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There’s a trite saying that, as new parents, we heard a lot.

“It gets easier.”

The funny thing about clichés is that they typically end up being true. After a couple weeks, things definitely got easier. After a couple of months, piece of cake. A year later, and I’ve even found myself saying the same cliché to other new parents.

“It gets easier.”

Well, almost. Not everything gets easier. Continue reading

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I wanted to show you all some of Luca’s favorite activities from the busy bag swap and show you how you could easily make them yourself!

First up is Luca’s favorite- this is the one he gravitates to most often.  It is a lacing activity using oversized items, which makes it great for little hands working on their fine motor skills.

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It is really simple- just a few pool noodles of different colors cut into “beads” and a knotted off clothesline.  The maker of this scoured the end so it didn’t fray.  It has held up really well after lots of play.  Such a basic idea, but we love it!

I think pool noodles are genius for this age demographic. I know they’re out of season right now, but you probably have some laying around in storage. Look for a roundup of all the great things you can do with them soon!

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Next up is the popsicle match.  This one required some sewing- the maker definitely used a machine to get the stitch nice and tight, but I’m sure it could be sewn by hand if a machine isn’t available.

Various colors of felt were sewn to form little ‘pockets’, and then we were provided coordinating popsicle sticks that fit perfectly inside to match the correct colors.

DSC_0217 Luca enjoys this one a lot- probably because of the soft felt.  He isn’t matching the colors up yet, but he does seem to understand they have different shades to them.  I am trying to teach him colors, so this is a great activity to do so with! Also, he loves to bang the sticks like he’s playing the drums…. #boys
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What I like most about the swap was that the activities were homemade.  (Most of them) were easy to make. Anyone with a toddler knows how easily they are entertained by the simplest things, so this just further proves that they don’t need anything fancy to learn and play with!

Power up!
Power up!

I’ve always been envious of runners that have been able to raise money for a good cause when participating in a race. I’m not much of an athlete; far too lazy for all that physical stuff. I leave the running to Lauren, but I have been itching to get involved in a charitable cause recently.

Luckily, I stumbled upon the perfect opportunity this year: the Extra Life National Game Day. Literally, a charitable event that encourages participants to play video games for 24 hours. It’s a marathon for gamers. Perfect. Continue reading

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I joined a play group over the summer that has been awesome so far. The babies range from 6-18 months, but Luca seems to be on the younger end of the group. We recently did a busy bag exchange and I wanted to share with you how it went!

So, a busy bag is intended to be something small, quiet, and simple to help occupy a toddler easily- think doctor’s waiting room, restaurant, church, etc.  Ours were all hand made, although I’m sure you can buy them somewhere online if you wanted to (etsy sells everything these days, doesn’t it?)

We had 30 (!) participants in our group, which meant that each mom made 30 of the same activity, and then we swapped so that at the end of the day each mom walked away with 30 different activities.  Thirty was definitely a lot, but I think it was worth it.  All of the moms worked so hard on their activities, and Luca has really enjoyed them so far!

I wanted to first show you the activity I made for the group.  I chose a sensory bag because it seemed easy enough- and it was easy but was also time consuming having to make so many of them.  I searched around for a few examples and then headed out for my supplies.

 

You can use any small items you’d like, but I went with googly eyes, smooth rocks, foam shapes, beads, and larger hooks in various shapes.DSC_0174

Then I filled a sandwich bag with colored hair gel.  (I used LA Looks- it came in large bottles and was inexpensive. I used 1/4- 1/3 of a bottle per each bag.) Then I carefully dropped in a few items and sealed the bag.  I then put that bag inside of an additional sandwich bag, and then sealed all sides with colorful duct tape.DSC_0177

The bag is soft and squishy and it seems to hold Luca’s attention for a minute or two.  I can’t ask for much more at this point, so I will call this project a win! DSC_0180

Over the next week or two I want to share some of the activities we received from the swap. They are awesome- and really great age-appropriate ideas to entertain toddlers.

(In the past few posts, I’ve noticed Luca is wearing the same pair of pajamas. I assure you, the kid has more than one pair, so it is just a coincidence that I photograph him in the same thing each time!)