Not Your Average Breakfast with Santa 

The magic of the morning was overflowing. Santa, breakfast buffet, cookie decorating, ornament making, leather crafts, horses, lake views, nature walks and more was experienced this morning. Where might you wonder? Voyager Environmental Center in Mound, MN. Lodge and cabins, hiking trails, beaver pond, pine forest, archery range and more overlooking Little Long Lake. I might just venture to say this is what dreams are made of. Side note- we arrived only 40minutes later than I told my friends. Smh. #Hotmessforlife

Peach (2.5) telling Santa she’d like cookies for Christmas

Our family of 4 entered for $25.00. The buffet was filled with pancakes, eggs, bacon, apples, coffee, juice, hot cocoa and plenty of toppings. The decorate your own cookie bar was a big hit too! Especially after my daughter told Santa she’d like “cookies” for Christmas. (Lucky us, that’s a pretty inexpensive request 😉) 

BIG PLUS- no line for Santa and I took as many photos as my heart desired. 

Chief (10mo) & Peach (2.5) visiting with Santa

Now let’s get a little creative! Or perhaps messy… Make and decorate your own ornament from buckthorn tree discs. I’m looking forward to my children’s Christmas tree ornament collections. Bring on the traditions!
Peach (2.5) working on her ornament
Next up, customize your own leather bracelets! Hand pound letters and designs! Peach had some assistance from her daddy. 

Outside we go! Perhaps the highlight of the morning.

Carrots or mini candy canes were very popular treats. To complete the outdoor adventure, leaf pile! 

Peach with my friend and fellow Mom bloggers son
Little Long Lake. Mound, MN.

Owned and operated under The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities. Open for events like today, summer camps, rental options, etc. View their website here. My local friend had told me about today’s gathering. Facebook had an event page as well. 

There are many Santa breakfasts around. This one takes the cake in my honest opinion. We’re hitting another one in a couple of weeks. Do you have a favorite location or family tradition? Comment and share please!

Me & Chief headed out!

❤️🐴 -TBHM Hilary

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2 Ingredient DIY Play Dough 

I had 1K things to do but I said “screw it”. Today I’m gonna be a cool mom. Let’s make the house even messier, ignore the endless chore list but make some memories. DIY Play Dough it is! Don’t worry, there’s no way I had special glue and glitter on hand. I’m not “that cool”. Shave cream and cornstarch it is! 

It’s beyond simple to make. Even a 2 year old can do it 😉 Which by now I could bet you know my daughter was in heaven. Grab a bowl and mix equal parts corn starch and shave cream. I eyeballed it. Which is a rule of thumb for my life. Included but not limited to my- cooking, driving and parenting. 

Peach 2.5 adding cornstarch to the bowl

I recommend just mixing it up with your hands. We added a few optional drops of food coloring for funsies. 

I gave her a plate, bowl and some utensils. She was set! The little chef in her began making pizza. 

Baby safe play too! Just put the dough in a baggie! 

Chief (9 Months Old) with baggie of Play Dough

Perfect for a weekend Crafternoon ☺️

Let me know if you give it a try with your babes!

💚🥣  TBHM Hilary

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My Montessori Home- Book Display

You may have caught wind that my daughter attends a Montessori school. She began at 16 months old. When she started I knew very little about The Montessori Method of learning. In short, this education model was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori after scientific observation of children from birth-adulthood. It’s a very hands on environment where children are encouraged by “help me to do it myself” philosophy. Think outside the classroom walls. The way my daughter has blossomed since beginning at her Montessori school is priceless. My 2 year old is so independent I’m fairly certain she would survive if not flourish if she was alone for 24 hours. I recommend it to everyone contemplating schools for their children. 

As I was witnessing the special way my daughter was learning, I too, began educating myself on Montessori at home. Through parent night workshops and speakers at school, books and online research I have been adapting our home to foster my children’s “absorbent minds” (as Dr. Montessori would say). 

Don’t get my wrong, I’m not claiming to have a perfect Montessori home. We fall victim to Trolls and Moana every so often. However, there are small steps you can take to prepare an environment for your child that make them feel included in your little community. Which leads me to… Book Displays!

Book display in my 9 month olds bedroom

The main reason for book displays like this is that many children will need to see the cover of a book to be drawn to reading it. Not only are the front of the books shown, they are fully accessible to young children. Can you say, “less mess”?! Independence is so important in building self confidence, here is an easy way to begin. 

Floor book display in our living room

I rotate the book selection every week or two. I normally follow a theme or “extension” with my choices. Pictured above is a Autumn/Thanksgiving/Winter themed assortment. For example, we had a monarch chrysalis awaiting metamorphosis on our kitchen counter. Extensions selected were “The Hungry Catepillar”, butterfly and garden books. We’re blessed to have an abundant library at home where I use for some rotations. We also visit our local library to borrow a few seasonal specials. 

Bathroom book display

We have a small book display in the bathroom as well. Helps encourage time for getting comfortable using a toilet. (A tip from my daughters Montessori Guide) The book displays in my sons room and living room I found at a flea market. The bathroom display was a toiletrie caddy. You can make use of things you already own, repurpose or thrift. Montessori can be affordable! So far our transition to Montessori has brought us a lot of peace. My toddler puts her books away! *Shoutout to Usborne “What is Poop” lift the flap book. It NEVER gets old, guys!*

My son browsing a book in front of his Montessori mirror

Have you implemented any Montessori type book displays in your home? Want to start? I’d love to know if you do! Feel free to comment or message with any inquiries.

🧡📚 – TBHM Hilary

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Gale Woods Farm Outing

Honestly, I’d be doing a disservice to parents and families everywhere if I didn’t share the splendor I stumbled upon this morning. Gale Woods Farm in Minnetrista, MN! We had a little play date planned to visit the farm and explore. It’s a whopping 5 minutes from my house. I’m sure you’re wondering… yes, we were 15 minutes late. No coffee in hand. #dying. We lucked out big time when we arrived to “Fall on the Farm” day! It gave me the boost I needed without the caffeine for once 😜 

I had visited Gale Woods Farm for weddings before. Today was the first day we were really going to dig into all they have to offer. Fall on the Farm was the perfect way to see it all. 

From making fresh carrot fritters and apple cider we moved on to seeing baby chicks and chickens and the barn yard dog, Delilah. 

Next up was the cows. How cute is this interactive demonstration of milking a cow?! The industrial milk pump was giving me flashbacks of my simple “Medela in style”. Solidarity mama cow, Clover. 👊🏼 

Off to the giant Sheep pasture! Peach (2.5) ran way ahead of me. Zero fear. She’s a Minnesotan girl through and through. The pasture overlooks Whaletail Lake. Fishing dock available. Perfect for a quiet date adventure if you’re fortunate to get a little kid free time. 

The only rule was “don’t chase the sheep.” Easier said than done… I would add- keep and eye for a cow pie!

Off to the garden! 🥕 

Here we got to dig in the soil, pick and taste fresh raspberries and sample some newly harvested carrots. Shockingly, my 2 yr old loves carrots so she even snuck a second sample. 

Next we learned all about bees and beekeepers. You can even try on the hat and gloves!

“Fall on the Farm” day cost $7/ person. Children 2 and under are free. 

There were more activities we didn’t partake in such as, make your own sheep wool bracelets (from Gale Woods sheep), nature walks, hay bale play ground, farm store with gifts, books, produce and more. You can ride your bike there from the Dakota Trail. Big Stone Mini Golf course neighbors the farm. 

I’m a sucker for giant pumpkins so I had to get a pic. Also, my outfit was cute. 

I HIGHLY recommend a visit here with the kids! Worth the drive if you’re not local. Check their website here for upcoming events and information. 

Have you been to Gale Woods Farm before? Let me know what you think!