We have been feeling very cooped up and trapped inside recently with the cold cold temperatures we have been having. So when we saw that it would be a nice warm 30 degrees this morning I decided we had better get outside while we had the chance!
Almost as soon as we stepped out the door Lewis heard a crow in a nearby tree, and as we listened to the crow we started picking up the sounds of other things around us too. Lewis doesn’t have a lot of words yet, but he loves to practice using his voice by imitating the sounds around him.
Despite the “warm” temperature it was very windy outside so after making some footprints in the snow and of course eating a little of it (Lewis, not me) we headed back indoors. Even though Lewis was clearly not enjoying the cold snowy wind blowing on him, he was reluctant to come in since we have had so few chances to play in the snow recently. Then I came up with the idea to bring some of the snow in with us, which he apparently thought was a good solution.
I brought him in then grabbed our smaller sensory bin, scooped some snow into it, and sat him down on a big towel with the bin and a few toys. Perfect.
We played with some scoops and things in the snow and also added in some of his plastic animals. The animals made footprints in the snow just like we did outside! He had a lot more fun playing with his container of snow than he did when we tried this a year ago. (Wow, he looks so tiny in those pictures!)
Unfortunately the temperature is supposed to drop again over the next few days, but then they are predicting for next weekend to be a little warmer again so I guess we won’t be trapped indoors forever.
Lewis has been very into all things art recently. I’ve been feeling the creative itch as well, and since we are holed up inside hiding from the cold winter weather it is the perfect time to get out the art supplies and do some projects together!
Last week I got out some sidewalk chalk and some crayons, both of which were “failed” art materials when he was younger. The chalk was met with great interest and we had a lot of fun coloring on both white and black paper with it. The crayons, apparently, are still best used to chew on and possibly to pick at with fingernails, so they have been put back away to be tried again at a later time. We’ve also had some fun with stickers, although he doesn’t really ‘get’ sticking them onto paper yet. Mostly they are fun for peeling off the sticker sheet and losing them all over the apartment to be found stuck to everyone’s socks later on.
This morning we seemed to have a long stretch of time with no plans for keeping busy so I decided it was a good opportunity to get out the paints.
I like to let him explore the paint in whatever way he wants, so I usually make a couple of brushes/tools available but then leave him to choose whether to use them or his hands. Today I wanted to give him a new way to explore the paints so instead of a normal brush I just gave him a few cotton balls and a few round cotton pads.
He seemed to have fun smudging the cotton balls/pads around on the page and seeing how the colors were spread around and blended together.
This activity didn’t last as long as I expected because he kept trying to taste the paint on his fingers so I told him we needed to be done.
He made up for it later at lunch time by turning his smoothie into a beautiful purple painting on his highchair tray.
It is mid-January, which also means we are right in the middle of winter. Cold temperatures, snow, ice, etc. etc. It hasn’t been too bad since Lewis loves going out in the snow, but it does make it a little harder to get outside. Getting bundled up is a bit of a hassle, some days are just too cold or wet or windy, and most of the time the sidewalks are too much of a mess to even consider a walk with the stroller.
However, we somehow lucked out this past week or so and have had some warmer temperatures. Monday Lewis and I went out to play in the morning and then also went for a nice stroller walk after his nap.
It was nice to be able to see the ground again for a change, and Lewis was actually interested in doing more than standing in one spot eating snow or getting his mittens soaked in icy puddles!
He started out with mittens on, but it soon became clear that they needed to come off in order to explore and pick up tiny acorns and leaves and such!
We also found a big icy area on the grass, and I showed him how slippery it was and how we could slide around with our boots. He didn’t like slipping and falling but seemed to have fun sliding a bit with me helping him balance. Mostly he was more interested in sitting down and inspecting the grass and sticks and things caught in the ice though.
We had a nice long play time outside, and also enjoyed our walk in the evening. Tuesday was warm again but rainy all day, so we were trapped inside once again. Yesterday was another lovely warm day and we took advantage of being able to walk to story time at the library (last time we went the sidewalks were horrible so we won’t be trying to go on any more snowy days). On the way back from the library Lewis was getting antsy in his stroller so I let him get out and wander along beside me for a while. Eventually he got distracted with some seed pods he picked up and was just standing in one place picking the seeds out, so I popped him back into the stroller to pick his seeds as we walked the rest of the way home. At least he got to stretch his legs a little bit!
And today there is snow again. It is still fairly warm out and we had another nice play time outside, but it did mostly involve Lewis eating snow while Mommy built a tiny snowman.
I’m sure there is lots more snow and winter weather to come in the next couple months, but this warm week was a nice sneak preview of the fun we will have when spring arrives!
When I think of Farmer’s Markets, what comes to mind is rows of tents overflowing with vegetables, lined up outside in the hot summer weather. We are a long way off from “hot summer weather” right now (although it is all the way up to 40 today!) but we are very lucky that our local market actually runs year round, and moves to an indoor location for the colder months. It is just as busy as ever through the winter, and there are plenty of apples and pears, squashes, and a great variety of root vegetables to choose from. There are also yummy hot-food vendors to buy lunch from, baked goods, honey, granola, craft items, etc. etc.
We don’t go very often, which really is probably for the best since we tend to blow all our money on lunch and/or treats. Lunch today was empanadas and some chickpeas and spinach, which Lewis enjoyed just as much as Mommy and Daddy did. I resisted buying any of the muffins or scones that I often get tempted into, but I did give in and buy some delicious Buddhapesto and we also got some tasty cheeses.
Of course we also got some various veggies and a little fruit, as well as the main reason we went – honey! I bought some grocery store honey one time and was sadly disappointed, and now only buy local honey. The old vendor who we were always used to seeing has apparently retired, but there was a new beekeeper there to take his place so hopefully their honey is just as yummy.
We brought the small stroller for Lewis and had him in it to start. At first he seemed quite overwhelmed with all the people and things to look at and was just staring around himself, but then he started getting interested in all the things he was seeing. After a bit he of course wanted to get out of the stroller to explore. He stayed out of the stroller the rest of the time, and the stroller then served duty as a place for us to pile our bags of veggies and other yummies.
I didn’t think about taking photos at first, but after we had been there a while I asked Chris to try to get a few shots of Lewis with his phone.
He pushed the stroller with me for a lot of the way, although at times wanted to be held. This was great for keeping him close and stopping him from wandering off in random directions, although he did get a bit distracted by interesting things a few times.
The market is held in Proctor’s Theater so there were a lot of interesting things to see. When we were on our way out it was much less crowded since we were no longer near all the tables/vendors so Lewis got to wander about a bit more. He enjoyed looking in the windows at the gift shop areas. Once he realized we were headed towards the outside he happily held my hand and we continued on our way.
We have been practicing hand-holding when we are outside and he is getting quite good about it. He’s becoming so much more mobile, and demanding to be put down to walk more, so it will be important for him to be used to holding hands when we are out and about.
We had a lot of fun at the Farmer’s Market, and got home just in time for Lewis’ nap!
Playdough is one of those classic play materials that all kids love. It’s also a classic make-it-yourself material that is quick, easy, and cheap to make at home. Yet somehow, I have just recently gotten around to making a batch for Lewis to play with!
I have my mom’s recipe that she used for us as kids, but I ended up using a recipe I found online instead. Since I only have Lewis to play with it I don’t exactly need the giant batch that mom would make for us growing up. Her recipe also requires cooking and stirring on the stove top, while this recipe from Learn ~ Play ~ Imagine only requires adding boiling water while mixing.
The instructions say to use a mixer for this, but I just did it in a bowl with a wooden spoon and it turned out fine. It was a bit sticky at first but a couple additional tablespoons of flour fixed that and made it into a lovely soft playdough.
- 1 cup flour (plus extra if too sticky)
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1 T cream of tartar
- 1 T vegetable oil
- food coloring of choice
- 3/4 c boiling water
Boil water. I used our electric kettle.
Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar. Add in oil and mix. (I mixed this with my hands a bit to try to get the oil blended in better. I don’t know if this was necessary.)
Add a few drops of food coloring, then slowly mix in boiling water a little at a time. If it is sticky, add extra flour 1 T at a time and mix.
Give to your child and make sure you keep some for yourself to play with too!
Part of why I’ve waited this long to introduce playdough play was the factor that Lewis still puts things in his mouth a lot, and I wasn’t sure if he’d just view it as an interesting new snack. He snuck one or two little tastes, but over all did really great with not eating it and listening to reminders from me and Chris!
The three of us had a lot of fun squishing and molding the playdough, making snakes and balls, printing in it and tearing it up. We’ve played with it twice since and Lewis and I also made dinosaurs, turtles, and fish, poked toothpicks into it, and cut it up with small plastic spatulas from the kitchen. I can tell this is going to be a frequent activity from here on out!
Lewis even requested the playdough tonight while I was washing dishes, so I dragged his highchair into the kitchen so he could play next to me. I was able to talk to him and supervise while he played, and when he started putting it in his mouth a bit too much I took him out of the chair. Maybe trying to eat it when he knows he shouldn’t was his way of letting me know he was done, since he didn’t put up a fight.
Looking forward to more creative playdough play! It will be especially fun when he starts making his own creations.
I have a couple of aprons that I like to wear while baking, washing dishes, etc. I tend to be a bit of a klutz and am prone to messes, so the aprons help keep flour/water/whatever off my clothing. Lewis has always been rather interested in my aprons, but when I wear them and when they are hung on their hook. Since he also is interested in helping me out with my cooking I decided a while ago that I should make him an apron of his own!
Searching around for toddler apron patterns, I came across the brilliant idea to make one from a tea towel or dish towel. All of our dish towels are a bit old and worn, so I picked up a cute snowflake towel when we visited a dollar store a few weeks ago.
This was a very simple project which took me a lot longer to actually finish than it should have! It has been sitting half-done by my sewing machine since before Christmas. I didn’t bother being very careful/precise with this. Lopped off the two curved areas for the arms and hemmed them; folded down the top edge at the neck to make a little tunnel which I then pulled a ribbon through to tie around the neck; folded the towel up to create the pocket and bring the apron to the right length, and stitched two more ribbons on the sides to go around his waist. Done!