25 Things to Do Before Your Child Turns 5

Violet’s 3rd birthday has come and gone, and as cliché as it may be, time really does go by so very quickly when you spend your days with children. They grow so quickly that you, quite literally, watch time pass right before your eyes. It’s amazing, awe inspiring, and, of course, just a little bit sad. Don’t we all want to keep them tiny forever?

I shared this PureWow article: 25 Things to Do Before Your Child Turns 5  in the Peace, Love and Literacy Facebook group months ago, and while I like to keep that content exclusive, I was scrolling through the archives it reminded me of the importance of not losing daily opportunities to love and share with your child among the dynamics (read insane business) of life. It’s so important to me, and I thought you all might appreciate it too.


As a teacher, I am incredibly lucky to have quite a bit of family time, and for that I am incredibly grateful. We’ve crossed a number of these 25 items off of our list, but still have quite a few to explore, and many we’d like to do again and again! How many have you got covered, and what is still on your to-do list? Is there anything you’d like to add? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

1. Teach her to tie her shoes.

Velcro all the way over here!



✓2. And how to politely say no when she doesn’t want do something.

This is a biggie for us. We tread a fine line between being polite and being a pushover. We want our daughter to know how to be polite, but how to confidently say no when something makes her uncomfortable or she doesn’t want to do something.


✓3. Unplug as a family as often as you can. Before social media vies for her soul.

We’ve sort of got this checked off. As a mother who blogs, writes, and creates digital content, and a father who practices photography/videography this is so challenging, but so.important. And considering that turning off screen time is the only thing that makes her cry like a banshee, we recognize the importance of limiting this.


✓4. Collect seashells and build sand castles.

We’ve definitely got this covered. Seashells, acorns, rocks, you name it. Every.day. But I don’t think I’ll ever be able to cross this off the list. Is anyone ever really done finding treasures?


5. Instill confidence however you can.Self-esteem gets locked in by 5, suggests science. So, you know, no pressure.

Ongoing. But I guess we’ve got until 5. Eeeek!


✓6. Kiss her as much as you want to—in front of her friends.

Down Pat.


✓7. Read Dr. Seuss, watch Sesame Street and rock out to Rafi, before anyone gets too cool.

Done and done.

 8. Dress him in overalls and her in Mary Janes and pigtails. Take pictures. 

9. Let them run naked outdoors.

Ummmmm. In NYC not so easy.


✓10. Give some thought to the way we talk to girls and the way boys learn to behave. Then subverts those norms, dammit.

Love this. We definitely have babies and pink galore over here, but Violet has a brand new set of (hand me down) wooden trucks that we just gifted her for Christmas, she loves to dress up “as a brother” and we try to teach her that success, following your dreams and listening to your heart is for everyone. Do what your heart tells you.


✓✓✓11. Spend an afternoon at the zoo

I could put like a thousand checks there. WCS membership for the win.


✓ 12. Ride a carousel together.  

My brave girl just overcame a fear of the carousel. J

 13. Go to Disney World

On our to-do list.


✓14. Frame a picture she drew and signed.

Have you checked out our Instagram account lately?

 15. Write down the hilarious stuff he says.


✓16. Have his speech, reading readiness, vision and hearing evaluated.


17. Stop thinking about your kid for 24 hours and spend a night at a hotel with your husband.Sleep past sunrise.

 18. And then plan a weekend getaway with your friends where you talk about something besides pre-school woes.

17 and 18 are long, long overdue… Despite what my tribe may have advised.


19. Get your child a real bike, with training wheels and a badass helmet that will make him king of the neighborhood.


✓20. Hang a growth chart on the back of a closet door.

We have a beautiful growth chart from Land of Nod!


21. Find some adults-only, stress-busting thing you do just for you—pilates, pickling, whatever floats your boat—and do it regularly.

Again with the wisdom of the tribe!


✓22. Commit to reading (skimming counts!) a reputable book about discipline. Take from it what you will.


✓23. Embrace your child’s quirks, help him learn from his mistakes.

Our child can be extremely shy and equally as outgoing. It’s been hard, at times, to accept some of our daughter’s behaviors, but ultimately we realize how very lucky we are to have someone like her in our lives, quirks and all.


✓24. Volunteer to help out in his classroom. 


✓25. Tuck her in every chance you get.

Again, and again, and again, and again.



If I were to analyze my list, I think one of the biggest things I’m actually missing is establishing my “me time” before she turns 5. Oh, and Disney World. J


Share in the comments below what you’ve accomplished as a family, and what remains on your list!

Goals, Reflection and Growth

I recently wrote about New Year’s Resolution Planning for Families and anyone who knows me in real life is privy to the fact that I am on an endless mission to grow. As a dreamer, I’ve always had aspirations that were lofty, an endless mill of ideas tumbling through my head, plans laid, refigured, and relaid.  Going into 2018, this year is no different, in fact, it may even be the loftiest of all.

I’ve heard that when you share your goals with others, put them out there for the world to see, the accountability makes you more likely to attain them, so I’m here to do just that.

On the agenda for 2018:

  • Get (mostly) out of debt. Gain control of finances, and make all of our hard work work for us.
  • Save time and money, and prioritize family over workandeverythingelse.
  • Make major life changes around where we live — we’d love to move into our ideal neighborhood, possibly build a vacation house in the years to come, and find happiness in our community. Small steps in 2018 in a move toward happiness and community building.
  • Sort out school decisions. Just shy of a year ago I shared that I was trying my best to bloom where I was planted, and, well, I see I have something of a pattern.
  • Write a book. Yes. That’s right. Write a book. Details to come!

I know what this takes. This takes an inextricably intertwined combination of reflection, forward thinking, growth, and change.

Well, hello, 2018.


*Leave us a comment below if you’d like to put your goals for 2018 out into the world! Go ahead and share!*


2018 New Year’s Resolutions Planner

The start of a new year is upon us. This new beginning presents us with a time for reflection, change, and growth. Last year, our family established a tradition of making resolutions, both as a family and individually. We even encourage our 3-year old daughter to set goals for herself in the coming year. Because of the abstract nature of goal setting, I put together a resolution planning worksheet to help her reflect on the year, and use forward thinking.

When making resolutions for the New Year with young children, it’s important to keep some guidelines in mind, and our Resolutions planner (see the free download below) makes it easy!

  • Be reflective
  • Set specific, attainable and realistic goals
  • Set out to learn new things, and improve on the great things that are already happening in your life and in your family
  • Put health and wellness on your to-do list
  • Consider charitable giving
  • Be sure to include quality family time and fun activities

You can read more about these recommendations on my article over at Little Spoon!

Now… for the planner! I’m excited to share the 2018 New Year’s Resolution Planner with you as a free download. Just enter your email address below to sign up for our mailing list to access the download, and get planning!


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Click here to download the 2018 New Year’s Resolutions Planner


We’d love to see your planner when it’s done! Tag @peaceloveandliteracy on Instagram!

See our youtube video about resolution planning with toddlers and preschoolers!

Our New Year’s Resolution Planner is a great fit with our Advent Activity Calendar. Click here to download the Advent Activity Calendar for a family focused December.


Playdates and Collaboration

I am *thrilled* to announce that I’ve just started contributing to Little Spoon Digest. Each month I’ll write a variety of articles for them (among other awesome mom- and dad-writers) to put together a really useful (and pretty amazing) digest that includes everything growing families need to know, from pregnancy to parenting.

Check out some really neat play date ideas for December here, written by yours truly! With suggestions from infancy to toddlers, you’ll find 12 great ideas to keep your little and their friends busy all month.

Little Spoon is a pretty genius company — they’ve taken the guess work out of homemade, organic, healthy baby food that is perfectly aligned to your baby’s developmental needs. They map out a “blue print” of where your baby is and where they need to go, and plan out delicious homemade baby foods to deliver to your door each week. Founded by a few parents, Little Spoon speaks directly to the needs of new mothers, and who doesn’t love that?



Advent Activity Calendar

For a couple of years now I’ve planned to make an advent calendar village for our living room. I’d use my silhouette cameo paper cutter, beautiful Christmas cardstock and scrapbook paper, and craft the day away. Or two. Or three. Or more. I sat down once last year, and once this year. And. Well. I failed. I’ve been on an (endless) mission to reduce the time that I spend working (cooking, cleaning, crafting, blogging, teaching, you name it) and increase the time I spend with family. It took me an entire day to make the front of a single building, and I decided to finally scratch the idea and buy an advent calendar. Well, I’ve also been on a mission to reduce my spending on life in general, which leads me to my newest idea: A printable advent activity calendar.

This Christmas, instead of stuffing her calendar with tiny gifts (that’s what her stocking is for), we’ll do an activity a day leading up to Christmas, some as simple as making hot chocolate, as intricate as building a gingerbread house, and some giving, such as donating food to a food bank.

I love the idea of focusing on kindness and family, spending time together counting down to Christmas by completing a family activity each day to get into the holiday spirit.

You can find the Advent calendar here, which has 25 printable red, business card sized envelopes with cute winter/Christmas characters to make your own DIY advent calendar, and 50 activity cards to choose from. Each activity focuses on kindness, family, and the holiday spirit.

We haven’t assembled our calendar yet, but we plan to hang 2 rows of cards from baker’s twine, but you could assemble it on a cork board or chalkboard, an empty wall, or any other creative way you can dream up. Check out our Pinterest board for some DIY advent calendar inspiration. We’ll add a photo once ours is up and running!


Well hello there! Peace, Love and Literacy has been on something of a hiatus over the past few months.

As a public school teacher, I get to have one foot in working-mom mode, and one in the stay-at-home mom zone, and let me tell you, I get *so much* more work done when I’m actually working. This summer was all about spending time with my daughter, rest, and growth.

We all know that trying to keep up with life in general is exhausting, as is parenting, familying, working, schooling, and all of the other things one might have on their agenda. I never thought I’d quote Banksy on a parenting blog, but, yes. When whatever you’ve got going on tires you out, don’t quit. Remember you’re why — what brought you to this project in the first place, and rest. Then start again.

So here we are, the Peace, Love and Literacy revival, renewal.I’m refocusing on tips, activities, and resources for raising compassionate children. I hope you’ll join me on what’s to come!

Moana & Hollar Giveaway!

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Have I mentioned how much I love my tribe? Some of the ladies were raving about how much they (and their children, of course) loved the movie Moana. Seriously, they were going on about it, so I decided to get on board, and when one mother shared the link to Hollar’s deal on a $5 Moana digital download, I went for it, and I am *so* glad I did.  We aren’t a huge TV household (we don’t own a television, and we try to limit Violet’s screen time) but we knew that we wanted to introduce her, little by little, to some quality children’s programming and film, and Moana was a fast favorite of everyone in the household, including my husband!In fact, we loved it (and Hollar!) so much that we partnered with Hollar to give away a digital download of the movie, and a $25 shopping credit! If you’re not familiar with Hollar, it’s fabulous: it’s the online dollar store where everything starts at $1. They carry thousands of products from top brands like Disney and new items are added daily – so there’s always something new to score. You can save anywhere from 50-90% off retail price, plus they offer free shipping on your first order and all orders over $25. Check out Hollar here and read on to find out why we love Moana, and enter the giveaway on Instagram!

Firstly, you probably know that we love to bring the world into our home, and I’ve always been fascinated by Pacific culture.  The Hollar download has some really neat bonus features at the end of the film, which accounts how the directors spent many months on the Pacific Islands.  There some documentary footage of their integration into society, the relationships that they built with Islanders, and the extensive research that was conducted in order to make a culturally authentic film. There is a lot of study around the importance of authenticity in cultural depictions in literature and film, and though there are many critical lenses that one can look at Moana through, but in all, there are many fabulous cultural features of this film that seem to be well represented (though criticism states that the film represents many different cultures, as opposed to focusing on just one).  The music and voicing are performed by Pacific artists, many of the songs feature native languages, and the language, rhythm and instruments make the film a truly unique & authentic cultural experience. We’ve downloaded the soundtrack, and listen to it all.the.time. It’s enjoyable to me, as I love “world music” and the repetition and connections are so good for children’s language development.

Another thing I’m smitten with is that I can share the “bonus feature” documentary footage with my daughter that gives her a “real look” into life in this area of the world. It’s certainly a unique experience, and high-interest in that it ties back to one of her (new) favorite films.

The animation in the film, and the scenery, are *gorgeous*.  The picture at the top of the blog post is one of my favorite scenes from Moana, it shows a baby turtle swimming away with it’s mother after Moana led it back to the sea, under the safety of the shadow of a leaf. I love the sea, tropical islands, flowers, you name it. The visual beauty of this film is unmatched, and right up our alley.

Our family is committed to caring for the earth as well, and themes of connections with nature, eco-friendliness, eco-responsibility, and caring for the earth and it’s creatures shine throughout the story.

Another reason to love Moana is it’s appropriateness for young children.

There is no real violence to speak of (some self-defense, but nothing malicious), no romance, and nothing particularly scary (aside from the “lava monster” at the end, but once you see the movie you’ll learn that the lava monster is really just sad, and Moana will help her to be happy again), and the story line deviates from Disney’s typical princess stories, depicting Moana as a strong, almost rebel girl, who teams up with a male (Maui, a loveable [albeit egotistical], funny, and heroic character) to save the world, but in the end emerges as the heroine. Moana is empowered, strong, lovely, kind, and a fantastic role model and inspiration for children.

All of this being said, I do think that this film is just one depiction of life on (and the history of) the Pacific Islands, and if we want to create a full picture of the life and history of the Pacific Islands, there are many more topics, literature, and history (both rich and controversial) that should be explored in order to create a full picture.

In all, we *love* Moana, and can’t say enough good things about Hollar – the dollar store in your pocket bringing you great gifts and goods starting at just $1!

Check us out on Instagram to enter the giveaway!

*This giveaway and post are sponsored by Hollar. All opinions in this post are my own.*

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Beautiful Fruits and Veggies with Haba!

I’ve had my eye on Haba for quite a while, long before I had children, actually. Haba is a German company known for its well crafted, award winning wooden toys. It was this set of fruits and veggies that sparked my interest in Haba’s wooden toys around 6 or 7 years ago, so of course, when it was time to stock my daughter’s DIY Farmer’s Market , I reached out to Haba.

These adorable little fruits and vegetables are perfect. They have a wonderful variety of “out of the box” produce, including carrots, peppers, mushrooms, radishes (red & white) and tomatoes in the vegetable set, and yellow pears, green apples, strawberries, and (Italian) plums.  The fruits are made with sturdy beech wood, and have a vibrant glossy, non-toxic stain that lets the wood grain show through, as opposed to paint, which gives them a truly beautiful quality that is wonderfully unique.  What’s more, each set comes with a cute little shopping net, perfectly sized for little shoppers, and just right for a trip to the market.

Another thing that I adore about Haba is their promise, “Made in Germany with respect for people and planet”.

If you’d like to take home a set of Haba’s Wooden Fruit and Vegetable Shopping Nets, enter the giveaway below!

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*This post contains affiliate links to help keep this blog running.
To learn more about affiliate links, click here.*

*I was provided with sets of Haba Wooden Fruit and Vegetable Shopping Nets in exchange for a review. All opinions in this post are my own.*

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Imaginative Play with Wood Eats Cash Register!

This Wood Eats! Wooden Cash Register by Imagination Generation is the perfect addition to our DIY Farmer’s Market (enter the giveaway below!). After all, you can’t run a market with out a register!

We love that the buttons actually work, and that there is a card reader attached (Violet, and just 2.5, already understands that sometimes we use plastic!).  The receipt roll is a nice touch, and can be used for writing receipts, and making shopping lists — an important organizational concept to teach.  Included inside the working drawer are 2 wooden credit cards, 8 wooden dollar bills of various increments, and nice, thin, wooden coins in different value. I love that the entire set is made of wood, the quality that wooden toys adds to our collection is wonderful & timeless.

What’s more, is that there are so many important concepts that a cash register can teach. Children can explore important ideas, ranging from basic counting skills, to number practice, basic addition and subtraction, dollar and coin values, pricing, budgeting, product selection, social and customer service concepts, developing fine motor skills, and the list goes on.

We are thrilled to add the Wood Eats Cash Register from Imagination Generation to our DIY Farmer’s Market. If you’d like one too, go ahead and enter the giveaway below!

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*This post contains affiliate links to help keep this blog running.
To learn more about affiliate links, click here.*

*I was provided with a Wood Eats! Wooden Cash Register in exchange for a review. All opinions in this post are my own.*

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Eeboo Green Market Spinner Game

As a toddler grows, it’s amazing to see the developmental stages that they pass through, and so fun to watch them grow into varied kinds of activities as well. Violet is just beginning to appreciate games, and its really great to be able to enjoy a game with her, to see her process (and follow!) rules, exercise turn taking, tolerate disappointment, practice fine motor skills, and expand her knowledge in all kinds of ways.

Eeboo’s Green Market Spinner Game  is perfect for the preschool set in so many ways. The rules are simple: each player has a game board (a “farmstand”), which contains a puzzle like section for each of 7 different categories: dairy, eggs, baked goods, fruit, vegetables, flowers, and the farmer.  The spinner has the same categories, and there are 4 different puzzle pieces for each category, each with a different selection (i.e. cookies, pie, cake, and cupcakes for “baked goods”). Each player takes a turn spinning the spinner, and depending on where the arrow lands, you choose a selection from that category and add it to your board/farm stand. If you land on a category that is already filled on your board, you lose your turn. The first person to fill their entire board/farm stand wins.

This game is a great way to expand children’s vocabulary, introduce them to the idea of agriculture and food production, and explore concepts related to business/entrepreneurism/buying & selling. It is also, of course, directly related to and supportive of the endless possibilities around imaginative play that children can explore through the DIY Farmer’s Market (don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post!)

And, true to Eeboo’s reputation, the illustrations in this game are so very cute, and the pieces are sturdy, and will certainly stand the test of time. The design of the game boards is intuitive, with holes in the back to easily punch out the game pieces (Violet quickly figured this out and loves to poke each piece out, again and again). I also like that the farmers are represented with diversity (all kinds of animals), with both female and male farmers. We have loved all of the Eeboo games and puzzles we’ve reviewed, but this one was a fast favorite. Way to go, Eeboo!

If you’d like to take this game home, along with a fantastic bundle of other prizes, enter the giveaway below, and find the original giveaway post here.




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*I was provided with a copy of the Green Market Spinner Game in exchange for a review. All opinions in this post are my own.*

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