Sensory Boxes in My Messy Little Nest

sensory-boxes-2

How can I keep them busy?

This morning I was trolling Pinterest to try to find something fun for the toddlers to do indoors. I kept seeing these sensory box things. I’ve seen them before and they look fun, I’ve just never put one together. I decided that today was the day that our boys would experience a sensory box.

I found some old pearl barley in the kitchen that I was just going to throw away so I tossed that into a container with some bright buttons that I had. Originally I was going to put some bulldozers in there so that they could push around the buttons, but we couldn’t  find any (shocker) so we settled with cars.Sensory Boxes in My Messy Little Nest

I sat the box on the floor in the living room so that it as easily accessible to both of the boys. They actually had a lot of fun with it! They were pushing the cars through the barley and running it through their fingers. There was laughing and giggling rather than yelling and screaming at each other. I kind of knew that it was too good to be true, but I just went with it; they were having fun and that’s all that really matters.

While they were quietly playing I was drinking my coffee and checking all of my social media pages. I turned around saw that they had put a bit of the barley and buttons on the carpet. I told them that it was supposed to stay in the box. They continued playing and before I knew it the box was dumped out all over the floor! I was annoyed but they were still getting along and having fun together. I decided that it was a battle that I wasn’t going to fight. They were bonding and that was more important than the mess that I would have to clean up.

Pros vs. Cons

Pros:

It was fun

They were bonding

It gave me a bit of quiet time

Cons:

Messy

Made for work for me to clean up

Sensory Boxes in My Messy Little Nest

Conclusion

I think that I will probably try more sensory boxes with them in the future. Yes, it made a mess but I think that the pros outweighed the cons of it. I think that if you’re able to keep a close eye on your little one as they’re playing you could probably avoid a big mess!

 

 

 

FlipStir Puzzle Review

FlipStir Puzzle Review


FlipStir Puzzle ReviewIf your children are anything like mine they always need something to do in the car. If they enjoy doing puzzles then they’ll love the FlipStir puzzle! It’s perfect for the car or just for quiet time in general.If they enjoy doing puzzles then they'll love the FlipStir puzzle! It's perfect for the car or… Click To Tweet

The FlipStir Puzzle is essentially a plastic tube with half moon shape pieces inside that have pictures on them creating the puzzle pieces. Then, there is a stir stick through the top that is used to manipulate the pieces into place. You just move the tube and use the stick to get the puzzle pieces where they need to be. I personally don’t have the patience for it, but my husband had it figured out in less than 5 minutes!

FlipStir CollageThis puzzle is perfect for long trips because there won’t be any loose pieces in the car that will get lost which will inevitably end up in tears while driving down the road. It will also keep them busy for quite awhile, which, lets be honest… isn’t that what every parent wants! 🙂 It’s also great just for some quiet time at home. It won’t make a mess and the stir stick fits completely back inside the jar so it’s very easy to find a home for. There’s nothing better than something that will keep the kiddos occupied for awhile and doesn’t make a mess.. at all!

This puzzle is for ages 7 and up and I completely agree with this. Our 9 year old was playing with it and it was a little challenging for him. He wasn’t in the mood at the time to sit down and try to figure it out, but he does play with it in the car. It keeps him busy for a good 5-10 minutes when he’s in the mood to do puzzles. If your child isn’t a puzzle fan than this probably isn’t the best toy for them as they’ll probably just get frustrated and never touch it again.

MADE IN THE USA

Available in 4 designs:
Level 1 “Rainbow Pencils”
Level 1 “Tyrannosaurus Rex”
Level 2 “Solar System”
Level 2 “Statue of Liberty”

FlipStir Puzzle is the winner of:

2015 Creative Child Magazine “Puzzle of the Year”
2015 Seal of Approval from The National Parenting Center
2015 Family Choice Awards Winner
2014 Tillywig “Brain Child” award
2014 Creative Child Magazine “Game of the Year – Puzzle Games Category”
Toy Man News & Reviews – The Toy Man “Seal of Approval,” The Toy Man “Award of Excellence,” The Toy Man “Editor’s Choice,” The Toy Man “Award of Recognition,” The Toy Man “S.T.E.M. Award,” and The Toy Man “Mom Approved” Award

Cost: $24.95

The FlipStir Puzzle can be ordered online at www.flipstirpuzzle.com

You can also go here to see if there is a store in your state that carries them!

Toddler Craft Tuesday: Pony Bead Candy Cane

Toddler Craft Tuesday: Pony Bead Candy Cane

Toddler Craft Tuesday: Pony Bead Candy Cane

This week I was feeling in the Christmas Spirit, even though I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet! I thought that it would be a fun idea to make a Pony Bead Candy Cane. I still have some that my brother and I made when we were young at daycare. I hang them on our Christmas tree every year.

What you will need:

Pipe Cleaner – Green

Pony Beads – Red and White

Pony Bead Candy Canes are great for hand/eye coordination Click To Tweet

Making these candy canes is wonderful for your their hand/eye coordination and fine motor skills. I had never done anything like this with our little guy before so I purchased 2 different types of beads, 1 that had a larger hole just in case it was difficult for him, but he bought right on after me showing him once. I will say that he lost interest rather quickly, but he started stringing the other beads onto another pipe cleaner because they were all different colors and different than what I wanted him to do. He liked how it turned out after we were finished though.

All you do to start is bend the end of the pipe cleaner and add the first bead so that they don’t push them all the way off and make a big mess (trust me, this happened the first time we tried).

Than just have them place the beads onto the pipe cleaner alternating colors. I found it best to hand him each bead in the order that they needed to go on. Once they get to the end you just bend a small amount over and push it into the last bead, then bend the pipe cleaner into the shape of a candy cane. It’s as east as that!

 

 

 

Here’s a super silly trick to start potty training boys!

Super Silly Trick to Potty Training Little Boys

Here's a Super Silly Way to Start Potty Training Boys

I have found a super silly way to start potty training little boys! I started using this method with our now 8-year-old son and it worked! I’m using it with our 2-year-old, and it works great for him too!

First, I have always had a little potty chair that I can move from room to room. When they’re just starting to learn they don’t really know yet when they have to go. They’re just used to peeing as they walk, they don’t even think twice about it! When you’re able to have a little potty chair in the room that they’re in, its easier for them to run to the potty and go when they feel the urge.

I have always had a little potty chair that I can move from room to room. Click To Tweet

Now, once you have them on the toilet, or potty chair, my silly little trick is to ask them to toot! I have yet to find a little boy who does not think that flatulation isn’t funny! Our boys think that it’s hysterical and don’t typically hesitate when I ask them to do it on the toilet. Every once in a while our 2-year-old will giggle and say no, so I just leave it alone, and then guess what… he eventually does it!

I have yet to find a little boy who does not think that flatulation isn't funny! Click To Tweet

Asking them to toot seems funny, I know, but it gets them to push unknowingly. They will typically either pee or poop not long after they do it. If it doesn’t work the first time, don’t lose hope… just do it again the next time! The key is teaching them to push. You can literally see in our 2 year olds face that he’s pushing when he goes pee, sometimes I even think that he’s pooping but he won’t.

I can’t say that our boys trained quickly so if that’s the tip that you’re looking for you need to look elsewhere, but this bit of advice gets the ball rolling! Our 2-year-old has been potty training since he was 18 months old, he’s now almost 25 months. He also started earlier than most, but it was all him, he wanted to use the potty so we let him. I just follow his lead, I ask him everyday if he wants to wear big boy underwear and sometimes he’ll tell me yes and other times he’s just not into it and I can’t push him, he’s the type that we just need to allow him to do it on his own time.

When we started potty training, like I said, he was 18 months old… I had such a hard time finding little underwear that fit him! I did, however, find some great ones on Amazon.com. They fit him great and they have a bit of padding in the bottom of them so when he does have accidents (which is every time he wears them) it doesn’t run down his leg and make a big mess. I wish that I had them with our oldest son! You can find them here.

So, don’t forget… just ask them to toot and before you know it they’ll be going potty in the toilet! 😉

How to Relax Your Body & Reduce Stress during Pregnancy

How To Relax Your Body And Reduce Stress During Your Pregnancy

Today I’m excited to have my first guest post by Julia Jones who is an expert reviewer of the best pregnancy pillows and latest maternity pillows. You can find her on Facebook and on her website. She is going to be teaching us how to relax your body and reduce stress during pregnancy.

How To Relax Your Body And Reduce Stress During Your Pregnancy

How To Relax Your Body And Reduce Stress During Your Pregnancy

A pregnancy is definitely an overwhelming time for the body. As an expecting mother, you are always preoccupied about welcoming a new member to your family, but you can also barely wait to hold the baby in your arms. While the baby keeps developing inside your belly, you will most likely face a series of emotions too. Unfortunately, not all of them are positive. You will experience a psychical discomfort, but you will also feel like you are no longer the only owner of your body. The good news is that there are plenty of simple ways to reduce the stress and overcome these problems – from pregnancy pillows to relaxation techniques.

Listen to Your Body

It is vital to listen to your body and respond to its necessities. Basically, you go through some impressive physical and psychical changes. If you feel tired, do not hesitate to go to sleep. It is completely understandable. Sleep more if you have to. Take random naps out of nowhere. Just do whatever your body asks you to. Sure, you might be able to overcome sleepiness, but this kind of attitude is not healthy for you – not to mention your baby. The general idea is pretty simple – just do what your body asks you to.

Sustain Your Cravings

But do it smartly! As the pregnancy evolves, you will notice all kinds of cravings. You feel hungrier day by day and you feel like having more with every new meal. You will end up with random cravings in the middle of the night. From this point of view, you should eat healthy nutrients. Stick to peanuts, specific cheeses (no refined varieties), yogurt and fruits. If you want something sweet, come up with a fruit salad. Cut more fruits and mix them in a bowl. Put some dietetic yogurt on top of them or just a little milk. Sometimes, you want more than that though. Just because you crave for a chocolate every once in a while, it does not mean that you should ignore it. Just do not make it an unhealthy habit.

Exercise Early

It is highly recommended to start exercising as soon as you find out that you are pregnant. It will ease the pregnancy and make the delivery a breeze. If you start doing it too late, you will find it quite uncomfortable. Discuss about these exercises with your doctor. Yoga and snowing are highly recommended, but walking is just as handy. Yoga is better known for making the delivery less painful.

As a short final conclusion, losing stress is not such a big deal if you do it smartly. Just focus on your actual necessities and respect your body during this harsh time. Pregnancy pillows should not miss from your accessories, as they can relieve both physical and psychical stress. Other than that, a few techniques to keep calm and relax will make this pregnancy a breeze. Just like for anything else in life, education is the mother of good choices.

Toddler Craft Tuesday: Turkey Hands and Cotton Clouds

Toddler Craft Tuesday: Turkey Hands and Cotton Clouds

Toddler Craft Tuesday: Turkey Hands and Cotton Clouds

This week we wanted stick with the Thanksgiving theme since it’s only a couple of weeks away! Per usual, this is another simple craft, but it involves a little more help from mom and dad. This project is great for helping those little ones with their safety scissor skills! This was our little guys first time using safety scissors, or scissors at all, and I was amazed at how well he did! It’s also a good sensory activity since you’re putting paint on their hands,Toddler Craft Tuesday: Turkey Hands and Cotton Clouds

What you will need:

Construction Paper – Blue and Green

Safety Scissors

Glue Stick

Cotton Balls

Acrylic Paint – Brown, Red, Yellow, Orange, Green

5 paintbrushes

Googly Eyes

 

First, you will want to hold the green paper and give your little one that safety scissors. I held the paper between the scissors so all he had to do was cut down. You could also put the paper so that some of it is hanging off the table and tape it so that it doesn’t fall off, then have them cut the end that’s off of the table. The goal is to make it look like grass.

Toddler Craft Tuesday: Turkey Hands and Cotton Clouds

Once your little one has cut the grass it’s time to glue it onto the background! I always give him full control of the glue stick, which is why this week you will notice the big discolored line between the turkeys… that was dried glue. He went a little crazy this time. I just tell myself that it gives the project character!

I just tell myself that it gives the project character! Click To Tweet

Toddler Craft Tuesday: Turkey Hands and Cotton Clouds

The fun part comes next! You get to paint their little hands! I did one at a time so that I could wipe one off before we did the other, I imagined paint all over my table otherwise. I painted the palm of his hand and thumb brown, then each finger a different color between yellow, orange, red and green. I used a different paint brush for each color so that I could move quicker, my guy isn’t very patient and I didn’t want the paint to dry. After their hands are painted help them “stamp” their hand on the paper. I found that it helped to push down on the top of his hand and each finger. (Don’t be afraid to make the paint really thick on their hand!)

Toddler Craft Tuesday: Turkey Hands and Cotton Clouds

While their hand stamps dry you can have them glue the cotton clouds onto the top of the paper! I just took some cotton balls and unrolled the ones that would unroll easily, if they didn’t then I just helped my son pull them apart so that they looked like clouds. I had him glueing them onto the paper as we were pulling them apart, just to keep the mess minimal.

Toddler Craft Tuesday: Turkey Hands and Cotton Clouds

The very last thing that you want to do to finish is add one googly eye to each thumb! I waited until the paint was dry to add ours. Then it’s time to show off on the refrigerator! 🙂
Turkey Hands Pinterest

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Toddler Craft Tuesday: Feather Turkey

Toddler Craft Tuesday - Feather Turkey

This week my son made a Feather Turkey for Toddler Craft Tuesday! He really enjoyed this project because he was able to use the glue stick all by himself (I’m brave, I know). This is another very easy craft that you will probably have most everything for already.

If you have an Amazon Prime account you can easily order anything that’s needed for this or any of my projects. I love Amazon Prime because I’m able to get free 2 day shipping on most products. It’s especially great during the holiday season! I rarely go out of my house to Christmas shop anymore! 🙂

What you will need:

Construction Paper – found here

Colorful Feathers – found here

Small Googly Eyes – found here

Brown Colored Pencil or Crayon

Glue Stick – found here

First you will want to draw a simple turkey on the piece of construction paper and add the googly eyes. I let him color the turkey, but that didn’t last too long.Toddler Craft Tuesday: Feather Turkey

Then, I gave him the glue stick… yep, he had full control, and guess what?! He did great! He applied the glue himself where he wanted it and he stuck the feathers on all by himself. I would help him press them down sometimes because he would forget. I gave him the glue stick... yep, he had full control Click To Tweet

This week's Toddler Craft Tuesday project is a Feather Turkey

That’s it, now it’s ready to go hang on Grandma’s refrigerator! (Well, that’s usually the case at this house!)

Toddler Craft Tuesday- Feather Turkey

Picture Book Month: All Aboard The Dinotrain Book & Craft

All Aboard The DinoTrain Book and Craft

November is Picture Book Month! You can read more about what this means in my earlier post here. We are reading All Aboard The DinoTrain by Deb Lund and making a dinotrain of our own out of plastic baby food containers. You can go to your local library to find the book or you can order it on Amazon here.All Aboard The Dinotrain

Our 2 year old loves this book! It’s about 6 dinosaurs who take the Dinotrain and it breaks down so they have to push the cars. They try pushing the cars up a large hill but decide that the freight they’re carrying is too heavy so they toss it out. After a little while they run into more problems when the breaks go out and they decide to jump into the water! They all decide to pile onto a handcar to make it back home to their families.

We decided that it would be fun to make a dinotrain out of baby brothers plastic baby food containers! This was a great chance for us to discuss recycling also. First, I washed out the baby food containers, I used 1 large container for the engine and 3 small containers for the cars, then I let our 2 year old paint them whatever colors he wanted. I helped him to cover the entire surface of the containers. Once they were dry I painted over them with ModPodge to seal the paint.

All Aboard The DinoTrain

Once they were all dry I used an exacto knife to cut a small hole in the short side of the container to put a pipe cleaner through. Once I had the pipe cleaner through the hole, I bent it over a little so that it wouldn’t come out. Do this to each “car” to connect them to each other.

All Aboard the Dinotrain

 

After they’re all connected I flipped the large container upside down. I left the 3 cars with the open side facing up so that we could put dinosaurs inside! It was very easy and he has a lot of fun playing with it!

All Aboard The Dinotrain

I hope that you all take time to read All Aboard The Dinotrain by Deb Lund and create a Dinotrain of your own!

Here is My Secret Weapon at Bedtime

Here is my secret weapon at bedtime

Our 2 year old unfortunately takes after me as far as being a night owl. He will fight falling asleep for hours! While he’s fighting his sleep, he’s also playing with my hair the entire time, which you can read about here. I have tried everything to get him to relax and fall asleep, but there’s only 1 thing that has worked for us…. are you ready to know what my secret weapon at bedtime is?! It’s diffusing lavender essential oil!

I had heard about essential for awhile, but I was skeptical. I had even worked at a veterinary clinic that used oils to disinfect, help the clinic smell better, and even used them on the pets in some cases. I had used peppermint oil on myself when I had a headache or my stomach was upset, so I knew that they worked, but still I was skeptical about bringing them into our home.

Here is my secret weapon at bedtimeI started seeing stories from my friends on Facebook about how the oils were helping their family and I started to consider investing in them. The main reason that I started to consider them was because of our 2 year old. I was desperate to find a way to calm his mind and help him relax for bed. I talked to my husband and he was skeptical like me, but we finally decided that we should try it. We decided to invest in Young Living Essential Oils because they have been selling essential oils for over 25 years, and create the purest oils with their seed to seal process.

I was desperate to find a way to calm his mind and help him relax for bed. Click To Tweet

We decided to purchase the Premium Starter Kit so that we would be wholesale members and receive the wholesale price, but we wouldn’t have to sell the oils if we didn’t want to. Once our kit came in the mail the first thing that I did was open each bottle and smell them! The next thing that I did was read about the diffuser that came with our kit and how to use it. I knew that I wanted to diffuse Lavender oil that night to try and get S2 to bed. The diffuser was so easy to use that I was able to plug it in the babies room, add water and lavender oil to it and I was ready!

Once it was S2’s bed time we went into his room and I laid him in his bed, which usually ends up in many tears and a lot of yelling on his part. I was hoping that there would be a difference but again, I was still a skeptic. He laid down in his bed, stared at the differ lights, he got up a couple times and wanted to play with my hair so I allowed him to play with it for a minute and asked him if he was ready to lay down. He literally fell asleep after about 30 minutes… typically he wouldn’t fall asleep at all and we would end up back in the living room.

After that night I tried just putting the oil on the bottoms of his feet because I read that can also help calm little ones down, but that didn’t help much at all. I’ve found that the only thing that works for him, and really all of us is diffusing the lavender oil. I don’t do it every night like I should because I tend to forget, and then get mad at myself because it works to well! My plan is to get myself into a routine where I put the diffuser into the little boys room at night and diffuse the lavender right before bed time.

If you have a little one that has a hard time falling a sleep at night I would highly recommend trying lavender essential oil!

Toddler Craft Tuesday: Q-Tip Tree

This week for Toddler Craft Tuesday we created a Q-Tip Tree!

This weeks Tuesday Toddler craft is a Q-Tip Tree! I thought that this was fitting since it’s Fall and all. W2 enjoyed painting this tree, both because it was fun and also because he didn’t get his hands too messy. He doesn’t like his getting his hands dirty, he’s always been that way.This week for Toddler Craft Tuesday we created a Q-Tip Tree!

I enjoyed this craft because it was cheap, I already had everything that I needed on hand, and it was super easy! It was fun watching him choose where he wanted to “dot” the Q-Tip next and then watch his little mind work as he decided to “pull” the Q-tip down the paper and watch the line form. Holding the Q-Tip is great for their fine motor development.

Here’s what you will need:

1 Piece of Construction Paper  SunWorks Smart-Stack Construction Paper, 9″ x 12″, 11 Colors, 300 Count (6525)

1 Brown Marker

Today's Toddler Craft Tuesday is a Q-Tip Tree!

Q-Tips

Acrylic Paint – Tan, Red, Orange, Yellow (or any other fall colors that you have) Plaid PROMOABII Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint, 2-Ounce, Best Selling Colors II

Egg Carton or something that will hold the paint and your toddler can easily dip the Q-Tip intoThis week for Toddler Craft Tuesday we are making a Q-Tip Tree!

Directions:

  • Color the tree trunk on the construction paper with the brown marker.
  • Place each color paint into its own spot in the egg carton
  • Place 1 Q-Tip into each color paint
  • Show your little one how to take the Q-Tip and “dot” the paper with the paint
  • Sit back and watch as you see their little minds go to work

I like to just stand there and let him do his thing. I will hold onto the paper for him sometimes because he still has a hard time remembering to do that. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to sit there and watch him do things differently than I imagined, but I know that in the end it is his artwork and he can only be proud of himself  if it’s sometimes that he truly did ON HIS OWN.

I know that he would love to see your little one’s artwork in the comments! (I promise that I’ll show him)