Sunday, 26 February 2012

Travelling with Tots- activities:


We are heading on a holiday soon, and again need ideas to entertain my Little Man (LM) on aeroplane, bus, restaurants, trains, airports…
So I have been putting my thinking cap on and here are some of the things we have successfully used previously and some new suggestions we plan to try:
  • Book and toy Combo:
    • As I mentioned in my recent Week1 Pinterest Challenge my LM loves all things to do with the Sea- fish (Nemo, sweet lips, swordfish), penguins, hammerhead sharks, octopuses, jelly fish, crabs, etc
Week 1 Pinterest Challenge Snow Globe Aquarium

Also this trip is slightly sea themed as we plan to visit a cool aquarium and marine park.
    • So we recently purchased a little penguin Dada and baba from Schleich (a brand which we adore!!)
Emperor penguin with chick
    • And while on our date on Saturday, me and my hubby passed a new charity shop, and got a great Penguin book
100 Facts on Penguins
100 Facts about Penguins
    • So we will be combining the two into a lovely gift for LM to appear at a potential disaster an opportune moment.
  • Activity Books:
    • Mr Men counting- I picked this up a while ago and it has been in my goodie box (anytime I see a good deal on books/ games/ toys, I buy them and pop them into the goodie box for future use) and looks like a good activity book. LM is counting everything these days, so i think he will enjoy it.
  • Lacing Game: as detailed in earlier post

  • Puppets:
    • We got a load of tiny finger puppets from Ikea at various times, and always good for telling stories.
    • Ikea Puppets

  • Figurines:
    • We had a treasure hunt last Sunday and the “treasure” this time was a little boy, we called him Ben. Through the treasure hunt we developed a story around Ben. I also picked Ben, and his mum and dad up in sales, all €2.50, and they are goodie box occupies. So we thought we might bring his mum and dad with us and they could be waiting in the apartment.
  • I-Spy Book: inspired by Pinterest Pin
    • I took some photos of a mixture of LM’s toys and am planning on making a cute little I-Spy book. Still in process of doing this, post shortly.

  • CD Case game: I have yet to do this, but am planning on it- great idea!!
Pinned Image
  • Etch a Sketch- we bought this for €3.99 before our last trip to France and it was a success, and has been used a good bit since. Good for drawing games- Mama or Dada draw picture and LM guesses what it is. Or opposite, LM draws and we guess.
    • Product Details           
  • Card Games: We got 2 sets of cards- wild animals and vehicles. Both are things LM loves. They are €1.50 each and great images. So you can play traditional games of snap or memory or go fish. Or make up your own games, like make the sound of the animal or vehicle that comes up, or name the animal’s baby, lots of scope.
  • Colouring: Bring a small selection of crayons (twistables would be great as no mess, no breaks) and a homemade notebook/ colouring book. I made a colouring book with images found on the net, all the cartoon type people LM knows from films/ books/ toys at the moment. Print, and bind/ staple.
  • Water Painting: found this great set- a reusable no mess paint set. The one we got was “Cars” themed, it’s great, you have a little pen that you fill up with water and use this as a marked/ paint brush. When rubbed over special paper it reveals the coloured image.
  • Books (again): some of his favourites, not too many obviously, limited case room, we decided on the following:
    • Katie and the Sunflowers (a recent birthday gift for Dada from LM)
Katie and the Sunflowers
Katie and the Sunflowers

    • The whale and the Snail (sea theme)
    • Disney book- heavy but a requirement for sleep!
    • And new Apple Tree Farm Collection
I purchased a brilliant collection recently which had been put aside for this trip. Can’t wait to read it with LM, he has 2 of these books already, and about a year ago I picked up a set of figurines that we now call Poppy, Sam, Mama (Mrs. Boot) and Dada (Tom- he is really the farm hand, no dada on scene but for LM he is also called Dada- his assumption) and Dog (rusty).
What ideas have you used to entertain your Little Ones while travelling???

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Pinterest Week 2 Challenge: Scribble Pictures

 Last week I set myself a challenge:
"So the Challenge: To pick out one of the hundreds of pins relating to kids crafts/ activities on Pinterest and do this with my LM. One a week. "
Well this is our 2nd go...
Scribble Pictures

I found a lovely pin on pinterest,
scribbles framed by shape
and thought this would be a great use of the Little Man’s (LM) scribbles to make new art pieces, and a nice craft. I have a big pile of paper full of LM’s scribbles, put together on a recent tidy. And I was wondering what I could do with them, couldn’t make myself throw them out, and couldn’t think how to store them.
You will need:
  • White card
  • Coloured card
  • Cheap Ikea plastic kids frames
NYTTJA Frame IKEA Front protection in durable plastic; makes the frame safer to use.

  • Good few pages of kids scribble drawings
  • Scissors- kids one too!
  • Glue
  • Kids books- to get images from
How we did it:
  • Cut (LM has recently gotten very good using his little scissors) and tear some of the colourful scribble pages- lots of fun, develop fine motor skills and a good noise from tearing.

  • We then made them into a big pile and got out a fresh piece of card.

    • And glued (using the little rhyme “dot dot just a spot” or “dot dot not a lot”) all the small bits of paper into a nice collage. LM enjoyed it.

    • I then picked out some nice (and would look good in silhouette) images from two of his favourite books- The Jungle Book and By My Side Little Panda.
    By My Side,Little Panda
    By My Side Little Panda
    The Jungle Book (Disney the Jungle Book)
    The Jungle Book
    • I didn’t have any proper tracing paper, so I used normal greaseproof paper- works great. I traced the outline of the image using a pencil.
    • Then I turned the traced image over (so pencil side down) and put it onto the back of the scribble collage. And draw over the visible lines with the pencil ensuring the page stays in place (best to tape tracing to back of the collage page using masking/ painters tape).
    • When you then lift up the tracing paper, you will see the outline has transferred onto the page. Simply cut the image out, then turn over to see your scribble silhouette.
    • I then mounted the silhouette on another coloured piece of card and framed in a cheap plastic Ikea kids frame.
    • Jungle Book Scribble Art @
    • The 2nd one we did was a little more complicated as it was a panda and I wanted to show the white bits using scribble paper and the black bits using blue card to match the frame.

    Panda Scribble Art @

    Thursday, 16 February 2012

    Pinterest Weekly Kids Activity/Craft Challenge: Week1

    I LLLLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEE Pinterest, it has been such a source of inspiration while decorating our house. I am not a great DIYer, but that is what is great about Pinterest, there are such a wide range of projects. So loads of simple, but impressive crafts/ house ideas that most people can easily do.

    And more recently I have been using it for ideas for crafts/activities to do with my Little Man (LM). So I am setting myself a challenge, alla the greats before me (YHL, BowerPower, tutusandteaparties, etc).
    So the Challenge: To pick out one of the hundreds of pins relating to kids crafts/ activities on Pinterest and do this with my LM. One a week.

    And hopefully with all this creativity flowing through me, some will rub off on me and I will come up with some more of our own unique Pins.

    Pinterest Challenge Week 1:
    Snow Globe: Aquarium Take
    This is a Christmassy one, but also a winter one, or modified to be a captured fairy/ elf/ aquarium themed one.
    Some pins I loved were:
    snow globes

    DIY Snow globes... this weeks pinterest challenge- check back soon for our attempt!!
    We previously made one of these at Christmas, and LM loved it. Took about an hour, but very enjoyable and entertaining.
    Here is our completed Christmas Snow Globe:
    Christmas Carol Singer Snow Globe:
    So this time, we are going to do an Aquarium Themed one. My LM absolutely loves all things fishy/ aquariums/ Nemo, sea… last library visit we got a load of related books, and he also got some for Christmas presents, and had some before, some mentioned below.

    • Peek Inside the Coral Reef
    • Peek Inside Coral Reef - 9781907786136

    • Where’s the Meercat? book (along lines of Where’s Wally, but Where’s the Meercat)- there’s a Great Barrier Reef page
    Where's the Meerkat?
    Where's the Meerkat?
    Disney Finding Nemo
    Finding Nemo

    The Snail and the Whale
    The Whale and the Snail
    Things you will need:
    • Large glass/plastic jar with lid (I used a Hellmann’s mayonnaise extra large jar for snow globe. A plastic one would be ideal- in that it can be a bit child proof. But we’ll make do and have this as a display item in his room to be looked at with mama and dada only).

    • Small little sea creatures (we got s set in Aldi recently- had to get a 2nd set, as there is no way LM would part with original set). Set includes dolphins, whales, lobster, crabs, shark, sword fish, lobster, coral, walrus and seal. I also found a transparent plastic sheet from the inside of a soap dispenser that had little clown fish and a larger blue fish- so LM love this, as Nemo and his dad were now in our aquarium.

    • Shells/ pebbles and some sand (nice activity to collect these on beach before hand)
    • Super glue and hot glue and hot glue gun.
    • Ribbons/ embroidery thread- to represent seaweed/ coral- we luckily had a piece of fake coral in our sea creature set- so we used this.
    • Semi flexible wire (I’m using jeweller wire)- to stick little sea creatures to, so they appear to be floating
    • Glitter- blue/ green
    • some blue crepe paper- we juststuck this on to the back of the jar (the alreadysticky section, due to not being able to remove stickiness!)
    • Baby oil- for snow globe I used 3 350ml btls and had a small bit left over (at Christmas had only needed 2 as statue was large and took up a lot of room).
    How to:
    1. Glue sea creatures (underwater swimming ones) to wire, cut each to various lengths, so sea creatures are swimming at different levels.
    2. Using super glue stick some shells, pebbles and ribbons to the inside of the top of the jar itself. Could maybe do this before hand, so little helper doesn’t get too bored!
    3. Ask LM to paint the outside of the lid blue, allow to dry (could be doing this while you do 2). We used blue and green acrylic paint.
    4. Using hot glue and gun (so get LM to watch this bit, and advice) stick on shells, pebbles, the crab and coral to base of the jar. This is difficult as has to be done in base of jar (oh why couldn’t the plastic sea creatures just float instead of sinking, make my job easier!). So I put the hot glue on the coral, shells and quickly dropped them in use kitchen thong to stand up/ put in correct place. Leave aside to dry.
    5. Using hot glue stick on wire (with sea creatures attached) onto the inside of the lid. Leave aside to dry.
    6. When glue is dry (leave for 5 mins to be safe- snack break). Now comes the fun bit for the helpers. Add in the glitter- lots of fun sprinkling it in. Can get messy, so best to put down newspaper under work area.
    7. Squeeze in the 3 btls of baby oil to the jar- great fun as the oil gurgles as it is is added.
    8. Pop in the seal and lobster so they are just floating around when shaken, and then sink to the bottom.
    9. Run a good bit of hot around the inside of the lid and quickly put lid on jar. Then run a bit of super glue around the outside of the lid. This did not work for me first time, the oil was leaking out, needed to detach and re-attached and ensure jar lid was catching the tread of the jar top.
    10. On top of the lid, stick a large rock and the walrus sitting on top.
    11. I also had fun trying to remove the label stickiness from the outside of the jar, but to no avail, I tried scrubbing, soap and water, oil, but nothing worked. I see WD40 attached, but at that stage I had moved on, and just stuck some thin blue paper on back, added nice colour to aquarium.
    Some Images of the finished Product:
    Aquarium Snow Globe:

    Aquarium Snow Globe:

    Aquarium Snow Globe:

    Tuesday, 14 February 2012

    Connecting with your Babas:

    I found this link on Pinterest (thanks @Lindsey Bresee for pinning!) and the timing is perfect, so thank you very much Alissa  at for the great inspiration.
    Pinned Image
    It is all about showing your children how much you care about them and enjoy spending time with them- really reconnecting with them.

    As I mentioned in my previous post, Little Man is moving away from breastfeeding. Yesterday was the first time, in the evening after a long day at crèche, that before bed, when offered a feed, he said “I don’t want any”. Oh my heart strings! This is crazy for him, he was never one of those babies or toddlers who cut down to one or two feeds a day, oh no, my little man would often feed all day if you let him. And when he got mobile and a bit busy during the day, he feed slightly less during the day, but feed all night.
    There were many tough nights, I probably should have wanted to stop feeding him, for my sanity, but I just loved the bond feeding offered. All could be falling down around us, chaos, stress, maybe tears, but then when LM would latch on and we’d look into each others eyes, all would be right in the world. I’d stroke his face, and sometimes he’d stroke mine, or my hair, nice and gently. And we would instantly reconnect, and the Oxytocin (the love hormone) would flow. I would feel myself melt, calming down, as would LM.
    And as this amazing reconnecting/ bonding activity may be slipping away from us, as babywearing did before (see Baby Wearing Post), I am very conscious of needing to keep up that connection and touch with LM in other ways.
    So this post from Alissa  at was very timely indeed and has given me lots to think about. We already do practice a lot of them, some not so often as we should.

    Some of my favourites (my comments in green) (there are so many to choose from (100!) and such good ideas, so have a look) that we don’t do or need to remember to do more of!
    Tell to your child:
    • If I could pick any 2 year old in the whole wide world, I’d pick you. Ahhh!!
    Tell them:
    • A story about how their grandparents met. Want to do this one, will be nice. I have told LM a story about his Granny falling from a horse, and he loves recapping it.
    • That when you’re holding hands and you give three squeezes, it’s a secret code that means, “I love you”.  This is so cute, will definitely do this, so we can have a special quite “I love you” moment when out and about.
    • To get enough sleep. Stop staying up late, Remember your little man does not sleep consistently, so stop living a lie!!
    • Dancing in the kitchen. We already do this and love it- see Alternative Music Therapy post
    • A book of silly poems. Or read some Roald Dahl- good for funny unusual words.
    • A book and then act it out. (Like “I’m going on a Bear Hunt”) We previously did a great bear hunt around the house; need to do some more of this type of play.
    • For that question that indicates your child really needs your input.
    • One second longer than you think you have patience for.
    • For the feelings behind your child’s words. All very Important and easy to forget to do!

    • Your child how to do something instead of banning them from it. Too easy to just say NO, need to try this a lot more.
    • Affection to your spouse. I really hope my LM grows up knowing that his mama and dada loved each other very much and that he can see this. Something that always stuck with me from a not great move “In the Nick of Time” with Johnny Depp (yum) was a sad scene where a child sees two people kissing passionately and comments. And it comes out some way or another (was years ago that I saw it) that she didn’t remember ever seeing her mum and dad kissing like that (the Mum had passed away). I thought this was so sad and poignant.
    • That taking care of yourself is important. Cleaning teeth, face, washing hands, showers/ baths, cleaning hands before and after eating.
    • That you are the right parent for your child.
    • That you are enough. True True, but easily to forget/ doubt on a bad day.
    Some of my suggestions:
    • Tell them about your wedding song.
    I sang “Happy Together” to my bump all through my pregnancy, and we sing it as a lullaby to LM to calm him, or get him to sleep. He has known all the words off by heart since he was about 26 months, through osmosis. So he now sings it to us.
    Recently he asked was he at our wedding, and we said no, he asked where he was, and we told him he was waiting up in the sky until it was time to come into my belly.
    So now he gets us to dance together and sing “Happy Together” and he waits up in the “sky”. Then near the end he runs over arms open for a huge hug and joins in our dance. It is so cute, amazing how their little minds work.
    • Ask them what they dreamt about, and tell them your dreams.
    • Visit an art gallery with them and discuss the paintings and ask them what they think is happening, what they see. Funny book about an art gallery visit: Anthony Brown “The Shape Game”.
    The Shape Game
    The Shape Game
    • Show them how to give butterfly kisses- put your eyelashes up to their cheek and flutter them, and Eskimo kisses- rub noises with each other.
    • Snuggle Huggle Bell- set the oven timer and when the bell goes off hug!
    • Cloud watch- Lie on the ground (on a nice spring summer day) and stare up at the sky (obviously in the opposite direction to the sun!) and say what you see in the clouds. A great book for this is Eric Carle “Little Cloud”
    Little Cloud
    Eic Carle Little Cloud
    • Create a special handshake, for just your family.
    • Give you baba a foot massage.
    • Ask them what they want to be when they grow up- and act it out.

    What do you do to reconnect with your little ones?

    Thursday, 9 February 2012

    Utility/ Laundry Room Clean Up- Getting Started

    As mentioned in SAHM (stay at home mum) post, I am nesting. In the Utility Room (a bit strange maybe).

    We are getting our 2nd freezer on Thursday. So I have gotten the re-org/ cleaning underway.

    The utility room has been a dumping ground for last few wintry months. You know those things that should have been put in garage/ outside, well it is just too cold for that, so last stop and dumping ground is Utility Room.

    So I have had a few ideas- sketches with messy ideas and messy notes. I find sketching and making lists helps me get my ideas out and honed.
    Wall 1 Plan

    Wall 2 Plan

    Wall 3 Plan

    Wall 4 Plan
    And have gotten lots of inspiration from the usual suspects- IKEA, YHL, Houzz and Pinterest.
    YHL Laundry Room

    So one thing we did was put up these industrial type hangers (IKEA) last summer. Brilliant for deck chair, clothes house when not in use, sun hat (oh I hope this summer is yummy and warm, I’m cold today!).

    Wall 1 is my first to tackle. Broken down to tasks:

    • Using wall paper paste, paste up a number of art prints. (recently I ripped apart a 2011 Art book and will paste up images)
    • Remove the coat hanger- up from previous owners, boring brown with gold hooks. So paint vibrant colour- thinking vibrant pink, or turquoise. Remove hooks and use something else as a hanger- thinking dinosaurs are cool.
    • hooks
    §  Light switch: clean and glue on a car to use to turn on switch, or cover with map/ art work, ideas are endless. Ala:
    light switch plate
    Light Switch

    §  Ideally I would like to paint the kitchen door- we’ll see if we get around to that.
    So lets see what we get done this week…

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