"Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which all loveliness arises." -Pedro Calderon de la Barca.


Friday, September 19, 2014

College Dreams & Other Things (or Summer Road Trip 2014- Part 1)

This summer we wanted to take a road trip that consisted of touring colleges that my daughter is considering next year, with some fun thrown in.
The plan was to make a giant loop and hit every school from here (central Arkansas) to DC and back with good dance programs- BUT of course with only one week to do it, we ended up with a MUCH smaller loop... (only 1300 miles... so glad we opted for the small trip!)

Day 1:
We made it to Memphis by lunchtime and stopped by the Memphis Zoo.  

Goofing off with the Panda bears at the zoo

Boys +5 years at the zoo

Next we headed a few blocks over for a quick tour of the beautiful
Rhodes College in Memphis, TN
"Rhodes looks like Hogwarts!" 

We pushed on and got to Nashville for the night.  (I'd made reservations as we drove in the car on hotels.com.  We stayed across the street from Vanderbilt

Vandy @ night

Day 2:
We'd made arrangements to tour Vanderbilt after lunch, so we visited the Parthenon in nearby Centennial Park.  My kids are huge Rick Riordan fans (author of the Percy Jackson series) and we like to make "Percy Jackson" stops when we travel.  In Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief,  Percy and the gang stop by the Parthenon to obtain a magical pearl.  The museum inside the Parthenon even has some notes from the movie and props, which the boys loved.

Parthenon Fun

After a quick lunch at a quaint old diner (place was cuter than the food was) then headed to Vanderbilt for the tour.
Elliston's Diner

Wow.  
What a gorgeous campus.  No wonder it's so expensive!  
The tour was fantastic in itself. 

This is a DORM @ Vanderbilt

After the tour we hit the road.  Emily's Butler tour was the next morning and we had to make it to Indianapolis!  


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

On Getting Kids Out!

Disclosure: This post is the the second in a series of sponsored posts as a Brand Ambassador for the ARKANSAS BETTER BEGINNINGS program.  I am doing this because I believe in their mission.  Everything expressed will be my own opinion. #ARBB


It seems like in the age we live in that we have to pry ourselves away from technology.  
Adults and teens are always checking something "important" on a cell phone or lap top.
At home and school kids are glued to game consoles or TV.   
We're so paranoid of strangers we don't let them play outside without us. 

We've been trying to get outside as a family at least one day a week.
Arkansas has so many beautiful parks and trails!
This past week we went on a slow hike on the Two Rivers Park trail.

What do you see?

A few bottles of water, some snacks in a backpack, and the family was all we needed for a fun Sunday stroll.

With the older kids we played some games as we walked:

One was "What living creatures do you see or see evidence of?"
(They found people, dogs, butterflies, bees, wasps, spiders, and trails that deer had made.)

We also played "What shapes can you find?"
(My son saw vertical lines in the pine trees, angles in the bent branches and grass, spheres in the berries.)

Their favorite game was "If you were stranded in the forest, what could you eat?"
(This gave us a good discussion on what was and wasn't edible and we took pictures to research berries and mushrooms.)

They ran and climbed trees.

For the baby there was so much to see, and hear, and smell.  Learning with all the senses.





But the best part was that we had fun as a family together! 


Did you know that studies have shown that children who play outdoors have less stress and anxiety, better cognitive development, lessened ADHD symptoms, better vision, and more Vitamin D?


Other great ideas to get your kids outside NOW:

  • Blow bubbles 
  • Lie on a blanket and name shapes in the clouds
  • Watch the birds at a bird feeder
  • Plant a garden or help with a community garden
  • Splash in a puddle together
  • Make a designated "NO TECHNOLOGY" day 
  • Catch fireflies in a jar
  • Find some constellations in the stars or have them name their own

More great ideas for Outdoor Fun can be found HERE on the Arkansas Better Beginnings website!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

On Reading to Babies (or It's Never too Early)

I adore reading.
My kids also love a good book, maybe because we started reading to them from day one 
(and even before!)  They all read very early, and honestly the only thing I did the same was to read to them constantly. 
Kiddos at the Hilary Rodham Clinton Children's Library

You can make reading to your baby an on-going game by: 
  • Having siblings read to each other 
  • Reading cookbooks or food labels aloud while cooking
  • Pointing to pictures and words in magazines or while opening mail   
  • Giving them soft or board books to play with during tummy time
  • Reading signs aloud when driving
  • Reading your own books/magazine/newspaper aloud when nursing or feeding baby
  • Attending story-times at your local library or bookstore

Aimee loved this book at our library visit.  
I read "One.  One blue ball.  One baby.  Baby girl, like you! "  
She really liked this page, so we read it a few times and she was done with the book.   At four months her attention span isn't very long but every moment counts!

Remember that hearing your voice is what makes the learning experience.  You don't have to read the exact words on the page, or finish the whole book to make it a valuable lesson! 



This beautiful, green-build library not only has great books but a theater, classrooms, teaching kitchen,  greenhouse, craft rooms, computer lab, and walking trails! 

I'm proud to be an Arkansas Better Beginnings Ambassador!  They have great resources for parents, families, and care givers on their website here.  

This Saturday (August 23, 2014) they are offering a breastfeeding seminar at the Mosaic Templars Museum in Little Rock.  Register for the event on their website above. 

*FTC Disclaimer: As an ambassador for Arkansas Better Beginnings, I am compensated for some posts. However, I am doing this because I believe in their mission. Anything that I write will be my own, original, genuine thoughts. 
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