Category Archives: Stuff for the Little One(s)

Monsters, Inc. Boo Halloween Costume

Last Halloween, I decided to get crafty and make Olivia’s costume—Boo from Monsters, Inc.

Monsters Inc Boo

Now, I am no seamstress. I worked in the costume shop in college as part of my theatre minor and somehow managed to sew my own sleeve to the dress I was making. So if I could pull this off, I’m pretty sure anyone can do it.

For the most part, I followed this excellent tutorial from Tiny Iron Fists with a few adjustments. In order to get the round bowl shape for the head piece, I actually covered a lightweight plastic bowl in the fabric. Instead of just using pipe cleaners to hold up the eyes, I wrapped a section of wire clothes hanger in pipe cleaners and glued them into holes that my husband drilled in the bowl.

As I don’t own a sewing machine, I ended up hand-sewing this entire thing. I do not recommend it. What could have taken me 30 minutes on a Singer wound up taking me somewhere in the neighborhood of a week, week in a half because there’s only so much sewing I could handle per day. If you have access to a sewing machine, for the love, USE IT!

Despite this costume taking forever to complete and being much more of an undertaking than I originally planned, it was all worth it on Halloween night to see the smile on this sweet face!


A Doc McStuffins Birthday Party

Olivia is three! And like most kids, she has become more opinionated about her birthday party with each passing year. This year, she decided that she wanted a Doc McStuffins birthday party. For those who are unfamiliar with the good doctor, Doc McStuffins is a cartoon on Disney Junior about a little girl with a magic stethoscope who fixes all the broken toys. It’s actually a pretty cute cartoon, and I love the fact that the main character is a girl who is NOT a princess. So I was more than happy to indulge Olivia’s theme choice.

I decided to use Paperless Post instead of mailing out invitations this year. Best idea ever! My stepmom designed this adorable invitation, which I uploaded into one of the full photo designs. I removed the text overlay option, added in everyone’s email addresses, hit send and … done! I was able to track everyone’s responses, send messages to invitees, and it was all for FREE.

Doc McStuffins Invitation

Given the fact that I am roughly the size of a whale right now and can’t move without crazy sciatic pain, I went very light on the DIY for this year’s party. I did, however, manage to make a cute sign for the front door …

As well as a few pennant garlands. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to make your own pennant garland, if you’re interested.

I couldn’t resist these bright pink hydrangeas for the table!

I set up a “clinic” in the basement for the kids to be able to give the stuffed animals (and each other) a check-up, complete with fun Band-Aids and a variety of doctor tools.

Instead of traditional favor bags, I set up a “pharmacy” so the kids could make their own goodie bags to take with them. I found Doc McStuffins sticker sheets at Walmart, Doc McStuffins mini coloring pages at Target, Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies, Annie’s Fruit Snacks, and a few different types of candy—everything in shades of pink, purple, and blue to match the theme.

I also made pink (i.e. strawberry) cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and pink and purple sprinkles. I think these were the highlight of Olivia’s day because, as each new person came in the door, she greeted them with “It’s my birthday! And we have cupcakes!!”

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of the cupcakes (or any of the other food for that matter). I blame my pregnancy brain. I ordered most of the food from Wegmans and Costco this year—I was not up for making everything from scratch like I usually do—but I did make my mom’s edamame orzo salad, which was a hit. I’ll be sharing that recipe soon, so be sure to check back!

It is definitely harder to throw a child’s birthday party when you’re eight months pregnant, but Olivia’s excitement when she saw the decorations (and the cupcakes) made it all worth it. Not to mention the fact that I got a huge hug and a “Mama, I love you—this was the best birthday ever!” at the end of the evening. Yep, totally worth it.


Children’s Books About 9/11

This post is from last September 11th but the resources are still very relevant for those looking to find ways to talk to their children about the events 12 years ago … Never forget.

Olivia is just now getting to the age where she can hold a mini conversation and ask us about things she sees and hears. I am thankful, however, that on this day, she is not yet asking me what the flags are flying for, why people are wearing pins, or what 9/11 means.

I am thankful because I am terrified of the day when she will ask me and how I will answer that question truthfully without scaring her half to death or making her mistrustful of others.

It’s going to be a tough conversation and one that I will need to be prepared for. For those of you who have little ones already asking the tough questions, here are some children’s books to help you through those discussions.

America is Under Attack by Don Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September Roses by Jeanette Winter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Still a Dog’s New York by Susan Roth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Survivor Tree: Inspired by a True Story by Cheryl Somers Aubin and Sheila Harrington

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 12th: We Knew Everything Would Be All Right by Masterson Elementary Students

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Little Chapel that Stood by A.B. Curtiss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 11, 2001: A Day in History by Evelyn B. Block

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey by Maira Kalman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do Not Be Sad- A Chronicle of Healing by FDNY Engine 24 Ladder 5


10 Cookbooks for Kids

Cooking with your children isn’t only about teaching them a valuable skill—it’s also about spending time with them and making them feel included as equal contributors in the family. When your child is old enough to go it alone, cooking can help build confidence, self-esteem, and problem-solving skills. And following recipes can also improve reading comprehension. Here are 10 great cookbooks just for kids, filled with simple, easy-to-follow recipes that your little one (and you!) will love.

Little Kitchen: 40 Delicious and Simple Things That Children Can Really Make

At the Farmers’ Market with Kids: Recipes and Projects for Little Hands

Twist It Up: More Than 60 Delicious Recipes from an Inspiring Young Chef

Betty Crocker Kids Cook!

Children’s Quick and Easy Cookbook

Baby Love: Healthy, Easy, Delicious Meals for Your Baby and Toddler

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

Weelicious: 140 Fast, Fresh, and Easy Recipes

The Kid’s Cookbook: A Great Book for Kids Who Love to Cook!

We Can Cook: Introduce Your Child to the Joy of Cooking with 75 Simple Recipes and Activities


Toys to Help Teach ABCs

With 33% of 4th grade public school students reading at or below the “Basic” level, it’s never too early to start working with your little one on letters and learning the alphabet.* Of course, there’s always the old standby ABCs song—which is a great way for your child to learn the alphabet—but  how else can you expose your child to letters in a fun and engaging way? Here are nine toys that we recommend to help your little one not only learn the alphabet but also start to visually identify letters and their correlating sounds.

Tag Junior Interactive Letter Factory Flash Cards, $10.99

LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Alphabet, $15.88

Melissa & Doug Alphabet Art Puzzle, $14.99

Fun with ABC’s Magnetic Letters, $5.34

Munchkin Bath Letters and Numbers, $6.99

The Learning Journey Match It! Alphabet Memory, $9.99

Dr. Seuss’s ABC by Dr. Seuss, $6.04

Melissa & Doug ABC Blocks, $13.19

LeapFrog Lettersaurus, $19.99

*Reading is Fundamental Literacy Facts and Stats http://www.rif.org/us/about/literacy-facts-and-stats.htm

Toddler Spring Dresses for Under $25

I don’t know about where you live, but in DC it feels like we’ve jumped right over spring and landed in summer—it was 93° outside today! Luckily, we’ll be returning to true springtime temps by the weekend. With spring weather comes spring dresses for my little lady. She LOVES wearing dresses, but there’s no way I’m spending $50 on a dress she’s going to wear to daycare and get craft paint on. So I set out to find some seriously adorable (and affordable) toddler dresses. Here are five of my favs under $25!

Tea Protea Print Wrap-Neck Dress, $24.50

Target OshKosh dress, $15

Old Navy Pleated Sundress, $15

Gap Striped Terry Dress, $22.95

Carter’s Shift Dress, $13.20


Six Stylish Toddler Sandals

Last year, I found a pair of green sandals for Olivia on clearance for $4 at Target. She got so many compliments every time she wore them that it kind of became this inside joke with us. Who knew that the cheapest pair of shoes she owned would be the most popular?!

I went back this year to see if I could find the same ones in a larger size but no luck. So I set out to find ones that could compete with the mythical green sandals.

There are some seriously cute sandals out there for toddler girls this year! I’ve rounded up six of my favorites.

Embellished Flower Jelly Sandals at Gap, $16.95

Wakely Sandal at Stride Rite, $30

Flower Sandals at Gymboree, $32.95

Cherokee Jumper Sandal at Target, $14.99

Strappy Neon Sandals by Carters, $16

Navy Espadrilles by OshKosh B’gosh, $18


A Girly Dinosaur Bedroom

Did you see the hilarious T-Rex shirts by Crazy Dog on Zulily last week?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How great are those?! Olivia loves dinosaurs. I can only assume it’s because she occasionally watches Dinosaur Train on PBS. When I saw those shirts on Zulily, it gave me the idea to do a girly dinosaur theme for her new big girl bedroom. So I set about researching to see how doable this idea would be.

Not surprisingly, most dinosaur decor was for boys—lots of blue, green, red, brown, etc. I did, however, manage to find a few girly dinosaur accessories. Here are a few of my favorites!

Wall Art

Etsy shop Designs by Amanda Lee, Dinosaur Print, $30

Lamp

Alex Marshall Studios lamp from Jack and Jill Boutique, $176

Pillow

Etsy shop Drummbelina pillow, $21

Wall Decal

Rosenberry Rooms Dancing Dinos wall mural, $89.95

stuffed animal

Land of Nod Rex plush toy, $24.95

 


My Little Supergirl

Who says girls can’t be superheroes?!

These shirts from Old Navy are BRILLIANT. Mixed in with the Disney Princess, Minnie Mouse, and Hello Kitty T-shirts, you can now find Supergirl and Bat Girl shirts (complete with capes!) in toddler sizes. For some reason, they are not available online, but I was able to find them in store as recent as a week ago.

I love the message this shirt sends to my daughter … almost as much as she loved “flying” around all day!


Tackling Dry Scalp in Toddlers

Back in December, I started noticing that my daughter’s scalp was really, really dry. It looked a little bit like very mild cradle cap, but what two year old gets something that’s normally associated with infants? Apparently lots of them, based on what I found on Google.

I tried switching to Aveeno Baby Gentle Conditioning Shampoo, but the problem persisted. So I did what any desperate mom does these days, I took to Facebook. I asked fans of the Mom Machine page for their advice on dealing with dry scalp in toddlers. Lucky for me (and Olivia), they rose to the occasion!

One mom suggested Aquaphor Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo. Several moms recommended massaging baby oil into the scalp and then shampooing like normal. California Baby Eczema Shampoo & Bodywash also made the list. But the most recommended treatment, by far, was Mustela’s Foam Shampoo for Newborns.

I decided to start cheap and try the baby oil method. It worked, sort of. Her scalp would be noticeably less dry for a little while, but the flakes would always come back. So I finally gave in, followed the advice of the majority, and picked up the Mustela shampoo. I’ll be honest—I was a little skeptical since it’s specifically formulated for newborns, but since nothing else had worked, I was willing to give it a shot.

We have been using the Mustela shampoo every other night for several weeks now and what do you know? No flakes! It took probably a week’s worth of use before we noticed a difference, but once the dryness cleared up, it hasn’t come back. A big THANK YOU to those Mom Machine fans who jumped in with suggestions—you’re the best! Olivia and I both appreciate it.

 

*Please note: this post is not a sponsored post, nor was I compensated in any way for writing it. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.