My Toddler’s Mark on my Bujo

My Toddler’s Mark on my Bujo

My toddler loves everything she isn’t supposed to have. My bullet journal is no exception. My bullet journal sits open on my desk all day, every day. She constantly comes over to me and sets things on top of it, usually snack containers she wants refilled or milk cups that have been emptied or are mysteriously leaking. When she is done with a toy or wants help with something or just wants me to see what she has it goes on top of my journal.

Because of this, there are tiny sneaker prints on pages, milk droplets, chocolate finger prints, crayon lines on important pages, pen marks, mysterious smears from baby wipes she used to clean up her own mess and then dropped on top of my journal instead of in to the trash can, and a long smear or yuck along the outside edges of the pages where she sat down a squishy piece of banana she decided she didn’t want to eat after all.

You would think with all of that my bullet journal would smell, but somehow, miraculously, it doesn’t. Perhaps I get it cleaned quickly enough that the smell is dispelled even if the stain isn’t.

My bullet journal is my third most loved thing, being surpassed only by my daughter and husband. It is the only object that is only mine. Or it used to be, before my daughter was this mobile.

It took a while, and some days I’m still not terribly accepting, but I’m getting over the little things. The smears of food, the small pen marks, the random stickers she likes to put in there for me. I know I’ll miss all the mess when she’s too big to want to do everything I do and my journal is once again empty of food. In the end, as long as my bullet journal fulfills it’s function of keeping me on track with goals and to do items then we’re still on the right track.

In the mean time I’ve devoted a page here and there to my toddler. A page she can do whatever she pleases on. And a few collaborative pages like this one.



I also add notes next to her additions. “Gross, banana” or “P got excited about her new crayons!” and they always make me smile when I flip through my journals.

In the end, a page can be remade. My toddler’s joy and creativity and for all things Momma can not be rebuilt so easily.


When Totschool Activities Don’t Go as Planned

I spend some time each day browsing Instagram and Pinterest, watching Youtube, or searching Google for new ideas on home school activities to do with my two year old. I have folders of activities saved to my computer and boards dedicated to fun things to do on Pinterest.

I often think “this looks fun” or “she will love this!” I prep what I can so I always have activities on hand and ready to go. Some things take just a few minutes to prep and others take days, shopping trips, or searching for the perfect tool.

I always love it when my daughter gets very excited about a new project, game, or activity I found and took the time to put together.

This activity fell somewhere in between as far as time to set up. I had the small ice cube tray that wasn’t being used any longer. I bought the various colored pom pom balls at dollar tree on our next weekly shopping trip and finally found the child size tweezers the week after. I was excited to help my daughter sort the pom poms by color.

She got excited as I took out the supplies and set them up on the sofa. She got really excited when she saw the tweezers. I showed her how to squeeze them. She smiled. And then she tried to use the tweezers to lift the pom pom. She failed to make them work. She was holding them too close to the back end. I tried to readjust her hand. She resisted. She tried to pick up the pom pom again. She couldn’t get the tweezers to squeeze. The tweezers were launched on the floor. She grabbed handfuls of pom poms and dropped them on the floor as well. Then she got up and went to play with something else.

I stared after her for a few moments. I thought of the shopping trips. I thought of how much she was supposed to love this activity. I thought of how much fun she has sorting things. I thought of how this was supposed to have gone. I thought about trying to force her back to the sofa and trying again to make her little fingers work the tweezers. I shook my head. I thought about crying. Instead I picked up the pom poms and tweezers from the floor. I took them and the ice cube tray back to the home school shelf and put them away. Then I sat on the floor with my daughter and helped her build a block tower bigger than she is.

While we stacked we talked about the letters, numbers, colors, animals, and objects on the sides of the blocks. She had fun, I had fun, and we learned things. That’s what school is supposed to be. Fun and educational.

At two, she doesn’t care how much time or effort I put in to activities. She doesn’t care if it cost $1 to create or $100. She just knows if she’s having fun or not. I put the tweezers up for another day. Perhaps when she has a bit more patience to learn a new skill. For now I plan activities and try to be open to my plans being thrown out the window by the curly haired red head I love more than anything.

She’s learning and growing and that’s all I can ask of her.

Wreck this Journal with My Husband

Wreck this Journal with My Husband

My husband is actually the one that found Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith. He found the book while browsing at Micheal’s on a rare date night. He got excited and brought the book home eager to fill the pages with fun.

My husband is the kind of person who, when he gets excited about something, anything, everyone else can’t help but get excited too. I spent my fun money the following month buying all of the Keri Smith books I could fit in my modest budget and my husband did the same.

We had fun filling pages and doing the crazy things the pages asked us to do. As cynical adults most of our pages were sarcastic. DSC02078.JPG

We were having fun though. On a date night the following month, our anniversary actually, we spent the night eating food at home, watching our favorite movie, and delving in to our Wreck this Journal books. I set the table up with snacks, wine, and as many art supplies as I could find. We were simply flipping through pages are random and working on whichever project caught our eye in the moment.

My favorite part was seeing how differently our pages ended up. A page asked us to fill it with white things. I set to work immediately creating this: DSC02083.JPG

I loved it! A little bit snarky. Technically following the rules. Absolutely perfect. It still might be my favorite page.

I watched and waited for my husband to tackle the page. Her started slowly. Very slowly. In fact, over a year later, his page still isn’t filled. He has been collecting interesting pieces of material that are white. He has part of a plastic cup, some plastic wrap from something at work, a piece of a thick paper towel, and so much more.

Each page reflects the creator so perfectly. I’m bright and loud and impulsive and when I get an idea in my head I go for it and keep going for it until the space is all filled. My husband is methodical and he thinks things through. He lays the pieces out just right and makes sure they lay the way he wants then to before he gets out the glue.

That’s not to say he doesn’t let his fun side show, even with his Wreck This Journal. He also took a drill to it and made two holes that go all the way through the book for a page that says to cut through several layers. To be fair, he also planned that out for weeks to figure out which size drill bit and where the holes would fall.

This has been a fun adventure that we have not yet finished. Life got in the way as it tends to do. We’ll go back to it I’m sure. In fact we have plans to buy the boxed set and tackle them with our daughter once she gets just a bit older. We’ve even discussed making it an annual or biannual event.

I can’t wait to see what our daughter does with each page as well as what my husband and I come up with with each successive trial. No matter what we end up doing it’s sure to be an adventure as we Wreck this Journal.

Educational Supplies from Dollar Tree

Educational Supplies from Dollar Tree

One of my favorite places to get educational tools for use with my toddler is the Dollar Tree. They have so many amazing resources. They have craft and coloring supplies, storage and organizational tools, all kinds of stationery and stickers, notebooks for her to practice drawing or writing, books to read, and workbooks too!

I’ve seen workbooks for every age from pre k to sixth grade. They have alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, prewriting, animals, vehicles, pre-reading skills, math at various grade levels and so much more!

The workbooks come in various themes including Disney characters. The workbooks are often very colorful and filled with fun and educational activities. My daughter often points to the row of workbooks on our bookshelf and asks for a pen. She loves to fill the pages with help from me.

Her favorite workbooks are the ones where you answer most of the questions with stickers!

The workbooks do range in quality and size. I have seen workbooks at dollar tree with as few as 12 pages or as many as 62. Either way, for a dollar, I figure we can’t go wrong. This is not the only place I purchase workbooks for my daughter, but it is the most frequent because she fills them up and at that price I don’t mind too much if she isn’t filling them in exactly correctly.

We also love all of the various teacher tools they sell at Dollar Tree in the Teaching Tree section. We have many things from there including flashcards, foam counting blocks, test tubes, plastic tweezers for children, and more. That is the spot I get most excited to see whenever we shop there.

There are so many great resources at the Dollar Tree for not a lot of money. You should check yours out for some fun, and possibly educational, things to do with your child.

My Bullet Journal when my Child is Sick

My Bullet Journal when my Child is Sick

I use my bullet journal every day. It’s my hobby as well as my planner and to do list. I use it to keep track of my busy life, appointments for myself, husband, and daughter, when bills are due, and so much more.

Another thing I began doing as soon as I had a bullet journal was to write down when we’ve had medicine. I simply add a note to the side of my daily spread. It might say, P-cold tabs- 826am. That means P, my daughter, had cold tablets at 826am. This lets me easily see who took what, when, and it’s easy to tell if more medication can be taken.

Our family doesn’t use much medication so it’s something I’m naturally bad at remembering.

When my daughter was sick for the first time it just seemed natural for me to keep track of symptoms, dosages, temperatures, and other incidents in a running list on my daily. I used this mostly for myself. How long has it been since P has thrown up? Is her fever higher or lower than it was just before she took medicine again this morning? When is her next dosage? What did I have success getting her to eat?

My simple running list was invaluable to me. But it proved to be even more so for her pediatrician. When she was sick enough to need to take her to the doctor to ease my mind I was able to easily rattle off all the answers to their questions pretty much down to the minute.

She last ate crackers at 1030 this morning, she had a little bit of apple juice at 11am and she last took Motrin at noon. Her highest fever was 102.4 and it’s been coming down steadily since this morning.

Even though it ended up being just a stomach flu, and we all just had to get through it and keep her as comfortable as possible, I was so grateful to have the list to give the doctor. There was no need for me to try and remember all of those details and hope they were accurate. I could speedily give the information and know that it was correct.

That is just one more reason I love my bullet journal!

Teaching my Toddler

My daughter is two. She’s very bright. She loves to ‘read’ books and she loves to do puzzles. I read to her most days. I help her with puzzles and crafts and coloring sheets. I take her to a music class for toddlers. I try to teach her all of the things I feel like she is ready to know. But is that enough?

She surprises me often with something new she just knows how to do. Where did she learn how to use a broom or to put dirty dishes in the sink? When did she learn that a broken crayon goes in the trash can? How did she learn all of her colors and letters and numbers? I didn’t spend any time drilling them in to her. We didn’t use flashcards or mandatory practice or school time. She just learned them.

We blame television and her kindle for most of the things she just knows. Word World gave her a basic understanding of letters and animals. Apps on her kindle taught her how to put a puzzle together.

I’m a work at home mom that puts in too many hours for not enough pay, but I do what we need for me to do to get by. Is that enough of an excuse for my child to be educated by electronics?

I don’t think it is. Her media exposure is more than I ever expected it to be, but she is flourishing. As soon as she starting telling me the letters instead of asking me to say them to her I got her flashcards and alphabet puzzles and coloring sheets. When she started telling me animal names I did the same and started to help her identify animal sounds.

I follow her lead on what she is ready to learn. I don’t think that’s quite good enough. Her brain is a little sponge that is more than ready to absorb even more information.

I’ve spent the last few weeks making sure to give her my full attention a few times a day when, both when she has asked for it and when I think she is in a calm enough mood to really benefit from it. I’ve amassed workbooks, manipulatives, and other learning based items from around the house and from the store.

She’s loving it! She doesn’t have as long of an attention span as I would like sometimes, but that teaching Momma more patience and my toddler focus. She loves the workbooks and she loves the new toys that we play with together. She is blossoming even more and we both have special time together that we cherish.

It’s not a strict schedule. We don’t have themed weeks. I’m just trying to take our playtime and give it a purpose. When she asks for her pen to work in a workbook I drop everything as quickly as I possibly can and we set up in a comfy place to get as much done as she wants to. As long as she’s still having fun.

Playing with a purpose is our new home motto. I want her to have fun. I want her to learn. I want her to be a kid. I want her to be happy.

Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith

Have you heard about the fun and wonder that are Keri Smith books? I had vaguely heard about Wreck This Journal years ago, but never looked in to it. Who wants to ruin a book? Certainly not this former library worker.

Then my husband stumbled upon several of her books at Michael’s a couple of months ago and became enamored. After watching him having so much fun and being so creative with the first book he picked up “Finish This Book” I decided I had to have some too.

We are on a pretty tight budget so we each get $10 a week to spend on whatever we want, an allowance if you will. I spend all of the next months allowance on a few of her books. My husband did the same and we are each up to six of her books apiece now.

These books ask you to do strange and sometimes scary things, especially for grownups. Would you willingly tear a page from a book? And then freeze it, float it, give it away? Would you wipe paint, ink, or food on the pages? That’s the sort of thing I scold my toddler for. I didn’t think I would have any fun with the books at first, but having the clear directions that can then be interpreted in any way you see fit is very freeing. It is so creative and so much fun.

I find everything as a possible piece to use in my Keri Smith books now. When I was at the park with my daughter the other day I brought home a stick for a page that you are supposed to use strange objects to draw lines with. I’ve also used mascara on that page and plan to use a straw, a fork, and a flower. I brought home a tiny yellow leaf that I thought be great on a page of found things. A penny that I found outside while waiting for a pizza delivery? That went in my book too! Stickers from fruit and stamps off of mail are fodder for their designated pages.

These books are all similar, but also all very unique. My husband and I can’t wait for our daughter to get older and we plan to buy the Wreck This Journal by the box set of four so we can all be working on them together. I think it’s great fuel for the creative perfectionist. You are given permission to do something fun and usually destructive to the book and the objects you may place inside. I don’t tend to take time to think beforehand. I just do. And often I really like how my pages have turned out.

There is no wrong way to complete a Keri Smith book and that makes them even more amazing. I’ll be posting some pictures of my completed pages in a separate post. I will leave you with a link to her author page on Amazon. I’m off to collect pocket lint, my hair, random items or smells, or to tear out a page and throw it through the wash.

Happy wrecking!