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Author: FLORA

I am a post-career SAHM (Stay-at-home mom), living in Bozeman Montana. I share stories and ideas from parenting with a Montessori and Positive Discipline inspired perspective. Also, I LOVE DIY projects and finding great ways to use thrift store or hand-made toys for my little ones.
Learn more about why I say I'm "Just" a stay-at-home mom.

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Recent Posts

Stop Trying to be Perfect

Recently I attended a Circle of Security workshop for parents, and I read the book “Raising a ...

Ways to keep my 1-year-old interested in reading

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My son has always loved books.  We have tried to encourage this from a very early age by having books be equal to toys.  We have books that work as toys in the bath tub (these are great!), books in his bedroom toy shelf, books in the play space of the living room, and even books in the car.

BUT…I noticed a few weeks ago that he just stopped gravitating towards the books.  This is what his reading area (in the living room) looked like.  I thought the set-up was cute, but I think it was too cluttered for him, and he couldn’t pull out the books very easily.

image“Maybe there are too many books”, I thought.  So I tried an experiment. I had seen a really cute Pinterest post on Montessori Themes that had a few books based on a theme, for the children to explore.  Then, those themes were rotated each week.  So, instead of having  a big variety of books, I divided the books into themes and put out just 1 theme (with only 4 books).  Here were some of the divisions:

Animal Themed books

Animal Themed books

Night-time Themed Books

Night-time Themed Books

Number books

Number books

Number books Montessori

I added numbers to the caterpillar book

Animal themed books

Animal themed books

And they were a hit!

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My son, gravitated to the reading area (unprompted) when he woke up from his nap. *Because of course I was only able to do this during nap time.:)

So, I totally encourage you to try this out.  I am storing the themes that are not in use  in a basket on our book shelf.

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We now rotate “themes” every 1-2 weeks and it’s working awesome to keep my 1-year-old interested in books!

Floor bed dropout

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confessions of a 1st time mom
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confessions of a 1st time momWell, I have a confession to make.  Yep. I am officially a floor bed dropout.  I learned about using a floored from Montessori, and believed in the theories behind it.

Here is what a Montessori-inspired bedroom, with a floor bed, looks like. Super adorable!

http://sewliberated.typepad.com/sew_liberated/2011/01/finnian-and-lachlans-studio.html

http://sewliberated.typepad.com/sew_liberated/2011/01/finnian-and-lachlans-studio.html

Mainly, the idea is that you:

1.  Have your toddler sleep on a bed that is just a mattress on the floor, with no crib.

2.  This is supposed to help the child to be able to mentally map out their environment more easily and develop independence as they should be able to get up on their own in the morning and play with toys for a while, rather than banging or yelling for parents.

3.  This is supposed to help a child learn boundaries in a more internalized form (ie. stay on the bed because they know that is where they will sleep best, not because they are trapped there).

Well…like I said, in theory this is fantastic.  In reality, however, it was totally not working.  My 16 month-old would fall off the bed in the middle of the night and scream until I came in and put him back on the bed. *Side note: This is strongly influenced by the fact that our child has been slow with large motor development and though he can walk already, he still can’t climb or crawl at all.  So, he really couldn’t get back on the bed when he wiggled off of it.  And, he recently started to be impossible to put down for an afternoon nap because he would push up onto his hands and roll off (to protest the nap), but still not be able to get back on the bed.  That lead to 1/2 hour or longer struggles to try to get him sleepy enough to stay on the bed. Argh! Exhausting.

So…yeah.  My 1st-time mom confession of the week is that I’m a floor bed drop out.  Sorry Montessori! I love you, but I just couldn’t do this one.  The crib’s back up.

These days are the greatest

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Since I have shared some of the really difficult days, I want to share some of the best days too. 🙂imageimage

Today we enjoyed one of the first days of spring, here in Montana. We got to play at a park with friends in the m orning, and then went to a duck pond and another playground in the afternoon. Lots of laughter and smiles filled the day, and my heart feels so full of gratitude for the fact that this is my life.

 

 

How 1-year-olds are the best teachers

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004A9053This week I have been noticing how my child has an amazing capacity to help me enjoy the present moment more than I ever have before.  So I want to just take a moment to say thanks for all he does.

1.  When I follow his lead, I am so much more present to the world around me.

Last weekend we were on a walk down our friend’s street and he started screeching. At first I thought it was a sad/angry tantrum, but as I looked at his face he was smiling. I was perplexed for a moment, and then I realized he was echoing the birds in the nearby trees. I hadn’t even tooned into their beautiful songs, and yet he was able to notice and start mimicking them.  What a wonderful thing to be stopped in my tracks to listen and “talk” with the birds.

2.  He helps me to notice things big and small.

There is nothing like having a 1-year-old to help you notice the tiniest things in life. I may notice a giant beautiful tree, but Chunky Monkey will stop with incredible curiosity to marvel at a tiny blade of grass.  He loves to explore every detail of gravel rocks, dirt, plants, etc.  I have never spent so much time noticing “tiny” things on the ground level, and I must say, I’ve been missing out!;)

3.  He helps me to treasure little moments in a spectacular way.

I have always loved buying myself a latte or having 1-on-1 time with a friend. But now, if I have a moment to myself to slowly savor one of those treats, I soak up every little second as if I was spending it with a celebrity. Similarly, there are such precious moments with my son. Hugs, kisses, and the word “momma” have never been sweater than when they come from this little 2 foot man.

So, I am just feeling especially greatful this week for the gifts this little man brings to my life. I am always thinking of ways to teach him, but at 1 year of age he is already teaching me!

Funny Birthday card ideas

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So, my husband’s brother turned 30 today and we wanted to do something special for him.  Since he loves his nephew (How could he not?!;-) ), I made a few funny videos and picture cards to text him throughout the day. Maybe one of your friends/family would love something like this on their Birthday.

Idea #1: Make a Singing Birthday Video.

This is so easy. I used the MyPetCanTalk app, which you can download for FREE! It is easy to take a photo, sing the song, and save it to be emailed or texted.

Idea #2: Make some funny photo cards, similar to ones you might have seen in the store…but STARING your little one!

I used PicMonkey to upload and edit the photos.  Super easy and also FREE!

calebphone

calebbirthday2

My husband and his brother are always giving each other a hard time.

Please share some of your fun Birthday ideas!:-)

 

Ways to involve your toddler in the kitchen

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If your 1-year-old is like mine, they LOVE to be involved with cooking (or anything you are doing in the kitchen)! My Chunky Monkey loves to sweep too.  These are aspects that Montessori calls “Practical Life” lessons.  When a child has ways that they can be involved in the daily activities (cooking and cleaning), they develop independence and confidence.   Here’s how they do practical life lessons in a Montessori school.

Here are some ways we have found we can get our 1-year old safely involved in the kitchen.

1. cooking with a toddlerPurchase a learning tower.  They are a bit pricey, but you will use it for years.  Also, to us it is worth a million dollars for how happy it makes our son as he is able to more easily help out in the kitchen.  You can set it anywhere and adjust the height so your child is easily (and safely) able to reach the table or counter.

2.  Get out the salad spinner! Our son has loved “helping” make salad since he was 10 months old.  He pushes the button for the salad (which helps him build important hand muscles that will be needed for writing and drawing), and he takes the lid off on his own.  He also loves to tear the lettuce into small pieces and put them in a bowl I set next to him.  The trick is to have his hands washed and a very clean floor under his work area. 🙂  That way if/when he drops pieces, they can easily be picked up and used.

3.  Look for opportunities for them to help stir.  Our Chunky helping in the kitchenMonkey loves to help stir, and it’s an activity that enhances his arm coordination.  We stand close-by, but encourage him to be as independent as possible.  His smile is usually about the size of a slice of watermelon, as he feels so proud to be helping.  *As a side note: I believe in the Positive Discipline principle that children thrive when they have a sense of significance and belonging.  Learn why we need a sense of belonging here.

I’d love to hear other ways you get little hands involved in the kitchen. Please share below.