FACT

in my opinion, the space between the driver and passenger seat was meant for moms to reach back to find soothers, calm babies and adjust whatever needs to be adjusted. putting on your hazards is meant for mom’s with more than one child, when one starts crying the other one throws the soother to a place unreachable in first sentence.

these are just facts.

 

-owl

Toys for Babies 1 Day to 10 Months old

I remember being about 6 months pregnant and thinking. WHAT DOES OUR BABY NEED!?

So i started going to Babies R Us or any store that had Baby Items. So overwhelming. I didn’t know this, but at the stores they can sell items that Doctors and Nurses wont let you leave the hospital with on your car seat. So how do new mom’s figure it out? Well thankfully my sister had already had two children, as well as her daughter is 5? months older than our son. As well as my cousin had a Baby Girl 4 months before i had my son. But even though we have similar ages, babies are different. My son stayed in the “lay on the ground and have things around me seem cool but i won’t touch them and barely smile” stage till about 7 months. Keeping in mind, he was born 6 weeks early and he ended up losing weight at 5 months,which set us behind a bit. Now at 9 months, my Owlet is sitting, rolling, almost crawling, laughing, eating solids, has 2 teeth coming in and all around rambunctious boy.

 

ANYWAYS, This is my idea of what I would of loved to read if I was pregnant and overwhelmed with all the options.

In my opinion, for the first year, you don’t need much, We think we need 6 teething toys, and blocks, and playmats, and a Bumbo, exercauser with all the items in the world on them, and a playroom etc.

after the initial 3 months of catching up on sleep and your  baby just being happy with a soother and your goofy faces and cuddles,

in my opinion you will want:

1. Sophie the giraffe chew toy.  We have a small version with more handles. the larger sophie is great, but we had noticed that the smaller sophie was something our son enjoyed holding, easier to chew on and wasnt massive for his little hands. he is 9 months old and still enjoys playing with this sophie.

2. a playmat: yes, i do believe that a play mat is important for babies. our son LOVES (still loves lying underneath his) playmat, we have one that has a piano at the feet, and when he kicks it ,it plays music, it has a mirror above him to watch his feet move. HE LOVES THIS THING! it also transitions for him to sit and play it with his hands. I think we payed 50 for it, but it was worth it! he has enjoyed it since 3 months. even just sitting under it and doing nothing, to playing with all the toys and kicking his feet and using his hands on the piano. and bonus: the songs aren’t that annoying and has a few options for volume.

3. an Exercauser: if you have a son/daughter that is like ours and wants to see all that is going on, i would recommend an exercauser. I don’t really enjoy the bulky plastic ones, I don’t like the idea of storing it after he is done using it, and it taking your whole trunk up if you need to bring it with you anywhere. SO, we bought an exersaucer called a “go-pod” it is essentially a camping chair but in a form of an exercauser. it is so great! it has places to put your own toys on it and it folds up like a camping chair, which has been super helpful travelling to friends houses, or even to a weekend getaway trip. bonus: its only 60 bucks!, more than half the price of a brand new exercauser.

4.  Books: I feel like books are great investments. Since our son was in my womb,we have been reading out loud childrens books. My husbands favorite are dr.Seuss, I love books that have touch stuff on them and things that my son can eat without destroying the book. We read to our son every day probably twice a day (or more) 3-6 books at a time. YES, you read that right, my little man can sit through multiple books. he enjoys sucking on his soother, chiming in with giberish a few times and touching the pages as you read.

5. a few extra toys that attach to the stroller and carseat that your baby can play with and hold without it being too heavy. emphasis on the FEW extra toys.

 

In my opinion you really don’t need much when they are so young. we have a shelf ( the ikea square shelf with 4 cubbies), and only  one cube has toys in it, and two have books. he has a small corner of our living room and he can play with his toys for at least 20-30 min at a time.

other than this, take your babies for walks, outside, see other children of various ages. let them eat grass, play in dirt and be fascinated with what God has given us! I have set aside a full hour of no electronic time everyday with my son, and he just enjoys playing with no toys, climbing on me, reading, staring at all my neighbours from our front window standing on the couch. just let your child enjoy making something out of nothing bought.

 

my only thing i have wanted to share with my family, is instead of toys for occasions, i would rather get something to put in his savings account.

 

– Owl

My Fathers Legacy

Happy Father DAY!!

Being a dad is not an easy job. I do not actually know this first hand but I have been an observer of a father for 29 years and I am now watching my husband enter this same role. You not only have to work and provide for your family but you need to engage with and care for them as well. Its hard to balance work, friends, family, and hobbies. Wait! whats a hobby? Just kidding. A hobby for my husband is getting to go play hockey on a week night while I go to bed at the same time as our kids. My hobby is sleeping. His is hockey. I digress.

I am dedicating this post to my father on this Fathers day weekend. This is his gift and his card. (only because I have no time or money to get him anything else)

My dad is awesome! I really do not have much to complain about. He helped shaped me into the amazing wonderful person I am today 🙂 . Good job dad. As I look back on my childhood and as I plan with my husband how we are going to raise our children I can not help but make a list of all the great things my dad did that I want to do for my kids. He wasn’t perfect. But he sure found a lot of ways to be awesome. Here is a list of a few things that my dad did and still does to keep his title as the WORLD BEST DAD!

1. My dad loves JESUS. – My dad brought us to church each Sunday and he even taught us Sunday school. My dad prayed with us each night before bed and instilled Godly principles in us that we hold onto dearly still today. He puts Jesus first. I remember being upset with my sister and my father telling me to love her because that is what Jesus has called me to do. Sometimes you have to look past the person and look to Jesus. Loving my sister is loving Jesus. Jesus is much easier to love than my sister was, that is the truth. He made learning bible stories a lot of fun. He would pick out the not so popular stories and retell them to us in such animated ways that you could almost feel like you were there.

As we got older he would share with us his own struggles and trials and he would be very truthful with us about what he was going through. He made our family a safe place to be. A safe place to share our fears and prayers and joys and accomplishments. His honesty rubbed off on us all.

2. My dad hugs us – oh man. My dad hugs. He hugs everyone. At first I think of how annoying this is. Sometimes even embarrassing. But as I raise my own children and see them with their father I realize how important this was. Especially for my sister and I. If I ever needed a hug, My dad was there. I never had to seek this kind of attention from anyone else. My dad was and is great at the bear hug. He has mastered it and I swear it heals all things. There is nothing a Big bear hug and a prayer from my dad, can’t solve.  I know a huge reason I had such a successful dating life is because I never needed to seek physical attention from any boy. I was secure in who I was.

3. My dad plays with us – My dad would come home from work and drop his bags and give us all hugs (of course) and play and play with us. We would stop to eat dinner and then we would play until bed time. It was super special to get that time with my dad. He would play with us like only dads can. We would do a lot of rough housing and running around. Sometimes my mom would have to usher us outside in order to keep her sanity. I know understand why this is so important. Especially for my brothers. A mom can not play with her sons like their father can. I just do not get it. My son plays with my husband in a whole different way. Even my daughter does. I know they cherish their time with their father and I cherish my time alone:)

4. My dad loves my mom – I never questioned this. I never will. My dad is just so great at showing us how much he loves my mom. This was a huge influence on me as I chose my husband. I knew I needed to be loved and that it was something that was important. Love is just not words. Love is actions. Love is in the little things. Even when they were in a fight or disagreement. I never doubted that he loved her. He always speaks highly of her. Our family has had its own drama and struggles. Some of our mountains we are still climbing, but my dad has and will always love my mom. This love is just not a word. It is an action that is shown daily. I love him so much for it! His love for his family and his wife is what makes him my Hero!

5. My dad works really hard – This is definitely something no one can argue against. He works hard and plays hard. He give %110 in everything that he does. He may not be the best or most qualified, but his hard work ethic sticks out! This quality has totally rubbed off on all of his children. It shows in their life accomplishments. We know that if you want anything in life you have to work hard. My dad not only works hard, he has an amazing attitude. He is always positive. Okay, maybe not always. But when it counts he is positive and encouraging. That is something he has always taught us. Work hard, Have a good attitude, and that is how you serve God. That is something we are going to teach our children.

6. My dad loves sports – This one is important even if you do not like sports. Being able to play on a team and work with others is so important. It has helped my marriage, friendships, job, and even my parenting. My dad always made us try things and give them a chance before quitting.  Best part of this one is that my dad to this day still plays on teams. He is not one of those over weight dads sitting on the side lines telling us what to do. He is encouraging us join in and then playing a long side us. I love that he plays on  the same soccer team as my brother and that at family gatherings he is the one playing soccer or hockey with the grandchildren. He is a man who only ages in years not in spirit. I hope to always be like him. I want to be the healthiest and strongest I have ever been, every new day that passes.

7. My dad is a good friend – When I was a little girl I had no idea how to make new friends. I distinctly remember my dad giving me lessons on how to introduce myself to another child. We practiced and practiced. I was a shy little girl but really friendly once you got to know me. My father taught me that it is important to be authentic and true to who you are. He always said it is important to not care what others think and just to be yourself.  This kind of openness and honesty became a cornerstone in all my relationships. I have had the same best friends since grade 8. I have a solid relationship with my husband because we started out as friends. My dad may not have a lot of friends, but he is a great friend to the ones he has. He has made sure we are all great friends to ours as well.

8. My dad talks with us – My dad always knew when something was up. He learned to read each one of us and we knew he knew when he would ask us to “go for a drive”. He would take us for a drive to do errands. There is something freeing about being the car sitting side by side with no other distractions that just makes you want to open up. He knew the right questions to ask and he would know when to just listen. This is something that I am trying to implement in my parenting. I always knew my dad would be willing to listen to what I had to say. He doesn’t always feel like he needs to solve all our problems. He knows that sometimes we can solve our own problems just by talking about it. This taught me how important it is to communicate. This has become so important in my relationship with my husband. Communication is Key!

9. My dad is a wonderful father in law- Okay, so this one is all about perspective. My dad is kind of annoying with all his hugs and how he loves to ask questions or make statements that might make you feel uncomfortable if you haven’t been apart of the family for as long as us lifers. But the longer I am married the more my sweet husband agrees with this statement. My dad is not one of those Hollywood Dads who is ridiculously over protective of his daughters and makes it near impossible for a sensible reasonable young man to even approach him. He got to know both my husband and my sisters husband as soon as he could. He showed interest in their lives and made them feel comfortable. Best of all. My dad trusts the children he is raising and trusts their judgment to find a spouse that is right for them. His honest personality and all of the above points that I have made almost ensure that he is raising children who will pick a spouse who is caring, loving, and respectful.

10. My dad puts family first – We are it. We are the ones he works hard for. He started fatherhood and marriage at a really early age and he has really nailed it. He is not perfect. He never will be. But he has found a ton of ways to be great at being a father. I knew that no matter where he is or what he is doing he will drop everything to try and help me out in whatever way he can. That is the kind of person I want to be. I want to always be there for everyone I love. I want to put family first. My family consists of more than just people related to me by marriage or blood or law. My family are the people that have taken a hold of a piece of my heart. I know my dad is the same way. My dad has a huge heart.

I love my dad.

Today on fathers day I want to honour what an amazing man my father is. He is honourable, lovable, hug-able, and respectable. He is hilarious, silly, weird, and quirky. He is mine. He is my dad and I owe him a lot.

Thanks Dad for doing all of the above. My family is going to benefit from the rich legacy you are passing onto us. You are awesome! I love you!

 

-Lion a.k.a Your favorite oldest daughter!

 

The Pop up shop Boom!

I do not know about you, but I have a Love/Jealous relationship with all these adorable and successful little Pop up shops all over Instagram and other social medias. These inspiring stay at home or working moms are adding to the chaos of their already busy lives and starting creative and beautiful home businesses. I follow a few pop up shops on my social media sites and I swoon over their beautiful products. Everything from Headbands for my daughter, to pants and bow ties for my son, and even t-shirts and scrunchies for myself.  They are adorable. They are also pricey for this thrifty bargain shopping mom. 

I find myself either trying to justify the purchase because it is a home business and I would be one mom supporting another. Another argument I could make to convince myself that buying these cute accessories and clothing items is that I am buying local. I am investing in my community. The materials and products are organic and hand made in my own city. They are more expensive because more love, money and time has been spent on making them and getting them to my family. 

I am also torn because it is my dream to be able to stay at home and take care of my children and family while doing something I love. I love crafting. My issue is I start 20 projects at once and I am not sure which of them I enjoy the most. I am also the type of person who sees something that some one has made and finds a way to make it myself. Especially if the cost of their item is more then the cost of the materials and within my sowing/creative ability. I am not too lazy or too cheap to just make it myself. Probably why I enjoy doing so many projects at one time.

Seeing these shops thrive and succeed only drives me to want to do my own. But what product do I have that people might even considering buying over all the others out there? What creative, original, hand made, yet professional looking, creation can I come up with? Do I have the time? Would people even want what I have to offer? These are all questions and concerns that roll around in my brain as I come up with my business model. I do not have to be the best at what I do. But I do want to offer the best that I can make. 

So thank you Pop up shops. Thank you for providing local, hand made, products for us to either buy or be inspired by. I am all for supporting the “little guy”. I am also in love with the idea of supporting other Moms who are trudging through the same toddler trenches that I am, but doing it with more success. I am proud of you working moms who take on projects and live out your dreams. Its hard to do. Its intimidating. 

So what is the purpose of this post. To be honest, I had no idea when I started writing is. I just had a bunch of ideas floating around my head all having to do with this topic and I thought i would use this blog as an outlet for it. Pop up shops are a inspiring and in some ways easy. You do not need a store front, you do not need to fork out a lot of money all in the beginning, you do not need to pay for advertising, You do not even really need a business plan. Now that all being said, I have never started a business selling products and I am not a “How To” master on this area. I am not even a “How To” beginner. I am an observer. I am on the sidelines hoping to make my break into a world that inspires me. 

So maybe the purpose of this post is to tell you about the product I have been working on. Sure. Lets do that. Let me be a little vulnerable and throw my little Pop up Shop idea out there.

Magnetic Story boards

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(This is an example of my “Down by the Bay” story board)

I am sure you all remember Felt Board stories. The ones that your teacher or Sunday school teacher would use to tell a nursery rhyme or bible story. The ones that if you were sitting really nicely and listening you might just get a chance to put on the flannel board. The ones that were too delicate for you play with. The ones that would get stretched and even torn if you were not gentle with them. Well I have combined my love of drawing with the need for sturdier story pieces. (totally sounds like an infomercial.)

Right now I am working on my inventory so people can order them at a low cost. The design I have used is a hand drawn character laminated with a piece of magnetic strip attached to the back. The advantage of this design is that after a teacher/parent has used them to tell a story they can then have peace of mind letting a child use the pieces, knowing that they are durable. Plus I am including a life time warranty for any pieces that get wrecked. Not lost. Wrecked. 

I can do custom orders for a child’s favorite book, or song, or bible story. Here are a few of the stories I already have made.

  • The three bears
  • Paper bag Princess
  • 3 little pigs and the big bad wolf
  • There was an Old women who swallowed a fly
  • Old Mac Donald
  • The Three billy goats gruff
  • 5 Little monkeys Jumping on the bed
  • 5 Little monkeys swinging in a tree
  • Down by the bay
  • Mortimer
  • The Peaceable Kingdom
  • 5 Red Apples
  • 5 Little cookies
  • Mushroom in the Rain
  • Some matching games (match animal with their food)
  • Some color games
  • Some sorting games
  • Dress the Weather Boy
  • Dress up Weather Girl
  • Stephanie’s Pony tail
  • The Gift of the Inuksuk
  • Noah
  • Joseph
  • Moses
  • Adam and Eve

Those are just a few of the stories I have finished. 

My main selling point for these is that they let children learn and use their imagination. They can retell the story they were just told or they can come up with their own story. It is a fun way for children to feel in charge and in control. My 2 year old son absolutely loves retelling me the story of the 3 little pigs. He does a really good job too. He keeps the attention of my 15 month old as he tells it. 

I am totally in the beginning stages of starting up the business. I love doing it but I am having a hard time being motivated to work on the stories. So, I thought I would let all who read our blog know about it and see if there is any interest out there. I have been told they would make great gifts for children 6 and under. For birthdays or Christmas. You could include the story board with a book. or you could buy a cute little magnetic board and a few story boards along with it. 

So this has turned into a “Let me know what you think” Blog entry. 

I appreciate all support and encouragement for this topic. When I have “Paypal” all set up I will add the pictures of each completed story. 

Thank you for reading all the way until the end of this rambling Blog entry. You are the best!

-Lion

 

Nurture with Nature

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A big goal in my family with my children is to let them experience a natural childhood. To us that means, playing outside, getting dirty, and not relying on “stuff” to entertain them but to be able to entertain themselves. For people who do not have young children you might think this comes naturally. All children are born with this ability, right? Wrong. In some ways they are able to entertain themselves with anything anywhere but it is also something they have to learn and practice. Once a child is introduced to an easy source of entertainment such as TV, Ipad, game boys (is that what they are called these days?) or smart phones, they will gravitate towards it instead of coming up with their own way to play. Humans are lazy. Humans are always trying to make life easier and children are no exception. children love to say “I am bored”. I remember getting into really big trouble for saying that when I was young and even in some occasions I was sent to bed. 

How do we help our children learn to play? How do we, as their parents, stop doing what comes natural to us and stop being lazy? Here are a few things that we do in my family. I hope this can help inspire you to let your children learn and grow naturally. 

1. Water Table – No matter where you live you can have a water table. In the city or the country or suburbia, everyone has an outdoor space where a water table can claim some ground.  It does not have to be big, fancy or even a true “water table”. Just a bucket with water in it works just the same. Children love water. They can learn so many skills and concepts just by playing in water. Etc. pouring, making whirl pools, splashing, scooping, what floats, what sinks, and imaginative play. 

2.Real Wood Building Blocks – My family and I go on hikes and nature walks all the time. Along our hikes we collect (shh) pieces of wood from trees that have been cut down. A lot of times the people who cut down the trees make a few slivers or small pieces in the process that I scoop up and bury at the bottom of our backpacks. We take them home, dry them out, sand them down, and put a coating of varnish on them. Then I add them to our sandbox, water table, or just lay them out on the lawn for their imaginations to explore.

3. Climb – This one scares me. This one is hard for me to do. I am learning to let my babies grow and let them climb. Climbing really truly helps develop children s muscles and brains. They learn and grow so much in the process of climbing. whether it is stairs, trees, logs, hills, ladders, rocks etc. Children must climb. having said that, it does not mean we cant stand there under neath them with a hand hovering under their bottoms making sure they do not take a nasty fall.

4. Bike rides – pretty self explanatory. It does shock me when I find out how many children entering kindergarten do not own a bike. Bikes are great ways to get to know neighborhood kids and for a child to gain independence. Children are more likely going to stay physically active if they own a bike.*  Bikes are all over craigslist and at garage sales. Even second hand stores have them. Just like shoes, I never buy my kids brand new. They grow so fast. Plus bikes are expensive brand new.

5. Play dates anywhere but inside. Parks and water parks are great places to meet friends and their children. I have even started to be creative and I am ditching parks and meeting friends at the beach with no toys, forest picnics, River paths on their bikes, or a huge soccer field with a bunch of balls. Children find things to play with. Sticks, shells and sea weed make great boats and can decorate sand castles. When it is raining just bundle up and put on your rain gear and rubber boots and go puddle jumping. 

6. Get Dirty. That is why God invented Baths and Soap. Let your children get dirty. Let them feel comfortable with mud and sand under their finger nails. So many times I have stripped my children at the front door of all their clothes and then plopped them straight in the tub. After a quick hose down with the shower head they then enjoy a relaxing bubble bath. It makes a little more laundry but what is one more load when there are already 9 waiting for you?

7. Birds – bring bird seed to the park or the pond and feed those ducks and birds. Or better yet, bring the birds to you. Pinterest has a lot of great DIY Bird feeder ideas. There is bound to be one that interests you. My children love birds! Because there is a mouse problem where I live we have a hummingbird feeder instead of a bird seed feeder. But I do bring a bag of bird seed with me when we go on long walks for the children to give the birds. 

8. No Toy Time – This one is hard. But I love it! I block off a few times a week where my children are in a room where they need to play with no toys. I have been participating in this strange practice with them. We dance, wrestle, have balancing competitions, pretend to do karate or martial arts and sometimes just play games like I spy or “Simon says.” Try it. Its a good practice for the whole family. TV can be entertaining and a useful tool in those times when you just need a 30 minute break from your non napper or you just need to make dinner without holding a toddler. But please be aware of what they are watching. Be aware of how much time they are watching it. Be picky, protective, and precise about what you are letting them watch. I like the watch it with my children. Especially because my kids are not yet school age and have so many questions. We have a computer in the Kitchen and I let them watch it while I make dinner. That way I am watching it too and we can discuss what is being watched.

9. Nature hunts – This one is classic but I like to give it my own twist. We go for a walk and collect things that look interesting. Pine cones, leaves, sticks, moss, etc. Then we would take them home and put them in a shallow Tupperware container and, here is the best part, I add some plastic or wood animals to the mix. This always seems to generate natural play. My son loves this one. He has the best imagination and he loves animals. I have a bunch of small ones that I keep in the diaper bag for when we are out. I bring them camping too. So simple and so fun!

10. This one is my sons Favorite one. The hose. Water. We bring out big rocks and dig holes in the dirt and he builds dams and rivers. He could honestly do it for hours. It is so simple and yet so fun! Just make sure that everyone around is okay with getting wet. Of everything that he uses the hose for, getting me wet is his favorite.

 

I am looking into getting more areas of our lives filled with nature. My main priority is to get my children playing. Playing is so key to every aspect of their cognitive and physical development. Learning to play with Nature is my second goal. I am hoping to add more things to my list of how I integrate nature into their day to day life. I really want my children to be able to become more independent from toys and electronics. I want their imaginations to always be going. Toys and electronics have their roles but I really want to ensure that it is my children controlling them, not the other way around.

-lion

* I realized I made a few statements that sounds like I was stating a fact. The only way I have to back up anything I have said is through my life experience. Non of this is based on studies or tests. It is just my observations as a Mom and an Early Childhood Educator. I have been working with and around children for over 10 years and these are the things I have observed. Plus, I do remember being a child:) Some days my husband may argue that I still am a child.