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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cherry Mufins

As I mentioned before, we are in a breakfast rut. So, last night I decided to make some muffins for a change of pace. I don't really have a go to muffin mix, so I asked Google to give me some. I found THIS one after a short search.


It is a quick and easy recipe. The hardest part was chopping the frozen cherries. The recipe states it makes 12 to 15, but I only got 10, I may have made them to big. 

We both tried one for breakfast. I found them bland, I think they need a little nutmeg or something. I will keep that in mind for the next time. Little Miss loved them!


Picking the cherries out. 


I have been occasionally giving cherries as a breakfast treat, and she seems to really like them. So, at Easter dinner, we decided to give her a tiny piece of cherry pie.


Turns out someone inherited Grandpa's and Momma's taste for cherry pie! Yum! This is what made me decide to make cherry muffins instead of blueberry last night :-)

The recipe is a really good one, I saved it so I can go back to it again. I think next time I will use a different fruit and maybe add a little spice. For now, they are toddler approved and make a great breakfast option!

Hope everyone is having a great Tuesday!

~Natasha.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Tot School: Lentil Sensory Bin

 
This Post is Linked up to Tot School Gathering Place.
 
 
What a long and adventurous week we had! It was rainy and windy Monday and Tuesday; plus, Wednesday the temperature dropped drastically and it snowed! Needless to say, we were stuck indoors most of the week.
 
I got the idea to do an orange (red) lentil sensory bin Here. I thought it looked neat, so Monday we went to town and got some lentils at the Bulk Barn. I love the Bulk Barn, a huge store with rows and rows of bins, scoopable treats as far as the eye can see. I only wish we had one in my town so I wouldn't have to go all the way into the city. But, I digress.
 
I made this mini sensory bin Monday night, after my little Jellybean was in bed of course. I used a dollar store container meant for cupcakes, and stuffed it with one of her stacking cups, one of my measuring spoons, and a few small things from the 'plastic toy' bin.
 

I love this container because it comes with a lid and carrying handles. Although, you get what you pay for, they do tend to pop out occasionally.


We played with this almost every day during the week, and the lentils slowly disappeared. For easier cleanup, I put down a plastic tablecloth under her little table. This turned out to be great foresight! All my pictures are from Tuesday's playtime, but as you can see it was greatly enjoyed.


I demonstrated scooping a few times, she took over quickly. I was also playing with the boat, motoring it around the lentils. They are so soft to the touch I could have probably played with them all day!


More scooping action, and you can see the nice mess they made. There are more on the floor and the giant puzzle pieces, but they are harder to see with the camera. I did a quick sweep after each play session, but we were still walking on lentils all afternoon.


And this is how we got so many on the floor. She did this several times the first day. I tried telling her they stay in the bin, but 15 month olds rarely listen. It was soon after this that I showed her to scoop them back into the bin and we put them away. She played with them more gentle both Wednesday and Thursday, but Friday was another big cleanup day.

I have decided we are going to attempt at least two crafts a week. Tuesday, my little grumpy was having a hard time while I was cooking dinner, so I got her in the highchair and let her go at it with the bingo dabber again. Thursday, I attempted something I saw on Pintrest.  I had a hard time, but managed to tape a piece of contact paper to her tray, sticky side up. I gave her a bunch of squares cut from scrapbook paper and let her make a collage. She didn't really get it, just scattered the papers until they stuck, but it seemed like she enjoyed it


Our art projects this week.
 

Our 'math' project this week was sorting coloured pasta. I used purple bowties from last week and some blue penne I made this week. I put out two buckets and tried to show her how to put the penne in one and the bowties in another. She just preferred to dump both into one bucket. She will get it someday.



She played with them for about half an hour before I caught her putting them in her mouth. I ended up taking them away after a little tantrum because she wanted to try them. She also ended up with slightly blue lips! The next time we played, she was better about not eating them.

We went on a little puddle jump rain walk Monday, that was really fun! We learned that if we jump in a puddle, it makes a mighty splash!


She also learned that umbrellas make great weapons and that Mommy takes them away when they are used as such. :-)


Finally, we got our Easter Bunny picture back. Remember when I sad it was a bawl-fest? Here's proof.


It will make a nice contribution to her scrapbook. I don't envy that Bunny one bit, having to put up with screaming babies all day...and mine has a pretty good set of lungs!

Well, that's it for another week of Tot School. Here's hoping the upcoming week has better weather and we can get out more!

Hope everyone has a great week!!

~Natasha.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Cloth Diapers

I absolutely love my cloth diapers. I have about 40 of them. I have been trying to convince my baby sister to go cloth for her third son, due in late June. As I told her, the hardest part is stopping!
 
Way back in August 2012, I wrote my first cloth diaper post. At the time, I had found some cheap eBay pocket diapers but then chose to go with a 200 dollar Bummi's prefold kit. My Mom also made some diaper covers and Mr. Picky's Mom gave me some prefold diapers that had been his when he was a baby. Well, after Miss Salean was born, she put us in our place really quickly! I started cloth diapering her around a week old. The diapers were huge and she hated them! After about 3 days of constant crying when she was in cloth, I threw in the towel, sold everything that I had bought, and packed away what our Moms had given me.
 
A few months later, I discovered Alva Baby. In some circles, they are considered 'China Cheapies' and are scoffed at. In others, they are the best thing ever. I am with the latter group. I love them, they cost about 6 dollars each (locally, the same type of diaper are about 28 dollars each). Yes, they ship from China and they take 3 weeks to get here, but they do the trick and they have not broken the bank. Best of all, Salean loves them!
 
The type of diapers I use are called pocket diapers. This is because they come in two parts: the cover with a pocket in the back, and the liner that gets stuffed into the pocket. Both parts are shown below. At the very top of the cover, the elastic at the opening of the pocket can be seen.  
 

Below is the opening and the pad sticking out of the pocket. I use microfiber pads, one comes with each diaper. But pads are available in many different materials including hemp and bamboo, as well as combinations of microfiber and several different other materials.


These are my favourite patterns. The skull one I have had for almost a year, it was one of the first that I had bought. The rainbow on the top left is my newest one. I don't think it had been worn yet as of the time this picture was taken.


Some more favourite patterns. Bottom right is another that I have had since almost the beginning.


Camouflage patterns for Daddy.


Solid colours to go with that special outfit. Some of these were among the first bought, as well.

 
This one is a brand called Kawaii. I bought it because of the pattern. To me, it looked almost like snake or lizard skin, a pattern Mr. Picky loves. This is the only one of this brand that I have, I like it but find it harder to get a good fit because the snaps seem further apart.
 

Some patterned diapers made of waterproof PUL material.


Some more patterns made with a softer minky material. The pink on the upper left has a small Winnie the Pooh pattern that the camera did not catch.

 
Some more PUL patterns. 


What I like best about this brand is that they are considered one size. This is why there are so many snaps on the front. In the next two pictures, the black one is adjusted to the largest size and the pink is the smallest. It does not look like much difference, but it is! 
 
 

 And finally, this is the size I have on Salean now, at 15 months. The rise is fully open, because she is really tall, I have had it this way since she was about 10 months old. I just recently started snapping them with 3 open snaps in the front. Some are a bit bigger and I can still leave 2 open, but for the most part, she has three.

 
So this is my complete stash, all but one that I keep at Grandma's just in case. It is white with green and pink spots, another of the first I purchased. These diapers should last me until little miss is trained, an adventure I am hoping to attempt come Autumn. If another baby were to come along, this stash should do that child to. Unless it happened to be a boy, then we may have some pattern  and colour issues.
 
 I do still use the prefolds and covers from our Moms, usually they are laundry day diapers or sometimes I will put one on her just because I like the patterns of the covers. I don't put them on as much as I used to; I find them harder now that she is bigger and wigglier because they have to be put on in two parts.
 
I won't bore you with my cleaning and storage routines today, save something for another day! I love my diapers and don't think I would go back to full time disposables again, currently she wears disposables at night because she is what is considered a heavy wetter and I don't want to wake her to change her every few hours. I can't wait until the warm weather arrives, with the cute patterns she can go with just a t-shirt or tank top (and loads of sun screen) all summer!
 
 
Hope everyone had a great weekend, Happy Monday!
 
~Natasha.
 
 
 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Breakfast Banana Bites

We are in a breakfast rut. Either toast with peanut butter or nutella, pancakes or waffles with a bit of fruit and either milk or yogurt. So, since little miss slept in today (and I didn't) I turned to Google for something new. I put in my search "Toddler Breakfast", I went through the first full page of results before hitting the jackpot: Banana Bites.

I started with a little sprinkle of packaged pancake mix. I added a small touch of nutmeg because it usually goes well with banana.

 
As per the recipes suggestion, I cut the bananas on the bias (at an angle) to make them bigger, and I used tongs to dip the banana pieces into the batter. They were a little hard to flip because they are so tiny, but I had success.
 

A yummy toddler breakfast, I added grapes, strawberries and milk.

 
I'd call this toddler approved. I gave her 6 pieces and she gave me back 2 full and 2 halves along with 2 pieces of strawberry.
 

 
I think I will be adding this to my rotation, it was a quick fix and she definitely liked it. Pus, there was enough batter leftover for a regular pancake: Mommy's breakfast.
 
Happy Wednesday, everyone. Hope it goes quick! It is pouring rain here, so we are heading to playgroup in our rain gear!
 
~Natasha. 


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Tot School, week one

Our first week of Tot School seemed to be very successful. I think her favourite activity of the week was 'painting' with a bingo dabber. It poured all day Tuesday, so I thought it would be a great day for this activity.
 


I decided to keep her in her jammies, to save her clothes. A stained pair of PJs is no big deal, but I was afraid of ruining something nice.


 
She did put the dabber in her mouth a few times, but not as much as I had expected. I gently showed her how to dab with it and told her we don't eat it. Either way, she ended up with a slightly pink tongue, lips and nose!
 
 
 
Oops :-)
 
 
Admiring her work.


This was fun!
 
 
We did plenty of activities the rest of the week, including the pom and pipe cleaners that I wrote about last Monday. 



 
As I mentioned earlier, Tuesday was a very rainy day, so we played 'fetch' the ball down the hall. I threw a baseball, a spiny ball and a ball that lit up with contact down the hall. She chased and brought them back over and over. It helped run off some pent up energy and kept her occupied for almost 45 minutes! Pardon the state of my hall, we are currently in a tiny apartment and this is my storage area. Those are her Christmas and Easter dresses hanging on the wall!
 

Tuesday night, I spent 4 hours rearranging the hallway and living room to give us more running around and play space. Before this, I was rotating toys every few days. Now, she has access to everything, so first thing Wednesday morning she started hauling everything out! Wednesday is our playgroup day, it takes place at the community centre, Salean spends most of the time running from area to area. Wednesday afternoons rock for Mommy because she actually sleeps two hours after playgroup, so Wednesday isn't the best day for Tot School here. The most we got in was counting cereal at playgroup snack time.  She also spent another 45 minutes or so playing with her poms and cup. She saw them on the shelf and reached for them, pointing and saying "Da!", which is her way of saying "I want that!"

Thursday, we tried some sock sorting. My child has a strange obsession with socks. They are something to be danced with, tossed in the air, flung around and cuddled. So, I thought, what better way to get in some sorting practice than to sort socks!


I set a blue one on the bench and dumped the rest in her bucket I asked her to find another blue one, She proceeded to dump them, scoop them, everything but find a matching one.


She even tried to put one on! She did the same with her shoe at playgroup Wednesday, putting her sock/shoe on by setting it on the foot :-)


Friday ended up being a busy day. Daddy was home from work early, so he took us out to see the Easter Bunny (which ended up being a bawl fest), to look at motorcycles and out to dinner. We got some learning time in before we went out, though.


No, my child does not drink pop...according to Daddy, she steals bottles from him. I am sure this is just his excuse to avoid putting the in the recycling. But, she has about half a dozen stashed in various place around the room and she loves to toss, shake and kick them around.

We have 3 ring stackers, she loves them all! The first we got is the generic plastic one that just about every kid has. I am not crazy about it because it is cone shaped. Unless you stack them in the correct order, you can't get all the rings on, and this gets confusing and frustrating for her because she gets to the top and has rings to stack but no space to stack them.

 
The other two we got from family for Christmas. On is a colourful wooden ring stacker and the other is a wooden one decorated like a penguin. They are both labeled 18 months, but I brought the colourful one out a few weeks ago. She loved it! If she is paying attention, she can put the rings on the dowel fairly easily. I usually talk to her about the colours, naming them as she puts the on. Sometimes I lay them out flat on the table and point out which is first, second etc. Usually she ignores me and stacks them the way she wants.
 
 

She really likes the penguin one as well, I just brought it out last week. I don't think she is quite ready for it. The pieces are heavier and thicker, so she has a hard time stacking them. She really does not get the plastic flipper part laying on the floor by her knee. I have let her play with it twice and she has gotten really frustrated both times, although Friday she tried to combine them, so she didn't get as frustrated as she did the first time. I think I may put this one away for a few weeks until she has more practice with the colourful one.

The weekend was a busy one and the warmest we've had this year! We spent all day Saturday outside and we ended up with our first sunburns of the year. Being redheads, we get them fairly easily. Time to stock up on sunscreen! I also made some coloured pasta for later use. I only made one colour, bowties, if she likes that I will make more later.

So our first real week of tot school went well. I am hoping to plan more activities to go along with this. I want to start to introduce colours, but I think I may wait until about 18 months. It gives me time to collect items to go with each colour, as well.

Hope everyone had a great week!

~Natasha


We are linked up to:


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Friday, April 11, 2014

Jelly Bean Jars

Between the two of us, we have 5 nephews ranging from age nine to age one, and one more on the way in June. I decided the boys needed something different this Easter as a gift from their only girl cousin...my little Miss. I saw this on Pintrest months ago, I didn't pin it because at the time, it didn't seem like something I would use. But, when I saw the big bags of jelly beans at the dollar store last week, I decided to go for it. Especially since I have lots of mason jars laying around.
 
This isn't just a jar of jellies, this is a jar with a secret! In the centre is a hidden envelope containing a toy car, some chocolates and a package of stickers.


 
My ingredient list. I used 4 bags of jelly beans for one tall and two short jars.
 
 
I made sure the paper fit in the jar height-wise, then wrapped the cars and stickers in it. I taped it up as small as I could get it.
 

 
A sprinkle of jelly beans into each jar, to hide the bottom of the packages.
 
 
 
After pouring jelly beans to cover the surprises, I shook the jar and used a chopstick to 'push' the candies and toys to be hidden in the jelly beans.
  
 

Two jars ready for covers! I put a name sticker on the cover of each as the toys inside were bought to be age appropriate.  
 

 The original pin just showed a toilet paper tube stuck in the jar and money hidden in the centre. So if you received it as a gift and threw it on the shelf, you'd be out that money. What a surprising gift it would be!
 
So, I hope the boys like their gifts of jelly beans and a surprise. And although it is early, hope everyone has a Happy Easter!
 
~Natasha.