Archives For Preschooler

Grocery Shopping with Little Ones

When I was expecting my first baby, I often thought about how I would manage running errands and grocery shopping by myself with a baby.

Once my first son was several weeks old, I finally worked up the courage to go grocery shopping by myself. It wasn’t necessarily easy but it wasn’t as big of a deal as I had made it out to be.

Now, grocery shopping involves two little ones (soon to be three) and I’ve learned a few tricks along the way.

Tips for Grocery Shopping with Baby:

  • Invest in a comfortable baby carrier. Wearing your baby is the easiest way to grocery shop. This frees up all the space in your cart for groceries. (My favorite carriers: Baby K’tan for small babies and Boba Classic Baby Carrierfor larger infants and toddlers.)
  • Park near a cart return. If you prefer keeping your baby in their infant seat, you can grab a cart before going in so you don’t have to lug that heavy seat all the way in the store! When you are done shopping, you can quickly return the cart and stay close to your vehicle.
  • Avoid taking in the entire diaper bag. A bulky diaper bag takes up valuable grocery space in your cart. I carry a small backpack as my purse so I’ll stash a burp cloth and a diaper, wipes and wet bag in there instead of the entire diaper bag.
  • Have realistic expectations. You are shopping with a tiny person in tow so grocery shopping is not as simple as it was before baby.
  • Use every inch of your grocery cart. If you do leave baby in the infant seat, it really is amazing how much you can fit in the cart around your baby. The bottom of the cart has tons of room and small items can fit around the sides of the carrier!
  • Be organized. Write your grocery list out with thought to where items were in the store, it makes your trip through the store more efficient and eliminates back tracking.

Tips for Grocery Shopping with Toddlers/Preschoolers:

  • Use the car carts. These carts are fabulous! Yes, they seem to weigh a ton (especially when loaded down with 60 pounds of children) and are difficult to push but they make grocery shopping fun for little ones and easier for mama.
  • Teach your preschooler to walk along side you. There are stores where car carts and 2 seater carts are not available. In these situations, my 3-year-old walks alongside me. He ‘helps’ me push the cart and assists in putting things into the cart. I started teaching him to walk alongside me when he was a little over 2 and while it’s definitely not the easiest way to shop with little ones, it’s also not a nightmare!
  • Give yourself plenty of time. Grocery shopping with little ones just takes longer than shopping without. The worst thing is trying to do all the shopping in a short amount of time.
  • Be flexible. Almost every trip to the grocery stores involves someone saying “I have to pee pee” about halfway through. Or brothers fighting in the car cart and needing to be separated. The key is to expect that these things are going to happen and be flexible when they do!
  • Don’t give in to requests. My kids sometimes ask for things but I simply tell them no and it doesn’t involve a tantrum because I never started the habit of purchasing treats and other things they want.
Be Flexible

Grocery trips frequently involve reminding my children to keep their hands and feet inside of the cart! Remember – be flexible!

These tips are what works for me when it comes to grocery shopping with my children. I don’t get stressed out about bringing them along and for the most part, they behave quite well and grocery shopping isn’t a task that I dread.

What are your tips for shopping with little ones?

This post contains affiliate links that helps support this site. 

With the changing of the weather, comes the bi-annual wardrobe assessment for our children. I have found that going through the clothes we already own, inventorying them and coming up with a list of items we needs saves money and prevents me from purchasing too many clothes. This keeps our wardrobes simple and our dressers and closets clutter free.

Here’s a glimpse into this process:

Simple Preschooler Wardrobe

I pull out the bin with the next size up label.

I choose not to stock up on a bunch of next size up children’s clothes because the rate at which they grow is never certain. For our 3 year old, our next size up bin contains mostly clothes that still fit at the end of the past season, any hand-me-downs we may have been given and any items I came across that I know my boys would love (like guitar and dino t-shirts) that were super cheap on clearance.

Last Winters Clothes

The contents of his next size up bin contained clothing that still fit with ample room at the end of last season. Always remember to look back at the clothes from the previous season because some items still may fit!

Everything in this picture (minus the dino shirt which I picked up for $2.50 on clearance this past May) were clothes that he wore last winter. Having this many clothes that still fit definitely got his fall/winter wardrobe off to a great start.

Inventory:

2 pieces of outerwear

2 dress shirts

2 nice t-shirts

2 pair play pants/overalls

3 play shirts

3 pajama sets

Current Clothes

The next step was to look through the clothes he was currently wearing to see if any of them would transition into the next season. A quick look through the closet and dresser came up with a few items.

2 hoodies

1 pajama set

1 sweater vest

1 pair of play pants

After assessing what we already had, I was able to make a shopping list of the things he was going to need. He needed jeans, a few nice t-shirts and a rain jacket.

Purchased Clothes
Once I had my list, I started stopping into our local resale store frequently (where I have store credit) and was able to acquire most of the items he needed there. The only items purchased new were the rain jacket and a t-shirt with construction equipment on it. The rain jacket is part of his Halloween costume (firefighter) and was purchased a size larger in hopes of it lasting 2 years so it was well worth the $18 I spent on it.

Items purchased:

Rain jacket $18 (Carters gift card)

Carters Khakis $7 (resale store with store credit)

Osh Kosh Jeans $6 (resale store with store credit)

Children’s Place Jeans $6 (resale store with store credit)

Children’s Place Jeans with Stretchy Waistband $5 (resale store with store credit)

Black/Red Stripe Tee $.50 (yard sale)

Black/Grey Striped Henley $5 (resale store with store credit)

Guitar Tee $2 (purchased used)

Construction Tee $3 (Carters gift card)

Thomas Tee $.50 (yard sale)

Total spent: $53

Purchased with store credit: $29

Purchased with gift cards: $21

Out of pocket expense: $3

It really makes me happy that I only had to spend $3 out of pocket for his new clothes. Using gift cards and store credit really help to stretch our clothing budget. And, I especially love that almost everything we purchased was secondhand.

 

His entire fall/winter wardrobe includes:

6 nice t-shirts

3 pair good jeans

2 dress shirts

1 sweater vest

1 pair khakis

3 pair play pants/overalls

4 play shirts

4 pajama sets

5 pieces of outerwear (2 hoodies, 1 sweater, 1 fleece jacket, 1 rain jacket)

 

I’m not suggesting this is the perfect amount of clothes for a 3 year old child. It is, however, the right amount of clothing for our 3 year old and our lifestyle.

We attend a casual church and there is not a need to dress up every Sunday, he does not go to preschool so he mostly wears his play pants and shirts on the days we stay home all day and we typically experience mild winters in Georgia so there is not a need for heavy coats and thick winter clothing. (If we do happen to have a super cold snap, we’ll just layer him up for warmth with his hoodies and fleece jacket!)

Handsome Pax

Modeling his new khaki pants with a dress shirt and sweater vest from last winter.

Secondhand Outfit

Jeans and shirt from the resale store. Both gently used and purchased with store credit!

Benefits of a simple child’s wardrobe:

  • Less clothing to organize and find storage for.
  • Costs less. Not having a large wardrobe means you spend less on clothing!
  • Easier to get dressed! It’s easier for the child to pick out their own clothes since they aren’t bombarded with a drawer/closet stuffed with clothes.

Do your children (or you) have simple wardrobes? 

Sonlight Preschool

We’ve made our very first homeschool curriculum decision and are looking forward to starting our first year of preschool at home. We found a curriculum that fits in beautifully with our philosophy about preschool education and are excited to begin learning with a little bit of structure.

Last summer, a Sonlight catalog arrived in our mailbox. I started reading a little about their approach to learning and was immediately impressed.

‘We believe most children respond more positively to great literature than they do to textbooks.’ -Sonlight

I love books. In my own education, I’ve learned so much more from reading interesting books than I ever learned from textbooks.

Paxton loves books. I started reading to him from birth and he has an insatiable appetite for being read to. And, he’s learned so much from reading storybooks.

I was feeling like Sonlight just might be the perfect fit for us! I excitedly turned to the page that had a picture of their preschool curriculum and was immediately excited. There were several books on their preschool lists that we already owned.

The thing about these books, they were the books that were Paxton’s favorites and my favorites to read to him. This immediately convinced me that they have high standards when it comes to children’s literature and choose quality books that both parents and children love.

Now, remember this was over a year ago. Believe me, I was so excited about finding a curriculum that I loved the philosophy behind. I was ready to order the Preschool 3/4 curriculum and dive in.

Instead, I decided to squelch my excitement and slow down. We have years and years of homeschool ahead of us but the laid back days of just playing and reading leisurely are fleeting.

I talked to experienced homeschool mamas who encouraged me to slow down, enjoy my time as a mama of a baby and 2-year-old and do a little more research on options. (I did more research and kept coming back to Sonlight. It fits perfectly in with what I want for preschool, not sure beyond that because I’m not at that stage just yet.)

My husband and I talked about budgeting for the curriculum and since we already owned several of the books. He suggested that I start piecing together the Preschool 3/4 curriculum as I found books at used book stores and thrift stores. Once we were ready to start, we would purchase the remaining books from Sonlight.

At the beginning of this year, I started acquiring books that were on the list. Each book that we purchased quickly became a new favorite and reinforced my decision to use Sonlight.

Sonlight P3:4

The thing I love the most about Sonlight’s Preschool 3/4 curriculum is that it really isn’t a curriculum. There isn’t a schedule to follow. The instructor guide comes with a checklist of books to read and activities to do with your child. It’s a very laid back approach with the emphasis being on spending time reading and making memories with lots of free time for preschoolers to play.

I like that as a parent, I have a guide to follow that gives me ideas and will allow me check off the books we’ve read and activities we’ve done. I feel like this is a wonderful fit for me as a first time homeschool mama to start easing into the lifestyle of structured learning at home.

We’re planning on beginning our preschool at home in September. I’m looking forward to reading a lot of wonderful books, enjoying fun activities centered on those books, and creating memories with Paxton.

Our very favorite Sonlight Preschool 3/4 Books:

Sonlight CurriculumThis post includes affiliate links that help support this site. 

 

Reviving Kids Clothes

I purged and packed away the boys winter clothes and pulled out their spring clothes a few weeks ago.

My 3-year-old’s bin of spring clothes was pretty sparse.

I’ve stopped buying clothes ahead of time since my guessing on sizes has been off in the past. My thoughts are even if I just spend a few dollars on clothing that is never worn, I’m still wasting money!

When friends occassionally give us hand-me-downs, I’ll pick out the things we love and put them in his bin of next size up clothes so we have a few things tucked away for him to grow into.

His bin of spring clothes included 2 pair of hand-me-down shorts, a pair of swimming shorts my mom purchased, his shorts from last summer (which all still fit!) and one button up shirt. There were no t-shirts at all. At this point, most people would think it’s time to go shopping because he needs shirts and honestly, that’s what I thought at first too.

A look through the drawer of clothes he’s currently wearing resulted in more than enough shirts for this spring and hopefully summer (unless he hits a growth spurt). Most of his 24 month and 2T shirts from last summer still fit and a few things just needed a little reviving.

He had a couple shirts from this winter that were layered long sleeve t-shirts. They still fit and were cute shirts that he really likes to wear.

Stained Arms

He had a guitar shirt had cream colored sleeves which were stained from months of being worn by a 2-year-old. (I’ve decided to stop purchasing white/cream colored shirts for my boys, dark colors hide stains so much better!)Short Sleeve Shirt

After a few minutes of cutting the long sleeve arms out of the shirts, he had two ‘new’ t-shirts for this spring that he loves! Plus, we saved money. 

Before heading out to purchase more clothes for your kids, be sure to look at their clothes to see if there are ways you can revive what they have!