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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

Decide What you Will Do (To Motivate Children to Clean-up)

Today, I want to share how this tool can be very effective in motivating a toddler to clean up.  &#...

Learning about numbers

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The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) says, “Each day offers us countless opportunities to help children deepen their understanding of math concepts. The more we talk math, the better chance infants and toddlers have to build a positive attitude toward math learning and learning in general.”

So, I am striving to incorporate math concepts into everyday life here with “Chunky Monkey”.  Some people would think it’s too early to work with an 18-month old on math concepts, but that’s not true at all.  Montessori education and the NAEYC recommend that you begin including math concepts in every day life from infancy.  Why waist the incredible time period of 0-3, when children have such absorbent minds?

So, this week I did a DIY flip ring with the numbers 1-10.  number flip book1image1

 

 

 

 

 

I used a permanent marker to write on some lament counter top samples my husband got from a hardware store.  The sample chips and chain came already put together, but you could easily make this with lamenated paper.  In fact, I just found one like it recently at a yard sale (from a crafty mom).:-)image3

My little man was eager to have me tell the “story” of the numbers again and again while he flipped the samples to the next one.

So, I’d call it a success so far – and it only took about 2 minutes to make!

– See more at: http://families.naeyc.org/learning-and-development/music-math-more/math-talk-infants-and-toddlers#sthash.bIKG7DMs.dpuf”

Some ideas for talking about math concepts (from the NAEYC) with young children include:

1. Number and operations

  • “You have two eyes, and so does your bear. Let’s count:–1, 2.”
  • “I have more crackers than you do. See, I have 1, 2, 3,  and you have 1, 2. I’m going to eat one of mine. Now I have the same as you!”
  • “That’s the third time I’ve heard you say mama. You’ve said mama three times!”

2. Shapes and spatial relationships (geometry)

  • “Look, Jason went under the climber and Aliyah is on top!”
  • “You’re sitting next to your brother.”
  • “Some of the crackers we have today are square, and some are round.”

– See more at: http://families.naeyc.org/learning-and-development/music-math-more/math-talk-infants-and-toddlers

– I also strongly recommend this 8-week online course on Early Preparation of the Mathematical Mind.  I took it and learned a lot about how to teach math concepts early.  http://ageofmontessori.org/early-math-course-online/

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!:-)

 

DIY baby squeeze packs for a 1-year-old

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PicMonkey CollageI know some people roll their eyes at the thought of how much time you must have in order to “waste” some making baby food.  However, I have found it to be the total opposite.  If I take about 2 hours, I can make enough food to last me a month!

Now that Chunky Monkey is 1, I am making squeeze packets and freezing quick vegetable snacks, but I have been making his food since he started solids (at 6 months).*I’ll post some baby food ideas soon.

Here is a quick and easy way to make DIY healthy squeeze packs for your 1-year old. These are squeeze packs (using the  Infantino Fresh Squeezed system). 004A9148Half of the cost is the Fresh Squeezed “station” which you reuse every time you make the squeeze packets. Total worth the $16 cost! *And actually a friend of mine has been lending me hers.  So find a friend to share with and you’ve just scored an even better bargain!

Infantino "Fresh Squeezed" Station

Infantino “Fresh Squeezed” Station

It’s then $13 for 50 DIY squeeze packs (Prices are from 2/2015 on Amazon).  That’s less than half the price that you pay for pre-made packs.

Squeeze Pouches

Infantino Squeeze Packets (50 ct)

smoothie ingredients.Plus, you get to control what ingredients are in the packs (organic, gluten-free…whatever your pleasure).  My son is loving fruit smoothies right now, so pre-making squeeze packs means I only have to get my blender dirty once a month, too. yeah!

Here are some ingredients for your DIY squeeze packets:

  • Smoothie: Whole milk, Greek Yogurt, Frozen fruit, coconut oil (to help digestion), and I sneak in some cooked beets.
  • Carrots, Butternut squash and coconut oil
  • Quinoa and applesauce
  • Chicken, apples, and yams

*I’d love some more ideas, so please post recipes you have used for your squeeze packs in the comments below!

Here are some great step-by-step instructions on how to use the Fresh Squeezed system (although it is super intuitive and about the easiest DIY thing I’ve ever done.)  My only tip is to be sure your food is really blended, or you will get stuck trying to push a chunk through the tiny opening.:-)

Here they are!  DIY baby food for 1-year-old

They can be frozen for a few months and easily thaw by taking them out a day before you plan to eat them, or putting them in a mug of warm water (the same way you warm up a bottle).

DIY Felt Alphabet Letters for baby

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feltalphabet3One of my interests, as a stay-at-home mom, is to incorporate Montessori aspects into my son’s environment.  I strive to have his play time be enriching as well as fun.  *You can check out my guests posts as “Parent Coach” on Age of Montessori.  Anyway, around 8 months, I decided I wanted him to have some alphabet letters that he could touch and enjoy.

 

feltalphabet5 feltalphabet4

 

Supplies:

  • Felt (I picked colors that match the nursery)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine

I started making the felt alphabet letters based on this tutorial from A Nest for All Seasons.

http://www.anestforallseasons.com/

http://www.anestforallseasons.com/

 Step 1 worked great. You just find a set of letters online in a font that you like, and cut out the letters in the felt.  Step 2, however, really did not work out. I have no idea how people actually get the stuffing to stay inside when you are hand sewing letters like this.  For me, it totally didn’t work.

Instead, for step 2, I decided to cut out a slightly smaller version of the letters in a different color felt, and then sewed that second letter on top of the first letter with my sewing machine.  WAY easier!  This helped the letters to have enough texture/bulk, but no stuffing required!

I used the zigzag stitch equivalent to “D” on this picture, and really liked that additional touch on how the letters looked. Singer-1748-Sewing-Machine-Stitch-Reference-Guide-300x200

Best of all, he has enjoyed this DIY toddler toy from age 8-13 months!

feltalphabet2 feltalphabet1

DIY Plastic Bag Holder for the Nursery

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oatmeal container bag holder3If you are like me, with a combination of using cloth and disposable diapers, you end up using a diaper pail and a garbage can (for various reasons.  I’ll spare you the details).  I try to reuse and recycle things whenever possible, so I gather up all the grocery bags used to bag apples, veggies, etc and stuff them in the diaper area of the nursery (above the reach of the little one).  But it was becoming such a mess and eye sore.

So, I did some Pinterest searching and came up with this trick to recycle an oatmeal container into a bag holder.   Continue Reading