25+ Children Books for Fall and Thanksgiving

25+ Children Books for Fall and Thanksgiving

Seasonal books are really great for young kids. Children can learn so many new things and be exposed to new topics through seasonal books. I typically check out most of our books from the local library, but I linked each book to the picture bellow. It would never hurt to buy some to keep in the box with your fall decorations…then you just pull them out to read when you get your fall decorations out for the year.

Here are some of our favorite Fall and Thanksgiving books:

Capsule Wardrobe Basics from Amazon

Do you have a capsule wardrobe? I have never successfully created one. But now that I am on the other side of having baby #2, I’m about to jump ALL in to forming one. The biggest problem is that I do not want to go spend a ton of money at one time. I plan to invest in higher end basics over time, but I want to start with a full capsule wardrobe sooner than that. I plan to visit thrift stores and consignment stores to help fill my capsule, but I have also found some great options on Amazon! For pretty decent prices! Here are some of my picks!

Tops

Bottoms

Dresses

Outerwear

 

Shoes

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Monthly Meal Planning

Monthly Meal Plan Ideas and Strategies--Tips for Monthly Meal Plan- Meal Prep made easy

Have you ever meal planned for an entire month? I normally plan by the week, but have tried planning by the month several different times. For me, planning for an entire month has seemed so overwhelming. I mean, 30 meals…where to start? But recently I have had more of a method to my weekly meal planning. It has made planning what to eat each night SO EASY, and it made me realize figuring out how to plan an entire month actually is manageable.

So here is the method I have adapted:

Monday

I plan for sandwiches, quesadillas, or something else simple with minimal cooking.

Tuesday

We have a classic family meal. This is when I cook easy meals that I can cook without a recipe. Usually meals that take less than 30 minutes to cook.

Wednesday

On Wednesday, we try a new recipe or just something out of our normal meal rotation. I am nowhere near trying all the recipes I have pinned to my Pinterest Board, so inspiration is always available.

Thursday

LEFT OVER DAY. Having leftover day built in for each week has helped us stop wasting so much food.

Friday

Pizza! Sometimes we make our own, sometimes we get take out, and sometimes it is a Marketside pizza from Walmart.

Saturday

We like to feed the kids whatever we have on hand and get them down for bed a little early. Then my husband goes and picks up dinner for us to enjoy at home. This is our built in weekly date night.

Sunday

We make waffles every Sunday night. I love this tradition…mostly because I am not the one cooking! :) We normally have bacon and fruit on the side.

October Meals

Each week I will plan which of these meals we will have for the week. This offers a little flexibility since I do not always know exactly what we will have going on each week at the beginning of the month.

Monday Meals (5 options)

  1. Roast Beef Sandwiches (Made with leftover roast from a Sunday lunch)

  2. Quesadillas (We will either make these with leftover grilled chicken or Trader Joe’s grilled chicken)

  3. Baked Tacos

  4. Chicken Sandwiches (Same chicken options as the quesadillas)

  5. Grilled Cheese + Tomato Soup

Tuesday Meals (5 options)

  1. Spaghetti

  2. Fajitas

  3. Chicken and Veggies

  4. Chicken and Veggies

  5. Taco Bowls

Wednesday Meals (5 Options—Find Recipes here on board titled Recipes to Try)

  1. Taco Soup

  2. Southwest Chicken and Rice Foil Packs

  3. Hamburgers

  4. Baked Apple Pork Chops

  5. Sausage, Potato, and Green Beans Foil Pack

Sunday Lunch (4 Options—Again Recipes Here—Look for Instant Pot Board)

  1. Instant Pot Pot Roast

  2. Instant Pot Meatloaf

  3. Chili and Instant Pot Baked Potatoes

  4. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

Grocery Shopping

I am most successful with our grocery budget when I use the grocery pick up service at Wal-Mart. This saves so much time and keeps me on budget (cuts down on impulse buys that we don’t even need), so WIN, WIN! I also plan to pick up the needed meat from Sam’s. Then I will just have to grab milk, fruits and veggies, and any other breakfast/lunch/snack staples we keep on hand.

How do you meal plan? By the week or by the month? Follow @stayathomemomming on Instagram to see updates during this month of meal planning!

Tips and Resources for Encouraging Creativity in Children

Tips for Encouraging Creativity in Children - Creative Play - Art for Children - How to encourage kids to be creative

5 Tips for Encouraging Creativity in Children

  1. Sit with your child on the floor and play for 5-10 minutes WITH them. I like to use this time to model out of the box ideas…or even silly ideas. You know your child, so make it something they WANT to do. Then say, “Now I need to go _______. You keep playing, and I will come back when I am done.” When you finish your task, check in on your child. It might be time to find something new to do, but they MIGHT be interacting in play. Let them be if they are having a good play time. I like to add encouragement, such as, “You are just having so much fun using your imagination.”

  2. Have open ended arts and crafts available. We love a good coloring book at our house and there is nothing wrong with that. BUT, your child also needs opportunities to create from scratch. This could be coloring a picture on a blank piece of paper or creating a masterpiece with miscellaneous craft supplies. Check out this post on Craft Items You Should Keep At Home.

  3. Have building toys available. This is one of my favorites, because I have loved seeing growth take place in my own daughter. Again, sit with your child and build along side him or her. Model how you create a structure. Then step back. If your child is having a hard time coming up with a great idea, give him some ideas. Some of my favorites are: build a playground for your babies (jumbo blocks), build a house for (insert favorite character), or build a town. After giving ideas, a lot of times your child’s imagination will start to take over.

  4. Have open ended toys that encourage pretend play. Some examples would be dress up clothes, play kitchen, play food items, baby dolls, baby doll strollers, plastic animal figurines, fort building kit or materials, doctor kits, blocks, train sets, and, of course my favorite, sensory bins.

  5. One of the most important ways to encourage creativity in your little one is to STEP BACK. Give your child some space. This might be painful. This might take some time, but that is the main way your child is going to learn to PLAY and CREATE on their own. Don’t you want that for your child?

Resources for Encouraging Creativity in Children

**Stay At Home Momming is part of the Amazon affiliate marketing program. This means that if you click and/or make a purchase through certain links on this site, I may receive a SMALL commission from the purchase. All opinions are my own.**

10 Independent Activities for 4 Year Olds

A four year old is old enough to have independent activities and play time. While I LOVE to encourage just good ole’ play time, we all have those moments that need structure. That is why I always have activities on hand for my four year old daughter. These are activities she can get out all on her own, play with on her own, and clean up on her own.

Before I jump in to some of our favorite activities, I think it is important to emphasize that these are supposed to be INDEPENDENT. That means that you, as the parent, need to step back and let your child be in control of how they want to play and how long they want to play with that specific activity. Of course, you will probably have to model how to go about threading a pipe cleaner with beads if your child has never done that. I’m not saying you should not help them figure out what they are doing. What I’m saying is that and independent activity is supposed to encourage INDEPENDENCE!

Enough of the rambling, here we go…

**Most items are linked bellow.**

Bead Threading on Pipe Cleaners

This is a great activity for fine motor skill practice, and I PROMISE it will keep your four year old busy for a good 20-30 minutes! All you need are these beads and these pipe cleaners.

*Make sure little beads are kept away from baby hands (you know they will stick them straight in their little mouths)!*

Lacing Cards

Lacing cards are also a great activity that four year olds should be able to do on their own. It might not be perfect, but you are encouraging an independent activity. You can get all kinds of lacing cards on Amazon, but this is my personal favorite (these might make it on our Christmas List)!

Wiki Sticks

Wiki Stick are great for your little creative one. There are endless possibilities.

Pipe Cleaners and Wiffle Balls

Pipe Cleaners and Wiffle Balls are a great alternative for a creative building activity. Tell your kiddos to thread, connect, and build!

No Mess Markers

These Crayola Wonder Sets are amazing! You don’t have to worry about finding marker stains or cleaning up a mess. Someone recently gifted us the Melissa and Doug version of these, and we love them as well. These are perfect for traveling also.

Magna Doodle

My four year old loves the freedom of a magna doodle. There are no rules about where she can use it…she can even use it in her bed! This one is also great for travel.

Magnetic Play Set

So I normally pick these up in the dollar isle at Target, but here is a link to one on Amazon. It is still a good price, and I think would hold the attention of a silly four year old for a while.

Boogie Board

This is a lot like the Magna Doodle but less bulky! For the longest time, every time I sat down to meal plan and make a grocery list, my daughter would grab her boogie board to make her own grocery list. She would draw pictures of things she wanted to get at the store.

Grab & Go Play Packs

I normally pick these up in the Target dollar section also. But here is a link to a set of 15 (5 of 3 different books). This would be great for party favors or to add into Birthday gifts. And I’m sure your special four year old would not mind repeating some of the packs either.

Art Sets (Color By Number)

My four year old loves any type of princess coloring set, but she especially loves color by number sets. She will go back to the same set time after time for months.

Sticker Books

We get these from my Mother-In-Law’s gift shop in MS. You can order from Amazon, find at Target, or any local store with gifts.

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**Stay At Home Momming is part of the Amazon affiliate marketing program. This means that if you click and/or make a purchase through certain links on this site, I may receive a SMALL commission from the purchase. All opinions are my own.**

$25 Sensory Essentials from a Dollar Store

If you are familiar with my blog at all, you know that I love a good sensory experience. There are just so many opportunities for learning through sensory play. I thought I would share a few items that I keep on hand from the dollar store so I am always prepared to set up a sensory bin.

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CLICK HERE for info on DIY Sensory Table pictured above.

How I spent my $25 on Sensory Essentials:

  1. Ice Cube Trays (pack of 2)

  2. Muffin Tin

  3. Funnels (Set of 3)

  4. Measuring Cups

  5. Measuring Spoons

  6. Colander

  7. Divided Bowls (Set of 2)

  8. Salad Tongs

  9. Ice Scoop

  10. Play Kitchen Utensils

  11. Rice

  12. Rice (Always grab more than one bag!)

  13. Beans

  14. Beans

  15. Beans (Always grab more!)

  16. Pasta

  17. Pasta

  18. Shaving Cream

  19. Shaving Cream

  20. Flour

  21. Baby Oil (Mix Flour and Baby Oil to make Moon Sand)

  22. Set of Shapes

  23. Set of Shapes (cannot have too many!!)

  24. Foam Letter Puzzle

  25. Shower Curtain Liner (protects your floors + helps with easy clean up!)

**Other things that are great for sensory play- playdough tools, plastic animals, bath toys, random party favors, pom poms, rocks, constuction trucks, cars**

Follow @stayathomemomming on Instagram to see how we use some of our dollar store supplies!

DIY Sensory Table

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Sensory play is one of my favorite open-ended play activities for toddlers and preschoolers. Such a great way to have some fun learning time! From day 1, I have always just set one of those under the bed storage boxes on the ground for our sensory play time, and it has worked great. But, now that my preschooler is four years old (and quite frequently wanting to sit in the dreaded ‘W’ position), I wanted to offer her a way to stand and play.

I’ve been eyeing sensory tables on Amazon for a while, but just never felt like I should spend the money on them. So I decided to build my own. I am no professional builder…I have absolutely no idea what I am doing! I totally winged this, and it WORKED! So I thought I would share the process with you.

What you need:

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What you do:

  1. Have Home Depot or Lowe’s cut your materials to size.

  2. Build a rectangle with your 1x6 pieces. Make sure to line these up to make a 90 degree angle.

  3. Add a 2x4 in each corner. I attached them 2 inches inside the 1x6 pieces. This still gave me 4 inches for my under the bed storage container to drop down from the top.

  4. Place storage container in table.

  5. Fill container with items for sensory play and ENJOY!

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Maybe that makes sense if you are wanting to build a sensory table for your littles. I’m really happy with how it turned out. I look forward to all the possibilities this set up will provide!

Thanks for reading!!

Dallas Zoo Fun

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The Dallas Zoo is definitely on my list of top 5 places to visit in Dallas. For those of you thinking about visiting the Dallas Zoo, I wanted to share some of our favorite things to do when we visit. Of course, this just barely scratches the surface. We only go for few hours at a time, but you could seriously spend a full day enjoying all of the different exhibits.

Lacrete Family Children’s Zoo

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The Lacrete Family Children’s Zoo is full of so much fun for little ones. From petting zoos to sensory play to water play, this area offers so many fun experiences…not to mention the much needed shade!

Giraffe Feeding

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The Giraffe feeding is definitely at the top of our list on almost every visit. This does cost and additional $5, but so worth it!!

Zoo Rides

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The Carrousel and Monorail are so much fun, and they both offer much needed breaks from walking in the Texas heat.

Animal Viewing

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In my opinion, these pictures speak for themselves. The animal views are AMAZING. And you get the chance to see a lot of them extremely close up.

The Dallas Zoo is such a fun place to spend a day! So grab your sunscreen, water, and a picnic and head on over!

The Reason Breastfeeding is SO HARD

Breastfeeding is SO HARD. I have not had as hard a time as some, but I also do NOT view it as EASY or even ‘natural’. For me, the physical act of nursing came easily, but the mental side of it was a lot to deal with. It was seriously a mental battle for me.

A few months ago, I was driving down the road thinking about how many times I’ve heard the argument that God created women FOR THIS. THIS is natural, and it is what God created your body to do. While I am PRO breastfeeding, this way of thinking is dangerous.

YES, God did create our bodies to feed our babies. It is AMAZING. But a big piece of the puzzle is missing with this argument. We are living in a fallen world. EVERYTHING has been tainted by sin. THAT, friends, is why breastfeeding is so hard. That is why it just does not work for some people. That is why some babies are unable to nurse or why some moms have physical barriers that prevent nursing.

I am not trying to be a ‘Debbie Downer’ by saying these things. The only reason I am sharing this, is to give you, Momma, a little encouragement. Breastfeeding is hard because it has been tainted by sin. Praise the LORD for his mercies and grace to get us through. Praise the LORD for giving men on Earth the brains to develop infant formula for when we need it. And praise the LORD for loving us and our babies NO MATTER HOW THEY ARE FED!

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IKEA Kura Bed Makeover

If you follow along with @stayathomemomming on IG, then you know that we recently moved. Our move was less about location and more about more space for our growing family. We were living in a two bedroom townhouse with no yard or outdoor space. So the move to a 3 bedroom duplex with a yard and walkable neighborhood has been AMAZING.

I know this sounds kind of crazy, but I like moving. Sure, it is a whole lot of work and SO SO exhausting…especially with littles underfoot! BUT, I LOVE having a fresh start. Purging like crazy and setting up a newly organized house just feels good.

The most exciting thing about our new place is the third bedroom. Both of our kids are already sleeping later! Woohoo! AND, on top of that, setting up a little girl bedroom is just so much fun…especially when it is for the girliest girly girl!

You might have caught my post, Little Girl Beds on A Budget, a few weeks ago. While I loved all of those options, we decided to go with an IKEA bed. I had my mind set on one of the iron beds. Seriously, so precious and definitely the aesthetic I was going for. But when we went to IKEA, the KURA loft bed caught my 4 year old girlie’s eye. There was no saying no to her (and her daddy), so I just went with it. The only thing I just could not get over was the unfinished wood…just really not the look I was dreaming of…

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So out came the painting supplies, and here we have it:

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I am really happy with how it turned out, and I think we will be able to pass it down to little brother in a few years. I also painted these two old chests we had in storage. They were really old, but I think the paint gives the chests a whole new look. I also think that painting three pieces of the ‘bedroom set’ the same color really make it look like it was meant to be.

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Just for reference, I used Rustoleum Chalk Paint in Aged Grey. I love the price of this chalk paint. The one thing I have learned in the past, though, is that the clear coat that comes with this chalk paint line does NOT hold up very well at all. Thanks to Sara at Little Vintage Nest, I learned to use a water based polycrylic top coat. I did two coats on the chests and just one coat on the bed. I can already tell a HUGE difference.

**If you plan to paint an IKEA Kura bed, make sure you paint the end of the long pieces. I still have to go back and paint those parts…I did not realize they would show after the bed was put together.**

I still have a list of things to do in this room including: blackout window treatments, curtains to cover the MOUNDS of babies under the bed, wall decor, and just some more organization. I’m making myself tackle these items soon, so little miss can truly enjoy her space even more!

PS- We skipped the IKEA mattress and ordered this one from Amazon instead. The price point is still budget friendly, but the quality is WAAAYYY better. She LOVES this mattress, and always comments on how comfy it is.

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