Archive | January, 2013

Week 4

30 Jan

Good news!  At the top of my blog I have added a new page.  You can click on ‘365 Days of Unplugged Play’ to see a condensed list of all of the activities we have done so far.  I’m hoping it will act as a reference to any mom who needs a little inspiration on a slow day.  Here is my Week 4 recap:

Day 22 – Today I made a tray of raspberry Jell-o so when Annaliese got up from her nap we could make Jell-o jigglers.  I thought this would be fun and kind of messy but it was neither.  She didn’t enjoy it at all and I had to make them myself.  I will say that Chris was pretty excited to come home to some Jell-o in the fridge so I guess that’s a win.

Day 23 – Today we looked through photo albums together.  This was definitely an activity we both liked.  She enjoyed pointing out family and friends that she recognized.  I’m looking forward to doing this more with her as she gets older.  I told her stories about what was happening in each of the pictures.  For instance, “This was mommy and daddy on their honeymoon.  See how tan and rich they look?”

Day 24 – In a burst of inspiration I modified a Simon Says game for us today.  Annaliese has been really good at following directions lately and seems to enjoy doing what we say. (how long does this last exactly?)  I gave her a simple instruction and we both ran to complete it.  For example, “Run and put your hand on the window!”.  We ran all around downstairs completing the tasks.  It was a good way to get a little energy out too.

Day 25 – This activity was a pretty simple one.  I put out plastic cups and goldfish crackers.  We sorted the fish into different cups, and it actually held her attention for quite a while.  I tried to make it a little deeper by talking about how many fish were in each cup, how many are left when we take one out, etc.  Surprisingly, putting goldfish in and out of cups is pretty entertaining.

Day 26 – Good old fashioned coloring!  Today I simply gave Annaliese some crayons, markers, and paper and let her go to town.  She is getting better and better at holding markers and crayons.  Once she created a few masterpieces we hung them up in the playroom.

Day 27 – Because I have such a little helper now I try to take full advantage when I can.  As a special “privilege”  Annaliese got to help me sort the laundry today! (Lucky girl)  She actually loves helping with the laundry.  I also tried to make this one a little more educational by talking about the colors of the clothes, sorting them into piles, etc.

Day 28 – Couch ball pit day!  A long time ago we bought 2 bags of colored balls from Target.  Definitely an awesome purchase.  Today I took the cushions off of the couch and made it into a ball pit.  We both jumped in and had a lot of fun playing together.   Here are a few pictures.

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I have a surprise coming on my blog next week so be sure to check back in!

My 1st Blog Award

28 Jan

Last week I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Raquel from The HeART.  I recently found her blog through a contest she is holding, and I can’t get enough!  Her blog is so beautifully designed; I can’t stop looking at it.  Her daughter is about the same age as Annaliese so its fun to read too.  If you want to check it out here is her site.

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7 Bloggers I Follow:

1. Kilburn 365

2. Growing Wilder

3. In High Spirits

4. Strength, Hope, and Everything Inbetween

5. Curry Clan Column

6. Run Inspired

7. Eco Incognito

 

7 Things I’d Like Them to Know

1. I prefer my candy frozen (gummy bears, milky ways…)

2. My husband and I had a brief online romance 5 years before we actually talked in person.

3. I like to scrapbook, sew, and do any kind of craft really.

4. I cried on my first day of 2nd grade at a new school because a girl told me if I wanted to be friends with her, I had to dress like a tom boy the next day.  I had no idea what a tom boy was…very upsetting.

5. I love The Bachelor and Bachelorette.

6. If I could wear a hot pink pair of flats everyday I would.  That’s what I wore under my wedding dress!

7. The sweetest sound I’ve ever heard is Annaliese making herself laugh.

 

If you made the list, here is what to do

  • thank the person who gave you this award.
  • include a link to their blog.
  • next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
  • nominate those 15 bloggers for the versatile blogger award.
  • finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

 

Congratulations!

Week 3

22 Jan

Good week over here!  We’ve all been healthy and we even got some good weather.  No complaints!  Here is a run down of our activities.  If you’re not familiar with my New Year’s Resolution, here is the original post.

Day 15 – This morning we went to a Baby Sign Language Demonstration through Moms Club.  The demo was lead by Rachel from My Smart Hands and we had a lot of fun!  When we got home we practiced our signs with some singing and reading books.  A really likes trying new signs especially when singing is involved.

Day 16 – Today was a little more low key so we explored some magazines.  One of us was trying to read the articles and the other was trying to rip pages out.  Can you guess which is which?  We did both enjoy looking at the pictures and talking about what was happening.  A was a fan of any pictures of dogs or babies.

Day 17 – A found a toothbrush (unused) under our bathroom sink so we took the idea and ran with it (literally).  She enjoyed brushing all of her stuffed animals’ teeth, her dolls’ teeth, and other random things like the wall, fish tank, etc.  I feel like she made Pop Pop pretty proud today.  Dentist in the making!

Day 18 – Today we played with post-its.  We stuck post-its to each other and many objects around the house.  Lots of entertainment with minimal set up and clean up…we’ll take it.

Day 19 – A few days ago A received a cute little owl mailbox from my cousin Sophie who was visiting.  The perfect gift for her because she loves checking the mail (ours and other people’s).  Today we wrote notes on small pieces of paper and “mailed” them in the mailbox.  She really enjoyed putting the notes in and out of the mailbox and seemed surprised each time she opened it and there was paper inside.

Day 20 – The weather was finally nice today so we went on a nice winter hike.  A spent some time walking and some time in the ergo.  She loved all of the dogs that we passed and waved to each one.

Day 21 – Today was my favorite activity from the week.  We had a Silly Hat Luncheon.  A really enjoys playing with her dolls and having them sit at the table to eat.  We took it a step farther and everyone wore silly hats.  She prepared the food for the dolls and me and served us all while we sat and looked fashionable.  Here are the only pictures I took this week :

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In the second one she is saying “hat”.  We had a great week but I realized that I need to take more pictures!  That will be my goal for next week.

How do I look in green?

19 Jan

A few years ago when a lot of ideas were being tossed around about being “green” I remember turning up my nose.  I’m not a bandwagon-type person and this seemed like a very trendy thing to do.  Everywhere I looked celebrities were talking about the environment and what they were doing to save it.  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to erase the picture of Sheryl Crow only using one square of toilet paper per wipe from my mind.  Over the years I started to warm up to the idea as I realized it wasn’t going away.  Striving to be eco-friendly isn’t just a trend anymore and I hate to admit it but I might be jumping on the bandwagon.

I started to get more interested in the idea of being “green” when we purchased our house this summer.  I’ll be honest; I initially started looking into it for the money savings.  I realized how much money we were throwing in the trash and wanted to see if there were easy things I could do to fix it.  Because I do not work, Chris and I keep to a pretty tight budget each month.  I knew if I made some simple changes we could save even more money than what we already were.  As I started making a few changes I realized how good it felt being a little kinder to the environment in addition to our wallets.

I’d like to share a few ideas with you.  These are just a few things our family is trying out.

1. Reusable cloth – We have switched from paper towels and napkins to reusable cloths.  Before we tried this out, Chris did some experimenting of his own and actually made us share a napkin during our meals.  This was the point where we both realized exactly how much paper towel we were using and throwing away every day.  During an enlightening trip to Oklahoma in September,  my friends Taylor and Zach introduced me to the idea of using reusable cloths.  We switched soon after and haven’t looked back.  The cost savings is great but honestly I like using them so much better than paper towel.  They are more absorbent and are nice to clean with as well.  Every few days I just throw them in the washing machine.

2. Cloth Baby Wipes – Along those same lines I also switched to cloth wipes for A. I cut up a bunch of her flannel baby blankets into small squares.  I have a little spray bottle with water and a tiny bit of baby soap in it.  I use that to wet the wipes individually as needed.  Every few days I throw a load of these into the washing machine too.  Again, great cost savings!

3. Reusable grocery bags – These aren’t really saving us any money but they really are convenient.  They can hold so many more groceries than a plastic bag and are easy to throw over your shoulder when your hands are full of toddler.

4.  Reusable produce bags – My parents bought me these for Christmas and they are so awesome! Again, no cost savings but those plastic produce bags serve no purpose once you get home.

5. Watt watching – I have to credit Chris with this one.  He has been on fire lately with making our house run more efficiently.  He has been working on our insulation a lot, driving me crazy with turning all of the lights off, and finding ways to save us money on our energy bill.  In the process we are using less electricity which is a savings and better for the environment.

6. Efficiently using groceries – I can also credit Chris with helping me to get better at this.  I never really enjoyed leftovers before.  I was bored with the food after eating it once so why would I want to eat it the next night?  I call Chris the Leftover King because he can masterfully make something delicious a few nights in a row.  We have seen a decline in our grocery bill because we are using the groceries we buy more efficiently.  If I buy an ingredient for one recipe, I make sure I can use the rest of that ingredient for something else that week.  We are throwing out less and less food which means less waste and more money in our pocket.

 

These are just a few ways we have been trying to get a little “green” over here.  Our plans for the spring are to try out some gardening and also line dry our clothes.  I’d love to hear from everyone what little things they do to help the environment and their family budget at the same time!

Week 2!

14 Jan

I’ll start out by saying this week was a little rough.  We’ve had illness running rampant in the family, and it was a little tough to get Grumpy Pants excited about some of the ideas I had planned.  Here’s to a better week 3!

Day 7 – Grandma gets the credit for today’s activity.  She watched A while I tutored.  Together Grandma and A happily set up a doll hospital in the living room.  They used a doctor’s kit to look in the little patients’ ears, check their blood pressure, and listen to their heart beats.  A has been really into playing with dolls lately so this was a fun afternoon for her!

Day 8 – Today we played Hide and Seek with one of A’s new stuffed animals.  I thought this one would go over well because she has really enjoyed hiding food at mealtime and making me search for it under her plate.  She didn’t have the greatest day so this activity wasn’t really her favorite.  I hid her stuffed dog in various places and asked her to help me look for it.  I thought it was fun at least….Here is a picture of the dog hiding in the microwave.  He’s a tricky little guyImage

Day 9 – Today we had a little tupperware party on the floor.  I let her go nuts with some spoons and various sizes of tupperware containers.  She enjoyed this one.  Anything involving messes and noise is right up her alley.

Day 10 – This one is a little weird but I let her play in our bed today.  She absolutely loved it.  She thought it was so funny to crawl under the blankets, hide from me, and pretend she’s asleep.  I highly recommend this activity for any moms who are extra tired one day or maybe not feeling so well.  Who doesn’t want to lay in bed for a few extra minutes while their child happily plays by themselves?  Look at this happy little face :

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Day 11 – Another day of not feeling so hot.  We took some of A’s letter magnets off of the fridge and tested out what they would stick to.  She wasn’t super excited about this idea and lost interest pretty quickly.  Perhaps she will like it more when she’s older?

Day 12 – Today Daddy was home so he got to take over for a little bit!  He took A on a nice long wagon ride.  She loves to be in her wagon and loves spending time with Daddy.

Day 13 – We took a family trip to a nearby farm called Springton Manor.  It was a lot of fun.  A loves animals so she was thrilled to rotate between the goats, sheep, cows, and horses.  There were also some nice walking trails so we strapped on the Ergo to explore a little bit.  Here we are making the most of the dreary day.

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Day 14 – We are going to give credit to Daddy for today’s idea.  Yesterday our family handyman had to turn off the electricity for a few minutes so A and I got to play with the flashlights.  She really enjoyed it so we spent some more time exploring with them today.  We made it as dark as possible and used the flashlights to make shadows on the walls.  She thought it was pretty funny to have the flashlight in her shirt.

 

I guess the week wasn’t so bad!  Hoping the sickness leaves our house very soon.

 

Fish Friends

11 Jan

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This week we started an adventure and got A her first pet.  My dad generously donated his unused fish supplies and we filled the tank with (thankfully) very cheap goldfish.  So far its been a huge hit with A.  Her favorite new thing is feeding the fish in the morning.  Throughout the day she likes to sign “more” in front of the tank to let me know that she thinks the fish need more food.  I have to remind her that fish don’t eat as much as toddlers.

Sadly we’ve already had a few fish fatalities.  (We’re learning ok?)  We’re trying to learn along with A how to take care of the fish and its been a fun activity for the whole family.  Its been really neat to watch A take some responsibility over their care.  So far they are definitely the perfect pet – quite, non smelly, and their poop magically disappears into the gravel.  Perhaps we’ll work our way up to a more exciting pet one day, but for now A is pretty in love with her fish!

365 Days of Unplugged Play – Week 1

6 Jan

Here is my first update on my New Year’s Resolution.  If you haven’t read about my resolution yet, here is the post : https://thebusybaby.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/new-years-resolution/

Day 1 – A helped me make muffins.  My parents got A a Kitchen Helper for Christmas this year.  A absolutely loves helping me in the kitchen so this was the perfect gift.  This might not sound like everyone’s definition of “playing” but A thinks it is!  She loves to be a helper.  Here is a picture of her helping to stir.

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Day 2 – Today we packed up our Christmas decorations and took down our tree.  A was incredibly interested in the cleaning up of the pine needles.  She liked watching Chris sweep the pine needles off of the front porch.  I decided to take her lead and let her “play” clean some things.  She mostly used the broom and swept around the house.  She liked moving the rugs out of the way just like Mommy and Daddy do.

***Ok so at this point I realize our playing so far sounds like child labor.  I promise these are really things that A is interested in, and I try to follow her lead when we play together***

Day 3 – I draped quilts and blankets over our dining room table to make a little tent/fort.  A and I read books under there for a while.  She liked it so much that we also ate lunch under there.  I think this was my favorite thing we did this week.  She kept laughing when we were under the table so I could tell she was having fun too.  You can tell from the picture how much she enjoyed it.

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Day 4 – Today we put colored ice cubes in the tub during bathtime.  I found the idea on Pinterest ( http://www.mommysavers.com/frugal-bathtime-fun-for-baby/ )  A really liked this activity.  She liked watching the water turn all different colors and kept using the sign for “more” to let me know I needed to hurry up with the next ice cube.

Day 5 – Today A and I went to a Busy Bag Swap with a group of ladies I used to work with.  We had such a blast.  These teachers are a creative bunch! When we got home A refused to nap (she had consumed her weight in doughnut holes) so we had lots of play time.  I let her play with all of her new busy bags, and she had such a great time.  If you’re not sure what a busy bag is, here is one website with an explanation : http://www.playcreateexplore.com/p/busy-bags.html  There are a million ideas out there and it is a great way to entertain a toddler in and out of the house!

Day 6 – Today Chris and I took A to Petsmart.  We have done this many times on rainy or cold days, and she loves it.  I think she’d spend hours in there if we let her.  She runs back and forth between the fish, birds, and hamsters.  We view it as a scaled down, free zoo/aquarium.

 

I think our first week was a success!  I am excited to keep going with my resolution.  It really forced me to try some new things with A and bring back some old favorites.  It also made me realize that some of the most simple things we do are the most fun for both of us.  Looking forward to week 2!

 

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