Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Edible Finger Paint

Jack is finally at the age where he loves to explore and touch everything! There are no more super secret adult hiding places. The DVDs will never be the same again.

All that being said I wanted to let him explore and create without chasing after him. I wanted him to be able to get messy and let his inner, and in his case outer, child free. So I scoured the internet for way to make edible finger paint. The top two most common ways was either 1) flour, salt, baking soda and water heated on the stove and then cooled or 2) yogurt.

Can you tell which one I went with? Yes the one ingredient wonder! I wanted something smooth and easily squished but that was also thick enough to play in without being runny. And since this was our first attempt the easier the better.

I used plain yogurt. Not even vanilla. How RUDE, right?! Wrong! This paint is obviously still edible but if you have ever tried plain yogurt you might question that fact. It's not very tasty and a little tart. That way Jack could eat it if that's what he wanted but it would at least discourage such behavior so he will eventually learn not to eat it. Which apparently only worked so-so.

Well our experiment started out rocky. I went to the store and got everything that morning, poor planning. We got home and I started prepping. I got the yogurt out and began mixing in the food coloring. I wanted it to be really vibrant so I added two drops instead of the recommended one drop. Really we're recommending drops?! Well I recommend 2 drops. Take that internet!

By the time I was done stirring and almost ready to go Jack started to get hangry. Yes angry and hungry, of course, perfect timing. So I scooped him up and plopped him in the high chair with a snack.

But my mom-brain was still turning; "you can't leave yogurt out on the counter! And who knows how long Jack will take eating. Better put that in the fridge." Mistake #1.

While Jack was eating I laid out the paper on the back patio and duck taped it down. I was planning on basically putting enough paper to cover the majority of the patio. But that was difficult and I figured probably over kill. So I kept it to about a 5'x4' section. Mistake #2

After Jack was done eating I undressed him, because duh, and put on my own swim suit. Because messy kids gravitate towards a clean mother like stink on...well you know.

This what you look like when you think your husband is taking pictures of the baby. Ignore my baby belly.
Then I grabbed all the "paint" from the fridge and headed out. Mistake #3

How mistake #3 played out : Well trying to hold onto a squirmy almost naked toddler, opening a sliding glass door, and balancing 4 tupperwares full of yogurt is not easy. Of course I dropped them and yogurt went everywhere! By the way isn't that the point of Tupperware?! To be able to survive dropping! Well this one wasn't obviously. Luckily only one exploded so we still had the other three and most of the last one. Note paper towels in above photo. Fail. But this made Jack cry because I was yelling at the dogs because they came running to lick up the mess which then made them messy and my screaming only made them run around with yogurt paws. It was a hot mess and not the cute baby mess I was looking for.

How  mistake #1 played out : So I plopped Jack down on the paper, wiped the dogs off with a paper towel and pushed them back inside to deal with later. In my attempts to calm Jack down I put some of the colors in piles in front of him and dipped his hand in so he could get a feel for it. He did not like it. "Why? Babies love messes." Well maybe it had something to do with the fact that they were freezing. In my attempts to not have spoiled yogurt I had forgotten that the fridge also makes things cold. And as we all know from generally being alive getting cold things smooshed all over your hands, feet and belly is not fun. Remember that ultra sound jelly? Think that but in super fun colors...he didn't think that made it better either.

How mistake #2 played out : After a little while it warmed up and he got more into it; but never fully. He of course came over to pull up on my shoulders and legs and got me covered which was my one triumph since I had appropriate attire on. I will say though it was mighty cold and I felt so bad that I didn't just leave it out on the counter. This activity was "planned" to last 30ish minutes. It was more like 5-10. He was over the cold mess pretty fast and wanted off that stupid paper and onto the dusty dirty patio. Speckled dirty yogurt hands, every mom's worst nightmare was coming true.

Keeping him on the tiny paper section was not easy.

He still had some fun, especially getting a handful and then clapping so it splattered everywhere. It was so adorable. And that goofy smile made all of the shenanigans worth it.

All in all it was mostly a failure sprinkled with giggles and learning, which I guess isn't all bad. I will definitely try it again but with a few changes ;).

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Toddler Busy Board

While my parents were in town I thought it would be the perfect time to get crackin' on Jack's busy board.

I planned and bought everything for this project months ago but never "found" the time. Which basically means I was lazy. But with reinforcements in town it helped kick my butt into gear.

I bought this pre-cut MDF board at Home Depot for something like $15. I didn't want to spend a whole ton of money so I knew I wasn't going to stain, paint, or do anything else to the board before hand. So I spent the time picking the right piece. One that wasn't scratched, marked, chipped, etc. I also noticed that some were kind of a reddy color which would lessen the cheap MDF look, so that's what I got.Then I just roamed the isles until I found all the other add on pieces. That was actually a lot of fun. I took Jack with me and we touched all different kinds of things before I decided on what I really wanted.

Then everything sat in a bag under my bed for a month. Because obviously :)

But once the reinforcements showed up I figured my excuses weren't going to cut it anymore. So my dad and I took over the back yard while my mom was on baby duty, she was so disappointed haha ;)

First I laid out all the pieces so I knew where I wanted them to go. Then I traced all the screw holes and drilled pilot holes. Then I screwed everything in! I left matching pieces; like the other side of the bathroom stall lock or chain lock till the end so I knew they would match up.

The eye hooks were a little more tricky since I was fully convinced I only had one drill bit which wasn't quite big enough. Later I obviously found out that I had a whole set like an adult but o'well. We just drilled our pilot hole and used pliers to twist the hook in. It worked fine but was slightly more work than it would have been otherwise. Thanks dad!

But everything actually came together quite nicely and it was super easy! Picking out what I wanted on the board was the hardest part. We don't have a super prominent place to put it so sometimes he forgets that it's there but when he does notice it he seems to like it. I think he'll like it more and more as he gets older and can really start playing with the combination lock and working all the different pieces. Right now the light and wheel are his favorites.

See below for details on each activity; maybe you can get some inspiration!


  • Push Light : I bought this at Home Depot as part of a two pack. On the back there is a hole for a nail head. I used a screw since all of our nails were too long and I didn't want it pointing out the back. This means though that it's not 100% secure. It shifts and moves. You could use adhesive (see details for the egg timer) but then you wouldn't be able to change the batteries once it was dead, which I really wanted to be able to do.
  • Egg Timer : It was actually really difficult to find one! I wanted an old school one with large numbers and a front face dial. Most of the ones now are "modern" and twist all the way around or are funny shapes, etc. I ultimately found this one at Walmart in the clearance section. I used adhesive to bond it to the board. This one didn't have a back so I just put the adhesive on the edges and went for it. So far it's stayed in place! Jack uses it to pull up to get to the light so it's pretty strong!
  • Door Knocker : I think this is technically a drawer pull. I wanted a old school ornate knocker but they are expensive! Over $20! So I found this which serves the same purpose. And since the board was a reddy color I wanted all the metals to be silver so they would pop and stand out. Most old knockers are gold or black. But this works great. It makes quite a loud bang but who cares!
  • Bathroom Lock : I think there's a real name for this but let's be honest the only place you see these really is the bathroom stalls. This is probably the least used since he doesn't really understand it yet but he'll learn. I attached one side first and then "locked" it and marked the holes on the other side. That way I knew I got it lined up right.
  • Telephone : This was also really hard to find now-a-days. I wanted a phone with push buttons and a cord, that way it wouldn't get lost around our house. I found this one at GoodWill for a few bucks. It even has caller ID! I attached this the same way I attached the light. I used screws that had large enough heads to fit the nail holes. There is one at the top and the bottom so it's more secure than the push light which only has one. He doesn't really use it too much, which is surprising because he loves his purple play phone but it is a tad heavy. He does love to play with the cord though :)
  • Zipper : I had this zipper around from an old sewing project so it was free but you can get one from your local fabric/craft store for under $10. Make sure to get a large one like for coats, jeans, jackets, etc. so it's easy to pull. You could use an invisible zipper but really? I just used a staple gun and attached both ends to the board.

  • Combination Lock : I got this at Home Depot and used an eye hook (think that's what it's called) to attach it. You could also put adhesive on the back but then it wouldn't come off if they got it right. I know this might be dangerous one day but it seems more satisfying when you can take it off :). I drilled a pilot hole (as you already know it was too small) and used pliers to twist it in. I also plan to write the combination above the lock so help Jack learn numbers.
  • Hook Latch : There are actually two of these. One vertical and one horizontal. This was attached the same way the combo lock was but since they are smaller the pilot holes worked fine.
  • Chain, Drawer pull, Claw Clasp : This one was probably the most complicated but it turned out just how I wanted it to in the end. I wanted something that made some great noise but that also taught Jack some motor skills. I came up with this chain idea. I was originally going to attach the chain to the hook at the top but I didn't plan correctly and I bought chain with no openings and I don't have cutters. So I bought two carabiner type things and attached one to either end. Well one exploded and I lost the spring. So that left me with one. So I looped the chain through the hook and used my one remaining carabiner to attach the claw clasp. Then I drilled holes for the drawer pull and attached it. Now Jack can clang the chain or use the clasp and hook it onto the drawer pull.

  • Chain Lock : I attached this the same way as the bathroom lock. I marked and screwed in one side then "locked" it and marked and screwed in the other side so I knew it would work. I also placed it high enough that the chain doesn't it the floor, because that seemed annoying.
  • Hook Latch : same as the other one except horizontal. Also high enough not to hit the ground.
  • Caster : Jack loves to smack things to make them move so I knew wheels were going to be vital. This one is vertical so he can smack it down or up. It's also pretty small so it doesn't take up much room or take much effort to spin.
  • Door Stop : The reason for this seems pretty obvious ;). I put it at the bottom because that seemed most natural and it's in easy reach no matter how he gets there.

  • WHEEL : OMG this took forever to narrow down. I really wanted a steering wheel. Kind like this one. But it was just too big for the board. So I landed on a lawn mower wheel. Who knew they even sold those?! It was the perfect size and thick enough for Jack to grab hold of and spin since it didn't have any holes in the center like a steering wheel. I used a bolt a large screw and a few washers to attach it. Basically I drilled a hole, added a few washers, then the wheel, then a few more washers then put the screw threw the middle of it all. That way it can spin without rubbing against the wood.

All in all it came out PERFECTLY! I can't wait for Jack to really get into it and start maneuvering all the different locks. Right now he loves the light more than anything. And watching him play with the door stop is hilarious! Instead of giving it a good smack he every so gingerly pokes it and it doesn't even make a sound. I never thought I'd be on my hands and knees teaching my baby how to properly smack a door stop :).

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Friday, May 13, 2016

Family Cabin Trip

My parents came in to town the week after Jack's birthday and we decided to head up to Max's grandparent's cabin. We have been trying to get my parents up there for years now and I'm so glad we could finally do it. We spent our days lounging by the fire and enjoying uninterrupted Jack time 😊. It was pretty cold while we were up there which was way better than being over 100 like it is in the summer, but we are still desert people so the 60's was pretty cold for us. We had a nice fire all day long and it made for great snuggles!!

Because pictures say a thousand words and pictures of Jack say even more ;). I'll let them do the talking. Enjoy!

Don't forget to check out Max's blog and read all about his hike HERE

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Jack's 12 Month Update

Weight: 18.9 lbs (4%) - he's always been my little peanut. But he's happy and healthy and that's all that matters.

Length: 29" (23%)

Loves: He loves to push around anything he can get his hands on. Max and I always joke that if you push hard enough anything can be a walker ;). You go to the bathroom for 5 seconds and you come out to dinning room chairs in the kitchen, a push walker over the dog bowls, and a baby play table acting as a door stop. He also loves to turn the TV on and off. Our direct tv box is touch screen so he stands up against the tv stand and pushes his little finger against the blue lights and turns it off and on. He also accidentally records shows. There's nothing better than sitting down and looking through your DVR list to find that Doc McStuffins, PJ Masks, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse have been recorded. You start to wonder if it's by accident or if he's smarter than you think :)

Hates: He has started to throw teeny tiny tantrums. When I pull him away from playing with the robot vacuum he arches his back and screams and whines for a few seconds and then moves on. It's a small glimpse into my future and it doesn't look bright ;). He also hates when we take him out of his swing in the back yard. He loves to swing, which isn't surprising seeing as we had him in his baby swing all the time. But as soon as you stop it and start to unbuckle him he starts crying until you cuddle him, which I guess isn't so bad.

Milestones: Not too much has changed. He isn't walking by himself yet but he could if he wanted to. He needs some baby confidence to let go. He has taken 1-3 steps from me to Max but that's really it. When we stand him up to practice he either immediately sits down and crawls, or just falls forward in hopes of someone catching him. It's like watching a tiny terrifying trust exercise. And of course he thinks falling and us catching him is funny now so he does it over and over. I'm hoping we can keep building his confidence so he can start walking on his own. He pushes his toys around and walks while only holding onto one hand so he could totally do it if he wanted to which is so frustrating, but we're getting there!

I've officially bought him shoes so now when we go places he can "walk" around. I make him walk into the store and down a few isles and stand against the car while I load everything up. That way he learns that this is just a natural part of things, instead of having mommy carry him around everywhere. Right now he doesn't go too far mostly because it's slow going but I want to make it as much a part of our routine as possible so it becomes no big thing and hopefully he'll learn to do it himself soon.

His speech changes daily so it's hard to keep up on. He was saying "UH-OH" really well last month but this month he's moved into grunts. I know that sounds backwards but it really isn't. Instead of saying "uh-oh" he says "uh-go" in a low full body grunt, cave man style. And he really listens and tries to repeat what you say. He loves to point so when he points at something I say whatever it is he's pointing at so he can learn. Usually it's the dogs so I say "dog" and I emphasize each letter sound. He responds either with "dada" or "doo?" or "guh?" Everything always sounds like a question and it's adorable. He does ask for food but not so much "Hi mom, can I have a snack" but more like "nom-nom-nom". He sounds like a little cookie-monster and it's the best!

He's still pretty good with his high-fives, but now since he loves to point at everything sometimes it's a one finger high-five :). He's also finally picked up on clapping! He claps all the time, I feel like I have my very own personal cheerleader. He also hasn't quite picked up on sayine "bye-bye" or "hi" he only smiles and giggles when we say it to him. He knows what you're saying and what you want him to do but it must be more fun to see our reaction after he refuses to do it.

Sleep: He's still amazing in this department. We had a few weeks where he would wake up at night but that seems to have passed for the most part now.

Eating: We have officially made the switch to whole milk. No more bottles! That's when it really hit me that he's not a baby anymore. He now has breakfast, a snack around 10:30-11:00, then warm milk before nap, then lunch when he wakes up, then dinner, and more warm milk before bed. He gets cold milk with each meal and cold water that he carry's around throughout the day. I'm also finally out of the baby food factory! I haven't made a puree in about a month and it's been amazing! We started weaning him off around 10 months and we are finally completely done. I loved making our own food for him but it took it's toll on me and I'm glad to be over it. Until the next one ;)

Teething: He finally has a pretty good mouth of teeth! He has his two top, two bottom and one on the top left.

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