Archive | October, 2012

Oh, and by the way…

26 Oct

… it’s a girl!

Almost two weeks old now…

 

My Little Laundry Helper

25 Oct

 

 

One chore I don’t mind doing is folding laundry because I get to sit down to do it!

Freestyle used to like to “help Mommy” by putting all the folded clothes and tossing them back into the hamper so that they were in a messy heap again. She also likes to help carry the hamper back and forth with me.

Now, she is helping me sort the socks. I remember waiting for her to be old enough to teach her about “matching” and “pairs.” So now that’s her laundry job and a real help to me!

 

Matching Pairs of Socks 

1. Start off with just a few pairs of socks, preferably with distinct differences in patterns/colours.

2. Have your child help mix up the pile of socks.

3. Pick out one sock (“This is a purple sock.”) and find the matching sock (“Here is another purple sock. See, it is the same, it matches. They are a pair.”).  Next, pick out another sock and ask your child to find the matching one.

Freestyle just finds the matching pair on her own now.

4. Lay the pairs out side-by-side.

5. Ta Da! Now they are ready to fold.

New vocabulary: match, matching, pair.

 

Laundry jobs for a young toddler (about 2 years old):

  • Matching socks.
  • Sorting out different family members’ clean laundry for folding (my pile of clothes, Mommy’s pile, etc.).
  • Putting her own dirty laundry into the hamper in her room.
  • Folding washcloths (we are going to try this next week).
  • Carefully placing folded laundry back into the hamper/drawers (this we are still working on!).

 

Any other ideas?

 

DIY Toddler Crayons

18 Oct

Here’s a super easy DIY project that even young children can do (with adult supervision and help with the oven, of course!). It’s also a good way to show them that even “old, used” crayons can be recycled into something brand new! Just keep out a container to collect the small crayons until you have enough.

I made these toddler crayons for the loot bags for Freestyle’s 1st birthday. They were colourful and pretty and easy for chubby little hands to grasp! If you have older kids, they still may like them or you could make them as gifts for younger friends, cousins, etc.

 

DIY Toddler Crayons 

 

 

Materials:

  • Old crayons too short to use (or a box of new crayons…I did this because I didn’t have a lot of crayons at that point…man, has that changed!)
  • Mini muffin pan
  • Oven
  • Cooling rack (optional)

 

What You Do:

1. Preheat the oven to about 275 degrees.

 

2. Tear off the paper wrapping off the crayons.

I sorted them into colour families because I wanted to make multi-coloured crayons and thought it be easier to mix and match this way.

 

3. Break up any larger crayons into smaller pieces and then fill the mini muffin tin.

 

 

4. Place the tin into the oven for about 10 minutes (or until all the crayons have melted).

 

5. Now, you can either wait for the crayons to cool or let the tin cool for a few minutes and then put the crayons onto a cooling rack.

Don’t they look so pretty? 🙂

 

If you are making them as a gift, a head’s up: I would keep them separated and then package them at the last minute because once they start rubbing against one another in a bag/box, they get to be flaky and white (wax). You might even consider separating them with a square of tissue paper.

That’s it! A very simple rainy day project!

 

DIY Where The Wild Things Are Costume

11 Oct

Let me preface this by saying that I don’t sew. I mean, I know the basic stitch, you know, going in and out (is there a name for that?). And I can tie a knot at the end. So, when I say that this is easy, I really do mean EASY!

Last Halloween, Freestyle was 15 months old. I knew that she wouldn’t enjoy wearing a fussy costume and would likely pull of pieces of it by the end of the Halloween playdate that we were attending. So I wanted to make her a simple costume that was comfortable and warm and that she would actually keep on!

 

Photo Credit 

 

I took a look at what I had around the house (as usual!) and decided to make a Max costume for her. Max is the little boy from the children’s classic book Where the Wild Things Are. It seemed easy because she had some pajamas that, when turned inside out, were all white. Her winter hat (that she was already used to wearing) had ear flaps that would work too.

 

All I needed was:

  • White onesie PJs
  • Sewing kit
  • Stiff yellow felt (I was only able to find orange)
  • Stiff grey felt (I only had light blue)
  • White fabric (I used some handkerchiefs that someone had given us that we never used)
  • Scissors
  • Black pipe cleaners

I didn’t use any patterns, just some good ol’ guesstimation and elbow grease. Here’s what I did:

  1. Eyeballed the winter hat and cut the white handkerchiefs so that it was would cover the entire hat with extra material. Sewed it onto the hat.
  2. Measured Freestyle’s head and cut the orange felt to fit. Cut out the triangles to make the crown shape and sewed it onto the hat.
  3. Bent the pipe cleaners and sewed the ends onto the ear flaps of the hat.
  4. Cut out “claws” and a tail from the blue felt. Sewed the claws onto the toes of the PJs and the tail onto the bum!

The “Wild Thing” sign is not sewn onto the costume. I just made it because I had leftover felt and foam letter stickers. Freestyle held it for a couple of photos.

That’s it! I found a costume headband with horns. They were for a devil costume but I just found two of Freestyle’s green baby socks and just stuck them over the red horns. I wore a green sweater and voila, instant Wild Thing costume for me! 🙂 If you had a striped sweater like in the picture above, that’d be even better!

 

The Max costume worked out very well for 15-month-old Freestyle. It was warm, comfortable, and since it was made from her PJs and hat, she was already familiar with it (no itchy fabric). I purposely put the hat on her head from behind so that she didn’t see that it was different than usual (otherwise, she’d probably keep taking it off to look at it). She kept it on all day!

When Halloween was over, I just cut off the thread and took off all the fabric and felt and Freestyle had her regular PJs and hat back again.

Have fun!

 

Any Day Now…

4 Oct

Our second baby is due next week (or who knows, maybe he or she has already arrived? I’ve been writing these posts in advance for the last couple of months!).

We’re all very excited though I am starting to feel more and more anxious about labour because I didn’t have the most positive birth experience with Freestyle. Not end-of-the-world stuff, of course, but could’ve been better.

I’m glad we got a spot at our local midwife centre this time. Last time I was put on a waiting list but this time I got a spot immediately! I am really enjoying this experience and feel more informed this time around (and of course this being the second time around, I sort of know what to expect). I would definitely recommend seeing a midwife to anyone who is pregnant!

 

The greatest thing though is how much support we have here. I know that we’re blessed to have family (and have them close by) and friends who care. I’ve been trying to plan out what will happen if I go into labour and Biker is at work (it would take him at least an hour to get back home). My parents are just great and will be taking Freestyle overnight when we’re in the hospital.

However, if I need to go to the hospital immediately and my parents can’t get here right away, I am able to call on our amazing babysitter who told me to call her “day or night” even though she has two young kids of her own. My neighbour (or I really should say “friend who lives next door!”) said she could look after Freestyle if she is home and her husband even said if Biker can’t get there right away, just to give him a call and he’d leave work (he works closer to home) to drive me to the hospital! How nice is that?!

Honestly, when I heard that, I got a bit teary! We are so, so lucky and I’m very grateful to have such good friends and family around.

Thank you. 🙂

 

If you are pregnant and don’t have a lot of family nearby or many close friends that you can count on in this situation, speak to your OB/midwife and to the people you do have around you about it. Sometimes your friends may just be ignorant/unaware (like me!) about your needs– I always feel like hitting my palm against my forehead when a friend of mine (who is a single parent) asks me to help with something that I should have realized that she’d need help with myself!

If you know someone who is pregnant / expecting a child through adoption, etc. and may not have a strong support circle around her (maybe she is a single parent or has just immigrated to the country), do whatever you can to offer her support:

  • Offer to babysit her older kid(s) during labour (or even just for a couple hours on the weekend so she can have some time to herself!)
  • Drive her to appointments if you are off, purchase bus/taxi fare if you can’t (and this is within your budget)
  • Again, if it’s within your budget, treat her to a mani/pedi or just a coffee during her pregnancy
  • Take ready made (healthy) meals to her when the baby has arrived
  • Be her emergency contact
  • Offer to be her birth partner
  • Go with her to buy baby-related gear with her (it’s more fun with someone there!) OR browse kijiji or survey your own friends/family for gently used baby items if that is more budget-friendly for her
  • Call once in awhile to be her sounding board/rant listener
  • Ask her, “What can I do?” rather than “Do you need help?”

…there are so many things we can do for our friends! We just need to keep an eye out for opportunities to do so (I really need to do remind myself to do this, actually!).

 

Any other suggestions?