I found this handy little site called Mother Talk. Basically they host reviews for lots of books and other items like music, movies, etc.... It is difficult to know which books are actually worth reading, so this might be really helpful if you've heard of something and want to hear more. Or, in the case of just wanting to find a great new album for your tot or book for you, this might help get the ball rolling towards making a good decision. Have fun!
Matt's grandmother called "Nanny" was famous for making "nanny-cakes" - pancakes that she would pour onto the griddle in shapes requested by the grandkids. She did this by hand, although now you can buy fun pancake molds from stores like Williams Sonoma. The way I like to do it is to use one of those plastic condiment bottles to "draw" the pancake shapes. I'm not really very good at it yet. I don't get much practice since we don't eat pancakes very often, but the girls love asking for pancakes in the shapes of animals, houses, people, crowns, and more. Eventually they'll be old enough to try making the shapes themselves. Those plastic bottles are also really great for decorating cookies with royal icing. For one birthday party, we provided home-baked cookies and bottles of icing in three different colors on each table and let the kids decorate their own cookies. We also provided little cellophane bags so that they could take their cookies home with them. Because of the small spout, the kids can have more control and less mess!
Now that Easter is over, you may be wondering what to do with all the left-over plastic eggs! I just can't bear to throw them away - it seems sad and bad for the environment. Last year, I stowed them away for re-use this year...but thanks to grandma, we ended up with twice as many. Here are some things you can do with your kids to put those colorful plastic eggs to use and keep the fun going.....
We've been loving the awesome spring-like weather around here. A few days ago, I took the girls on a walk around the neighborhood. Hope and I had recently been talking about shapes and so I decided to hand her my camera and allow her to take pictures of shapes that she noticed along the way. Here are some of what she came up with - squares in a circle, cylinder, semi-circle, and rectangles. It's great when you can do really simple things to make learning fun - and almost every four-year-old I know loves to use the camera!
Love this site - odeedoh from apartmenttherapy.com. Especially great if you live in a smaller space (I know Reston and the neighboring areas are spilling over with townhomes, condos, and apartments. One great feature is that you can tour real nurseries - and they are really beautiful. A great place to gather some ideas and just to have fun. Check out the other branches too...kitchen, technology, and going green - all with great tours and tons more!
Love this site....especially for the artwork and also the storybook rooms. If you've been meaning to pull together a cute room around a theme, then go browse in nursery, boys, and girls sections for the storybook rooms. You'll find fully furnished, decorated, thematic designs all pulled together in a detailed illustration followed by the individual items within the room for purchase. Even if you don't want to spend the dough to recreate the rooms you see there, it might be just the inspiration you need to personally create a fun space for your favorite kids.
Hope had her second ballet class today - and loved it, no surprise. In the meantime, Maddie and I had an hour to spend together just killing time. I took a book for us to look at and when we were finished, I decided to walk next door to the grocery store. Usually shopping with the girls is a whirlwind kind of experience. So, I took Maddie to the produce section for no other reason than to browse, to take the time to let her feel the differences between a bumpy round orange, a smooth oblong mango, and fuzzy kiwi....to look at all the different colors, and to smell the pineapples and also the roses from the nearby floral dept. It was really nice to just not care about a grocery list or if the kids were getting cranky and spend some one on one time experiencing things with my two year old. Grocery stores are great opportunities for fun with young ones - you can scavenger hunt for shapes, colors, letters, textures, sounds, and temperatures! You can make up games out of your usual shopping trips, or it's a good idea just to visit the store with no intentions of buying anything and when there's plenty of time to let it be a fun and relaxing experience for you and your children. Here are some more game ideas for the grocery store from Wondertime magazine and PBS.
I like the idea of these Bright and Beyond card decks...I've eyed them over at various times, but haven't tried them myself yet, still I hear good things. The marketing really focuses on enhancing development and intelligence - but I think that the truly attractive quality is that sometimes there are just days when as tired moms, we completely run out of ideas. Or maybe that is more like everyday and on a few sparkling occasions we surprise ourselves by mustering up a good idea? Either way, these decks, sorted in age groups from 0 to 9 years, provide a fun solution - just pull out a card, read it and engage in something easy, interesting, new, and educational. Or let you kid pick a card before bedtime and have something to look forward to for the next day!
My friend wrote here about the desire for a really great indoor play area for kids, and she mentioned the Chat and Play Cafe (which I did not know existed) in Midlothian, Va. I nearly fell out of my seat when I read it because for quite a while now, my husband and I have rolled around an idea which is so very similar to this (yet a little different) - but complete with cutesy name and everything. Although I am keeping my own ideas to myself for now so no one else will steal them, alas, I apparently am not the only one with a creative and useful idea along these lines...but at least I can rest assured that I'm not the only mom who thinks this would be great. Now, if only I could find a capital investor, a spacious enough location without a condemning overhead, and a desire for more hard work!