The Chirping Moms

October 8, 2015

Apple Crafts, Activities & Books for Kids

Did you know October is National Apple Month? Today we have some fun ways to celebrate apples with your children this month! 
1. Apple Stamps 
Supplies: apples, paper, red paint & green and brown paint, crayons or markers 
Directions: Cut the apple in half and let the child use them as stamps. Use the green & brown to add stems and leaves! 

2. Apple Tree Sponge Painting 

Supplies: Bath sponge, paper, round sponge paint brushes, red, green & brown paint
Directions: Paint a tree trunk with brown paint. Use the bath sponge in green paint to create the top of the tree. Once the green is dry, use the round sponge brush you make apples on the tree. 
3. Check out this post for more cute apple crafts! 

1. Apple Picking
Go apple picking! This is the first year we took the kids and they loved it. It was easy for them to grab low hanging apples and easy enough to pull them off when we lifted them in the air. They were so proud that they each got their own big bag to fill. 

2. Apple Taste Tests 
National Apple Month means lots of fresh apples in the stores. You can find much more of a variety of apples this time of year. It's fun to buy a few different kinds, learn the names and slice them up and have the kids do a "taste test" and vote on their favorites. You can even make it trickier, for older kids, and have them guess which apple they are tasting. 

3. Making Applesauce
Making homemade applesauce is really pretty easy. All you need it apples! We add a tiny bit of sugar and cinnamon to ours, but that's up to you. This year, I peeled the apples and let the kids help chop them up with kid friendly knives. They helped dump them all in the pot and were surprised how quickly they turned into mushy apple sauce. An alternative to making the applesauce on the stove, is to make it in a crock pot. Check out this easy recipe for details. 

Our favorite books about apples: 
1. Apple-Picking Day (Clifford Puppy Days) 
2. Max & Mo Go Apple Picking
3. Out and about at the Apple Orchard
4. Ten Apples On Top
5. Apples for Everyone
6. The Giving Tree 


October 7, 2015

Where to Wednesday: Charleston, SC

We are thrilled to have one of our favorite "traveling moms" guest posting on the blog today.  Lyla, from Globe Trotting Mommy, travels the globe with her daughter. She's a wonderful resource for all things family travel. You can follow along with her on her blog, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Today she's sharing her  "Top 10 Family Friendly Things to Experience in Charleston, South Carolina". 

Top 10 Family Friendly Things to Experience in 
Charleston, South Carolina

Southern charm, delicious meals, great shopping and family friendly attractions make Charleston, South Carolina a nice choice for a multi-generational getaway. Kids will especially enjoy the many candy, cupcake and ice cream shops and everyone will like strolling along King Street and exploring around the City Market area. My mom, daughter and I visited Charleston for four days and we packed a lot into our southern getaway. Read on for my favorite family friendly suggestions.

Family Friendly Charleston, South Carolina, Family Travel, Multi-generational travel, Girls Gone South, Pineapple Fountain, Charleston with Kids, Things to do in Charleston with kids
Girls Gone South Part 2: Family Friendly Charleston, South Carolina

Family Friendly Charleston, South Carolina, South Carolina Aquarium, Family Travel, Aquarium, Charleston with Kids,
Family Friendly Charleston, South Carolina: South Carolina Aquarium
My daughter is obsessed with dolphins and sea creatures so this waterfront aquarium was a big hit. The exhibits were very well done with several interactive displays, touch tanks and play areas. The floor-to-ceiling fish tanks towered over my daughter who ran from window to window checking out the pretty fish, sharks, turtles and other animals. The Madagascar Journey area was especially fun as children get a passport to stamp as they explore the exhibit. The aquarium is relatively small and easy to navigate in an hour or two making it a great option for families with small kids. Be sure to check out the famed Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge views from the lookout decks.
Family Friendly Charleston, South Carolina, Children's Museum of the Lowcountry, Family Travel, Charleston with kids, Children's museums
Family Friendly Charleston, South Carolina: Children's Museum of the Lowcountry
Little kids really need some unscheduled time to run around on vacation and if the weather isn't cooperating, a children's museum is always a great option. This museum is fairly large (yet uncrowded by New York standards for a rainy day) with several fun, interactive sections (a boat, a science area, a water area, an arts and crafts area, a castle, a mini-supermarket, etc.) to explore. If you ask my daughter, she will probably say this was her favorite part of our trip. Look for BOGO coupons in the visitor's guide before you go.
Family Friendly Charleston, South Carolina, Charleston Harbor Tours, boat cruise, family travel, Charleston with kids
Family Friendly Charleston, South Carolina: Charleston Harbor Tours
Sightseeing by sea is a great idea for kids of all ages. We boarded the Carolina Belle for a 90-minute narrated harbor tour which is a good way to get your bearings as you sail by Charleston and famed attractions like Fort Sumter, USS Yorktown and the stately waterfront homes on the Battery. The scenery is stunning but my daughter's favorite part were several dolphin sightings along the way.
Family Friendly Charleston, South Carolina, Palmetto Carriage Works, Family travel, Charleston with kids, Horse and Carriage, multigenerational travel
Family Friendly Charleston, South Carolina: Palmetto Carriage Works
The best way to see some of Charleston's charming neighborhoods is by foot but kids often tire of walking so we opted for a horse and carriage tour. Our driver kept us entertained as he pointed out historic sights and described the area's different neighborhoods. The one-hour tour was just long enough without boring the kids who especially enjoyed learning about the horses.
Family Friendly Charleston, South Carolina, Waterfront Park, Pineapple Fountain, Charleston with kids, family travel, multigenerational travel
Family Friendly Charleston, South Carolina: Waterfront Park and Pineapple Fountain
A trip to Charleston is not complete without a visit to the city's famed Pineapple Fountain and Waterfront Park.  You'll find several large family sized swings, grassy areas, scenic lookout points, waterfront paths and the gigantic Pineapple Fountain where tourists (and locals) are invited to wade. My daughter jumped right in and had a ball dancing around. If you like to take pictures on vacation, this is an awesome backdrop.
Family Friendly Charleston, South Carolina, The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, Charleston with kids, family travel, multigenerational travel, historic Charleston, US history
Family Friendly Charleston, South Carolina: The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon
Take in some history at this family friendly spot showcasing various aspects of Charleston's history during the Colonial and Revolutionary eras. Children and adults will enjoy the Provost Dungeon where docents lead you through its eerie confines with entertaining tales of pirates and patriots. My daughter was a little spooked by the dungeon so we spent most of our time upstairs "signing" the Declaration of Independence but older children will love it.
Since my mom is a big foodie, I booked us on a Culinary Tour with Bulldog Tours. While this 2.5 hour tour is not recommended for children under 12, my 5-year old daughter has taken foodie tours in NYC so I figured she'd be ok (I also had crayons and a coloring book just in case).  Our guide was super informative and the many shops and restaurants we stopped in were all very accommodating to our group. This was a great way to sample some of the area's famous flavors including: stone ground grits, Charleston Benne Wafers, locally made chocolates, southern pralines, sweet tea, collard greens, Lowcountry barbeque, spices, teas and more. We all had a great time and I highly recommend this if you're a foodie family.
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Family Friendly Charleston, South Carolina: Charleston Museum
This museum, founded in 1773, is relatively large with a very wide mix of historic artifacts (think Revolutionary and Civil War armory and uniforms, ancient Egypt, Rome and Greek art, dinosaur tracks, slavery badges and more), interactive exhibits, life sized animals and skeletons (and a gigantic whale bone frame) and an engaging kids section. My daughter insisted we all dress up in the hoop dresses and I loved watching her prance around like it was 1800-something. If you've got children in elementary or middle school, this is definitely a great spot to visit.
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Family Friendly Charleston, South Carolina: Getting Around Town
9) Ride the trolley and pedicabs
Charleston boasts a free downtown trolley service called DASH (Downtown Area Shuttle) which has several routes connecting to most of Charleston’s attractions. This is a great resource for traveling families since adults don't need to deal with directions or parking and kids will love riding the trolly. Once you get your bearings, it is very easy to navigate and I was so surprised by the nice, patient drivers. Another fun way to get around (especially at night) is by pedi-cab. Just have the restaurant call you one and within minutes, your chariot (and warm blanket) will whisk you right up to your hotel's front door. Now that's what I call Southern hospitality!
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Family Friendly Charleston, South Carolina: Dining in Charleston
Eat, eat, eat
Charleston has a wide range of restaurants offering everything from Southern fare and Lowcountry barbecue to high-end dining and dive-diners.  We sampled several family-friendly restaurants and I was impressed with their kids menus (featuring Hush Puppies and Charleston history word searches) and staff. Some of my favorites were Magnolias (Southern fare), Peninsula Grill (Fancy with must have Coconut Cake), Virginia's on King (Southern comfort food), Fleet Landing (classic seafood favorites with a view), Fish (innovative, high end seafood) and Dixie Supply Bakery & Cafe (casual Southern fare for breakfast and lunch).

What are your favorite family friendly spots to visit in Charleston?

October 5, 2015

Beautiful Fall Dresses for Girls {& Two Chances to Win One!}

A few months ago we featured the sweetest summer party dresses for girls. They were from Amberley London and my girls wore them to just about every summer party they could, including a special party on Labor Day weekend: Alex's 4th birthday! They were our favorite summer dresses and just as we were packing them up for the season, we received two beautiful Amberley London Fall dresses to enjoy. Once again the girls were in awe of the big, gold box they arrived in. 
Our new Fall dresses from Amberley London are gorgeous and perfect for so many fall occasions, from school to fancy parties, these dresses are so classic for little girls. These dresses would be perfect for holiday pictures! 
Here's a little more about this beautiful brand of dresses:
Amberley London is a luxury childrenswear line for girls aged 1 to 12 years. The brand evokes charm and launched exclusively through Barney’s New York in Fall/Winter 2013. You can also order the entire line of dresses on their website, 
As always, Amberley London's Fall dresses have carefully edited colour and beautiful texture.  The girls have the Regent St. dresses. The fabric for these dresses come from the same mill that supplies the tweeds for Chanel.  The dresses are gorgeous and very classic looking. 
The heart of this brand is the talented designer Becca Curreen’s ability to find and combine truly special fabrics, like this fabulous tweed from the same mills as Chanel.  She says, “I believe in simple, styled-in elegance and allowing the beauty of the fabric to shine." She also says "I think there’s a real joy we share when our children look and feel special.” Maggie and Alex certainly feel very special when they wear their Amberley London dresses.  I also know these are dresses we'll save and pass on in our family. 
Now for the giveaway:  This week TWO lucky winners will receive a dress from Amberley London (retail $215.00). Each winner will receive a Regent St. Dress: the style Maggie & Alex are pictured in above. The winner may choose the size of their choice from size 2-8 (based on availability). You can enter using the Rafflecopter below. Good luck everyone! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 4, 2015

Books, Toys and Activities for Kids That Love Dogs

My kids love dogs. Maggie can name more dog breeds than I can and runs right to the non-fiction, dog area of the library as soon as we get there. Both Maggie and Alex spend time everyday playing with their toy dogs or pretending to be dogs. Even Tommy has caught on and although he can't say any real words yet, if you ask him what a dog says, he "woofs". Perhaps our love of dogs comes from having our sweet dog Jersey around. Below are some of our favorite dog books, toys and activities. Enjoy, fellow dog lovers! 

10 Books for Kids That Love Dogs

Harry the Dirty Dog 
This Book Just Ate My Dog
If You Give A Dog A Donut 
The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto 
National Geographic Little Kids Look and Learn: Dogs
Service Dogs (Dog Heroes Series - we get these at the library)
How to Talk to Your Dog
Biscuit Series (we love Biscuit & the Baby, Biscuit Visits the Big City, & Biscuit Goes to School)
Clifford (we love Big Leaf Pile, Clifford Good Deeds & Clifford's Birthday Party)  
Ultimate Sticker Book: Puppy


1.  Paw Patrol
"No job is too big, no pup is too small"! Do your kids enjoy watching Paw Patrol? It's my kids' favorite show and we were thrilled to see the toys come out. There are so many cute Paw Patrol toys now and they are perfect for boys and girls. The girls were eager to collect the different pups and recently got the amazing Paw Patroller rescue vehicle. This giant truck is big enough for all 3 of my kids to play at once. The girls spend hours setting up their dogs on the Paw Patroller and creating pretend rescues. Even though the truck is about double the size of Tommy, he spends hours pushing it around the house. This is a great holiday gift for a Paw Patrol fan! 

2. Puppy In My Pocket
I remember Puppy in my Pocket from when I was a kid. I was so excited to see that they are back! There are so many different dog breeds represented now and all of them come with a cute name. My girls love that they have "soft fur". Some of the tiny pups attach to a bracelet. Maggie wears her to school everyday. Alex loves the little purse with pockets in it for the puppies. Both girls sit and set the dogs up in their Pretty Pet Palace all the time. Collecting more of these puppies is on the top of Maggie and Alex's Christmas list. 

3. Puppy Surprise 
This is another toy I remember from years back! My girls got a Puppy Surprise last Christmas and it's definitely a toy they play with all the time. They recently got the new dog, Candy, that comes with a puppy that makes real puppy sounds. 

4. Schleich Dogs and Puppies
Schleich makes the most realistic dog and puppy figurines. The have so many breeds and often you can find sets of dogs and puppies when Schleich is on Zulily.

5. Melissa & Doug Stuffed Dogs
Realistic, snuggly dogs in so many cute breeds. These are on my girls' Christmas list! 

1. Paper Bag Puppy Dog Puppet
Supplies: Brown paper bag, white, pink, brown and black construction paper, marker
Directions: Cut out the puppy parts in the different colors shown. Have the child glue them onto the paper bag to create a cute little puppy puppet! 
2. Make Your Own Dog Ears 
Supplies: Headband, felt, glue or tape
Directions: Find an old headband (or use any headband and tape on the ears vs glueing so you can remove them). Cut animal ears out of felt: puppy ears, cat, elephant, etc. Glue the ears to the headband & you have an instant animal costume! Sometimes we even draw on a matching animal face with face paint. 
3. Paper Dog Treats 
If your kids love playing with their cuddly, pretend stuffed dogs, they will get a kick out of making them their very own dog treats. We used a wood dog bone shape for the kids to trace, but you could also use a bone shaped cookie cutter or just draw them yourself. The kids cut out the bones, colored them, wrote messages like "good dog" and then used them to "train" their stuffed dogs. This is a great cutting practice activity too! 
To note: All clothes and shoes pictured in post are from FabKids, one of our favorite places for kids' clothes. This fall, they are on point with the perfect fun, comfortable styles for kids. My girls love their dresses and leggings and their "animal print" boots from FabKids are their favorites this fall. For more info on FabKids and why we love this brand, check out this post: Friday Favorites FabKids. 

October 2, 2015

Favorite Book Picks for Babies & Toddlers

Now that the big kids are back in school, we have a few moments that we can focus on our little ones again!  Today, we are talking all things babies and toddlers.  Hooray for the babies of the families!

Life for them is all about play, play, & more play.  From the moment that sun rises until the moment the sun sets, these little ones are on the go.  With all their movement, I am always on the hunt for high quality play clothes that are comfortable and cute.  Both Courtney & I have shopped Tea Collection for years and it continually is one of my favorite places to find kids' clothes that will last.  One of my favorite picks from Tea Collection's fall clothes is the purple pony dress because Abby is "all about the ponies" right now.  I paired it with the simple solid leggings & absolutely love the Chambray Vest that layers over top of it.  These clothes are easy to mix and match with other items in her closet & are a great addition to her fall wardrobe.

For boys, Tea Collection has so many great mix and match styles. Their tees and pants are super soft, so baby can look stylish but still stay comfy like a baby should. Tea Collection also has some of the best one piece, romper outfits for babies. I'd like a waffle romper in adult size to wear on chilly fall days! Tommy's favorite, snuggly fall item: Tea's Little Gaucho Geo Hooded Cardigan! 

Now we all love playing & chasing our little ones, but even more we all crave "sleepy" time.  After our kids play & play & play, it's time for some very important sleep!  I absolutely love the pajamas from Tea Collection because they are just super super soft.  

With a few cuddles, lots of fun bedtime stories, & of course a little good-night kiss, our little ones are off to dreamland and we can finally sit back and relax.  Today, Courtney & I wanted to share some of our fun books for toddlers and for babies.  Check out some of our favorite finds below!
15 Favorite Books for Toddlers: 

Favorite Books for Young Children || The Chirping Moms

Little Owl's Day : Divya Srinivasan
Oh No, George! : Chris Haughton
Goodnight Already! : Jory John
You Are Not Small : Anna Kang
The Watermelon Seed : Greg Pizzoli
Llama Llama Red Pajama : Anna Dewdney
Purple Little Bird : Greg Foley
Potty : Leslie Patricelli
The Very Cranky Bear : Nick Bland
Grumpy Bird : Jeremy Tankard
Top 10 Favorite Baby Books: 
The Going to Bed Book
Where Is Baby's Belly Button
Little Blue Truck
On the Night You Were Born 
Goodnight Moon
Pat the Bunny
Peek A Who 
Animals: Baby Touch & Feel (& others in this series)
That's Not My Monkey (& others in this series)


October 1, 2015

The Busy Box

If you have kids & don't have one of these, make one.  It's super easy, trust me.
Create A Busy Box for Kids || The Chirping Moms
What is it?  It's what I would call a Busy Box.  Get a box.  It can be a pretty box or basket like this or it could be one of the many that you get in the mail (please tell me I'm not the only one with loads of empty Amazon boxes).  Fill the box with anything & everything that can keep your kids busy.

I just recently made one of these & now we use it daily.  I actually filled a basket like this when I was out of town for several days, trying to make sure that my mom always had something to keep the kids busy.  Little did I know, I should have made one of these years ago.  It has come in handy while making dinner, packing lunches, & even vacuuming.  What's in this Busy Box?  Below I have several ideas, but keep it simple and easy for kids to do on their own.  Also, rotate the items in and out of the box so the kids don't get bored.

Create A Busy Box for Kids || The Chirping Moms
The Busy Box Fillers
$1 Store Goodies
Small Craft Sets from Craft Store
Coloring Pads/Books & Crayons
I Spy Bag
Leapfrog LeapReader & Books
Paper & Markers
Lacing Cards
Workbooks & Reading Books
Color Wonder
Water WOW books
Make Your Own Busy Bag Sets
Small Toys (stored in Ziploc)
Me Reader Sets
Dry Erase Board & Markers
Reusable Sticker Pad
Dry Erase Activity Center
Teddy Bear Counters

So if you are looking for something to do on a rainy fall day, this is it.  Create a busy box, it will help save your sanity.

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