Train Playroom

It was 65° outside yesterday morning ♡ December 17th. 

By the time I took the kids to the playground in the afternoon it was 32 and windy 😦 

We can’t avoid Winter forever. I also can’t avoid Christmas forever. I’ve been slowing getting all of Little Man’s presents in the mail and pilling them in his room along with anything else I want to procrastinate on. After he laid down for a nap, yesterday, I decide it was time to get motivated. I’d gone to At Home and found a wire flatware holder that I planned to repurpose as a train shelf. 

It worked perfectly! 

I put together his Train Table and Gorilla glued the bridge together. The other pieces I left loose so he could rearrange. The top flips over and the other side is a chalk board. 

This wooden sign was given to us by a dear friend when he was born. 

I wanted this to be an uncluttered space where he could play and be creative without being over stimulated. 

I read about Toy Rotation about a year ago, and I love the idea. Last month I went through all his toys and clothes and donated almost 4 boxes worth of stuff. I tried to be purposeful with what toys he kept. In his closet are 2 shelves neatly stacked with toys that he can take out one at a time and play with in the open space on the other side of his room. The closet locks so he can’t just drag everything out and make mayhem. It’s been studied that children do better and are less overwhelmed when they do not have too many stimulating factors around them when they play. So we are implementing toy rotation. Also, the walls are not too busy. 

I picked up a few baskets at the Dollar Tree for his wooden train and blocks. I still need to find some clear contact paper to make the window so you cannot see into it (the parking lot is RIGHT there and my toddler doesn’t always keep his clothes on).

In the other corner of his room I will be installing these wire baskets on the wall along with a few small wall lamps. Then a few oversized throw pillows and his reading corner will be complete (I love how many books he was giving for Christmas. Thank you to family for understanding the power of reading).

The last thing I did was unpackaged all his gifts (make them play ready) and wrap them (STAR WARS wrapping paper found at the Dollar Tree!) 

If you have any creative Play Room ideas, I’d love to heat them! I’ll be sure to update with pictures of the reading corner once it is complete.

Happy Holidays! 

Update:

Today (December 23rd) I finally put the finishing touches on Little Man’s Playroom. His reading corner is set up. 

thThese baskets are from At Home. They are perfect for his board books. Instead of throw pillows I used some of his character pillow cases over new pillows. I put a spot light on the wall for better lighting at night. 

The window treatment I was looking for was $15 and I wasn’t ready to commit. I ended up getting some contact paper from the Dollar Tree that did the job perfectly. 


I decided the leave the final corner of the room empty for his to play and use his puzzles. 

ey

 

Being a Mom

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I am currently sitting at the computer gagging on some whitening paste that didn’t rinse out of my mouth all the way and worrying about work, bills, and if I am a good enough mom. It’s tough. I’ll be the first to admit, I do not have this parenting thing down. I raise my voice too loud, I let him get away with things he shouldn’t and get upset with him for things I shouldn’t. I work too much. I worry too much. I zone out on my phone when I could be on the floor exploring the world of trains and cars from his perspective. Yet, at the end of the day he just wants to poke my face and snuggle up close. He loves me despite all my short comings and flaws. Why? Cause I’m his mom. He doesn’t need me to impress him or have my life together. He just needs me to sit still long enough to let him hug me and show me some unconditional love.

5 Creative Ways to Use Baby Food with your Toddler

My son eats a lot, but somehow I still have jars of baby food leftover. (we made our own baby food for a while, so that might have something to do with it) Now that he is eating table food, he turns his nose up at spooning mush from a jar into his mouth (I don’t blame him). The question is, what to do with all that leftover baby food?!?!

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  • Use reusable squeeze pouches. Instead of spending money on those fruit and veggie squeeze pouches that are so popular today, buy a set of reusable ones and fill with apple sauce and leftover baby food.
  • Use the apple sauce jars in recipes instead of oil. Makes cakes extra moist.
  • Use the fruit jars as “jelly” for toast.
  • Mix a jar of squash or mix veggies into some elbow pasta to make Mac & “Cheese”
  • Donate to a local Woman’s Shelter or Home.

Do you have any creative ways that you use leftover jars of Baby Food with your Toddler?

Best and Worst Places to Shop for WIC

If you’re a new mom, you have enough challenges as it is. Now you are walking through the grocery store, sore with leaky breasts, searching frantically for the approved items on your WIC check. With the folder in one hand and trying to sooth your screaming baby with the other, you accidentally pick up the wrong size bread. After an exhausting 30 min of shopping and 15 min of waiting in line to pay, a cashier with a scowl on their face tells you this is not an approved size bread and calls for a CSM. You want to crawl in a hole and die as the impatient man behind you sighs and your baby starts screaming again… sound familiar? I’ve been there, more than once. (we won’t talk about the 2 times I forgot my wallet with a cart full of groceries and a screaming child). My goal today is to help you avoid making the same mistakes I made and to have a peaceful shopping experience.

WIC

Stores I have not shopped at with WIC: Kroger, Aldi, Albertsons (if you have any tips for these stores I gladly welcome them)

Store: Wal-mart

Rating: 1- The lines are usually very long (screaming baby). The cashiers (in my experience) are not knowledgeable in the WIC Program, they almost always have to call a CSM over to approve the transaction (and with all those tired people behind you in line, this always feels awkward to me).

Store: Shaw’s

Rating: 3- Their system is set up to recognize WIC items and only scan approved products. Unfortunately some times it is not up to date and needs an override.

Store: Hannaford

Rating: 5! I love shopping here for WIC. They have awesome carts, (perk for my energetic 1 yr old) the staff is very friendly and helpful, their price tags have WIC printed on them if it is an approved item.  (saves the guessing)

Here is a few snapshots of my last grocery WIC trip to Hannaford.

On the price tags there is a “WIC” symbol if the product is a WIC approved item. This helps with guess work. Cereal is especially hard to me to figure out, this makes it so much easier.

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Here we are in the canned veggies, fruit, and bean section. See that little WIC symbol?20150711_091510 20150711_092105

Again in the cheeses…

The only sections I did not see this symbol was breads (ugh careful to only get the 1lb bags) and eggs. (it may vary by store).

Here is Little Man enjoying the Race Car cart.

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I hope this helps you as a parent to shop easier and stress free with WIC.

Let me know of any tips and tricks you have for shopping and don’t forget to check out my Post

“5 Things you Didn’t Know About EBT (SNAP) “

Pirate Birthday Party

Our son turned 1 this week, so we threw a Cook Out to Celebrate!!!

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His nursery and Baby Shower were Pirate themed, so we followed suit.

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He LOVES VocabuLARRY from Baby First TV.

My MIL was able to snag him one for a review. He was SO EXCITED!!!

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My SIL made his cake. It came out soooo good. How cute is this!!

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She even made him his own Smash Cupcake!

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Everyone had such a good time. We couldn’t have asked for better weather.

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For the Kids we has a few kiddie pools set up. Instead of pre-packaged Goodie Bags we set up a Fun Table where the kids could decorate their own bag and grab toys to use throughout the day.

Mini Beach Balls, Squirt Guns, Pirate Mustaches, Crazy Straws, Cake Bibs (disposable bibs), Bubbles, and Sun Block.

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Simple was best for his First Birthday. It was an enjoyable day for everyone (me included).

🙂

Book Review- The Bump Pregnancy Planner

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This cute, gender neutral binder is the perfect size for a pregnancy planner. It has everything you need to organize the next 9 months of your life. No more worrying about pregnancy brain or stressing over what you need to know, this book is all-in-one. From what you need to know about prenatal tests, to dates for doctor visits, to what your baby’s growth should look like. They have it covered. The front has a spot for your latest sonogram photo and throughout the planner there are places to glue pregnancy bump pictures of your journey. Each trimester there is a “stash in here” envelope for doctor notes, photos, important records, etc. There is ever a spot for writing notes to your baby. Journal about how you told family and friends to what your fears and excitements are. There is even a spot for questions to ask your doctor at the next visit. If it is your first pregnancy and/or you love being super organized, this is the planner for you! Any thing and everything you could think of, they thought of it for you.

More Info

Author Bio

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20150417_201248Although we may not be having any more children anytime soon, a lot of my friends are still popping them out 😉 I wish I had the Planner when I was pregnant with Little Man. It would make an amazing gift for any mom to be.

**I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my review**

Reusable Food Pouch Review

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Have you seen those cute food pouches that are so popular? Have you seen the recalls and dangers of ones in the stores? Now companies are now making reusable ones that make it easy for you to give your kids fruits and veggies fresh from the blender. A few years ago I saw the ones where you had to buy a special machine to squeeze the food into the pouch (no thank you), then someone realized that making resealable pouches was way easier. I love using reusable food pouches with my 9 month old. He can feed himself and there is minimal mess. It is also convenient for travel. We still receive baby food from WIC. I just pop a jar into the pouch and dinner is served! Easy.

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These were all received for review purpose and have been reviewed for those companies and purposes already. Today I want to compare and contrast the difference in the different brands to help you choose which one is best for you and to let you know some of my favorite features. All of these pouches are BPA Free and food safe. They are also dishwasher and freezer safe as well as use only choke resistant caps.

Brand: Tubbki

Features:

  • BPA-FREE Tubbki is BPA-, PVC-, and phthalate-free, making it a safe choice for food storage for your child.
  • SAFE Tubbki is unbreakable and uses an anti-choking cap. This means that our cap is designed according to anti-choking regulation, making it too large to be swallowed.

Perks: Stickers for labeling. Good size.

Rating: 8

My Thoughts: I really liked these ones. They were the first reusable food pouches we tried and we both loved them right off. My 8 month old was feeding himself without a huge mess!! After a few uses, food was getting stuck in the corners and the seal. They are dishwasher safe, so it would not be a big deal if I had a dishwasher to run them through.

You can see my original review here. Or check out my video review.

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Brand: Easy Anywhere

Features: Freezer Safe, BPA Free, Dishwasher safe.

Perks: Has an ounces marker so you can see how much is in the pouch. Has a place on the pouch to write contents. Fills from the top, so no chance of accidental popping and spilling.

Rating: 5

My Thoughts: While it has a few cool features, I do not like the side spout. It is not very easy to eat from. Also the packaging looks like something that holds soap not food.

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Brand: Natures Little Squeeze

Features: BPA Free, Dishwasher and freezer safe.

Perks: Hour glass shape. Spot on pouch to write owner’s name.

Rating: 9.9

My Thoughts: The shape it PERFECT! Great for any age kid to grab and eat. I like the spout on the top. I wish the bottom opening was a tiny bit bigger. The material it is made from rinses much easier. The color and design is cute.

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Brand: Basic Best

Features: BPA Free, Dishwasher and freezer safe.

Perks: Larger bottom/fill opening. Larger pouch. Place on pouch to write date and contents.

Rating: 9.5

My Thoughts: I love the larger opening at the bottom. It makes it much easier to fill and to rinse. This one is the quickest to clean. The brown is pretty ugly though.

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Brand: Little Squeeze Me

Features: BPA Free. Dishwasher and freezer safe.

Perks: Shows ounces. Place to write contents on pouch. Fills from top, no accidental pops and spills.

Rating: 4

My Thoughts: The fill opening is very small. I do not like the side spout. It seems smaller and to hold less than most of the reusable food pouches. The color is cute,

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So there are my thoughts, honest and unbiased. Hopefully this will help you find out which brands works best for your family.

I cannot wait until summer! (They’re freezer safe…fruit slushies to bring to the beach!)