Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Sunday Post ~ Fridge Farm Review

This little toy is a winner in our house. It's a magnetic barn that allows your child to mix and match barnyard animals. Pressing on the animals plays their noises, tell you facts about them and sings silly songs about the animals. Another button plays a variety of classic American folk songs.

This toy is great for just playing with magnets, but also is a great learning tool. All of the pieces are magnetic, so you can play right on your fridge door with the different animal parts, mixing and matching. Each animal is a different bright color and the talking portion of the toy tells you the color of each animal.

"Purple cow, orange horse, yellow duck..."

You don't need a fridge to play with the farm. The magnetic pieces stick to the inside of the barn and it has a handy handle for carrying it around. However, it doesn't have a carrying case and since it has so many pieces, it's not the easiest to move from place to place. But it's great right on the fridge, so there's no need to carry it around.

The pieces are difficult for very young children to stick in the barn, but they are shaped specifically for kids to learn how to properly insert them so that the pieces will talk and sing.

Personally, I love this toy. It keeps my kid entertained while I'm cooking dinner. If he gets bored, I just press the music button and we sing along to the old folk songs. He loves it too. Every time we walk in the kitchen he goes straight for it and dances along to the music and calls out the colors.

It's the perfect combination of play and learn. And since the pieces all stick to the fridge, there's never any clean up!

Check out the product.

Friday, July 13, 2012

How To Camp With A Baby/Toddler

I have done it and you can too! With a little planning and an adventurous spirit, you favorite bundle can go anywhere you go.

Plan Ahead! Where will he sleep? What will he eat? How will he play? How will he bathe?

~ I can't say enough good stuff about the Go Crib. It's lightweight. It's compact. And it's a breeze to set up (aka inflate). Whatever you choose, make sure to bring a portable crib or pack'n'play with you.
~ Pack more blankets and sheets than you need. You never know when little one may have an accident or the weather may turn cold. I always pack a few extra.
~ Bring a selection of favorite luvies. Just because you're in the woods doesn't mean he can't have his favorite teddy. It will make him feel more at home.
~ Bring battery powered fans and nightlight. REI sells a combo fan and light. We have two. For hot afternoons the tent might be broiling. We sit the two hanging fans on the floor of the tent next to the Go Crib to keep our lil guy cool. Then we hang them from the ceiling for the nightlight when it gets dark.

Lessons I've learned:
~ Tents are bright and hot. Vent your tent well. And expect some trouble getting to bed on time unless little one is used to sleeping in bright light.
~ Cold weather woes. Bring flannels and lots of blankets if it's going to be cold. Let him sleep in his jacket if you have to. I even put my little guy in the sleeping bag with me one night when it got below freezing.
~ Hot weather woes. I always bring shade with me and I check the weather before I go. It's never a good idea to take your little one out into excessive heat. Just be smart.
~ Always be prepared for weather changes. It might be hot hot hot in the afternoon and chilly at night. Pack for both, regardless of the forecast. Better to be prepared than to have a fussy baby.

~ Have a way for your little one to sit at a "table" to eat. As a baby I brought a stroller that had an eating tray. It worked great for meals. As a toddler he can sit with relative ease at the picnic table for meals.
~ Buy individual milks and freeze them before you go. This will keep them fresh and cold as the cooler starts to warm up on your trip. Or, if you're using formula, portion out each bottle and bring it with you with bottled water ready to go. Remember to always bring extra in case one spills or you end up out longer than expected. TommeeTippee makes a great bottle system with formula containers that drop into the bottle for on-the-go carrying.
~ Pack lots of non-perishable snacks to bring with you, including fruit.
~ Make sandwiches to take and keep cool so you can eat lunch in a hurry without having to prep the fire and make all of the food. Lunch comes up fast when you're camping.
~ Bring cereal for breakfast. Keep it simple and avoid having to cook for the breakfast meal.

Lessons I've learned:
~ Having lots of healthy snacks on hand is the best way to go. Your little one is going to get off schedule quick, so having food you can give him immediately will keep him happy and you relaxed.
~ Disposable is always better. Having cleaned formula bottles at a campsite, avoid having to do this if possible. Same goes for plates and spoons. And that way you can ensure the item is clean and ready to use.

~ Pack a blanket and a bag of toys. Have a variety of toys. The blanket is to lay on the grass so your little one has somewhere to play. This works from sitter to toddler. It keeps them clean and gives the older kids a home base to play.
~ Bring the Go Crib out of the tent and put it in the shade so your little one can play outside but contained.
~ Bring your own shade. Some campgrounds have very little shade. Bring a shade tent, giant tarp, or beach umbrella so little one has shade to play in during the day. We don't want sunburned babies!
~ Make sure to include activities that involve the campground or surrounding sites. You both will love getting out and away from the tent.

Lessons I've learned:
~ Plastic is best. Pick toys that are easy to rinse and clean.
~ Pack a few favorite luvies, but leave the rest at home. And make sure they stay in the crib and don't wander around the campground. You'll both be very unhappy if his favorite luvie gets lost.
~ Don't bring toys with lots of small pieces. They are easy to lose and then the set is no longer complete. Instead, bring variety but keep it simple.
~ Avoid battery-operated. The other campers are out to enjoy nature, not hear "Oh, Susanna!" 500 times. It's a good break for you too from the singing/blinking toys.

Getting there:
~ Pack lots of food and toys for the car.
~ Take breaks to get out, but if you're going 5 hours or less I recommend only 1 break ~ the kid won't want to get back in the car so don't let that become an issue. Just don't stop.

Lessons I've learned:
~ French fries cure lots of car ride ills. It's vacation, splurge a little and let him have some fries to keep him happy.
~ Mountains plus a 6 month old are a bad mix. If your ears pop more than once going up and down the mountain, you're sure to hear lots of screaming the whole way. Pick a campground that doesn't require driving over the mountains.

Most of all, have fun!

We camp a lot with our lil guy. If you have a question about camping with small people, feel free to email me or comment here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

July 12, 2012 ~ Goodnight Ship

Grandpop has never seen Billy bedtime ritual (du jour), so I let him follow Billy around the house for the "goodnights".

"Goodnight ship!" "Goodnight girl!" "Goodnight ship!" (a different ship). Goodnight girl! (a different girl). "Goodnight clock!" "Goodnight boat!"

He walks around to every painting and wall hanging, like the wall clock, and says goodnight to each one before bed. He made up this routine and he likes it. This all comes out of his boat obsession. He feels the need to personally say goodnight to every ship/boat painting in the house. There are 5- six if you count a picture with a small boat in the back, and seven if you count the ship model in the living room that he wishes goodnight as well.

I always thought Goodnight Moon was silly. But the book has it right as far as a toddler is concerned.

"Goodnight stars. Goodnight air. Goodnight noises everywhere."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July 11, 2012 ~ Big Bonk

After dinner we were playing outside and I suggested that we go for a walk to burn off some energy before bed. Billy loves walks. This is a winning plan in his mind. So, we sent our guest inside to collect her shoes.

While we were waiting Billy decided to clean up his toys. We have a bunch of pool/tub toys outside that we keep in a yaffa block. You remember those from dorm rooms, right? That's where this one is from- my college dorm room. He was walking around picking up all of his toys and putting them in the box. Without prompting. Woohoo!

He got to the last toy and went to put it in the box and... tripped and fell head first into the box.

Bang! Bonk!

Immediate screaming, and definitely deserved. He has a big old bruise over one eyebrow where he smashed into the plastic corner. Lucky for him, he only fell about a foot and landed on plastic and not something harder. He's definitely going to have quite a shiner, but it could have been a lot worse. No blood even.

But it was definitely a big bonk.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 10, 2012 ~ First Taco

There comes a time in a man's life when he has to try a taco. Today was that day.

Imagine a bowl full of foody mess. Okay, okay... it was a taco salad. What do you want from a one-year-old? He was presented with his bowl of taco salad and was inquisitive but unsure. I can't blame him. Taco salads are sloppy and messy and oh-so-yummy.

I gave him a fork and a spoon so he could choose his method of attack. He opted to double fist, using one to scrape food onto the other. Didn't matter which.

Immediately he ruled out the lettuce. I didn't think he would eat it, but Daddy insisted. Billy was not a fan. That's ok, he's got plenty of years to eat rabbit food. Onions and tomatoes were iffy too. He'd only eat them concealed under cheesy sour cream goo.

But let's get to the good stuff. He shoveled the meat with cheese and sour cream. His verdict? Yum. His word, not mine.

And so, presented with his challenge, he met that taco face first and came away with a taco-y face to prove it.

Monday, July 9, 2012

July 9, 2012 ~ Boats, Boats & More Boats!

Billy was very lucky that Grandma invited him over this weekend to see all of the boats. And he was even luckier to be treated to his first ever motor boat ride, and the fastest boat ride he's ever been on. (thanks to g. aunt and g. uncle for the ride!)

So, he's got boats on the brain.

After school we went outside. Always outside.

"Mommy, walk?"

"No walk." I'm pooped. It's too hot even with a break in the weather for walking around outside (read pushing him on his trike and then carrying him up a hill).

So, he came over and grabbed my hand.

"Mommy, walk?"

"Where do you want to go?" I asked. He obviously had something in mind.


I laughed. There are no boats in our neighborhood. I haven't even seen a boat on a trailer. No boats to look at, besides the multitude of boat pictures decorating our walks.

"No, Billy. There are no boats."


"Billy, we left all of the boats at the water. There aren't any."

The thought seriously about this for a minute.

"Mommy, walk...ship?"

July 8, 2012 ~ Cookie, Please?

This morning when I got up Daddy was giving Billy his breakfast. Daddy had just given Billy a cookie for breakfast. Not just any cookie... a Berger's cookie.

(These are Daddy's kryptonite. He can't resist them. It's his weakness. Ok, they are super yummy and summer isn't the same without them. And if you don't know what they are, heaven in cookie form is good description. A shortbread cookie with 2 tablespoons of fudge on top? YUM!)

So, Billy ate his cookie and then said, with his best puppy-dog face:

"More cakey puh-leeeease!"

He calls cookies "cakeys". Surprisingly, not that far off the mark...

Well, it was so cute Daddy couldn't resist and split a cookie with Billy. Billy gobbled it up and repeated:

"More cakey puh-leeeease!"

Well, cuteness doesn't mean ruining your breakfast. Mommy had to step in and say no more cookies. Billy was confused.

"All gone? Where go?"

So Daddy told him that Buddy ate all of the cookies. (Which is not true and never feed chocolate to a dog. Even if I did have a dog long ago that ate an entire box of these cookies by herself and the ran up the wall to the ceiling and bounced for two days.)

Billy was sad for a second and then nommed on his cheerios and melon. But by the end of his actual breakfast he was really hankering for another piece of cookie.

"Cakey? Please?"

"No more cookies," we both chimed in.

Then Billy pointed an incriminating finger at Buddy. "All gone," he accused. "Buddy, no, no. All gone." He wagged his finger and gave Buddy his best serious face.

Poor Buddy, guilty of being innocent.