Toddler Blog

Crafty Cityscape!

A trip downtown for Fathers Day put our favorite kiddos in awe of the big city skyline. Then this preschool’s bulletin board inspired our own creativity. So we decided to make our very own Crafty Cityscape!

All the scrap pieces of paper we had stored away came in handy. We glued the biggest pieces down on a bright blue skyline. Then added little windows and doors, counting as we glued. Some cardboard rectangles, tin foil squares, and spare buttons added texture to our mini masterpieces.

The most fun was deciding what each building was used for. From a kitten hotel to a store full of frogs, our little city was bustling with lots of life!

Handy Dandy Door Hangers

A recent hotel stay started our kiddos’ obsession with door knockers. Who knew that on, off, backwards, and upside down — they provided a lot of quiet amusement? Sometimes learning comes from the most unexpected places!

So while parents dream of a Do Not Disturb sign, littles can make their very own Handy Dandy Door Knockers!

Begin by leading your little to decorate the front and back of a paper plate. Don’t forget the round outer circle too. Bigger kids will love to write a special message on theirs as well. From “Come In” to “No Big Brothers Allowed!” Then use a hole puncher and string to get your door knocker ready for action!

Love At First Kite!

Our kiddos’ fascination with kites is ever expanding. And so the LOVE AT FIRST KITE project was a natural progression of their obsession.

We love this project because it’s simple, teaches shape and symmetry, and is super fun to display. We decorated our whole ceiling this way!

Grown ups do the prep. Start by folding a piece of construction paper in half along the width. Keep the newly folded edge on the left side. Then on the right side, pencil an X less than halfway down the page — usually about 8 inches from the bottom.

Go back to the left folded side and get your scissors ready! From the top left corner, cut diagonally to your X on the right. Then cut from your X to the bottom left corner. Now you should have 4 scrap paper triangles to toss.

Open up your page and you’ve got a kite ready to decorate. Kids can use whatever inspires them — crayons, markers, glitter, or collage. For a simple symmetry lesson, you can even paint one half of your kite before folding it on top of the other half. Reopen it and voila! A symmetrical gem!

Lastly, don’t forget to punch a hole in the bottom and add some string. Now your kite is ready to take flight! Tape them up high in your little’s bedroom sky!

Pom Pom Play!

We love Pom Poms because they keep little bodies busy for a long time. You’ve seen these at the store, but did you know you can use them for a lot more than just crafting?

– Practice sorting them with toddlers. Sort by color or size. And use salad tongs or tweezers to sort for an added challenge!

– Get silly and sort them with your toes! Put some cups down on the ground and kids will get a kick out of filling the cups up with poms using only their feet!

– Move them using only your breath! Just like you are blowing out birthday candles, you can blow them across a table or floor. Make sure you are behind, not above the pom, to make it race the fastest!

Beat Balloons!

Meet the Beat Balloons! Balloon fun reaches new heights when they’re filled with small household finds. Not only will your little bean be able to peek through and investigate what object is hidden inside, they’ll also be able to hear it once they give it a shake!

We filled our balloons with sprinkles, Qtips, cotton balls, dry pasta, old buttons, small toys, and more. And we made two of each so we could also play with matching the pairs that sounded alike!

Stretch your balloon out a bit before filling it with a tiny treasure and air. And of course, please supervise littles when they’re exploring balloons and small objects.

FAMILY FLAGS

With Memorial Day weekend, our littles have been asking a ton of questions about what flags are. The colors, stripes, and shapes are eye catching to toddlers. And the stories behind what each represent fascinate the kid in us all!

So we decided to make our own FAMILY FLAGS for this Summer. That way whatever game we play, from hide & seek to racing to clean up, our family team members can root us on from the sidelines!

1. Cut a rectangular piece of paper. It should be small enough to be glued onto the top half of a popsicle stick “flag pole”.

2. Pick what colors you are going to use. Most flags have 3 colors, so chose your top 3 favorite shades.

3. Decide what shapes you are going to use. Circles, stars, moons, and stripes are always fun. What does each shape stand for on your flag?

Every flag has a story! Look at ours here by Hudson. His is red because that’s the color of his front door, and orange because oranges are his favorite fruit. Each star sticker represents a different member of his family. What story will your Family Flags tell?

Coffee Filter Butterflies

A toddler’s energy is contagious! Well, except in the wee hours of the morning… So in an effort to keep littles busy (and our sanity) during that pre-caffeine window of time, we’ve enlisted the help of our COFFEE FILTER BUTTERFLIES!

It’s a super simple craft you can do, even half asleep before the sun rises! Simply cut a paper coffee filter down the center. We used #4 cone shaped ones, but a basket shaped one will work just as well.

Allow the kids to create their own design on the wings. We used washable markers in lieu of messy paint and glitter. Challenge bigger kids to create symmetrical art on the two wings. Encourage littles to add different shapes and patterns to personalize their tiny creatures.

Glue a popsicle stick body down the center and add googly eyes for extra fun. Now you can get your cup of Joe ready in peace while your kiddos create their very own morning routine!

Egg Carton Creation!

With a kiddo, even breakfast can lead to an exciting adventure! So before you take out the recycling, try your hand at our favorite EGG CARTON CREATION!

– Open your empty egg carton and cut it in half longways, right at the fold. Now you should have the two sides separated.

– Use the egg carton’s top half (the more shallow side) as an artists’ palette! Have your little fill each cavity with a new paint color. Maybe leave the last few for “custom colors” where you mix your own favorite shades together.

– Flip the bottom half of the egg carton over so that it has little humps. Now you are ready to paint your Carton Caterpillar! We even glued two googly eyes on the front to complete our cute creature.

– While your caterpillar dries, create a toddler-friendly Color Challenge! Can you find small objects in nature or your house that match each color in your palette?

The egg carton creations are endless. All you need is an appetite and imagination!

A Solution to the Impossible Task of Creating Dinners When You have a Toddler

I used to love cooking dinner. It was the one meal that I planned out weekly, shopped for and prepared as a proper meal at least half the nights each week.

Now that I have a toddler, a busy work schedule and what feels like zero time to do anything, organized dinners sadly have become a thing of the past. Our week night dinners consist of takeout orders, breakfast for dinner and/or really no dinner at all far too many nights.

I’ve been feeling guilty about the sad state of our dinner affairs (amongst other things) and wanted to make a healthy change this Spring.

For us, the hardest thing about dinner is the time it takes to come up with recipes, make a grocery list, do the shopping and remember to actually get all the ingredients we need plus prep, cook and clean up.

I looked into various services and was reluctant at first because I knew my toddler would not eat any of it. I really didn’t want to make multiple meals each night. But the bottom line is that most nights our toddler eats before us anyhow and rotates amongst a small set of toddler approved meals that usually look something like this.
Photo Apr 27, 7 00 41 PM

I’ve given in to that reality and make sure on weekends that we have “family” dinners that we cook together based on things I know he likes.

Knowing that we wanted to focus on adult dinners that we could make during the week at home, we decided to try Blue Apron to get us back on track.
Blue Apron product shot (1)

Blue Apron delivers the perfectly portioned ingredients you need to cook chef inspired seasonal recipes at home. It comes direct to your door in a refrigerated box so the ingredients stay fresh even if you’re not at home when it arrives. We choose the classic 2 person plan which got us three meals for two people a week.

What I liked about it:

  • The service solved our #1 problem of time since we didn’t have to find recipes or shop for ingredients. Everything was provided for us in a compact box with detailed labeling.
  • Having the portions pre-measured and sent specifically for 2 people also helped to eliminate waste and guilt over unused food.
  • The recipes were really interesting and things we would not normally cook for ourselves. It was fun to have “fancy” unique dinners for the adults once our toddler was in bed a few nights a week.
  • All the packaging, materials, recipe cards were very clear, well designed, visual and led to easy meal creation.

One thing to note: it does take time to prepare the meals. I would not recommend doing this if you really don’t like to cook. There are multiple steps to cook each meal plus prep work to get the ingredients ready. I did this with a glass a wine in hand and enjoyed the time and detail in preparing the meals. I realize that is not for everyone. If you decide to try it, make sure to leave a good 30 minutes for each meal.

Also don’t feel bad if your meals don’t look exactly like the pictures! Our first try tasted delicious, but did not look very good. Our second attempt was much closer to the pictures and also tasted amazing.

Photo Apr 27, 7 28 12 PM

Photo Apr 27, 7 34 09 PM

For us, it did re-inspire home cooked dinners on a weekly basis and get us out of our takeout rut. I don’t know if we can manage it every week, but what’s nice is that you can turn the service on and off on a weekly basis.

We will keep you posted on our adventures with Blue Apron on our Instagram feed HERE.

To join in on the action, our first 50 readers get two free meals with their first Blue Apron Box – redeem the offer HERE.

Happy cooking! Please feel free to share your experiences with us in the comments!

The Crazy Creole Mommy Shares Her Top Toddler Nutrition Tips!

Brooke

Summer is a time when we’re on the go more than ever. And while hot dogs and ice-cream are fun, they can’t sustain or strengthen us or our littles! Well today we are stoked because Brooke Abbott from The Crazy Creole Mommy Chronicles is here to share her best tips on how to keep your kids eating healthy, even in the more challenging situations! Brooke knows a lot about overcoming obstacles big and small, she’s a single mom conquering an autoimmune disease, all with a healthy and humorous attitude!

Brooke, how can we keep our kiddos eating right when we are constantly on the go? Prep. Prep is the key to life. Prep snacks. You can cut up grapes, carrots and zucchini sticks and place them in a reusable food pouch. I love doing that with hummus that come in single packs.

What about when they’re at Grandma’s or with a babysitter? I love using glass containers with different colored tops. Everyone in the family gets a color! That way dad’s lunch doesn’t get mixed up with mom’s lunch. And grandma will always know where your LO’s lunch is. For me, I wanted to make it easier on everyone. So pre-made food in a designated color container ready to be heated up, was the perfect solution.

How can we not lose our minds playing short order cook when hosting a dinner party where littles are invited? So glad you asked! This is the very reason I creates the dinner party series. Don’t worry about making completely seperate meals for everyone. Create ONE menu and then modify it for all of your guests. Perhaps for the toddlers, you may roast the veggies a little longer or don’t add salt. Less mess and less stress!

Thank you Brooke! For more info, tips, and adventures, follow Brooke at crazycreolemommy.com!