DIY: Fizzy Play for Toddlers

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Toddlers have an insatiable curiosity about the world.  This one does anyway.  She wants to open every drawer and cupboard to see what’s inside, eat every dust bunny to see what it tastes like, climb every surface to see what it’s like to be on top.  That’s why no matter how many toys she has, she will always be bored with them.  Right now she prefers activities that allow her to explore something new.   It’s not hard to do since almost everything is new to you if you’re 14 months old.  Just this morning I gave her a potato masher and that occupied her long enough for me to heat up her breakfast.

Sometimes though, just handing her a random kitchen utensil doesn’t quite do it.  That’s when you gotta get a little more creative.  Pinterest is an awesome resource when you just can’t think of something to do.  I had been wanting to do some exploration with R using baking soda and vinegar and saw many different ways to do this on different blogs.  Because I love easy clean up I decided to meld a few different approaches into one.  It was super easy to set up/clean up and kept R entertained for a good 10 minutes solo.

Here are the materials you need to set it up for yourself:

  • a sheet or towel to cover the floor
  • a big shallow tub to catch spills (there WILL be spills)
  • a few paper/plastic cups
  • Crayola color bath dropz
  • vinegar
  • baking soda
  • a spoon
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The essentials

*Most of these items you’ll find you already have, the only thing you may need to buy are the bath dropz.  I chose to use these because most other tutorials used food coloring which stains fingers for a while.  Since these bath dropz are intended for colored bath water, they only discolor fingers for a little while and wash clear quickly.  I told you, I hate messes.

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All you need to do for this activity is pour vinegar into paper cups and add a bath drop into each cup to change its color.  Then show your little one how to spoon vinegar into each cup to make it fizz different colors.  They’ll be engaged in the spooning for a while.  For us, it eventually turned into tipping all the cups over and making a rainbow water trough, but that’s fun too.

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This activity is great for the developing thinking and fine motor skills.  It helps them learn about cause and effect (fizzing action and color mixing), and helps their little fingers and hands master that pesky skill of spooning small things into containers (great practice for self feeding).  If you wanted to work on pincer grasp you could reverse the process by giving them a dropper of vinegar to add to cups filled with baking soda. So many different ways you can approach this super simple activity.  Get creative, and go find out what works for you!

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Get Crafty: DIY sensory table

Having a baby/toddler can get pricey.  All the things you think they need (but honestly don’t) cost money.  Like toys and activity centers that are going to stimulate your child’s brain development.  Parents these days, myself included, are seriously obsessed with brain development.  So when all the moms on the block start talking about sensory tables and tactile stimulation you start to freak out.  When your Pinterest gets flooded with links for DIY sensory tables, you begin to wonder if you can pull that off.  “$30 for a 30 minute table made of pvc pipes!?! I can do that!” But then your mind starts spiraling out of control, “isn’t pvc toxic? can I just BUY a sensory table for that price? couldn’t I just put that plastic bucket on a kid sized table?” That’s when laziness and frugality win out.

Instead of making this:

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from ateachingmommy.com

I ended up doing this:

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Storage bin on kiddie table you already have

I think it pretty much serves the same purpose. She absolutely loved it! What’s not to love? Water was EVERYWHERE.  And this DIY is waaaaay easier.  Just follow these 4 simple steps below:

  1. Get some kind of shallow plastic storage bin (about $7 at target)
  2. Fill it with water or sand or whatever tactile stimulating, mess making substance you prefer
  3. Place it on a stand of some kind (best if it has a ledge), like the IKEA kid table pictured above
  4. Throw random scooping objects and floating things inside and watch your kid have a field day

If I do this with water again, I’d place a vinyl table cloth below the table and  wrap the legs in plastic bags since they got pretty wet.  But, if you do something like Cheerios sand, no bags required.  I just saved you so much time, money, and stress about whether you’re developing your baby’s brain.  You’re welcome.

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A Southern/Crafting Themed Shower

A few weeks ago, my bridesmaids (aka my besties) threw me the most perfect baby shower.  It was after a long hesitation on my part that the shower was done.  When I found out I was pregnant I didn’t want to participate in anything that made me feel left out or sad pre pregnancy.  I didn’t want to rejoice in things that caused me difficulty in the past.  But, then I got to thinking.  I thought, “This baby has been anticipated for 3 years now.  We’ve gone through so much heartache to conceive her.  Our persistence, our love, and our hope should be celebrated.”  And since my lovely friends and family were so excited for us, they wouldn’t take no for an answer anyway.  I’m glad they didn’t, because it turned out to be such a happy day for me.

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The theme was a surprise, and it was perfect.  They know I love crafting, so made it a crafting/sewing theme with one of my favorite cuisines: Southern home cooking.  There weren’t any traditional games, just a crafting station where people could design onesies, bibs, and headbands.

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The food and drink were amazing too! All of it was home made and delicious.  I never knew what talented chefs my friends were.  Fried chicken, mac n cheese, pulled pork sammies, apple pie pops, deviled eggs, lavender lemonade…I ate a lot.

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And of course a “cute as a button” red velvet cake!

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Every detail was so well thought out down to the favors, which were adorable homemade button cookies.

I feel so lucky to be able to have this experience at all.  Some days I get hit with a wave of extreme disbelief.  I can’t believe we are only a few weeks away from having a child.  This day made it feel so real, and to celebrate our future baby with all the people that have been there through our long journey to parenthood made it even more special.  This heart is so thankful!

Getting Crafty: Arrow Tail Quilt for Baby

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Pinterest is an amazing resource for DIY inspiration and tutorials.  I found this gem of a tutorial with clear step-by-step instructions on how to make this fun/modern arrow tail quilt on Pinterest.  I fell in love with the pattern because it was almost a chevron pattern, but not quite, and allowed for lots of different fabrics to be incorporated into the quilt.  Plus, it seemed relatively easy (always important for a novice like myself).

When I found out a dear friend was having her first baby girl, I knew I wanted to make a baby blanket to welcome her into the world.  This would be the third baby quilt I attempted, and I was super excited to see how my skills had advanced.

Things I’ve learned after making 3 baby quilts:

  • Binding a quilt gets easier every time.  While the mitered corners are not as confusing anymore (my first quilt is atrocious), I still need to master finishing the quilt off without too many stitches showing through to the front.
  • Using a template is hard.  I printed out a template piece from the tutorial, and somehow the way I cut it came out off, cause if you look up at the bottom right photo the last column had to be trimmed down quite a bit.  (oh well!)
  • The actual quilting part is kinda fun and makes for a softer quilt.  The first quilt I made, I tied, because I was so afraid I’d break a needle.  This quilt I actually got a little crazier with my stitches, and I think it made for a softer, more manageable, and more fun quilt.
  • It’s so much fun to create something for a new little person.  Even though it takes forever, knowing that a new little person will be rolling around on your handiwork makes it well worth it.

Hopefully, the next quilt I make will be for my own little bun in the oven.  Now, to find a new tutorial…

 

What’s Your Passion?

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Do you believe this?  I recently had a conversation with a colleague about relationships, work, and above all else having a passion that guides you in life.  It was a difficult conversation for me to take part in, because honestly, I had never thought about what my own passion in life might be.  To her, it seemed that unless you had something that you couldn’t get enough of, something you couldn’t stop learning about, something that would never stop making you grow as a person, what were you doing with your life?  Maybe that passion is your career, or maybe it’s what you do in your leisure time, but everyone has a passion (so she believes).

My contribution to that conversation was, “What if you don’t?”  Then I started thinking about what my passion could be. She made it sound like your passion was your world. So I thought: Is it teaching?  probably not.  Is it creating objects whether it be quilts, scarves, paintings…? I do love that.  But crafting doesn’t qualify as a passion, does it?  Is it my family and friends?  I absolutely love spending time with them and talking with them, but are people a passion?  I like traveling! Although, I’ve seen people way more passionate about traveling than myself.  At the end of this conversation I felt rather inferior for being a passionless bore.

Then I remembered, I really like my life.  I like blogging when I feel like it, I like being able to travel when we can, I like shopping with friends, I like going on pinterest for hours, I like lounging with my hubby and watching tv…Maybe I don’t have a fervor for any one thing that consumes me, but eh, I don’t mind.  She might say that I’m wasting my life away, but I am enjoying every minute of it.

So my question to you: Do you think having a passion is essential to getting the most out of life?  If so, what’s your passion?

Chevron Baby Quilt

Babies are cute.  Just as cute, are things made for babies.  I absolutely love making baby gifts. Maybe I like these projects so much because they are tiny and easy to complete, or maybe I like imagining the baby cherishing something their auntie made just for them.  Maybe I like living vicariously through all my friends who are now mommies.  Who knows?  All I know is, I love making cute little things for cute little babies.  This project was definitely the cutest thing I’ve attempted thus far.
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The best part about this project is that the directions are completely free online, and it’s actually a great beginners’ quilt.  You can find it at Generation  Q magazine.  It was the first time I attempted to make a quilt without ties  (I normally use yarn to tie the layers together.) and it turned out great!

I hope the little munchkin I made it for loves her quilt as much as I love the quilt my great grandma made for me.  Mine has holes all over it from decades of use.  It has gotten me through sleepless nights, and is softer than any other blanket I own.  When I was a kid I believed my quilt was magical.  (Not  for any reason you’re thinking.)  It was magical because it was always the perfect temperature.  When I was cold, it warmed me up, and somehow when I was hot, it cooled me down.  I called it my “extra blanket,” because I had it on my bed every night just in case I got hot or cold.  I used that “extra blanket” until I graduated grad school and it became just too fragile for everyday use.  It now sits in a box tucked away for emergencies.  I don’t know where my “extra blanket” got its magical powers from, but I hope this quilt has some magic of its own.

A Skirt from Last Summer

Last summer I decided to start a skirt based on the tutorial on this great blog, Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing. The tutorial was simple, and the skirt was something I would definitely wear.  But, as most projects go, I got distracted and starting knitting a cowl after I cut all my pattern pieces out.

I decided to start it back up again after receiving some not so good news.  I find that crafting/creating something requires all of my focus and energy.  No room for dwelling on bad news, or hypothesizing what might happen next.  Nope, just measuring, ironing, folding, and stitching.  It’s quite therapeutic.

I was able to finish the waistband and body of the skirt, but then realized it called for an invisible zipper and zipper foot.  You may be like me and be wondering, “Hmmm…is this the same as a regular zipper and zipper foot?” Answer: No.

The project was on hold until I could make a trip to the local JOANNs for the invisible zippering materials.  Here’s what I got for under five bucks:Image

My next steps on this skirt are to insert this magically invisible zipper using the tutorial here and hem it up.  Stay tuned for my fashionably vintage creation.

Thanks Gertie!