Thursday, February 4, 2016

DIY Toddler Activity: Match The Colors Kit

Recently I did a little DIY toddler activity swap with a couple other ladies. It was a fun way to get a variety of fun (church-friendly!) things to help keep the kiddos occupied and quiet, while only having to do one craft apiece!

I made these fun little paint swatch kits. The kids get to learn how to differentiate between shades of color, and they get to work on their fine motor skills by pinching open the clothespins.  They're really easy to make, and pretty dang cheap too since paint swatches are free!

You'll need:
  • Paint swatches (2 thin swatches of each color you're using, OR 1 wide swatch you can cut in half)
  • Clothespins
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard (optional)

If you have a wide swatch (like the purple one pictured above) cut it in half so that you have two thinner swatches.

Take one of your swatches and cut a smaller rectangle (or whatever shape floats your boat) out of each color. Leave your other swatch whole! If you want to reinforce the big swatch so it doesn't get bent and twisted while your child is handling it, then you can cut out some cardboard and glue it to the back of the swatch. (I haven't done this to my set yet. Oops!)

Glue the little cut-outs to the "clamping" end of the clothespins. You can get a pack of 18 clothespins at Michaels, which is exactly the number you need if you're doing 6 color swatches with 3 shades on each swatch! Hooray!

If you use regular glue like I did, you'll need to hold the shapes in place for a little bit as they dry. If you want to speed up the process, you can use those little glue dots that are sold at craft stores.

All done! You can store them in a little tin pail (Target dollar section sometimes has them!) with the clothespins around the rim and the swatches in the pail, OR you can put them in a ziplock bag so you can take them on the go!

Nicole is still a bit young for this activity, but I bet it would work well for 2-3 year-olds. You can also turn it into a game: put all the pins on the ground with the color side down. Each player chooses a color card (ex: I choose blue and Nicole chooses purple) and then take turns drawing pins. If it's a color that matches your card, keep it! If not, put it back. Continue taking turns, and the first person who finds all 3 shades of their color wins!

Perhaps I'll share the other activities from our swap sometime. These things are all perfect for keeping the little ones quiet and calm at church, which is awesome. Goodness knows that Nicole can be very loud and restless these days!

Monday, February 1, 2016

The One Where Nicole Takes Over

Hey, you guys. This is Nicole speaking!

Mommy let me take over for the day! I'm gonna tell you guys about how things are going right now, and Mommy's typing for me.

^^^I probably carry my 2 horses around more than any other stuffed animal. Yay for horses!

I'm pretty good at playing around the apartment, but sometimes I get a little stir crazy. Mommy won't let me play outside too much because it's freezing, but sometimes we'll go on walks or she'll bundle me up and let me walk around on the balcony while she watches from inside. Silly Mommy doesn't want to be out in the cold! My favorite is when we drive somewhere, like to a store or go to the Recreation Center so I can play with my friends there or go swimming. The ladies at the Child Watch are obsessed with me, apparently. I don't know what the big deal is... I just really like to smile, laugh, and talk! I cried when Mama came to pick me up after her class today because I didn't want to leave yet! (But... I was also really tired. That probably had something to do with it.)

Music is fun, and I like to dance. My favorite songs are the ones that are upbeat and jazzy. I really like those drums and brass instruments! Mommy's trying to get me hooked more on Disney music, but I prefer nursery rhymes right now. I love playing pat-a-cake! And singing along when Mom sings "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"!

Speaking of fun, I love trying to drop things in the trashcan. I almost got away with dropping 2 dominoes in there a while ago, but Mommy saw me do it, so she dug through the trash to get them back out again. Now she won't let me play with the dominoes anymore, and she puts heavy things on the trashcan lid. I retaliated that evening by grabbing the end of the toilet paper and parading down the hallway with it unrolling behind me. Now THAT was funny! Silly Mom and Dad should know better than to leave the bathroom door open!

Let's see. I love books, and I make sure to bring lots of books to Mommy all day long so she can read to me. I also love carrying around shoes and turning the TV on and off. Except Mom and Dad unplug it now when they're not using it. Wow, they really know how to ruin my fun, don't they?!

Food is awesome. I love fruit and veggies the most, as well as everything with dairy in it. I've decided that I don't like chicken, beans, or rice. Or fish. Or leafy greens. But other things are good. I'm trying to learn how to use those pointy forks, but I just can't get the hang of it.

^^^I really like looking out the window. Especially when daddy gets home. It's also fun to watch snow fall, and we've had a lot of it the past couple days!

I've had a slightly stuffy nose recently, so I've had to breathe out of my mouth. It's just more fun to breathe that way if my tongue is sticking out too, and my parents get a big kick out of that. I still love to snuggle, and I've started giving out kisses spontaneously instead of just when Mom and Dad ask for them. That little trick won me some big brownie points. I also frequently ask for hugs because, like I said, I love my cuddles.

The blender and vacuum scare me, I sometimes close my bedroom door and play by myself without Mama interrupting, and I like using my little broom to "sweep" all over the house. I'm a happy girl who loves life, and I love my parents so, so, so much. Mommy keeps telling me to stop growing, but I like being able to reach the edge of the table and some of the counters, so I'm just going to keep growing anyways. Don't worry Mama, I'll always be your little girl, even if I'm not always so little!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Healthy BMI For The Win

Three things.

First, I want to promise (particularly to my family who are waiting for updates) that my next post will have Nicole in it. Actually, Nicole will be "taking over" my blog in my next post, so stay tuned for that. Meanwhile, enjoy a cute picture of her walking with her daddy. (Insert all the heart-eye emojis!)

Second, the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook (a companion to the handbook I mentioned in my last post) arrived on my doorstep a week and a half ago, and I don't think I've been this excited about food in quite a while!

I've been eating according to the Trim Healthy Mama plan for over a week now and have been pleased with the recipes so far. A good chunk of them don't require "special ingredients" to make, or have suggestions for substitutions you can make if you don't want to buy things like whey protein and collogen.

The food pictures are gorgeous, the cookbook is written in the same friendly tone as the handbook (which makes it fun to just read the cookbook to see what Barrett and Allison will say), and I particularly love how there's a combination of single-serve and family-serve recipes, and that some recipes have instructions for both single- and family-serve so you don't have to do the math yourself! I can't wait to share my THM journey with you guys in a month or two once I've been able to get the feel of this new lifestyle.

^^^Plus... I get to eat stuff like this. Without feeling guilty. I put a couple strawberries in it, so it tastes like a Chocolate Moo'd from Jamba Juice, only waaaaaay healthier. Heaven in a jar!

Third... joining me on my THM journey is a brand new bathroom scale. This was a long time coming because our old scale was a little sketch, and it turns out that it displayed my weight as a couple pounds higher than it actually was. NOT a good feeling, people. It was also so annoying to assume that Nicole was a very robust weight, only to go to the doctor and be told that she was a pound or two lighter than we thought.

^^^Nicole checking out one of my body weight percentages ;)

The Precision BODYCHECK Digital Body Fat Scale (which, by the way, looks way too fancy to be sitting in our dingy, dark little apartment bathroom) is much more accurate. It also measures your BMI, body fat, body water, body muscle, and bone mass. It can save weight profiles for up to 8 people, and takes into consideration your height, age, and activity level.

^^^Sorry if you have a weird deal with seeing people's feet. Also, Nicole has taken over profiles 6 and 8. According to how she's programmed profile 6, she's an athletic 27-year-old man. This is where I insert several laughing-with-tears emojis. ;)

Nothing made me happier than to step on the scale, see a weight that was 3 pounds lighter than what our old scale displayed, and be told that my BMI was in a perfectly healthy range. One of the main reasons I've come to terms with my new post-baby weight is because I'm still a perfectly healthy BMI for my height and age. I don't think I'll ever weigh the same as I did pre-baby, but as long as I'm active and feeling healthy (and now, thanks to THM, eating healthy) then the weight doesn't matter.

Although I must say... stepping on the scale today to see my weight the lowest it has been in the past year+ was a pretty good feeling! I'm excited to see where Trim Healthy Mama takes me.

I received a copy of Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook from Blogging For Books and the BODYCHECK Scale from Tomoson in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are completely my own!