35+ Indoor activities to do with your toddler

Lately I feel like pulling out my hair just about everyday because I am out of ideas for indoor activities to do with my toddler. I’m not just talking about “Here, watch another Daniel Tiger episode” type of activity. We do far too much of that! I need ideas to keep her engaged and learning while being inside. It’s too chilly to depend on our standbys of the water table and swimming pool. Unfortunately I am just not very creative or motivated in coming up with my own ideas. So I thought I would put together a post of all the ideas I have found. Pinterest is amazing for this and I am wowed by the creativity of these moms out there pinning their ideas! I bow down to them. I want this to be a resource for me obviously, but for anyone else that needs ideas for activities to do with your toddler. So take a look and click through some of these links to find some fun, indoor activities! Some are more involved than others, it just depends on how desperate you are. There are 35 of them so you shouldn’t have any problems finding one that your toddler will love.

indoor activities

1. Bring outdoor toys inside

2. Crayons + Cardboard box= fun

3. Have fun with egg carton crafts

4.Mess Free finger painting

5. Do a color hunt! Love this one!

6.Make a heart shape bird feeder

7.Go fishing in your own bathtub

8.Have a drive in movie night (or day)

9.Busy Bags!

10. There are a lot of good ones here like paint with pudding, glue-stick puppets and  DIY placemats!

11.Pom pom drop

12.Indoor bubbles

13.Box fishing and Pipe cleaner spaghetti

14.Obstacle course (for crawlers too)

15.Balloon Hockey

16.Paper web made of streamers to climb through

17.Stuffed Animal run

18.Indoor bird watching

19.Build an indoor city

20.Bathtub + shaving cream bathtub paint!

21. Make pasta Jewelry

22.Paint with marshmallows and then eat your creations!

23.Make a masking tape racetrack

24.Dot to dot drawing with markers

25.Make marshmallow animals

26. Play shape hopscotch

27.Turn a laundry basket into a boat!

28.Make your own drums (bring earplugs)

29.Have fun with Googly eyes

30. Toddler car wash and Car color matching

31. Family Bowling (not what you think)

32. Balloon tennis with paper plate paddles

33. Use tongs to pick up blocks 

34.Let them wash their toys

35.Match tupper ware lids and containers

Favorite Kids Books

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When it comes to kids and books…at least my kids, I have found that there are stages. These are the ones we’ve been though so far.

First there’s the newborn stage where they lay quietly on the boppy pillow cooing at you softly while you read aloud and turn the crisp pages of your beloved collection of children’s books. Next comes the drooly, grabby stage. Where you still can read aloud to them but you must keep the book out their reach and away from their teething gums, its like a game. Once they’re mobile you either hide the books or only leave out the ones in which you don’t mind the pages being bent and  ripped . Any attempts to read a book to them will be met with the book being promptly taken from you and either eaten or thrown. There may come a stage after that where they are obsessed with a particular book and demand you read it over and over, often turning the pages before you can finish said page, then demanding that you read the whole thing over again.It’s a fun cycle.

For a small time books were forgotten due the influx of new toys and an exciting new baby sister. Finally…finally  we are at a stage where I can read a book out loud and she actually sits, listens and enjoys it! Of course at the same time I am playing keep away with my youngest. It definitely makes for an interesting story time.

Here are some books that Emma is loving right now, I can’t speak for Alina. I know she loves to eat them, but read …not so much. Click on the links below to see where they can be purchased.

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1. Emeraldalicious//2. The New Baby//3.The Going to Bed Book

4. Moo Baa LaLaLa//5. Opposites //6. Blue Hat, Green Hat

7. I’m a Big Sister//8.Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?

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What are some of your kid’s favorites?

It’s the little things – Sisters

I always thought I would be a boy mom. I had my future all planned out by the age of 19 and I saw only boy babies. I imagined 3 or 4 miniature versions of my husband running around shirtless, toy trucks in hand with dirt smudged on their cheeks. I don’t know why I thought it would be this way but I did.

However, almost the moment I found out I was expecting …both times. I knew they were girls. My dreams of having a brood of boys were quickly replaced with visions of hairbows, pigtails, baby dolls and everything soft and sweet. My girls. Sisters. I feel like I have been given the sweetest treasure of all.

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I’m not exaggerating when I say that they are the best of friends. As much as any little person can be. They both light up when the other one comes into view. They look at each other and giggle all the time. They roll around in the floor squealing on a daily basis.

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Emma is always saying “she’s so cute mama” or “sister is so sweet mama”. She won’t let me put Alina down for a nap until she gives her a hug AND a kiss. Must not forget one. If she hears her waking up from a nap she jumps up and says “let’s go get sister mama”. She makes sure Alina has a toy or her paci if she hears her getting fussy. She’s my protective one.

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Alina is the little clown. She’s always trying to get Emma’s attention and then when she has it she runs with it. She loves to constantly grab Emma’s clothes or talk jibberish to her. I can see her being the brave one. It’s magical.

Of course, not everyday is like this. Having a sister close in age myself I know that fights and arguments happen. But I also know that I have a friend for life, a confidant..forever. I am grateful that I was given these two sisters first, even if our future does hold a shirtless boy with dirt smudged cheeks. I am soaking in their gentle natures and their quickly growing friendship.

::Linking up today with Ashley and Jess::

 

Easy Smoothie Recipe for kids

I have a super easy smoothie recipe for kids to share with you today! Most mornings I make a big smoothie to share with my 2 year old since she’s not a big veggie eater despite my efforts in that area. She has no idea that I stuff it full of green leaves and random veggies. Mwaahahaha.

The great things about smoothies is that you really don’t have to follow a certain recipe. Don’t have apples? Substitute pears or oranges… just use whatever you have in your fridge. As long as you have some green leafys, some fruit , maybe a veggie and then some liquid (water or milk) you are good to go.

Here is the general recipe that I follow most mornings because I have found this is the flavor that Emma likes best. Also it is worth mentioning that I use a Nutri Bullet. We bought it as a gift to ourselves last Christmas and use it for everything, even making baby food. But you certainly don’t have to own one to make smoothies. Any old blender will work.

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Recipe:

2 handfuls of baby spinach 

2 frozen banana halves

3 frozen apple slices

2 Frozen Carrot cubes 

2 handfuls of frozen blueberries

Water 

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Fill the blender with all the ingredients, then fill with enough water. I usually fill mine to just below the MAX line on my Nutri Bullet.

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Blend Away for a about a minute.

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Pour + Enjoy watching your toddler drink their fruits and veggies. Cup for toddlers found here

A few tips worth mentioning if you want to make smoothies regularly.

-Freeze all of the fruit that you use normally in your smoothies.

– Buy discounted bananas at your grocery store that are browning and then, peel, break in halves and freeze in gallon sized bags.

– Slice and peel apples and freeze in gallon bags.

-Wash and trim strawberries and freeze.

– For veggies that are harder to blend like carrots, I blend them before hand and freeze them in ice cube trays so they are easier to blend with your smoothie. Then I store the cubes like I would baby food.

– You could even do the same as above with Spinach or Kale

-Our favorite smoothie cups for toddlers. No spill and easy to clean. Here 

-Interested in trying the Nutri- Bullet? Go here.

What are your go to recipes for smoothies?

Gift Ideas for a 2 year old Girl

With only 8 weeks until Christmas I have found myself brainstorming for ideas for gifts ideas for the girls. It’s not that I am in a hurry for it to be here, no, I like to actually enjoy Thanksgiving and all the days until then. I just know that with 2 girls to buy gifts for this year I need to shop in advance so as to not spend so much at one time.

2 year olds are so fun to buy gifts for, especially Emma. She loves pretty much anything and gets so excited when she sees something that she likes.So I have thought of a few things I think she may like and wanted to list them here in case it gives anyone else in the same boat a few ideas. I will do a separate post for gift ideas for a 9 months old.

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1. Princess Cozy Coupe + Trailer . We actually already have the pink Cozy Coupe but I think the trailer would be so fun! Emma loves to put things in a bucket and carry them around and then unpack them , then re-pack them. She would LOVE a trailer to pull around with her various babies and random rocks inside.

2. These adorable felt finger puppets from this Etsy shop. There are so many sets in her shop, I know I will have trouble picking just one.

3.  This Double sided art easel. One side is chalk and the other side is to color with markers. Emma LOVES to draw and I know she would have hours of fun with this.

4. Frozen. Need I say more?

5. This broom and dustpan set. Emma loves to help mama sweep, but she’s constantly knocking things over with a full-sized broom. She needs something more kid friendly.

6. Trampoline. We decided against a full size trampoline since we don’t want to have to move it next year. But this kids size could still be a lot of fun!

7.  She has recently gotten interested in taking a purse with her when we leave the house. She says “Oh Mama, my purse” and goes and gets this felt bucket that she carries around. So I think a purse like this would be a hit.

I doubt we will get her all of these things but these are just some ideas I am tossing around.  I’m sure I’ll think of more.

What are you getting your little ones?

Mommy Meme Monday

Time for another Mommy Meme Monday, because it’s Monday and we could all use a laugh. Click on the image to see source.

Enjoy!

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A Day in the Life

8:30am

 I stir to the sound of a little voice and the jingle jingle jingle of a stuffed elephant being played with coming through the monitor on my nightstand. I roll out of bed, stop to brush my teeth and head to the laundry room to start a load of clothes. I then quickly dress myself before I start to get the girls up.

9:00am

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Breakfast time, where Emma usually requests a banana or pancakes which most days are the frozen kind.  A toy or stuffed animal from the crib  is always present at the table. And milk, always almond milk, because it’s her favorite.  Alina sits in her highchair playing with toys or attempting to get a few banana pieces in her mouth.  I fix a bottle and feed Alina while Em finishes her breakfast.

9:30am

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I wipe them down and situate them in the living room with toys to play. I finish cleaning up breakfast, move the clothes to the dryer and sit down to pump. My pumping station is set up where I can see them playing. Emma usually rides up on her car and wants me to push her backwards with my feet. I always do. I talk to Alina and watch her play with whatever she can get her hands on. Today she’s in the exersaucer. She’s not crawling yet so sometimes I just sit her on the floor with a basket of toys.

10:30am

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Time for Lina’s first nap. After laying her down I get Emma ready for the day. She doesn’t care to pick out her own clothes yet. I spray her hair with water and put it in pigtails. I love the little ringlets. Next, we get the clothes from the dryer to fold. She loves to help me fold clothes. This usually consists of her taking each article of clothing out of the basket a few pieces at a time until the basket is empty, then she climbs in the basket and sits. After folding clothes I fix her a snack, usually a bowl of grapes. I let her choose a show to watch. She picks Curious George. Some days it’s Daniel Tiger or Strawberry Shortcake. But usually George.

11:00am

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I sit down to check my emails and various social media while Emma watches her show. Today I get in about 15 minutes in before I hear little sister stirring awake. This was a short nap for her, I know she’ll be sleepy again soon. I watch her on the monitor quietly playing with her stuffed animals and know that she’ll be okay for a few minutes while I finish up. She always rolls her way to the end where her animals are and plays. Her favorite is the elephant that jingles.

11:15 am

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Emma and I go get sister up from nap, which always excites Emma because it gives her a chance to climb on the guest bed and jump. It’s a battle I don’t fight. She loves it. Alina greets me with a grin and a happy exhale. I unzip her from her zippy and we climb on the guest bed with Emma. Lots of bouncing and rolling on each other ensues.

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We head back into the living room to play some more. Some days we use this time to run errands or go outside. Today we just dump the toys on the floor and go for it. They love it when I sit down there with them. They usually both end up in my lap.  Building blocks is a favorite too. I get up after awhile to fix Alina a bottle since she’s getting fussy. I feed her and know that she’s ready for another nap.

12:15pm

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Alina usually joins us for lunch but today she is extra tired from the short nap. Emma and I sit down to lunch. She’s having cheese shapes, cuties, raisin toast and olives. She’s not a big lunch eater. I eat then quickly pump again while she finishes up. We head outside to take the trash out and get some fresh air. I take the monitor in case we stay awhile.  Emma always wants to see the neighbors dogs who bark incessantly at us, but she doesn’t seem to mind. She’s thrilled all the same.  We go and get the mail, stopping to pick up a few rocks.

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We go back inside to pick up toys and fold another load of laundry. Emma is pretty good about picking up toys and putting them back in the basket. She gets distracted by a toy she finds eventually. Today the rug needs vacuuming, so she climbs on the couch and watches while I vacuum.

1:15pm

Dad’s awake! Jonathan works night shift but today is one of his days off so he’s up early. On a work day he would sleep until about 3/3:30pm.  Emma is so happy to see daddy and they go off to the kitchen for their coffee routine where she helps him make coffee. She knows exactly how many cups of water and how many scoops he likes. After this they snuggle in his chair for a bit and get the blocks out again that we just picked up.

2:00pm

Nap for Emma is always at 2pm. Today she chooses a tennis ball and a little people toy to take with her. She always picks a ball but the other toy can vary. I sit down to finish up a blog post and return a few emails as well as chat with my hubby while he drinks his coffee and eats his breakfast.

2:20pm

I Hear Alina stirring on the monitor and feel relieved that she had a good long nap. Daddy goes and gets her and I can hear his singsong voice talking to her and her happily exhaling through the monitor. Some days If I need a break I can get their naps to coincide some but other days it doesn’t happen and I’m okay with that because it gives me one on one time with each of them. Daddy brings Alina to the living room where I have her bottle ready. I feed her then she plays awhile on the floor. Later she wants me to hold her again. So she sits with me while Jon and I talk. She likes to chew on my phone and I usually let her. I take her to the kitchen where I fix her some solids. She loves apples and sweet potatoes mixed together.

3:45pm

Time for Alina’s 3rd nap which is usually a short one. I sit down to pump again after putting her down.

4:00pm

We hear Emma stirring on the monitor. Some days she wakes up grumpy or weepy but today she is in a good mood. Especially when we tell her we are going to the park as soon as sister wakes up. I start gathering things I know we will need for the park. Extra snacks, drinks, a bottle and light jackets.  Alina wakes up soon and they play a bit before we load up in the car.

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5:00pm

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We go to our favorite park where Emma immediately heads for the swings. Her favorite is the swing meant for smaller children. For whatever reason that’s the one she likes. Today we talk her into letting Alina swing in that one.  She tries the other swings but then decides she would rather slide. Emma was too busy playing for pictures today.

6:00pm

Tonight we have to stop and get groceries on the way home. I am so glad that Jonathan is able to come with us. I wear Alina in the Ergo while Jon pushes Emma in the big , bulky shopping basket with the race car attached. He never denies her this.

6:45pm

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The girls play a bit outside with daddy while I cook a quick dinner. The days are getting shorter so it’s almost too dark outside.

7:20pm

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Dinner is messy and loud but everyone is hungry from playing at the park. Tonight it’s hamburger patties, black beans with rice and steamed broccoli. Emma devours the black beans and requests ranch dressing to which we tell her no. Alina eats a little of this and that and mostly just makes a mess on her tray.

8:00pm

Bedtime. Tonight we don’t do baths. Usually every other night. So getting ready for bed is a quick affair. Dad changes Emma and helps her brush her teeth while I change Alina and fix her last bottle. We gather in Emma’s room for bedtime prayer. We always do this when Daddy is home. Kisses and hugs all around while Jon settles into the rocker with Emma and I take Alina to her room for her bottle and snuggles.

8:20pm

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I quietly close the door to Alina’s room just as Jon quietly closes the door to Emma’s room. He stops to give me a hug in the hallway. I sit down to pump one last time for the day. After that I take a shower. While I shower Jon cleans up . Usually the dishes, trash and toys. After showering I stop in the kitchen to fix us a drink or snack. Tonight it’s lemonade for me and sweet tea for him. We both sit down in our chairs and sigh. We pick a movie to watch. Transformers. Some nights we watch our shows and sometimes we just sit in silence while we both work on our respective projects. Blog for me and app work for him.

12 midnight 

I make myself go to bed, even though I  wish could stay up longer and hang out with Jonathan. He will be up until 4am or so. Night shift. It was a good day. I put the monitor on my nightstand and hear the white noise from their rooms coming through. I close my eyes and sleep.

It was a good day.

“The days are long but the years are short”

 

 

 


Meal time favorites

mealtime favorites

Most days I feel like we spend half of our day either in the kitchen or around the table. I’m always fetching snacks and sippy cups, wiping peanut butter from bibs and brushing crumbs from high chairs and booster seats. Toddlers and babies can consume a surprising amount of food and make a not so surprising mess doing it. I’ve comprised a list of my 10 meal time favorite accessories. I’ve tried many different brands and models of things but these are what works for us. If it’s complicated to put together or store I don’t like it. I think the easier to clean the better!

Click on the item names below to see where it can be purchased. Enjoy!

1. Snap Bibs no longer avail.//2. Munchkin Bowls//3.Soft tipped Spoons//4. Training Sippy

5.Straw cups//6.Cups for Smoothies//7.Spill proof cups

8. Target Dollar spot Plates //9. Booster Seat

10. Highchair (Similar)

How we got rid of the pacifier for our toddler

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I feel funny blogging about things like this as if I have loads of wisdom to share with other parents. I don’t, in case you were wondering. I just know that whenever I am trying to make a decision on how to go about doing something that involves my babies, I find reading others experiences so helpful. So here is our experience in hopes that it will encourage someone.

Emerald took a paci immediately, we’re talking hours after birth. I had a love/hate relationship with the thing until she was able to find and reinsert it in her own mouth in the middle of the night. This happened around 7-8 months. After that I loved it as much as she did. It looked cute and always calmed her down, helped her sleep though the night, helped her sleep in the car…etc. In my head I thought I would take it away around the 1 year mark, well that time came and went. I didn’t feel good about it in my mommy heart and it wasn’t causing any problems so it stayed. As she neared her second birthday I felt like it was time. I let her keep it during the transition of gaining a baby sister and moving to a new house. I wanted her to have that comfort and mostly I just wanted her to keep sleeping like an angel. Which she did.

1 month before she turned 2 years old I decided it was time. Day #1 I got them from her crib in the morning after she woke up and put them away (didn’t throw away yet). Nap time came and she asked for her paci. I told her “No more paci, they’re broken”. I didn’t feel like she would understand much more than that explanation. That first day was rough. She cried her whole nap and couldn’t settle herself. That night she fell asleep without trouble because she was so tired from having not napped. She woke at 11pm crying( which she never does) and we had already decided we would go to her if she cried. Her dad rocked her and put her back in the crib awake. She slept the rest of the night fine.

Day #2 She took about 20 minutes to fall asleep at nap with some minimal crying. Her nap was about 30 minutes shorter than normal as well. That night she had no trouble falling asleep and slept through the night fine.

After that we had 2 days of smooth sailing .She only asked for them occasionally and seemed to understand that they were gone.  I thought to myself ,”that was way too easy”. I was right. For about 4 more days she had rough naps, short naps, temper tantrums, meltdowns and night wakings. It really freaked me out because this is not how my child acts. She is normally very sweet and happy and an excellent and dependable sleeper. I thought I had ruined her good sleep habits.

Week #2. Things settled down, she became more attached to her stuffed animals and no longer cried at naptime or bedtime. She occasionally asked for them and we talked about how they were gone.

Present Day: Emma sleeps just fine if not better without her pacis. She doesn’t ask for them anymore and doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that her little sister has one. The rash is gone from around her mouth that was always there when she used pacis. I get to see her beautiful smile and cute teeth. She even has taken a few car naps.

She has become a little attached to having a ball with her when she sleeps. Yes, a ball…not a doll. She doesn’t play with it, just cuddles it so we’re letting her have them. It’s kind of funny actually. She has a crib full of stuffed animals that she loves and still she chooses a ball to take everywhere.

It’s a personal choice deciding how to go about this transition. Every child is different so what works for one may not work for another. I decided to go about it the way we did based on her personality. I knew cold turkey was the way to go, and also not making a grand affair of it (i.e  the paci fairy, sending them to babies who need them, santa taking them, cutting the tips off..etc)

Overall, I’m glad we did it when we did. I’m happy we didn’t force it sooner.