an ice pack. I like to pack a lunch and then just buy a snack for the kids later in the day as a treat. Or bring your own snacks too and with an already paid for membership you won’t have to spend a thing!

Monkey Island lunch view

9. Ride the train and carousel

Carousel sign

The train and carousel are must-dos for kids at the Denver Zoo. There are always huge smiles all around, and a nice variation in your zoo experience. I like to do these two rides in the later part of our visit when the kids are getting tired and need a change in activity.

Buy tickets or get the tickets from your membership at the little house in between the train and carousel beforehand. If it’s busy and you go directly to the carousel you will waste a lot of time in line and then have to go buy tickets anyway.

Tip: If you’ll be going often save time and money and buy a punch card. With the card you can go directly to the ride and not have to wait in line a the ticket house.

Zoo train

10. Check the weather report before you go

In summer it can get extremely hot so don’t forget hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, and water for everyone. Conversely, if it’s going to be cold or rain part of the day you can still have a great zoo experience if you plan the right clothing, umbrellas, and focus on the warm houses such as Tropical Discover (lovingly called the reptile house by my family) and Bird World. Always, just follow the Boy Scout motto and be prepared!

Zoo carousel zebra

Exploring new places is always such fun, and often you don’t have to go far for a great experience. We are so lucky to have the Denver Zoo fairly close by, and whenever we travel with kids we check out the zoos and museums wherever we are. If you have a young, curious zoologist or two in tow you can have a fabulous time with a little preparation.

What are some of your favorite zoos or places to see wildlife? Please put some of your ideas in the comments. I’d love any suggestions for places to take the little ones!

How to Make YOU Time in Your Mom Calendar

How to Make YOU Time in Your Mom Calendar

This post contains affiliate links. Mom Calendar.

Mom calendar pin

For years I’ve dreamed of writing a novel. I took creative writing courses in high school but then didn’t pursue it much in college and immediately after as I was full of other travel, career, and family dreams. Unfortunately, it was not in my business mom calendar. However, as I worked away in the business and then teaching worlds, my love of reading and writing again bubbled up to the surface and called to me. Lauren! You need to write!

What can you do to accomplish personal goals?

So I tried to do what I could. I outlined or wrote a character in my 15-minute breaks. I wrote scenes and small stuff, but again the business of life and two small children intervened. Absolutely, this is still something for which I have a passion. How in the world can I make time to include my personal goals outside of family life? Last year I quit my job to stay home with our two kids, and it feels like there’s never a minute free.

My mind answered me, just do it. First off, make a plan and stick to it. Okay, that’s easy enough. But what’s practical, doable right now step one? For me, step one is simply making a calendar. What are my priorities, carve out time for them in my mom calendar, and stick to it!

Specifically, find time for you! Busy moms have to plan time in a mom calendar to accomplish their own goals outside of the home. Utilize my free printable calendar and set time aside for you, not the kids or straightening the house.

What are your goals?

Are you in the same boat as me? Do you have stories longing to come out but need time and discipline to get pen to paper, or fingers to the computer, to write? What are your goals for yourself? Perhaps take a few minutes and write out some long-term goals, and then go back and write out some short-term, step by step goals to get you there. We could go into goal setting in a series of blog posts, but I won’t go there right now, just do some brainstorming and get the basics down.

Blue planning

Once my goals are written out, my brain immediately thinks, “Okay, that’s great, but where are we going to find time to get all these things done?” If you are a stay at home mom do you have friends, acquaintances, even family, who think you have all the time in the world?

“It must be so nice to have all that free time!”

Free time, really? If you have small children at home you do not have free time. In fact, you can’t leave them alone for more than a minute or so before they climb the cabinets, wander outside, ask if you have any more paint for their wall painting, etc. If you are lucky your child will take a nap, and if you have two or more fat chance they’ll nap at the same time. Then you’re expected to get the house cleaned, plan and prepare fabulous meals, take any older children to all their art clubs, soccer practices, swimming, and bring home the car pool. The truth is there is no peace and quiet for mom to sit around and watch TV, browse the internet, and eat chocolate all day as many people infer.

To be honest, I actually had more “me” time when my kids were in daycare, and I worked my full-time corporate job. Yes, it was busy running from place to place, but there were more times during the day I could actually take a 15-minute break with no demands on me by a small person. Moreover, I could do something like take a walk or read a book for the sheer pleasure of it and not be interrupted. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom and loving on my kids. However, a healthy balance can be reached for your personal goals as well as family time.

Mom Calendar Plan

So how do you find time to accomplish your goals? To begin with, I go for the simple and practical: make a schedule and follow it. Make it work. If it isn’t working, move things around on your mom calendar until it does.

Have you watched the movie or read the book About a Boy? The Hugh Grant character Will divides his day into “units” consisting of no more than 30 minutes of time. At the time, as he plans his days this way he may be immature and have a schedule nothing like my own, but I like this idea. 30 minutes of time. I would even make my “unit” equal to 15 minutes. If you have a plan and a purpose, you can get amazing amounts of work done in 15-minute blocks of time.

Does planning time for you include travel? Plan to head to Estes Park, Colorado this summer!

Estes Park Restaurants feature

Would you like a mountain getaway this summer? I love Estes Park, Colorado, and I’ve given you the scoop on my favorite restaurants in and around. Because we all like to eat! Have an experience. Try out one of these Estes Park restaurants with character.

Read about it here!

How do you plan your units? A calendar of course.

Maybe I’m just old or old-fashioned, but I really think there’s something to be said for writing out your goals, schedules, and calendars. Put them out there where you’ll see them consistently, and not just on your phone. When I want to brainstorm something I write my topics and ideas out on sticky notes and put them on a poster or my wall so I can move things around and get a visual picture in my head. The same goes for my weekly calendar. It’s not enough to write it out in my giant planner that is a pain to drag around and only gets opened once a day. I need a calendar/schedule I can stick on the wall or fold in half and stuff in my purse. Then I have it when I go out for easy reminders and edits.

My current mom calendar

If you can do it on your phone that’s great. It’s always with you. I put things like dentist appointments, dinner parties, and birthdays on my phone, but for the week broken down into “units” of time, I prefer paper. I tried a planner, but just couldn’t make it work since I couldn’t stick it on my wall, and it was so large. Then I tried designing my own weekly calendar printable I could just print out once a week, fill in when I could, and print another one next week. The picture above is my current mom calendar. It’s actually a little calmer than usual as we are recovering from Easter. You can see I have some work to do and detail to add! 

Weekly Calendar Printable

Here’s what I came up with for myself and have been using. I actually have two different versions I’ll include in the download. First, there’s one with only the hours listed for those who like a less cluttered look, and one with the half hours in case you like those extra lines and encouragement to write small. I actually prefer the on with the half hour. But wait! My Mom Calendar, as I call it, has more than just the hours of the day. It also has places for other items I brainstorm and plan for all the time: meals, the grocery list, and a basic to-do list. Download it just below to purpose and organize!

Mom calendar preview

Ultimately, if you think you can do it, you will. Equally, if you think you can’t, you won’t. Write out that mom calendar, and even if it’s only 15 minutes here and there, put in time for you. What do you want to accomplish? Find a babysitter if necessary. Set short term and long term goals. Make a plan to follow through. Get the help and the support of others.

I struggle to get time during the week, but simple things like going to bed earlier and getting up an hour earlier to write could make a huge difference in my productivity. I have some experimentation and a lot of work to do to get it right! You’ll be hearing more about my scheduling, research on writing stories, and my writing goals in the near future. I hope some of you will join me on this writing journey.

Supplies

I have a confession to make. Yes, here it is: I love pens. Not boring pens, but ink-flowing, colorful, comfortable pens that make me feel creative and happy. Highlighters, pens, and sticky notes are fabulous inspirational planning items, and I highly recommend them. Pick some up at the store or check these links out from Amazon and get your goals set and calendar planned today!

Get started today!

What are you waiting for? Are you like me and want to flex your writing skills and accomplish that first novel? Do you have fitness and exercise goals? Are you determined to get back into painting or maybe do your masters on-line? Whatever it may be, do it for not just yourself but for your family also. A well rounded you is a happier you and will rub off and make the entire household flow more smoothly.

Tell me in the comments today, what would like to carve our time for? What hidden dreams and goals are just waiting for the right chance to pull out? I’d love to hear about them!

Little Passports World Edition Review

Little Passports World Edition Review

Little Passports review pin

This page contains affiliate links. Explorer Momma was given a free 3-month membership to Little Passports for review. I only recommend things I find value in and would use for my own family.

Even though I’m not currently teaching, as a certified French and Social Studies teacher I am always looking for activities that promote learning. What will inspire, encourage, or motivate my child and others to explore? What can we do to pique their curiosity? I’ve chosen to do a Little Passports review because this is a program that can plant a seed. The seed is the joy in learning about geography, cultural diversity, and the idea of educational travel. With care, this seed will hopefully grow and bloom. 

I’ve been interested in the Little Passports company in the past, and we just recently received the first shipment of the World Edition. I’m writing this review having received a free 3-month subscription from the program as an affiliate. However, I want you to know I only write about ideas and products on my blog I use and enjoy. You will not see a negative review from me because I’m not going to write about something I wouldn’t use for my own family.

Little Passports is a delightful program sure to excite your kids about geography and travel, and from what I’ve seen so far, I highly recommend it.

Do you remember the excitement of getting something in the mail as a child? You might have received Valentine card from Grandma, a postcard from your uncle’s travels, even some stickers advertising a magazine. For me, these were fairly rare occurrences so when they came I treasured them. Now imagine your child getting their own package in the mail with their name on it once a month. Oh, the joy! Anticipation! For my daughter, the excitement of getting something fun in the mail is almost as important as the actual contents.

Need more ideas to get kids excited about learning?

10 Tips to Get Kids Excited About Learning

Read about it here!

What’s included in the first shipment of Little Passports, World Edition

Little Passports close-up

Introductory letter from Sam and Sofia

Sam introduces himself and his good friend Sofia. This first letter sets the stage for their travel and adventures around the world. Of course, he promises future communications as they visit different countries.

Picture postcard showing Sam and Sofia

The postcard shows our friendly duo in Sam’s aunt’s garage. They’re sitting on the magic scooter they found with a GPS that can take them anywhere in the world. Imagine the possibilities!

Activity sheets

My 8-year-old daughter really enjoyed the activity sheets especially the one that teaches kids to say hello in languages from all over the world. We actually had to practice them all out loud and talked about where we might use them. Hopefully, the future pages will be just as educational and entertaining.

Travel suitcase

The suitcase in the first shipment is a fun idea. Who doesn’t love old pictures of suitcases and trunks with travel stickers all over them? The only problem is that now my 4-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter are arguing over who the suitcase belongs to, so we may have to get another one! 

Each month, you can store the items you receive from Sam and Sofia in your suitcase. In addition, they’ve promised to send more stickers and luggage tags to put on the outside. There’s  a place on the inside for the child’s name and a working clasp to open and close it.

World map

A world map is a great part of the package, and my son immediately declared he needed to put it up in his room. Moreover, the map is not just anywhere, but on the wall by his bed so he can plan his adventures. Most of these expeditions center around Australia, Tasmania, and Antarctica lately. I admit I’m a proud momma because at 4 it’s amazing to me how many places he can point out and actually knows what they are.

Also, stickers have been promised in future mailings to put on your map to track where Sam and Sofia have been.

Personal passport

The world traveler passport is a fun addition to the package. In it, kids can attach their photo on the page with their name and address just like a real passport. There are places for country stamps, of course. Also included are fun questions to encourage discussion about travel with parents. By the same token, kids even have a place to plan their future travels and think about why they want to go to each country.

Stickers of Sam and Sofia

As I mentioned, there are stickers to go on your suitcase, and we are told of more for the passport and suitcase from each country.

Boarding pass to attach to your suitcase with passwords to on-line games and activities

We haven’t gotten around to trying out the on-line games and activities yet, but they are included as a part of the package. On the boarding pass you attach to the suitcase there’s a website and codes to get in.

Parent guide

The parent guide lists out the items in the first shipment and describes some of what to expect in the future packages.

What do I think?

I think this is a fabulous program with the right amount of mystery to keep kids wanting more. My daughter cannot wait for the Brazil package to come and has been asking about it every couple of days since her suitcase arrived. This is something you can get out of it what you put in. It takes some time and attention to complete the activities and read through everything.

I also like the fact it encourages parents to get involved and talk to their kids about their travel experiences. You will need to interact with your kids and help them with certain aspects of the program, but they are free to imagine all the fun places they want to visit in the future.

A membership to Little Passports makes a wonderful gift

If you are looking for a gift for a child I highly recommend Little Passports. You can order the World or U.S. versions, and there’s even a science program. The child receiving the gift will get their initial program package and then monthly thereafter get another installment. The World program will evidently be mailings from the different places Sam and Sofia visit.

This program includes some of my favorite things. It gets kids excited about learning, inspires them to study geography, and cultivates an interest in travel and cultural diversity. Consequently,  one would hope it also sparks a curiosity that will develop into an appreciation and understanding of their part in the world, it’s people, and our beautiful differences.

Explorer Momma EM

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