Showing posts with label children. Show all posts
Showing posts with label children. Show all posts

Shunky Monkey 1st Birthday Party!


Our little guy turned one last Saturday and we had a small family birthday party for him - "monkey" style.

It included paper decorations - paper monstera leaves, kraft paper vines, handmade party hats - thrifted monkeys (washed, of course) and banana desserts. A couple of cards/gifts, some songs and laughter, and our boy was ready for his afternoon nap. :-)

Birthday hat template, monkey face, monstera leaf silhouette, monkeys: thrifted, vine inspiration: this pin

Preemie Update: Look who's a year!


He's quintupled (I know, right?) his birth weight at 3lbs, 8oz.

He's grown an entire foot.

He's almost done with his hardcore reflux med.

He is fat and happy.

He loves to talk and make noise and squeal and cries very well, thankyouverymuch. (Preemies don't cry - it takes too much energy).

He has 8 teeth.

He crawls, pulls up, cruises and climbs stairs.

He gets into and tries to eat everything he shouldn't - cords, electronics, phones, paper, etc.

He also eats almost everything he should! He loves sweet potatoes, bananas, broccoli, chicken, greek yogurt, blueberry pancakes, watermelon, cantaloupe, and almost anything else he can get his hands on.

Our sweet boy has come so far - we are so thankful! (If you need to catch up on our NICU story, start here.)

summer simplicity


The first of our meager crop. A little tart, and some are less than beautiful. But all picked by these little, sweet hands in daily excitement of these hidden red jewels.

Love the simplicity of summer through our little girl's eyes.

Montessori kitchen help: peeling carrots


I love that Montessori activities are geared toward a lot of practical activities. First, because they teach kids to do every day things, and then, because it's not a long, drawn out, have-to-prepare-lots-in-advance-for thing. This Mama likes that.

Take peeling carrots for example. We needed more carrots to munch on - I buy the larger carrots because they are cheaper and dip sticks better to them than packaged baby carrots (or so my husband says). But, we do have to peel and cut those guys and my daughter can help! (Even in her "wedding" dress.)

One of the books I read suggested letting eighteen month olds do that. Um, no thanks (that blade is sharp, even if I'm standing right there!), but I'll let my three-year-old do it. (What?! Would you let a baby have a vegetable peeler??)

Other safe kitchen activities:

- peeling carrots, duh
- measuring ingredients (baked goods are great!)
- cutting up a banana with a blunt knife for a snack
- spreading peanut butter/jelly on a sandwich
- pouring a drink for themselves

Any other kitchen ideas (for preschoolers) I've not covered?

Why I'm Not Teaching My Child to Read {yet}.


I've not set out to make my child a genius.

I've known this from the time I was pregnant, I wasn't going to push her to be an overachiever. To be impressively smart, for me to brag about her genius. What's the point? She needs to be allowed play, a childhood. She has plenty of time to study - years of her life in education - years that I'm not beginning just yet.

(And, if you wanted me to brag on her, there are so many other things I could tell you!)

It's like there is this unspoken rule in today's North American culture - "you must be a really good mom if your child can count and read and write, so push them! the younger the better and more impressive!" At least that's how I've felt.

Well, frankly, I don't care.

I could care, except I pretty much gave up pushing her from day one. My daughter's personality helps me realize, when she is ready, she will be ready. And not one day sooner. (Trust me.)

And it's not like I just ignore every part of learning - she knows her colors and can count to 8! Ha. She can get dressed, pick up toys, feed the dog and herself. She won't go to kindergarten until she's almost 6, so I figure if I start with letter recognition and writing around the time she turns 4. If she's interested. And even then, I think the best way of learning is incorporated into play - which is exactly why I love Montessori activities. They feel like play with an educational tweak.

I don't WANT her to read at age 3-1/2. I want her to be little. To say words wrong. To learn sometimes just by default - truly, it is amazing how much she takes in without me pushing?

A friend recently told me that there is a marked difference between kindergarteners who attend school half days and whole days, but by the end of first grade, they are basically at the same level. Interesting.

I'm not worried and I am choosing to continue not to be.


I guess the biggest reason behind this stems from desiring a life of simplicity. I intend to write about simple living from several perspectives in the coming months, but it just seems like so much pressure for a mom to have super "smart" children. Pushing, pushing, overscheduling, a thousand activities, know your letters, know your numbers, go - go - go. It doesn't feel free or peaceful or simple to me.

Time for play, space, experiencing nature and un-pressured learning in a home environment (how to interact with each other, cooking with each other, independent play, etc.) sounds much less pressured. And that's the path I choose.

"The most important skills that children everywhere must learn in order to live happy, productive, moral lives are skills that cannot be taught in school. Such skills cannot be taught at all. They are learned and practised by children in play. These include the abilities to think creatively, to get along with other people and cooperate effectively, and to control their own impulses and emotions." source

a DIY montessori weather learning tool


I wanted to make my 3-year old something fun and inexpensive but educational for Christmas. Inspired by this Etsy shop item I forged ahead with making my own felt weather tool for the side of the refrigerator. (Speaking of fridges, have you seen the SMEGs? My dream home is just begging for one...)

Back to the magnetic felt weather tool. I sewed a heavy duty magnet from the craft store into the backing piece before I sewed on the fronts and stuffed them. 

 My favorite piece was the snowflake.

After printing off a snowflake pattern, I placed the paper on the felt and sewed back and forth with a contrasting thread (as you can see, the lines aren't perfect) until all the lines were "drawn". Then, I carefully ripped the paper off - it is easy as the lines are all perforated and just peel off. Sweet!

"Raindrops keep fallin' on my head, they keep fallin'..."

 I ran out of magnets for the lightning, so instead of running out to buy another whole package, I just snipped a piece of velcro (the rough side) and sewed it to the top. It sticks to the back of a cloud or another piece to wait for the rare thunderstorm. (It does leave a bit of a mess pulling away from the felt, but since it's so infrequently used, I'm not too worried about it.)

There you have it! Teach your child about weather observation and have fun while you go!

Cost: approx. $4-5 including tax (or less if you use a coupon!)
felt sheets (7 @ $0.25)
stuffing (already had)
magnets ($2.49 - set of 8)

a couple new shop items (*gasp!*)


It's been awhile, hasn't it? The summer has been slow going for the shop, so I've tried not to go thrifting too much. That always gets me in trouble.

But, the other day I had the itch and the girl and I drove out to one of my favorite thrift spots.

I found these adorable crop tops - although I don't think I'd ever put my child in one,  they are so cute and summery!

another sweet pink dress ... (I think I need to sell these as a lot for someone and get some other colors in my line!)

A sweet little yellow toddler nightgown...

And a summer sweatersuit from West Germany - I include that tidbit because from the tag (that says: "Made in West Germany"), I can tell it was manufactured at least from 1990 or before which makes it vintage for sure! (Because West Germany was no more at the end of 1990.) It's in really great condition although like the crop tops, I'm not sure I'd put a baby in a sweater for 100 degree temps, but it's still cute.

Feel free to stop by the shop or click the button on the right side of my blog to visit! I'm slowly clearing out my sale items and hope to have my new all-baby/children's schätzli shop up by Sept. 1. I'm still not sure if I'm going to open another shop - like schätzlipatterns or something like that, but I'm deciding. Too much great vintage for one person!! 

Wish me luck and I'll be back with another shop update at the beginning of the fall. 


Some neat nursery additions.


I'm horribly late to the draw on this one. But last year, we added some fun little additions to Ladybug's room and I wanted to show them off.

For Christmas, Uncle Ryan and Erin got her the cutest little canvas growth chart. Very needed to chart this girl's growth! I think I'll measure her on birthdays and half-birthdays for now.  There are two little marks down at the bottom at 28" (12 months) and 31" (18 months). Yay for sweet, sweet growth charts. As long as she doesn't rip it off the wall, we're good.

A verse I can't stop relating to our sweet little girl after all of the troubles we had getting her here.
So I made some subway art for her room. I still have yet to hang it up, but I kind of like it on her side table. So, there it stays for now. Love these IKEA frames that hold 8-1/2" x 11" paper. So convenient not to edit to 8x10!

Aunt Jenn and Uncle Shawn made this amazing letter art for her first birthday last year and it sits on her big shelf. So pretty and creative! I love it - something that isn't too babyish that will grow with her.

Remember my post about nursery curtains? No, of course you don't. It's been over a year!! Well, friends, I've finally taken your advice and this weekend I finished her curtains. Hip hip hooray!

(Excuse the photos - it's really difficult to photograph a sunny window!!) I prefer curtains to the floor or short, but these aren't too bad for in between. I'm so happy I finished these - I hate unfinished projects.

Yay! Love these additions. Thanks to the aunties and uncles who contributed.

another little tutu


I made another little tutu. This time, rainbow colored.

Okay, okay, I'm a tutu nut. It's true.

18 months


Sweet girl is 18 months old this month! I'm a little late to the draw here with her update, but better late than never, I suppose. 

We went to see the doctor and they measured her:
Height: 31"
Weight: 22-1/2 lbs

She's started doing some "chores" and loves to help. She feeds Jackson by carrying the bowl (very carefully) to his mat. And she empties the dishwasher silverware. Sometimes they end up in her mouth or on the floor, but ya know. We're workin' on it.

New words this month: hot, no no, go! go! go! go!, yeaaaaaaah and yummy, yummy.

Fun antics: She tickles our feet while saying her version of "tickle, tickle"- it's SO sweet.

Here's her cheesey face. She also has a hilarious "Oh" face (puts her mouth into a tiny, exaggerated "O") and when she wants something to eat, she runs up to us with her mouth as wide open as it will go.

She's started to wants to read books again! She's been so busy perfecting her walking skills that it's taken over our lives for the last few months. She's still super busy but will sit for a minute to snuggle or read.

Ladybug gives great hugs and is getting the hang of kisses.

She loves picking out her clothes for the day, got a shoe on all by herself (the wrong foot - but hey), and helps us put our shoes on too.

She also helps Mommy clean - with pretty much any "rag" she gets - her washcloths, the dishrag, clothes, wipes, tissues... you name it.

A few toddler difficulties have made their appearance into our days. She gets easily frustrated, as many toddlers do, when she can't make something work right or doesn't get her way. Thus lots of whining and minor tantrums. But I told Jeremy, "You ain't seen nothin' yet!" I'm just waiting for that huge toddler tantrum.

Until then, the last bit of news is great news!! She gets to stop wearing her shoes! The doctor said that next to the shoes, walking barefoot is the best way to keep her feet flexible - so I'm all about cute sandals when we go out and bare feet for the rest of the time this summer. Love it.

Happy half birthday little love!

who me?!


we're just about to head out the door. i put the diaper bag in the chair and run upstairs for something I forgot.

then, i hear the sound my ears are so used to hearing. a cascade of falling cereal.


will i never learn my lesson?



So, I've taken my sewing machine into the shop twice in the last few days - it's been doing the same (frustrating) thing -- pulling the stinking fabric down into the feed and then the thread gets all tangled inside and the needle is pulled so tight, I can't even move it.


Turns out, my extra bobbins are too tall. They are Singer bobbins and I need a different kind for my Kenmore. WHO knew!? I thought bobbins were standard. Geez. What a pain.

Anyway, over the weekend, I finally finished my fourth little pair of bloomers for Ladybug. Here they are, black, white, pink and blue.


The girl and I are leaving tomorrow to celebrate a special sister's graduation from nursing school. She did it!! She's officially an R.N.! Congrats to her because she worked her butt off for the last two years - and we all know how wonderful a nurse she'll be.

Also, we get to see the baby belly in person, visit their new house, and do some sewing for the new nursery.

They're having a boy, did I mention that?? Ooooo! I'm so excited.

Okay, okay.  Signing off until next week.

Au Revoir!

Vintage Sailor Dress


A vintage find I couldn't put in the shop. (Yet.) It fits the girl perfectly and is SO cute with ruffle socks and red Mary Janes.

People are crazy about the nautical stuff and for this little dress, I agree.

Happy May Day!!

Using My Assertive Mommy Voice


I meet with a Parents as Teachers educator every month to talk about the girl's growth, development, behavior, etc. It's a wonderful program and completely free (double bonus).

Our educator, Becky, has a few master's degrees so she's well-informed but so laid back and helpful. You can tell she adores little ones and also really enjoys her job as a parent educator. Love this.

Last week was a little crazy as I was babysitting these two (ages 2 and 5) that day, but they sat at the table and cut, colored and stickered and Ladybug went back and forth between Becky and I and the kids. It ended up being fine.

(They asked that their identity remain anonymous on my blog. haha.)

However, at the end of our meeting, I said something to Ladybug that triggered a response from her that, in turn, I was able to share with Jeremy and realize how un-assertive I have been.

She said, "Now, if you give her a choice to come or not, you may have to deal with the answer of 'No'. But if she doesn't have a choice, you need to tell her without asking a question. You need to use your assertive voice."

**INSERT huge Aha! moment for me.**

Since then, I've realized how often I ask our girl instead of telling her when I'm not really giving her a choice. The days of "No" are coming soon and I need to be ready!

Instead of:
"Can you please not throw that on the floor?"

I need to say:
"We don't throw food on the floor."

Or rather than:
"Can you bring your juice to me?"

I need to say:
 "Please bring me your juice." 

Or how about:
"Ladybug, can you not hit the dog?"

I need to say:
"Ladybug, we don't hit the dog. That hurts him." 

Becky said that even ending an assertive direction with, "Okay?" defeats the purpose. (Like, "We don't hit dogs, okay?") If I give her the option of saying "No" -- which is important in the correct situations -- I have to deal with the fact that she will eventually say no and I will have to get up and get what I want instead of having her obey.

BUT, on the reverse, giving her a (limited) choice in ways that provide healthy boundaries is wonderful practice and gives her some semblance of control or independence in her life.

Like a choice between two good options,

"You're thirsty. Would you like juice or milk?"
"You're hungry. Would you like sweet potatoes or ham?"
"Which outfit would you like to wear, the purple or blue?" (She loves this one!!)
"Would you like to walk holding my hand or be carried?"

Or a yes/no answer like,

"Would you like to read a book with Mommy?"
"Are you hungry/thirsty?"
"Do you want to help Mommy water the flowers?"

I still have so much to learn, but I thought I'd share this little tidbit of info to any new mommies or daddies like us out there that need to use assertive voices! :-) In turn, I sense that this will evoke a sense of confidence in our children too.

What do you think?