Hello!

Welcome to our blog! We share our own personal experiences about the challenges and joys of traveling with a toddler and a dog, how we plan for our vacations, and give you travel tips from our personal experiences. I also enjoy cooking and crafting, so there will be a few posts about those topics as well.

Thanks for visiting!


Click to read about our Caribbean cruise for four!

Read about our road trip across all 50 states!


There’s a faint line
between
being an influencer and
being influenced by others,
and for most of us
it’s the latter
-Christina Ho Falcon

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DIY Cake Banner Topper

This year for our son’s 2nd birthday we are going to create a donut tower for his birthday “cake”. I want to add some additional theme-related decorations, but I ended up getting a quote for some customized cookies from a local bakery, and it was going to be between $7-$10 per cookie, depending on the amount of detail.

I decided to make my own cake topper for Kai’s 2nd birthday party. I used a glue gun, a glue stick, some twine, some cardboard from a cake box, some leftover burlap ribbon from Christmas, two skewers we have at home from our BBQ days, and I went to Walmart and picked up a sheet of black foam letter stickers for $2.

I cut out cardboard rectangular/flag shapes and then the burlap strips to match the cardboard. I glued the burlap on the cardboard using my glue stick. Then I stuck a foam letter on each of the shapes. I spelled out “kai is two”.

Then I used hot glue and glued some twine to the top of the cardboard shapes. I also glued the ends of twine to the top of the two skewers and then kept going with the 2nd and 3rd tiers.

I’m not sure how I feel about the ends because I ended up wrapping some extra ribbon around the skewer where I hot glued the twine…but I tried my best.

Here’s how it came out!

Thanks for reading! Happy crafting:)

DIY Stampers

We are in the planning stages of Kai’s 2nd birthday party. I was attempting to paint the words “Kai is two” on these plastic coconuts, but my handwriting is horrible!

So, I ended up using the foam stickers I bought from Walmart and hot gluing them onto some of Kai’s old wooden blocks. I made sure to put the sticker side up so when we stamp, the letters are not flipped incorrectly. The only letter I was able to not flip around and use the sticker side on the wooden block was the letter “o”.

They look a little better than me hand-painting the words. This is how it came out!

Easter Craft Ideas

Easter craft with a toddler!

Easter is just around the corner! Kai and I have been hanging out at home for the past week since he caught a cold two weeks ago. He was socializing with a lot of kids, so he was bound to catch something.

We took advantage of “home-time” with several trips to visit my parents and vice versa. Then a couple of days ago, I must have caught a little of what he had too! So, I was a little miserable. Thankfully, today we are both doing A LOT better:)

This also gave us the perfect opportunity to work on some Easter crafts!

We painted, and I made some egg-shaped stampers using some potatoes. Then I ran to Dollar Tree and found a pre-cut set of bunny glitter cut-outs that we glued to the cards. Kai loves playing with the glue stick and also painting! Here’s how the cards came out.

This year we are hosting Easter brunch for our parents, so we made a DIY banner too! Kai helped me color the paper with markers and spread the glue on the paper so I could stick the letters on. He also helped me put the spring stickers on the banner!

Here’s how it came out.

Hope you enjoyed reading! Happy Easter!!! 🐣

❤️ Valentine’s Day Cards

February 14th is quickly approaching! I grabbed a pack of heart-shaped greeting cards and decided to get creative with Kai.

Hand Tracing
We are big on tracing Kai’s hand at home…to the point where anytime I bring out a pen and paper, he puts his hand on it and asks me to trace it. Better yet, he will attempt to do it himself. That tends to lead to him getting either pen and marker all over his hand, but at least he tries:)

Anyways, this time, I wanted to do something a little different. So, I went on Pinterest and got inspired! I found some cute Valentine’s Day card ideas. One was an American Sign Language (ASL) sign for “I love you”.Valentine's Day card - American Sign Language (ASL) sign for "I love you" and the Chinese character for loveI ended up tracing Kai’s hand and then cutting it out. After I glued the middle and ring fingers down on all the hand cut-outs, I taped them to the heart-shaped cards.

There was just so much space on the palm of his hand so I decided to write the Chinese traditional character for love.

Painting
First I tried making a heart shaped stamp from a toilet paper roll, but it didn’t come out 🙁

Then, I cut a heart out of sponge and tried to have Kai dip the sponge in red paint and then onto a plain sheet of paper. With a few attempts, we were ready for action!

I had Kai quickly stamp the hearts on the cards themselves but quickly realized the paper had a little bit of a glossy texture to it. Sadly some of the hearts just became red blobs.

Anyways, here is the final product! American Sign Language (ASL) sign for "I love you," the Chinese character for love, and a heart-shaped sponge paint stampHope you enjoy and have fun. If you’re interested in making some pop-up Lunar New Year greeting cards, learn about them here.

🐶 Year of the Dog Greeting Cards

This year, Chinese New Year falls on Friday, 2/16. Usually, we celebrate by cooking a big family-style meal or going out to eat authentic Chinese food. Well at least, the most authentic we can find in the area:)

Kai and I will be on a cruise with my parents that week, so I ended up mailing out greeting cards early.

When I was on a Target run with Kai, I noticed this really cute pack of blank red greeting cards. Of course it was in that very first section when you walk in through those large red automatic doors. You know, that bargain section where you just spend way too much time getting more than you had planned on getting? Yeah that one. I’m assuming these red cards were on display for Valentine’s Day. Anyways, those cards gave me the inspiration to get crafty! I also noticed some heart-shaped Valentine’s Day cards, so I grabbed a pack of those and got to work. See the final product here!

Each card is unique because Kai helped paint or color the origami dog face that I folded and designed.

On the inside of the card, I used red card stock paper and punched out circles for the “lanterns”. Initially I wanted to write 新年快乐, which is the more common way to say Happy New Year, but I realized that I could only fit three lanterns on each card with the circle puncher I had bought last year. I ended up writing 新年好 in Chinese. Word for word it translates to New Year Good. It’s another way to wish another person a happy new year, but it just feels a little more formal to me. Then, I wrote Happy New Year in English underneath the Chinese characters.

To make the lanterns I used made tiny holes in the top and bottoms of the circles and the used a long gold twisty tie that was left over from a holiday cookie decorating kit. I simply taped everything down, and voila, pop-up lanterns!

Using a gold Sharpie, I wrote “Year of the Dog” on the front underneath the dog face and “2018” on the backs on the cards (centered and towards the bottom). I finished the cards with a signature from the family.

I hope you like the cards:) 🏮Happy Chinese New Year everyone! 🐶

Weather by Kai

We live in New England so we are fortunate to inevitably experience all four seasons.

It’s winter! Every day I take Kai and our dog Stanley for morning stroll.

Yesterday, I thought about a cute idea to teach Kai about the weather! On my way to my tennis match, I picked up a few pieces of felt from a local craft store. I also got some felt letter and number stickers.

Here’s the final product!Weather by KaiIt’s “Weather by Kai”. My plan is that every morning, after our walk, I will ask Kai to tell me what the weather was like outside. He can use his words, but I also want to add another element so he can be his own show and tell meteorologist.

I drew and cut out a yellow sun, rain, snow, and white and gray clouds. I also put together the words: cold, hot, warm, and windy. I ran out of letters to spell humid, but I will get to it once summer rolls around:) Kai is supposed to select and display what he thought the weather was like on our walk.

Once I try this brain-building interactive activity for a week, I’ll share my thoughts on the whole process.

Do you think there are ways I can improve what I’m trying to have my toddler convey and communicate and learn?

Update – 2/8/18
It’s officially been a week since I introduced this activity to Kai.

Words, Words, Words…
A few days into learning about how to describe the weather, Kai really liked to use his words to say: cloudy, sunny, bright, cold, windy, snowing, and raining.

His favorite word to use has been cloudy! When I ask him what the weather is outside, his go-to word is cloudy. Although we were visiting Grammy the other day, and we asked him what the weather was like that morning, and he accurately described it as sunny and cold! I was so pleasantly shocked it wasn’t even funny.

When I was walking Stanley and Kai in the afternoon one day this week, we noticed a beautiful orange sunset! Now, every time Kai walks past the pond where we saw the sunset, he recalls the “橙色 clouds”. I’m happy to hear him using his words.

Incorporating Books, Media, & Resources
We were watching Curious George, which is one of daddy’s favorite shows to watch with Kai and the weather episode just so happened to be on! It was nice for him to see that George enjoys trying to predict the weather.

I was talking with a friend of mine, and she gave me an idea. One of the local libraries has a weather board for the kids where they also added a thermometer! I didn’t ask if it was a real digital thermometer or if it was a makeshift one where kids can just add numbers themselves.

Regardless, I think this is a wonderful idea to incorporate into this mini learning project. I think I’ll add both! A real mini outdoor thermometer to our house and create a felt thermometer and add it to our felt board:)

After our cruise, I’m hoping to find some books about the weather too!

Improvements and Challenges
Overall, I have noticed an improvement in his language usage and association with the weather outside. What I haven’t yet had him actually do is stay focused long enough after our walks to put the descriptive felt figurines and words on his weather board.

I might need to figure out a way to display all of the pieces out in front of him without Stanley causing a ruckus and stealing the sun or clouds and running away with them.

Don’t be Afraid of Being Creative
The day I was preparing this activity, my parents were visiting. I was asking Kai to help me stick the letter stickers on the felt. He, of course, was just sticking them wherever and then pulling them off because he was simply having fun. My father was telling me that Kai is too young to understand these concepts and that he’s just a baby. I got very frustrated at him. Thoughts running through my head at the time: Frustration, Negativity, Anger, It doesn’t hurt to try. Kai is a pretty smart kid overall. Why not just give it a whirl?

My mom had to intervene and explained to how Chinese parents are not creative, etc. While I understand where she is coming from, I don’t think this generalization is accurate because I’ve seen many creative and non-creative parents in general, Chinese or not.

While I got frustrated at my dad, I know his intentions were good. He doesn’t want me to put in the extra effort if it’s a nuisance or a chore for me since he thinks Kai has no idea what is going on. I mean we are all learning together, one day at a time.

It’s okay to have different parenting styles. Everyone is unique, with varying levels of education, backgrounds, cultures, foods, languages, etc.

Don’t be afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone and sometimes go against cultural norms to be creative and your own person and parent.

Catch-22
Don’t let your parents define what kind of parent you are. Although sometimes it’s hard to not get influenced a little. I know it sounds weird but, sometimes I look back and try to think about what my parents did and try and do the exact opposite with my child.

Ahhh, that means they’re still influencing my parenting style.

Experiential Learning
When I was growing up I don’t recall having lots of toys or an over abundance or learning resources available to me. I went into elementary school very unprepared and was very behind in reading and writing. I recall being put in a smaller group with other struggling kids to work on language skills, etc.

I’m hoping to be an active and involved mom to Kai. I want to encourage him and facilitate a safe and open learning environment for him to be able to flourish. And if he doesn’t want to blossom, that’s okay too. At least I know I tried.

Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. It’s what we decide to do with them that makes the difference.

Thanks for reading this update!