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family fun links videos

10 Kid-Friendly YouTube Channels To Watch With Your Kids

youtubefaves

The kids and I have settled into a pretty nice summer routine and it usually begins with watching a mom-curated YouTube playlist while I drink my coffee. This is usually after breakfast and before we start whatever adventures we have planned for the day. I look through the channels we’ve subscribed to and the videos suggested based on our viewing history and add anything that looks good to my “watch it later” queue. This becomes our playlist.

You can drag and drop videos on your watch it later list so that you can watch in a specific order. So if you are Type A kinda gal, you can curate days at a time of video watching with a view videos from each of your favorite channels. Or if you are so not that mom, you can just watch in whatever random order the wind blows.

Either way, here are some of our favorite channels and playlists in case you need some viewing inspiration. I watch videos from these channels with my 8 year old and 12 year old so there is kind of a spread in targeted age here. These are not the same channels my kids would watch on their own – a lot of those would make my eyes bleed from pure boredom or annoying voices. Dan TDM is not here. Kids unwrapping LOL dolls? Not here. These are slightly more educational in variety but still entertaining for sure.

Here are 10 of our Favorite YouTube Channels to watch together.

Are We There Yet? series on National Geographic Kids

If you and your kids are basically walking wanderlust, this is the series for you. It’s just one of several dozen playlists at National Geographic Kids. It features several sibling pairs who record videos of their adventures while vacationing around the world.

Cartooning 4 Kids

My daughter launches into the next room to grab a pad of paper and pencil when these videos come on. There are drawing tutorials for just about every animated character you can think of and more basic tutorials like how to draw a better circle or how to draw a cartoon baby seal.

Crash Course 

Did you know that author John Green also has a hugely popular youtube channel that he makes with his brother Hank? They have educational videos on, basically everything. Science, literature, history, politics – they’ve got you covered.

Crash Course Kids

Same concept as above except geared towards younger kids. My 12 year old prefers the original channel. My 8 year old greatly prefers this one. I try to keep a healthy dose of both in rotation. As far as I can tell, John Green does not narrate any of these videos so if you are only there for your John Fix, this channel will probably not help you.

Space How-Tos Series from Video From Space

This is an oldie but a goodie. Astronauts from countries from around the world show you what life is like in space. Everything from how they cook food to how they brush their teeth is covered here.

SciShow Kids

My eight year old is obsessed with this channel. Any science question your kid could ask can probably be answered here. It stars the world’s perkiest red head and her robot mouse. They do science experiments and talk about various topics in science like space, animals, biology and more. They also show kids how to make pillow forts and paper airplanes.

 

HiHo Kids

This is a real treasure trove videos. They have a whole series devoted to kids trying strange foods from around the world. They also have a series where kids meet people from different professions or life circumstances (i.e. kids meet a ballerina and kids meet a guide dog for the blind).

San Diego Zoo

These days most zoos seem to have their own YouTube channel. Watch videos of adorable baby animals or learn more about animals in general. This is great for a rainy day when your plans to go out in nature have been thwarted – or to get your kids pumped for a trip to your local zoo.

The Slo Mo Guys

This is a fan favorite in our household. There’s something magically satisfying about watching things explode in slow motion. These videos walk you through the entire process of setting up the experiment, filming it and then watching it back in slow motion. We’ve watched several dozen now and it doesn’t seem to get old.

AsapSCIENCE

In general, this series is geared more towards older kids and teens. I wouldn’t personally let younger kids loose on this channel but if you do the hunting and pecking yourself, you can find some great videos for all ages. My kids especially love their music videos but they also have more educational videos (and some clearly geared towards teens and young adult videos).

Categories
family fun memes & carnivals motherhood photography

Old School Blogging, Vol. 2

old school bloggingI’m back with six more “old school blogging” style questions that I borrowed nicely from Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? They dwell mostly in the categories of marriage and family life. Wanna play along? Tell me your answers in the comments below or leave me a link to your blog if you post them there.

1. How did your husband pop the big question? The question was technically already in the air as we were one of those crazy couples that did the whole “get married, have babies” thing out of order. But he was still a little nervous that evening in December 2005 when he took me out for dinner at Olive Garden and then afterwards in the parking lot popped the question. It was a grimy New England December with slushy pavement around us so he didn’t get down on one knee but I was too busy being ecstatic that he’d asked to worry about stuff like that. Eight years later and we’re still going strong!

2. What are the three most surprising things about married life? 

  • Our marriage grows stronger every year as we grow older and learn more about each other. It’s amazing how even when you are disagreeing about something or they are being soooo annoying about that thing that you can still just love someone with all your heart.
  • Nothing is sacred. Just… yeah. Especially if you’ve been through motherhood, too.
  • That we still manage to find new things to talk about every day! If I have to go an extended time without talking to him about all the inane things I go a little crazy.

3. How did you find out you were pregnant for the first time? I think the way most people find out. Morning sickness and a missed period.

4. How did you choose your first baby’s name? It honestly just felt right. We thought about a lot of different names and I think up until the ultrasound I was still thinking about several for each gender and then when we found out we were having a boy it just suddenly clicked. His middle name is my father’s middle name (and my grandfather’s first name) but his first name is just one we both liked.

5. Describe where you see yourself in 10 years from now… I assume that ten years from now when you ask me how old I am that I’ll be pretty sure I’m older than 40 but I’ll have no idea if I’m 41, 42 or 43. Hopefully I have it narrowed down at least that far. Cross your fingers that I’ll have replaced my Buick by then, preferably with something that has All Wheel Drive and maybe an auxiliary port. MM will be EIGHTEEN and we must absolutely not think about that. BB will be FIFTEEN so basically, hold me. I’ll probably still be changing my blog’s theme every 2 1/2 weeks and I’ll probably tell you I’m writing a novel but likely will only be 2 or 3 chapters into it at best and haven’t looked at the thing for weeks. My one gray hair will probably have a few friends.

6. Describe how you find bliss, either with words or images.

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Categories
family fun travel

Road Trip Diaries: Hershey, PA

epicroadtrip

After driving through Ohio and New York and spending a week in Massachusetts, most people would consider that an awesome family vacation. We would call that JUST THE BEGINNING. Having seen most of our friends and family and eaten at all of the places that make it feel like home, we packed up and left for Hershey, Pennsylvania at the bright and absurdly early time of 4AM.

Things we learned:

  • Caravaning for long distances is hard work. Families travel at different speeds and require different bathroom breaks, etc. Texting between passenger seats is a useful way to keep in touch when you lose each other and a fun addition to a long drive.
  • My daughter is not a morning person (the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree). Between waking up too early and possibly not hydrating enough, I was a bit nauseous and she was downright miserable. This was literally (and luckily) our only bout of carsickness on the trip. So, early morning travel is probably not going to be a big thing in our family.
  • Hootie and the Blowfish / Counting Crows – I can’t tell them apart and my husband tells me that I’m insane and that they sound vastly different. Anyone else agree with me that the difference is actually quite subtle?

Eventually we got to Pennsylvania and found ourselves at the Hershey Hotel’s Woodside Cottages AKA the swankiest, most luxurious hotel I’ve ever stayed in. My amazing in laws booked a cottage for all of us so that we could have our own hotel rooms but all be together and have the added bonus of privacy and pampering. These cottages are amazing and probably every trip to Hershey from here on out is going to be slightly disappointing in comparison.

So how was Hershey?

Both amazing and less than amazing depending on the minute. On the one hand, the kids got to go on a lot of rides, my husband had a nostalgic-filled week sharing the fun of Hershey with his parents, siblings and the three of us. We got to see everything, including spending a day in a rented cabana where we could enjoy the water park and / or relax depending on our preferences. We played ski-ball which always makes me happy. I took a bunch of pictures of the kids posed with things or riding rides. I walked a LOT which meant lots of extra exercise to counteract all the calories consumed in the Land of Chocolate.

Less than stellar things which occasionally made me grumpy:

  • It rained like constantly. Actually, if I had to describe our vacation in one word, RAIN would probably be the best descriptor. Apparently July is Thunderstorm season basically everywhere and one storm or another seemed to chase us the entire month.
  • Trying to match the pace of all those long legged in laws was exhausting. I probably should have slowed down and gone at my own pace but I was so eager to not miss anything and probably also trying too hard to be easy going and likable that I often sacrificed my own happiness or energy level in the name of fitting in. Basically I acted like a ridiculous teenager a few times and I’m not proud of it.
  • Did I mention the rain? Like when our cabanas were evacuated TWICE because of freakishly large thunderstorms or the time we were driving to Panera Bread and the rain was falling so hard that the visibility was like -5 feet.
  • Super skeevy laundromats.
  • Our GPS being super weird and taking us on the strangest routes to get places.

Stellar things that more than made up for the grumpiness:

  • In between being overly anxious about being fun and care free, I actually had some fun and carefree moments. Like going out for drinks with in laws, laughing uproariously with my mother-in-law about how weirdly similar Dan and his brother and father are, especially when they somehow manage to perfectly match each other’s pace while they’re walking and start to resemble tin soldiers marching in a line.
  • Turn down service at the hotel – soft fluffy robes and chocolates on our pillows every night.
  • All the rides at Hershey with the kids – seeing my brave littles take on rides that were intimidating and watching the grandparents and aunts and uncles spending precious time with them. Feeling like a kid again.
  • Being able to take the shuttle into the park which meant not dealing with parking basically at all.

Things Learned:

  1. Despite my best efforts, I’m not a go with the flow girl. I try my best, but I’m not good at it.
  2. I care too much what other people think of me and doubt myself too often.
  3. BB is much braver than MM when it comes to potentially scary rides. She is a risk taker at heart and he’s a cautious kid, much like his mother.
  4. Reeses Martinis are delicious.
  5. There should always be soft, fluffy robes.
hershey
1 – MM was in the Hershey Bar height range for rides | 2. Checking their height at Hershey Park’s Zoo | 3. Riding the carousel with papa | 4. MM on the Frog Hopper | 5. Posing with Hershey KISS!! | 6. BB LOVED the Frog Hopper | 7. Riding on the little kid version of that crazy swing ride | 8. BB and MM truck driving – MM was such a sweet and patient big brother that day | 9. BB was at the Hershey Kiss Height Level which tickled her absolutely pink.

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op ed

It Certainly Doesn’t Smell Like Roses

I’ve been cloth diapering for a few weeks now and we’ve officially made the decision to continue with it. This means a trip to the store soon to pick up some more pre-folds because I’d really rather not be doing laundry every day for the next three years. Dan is pretty stoked with the whole situation and I’m surprised and pleased to see he likes it a lot more than he thought he would. Then there’s me. I don’t love it. I don’t think I even like it. I have little fantasies about going back to disposables on like a daily basis, but then I think of the money saved and the potential environmental savings and I just… can’t.

And the thing is – I’m a little bit PO’ed about the whole thing. I like a lot of green things – I prefer using cloth grocery bags over paper or plastic any day. I love nursing and would never really want to go back to the bottle – I’m thrilled it’s working so well this time around. We use reusable water bottles and I can’t even imagine using a new plastic bottle for EVERY bottle of water I drink – because I drink a LOT of water. And there are other things, too, that my sleep deprived brain can’t think of – but the point is – I was pretty sure I’d love cloth diapering, too, in a sort of “so it should follow that…” mentality.

I’ve read blog posts of CD users who absolutely rave about cloth diapering. Who say they can’t even imagine letting a “yucky disposable diaper” touch their darling’s delicate skin now. People seriously seem to love the heck out of cloth diapering and I know people can go a bit over board and exaggerate, but seriously? I thought I’d at least like it. I know that with all things, we have our extremists – the people who love or hate something so much it makes you green in the gills just listening to them talk about it. But even with that grain of salt taken… I clearly expected too much.

Because now that I think about – seriously – we’re talking about diapers here. About poop and urine. Does anybody really like changing diapers, like in a, “Gee golly I can’t wait for another diaper change!” kind of way? Does anybody love the rustic smell of throwing out a bag of dirty diapers or washing reusable ones? Really? They are diapers – they stink by nature. Are all these enthusiasts full of *it, or am I reading into their raving the wrong way?

Basically, I think I set myself up for failure by somehow imagining this level of CD enjoyment that just doesn’t exist. Because seriously, picture when disposable diapers first came out – do we think that housewives everywhere said, “Yuck – no thanks!” Or that those same housewives, before the invention of disposable diapers, were like singing songs merrily about how much they loved changing diapers and washing them? It’s not exactly a party game people.

Don’t get me wrong – there is something to be said for not having to run to the store in the middle of the night because we somehow used the last diaper and need to buy more – never mind the cost savings of not having to buy diapers every week or month or whatever until BB is potty trained. That’s kind of sweet. And those little water proof covers can be cute even though they are also gigantic and practically double my daughter’s clothing size – and she’s a peanut, for the record. And I mean, the size of the diapers isn’t exactly the hugest of inconveniences, I can deal. And I know that poop stinks, period – so even though I personally think it smells WAY worse on cloth diapers, whatever, it’s not like it smelled awesome in a Huggies. All I’m really saying – is that I’m disappointed in myself for expecting some weird level of happiness that diaper changing is never going to deliver – and mildly miffed with the world wide web for encouraging that level of excitement, even though it isn’t really their fault.

If I’d gone into this whole thing only wanting to save money and feel like I’d done my part environmentally… I don’t think I’d be so disappointed. If I’d somehow remembered that at the end of the day we were still talking about poop, I wouldn’t have had such unrealistic expectations. But it really has me wondering, am I the only one? How many parents out there cloth diaper, not because they freaking love it to pieces, but because of the cost savings, etc.? Has anyone else soldiered on with CDing despite not loving it in the least? Show of hands?

Categories
family fun love thursday memes & carnivals photography

love thursday: the loves of my life

I’ve been all about getting more family pictures lately – usually our pictures are just of one or two of us – and I still don’t have any of all four of us, but between this photo shoot and this one, we’re close. I secretly adore the realness and imperfections of these pictures. Sure, I wish the baby wasn’t crying – but at the same time, was she likely to do anything else with a grabby three year old holding onto her not so gently? He tried, but seriously. I do love all of MM’s goofy faces and Dan’s expression in the last one just says it all – we may be sleep deprived and occasionally weepy, but we are still… filled to the brim with love.

Love Thursday is the brain child of Chookooloonks. Check out her post today for more thoughts on love, and the comments section for other people playing along.

Categories
memes & carnivals photography

52 Weeks: Mother(oftwo)hood

It’s not easy cramming three people into a self taken picture but we tried. Well, I tried. For the most part, MM was not the least bit helpful as he thinks the picture taking happens at the wrong end of the camera… But here are two that came out well and one that I love in spite of it’s obvious imperfections.

~*~

52 Weeks is a year long challenge for YOU, hosted by Forever in Blue Jeans, to be in a picture once a week for 52 weeks. We are always the ones behind the camera, this is YOUR chance to get out in front and be in the pictures with our family. We are glad you are joining this challenge. More importantly your family will really enjoy having you in the picture. Thanks for playing along! Oh, you can just jump in now with 1 of 52, you’re not getting off that easy! Now go take a picture!

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family fun

5 Great Things…

First off, I just wanted to thank everyone for your kind comments and words of encouragement in yesterday’s post. You guys are wonderful and between your words of advice and the general therapeutic nature of writing, I felt a lot better. Anyway, I thought I’d take a different approach today and write about the things that are going really well – that way I’ll have given equal attention to the good and the bad of these days, which are so fleeting…

Jean @ Working Momma 247 has been doing Gratitude Posts lately and that is really what inspired me to give this a go, so here are 5 things that I’m grateful for / happy about right now or just things that have made me smile…

  1. I finally finished reading Dead Until Dark last night – I feel very proud of myself for sticking with it, never mind for finding reading time at night again. I actually ended up really liking this book – I’ll try to write a review soon.
  2. Last night Dan attempted to make a 5 course dinner in celebration of our anniversary. I think it was a little overly ambitious, especially with him not getting home to start cooking until 6:00 pm and us having the new baby and the crazy preschooler, but we had a fun time anyway. Even when he caught the garlic bread on fire. It was actually a really nice night and there was really no point where either of us were upset when our plans went crazy it was just kind of like, “Yeah this is our life now.” I am impressed looking back on it, at how well we both just rolled with the punches. 5 courses turned into roughly 3 which I commented was maybe perfect for a 3 year anniversary. Maybe in two years we’ll attempt it again? We still have the ingredients to attempt courses 4 and 5 sometime this weekend maybe.
  3. MM has added two new phrases to his constant vocabulary – “two minutes” as in, two more minutes until nap time, bedtime, diaper change etc. He says it so cutely that it’s hard to be annoyed, never mind the cleverness of his scheme to bide his time. The other phrase is “two little” as in, I’ll have “just two little crackers” or “two little grapes” or “two little oatmeal.” This one doesn’t really mean he wants 2 – one bowl of oatmeal is fine and he will want more than two grapes but again – it’s cute. He’s cute. There’s cuteness.
  4. We finally got our washer / dryer fixed – again. Apparently another bird made another nest in the vent and our office manager guy came himself, climbed up on the window sill in MM’s room (teaching him new bad habits – hurray!) and got it out, then added a vent cover so as to nip the problem in the bud. And that night Dan added to our child proofing stick in the window thing so that MM will definitely not be able to open to window to reenact our office manager’s actions. In retrospect, I totally shouldn’t have let him watch, but all is good and fixed. Finally.
  5. BB is just beautiful – have I said that enough? She’s healthy and happy and nurses well and is getting bigger and becoming more alert during the day and we are all crazily in love with her. And when the bad seems to pile up on me, it really should be remembered – that I have two beautiful, healthy, brilliant children – not to mention a helpful, caring, patient husband who cooks me 3 to 5 course meals and changes the diapers at night…

How about you? What are 5 great things in your life right now?

Categories
family fun photography

Pictures From The Company Picnic

Today we went to the company picnic, which they hold annually. It was pretty lucky that my grandma was able to fly up the day before the picnic so that she could come, too! The weather was a bit chilly but they had lots of fun things to do (a petting zoo and a construction petting zoo, blowing bubbles in a kiddie pool, MM got a free balloon and fun hat and there were lots of other kid friendly events that we skipped like face painting, pottery painting, a climbing wall and some bouncing rides that were just a bit too old for MM – things for him to look forward to next year! 🙂 And of course the food was delicious – Dan, Grandma and I all had lobster and steak with Caesar salads, watermelon and a few other sides. MM had the “kids meal” – macaroni and cheese with hot dogs – which was perfect – and there was cake and cookies for dessert. Dan also competed with some of his coworkers in a big tug of war competition – sadly his team did not win but they had a great time trying. I’d call it a perfect afternoon. Here are some pictures from the day:

Categories
love thursday motherhood

Love Thursday: The Things We Keep

Yesterday I took away all of my son’s toys. All of them. At some point during the course of the day I hit the point of no return – watching the way he abused his belongings had irked me one too many times; putting his toys away for him either because he wouldn’t or because he wouldn’t do it right… I may be asking too much of a three year old but the thing that really bothered me happened after I took them away. He didn’t care. Guys, I’m serious – I took ALL his toys away and he didn’t even whimper. He seemed to think it was funny. And apart from asking for one stuffed animal before nap time, he never asked me for a single toy. And the rest of our day was pleasant. Awesome even. What the frig?

When my husband came home and saw the empty toy room he was a bit astonished. “Do I even need to ask how your day was?” I believe was his response. When I told him that after I’d taken the toys away it had been a great day and that his son didn’t even seem to miss all the great stuff I’d put away… He was a bit surprised, too. I’ve often thought that MM has too many toys – sometimes it’s hard to really appreciate something when you have it in mass quantities. But whenever we’ve tried to weed through his things and donate stuff, we never get very far because it’s all great stuff, you know? Where do you draw the line? Last night we played hard ball. Sort of. We went through all his toys and got rid of well over half of it. Except, by got rid of, I really mean we put it in our storage closet downstairs. And looking around his toy room there is still a ton of stuff, but the difference is still huge. Instead of having several dozen stuffed animals on his bed, he now has six. And those are the only stuffed animals in his possession, there aren’t any in the toy room. So what’s left in his toy room now you ask? Let me show you…

We left all his train accessories and of course the terrific table my dad made for him.

Likewise with his awesome tool bench – an old Christmas present from his auntie – honestly the big toys are the least of our problems and this one is in constant use.

This used to also house all his little stuffed animals, which are now in storage. He loves to dress up in funny hats and put his worldly possessions in fun bags. Now these things are front and center in the Dress Up Bucket and the stuffed animals which used to mostly just get dumped on the floor when he wanted a fun hat… yeah those are gone.

Dan and I are huge nerds and we wouldn’t have the heart to get rid of great educational toys. The puzzles, abacus and the wooden “foods” all stay. These are also favorites of the boy’s so I know they’ll be used frequently. Hopefully now they’ll be used MORE in fact.

These are in addition to a bunch of little matchbox cars that live with his train set. Like any boy, MM loves “things that go” – we kept most of his trucks and cars out (though not all of them).

Of course the great Mega Bloks have to stay and the blue bucket has a couple toys we deemed worth keeping…

We used to have two buckets filled to the brim with small toys, some things in multiple, like he needs that many. This is probably the part I’m proudest of. I feel a little silly having such an empty forlorn looking bucket, but then I remember Christmas is always just around the corner…

There was no chance of us getting rid of the great pull out couch, his “baby sister” doll and blanket. Likewise with books and the things above the bookshelf. NO books were gotten rid of – because well his parents are book fiends.

Like we’d probably be shot if they went missing. His prized possessions to be sure.

The bottom line for me, and the part that makes this a Love Thursday is that I want my son to LOVE the things he has and in turn, take marginally good care of them. When we moved we got rid of so much of our own clutter (maybe not enough, but a LOT) and our main method for selection was, “Do we HONESTLY love this thing?” We were brutal but it was worth it. It was liberating. And MM has been happy as a clam today, playing with the toys which remained – not even a second thought seemingly going to things which are gone. At some point we may donate a bunch of the stuff downstairs – and if he asks for it and we are feeling nice we may bring some things back up. But honestly, I think he still has plenty and it’s all stuff we all love.

Love Thursday is the brain child of Chookooloonks. Check out her post today for more thoughts on love, and the comments section for other people playing along.