Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Five Valentine's Day Activities for Toddlers

Homemade Valentines: I cut out a few construction paper hearts for Hayden and let him decorate with crayons, markers, heart washi tape, and foam heart stickers. I am planning on sending these to a few lucky recipients since we made five together.

Hearts in a bag: I found this cute little zippered pouch at the Paper Source and these large foam hearts at the Target dollar section. Hayden likes to take all the hearts out and then put them back in again...and again...and again. It's a good activity for keeping him busy for a few minutes. 
Invisible Hearts: We've done this one twice already this week. I drew hearts with a light pink crayon on his drawing paper and then let him paint over them with red watercolor. It's fun for him to see the hearts appear as he paints. Plus, he also enjoys ripping the paper up so that we can get a fresh sheet! 
Felt Heart Face: Similar to our felt Christmas Tree, I cut out a big heart shape and them some face pieces (eyes, mustache, lips, nose, etc.) Hayden like to take the pieces off and rearrange them on the face. I put magnet tape on the back of this one as well so that we can keep it on the fridge.  I really like this activity because you can keep doing it with different shapes and  items for  all the seasons and holidays. 

valentine's day books for toddlersWhere Is Baby's Valentine? A Lift-the-Flap Book / Guess How Much I Love You: Sam McBratney, Anita Jeram: 9780763642648:... / I Love You Through And Through: Bernadette Rossetti Shustak, Caroline... / Happy Valentine's Day, Curious George / Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse! (If You Give...): Laura Numeroff,...
Favorite Valentine's Day Books: Now that Hayden's attention span for books is getting longer, we have been reading longer books and getting more than just board books from the library. A few that are in our Valentine's Day rotation are listed above. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Toddler Craft Table

I've had this little side table since my mom bought it for me in college. It has pretty legs and a large surface for a side table. I knew that I wanted to make it into a craft table for Hayden and I was looking for the perfect chairs to go with it. I wanted some that were modern and light, but not too expensive. 
I found these at the Container Store for only $10 a chair! I didn't love the plasticky finish, so I used some aqua spray paint to change the color. I love the aqua paired with the yellow of the chalkboard frame.
Another project I had up my sleeve was to install a roll of paper for Hayden to color. I found the roll of paper at Michael's for $4. I picked up a tension rod at Target for even less money.
I installed the tension rod under the table and stuck the paper on it. Now we can roll out fresh paper whenever he needs some.

I found the little acrylic containers at Ikea (in their bath section) - they are the perfect size to hold markers and crayons. Hayden is big into sorting things into their proper spots and cleaning up, so it's nice to have more than one container. 
Hayden loves his little table. He's been sitting at it all week and coloring and rearranging his crayons. It's nice to have something so close to the kitchen to keep him occupied while I cook or empty the dishwasher.
He also loves to push the chairs around the house, so he's a fan of the whole thing.  

Friday, January 24, 2014

5 on Friday

1. Big News: 
Hayden started officially walking this week! He has been taking little steps between things (up to 7 at a time) for the past few weeks. On Monday, we were at the park and he just took off and walked about 20 feet. Since then, he's been walking all over the house and getting more and more confident. He's so funny; every time he gets ready to start moving, it's like he has to give himself a mini pep talk. He starts waving his hands, claps a few times and then takes off. It's so fun to see him walking around. 
2. Baby-proofing. We were pretty well baby-proofed, before this but now that Hayden is upright and a little wobbly, we decided that we needed to put bumpers around our coffee table, until he's a bit more steady on his feet. My coffee table is #bringingsexyback... 
3. Shoe Serendipity. I mentioned awhile ago that I wanted to find a pair of casual brown booties for winter. I didn't end up getting any for Christmas, and I had seen a pair at Target that I liked a lot. However, they were sold out at all the Targets near me and weren't available online either. On Monday, when we were at Target, there was one pair sitting on the shelf in a size six, and on clearance for over half off the original price. Meant to be! 
4. Jet-setting.  The next 2 weeks are busy busy busy for our household. Nick is currently in Hawaii for work (poor guy!) and won't get back until Monday. On Thursday, I leave for a conference in Birmingham, AL. Then the next Sunday we are all going to Austin, TX where I'm speaking at a different conference. 
5. Play table project, I'm currently working on creating a functional (and cute) little play/craft table project for Hayden. I hope to be finished with the whole thing by next week. Even in it's half-finished state, Hayden loves to sit there and use his crayons or even eat a snack there. It's his first kid-sized furniture so I think he's really enjoying having something his own size. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

greeting card art

I don't know about you, but I really like picking out cards for people. Nick always groans when we are at Target and I tell him we have to stop by the greeting card aisle. It usually takes me a little while to pick the perfect one. 
I was at Paper Source last week and I saw this adorable heart greeting card from Rifle Paper Co. for $5. I bought it with the intention of framing it for our downstairs "art" wall. 
I used a simple black frame that I had on hand from Michaels and a piece of black card stock as a mat. 
sorry for the glare....
I love that little heart up on the wall, and finding art in unexpected places. (Seriously, you should just look through the Rifle Paper Co website- so many cards that I would love to frame!)  

Monday, January 20, 2014

Feeding da Toddler

I wrote about how we started Hayden on solid foods back when he was 6 months old, using Baby Led Weaning. We had really great success with the method, and as a result, Hayden ate table food from the start and enjoyed a variety of foods. Now that he is in the throes of toddlerhood, I thought I would add an updated post on how and what he is currently eating. If you are a momma like me, you're always wondering how other parents manage to get their kids to eat well and tips and tricks for feeding kids. 
I will start by saying that Hayden has become increasingly picky in the last few months, turning his nose up at most fruit and veggies, and preferring meat, cheese, and his beloved carbs. We still try and serve those fruits and veggies in creative ways and sometimes he surprises us by eating them. One tip I have for the non-fruit-and-veggie eater is smoothies. We make smoothies almost everyday and I usually add whole milk, full-fat yogurt, and several fruits and veggies. He loves his smoothies, especially if I'm drinking the same thing so it makes me feel better that he's getting at least some of his produce that way!  
For meals, Hayden usually eats with us and at least for dinner, he has the same food as us. For breakfast and lunch, I try to give him some higher fat options that we wouldn't normally eat, so those meals usually vary from ours. 
scrambled eggs/green grapes/1/2 piece of toast /homemade apple sauce
Hayden's breakfasts are usually his biggest meal of the day, so I always give him a lot to eat in the morning. In addition to 9 oz of whole milk, he usually has 2 scrambled eggs, and sometimes yogurt. As I said, fruit and veggies are a gamble with him, but I always include them anyway. 
turkey & cheese/black beans & brown rice/ apples/ tomatoes + hummus
Hayden eats a late lunch because he naps right in the middle of the day. He usually is more of a grazer at this point in the day, so I give him a small variety of foods he likes.  Sometimes he eats leftovers dinner from the night before. He really likes cheese, hummus, and beans so those are staples in his lunches. 
whole wheat tomato basil pasta/grapes/roasted asparagus 

quinoa burgers + homemade tzatziki / applesauce

parmesan chicken/ cottage cheese + blueberries/ sliced avocado 
Dinner is the meal that I usually put the most thought and prep time into, but is unfortunately the one that Hayden shows the least interest. He's usually tired by dinner time so Lucy tends get a lot of his food if he won't eat. However, I try and make plenty so there are leftovers for Hayden to eat for lunch the next day or for Nick to take to work.  So many of my recipes come from Pinterest. Hayden really likes fish, but Nick can't stand it, so we always save our fish nights for when he's out of town on business or working late. 
Anyway, Hayden typically eats pretty healthy, and substantial foods. We try and steer clear of most processed foods, though I certainly won't say he's never had something processed! In addition to his three meals, he usually has snacks like dried fruit, yogurt, string cheese, rice cakes with some kind of spread, hummus and veggies, and his smoothies. We also give him one Plum Organic baby food pouch a day, since that is another way to get a little more produce in his diet.  Other mommas, do you have any tips or tricks for feeding picky eaters? 

Friday, January 17, 2014

5 on Friday

Date Night. My parents are watching Hayden tonight and Nick and I get to go out! We probably get out once a month or so, thanks to both sets of grandparents offering to take Hayden for a sleepover. It's funny that we would go on dates a couple times a week pre-Hayden and it would be no big deal. Now, I love to plan it and make it something extra special, since it happens with much less frequency. 
Ryan Gosling. Last night, after several toddler tantrums about crayons not fitting in the box just so, I got Hayden off to bed and then started looking up Ryan Gosling Hey Girl memes on Pinterest... instant mood lifter!  
Park Time. We've been logging a lot of time at the park the last two weeks, as our good weather continues.   
 Valentine's Day. It's less than a month away, which means it's totally appropriate to start decorating and thinking about Hayden's Valentine's cards, right? 
Book Recommendations? Now that we are coming up on 18 months and have a full-fledged toddler in the house, I'm wondering if you have any good books to read about this stage? I am a big reader and I read about 10 parenting books between pregnancy and when Hayden was a baby. I'm currently reading  The Happiest Toddler on the Block, because I was a fan of The Happiest Baby, but I would love some more recommendations. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

One of those days...

Today was one of those days. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about! It's not that anything was terribly horrible, but I just felt like I was playing catch up all day long.... My kitchen was a disaster zone; my smoke alarm went off twice during Hayden's nap. 
Speaking of Hayden, he toddled around pantsless for half the day because after pouring milk on his third pair of pants for the day, I just let it go... He also may or may not have stuck his hand in the toilet twice. He also reached a cup of matches (previously out of his reach) and spilled them on himself. 
Also, I made 2 trips to the store and am still missing things on my list...
Finally, I let Hayden watch 10 minutes of Sesame Street, even though Nick and I don't actually let him watch TV yet. #momguilt  
Needless to say, not much on my to do list got done today... Some days, I feel so on top of and get everything done. And sometimes it's the exact opposite... Ah well, such is life! Tomorrow will be better, right??? 
Despite all those little things that made me feel a little out of control today, Hayden and I had the sweetest time as I was putting him down for the night. We cuddled up and read a book, and he gave me a big kiss before bed. Even with the crazy days, I wouldn't trade this life for anything. It's the crazy days that make those sweet ones that much sweeter, right? 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

house sprucing, with a little help from my friends

Christmas has officially left our house (mostly- there might be one or two wreaths hanging around, but that's it). I always think our house feels so stark in January when everything Christmasy gets put away. It's a nice time to refresh some of our usual decorations. 
I don't know if you've been to Target lately, but their newest collection of Threshold decor is killing it. I basically want to buy everything in that aisle (but my husband and my bank account say no). Anyway, I did manage to purchase these two lamps that I love, love, love. We have no overhead lights in our living room so these lamps give us a bit more light in the middle of the house now. (FYI: The store price is at least $10 cheaper than the online price).
Last weekend, we stopped by West Elm and I had a gift card from my birthday that was burning a hole in my pocket. I picked up a few pretties for the house and it made me feel much better about January.
This vase with some springy flowers now lives on our mantle.
I love these little Valentine's Day themed bowls and even though I don't personally like M&Ms, I do like the way these Valentine's Day ones look. (You know me, any excuse to bring a little more pink into my house!)  
Finally, I picked up this branch (random, I know). Nick and I both really liked it and how interesting it was. I think it could have a summery vibe too. 
With these few purchases, my house feels a little less sad post-Christmas.  

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