Simplicity Series

I’m so thrilled to be a part of the Simplicity Series over at one of my dearest friend’s blog, Miss Emily Ley! Emily has been featuring this wonderful series on her blog for awhile and I was tickled to be a part of it! This series features women in different stages of their lives sharing six products and/or tips that help make their life more simple so they can spend their time on what matters!

So hop on over to Emily’s blog and check out my part in this fabulous series! Click HERE


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  1. April 28, 2016 Reply

    longterm2investors pisze: Grudzień 7, 2012 o 4:00 pm Quba co z tą bessą w usa ? zartownić z Ciebie niezły SObie na dane popatrz , zawsze wciąganie ulicy trwa na dobrych danych.JEZELI TO DO MNIE , TO TAK , WTWIERDZE ŻE W USA ZACZĘLA SIĘ BESSA A W GOSPODARCE USA RECESJA , DO TEGO KLIFU NIE UCHWALĄ W TYM ROKU A ICH DŁUG W PRZYSZŁYM ROKU BĘDZIE JUŻ 120% DO pkb , nie będę więcej tłumaczywystarczy popatrzeć na generała hossy KGHM , DAX , S&P zrobiły 4 letnie szczyty , nigdy średnio hossa dłużej nie trwa

  2. May 7, 2016 Reply

    Yes, there is a way to do it, but you’ll need to change some stuff. I don’t want to discuss this here since there’s a bit to explain. Please and I will get back to you

  3. May 20, 2016 Reply

    Kittenese817I can’t believe there are so many people who are commenting that he’s hot… he looks a lot older than his age here, and if his drug habits persist, it’ll just get worse.

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First Frosty

frostyI hope you all enjoyed a fabulous Thanksgiving with your family & loved ones. This year we were in Pittsburgh and were thrilled to get a much colder climate than expected! It snowed…a first for Lily.

Growing up in the ‘Burgh Mike has had plenty of snow experiences, and living only three hours from Tahoe gave me plenty of memories of sledding, boarding and building snowmen. So Mike and I were tickled when we awoke to a white blanket of snow while we were there.

frosty1A day before the inches stuck we were able to bring Lily out as a few snow flurries started to descend. Lily really didn’t understand, it was as if she was just playing in the rain. It wasn’t until the next day when everything was covered that she finally got it.


frosty3Like most things Lily was hesitant at first. She was having a blast getting bundled in a new jacket, wearing a hat & gloves because these are items we rarely wear in the sunshine state! Not wanting to freely walk out into the cold we had to carry her out and place her boots in the snow. It took less than a minute for her to break through whatever fear she was having and then she was running through the snow having a blast.

Mike and Gram rolled balls to make Lily her first frosty. A carrot for a nose and two olives (it was an Italian frosty!) for eyes, Lily had her first snowman. Our time in the snow was short lived because the falling snow turned into a chilling rain. Sadly said rain eventually melted frosty.

frosty5These firsts are what life is all about and being able to relive them through a child, especially your own, is just priceless. Watching Lily’s complete joy was exactly what I needed while I suffered more extreme nausea over our trip. I have only 14 weeks left until baby number two arrives and today I entered the final pregnancy trimester. Seems that this nausea is here to stay. Bleh.

frosty4With Christmas right around the corner thought I re-share some old posts for any new readers! If you haven’t yet set up your tree or your pulling out your hair keeping your toddler from breaking ornaments read this tip! There is also a great playlist of old classic holiday tunes along with some great modern Christmas songs in that same post. Need a new cookie recipe & you’re an almond cookie lover??? Then try this recipe…it is my favorite recipe and the sweet treats actually melt in your mouth! An added bonus is that you get a great tip on how to bring butter to room temperature in a matter of seconds. A great tip to have with all the holiday cooking!

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Two Ingredient Pumpkin Cupcakes

Get into the season with these yummy & easy pumpkin muffins/cupcakes! They only need TWO ingredients, gained toddler approval & they are easy on the waistline!!

It has been way to long since I have posted a recipe and today I’ve got a perfect one for the fall season! I was re-introduced to these delicious pumpkin cupcakes (or you can call them muffins if you want to munch on one in the am!) after I gave birth to Lily from my Cousin Kim. As a mom I am in constant search for easy recipes that actually taste good that I can whip up in a flash. I was shocked that I had this recipe all along in my family cookbook that my mom used to make as a weight watcher’s recipe (I’ve been told they are only 2 points).

Get into the season with these yummy & easy pumpkin muffins/cupcakes! They only need TWO ingredients, gained toddler approval & they are easy on the waistline!!

This is a easy recipe…only takes two ingredients (you can add fat-free Cool Whip if you want)…is toddler approved (especially with the Cool Whip!)…they melt in your mouth…they’re quick…and there is little clean up (worth it just for this factor alone!).


(I had a toddler hovering so taking more photos was a little difficult!)

Get into the season with these tummy & easy pumpkin muffins with only TWO ingredients! Toddler approved too!

Two Ingredient Pumpkin Cupcakes (or muffins!)

1 box Spice cake mix (I like the Duncan Hines brand)
1 can of pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and fill muffin tins with liners.

Using a hand mixer, blend the pumpkin & spice cake mix for about 2 minutes.

Spoon the mixture into the lined muffin tin and bake for 19 minutes.

Pop the cupcakes out of the tin and let cool on the counter.

You can eat these as is, or apply a small dollop of fat-free Cool Whip. You can step it up another notch by sprinkling crunched Health bits over the Cool Whip (your inner fatty will thank me!).

Get into the season with these yummy & easy TWO ingredient pumpkin cupcakes! Toddler approved and they are easy on the waistline!

Have you heard of the blog Picky Palate??? Well head over there for her take on using these two ingredients with two others for some super cute (& delicious) pumpkin spice cookies! (Click Here)

Yummy pumpkin spice cupcakes with only TWO ingredients...easy & toddlers like 'em!

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  1. Kelsey commented:
    October 17, 2013 Reply

    I LOVE these!!!! We picked up a GF, vegan mix and everyone can enjoy!! This is one of those great shortcut recipes for sure!!

  2. Keisha commented:
    July 18, 2016 Reply

    I thuoght finding this would be so arduous but it’s a breeze!

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Splurge vs Save: Maternity Top

Splurge vs Save is back with a maternity edition! At twelve weeks with my second pregnancy my waistline has expanded. No real bump yet, but I’m in that uncomfortable and depressing “I’m just fat” stage. No one can tell I’m pregnant…but they might think I consumed an entire Thanksgiving dinner…by myself!

We will be in Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving and with a due date in March, I have been doing a little online retail therapy for cold weather maternity clothes. While glancing at Pea In A Pod I had to double take when I noticed today’s Splurge vs Save options. The long sleeved grey tops were literally side-by-side.


They are so similar that I re-read the titles and descriptions a few times to make sure it wasn’t a mistake. Then I started to laugh because there is such a big difference in price that I can’t believe they were sold right next to each other.

Why would I pay so much when I could scroll the mouse to the next option that looks exactly the same? Well they’re not exactly the same, but close enough for me! I actually like the back of the cheaper option better with the cute cut out!


Whetherly long sleeve scoop neck super soft maternity top $150.00 (sale $109.99)

Long sleeve boat neck keyhole detail maternity t shirt $69.50 (sale $49.99)

So would you splurge or save???

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  1. adult webshop commented:
    August 27, 2013 Reply

    I absolutely love your blog and find many of your post’s to be exactly what I’m looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content for you personally? I wouldn’t mind writing a post or elaborating on some of the subjects you write related to here. Again, awesome website!

  2. kelsey commented:
    August 28, 2013 Reply

    I like the save better as well!

    And girl… You are amazing! My heart is bursting with happiness for you, Mike and Lily!!

    Biggest friggin’ hugs to you!!!!

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Ice Pops With Hidden Veggies For The Kiddos

Toddler hate veggies? Well sneak them in via ice pops! Perfect for the summer time these pops are made with 100% juice made from Carrots, Oranges and other fruit to help give it natural sweetness. Perfect way to sneak veggies into your kid's diet!If your kid enjoys vegetables count yourself lucky. Corn, green beans, spinach (only in a smoothie) and peas…yep those are the only vegetables I can get Lily to eat. Of course I have given her plenty of options and I haven’t given up. They say a kid could take up to 10-20 tries until they eventually start to like the food.

Lily loves the green monster smoothie I started making during my eat clean challenge. For the original recipe check out Iowa Girl Eats (here). My adaptation is: 1 cup vanilla almond milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 4 cups of spinach and a little honey. With FOUR cups of spinach this smoothie is jam packed with the green stuff!

The smoothie is a sneaky way to serve her vegetables so it got me thinking on what other recipes I could attempt with veggies. I made meatloaf and placed small bell peppers inside…she ate around it. So until she enjoys eating vegetables in regular form I am going to start pureeing them and adding them to our meals.

With the hot weather I thought of ice pops and went to the store in search of juice with a fruit and vegetable blend. I scored in the organic department at Publix (grocery store in FL) with Lakewood’s Carrot & Orange juice (read more about the juice here). The main vegetable  is carrots and they are listed as the first ingredient. A little food label tip: the ingredients used in the greatest amount is listed first followed in descending order by those in smaller amounts. To make this juice sweet they use juice from oranges, pineapples and grapes.

Toddler hate veggies? Well sneak them in via ice pops! Perfect for the summer time these pops are made with 100% juice made from Carrots, Oranges and other fruit to help give it natural sweetness. Perfect way to sneak veggies into your kid's diet!Bed Bath & Beyond carries a plastic Popsicle mold for four priced at $4.99.  The fun part about this mold is that each pop comes with a built in straw for your kid to suck up the melted treat. Before I made the popsicles I gave the carrot juice bottle a good shaking. I poured the juice into the four molds and placed them on a small cookie sheet to keep it level before placing them in the freezer. I waited a a few hours and viola….healthy popsicles that have a serving of vegetables!

Toddler hate veggies? Well sneak them in via ice pops! Perfect for the summer time these pops are made with 100% juice made from Carrots, Oranges and other fruit to help give it natural sweetness. Perfect way to sneak veggies into your kid's diet!She LOVED them. I have to admit that while she smiled and said “Mmmmmm” while slurping down the hidden veggie I had an eternal evil laugh….“You like it…HA…you are eating veggie neener neener neener…”

Toddler hate veggies? Well sneak them in via ice pops! Perfect for the summer time these pops are made with 100% juice made from Carrots, Oranges and other fruit to help give it natural sweetness. Perfect way to sneak veggies into your kid's diet!The cool thing about the pop holder is that it comes with a built in straw, so while the popsicle melts your kid can drink up the melted liquid at the bottom!

As you can tell from the next picture…she liked them, she really really liked them. Score one for mommy.

Toddler approved ice pops that have hidden veggies in them!!! My kid fights me on the greens and this is a perfect way to sneak in the healthy goods! Perfect for summer too!

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  1. Kate Greenway commented:
    September 21, 2013 Reply

    Love this post:)

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Loving Bloglovin’ and Why You Should Too!

blogloovtitleHey folks a little reminder for all you Google Readers…on July first you’re going to say adios to it! Yep as part of Google’s ‘spring cleaning’ they are pouring more time into fewer products. But don’t frete…there are other options for you.

For those of you that are scratching your forehead, Google Reader was a way to save all of your favorite blogs (like Lily & Bliss!) to one location. When a blog has a new post that feeds into the reader. This way you can stay up to date on all your favorite blogs.

Have you ever just stumbled upon a new blog and liked the current post…you thought I want to continue this…then life happens (dog needs to pee or your kid needs a diaper change) and that really cool blog’s name has vanished from your memory…if you’re a mother this happens all the time with blog titles, grocery lists and important to dos! Well using a reader allows you to quickly add the new blog so when “mommy brain” switches in gear the readers will remember for you!

Google reader is gonzo on July first so if you are a user….don’t wait, sign up with other options so you can transfer all your blogs now! Two options are Feedly or Bloglovin’. I personally found Bloglovin’ to be easier to navigate so let me show you what I love (btw Feedly has some of the same attributes but I was drawn to Bloglovin’ visually and for it’s easy use).

It is so easy to add blogs to Bloglovin’. If you have a Google Reader and want to transfer all your favorite blogs to Bloglovin’ click here for the simple steps! You can do a quick search for your blog, or you can hover over “top blogs” and pick a category to view other blogs.

Bloglovin’ works on your computer, iPhone, Android and iPad.

You will receive an email with your daily feeds from Bloglovin’ all in ONE email. So you can cut down emails!

bloglovincategoriesYou can create your own categories and organize your blogs (this made me giddy!). For example you can create the following categories: Foodie, DIY and Baby. You then can add Young House Love to DIY, Skinny Taste to Foodie and on and on. That way if your only feeling the mood to read about kitchen remodels you can read just the DIY blogs.

You have the option to “like” posts and Bloglovin’ will save them under all the other “liked” posts for you to read again whenever you feel like it!bloglovinmain

Bloglovin’ allows you to comment on the blog directly from their feeder.

You can quickly skim over a new post from one blog and if you want to read it later you can mark it as “unread” so it stays in the que with all unread posts.

bloglovinbarWhen you click on a new post from a blog it will appear as if you are going straight to their site. You will notice at the top of the page will be a Bloglovin’ bar that will allow you to post to Facebook, Tweet or Pin whatever you liked about that particular post. There is also a drop down box that lists all the other blogs you follow that you can skip to from that page or just click the “newer” “older” and “liked” posts to continue your blog reading.

Pretty easy ain’t it! So if you’re looking for a new reader for all your favorite blogs or you’re a newbie to the reader realm and just discovered how easier it will make your life than hop on over to Bloglovin’ and get started! You can click on the logo below to add me to your reading list!

Follow on Bloglovin

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  1. Lyndsey commented:
    June 18, 2013 Reply

    Thank you for the help with bloglovin’!! It was really helpful.
    Have a great day! :)

    • Amy Romano commented:
      June 20, 2013 Reply

      No problem Lyndsey! I’m glad it was helpful!

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Keeping Her Busy: Sensory Bag FAIL

Because it is nice (and funny) to actually see a project from Pinterest not turn out like the original perfect pin! This sensory bag project looked great until I mixed my toddler with a unzipped bag of hair gel! #fail #pinterestfail #naileditWell I attempted a project I saw from Pinterest…and I FAILED.

Sensory bags are all over the web and they seem to be a great sensory activity to keep your baby or kid busy. Babies can have a ball with sensory overload as they can squish the contents of the bag around. Toddlers can play a ‘where’s waldo’ while you can teach them colors, shapes and work on their words. To make them you basically fill a plastic bag (Ziplock) with gel and other items for your baby or toddler to find and/or feel once the bag is sealed. Big emphasism on ‘sealed’.

I picked up a cheap bottle of hair gel (under $2) and poured it in a plastic zip bag (not a Ziploc). I tossed in some plastic coins (from Target’s dollar spot), colored pipe cleaners (that I twisted into different shapes), colored pieces of foam (cut into different shapes), and a green bead necklace (cut into pieces & found in Target’s dollar section). I zipped it up and was excited to let Lily explore the bag and it’s contents.

She sat down at her table, poked the bag twice before she quickly grabbed it and squezed it really tight…she likes to give ‘hard’ hugs and kisses to everything. Well her hug plus a cheap brand of plastic bag (that I will never buy again) created a fountain of goo that went all over the table, her body and the floor.

Because it is nice (and funny) to actually see a project from Pinterest not turn out like the original perfect pin! This sensory bag project looked great until I mixed my toddler with a unzipped bag of hair gel! #fail #pinterestfail #naileditWhen Lily gets freaked out she freezes and let’s out a whine or cry….thank gosh she freezes or I would have had a trail of cheap hair gel all over my living room as she ran trying to escape the goo! Since it was a gel and not a liquid it was really easy to clean up.   So that’s a plus. Another positive…this was a cheap project! IF I decide to try this again I’m using duck tape to fully seal the bag!

Because it is nice (and funny) to actually see a project from Pinterest not turn out like the original perfect pin! This sensory bag project looked great until I mixed my toddler with a unzipped bag of hair gel! #fail #pinterestfail #naileditFor some giggles you should Google ‘pinterest fail’….my sensory bag is now part of that hall of fame.

And to see how these sensory bags actually work check out better examples at Teach Preschool or Growing a Jeweled Rose.

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  1. Emma commented:
    August 31, 2013 Reply

    I try things from Pintrest and fail often! However, you definitely win for the messiest fail! I think my 4-year-old would have loved if the bag exploded and turned her into a sticky mess – that would have just been twice as fun!

    • Amy Romano commented:
      September 3, 2013 Reply

      Emma- I think all the pretty images of crafts & recipes on Pinterest HAD to be the second, third of sixth attempt…right? Or at least I tell myself that every time I have a Pinterest fail!!!

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Why We Chose ISR

whywechoseISROur family lives in the sunshine state. We have palm trees and beautiful weather a majority of the year (ironically as I type we are having a crazy lightening storm). With the white sand beaches and crystal blue waters comes a super scary statistic for parents. Florida has the highest unintentional drowning rate in the country for 1 to 4 year olds (source). We live in Hillsborough county that sadly has the 4th highest drowning rate in the state (source).

We have a pool in our backyard and my parents have a lake behind their home…so when it came to swim lessons for Lily it was a no brainer. Last summer when she was a year old my girlfriends and I did a group swim class where a lady came to one of our homes to teach. Lily has always loved water and did well with all of the class steps. With the changing of the seasons and because we don’t have a pool heater, we have stayed out our pool until 2 ½ months ago. Lily picked up her love for the pool in a snap, but to my shock she forgot a lot of the tips and steps we learned last summer.

Well duh Amy of course she did…she was only one.

isrswim2Two weeks ago family pool time became sheer torture for Mike and me. We learned that our daughter is a bit of a dare devil and totally carefree. I don’t want to take away that spirit, but when it comes to jumping in the pool and sinking….we’re pulling the reins back. Lily started to jump from the steps and keep flapping her arms and legs until she started to go down…never turning her body back to the steps or wall. Mike and I would immediately grab her and push her back to the steps. At one point she continually forced her head into the water and let her arms and legs float up…the view was absolutely terrifying. She looked like a lifeless child. When we would pull her up she would force her head back down in the water before taking an adequate breath of air.

Even after choking down some water a few times she still wanted to keep going. I tried to take her around the pool singing “motor boat…motor boat…” to get her to kick her legs out, but she continued to keep her legs down in a vertical position which is the absolute worst. I competitively swam half of my life and I knew that the vertical swim position would lead a child to sink. I knew that I needed a stricter form of swim lessons for Lily. That’s why we chose ISR.

Monday was our first ISR swim class. Infant Swimming Resource is a particular kind of swim lesson that teaches self-rescue skills so babies, toddlers, and kids can save themselves. You can start your child as early as 6 months. ISR classes are one on one with a certified instructor. To learn more you can visit our teacher’s website for a little more information here.

After two classes I really don’t know why I kept Lily from taking these earlier. I heard horrible stories of strict teachers that scared children so bad that it scarred them. Most stories I heard were from someone who hadn’t placed their child in an ISR program and/or come to think of it had a child who didn’t know how to swim period. The stories were just scary. But the chance of my child drowning is scarier.

ISRswimblueListen I’m being honest…the classes are difficult to watch. No parent wants to see their child struggle to swim…and cry doing it. But I would rather struggle with this than struggle over the drowning of my child.

I would rather have a strict instructor give one on one lessons to my child on survival skills than another group swim class where we sing songs and really only get our kids comfortable with the pool and going under the water. Being comfortable with the water isn’t going to save my child…if anything it creates a bigger opportunity for my child to drown as they rush to get into the pool that they are so comfortable to be in.

Lily’s lessons are only 10 minutes and we go Monday to Friday so the repetition allows her to retain the information. The first two minutes of the first class were difficult. Lily’s teacher would sit her on the wall and gently place her in the water to get her to turn around and grab the side of the pool. Lily was kicking off the edge of the pool (one of the only things she remembered from the swim class last year) and swimming vertically into the pool, not swimming to the edge for safety. Because Mike and I were always there to grab her we had given her a handicap in a way. Lily thought that the teacher would just grab her like we did to save her. In the first 10 minutes Lily learned how to turn back to the wall and pull up on the side.

Yes she cried. Yes it was hard. BUT look at what she learned in 10 minutes. After I was drying Lily off the next tyke was getting in when I struck up a conversation with his mom. Her words struck me …”It was money well spent the first time I saw him turn over and float to safety”.  She was right. Learning to swim won’t be easy to watch as a crazy mom who still struggles with post partum. But I know that the lessons will get better when Lily learns the self-rescue skills and builds her confidence back up.

Lily is like many kids and freaks out sometimes when I put her in her car seat to run some errands. Now do I just give in and say…”okay Lily stop crying honey, I will only attach the first harness so you can be more comfortable…” or “oh you don’t like the car seat? Okay here we can just put you in a booster…”  HECK NO!!!!! That car seat is for her safety….just like these ISR lessons. Being a parent is hard and it ain’t easy. Sometimes teaching our children valuable life lessons isn’t going to be roses and rainbows. One day the lessons will get easier for Lily. Until then I will continue to take her and after we will get some frozen yogurt as her reward.

If anyone is thinking of ISR lessons and on the fence I don’t mind chatting about it! Feel free to email me at

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  1. Elizabeth commented:
    June 14, 2013 Reply

    i’ve never heard of these type of lessons. I think I would have a panic attack watching. I felt a bit anxiety just reading. All your points make perfect sense though!

  2. kelsey commented:
    June 18, 2013 Reply

    Love these photos of Lily!!

  3. Amanda commented:
    April 18, 2014 Reply

    I was searching through Pinterest and so happy I found you! I live in tampa fl & have been debating wether or not to put my daughter in ISR! this really helped my decision

    • Amy Romano commented:
      April 21, 2014 Reply

      Hi Amanada! Glad this post helped you, it was the best choice for us!

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  1. […] to the ISR lessons we have been swimming in our pool and feeling more at ease. She is a total fish and can swim from […]

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Perfect Items For Your Active Toddler

If you’re a mother you will agree that the days in which you could just lay your baby on the floor and wave a rattle to pacify them were awesome. Each month your baby grows by leaps and bounds and their learning is pretty damn remarkable. One month they can barely focus on your face and then they can hone in on the tiniest piece of dirt on your rug, crawl over and then pick it up with their cubby fingers (or maybe that’s just my kid and she hates a dirty house just like her OCD momma!).

From laying them on the floor to chasing them around the kitchen, each phase is sweet, wonderful and has its difficulties. My 22 month old is no longer satisfied by a rattle or Sophie the teething toy. Some days are filled with laughter with silly dance moves, singing songs, reading about Pooh and playing with her dolls. Then are those days where Lily buzzes from one toy to the next while falling to the ground in a very dramatic tantrum in between each toy because she became tired of it. Those are the days I literally pull anything from a purse, cabinet or closet to keep her entertained. Those days often end a very messy house while I prop my feet up to enjoy a well deserved frosty adult beverage.

I have shared with you plenty of ideas on how to keep your toddler busy (here and here). Today I share some of the items that helped keep me sane and an energetic toddler entertained while in isolation for 4 months battling her molescum and the 10 days healing over her 5 stitches (had to remain inside to keep the finger clean and dry). You don’t realize how hard it can be to continue to care for and entertain a toddler when certain activities (like taking a bath or playing in a sand box) are no longer an option due to a boo-boo. So take a look at all the ways I have kept Lily in good spirits over the last couple of months!

Fun list of toys and items to keep an active toddler going! There are plenty of games and activities, but sometimes a trampoline is the only thing that my crazy toddler wants to play with! And that trampoline is GOLD! Great list to save for gift ideas for the grandmas, aunts & uncles too!

1. Jumpsmart Trampoline by Diggin ($69 from Amazon)

Jumping has to be Lily’s favorite activity. Because she loves the trampoline at her gym so much I put the Jumpsmart Trampoline on Lily’s Amazon wish list for Christmas. This toy has been in the middle of my living room since Christmas. Yes it may be an eye sore smack dab in the middle of my family room (no separate playroom in my house), but that toy gets so much use that I don’t care. There are handle bars for your kid to hold on to and a digital counter that let’s them know how many jumps they’ve accomplished. This toy is perfect for the toddlers who are always on the go! Lily get’s on there and bounces until she is tired and then her naps are long and she doesn’t fight bed time…and for that I’m willing to keep it in the living room! (The only time we had to put this trampoline up was when she received her stitches and it was hard for her to hold on to the safety handles.)

2. Bosu Ball

The Bosu ball is for my exercise but because my child is obsessed about jumping and bouncing I let her sit and bounce on her bottom. I also let her hold on to my bed and jump on it (of course I am standing by her for safety). When I’m trapped inside with my kid I will use just about anything to keep her happy, including my exercise equipment! This is proof that you can use items in your house that aren’t marketed for kids!

3. Playhut Mega Fun Play Tent ($59.99 from Toys R Us)

Active toddler or not, any kid loves to play in tents and tunnels! We have a bag of balls from her first birthday and she loves to dive quickly in her tent into the balls {insert funny joke here}. The best part is that it easily collapses and folds into a small bag for storage!

4. Elmo’s World Super Sticker Book ($7.99 from Toys R Us)

We had a blast on the airplane with this sticker book…and we still do. Yep Lily loved it so much I purchased a brand new one so she could have a field day all over! There are over 200 stickers and plenty of themed (i.e. school, cooking, outdoors) blank pages that you can adhere the stickers to for imagination and art play.

5. Mini Bean Bags ($10.69 from Amazon)

This is a recent purchase that we broke out when Lily got her stitches. You get 12 bright colored bean bags the games to play with these are endless. We balance them on our heads and walk around the kitchen. We toss them in an empty box. We throw them in the air and see how many we can catch. We line them up and try and jump over them. We put them on her trampoline and make them bounce and while we play I quiz her on her colors and try to get her to use her words.

6. Kidkraft food play set (125 pieces)($19.99 from Target)

7. Playskool Sesame Street Come ‘N Play Cookie Monster kitchen playset (Purchased for at Target with a clearance sticker (whoop whoop) for $40 and online it reads $59.99)

Watching your child’s imagination is a lot of fun. Lily will mix an egg with a hot dog, sprinkle some salad dressing on top and serve it to me with a proud grin. In her world she is a chef! Plus this activity is perfect in the mornings when she is buzzing around from 8 hours of perfect sleep and I can enjoy a cup of coffee in attempts to reach her energy level. For Christmas we gave Lily Sesame Street kitchen set and a cheap set of plastic food from Target. This kitchen is perfect for a small area and because I wasn’t sure if she would play with it often I opted for a smaller kitchen set. Cookie Monster makes funny “nom nom” voices when you place food near his mouth and you can place food in Elmo & Abbie’s mouth (the food falls into the oven for easy collection. The Kidkraft food play set is the only one I could find that for the price gave you so much! The one we purchased had 89 pieces and the one Target sells now has 125 pieces of food for only $19.99!!! Plus all 125 pieces can fit perfectly in the container it comes in for easy storage.


8. Mala Art Easel ($14.99 Ikea)

Lily is a coloring fool and this art easel sits in the corner of our living room so she can doodle whenever her little heart wants to! I also gave it a mini-facelift with some gold paint so it blended in with our home décor better (read about that DIY project here). The best part….the price….only $14.99. We keep some crayons in a tiny bucket from Target’s dollar section. Tip: When you’re out at a restaurant save the crayons they give you and bring them home! If your kid doesn’t even play with them then the box or plastic bagged crayons are perfect to store in your diaper bag for emergency Picasso moments!

9. Megabloks 80 pc large classic bag ($17.99 Amazon)

They may be noisy, but Lily gets a kick out of building a tall structure and knocking it down! This set has large blocks so there is no choking hazard. Plus I like the reusable storage bag it comes in!

10. Melissa & Doug Jumbo Knob Wooden Farm Puzzle (under $15 on Amazon)

11. Melissa & Doug Farm Sound Puzzle (under $12 on Amazon)

Puzzles not only keep your kid busy, but the learning that goes hand in hand with the play time makes the purchase a no brainer! Your kid builds hand eye coordination, is encouraged to problem solve, develops fine motor skills and learns language. Our two favorite puzzles are from Melissa & Doug. The farm animal one is perfect for beginners due to the large knobs making it easy for pick up. The animal puzzle actually makes noises! When you place the dog or horse in it’s correct spot you will hear their bark or neigh!

12. Step2 Frog Sandbox ($59.99 0n sale $44.99 Toys R Us)

We live 45 minutes from the beach, yet we rarely visit. So we have this frog sandbox on the back patio for Lily to go crazy in. We have umbrella in a stand next to it to provide some comfort for her and me while we hang out in the heat. For all the sand toys I snatched up some cheap ones from Target

13. Crayola Sidewalk Chalk (under $2 at Walmart)

Chalk is an activity that Lily can do inside when it rains on her Ikea art easel or on the patio. This chalk is washable and for under $2 you get 15 pieces! Tip: only give your toddler five pieces of chalk (or more its up to you) and save the rest. Lily has thrown her chalk in the water and somehow lost a few in the backyard, but because I hoard some extra in the garage I have plenty to replenish the lost or broken ones. Another tip: grab a cup of water, a paint brush and let your kids use imaginary paint to create shapes or squiggles on the driveway!

14. Room Essentials Spot Sprinkler ($3.99 from Target)

Sprinklers and childhood go together just like peanut butter and jelly. Heck take the sprinkler off and a kid will have a blast with the water hose alone! This cheap sprinkler head is not only charming but creates a great water fountain that my kid will play in. This sprinkler will get a lot of use this summer!

15. Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon ($79.99 from Amazon)

We have had a lot of fun with our wagon. We loop around the neighborhood pretending to be a choo-choo train and use it to collect treasures (aka rocks or fallen magnolia leaves). With the brutal sun in Florida we have the canopy shade attachment to keep the babe as comfortable as possible while strolling the hood.

All of these items have been purchased, however there are so many items around the house that I have used to pacify my active toddler. Take a flashlight in a closet or under a blanket for some fun. Or bring that flashlight under a fort made from blankets and chairs. I give Lily rides around the house by pushing her in the laundry basket (warning this is a workout and they will want you to do it again…again…and again). Empty oatmeal containers filled with some uncooked pasta make fun sounds. Pots & pans, Tupperware, wooden spoons, mixing bowls, cotton balls, tissue (yes we toss them in the air to make them fly!)…you get the point!

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  1. Irish commented:
    July 18, 2016 Reply

    Ineelligtnce and simplicity – easy to understand how you think.

  2. car insurance commented:
    July 19, 2016 Reply

    강수학생 반가와요~어찌지내시는지????작업은 잘되가시는지??여러모로 신경써주어 정말 고마와요..네이버블로그가 하나 있긴한데..그냥 빈집상태로 오래 방치되어있네요그것 챙기는 것도 일이고 시간이라….엉엉..뭐..그건 그거고..강수학생! 멋진작업 많이해서 어느날 쨘~하고 놀람과 영감을 주시길 기대해봅니다~!!

  3. July 20, 2016 Reply

    Oui je connais et j’ai déjà utilisé pour payer des renouvellements de noms de domaines. Mais c’est vrai que c’est d’une simplicité enfantine et potentiellement dangereux si la connexion Wi-Fi est mal sécurisée !

  4. September 17, 2016 Reply

    Bonne année également. C’est vrai que ca fait un moment que tu n’étais absente. Ton blog a bien changé aussi mais on s’y retrouve mieux

  5. October 14, 2016 Reply

    Politics is a religion I think.The faith and fervor of the followers of political parties often seems idolatrous.Environmentalism is a sect within and has it's own devotees.All of it bad.

  6. ppo pos commented:
    March 17, 2017 Reply

    furkannp / 05 Ekim 2011ay allah 02:56sn 10 kere izlemiÅŸimdir çok güldüm nedense ben böyle detaylarda gördüğüm ÅŸeyelere çok gülen bir insamın onur abi valla öldürdü beni gülmekden -ouuuuu söyle muratcım hahah…Cevaplamak için giriÅŸ yapın

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ohklahomaLike many I have been glued to the television with a broken heart as I watch the scenes from Oklahoma. Today I can’t even think of a clever tip, recipe or toddler tale. Today I am going to hold on to Lily a little tighter and continue to pray for those in Oklahoma and their families…

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  1. Ladainian commented:
    June 1, 2016 Reply

    « Argument typique de tecraocrate. &hnquo;Parce que vous en avez, vous, des arguments ?Dans votre commentaire je ne vois que les propos vindicatifs du râleur typique, réfugié derrière son clavier (ou son ballon de rouge), qui ne voit pas plus loin que le bout de son nez et est incapable de prendre du recul pour comprendre le monde dans lequel il vit.

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