Day Out with Thomas is Coming!

Day Out with Thomas is Coming!

Disclaimer: I will receive free tickets to this event in exchange for this announcement and my honest review of the event at a later date.

Y’all, I’m so excited! We loved this event so much last year!

Coming to the North Carolina Transportation Museum – Day Out With Thomas Sept. 26-28, Oct. 3-5. Day Out With Thomas is a family event that offers aspiring engineers and their families the unique opportunity to take a ride with the classic storybook engine, Thomas the Tank Engine at regional heritage railroads across the country. 

Get your tickets today! 

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Mango’s World: First Day of Pre-K

Mango’s World: First Day of Pre-K

So happy!

Mango has been in group care since he was about 18 months old. Longtime readers may remember my struggles with that adjustment. Now, as he starts real school (private, full day pre-k), I feel a lot more excitement. I do still have sad days and moments, and my current struggle is mostly just finding my routine and settling into my new schedule alone during the day. I’m excited to drink coffee that’s hot and to poop alone, sure, but also, I’m excited for what he’s doing. He loves his new school, has friends in class, and is generally just a ball of happiness about this adventure.

He is super ready. He is craving that social interaction and all the fun things they do at school. And I think he is also ready for a little independence. Still, it’s always going to hurt a mama’s heart a little to see this:

Walking away

 

Why does he have to be so eager to walk away. Being a parent is about having to let go a million times when all you want to do is hold on as tightly as you can. But the letting go is so necessary. So we do it. And we cry a little. And we look forward to hearing every detail about his day when we’re back together.

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The Road Trip

The Road Trip

Recently, Pop Tart was headed out of town for a conference. I’ve actually lost count of the conferences he’s attended this year. Let’s just say it’s a lot. Sometimes when this happens (okay, every time), Mango & I struggle a bit at home. So this time, I decided that he and I weren’t just going to sit around crying at each other all week – we were going on a road trip!

I loaded the minivan with a surprisingly little amount of gear, soothed my worried husband, and away Mango and I went. We were off to my hometown, a trip that normally takes eight-ish hours with one short break. Because there were going to be some truly terrifying weather conditions, PT chose a route for us that was over an hour out of the way so that we’d avoid most of it. One looooong lunch break, five potty breaks, and eleven hours later, we arrived. I never got tired, but I did feel bored a little bit. Mango was a real trooper. He slept a few hours, watched movies on the DVD player (he can do this, even rear-facing, courtesy of a headrest mirror), played with the iPad, and pointed out a bazillion trucks.

It was really wonderful to have this little trip, since almost no one knew we were in town, there wasn’t the usually running all over God’s green earth that there usually is when we visit. We stayed with my mom for the first time, and it was super, super relaxing. Mango got to play with his same-age cousin, A2, for 48 straight hours. They got along great and entertained each other. We met some internet friends, I got to see my sisser, and I even got a night out!

In true PJM fashion, here’s some bullet-pointed hilarity from the little one, and some pics from the road.

  • As we were driving over a bridge, he spotted a town in the valley. He pointed, and shouted, “Look at that far-away village!”
  • For lunch, I ordered a salad (he ate most of it), and some French onion soup (he ate ALL of it). As he was picking the cheese from the outside of the crock he noted, “French onion soup is one of my favorite soups in the whole entire world.”
  • There was a line for the women’s restroom, but not the men’s, and he had to go BAD. He lamented, “If Daddy & I were here, we could pee in the man’s room.”
  • While eating provolone cheese, he poked a hole with his finger. “I poked a hole in this cheese. Now it’s Swiss cheese.”
  • When my sister served us a really tasty spaghetti dinner, he said, “This is the best spaghetti I never had!” He also offered, without prompting, “Thanks for cooking this for me,” and “Excuse me” when he was finished.
  • The two cousins were watching Dora, and A2 got pouty. When my mom asked what was wrong, poor guy said, “Mango thinks Dora’s talking to him, but she’s NOT! She’s talking to ME!!”
Roadside attraction time

Roadside attraction time

Making funny faces at the restaurant

Making funny faces at the restaurant

Well, I HAD French Onion soup...

Well, I HAD French Onion soup…

Pulling our friend in a wagon at the zoo

Pulling our friend in a wagon at the zoo

Let's just say, we were VERY relaxed at G-ma's house

Let’s just say, we were VERY relaxed at G-ma’s house

Mama's going to the casino!

Mama’s going to the casino!

I thought they looked like they both fell asleep running here

I thought they looked like they both fell asleep running here

Cousins/buddies

Cousins/buddies

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Dye-Free Green Eggs and Ham – for Dinner!

Dye-Free Green Eggs and Ham – for Dinner!

I had something else entirely planned for dinner last night when my 3-year-old said, “I want to try green eggs and ham!” We recently read the book for the first time, and I think it made an impression. And when he shows enthusiasm about something – particularly something related to a book – I run with it.

We eat turkey ham with eggs three or four times a week, so we had those ingredients on hand. The tricky part, however, was figuring out how to make dye-free green eggs and ham. Mango ingests way more artificial dye than I’d like, but we try to avoid it whenever possible. He reacts very negatively to it, far more negatively than sugar, in my observation. So I checked out what else we had on hand. We didn’t have any spinach, which I knew would produce a nice green color, but we did have a zucchini, which I remember using in eggs when he was a babe.

The green it produced wasn’t super bright green, but the flavor was pretty undetectable. And hey, it was a Tuesday night after school. It was green enough. I decided to try to Seuss it up with a few more impromptu flairs of silly.

The whole table setup

The whole table setup

I grabbed Mango’s Cat in the Hat hat from his dress-up box and tossed it on the table. I used some colorful paper plates and striped paper straws I had left over from previous parties. I put Pop Tart’s plate in a box, used some painter’s tape to put Mango’s on one of his toy trains, and quickly made up a little felt mouse for mine.

Would you eat them in a box?

Would you eat them in a box?

Could you, would you, on a train?

Could you, would you, on a train?

Would you like them with a mouse?

Would you like them with a mouse?

Of course, we didn’t end up eating like that. It was hard for PT to maneuver in the box, and Mango didn’t like them on a train. Also, the paint on my mouse was still wet, so this little excitement was quickly discarded as we dug into our dinner, with a side of green grapes and toast with homemade jam.

It was not a lot of work. It was not very fancy, but it was a super fun way to have a silly dinner instead of a boring one.

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Giving: Kaden’s Food Bank

Giving: Kaden’s Food Bank

I’m starting a new category here on the blog called Giving. Basically, I’ll be highlighting charitable events, organizations, and other opportunities for giving. These will be causes that speak directly to my heart. I’m not asking you to give to each and every one. I’m asking you to open your mind, learn a little about each of these worthy causes, and support as you are guided by your own heart. Monetary donations, sharing the posts, telling a friend, volunteering time, and donating goods are just some of the ways you can support these projects.

KadenFoodBank_ThePajamaMama.net

Little kid with a big heart, Kaden Mielitz

The first project I’d like to introduce y’all to is pretty amazing, in my estimation. Kaden Mielitz is an 8-year-old with a simple but exciting goal: to raise $800 to buy food for his elementary school’s food drive. This may seem like a small gesture, but let me tell you why it’s huge. Like I said, Kaden is EIGHT years old. This little child set up this huge goal for himself, because he was so successful at raising funds last year! That’s right, he has been raising money to help feed the people in his community since he was 7. Last year, he raised $433.17.

Also, how he is raising the money is pretty cool as well. He earns money by pitching in at home, holding a yard sale, and donating his own birthday and Christmas money to the cause. What I think is so remarkable about this young man is that he came up with the idea to do this all on his own. His charitable heart led him to help others in need. If Kaden is any representation of his generation and the future of our world, then there is hope for us all, indeed.

Please consider giving to Kaden’s GoFundMe, or share this post to your friends. Or show your kids Kaden’s video, and maybe they’ll get inspired to do something awesome, too!

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