Changes…

Well hello there.  I have been absent for many months.  Actually so many that I have a new little love to introduce you to.  Meet my little lady.  She was born in June and we are all in love.

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With the addition of my little lady, I have been working on easy and fun activities to keep my toddler boy entertained.  I’m going to share some of them with you as we complete them.

First, let me share with you what I am calling our activity bag!  There are many variations of this idea out there and most of them are called busy bags.  I opted not to call it busy because I feel like when we call ourselves busy we are not owning our own time….a little soap box discussion for later.  Moral of the story, I call our bag an activity bag.

The idea is that while I am needing to dedication time to the newborn (nursing, changing diapers, nursing, changing diapers…you get my point), my toddler has engaging activities to do that he can work on independently and/or I can chime in so we are engaging in the activity together….maybe even all three of us.  I am all about following the child’s lead.  My toddler is very into Cars movies and letters.

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What’s in our bag:

-Collect items around your house: books, paper, magazines, cups….anything that you think your little one would enjoy exploring or that might fit into a “theme” you want for your bag

-Keep an eye on the Dollar Store of the Dollar Spot at Target.  You can get coloring books, flash cards, and other trinkets

-Search online for free printables of themes your child is interested.  My little guy loves baseball.  I found free printables of baseball themed numbers and colors.  In addition to just searching online, you can visit one of my favorite sites TeachersPayTeachers

-Since I work for home sometimes, my little one sees me using “work” materials.  So I put a small notebook, pen, and calculator in his bag.

Have fun with it! The beauty is that the activity bag will be changing…maybe once a week or every other day!

 

What have you found to be helpful to keep your toddler occupied and engaged while caring for a newborn?

 

Makeover Monday: Bottle Dishwasher Basket

Happy Monday!  Any one have a Bottle Dishwasher Basket at home that they are no longer using?  Maybe it is taking up space in your kitchen cabinets…let’s fix that!

This Makeover Monday appeared naturally as I was keeping my little guy occupied while I put the dishes in the dishwasher.  I have a drawer in our kitchen that my little one can play in…it has his cups, plates, bowls, and other odd and ends including the bottle dishwasher basket.

This morning he took out the dishwasher basket and started shaking it and putting his fingers in all of the holes.  Hmmm….it felt like a light bulb literally lit up above my head….let’s put pom poms in the basket through the holes.

This activity kept my 18 month old interested for 30 minutes!!!

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What you need:

  • Bottle Dishwasher Basket (or any basket with small holes/openings)
  • Small/medium pom poms
  • Ziploc bag or plastic bag for storing the pom poms

 

How to use it:

  • MODEL IT!  Open the top of the dishwasher basket and put a few pom poms on the inside rack.  Push the pom poms through the holes and talk through it “I’m pushing the red pom pom in the basket”.
  • EXPLORE!  Put a few pom poms on the inside rack and sit back and watch your little one explore.
  • WATCH & LISTEN!  We, adults, can learn so much from watching and listening to our little ones.  Watch and listen to your little one and follow their lead with this.
  • EXPAND!  Play is the work of children.  Let your little one play and expand their play and language for him/her.
    • If your little one requests “more” pom poms, expand the sentence with “I want more pom poms”.
    • If you little one needs help, expand the sentences with “I need help”.
    • If you want to work on adding some manner words, expand the sentence with “More pom poms please”  “I want more pom poms please” “Help please” “I need help please”.

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Language Skills being worked on:

  • Identifying colors
  • Counting
  • Spatial concepts (in, out)
  • Cause and Effect
  • Requesting
  • And many more 🙂

 

Hope this adds a little creative fun to your Monday!  Have a great day!

 

Shine on,

Julianne

Love for all moms

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While my little man took a nap last week, I was browsing through Facebook…taking a break from unpacking boxes from our recent move.  One of my amazing, strong mom friends posted this article from madison.citymomsblog.com.  The title of the article read “Can I Be Honest? Sometimes, I Get Jealous” and it started off with “Dear Stay-At-Home Mom”.  I was curious so I started reading…

Now, I’m a Mom who works part time and a Mom who stay at home part time.  I put the Mom part first because during these short 15 months of actually having “Mom” as my title, I have realized that I am MOM at all times!  Not only am I Mom when I am home and we are reading books or playing at the park, but I am Mom during my therapy sessions, most involved assessments and reports, and during my toughest meetings.  I am also Mom anyway of the week, anytime of the day.

I went back to work, to a career I love, when my little man was 4 months old.  I was so blessed to have the 4 months I had with him, but longed for more time at home with him.  On the flip side, when I was on maternity leave, there was a little part of me that was concerned that I was letting my career I had worked so hard for slip.  While I was going through this internal struggle (and it is ongoing…I hear it just keeps going on and on and on 🙂 ), I was also receiving tons of “advice” from random people about how to parent my child!

It is one thing to get advice from family and friends…people who love you and love your child and want the best for you both.  It is completely another thing to get “advice” from a random lady in Target when you are on a rare outing with your colicky 3 month old who is having a meltdown and you are trying all your techniques to soothe your baby and her advice is “have you tried feeding him…maybe you aren’t holding him right…try this” hmmmm hands off the baby.  Or a lady at the mall who sees your little man sleeping soundly in his baby carrier and proceeds to come up and tell you how he needs to be home and sleeping.  It goes on and on and thankfully I have honestly forgotten most of the “advice” because at the time it was just too overwhelming and had me second guessing everything.  I kept thinking that these people must have good intentions, but this isn’t advice at all…this is judgment!

I am being judged for my baby crying too much, crying too loud, being too skinny, being too chunky, sleeping too much, not sleeping enough, and it goes on and on.  Then when I went back to work, that opened up a new flood gate, “How could you ever leave your adorable baby?”  “Aren’t you sad you are going to miss milestones?”…

So when I read this article, I thought it was going to be an empowering article for Moms who stay at home, which I was eager to read because Moms who stay at home deserve tons of praise and support….but ALL moms need praise and support!  Then I got to the second part of the article, where the author addressed Moms who work.  The article is written as a letter to Stay a home moms from Working moms and then to Working moms from Stay at home moms.

Both “moms” say…

I guess I just wanted to let you know that I see you, and I recognize the sacrifices you’re making for your family.

I see you, and I support you. Keep it up, girl!

YES!!!!!  Let’s SUPPORT each other!  Let’s EMPOWER each other!  Let’s help each other along in this crazy and wonderful world of motherhood!

Thank you, Kim from madison.citymomsblog.com for posting this article.

All MAMAS OUT THERE….I SEE YOU!  YOU ARE AMAZING!  I SUPPORT YOU!  GO YOU!

Do yourself a favor and read the whole article:

http://madison.citymomsblog.com/can-honest-sometimes-get-jealous/#lightbox/0/

Ziploc Masterpiece

My 8 month old little boy just created his first master piece.  That’s right…I am the proud mama of a true artist!  How?!  Glad you asked…

Here’s what you will need:

Ziploc: Your choice with the size…I went with a larger size

Paper: I went with a thicker paper and folded it a little bit so it fit nicely into the Ziploc

Paint: I went with tempera paint.  The paint is in little tubs…easy for pouring

Any fun accessory item: rice, foil, etc.

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Conversation Jenga

If you have played Jenga, chances are, YOU LOVE JENGA!  Everyone loves Jenga!  Especially children…they love anything you can build and then knock over, right?!

With my elementary school students, we play Jenga, but of course with a speechie twist.  🙂

How to make and play: On a regular Jenga set, I wrote conversation starters on each of the blocks.  As a student picks a block, he/she reads the conversation starter out loud, and then speaks on the topic.  The other students in the group listen to their peer and then ask one related question.  Another way to play is to have the student who picks the block present the conversation starter to a peer.  This is a great game to practice conversing socially, listening, asking questions, and turn-taking.

Stumped with conversation starters?!  Let me give you a little jumpstart:
1.  Tell me about your favorite animal.
2.  Tell me about your favorite meal.
3.  Tell me about something that makes you happy.
4.  Tell me about your family.
5.  Tell me about your last birthday.
6.  Tell me about your day at school.
7.  Tell me about your favorite sport.

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