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!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sensory Bowl for Babies

I have seen so many great ideas for sensory bins which of course I am going to do, but Baby O is still a little too young since they usually contain small parts.  Lately she has been really studying items - how they feel, look and yes, taste.  Because of this curiosity I decided that I wanted to make a baby friendly sensory bin.  While at Target I looked through the dollar bin for items with various textures and shapes.  I noticed after a few items that I kept grabbing pink so I decided to make everything in this bin have at least some pink.  I usually try not to make things gender specific, but I guess one all pink thing is ok.  Anyway, I ended up getting a bowl from the dollar bin as well.  When I got home I took the tags off of everything and took any safety precautions needed for any items.  Everything in the bowl looked so cute and I was excited to let Baby O try it out.

In her sensory bowl I included a foam drink cozie (did I spell that correctly?), flower loufa, bumpy squishy ball, microfiber towel, long cotton polka dot fabric ribbon, slinky (the ends are clipped down so no worries about being poked), plastic/rubber necklace, compact flower mirror which I kept open, curled ribbon attachment for presents (I took the tags used to attach it off and then put masking tape over the staple).
 I later added a few of the balls from Baby O's ball pit.  They were red not pink, but close enough.  The balls allow for even more opportunities to learn and explore.  She can put all the balls (we can take more from the ball pit if needed) into the bowl.  Baby O can also put 1-2 balls in the cozie and then dump them out.

While playing with the items I realized that Baby O can beat on the upside down bowl like a drum.  She also put the bowl on her head like a hat.  I was actually surprised at how much Baby O seemed to like her sensory bowl and the items in it.  She played for quite some time and we got it out a few times during the evening.

Everything in Baby O's sensory is either items from the dollar bin at Target or things that we already had at home.  So for $10 we have multiple items that she can explore and occupy her attention for some time.  As I find other items I will add to her sensory bowl and eventually make it a bin for all of the additional items.  I would definitely recommend creating something like this if you have a baby.  It is fun and educational for them, plus all of the items can grow with them to be used separately.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Product Review - Mama May i

I have gotten Baby O  some toys, both handmade and store bought, that I feel are top toys.  Since these toys are so awesome I decided to do some product reviews about the toys we have and ones that I am planning for the future.

The first toys come from the Etsy shop Mama May i.  I wanted to fill Baby O's Easter basket with good educational toys that would help her to explore and work on fine motor skills.  I came across this shop on Etsy one day.  After spending at least a week deciding what I might want to get her, I contacted the creator Jessica to inquire about a custom order.  I knew what I wanted, but wanted them in rainbow colors.  The colors would be great to get an early start of the 6 main colors and they would be unisex so if the next baby is a boy he could use them too.  Jessica was very helpful and friendly.  She gave detailed response to me messages and was very honest about any time issues.  I ended up purchasing 4 items from her and could not have been happier.  They arrived very quickly and are well made.

The Tiny Tickler was one of the first items I wanted to get.  Baby O loves to laugh and pretty much anything will make her laugh so this item was a must.  We had her cracking up on Easter in front of everyone just brushing this over parts of her body.  I still use it on her - before and after a bath, diaper changes and anytime she gets dressed.

The Grab it Gadget was the first item I wanted.  I thought it would be a nice toy to have, especially for in the car.  WIth Baby O about to start teething, the think fabric seemed like a nice alternative to chew on.  There is usually only 5 "tabs", but Jessica made one for me with 6 "tabs" - one for each color.  It is so well made and a nice size too.  I absolutely love this toy!

The third item I got was a major custom order.  I always look through people's feedback on Etsy.  This is not only to see what reviews the items I want got, but also to see items that the seller used to have.  I found the Sound Gizmo is the feedback section, it was not even an item for sell in her shop.  Jessica was so awesome and made one for me and again, in my rainbow colors.  Baby O really likes this item, especially the purple and yellow sections.  The purple one makes a rattle sound when hit and the yellow makes a squeak sound like her Sofie (a later review).  This is another great car toy.

The last item I got which was literally the last item I decided to get is the Rainbow Ribbon Lovey.  This item was already in rainbow colors so no custom order needed.  Baby O has been showing a lot of interest in this lately, she really like the Mama May i tag, haha.  The blanket is a really nice size, Baby O is almost 8 months and it can still cover her.  The strip of solid colors is of various textured fabric.  All of the ribbons are different materials as well. 

My experience with Mama May i has been wonderful.  I am planning another order within the next month (another review) and I have gifts picked out for her birthday, Christmas and Easter.  This is a shop worth checking out and the products are well made and a Baby O approved.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Wet Towel

So my dad, aka Pappy, was off of work yesterday and he wanted some Baby O time.  I dropped her off for a few hours so I could go get some stuff done.  When I got back to their house I fed her carrots for lunch and then after wiping off her hands and face I left the wet towel of the high chair tray.  Baby O was not sure what to do with it at first, but after about a minute or two it became this wonderful and interesting new toy.  She started by feeling it.  By then the water on the towel had become a little cold.

And then of course we had to taste it.

Then since we were tasting it why not go ahead and give it a bite.

Well after feeling and tasting and biting, we had to do some major inspecting of this item.

But the towel was wet and it wasn't until quite a few minutes into playing and exploring this new item that Baby O began to wonder - 'Why is my shirt wet?'

Later that night while we were playing she grabbed a towel out of my hand and began doing all the same things again.  This towel was dry though so I'm thinking it may not have been as fun to play with.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Baby O Gets a Ball Pit!

Baby O is going to be 8 months soon (I can't believe it!).  She is at the stage where she wants to touch everything and move around or in her case roll around.  We wanted to get her something that she could play with that is much different than anything she has now.  Something that can be used outside on a nice day, but inside when it is not so nice out.  Something that doesn't cost a ton of money.  After thinking a little and doing a little research we decided on a ball pit.  We already had a very small blow up pool that we got for the warm summer weather.  We decided to make the pool do double duty since it isn't going to be pool time, or for a 8-9 months old splash in about an inch of water time, for a little while now.  We went to Target this past Friday and bought a bag of ball pit balls for under $15.  So round up a bit and say $15, plus the $5 for the pool and Baby O has her own ball pit for about $20.

 Saturday afternoon we blew the pool up and added the balls while Baby O was napping.  I like this pool because if she starts to fall over the pool sides act like bumpers.

Now all that was left was to add Baby O.  She wasn't sure at first, but after a minute or two she began grabbing the balls, inspecting them and the different colors, and moving her feet around to see how they felt in the balls.

I would say that Baby O's ball pit is a success.  I'm sure that as time goes on she will learn to like it more and more.  It will be nice when we can start to mix items in with the balls for her to look for and play with.  The ball pit is almost like a giant sensory bin!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

It's Earth Day!!

Yay!  It's Earth Day!  I know it is not the most exciting day of the year for everyone, but I do think it is a pretty important day, especially with children.  We need to teach our children to take care of the Earth from the start.  I'm not saying that my husband and I as the most Eco-friendly people ever, but we try our best.  We recycle more than we throw away, we are always giving old clothing and items to Goodwill to be reused and we have awesome skylights and big windows so the light are not on often.  We were actually quite happy with our recent electric bill, it was $30 if that (he does all the bills).  If it is even a little nice outside, the windows are open and the heat/air is off.  Baby O is still a little too younger to really understand Earth Day and the 3 R's, but I still talk to here anyway.  When she gets a little old she can help me sort things into recycle, gather items to donate and plant new flowers and trees outside (that might be more Arbor Day, but oh well).  Below are the Earth Day books that I have for Baby O and I'm sure as she gets older we will have more.
Our Earth by Anne Rockwell
Curious George Plants a Tree by H.A. Rey
It's Earth Day! by Mercer Mayer

We also made our Earth Day breakfast.  Greek yogurt with granola and organic berries.  It was so good!!  Baby O cannot eat yogurt or berries yet, but she kept staring at it so I'm sure when she is able this will be a favorite of hers as well.

That's all for now.  Remember to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

First Zoo Trip!!

So yesterday my husband and I took Baby O to the Pittsburgh Zoo.  Of course we missed all of the fun Earth Day activities they have going on, but it was still enjoyable.  Th first couple of exhibits did not have animals.  We were starting to think if it was worth coming and Baby O seemed to think we were just on a walk.  Then finally when we got to the African Safari area we found animals.  Baby O stared at the water with all the big orange fish for awhile.  I don't know exactly what it is, but she loves water!  Then we went to show her the elephants.  She watched them for a little, but when we posed her to take a picture she found the fish in the water again.

After the elephants we went to the giraffes.  She loves her Sofie toy so we thought for sure that she would like the giraffes.  It was the same as the elephants, she watched the giraffes for a few until she saw the small waterfall.
 So far it seemed like the water features at the exhibits were a bigger hit.  The Rainforest area came next which mommy and daddy were really excited about.  One of the gorillas had a baby not long ago!
How cute is that baby!!  Baby O liked seeing something smaller.  She actually really seemed to like the gorillas in general.  And guess what, no water features!  That meant the gorillas had her full attention.

Next we were off to the bears, but not without stopping to take a short break.  Baby O sat and drank more juice and ate her puffs and melts while daddy got something to drink.  She was surprised by the big peacock walking around the area.  After our little pit stop we got to the bear area.  It looked like we were not going to see any until we got to the last section.  One huge bear was sleeping, but a not so huge bear came out and walked around for us.  We think he was trying to earn his steak, haha.  Baby O liked to watch the bear and again, no water feature.  Coincidence?  I think not!
Now lets recap.  Elephants and giraffes - check!  Gorillas - check!  Snack time - check!  Bears - check!  What's left?  The PPG Aquarium!  Judging from the way Baby O reacted to the earlier water features and fish we were pretty sure she would like this part.  With the little waterfalls out front we were off to a good start. 

Baby O liked watching the fish swim around and even did a little dance for them.  They weren't too big or scary for her.
Ooops, spoke too soon!  This fish was a little too big and scary for her.
Baby O LOVED the manta rays (I think that is what they were).  They would swim in front of her then go and hide and come back again.  It was her own little game of hide and seek.  She also liked their wiggly bodies.  When she saw them wiggle, she began to wiggle too.  When they went away she stopped and when they came wiggling back she wiggled with them.
Next was an area where you could touch a ray is you wanted.  Daddy didn't let Baby O put her hand in the water because of the germs, but she just looked all around and studied everything.
Baby O also enjoyed all of the plants that were around.  There were bright flowers and huge leafs.  Some leafs were bigger then her and of course she had to feel and study them all.

Lastly, we made it to Kids Kingdom!  Baby O got to look at the sea lions, but about 5 minutes in she was out.  The zoo had worn her out as with pretty much every other baby we saw.
The zoo was a fun experience and I'm pretty sure we will be back for round 2 or 3 or 4.  My future little marine biologist or botanist needs more studying!