Thursday, October 16, 2008

Online Halloween Fun

Now your little one can "carve" their pumpkin without losing a finger (or you spending any money or cleaning up)! You can pick your eyes, nose, and mouth or carve free-hand.

Or enjoy some Halloween cat bowling

Friday, October 10, 2008

Homemade Cleaners

Helping Big Sister/Brother Transition

With your first pregnancy you wonder how you're going to be able to handle a crying, pooping needy baby. With your second pregnancy, you wonder how your first child is going to handle being "replaced" by a crying, pooping, needy baby. My daughter ruled the roost back in the day. Not just being spoiled by her loving parents but she had both sets of grandparents and several aunts and uncles in town to dote over her with no other grandkids to compete. Spoiled doesn't even begin to describe Queen Emma! Needless to say I was more than a little concerned how Emma would handle us adding another child to her perfect little kingdom.

The big day came and Emma was taken to Grandma's while we went off to change Emma's life forever. Emma came to the hospital with the family but was sleeping when she arrived so I laid her on my bed. When she finally awoke she was a little disoriented and I tried to slowly ease her into her environment, talking to her, offering her some food. All of a sudden we heard a baby cry. Emma sat up and warily asked, "baby?" My husband and I smiled reassuringly and told her there was someone we wanted her to meet. I went over and picked the little bundle out of his bassinet and started to carry him to Emma. Emma cried out, "Momma, noooo!" and ran out of the room crying. She felt betrayed as she realized what Mom was talking about all those months as she snuggled Momma's belly and talked about having a baby. Her Nana caught her in the hallway and calmed her back down. It wasn't exactly the magical moment we were hoping for. But you know what, it worked out. She allowed him to come home with us and didn't have to go in for counseling. She turned out to be a pretty loving big sister and didn't get overly jealous. Sorry I can't calm your fears of baby #2 by telling you Emma was instantly in love but just know that people adjust. Yeah, it could be a little ugly for awhile but you adjust, your kids adjust and soon you can't imagine life without two kids. I will say however that when #3 came along #2 was 18 months and he handled it quite well.

So here's a few things you might consider doing to help your child through what might be a hard time for them (most of which I'm sure you've heard but I'll repeat for anyone that hasn't):
1. Talk about the perks of being a big kid. Think of all the great things they get to do now that they couldn't do before-like the foods they can eat, the games they can play, etc. Talk about the unique qualities and important milestones your child has reached. They'll have lots of great experience to share and teach.
2. Get excited about being the big sister/brother. This is one I feel you have to be careful about though. If you talk about how fun it will be to play with their new sibling you may set them up for disappoint when they get the baby and all he does is sleep and eat. Be realistic when you talk about what they're going to do with a new baby. Also, be careful selling the whole "Momma's big helper" bit. Not that encouraging them to be a helper is bad but don't put the label of "Baby's servant" on if they're already feeling cut out. Remember the goal is to put the focus on your child and their contributions.
3. Encourage more independence. Early in my pregnancy with my third I started teaching my son (who was still a baby himself) to do more things on his own. I didn't want him to feel that he was being forced to grow up because of this baby (or mom's belly). I moved him out of his crib early, let him walk everywhere (before I got too uncomfortable to carry him), and taught him how to climb the stairs to our condo with just a hand to hold. I felt I did it early and slowly enough that he never viewed it as neglect or connected it to the baby.
4. Baby gifts- When the baby comes they need to "give" a gift to their older sibling. A "thank you for letting me join your family" gift if you will. This can be an awesome toy that will distract them from feeling neglected for awhile, but preferrably not a noisy one that will cause the baby to cry. For my daughter I got a child-sized rocking chair for her to rock her baby while I rocked mine. I like the idea of making this gift one that will help them be a good sister/brother. Maybe a sock puppet to entertain, or a Baby Einstein movie they can watch together.
5. Baby time is toddler time first. When discussing an activity for the baby mention what's in it for your toddler first. "Let's read a story while baby eats (nurses)." "Weston gets a snack while Andrew gets a diaper change." "You get to color while I put the baby in bed." Keep some books on the couch so you can have your child sit next to you and read while you nurse.
6. Allow ownership and interaction. When Weston was new I was very wary of my daughter getting too close. I was worried about her poking out his eyes or stroking too forcefully. I felt it my duty as his mother to protect him from rambunctious toddlers. When Andrew was born I realized what that may have done to the relationship. I allowed Weston to gently explore the baby and to stroke and love in his own appropriate ways. Remind them to be gentle but do it in ways that are positive and non-judmental. So, instead of "Make sure you're nice to the baby," say something like, "Oh, are you going to soft the baby? You're such a nice brother!" or "Andrew loves his big brother. Look how nice you're being." Point out how much the baby loves and appreciates their big brother and pretend that every smile and contented sigh is just for them. They need to know that this is their baby too and that families are about loving each other and that goes both ways. That's the beauty of babies: they don't love you because you do everything right, they love you because you're theirs.
Anyone else have a good story or advice to share? Or even "if I were going to do it over again..." Posted by Picasa

Cute Painted Pumpkins

I'm not ready to give my two-year-old a knife to carve a pumpkin and I'm too cheap to buy the big pumpkins so I bought my kids the mini pumpkins and told them we'd paint them. I thought this would be the perfect way to dress up our little pumpkins! Isn't he cute!?
Here's a different idea for the modern, artsy types!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Just for laughs

Need to smile today? This is just cute! Check out the giggling quadruplets

Choo-choo Trains

My little guy is in love with trains and has learned about Thomas. I have other costume ideas for his Halloween get-up but I think I just might make him one of these for fun around the house or maybe his next birthday party.
Time to make: Approx eight hours, spread out over three nights
Stuff you have: Cardboard boxes, empty paper towel tubes, oatmeal container, paint brushes, clip suspenders (or ribbon), paper plates, masking tape
Stuff you need: Blue, red, and yellow paint, oak tag
How to make it: Cut the flaps off the bottom of the box. Cut halfway through the flap on the top of box, and use the remaining part of the flap to create the back of the train, using the photo as a guide. Toilet paper tubes can be used to make the whistles, and an oatmeal container stuffed with newspaper can make the blue dome. Use paper plates and/or oak tag (a hard card stock that's easier to cut than cardboard) for wheels and face. Paint, and attach ribbon or suspenders (clip them to the front and back) so that the costume will sit on your child's shoulders. Place weights behind face to keep the costume from riding up (Donna used a bag of change). Dress your child in overalls underneath, and add a engineer cap if you own one -- perfect for your little Thomas fanatic.

* Back-to-back red duct tape makes sturdy straps.
* Use painted boxes trimmed with colored electrical and duct tape for the main part of the train.
* Recycle oatmeal canisters for the smokestack and headlight.
* Create wheels out of round lids from coffee containers and black electrical tape.

Pippi Longstocking Costume

Remember this funny girl? This brings me back to my childhood and would be an easy costume to throw together.

Time to make: One hour for the costume, 30 minutes for the hair
Stuff you have: Mismatched knee socks, an old dress in a solid color, a stuffed monkey, a wool scarf, a wire hanger, needle and thread, and clog-like shoes
Stuff you need: Fabric scraps
How to make it: Cut squares out of the fabric scraps, and sew onto to the old dress so it resembles patchwork.
Open up a wire hanger and bend it so there's a semicircle "headband" in the middle and sticks out straight on either side. Put it on your daughter's head and secure with bobby pins. Then braid hair around the wires so it sticks straight out.
Accessorize with mismatched knee socks, stuffed monkey, wool scarf, and clogs.
Lightbulb moment: "We wanted straight-out pigtails that would look authentic without being uncomfortable. Once we got them in place, the best part about the costume was watching Chloe navigate the busy Brooklyn streets, turning sideways to let people pass, because her hair was so wide."

To see other easy, home-made costumes visit: This Parents page

Tootsie Pop Spiders

Supplies: 20 small googly eyes, 10 small neon-colored pom-poms, craft glue, 20 black pipe cleaners, neon-colored pony beads, 10 bright-colored Tootsie Pops.
How-To: Glue two eyes onto each pom-pom. Cut pipe cleaners in half, and group together by fours. Wrap each group of four pipe cleaners around a Tootsie Pop just below the candy to create eight legs. Press a pony bead into the end of each pipe cleaner to make feet. Glue a pom-pom spider face onto the pipe cleaners at the base of the pop.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


So we all know that Google is awesome! Great e-mail, blogs, web browser, etc. Did you know they also have a great photo editing program? It's called Picasa, it's free and it's pretty cool! I don't take great pictures but I can make them look pretty good using their editing. You can crop, striaghten, sharpen, change to sepia or black and white, highlight, lighten, etc. You can also create a web album to share with your friends, e-mail pics., or upload them directly to your blog! It's user-friendly and fun to play around with. Check it out.

Create sepia photos and decide the shade
Brighten pics.
Crop and make black and white
Tint pics. to create a different color
Sharpen images
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Personalized Frame Gift

I feel guilty I've been a lousy blogger, so here's a craft for ya! This is a frame we made my mom for Mother's Day. There's supposed to be a heart in the middle so it says "We [heart] Nana" but the heart fell off during it's trip and wasn't glued back on in time for the pic. We have pictures, handprints and name stickers for each of the grandkids (the "Happy Mother's Day" slot was filled with my nephew's pic that had to be mailed seperately). This would make a fun Christmas or Birthday present for a mom or a grandma! If you only have a couple kids you could do full-sized pics. in some slots and foot/handprints in others.

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New Baby Set-up

When my son was born I came up with a newborn bed system that worked great so I thought I'd share. I had a playpen that I set up by my bed when he first came home from the hospital. I put the newborn netting and mattress insert on and used the space underneath for extra diaper bags and clothes he was too small for. On one half of the bed I stored extra blankets, diapers, wipes, Desitin, "nose-plungers", gas drops, spit rags, breast pads, extra pjs (whatever you need during the night or for diaper changes, etc.). I put the changing table insert over the supplies (my playpen had one but you can use your bed if the playpen's right by it). I put my Boppy (nursing pillow) on top of the changing table. I'd usually open up some diapers and lined them up along the edge of the playpen too for extra quick changes. The other half of the playpen mattress was left empty for the baby to sleep on (width of bed instead of length). Then when the baby woke at night I could grab my boppy for quick feedings and/or if he needed diaper changes I could quickly change him right there by his bed with little interruption so he didn't fully awake and I could get him to sleep faster. Then neither of us was awake long and we both slept better!

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Girly Styles

I love cute little girly hairstyles but I'm lacking ideas and time most days so a lot of days we're just lucky to get a comb through it, which lucky enough my daughter's hair's so thin and straight that it doesn't matter. But days we try something cute, it's just fun to see my girl all prettied up! So here's one thing I made up one morning. I'll call it the "Double Twist." Pull a small amount of hair back and tie it. Loosen the tie a little and poke a hole through the middle of the ponytail (above the tie). Take the ponytail and pull it throught the hole (from the top of the hole to the bottom). Tighten the tie. Pull back a little more hair to tie and do the same with that ponytail.

Share your styles!!! E-mail me ( your pictures and directions and I'll post them on the blog to share with everyone. Step-by-step pictures would be a good thing if possible.
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