Friday, November 9, 2012

Our Week Long Halloween

I know, this is a little late, but better late than never.

With the weather during the week, Halloween was broken up into multiple days and events.  I0t was nice to be able to make the holiday last more than just a couple hours.  There were three different events that made up "Baby" O's second Halloween.  Of course there were more events that we could have participate in, but the weather just made us want to stay home in our pajamas.

The first event that we did was the Halloween storytime at Barnes & Noble.  We were unable to go to the one that they had on Thursday, but luckily they were having a repeat on that Saturday.  It was such a nice event.  First was the actual storytime. The story this week was ' My Monster's Monster'. "Baby" O sat pretty nice and somewhat paid attention to the story. To make the story even better, everyone was given a monster mask to go along with the story. After the story the children were given a snack and various pages to color. The coloring might have only lasted about 30 seconds, but she did color.  A plus to going to storytime that we had no idea about was that the outdoor shopping mall where B&N is located was having Trick or Treating.  We only went to a few stores, but "Baby" O got a couple pieces of candy and a balloon.

On Halloween Day we just stayed at home since Trick or Treating was rescheduled.  I wanted to still do some fun Halloween related activities.  Of course we read a few Halloween books as we had been the whole month.  I picked up a Halloween cupcake from the bakery.  I wanted some other cupcakes before this one, but black and dark purple icing just screamed stain so we went with this ghost one.  It is always fun to watch "Baby"  O react to and eat a cupcake.  She didn't realize right away that the ghost was a ring and she was trying to eat it.

After "Baby" O ate her cupcake it was time to explore the inside of a pumpkin.  At first she was unsure of what was going on, but once the top was opened the fun began.  She kept trying to eat the pumpkin goo only to realize that it wasn't a good idea.  The fun part though was playing in th pumpkin goo.  I gave her some spoons to use and she just went to town.  We did not carve the pumpkin, but I just wanted her to get to have the pumpkin goo experience. 
Finally it was Trick or Treating time.  We went to my parent's house for the evening to have dinner and so that they could see "Baby" O in her costume.  Our pretty fairy costume turned out better than I expected.  We had the tutu from her one year pictures and wanted to use it again which is where the fairy idea cam from.  We had the pink tight, body suit, diaper cover and headband so we got a pair of wings from the Target dollar bin and costume complete.  It was a little chilly that night so we only went up and down the block to visit friends.  For the rest of the evening "baby" O helped her Aunt (where she gets the blonde hair from) pass out candy while enjoying some herself as well.
 Are Halloween this wear was a little crazy anddrawn out, but it turned out to be a very fun week.  Now one to Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Activity Bins

I wanted to give "Baby" O some Halloween activities, but finding things for a 1 year old can be a little tough.  Then I thought back to when I create her sensory bowl, which she stills plays with.  I looked through my Halloween bin from when I taught Pre-K and found lots of things that I could use in one way or another. 

This is the main idea of what items I used to create fun, entertaining and educational activities for"Baby" O.

First, I added a 2 sets of Halloween cups.  We stack them and knock them down, put items into the cup and nest the cups.

The second activity was a pumpkin basket filled with spiders and a scoop.  We scoop the spiders, put them into the cups or the basket, count them and so on.

Of course "Baby" O is never without books.  We have both board books (pictured) and what we call "Mommy's Books" which are paper back and she is not aloud to play with yet since she has ripped a few already.  She loves to just sit and look at the books and sometimes reads them to us.

Another activity was a little felt basket filled with cookie cutters in Halloween shapes.  We talk aboutthe different shapes, sort them, stack them, make patterns and so on.

This activity was another pumpkin basket filled with mini stuffed pumpkins.  The pumpkins are 2 different sizes so we sort them by size, make patterns, stack or attempt to stack them, throw them into the basket and so on.

There is not much, but this is the start of our Halloween dress up stuff. We will have to add to this activity over the years.

This is just a large furry spider that we play with.  It's legs are bendable so we create different positions for him.

Our last activity is Halloween stuffed animals.  We don't do much with these as far as sorting or anything, but we make them talk and dance.

"Baby" O has enjoyed all of her Halloween activities.  Sometimes I let her choose which she wants to play with or I give her a single basket for more quiet individual play.  Something that I did not take a picture of are her musical balloons.  I filled orange balloons with things such as beads, rice, pasta and so on.  After I blew them up I drew faces of them to make jack-o-lanterns and strung them up with green ribbon.  When she hits them they make different noises and she has a blast with these. 

With Halloween here in just a few days I need to come up with some fall/Thanksgiving activities for "Baby" O.  I gave away a bunch of items for Thanksgiving last year that I am know wishing I didn't because she could play with them, but oh well.  We can just start from scratch. 

Happy Halloween!! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Introducing Colors to Young Toddlers

Well "Baby" O is a litle over a year now and even more interested in everything than before.  I know that she is young, but I want to begin working on colors with her.  I think that I am going to spend about a week or two on each color.  I'm not going to do any crazy colors right now like turquoise or magenta, but instead start with the basic red, blue, yellow and more on to still basic colors from there.

 Choosing the colors was the easy part, but deciding what activities is a little bit harder.  Some of the simpler activities that I am thinking about doing are:
- jello jigglers in the color we are talking about
- wearing a piece of clothing in the color
- playing with that color Playdough
- playing 'hide & seek' with some beanbags of the color
- sorting items of that color such as our ball pit balls 
I am going to try being ambitious with some activities.  I know that they might not work or may need a lot of assistance from me, but we are going to give it a try.  These possibly harder activities are:
 - ripping paper of the color
- putting stickers of the color onto paper ("Baby" O loves stickers)
- finger painting
- decorating colored paper shirts
- something with pom-poms
- something with paint swatches
I know some or all of these items may not work, but we can at least try.  When the time comes for me to begin my color weeks I will post about all of the exact individual that we try.  I am going to continue looking for new activities and ideas are always welcomed.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

And the " Playroom" Begins - Before Pictures and Plans

Baby O, I know she is 13.5 months and becoming a non-baby, but for now she is still my baby.  Anyway, Baby O is growing so fast and accumulating toys just as fast.  It is the two of those things together that means it is time to begin creating her "playroom".  Our downstairs/game room started off as my husband's man cave, but add in workout pieces, cat litter and loads of laundry and now it's not so much of a man cave.  He is very big with electronics and wanted a projector so I still let it be his area.  We have a huge screen taking up about half of our second longest wall and he loves it.  Since the downstairs being perfect for his theater room was a big part of why we bought the house I promised that when it came time to make Baby O a playroom that I would not take his theater completely away.  That is why we are referring to it as her "playroom" and not her playroom. 

I have already started moving some things around so the before picture are more like after before pictures or the before pictures take 2.  Either way, they are still before pictures and I promise the rest of the house is not this unorganized.  Now most of the decor that we had down there was red and black so as to not have to redo everything we are picking colors that incorporate red with black as accents in the furniture and frames.

This is the entrance to the downstairs.  That cabinet has movies, video games and all things my husband.  This area will probably stay the same with minor changes if anything.

I know the pictures are a little fuzzy, but I was rushing.  That is also baby O in the first picture supporting her aunt in her Syracuse shirt.  This is the largest wall in our downstairs, but unfortunately the couch has to stay where it is at for safety reasons - to cover all the wires from the projector.  Since the couch cannot be moved the only changes will be new pillows and maybe the blanket basket being moved to a closet.  The couch was recently moved there, before it was parallel to the projector facing the screen.  There is a chaise chair that you will see in another picture that was where the couch is now.  The second picture is the second half of that long wall.  As you can see there are toys just tossed on the floor and that is only a fraction of Baby O's toys.  For that second section of  I want to get large cube shelves that would hold bigger toys such as the foam blocks I want to get her for Christmas.  I also might get some super large totes/baskets for things such as dress up clothes that she will have in the future.  Yes, I know I am thinking about say 2 years down the line, but it is just like gardening - plan for the future.  Oh and of course we are getting new and matching window treatments.  Finally!!

This picture is of the opposite wall from the last pictures.  That is the chaise chair I mention before that was where the couch is now.  Well, I hate the couch, but I really hate that chair!  Good news for me - we are getting rid of the chair.  You may not be able to see it in the picture, but the chair has seen better days.  For this area I want to get a cube shelf bookshelf, it is one that has nine cubes.  I think that will provide nice storage for little items like play food and small wooden blocks.  I also was to put a little chair that received from a friend in the corner to create a reading nook.  I also want to add simple shelves to the lower wall to hold books. 
This is the wall opposite the wall from the first picture.  That is half of the screen, but the area with the dresser is where I want to focus.  I am hoping to move the dresser to the next area I will show.  If I am able to do that then the area where the dresser is will become Baby O's art area.  I am also planning on repositioning the elliptical, but it is going to have to stay in that general area.  Behind those double door to the left is the laundry room in case you were wondering.
Ok this picture is super blurry, but it was the only one I took so I am stuck using it.  Not much about this area, but that is where I am hoping to move the dresser.  That is the cat litter in there, but that will be moving to the laundry room.
I hae ideas for the walls - large letters spelling out words relating to the area (read, create), pictures of Baby O, framed book dust jackets and places to hang art created by Baby O.  I also want to get an area rug, a chidrens table and a play kitchen, but for now lets focus on the main basics.  Check back to see "Playroom" Renovation: Part 1.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Long Time, No See

Ok so I took a decent size break from being on here.  The last time I posted was the beginning of May and so much has happened since then. Let's see . . .
- My first Mother's Day!  We had our families over for a brunch and celebrated our first Mother's Day as Mothers, Grandmothers and great-grandmothers.  Baby O and I had made cards and magnets for all of the moms. 
This is the magnet we made for all the moms.  Everyone had different colors, but all still the same general concept.  The flower was made using Baby O's thumbprints.  Granted it took a lot of help from me and a bit of time, but they turned out so cute!
This is the card we made for all the moms.  She actually sat pretty still for the picture which was a surprise, but the handprints were a little tough.  They might not have turned out perfect, but that is the best part about handmade gifts from children.
- Baby O says dada for the first time!  She had not stopped with the dada since then.
- Baby O begins to crawl!  It started off as kind of a scoot using her face, but quickly picked up into a full out crawl.
- My husband's first Father's Day!  We again had our families over for a brunch.  There were no special little gifts for the dads since /i could not find anything that a very young child could do for a dad.  We did still make cards for all the dads. 
This is the card we made for the dads.  I knew I wanted to do something with her handprint, but trying to think of something for dads was a little harder.  I think they turned out pretty well.  Again, they were not perfect, but that is what makes them special. 
- Our longest time apart!  My husband's work does a trip every year for the top employees.  This year it was in San Diego, but we did not bring Baby O with us since most things were adults only.  It might have only been 5 days, but it was the longest 5 days of our lives.  She stayed with Grammy, Pappy and Aunt Boo both at our house and theirs.  She had a great time while we were gone and even learned some new tricks to surprise us with.
- Baby O's first 4th of July!  She had mixed feelings about everything.  I would say that the bright lights were good, but the loud noise was bad.  As we expected she did not make it to see the real fireworks, but at least she slept like a baby (no pun intended) through the whole thing.
- Baby O gets her first teeth!  They took their time, but the first one has finally popped through.  We are up to 5 teeth now!
- Baby O starts standing, but only while holding on it things.  You have to start somewhere right.
- Baby O started taking a few steps, but only if holding a non moving object like the couch.
- More teeth came in!
- Baby O said mama!  We have heard mamamamamamama before, but this was the first real mama.  I asked her who she wanted to give her a bath thinking she would say dada since that was all she said through dinner.  To my surprise her answer was mama.  We were so shocked!  Not the way I thought she would say it, but I'll take it.

- Baby O turned 1!!  I had the best party planned.  Everything was set up outside and what does it do right before people arrive?  RAIN!!  My sister, husband and I grab everything out of the rain.  After the rain and my tears have stopped we dry everything off and set it back up.  Everyone arrives and we are outside for about an hour before what happens, RAIN . . . AGAIN!  We just have the rest of the party inside and everything worked out fine.  Lesson learned though - always have a backup plan ready to go.
Baby O LOVED the balloons!
Baby O unwrapping her presents. 
 Baby O smashing up her cupcake.

 - Baby O had her first professional photo shoot.  Dawn Biery Photography is wonderful! 
- Baby O began walking while holding onto a moving object like her stroller!  We tried and tried then out of nowhere one evening she just grabbed the handle and went.
- Well we are only half way through October which I am sure will container somemore fun Baby O things.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Book Wish List

I love that Baby O has so many people in her life that want to buy her things.  The problem is that she can only wear so many clothes and our house is not big enough to they keep up with the toys at the rate they are now.  Now if they want to get diapers then by all means get as many as you want!  I also try to push books since they are something that we will always have.  It was brought to my attention by my mom that it is hard to buy book for Baby O because she is unsure of what we already have.  I am an elementary teacher and have been adding to my book collection since high school so I understand how it can be difficult.  It was because of this that I stated creating 'Baby O's Book Wish List'.  It is a list of book or book series that I would like to add to our collection.  Right now it is a 4 page list and I keep adding to it as I think of books.  Not only is it helpful to our family by letting them know what books would be nice to get, but it also help me since I always think of book I want to get, but ever remember.  The list has a mixture of books, there are ones that I loved as a child (Clifford, Little Miss/Little Mister), ones my parents loved (Curious George), ones that students have loved (Where The Wild Things Are) and just one that I want to add (Chicka Chicka Boom Boom).  Take a look at our list as of right now and feel free to add any other books you think would be worth getting.

Baby O's Book Wish List

It Looked Like Spilt Milk - Charles G Shaw 

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly - Pam Adams

Stone Soup - Marcia Brown

Good Night Gorilla - Peggy Rathman

I Am Not Sleepy And I Will Not Go To Bed - Lauren Child

Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom - Bill Martin Jr

Go Away Big Green Monster - Ed Emberley

When Sophie Get Angry – Really, Really Angry . . . - Molly Bang

Love You Forever - Robert  N Munsch

Once Upon a Potty For Her

The M&Ms Counting Book - Barbara Barbieri McGrath

Press Here – Herve Tullet

On The Night You Were Born – Nancy Tillman

The Going To Bed Book – Sandra Boynton

That’s Not My Monster – Fiona Watt

Everyone Poops – Taro Gomi

The Mitten – Jan Brett

The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark – Ken Geist

The Night Before Father’s Day  - Natasha Wing

Someday – Alison McGhee

I Love You More – Laura Duksta

Along Came You – Karona Drummond

Guess How Much I Love You – Sam McBratney

I Love You Through and Through – Rossetti Shustak

How Do I Love You? – Marion Dane Bauer

Federick – Leo Lionni

The Way I Act – Steve Metzger

I Love You, Stinky Face – Lisa McCourt

The Night Before Mother’s Day – Natasha Wing

Goldie and the Three Hares – Margie Palatini

Goldilocks and the Three Bears – James Marshall

This Is The House That Jack Built – Simms Taback

Jack’s House  - Karen Magnuson Beil

What Do You Do With A Tail Like That? – Robin Page

** Start with the first book in that series **

Eric Carle Books 

Cheerios Play Books - Lee Wade

‘If You Give A Mouse A Cookie’ Series - Laura Nummeroff

‘Rainbow Fish’ Series - Marcus Pfister Herbert

‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’ Series

‘Pinkalicious ‘Series (Purplelicious, SilverLicious, Goldilicious) - Victoria Kann

‘Llama Llama’ Series - Anna Dewdney

“The Pigeon’ Books - Mo Willems

‘David’ Books - David Shannon

‘How Do Dinosaurs’ Series - Jane Yolen

‘Froggy’ Series - Jonathon London

‘Maisy’ Series - Lucy Cousins 

‘ Berenstain Bears’ Series – Jan and Stan Berenstain

‘Biscuit’ Series – Alyssa Satin Capucilli 

‘Spot’ Series – Eric Hill

‘Curious George’ Series – H.A. Rey

‘ Little Critter’ Series – Mercer Mayer

‘Magic School Bus’ Series

‘Green Wilma’ Series – Tedd Arnold

‘Fancy Nancy’ Series – Jane O’Connor

‘Corduroy’ Series – Don Freeman

Little Scholastic Series
* Especially the Hand Puppet Books

‘Clifford’ Series – Norman Bridwell

‘Amelia Bedelia’ Series – Peggy and Herman Parish

Little Miss and Little Mister Series – Roger Hargreaves

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Rainbow Mobile

We have an awesome Baby Einstein Activity Jumper for Baby O.  I'm not going to get into all the fun she has with this during this post, maybe another one though.  Anyway, there is a hook on the ceiling above where her jumper is at.  We don't use this hook for anything, but the previous owner hung a plant or something there.  Every once in awhile when we have a holiday party I will hang some kind of decoration from the hook there.  Baby O love when I do this and just stares up at it while in her jumper.  This gave me an idea - what if I make something to hang there for everyday.  During my Etsy time I found some cute handmade mobiles.  They gave me the idea for what I wanted to do, something simple yet colorful.  Yesterday I got out my circle paper punch, cardstock, scissors, glue, thin string and a crochet ring then got to work.
I started by punching out 12 circles of each color, one for the front and one for the back.  Then I cut six pieces of string probably about 2-2.5 feet long.  I took the crochet ring (which was my great grandmothers) and tied the string on.  One end of the string was left to be about 1 - 1.5 feet long and the other end was about 6-8 inches.  I then started on one piece of string and began attaching the circles.  I would coat on circle with glue, lay the string over then add the other circle on top and press hard.  I began with red and continued through the rainbow till purple (which looks light blue in the picture).  I spaced each circle about an inch apart.
Once I was all finished attaching the circles it was time to gather the strings at the top.  I took all the shorter ends of string together and held the mobile up.  When it hung evenly, I tied all the stings together.  Then I slide a metal hook for a bracelet on and tied the strings again, twice.  All that was left was for me to hang it on the hook.
I am really happy with how the mobile turned out.  It may not match the colors of the room or anything, but it is all about Baby O now.  I may actually make something like this for her room, but in shades of pink.  That may not be for awhile, but for now Baby O seems to be enjoying her new mobile!