Posts Tagged ‘toddler’

The Magical Oven

Friday, March 4th, 2011


My son has finally started noticing the oven.  It started when he watched his dad put in a pizza – one of his favorite meals.  We turned on the oven light and he found something better than Sesame Street to watch!  We kept telling him that when the timer went off the pizza could come out and he could eat it.  It was so cute watching him look at the timer and then squat to check in on the pizza.

Now he wants to put everything in the oven!  I’ll even put his food into the cold oven just so he can “watch” it cook. 

These are those moments when you just want to scoop up your kids and wish they would never grow up…

Project 52: Glimpse Into Motherhood

Easy Valentine Cards

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

For a quick, easy, and inexpensive project, turn your kid’s art into a Valentine card. 

I taped down some drawing paper to our table and let Oliver have at it with crayons and his paint set.

He took his work very seriously and only sucked on the paintbrushes once!

My little Picasso!

Next I took a cookie cutter and traced out some hearts over some particularly choice scribbles.

I cut out the hearts, glued them onto some red construction paper and outlined them with a black marker.

I used some nifty scissors to cut a cool border around the heart.  You can buy scissors like these in the craft section of Walmart, Michaels, and AC Moore normally for a buck a piece.

I then glued the heart onto some plain paper and personalized it for Oliver.  Think Daddy will like?

For Evelyn, I glued her wallet size 9 week old baby pictures onto a red frame that I cut out.  I glued that to some plain paper and stamped a flourish on with ink.  I had sized the Valentine to fit into a legal size envelope and then I mailed them out ala photocard style.

A friend of mine sent me a link for a cute peekaboo Valentine that she made with her daughter.  I might have to make this just because it’s adorable!

For another idea, check out these very easy fingerprint “Bee” Valentine cards at the Frugal Family Fun Blog.  When the kids are old enough to pass out Valentines to friends, these will be the first on my list to make.

Cheerio Necklace: No fuss, no muss snack.

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Cheerios on a string

Want an easy way to blow your toddler’s mind one day?  Pull out a Cheerio necklace and let him or her have at it! 

After Oliver dumped an entire sandwhich bag of Cheerios on the grocery store floor, I knew there had to be a better way to give him a snack while shopping.  Since Cheerios are such a low cost snack, I decided to stick with those.  How to deliver?  I remembered those candy necklaces from days of yore and voila!  I had a winner!

 Start with a 30inch length of kitchen twine or butcher’s string.

Tape one end to a wooden skewer, winding the tape down the skewer 1-2 inches.  Overlap slightly, but don’t bulk up on the tape in any one spot.

 Tie a Cheerio about 5 inches from the end to anchor the necklace with a single knot.  This will keep the Cheerios from sliding off the string.  You will want to untie this when you are done with the necklace.

Start threading Cheerios.  One for the skewer, two for the mommy, one for the skewer, two for the mommy… I use a mix of Cheerios and Apple Jacks.  You can use whatever O-shaped cereal you desire.

Using a wooden skewer makes the threading go by super fast.  You can also use a toothpick as a makeshift needle, but it will take longer. 

 When the skewer is full simply slide them off onto the string.  Our necklace uses 3 skewers worth of cereal.

 When you are satisfied with the amount of cereal on the string, untie the anchor, and double knot your necklace closed.  Leave at least 5 or 6 inches bare so you won’t have cereal rubbing on the back of the kiddie’s neck.

 While you are at it, make a couple more and seal them in ziploc baggies.  Throw a couple in your purse or diaper bag and you will be ready with an instant no-mess, no-fuss treat.

Oliver’s treat kept him busy for well over 6 grocery store aisles, including the produce, bakery, and meat sections!  He was so busy nibbling away he didn’t look up once.

2 Cute Bedbugs

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011


On some days, the most frugal thing you can do is to stay in bed and cuddle with your cute little bedbugs.  Today was one of those days.  We outsmarted the groundhog.  If you don’t get out of bed, you can’t see your shadow, and winter will be over soon right?

Where's my milk?

It started out with Evelyn demanding her breakfast.  She was too cute to resist.

What's all the noise about?

Then Oliver came to investigate the noise and also the blinky, flashy, electronic no-no that momma was holding.

Where'd you come from?

He joined in the fun by getting his binky and blankie and crawled up.  We played peekaboo under the blankets, bounced on the bed, and had a mini-pillow fight.  Evelyn was greatly entertained.

Hey little sis

Oliver is telling Evelyn how to get to the cookies in the cabinet.

Is that your stinky diaper or mine?

She always cracks him up nowadays.  It only took 3 months!

So sleepy

Whew! Being a baby is hard work.  Everytime I look at this photo, I let out a yawn.  She’s got the right idea though and it’s off to bed for momma.

Project 52: Glimpse Into Motherhood

Sound Off: So Much Blood From Such a Little Wound

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

I was feeding Evelyn before the family headed out to the park and I heard a THUMP, THUMP, THUMP and loud screaming from my son.  The poor kid had fallen outside on the sidewalk and busted his lip.  The thumping was my hubby flying down the stairs and back up with kid in tow. 

Geez… talk about a freak out!  There was blood everywhere and I couldn’t tell what had happened to him or where he was hurt.  Luckily, he only hit his upper lip on the pavement and recovered quickly.  A little liquid bandage and he was good to go.  We still went to the park to enjoy the weather even though it looked like he had a perpetual bloody nose.  Poor kid.

That pretty much sums up how the week went for us.  One freak out after another it seems.  I did manage to make my cheesy meat dip and am working on posting the recipe.  Evelyn isn’t cooperating with sleep and it’s been hard to carve out some internet time for myself.  We also put together her crib today.  I’m hoping to phase out the bassinet by next weekend so we can make some room in her new bedroom.  I’m a bit bummed that she has to share her space with an industrial storage rack, but what can we do in a tiny house?  I’m going to rearrange her room again, to eek out some space and will have to post some before and after pics.  I have some frugal design ideas in mind that will make the space cozy.

February is right around the corner and with it comes all the winter yard work.  We’ll be cutting back trees and shrubs, digging the spring garden, and dividing liriope.  There’s also one more large consignment sale that I’ll check out for clothing items only – no volunteering at this one – and Evelyn’s 3 month old coming out party.  It looks like we have the month booked solid!

Hope you are having a great weekend and are getting out to enjoy the nice weather if you have it!

Toddler Fun: Sink Play

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Looking for an easy way to entertain your toddler?  Give him some cups and let him play in the bathroom sink! Easy as that. It’s frugal, free, and fun.  This is a great activity for him or her to do while you get to scrubbing that tub and toilet.

Children benefit from messy water play in many ways.  Just from my observations, I notice that he is learning cause and effect – when he tips the cup, water comes out.  He’s learning sequencing – 1- turn on the water, 2- fill the cup, 3- dump the water. 

He’s developing his hand-eye coordination by pouring from one vessel to another.  He’s also learning how different objects hold different amounts of water.  He’ll play with the little cup and then go search out the monster size cup to make a bigger splash.

He’s also learning about sound.  He loves to slowly pour the water and then when the last drop “kerplops” into the sink he laughs his head off.

Things to keep in mind for water play in the sink:

1) Plug the drain!  He loves playing with the running water, but it’s not cost effective nor conservative.

2) Make sure all electrical appliances (hair dryers, curling irons, etc) have been removed.

3) Give the child a sturdy step stool to stand on.  Make sure it is on a non-slip surface.

4) Keep a towel handy for those inevitable spills.  You probably can’t see in the pics, but his shirt is soaked from the chest down.

5) Provide a variety of containers to fill and dump.

When your little engineer is finished experimenting with water, use the cleanup as a teaching moment.  Show them how to put away their containers.  Show them how to wipe up the water on the counter or floor with a towel.  Show them that their clothes are wet and walk them through changing into dry ones.  They will be learning the consequences of their actions and what to expect the next time.

Oliver loves playing in the sink and wants to move up to the kitchen sink and sprayer now.   The day he gets his hands on the sink sprayer is the day I submit my first video to America’s Funniest Home Video!

Over $750 Saved by Shopping at Consignment Sale

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

It’s taken us almost a week to clean our consignment sale finds, organize the new items, and put away the old.  We went out and bought 6 more clear Rubbermaid bins to store the things that Oliver’s either too old or too young for.  The clear bins let us see in an instant what is inside each box.  This is incredibly helpful as we recycle the items for Evelyn as she grows into them.

Oliver loved these trucks.  They are in perfect condition and look like they were never used. 

I searched for toys appropriate for a 2 year old.  The gear board is for an older child, but we couldn’t resist spinning gears for Oliver.  We picked up the cutest little tin lunchbox for him to tote his toys in when we travel or go on playdates.  He hasn’t quite figured out what the See N Say is supposed to do, but hey – it spins!  The xylophone is surprisingly in key.  We will bring it out when we have our music days along with the other instruments we’ve picked up from each sale.  The bowling set will be excellent for building his gross motor skills.  He hasn’t figured out how to roll yet, but we still have tons of fun knocking them down.

At every sale we look for wood puzzles or wood Melissa & Doug learning games.  A few of these items are too advanced for him and will go up in the attic, such as the alphabet puzzle, farm maze, and lacing game.  The rest are right up his alley and were even brand spanking new!  None of these items were over $3.

Bring on the books!  I also hit up the book section at every sale to keep adding to our library.  Oliver loves reading, eating, and drooling on board books.  Right now he is big into trucks, cars, and anything with wheels.  He also likes animals.  All of the books are used, some gently, others not so.  Most of the books come packaged together.  For example, we got 3 Touch and Feel books for $1, 3 Things That Go books for $2, and 5 Truck and misc books for $2.  The advanced books go up in our attic.

There’s even stuff for mommy to read!  I’m also slowly building up our flashcard and educational items box.  The kids are too young for them now, but they may be useful in the future.  The flashcards were about $1 a box.

The more expensive items were still a great deal!  We found the high chair that we wanted for Evelyn.  It straps to your kitchen chair and saves the floor space from having a standalone high chair.  Oliver has his potty, so we can start teaching him how to “go” and I finally have a real diaper bag!  It’s taken me this long to figure out what configuration I need and lo and behold, the first bag I picked up suits me to a tee!  I can finally get rid of the free hospital bag that’s starting to wear through at the bottom.

Oliver’s most loved new item is his train table.  He literally spends hours each day playing with it.  I help him put the tracks together and then we run the trains around it.

He also likes his bead wire toy.  The hubby says he’s never known a child that actually plays with these things, but our son loves sliding the beads along the wires.  And guess what?  The beads spin! :-)

That’s pretty much all we purchased at this sale.  I didn’t get pictures of the shoes, the play kitchen and play food.  We spent $250 and ended up blowing our budget by $50.  I found the prices for most of the items brand new and they totalled $1,014.87.  I did not add in the costs of all the individual books, the trucks, some toys, the shoes, or all the play food.  Buying secondhand, we saved well over $764!  I dare say that we are closer to $1,000 if I were to go back and include the other items.

Here are the take aways from this post:

1) Consignment sales are our biggest money saver.  Please check them out yourself.

2) One person’s junk is another person’s treasure.  Please don’t throw away your items.  Become a seller, earn some money and make other frugal families happy.

3) Plan, plan, plan and be organized.  I asked for help from the blogging community before we went to the sale on what to buy a 2 year old.  I did research online and asked friends who have kids.  By creating a list, we were able to maximize our savings and only buy what we wanted/needed.  If you do not, I garuntee you will get overwhelmed, start impulse shopping, and spend way more than you wanted.

For reference, here’s my price list.  Most of the items I found the exact same brand online.  For a few, I picked the closest match:

roller coaster bead maze by anatex – 69.99
bowling 24.99
mother goose 14
take and play thomas 22.99
gears 39.99
cups 5.99
xylophone 36.95
summer infant step by step potty 21.99
diaper bag 30.79
kitchen 78.99
pots and pans 24.97
baking 24.97
plates 24.97
high chair 64.99
zoo – 25.99
abc – 14.99
farm puzzles – 11.99
magnet fish – 12.99
lacing 9.99
large peg – 14.99
farm maze – 16.99
touch and feel 6.99
big truck – 5.99
can you see – 13.99
bb flash cards 5.49
eric carle flash – 15.95
play food step 2 101 piece set 39.99
play food small world 19.99
lunch box 11.99 tin
transforming train and activity table – 140.00
120 piece train set – 120.00
fisher price trike – 39.99

Day One of Consignment Sale

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

We survived the sale with all pieces intact!  This is a pic of us leaving before they even open the doors for the regular volunteers who are lined up in the distance.

The hubby got there about 1 1/2 hours before they opened the doors for the super work exchangers (people volunteering 2 or more shifts).  There were probably a couple hundred people in line to get in early.  The kids and I swooped in 30 minutes prior to checkin, get our gear ready, and rev up our engines.

Our first stop was the large item area where we scored with an awesome train table for Oliver.  He is going to LOVE playing with it when we get it set up.  We paid $50 and it came with a 120 piece train set, activity paper, and 2 stools.  The train table transforms into an art/activity table.  Retail price is $140 for the table and $120 for the train set.

Next stop was outdoors for the riding toys.  Oliver loved this part.  I thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head.  Wheels, wheels everywhere!

I was tempted to get this little rocker for $5.  It took him a minute to figure it out, but he loved it.  Instead, I’m opting for a bouncy rocking horse on springs some day.

He liked this little trike and is able to push himself around.  For $3 it wasn’t a bad find.

We then journeyed into the big building and wow!  They had mountains of stuff piled on hundreds of tables.  Thankfully we had our lists and headed off to our sections.  Otherwise, we’d be totally overwhelmed.

At this consignment sale they had shopping carts, which was the only way we could have done it with 2 kids.  The hubby had our handtruck/rubbermaid bin contraption and I pushed the kids around.  If we had packed our double stroller in the van we wouldn’t have had any room for our goodies.

Oliver did really well for about the first hour.  Evelyn lasted about 30 minutes and then it was meltdown city.  I carried her in a sling for a bit and that didn’t work!  We headed for the nearest exit after 1 1/2 hours of shopping.  They hadn’t even let in the regular volunteers yet! 

I dropped off the kids with the hubby and jumped back into the fray to finish shopping.  I stayed for another 2 hours or so and it was madness when the regular volunteers joined in.  I’ll have to save that story for another day. 

As we clean up our stuff this weekend, I’ll post some pics and you can see if we came in under budget or not!

Consignment Sale Here We Come

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

We devised our gameplan for tomorrow, have arranged meeting times, and have blocked out sale strategy.  I think we are ready for the big consignment sale tomorrow!

Thanks to some great suggestions from my readers, I have come up with a short list of items that we will look out for:  (the items in bold are our target items, the rest are just extra ideas in case we see them)

halloween costumes for dress up and pretend play
trains, cars, firetrucks, construction vehicles and anything with a remote control
melissa & doug learning toys and puzzles
, flashcards, learning items
bead and wire cube
musical instruments
large outdoor play items
something Oliver can ride and push himself
small train table
pretend kitchen set
compact high chair that straps onto kitchen chair
1 more baby gate
shoes for Oliver and 2T shorts for summer
twilight sea turtle
foam blocks
step stool
learn to dress toys
Montessori materials

Evelyn doesn’t have anything on the list except for the high chair.  The hubby seems to think I’m going to go nuts buying girlie stuff for her.  I told him the Barbie dolls don’t come until later… :-)

The hubby is getting off work early to stake out our place in line 2 hours before they open the doors.  I’m bringing the kids 1/2 hour before opening.  I plan to carry Evelyn in the baby sling, put Oliver in a shopping cart, and the hubby will haul our handtruck and rubbermaid bins.  We’ll go for the bolded items first and then the hubby will split with the kids leaving me behind for the little stuff.

Our goal is to find age appropriate toys for Oliver in the 2 year old range and to round out his 2T clothing stores.  At home we will be packing up all the 1 year old toys and bringing down the baby toys from the attic.  Come the next big sale in July, we will finally start selling our baby gear as Evelyn outgrows them!  Our budget is $200.

In theory, this should go off without a hitch.  In practice, someone just might get hurt tomorrow! (just kidding)  I’ll let you know how we did on Thursday.  Tomorrow, there will be no post as we will be recovering.

Toddler Activity: Preparing Strawberries for a Snack

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Yummy Strawberries

My son is 19 months old and according to the Montessori way he is old enough to help prepare his own snacks.  He already sets his own table, carries milk from the fridge, and fills his glass from a carafe, so why not let him help with the fruit?

I prewashed the strawberries first to ensure they were clean no matter what Oliver did.  I then set up a strawberry washing station on the counter.  One bowl with the “dirty” strawberries on his left, one bowl with clean water in the middle, and one bowl for the clean strawberries on his right.  I placed a towel under the 3 bowls to catch any spills and then taught him how to methodically wash the strawberries.

He loves water play and was fascinated with “washing” the strawberries.  He took them one at a time from the dirty bowl, dunked them in the water, and placed them in the clean bowl.  When he was done, I reset the station for picking off the leaves.  The whole strawberries were on his left, the discard plate in the middle, and the final bowl to his right.

He industriously picked off each and every leaf from the strawberries.  He spent a good 25 minutes at this task until he was finished.  Afterwards, he clapped his hands and was so happy with himself! :-)

Eating Strawberries

I cut up the berries and he poured himself some milk for a nice mid-morning snack.  I was able to teach him a practical life skill, he learned a new task, built up his confidence, and was thoroughly absorbed for an hour sans TV.  A win-win for all!

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