Think Twice on How Your Phone Usage is Perceived!

Phone Use…How is it Being Interpreted?

Growing up, my dad would sit at the dining room table, reading the paper and having his breakfast, usually a glass of orange juice and peanut butter toast. As I got older, I became more involved. We would talk about some of the stories, I would steal the comic section. I’d peek over his shoulder and read the headlines or sometimes just steal a whole section! It was a typical thing during my childhood, seeing an adult sitting at the table reading a paper. But nobody does it anymore. Now people read the news on their phones. I’ve mentioned before, that we have a no phone rule at the table, so where do you draw the line…no phones at the table period? Try to explain the difference of content to our young child and how videos and Elmo’s alphabet game aren’t allowed but what mommy does is, it feels hypocritical.


To avoid having my phone out at breakfast, I usually try to have a morning coffee and catch up on Social Media and news later in the morning if we’re at home. I might be at the table or I might be on the couch. Either way, if I have my phone or iPad out, my son will compete for my attention. If I’m cleaning up the kitchen, he’s usually happy to play on his own, but not when I’m using technology. This makes me feel guilty about using technology around him, which, at the end of the day, parents need to do.

When we’re searching for preschools, we’re looking online, not reading a dozen pamphlets. Enrolling children in activities is now done online. When we’re shopping, we’re looking at a website, not flyers or catalogues. If our child is sick, we don’t get out our “Dr. Mom Encyclopedia”, we go to medical sites. But how can we differentiate sitting around on our phone, killing time texting and Facebooking over actually doing regular, daily tasks that are now done online. More importantly, how can we demonstrate that to our children???

I think I’m old fashion and when I see someone on a phone or tablet, I automatically think texting or “playing”, errands and must dos and errands don’t usually come to mind, although I use my phone for these things all the time!

A perfect example of this is church. If you attend church, look around your congregation and note how many people follow along with an actual Bible and how many people use a Bible App! The other week I looked around and it actually appeared as though people had tuned the pastor out and were playing on their phones! Of course they weren’t, they were following along, but again, it’s my old school perception of phones.

So what’s the answer??? …I wish I had it! As you know, I try to limit my use of technology around my son as much as I can because I know he picks up on it, but at the end of the day, I have stuff I need to do…for my son…which needs to be done on a computer or tablet and unfortunately, with him napping less and less I’m not able to limit these “technology errands” to nap time.

I try to tell me son what I’m doing…”mommy’s shopping” and he can sit on my lap at the computer and we talk about all the things we see in the pictures…which makes it a very slow process but at least he understands and is involved. I still put him first and if he asks me to play, I tell him what I’m doing and explain I will play when I’m finished (but of course he doesn’t always want to wait!). I don’t do these things while we’re out besides bringing up an online flyer for a price match or something quick. But unfortunately, I don’t know the answer, I don’t know how to set an example for my son to not always have a piece of technology on hand when that is the way of the world. I guess, like everything else, the key is to be mindful and aware of our actions.

Toddler Made Place Settings for Your Thanksgiving Feast

For the last 2 years I’ve done the same thing, a handprint of my son turned into a turkey. It’s cute, it shows the size of his hand at the time, I liked it…and so did the family! However, this year I felt I should mix it up a little or atleast up my game.

great for babies first Thanksgiving!
I definitely wanted something my 2 year old could make because I know for a fact that no one wants a craft my son “made” aka he destroyed his attempt and I sat at his little table and did children’s crafts! So it was important for me to find something that my son can and will actually make!! I also like the idea of incorporating a handprint or footprint so we can look back over the years and see how much he grew each year.

I also think it’s important to include your toddler in holidays and this is a great way to do it. When they look at the table set, they see something they know they made and contributed. Everyone can comment on them and make your child feel proud of their work.

I found quite a few ideas and my son, being the trooper that he can be, helped me make them all! I think this year we will have a different themed place card for each person!
We did a turkey adoring again but this year livened it up with rainbow feathers! turkey with rainbow feathers

A turkey footprint with actual feathers glued on!turkey with actual feathers glued on

An acorn handprint! place in an acorn or cork to add a personal touch to your Thanksgiving Dinner!

An owl handprint on a branch!
place in an acorn or cork to add a personal touch to your Thanksgiving Dinner!

A corn on the cob footprint!

A fall coloured leaf! (You can do a variety of these in different fall colours) you can do these in any fall colour!

You can use a handprint or a footprint to make a cornucopia…but unless you use stickers for your child to place for food, you’re going to have to attempt some drawing! 

Put the place cards in a pine cone or a cork with a slit in the top and you’ve got a cute and personal touch to your Thanksgiving Dinner!

Lots of Great Ideas to Encourage Fine Motor Skills while learning about Autumn!

Autumn Themed Activities for Toddlers

Last year I was really good at putting out different themed/seasonal activities for my son, but lately I’ve kind of dropped the ball. I decided to step up my game because I know my kiddo loved it before. 

SFall Themed Sensory Tableensory Table

I started with a sensory table with popcorn seeds which he’s had in the past and enjoyed but this time I spiced it up a little. I got the idea to dye the popcorn seeds fall colours off of Pinterest which turned out great! It was so easy, some popcorn seeds in a bag with a drop of hand sanitizer and food colouring! Like my last post of a sensory table, remember to put the seeds in a deep tray or container and an old sheet or shower curtain underneath because these babies can bounce and they’re not fun to clean up. This activity also works great with dyed rice! Put some tractors, toy rakes, farm animals and other fall toys and scoops in and let your child’s imagination run wild!

Talk about farming and harvesting. Practice scooping and pouring with different sized spoons and measuring cups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paint with Corn

I decided to do this activity with my son when I didn’t have any actual corn in the house but he has a toy plastic corn on the cob which we used instead. I felt this was better as corn on the cob is one of my son’s favourite foods and I was worried he might try to eat the paint covered corn. I do plan on trying it though, but I’ll be ready to grab the corn at any sign of salivating!

I put some red and yellow paint in a small container that my son can dip the corn in and I demonstrated how to roll it on he paper. He preferred stamping the corn which still had a cool puppy look.

Paint with Corn...Fall Activities

Pipe Cleaner & Button Tree

Wrap 3 brown pipe cleaners together to make a tree and give your child some large, fall coloured button or beads to put on the tree branches. Talk about the colours, how leaves change colour and fall off for winter, etc. (my son preferred the beads).

Pipe Cleaner Tree...Fine Motor Skills 

Fall Scented Playdough

There are a few recipes on Pinterest that are actually edible but I personally think that is too confusing for a child, one moment having Playdough they can eat and other times not so I personally recommend sticking to homemade, nontoxic Playdough that ain’t allowed near the mouth.

Here’s the Playdough recipe I like to use. Use fall coloured food colouring and scents, my favourites are:

  • brown with cinammon
  • Orange with pumkin pie spice (Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice) or for a gluten free option check out this recipe!
  • Red cranberry…instead of Playdough check out this recipe using cranberry sauce and cornstarch, it’s also gluten free!

Fall Play Dough...Smells like Pumpkin Pie!

Seasonal Bin

Find stuff around your house or head to the Dollar Store! Here’s what we have in our bin!

  • finger puppets
  • Halloween whistles
  • a skeleton
  • a pompom pumpkin
  • red and orange drink lids
  • jack-o-lantern pieces to use in play dough
  • an owl cookie cutter to use in play dough

Season Sensory Bin

A Week of Second Hand Smoke…What We Did to Keep Busy Indoors

I have been trapped inside for nearly a week with my son. Not only has our air been tainted by our southern and western neighbours (by no fault of their own!) to make it unsafe for my son and I to spend any significant amount of time outside, but my son has also been suffering with Roseola, a contagious fever and rash.

So here we are, we can’t go outside because of the smoke and everything indoors out of the house that is fun for my son involves other kids, which would expose them to Roseola, a contagious disease. So here I am, a responsible parent, locking my son and I inside our home, with clean air and not spreading his disease to other innocent children…I’m going stir crazy.

Being Stuck Indoors Due to Forest Fires
We went to superstore yesterday! It was so nice to get out of the house. Don’t get me wrong, I shouldn’t complain, my parents house swapped with us on Wednesday night, they stayed with our kiddo and pooches while we had a night out on the town…dinner and the Lion King, ending it off at their condo so we could sleep in…parents/grandparents of the year!  So technically I can’t complain because I did get an amazing break. But I still go out with my son everyday and we usually spend hours outside so even a break in a week of being trapped in our four walls still makes us both feel a little claustrophobic.

Due to forest fires in the U.S.A.and B.C., we have had no blue sky, no visibility and no quality of air since last weekend. When we go outside, it smells like we’re around a bonfire, only there’s no marshmallows. My poor kiddo doesn’t understand and just wants to play in his sandbox for countless hours.

Days can be long when you can't go out, here are some ideas to help you through them!
So here’s what we’ve been doing to keep busy while we’re trapped indoors (and some other great ideas too!):

  1. Play with Playdough.
  2. Paint.
  3. Build Lego block towers.
  4. Early on in the week, while stress levels are low, bring out some pots and pans and play some music!
  5. Explore new games such as Jenga and building towers or dominoe lines with them and knocking them over.
  6. Have a dance party to Raffi or your child’s favourite music.
  7. Build a Fort out of blankets.
  8. Read Books.
  9. Get some pipecleaners and a milk crate or clothes basket and make a game out of working on your child’s fine motor skills!
  10. Cook.
  11. Have a PhotoShoot and get some fun, recent shots of your kiddos!
  12. Bake.
  13. Get an old Box and make a Box Fort and decorate it.
  14. Make a car track with painter’s tape on your floor.
  15. Make your own Water Table.
  16. Play Dress Up! …old Halloween Costumes, Hats, Scarves, etc.
  17. Put down your To Do List and take advantage of the opportunity to spend quality time with your kiddo(s)!
  18. Do a Puzzle.
  19. Crafts…I let my son use my dull, squiggly craft scissors, he loves stamping, there are endless craft ideas on Pinterest!
  20. Create your own Sensory Table for your child to explore.
  21. Do some housework…and get the kids involved!
  22. Watch a movie.
  23. If your child is healthy and you’ve been considering potty training, a week when you’re stuck in the house is the best time to do it!

Now those of you who know me or regularly read this blog, know I never suggest t.v. for young kid does but at the beginning of the week when my son was feverish and lethargic, we watched a movie and cuddled on the couch, because that’s what we do when we’re sick.

Whatever you choose to do, I hope you can make the best of being stuck in the house, whatever the reason!

Dump Truck Photo Booth

Last week, with your help, I planned out the design for the Photo Booth for my son’s Construction themed birthday party. So I decided to get to it. The box we had wasn’t as big as I had in mind and Costco’s selection was lacking on the day I went to scout it out. So I made do with the box we had.

First, I got my supplies:

  • Picture of a dumptruck
  • Box
  • Exacto knife
  • pencil
  • Yellow, black, white & grey paint
  • Sharpies
  • Paint brushes
  • Strong Glue (I used Gorilla Glue)
  • Circlular things to trace because I’m no good at freehand!

I started by roughly drawing the window, front grill, lights and tires. Unfortunately, I forgot to draw the steering wheel! Ugh! So I made that seperately and have glued it on with super glue, hoping it will withstand a bunch of toddlers trying to turn it and drive the dump truck. Learn from my mistakes, leave the steering wheel on from the beginning!

   

 After drawing my dump truck and cutting it out with an Exacto knife, I was starting to see it all take form! The easiest way to cup cardboard it to lightly trace your outlines with the knife, but don’t cut all the way through. Then hold the cardboard up vertically and the knife will cut easily in the pre cut grooves.

I started to paint the truck. I use acrylic paints from the Dollar Store, nothing fancy because it’s not art, it’s a cardboard box, but use whatever kind of paint you have around the house or like to work with.

 Once the first paint is dry, move on to the next colour and so forth, colouring in all the parts of the truck.

When I was finished, I stepped back and my dump truck didn’t look like a dump truck!!! I thought it looked like a semi, my son called it a bus. Epic fail in the cardboard vehicle world.

  So after asking for your help yet again (THANK YOU!), I made some alterations and I’m starting to see a dump truck. WOOHOO!

I did some finishing touches with Sharpies and made it a bit sturdier by super glueing cardboard around frame and on tires. I also made a stand by glueing 2 cardboard triangles at the bottom. At first I was just going to leave it as an open box but to make alterations work and to make it more versatile for people of all heights, I decided to make it just a stand/frame. I am confident that the stands will not withstand toddler “gentleness”.

   

So here’s the final product. I don’t think it’s obvious that it’s a dump truck, but it looks more constructiony and dump truck like than it did before. I’m happy with it and I think it will make some fun pictures that capture the fun at my son’s 2nd birthday party. Now to hide it so my son doesn’t destroy it before his birthday!!!

Travelling with a Toddler

$25.00CDN for 1 sided $40.00CDN for double sided

here’s hoping for smooth travels with a toddler!!!

This is my 3rd airplane activity tray cover and I think the 11th flight with my little guy.  We go very prepared and so far (touch wood!!) he’s been pretty good.  I made this with my little guy in mind, he loves vehicles, especially buses! Whenever he sees anything to do with hockey he yells “GO GO GO!”. He loves dinosaurs and animals…especially if they roar and he loves playing peek-a-boo.

I make these custom to order in my Etsy Shop, I usually need about 2 weeks to complete and I love to make them as personal as possible for each individual child.  They are $30.00CDN for one sided covers or $50.00CDN for double sided as shown above.

My son will be testing this one out on our flight to Mexico in March, I’ll let you know how it goes! 🙂 Fingers crossed!