Last week Tyler and I created a cute little Easter bunny project with some basic craft supplies. While there was some controversy over whether a bow tie is an article of clothing or a food item (bow tie pasta), we really enjoyed the project overall. This was another quick and fun project that we were able to do in the time between Hailey going to bed and Tyler's bedtime.
Due to my crazy schedule/life, I generally write my blog posts the day before they are published. I have long wanted to have a collection of blog posts at the ready for when life happens, but of course life keeps happening, so it hasn't happened. So when a snow day occurred on my usual writing day, my whole schedule got shot in the foot. In a good way. Like I got to spend quality time with the family.
The last few nights, T has really been into creating. The other night he painted a picture of himself with his friend Adele. He also painted his friend Daniel with his dog. With Valentine's Day just a few weeks away and with T enjoying being creative the past few evenings, we decided it was a good time to create a Valentine's Day project. This was a quick and easy little craft that we were able to complete in about 30 minutes. That means it fit right into the time between when Hailey goes to sleep and when T gets ready for bed. T had a lot of fun with this project especially with the gluing, as usual. Check out how we made heart man!
In case you haven't noticed by now, my son loves to make crafts involving paper plates. In fact, if he sees me grab a paper plate, he is more likely to think it is craft time than food time. Therefore, this Christmas' craft project of course involves a paper plate. This project was a lot of fun and includes two of my toddler's favorite things: painting and using stickers. Check it out!
Are you an 80's baby? Did you grow up on Sesame Street before Bert and Ernie were claymation and Elmo took over the world? Did you spend Saturday mornings in your jammies with a bowl of cereal watching Saturday morning cartoons? Remember Pee Wee and Penny? The Pix 11 movies? TGIF? Care Bears, Fraggles, Rainbow Brite, Thunder Cats? If you can reminisce about any or all of this, you are an 80's baby. This list is for your kids. So that they can grow up on the classics. Added bonus, you get to relive some of your youth as well!
This week T has been a little under the weather, so we took it as an opportunity to do more sedentary, quiet activities. This week we made two projects: a pilgrim hat and a gratitude banner. These are two easy and fun projects. T is starting to use scissors in school so he was able to help with some of the cutting for these projects.
Last week, T and I decided to create our Halloween craft project. This year we made ghosts and spiders out of lollipops and a few basic crafting supplies. This is a fun craft for toddlers and great for Halloween parties or for bringing treats to school.
With Halloween coming up, we have decided to intersperse our favorite Halloween story books into the mix of our bedtime stories. We have accumulated several of them over the years and I'm sure we will continue to add to the list. As of today, the following 6 books are our favorites. They include entertaining stories, interactivity, and of course Halloween fun.
Tyler loves Daniel Tiger and we love the positive messages presented in the show, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Daniel Tiger actually was a big help in getting Tyler ready for his baby sister. We can talk about that another time. In this book, Daniel and his friends are getting ready for Halloween. The book takes you through each character’s costume and you use clues to guess what they are going to be. The flaps make this a fun book to read with toddlers.
If you like Goodnight Moon, then you will thoroughly enjoy this Halloween parody. In similar style to the original, this book takes you through the things in the little monster's room at bedtime. The difference is these items include goo, a witch, a werewolf, a black hat, and more. The pictures are cute, not scary, so it's enjoyable for the kids.
This story is actually one of my favorites. Probably because I am a BIG Edgar Allen Poe fan. I just love the rhythm of his poetry. This book is written with the same rhythm as Poe's The Raven. This makes it as fun for me to read as it is for Tyler to hear. The story describes the Count waiting as guests arrive for his Halloween party. There is definitely some knocking at Count's castle door. The story features your favorite Sesame Street characters dressed in their Halloween best. In the end, you are invited to the party too!
This book is of the classic Charlie Brown story. We all know this story, or at least we should. If you don't know it, do yourself a favor and watch the movie. Let your kids see it too. It's just one of those things that everyone should do. Anyway, the best part of this book is that it comes with reusable stickers. I don't know about you, but my toddler loves stickers. This book has places to put stickers on every page in order to fully illustrate the story. This has been a hit with Tyler night after night.
This book is an abridged version of the cartoon "Curious George's Boo Fest". Its a cute story where George gets spooked after hearing the story of No Noggin about a monster that steals hats. The best part is that it is an unscary scary story. As in your child will feel like he/she is enjoying the scary story experience without actually being scared. This is really an early reader book, but T liked it a lot. It is a great length book for toddler bedtime, too.
This was Tyler's first Halloween book and we are keeping it in the mix mainly for Hailey's benefit. However, Tyler does request it himself every once in a while. Like most baby's first books, this book contains photos of various Halloween related things with the name of the item below the picture. I believe that T like that some of the pictures are of kids dressed up in costume. For example, the monster picture is a baby boy dressed up as a monster. It's a cute book for little ones.
For more Halloween fun, check this Halloween Handprint Craft. We will also be posting a new Halloween Craft project later this month so stay tuned.
Recently I was contacted my Kim Marino, the mama behind www.thespeechmama.com. For the past 18 years, she has been working doing home based speech and language therapy-with the little ones that just came home from the hospital and are on feeding tubes to school aged children working on cognitive rehabilitation. Kim has put together various resources for kids and babies to develop their language and cognitive skills.
Kim asked me to try out one of her products, the MY FIRST SOUNDS AND WORDS FLASHCARDS with my little ones. This is a set of 40 flashcards which target early sounds and words which your baby can say. As parents, we are always looking for tools to help our children learn and develop. For me, especially with Hailey's hypothyroidism, we are continually looking for fun ways to develop her brain. You can read a bit about Hailey's diagnosis here.
The flashcards were sent in a digital file which I printed and laminated. They include images of everyday items as well as 2 blank ones for you to insert pictures of you and your baby. The images are photo quality and the names are printed below the picture.
At first I was a little skeptical at how much Hails would get out of these based on her age. I mean she just turned 4 months yesterday. But, I was pleasantly surprised by her reaction. First off, she loved looking at the pictures on each card. Then she would giggle at me as I over articulated and emphasized the sound/word on each card. After a few times playing with these, she is now starting to try to mimic the sounds. Totally impressive for a 4 month old.
In addition to developing language in my newborn, I also love working on the cards with my 3 year old. With him, he will name the picture or make the sound and we will talk about the letters that we are pronouncing. He loves to help when showing the cards to Hailey, which makes this a fun learning activity that we can do all together. For example if I pick out the owl card, Tyler will name the animal. Then I ask him what sound the owl makes. Once he responds we will hoo back and forth with Hailey. Finally I will talk with Tyler about what letter starts the Hoo sound and point it out on the card.
I love that this helps in the learning and development of both my kids even though they are at different stages. Both kids are entertained and help each other make it a fun activity. Although Tyler likes to point out to me that Hailey can't talk, he does get pleasantly surprised when she tries to copy our sounds. There is also a bingo game using the same words and images, but we haven't gone too far with that yet. We have been having far too much fun with the flash cards.
You can go check out the flashcards here. Feel free to poke around the site and explore the other resources as well. We give them 2 thumbs up!!
Today I thought I'd bring back a style of post that I published all the way back in February 2016. This past Tuesday's post got very real and necessarily so. But today is not that kind of day. So, we are are back for round 2 of things my toddler said. If you want to see the original post, click here. At 3.5, these things just get better and better. I really love this age!
So, as you all know it's back to school time. For me back to school means back to dance school. Yesterday evening was the teacher's meeting for the start of the dance year. I brought Hails with me, but T stayed with his Uncle Tom. After the meeting I went to pick up T. The following is an excerpt from our conversation on the drive home. On our way home, T commented that it was dark. I said "yeah, because it's almost bedtime." He said for me to turn the light back on. I told him I can't, that the sun went to sleep. He said he likes it better when the sun is out. So I said me too, but if he goes to sleep soon the sun will be back when he wakes up. He seemed satisfied by this and responded, oh, OK.... I really do love this age!!
This past weekend, my aunt came to visit and hang out with the kiddos. Whilst playing she brought up to Tyler that he would be starting school soon. She asked if he was excited. Eh. Then she explained that he was going to have such a good time. That he was going to make new friends and play with toys. He responds oh, like Pop Vinyls? I say well not exactly, seeing as how I assume most early childhood centers don't carry toys that are labeled for ages 14 and up. So then my aunt says that he is going to get to sing songs too. So T says, oh, like Joanna? As in the song from Sweeney Todd when all the murders occur. He of course has never seen Sweeney Todd, but he has memorized this song from the soundtrack. Again, I have to explain that this song and many of his other favorites (Send Me Someone - Young Frankenstein, Puttin on the Ritz - Young Frankenstein, Eleanor Rigby - The Beatles, Back in Time - Back to the Future, What's This - Nightmare Before Christmas, etc..) would probably not be in the preschool repertoire.
Much like his father, my son is an avid toy collector. He loves to watch YouTube unboxing videos and has even recorded a few of his own. You can find his videos at Tyler's Toy Time. Once he starts collecting a set of toys, he will continually talk about the ones he is missing from the set. One day I had enough of hearing how he needed Mr. Krabs, and Gary, and the barnacle boys (this is what he calls Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy) and Plankton and the Chum Bucket to complete his collection. I informed him of this and excused myself to use the restroom. He was left in the living room with Baby Hailey in the bouncer. Upon my return, I find T sitting on the floor in front of Hails showing her the SpongeBob toys he has so far and telling her which ones he still needed. She seemed delighted by this conversation.
Just this morning, T was opening his collection of Mashems and lining them up on the table. He picked one up and I asked him who they were. He said he didn't know. I told him I didn't know either. So he told me to leave it in the comments below. Then when he was done lining them up he said thanks for watching, please subscribe, give me thumbs up if you like it, bye bye. Then he waved. This is only funny if you have ever watched a toy unboxing video....
I hope you enjoyed these little anecdotes. There are so many things that T says that cause me to giggle, snicker, or sometimes downright laugh out loud. Do you have any silly anecdotes of your kids from the past week or so? Share them in the comments. Let's laugh our way into the weekend!
Next week we will be back with some more reviews and tips!
Have a great weekend!
With Labor Day coming up, T and I decided to make another patriotic craft project. I found this project on Pinterest, so if you remember my Things to do Before 32 post, this helps me with one of my things to do. Our patriotic wreath combines two of my 3 year old's favorite things to do: glue things and tear things up. It actually looks pretty cute too!! T liked it so much he actually asked to make a second one and was all set to make a third when bedtime rolled around. So check out how you can make a patriotic wreath to decorate for Labor Day.
2. Next, your kids can rip up small pieces of the red and blue paper.
3. Help your kids spread the glue all over the plate and then let them attach the ripped up pieces of paper all over the plate.
4. While your kid is busy gluing on the scraps of paper, you can trace and cut out 3 white stars from the white paper.
5. When your plate is fully covered to your child's liking, glue on the 3 stars for a fun patriotic wreath.
This is a super fun project for Labor Day or Memorial Day, 4th of July, or any day you want to be patriotic. You can check out our other patriotic craft projects here and here. As I said, my toddler liked it so much he wanted to keep making more. He really loves tearing and gluing. Older kids can get more involved by helping with the tracing and cutting as well. You can also challenge them to create cool mosaic type patterns with the red and blue papers instead of just random pasting. This is another great project when you have limited supplies but want something fun and festive.
Try it out and let me know if your child enjoys it!
She finally arrived!! At 3:30 in the morning on Thursday, May 12, my water broke. At 2:40 that afternoon, Hailey was born. She was born weighing 6 lbs 12 oz and 20 inches long. Hailey came out loud and proud letting everyone know of her arrival.
Tyler was able to meet his new sister later that evening. He was definitely happy to meet baby Hailey and curious about her. He even got to hold her for the first time. On the the other hand, he is definitely not at all clear on how Hailey got here. I don't mean the details of course. However, he has commented several times that now we have 2 Hailey's, one in my belly and one in person. I'm sure as my belly goes down and with repetition he'll come to understand that there's no Hailey in my belly anymore.
Tyler's confusion about the process didn't start there. When my water broke Thursday night, I rushed to the bathroom so as to minimize the mess. Shortly thereafter, Tyler emerges from his room with his blue bunny sippy cup. He wants water. He reaches over to hand it to me and I fill it in the sink. As he steps a little closer he steps in the fluid on the floor. He starts crying thinking he peed himself just as I am handing him the water. The water drops only adding to his distress. I try to explain that it's not his fault and he didn't do anything wrong, but he remained upset for a while.
On Saturday when we all arrived back home, Tyler went looking for his toy phone. I asked him who he wanted to call. He said the hospital. So we find his phone and he makes his call. He states into the phone that his bunny water broke and he needs them to fix it. Apparently, this is his interpretation of the events on Thursday night. I love three year olds!!
And now, the moment you have all been waiting for, introducing Hailey Jean!!
We are so excited about Hailey's arrival. Being 6 days late, she did slightly disrupt my school schedule as I missed taking a final exam. However, the professor agreed to allow me to take the exam this week so I am still able to complete the class. Also, summer classes began Monday, so no rest for the weary on that front, but breastfeeding does give me a lot of time to read!!
Back to our regularly scheduled programming on Friday!!
This weekend T and I spent a lot of time together. He was sick Friday night so we spent the whole weekend home. It was a great opportunity to sit down and create our St Patrick's Day craft project. This was a quick and easy project that allowed T to paint, so he really enjoyed it. We hope you do too.
- The first step is to paint the border of your plate orange. This will serve as the hair and beard of your leprechaun. T was pretty good about staying within the border. If your kid is not so neat, no worries! You can always cut out a white piece of construction paper in a circle and paste it into the center of your plate for the face.
2. While your paint dries, you can let your toddler create a new painting. At least, that's what T did. In the mean time, I cut out a hat shape from green construction paper, a band for the hat out of black paper, and a buckle out of yellow paper. For the buckle, I cut out a square, bent it in half, and then cut out a smaller square from the center.
3. Once the paint has dried and the hat pieces are cut, it's time to start gluing. Tyler loves to help squeeze out the glue and put the pieces in place!
4. The final step is to draw a face onto your leprechaun. We used a black crayon for this. If you want to add more to this project, you can also make arms and legs for your leprechaun. You can cut 4 strips of green construction paper long ways and fold them accordion style. Glue them around the plate for the arms and legs. You can cut out hands from white paper and shoes from black paper and attach them as well.
Here is our final project!
We hope you try this project yourselves. It's fun and easy and doesn't require many supplies!
Share your finished project on our Facebook page!!
Pregnancy Progress and Humor
I don't know about you, but this year seems to be the year of pregnancies for practically everyone I have ever gone to school with. Clearly, I am not an exception to this. At 24 weeks, I am well past the halfway point. I have been very lucky in that both of my pregnancies have gone pretty smoothly. Other than a few days of upset stomach/nausea in the first trimester, I haven't really been sick at all. I was exhausted 1st trimester, but that's about it as far as symptoms.
This trimester has been going very well. I'm showing a lot more than I did with T, but I'm still all belly. In fact, people are often surprised when I tell them I'm having a girl. At least those people that believe in old wives' tales. Ever since Christmas week, I have been back to working out 5-6 times a week. Although it is sometimes hard to get up and workout, and it is easy to think I have any awesome excuse why I shouldn't have to, I also know I have any awesome reason to workout. A healthy mommy and baby!! I also feel 100 times better on the days I do workout so that is also motivating.
Tyler loves telling people where the baby is and he will sometimes talk to and kiss the baby. However, I don't think he has fully grasped what is going on and he just likes to follow daddy's example. Both of my boys have felt the baby kick. Well, sort of. I put Tyler's hand on my belly one day while we were watching Sesame Street together. Baby Hailey gave 2 really good kicks so I look to Tyler for a reaction. However, he was so distracted by watching Mr. Hooper surf (it was a very old episode) that he had no reaction at all. At this point, the kicks are often sporadic and it's hard to get Tyler to keep his hand there waiting for a kick, especially since he doesn't know what he's waiting for. But, I hope to get a reaction out of him soon.
What Tyler really does love is taking the belly pictures every week. As soon as he sees me write the number of weeks on the paper he is ready with his shirt up for a picture. Below are some of our more recent progress pics. After delivery, I will definitely do a post with every pic from when we first found out til the end so you can all see the progress.
Luckily, I still have my energy up since this is the first week of the spring semester of grad school. Even though my professors have been forewarned about my pregnancy and due date, and they have promised that accommodations can be made, I can't help but be a little worried about the end of the semester. This is especially true if this little girl decides to come early. But we can only take it day by day. So to relieve some stress, I have a few more pregnancy poems for your enjoyment!
I have a foe who is always with me, always on the attack. They’re quick and smart and stealthy, never to be seen when I look back. I cannot seem to loose them, wherever I may go. When I try to fool them, they always seem to know. They kick and punch and jab me every time I take a ride The funny thing about it is it's coming from inside The creature that’s inside me, will never let me rest Despite all that I do for it (I really try my best) I feel you punch my kidneys, I feel you jab my spleen I have to be quite honest, I think it's very mean When I try to go to bed and get a little sleep I sense you calmly lying there lurking in the deep As soon as I lie down at night it’s like an alarm just rung You don’t want mommy to relax, you go and kick my lung I love you little peanut but you need to understand I need to go to sleep sometimes, it's something I demand So please get off the defense and lower down your guard Let’s call a truce, at least at night, so sleeping is not so hard
My Newest Love
I have fallen in love for the third time The excitement of it makes me rhyme They come with me when I go to the gym They make my bottom feel so slim They come with me when I go to work They never make me look like a jerk These leggings are my new best friend My time with them should never end They look like tights when under skirts They’re also great under long shirts They never bother my growing bump Nor fall down when I move or jump If possible they're all I'd ever wear Without a worry or a care I wear leggings nearly everyday And that's the way it's going to stay Until this little babe is born It's the only bottom that will be worn
This one goes out to the moms of toddlers and preschoolers. When my son was really small sometimes when we were out, we would let him watch videos on YouTube. It started out with us parents choosing Toy Story or Sesame Street videos as these were his favorite characters. Eventually, he learned how to pick his own videos to watch from the ones suggested. This led him to find the biggest baby crazy I never knew existed:
You can find surprise eggs all over YouTube from all different channels and accounts. Some videos provide narration of the toys that are found in the eggs, others just provide music. The eggs are either plastic or chocolate wrapped in foil and generally feature various cartoon characters. Inside the eggs are small toys, stickers and key chains. Surprise eggs are difficult to find in the states as they are not distributed in the U.S.. This led us to have to order these eggs online so my son could open a few of his own. We have purchased a few boxes which we have given to him for special occasions.
On the other hand, the watching of egg videos eventually leads to watching videos for Shopkins and Mashems and pretty much any other toy that comes in a blind bag or surprise box. These other toys are available in the U.S.
These videos can be anywhere from basic to elaborate with puppets, animation, and giant eggs decorated in play doh to look like popular characters. My son can now sit and watch several videos of people unwrapping surprise toys in a row and be fully entertained. He now knows characters from shows he's never even seen because he's watched the toys unwrapped. He can even narrate a few of the videos with the host.
One time we went to a friends house who has a daughter about 6 months younger than T (my son) and she was watching Bubble Guppies. My son immediately started naming the characters. My friend asked me if he liked the show. I responded, "He's never seen it. He just knows them from watching their toys being unwrapped on YouTube." She looked confused; I told her just wait, her daughter will be doing it too!
Due to this obsession, we now have 15 Mashems at home several Shopkins, a minecraft mini figure and a few mini pops from Funko. When at the store my son will recognize any toy that comes in a surprise bag or box and proudly announce the name of the character. While this makes is easy to pick little toys every once in a while that we know he'll love, it makes it difficult to walk by the toy aisle of any drug store.
This brings me to my son's other YouTube obsession: Family Finger
This is a video of a hand and a song about the different fingers. The song starts out "Daddy finger, daddy finger, where are you? Here I am, here I am, how do you do?" They then repeat this for mommy, brother, sister, and baby. This can be very easy to learn for toddlers. Parents are on the fence of whether this is good or bad....
This video has thousands of versions using images of pretty much every cartoon character. So for example, there's a Toy Story family finger where each finger is one of the characters from the movie: daddy finger = Woody, mommy finger = Bo Peep, brother finger = Buzz, sister finger = Jessie, baby finger = Potato Head. The song is pretty catchy much to every parent's chagrin. My son has taught every member of our family the family finger song. He can sing this song endlessly without getting bored. Somehow he doesn't find it as mind numbing as his parents do.
Luckily, we are not alone. My husband was in H & M recently and he heard another toddler singing the family finger song. The toddlers dad confirmed that his daughter was also obsessed with the videos on YouTube.
Is your toddler or preschooler obsessed with family finger or surprise toys? Are they obsessed with something else from YouTube?
If you too have a child obsessed with Surprise Eggs you can find an assortment of eggs here: Eggs This is where we got them for the T monster and he loved them!! He also reenacted his own surprise egg videos...