May 30, 2009

Adult music for children

Because we shouldn't have to listen to "Baa Baa Black Sheep" all the time!

A week and a half ago C and I went on a mother-daughter road trip, and I made a bunch of new CDs for the trip. Amber from Because Babies Grow Up went on a road trip last week as well, and in Monday's post she asked her readers what their child's favourite CDs are. So I thought I'd share our strategy for mixed CDs, and some song suggestions.

My side of the family has been involved in the music business for years, and my Dad and I have very extensive music collections. C loves music too, and her favourite artists are children's musicians like Raffi, Fred Penner, Sharon Lois & Bram, and Sesame Street. Early on we branched out to new-style children's musicians like Justin Roberts, The Terrible Twos, Dan Zanes, Lisa Loeb and Elizabeth Mitchell. We always have music on in the house (well, that or CBC radio), and always in the car. We've probably played children's music a bit too much - C monopolizes the CD player. She prefers "her" CDs to ours, so I've been adding more and more kid-friendly adult music to her CDs, to give us variety and to expose her to different styles of music. So far she prefers upbeat music and songs that have a short musical intro. Here are a few songs that have gone over well with her:
  • Jackson 5 - ABC
  • Bill Haley & The Comets - Rock Around The Clock
  • John Denver - Thank God I'm a Country Boy
  • Bing Crosby - Swinging on a Star
  • Aselin Debison - The Dance You Choose
  • Bobby Darin - Splish Splash
  • Kenny Loggins - Return to Pooh Corner (typing his name makes me think that she'd probably like Footloose too!)
  • Simon & Garfunkle - Feeling Groovy
  • Frank Sinatra & Gene Kelly - Take Me Out to the Ball Game
  • Great Big Sea - Excursion Around the Bay
    (This is one of C's favourites! A note to all Moms & Dads - kids will hear and repeat the words to the music you play for them, so be forewarned! Not that this is terrible, don't get me wrong, but it's not really a song you want your 2 year old to sing. Last weekend when I was humming it, C started singing along - to my shock! It's a toe tapping traditional Newfoundland tune about a wife who dies on a sea voyage - sounds morbid, but it's actually a great dancing song! I'm glad she likes Great Big Sea though, they're my favourite band!)

Some other kid-friendly artists to try are: The Beatles, The Irish Rovers, Elvis Presley, and just about anything from an upbeat 50s or early 60s album. Of course, there are tons of options - these are just a few suggestions. What kind of kid-friendly adult music do your children like?

May 28, 2009

Fuzzy Bunny craft

C woke up at 5:30am yesterday. She's normally a 7:00 riser, so it pains me to say that. She played in bed until almost 6:30, which a tired Mama greatly appreciated, but then we were up. We got a ton of things done, chore-wise and fun-wise! Maybe getting up early is the solution to tackling my ever growing list of things to do? Not that early, though.

After breakfast, I sat my PJ-clad gal down to do a quick and easy craft - a fuzzy bunny. I enlarged and printed the bunny template from Hostess with the Mostess' paper bunny garland (which looked fabulous over my sliding doors at Easter - too bad I forgot to take a picture!). Then I let her draw on it and squirt the glue. We spread the glue with a popsicle stick, and C stuck cotton balls on it. Voila!

May 27, 2009

Cottage fun

We visited a friend's cottage this weekend, and although the mosquitoes were out in full force, we had a lot of fun!

C loves visiting the cottage and being in a new and interesting place. She can walk in the woods, go bug hunting, play on the swingset, look for deer, and pick berries later in the summer. The cottage doesn't have many toys, but she amuses herself just fine! Here she is matching cards with Daddy, and throwing rocks into water - one of her all-time favourite activities!

"Can we go outside?"

We made a campfire on the beach, and C tried S'mores for the first time. Needless to say, they were a hit! When we returned home (on a much warmer day), C washed her rocks and acorns while I read on our deck (gasp)! Must try that more often.

May 26, 2009

Removing blueberry stains the eco-friendly way

"Out, damn'd spot! out, I say!"
- Lady Macbeth

I just read an article about green ways to remove clothing stains, and thought I'd share my most-used stain removal technique.

Blueberry stains are a killer, and C eats about a pound of blueberries a week, so we've had a lot of stained clothes! The best way to get rid of berry stains is with boiling water.

Boil a kettle, and place your clothes flat in your sink. Then lift the kettle into the air and pour a thin stream of boiling water onto the stain from a distance of 1 or 2 feet (the higher you hold it, the more force the water will land with). Repeat if necessary. Be careful not to splash yourself! When the garment cools, wring it out and throw it in the washer, or hang it on the side of your laundry hamper and wash it with your next load. This works best on clothes that have not yet been washed in the washing machine, but I've had some success removing old stains on clothing as well!

Blueberry Girl - Neil Gaiman
A beautiful book with whimsical illustrations. Wishes and prayers for our girls. This lovely book was a gift from my friend Gillian when we went to Nova Scotia last weekend.

May 22, 2009

So many things...

Do you ever feel like your life is running in fast forward?

This week seems particularly so for me. I'm not sure why, but the week seems to have flown by, every day seems like it's over just after it starts, and so many things have been running through my head.

First I'll start with our road trip. C and I set out on a five hour road trip last Friday morning, and really, I couldn't have asked for much better behaviour! She didn't nap in the car, but music, books, toys, and occasional rest stops kept her occupied for most of the trip. When I got lost (twice!) and we ended up on the road for an extra hour, a Raffi DVD did the trick of making it pleasant for her (and it hid the non-Mommy-like language I was muttering under my breath while I looked at the map again)! She had fun on the trip (besides some anxiety at bedtime in a new house), and enjoyed the beach, playing with the dogs, and especially my friend's Sesame Street apartment (remember that?).

The trip home went well too, and C even napped! Car trips with toddlers are tricky because they can't play with so many of the thing that older children can, or else they need help, which is impossible when you're driving 110kmph! C can't even reach the seat pocket in front of her car seat! I tied a canvas bag onto the backseat armrest next to her car seat so that she could reach some toys and books, and a cup holder was within reach. I also made sure to have non-messy snacks available, which I passed back to her at regular intervals (raisins, crackers, dried cereal, pretzels, animal crackers, etc.). The small things were in her snack cup so they wouldn't spill - I love that thing! Before we left, I made some new CDs with kids music and adult but kid-friendly music. I also interspersed the songs with stories (Kiddie Records Weekly is a great resource, as is author Robert Munsch's website, where you can download free stories). I also brought a portable DVD player and some DVDs, which were the last things to be pulled out on the trip. We have a DVD recorder at home, so I made a few DVDs with short video clips, and brought along some favourite DVDs as well (like Raffi and Where the Wild Things Are). A few new and borrowed toys passed back to C every now and then also kept things interesting for her. If an adult had been riding in the backseat with her, we could have brought crafts or art supplies, but C was by herself, so it would have just made her frustrated (or made a horrible mess).

There have been a lot of things going on at work this week, and a lot of deadlines, which has been eating up a lot of my free time (I work part-time from home), and we have a mountain of laundry that is thankfully shrinking. But the weather has been summer-like (32 degrees C yesterday!), and we spent the better part of the day outside with friends yesterday.

My mind has been wandering a bit, though. Sometimes I just sit back and watch C - my girl is growing up so fast! I'm loving this time with her so much, but regretting seeing it fly by. She gives me big hugs and tells me she loves me; I'm so grateful that she's a cuddly girl. I love her so much, and when I hear about violence towards children, it makes me feel ill. My heart breaks to hear about the Tori Stafford case (in which an 8 year old was abducted from her school and murder charges were laid this week). It makes me so scared to think that someone could hurt my little girl some day - just makes me want to hold and protect her forever, although she's growing up and I know I can't.

Those are morbid thoughts to end on, so I'll leave you with a picture of a 2-year old, blissfully happy on the beach. We should all enjoy each moment this much!

May 13, 2009

Road trip!

C and I are going on a Mother-Daughter road trip this weekend!

We're driving to Nova Scotia to visit my best friend before her Mom moves back to Calgary (she's visiting her this week). It's a 5 hour drive plus lunch and playtime, so I'll admit I'm a bit worried, but hoping for the best. We did a 4 hour trip a few months ago, and that went relatively well, so here's hoping! Pray that she naps for part of the drive!

I've made CDs of music and stories, and I'll bring the DVD player and some shows for C to watch. Toys and snacks are a must, although there's only so much she can reach while she's strapped in her car seat. I'm going to try to attach a soft basket next to her seat to hold some of her things since she can't reach the seat pocket in front of her.

I find airplane travel much easier from an entertainment perspective. At least on a plane we can read stories together, draw pictures, play with toys that need a surface to play on... But at least in the car we have control over the music, and we don't have any cranky seatmates!

Any car travel tips you want to share?

May 11, 2009


Historically, I haven't been someone that wins many contests, but my luck has been getting better lately! During the Ultimate Blog Party I won two prizes, which was a very pleasant surprise!

A handmade bunny named Mopsy arrived a couple of weeks ago from Nicole at 60 Piggies. C fell in love with him right away, and she's slept with him many nights since (C has decided it's a "he" instead of a "she). Check out her blog for gorgeous photography and her etsy shop (SweetTeaShoppe) for beautiful handmade goods!

Today I also received a box from the Laugh-Friendly Company containing two books and two dolls. We read the book about Chatterbox, The Bird Who Wore Glasses at naptime; it was cute. I've only flipped through it so far, but the Classic Fire Trucks book looks fantastic! C is a bit young for it, but she loves fire trucks, so I think she'll like it. It describes what each truck does, firefighters' gear and their duties. We received two Cutie Patootie dolls: a swimmer and a boat captain. They're small dolls, and I think they'll be great new travel toys to bring when C and I go on a road trip together next week!

Here are a few giveaway sites to test your luck and inspire some online shopping!

The MotherLoad (check out their weekly Apron Full of Giveaways)
Etsy Giveaways
Etsy It Up!

Wishing you good luck!

May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

My Mom sent me this. I don't know who wrote it, but it's lovely, and so true!
Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers out there!

Before I was a Mom,
I never tripped over toys
or forgot words to a lullaby..
I didn't worry whether or not
my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind
and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child
so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night
watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby just because
I didn't want to put her down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small
could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn't know the feeling of
having my heart outside my body..
I didn't know how special it could feel
to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond
between a mother and her child..
I didn't know that something so small
could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night
every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth,
the joy,
the love,
the heartache,
the wonderment
or the satisfaction of being a Mom..
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mom...

May 9, 2009

Adventures in sewing: toddler pants

I made PJ pants for C!

This is a big deal for me - I've never sewn clothes before! I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out, except that they're a bit low rise, so I'll lengthen the waist next time. I have a ton of flannel that I bought on sale a few months ago, and PJs seemed like the perfect project for cozy flannel.

I didn't use an official pattern, but I traced a pair of C's pants, then added some length and width for her to grow. I followed the guidelines here: How to make easy kids pants. I think this link will come in handy too: Modifying pants patterns for babies and kids.

Now, does anyone have any easy directions for making a PJ shirt/T-shirt?

May 8, 2009

Earth Mosiac

C is a part of the Earth Mosiacs created for Earth Day! She's in the Atlantic Ocean, between Brazil and South Africa.

Click on the maps to view and download high resolution versions. The one above shows photos the best, and the version below is tiled differently to show the map the best.

What a cool project! A day in the life of our planet, in pictures, on April 22, 2009.

May 7, 2009

For the homeschoolers in the crowd...

Okay, not just the homeschoolers - anyone who does a bit of teaching at home (which is most parents)!

My favourite online book store, is having a great sale on educational books and materials. There are activity books for kids, lesson planning books, stickers, charts, and even a few books for adults. I've started to fill my cart already! My favourites are the footprints stickers and paper, Character Education series, Crafty Kids books, the Big Book of Holidays and Holy Days, and EDU-Slate (we have one of these in our airplane bag, but it's getting dog eared!).

Best of all, the books in the sale are only $0.99! Prices are in U.S. dollars, but they have warehouses in the USA and Canada, so Canadians like me don't get dinged with outrageous shipping prices, duty and long border waits - yay! I assume the sale is on for the month of May, but no end date is specified, so don't wait too long to make your choices!

I'm not affiliated with BookCloseouts, I just love their prices. Since I know many of you homeschool your kids in one form or another, I thought you might be interested in these deals!

May 5, 2009

Thank goodness for washable ink!

A friend with 3 kids once pondered why anyone would let their kids get their hands on non-washable markers. She must have had a few incidents, because she admitted to searching their backpacks and taking out ones that weren't! C has lost interest in crayons these days, preferring the vibrant colours of markers, but the permanent ones aren't within her reach (at least until she starts to stand on chairs to get things!). The other day while I was making supper, I sat her down at the table with some stamps, and she had a ball! Of course, we both had many "tattoos" by the time she was done, but it kept her entertained during the pre-dinner witching hour!

But again, thank goodness for washable ink. I picked up a washable ink pad last year on a clearance shelf at my local Co-Op, and it washed off so easily! I think thumb print art will come soon! Hmmm... we could also play police station and fill out the fingerprints on her child ID card...
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