Friday, February 26, 2016

Baby/Toddler Treasure Baskets



Remember how a while back I did a post about ways to keep a baby entertained? (Refresh yourself here if you're curious!) One of the approaches I talked about was having a "Themed Basket." At the time that post was written, I had only done one basket for Evie. Now, a few months later, she has had a few more to play with. I thought I would share them here with you today. Be sure to comment below if you have done any with your child or if you have an idea for another basket that I could do! I use these baskets as our living room toys. She has other toys/books in her room that we will go and play with on occasion, but I don't like to have too many toys out at once. I find that by limiting what is available that Evie interacts more with what is out and experiments more with them. I often have out another bucket with some sort of blocks in it (legos, her wooden stacking train, etc.) that she can play with in the living room as well. 

Fall Basket 



This was my very first basket to do for Evie. She loved it! In it I included 9 small pumpkins (they were for floral arrangements from Hobby Lobby and I cut off the wire base), Halloween colored jewels in a bottle for shaking, feathers in a bottle, a stuffed animal (an otter...we didn't have a squirrel like I had hoped to put in the basket), and an assortment of books. Disclaimer: I did not have that many books about Fall...so I pulled out any books that were orange on the cover as well :) I created this basket in October, and switched out a few of the items in November (I don't have a picture of that one though). I also got Halloween/Thanksgiving books from the library and we kept them by the basket so Evie could learn about the Holidays in that part of the year. 

Christmas Basket 



In December I created a Christmas basket for her! I included (pictured below) the following: star ornaments, red milk lids (which she loved to put into the container and dump out repeatedly), a Christmas tree cookie cutter and a spatula, various winter/Christmas books, and a bear that she got for Christmas the previous year (when she was itty-bitty and only 5 days old!). She also received a Little People Nativity set for her birthday (not pictured) from my sister, Michelle, so we opened it as soon as it came in. She loved playing with the pieces (mainly chewing on them) and I enjoyed singing Christmas songs to her and telling her all about the story of Christ's birth. 






Colors Basket 



After having several holiday/seasonal baskets in a row, I thought I would mix things up for Evie by creating a basket full of different colors. This gave me the opportunity to identify colors for her and to really be intentional about teaching them to her. This will be one that I do again (possibly with different items) as she starts learning more. I included the following (pictured below): shaker bottles, stacking towers (the lion one is full of little cups that stack on top of one another), and lots of books on colors! 





Animals Basket



I had initially planned on doing a basket with only nocturnal animals (we have some great books with owls and bats) but I quickly realized that other than books and one stuffed bat...I didn't have anything else to include in it. I might go back and do one eventually though. I decided to do an animal themed basket for Evie and included a couple of stuffed animals (rabbit and monkey), the lion stacking tower (I wanted to have at least one developmental toy included), books on different animals/animal sounds, a cat puppet (in the top right corner of the picture), and a wooden camel (with wheels). We kept this basket out for a little over a week before changing it up. The others were out for 3-4 weeks. 


Cooking Basket 



I had the idea to do a baking basket because of the cutest little book that we have, The Best Mouse Cookie. Buuut, I didn't have any other books about baking, or really even cooking, so the rest of the books are just about food. Which I am 100% okay with. I included measuring cups, a funnel, measuring spoons, various cooking utensils, two shaker bottles (one with rice and one with lentils), and a container filled with macaroni noodles. Evie LOVES this basket. She has so much fun dumping out the noodles, scooping them into containers, pouring them, etc. She has a blast. I also have gotten out a mixing bowl, muffin tin, and loaf pan for her to play with along with the items in the basket. 





Conclusion


I have loved this method of choosing toys to have out for Evie, and I always incorporate books into the baskets as well. Remember how I love books, and Evie totally does too? **Plus, this has kept her (so far) from only wanting to read one specific book over and over. I know we'll get to that stage at some point, but by switching out the books and having 4-6 available for a few weeks (with others on her bookshelf to read before naps and bedtime), I have found that she has a few favorites while still being willing to read other things. Does that make sense? Hah. For those of you who are just dying for Evie pictures, I included a couple here at the end for you. I initially put down a mat for her when playing with the cooking basket...but there was no way to contain them, so I put it back away ;)





The lower two pictures are from a couple months ago, showing a behind the scenes look into the making of a new basket. I have a big bin that I keep everything in and bring it out when I am coming up with something new. Evie loves to play in it too! 

Again, please chime in with any ideas for baskets that you have, as well as any ideas for future posts that you would like to see! 

xoxo, Marissa 





Monday, February 22, 2016

Daily Life Update #4

Hey guys! It's been a while since I have done one of these. I guess mostly because I was feeling as though I had nothing to update on. However, I feel that since it has now been months, I have things that I can write about. Let's get to it.

Evie:


This girl is getting so big! She is now 14 months old, and is walking like crazy. She started really walking on her own in January, and has taken off since then. She hardly ever crawls anymore. (When she first started walking she would crawl when she fell over in order to move faster.) She does not like to wear shoes. I seriously cannot get them on her feet because she curls up her toes and I can't force the shoe onto her foot. She has one pair of sandals (that we received along with an enormous amount of clothes from another family) that I can get her to wear, but the Velcro on the strap of one of them came off... So yeah... I need to figure out how to get shoes onto her feet before the weather is nice (so we can go to the park and play!). Any suggestions??






Evie still loves to eat. I mean really. She puts away the food! Sometimes for breakfast she legitimately eats as much as I do. It's insane! She has come around to the idea of eggs. (I just kept putting a bite or two on her plate when I would have them for breakfast, and one day she ate them up. I honestly wasn't expecting it and was surprised to look over and not see them on her plate...or the floor...hah.) She still isn't a huge fan of meat, but I think it's mostly because she doesn't have any molars to chew it with.



She loves reading (hooray for that!), has gotten better at stacking blocks/legos/stacking towers/rings, and is starting to learn how to roll/throw a ball. I realized the other day that I don't actually have one at our apartment...guess she is learning lots at our time at Nana and Papa's house! She loves playing with her older cousin, and she gets excited every time she sees pictures of him. It is darling. :)


She is currently in a stage where she will throw her head back and cry if she doesn't get her way. I'm trying to tell myself that it is "just a stage" and will pass...but guys. Despite it being so cute and pathetic, it is really getting old. Any words of wisdom or advice from you other wise Moms out there??



I'm sure there are other things that she has been up to, but when I see her every day they don't stand out. Oh! She folds her arms for prayers (some of the time), loves to dance (and will even "sing" some too), and she is learning various body parts (ear, nose, belly button, you know, the important things). There, I thought of a few more for you guys.

Graham:


Graham has started back to school this semester. He has this semester and two more before he graduates from Nursing School. He decided to work at the hospital part time (one day a week), so he is enjoying that still. He has had his first test in both of his classes and has done well! He loves learning, and is enjoying his classes so far.

He has been watching The X-Files on Netflix recently. It's crazy to see how far technology has come in such a short time...some of the episodes are downright hilarious. (Others are straight up crazy!)

Graham is continuing his goal of gaining weight, and despite being sick off and on for 2 weeks, he was able to maintain it. He also enjoys going to lift weights in our apartment complex's fitness center from time to time.




Between classes, homework, and working, he doesn't have too much free time. However, he does love spending time with Evie: tossing her in the air, reading her stories, letting her play with his phone, and feeding her sweets/treats (like ice cream and chocolate milk).

Marissa: 


I feel like I have the hardest time writing about myself... Okay. I have been keeping up with Evie on a regular basis and been enjoying my time at home with her. She can be a handful some days (like the days when every time I close the refrigerator door she throws herself down on the floor crying at me...yeah. That definitely happens...). Other days she is a sweet little angel and I can't get over how much she is learning. I try to get us out of the house at least once each day. This is either grocery shopping, story time at the library, or meetings that I have for work/church.



Speaking of, I have started working a little bit. You know that race that Graham and I help out with each year? (Don't remember? See this post and this one.) I've started doing some work (mostly from home) for the race director. It is fun to be more involved, and I am excited to do more with Outback in the Ozarks this year.

I have also been reading quite a bit. A couple of new Sanderson books have come out this year, so I of course had to read them. That got me back on a Sanderson kick and I read a couple of his novellas (I'm currently reading Emperor's Soul). I'm now thinking about going back and re-reading the books that are currently out in Stormlight Archive since I know so much more about the cosmere now.... Yikes. Haha. I'm well on my way to accomplishing my reading goal for the year, but I need to pick up a non-fiction book next so that I can meet that goal as well! (More about my goals for the year back in this post if you missed it.) So much reading to do, so little time. Anyone have any good book recommendations? I'm always adding books to my "to-read" shelf on Goodreads!

Family:


Evie and I recently went down to visit with my family. My older sister, Michelle, and her oldest son, Connor, came for a visit and we didn't want to pass up an opportunity to see them. Graham stayed home because he had school. (He lived the bachelor life for a few days. Lots of chips and dip were consumed.) Evie and I had a fun time hiking Mt. Pinnacle in Little Rock, going to see the Toltec Indian Mounds, playing games, and visiting with family. It was a fun trip, albeit a short one.














The weather was nice for the past couple of days, so we took Evie to the park on Saturday. She had fun on the swing, going down the slide, and picking up pieces of bark. Mostly though she wanted to sit/stand by Mommy and Daddy and watch the other kids.

We feel very blessed to be living the life that we are currently and are so grateful to our friends and family who are on this journey with us.

xoxo, Marissa