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Saturday 31 August 2019

A Summer of Exploration with Galileo

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Galileo Camps.

Summer Break has come to an end for another year and that means it's time to...

...start planning ahead for next Summer Break! 

What? Already? Yes!

This Summer Break was pretty hectic for us but we made sure to squeeze in a couple of weeks of Summer camp among all of the moving madness and our trip back to Australia. Despite how busy we were, it was important to me that the kids have a little normalcy and something special just for them during all the change. Plus, it got them out of the apartment while I was busy packing. Ha! Everybody wins!

Anyway, one of our very favorite Summer camps is Galileo. Ava has been going for the past three years and has always had a fabulous time. This year Lola joined her big sister for her first ever Summer camp experience. They both had a blast and learned new skills at the same time. 

Galileo camps are structured in a way that maximizes both the fun and the learning opportunities for kids of all ages, from incoming kindergarteners through to eighth grade. The younger kids (Pre-K to 5th grade) take part in Camp Galileo, a traditional Summer camp with science, art and outdoor activities focused on a fun weekly theme. The older kids (5th to 8th grade) take part in Galileo Summer Quest, a specialized camp focusing on a single major based on varying interests including drones, YouTube production, robotics and, Ava's choice this year, cooking. Both camps foster creativity and team work while teaching the kids important skills and boosting their confidence. The camps look so fun I wish I could sign up for myself! Summer camp for adults... wouldn't that be great?

Let's take a look at Ava's week at camp first...

This year, Ava's major for Galileo Summer Quest was Chefology: Decadent Desserts. As you can imagine, she spent her week learning how to make deliciously sweet treats. Seriously, this was the best camp ever as she brought something home to share pretty much every day! She learned how to make sugar cookies with royal icing, sweet crepes, ice cream sundaes (made with home made ice cream and sauces) and delicious fruit pies. She also learned important skills such as how to read and write recipes, how to accurately measure ingredients and how to use various pieces of kitchen equipment. It did wonders for building her confidence in the kitchen. The kids worked in teams as well as on their own throughout the week and came together on the last day to make a delicious presentation for family members. We were treated to sugar cookies, crepes and pies, and I've got to say, they all tasted delicious.   

Lola's week at camp was based on the theme Expedition Everest. This theme was carried across all parts of her day at camp including her art and science classes. In art class Lola worked on creating a Nepalese style puppet from paper mache, fabric and various craft materials. She kept her puppet's identity a secret all week, so it was a nice surprise to meet "Mr Whiskers" her purple cat puppet on the last day of camp. Mr Whisker's arms move about and Lola was pretty excited to show me that he can even dab! A very important skill for any puppet! Along with her creative work during art class, Lola put her imagination to work in science class creating a mountain rescue robot prototype. With popsicle sticks, foam, plastic tubing, lots of hot glue and a syringe she created a walking rescue robot designed to scale the heights of Mount Everest to rescue trapped hikers.

Along with their set curriculum, both Ava and Lola took part in plenty of fun outdoor activities including fun games and plenty of free play time. There were daily spirit days (dress in your team color, Galileo spirit day etc) with the highlight being Water Day in which the kids took part in all sorts of fun activities that left them dripping from head to toe!

As I've already mentioned, the girls had a fantastic time at Galileo again this Summer. Ava's confidence in her cooking skills grew immensely and Lola became much more independent after her first week of Summer camp. Lola had been a little nervous about not knowing anyone in her group at first, but even after the first day I could see that her independence and confidence had grown, which is just what she needed with the move to a new school coming up.

At the end of their week at camp the girls both received certificates from their team leaders and a pin to attach to their name tag lanyard. Lola was pretty excited to come home with the Galileo rubber chicken pin (for first year campers) and Ava added another badge to her collection.

Galileo camps really are a special place for kids. The curriculum is fantastic, from both the parents' and kids' perspective, and the staff really are the best. The staff work hard to make all the kids feel welcome and to create a fun atmosphere while keeping everyone safe at the same time. They do such a great job, and I was happy to recognize plenty of faces among the camp leaders from previous years.

To learn more about Galileo camps and to find a camp near you head on over to https://galileo-camps.com/

Tuesday 13 August 2019

Back to School Sleep with Natrol

Dislcaimer: This post is sponsored by Natrol but the content and opinions expressed here are my own. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 
The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any diseases.

Yesterday I shared everything we've been up to over the past few months, including our busy Summer break with our trip to Australia, moving to Colorado and our big road trip. Now that that's all come to an end there's one thing on my mind - and no doubt on the kids' minds. The new school year! 

Ah, the start of a new school year. It's always a time of year that's part exciting, part terrifying and a whole lot of tiring - for everyone involved! This year the emotions are extra big with all three kids starting at new schools in a new city and state, as well as Mathilde moving up from preschool to "big kid" school. All three kids go back to school this week (on different days!) and in the lead up we've had all sorts of school events, appointments and lots of back to school shopping. 

Among the pencils, markers, binders, crayons, new shoes and backpacks on my back to school list, I had another must have for the kids - and myself - this year. Sleep! Ok, so I can't actually buy sleep, but I can help my kids out with natural ways to promote a good night's sleep, which is so essential at this busy time of year.

After our recent trip to Australia the kids were hit with pretty bad jet lag. They were pretty good on the way to Australia (the time difference meant they were going to bed earlier and waking at a decent time) but when we got home their sleep was all over the place. Mathilde was up wide awake until 2am two nights in a row! Eek! Luckily help came in the form Natrol Kids Melatonin gummies. 

I'd taken melatonin myself in the past to help combat jet lag so I was excited to find that my favorite brand had released this gently formulated product made specifically for kids. Along with adjusting their schedules, the melatonin worked a treat and I soon found the kids not only falling asleep more easily, but waking so much more rested too. After a few days they were over their jet lag and back to their usual selves. 

But then I let their night time schedules slide! It has been Summer break after all, and I've been so busy with the move and settling into out new house that I haven't been as strict with bed times as I should be. The kids have been up late, they've been Facetiming friends in California way past bedtime, and they've had more than a little too much YouTube in the evenings. Not the best at any time, but especially not so in the lead up to starting school.

With the kids needing to adjust their sleeping patterns again in anticipation of the new school year (and their much earlier start times) I was reminded of their jet lagged days last month and how helpful Natrol Melatonin had been. Along with simple techniques Natrol Kids Melatonin has become a temporary part of our night time routine in the lead up to school going back this week.

Each night we've been creeping bed time slightly earlier, we've been limiting screen time, we've been reading together in their snuggly new beds, and the kids have been taking one Natrol Kids Melatonin gummy right before brushing teeth and jumping into bed. These changes combined have helped the kids get the much needed rest they need for the busy days ahead. And with school starting an hour earlier than what they've been used to in the past, trust me, they need all the rest they can get!

Are your kids struggling with getting enough sleep after the long Summer break? Along with taking a safe and effective melatonin supplement there are plenty of things you can do to help them get the rest they need. 

Here are some of my favorites:

Get active outside! Playing outside and staying active is not just great for keeping little bodies fit and healthy, it helps with their sleep too. Playing outside in the afternoon or maybe an after dinner family walk is a great way to tire kids out. With our new backyard the kids have been spending a lot of time outside, but even when were living in an apartment we made sure to get outside to play everyday and we went for lots of walks.

Create a cosy sleep environment. In our old apartment the kids shared one room which also doubled as their place and homework space. It wasn't the most most ideal sleep environment, but we made the best of the limited space. In our new house I've been able to give the girls their own spaces and have had them help set up their rooms with their favorite blankets, books and snuggly toys. My girls all sleep rather hot, so airflow from windows and ceiling fans has made a huge difference. Creating an environment where they feel comfortable is great for helping kids to enjoy bed time.

Limit screen time. I'll admit it, this is where I struggle the most. All three of my kids love playing games like Minecraft, and with all their friends either interstate or overseas, their electronic devices are how they keep in touch. This has been especially hard with our recent move as they're yet to make new friends here. Limiting screen time makes a huge difference at bed time though, so I'm working on being stricter with this one. 

Create a night time routine. Most parents understand the importance of a night time routine for their children when they're young babies, but maintaining a routine throughout the school years is just as important. Whether it be books at bed time, an evening walk before bed or a warm bath, find what works for your kids and stick with it. My kids love baths before bedtime, but they often get a little excited playing in the tub. A few drops of a calming lavender oil or a lavender body wash helps. I also spritz their pillows with a lavender spray and use an essential oil roller on their chests when they get into bed.

Don't forget that parents need restful sleep too! The adjustment to the new school year can be tough on kids, but don't forget to look after yourself too. Those early morning starts are just as hard for me as they are for the kids. Actually, given that I'm waking up before everyone else to get everything ready for the day, I think I'll go as far as to say that they're harder on me! It's not just the early morning starts either. Laying in bed at night thinking about all the things I need to be doing prevents me from falling asleep. I've been taking Natrol Melatonin at night myself too and it has really helped me fall asleep, stay asleep and wake rested. Oh, and they come in gummy form for grown ups too! 

Don't forget to add Natrol Kids Melatonin to your back to school shopping list! It comes in both gummies and fast dissolve tablets, is recommended for children ages four and up, and is 100% drug free and non-habit forming.  It's also vegetarian friendly, non-GMO and free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.

For more information and to download a coupon to save visit natrol.com

Catching Up...


I'm still here!

I know it's been an awfully long time since I last posted (probably the longest gap ever between posts), but while it's been very quiet here on Little Hiccups, it has been anything but in real life.

Between the end of the school year, packing up our lives in Berkeley, our trip to Australia, Summer camps for the kids, our road trip to Colorado, living out of hotels (and an empty house) for weeks, and now the daunting task of unpacking, things have been pretty crazy for our family! On top of that we've had flaky internet and I've had no access to my real computer, Lightroom and all my photos until now, so blogging and social media have gone out the window.

Boy, do I have a lot of things to update you all on!

I really should be unpacking boxes (and folding the massive amount of paper that were wrapped around everything) but I'm going to take a break to give a quick update on the last month. Or, rather, a long update because I'm really not good when it comes to keeping things brief - and I really don't want to go back to unpacking!

Let's go back and look at the last few months...

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