Summer Bucket List (join me!)

We’re in the final countdown to the last day of school! I’m starting to think of all the stuff I want to do with my kids over the break. We need to make the most of our summer. Especially in Minnesota, where the warm days are limited. I refuse to wake up one late August day and wish we had experienced more.

One of my friends did a Summer Bucket List with her kids last year and I thought it was such a fun idea! Now that my son is officially a toddler there’s more we can do. I went a got a display board so we can cross things off our list and stay motivated picking out things to do all summer long. Fun for the kids to decorate too or if you like getting artsy (I do! I had a lot of fun working on it)

Here’s the full list of what I have picked. Keep in mind my daughter just turned 3 and my son is 15 months old.

-Play Outside in the Rain   -Sparklers   -Outdoor Concert

-5 New Playgrounds   -Science Museum   -Blow Dandelion Seeds

-Weekend Getaway   -Plant Flowers   -Walk to Local Ice Cream Shop

-Fly a Kite   -Donate Toys/Clothes   -Make Homemade Lemonade

-State fair   -Pasta jewelery

-Beach Picnic   -Fishing with Dad   -Sculpture Garden

-Strawberry Picking   -Make Sun Tea   -Llama Farm

-Fro-yo Date   -Smores on a Bonfire   -County Fair

-Tie Dye   -Plant Veggies   -Splash Pad

-Rainy Day Fort   -Water Balloons   -Go Thrifting

-Family Game Night   -Make a Bird House   -Farmers Market

-Dog Park   -Family Movie Night   -Hammock Cuddle Session

-Make Banana “Ice Cream”   -Silly String Fight   -Run Through Sprinklers

-Pick Flowers   -Catch A Butterfly   -Car Show

-Make A Fairy Garden   -Hopscotch   -Find Tadpoles

-Homemade Pizza Party   -Garage Sale Shopping   -Volunteer

-Zoo (MN & Como)   -Rainy Day Pajama Party   -Boat Ride

-Feed Ducks   -Bird Watching   -Childrens Museum

-Petting Zoo   -Cook A Family Meal With Our Homegrown Veggies

-Family Game Night   -Amusement Park

I’m going to shoot for doing 4-5 things on our list every week.

I encourage you to make a summer bucket list! If you have kids or not! (I definitely took a moment to day dream a no-kid summer bucket list- wow it looks fun 😜) I might even make a separate bucket list just for myself. Join me in making the most of your summer! If you want to participate in the fun, post your bucket list pics on Instagram and tag @totallyblessedhotmess! I’d love to follow along in your journey too! I’ll be posting as we cross of things through these sunny months!

Beauty in every day, guys!

☀️🍦⛱- TBHM Hilary

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Toddler Easter Basket Ideas

Here are some of my favorite ideas for toddler Easter baskets that won’t give them a sugar high. Peace be with you all this Easter!

INDOOR TOYS

-Board books

-Puzzles

-Stuffed Animals

-Coloring books/ arts and craft supplies

APPAREL (etc)

-Rainboots or Sandals

-Sun hats

-Warm weather jammies

-Sunglasses

-Spring outfit

-Water Bottles

-Fun toothbrushes

OUTDOOR TOYS

-Bubbles

-Balls

-Sidewalk chalk

-Sand Toys

I highly recommend the dollar section at Target for some adorable Easter basket goodies. I plan to add a few more items to our baskets once the personalized ones I ordered arrive!

How cute are these?! Made by Sticky Momma Designs!

What fun surprises are you putting in your children’s baskets this year?

🐇🐣-TBHM Hilary

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Ridgedale Play

As winter continues, so does cabin fever! You won’t survive this winter season with toddlers unless you GET OUT of the house. I draw the line for outdoor play at 10*F. Luckily, for us Minnesotans, there are plenty of fun indoor places to have your kids get rowdy. My oldest likes to run. And jump. A lot. Which leads me to Ridgedale Play! The newest indoor playground at Ridgedale Mall in Minnetonka, MN.

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Located on the upper level of Nordstrom wing, learn and play through their 7 different areas. Free admission and regulated for ages 0-12. Don’t worry, your non-walkers won’t get trampled as they can be safe in the “baby oasis”. Drink your coffee from the lounge area as you monitor the fun. Caribou located on the first level. I recommend going there before you enter. If you arrive empty handed, caffeine conveniently awaits you in a Starbucks vending machine.

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Chief (12 months old)
Light and airy decor give for a dreamy atmosphere. You almost can relax amongst the squawking munchkins. Almost. Yet, I said “dreamy” for a reason. Even the light fixtures resemble clouds. Magical, am I right?!

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Nursery inspiration?
There’s only one entrance to Ridgedale Play. So, if you have a wild child like me, you don’t have to fear too much that they might escape. Side note- I lost my daughter for a minute. Found her in the lounge, sitting on a tall stool, waiting for “goldfish”. Ok kid…IMG_8346

Which circles me back around to my top Pro Tip for outings: Dress your mobile kids in the brightest color you can. Trust me on this one. Luckily Chief doesn’t run from me yet! He was off the hook this time from me dressing him like a glowing ray of sunshine.

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DJ Peachy Popper mixin some hot jams

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Chief on the dance floor
How cute is the disco ball dance party zone?! Adjust the tempo and shake your sillies out.

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Wiggle your way through the “Shadow Jungle”. IMG_8340

For the climbers. Complete with “apples” that come shooting out of the tree. You can pop them into various holes for added thrill.

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Gone Fishin’
Use these fishing poles to hook your “fresh catch”. Fish not pictured as some kid was swinging them around.

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Foam building blocks to create a village. Or even play house in this little structure. cRdh6U5QQ8W%R6bNQ1%7+w

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Distracted Driver…
Large Bug Mobile equipped to house an abundance of wiggly pipsqueaks. Steering wheels, noise making buttons, textured walls, windows, etc.

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Chief in the Baby Oasis safe from big kid smack downs (kind of)
There’s also a large “Choo Choo Island” train table set up. We steered clear though because Peach preferred to dance on the table. The train conductors were less than pleased.

Note worthy:

– Family restroom complete with stools for the shorties and changing table.

-You can bring your own food. Highchairs available. Or hit up one of the many cafeteria style or sit down restaurants in the mall. Shoutout to Chipotle’s Kid Meal. #win

-Party Room available for reservations by InnerActive. (See my blog on the joy that is Inner Active) What a cute place for a birthday party! They even have 6 party themes to choose from! Get more info or book your party here!

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Have you checked out the new Ridgedale Play yet? What did you think of it? If you head there after reading this, comment and let us know your thoughts!

☁️🤸‍♂️-TBHM Hilary

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Sea Life Aquarium- MOA

As the bone chilling winter freeze hit Minnesota brutally this week our outdoor festivities were swapped for indoor. I’m talking cars won’t start, crunching snow, eye watering cold. With the toddler on break from school and hubby managing a day off, Sea Life here we come! It may be one of the busiest mall days of the year but that didn’t stop our hunger for a little priceless family time. 

Chief (11 Months) j-chillin in the stroller

God sent down a little glimmer of light and we slipped into a “expectant mother and young children” parking spot on the east ramp. Bundled like the ‘Christmas Story’ boy we packed every little thing we may need in our Baby Jogger City Select Double and plowed our way to the Sea Life ticket counter. 

Peach (2.5) experiencing the rockpool

Start the adventure off touching star fish as big as your hands, anemones, shrimp and more in the Pacific Northwest Rockpool. I recommend pulling your kids sleeves up first 😜

Hubby with Peach and Chief viewing the Ray Lagoon

Check out the Sting Ray Lagoon. 15,000 gallon pool with dozens of Cownose, Southern Stingrays and Guitarfish. We even got to feed them shrimp! 

Lots of low windows for all age access viewing

Interactive exhibits along the way!
 

The Jellyfish Discovery room was one of my favorites. I love the dark views of these mysterious creatures. Chief pointed his way through it! 

The way the layout moves you won’t miss anything you’d like to see. From the Seahorse Kingdom, Coral Caves and Mysteries of the Rainforest there’s a little something for every aquarium fan. 

Peach viewing a Seahorse Aquarium

Finishing off with a 300+ foot Ocean Tunnel! This walk is spectacular. Sand Tiger Sharks, Sea Turtles, Nurse Sharks, Stingrays and more. 

You can’t have an aquarium in Minnesota without a few familiar faces! Peek at The Sturgeon Lake exhibit to see the native fish.


Some ticket deets-

Children 0-2 are free! We even snagged a couple $5 off coupons from my sister. Check out Mall Of America’s Toddler Tuesday for admission discounts. There’s also an extensive list of Kids Eat Free restaurants for the TT promotion. Visit SeaLife MOA online for discounted tickets as well.


Have you been to SeaLife at Mall of America? Did the family enjoy it? If you go and see the exhibit I’d love to know your thoughts. I’d recommend tickets for birthday gifts too if you’re looking for something outside the box!

🦈💙- TBHM Hilary

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Montessori Gift Ideas

Here is a list of some of my favorite Montessori type toys/activities for infants and toddlers. However, many of these pieces have charm for years after that! Great for Holiday gift giving, birthdays and beyond. I could have an endless list but I’ll keep it to 10 for now. All conveniently available on Amazon. 👏🏼 Affordable options!

1. Wooden Peg & Hammer Toy (Big hit at the Poulsen house!) 

2. Wooden Bead Maze– I particularly like the suction cups on the bottom of this. I secure it out our wood floors! We also have a larger version but this is a nice starting place and doesn’t take up a lot of space. 


3. Bell Rattle– Great one to introduce from 0-12 Months and the adventure continues as my 2.5 year old still plays with it. Fun addition to our music box. 

4. Textured Multi Ball Set – A delight in each ball! Try keeping your children’s hands (and mouths!) off of them! Indoor, outdoor, bath time and more. Our furry friends are big fans too! *Also available at Target*

5. Wooden Push & Pull Toy– Very popular one at my house. I can’t promise your kids won’t fight over it! 

6. Pattern Blocks & Boards– A next level type puzzle for your older toddlers. These we work on when my baby is sleeping since there are small pieces. My daughter loves this even more since it’s a special time. 

7. Fold & Go Trampoline– Jump, jump, jump around! God knows toddlers need to shake their sillies out frequently. This my friends is a need. 

8. Wooden Building Blocks– I couldn’t picture my home without our beloved blocks. The open ended possibilities! We create something with them almost everyday. From a bridge to towers, or even just clicking them together to a musical beat. 

9. Animal Models– I know I say everything is my kids’ favorite but truly animals hold the top spot in my toddlers world. We have SO MANY animals but I particularly like the farm animals since we get to see them all in real life here in Minnesota. (Pro Tip- you want the animals as realistic as possible)

10. Baby Doll – Anatomically Correct– The way my daughter plays with her baby is heart melting. It’s an important part for language development and her dramatic play. Even better if you have another baby on the way or new addition to the family. (Plus, I was sold on this mushroom outfit!)

There are so many other fantastic Montessori type toys available to us. This is a good place to start or get inspired. 

Do your children have any of the items? What’s a favorite in your home? Let me know if any of these make it under your tree this year!

Happy Shopping!

🎁 💖- TBHM Hilary

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InnerActive Indoor Playground

Old Man Winter hit the Twin Cities hard this week. Brrr baby, brrr. My little Peach couldn’t play outside much and it’s obviously wearing on her (and me 😬). After 2 days of nap struggles I knew we had to get that tiny bod moving. Hard. InnerActive is the gal for the job! 

Peach (2.5)

Located in Minnetonka, Minnesota, InnerActive is a climate controlled indoor playground open 365 days a year! Children ages 1-17 are admitted for $9/ day. Open from 7:30-9 PM. Adults are free with paying child. Today it cost $9 total for my 2.5 year old, my 10 month old, my sister and I. Monthly and yearly memberships are available. 

Chief (10months)

Picture large scale playground, toddler playground, huge jumping pillow, climbing wall, basketball court, soccer court, building block area, nursing room, family restroom, party room and more! InnerActive can meet almost any child’s entertainment needs. 

Peach on the jumper with her Auntie (my super helper of the day!)

InnerActive is an “unstaffed” facility. That’s how they can manage to be open everyday for long hours. You just buy your admission online and use a code to enter the secured building. 

Chief mountain climbing up the jumper

A few Pro-Tips:

-Bring socks for everyone. Preferably non-slip grippers for young children.

-If going with multiple children including an infant, bring a baby carrier or extra set of hands. Really, both if you can swing it. (Like me ✋🏼 I got super lucky having a 17yr old sister at the same time I have young children – I pay her in food)

-Dress your mobile children in the brightest clothing they own. Probably the most important tip. DO IT. You are going to regret it if you don’t. They move fast and this place is bustling. 

Peach’s porthole peeping (aka in her fort)


This wasn’t our first time to InnerActive and it will not be our last! I’m already thinking ahead to Peach’s 3rd birthday party. 🤔 This might just be the winning place! 

On the Toddler Play Gym

Bring your own snacks or meals. Vending machines and delivery available. Check out the InnerActive website to learn more or buy a day of play! 
Here I am taking Chief down the slide for the first time

If you go to InnerActive I suggest swinging by Ham’s Sandwich Shop or grabbing some to bring to InnerActive with you! Delish! Just a minute from IA!


Have you been to InnerActive yet? I’d love to hear what you thought! Or if you go after seeing this HMU with how it went! If you have another favorite indoor playground- share the wealth! We’ve got to keep these kids busy in the winter season and ensure nap-time! P.S. Peach had an accident free day! #Blessed

🤸🏼‍♀️🏀⚽️❄️- TBHM Hilary

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Favorite Baby Item of the Week- Play Gym 

It dawned on my this morning that our IKEA Leka Baby Gym needs to be featured here. This baby gym is an all time favorite around the house. As I was watching my 10 month old son jingle the hanging toys it hit me that this is so much more than just a frame to plop a newborn under. 

IKEA recommends this for ages 0-18 Months. However, I can vouch for the fact that it can entertain far beyond that. My 2.5 year old daughter utilizes the play gym as often as my baby! To her it’s a table, a restaurant, car keys, walker, boat, horse stable and more. I’m all about “open ended” activities if you haven’t caught on by now. 

Chief (10mo) exploring the play gym

I picked ours up at one of my favorite local consignment shops for half price. Shoutout to Children’s Orchard! I got lucky, not knowing how much use we would actually get from it. I almost put it away when Chief was starting to crawl. Now it’s something I keep out 24/7. I don’t even need to rotate this one! This birch wood beauty is available from IKEA now for $29.99. Worth every penny. 


It’s rare to find a baby item that really can last from birth through toddlerhood. It also doesn’t take up much room. Not an eye sore either! 👏🏼 


Do you have the Leka Baby Gym? Or a different play gym you’d recommend? Comment and share please! If you decide to get the IKEA play gym let me know what you think!

💚🚼-TBHM Hilary

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