Monday, June 20, 2011

Toddler Home Decorating

I know all the parents out there will appreciate this post. It can even be applied to those parents with the four-legged kid variety. Children change your home.

It seems that before children your home always looked a certain way. Usually it didn't look like the aftermath of a tornado scene. I said "usually". That doesn't apply to any of my fellow hoarders out there.

When a sweet little baby comes along, there are the typical home improvement projects that take place. Nursery painting and decorating is a time-honored, but completely useless, rite of passage for new parents. I remember all the plans I had for Bean's room when I was pregnant. I wanted:
  • a fiber optic milky way on the ceiling
  • top of the line French furniture
  • odorless and VOC-free paint for the walls
  • emission-free carpeting  
  • a built-in sound system that would play the sweetest lullabies known to man
Everything that Martha Stewart and the nature-moms say is best for your baby's space is what I wanted. What did I get? I got some beautiful furniture compliments of my in-laws. (Thank you!) And I got the odorless, VOC-free paint. No milky way. And it was all completed 1 day before I went into the hospital. (Thanks Hubz!)

And how many nights has Bean slept a peaceful slumber in this beautiful oasis of love created by her doting parents? NONE. STILL. Yes, she's 3.  I understand all of my parenting faux-pas here. She still sleeps with us. My back protests this every single morning. We've even moved her toddler bed into our room with no luck. She's offered it up to her Daddy but he's standing his ground.

Then when a baby starts to crawl, the baby-proofing comes into play.  Baby gates keep the drooling wonders safe from harm's way.  So do door locks that keep toxic chemicals out of your precious one's hands but continually break your own fingernails and cause eruptions of quickly hushed profanities.

As your baby becomes a toddler, they begin to express their own inner Vern Yip by putting their designing mark anywhere they can.  This can include...

the walls...

the fridge...

the table and chairs...

 and the back of the couch.

If you are anything like me, you start to forget what your house used to look like and begin to fret about what part of your house will be your child's next victim.  She's been eyeing the top of my bed posts for a couple of days.  She has just realized that the tops come off. Is there a bed post lock out there on the market? 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My review of

I was invited to be part of the Bnter Blog Tour hosted by Mom Central and share my thoughts on the site.

Here is what says about it's platform: (pronounced "banter"), a social network designed for capturing conversations, proves a modern way to save those precious moments and share them with family members, friends, and followers. Web- and app-based, can be accessed from your laptop, ipad, or smart phone. Simple to use, free and fun, offers an organized means of sharing those funny moments in a more visually appealing way than simply sharing them in your Facebook or Twitter stream. - From Mom Central

I've used and watched for two weeks now. I originally shared a conversation I had with Bean just to see how it would look on the site. Here is a link to see my entry. You can see it is easy to follow a conversation. This beats trying to follow a Twitter chat any day. But it is no different than a conversation stream on Facebook. Now, you can share any Bnter conversation on Facebook or Twitter. That leads me to wonder why I don't just use those platforms instead. I don't really have a good answer for that.

Also, after watching conversations on for a couple of weeks now, I don't think the site has yet arrived at the parenting-sharing platform it is trying to get to. The majority of conversations seem to be from young singles. I haven't seen any other parent/child conversations shared on Bnter yet.

I think Bnter has a long way to go to becoming a useful tool in helping me document and share the wonderful things my child comes up with on a daily basis but I can see its potential. As with all social commenting sites, there will be growing pains along the way. I hope Bnter can work their way through them because I have met some really kind people there so far.

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of the Bnter Campaign and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Lacing Beads and Sea Creatures

On Sunday, Bean and I did some painting - a lot of painting. A few months back I purchased these packs of wooden beads, spools, pegs and pots from Hobby Lobby. I had intended to paint the spools and put them in Bean's Easter basket but that danged bunny didn't leave me any room. He took it all with his silly candy. Oh well.

(I will share the peg and pots and the larger beads and how we use them in a later post.)

I wanted to make Bean some new Montessori-ish activities to do this month and remembered I had these that needed to be painted. I spread out some newspaper, grabbed all of our paints and supplies and we got to work. Bean started painting a little box she found in my craft stash. I asked her what color she wanted to use and she said "PINK!". That's my kid.

You can tell two things from these pictures.  One, she is tired of having her picture taken, and two, she has developed the same habit I have of sucking in my bottom lip when I'm concentrating on something.  Aww...

This painting process took a lot longer than I had planned. Like all day longer. Bean gave up way before I did. We took breaks throughout the day but it did take all day to paint everything.

Here's the finished product of the spools and how I presented them to her as a Montessori activity. Right away she knew what to do and started lacing the beads. She got frustrated a few times with the cord I gave her to use. It was a drawstring that came out of a hoodie I wear so it does have a little more "play" in it than should be but it did the job.


After she finished the lacing beads, I brought out some printables I found on 1+1+1=1. These are from her In The Girly Sea Preschool Pack. These are the 3-part cards showing various sea creatures.

There is one control card for each image and then Bean is supposed to match up each creature name and the corresponding picture. I was really amazed at how well she did. She got them all correct the first time she tried. She matched the words up first. I know she can't read but she matched the letters up by shape. Then she went back and added in the pictures. My kid's a genius!!! Okay, okay, I know that's a little overboard but really, my kid's a genius people! She takes after her mama. Duh!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pinkie's Picks - June 13, 2011

I think it's been too long since I've shared any Pinkie's Picks. Here is a mismash of goodies I've found recently.

Mommy Moment shares a list of 10 Everyday Math Skills for Young Children. I do the counting out loud a lot with Bean.

Aqua and red make up my new favorite color combination. Look at this post and this one from Allsorts. She's inspired me to paint our back porch swing these colors.

If I could be trusted with power tools, I'd love to make one of these DIY Outdoor Chaise Lounges from Shanty2Chic.  

This recipe for Slow Cooker Risotto by Planning with Kids looks yummy.  I wonder if Gordon Ramsay would approve?  She also has a wonderful Google Spreadsheet with all of her meal planning recipes here.

About a year ago, I found a Montessori mom blog, A Bit of This and a Bit of That.  Jojoebi shares their lessons as well as crafts sells in her Etsy store.  After the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan back in March, she started sharing their story of putting their lives back together in posts called "2:46".  A couple of days ago she shared a post showing then and now pictures of Japan that had been published by the Winnipeg Free Press.  I recommend taking a look at those pictures and reading jojoebi's latest 2:46 post.  As you can see, life is not back to normal for those in Japan.  It might not be for years and years.

Friday, June 10, 2011 Book Review - A Discovery of Witches

Today I want to share a link to my first ever Book Club review. I was offered a chance to review A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

Please follow this link to head on over to to check out my review. Thanks!

BlogHer Book Club Reviewer

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

G is for Goat

I recently started an online Montessori training class. Bean was enrolled in a local Montessori preschool but I don't think, due to finances and scheduling, that we'll be able to send her back there in the fall. I really believe in the Montessori method or what I have learned of it in the past year. The basic concept is to "follow the child". I am in no way a trained teacher nor do I play one on tv, [this is where you all laugh], but when I found this class, I thought it would be a way for me to learn more about the method and a way that I can continue the lessons with Bean on our own.

Just to share more info on the online class that I am taking, it is taught by Karen Tyler, owner of Worldwide Montessori Online. Karen teaches her class through a Yahoo group and shares her Montessori albums she has complied through her years teaching. This is an easy and affordable way to learn the method and the information that I've already received is amazing.

Now, along with this class, I have been scouring the internet for activities I can do with Bean. One extremely helpful site I found is 1+1+1=1. Carisa shares so many wonderful printables completely free to her readers. She shares activities for different ages and stages - Totschool, Raising Rock Stars Preschool, and You Can Read. My biggest problem is learning to pace myself with the printables.

One recent set of printables that I found at 1+1+1=1 is G is for Goat. I printed the set off and let Bean work on them while I made dinner. She loves to do her "actibities" all the time. She had a lot of fun using her dot markers with these printables.

I was afraid she was going to run her markers dry trying to color the whole goat.

She used one color to pick out all the uppercase letters and another color for all the lowercase ones.

She used a crayon to trace the uppercase and lowercase "G"s.  It's a bit shaky but this is the first time she's done one of these.

Here's another tracing printable that she used to follow the line from the uppercase to the lowercase letter.

This was Bean's favorite printable in the series.  I would call out a shape and she would mark it off with her dot marker.  She wanted to do this one over and over but I only had the one copy.  Next time, I will put the printable in a sheet protector and let her mark the shapes off with her dry erase crayons so she can do it more than once.

If you're looking for activities to do with your toddler, I would definitely recommend 1+1+1=1.  You can find so many ways to teach while your kids just think they are having fun.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Teacher thank you gifts

The laptop has been resurrected and I'm able to upload some really craptastic pictures I took of the thank you gifts Bean gave her teachers the last week of school.

And when I say, craptastic...I really mean it.   It's beyond time for a new camera.

I used some lavender vinyl from Oh My Crafts and printed out a design with my Silhouette. The first design I picked was okay. It just took forever to pick out all of the little polka dot pieces.

Found these plain white plates and the glass candle holders at Dollar Tree. I glued them together with epoxy. Then I put the vinyl design on the first plate. I didn't like it. Like I said, it was okay but I just didn't like it.

So I went back to the Silhouette online image store and picked out a flower design. I think this is one of the free designs that came with the machine. I liked this one much better.

Doesn't that look better? I thought so.

Her teachers really liked them. I think the total cost per gift was $3.75. Not too bad.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Life in Beanland.

Wow! It's been a week since I've posted. My laptop gave me the gift that doesn't keep on giving...the blue screen of death. Please pray that it gets better.

Bean enjoyed her first "last week of school" last week. Her school had a year-end celebration that included a bouncy house, carnival games and temporary tattoos. That tattoo is still hanging around. I am beginning to wonder if it is temporary.

We celebrated Memorial Day by attending a parade in a neighboring town.  I would love to share some pictures with you but I honestly didn't even think about taking any.  I think my "mommy brain" is in full effect.  How do you forget to chronicle your child's first ever Memorial Day parade?  I think I was still wrapped up in my grief over my beloved laptop.

I made some really pretty thank you gifts for Bean's teachers.  I will share those with you when I can.  They were super easy and well received.  

I have enrolled in an online training course to learn how to use the Montessori method with Bean on my own.  I really believe in this teaching method and while I'll never be able to homeschool her or really delve into Montessori with her like she can experience at a school, I want to be able to share lessons with her as she gets older.  Of course, the dead laptop isn't helping this little mission of mine but hopefully I can keep up during my lunch hours.  If not, I'll just have to be an online drop out.  There's worse things, I guess. 

I hope you all enjoyed the long weekend.