Local Love: Fun For You and Your Little Ones!

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Toddler Camp OC_Final [sponsor]

Today, I’m excited to share all about Toddler Camp OC with you – a weekly outing designed specifically for toddlers that provides a themed “adventure” for parents (or caregivers) and their child to experience all the best local spots, entertainment and kid programs.

Toddler Camp OC is a fantastic way to get out with your little ones and enjoy your local community, while meeting new friends (both parents and kids!).

Because as we moms know, it takes a village (right?!), and there is nothing better than meeting other moms who are going through the same stages and phases you are, while letting your kiddos meet other kiddos their own age.  Plus, at Toddler Camp OC, you’ll probably learn about places and programs you didn’t even realize existed.

How It Works

The SoCalMoms Education Director creates developmentally appropriate projects, curriculum, and play opportunities specifically for toddlers.  This is a great way to introduce your toddler to many of the skills they are expected to learn during their first year of preschool.

Arts and crafts or sensory projects are included in each outing, as well as a healthy snack for both parents and children.

Plus, new toddler products, brands and parenting experts and topics will be introduced throughout the session.

Each camp is approximately 8 to 10 weeks long, and meets once a week in the morning from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Toddler Camp OC is now registering for spring and summer sessions.

The “ABCDs” of The Toddler Camp OC Program

Toddler Camp OC believes in these core values and incorporates them into their toddler curriculum and programs:

A.  Positive Early Learning

Toddler Camp provides a positive comprehensive program featuring multiple themed activities, sensory play, and outdoor adventures.

B. Social Development

They offer toddlers a chance to interact, share, and play with other children of similar ages in a variety.

C. Explore & Discover

They motivate families to explore and discover local and regional places, programs, and entertainment designed to stimulate toddler.

D.
 Parenting Resources 

They offer families the opportunity to socialize, and to access the best local parenting experts who host mini-talks.

Here are some great FAQs for further information.

Upcoming Spring Toddler Camp OC 

The Toddler Camp OC spring session will be held from Wednesday, March 18th to Wednesday, May 20th, and is enrollment based.

Their cute spring themes include: music, fitness, nature, colors, spring, cooking, imagination, messy art, family, create & build and carnival and will be held from

You will be asked to register for a specific local group (convenient for you), which meets one day a week for the term of the session (10 weeks).  Or you can choose a six-week package, which can allow you more flexibility.

Once you have registered, you will receive weekly emails with the schedule for the following week – or you can view the weekly Toddler Camp schedule HERE.

Cost:

The cost of a 10-week session is $250.00 and a six-week session is $150.

You can also purchase series packages with discounted rates.  Occasionally, a weekly drop in rate is available.

Join Toddler Camp OC For An Open House

Join Toddler Camp OC on Wednesday, March 18th at 10 a.m. for their “Open House Creative” kick-off event.   This is your opportunity to get to know the program, plus meet other moms in your local community.  This first day event includes a welcome brunch, interactive arts and crafts, bubbles, balloons, goody bags and more!

This ”Open House Creative” will be held at 1602 Babcock St. Costa Mesa, CA 92627.  Join the fun!

A Tiny Oranges Deal!

Toddler Camp OC is offering a discount to all Tiny Oranges readers (yay!).  Use the code “TinyOranges” for 10% off your registration fee!

Contact Us

Toddler Camp OC is based out of central OC.  Click here for more information and to register for their spring session.

Hotline for parents:  1-323-487-CAMP
Email:  info @ toddlercamp.com

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How to Learn to Love Running

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how to learn to run I used to be a person who HATED running. Loathed it. Then about 8 months after I had my second baby, in my postpartum delirium, I decided I was going to start running and I signed up for a half marathon. 13.1 miles for someone who had never even ran one. Crazy. But I did it.

And you know what happened in the course of training for that? Over time I went from hating running to loving it. Something I never thought possible, never dreamed possible! In some ways changed my life.  Because if a person like me could learn how to love running? Well, then the sky is the limit!

How to learn to love running in 10 easy steps (pun intended)

(Of course, always check with your doctor before embarking on a new exercise plan!)

 

1. Get a good pair of running shoes

Before you do anything, the one investment you should make is a good pair of running shoes. I am a fan of Road Runner Sports in OC. They will do a full analysis on your feet and running stride to make sure you get in a pair of shoes best for you. Plus, you can test their running shoes for up to 90 days and return if you don’t like them. You need a good pair of shoes without question.

2. Get some good music

Music is essential. Load up your phone or iPod with a brand new running songs play list. Songs that make you want to dance or energize you. Ask friends for their recommendations.

3. Sign up for a race

This was also important for me, because if I didn’t have that half marathon looming over my head I would have quit in the beginning. It’s easy so easy to quit because the first few weeks suck. But if you can get over that hump, you will be SO happy you stuck with it.

Find a cause that is important to you, and sign up for their race. I don’t recommend starting with a half marathon! Start with a 5K, then build from there.  The race will be a kick in the butt to get going on some training.

For my Orange County friends, I just registered for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation Run/Walk on Sunday, March 29th in Irvine. Join me on TEAM GAVIN (click link, then click ‘Join Team’ at the top right) to participate in your first race and raise money and support pediatric cancer research.Going to be my 5th year doing this event. It’s awesome.

4. Tell people you are doing a race and ask friends to join you

Accountability is good. Once the cat is out of the bag you are going to do a race, you have to stick with it.  See if you can enlist some other friends to do it with you.

5. Download a training schedule then stick with it

You can go online and Google a ton of “Beginning 5K training schedules” and get a lot of different ones.  I have always used the Hal Higdon Training Plans.  When training, I try to do a minimum of 2 runs doing the week, then one long run on the weekend.

6. The first 6 – 8 runs are hard – don’t give up!

In the beginning, your body will not like it! I remember my side cramping, and feeling like I was going to throw up some days.

But when you keep running, your body will rise up to meet you, and you will be AMAZED at how quickly your body will assimilate and get stronger in a short amount of time.

If you have not been active, take your time to ease into it.  Start with regular walks, then work up to a slow jog.  If you are active, but not a runner, start with run/walks.

On my first run ever, I tried to run for 1 minute, then walked for 1 minute.  As I got better, I tried to run for the length of a song, then walked for a minute, then ran for a length of another song, etc. And pretty soon my need to walk went away, and I could run the entire workout.

And don’t worry about how slow you are!!! I am really slow – I don’t care – just the fact I am doing it is reason to celebrate!

7. Embrace the first “I didn’t actually HATE that” run!

After a few weeks, you will go on a run that makes you feel like, wow, I didn’t hate it! Then you get a little bit of a runner’s high knowing you achieved this and actually felt good on your run. Hang in there until you experience this run. After that, you will be hooked because you know it’s possible.  Every run will not be a good one, but just the fact that it is possible to have a run and feel good will keep you going.

8. Plan your runs for the week on Sunday nights

You have to schedule your runs like you would a doctor’s appointment. Find the best time of day to run for you (for me it’s first thing in the AM, otherwise I feel wiped out from the day if I do later) and schedule in your 2 -3 weekday runs and what day on the weekend you are going to do your long run.

Then, print out a training schedule calendar and write down your distances or for how long you are going to run on your calendar. Put that calendar up where you can see it, and check it off when you are done.

9. Be smart about hydration and nutrition 

Your body needs to be properly hydrated and fueled to run – make sure to do some research online about how much you should be drinking before, during and after, along with nutrition suggestions for the best pre and post workout foods.

10. Celebrate your first finished race!

Come race day, you will be so excited that you finished a race.  Nothing compares to the sheer joy and energy of doing a race.  The people, the excitement, it’s really something everyone in this lifetime should experience.  Then when you cross that finish line, you will feel SO GOOD. You did it!

Now, the only question left will be, what’s your next race?

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Fun Ways to Announce Your Pregnancy

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Hi all, from pregnancy-land!  

As promised, I’m going to have a handful of upcoming posts that address all things pregnancy, starting with a post on fun ways to announce your pregnancy.  fun-ways-to-announce-your-pregnancy

There is nothing in the world like seeing a positive pregnancy test – your life changes in that moment, in that instant.

Whether your pregnancy was planned or whether it is an unexpected blessing, there comes a time when you are ready to announce your special news.

Telling your partner

My husband has always wanted to be with me as we wait for the test to turn negative or positive…but I have always wanted to have that moment where I catch him off guard with our news.  This being our third pregnancy, I was determined to surprise him.  And have a fun story to tell.

I had bought two newborn onesies…one for a girl, one for a boy. I was testing the day after his birthday, so I was going to tell him that I had one more present for him…and have him open the onsies, with a note saying “Pink or Blue, Can’t Wait to See – Because We’re Expecting #3!”

That is…until I took the test at 5 a.m. (he had woke up for an early morning run, waking me up, and then of course I couldn’t go back to sleep).  I snuck into another bathroom to test, was half asleep, and thought for sure the test was negative.  As I was throwing it away, a faint (I mean very faint) second line appeared.  O.M.G.  This was really happening!  And I needed a second set of eyes to tell me that I wasn’t just seeing things.

There went my surprise plan.  I raced back into our room and shrieked, “Honey, come in here NOW and see this.”  He stumbled in (also half asleep), thinking something was wrong with one of our big kids, and then saw the test. So I guess I technically surprised him!

However you plan to share with your partner, it will be a moment you two will always talk about.  Here are some cute ideas for sharing the news:

- From parents.com - Fun Ways to Tell Your Husband You Are Pregnant

- From www.justmommies.com - Creative Ways to Tell Your Husband That You’re Pregnant 

- From www.modernmom.com – Ways to Tell My Husband I’m Pregnant

Telling your family and close friends

We couldn’t keep this news from our parents and siblings for very long (our beaming faces and giggles kind of gave it away) , so they knew the same day we took a positive test.  As for our close friends, we started quietly sharing our good news as the pregnancy progressed.  But, I did look around and find some fun ways ways to announce your pregnancy to family and friends…

- From www.pregnancyandbaby.com - Unique and Creative Ways to Announce to Your Husband, Friends and Family That You Are Pregnant 

- From www.whattoexpect.com – Creative Ways to Tell People You’re Pregnant

- From www.pregnancyandbaby.com - How to Announce Your Pregnancy 

- From www.babycenter.com – What Are Some Fun Ways You’ve Used to Tell Your Family You’re Pregnant

Telling your big kids

We decided to tell our big kids after we had our first doctor’s appointment and we saw/heard the heartbeat.  Once we knew everything was as healthy as it could be, we decided to tell our kiddos.  Also, because this pregnancy has been particularly difficult and I have been sick a LOT, we wanted to let them in on what was going on.

I had special “Promoted to Big Brother” and “Big Sister Again” Christmas ornaments made, and we gave them to the kiddos on Christmas morning.  They were beyond excited!

Here are some more adorable ways to tell your big kids…

From www.babble.com - 10 Cute Ways to Tell the Kids “We’re Expecting!”

From www.circleofmoms.com - I Need a Cute Way To Tell My Kids I’m Pregnant 

I also found a lot of super cute big sister and big brother t-shirts like these on Amazon (affiliate links)…


Telling Facebook, telling the “world”

Oh boy.  It seems like nothing these days is “official,” until it is announced on Facebook.  I actually think “Facebook official” is the correct term.  Whether you choose to announce over social media, make a big public announcement, or have announcements printed…here are some adorable and creative ways to do it!

As for our family, we decided to make it “Facebook official” at the beginning of our second trimester, and we had professional pictures taken of our sweet family of four…growing to a family of five.  It was a wonderful way to capture everyone’s excitement and love for this wonderful, amazing new little angel joining our family this summer!

- From iheartpears.blogspot.com – 22 Awesome Pregnancy Announcement Ideas

- From www.buzzfeed.com – 23 Creative Ways To Tell the World You’re Having a Baby

- From www.whattoexpect.com – 7 Cool Fall-Themed Pregnancy Reveal Ideas

- From happyhomefairy.com - 30 Creative Ways to Announce Pregnancy

How did you announce your pregnancy?  I would love to hear about it!  Please share your fun ways to announce your pregnancy in the comments below.

Photo by Fotograffe Photo Studio & Gallery 

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Go Ahead. Make Someone’s Day.

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acts of kindness

I get a gazillion emails, not to sound ‘oh so important!‘ because I am not, it’s simply due to the fact that bloggers can get added to numerous PR and pitch lists so over time the volume of emails can get a tad overwhelming.

Many of them I have to skim and move on, because there often are not enough hours in the day, but this one email caught my eye. Well, actually it was the follow-up email that caught my eye (thanks for your patience.)

It was a blog post written by a man with a website dedicated to sharing positive stories and tips with others. He had written a post on 76 Acts of Kindness which I thought sounded inspiriting, so I clicked over to read, and was VERY inspired by his ideas.

Many of which were really unique.

I plan to share this list with my kids and want to do some of his ideas as a family.  What a great way to teach kids about the power of an act of kindness.

Here are some of my favorites…

# 2 – Create a holiday to celebrate someone you love. Forget their birthday or Mother’s / Father’s Day – how fun to have a unique, random day dedicated to celebrating someone special?!

# 19 – Say “thank you” to someone who makes a difference. I want my girls to write thank you notes / pictures for the crossing guards at their school who make crossing the streets safe.

#23 – Text someone to tell them something you appreciate about them. So easy.

#63 – Leave a big tip. Love this one. I used to waitress in college and still remember to this day a handful of customers that left me a big tip.

Bookmark this post for anytime in the future your kids might say “I’m bored” or when you are feeling down yourself.

There is nothing that can lift one’s spirits faster than doing something nice for someone else.  It’s a boomerang gift in that sense. When you make someone else’s day, it also makes your own.

Now, go ahead. Make someone’s day.

Click here to read Brad Aronson’s 76 Acts of Kindness.

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Little Hands, Big Skills

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Ways to practice fine motor skills with kids

My little man is going to be entering kindergarten next year (I can’t believe it!), so kinder prep is definitely on my mind! And as part of kindergarten prep,  I am working with him at home to strengthen certain school skills, including his fine motor skills.  Today I’d like to share my favorite ways to practice fine motor skills with kids…and I’d love to hear yours!

Play Doh and Clay

For my kiddo, Play Doh and clay means fun.  It’s also a great way to have your little ones work with their fingers, learning to shape and mold, while strengthening those their finger and hand muscles.  We like to add toy cars, trucks, planes and boats to the Play Doh fun, and my son builds roads, bridges and swimming pools for them.  He loves it!

Legos

My son is obsessed with Legos.  Obsessed doesn’t even begin to cover it!  And, I am totally fine with this…because he’s learning to manipulate teeny tiny pieces and fit them together. Especially now, since he’s graduated to the “big kid” Lego sets with those small pieces.  He thinks mom is cool, it’s his “free” play time, and he’s practicing fine motor.  Check, check, and check!

The Coin Game

One of my favorite teachers recommended this game, and my little guy loves it!  Set out a bunch of coins on the table, and have your child practice flipping them over.  That may seem like a simple task, but those little fingers have to work extra hard to pinch and grasp the smaller coins to flip them over.

Bonus: If you’re feeling ambitious, you can practice counting the coins, talking about the different denominations and sorting by size or value.

Puzzles

Again, having your child put together puzzles – especially ones with smaller pieces – is another great way for your kiddo to practice picking up small items, critically thinking about where they go, and work carefully to fit them together.

Painting

Also a fun (and messy!) way to help your little one practice their fine motor skills.  Get smaller paint brushes, put little splurts of paint on a paper plate, and ask your child to paint their picture…I usually take a coloring book page or print something off of the Internet.  That way they are trying to carefully stay in the lines.  Their first attempt may be one blob of color, and that’s okay!!  Have them keep at it, and keep practicing!

Tracing

This includes drawing shapes and letters on blank pieces of paper, doing worksheets…and even iPad apps when we’re on the go!  My son loves tracing letters (and you can get creative here…use pencils, crayons, glitter, Cheerios, etc.), and he also loves tracing lines…think one of those “start here,” and trace to the finish line, worksheets.

My husband also found an app he loaded onto our iPad called, “Little Writer,” which allows a child to trace letters, numbers, shapes and words with their fingers.  I’m sure there are tons of apps that could be helpful – check some out!

Cutting Out Shapes

Like I mentioned above, I have my son either trace…or draw…a shape.  Then, I ask him to cut it out.  And we’re starting with BIG shapes that are easier for him to cut right now.  Holding scissors properly is actually pretty difficult at times for little hands and fingers…and I say, the more practice the better.

Favorite Ways to Practice Fine Motor Skills with Kids

Daily Name Log

Everyday, I ask my son to write his name three times at home.  Just three.  I don’t ask him to sit for an hour practicing his letters (let’s be serious – he’s an active 4.5-year-old boy – just getting him to sit still for 10-15 minutes at a time is a victory!).  But, I find that even this small investment of time and small investment of practice has made a huge difference.  It also gives me the opportunity to see how he is holding his pencil and help correct when needed.

And, here’s what I’m noticing.  There are days he whines about writing his name three times…and we battle.  And, there are days he wants to write his name 10 times, plus asks to do worksheets and art projects.  Progress and baby steps!

Here are some of my favorite fine motor skill activity ideas I got from Pinterest: 

12 Fun Ways to Pratice Handwriting with Preschoolers 

Cutting Practice and Learning Shapes

Fine Motor Activity – Fruit Loop Towers

 Clothes Pins…

Glue Tracing, Pre-Writing Activity

And, don’t forget to ask your child’s teacher for ideas – they always have fun and creative ways to help your child practice their fine motor skills!

Do you have any tips or tricks that work for your kids?  Please share below!

 

Photo credit:
Flickr,  Copyright  All rights reserved by Fauxtographical

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