Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Car Seat Safety

Have you seen the new car seat recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics? If not, check it out!
I'm not going to rewrite the article here (because you just read it right?) Car seat safety is a big deal to Ruben and I, so I just want to make sure that everyone with kids is aware of the facts and is able to make educated choices when it comes to their kids' car seat. At 6 and 4 years old both Buzz and Boo ride in forward-facing seats and they both still use the five point harness. We have the Graco Nautilus for both.

Bean rides rear-facing and will for as long as possible (well past the old guideline of 1 year and 20 pounds, even though she's over 20 pounds already). She rides in a Britax Marathon 70.

The Nautilus is great because it is forward-facing with a five-point harness and can convert to a high back booster and eventually a backless booster. The five-point harness accommodates kids up to 65 lbs (which is a long way off for my kiddos) and the booster can accommodate up to 100 lbs.
The Marathon is rear-facing up to 40 lbs and forward-facing up to 70 lbs. We have been very happy with both car seat models. The Marathon is especially easy to install, though I'm not the car seat installer in our house, that credit goes to Ruben.

A few other things to keep in mind:
Car seats have expiration dates, for most manufacturers it is six years
If the seat is in an accident, it should be replaced, even if it doesn't appear damaged
All children under 13 years old should sit in the back seat
The right car seat for your child is the one that fits your child and is used correctly EVERY time

Monday, March 21, 2011

Where's Bean?

So I've been informed that Bean is not featured enough around here. In fact my parents have started playing "Where's Bean?" (like Where's Waldo?) with my pictures of Buzz and Boo, trying to find her in the background. I assure you that Bean is still alive and well, making our lives a whole lot cuter! She is now 8 months old and has really developed more of a personality in the last 6 weeks or so. She has been rolling over for a couple of months now and for a while log rolling was her method of getting around. Now she alternates between army crawling (or Air Force crawling if you ask Boo) and crawling on her hands and knees.
She shocked us a bit last week. Ruben and I were in the kitchen starting dinner while Boo was reading on the couch in the living room and Bean was playing on the floor. All of a sudden Boo starting shouting that we needed to come in to the living room quick! We thought something was wrong and rushed in only to discover that Bean had crawled over to her activity table and pulled herself up! She was happily standing there pounding on the table and making noise. She's been pulling up since and I see cruising on the horizon.
She learned how to clap this week and claps enthusiastically whenever she's excited. She is also babbling a lot and now has four teeth! She loves her activity table and her busy block right now, but her favorite is when we fill a laundry basket with some of her toys. She loves to tip it over and pull everything out.
So here are a few pictures of what Bean's days are filled with:

Playing with her activity table


Playing with her busy block


Playing with Daddy

Playing with Boo

 and Buzz

 and helping them fold their laundry

 Playing with her favorite, a laundry basket full of toys!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Boo's Latest ExpEARience

We took Boo to get her ears pierced! I'm not of a big fan of babies and toddlers having their ears pierced .One of our foster daughters, a toddler, had hers pierced when she came to live with us and she actually took one out during nap time and we never found it. Presumably she swallowed it, yikes! So we've always said that when Boo was old enough to ask to get them pierced and we felt that she really understood, we would let her.
Silly me, I thought that day would come when she was 9 or 10 years old, but she's been asking in earnest for a few months now. So after talking it over for the past few weeks, we decided she was ready. Ruben got off work early so we thought it would be a fun surprise. Boo was so excited to pick out the earrings that she wanted! She was very brave and didn't cry at all. Afterward we went to dinner and stopped by Buzz and Boo's favorite store, Barnes and Noble, and they each picked out a book. It was a really fun family day!
For some reason lately I can't seem to get her to keep her eyes open when I take a picture, but you get the idea

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Fun

Our theme for this week was St. Patrick's Day. We used my St. Patrick's Day printables. We also used some of the activities from Musing of Me and 2 Teaching Mommies.

I didn't go all out this week. Actually the only thing that I bought was a bag of foam shamrocks from Michael's (which were on sale 40% off because I'm a slacker who bought them less than a week before the holiday). We used the shamrocks for a few different activities for Boo. One was sorting (by size and color) and one was making patterns.

I also took a large egg carton (for 30 eggs) and wrote the numbers 1-30 on the shamrocks and had Boo put one in each spot in order. She loved it!

We talked about the colors of the rainbow and Buzz and Boo learned ROY G BIV, then they made a little craft. They each drew a rainbow and a leprechaun and glued on a black pot. Then they used a single hole punch with yellow construction paper. I emptied the little circles out for them to glue on the pot as gold. Then they glued on foam shamrocks. They turned out pretty cute!

We made a cake and decorated it with a pretzel m&m rainbow. The actual cake was rainbow too, but I didn't get a picture of it.

We read Jack and the Leprechaun, Leprechauns Never Lie and Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland and we watched Sumo of the Opera, which includes the story of St. Patrick.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Being a Homeschool Parent

I've been thinking a lot lately about the misconceptions about homeschooling. While there are definitely some about homeschooled children (hello annoying socialization question!) I think that there are also a lot about homeschool parents. I wanted to write a post about the misconceptions that public school parents may have about homeschool parents but never seemed to get around to it. The other day I came across this post by Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers and it says just about everything that I wanted to say, better than I would have said it :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Printables

I hadn't planned on doing any St. Patrick's Day activities, but Buzz informed me that we are supposed to do crafts, activities and printables for every holiday (who knew?) so I made up some printables and I'm planning a few crafts and activities for next week.

My kids love spot the difference activities! Just circle the things that are different in the picture on the right from the one on the left. I print just about everything that I can on cardstock and laminate it to use with dry erase markers. That way I can just store it for Bean to use in the future.

This addition printable is for Buzz. The idea is to solve each addition problem and put it in on the right color on the rainbow (for example 3+4=7 so he would write 3+4 in one of the circles on the yellow stripe). 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dr. Seuss

We had fun reading lots of Dr. Seuss books and doing fun activities to celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday this week!

 Of course we ate green eggs for breakfast and we also ate a lunch based on some of his stories. Pink lemonade (Yink ink), sandwiches with one half plain and one half with a star on it (The Sneeches), goldfish crackers (One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish), and a chocolate turtle candy (Yertle the Turtle).

My kids love cut and paste activities so I picked up a Dr. Seuss scissor activity pad and they enjoyed working on the activities in it.

We read The Cat in the Hat and tried to see how much we could balance on our heads and in our hands.

 I joined in on the fun too, Boo took this blurry one of me

We read The Foot Book and talked about non-standard units of measurement and measured how many of their feet long different objects were around the house.
You may notice in the background that I haven't gotten around to changing our calendar to March yet :)

We read There's A Wocket in My Pocket and then did a rhyming activity. I made a pocket out of construction paper and then gave Buzz and Boo each a stack of index cards with words at their reading level. They had to read the word and write down a rhyming word on a blank card and put them both in the pocket. They both did a great job! Boo was able to read all of her words without help and sound out most of the rhyming words that she came up with on her own. I knew Buzz wouldn't have any trouble reading his words, but I did give him some that were tricky to rhyme and he did a great job too!

The favorite activity of the week was reading Bartholomew and the Oobleck and making oobleck out of cornstarch and water!

We also talked about pen names and the difference between books Theodor Geisel wrote under the name Dr. Seuss and ones he wrote under the name Theo LeSieg (do you know?)

Plus we just had a good time snuggling up with our huge collection of Dr. Seuss (and Theo LeSieg) books and enjoying them together!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Pair of Red Clogs

This week we rowed A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsuno
It's a sweet story about a little girl who damages her wooden clogs and decides to try to trick her mother into buying her a new pair. Boo loved this story and we read it many more than five times this week.

We talked about Japan being an island and found it on our world map. Buzz and Boo both made two lapbook components, one is a map and one is the Japanese flag. Both are from Homeschool Share.

We read the book What Will the Weather Be? and talked about weather.

Buzz and Boo used their slippers to play the weather telling game from the story.

We read Taro and the Tofu, another sweet story by Masako Matsuno.

We used COAH's Stewardship study, which tied into the story really well.

Buzz did the story problems from Homeschool Share. He loves story problems and he really loves when the problems are based on whatever we're reading.

Buzz and Boo said that their favorite part of the week was sitting on pillows on the floor and eating dinner on a low table like Mako's family.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Stuff I Love! Baby 0-6 Months

Check out which cloth diapers I love here!

I bought this teething necklace for Bean when she was 3 months old. She has worn it daily since then and got her first two teeth at 5 months with no pain or problems. I can't say definitively that her lack of discomfort was due to the necklace but it certainly didn't hurt. Plus she looks so stinkin' cute in it.
I wear mine every day and it really comes in handy when we're out and about. Bean loves to chomp on it!
This carrier was great from the time Bean was born until she was around six months old. So comfy for me and cozy for her!

I'm not sure what it is about Sophie the Giraffe, but she seems to have so sort of magical quality that makes all babies love her. I bought Sophie for Bean when she was 3 months old. The legs are just the right size for little hands to hold and the ears are great for chewing on.
Baby Legs

They're cute, they keep you're little one's legs warm, they fit for a long time (Boo sometimes wears them to dance class). Did I mention they're cute?
And two great sites to check out for daily deals-
Both sites feature a mommy or baby item each day (Baby Steals has two!) at 50% or more off retail

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Stuff I Love! Cloth Diapers

Rumparooz are great for newborns (Bean was 8 pounds at birth and they fit great). The inner gussets are great for catching runny poo. We have a huge stash of these that Bean wore almost exclusively for the first four months and we loved them. Unfortunately she developed a sensitivity to the microfleece inner and can no longer wear them. This isn't the case for most babies though and I still highly recommend them, especially for the early months.

We bought the 3.0's when Boo was little, they were our favorite back then, but velcro gets scratchy and starts to look pretty tattered. Bean started wearing those old 3.0's when she was about 4 months old and they still worked great despite not looking so new anymore. When Bum Genius released the 4.0's (the current style) they introduced the option of snap closure. We ordered some and they are now our go-to diaper and definitely the only one I trust overnight.

Flips make up the rest of our diaper stash. We have mostly the organic inserts and a handful of the stay dry as well. I would say these work better for an older baby or toddler. Bean still poops on the cover almost every time at this point. But I know from experience that they work great for kids who are eating solids.

I've tried quite a few different detergents and I think Rockin' Green is hands down the best!

I always buy my diapers from Nicki's. Great selection, great customer service and fast shipping!