Saturday, July 26, 2014

Crafts with Paper Plates and Cups for Toddlers/Pre-schoolers

Everything was quite when I came downstairs at 7 AM today. Megha and Anand were still asleep. I made some coffee for myself and sat down in the quite. While sipping coffee I pondered what Megha might like to do this Saturday morning. A craft! She loves crafts. I started thinking what new things I can make with the material I have at home. Immediately I decided that we would be playing with paper plates and cups! That's it! simple and easy.

After breakfast where she surprised me with a little new song, we sat down and made crafts :) 

Materials used: 
Paper Plates
Paper cups
Cello Tape
Elastic band
Toddler safe water colors
Plastic forks

Craft 1: 
I was absolutely blown away with Megha's creativity. The original plan was to make a basket out of a paper cup. Just took some elastic and stuck it around the paper cup to make a little basket. Megha held the cup and then the elastic band while I applied the tape. Ta da! There's the little basket! She was playing with it and I went to check in on the potatoes that I was baking. And when I turned around, the little basket had magically turned into a party hat! How cool is that?!!!! My awesome, creative baby!

Give your child the means and freedom to explore and they will surprise you and thrive in the new found avenue. 
Craft 2:
A simple humpty dumpty using tape, 2 paper cups and marker. Megha helped me with this as well. We used 2 plastic forks to make hands and there is our little toy :) I dont think she really likes this toy much. She only played with it for about 1 minute. But thats OK...she doesnt have to like everything that we make. 
Craft 3: 
A little Picasso in the making? I sure think so (a mom's opinion)!!! I opened some toddler safe water colors and gave her a couple of paper plates and a cup. She was at this painting for at least 30 minutes! She kept saying the color names out loud when dipping her tiny little fingers into the colors. She kept asking me to look at her painting and when I told her she is doing an awesome job, she seems to like the compliment.
We are not aiming for perfection and we are not aiming to make anything out of it. We are just aiming to have fun with colors. What a great day for a great art :)
Here is plate 1:
Here is the paper cup:
Here is the final piece. By then so many colors were mixed that t had become black/deep blue.
After our beautiful 1 and half hours of craft time, I wiped out the table with lysol wet-wipes and I gave her a bubble bath, her favorite :)

Making up Rhymes!

Saturday, 26th July 2014. Megha woke up around 7 AM, well rested and happy. By then I had already had my coffee and so, I was all ready to start the weekend with my lil girl. I had a couple of surprises today which reinforces that given an avenue to express themselves, kids thrive with creativity.

As is our weekend tradition, Megha was sitting on the kitchen counter while I was making her breakfast (Scrambled Egg and Cheese). She helped with mixing the eggs for them to be scrambled. I started singing a rhyme for her, "Mary Mary Quite Contrary...."

and then Megha jumped in to sing a song for me.

"Sherry Sherry Quite Contrary
How does your babies grow?
With Milk and Cheese and lots of play
And Belle Bella Bella"

Sherry is her daycare provider and Bella is their little dog :) How cute is that?!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Brush my hair!!

Megha never really liked it when I brush her hair. It's not a recent phenomenon, since she was a baby, she never really liked it. In those infant days, I had those soft feather like brushes which protects the tender skull/ head. This evening too I was running into the same old problem of she fussing when I try to brush her hair after shower. So, I let her brush my hair when I was drying her hair! She loved it! I loved to have my hair brushed too! She did a great job :) awesome for her first time :)

Will have to do this more often :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Strawberry Picking 2014

I had been meaning to update this particular post for the longest time now. We went to strawberry picking on Saturday, 21st June. It was a beautiful day outside and there was no reason to sit at home while we can go outside and have fun! Moreover, Anand was working, so there really was no reason to stay home.

Here she is! Appu says she looks like a Diva already and I do agree :); She is ready with her basket (it was a basket from our Easter Egg collection kit).

We went to a nearby farm called Andrew's Scenic Acres. I thought it was going to be like apple picking fields with not much walking to do. But boy-oh-boy the farm was BIG.
Here she is leading the way, as usual. She loves to run around and go ahead.

At the entrance itself I had asked the lady if the strawberry patch is nearby or if its better if I wait for the shuttle-tractor which takes us there. She told me, "its just 2 mins walk".
It was NOT 2 mins walk! It was more like 10 blocks of walk! How did I know it was that long? Because Megha wanted me to pick her up after walking for (quite literally) 2 minutes; and needless to say, it felt longer as I had her on my hip. Lol

But thats OK, we still had fun. Here she is picking up the strawberries. She did a good job of picking the ripe one's; thanks to a particular episode in Special Agent Oso.
By the time we were done, we had a basket full of red-ripe strawberries. We also ate fresh starwberry ice cream but it didnt taste as good. Of course not, there was no sugar in it.
We also went for a little horse ride and she kept saying Yeeeh-Hawww (m pretty cow-girl)
After we reached home, I made strawberry Jam. I love strawberry Jam and there was no reason why I shouldnt try to make it at home, especially since we had hand picked strawberries.
I found a perfect jar for it too. The recipe was taken from Here: Strawberry Vanilla Bean Jam
The only alteration I had done was to skip the vanilla bean part as I didnt have any bean. It still tasted good; I am planning on canning a few more jars before the winter arrives so that I have homemade jam.
In order to know when the Jam is done and ready to be taken off the heat, here is the link: Doneness of Jam's
I used this method: Here, you stir a spoon through your jam and the remove it from the pot. Holding it over the cooking jam, watch as the remnants on the spoon drip back down. Do they fall back in runny drips, like rain on a window? If so, it’s not quite done. However, if they seem thick and run together in more of a sheet, your jam is finished.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Teaching Small Letters (Alphabets) to Toddlers

Megha loves books and so do I. We have so many books at home for her and she knows a few books by-heart :); We are having a great Sunday.

She can say and can recognize A-Z capital letters. These days I slowly started asking her what particular letters in her story book are so that she will know that words are made out of Alphabets and when we put all the words together, it makes a sentence. I dont know why it didnt occur to me to mention this to her much before. She was totally confused and didnt know what I was asking, even though she can recognize the capital letters.

I started researching a few days ago about this and came to know that many parenting websites recommend to start teaching toddlers with small letters as Capital letters make up for only 5% in any given book. But most of the alphabet books I have have started with capital confusing!

So, to make the process of teaching small letters fun, I came up with a small craft idea. Hopefully this way of teaching will make the process less "teaching" and more "fun". Lets see how this goes! I think she already knows "a" by now.

Flash Card Method:

Any shapes, I used butterfly foam shapes from Dollar store.

Method: Apply the glue in the shape of an alphabet. Add glue and glitter and let it dry. I drew small figures in the corners (Apple and Ball)

Megha was very excited today. So, she applied the glitter after I applied glue :)
Edit: Its evening now and she can now say the first letters in a word (if they are capital). My smart baby! All thats needed was to show her a few times that a word is formed when we use a bunch of alphabets together :)

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to Shiv Karthik.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Miss you?

Is it really possible to miss others when they are right upstairs in the bedroom, sleeping cozy? I miss Megha today. She was up by 6 AM and had a very brief nap this morning. She went to be bed by 7:30 and I hardly spent time with her. To make up for it, I started looking at all her pictures and couldnt resist posting this! Taken on second birthday :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Some Pictures taken at various Parks

Weather is mild and so, Megha spends a lot of time in the parks/ outdoors these days. Here are some of the recent pictures taken at various parks.

This was a few days ago at a park close to the daycare. She loves slides!
This one was when they had picnic at the daycare. They love picnics, who doesnt? They have every week. They even have the tent where they lounge around all morning!
This one was taken when Megha was trying to attempt somersault when she had seen an older kid do that :)
This was taken at the park across out home.
This was taken at a splash-pad near daycare. I though I had a few pictures of Megha at a splash-pad when Anand took her too but I cant find it.
Tired after the splash-pad. I was told she ate and drank really well that day!
This was taken on a rainy day. Hannah keeping the kids busy while they ride on her back saying Yeee-haaw!
This one is my most recent favorite :)
This one was taken at the daycare. They have nice spots for the kids to play!!  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Broccoli For Toddlers

Megha's favorite veggie of late is Broccoli. It doesn't matter how it is offered, she devours them and then she asks for more! Anand mixes it with pork and veggies and she likes broccoli the best out of all veggies.

Here is another favorite version:

Broccoli: Handful cut into bite size pieces
Butter: a touch
salt and pepper to taste
Veggie broth or water: 1/2 cup

Heat butter in a pan and stir-fry broccoli for about a minute. Add the broth and let it simmer until the broth is completely absorbed and broccoli is just starting to get very tender. A little bit of crispiness should be there.
Season with salt and pepper.
It is power packed with vitamins and minerals and here is a link if anyone wants to know more:
Here is a picture which was taken yesterday. I love this picture!!! This was taken at the daycare.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Low points

Today I feel like I hit a rock bottom. I am not a good mother I feel. Not good enough. I think Megha would have done better with someone else.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Helping Toddlers Brush their Teeth

We started brushing Megha's teeth quite literally at 6 weeks as she was born with 2 bottom milk teeth. They were extracted by a pediatric dentist as they were loose and were a choking hazard for Megha. At that time, he advised that we gently massage her gums using clean fingers or clean cotton cloth. 
However, we never used tooth paste before. We just brush her teeth in the morning and before bed-time using her brush and water. 

This evening I decided its about time I started tooth paste for her (we bought that paste a while ago). I was dreading because some of my girlfriends told me how hard it was to train their kids to spit out the paste. 

However, with Megha, it was a breeze! Literally! I applied past on her brush and she brushed (with my help) as usual. Then I took some water in my mouth and showed her a couple of time how to spit it out she caught it! No force, no please no nothing! Just laughs and giggles all the way! We both brushed and spit out the water for a long time :) She likes it!

And thats how she now knows how to properly brush her teeth :) I guess she was just ready to start doing this (Just like when she was ready to be bottle weaned and it was a breeze for me).

Here is her very first tooth paste :) She is now 2 and half years old. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Baby Animals Continues!

Over the weekend, Megha and I said our animals over and over again. She loves the animals! Here are some of the things she learned while I tried to recollect the animals myself in at attempt to teach them:

Me: Whats a baby Dog called?
Megha: Baby dog is called a puppy.
Me: Whats a baby Cat called?
Megha: Baby cat is called a kitten.
Me: Whats a baby Horse called?
Megha: Baby horse is called a pony.
Me: Whats a baby Cow called?
Megha: Baby cow is called a calf. (This one Anand taught her amongst other things)
Me: Whats a baby duck called?
Megha: Baby duck is called a duckling (sometimes she forgets this).

We also said what a baby tree is called, baby car, baby bus, baby truck, baby bicycle, baby tree, baby grass etc :) If she doesnt recollect something, she either says its a baby grass or its a baby car :)

Here is a picture taken at the cottage. More pics coming up about cottage!
Here is how our baby animal episode started:

Carrot Sticks for Toddlers

I realized, I haven't been feeding Megha as healthy a food as I thought I was! Especially during weekends! She loves muffins/chips/fries etc. I cannot blame her, I love them too. This weekend when we went to the cottage, she pretty much survived on junk food (almost) as we are still re-setting the kitchen after renovation.

Anyway, back to healthy snacks now! Back to where we left off.

Carrot sticks:
I misled her and told her these are fries. But they do look like carrot fries don't they? I guess I was only partially misleading her. The trick worked!! She loves them!
Carrot: 1 big, pealed and chopped just like French fries look
Butter: a touch
Salt and pepper to taste
Veggie broth (optional)

Heat butter in a pan and add the carrots. Roast for a few seconds and add broth just until the carrots are covered. You can also dry fry but I felt with broth/water, it will soften the carrots and it's easy for her to eat. When the broth evaporates, continue to fry until carrots are done but still firm; whole process takes about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste!

Megha's verdict: yummy fries!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Baby Animals

This evening something super nice happened. Megha and I were returning from her daycare and we were waiting for a lady and her puppy to cross the road. We were at the stop sign. Here is the conversation that followed.

Megha: Look momma a big doggy!
Me: Yes Megha, you are right its a dog. But since its a small baby dog, its called a puppy.
Megha: Whats a baby Horse called momma?
Me: A baby horse is called Pony.
Megha: Whats a Baby Bus called momma?
Me: Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrr