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Category Archives: Stuff for the Little One(s)
Before long, Olivia is going to be making the move to a big girl bed. I’ve been looking at our options, and I am absolutely in love with the Jenny Lind bed from The Land of Nod. It reminds me of my bed growing up, and it would look adorable with a colorful little quilt. The only problem? They’re freaking expensive! Call me crazy, but I’d prefer not to drop $550 on a kid’s bed.
So I set out to see if I could find a cheaper knock-off version, and you’ll never guess what store delivered … Walmart! And for $300 less than the nearly identical Land of Nod version! Granted, the Land of Nod beds come in fun colors, but it’s nothing an afternoon and a can of spray paint can’t achieve.
What do you think, pretty good right?!
Now to find a cute quilt!
I made these treats for a Valentine’s Day play date last year, and they were a smash with the little ones! Several of my girlfriends texted me later to say how much the treats were a lifesaver on the car ride home. This is a great option for little ones who aren’t quite ready for candy—and they’re a cinch to put together, so they’re mom-friendly too!
Since all of O’s friends are around her age (i.e. not really old enough for sugary candy valentines), I started thinking of what we could do for Valentine’s Day that would be toddler-friendly. After walking through Target for about 45 minutes trying to come up with something brilliant, I found Quaker Whole Hearts cereal, which is basically heart-shaped Cheerios, lightly sweetened. Perfect! What toddler doesn’t eat cereal?! But it needed a little something extra. Then my husband suggested freeze dried strawberry slices. Even more perfect! Not only are the strawberries all natural with no added sugar, they add a pop of Valentine’s Day color and they’re (kind of) heart-shaped themselves. Done and Done. I think these turned out really cute! They aren’t exactly my most time-consuming or elaborate project, but I think they’ll be a hit with the little ones!
If your house looks like ours, you could probably give Barnes and Noble a run for their money. But if there’s ever anything I will encourage my daughter to want more of, it’s books! At some point (probably around the 10th or 12th time you’ve read The Napping House), you start getting new books for yourself as much as for your kids. Hey, sanity is worth something in this crazy world. Here are a few cute (and, bonus, non-sugary!) books to give your little one this Valentine’s Day.
Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton
Love, Splat by Rob Scotton
Henry in Love by Peter McCarty
Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli
The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever by Brenda Ferber, Illustrated by Tedd Arnold
Cranberry Valentine by Wende and Harry Devlin
The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond
Sure, they might pass out by halftime, but your kids can still get in on the fun during the Super Bowl. Having plenty of kid-friendly snacks, fun football-themed activities for the little ones, and festive desserts will ensure a house full of happy fans (unless your team loses—in which case, good luck!).
Keep it simple (and healthy) with lightened up versions of your favorite game day foods.
Healthy Seven-Layer Dip from FitSugar
Buffalo Cauliflower from yours truly
Pigs in a Blanket from Food Network
Cajun Crab Dip from yours truly
Pizza Pretzel Bites from Two Peas and Their Pod
Roasted Garlic Hummus from Annie’s Eats
Turkey Sliders from Martha Stewart
Chili from Cooking Light
Game Time Activities
Chances are, little ones aren’t going to sit through an entire football game. Be prepared with these fun ideas!
Make Your Own Jersey: Buy a bunch of cheap tees, puffy paint, glitter, etc. and set up a table for the kids to decorate their own “jerseys.”
Football Word Search (Free download!)
Decorate the House: Put the kids to work decorating the house for the big game by letting them make footballs out of construction paper. They can even string them together using a hole punch and yarn to make a garland.
Commercial Bingo: Get the kids in on a game of Super Bowl Commercial Bingo! You can download the cards here, and have fun prizes for the winners.
Football Rice Krispie Treats from Rice Krispies
Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Footballs from Domestic Fits
S’mores Cupcakes from yours truly
Healthy Whoopie Pies from Parenting (you can even roll these in sprinkles to match your team’s colors)
Mini Peanut Butter Brownies from Babble
I love reading to my child. We do it every night as part of her bedtime routine, and it’s a big deal for her to pick out the book each night. But I’m not going to lie—I definitely have those nights when I positively dread storytime for fear that she’s going to choose some ridiculously long book when all I really want is to get her in bed so I can open a bottle of wine.
After reading The Cat in the Hat one such night (which takes freaking forever to read—thanks for that Dr. Seuss!), my husband and I got smart and started offering her a selection of books to choose from rather than giving her full reign over her entire library of books. She still gets to feel like she’s picking the book and we don’t want to take a long walk off a short pier by the time we’re done reading; it’s a win win! Here are our favorite bedtime books when we’re trying to make a quick getaway.
*Honestly, there’s not a single Boynton book we haven’t loved. They’re funny and short and perfect for a quick bedtime story!
Another one from the archives (sorry guys, the holidays are keeping me busy!), but I thought this post might be helpful to other parents who are looking to buy toys that are not only fun but can also aid in your child’s fine motor development. It’s crazy to think that a year ago when I wrote this, my daughter was in therapy and we were concerned about her gross and fine motor development; now, you would never know there had ever been an issue—what a difference a year makes!
As a result of her bilateral hip dysplasia, my little one has been in physical therapy every other week for the past few months. While we largely focus on her gross motor development, our therapist spends some time working on fine motor skills as well. The therapy has done wonders for O’s muscle tone and mobility, and I have learned so much about how to help my daughter pick up new skills and ways to encourage her development. Our therapist, Kristy Jones, PT, has recommended some toys to help promote fine motor skills, and I figured I would share them for any moms doing a little holiday shopping.
Large knob puzzles, like the Melissa and Doug Large Shapes Jumbo Knob Puzzle, are great for beginners because they are easy for little ones to pick up with all of their fingers. Kristy suggests looking for puzzles that aren’t too busy, so it’s easier to match the puzzle pieces with their correct spots. Similarly, smaller knob puzzles are great as well but for a different reason. “The ones with the smaller knobs are good for development of the pincer grasp and require more precision to put the pieces in,” says Kristy.
A Shape Sorter should also be in every kid’s toy box. The Fisher-Price Growing Baby Elephant Shape Sorter is perfect and inexpensive. Start with the circle blocks, then the square ones, working your way up to the stars. At first, your little one may just pat the blocks in as you hold them over the right openings, but they’ll quickly get the hang of it on their own.
Large, soft blocks are great for little ones learning to stack. The B. One Two Squeeze™ Soft 123 Blocks from Target are perfect. The non-slippery texture makes them easy to grasp, pick up, and stack.
The Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack stacking rings have been around for forever and with good reason. They help babies learn hand-eye coordination, they’re easy to pick up and they’re SUPER FUN to crawl around the house with in your hands—just ask my daughter.
Crayons might seem a bit advanced for your little one, especially if everything is still finding its way to his mouth, but as soon as he’s not tasting his way around, try out the Crayola Triangular Crayons. The shape helps tiny hands get a grip and, bonus, they won’t roll off the high chair tray!
Finally, hammer toys (for lack of a better term) help babies and toddlers develop their hand-eye coordination, not to mention their aim! The B. Whacky Ball hammer toy will provide endless entertainment—and eventually your little one will start whacking the crap out of those balls. (Sorry, no matter how I wrote it, it kind of came out dirty, so I just gave up.)
It’s amazing what you can do with a little paint and some elbow grease! Check out these unique ideas for how to transform your baby’s nursery with just some paint (and in some cases, a LOT of painter’s tape).
I am loving these prints by giclee artist Juri Romanov. His Etsy shop, Orange Optimist, is chock full of little gems like the ones below. The prints are sophisticated and whimsical at the same time and would look awesome in a nursery, child’s room. . . heck, I’d put them in my dining room!
**I’m going green today and recycling a post I wrote last October. This may be an oldie but it’s a goodie! Hope all my fellow East Coasters are safe and dry. We were lucky never to have lost power and, other than some trees down, to escape Sandy’s wrath.**
This color combo is really fresh and modern for nurseries or big kid rooms. You can accent with girly ruffles or clean lined-giraffes to make the room perfect for a girl or a boy, which makes this an ideal palette for surprise deliveries. Here are some of my favorite yellow and gray nurseries I’ve come across:
I love having a little girl and all of the frilly, sparkly stuff that goes with it, but I have to admit that some of these costumes for boys are pretty darn cute. Too busy to spend hours building a homemade costume? Don’t sweat it. These costumes can be put together pretty easily, many of them using stuff you probably have around the house already!