Scooping Pom poms

I decided to change things up today. We haven’t done a sensory bin for quite a while. I found my inspiration from Buggy and Buddy. It is such a simple activity to set up which is why I loved it right from the start.

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I had a bowl of pompoms, two cup measurers, an ice cube tray, and four silicon baking cups.

As soon as Chloe saw it, she sat down to play with it.

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She preferred the silicon liners to the ice cube tray. This activity lasted for a solid 45 minutes. I couldn’t believe something so simple could entertain her for so long.

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Chloe decided to pack the pompoms in to the cup measurer and dump it out. She labeled it a cupcake and the play turned into pretend cooking and eating. A child’s imagination is a wonderful thing!

I left this activity out, and she went back to it and played for another half hour.

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This was a very successful quiet, easy, and fun activity!

Fall trees

Fall is such a pretty time of year. When the weather is nice, it’s great to get outside and enjoy the beauty of it. I’ve been trying to do activities that involve the colours and leaves in some way.
Since Chloe loves to paint, I decided to do a leaf project that involved her painting (more).

On the first day we worked on this activity, I had fall colour paints out and ready to use. I gave Chloe a piece of paper and had her paint one colour and then mix a bit with one other colour. We did 4 separate pages like this.

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Of course that was not enough painting for her, so I let her mix up and paint with the leftover paint when we were done.

I let the pages dry overnight since Chloe often paints the same spot over and over. When they were dry, I drew leaf shapes on to the painted parts and cut them out.

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At this point, Chloe was itching to get her hands on the leaves.
The next step I did was cut out a tree trunk out of brown construction paper and glue it down onto a piece of white paper.

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We used a glue stick and at first, I put glue on the leaves and gave them to Chloe to place on the tree.

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This only lasted a short period of time. Chloe made it very clear that she needed to do it “all by my self!”
So, she would glue them, and then I would add more glue and she would place them.

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This is what it looked like when we were finished.

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I absolutely love it. It is on my mantle. I see more projects like this in our future!

Garlic butter shrimp and quinoa

I’ve made this recipe a few times but never blogged about it. It’s time now to share this delicious meal. The recipe is from pinch of yum.

The recipe starts out with sautéing the onion, then adding the garlic, quinoa and chili powder.

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The broth is added and the quinoa is cooked for about 20 minutes.

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While the quinoa is cooking, the shrimp is cooked in butter with chili powder. Right before the shrimp is done cooking, garlic is added to the pan. (Note: I had some raw shrimp and some cooked shrimp, so I cooked my raw first and added the cooked halfway through)

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The sh

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The shrimp is put off to the side and the butter sauce is made in the same pan. The remaining butter is melted and the garlic is added. And the sauce is done!

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Once the quinoa was done, I added the shrimp and all of the butter sauce and mixed it all up. I didn’t bother with the parsley as I didn’t have any. Once served into bowls, I added some lemon juice. My 2 year old loves this dish. And although it’s made with butter, it’s actually fairly healthy.

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Fall trees with handprints

Although it’s only mid September, my Pinterest and Facebook are full of fall and Halloween activities. I’ve been feeling a bit uninspired lately and seeing all these fall activities gave me ideas to try. I saw this activity for using handprints to make trees and thought it was perfect for Chloe.

The first step was getting everything set up. I drew the tree trunk with a brown marker, set out the paint and had a bowl of water for washing her hand. I also had some pieces of paper for her to paint while her hand prints were drying and for after she was done.

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I got Chloe in an apron, painted her hand and we placed it down a few times.

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I rinsed her hand off and painted it yellow and we made more prints. Then I decided that the prints should dry for a few minutes before doing the last colour. I gave Chloe a sheet of paper and let her play with the three colours (orange, red and yellow).

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While she was doing that, I talked to her about how leaves change colour and had her look out the door and see our tree that has green leaves with a few that are changing colour.

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After a few minutes, I brought back the tree and painted Chloe’s hand orange. We did the prints and then I moved it out of the way.

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I gave her more paper to paint on and then encouraged her to get messy and use her hands.

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Chloe loved this activity and wanted to keep doing it. I really should do more stuff with her like this…

Magnetic letters

I decided to do a quick activity with Chloe and start working on letter recognition. I pulled out a cookie sheet and her magnetic letters. I was hoping all of the letters would be in there, but of course we were missing 1. It either got lost under the fridge or the dog chewed it. Annoying. But oh well.

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For most of the letters, there were several colours to choose from. I let Chloe choose, and we put it onto the cookie sheet. We would say the letter name, “a” then put it on the cookie sheet. We would say the next letter name, “b” and put it on the cookie sheet, then I would point to a and we would say both the letters we had on the sheet, “a, b”. And so on.

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We worked our way through the alphabet and sang the song, ok I sang the song. The one letter we were missing was f.

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Once we were done, I let Chloe play with the letters for a bit and then we cleaned up together.

Counting with coins

In Chloe’s room, we keep a piggy bank. And when we have leftover coins, we put them in together. She gets so excited for it.
Chloe is a pretty good counter considering she just turned 2 in July. She can count to about 12, although she often forgets 8. I decided a good way to practice counting while learning new words would be by counting up her coins.

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I dumped out her coins onto the floor and let her touch them all.

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Then, we started sorting the coins. I told her the names : nickels, dimes and quarters.
We laid the dimes in rows of 10, so we had to practice counting to 10 several times.

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We rolled up the coins so that we can go take them into the bank. Chloe needed to help at that part too.

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In the end, we rolled $17 worth of coins.

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I’ll have to keep putting coins in her piggy bank because she loved this activity and will be excited to do it again!

Painting with ice and water

Sorry I disappeared there for a bit! We got home from our trip and have been trying to settle back into regular life. Wait, what’s that?!
Anyway, a while back when I was looking at doing the northern unit, I saw a pin for painting with water and I thought you could also pair it with painting with ice cubes. But of course, I couldn’t find that pin again when I went to look for it. It didn’t matter though because it’s easy enough.

I set out materials on our deck for Chloe to use: paintbrushes of different sizes and one a sponge, a water dish and ice cubes in a cup.

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When Chloe saw paintbrushes, she couldn’t wait to get her hands on them. She started right away. I joined her, too.

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She enjoyed painting for quite a while. If I painted something, like a heart, she would come by and paint over it. She thought it was hilarious.

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After a bit, I tried bringing out the ice to paint with. Chloe ignored it and kept painting with the brushes. So instead, I painted with the ice while Chloe used the brushes. I drew different shapes with the ice, had Chloe identify them, and then she would draw the shape as well. Well… She would try anyway.

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Chloe loved doing this activity. It kept her busy for at least 45 minutes, and she didn’t even get to the ice. I loved the fact that there was no mess and it was basically the easiest activity for set up.

Smoothies

A healthy snack I like to give to Chloe is a smoothie. It is a good way to sneak in veggies she would otherwise not eat. Usually, I just find leftover fruits and grab some spinach from our garden. Today, I used a half eaten banana that I had thrown into the freezer, frozen strawberries that Chloe didn’t finish one day and some strawberries. I threw in some plain Greek yogurt, spinach and prune juice. She also had a half eaten packet (the puréed fruits and veggie ones you can get at the grocery store) that I put in. It was squash and pear.

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Once it’s all blended up, I usually make Popsicles with it and the rest goes to Chloe.

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This is a favorite snack of Chloe’s. And I like it because it’s full of healthy things and I know exactly what is in it.

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Flying with toddlers

Toddlers are not the easiest creatures. Being easy is not in their nature. So, when we decided (last minute change of plans from driving) to fly for our holiday, I was honestly a little panicked.
I had been planning for probably a full week to keep Chloe busy in the truck for the 16 hr drive(and that’s only one way!) I had movies, colouring books, bubbles for pit stops etc. The day before we were going to leave, we had to change our plans to drive because of highway conditions.

After a quick unpack of some of the things I could no longer take or no longer needed, I had to rethink entertainment. Luckily, the 16 hr drive got changed to an hour and a half flight. Not bad at all! And, on Canadian north, the airline we flew on, a meal is served (yes, even on the short one hour and thirty minute flight!) so I knew that would help if Chloe was cranky.

When Chloe was a baby, she went on a plane a few times. By the time she was just over 1, she has been on 7 flights. All which were good except for one. But all were also an hour and a half or shorter. When traveling with a baby, the easiest and recommended thing to do is feed them (breast or bottle) on landing and take off. Not only does it help with their ears, it put mine to sleep for all or the majority of the ride.

For this trip, I checked out the rules of motherhood and for love of cupcakes.

On the day we left, Chloe had to be woken up at 5:30 am. So early for her! I had her backpack filled with books, colouring books, stickers, Dora figurines, Easter eggs with little toys in them, crayons, markers and a homemade activity. In my bag, I had snacks and treats.

On the two blogs I checked out, I read that a sucker can help with the ears on landing and take off. Chloe had never had one, so I knew she would be very happy to try one.

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This kept Chloe very, very happy.

Right after takeoff, the flight attendant brought a colouring book and crayons for Chloe. I had brought some anyway for Chloe, but extra was nice since we were going to be on holidays for a week and a half.

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Chloe was really excited to colour in the book. New things are exciting.

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After she worked on the colouring book for a while, I brought out a book I got at a garage sale for $1. It’s a magnet book with magnetic animals. Chloe thought it was pretty neat.

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The next thing I pulled out of her bag was little plastic Easter eggs with different little toys inside. One had a necklace and ring, one had a mini camera, one had a little frog and lizard.

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After that, drinks and food came so that kept Chloe entertained for the rest of the flight.

What activities do you do to keep your kids entertained on flights?

All about the north

Around our house, we have a lot of different things from the north. Matt is half Inuvialuit, making Chloe a quarter Inuvialuit. She was born in Yellowknife, NWT, and we lived there for a year.

I got an idea for a northern theme from a recent gift for Chloe.
I set up anything I could find. Books, a colouring book, figurines, art, stuffed animals and ice box.

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The first thing Chloe did was start colouring the inukshuk page in her colouring book. During this time, I read to her from a book about polar bears.

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Next, I read a book about animals that live on the land and a book about animals that live in the water. For each animal in the book, I would ask her to find the same animal out of her stuffies and figurines.

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Caribou

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Beluga whale (Chloe’s favorite- she sleeps with that stuffie every night!)

After that, she started reading the books on her own, while I read different books out loud to her.

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The first day we did this, we ended by looking at the different artwork she had. We discussed what it was and looked at each piece together.

A few days later, I pulled out ice I had put a bit of food colouring into and had left in the freezer. I put it into a bigger bin and added some water. It had a neat effect.

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I also added a bunch of ice cubes to the bin and put it outside. I put out the arctic animals and started placing them in the bin to show Chloe.

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While Chloe played with the animals, ice and water, I talked about how certain animals live in the water and how others would go in the water and on land.

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Then I noticed Chloe was trying to eat the ice cubes.

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So instead, we started talking about ice. We talked about how it felt: rough and smooth, slippery, cold.

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I think Chloe enjoyed all of the activities we did. It was educational, fun and important.
And the ice/water bin has inspired a new idea for Chloe and me to try. Stay tuned for another ice/water blog in the near future!