Alexander’s Outing: A book activity

 

alexanders outing play1

I’ve got a little bookworm on my hands. Which suits me just fine!

She loves Where is the Green Sheep? (see here) and brings it to me constantly during the day to read to her. With a huge selection of Children’s books in this house, I decided it was time we explored some new titles.

So we started with Alexander’s Outing by Pamela Allen

alexanders outing cover

Alexander’s Outing is the story of a duckling called Alexander who did not pay attention when walking with his mother and the other ducklings. When crossing the road, Alexander falls down a hole in the road, and the story then follows how people try to help get Alexander out. Eventually they discover that by filling the hole with water, Alexander can float to the top and out of the hole again.

alexanders outing image 2

Miss E enjoyed this story, particularly because we have quite a collection of rubber ducks and she knows what a ‘ducky’ is, and that it says ‘quack quack’.

Using our collection of rubber ducks, I came up with a little water play activity to play with after reading the book.

alexanders outing setup

I gathered my supplies:

  • Baby bath with a little water in the bottom (you could use a large container, kitchen sink, bath)
  • Rubber ducks
  • Plastic cup
  • Container to fill (I used a medium sized mixing bowl)
  • Towel for catching all the spills

and stripped Miss E down to a nappy and T-shirt, because she was always going to end up soaking wet.

IMG_8230We put a duck in the bowl and slowly filled the bowl with water, making the duck rise to the top.

IMG_8233

We repeated this a few times with different ducks, and different levels of success at tipping the water into the bowl and not onto ourselves (Miss E, not me!).

Then we had some free play, which was mostly just a lot of splashing and tipping water everywhere, but a lot of fun on a hot day!

alexanders outing play2

I’ll repeat this activity when Miss E’s a little older, with rubber ducks, balls, leaves, rocks, toy cars etc, so that we can explore the idea of what sinks and what floats.

and now we go back to the book collection to find some more activities we can link to books!

Abby xx

 

Advertisements

Motherhood

I’m going through a Jodi Picoult stage at the moment. I’m currently reading Perfect Match and have just finished Vanishing Act. They’re a nice simple read and I always get hooked quickly, then read the whole book in a few days.

When I came across this paragraph in Vanishing Act, I had to capture it. It’s exactly right.

book quote

It made me think of those first few days after I had Miss E, when I realised that I would never again, for the rest of my life, stop worrying about this little person. The thought was so exhausting on that third baby blues day, that it made me cry.

Exhausting as all that worrying is, and will be, it’s absolutely worth it 🙂

Abby xx

 

Books for Babies

book collage

I’m a bit of a book nerd, and Miss E is well on her way to becoming one too. Our Children’s book collection is a little crazy, between my love of picture books, my old picture books, the books I’d collected as a teacher and the books Miss E received at our BaByQ / Book Shower, we’ve got just a few.

There are these in her bedroom:

nursery3

and these in the lounge:

lounge books

and then the novels that are a bit beyond her at the moment, are in the spare bedroom.

We like to read together snuggled up together on the couch, or both laying on our bellies with the book spread out on the floor in front of us, and sometimes we lay on our back and I hold the book open up above us. I don’t think it matters a whole lot how you read to your baby, just so long as you do.

We aim to read one book a day with Miss E, though it’s often more than that. Matt reads as many books to her as I do, because we want her to see that it’s important for everyone to read. We’ll probably make an even bigger deal out of Matt reading to the kids if and when we have a little boy one day, so that our little man grows up knowing that reading is just as important for boys as it is girls.

Amongst the many books we own, these are the ones that we read over and over again:

IMG_4126

Hairy Maclary by Lynley Dodd.

This was one of my favourites when I was little. I can remember it being the first book I ever borrowed from the school library, when I was five years old. Miss E loves it too. I think it’s because it rhymes, is repetitive and Hairy Maclary and his pals are dogs, and she loves dogs!

Each time we read this book, we talk about the dogs, and how Penny is a dog too. Babies learn so much from talking about what is in the book, as well as reading the story. We’ve now come to the point where Miss E looks to Penny continuously when we’re reading books about dogs. She’s made the connection between books, and real life!

The next three books are board books. I find board books are great with Miss E, because I’m not precious about her bending or tearing the pages, and if she wants to put the corners in her mouth she can go for it!

wonkey donkey

wonky donkey open

The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith.

I think this one might be just as fun for Mum and Dad to read, as what it is for little ones to hear. Another repetitive, rhyming book, The Wonky Donkey is also great because it’s silly. Our copy also came with a CD with the story recorded in song. Bonus!

i went walking

I Went Walking by Sue Williams.

This is a nice quick book. The illustrations are simple, and the text is repetitive. It talks about common farm animals, so we talk about the noises those animals make, and show her any stuffed toys that match. Perfect for little people!

Again, this book has a dog in it that happens to look a lot like Penny, so maybe this is why Miss E likes it as well!

where is the green sheep

green sheep open

Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox.

Rhyming, repetitive and silly, this book has you looking for the Green Sheep the whole way through. Miss E loves the illustrations in this book. We have a fluffy green sheep toy that we play with after reading this book, and sing ‘Baa Baa Green Sheep’ and ‘Mary had a little lamb (whose fleece was green as grass)’.

Yes, we definitely love our books in this house, and we’re so happy to see our little girl following in our footsteps!

Abby xx

The Princess and the Pea

In an effort to save money, I’m trying to hand make as many gifts as possible. So that I don’t find myself caught out at the last minute without a gift, I’ve started making some gifts to put away, ready for a rainy day.

I found the idea for this gift on Pinterest a couple of years ago, but only got around to making it for the first time just recently. Find the original idea as I saw it here.

I made a simple Princess and the Pea playset, to be gifted with a copy of the book.

IMG_7121

Using some fabric scraps, and bits and pieces I already had, I made eight little mattresses for the Princess to sleep on, and one little princess.

IMG_7126

IMG_7125

As you can see, I didn’t worry too much about making the princess perfect. I tend to make a lot of my projects with a lot of trial and error, no measuring, just going by eye. Sometimes, I get wonky results, but it doesn’t bother me too much. Half the appeal of handmade toys is that they are not perfect. I doubt a kid would mind anyway!

Of course, it wouldn’t be The Princess and the Pea without a pea would it? I added a marble to the bottom mattress as my ‘pea’, and for added interest, sewed a little maze pattern into the mattress for the pea to pass through.

IMG_7129

I’ve only made one playset so far, but I’ve bought three copies of the book, so it looks like I’ll be making a couple more to put away in the gift box too. One will probably be for Miss E when she’s old enough, the others will become gifts for someone else.

princess n book

princess and book

I’m pretty happy with this little project. It was quick, easy and a lot of fun. I can’t wait to make some more!

Abby xx

 

 

Buying gifts for little people

toys

It might only be July, and a long time until Christmas, but I’m just about all done with Miss E’s Christmas shopping already. Having almost all of our families birthdays in November and December along with Christmas, makes it a very expensive time for us. We clearly planned Miss E well, with her birthday falling in between Christmas and New Year! So I decided I need to be organised well in advance, if we don’t want empty wallets at the beginning of January.

I’ve done most of my shopping at the toy sales this year, planning out what I would buy before I walked through the door. Walking into a toy sale with all those bright coloured, light up, noise making toys can be overwhelming, I needed to make sure that I knew what I wanted, before I went in.

I came up with some criteria, then checked the catalogues and made my list.

Here’s some of the criteria I was looking for:

  • Nothing that requires batteries, has lights, moves automatically or has automated voices/plays music. I don’t want Miss E sitting passively and expecting to be entertained by her toys, she should play an active role in entertaining herself.
  • Should promote imaginative play and open ended activities.
  • Some outdoor play equipment.
  • Help develop fine and gross motor skills.

Here are some articles that guided my thinking before I came up with my criteria.

http://mamas-in-the-making.com/2012/06/starting-the-toy-revolution/

http://www.janetlansbury.com/2010/10/better-toys-for-busy-babies/

That said, we already own some toys that break my own rules. Bought by me before having Miss E, and before I’d thought this through, or as gifts from friends and family. I haven’t thrown these toys out though, I just limit their use to ‘once in a blue moon’, or when I’m desperate for a few minutes peace to finish my lunch before it’s cold, or have a shower.

Do you have specific criteria for the toys you buy your children? If so, what would you add to my list?

Abby xx

4 Helpful App’s for Mum’s

4 helpful apps

I’m no technology whiz, by any stretch of the imagination. That’s probably obvious by my use of the technical term ‘technology whiz’. I do however own an iPhone, and kind of know my way around it. Since becoming a Mum, I’ve found a few apps that I love and have helped me out along the way.

Here are some of my favourites:

What to Expect

This is a great FREE pregnancy app. You’ll get weekly updates on how your baby is progressing, what size they are, new developments etc. Along with the millions of books I read, I really enjoyed having this app to tell me what was happening that week in my pregnancy.

The Wonder Weeks

This is a paid app ($2.49 in Australia), but I truly believe it was worth what I paid for it! This app is designed to support the Wonder Weeks book (which I do not have) but works well on it’s own as well. This app tracks the weeks of your babies life from birth to almost two years old, and explains when they are experiencing ‘Wonder Weeks’ or developmental leaps. I’ve found this app helpful in understanding why my baby is unsettled and frustrating easily at times, and I’ve found myself picking up on new developments (i.e. following moving people with their eyes) as they’ve been happening, because I’ve been reading about them on Wonder Weeks.

Tinybeans

This is by far my favourite FREE app. A photo sharing app, designed for parents to share daily photos and videos of their little people with family. I originally downloaded this app, just so that I could share regular photos with interstate family members, but with a husband who also travels regularly for work, this app has been so handy. By putting all the days photos and videos on there, family can stay connected, see how she’s growing, and we’re not overwhelming Facebook and Instagram with thousands of updates all the time. You have complete control over who sees your photos and videos by sending invitations via email to those people you want to share with. For me, the only people able to view are Matt, Miss E’s grandparents, aunties and uncles.

The pictures are displayed in a calendar format and everyone receives a daily email telling them when there are new photos and videos available. There are also options to keep records of height, weight, and milestones on the app, but I haven’t bothered much with that. I get a message on my phone at 6pm every day, reminding me to upload if I haven’t already for that day. It takes me a few minutes a day to share these, but means so much to all of our family, all of whom are addicted to this app!

Fitbit

This one is not just an app, but a wrist band you also buy. It’s a bit of an outlay, I’m lucky I received mine as a birthday gift. I have the Fitbit Flex, a wrist band I wear 24/7, that records how many steps I take a day and also records my sleep. I have found it most helpful for recording my sleep. Teamed with the app, you can record and look at your sleep patterns and how much sleep you’ve had. As a new mum, getting up many times in the night, I’ve found this great for telling me exactly how much sleep I’ve had. When I get up in the morning and read that I’ve had 3 hours sleep, I know that I need to take a nap at some point during the day when Miss E is napping. If it tells me I’ve had 5 or more hours sleep, I figure that’s enough to survive on, and I power on. The image below is a screen capture of the app one morning when I hadn’t had a very good night of sleep!

IMG_3086

The main purpose of a Fitbit is to record how many steps you’re taking. The goal is to reach 10,000 steps a day. You can keep track of how many steps you’re taking through the app, and the wristband will vibrate and light up when you reach your goal. A few other cool functions that I’ve yet to use are:

  • you can set an alarm on it that will gently vibrate to wake you in the morning.
  • you can also record how many calories and glasses of water you’ve consumed each day.
  • it tells you how many calories you have burned.
  • you can share your data with other friends who have Fitbits.

and to think, all those years mothers mothered without smart phones! Ha!

Abby xx

On the verge of motherhood

 

Image

 

38 Weeks pregnant today!

While everyone else can hardly believe that Christmas is only a week away, I’d be struggling to remember if it weren’t for the giant Christmas tree in my lounge room.

My mind is consumed by the thought that some time in the next two weeks, I’m going to become a Mum! I’m hoping for sooner rather than later.

I’m excited and terrified at the same time, aware that I have so much to learn and that my life will be changed forever.

Hurry along little lady. We’re all looking forward to meeting you soon!

Abby xx