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Overwhelmed Mom? Learn How I’ve Changed and You Can Too

Overwhelmed Mom

For years I was an overwhelmed mom.

After I had my children I felt so much guilt around not doing “enough” and not being “enough”.

As a mom who works outside the home, I struggled constantly with feeling like I wasn’t spending enough quality time with my children during those few precious hours in the evenings.

I was so tired of feeling this way so I created a simple way to slow down, take a breath, and create those quality moments I felt like I was missing, and you can too.

 

The first step is simple and easy. Sit down to read together and explore small creative activities connected to the things you read.

It doesn’t have to be complicated! I will help guide you through the process and give you step-by-step activity ideas.

Are you the Mom of a Preschooler?

I invite you to read along with “Olivia’s Acts of Kindness” – a free story sent to you by e-mail and personalized with your child’s first name.

This story is the perfect way to make reading with your preschooler fun and interesting PLUS the story encourages new skills, like empathy and kindness.

Overwhelmed Mom

So forget about the overwhelm and sign up below to get your story.

No More Overwhelmed Mom – Take the first, simple step to feeling more connected to your littles today.

Screen Free Time: Activities, Tips & Inspiration

Screen Free Family

Why Screen Free Time?

Becoming a mother seems to have successfully brought out every ounce of guilt that’s in my pores.

Do you feel the same?  It’s like no matter what…..BOOM, there’s the guilt, lurking around every corner just waiting for me.

I banned the word “busy” from my vocabulary and spent the past few years simplifying our lives, and I feel like things are so. much. better.

but there were still a lot of days when I wasn’t taking the time to CONNECT with my children.  
I felt like I wasn’t getting that QUALITY time with them (especially on weeknights).

Evening hours with my family are SUPER important to me, but, they are also my HARDEST time of day.
In addition to everyone being tired after a long day, my husband and I are also attempting to prepare a healthy meal and all sit down at the table together.

There’s A Time For Screens 

Screens play a really important role in our world.  I believe there are many benefits of using screens, such as:

  • helping with homework (games and apps for math, science and reading)
  • learning about the world
  • staying connected with family and friends

However I feel that balance and moderation are the keys to success with screens and screen time in general.  Not just for my children but also for MYSELF (and changing our own habits is always the hardest part, right?)

Screen Free Time Is For The Whole Family

I don’t know about you, but when I’m tired, I find it so hard to be creative, and it’s so easy to just go the simple route and turn on the TV for the kids, or mindlessly stare at the glowing screen on my phone, because then I don’t have to think….or do….or feel.

It’s EASY, but most of the time it doesn’t FEEL right, and out creeps that guilt again.

So, I came up with a plan.

I decided that the solution is to make screen free time easy for myself and my family and turn screen free time into a routine.  No thinking.  Very little preparation.

We have chosen to have screen free time in the afternoons when we get home (I have lots of activity suggestions below), and also plan special “screen free days” on the weekend (about once a month or so) where we can focus on spending time together as a family.

Watch Alison’s 4 Tips for Screen Free Time For The Whole Family

Planning Your Screen Free Time: Summary

1. Put It In The Calendar
Having set times for screen free activities helps makes it easier to follow-through and be consistent with your screen-free schedule.

2. Prepare Your Children In Advance

Talking about your screen free time in advance can really help your children be prepared and prevent negative attitude around screen free activities. I prep my 7 and 3 year old to know when screens will and won’t be allowed.

3. Make A Plan

Make screen free time FUN! Plan fun activities and things to do together as a family.  See some of my suggestions below.

4. Tell Important People About Your Screen Free Time

I encourage everyone in the family to be screen free and that includes phones.  If there are people who might be trying to reach you during your family time, it’s a great idea to let them know in advance “hey, I won’t have my phone nearby on Sundays because it’s family time…if you need to reach me in an emergency, do X”

 

Screen Free Time For Kids: Activity Ideas

  1. Go for a Family Walk or Hike – My children LOVE exploring.  It’s so easy, and doesn’t cost a thing.  Find some nature near you and explore.  I am always amazed at how much learning my daughter does while we are hiking (leadership, safety, counting, observing, wellness and more!)
  2. Build Together with Legos or Blocks
  3. Play Board Games – some family-recommended games for younger children include Trouble, Uni, Connect 4, and Guess Who.
  4. Do Age-Appropriate Puzzles Together
  5. Go To The Playground or a nearby Park
  6. Build A Fort
  7. Try A Science Experiment
  8. Go To The Library – bonus, find out if your local library has a free storytime.  We love going to our local library
  9. Make homemade cards or write a kindness note
  10. Bake or cook together – even really young children love to be “kitchen helpers”
  11. Visit friends
  12. Make your own play dough
  13. Play dress up and use your imagination
  14. Make puppets or shadow puppets
  15. Make a collaborative family painting – have everyone paint on the same piece of paper or canvas
  16. Read together
  17. Paint Faces
  18. Look at Family Photos Together – my children love to look at our photo albums and at their baby pictures
  19. Help Out Around the House – my 3 year old loves helping with laundry and my 7 year old loves helping with cleaning (squirt/spray bottle fun), if they ENJOY doing tasks, let them help!
  20. Have a fancy tea party
  21. Make a Craft
  22. Plant Some Seeds
  23. Take Silly Photos of Each Other
  24. Go To Your Local Farmer’s Market
  25. Build Something From A Cardboard Box – use your imagination – a house, a car, a spaceship – the sky is the limit!

 

Screen Free Time Tools & Resources

I created Petit Mail story postcards as a way to slow down, take a breath and create those quality moments with my child that I felt I was missing. It’s a simple and fun way to start focusing on screen free time with your preschooler.

Book:  The Joy of Missing Out by Christina Crook

 

Screen Free Time

Learn About Newfoundland and Labrador – For Kids – Personalized Mail For Kids

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Newfoundland and Labrador For Kids

Introducing a wonderful way to learn about Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada’s most Eastern Province.  Send happy snail mail to a special child in your life and join Oliver as he explores the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in this special letter.

Made for kids ages 6 and up, Oliver teaches us more about the world, geography, culture, and also builds reading skills through his letter.

Petit Mail is created by Newfoundland and Labrador entrepreneur Alison Butler.  Alison was born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland and is a mom of 2 young children, ages 3 and 7.

“Newfoundland and Labrador is such a fascinating and magical place.  I LOVE sharing stories and information about my home Province with others when I travel and feel so proud to call the island of Newfoundland my home”.

Learn About Newfoundland and Labrador

The original Petit Mail story postcard line (available as a subscription) is designed for preschoolers ages three – early reader but customers love the idea of snail mail for the children in their life and keep asking for something for older children.

“I saw this as the perfect opportunity to share more about my home Province with children around the world, and to encourage parents to dive in and explore new things with their children.  My daughter would love this, and I always use that as a starting point when I’m creating a product.

If we received this letter in the mail, we would look Newfoundland and Labrador up on a map and look for pictures and videos online.  We would ask questions like, what animals live there? what’s the music like?  I wonder why so many houses are painted in bright colours?
It’s amazing to be able to explore the world right from our home.

Learn About Newfoundland and Labrador For Kids

Letter From Newfoundland and Labrador Product Features:

  • This letter is ideal for ages 6 and up.
  • This letter is personalized “Dear [Your Child’s Name]”
  • Printed on 8.5 x 11 inch paper (standard letter)
  • Full colour, double sided letter from Petit Mail character Oliver
  • Mailing in a bright, coloured envelope addressed to your child
  • Sibling names are added to the letter and envelope at no additional charge, please include all names at checkout.

send a letter

Your Letter From Newfoundland and Labrador can be mailed anywhere in the world.  It’s a fun and affordable way to introduce a whole new generation to the JOY of snail mail.

With so much of our days filled with technology, it is a wonderful treat to receive real paper mail and connect with each other in a fun and easy way.

There’s something for younger snail mail lovers too!

A shorter version of the letter is available as a story postcard for younger children up to age 5.
It is age appropriate with simple words and shorter sentences.

Learn About Newfoundland and Labrador For Kids

“Oliver Visits Newfoundland and Labrador Story Postcard”

  • This postcard is designed for preschool – age 5.
  • Printed on 5 x 7 inch cardstock paper (sturdier for little hands)
  • Full colour, double sided story postcard about Petit Mail character Oliver.
  • Mailing in a bright, coloured envelope addressed to your child
  • Sibling names are added to the envelope at no additional charge, please include all names at checkout.

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Younger subscribers who enjoy their story postcard from Newfoundland and Labrador might also love a Petit Mail subscription.

Learn more about Alison and the story behind the Petit Mail brand here.

 

Connection

If I asked you, “what’s your favourite moment with your child”…what would you say?
I asked myself this question earlier today and it brought up all kinds of emotions, because you know what?

I wasn’t sure of the answer.

I have a vision in my mind of the mom I want to be…some days I’m close to that vision. A lot of other days I’m nowhere near it, and that’s ok.

I don’t want anything much, really – it seems simple. 
Or. maybe it’s the hardest thing of all, I’m not sure.

I want to feel relaxed.
I want to feel present.
I want to engage with him and laugh with him and grow with him. Grow together.
It sounds so simple. and it can be.
It can be.

I created Petit Mail story postcard subscriptions to help us hold on to those moments of connection while our kids are still little.

To create moments where we get excited to find special mail in our mailbox.
Moments where we snuggle and I rest my chin on his head and we read together.

To inspire uncomplicated creative projects that we can do together on a rainy day, or when he says “mommy, will you play with me?” 

Projects that teach him through playful learning.

One Year.
12 Monthly Story Postcards.
Unlimited Connection.

Your Presence is the Best Present.

Order Your Subscription Here-2

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Learn More

 

Kids Preschool Subscription Canada

Kids Preschool Subscription Canada

Petit Mail: Kids Preschool Subscription Canada

“I started looking for a preschool subscription when my daughter NJ was two and a half and loved walking with me to our community mailbox.  As a lover of snail mail, I started looking for the “perfect” snail mail subscription for her to enjoy.  I wanted something bright and fun, with beautiful illustrations, a short story, a way for me to connect and engage with her.  Most importantly, I wanted something affordable, without large shipping fees. I couldn’t find quite the right thing, and because of this, I started the work to bring my idea to life!

Over the past few years I’ve worked hard to create a preschool subscription that I believe is affordable and accessible to everyone. When you order a Petit Mail story postcard subscription, I still get excited and do a little dance of joy.  Each and every time.” – Alison

 

Petit Mail is a bright, fun, affordable snail mail story postcard subscription for kids ages three to early reader.

Preschool Subscription - Petit Mail

Discover The JOY of Snail Mail

Petit Mail is the fun way to introduce a new generation to the joy of snail mail.  Created and written by Canadian mom and entrepreneur Alison Butler, each story postcard is packaged, stamped and addressed by hand.

Every month, your Petit Mail story postcard arrives in your mailbox in a bright, colourful envelope, and is, most importantly, addressed with your child’s first name.
Being able to see their name in print is so wonderful, because children love finding something just for them in their mailbox.

There is always something new to discover!
Some months you might find an extra stamp or doodle on your envelope and your mail is sealed with coloured tape.

Kids Preschool Subscription Canada

We want you to receive a durable, quality product, so each month story postcards are:

(+) full colour, double-sided, because we want you to get the most from a 5×7 inch postcard!
(+) printed on thick, quality cardstock that is not easily ripped. This is especially important for little hands.
(+) packaged in bright, fun colourful envelopes featuring stamps, embossing & tape, because we think all of the little details are important to the snail mail experience.
(+) most importantly, some months include little extras, like stickers and other goodies, because who doesn’t love a fun little surprise?

Learn more about Alison and the story behind Petit Mail story postcards here.

 Preschool Subscription - Petit Mail Story Postcards

How A Petit Mail Preschool Subscription Works

Order: 

Choose from CanadaUSA, or International delivery address subscription options.
Ideal for ages three to early reader.

Receive:

Check the mailbox together regularly, talk & connect, explore your surroundings.  Petit Mail story postcards arrive in your mailbox once per month.

Read & Play Together:

Read along with four diverse characters Olivia, Audrey, Milo and Oliver.  Traditional subscriptions rotate through a different character each month, or you can “choose your own” option to receive story postcards from just one of the characters. Read your story card and use the monthly adventure as inspiration for family time activities.  Spark your child’s imagination and encourage creative play. Oliver is putting on a puppet show?  You can too!

Petit Mail story postcard themes include: art, writing, science, engineering, nature, reading, and creativity. Most of all, your postcards encourage imaginative play, all at an age-appropriate level.

Preschool Subscription : Petit Mail Story Postcards

Purchase A Petit Mail Subscription

With so much of our days filled with technology, it is a wonderful treat to receive real paper mail.

Give your child the gift of a monthly snail mail surprise.
Petit Mail provides something to look forward to receiving together and encourages quality time together as a family.

Canadian and US subscriptions cost $7 per month and all prices INCLUDE postage. International subscriptions are also available.

It’s fun, affordable, and gives you a unique way to spend quality time with your kids. Read together and let your story card inspire new ideas and new ways to play!

Preschool Subscription

Want To Try Petit Mail First?

I’ve created this special e-story postcard just for you. Olivia’s Acts of Kindness will be sent to your inbox, addressed to your child’s first name.
In this story, Olivia creates random acts of kindness for others in her life. A wonderful way to experience Petit Mail and encourage a spirit of kindness and generosity.

Sample Story Postcard

What will your random act of kindness be? 

5 Easy Ways To Make Learning FUN This Summer

Summer is almost here (or if you are lucky, it has already arrived!)

For me, Summer is a time to really slow things down and be more present.  I’ve been thinking about Summer and the ways we can all still enjoy the slower pace, with a little bit of learning thrown in for good measure!

It’s going to be FUN!

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1. Take part in the Kids Summer Postcard Exchange

Postcards are an easy and fun way for kids to exchange snail mail.  Come on over to the International Kids Pen Pal group and match up with another parent to exchange a postcard this Summer.  I’m super excited about this one – we can’t wait to match up with families around the world, and send and receive some postcards!

3 month summer

2. Try a 3 month Petit Mail Story Postcard Subscription

Keep learning exciting with a fun story postcard arriving in your mailbox for June, July and August.

3 month subscriptions for Canada and the US are $21 (approximately $16 US) including postage.  International 3 month subscriptions are $24.

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3. Write a Letter to a Grandparent or Friend

Find someone in your life who would love to receive snail mail from your child (and who is likely to write back). Work on writing a letter and sending a drawing, painting, photographs in the mail.

This site has a great resource for teaching children how to properly address an envelope.

If you are looking for fun stationery sets for kids, check out these sets and digital downloads

 

4. Make a Summer Bucket List

Every Summer, NJ and I write a list of fun things that she wants to do.  We get a very short Summer season here, so we have to make the most of it!

Her wish list is always so simple, beautiful and filled with childhood wonder.  Things like:

  • go to the playground
  • pick flowers
  • have a picnic
  • buy an ice cream from the ice cream truck
  • run through the sprinkler

I’ll be sharing things from our list on Facebook and Instagram, so be sure to follow along.

My tip: Don’t forget to include some library outings on your Summer bucket list. Reading is such a great way to start or end Summer days, and great for a rainy day activity.

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We are talking about book recommendations in the private group Pre-school Kids Reading Club (3-6) – join us over there for even more Summer Reading action.

 

5. Be Present For Your Kids

I’m making a pact with myself this Summer.  No screen time for me between the time I come home from work and the time the kids go to bed.  I’m going to have my kids help me stay accountable.

It’s Summer – we’ve got postcards and books and bucket lists to get to.

Here are some of my tips for successfully planning a screen-free weekend at home.

I’m planning some more Facebook live videos to talk about ways I’ve simplified, tried to cut down on the screen time, and more.  I’d love to have you with me.

 

Preschool Reading Club

Preschool Reading

Welcome to the Preschool Reading Club. One of my favourite things to do is share books that we enjoy reading at home, so I decided to create a preschool reading group for parents where we can share book ideas & recommendations specifically for our preschoolers and early readers.

Every week (or so, because..life) I’ll share pictures, or short video reviews of books that we are reading from both our home collection AND the library.

Preschool Reading

 

Let’s Connect

I’m Alison, a preschool mom, and I’d love to have you join us in the group.  Some reasons why I absolutely love sharing book ideas and inspiration with others:

  1. I’m a mom with 2 small children, a full time job and a part time business – sharing great reads helps to make my life easier, and who doesn’t want to make their life a little bit easier?
  2. I love to gift books.  My children receive books for almost every occasion, and I also gift books to my nieces.
  3. It’s great to have new things to look for, or request, when we go to the library.
  4. It helps me find our next great read!

If you have found your way to this page, I don’t think I need to talk about all the ways reading with your children in amazing.
Reading is the ONLY time my 3 year old son sits still during the day.  Once we settle down for our bedtime reading, I swear he could stay there, snuggled into me forever (and I probably wouldn’t mind!)

So what are you waiting for?

Join The Preschool Reading Club

If you follow along with my IG feed, or the YouTube channel, you will already know that I love sharing my book suggestions and recommendations.

In the Preschool Reading Club we will have more space for discussion and for you to share your book choices as well, PLUS I’ll be sharing some freebies and hosting Petit Mail giveaways as well from time to time!  Pop over to join the club, and I’ll see you there.

Preschool Reading

Discover The JOY of Snail Mail

Subscription For Kids

Petit Mail is the fun way to introduce a new generation to the joy of snail mail.  Created and written by mom and entrepreneur Alison Butler, each story postcard is packaged, stamped and addressed by hand.

 

Every month, your Petit Mail story postcard arrives in your mailbox in a bright, colourful envelope, addressed with your child’s first name.  There is always something new to discover!

 

Learn More About Petit Mail Story Postcards Here

Non-Toy Gifts For Kids – Inspiring Creativity and Imagination

Lately I have been inspired by Non-Toy Gifts for kids.
Feel like your home is drowning in children’s toys?
It seems like many of the conversations I have with other moms are about getting rid of STUFF.
Non-Toy Gifts For Kids
I don’t know about you, but my kids don’t need much.
They play happily for hours with the simplest of things – what they really want is for someone to engage and interact with them.
There are other posts out there with non-toy gift ideas for kids, but they all seem really generic, like “a zoo membership”.
I wanted to come up with some really practical, creative non-toy ideas that are a little more specific.
I hope you find these ideas inspiring, and use some for your own gifting this year.

5 Non-Toy Gifts:  Ideas and Inspiration For Kids

 

Non-Toy Gift 1: New Outfit Experience

Take the special child in your life shopping for a new outfit.  The important part here is that you make it an experience that you do TOGETHER.  I do this with my daughter every year for her birthday and it’s so much fun! We go to a store and she gets to pick out a brand new outfit, but we turn the shopping day into an experience.  I think this would work well with nieces and nephews, grandchildren, and even close family friends!

Non-Toy Gift 2: A New Sleeping Bag and a Flashlight

Does this seem like a strange gift idea to you? We use our sleeping bags for camping together as a family BUT our children also LOVE using their sleeping bags when they play pretend, when they build forts and when we watch movies together during family time.  In my experience, this is a great gift idea that provides endless hours of play!

Non-Toy Gift 3: A Subscription!

I spend a lot of time sharing why I believe subscriptions are a fantastic non-toy gift, here are just a few great reasons:

  1. It’s the gift that keeps on giving (a gift keeps coming in the mail every month)
  2. Subscriptions encourage family connection and togetherness
  3. Subscriptions encourage learning
  4. Petit Mail story postcards don’t take up a lot of space in your home, can be saved and used again and again (or with future siblings) and can be recycled when you are finished with them.

Non-Toy Gift 4: A Photo Book

My children LOVE looking at photos of themselves. We talk about things that we’ve done together and that they have experiences.
This gift is a beautiful way to capture and share memories.

Non-Toy Gift 5: “Best Day Ever” Scavenger Hunt

Choose your child’s favourite activities, then buy gift cards for some of those things.
Turn this into a fun activity by wrapping the gift cards, then creating a way for your child to follow clues to search for the gift cards.

 

 

What do you think?  Would you try any of my ideas?

Think about a way to find gifts that “keep on giving” while making it fun.
I hope these 5 ideas sparked your imagination!

Non-Toy Gifts for Kids

 


Petit Mail is a bright, fun snail mail story postcard subscription experience for preschoolers and their family. 

Petit Mail Story Postcard

Discover The JOY of Snail Mail

Petit Mail is the fun way to introduce a new generation to the joy of snail mail.  Created and written by mom and entrepreneur Alison Butler, each story postcard is packaged, stamped and addressed by hand.

Every month, your Petit Mail story postcard arrives in your mailbox in a bright, colourful envelope, addressed with your child’s first name.
Our stories inspire reading, imagination, creative play and make learning FUN.

Learn More About Petit Mail Story Postcards Here

The Jolly Postman and Other People’s Letters: Kids Book Review

The Jolly Postman Book Review (1)

 

A parent favourite from my IG feed always seems to be posts I share about books we love. I particularly love books that have a snail mail theme to compliment Petit Mail.

Book Review: The Jolly Postman And Other People’s Letters

I love this interactive children’s book – filled with envelopes that can be opened, letters, postcards, birthday cards and more.  Follow the postman as he makes his way through the world of children’s fairy tales, making mail deliveries – and you can read the mail!

Watch My Full Book Review Of The Jolly Postman

Isn’t this so much fun?
If you’re interested, you can find the book here*: https://goo.gl/d2NGAa

The Jolly Postman and Other People's Letters Children's Book Review

Join The Preschool Kids Reading Club

I regularly share book suggestions, reading ideas and more in my preschool kids reading club group on Facebook.  Plus sometimes I share freebies and other fun content.  I’d love to have you join us there.

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*This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase using this link, a small percentage will go toward supporting this blog

Free Sight Word Flashcards

Free Sight Word Flashcards


Do you have a child who is learning to read? Check out this printable set of Free Sight Word Flashcards….a gift from me to you!

Free Sight Word Flashcards

 

My daughter NJ is learning to read right now, and I have to be honest, sometimes it’s a challenge.  She LOVES being read to, we read together every night, but she is less motivated to read on her own. As a solution, I created this set of free sight word flashcards to help her make reading fun.

There are many ways to use your flashcards, here are just a few suggestions:

  • hole punch and put them on a ring for practice.
  • cut them out, lay them on the table or floor “memory game style” (face down) and say each word as you turn the card over.
  • lay out your flashcards (face up), find a flashlight and say each word as you shine the light on it.

Let’s create a whole new generation who LOVES READING!

Sign Up For Your Printable Sight Word Flashcards Here

 

Sign Up Here

 

One of the reasons I created Petit Mail was to make reading fun and exciting.

When your story postcard arrives in the mailbox, you open up the bright envelope in excitement and read together.
To help with sight words and reading, key words are highlighted and the stories are written in simple sentences for early readers.

This set of free printable sight word flashcards can be used at any time.  The words are specifically designed to go along with the “Milo Loves Reading” Petit Mail story postcard.  This sight word flashcard set is perfect for reading practice at home with a bright background and featuring Petit Mail characters.


 

Petit Mail is a bright, fun snail mail story postcard subscription for kids ages three to early reader.

Petit Mail Story Postcard

Discover The JOY of Snail Mail

Petit Mail is the fun way to introduce a new generation to the joy of snail mail.  Created and written by mom and entrepreneur Alison Butler, each story postcard is packaged, stamped and addressed by hand.

Every month, your Petit Mail story postcard arrives in your mailbox in a bright, colourful envelope, addressed with your child’s first name.  There is always something new to discover

Learn More About Petit Mail Story Postcards Here