Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Oodles of Noodles Bath!

Thanks to another Pinterest find, we decided to try out a couple new play ideas from this website. We took a trip to our local dollar store for some pool noodles.Which of course, Keira had to play with before we could get started.

When the hostages were finally released, I used one of our kitchen knives to cut them into small pieces. It actually went a lot faster than I thought it would.

In order to keep her busy while I cut them up, I had Keira make the trips back & forth to put them in the tub.

I kept a couple pieces longer, jammed a couple funnels in the ends (just our kitchen ones, but the dollar store has those in abundance as well), and used packing tape to secure them to the wall. (I now have a bit of residue to clean off since I may have left them there for a few extra baths.)

Once they were all in, the water was started and bubbles added.

This went a lot better than the bath with all the different colored sponges. For starters, noodles don't take half the water with them when they're thrown out of the tub.

Keira loved pouring the water into the funnels and trying to catch it when it came out the bottom. That was probably her favorite part of the whole deal.

There was an added bonus when we discovered that the noodles would stick to the wall of the tub.

After everything and everyone was dry, they were still fun to play with. Keira sorted them by color, stacked them up, counted them...and then had the 'fun' of picking them all up and putting them in the mesh bag I made. It turns out 3 noodles actually makes quite a few noodle pieces.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Just a little tip: Dishwashers

For quite some time now, Keira has been helping with chores. Nothing set in stone, some days are better than other, and some she is more prone than others to actually do with minimal prompting. These include putting her clothes in the hamper, helping to clean up her toys, and emptying the dishwasher.

Unfortunately, that last one cause a bit of aggravation. Or it did. Until my sister showed me a fantastic trick. You see, our dishwasher's buttons are on the front. And Keira knows how to turn it on. She just hasn't quite mastered the 'when'. Many a time, I have to quickly stop it from running empty. Now I don't have to worry at all.

Wondering what the secret is?

Yep, just an old toothbrush. We just lay it on the top of the door and that's it. It's small enough to allow it to close, but still enough to stop it from latching. And because it isn't latched, it won't start. Crazy simple, huh?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Baby Gear Reviews: Graco My Ride 65

We've started getting ready for the boys by figuring out what gear we're going to need more of. I figured every so often, I'll share what we have and how it's worked for us so far. Since I already did a review of our infant carrier of choice, the Chicco Keyfit 30 here, I'll just go on to say that we got another of the exact same thing, fabric pattern and all. This way, there will be no confusion as to which seat goes where or any of that. Simple. 

Keira will stay in her Graco MyRide 65. We got them earlier than we had planned because they happened to go on sale. It was one of the top ones on our list for safety rating, so when it went on sale, we jumped. I have mixed feeling about this seat. First off, installing? Not the easiest to install. I have trouble tightening it myself. In fact, if Doug is around, I make him do it because I know he gets it tighter. Ok, I always make Doug do it. Hey, it's Keira's safety. She may be willing to take risks, but this isn't one I'm bending on. Doug isn't thrilled with how difficult it is to tighten, either, rear or forward facing.

It also doesn't help that it's h.u.g.e. To be fair, most of the convertible seat that go to a similar high weight are pretty big. We also still had her rear-facing since she was still less than a year old. And at the time, I was driving our VW Jetta. Not a big car to begin with, but put in the MyRide and it suddenly seemed even smaller.

The good? The straps & buckles are easy to work. At the point of this picture she could clip it, but not unclip the chest strap. I'm sad to say, that has changed. Luckily, the other buckle is still out of her range. The cupholders are a nice extra. They hold all sorts of cups and snacks within her reach. For good or bad. There have been many a goldfish thrown.

It goes to 40 pounds rear-facing and 65 pounds forward-facing. This seat can be used with an infant as small as 7 pounds (I think, don't quote me), but Keira was already beyond that when we bought it so we took out all the extra padding pieces that came with it. I'll be honest, the boys will be staying in the infant seats as long as possible.

Now that we've got a minivan and she's facing forward, the only thing that still irks me is the amount it reclines. Although, I do like it when she falls asleep because her head doesn't flop forward.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chalkboard Table

A while ago, I decided to repaint Keira's little table. A good friend was given the table but already had one so they passed it on to us. I couldn't decide how I wanted to repaint it but I liked the idea of at least making the top a chalkboard. After mentioning it to my mom, who said she had some chalkboard spraypaint, I figured I'd at least get that done.

I didn't take a before pic, but I'm pretty sure you can imagine. I think this is the standard Ikea kids table, but either way, the top was a plain white that had some wear spots from use. I taped off the edges first, then taped on the paper to protect the sides & legs. I did tip it onto its side to spraypaint it and then straightened it back up to dry.

After about 30 minutes, it got a second coat and was left in the sun to dry for a few several hours. Since the directions say to let it sit for 24 hours before use, I put it in our shed overnight (I didn't want to stink up the house, just in case) and the next day, peeled the paper & tape off, and let it sit in the sun a few more hours.

When I brought it in the house, Keira went right for it and asked for chalk. So I gave it to her. She had a ball.

This project is a definite success. Now I just need to get a better eraser.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Our Fave Apps

Every so often, someone in one of my mommy groups will bring up iPad/iPhone apps and a bunch of us will throw out suggestions of which ones our little monsters are currently enjoying. So I figured I'd do a post on what Keira is currently using with a couple of mine thrown in for good measure.

One thing I will tell you about all of the apps we have is that they're free. If I can find an app that does what I need it to and it doesn't cost me anything, I'm a happy camper. I'm pretty reluctant to purchase apps for because #1, I don't know if I'm/she's going to like it to start with, #2, how long we'll like it, #3, those $1 & $2 apps add up fast, especially after you've gone through two dozen and your kid only liked 3. For 5 minutes.

My Apps

As you can see, I do have them pretty similar. Facebook, Pinterest, Blogger, YouTube, Gmail & messages are used just about daily. I love BlogLovin' for keeping (relatively) up to date on blogs that I follow. (Hint: if you are a Candy Crush player, switch devices, they each refresh lives at their own rate.) And yes, I'm a geek that has a Dictionary app.

Since Keira has the iPad pretty well figured out, I decided to "hide" MY apps in a separate folder. Yeah, she knows to get into it, but luckily, she isn't interested enough to care. Her apps are far more entertaining to her. To be honest, I use my iPhone more than the iPad nowadays. Mainly because it's smaller and it's easier when I need to change positions on the couch (this belly is getting to be fairly uncomfortable).

Keira's Apps

Keira loves to watch the shows on PBS Kids, Disney Junior, Sprout & FP Puppy Dog. She is also a Netflix addict. Luckily, Netflix has a Just for Kids feature that saves me from worrying about her viewing. She just opens it up and chooses from Blue's Clues, Dora the Explorer or any of the huge variety they have available. (Disclaimer: while the Netflix app itself is free, you do need a streaming subscription to watch.)

Her current favorites are Candy Count (where she moves different colored beans into their matching containers and then counts the beans in each) & Animal Seek and Find (where she picks out giraffes, elephants, baboons, etc from where they are hiding behind trees, bushes, and such). We also spend time with Elmo's ABC's (I'm trying to work with her in tracing the letters, but so far, she just points them out).

She goes through spurts where she will want to look at cars or animals, depending on her mood. The Fisher Price apps are fading away as she moves on to move advanced apps, but every now and again, she will
choose still Shapes & Colors or Animals. The rest are still kind of 'hit or miss' on keeping her interest, especially with the nice weather and her insistence on "play on outside".

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Friends, Old & New

We've been moving a bunch of baby stuff from Keira's room into the room that will belong to the boys. Her infant carrier was one of the first. She didn't quite fit the way she remembered.

Since that didn't work, she decided she'd play with the buckles instead.

Among the rest was a box or two of baby toys that Keira outgrew. Well, you can just imagine what happened when she saw them. It was like a reunion.She had a good old time playing with the blocks and dancing to the music from the activity table. She even gave the walker a few pushes around the kitchen.

Her little eyes managed to spot a salad spinner I had left on the kitchen table and she brought it out to join in the fun.

A little tip for any moms planning to try this: don't use balls. The blocks worked great because when Keira lifted the lid while it was spinning, she got to see them going around. When she threw in a few of the small balls and lifted the lid, they went flying out. With some force, I might add. Those could sting a bit.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Upcycled Maternity Clothes

I was backing up my photos and realized I never did a blog post for one of my recent sewing endeavors. So of course, I had to rectify that.

One of my favorite items of clothing is a dark brown skirt with a fold-over waist. It's super comfy. I've had it so long that I have no idea where it came from. But I've also never found another one like it that wasn't more than I was willing to spend. So I decided to make another one myself. I found a few tutorials on how to make a fold-over waist (mostly yoga pants) and used the brown skirt as a pattern. I used a light grey jersey sheet that wasn't being used (jersey sheet, king-size bed? no. just no.)
The waistband
The skirt
I pretty much just used my serger for all the seams. Here's a little tip, though. Pay attention to which direction is really "out". I ended up serging the two pieces together on the wrong side. Since it doesn't show when it's folded over, I just left it. Yeah, I'm that lazy.

(This is what I accomplish when I'm supposed to be putting away all that laundry in the background.)

I also had a very light blue jersey sheet that I used for a sew along with another friend. We chose this tutorial to try out.

First, wait until the toddler is in bed. It makes things a lot easier.

I decided to add a little ruffle to the bottom. Definitely not. Way too much like an old fashioned nightgown for me. I tried a few things to it, but it just wasn't going to work. My friend's looked really good on her (she made hers in a bright red fabric). Maybe it's because I'm so short, who knows. (I guess my sewing coincides with laundry more than I realized.)

I ended up cutting off the top and making another fold-over waist. I also decided to go with a dark green dye. I love dyeing stuff. It's so easy and gives your items a whole new look. We have a front load washer so my method of choice is a big metal bowl in the kitchen sink.

After the first dye bath & washing, I wasn't quite sure what had happened, but I wasn't expecting this.

After a second dye bath & washing, the color was much better. More of a gradient/flowy coloring. I'm much happier with how it turned out after the second round. The pic of me wearing it is much truer to color. I'm not sure why the other photo is so light. Our comforter is actually navy blue.

Since they are not only soft and comfy, but light, I can definitely see them getting a lot of use this summer.In fact, I brought both on our recent vacation and I'm seriously in love. Another great thing is that I'll be able to continue using them after I've had these babies. Win-win in my book.