Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Toys 101: Organizing

We live in a one bedroom with limited space so when I saw everything we got for Bear in addition to everything grandparents, aunts and uncles got Bear I just about started crying. I sat down, planned the space and came up with a few ideas on saving space…

Out with the old – first of all I need to get rid of everything Bear no longer plays with or the things we can part with. Stacking donuts are fun, but now we play with stacking blocks. Same with stuffed animals, we can donate the Lamaze octopus to make room for the new teddy bears. Please don’t donate dirty, ripped or broken toys – these are better off recycled or tossed. Anything in good condition should be moved to a new home

Bins, Buckets & Labels – At the dollar store you can find either really big Tupperware or large plastic baskets that fit on a shelf you might already have. You can also spend a few extra bucks and get them from Target or Wal-Mart.
Consider what types or categories of toys you have. For example we have a wooden train set (bin 1), a ton of mega blocks (bin 2), stuffed things (bin 3), trucks (bin 4) and miscellaneous toys (bin 5).

I find that Bear gets really overwhelmed and over-stimulated when he wants to play with mega blocks and all the train parts fall out too. He’s not sure what goes with what or which to play with first. This also makes for a bigger mess in the living room. I have made up and will share when I have them ready some cute labels with pictures of what is inside each box that I am going to cut out and tape on the outside of each bin.

Cleanup Skills – I also figured this will make great cleanup skills. Bear is good about picking up his toys with me when it’s time for bed but this will make it 100x easier than cramming as much as we can on a shelf only to have stuff fall off.

What are you doing to make good cleanup habits and organization?


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Spoonful of Sugar

I saw these on a blog I frequest (http://www.swiss-miss.com/2011/12/medicine-ice-lollipop.html) and had to share!

I am SURE no kid loves taking tylenol, or any other icky sticky medicine, not to mention it's almost impossible to get the entire dose out of the little cup.

Pour the dose of medicine and 1 drop food coloring into a small cup (the plastic dosage cup would work great but there are also lolipop molds on amazon) put a stick in the center (the dull end of a skewer or a lolipop stick) and anchor it down with tape. Then freeze until frozen and offer up the lolipop when a dose is needed!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Cutest Gift Ever

Dear Nana discovered these gems yesterday so we decided to give it a whirl. We didn't expect them to turn out this cute. We sat around the table for about 45 minutes deciding who we should give them to! So here is a breakdown of the how-to as well as some tips on doing them with a toddler.

You will need:
Ornaments - the non-breaking ones are best. We found that the glitter and matte ones turned out the best.
Thick White Non-Toxic Paint (white, black & orange)
A thick paintbrush, and a thin paintbrush
A sharpie
A toddler

It is helpful to have a helper (as in two adults) for this project. Sit the kiddo on one persons lap and cover only one hand in white paint. Get a nice handprint with the palm at the bottom of the bulb and fingers pointing up. About a medium thickness of paint works best and an apron is recommended. After all the ornaments have one handprint wash your toddlers hand and paint the other with white paint and do the same to all and give a final wash to the hands.

Next step is for you to do or an older kid in the family. With the fine brush, use the black to paint hats & coal eyes and mouth on each of the fingertips to look like snowmen. Then use the same brush for the carrot noses.

When completely dry, use the sharpie to write your kids name and the year. You can make these every year as keepsakes!! SO CUTE!!!

The trick for these is do them fast, use two adults and thick paint.


These are ours:


Monday, December 19, 2011

Couples Night

It's so hard to feel great about yourself and your relationships when time and sleep are lacking. Take a night this week with your significant other and enjoy a meal after the kids go to bed - or better yet send them to a relative for a night!

Winter Date Night In!

On the menu:
Mug Soup

Progresso Hearty Vegetable Soup
Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry (frozen aisle)
4 Small Red Potatoes
Rotini Pasta
Two Large Ceramic Mugs


Preheat oven to 425. Dice potatoes and boil with pasta until everything is cooked through. Drain the pasta and potatoes and add the soup. After the dough is thawed place the mugs top down on the pastry and use a knife to cut a circle about ¼ inch larger than the top of the mug. Ladle soup into the mugs until ¾ full, place the pastry rounds on top of the mugs and carefully place mugs on a baking sheet and cook as directed on the pastry package (I believe it’s 15 minutes).

In the mean time cut the extra puff pastry into hearts or strips. Brush on melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar on each. When the soup is done, place the deserts on the baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes (or as directed on pastry package).

The soup is good with an arugula and feta salad and vinaigrette but can be eaten plain too. This meal is easy. Total cook time is about 25minutes. And prep is 8 minutes.

Sit at the table or by the fireplace (if you are blessed enough to have one – we don’t) with candles and low lights. I recommend wearing something a little nicer than the everyday attire. Dark jeans, heals or flats with a white button up and sweater look nice but not too nice. Make your hubby wear a button up too!

Movies and music are also great but I’d avoid TV for this one night…who knows maybe one thing will lead to another and hanging around in the bedroom will be more appropriate 

Enjoy the night,

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Who is traveling for the Holidays?

I have no idea how I am going to prepare for traveling. We are home for Christmas and then traveling New Years or just after. Not sure how we will get through the long car rides now that Bear doesn't sleep as much. We got a Kindle for the family and I am thinking of using a system similar to the "driving mirror" (http://pluspeace.blogspot.com/2011/07/peek-boo-i-see-you-while-driving.html) and playing shows but I am not sure if I want to get into the habit of doing that. Maybe just for Special Trips we will..hmm...

If anyone has thoughts/suggestions - please share!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Free Things Everyone Spends Money On

This Holiday, along with my brown wrapping paper, I will be using the "feather" gift tags and "cookie tags". It does help that I work for a printing company but any ol' color printer will do!

Neat envelopes: printable envelope templates are all over the internet and they tell you to get "pretty paper" i think newspaper or colorful pages from magazines look really neat!

Setting the tone: during the holidays it's always really nice to have great Christmas music playing. I suggest www.pandora.com and choose "Eliot Smith Christmas" radio. It's great new Christmas tunes! Another good one is Barry Louis Polisar and Rafi radio for kid time :)

DIY Silly Christmas Photoshoot: Cut giant holiday things out of chipboard (thin cardboard - painting them is optional) and pose your kid(s) with them and snap some silly photos for Christmas cards instead. Great ideas: Giant ornament, antlers, snowman with a hole for your kiddos face hehe, the posibilities are endless..

Also if anyone is interested in some Holiday Card templates made by me - let me know (hmpeterson5445@gmail.com)


Monday, December 12, 2011

Cookies Your Kid Can't Mess Up

These are so easy! Bear helped and they are deliciousssss!

You Need:
Apron for your kiddo (and maybe you)
1 Stick of Butter (very soft not melted)
Roughly 1.5 Cups of pecans
1 Cup flour
Powdered Sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F) Put the pecans and a food processor and chop until very fine - in the end you will need 1 cup. Mix butter, flour and pecans in a mixing bowl - little hands work great for this!

Roll into 1 inch balls and place 1 inch apart on non-stick cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes. When they are ready to come out they will be golden brown on the top and bottom - some may have cracks, that's OK.

Let sit for 5 minutes on the pan. In the mean time fill gallon baggy with about 2 cups of confectioners sugar.

After cooled but still warm, place 4 balls in the baggy to coat, repeat until all the cookies are coated and enjoy!

It's best to store these once they are completely cooled. If you put them in a container together while still warm they will all mush together.

Cinnamon is a great addition to these for a little extra spice! They will be gone in moments and clearly - they contain nuts!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wrapping Paper

This is going to be our first Christmas we stay home as a family and start our own traditions. Due partly to costs and partly to start a new tradition we will only be wrapping presents in brown paper. Your can get a giant roll of it at the craft store and either have your tot help decorate the paper with finger paints or just leave it plain. Surprisingly this looks nice and rustic under the tree :)

What traditions have you started with your new addition?


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Incredible Edible..


Bear's first sentence is "Cook egg, Mama!" - more like a demand. It's hard getting his attention long enough to get some food with value into his tummy. So we have he amazing egg-pop. Basically a hard boiled egg with a fork stuck up the middle.

What we do is after grocery shopping, Bear and I will boil 4 or so eggs (9 minutes after boiling makes the perfect hard boiled egg). Then we draw silly faces on the shells with sharpie before putting them back into the carton - Bear loves this part. Then we just pull em out for snacks! I let him pick which face he wants to eat - sounds weird, I know!

Occasionally if I am making a food with loits of color i'll peel and dye one of the eggs. I was snacking on canned beats which Bear didn't want and dyed an egg pink - he really loved that. Spinach juice, pomegranate juice, etc are all good for coloring.

Happy Snacking!