My first month with Classical Conversations

We’ve been homeschooling Big Sister since 1st Grade. She starts 5th and Squish and Stretch are starting Kinder this year. Big Sister has used Abeka DVDs for the last couple of years. That worked for us because I have a small business and the twins were so small (and ACTIVE). This summer I kept feeling nudges towards Classical Conversations. I didn’t want to change. With Abeka DVDs, I was participating 10% of the school day. With CC I’ll be participating 90% of the time. That is a HUGE change and very overwhelming.

We missed the first two class days of CC and visited on the third. Foundations, we can do that memory work. We turn the CD on and listen every time we are in the car. Feeling confident on Foundations and ignoring Essentials (only Big Sister is in Essentials) has worked for the last week. My ordered books aren’t here yet and I’m operating off scanned images from friends.

On days when we are schooling at home, here is our (current) routine. First thing in the mornings we do our memory work. Like a one room schoolhouse, all three kiddos sit and watch the memory work on CC Connections ($12/mo). If they have it memorized then they just watch it once. For everything else, they watch each part 6 times. Then, Big Sister has her reading, math (we’ve used Math-U-See since 1st grade) and typing (www.TypingClub.com). While she works by herself, I *attempt* to work with the twins. Stretch has a longer attention span and Squish is all over the place. I bought Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. While I’m sure it’s easy for some, one look at the page and my ADD has me ready to run away from home. We are switching to Bob Books to see if that helps me. I HATE to teach children to read. I dream of putting them in school and letting PS (public school) teach them, at least, the basics. It’s sad but true.

Homeschooling is amazing and I love every part, except for the teaching Language part. That doesn’t make sense, does it? I love watching them learn and seeing them explore new subjects with bright eyes. I just don’t want to teach them anything having to do with the English Language. I love History, Science, Math, and Art. Not subjects I loved as a child, but I find them way more interesting than diagraming a sentence. (barf)

I keep hearing that your first year of CC is like trying to take a sip from a fire hose. This is a true statement. The best advice is to let it wash over you. Now if I can just figure out how to stand still so the water from a fire hose can “wash over me”.

29onsp

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

1000+ Craft Classes

I’m recommended a site because I love it myself. My daughter and I have both watched more craft classes than we can count (we’ve tried!). Thanks for using our affiliate links, they don’t cost you anything extra but it puts a few cents in our pockets…so we can learn a new craft tomorrow!

Now that my boys are ALMOST FIVE YEARS OLD, they have a lot more time playing independently. I’m watching them out my window right now with their trucks in a dirt pile. This means their big sister, now 10, and I have a little more time to do what we love. CRAFT. I just made her a pour painting on canvas for her gallery wall and she sewed me a super cute keychain (thanks sewing classes!).

I’m super in love with this website that has over 1000+ craft classes. These aren’t your youtube instructional videos. It’s a real class. There are a ton of free ones, but there are some that you will pay for. Because we love crafting and we homeschool, we are always looking for something new to learn. It took just a couple paid classes before my husband said “just try the unlimited”. Thank goodness that wonderful man knows his girls so well!

Try the Unlimited FREE! Try Craftsy Unlimited, watch everything free! The class selection is AMAZING!

Here are just a few of our favorites:

basicsofdigitalphotography_titlecard_cid39421491943829789-11305_titlecard_4x31518133347711-11514_titlecard_4x31491944902202-11306_titlecard_4x31516141061506-11508_titlecard_4x31510682531040-11416_titlecard_4x3crochetbasicsandbeyond_titlecard_cid47281516314626192-11495_titlecard_4x3

Try Craftsy Unlimited, watch everything free! The class selection is AMAZING!

over 1000+ craft classes - try free

Posted in Crafty Mom | Leave a comment

Best of the Best for Twins

These are the items that I would have invented, if they weren’t already on the market AND had I been so inclined, so I have no problem recommending it to you (and using my affiliate link). Amazon will pay me a copious amount of money if you click and purchase any of these items. Seriously, I’m going to buy a Mansion, giant SUV and I’ll hire 15 nannies for my 3 kids with the amount I make from Amazon. It doesn’t cost you any extra and it does almost pay for my daily coffee addiction. (Hi, my name is Christy, I’m a Mom of Multiples and I’m addicted to coffee…).

twins-4If you are reading this, you’ve probably already heard “You’re having twins” or because of IVF, you might be expecting them.
Before we were surprised with our twin boys, I spent my early 20’s as a nanny for two sets of twins. One of those sets even had a baby brother just 10mo later! I’ve tried out every product made for twins and a ton of regular baby items. I’ve been banned from returning items to Babies R Us. Yes, it was that bad. People don’t understand. When you have twins, you want to make everything as efficient as possible.

These are the items that made life easier. I can tell you, that you’ll be glad you brought these into your lives as twin parents.

If you haven’t registered yet, use Amazon Baby Registry. It’s the world’s largest baby registry. That means more products available! I did this with my twins and it was so easy. My singleton was born before Amazon was a thing and I had to register at THREE stores just to get all the items I on my list of must-haves.

Feeding

From the Breast

I owned TWO of these My Breast Friend nursing pillows. I started with one and loved it so much that I bought a second one to keep in the car. If I had tried the Twin Z Pillow earlier on, I would have had one of each. They are both awesome in their own ways. If you plan to nurse and you want to make it as easy as possible, get two pillows. Keep one in the car. You can leave it in the carry case, use it at your La Leche League meetings, or when you visit Grandma. It doesn’t matter which two. I will say, the MBF was easier in the car. Gives more support in an already awkward place to nurse.
the best my breast friend twin nursing pillow the best my breast friend twin nursing pillowthe best twin z nursing pillowthe best twin z nursing pillow

 

From the Bottle

I’m going to list that Twin Z pillow again. It’s awesome for setting them in when they are so tiny.

the best twin z nursing pillow

Then, a very controversial item, if you are a mom with just a single baby. For a Mom of Multiples, it’s a lifesaver! Tinukim Hands Free Bottles are amazing, plus they are great for babies with colic, gas and ear infections. handsfree feeding best of the best for twins

For those using formula, the Breeza Formula Pro will be your best friend for those endless night feedings. While we didn’t need formula, my best friend used this for her triplets. Let’s just say there are few people that Twin Moms look up to, Triplet Moms are our heroes! If they say something is great, we take their word for it!
breeze formula best of the best for twins

Sleeping

There are a few ways to handle sleep in the beginning.

Your Baby, My Baby

You can assign a baby to each adult and use two Arms Reach Mini Co-Sleepers and put one on each side of the bed. Each adult is responsible for that baby all night. This works best if you are using formula. How genius is that book light?!?

cosleeper mini best of the best for twinsNursing Mom/Single Mom

Keep both babies on the same side, might be a better solution, depending on your bedroom setup. This one is great because you can fold the changing table up and down. I had 4 changing table “stations” in my house. My twins didn’t like sleeping next to each other. At 3 weeks, we finally separated them and they quit hitting and kicking each other. We all slept better after that! This Baby Trend Twin Nursery Center has the ability to grown and change with your babies. halo twin bassinet best of the best for twinsThis one is new and I wish it had been around for me. The Halo Twin Bassinest is so neat. I love how it rotates! 

Diapering

Cloth

If you go with cloth, you might be a little crazy like me. I started when mine were 4mo old and we ran out of the diapers given to us at our baby showers. If you know nothing about them, start here. The easiest way is an All In One (AIO) but it requires you own a TON of diapers. You are a parent of twins, this is a concept you already understand! Another style is a Pocket Diaper, but I hated stuffing the pocket in. I used the most economical way, Flip Covers with flats and prefolds inside. Unless it’s a poop, you just change the inside and snap it up again. Even if you think cloth is gross, or extra work…just buy a couple for photos. They are over the top cute and perfect for photoshoots!

Disposable

I love the Pampers for newborns and then we switched to Huggies diapers when we weren’t using cloth. A huge thanks for the inventor of Amazon. If you sign up for Amazon Family (30 day free trial), you get 20% off your diaper subscriptions. No more running to the store for diapers. They show up at your door, BEFORE you run out. That is HUGE!

Diaper Disposal

Go ahead and thank me now, I’m about to talk you out of buying something expensive and ridiculous. Don’t buy one of those diaper pail that need special liners. You’ll be changing diapers all over the house, so multiple pails will come in handy. I had 4 in my house. I love this Safety First Diaper Pail. It’s so cheap, that if (when) it starts to stink, you won’t feel bad about throwing it away. No more running out of those stupid special liners. If you are using disposable diapers, you can use a plain kitchen trash bag! If you are using cloth, just get a couple of the washable liners. You can just throw them in with your load of diapers.

safety first diaper pail best of the best for twins

washable diaper pail liner best of the best for twins

wipes-2

On the Go

Twins First Stroller

Twin strollers are a hotly contended subject at the Moms of Multiples monthly meetings. The one thing we all agree on is the best first stroller. Pick your carseats and then just pop them into this Joovy Twin Roo+ Car Seat Stroller. It’s the best $100 you’ll spend, and easy to sell used, once you are finished with it.

moody twin too stroller best of the best for twins Once your little ones aren’t so little, around 6mo, you have to move on to the stroller(s) you’ll use for the next 2-3yrs. You are going to spend a LOT of time pushing this stroller, so you better really like it.

Lightweight and Small

Most MoM’s have two strollers, a small one and a jogging stroller. This Evenflo Minno Twin Double Stroller is fantastic. It’s lightweight, folds very small and with just one hand. This is what I kept in the car for a quick trip and the stroller we used for longer trips once they were 3-4yrs old. The big downsides? You cannot push this with one hand and it’s got very little storage, but I’ll explain how we get around that in a bit. This is a super affordable twin stroller that really gets the job done.

evenflo minno stroller best of the best for twinsThe Jogger (even if you don’t do Stroller Strides and think running is stupid)

This is really where Twin Mom’s start to argue about what’s best. BOB or City Mini. My sister has a City Mini and I had the BOB.  I love that my BOB has an adjustable handle and the all terrain tires. Works great on the beach. best twin jogging stroller BOB best of the best for twins

My sister loves her City Mini Double Jogger (she is owns another City stroller too). The seats recline separately. It’s lighterweight and takes up less room when folded.best stroller Citi mini double best of the best for twins

You really need to go try them out in person.

Organize Your Double Stroller

LOVED this Double Stroller Organizer! Your hands are so full of all the things needed to keep these small creatures alive and keep you sane. YOU NEED THIS.best double stroller organizer best of the best for twins

Twins in a Shopping Cart

Once your littles can sit up, you’ll need to add one of these to your life. If HEB or Target are where you shop, you can pick one of these Double Shopping Cart Coversdouble shopping cart cover best of the best for twins
If your favorite store doesn’t have double seating up front, you’ll need a Buggy Bench. They are super easy to use and dare I say it? SOOO CUTE!how to grocery shop with twins best of the best for twinsTandem BabyWearing

The TwinGo is seriously a life saver, sanity saver, baby soother, etc…

Wear them together or separately.  This thing is awesome. I remember a homeschool field trip to the science museum for my oldest with the twins were 6mo old. I tried the stroller but it just was too big to navigate the smaller spaces. Babywearing to save the day. Even if you have a stroller, sometimes, they just need to be held. And did you know that you can nurse the baby in the front? Is still found myself tandem baby wearing on hard day when they were 21mo because of teething. #BestWorkoutEvertandem baby wearing twingo best of the best for twins tandem baby wearing twingo best of the best for twinsBaby Jail

Once they get scooting, you are in big trouble. They are awesome at moving at top speed, the moment your back in turned. “The phone rang, we have 3min before she’ll remember to check on us, GO!”. The Regalo My Play Portable Playard (8 panel) is for indoors and outdoors (hello beach!)best of the best for twins regal play yard baby jail

Baby Gates

This is an extension of more Baby Jail. I love this Regalo Extra Wide gate. Makes it easy to create a playroom that is totally safe for babies. Plus, it’s awesome for keeping your Christmas Tree safe from the short people in you house.best of the best for twins extra long baby gate baby jailIf you just need to block a smaller area, the Summer Infant gate is great for the top of stairs. best of the best for twins baby gate for stairs baby jailLast one, if it’s slightly larger area than a doorway, this Regalo Extra Wide gate is great!best of the best for twins wide baby gate baby jailAn Eye or Two

Please, skip the traditional baby monitors. They are overpriced and haven’t kept up with current technology. If you have a smart phone, snag a couple of these Wireless Wifi Cameras (I kept two in their room and one in the playroom). They are super affordable, work with an app on your phone and have very easy setup. They pan, tilt, zoom, they have night vision, are motion activated and have two way audio “DO NOT CRAWL INTO YOUR BROTHER’S CRIB” or “DO NOT TAKE YOUR DIAPER OFF” and “DO NOT TAKE ALL OF YOUR CLOTHES OFF THE HANGERS”. Super plus is that you can use them in the future to keep an eye on your twins when they are teenagers!best of the best for twins baby monitor phone app

I hope this was helpful and that it makes your life easier, like they did mine!

best of the best twin registry must haves

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’m worried

I’m worried that I’ll never be able to express enough gratitude to my children, for the small conveniences they provide for me.

This is a perfect example. Some unknown, super thoughtful child knew just how taxing it is when you must unroll your own toilet paper. Said child, graciously, unrolled the rest of this roll. Just for ME.

Out of the kindness of their heart.

To show how much they appreciate just how much I do for them.

I will be forever grateful.

Posted in Toddler Twins, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Punish Mom for Fun

I feel like a pretty strict Momma. With a 9yr old and two 4yr olds, my kids do 90% of the dishes. They clean up their toys, they eat what the restaurant serves (no chicken nuggets when everyone else is eating sushi), a salad with dinner every night, they say please & thank you, yes ma’am & no ma’am, yes sir & no sir, they feed the dogs, and they take the trash out. We have a good system and things run pretty smoothly in our home.

Most of the time.

Until we do something fun, we go to the park, the museum or like yesterday…the pool. It’s mid October in Texas so it’s one of the last days the water will be warm enough. We swam for about 2hrs. The 9yr old, “Deedi” (Squish gave her this name when he first started talking), is taking a break from swim team. I still made sure she did 2 laps each of back stroke, freestyle and fly. Took her 5 min to do, compared to the 1.5hr practices she used to do. The rest of the time she just played. Stretch is Mr. Self Motivated and he refuses to wear his Puddle Jumper floatie (if you have young children, these are awesome!!!). He just wants to jump in from the side and swim to you. Squish is the opposite, a real Momma’s Boy these days, he’d rather just wear his floaties and hang out with me. I’m loving it.

We had a great time. Until my sweet angels became demon spawn.

I know they are tired and that’s ok. I just need to hire a driver for the drive so I can down a bottle of wine, with my headphones on and a sleep mask over my eyes on the ride home. Does Uber do that?

Why is it that they MUST PUNISH MOM for taking them to do something fun? Most of the time, when you are leaving “the fun” and loading them in the vehicle, you don’t see smiling faces. They are losing their ever loving minds. Stretch was incoherent-crying, and Squish was mad-crying. Thankfully Stretch fell asleep but Squish  SCREAMED the whole way home. Deedi had joined me in the “ignore the 3rd row” and she was good until we got home and I told her to take a shower. You’d thought I’d told her t0 shower in hot lava, with the reaction I got.

Just for fun I sent this to the Mister and said “the kids are SO EXCITED for you to get home from work”. So here are my two hyenas and pre-meltdown-Deedi.

 

She fixed her seatbelt, I stopped filming when I started driving, everything was safe…take a chill pill.

I’m going to make them watch that video and PROMISE not to meltdown after. We are headed to the zoo next week, so we’ll see how it works out.

Have your kids punished you lately for something fun?

Posted in Toddler Twins | Leave a comment

Best of the Best Balance Bikes

best strider bikes review twins

My Mother-in-Law bought our boys balance bikes for Christmas when they were 22mo old.

I rolled my eyes. 

I thought these were the goofiest things I’d ever heard of.

So, I didn’t push them to ride them. They also had tricycles and those I encouraged. Squish loved the tricycle and won 80% of their little races down the driveway. Stretch loved that stupid balance bike. He was so good on it. I knew that their personalities had just provided the perfect little case study on which is a better start: tried and true tricycle or the ultra trendy balance bike.

Fast forward to 3.5yrs old. We bought these 14″ Royal Baby bikes with training wheels. We had let the boys play on the bikes in Walmart, but the 12″ were too small and the 16″ were too large. They didn’t sell the 14″ and this is the size recommended for 3-5yr olds. It’s an awesome bike for the price.

royal baby 14' bike best first

Both boys struggled with the bikes in different ways. Stretch rode for two days before he asked that we take the “silly wheels off”. Training wheels were removed and Dad ran along side for a few minutes. Finally he said “Daddy, please take your hand off my bike.” That was all it took! It did take him about a week or so to learn how to start by himself. He wanted a quick push so that he’d feel safe enough to put his feet up on the peddles. We showed him how to use the curb to start by himself. Can a 3 year old ride a bike without training wheels? Yes, and we’ve been amazed.

Squish, on the other hand, likes to put large sticks in the water bottle holder in the back. He had no interest in removing his training wheels, even 6mo later. We made him a bargain that included frozen yogurt, a rare treat. It wasn’t nearly as easy as teaching Stretch, the balance bike expert. Squish didn’t understand that he needed to keep peddling or the bike would fall. Took a few days, but he’s doing great now!

Here I am, admitting that I was wrong and my MIL WAS RIGHT.

SO, what is the best balance bike? Let’s go over the pros and cons of the top brands.

Strider Balance Bikestrider bike best balance bike

These are what ours started with. It’s just over 6lb and my 22mo olds had no problem holding it up. It fits 18mo to five year olds. No tools needed to adjust the seat or handlebar height. You don’t have to worry about airing up tires with puncture-proof tires. Comes in multiple colors.

I can’t find much negative to say about this bike. Not everyone likes the non-rubber tires, but the material they are made from is tougher and lighter.

Critical Cycles Balance Bikebalance bike review

I’m going to be a total girl when I say that this is the cutest bike. Ever. Ok, on to things that actually matter. This is recommended for 20mo to five years old. I’ve hear it’s easier for them to get on and off and that’s helpful for those first few weeks. It also has a foot rest when they are going fast enough. I can see mine using this to do tricks. Same picture-proof tires and seat/handlebar can be adjusted without tools. Also comes in multiple (and really cute) colors.

The only negative would be the weight. Coming in at 9lb , it’s a little heavy for beginners. And you. Guess who gets to carry the bike home after they’ve ridden “a little too far”.

Schwinn Balance Bikebalance bike review schwinn

 

For those who would rather have real tires with tubes, this is the bike for you. Same great features as the others. Very little assembly, easy to adjust seat and handlebars. Comes in multiple colors as well.

If you thought 9lb was a bit heavy, watch out for this hefty 14lb bike. Not really one I’d want to carry. Hey, if you have twins, you really don’t want to carry TWO 14lb bikes!

Cruzee UltraLite Balance Bikebalance bike review cruzeeFriends of ours have this bike and have been really, REALLY pleased with it. This is coming from a family with 3 kids who have done the balance bike races for years. It weighs in at a paltry 4.4lb. Comes with a seat extension to help it last longer. Same non rubber tires as the first two balance bikes. Some of the nicest looking colors, compared to others.

A little more pricey than the others but the Amazon reviews are great and it has a lifetime warranty. Perfect for passing down to a younger sibling or cousin!

 

What’s your favorite balance bike? How was the transition to a bike with peddles?

 

Posted in Toddler Twins | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Garbage Man Costume DIY

DIY Garbage Man Costume

This kid thinks that garbage trucks are awesome. He is friends with our regular garbage man AND the ones who fill in on his day off. They all know his name. They blow their horn when they get to our house, if we aren’t already outside waiting. They take their gloves off and shake his hand. He’s on a garbage high the rest of the day. 

He loves to take the trash out.

So guess what he wanted to be for his 3rd Halloween. A Garbage Man! There are zero ready made costumes for this, so here is the super easy DIY garbage man costume. Three important letters you need to learn first, PPE. Personal Protection Equipment.

Kids Leather Work Gloves – Any guy on the job needs a pair of leather work gloves. These are nicely made and he wears them when he helps Daddy in the yard and every Wednesday when he takes the trash out.

Garbage Truck Shirt – Love for all things stinky!

Kids Safety Vest – you’ve gotta be seen, right? Safety First!

Department of Sanitation Hat – ok, this one takes a bit more work. Kids trucker hat and a couple stitches for a patch. I found our patch on eBay. Try these search terms “department of sanitation patch”, “waste management patch”, “BFI patch”. 

Work Boots – More PPE

Garbage (candy) Collector – What a better way to carry all the candy you get? This one takes a little work too. You need a 10qt (2.5 gallon) plastic trash can, a cheap bucket and a waste management sticker. You will need to remove the metal handle from the bucket and make holes in the trash can to fit the handle. You can use a small drill bit or do what I did and used a philips head screwdriver and a handle. You’ll probably need bend the handle a bit to get it to fit the shape of the garbage can. Then add your sticker!

This kid wore this costume for a week before and a month after. The look on our garbage man’s face when he heard who my little man wanted to be for Halloween was priceless.

Posted in Toddler Twins | Tagged | Leave a comment