Daily Checklist for Toddler’s Schedule

I  love schedules. In my former life, a boss of mine introduced me to a color coded, “Ideal Day” schedule. It. Changed. My. Life. I had everything scheduled out, short of bathroom breaks. But even then, the perfect time was “white space” time! That schedule made me so happy and it really kept me on track. Well, fast forward several years to being a stay at home mom, and I can’t seem to get on a schedule to save my life.

It feels like every time we get into a groove, little man changes it up! 

Maybe it’s because I don’t work outside of the home or because we don’t have other kids to keep us on a time table but sometimes it seems like our schedule can change pretty drastically from day to day or week to week. Even so, it’s really important to me that we have a schedule of daily activities that we include in our day.

So, I came up with a checklist! I have written down the main activities that I want each day to include. Then, I just check it off after we do it. This really helps me not to waste the day, even if little man decides he’d like to nap at 10am instead of noon (which has already happened twice this week!).

Daily Checklist for Toddler's Schedue

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosure for more information.)

What are the main activities?

I’m glad you asked! 

Independent Play 

For the most part, this happens after meals while I clean up. Not only is it helpful to me but it’s great for him to learn to do things on his own. 

Bible Time

(Usually) In the morning we have Bible time. It’s not too “structured” but it has been a priority to teach my son this habit since day one. I just pull out his My Big Handy Bible  and let him flip through. I read the stories as he lands on them. I make it a point to have props on hand that might enhance the story, like our spray bottle for Noah’s Ark! We also sprinkle in songs that go with the stories. 

Music Time 

I like to make sure to do about 15 minutes of music time with my son each day. He loves to dance and will dance throughout the day but this is a time where we sing songs, play instruments and of course… dance! Check out this post for music time ideas. 

Outdoor Time 

This could be a splash in the pool, a walk around an outdoor shopping center, using our season pass at the little local amusement park or a “nature walk” down to the mailbox! Whatever it is, I like to make sure that every day we get out of the house. 

Sensory Play 

Each day we do about 15 minutes of sensory play. We use sensory bottles, water bags (Ziploc bags with colored water inside), wax paper and anything else I can come up with… the kitchen is a great place to find sensory items! 

Reading Time 

My son loves his books! His book bucket is within reach to play with at any time but in the afternoon we sit down and read together. Right now my son’s favorite book is his Touchy Feely Animals Book. At the back of the book is a grid with pictures from the pages of the book. He will open the book to that page immediately and wait for me to ask, “where’s the…”. So far he really only has the dog and “dut dut” (duck) down but we’re working on it the others. He also really likes First 100 Words which has a similar set up.

With my checklist, I can easily make sure we’re on track with our daily activities!

Download a FREE checklist for yourself!

 

Breastfeeding A Toddler

I wrote a post recently on things I’ve learned about breastfeeding but one thing I didn’t include, that perhaps I should have, is that when you reach a certain point in breastfeeding people will start to ask how long you plan on continuing. Or if they don’t outright ask they’ll ask and say other things.

Things like…

But he has teeth. What if  he bites you? (This one makes me laugh since he’s had teeth since he was three months old. Also, if he bites me it hurts.)

Can’t he drink milk? (I’m not sure what they think comes out of there.)

But he needs to eat! (For the record he does eat and not just from my breasts.)

And it’s not just the slightly skeptical that make remarks. 

Oh, good! I hope you’re going to go to 18 months. At least. You are going to 18 months, right? Two years old would really be more ideal.  (Whatever you say, lady that I barely know.)

My 6 year old still nurses sometimes. (Keep your eyeballs in your head, Inez.)

Well, I nursed my kids until three years old. (Well, probably won’t!)

Though I can make light of it, the point at which I stop nursing my son is something that has caused me a bit of inner conflict. Some days I just really want my boobs back (and I feel guilty about that). But, for the most part, I don’t feel that my son is ready to wean and I really have no plan as to when the nursing will stop.

I know I’m not the only mama “still” nursing and many are far beyond the point I am at. This is why I am totally loving this Real Moms Talk interview I’m going to share with you today! 

Jennifer from My Mama Project is sharing her experience with nursing her toddler and I can honestly say, her words were a big encouragement to me personally. And I know they will encourage you, too, whether you are nursing a toddler or not!

Breastfeeding a Toddler. Real Moms Talk. Diary of a New Mommy. Breastfeeding.

How long have you been breastfeeding? 

I started breastfeeding my son when he was less than an hour old and we have been going strong for 18 months.

Did you initially plan to breastfeed beyond one year? 

Well, the plan was always to breastfeed for at least a year and then to be honest, I planned to just see what happened from that point forward.

What made you decide to breastfeed into toddlerhood? 

I think the best answer to this question is nothing. As he is my first child, I am kind of making all this up as I go along. Ultimately, my son still wants to breastfeed and I believe that he is getting nutrition from it, so nothing has crossed my mind about stopping just yet. I think that he will make the choice to stop when the time is right and if I ever personally feel that it is time, I think I will know when we get there. Not a very specific answer, I know!

Have you found that some people are uncomfortable with your decision to continue breastfeeding your toddler? 

I have been very lucky to not have the experiences that many other people report having. I have never had anyone tell me to “cover it up” or give me strange looks (or if they did, I wasn’t looking!). I feel very confident in my choice to continue breastfeeding and I know my inner Mama Bear would come out in full force if anyone tried to make me feel bad for my decision to breastfeed my toddler. I think some people in my life probably wonder how long I am going to keep this up or think that at this point I am only doing it for myself and not for my son’s needs, but they are smart enough to keep those views to themselves.

What are some challenges of breastfeeding a toddler that you may not have experienced when your child was an infant? 

This is a great question. For starters, when my son was an infant he would calmly nurse under a cover (and I had a bunch of cute ones). On the flip side, there is no way my toddler will tolerate a cover put over him now while he nurses. He instantly grabs it and pulls it to the side, so there is really no option but to nurse out in the open. My toddler is also a very “active” nurser. I’m talking a – nose grabbing, stomach kicking, clothes tugging – kind of a nurser. I feel a little overly stimulated after a nursing session sometimes. Lastly, a toddler (at least mine) can ask to nurse. For my son that usually means putting his hand down my shirt and heaven forbid if I am wearing a shirt that isn’t conducive to that. He will find a way in!

What is the most common response you get when people find out you breastfeed your toddler? 

“Oh, you’re still breastfeeding? (insert slightly impressed and slightly confused face here) Wow!” is usually the response I get. Most people are respectful of my choice, some are even quite curious, but mostly people show their slight judgement in their face and not their words.

What is the best piece of advice you have for a mom who may be trying to decide how long to breastfeed? 

Do whatever makes you and your baby happy. Don’t give a second thought to what anyone else tells you or what you think others expect you to do. Trust your mom gut and always know that whatever you choose, you are doing the best you can for your baby and for you. Whether you are breastfeeding your 2 year old or feeding formula to your newborn, be confident in your choice and let your inner Mama Bear shine.




Meet Jennifer: Jennifer Hanson. My Mama Project. Interview on Breastfeeding a Toddler. Real Moms Talk. Diary of a New Mommy. First Time Mom. New Mom. Breastfeeding.

Hello, I’m Jennifer! I’m a wife, mama, and lifestyle blogger trying to raise my tribe with gumption and grace.  I love yoga pants, coffee, ice cream, and reality television.  You can follow my motherhood journey at www.mymamaproject.com and on Instagram @mymamaproject. I’ve always loved a good project.  My favorite one calls me Mama.  {I’m always tired and make it up as I go along!}

Sippy Strap Review & Giveaway

I looked forward to the time when my son would start using a sippy cup. I don’t know why but I just think it’s adorable to see this little person drinking from a “cup”. But do you know what’s not adorable? The tiny person throwing the cup. Over and over. And over. At first, I didn’t mind too much because I had read that it’s all a part of development. So, I would just respond with something like “Wow. That’s a loud noise.” Or “Uh oh. Where did the cup go?” But after a million and one times, it got old. Plus, I think we are far beyond the “its good for his development” stage. Now, he just thinks it’s funny. And me? Not so much. Needless to say, when I received a message from Hny Baby asking if I’d like to review one of their products I was ecstatic to see one of those products was a Sippy Strap.

Yes, please! 

(I received the Sippy Strap in exchange for an honest review. However, all opinions are my own. This post may also contain affiliate links. Please see my ddisclosure for more information.) 

sippy

I was very pleased with how quickly my package arrived and also with the adorable packaging. But, of course, what I really wanted to know was if it worked. More specifically, if it really would work on our high chair and sippy cups. (Am I the only one that’s been disappointed by one size fits all claims that were more like one size fits some?)

We’ve been using our Sippy Strap for over a week now and I am really happy with it!

Sippy Strap Review - Diary of a New Mommy

It’s cute and, more importantly, it works. I have tried it out on multiple sippy cups of varying sizes and the strap is easily adjustable to fit all of them. It’s also the perfect length, as it’s long enough for my son to take a sip but not so long that it hits the ground.

Sippy Strap Review & Givewaway - Diary of a New Mommy

Hny Baby Sippy Strap Review - Diary of a New Mommy

I think my favorite part about the Sippy Strap is that it also works on strollers and car seats! We have the Summer Infant Go Lite stroller and the bars are extremely thin, so I wondered if the strap would adjust small enough. It did!

Sippy Strap Review. Baby Product Review. Toddler Product Review. Favorite Baby Products. Favorite Toddler Products. Sippy Cup.

Check out Hny Baby to get your own Sippy Strap (they also have some other great products, like super cute Bandana Bibs). Also, Hny Baby is giving away two Sippy Straps to one lucky reader! You can enter below. Contest closes on Sunday, July 17 at midnight (PST).

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3 Easy Activities for Toddlers

My son is 13 months and, though he’s just on the cusp of toddlerhood, he’s definitely not a baby anymore (sigh). He’s officially toddling and loves exploring the world around him and I am officially looking for more age-appropriate activities to do.

If you’ve followed me for very long, you know that I like to do things that are fun and easy. Also, inexpensive is always a bonus. I have three activities we have done recently that are fun, easy and cheap (or free, really)!

3 Easy Activities for Toddlers (1)

Water & Dyed Ice 

Materials Needed: Water, Food Coloring, Ice Tray, Saran Wrap, Water Bottle, Plastic Food Storage Containers or Baking Pans

Most families have food coloring on hand (if not, you can always use plain ice). As you know, food coloring can get messy – to make it less of a mess when you mix the water, you can add a few drops of your desired color to a water bottle, shake it up and pour into ice trays. I made two colors – blue and green. Put the trays in the freezer (like, you need me to tell you how to make ice…) and save them for a day that you’re looking for something to keep your little one busy (which is basically any day). Don’t forget to cover the tray with saran wrap to avoid a dyed freezer.

For the fun part… I put my son in one of his kiddie pools and placed a small baking pan with and a plastic food storage container, both filled with water, inside the pool. Then I dropped ice cubes in the water. I put a few in the pool, too. He had a blast playing with the ice and water. Not only is this activity fun but it is great sensory and learning play. Make sure you talk about the how the ice feels (cold!), the colors of the ice, the melting ice, etc. This is especially nice on a hot day!

Sensory Bottles  

Materials needed: Rice, Food Coloring, Paper Plates (much easier for clean up), Empty (and dry) Water Bottle(s), Gloves (Optional), Funnel or Funnel Like Object, Blanket, towel or sheet to work on (also much easier for clean up)

We have had sensory bottles since my son was 3 months old and they continue to be a favorite. In fact, his pasta filled water bottle is frequently the “toy” he chooses to take with him when we go out. Now that he’s a little older, though, I can (somewhat) include him in the process of making the bottles. I recently had a cell phone fiasco, which resulted in setting my phone in a bowl of rice.

I didn’t want all that rice to go to waste, so I decided to make more sensory bottles. It was just before 4th of July, so I decided to dye some of the rice red and blue. Before the dying began, I placed some rice on a plate and let my son play with it for a minute or two (strictly, supervised as he’s still likes to put everything in his mouth). 

To dye the rice, I separated the rice on three separate plates (red, blue and plain for white) and dropped 3-4 drops of each color. I mixed the rice with my hands but you could use gloves if you want. A mistake I made was that I didn’t give time for the rice to dry. Next time, I would wait a few minutes before placing it in the bottle.

You will definitely want to use something to funnel the rice. If you don’t have an actual funnel, paper rolled up would work. I used a breast shield. I just taped it to the bottle and it was perfect!

I layered the rice red, white then blue but they’re all going to get mixed up anyway so layering doesn’t really matter. Though, my son is still a little young to participate much, he really enjoyed watching me make the bottles and was even more delighted with the end result. Older tots, could definitely get involved with making the bottles.

If you keep everything on your sheet, towel or blanket clean up isn’t too bad.

Pet Store Trip 

This idea will require you to leave the house (which for me is an ordeal because I have to change out of my pajamas) but it is still a very easy and fun activity for toddlers. My son loved walking around the store and looking at the animals. He was especially enamored with the birds and fish. He wasn’t so taken by the cats, he preferred to watch the people looking at the cats.

Since I went through the trouble of putting on clothes and makeup, afterward we walked to Babies R Us and I treated him to a pouch (that’s like ice cream in our house). It was a nice mommy-son date, with very little cost or trouble.

What activities do you like to do with your toddler? (Please, I need more ideas!)

7 First Birthday Gift Ideas

My son recently celebrated his first birthday. (Make sure you read all about his UNO party.) I had considered providing people with some gift suggestions in the invite but, ultimately, decided against it. For not providing any suggestions, except to one person that asked, I was really impressed with how well everyone did picking gifts. There was a perfect mix of necessities and fun stuff!

First Birthday Gift Ideas. One Year Old Toys. Gifts for a One Year Old. First Birthday.

(This post contains affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosure for more information.)

If you are looking for some gift ideas for a one year old, here are a few that we received and loved… well, really we love them all but I’m not going to bore you with our whole list. I’ll just give you a few highlights.

7 First Birthday Gift Ideas: 

Vtech Fly and Learn Airplane – So, I have two or three brands for toys that I am in love with. Vtech is one of them. I was very happy that my son received this airplane for a couple of reasons, one being that it’s not a large toy. We are quickly running out of space for all his… stuff. This is a great toy that he really enjoys playing with and it’s fairly small.

Vtech Fly and Learn Airplane. Toys for One Year Old. First Birthday Gift Ideas.

Fisher Price See N’ Say The Farmer Says – In the vein of compact toys, this See N’ Say toy is the perfect size… not big! I also like that it has some animals that we don’t cover when we sing Old MacDonald (like a mouse or a goose!).

Fisher Price See N' Say Farmer. Toys for One Year Old. First Birthday Gift.

 

Little Tikes Gas N’ Go Mower – My son is obsessed with lawn mowers, so it’s no wonder that this was a big hit with him. I like this mower over others that I’ve seen because it looks most like an actual lawn mower. Technically, the age on this is 18 months but he still enjoys it. The only thing is I have to help him stand because it is not intended to be a push mower and is a little light. But he is able to walk around (not quite walking yet on his own) with it without my help. He loves pulling the string and hearing the motor. It also comes with a gas can and little balls make a popping sound when you push it. It’s a great toy!

Little Tikes Gas N' Go Mower. Birthday Gifts for One Year Old. First Birthday Toys.

Gazillion Bubble Hurricane Machine – This was actually my gift to my son, I bought it with the intention of using it at his birthday party. I gave it to him on his actual birthday, a few days earlier. I have to say, even after reading the reviews, I was not prepared for how amazing this machine is. Seriously. Ah-mazing. There’s literally a gazillion bubbles.  I recommend getting the 2 Liters Gazillion Bubble Solution, as well. The solution that comes with it will go pretty fast.

Gazillion Bubbles Hurricane Machine. One Year Old Birthday GIfts. Toys for Toddlers. Gift Idea for First Birthday.

Books – I’ve shared before that my son is crazy about his Illustrated Bible for Little Ones but I have to keep a close watch on him because it’s not a board book (and he likes to eat paper). So, I was really happy that he received My Big Handy Bible, which is a board book. It even has a little handle, which is… you guessed it… handy! He also got Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You, which is a really sweet book. I think that books in general are great gift ideas for children of any age.

Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You Book. Gift for Toddlers. First Birthday Gift. Books for Babies. Books for Kids.

Season Pass to a Local Amusement Park – My sister got my son a season pass to the little (I do mean little) local amusement park. It has a few rides, a splash pad, playgrounds…  a perfect outing for little ones! I thought this was a very clever and useful gift. Though there may not be a park like this in your area, there may be something else like a zoo, children’s museum, etc.

Gift Cards & Money – We got two gift cards and even some cash (notice how I switched from “my son” to “we”?). Each of the givers of these gifts gave explanations or apologies for their gifts but there is no explanation or apology needed.  Gift cards and cash are always appreciated! Don’t feel bad if that’s all you have time to get or if you just can’t think of something else to give. Any mama would be grateful.

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What’s your favorite gift for a one year old?

Music Time With Infants, Toddlers & Preschoolers

 

Music time is not only a great activity for little ones but it has a life-long positive impact on brain development. My son has enjoyed playing a lot of different games and activities but music time is definitely his favorite. It only gets more fun as he grows! We do a daily “structured” (as structured as we can be) music time but he often initiates his own music time several times a day.

When it’s music time, I start off by clapping my hands on my knees to let my son know we’re about to sing. I also do this in the church nursery and I have one little guy that will walk up to me and hit my knees, asking to sing. It’s too cute!

Music Time for Infants, Toddlers & Preschoolers

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure page for more information.)

Here are some of the songs we sing during our music time and some of the fun things we do to go along with them. 

Zip A Dee Doo Dah – We are in a play group that opens circle time with this song every week. The group is called SKIP, so we actually sing “Skip a dee doo dah” but I sing it at home with my son the regular way. It’s a good opening song. I usually use an instrument like a tambourine or the maracas.

ABC Song – We usually play instruments during this song (these are our favorite) but I sometimes use his ABC book to point out the different letters as we sing.

If You’re Happy & You Know It – This is a favorite of my son’s. He mostly claps the whole time but it’s still fun.

Old MacDonald – What kid doesn’t love Old MacDonald? I use our Animal Noises book with this song. When we get to the “had a” I open the book to see what animal we will be doing. If you do this, make sure to shut the book after each animal for the dramatic affect of opening it for the next one. If you have a toy with barnyard animals, you could also use these. Keep the animals hidden and then pull one out when it’s time.

The Chicken Dance – I’m not sure how we even got started with this one but it’s the first tune my son has been able to “sing”. He will randomly bust this one out and start flailing his arms all over the place. It’s quite adorable. I usually will include this one in music time. It’s great for older ones because it gets them moving and kids love to shake their booties!

Shapes Song – I was trying to find a shapes song and came across this one on youtube. It’s an easy tune to catch on to. If you have a shape sorter you can use the shapes during the song or you could use a book and point to the shapes.

Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes – We have a Scholastic book to go with this song, so sometimes we sing along with the book (there are also other books for the song on Amazon). Other times we just do without.

The Wheels on the Bus – My son really loves this one, too. I like to do this one sitting down with him on my legs. When we sing “the people on the bus” I bounce him “up and down” on my legs. He really enjoys this part and “the wipers on the bus go swish swish swish”.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star – This is one of my favorites. Oh, and my son likes it too! We turn off the lights and use a flashlight as the “star”. I like to turn it off and on during the “twinkle, twinkle” and I start off point at the floor until “up above”, then I point it at the ceiling. My son loves looking up at the “star”. Another fun thing to do, if you want to be more active (especially for older kids), is lay on your back on the ground and move your arms and legs in and out so you look like a twinkling star. 

Numbers Song – One little, two little, three little… numbers.  I use my fingers to hold up the different numbers as we sing. When my son was a baby I used to sing, “one little, two little, three little babies”.

The More We Get Together – In our play group they end with this song and say each child’s name (example, “with Jack and Emma and Noah and (so on)… the happier we’ll be”. I do the same thing at home but since it’s just baby and mommy, I usually name our other family members as well.

What’s your little one(s) favorite song?