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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*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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Plants Feed Me

We’ve got so many great resources bundled up in our new Farmer’s Market Play Giveaway, and today we’re giving you an in-depth look at all of the reasons why we love Lizzy Rockwell’s book, Plants Feed Me.

Firstly, I’ve oohed and aahed on the blog about Lizzy Rockwell’s illustrations before, and I’ll say it again: Lizzy’s illustrations are sweet! Her characters are drawn with a certain softness and likability that is just our speed. The text is perfectly accessible for young children of all ages (I’ve read this book with both my upper elementary school English language learners as well as with my toddler daughter), and explains to kids in such a simple yet technical way that we eat plants; all of a plant’s parts, in fact.

The smile on this boy’s face says it all. Eating plants makes us happy. Now isn’t that a message you’d love to send your child?

The book starts out with the line “I am a plant eater.” It goes on to explain, in short sentences that are both comprehensible to young listeners, and that have easy readability for beginning readers, how plants grow, and the different kinds and parts of plants that we eat.

Here’s a closeup of the spread Violet is looking at in the above picture. This page, too, is sort of special to me, as we’ve just joined a community garden in our neighborhood, and this picture, of children working together to care for plants, will certainly help to drive home the notion that people can work together to not only bring beauty to our community, but to care for and nourish ourselves and each other with delicious, bountiful plants.

The ending really touches a soft spot for us: “Plants feed me. Plants feed the world.” You might know that I strive to “bring the world into our home”, and this book doesn’t fall short in helping children to see this simple, global connection: the idea that plants feed each and every one of us.

I can’t wait to dive into activities around this book with Violet. We’ve put together a pinterest board with all kinds of fun activities, including a fun, interactive, edible “I can eat a whole plant” activity.

And if you’d like to take the teachability of this book even further, you can find additional lesson plans to accompany this text here.

If you’d like to take a copy of Plants Feed Me (and a whole bundle of other awesome prizes) enter the giveaway below and find the original giveaway post here!

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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 copy of Plants Feed Me in exchange for a review. All opinions in this post are my own.*

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Farmer’s Market Giveaway!

When I saw What’s Up Mom’s DIY Market Stand I knew I had to make one for Violet.

Spring has just sprung, we are gearing up for gardening, and Violet is loving pretend shopping these days. It’s amazing what a child’s imagination can do entirely on their own — she scans products for purchase in the air while animating the sound of the scanner, she packs up her tiny shopping back and invites me along on pretend shopping trips, she asks (and negotiates!) pricing in her imaginary market — I knew that with a little help, we could really touch on some important concepts: healthy food choices, seasonal foods, wants vs. needs, basic numeracy, social interactions and language, community topics, entrepreneurial concepts, even public & customer service!

Follow us this week as we explore some fun products & activities to support your market play, and enter the giveaway below to have a chance at taking home your very own DIY market!

This is what’s included in the DIY Farmer’s Market bundle:

Plants Feed Me book by Lizzy Rockwell

Green Market Spinner Game by Eeboo

Wooden Fruit Shopping Net by Haba

Wooden Vegetable Shopping Net by Haba

Wooden Cash Register by Imagination Generation

Farmer’s Market Create & Play Activity Book

Threshold 6-Cube Organizer, by Target

Enter to win below!

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Make a Fairy Garden? Yes please!

When a friend of mine with Pure Wow asked Violet and I if we’d like to put together a Fairy Garden for a Miracle-Gro sponsored video, we were thrilled. We’ve just come out of one of New York’s winters, and we’re both itching for cool spring weather, a little sunshine, to get our hands dirty, and just be outdoors. We spent a beautiful April day in Pelham, New York, and did just that: we made an adorable & whimsical fairy garden!

The whole experience was really fun: there were directors, set designers, and a camera crew.

Everything we needed, from rocks to soil to dirt to plants & decorations was provided for us, and it was *adorable*.

Don’t miss the how-to video below, or click here: How to Make a Whimsical Fairy Garden

How to Make a Whimsical Fairy Garden with Your Kids

Your kiddo’s imagination is a thing of wonder (she continually refers to pineapples as spaceships and Dad’s briefcase as the “dragon’s lair”). So why not use your lazy Sunday as an opportunity to combine her love of fantasy with your desire to spruce up the backyard? Enter the fairy garden.

Here’s how we did it:

Step 1: Line the bottom of your planter with large rocks to ensure good drainage (or, alternatively, choose a planter with holes in the bottom).

Step 2: Fill the container with potting mixed. We use Miracle-Gro.

Step 3: Decide where to place your fairy house, and then place the plants around the home to create a beautiful garden for your little fairy.

Step 4: Once you’re happy with the design, take each plant out of it’s pot, dig a small hole, break up the root ball with your hand, and plant away.

Step 5: Decorate the garden with accessories. We used wood slices for a walking path, tiny decorative mushrooms, small fairy furniture, ceramic animal friends, a bird bath, stones, glitter sand, and a tiny reflection pool.

Step 6: Water your garden, and thirty days after planting, feed with Miracle-Gro Plant Food.

We’re so happy to have kicked off spring with this fun activity. We loved it so much, that we’ve gone ahead and joined a community garden in Brooklyn (future blog posts!) and put together this kids’ gardening board on pinterest!

On motherhood, holding onto yourself, and the beauty of the tribe.

Motherhood is tough. Beautiful, amazing, wondrous, and flat out difficult. When becoming a mother, women go through a change that is really unlike anything else.  A recent New York Times article on The Birth of a Mother put it well: “becoming a mother is an identity shift, and one of the most significant physical and psychological changes a woman will ever experience.”

I think every mother is familiar with the feelings I’ve been struggling with: overextending yourself to try to juggle life, work, parenting, partnering, *and* being true to your pre-mom self. The feelings of love (sweet, all encompassing love), exhaustion, guilt, and I’ll say it, dissatisfaction are in a constant ebb and flow.

Recently I’ve been feeling depleted, overextended, and far less independent than in my previous life.  I love spending time with my daughter more than anything else in the world, I honestly do, but I’ve started to realize that I’m losing myself. I don’t have time. Not any, really — but even if I did have time I started to feel as if I wouldn’t even know what I would do with it. My single friends have drifted away, and my mom friends are up against the exact same challenges that I am.  I realize, though, that in order to be the best mother/teacher/wife/friend/self I can be, I need to try to regain some of myself, even if I have to dig for it.

This is when I turned to my “tribe”. What’s a “tribe” you ask? Well, google will give you tons of results on “mom tribe” — essentially, its a group of females who will get you like no one else in the world. Other women who are in the midst of motherhood themselves, who are experiencing sleepless nights, tantrums, potty training… Moms who are down for play dates or coffee, play dates *and* coffee. My tribe is a group of local moms that I originally connected with online, but have built relationships both in real life as well as in our internet community. These ladies are *awesome*. I seriously don’t know what I would do without them. Their children are playmates to my little lovely, and their support to me, and to each other, is invaluable.

I shared this image in our Facebook group, along with a sentiment reflected in this blog post, and the questions: What do you do for you? What would you do if you actually had time to be you?

The support, shared experience, and advice that I got was amazing. And I want to share it with you.


Voices from the field

On how to nurture yourself:

  • A happy mom is a happy child. Find what self-care means to you. -Sarah G.
  • It took me a long time to start to feel like me again… I now make sure to prioritize myself.   -Arin C.
  • Some good eyeliner and cute flats make me feel awesome.  -Samantha O.
  • Take solo walks in the sun… carve out weekly *me* time to help work on fighting the depletion. -Naethra S.
  • I enjoy trying to do things that I really liked before kids. I used to like just hanging on the beach reading a book or running on the beach. -Lauren P.
  • I try go out to eat with a friend or two at least once a month. …once I’m out it is really restorative. -Maria P.
  • I go for long runs to different places. My mind gets to go quiet. I try to take at least one picture I like on the way.-Kelly R.
  • I try to sleep in when I can. That’s what I miss most; going to bed and waking up when my body wants to. -Regan S.
  • believe it or not I will back to grad school. It gave me a new purpose and help to me refocus my career. I loved having that outlet to do something differently academically and professionally. -Mary T.

On what a mother would do were there enough time in the world:

  •  I would get in my car at night and drive with the windows down and music playing until morning. -Keri S.
  • I would read and do yoga every day if I could. -Jennifer P.
  • I’d bike more. -Jennifer E.

And one of my favorite sentiments:

  • May this be the summer of you! -Yael S.

The advice, support, and friendship I’ve gotten from other mothers has really been my motivation to shift my focus, if even just a little to myself. I’ve promised to care for myself a bit more, to treat myself to a new pair of shoes, to pay attention to my body and my mind, and generally put a focus on self-care. I’ve decided to return to school for just one class, and to carve out at least a few days a month for “me time”. Now I’ll wrap up this blog post to do just that.

Please share with us in the comments what you do for you, and follow Peace, Love and Literacy on Instagram to continue this conversation, leading up to Mother’s Day this Sunday!