All Posts By:

Jenna Mugridge

  • First Day of School Book Favorites (+ activities too)

    As the summer comes to an end, so comes change for your child as the new school year begins. We all know that the starting the first day of school can be an anticipating and emotional time, as expected.

    One of the best ways my husband and I have found to ease our son’s impending emotions is through literature. By introducing characters with feelings and situations resembling his everydayness, he gains better insight and expands his perspective. And by forming character connections through literature with your child, you will be able to affirm their feelings and create open dialogue on topics of concern or excitement.

    Below we have listed some of our favorite first day of school books you can read to prepare your child for the new year. With comprehensive subjects such as first-day jitters, meeting new friends, learning the school rules – we’ve listed a book for them all. You will also find some post-reading activities to stimulate follow-up conversations and engage your child even more with some of the characters and topics.

    See Our List of Favorite First Day of School Books and Activities Below!

    Graphic on best books to read for the first day of school with example books

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links.

     

    1. Have You Filled Your Bucket Today? 

    Through sweet, simple prose and vivid illustrations, this book encourages positive behavior as children see how very easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation, and love on a daily basis.

    Activity:

    How Full Is Your Bucket childrens activity picture Have you child create a bucket of their own by thinking and writing down the things that make them happy and placing them in their bucket.

    Clickable link to download How Full is Your Bucket book activity

    2. First Day Jitters

    Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn’t want to start over at a new school. She doesn’t know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition. First Day Jitters is sure to be treasured by anyone who has ever anticipated a first day of school.

    Activity: 

    Picture of boy holding First Day Jitters book activityHave your child make a “Jitter Juice”. Cut out all the emojis that your child feels about starting school and put them in the jitter juice. You can also make a “Jitter Juice” of your own with Hawaiian Punch and Sprite!

    Clickable image to First Day Jitters book activity

    3. Llama Llama Misses Mama

    It’s Llama Llama’s first day of school, and he’s not too happy about it. Still, he trudges along and makes his bed, brushes his teeth, and eats his breakfast.

    But once he arrives at his classroom — with so many new faces, new names, and new games — little Llama doesn’t know what to do. And when Mama Llama leaves, the little guy feels even more shy and alone. What will this lonely llama do? Will Mama ever return?

    Activity:

    Boy holding up Llama Llama paper plate craft

    With two paper plates, make an outline of Llama Llama’s head, ears and scruffy hair. Cut out the eyes, color and glue together to create a Llama Llama mask!

    4. Brand New Pencils, Brand New Books

    It’s the first day of first grade! Gilbert is looking forward to learning how to read and making new friends, but . . .

    Will the teacher be nice? Will first grade be too hard? Will he like his classmates? Will they like him? Gilbert is excited and nervous at the same time and maybe your littles will relate.

    Activity:

    What's in My Backpack book activity exampleDownload the below activity to help your little one prepare their backpack. They’ll need more than just books and pencils!

    Clickable image to Brand New Pencils, Brand New Books book activity

    5. David Goes to School

    In this sequel, young David heads off to school for the first time and David’s teacher certainly has her hands full! From running, yelling, and pushing with abandon to chewing gum in class, David’s high-energy antics fill each day with trouble. David’s unruly romp through school is sure to bring a smile to the face of even the best-behaved reader. Read along as David learns the school rules.

    Activity:

    Picture of David Goes to School book activitySchool rules are very important. See if your child knows the difference between good school behavior and what is not allowed with this “Yes, David – No, David” activity.

    Clickable link to David Goes to School book activity download

    More First Day of School Favorites!

    Interested in more back-to-school posts? Check out this post to download a free first day of school printable!

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  • 20 Patriotic Food Ideas for the Fourth of July

    Hosting for the Fourth of July? Check out some of our favorite red, white and blue themed recipes that are guaranteed crowd pleasers – and let us know your favorites in the comments below!

    1. Red White and Blue Parfaits

    “These Red, White, and Blue Parfaits make the perfect patriotic treat.  Simply layer fresh strawberries, fat free yogurt and fresh blueberries with a little granola in the center for an easy  and healthy dessert without the guilt.” Go to Post

    2. Fun and Fabulous Fireworks Cupcakes

    “…they’re great for events, parties, and celebrations of all types, and these fireworks cupcakes for 4th of July are perfect to eat as you watch the rockets burst in the sky with sparkly color!” Go to Post

    3. Fourth of July Popcorn

    “4th of July Popcorn recipe is a fun and festive sweet & savory snack to enjoy on any patriotic holiday. Celebrate Fourth of July. Kids enjoy making this easy chocolate covered popcorn and everyone will relish eating this patriotic snack.” Go to Post

    Recipe by Mom Foodie

    4. Fourth of July Fudge

    “A patriotic red white and blue fudge recipe perfect for Flag Day or the 4th of July. This easy marshmallow creme fudge recipe is made using evaporated milk, white chocolate chips, sugar, butter, and food coloring.” Go to Post

    5. Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

    “With summer approaching, I thought that it would be the perfect time to make these red, white, and blue ice cream cone cupcakes.

    These patriotic cupcakes would be great for 4th of July parties or Memorial Day barbecues.  Or even for Flag Day!” Go to Post

    6. Patriotic Thumbprint Cookies

    “It’s no secret that we love making cookies. Double butterscotch cookies that are easy to freeze are usually my go to, but these patriotic cookies also make for a great summer treat.” Go to Post

    Recipe by Money Wise Moms

    7. Patriotic Fruit Pizza

    “This is a great dessert to make with kids too, let them help decorate!” Go to Post

    Recipe by Splendry.com

    8. Flag Rice Krispie Treats

        

    Recipe by Making of a Mom

    9. Marshmallow Pin Wheels

    “They are easy to make, only take a few ingredients, and kids LOVE them! I just adore how fun they look — and aren’t sweet treats on a stick the best?” Go to Post

    10. Fourth of July Cheesecake Bites

    “Now these red, white, and blue Strawberry Cheesecake Bites may not be quite  as easy as simply stepping out on the deck to watch the fireworks. But they’re pretty darn close.” Go to Post

    11. Red White & Blue Chocolate Dipped Wafers

    “Got a celebration pool party to go to?  Or having a few friends over to celebrate the big day?  Well, if you’re looking for a fun and easy little 4th of July treat to make for your festivities, I’ve got just the thing for you – Red White & Blue Chocolate-Dipped Sugar Wafers.” Go to Post

    12. Vegan Star Spangled Skewers

    “Let’s start with these super simple 5-minute Star-Spangled Skewers! Aren’t they so cute? You’ll love the flavors of the sweet watermelon (red), salty vegan feta cheese (white), and tart blueberries (blue). Like my mom would say, “It’s the yin and the yang, the tart and the sweet!” It’s the perfect festive finger food to make for your 4th of July BBQ, cookout, or party!” Go to Post

    13. 4th of July Icebox Cake

    “This icebox cake is cool and refreshing with its layers of softened graham crackers, luscious cream filling, and fresh berries. It’s easy to make, there is no baking, and it can be made in advance. It’s a perfect summer treat and a great way to celebrate the 4th of July!” Go to Post

    14. 4th of July Cake Pops

    “These cake pops are easy to make and would look great on any party table.” Go to Post

    Recipe by Mommy Made That

    15. Frozen Yogurt Bark

    “Frozen yogurt bark topped with mixed berries and crushed pistachios – super easy, delicious and a refreshing no-cook recipe that is perfect for breakfast, snack or dessert!” Go to Post

    16. Fourth of July Pretzel Bites

    “Are you looking for a fun and easy recipe to serve on Independence Day? Here’s a festive red, white, and blue snack recipe that will be perfect for your Fourth of July picnic, party, or potluck.” Go to Post

    Recipe by Moms Who Save

    17. Fourth of July Chocolate Covered Oreos

    “With the the new fireworks oreos I thought it would be fun to make festive chocolate covered Oreo cookies for the Summer. The 4th of July oreos have red, white and blue and it’s so patriotic and perfect for a celebration. If you are hosting a cookout, party or just hanging out with family, try making Red white and blue chocolate covered oreos. The milk chocolate coating is so yummy!” Go to Post

    18. Red, White & Blue Jello Shots

    “This batch makes a bunch, depending on the size of jello shot containers you use so be sure to share these with friends! You could also use this recipe with other jello flavors throughout the year to create new color combos.” Go to Post

    19. Fourth of July Doughnuts

    “Be prepared to be shocked and awed by some doughnut deliciousness AND a quick video tutorial on icing these babies.” Go to Post

    20. Patriotic Pretzel Rods

    “Although these Red, White, and Blue Patriotic Pretzel Rods really are the ultimate Independence Day snack, they are actually perfect for any time that you want to express your patriotism. Whip up a batch for Presidents’ Day, Veterans Day, Flag Day, July 4th, Election Day, or to commemorate the birthday of your favorite President. These festive snacks make every Patriotic event extra special!” Go to Post

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  • Free Father’s Day Printables Bundle

    If Father’s Day crept up on you (like I know it did me) we’ve got you covered. FREE Father’s Day printables! A fun and easy way to show the father figure in your child’s life some love.

    If you’ve never had your child fill in a fun fact sheet about their Dad, you’re in for a real treat. Not only are the responses absolutely priceless, but it’s also a gift that will be fun to look back on in years to come.

    Additionally, we’ve created a super simple and sweet card from mom included in the bundle.

    The printable card and fun fact questionnaire are available for download below!

    While helping my oldest fill out his fun facts printable, we learned some valuable information about Dad. Apparently he is all of 3 years old, loves broccoli of all foods, and his favorite thing to do is dig for worms! Ha!

    I’m confident that we’ll be laughing about these questionnaire responses when we look back on this in the future.

    It’s also hard to find the perfect gift for dad. Most years I’m left scrambling around trying to find something that is both desired and meaningful. With these Father’s Day printables you’ll at least have one item to knock it out of the park!

    Wishing all of the loving Daddies out there a very happy Father’s Day, but especially the one who claims me and my little wildlings.

    Looking for more fabulous printables? Check out our Summer Activity Planner! 



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  • 5 Slow Cooker Meals for the Busy Mom (& Grocery List)

    If you’re a busy, on-the-go mom, you might appreciate slow cooker meals just as much as I do. This week, we have more recipes to share with you!

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links.

    As we continue to share our favorite slow cooker meals with you, we hope you will find ones that become a staple in your home. We’ll share everything from kid-friendly meals, healthy meals, soups, budget-friendly meals and more.

    The first thing when planning your slow cooker meal prep is to make sure you have a top-notch appliance. Here is our favorite – this slow cooker pumps out enough food for the entire family!

    Here are this weeks favorite slow cooker meals.

    1. Broccoli and Sausage Macaroni Casserole

    Only 7 ingredients – and you can’t go wrong with a recipe that incorporates mac-n-cheese!

    2. Pineapple Chicken

    The perfect summer chicken dish – with just the right amount of sweet and savory.

    3. Turkey Chili

    Image link to slow cooker turkey chili by Baking Beauty.

    Recipe by Baking Beauty

    Hearty and healthy chili chock full of beans and 2 different kinds of meat. The slow cooker makes this comfort food almost effortless!

    4. Ranch Chicken

    This ranch chicken recipe only takes moments to prep and then it will cook all day in the crockpot while you are at work, enjoying family time, or out and about! No pre-planning or thawing required

    5. Chicken and Dumplings

    Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings from Scratch is the ultimate in cozy day, feel better, warm your belly, cold weather, comfort food.

    To make things easier, use our free grocery list  for this weeks recipes!

    If you enjoyed this post, you might like our previous freezer meals post here.

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  • Fostering Your Child’s Mental Health & Ways to Build a Strong Foundation

    As my son gets older and more submerged into the world around him, I often find myself hard-pressed on how well he will be able to cope. Have I prepared my child for the trials and tribulations of life that is to come? Have I implemented all the tools necessary to ensure a happy life for him? Surely I can’t guarantee his happiness, but I can give him a strong foundation for his mental health – and that could be everything.

    Children learn from the behavior modeled by the important adults in their life.

    The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a topic near and dear to my heart. And as an advocate for mental health (and a parent), it is not lost on me how influential my role is on my sons childhood mental health.

    As described in a 2013 MMWR report, mental health in childhood is characterized by “…the achievement of development and emotional milestones, healthy social development, and effective coping skills, such that mentally healthy children have a positive quality of life and can function well at home, in school, and in their communities.”

    There are many other ways to foster your child’s mental health. Here are some daily steps to keep your child as mentally healthy as possible.

    First and foremost, our children learn by example. As parents, there is so much we can offer to help nurture their mental health during the most developmental stages of their life. Here are just a few:

    1. Build Their Self-esteem

    • Be on Your Child’s Team: Regularly support and encourage your child. Make sure to praise their efforts, not their achievements, and to believe them and believe in them.
    • Let Them Learn Naturally: Promote independent learning. Have your child experience and accept the natural consequences of life and experience the benefits of positive actions as well.
    • Encourage Healthy Self-Talk: Use words of encouragement and daily affirmations. See our list of affirmations for kids here.
    • Ensure Their Sense of Belonging: Your child needs to feel like they are invited, accepted and loved. Make sure to spend family time together, play with them and remind them how valuable they are.

    2. Create a Safe and Comfortable Environment

    Provide an environment that demonstrates love, compassion, trust and understanding every day. Let your child know you are a safe place and confidant when it comes to their feelings and thoughts. Implement a predictable routine in the household, as to create a sense of stability and comfort.

    3. Establish Healthy Habits

    Make sure your child is getting enough rest, eating healthy foods and getting enough play time/exercise. Physical health is just as important.

    4. Explain Feelings and Reactions

    Listen to how your child is feeling and validate their emotions. Guide your child through big feelings and show them important coping mechanisms and ways to manage challenges (like meditation). Teach them the importance of expressing their emotions through language.

    5. Model Healthy Behavior

    Children learn from the behavior modeled by the important adults in their life – so be sure to lead by example the best strategies regarding self-care, healthy social interactions, communication and emotional stability.

    These guidelines aren’t just for children either, but are important for everyone looking to take care of their mental health! If you enjoyed this post, you might want to read this post on building your child’s confidence.

    Note: Through research, I was able to find these helpful tips on nurturing children’s mental health. If you have suggestions or advice, we would love to hear it! Comment below or email us at contact@rockitmama.com.

     

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  • Create a Summer Activity Planner – Free Printable Included!

    My son thrives on routines; the consistency not only gives him a sense of security, but it helps him to feel confident in time management as well. Creating an established routine also assists in developing important habits and life skills. Now with summer ending, I knew I needed to create some type of schedule once school ended that will carry on the steadiness in his daily activities.

    If you know me, you know I’m a planner by nature; so in one month’s time…this mama will need an agenda. This year, I decided to add a supplemental summer planner printable to go along with our Printable Family Binder Bundle and I’m so excited to share it with you!

    See what our Summer Activity Planner has inside!

    The Summer Activity Planner has 5 pages included:

    • Weekly Summer Schedule: A guideline of fun summer activities you can do with your child throughout the week.
    • Daily Summer Schedule: A timeline of suggested daily activities. Feel free to have your child choose summer bucket list ideas for their daily activity.
    • Summer Bucket List: A list of obligatory summer ideas for kids.
    • Summer Reading List: Create and track your summer reading list and then have your child rate their books!
    • Summer Chore Chart: Age appropriate chore chart for the summer.

    Image of Summer Planner BinderI printed out ours and put it into our Family Emergency Binder so we have a single place to reference all family items.

    How do you plan your daily summer activities? I’d love to hear your best tips in the comments below!



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