Monday, April 28, 2014

Homemade Play Dough

It's a rainy, windy, miserable, cold day. Little Miss is always in  grumpy mood on days like this, so while she napped, I made play dough. She is a little young for it, the commercial stuff recommends ages 3 and up, but I figured if I kept a close eye on her we'd be safe.

I decided to go with a homemade recipe. I found THIS  easy kool aid one on Pintrest (of course). I had to buy the cream of tarter, I've never used it before. Was I ever surprised when I found the tiny jar in the spice isle and it was almost seven dollars! I'll be honest, I swore (not very loud, though). An older lady beside me commented on the price of spices as well, so I mentioned what I was looking for and she pointed put another brand that was 2 dollars cheaper. I thanked her three times and went on my way.

The dry ingredients mixed in the pot.

The glob before kneading

 After kneading a bit.

I presented half the play dough on the high chair tray with some sturdy cutters. Before I gave it to her, I said this is not to eat it is to play with!

 I cut a small circle out just to show how it is done. She loved the circle and was amazed by it and the hole it came out of! She tried putting it back in the hole and kept looking at it, investigating every surface.

Talking to the cutters and dough She didn't really figure out how to cut shapes, but mashed it a bit with the cutters.

Eventually she just started puling bits off and dropping them into the large round cutter.

The inevitable taste test. I missed all the good faces :-)

All in all it went well. She played about 15 minutes or so, until she started constantly tasting. I took that as a sign it was time for snack. She didn't fuss when I took it away, but had a great tantrum later after snack when it was time to get out of the high chair. We ended up getting dressed an going for a walk after that.
I really liked the recipe, it went together really quick. As per my usual luck, the minute I got started (once I got the water in the pot) I was interrupted. In this case, the garbage men came, which means I have to go fetch the cans before they blow away, and they woke Salean from her nap so she started fussing. I was able to wait them both out until I at least got it plopped on the kneading board. I went back to it after getting her up and the garbage cans in.
But, I will be making it again. We are partial to the colour purple, so I used grape mix. I plan on making a red, green and possibly a blue and yellow if I can find the drink mixes. I just have to find something to store them in!
Have a good day everyone, here's hoping tomorrows weather is better than todays!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Tot School: Sensory Bottles

This Post is Linked up to Tot School Gathering Place.

A couple months ago, I stumbled upon sensory bottles. I thought they were a really neat idea, so I decided I was going to make some!

My first attempt was a flop. I took a 600 mL pop bottle, threw in some water, baby oil, dry sparkle powder and some beads. I capped it, shook it...and everything clumped together. Blah. After a little more research, I tried it with just the sparkles and water. It turned out OK, but it is still a little clumpy. I have no idea where those first attempts are, my little jellybean made off with them.

So, I decided to try smaller bottles; mini water bottles that are the perfect size for little hands. I had a hard time finding them, but eventually found a package of a dozen at Wal-Mart for about 5 dollars. So far, I have used 11 bottles, but have 7 useable sensory bottles to play with.

I kept the water in two of the first three I made. The first one I dried with paper towel and half filled it with rice and a few drops of food colour. Once shaken, it turned the rice blue. This is her absolute favorite one, she hides it every day so I don't have a picture, I'm having a hard time finding it this week. I think she likes it because of the noise it makes. For the two with water, one I stuffed with some pipe cleaners that I had cut in half and the other I stuffed a few sparkly pom poms. I ended up tossing the pipe cleaner one after a few weeks, they rusted and clouded the water.

The pom one is on the left. The one on the right has sparkles and rocks in it from the dollar store. Of course, I had to empty some of the water out to add the rocks (below)

The sparkle one was with the third set of mini bottles that I made. My second set was a large 2L bottle that I filled about half way with water, added about a inch of cooking oil and a few drops of food colouring. It is very big, so she seldom plays with it. At this time, I also took another mini bottle and dumped half of it, then added a few drops of dish soap.

When it is shaken, bubbles fill the bottle. After a few hours, it settles down. She doesn't have much interest in this one.
The next set, along with the purple sparkle rocks, I made the above two. The green one simply has a few drops of food colouring, The one on the right has clear marbles in it. When shaken, they roll and rattle around, but because they are clear, they are difficult to see. This and the sparkle ones are her other favorites.
The most recent one has hair gel and google eyes in it. The eyes are really difficult to see and this one only confuses her. I think it may have needed more gel or maybe some water to thin it out.
These are our sensory bottles. Salean plays with them every day, rolling them, comparing them, and just looking at them or carrying them around. We use them daily for Tot School.
This last week was another damp one, but we were out almost every day. We still managed to get in some activities, though!
Our sensory bin this week had coloured pasta in it, she loved it! I used four colours of pasta with a toy frying pan, an old baby bottle, a cup from a tea set and a toy boat, which was mostly ignored.
I used THIS recipe for the purple bowties, the blue penne and the pink swirls. For the green swirls and bugs, I used THIS Kool-Aid recipe. I prefer the first because it dried faster and I found the Kool-Aid pasta stuck together to much.
The first day, she played with them for almost an hour, scooping, pouring, filling the bottle, and flinging them everywhere. The next day they went directly to the mouth, so I ended up taking them. Even when I sat beside her and constantly told her no, she tried eating them. I think she was just being a little naughty, because she had a mischievous grin on her face each time.
We also worked on puzzles this week. She hasn't quite got the hang of them, she sets the pieces on the correct spots, but can't figure out how to slide them in. Lots of time to work on that!
You'll notice the scratch on her forehead. Easter Sunday after Daddy opened her bubble blower, he left the cardboard box on the floor. They are one of her favorite playthings, after all. She bent over to pick something up and bopped her head on the corner of the box! That day, it only looked like a small piece of skin was taken off, and she barely cried. As the week went by, a scab formed and it got darker (the above picture was taken Monday, it was quite light; the picture above it was Tuesday, notice it is darker). I had several people ask me about it when we were out Wednesday. She gets her clumsiness honestly, I have been known to crack my head off the edge of a desk or two when bending over, not noticing that I was standing so close!
Our art activities for the week included double dabber painting (I finally bought another one) and her first time painting with a paint brush.

She absolutely loves the dabber painting, I just gave her one in each hand and let her go at it.

 Painting with a brush went a lot better then finger painting did. It was still messy, but not as much, so she didn't cry this time. She also didn't try to eat the paint.
That is pretty much the highlights of our week. We went on a couple of road trips to run errands for Daddy. It was also raining and/or snowing much of the week, but we managed to get out for a couple walks. I can't wait for the skies to clear and the sun to shine!!
Hope everyone had a great week!!

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!


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!!


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!

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!