20 Awesome Backyard Ideas For The Kids

20 Awesome Backyard Ideas For The Kids

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have been really enjoying the beautiful weather that we have had the past few days. The summer is coming fast. It is time to pull out our shorts & swimsuits and spend less time cooped up in the house. There will be trips to the beach, the park & the zoo, but there are so many great activities that you can do right in your own backyard. Here are some awesome ideas for a fun, creative & educational summer.

Coffee Cups & Crayons – Sun Melted Crayon Art 


Learn Play Imagine – Water Play With Balls

Water Play with Balls for Summer Fun (10)

Nurture Store – Color & Nature Learning Match Game


The Pinterested Parent – Mining For Gemstones

Mining For Gemstones

Fireflies & Mudpies – Squirt Gun Painting


Housing A Forest – Rainbow Bubble Snakes


And Next Comes L – Alphabet Learning With Chalk Rocks


P Is For PreSchooler – Backyard Car Wash 


Play Dough To Plato – Exploding Pop Rockets


Fun At Home With Kids – Painting With Your Feet

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Preschool Inspirations – Easy Baking Soda & Vinegar Volcano Eruptions


I Heart Naptime – Soap Boat Races


Just Laine – Water Balloon Baseball


Learn Play Imagine – Toddler Color Hop

Toddler Color Hop - Gross Motor Color Recogntion Game (1)

Happy Hooligans – Water Water


The Pinterested Parent – Nature Painting


Reading Confetti – Frozen Popsicle Chalk

popsicle chalk 1

Developing The Whole Child – Pool Noodle Obstacle Course


The Pinterested Parent – Soda Bottle Boats

Soda Bottle Boats - sink them or float them

Discover Explore Learn – Balloon Rockets



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My First Attempt At A Diaper Cake & Sunday’s Best Linkup #19

4 Tiered Monkey Diaper cake _ Baby shower gifts


It is a big year for babies in my family. I have 3 cousins that are expecting & my sister-in-law is pregnant with her first baby. I am excited to become an auntie & for Mai to meet her first cousin. My sister-in-law’s baby shower was this weekend. I had wanted to try my hand a making a diaper cake for a while & thought that this was the perfect time to try it.

I was a little nervous. I had an idea in mind based on a combination of different diaper cakes that I had seen. I wanted to form a tiered diaper cake that looked like a monkey. Here goes nothing…

Form a base to carry your cake on. Cut a circle out of cardboard.

Cut out & cover your board in felt.


Use an old paper towel roll. Place it in the middle of the circle & begin your cake by wrapping a diaper around the paper towel roll horizontally. Layer another diaper over it leaving about an inch or so of the original showing. Continue around in this manner.


You may use a string to loosely hold your tier in place & then tuck more diapers in under the string. Continue around until you achieve the desired width for your bottom tier.


Start your second tier using the same method. Do the same for your remaining tiers. We did 4 total.

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I covered the cake with a folded blanket. We folded it with the print side folded in & then secured it to the front with a pin.

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For the monkey head & arms we used a tummy time play mat that we found. I secured the arms with a safety pin hugging the top 2 tiers.


To form the banana, roll a white washcloth. Roll it so that it is thinner at top & fatter on the bottom.


Wrap another washcloth around it. Make sure that one side is smooth & gather the excess around the back.


To form the peel, fold a yellow washcloth at one of the corners.


Make a diagonal fold on one side into the center of the initial fold.


Fold the other side over in a similar fashion. Fold them in again the same way & repeat these steps with a second washcloth.


Place both of the folded wash cloths around either end of the white washcloth.


Cover the yellow & white cloths with another yellow cloth & smooth out the front & pull the excess to the back.


Fold & tuck the back in to secure it & pull the peels down so they droop.


Pull the bottom of the cloths up & secure by tucking in at the top.


To make leaves, fold a green washcloth from corner to corner to form a triangle.


Fold the edges in around the triangle, except at the bottom.


Start on one of the sides & roll in toward the center. Do the same for the other end. You may secure with a rubber band if you like or just tuck it in somewhere on the cake.


We used branches wrapped in yarn to form the tree branches & tucked the leaves in around them.



My first diaper cake attempt was a hit. I can’t wait for the next shower.  Now on to our main event.


Welcome to Week 19 of  Mother 2 Mother’s Sunday’s Best Linkup This week we’re celebrating mothers around the world. We would like to wish each of our moms A Happy and Blessed Mother’s Day. 
May is the month to plant gardens and flowers, open pools, fire up backyard grills, makeover outdoor spaces, and turn the kids loose in the yard. I know you’re jumping for joy, right!  I
know I am.  
This week we’re looking for posts on Mother’s Day past and ideas for this Mother’s Day, activities for kids inside and outside, recipes, crafts, DIY, home makeover and gardening tips, SEO and blogging information, sewing projects, patio and deck makeovers, backyard projects, front porch makeovers, spring organization tips, and ideas for indoor flower arrangements.  
Blow the dust off your old posts and link those too. They’re great for inspiration. Don’t have posts that fit into the theme, link up whatever post you would like to share. We would love to have parenting tips, DIY projects, homesteading, homeschooling, and your posts on family and life. Your linkups and giveaways are welcome here too. Anything goes, as long as it’s family friendly and you may linkup as many posts as you would like. 

Each week your hosts will select their favorite post and it will be featured the following week. An image from your post will be used on my blog the following week with a link back to your blog. Be sure to check back to see if you’re a Sunday’s Best featured blogger. All Featured Bloggers will have their posts Pinned to the Sunday’s Best Pinterest Board.   

What’s New: We would like readers to select their favorite posts. Voting will start at noon every Friday until mid-night. We will be adding the post with the most votes from our readers to our Sunday’s Best featured bloggers. Be sure to have your blog readers and social media followers head over to vote for your post on Fridays. 

If you are interested in becoming a Sunday’s Best host, please contact me for details at rhonda@mother2motherblog.com or email one of our other hosts. 

                                             Your Hosts Are:

            Rhonda – Mother 2 Mother                Kim U. – Pinterested Parent         Kim M. – Life In A House of Testosterone


Here’s the rules, please connect with us on social media before you leave or subscribe to/follow our blogs:  

Mother 2 Mother: Please like my 
Facebook Page, follow me on Twitter,  Google+, PinterestBlogLovin or subscribe/join my blog on the right before you leave.   

The Pinterested Parent: Please like Kim’s Facebook Page, follow her on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Bloglovin before you leave.  

Life In A House of Testosterone: Please like Kim’s Facebook Page, follow her on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Bloglovin, or Instagram before you leave. 


Mother 2 Mother Blog

Last, please help us grow by placing our button on your sidebar. If you are selected as a Featured Blogger please let your readers and followers know. They may want to join the party too! For those who have a Link Party list/directory, please add us. I appreciate your help in promoting the linkup with Re-tweets and shares.  If you have been featured – add this button to your blog & link to the week you were featured. 
featured blogger sundays best linkup

Now lets party! 

The Sunday’s Best Posts are:

Kim U. selected  Berry Delicious Cheesecake Fluff  from Dizzy, Busy and Hungry  


I selected Funny Face Seedlings from Made With Happy  

Kim M. selected – Who is Responsible? The Race Cards are on the Table from Living in Mommywood  

The Readers Choose: 

5 Tips for New Bloggers from J9 Designs

Congratulations to our featured bloggers! All of the posts were great, and I appreciate each of you linking up. I would like to invite all of you back to linkup your post(s) again, it could be selected this week. While you’re here take a minute to visit these great blogs. It’s a great way to meet and connect with new bloggers. Be sure to PIN or share any posts that you like, we all appreciate a little love. 


Pasta Baby Bundles

Pasta Baby Bundles - This would be so cute for a baby shower.April showers bring spring flowers. This spring also is bringing us some baby showers. With my sister-in-law, a good friend of mine & my cousin all expecting at roughly the same times, we will be busy shopping for these new little bundles. Our daughter is very excited to welcome all of the new babies.

I had the first of the baby showers this afternoon. This morning, I told Mai that mommy had to go to a baby shower today & she asked me “What’s a baby shower?” I explained to her that a shower is where you buy gifts for the new baby.


She talked about her auntie’s baby.

Mai: “Cioci Melly’s baby will be my sister.”

Me: “Your Cioci’s baby will be your cousin”, I explained

Mai: “I have an idea. Let’s make pasta babies.”

Me: “Ummm ok!”

As you know my daughter loves to craft & she has been a great source of my inspiration lately. If pasta babies are what she wants to make, than that is what we would do.

What you will need:

For each baby made you will need…

1 Jumbo pasta shell

1 medium sized pasta shell

1 elbow macaroni

Acrylic paint

Glue gun – (adults should glue for safety)

For a girl – 1 bowtie pasta

For a boy – a few pieces of broken spaghetti


You may choose to assemble your babies first or paint the pieces first. It is your choice. We prefer to paint the pieces first & then glue together.

Paint the medium sized shells in a skin tone color.



Paint the jumbo shells in the color of your choice. We went with traditional pink for the girl, blue for boy & neutral green. Paint the elbow in the same colors to match with the jumbo shells. Paint the bow for the girl. Paint the spaghetti strands in a hair color. Let the paint dry.

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For each baby that you will make, you will place a medium pasta shell under the jumbo shell as shown. Use a small elbow pasta to tuck into the bottom of the shell to just round off the bottom. Glue the bow to the head for a girl. Glue spaghetti pieces for hair for the boy. Paint faces onto the heads. Let dry.




Mai painted these & wanted to make her own faces. She also painted a scoop of ice cream on the little boy’s blue blanket for him.


Pasta Baby Bundles - This would be so cute for a baby shower.

Thank you as always for stopping by. Please follow us on Facebook as well.





10 Things You Can’t Do If You Have Kids

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There are many things that you take for granted before you have children. The small everyday things that do not seem like much turn into a rare treat once you have a child. Here are 10 things that are almost impossible to do when you have a child.

1. Get through a whole meal without getting up – “Mama, I want juice.” “Mama, I spilled my juice.” “Mama, I need more juice.” Between wiping up spills, cleaning a dirty little face & making a cheese sandwich because spaghetti just wouldn’t do, it is amazing that I am not a size 2.

2. Go to the bathroom in private – Since the day that my daughter was born, I have come to terms with never getting to go the bathroom without an audience. As an infant our daughter would accompany me to the can while riding shotgun in her Bjorn. As a toddler she will just bust in on mommy. “Pick me up.” Not now, mommy is pooping. Let’s not even talk about using a public restroom.

3. Have an uninterrupted phone conversation with a friend – Before our daughter was born it used to drive me crazy when I would talk to my friends on the phone that had kids. I would be in the midst of a riveting story about my carefree childless weekend when “NO! Don’t touch that!” “Get that out of your mouth.” I am not sure which is worse, being on that side of the conversation then or being on the other side now. Now the only time I get a chance to have a full chat with a friend is in the car while I’m driving.

4. Take a shower – Perhaps this does not belong on the list as obviously I do shower, but it can be such a challenge at times that I think it has earned its spot. If the hubby isn’t home, I usually do not get a shower that day.  

5. Sleep in on the weekends – Oh how I miss sleeping in late on the weekends. I have tried to explain to my daughter that on Saturdays mommy likes to sleep in, but she does not seem to understand this. It seems as if she purposely wakes earlier on a weekends than on the weekdays. I think this is meant as a payback for dragging her out of bed to go to daycare.

6. Make it anywhere on time –  It does not seem to matter how much additional time I give myself, something always holds us up. Trying to get my daughter out the door as she is tearing off her clothes and having a half-naked tantrum because she wanted to wear her purple shirt, not her pink shirt can be time consuming.

7. Take a sick day – If you are under the weather you might be able to call out of work, but your little boss at home does not give days off so freely. She requires overtime & constantly has you on call. She expects 3 meals on the table, a few Play-Doh crafts and sheet forts set up all over the house before your work day is over. She does not accept excuses.

8. Have nice things – Nice things could mean anything from clothing & jewelry to furniture & other home decor. I have not worn earrings in 3 years because my toddler’s first instinct is to try to yank them out of my ears. Our couches are full of dried up Play-Doh chunks and missing puzzle pieces. If you have a child don’t buy nice clothes. You are just asking for peanut butter finger prints all over your lovely new frocks.

9. Watch TV during the day – I can remember lazy weekends cuddling with my husband on the couch watching movies and just relaxing. Those days are over. I try not to allow too much television time during the day, but if it is on, it is Bubble Guppies and Doc McStuffins that light up our screen.

10. Swear – Alright, it is not as if my husband & I used to sit around throwing F-bombs at each other, but if one did slip out there were no consequences. These days with a little parrot in our midst, if a naughty word comes out of one of our mouths it could result in an outburst of toddler Tourettes in the grocery store. It is not just the curse words either that are repeated, so watch all context around your little mimics.



10 Things Not To Say To A Mother Of A Baby/Toddler

It is amazing how a simple sentence can have such an effect on you. It is just a handful of words, but those words can open a whole flood gate of emotions. This month has been tough for our family. We have been sick a lot lately. I was at the drugstore picking up antibiotics for my latest illness and ran into a friend in town. “Are you sick?” she asked. “Yeah, I have a sinus infection.” “Every time I see you, you are sick.” This is a phrase that I have heard often. It is a true statement, but it is one that pisses me off. Quite similarly, I hear “Your daughter is always sick, huh?” When it is said, it always sounds more like an accusation than concern. I know I get sick a lot, so does my daughter, so does my husband.  You do not need to point it out to me. I already know. Believe me, we do not enjoy it. This is just an example of one of the things that people say that drives me crazy.

There are several other hot button phrases that mommies just don’t want to hear…

Are you pregnant again?  – Write this down. Don’t ever ask any woman if she is pregnant. Just don’t do it! It will avoid an awkward & potentially hurtful situation for all if you never ask this question. Unless that woman is screaming out in labor pains & actually crowning in front of you, don’t even hint around to her being pregnant.

Your child looks nothing like you. – I hear this one all the time. I had to endure 9 months of pregnancy & then a 24 hour labor that still sends shivers up my spine. After all of that I was rewarded with a beautiful little girl that barely looks like me. The truth is that she is a clone of her father, but when I look at her, I don’t see that. I see my daughter. I see a part of me, so don’t burst my bubble.

Your child isn’t crawling, walking, talking etc.. yet? – Children all learn & develop at different rates. Not every child reaches these milestones at the same time. It is great that Johnny Toddler was potty trained at 16 months, but that does not mean that there is anything wrong with my child if they were not at the same age.

When are you having another baby? – If you actually do want another child & it just has not happened yet because of conception issues, miscarriage or any other reason, this is just downright cruel. If you are undecided or do not want another child, it is plain annoying. Either way it is not any of your business. Because we are nice, we will kindly shoot you a strained smile and offer a clever quip or joke to avoid your question. Take the hint.

I don’t ever let my child do that. – That is awesome that you have never let your child watch television or eat a piece of candy. You are amazing. You should write a parenting book, now if you don’t mind Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is on.

You look tired. – I love when people say this. Of course I am tired, moron. I am a mother. I will be tired for years to come, but please by all means continue to point this out. Just say what you mean. “You look like a huge bag of crap.”  I personally think chocolate milk stained sweats & chipped nail polish are a good look for me.

What did you do all day? – This is typically asked by a spouse (not mine luckily), but others do it as well. You are just asking to get slapped if you ask this question. Everything is more difficult when you have a little one. When they are infants, it is eat, poop, cry, nap & repeat. As my daughter got older, just trying to get her dressed in the morning was an adventure. “I want pink pants, no purple pants, no I don’t want pants, I want a skirt.” Now repeat this several times a day & just change out the nouns. What did I do all day? I tried to get through it.

Looks like somebody is cranky, tired, hungry…. – When you are out in public & wrestling with your testy baby or toddler, the very thing you need in that situation is unsolicited advice and comments from complete strangers or even sometimes your family & friends. Do you want to be helpful? Go buy me a coffee & a jelly donut and then go grocery shopping for me. Thanks!

You make me never want to have kids – Ouch! I have said this phrase to one of my friends before I was a mommy. I told her she was my birth control. What a bitch I was! Now that I have heard this myself as a mommy, I realize that it not only hurts my feelings and makes me feel inadequate as a mother, it also makes me sad that the joy of motherhood doesn’t shine through.

How do you say his/her name? – These days baby name are becoming more exotic & obscure. My daughter was named after my mother. Mai is a Vietnamese named that means cherry blossom. When people ask me what our daughter’s name is I have gotten in the habit of saying “Her name is Mai as in Mai Tai. She is named after my mother” This hopefully stops the parade of botched pronunciations & stupid questions. When our daughter was first born a work colleague of my husband actually argued with him about how to pronounce her name.
“You mean her name is May?”
“No, it’s Mai.”
“No, it is May.”
“I am pretty sure it is Mai.”

Here are a few bonus phrases unrelated to motherhood that I could do without…
Hey, it looks like you have packed on a few pounds.
You shouldn’t be eating/drinking that.
Looks like someone needs to get their roots done.
Is it your time of the month?
Any sentence that begins with “No offense, but …” or “Don’t take this the wrong way…”

What are some things that people say that drive you crazy?

10 things not to say to a mother

Remembering My Mother


Do you believe in angels? I do!

I have been thinking about my mother a lot this week. Nothing makes you love & appreciate your mother more, than becoming a mother yourself. It is a crazy thing. I can remember every smart comment & every eye roll that I ever directed toward my mother. Now looking back, I wish I could take all of those back, because I finally get it. I know why you wanted me to put that puffy coat over my princess costume when we were trick or treating. I understand why you wouldn’t let me eat Lucky Charms. I get all these things now because I have become you.

I wish I could tell you those things. I wish I could ask for your advice. I wish that you had gotten a chance to meet your beautiful grand daughter, but you are gone.

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My mother battled breast cancer, not once but twice.  When my mother was diagnosed the second time, it was shocking. Even more shocking was when we found out that she was already in stage 4. Six weeks after her diagnosis she was admitted in the ICU. I didn’t leave her bed side for a week. I slept at the hospital in the waiting rooms & had the nurses page me when she woke, so that she was never by herself.

My grandfather died of cancer when I was just a little girl. I never met him, but heard my mother speak of him often. I wanted my mother to know that she was not alone. I didn’t want her to be afraid. I tried to ease her fears by telling her that grandpa was watching over her & that he would protect her. I drew this picture one morning while I was sitting by her bed. Later that day, my grandfather & her were reunited. She became the angel that she always was.


Fast forward six years to the birth of my daughter. From the moment I found out I was having a little girl, there was only one name that she could ever possibly be. Mai, of course was named after her grandmother.

When she was born, we surrounded Mai with pictures of my mother & my father-in-law, who we also lost a year before her birth. We wanted their presences to be with her always. In her nursery a picture of both her grandmother & grandfather are proudly mounted on the wall, looking over her as she sleeps.


One day when she was only 7 months old, something happened. I was in the bedroom & my husband was in the living room with the baby. He called out to me. “You need to get in here”, he said. What I saw brought a tear to my eye. This is what I saw…

Just because I can’t see you, it doesn’t mean that you’re not there.
You come to me when I’m asleep. I hear you in a prayer.
I can not touch the soft of your skin or the warmth of your embrace.
But no one can take away from me the memory of your face.

My husband was holding our daughter & she was laughing,squealing & kicking her little feet. Mai was reaching past my husband and grabbing at my mother’s picture. It was as if she knew. 

She has had such a recognition of her since she was an infant. Grandma must come to visit often.

Now when she sees her, she will point and say “Gam Ma”. “Yes baby, that is your grandma & Oh my god, she would have loved you.”

“Correction, she does love you.”

Up next… Toddler Emotions

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