As I said in a recent post, we’re planning to travel with my 2 year old for the holidays! I know, it’s completely nuts, but I’m preparing as best I can. So here we have one of my solutions: DIY toddler sewing projects! You will need markers, some kind of tough card stock (I reused old manila folders), a hole punch, and shoes laces or ribbon.
I drew some simple pictures on the manila folder with sharpies, and colored them in.
The I cut them out and punched holes around the edge:
It’s surprisingly simple. If you need something more durable you can color on and cut out plastic from milk jugs, or laundry detergent. Since we’re traveling for Christmas, I made a Christmas tree complete with tinsel:
It’s so cute I amaze myself sometimes! Now we’ll see if Nacho enjoys them at all. I hope so, because I made four total.
We are planning to travel for Christmas with my two year old because A) I’m insane, and B) Someone gifted me lots of Austin Beerworks beer, so I can tolerate more aggravation (Note: I do NOT mean drinking and driving. That’s an absolutely terrible idea. Just drink at home, so you can play video games at the same time!).
Since we’re traveling with a toddler, I am planning as many activities as possible that are lightweight, easy to carry, pack, and play with, and are cheap, so I don’t have to freak out if bits get left behind. To that end, I made some simple, free winter printables that you guys are welcome to. You can use these as coloring pages or just decorate with cheap stickers!
You’ve got your basic Christmas tree, and a snowman and house to decorate, since not everyone celebrates Christmas. The house can be made into a gingerbread house, or a monster house, whatever the kiddo’s tiny heart desires. And you can print dozens of them. Dozens!!!
Everyone be safe during this insane travel and shopping time. Remember that you don’t have to shop if you don’t want to! Whatever you’re up to, have fun and be safe!
Love, That Clever Chick
Back to the Future is one of my favorite movie series of all time, and the 2nd one is my absolute favorite. Today is the day Marty McFly arrived in the future.
So you know what that means? IT’S OFFICIALLY THE FUTURE NOW. And we all have to start dressing like this now:
I don’t know about you, but I am STOKED. Lots of neon, weird hats, plastic accessories, double neckties, and chest-mounted sound effects boards. All of this is 100% fantastic. We made it, you guys. We can finally look this glorious:
I love Halloween. It is my absolute favorite holiday of the year, far beyond any other. The thing is, I’m a total wuss when it comes to scary movies. When I saw The Ring, I had to sleep with the lights on for two weeks. (FYI, that’s a good test for your relationship right there. Hubby passed with flying colors). So what movies can you watch that won’t ruin your precious, precious sleep? Me to the Rescue!
- Poltergeist (THE ORIGINAL ONE. WE DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE ANY OTHER VERSION): This movie is fantastic, with amazing special effects and a completely solid story. It is the embodiment of Spielberg epicness. If you haven’t seen this yet, stop what you’re doing, quit your job, and go watch it. Fun fact: it also came out in 1982, which is widely acknowledged to be the best year for movies ever.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas: This one is good for Halloween AND Christmas! This movie is a gorgeous distillation of Tim Burton and Danny Elfman. Twisted, beautiful, and heart-wrenching, it is a forever classic. If you’ve already seen this a million times, there’s an internet theory that Frankenweenie, Corpse Bride, and Nightmare make a kind of trilogy, so re-watch with that in mind.
- Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon: A documentary crew gets access to a Jason Voorhis-like serial killer. This is a great movie, with a good mix of humor, and the Talking Heads in the soundtrack! It’s one of those small release movies that didn’t get the attention it deserves.
- Tucker and Dale vs. Evil: Absolutely hilarious version of the teen thriller. If you love Alan Tudyk (AND YOU HAD BETTER) you will absolutely love this movie. He gives yet another stellar, hilarious performance, as does Tyler Labine, of Reaper fame.
- The Cabin in the Woods: This is probably one of my favorite movies ever. The marketing department really failed when this movie came out, because they made it look like any other basic horror movie. Thankfully, it is not. In classic Whedon-style, Joss turns the horror genre on its head, and the results are spectacular. I went into this film like “Meh, let’s see”, and by the time the opening title hit the screen I was hooked. If you felt kind of blah towards it, or missed it altogether, I promise, Cabin in the Woods will not disappoint.
That’s all I can think of off the top of my head, but I’m sure another dozen will occur to me the second I hit “publish”. Help me out: what non-scary horror movies do you love?
I don’t usually do “PSAs”, but this post has some great info about car seats. My kiddo is super-tall for his age, but we’re keeping him rear-facing as long as possible.
I’ve been thinking about this blog post for months, the problem is, every time I start to write it, another friend chooses to forward face their child and I don’t want them to think I wrote it because of them. Here’s the thing: if this post convicts you, maybe you’re feeling convicted because you reasoned the same way. To some extent, forward facing your toddler is a preference. Statistics, and in some states, laws, recommend AT LEAST 2 years, but most states, despite American academy of pediatrics research, recommend (not require) AT LEAST 1 year and 20 pounds (minimum. That’s minimum.)
Look up your state’s requirements here. If you’re unhappy with the requirements, contact you state representative.It’s also beneficial to contact car seat manufacturers, they are very supportive in lobbying for these changes. — thank you krystina
I’m writing this post not to make other parents feel guilty. If…
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Like most parents, I’m constantly looking for ways to entertain my kiddo, especially ways that don’t cost anything. To that end I follow a blog called Free Fun in Austin, which alerted me to the existence of a free play area inside Lakeline Mall. It’s air conditioned, free, and has wifi and comfy seats. What more could an adult need?
Little Nacho is about 1 1/2, and he liked the play area well enough, but he’s a bit too young to get the most out of it. Mostly he wanted to point to all the shapes and letters on the carpet and name them. The place is neat, and pretty clean, and kids older than mine had a blast. I’d say it’s probably better for ages 3-7. We also saw a kiddie train going through the mall, but I didn’t find the starting point or where to pay for it. I know, you guys come here to get all the wonderful details, and once again, I delivered. That wasn’t vague at all!
To sum up, it’s clean, free, and air conditioned. It’s not so amazing that it’s worth a special trip over there, but if you’re at the mall anyway, it’s a good place for kids to burn off energy.
Rainy days, blah blah, kids trapped in the house, yadda yadda, mom’s out of booze, we need an activity. My son can’t get enough of playing with balls, so I thought I’d look at the resources I had on hand to craft an activity for him.
What does every crafty mom having laying around? Cardboard tubes! Whether from paper towels or toilet paper, we know there MUST be a use for them, and we hoard them like canned goods in a bomb shelter. I have these things falling out of cabinets when I attempt to put dishes away, so I figured it was about time to use a few up.
You will need: paper towel tubes, a cardboard box, strong tape, scissors, balls.
I had this Costco yogurt box laying around, and it is the perfect size for this. You can use something bigger or smaller, it’s up to you. I’m going to show you the basics of how I made mine, then you can adjust according to the materials you have on hand.
I started out laying the cardboard tubes in the box to measure how many I would need. I cut the tops off, long ways, just using scissors. I didn’t cut them directly in half, but if you have a shortage of paper towel tubes (Ha! Yeah, right) then you can do that and use each half.
I used pieces of toilet paper roll to add extra support to the paper towel tubes, with double stick tape. Important note: make sure the balls you’re going to use for this will fit through with those supports on there. Mine did not. I used whiffle golf balls and had to remove my beautiful supports.
I used big loops of masking tape to stick the tubes into the box. You can also use duct tape, or whatever you have laying around that’s fairly tacky. Again, test this thing before you hand it to your toddler so you don’t have to frantically rip pieces off while they run off to play with power outlets.
Success! He played with it!
Disclaimer: it does not work with kangaroos. I apologize for this huge oversight.
It always happens: I feel that first tickle or soreness in my throat, the inexplicable aches, Hubby starts sniffling. These are my warning signs that illness will descend upon the household imminently. I usually run to the store to stock up on what we’ll need, guiltily spreading viruses throughout the store. The alternative is attempting to sustain myself on the remaining dregs of a bottle of Dayquil whose expiration date rubbed off years ago, and that tea in the back of the cabinet that tastes like it was dredged out of Boston Harbor be someone even more frugal than me.
Well, no more! I am currently on the mend from a cold/flu, and this time I am stocking up in advance for the inevitable next plague. You can also use this as a “Get well soon” kit for an ailing friend. Put these items in a lovely gift basket with a bow, then leave it on their porch and run like hell to avoid zombie-fication.
- For adults:
Dayquil (or generic alternative, which you know is the one I have)
NyQuil (aka magical unicorn tears)
Okay, basically all the drugs
Tea (Throat coat is almost as magical as Nyquil)
Cough drops (even more drugs)
Chicken soup, or your preferred hot liquid
In the event of a stomach virus, crackers
Zinc (my choice), or your go-to supplement, like Emergen-C
- For kids too young for the good meds:
Herbal Tea (No caffeine, for the love of hamsters)
Chicken broth, watered down juice, whatever they’ll drink to keep hydrated
Vapor Rub (goes on feet at night, under socks)
New books, games, TV, anything to distract them
When you feel yourself starting to get sick, get your nest ready. You may need or want to be sequestered away from others to avoid spreading contagion, or just to avoid their horrified grimaces when they see you wandering the house with tissues stuffed up your nose, moaning quietly.
Darkness, blessed darkness
Quiet, thrice blessed quiet
Chargers in place for required devices
Trashcan (for tissues or vomit, depending on your illness)
Comfy bathrobe for wandering the house in, while moaning quietly
Journal and pen to capture your last words
You can also prepare by either keeping some things on hand: canned soup, soup fixin’s, or make and freeze soup in advance, in small containers. Having food basically ready to pour in your mouth when you feel like death is a solid option makes illness so much easier. Your body needs fuel to fight off a virus, so help it out with lots of fluids, nutrients, and sleep. You can make big batches of soup while you’re feeling well, then freeze it so it’s ready when you or a friend need it.
It’s hard to deal with sick kids when they’re too young to get the effective medicines, like decongestant. For congestion, take your little one into a hot shower, and get the bathroom nice and steamy. You can also use a humidifier if you have one. We also put a couple folded towels under one end of Nacho’s crib mattress so he slept a little bot propped up; this seems to help him breath easier while sleeping. We’d heard the Vapor Rub on the feet thing before, but finally tried it. It seemed to possibly help, but he could have been healing on his own at that point, so it’s hard to tell. We also save TV for a treat, so during the worst of it we let him watch a solid hour of TV. He was so fixated, I was able to sneak some chicken soup into him.
Also remember, antibiotics will do NOTHING for a cold virus. AntiBIOTICS fight BACTERIA. AntiVIRALS fight VIRUSES. Don’t pester your doctor for antibiotics that will do literally nothing to make you better, and can lead to more problems down the road. That’s like asking for an antidote to poison when you got hit by a car. It’s not going to fix the problem you have.
Being sick sucks, so make it suck a little less by being prepared.
So we had to have it replaced. The original fencing didn’t even have concrete poured for the posts! No wonder it collapsed. Hubby and I ripped it out bare-handed, and had this gorgeous new gate installed:
It’s so pretty and functional and pretty! We also ripped out the old wood that was edging a garden patch the previous home owners had put in. As we know from previous installments, those people were idiots, so they put in a big pile of terrible dirt right where the yard should drain when it rains. This creates a moat around the porch that our tiny dogs can’t overcome. We’ve started working on the yard a TON now that baby Nacho is old enough to run around back there.
We actually dug out by the other gate (because so many leaves and whatnot had built up water wouldn’t drain that way either) and discovered a small concrete patio! We’ve lived in this house for over 6 years now, and had no idea it was there. Now we have a new place for our trash cans! I have gotten COUNTLESS mosquito bites working outside, in spite of bug spray. UGH. I hate being outside. This just shows how much having a kid can change you.
This next part is tragic, and horrifying. Our electric bill had been weirdly high for about 3 months. We called an electrician about something else, and he found that we were getting power surges. A city electrician then came out and discovered this:
This poor snake apparently crawled into the electric box during the winter, looking for warmth. I guess his bar b queued carcass was causing the power fluctuations. We didn’t change anything in the house, other than removing the “reptile torture dungeon of horrors” (quote stolen from Timmy), and our power bills went back down to normal.
After that, both our washer AND dryer died, which is normally bad, but since we use cloth diapers was unacceptable! Thankfully, a friend had an extra washer laying around she literally gave us for free (THANK YOU LYNN), and then I went and bought a dryer. So we’ve had a very productive, yet expensive few weeks.
Am I going to leave you with the traumatic visual of snake jerky?
Oh okay, fine. Here’s a picture of Stefano, the Overly Excited Cloud:
Ladies, duckface is played out. Yes, maybe it makes you look thinner, because it sucks in your cheeks, but it also makes you look unbearably smug. So here’s the new thing: FISH FACE!! I mean, take a look at these wildly attractive ladies:
When you have that pediatrician appointment where the doctor finally okays starting solid foods, you know your baby is on the way to toddler-hood. It’s great, but also a sign of how quickly time passes with these adorable little munchkins. My son, Nacho, is just over a year old now, so I thought I’d post a bit of advice on this topic before I forget everything due to sleep deprivation.
Nacho has a ton of food allergies, which were a complete surprise, as there are very few in my family. So here’s my advice from a food-allergy perspective:
1) Before trying any foods, have children’s Benadryl on hand, just in case. Ask your pediatrician for the appropriate dose in case of a reaction.
2) At the doctor’s appointment, ask the pediatrician to review warning signs of an allergic reaction with you.
3) A new study just came out about preventing peanut allergies in the first year of your child’s life. I’m not a doctor, and reading articles on the internet is no substitute for personalized medical advice, so ask your pediatrician about this also.
4) Keep a baby food diary. You may already be tracking stuff like milk intake, poopie diapers, and whatnot, so start recording your baby’s foods also. Personally, I don’t worry about the amounts, just the items. And record each food your baby has every day. It can take several exposures for a food allergy to show up. Nacho had had eggs 3 times before he exploded everywhere, and I was fortunate to have children’s Benadryl on hand.
5) Have the number to a 24 hour nurse phone line programmed into your phone. This is useful for all kinds of things, not just food allergies. Your doctor’s office or health insurance may offer this service, so check with them first.
6) I’ve read that when you first start baby foods, you should start with a green vegetable. This supposedly helps prevent picky eating later in life by exposing them to different tastes early on. I don’t know how true this is, but we did this with Nacho, and he is a very good eater. There’s pretty much nothing he won’t eat, other than the many foods that try to kill him.
7) It’s incredibly easy to make your own baby food, and it’s insanely cheaper than buying store bought. That way you know exactly what goes into it. We were gifted a box of baby food, and had to pass about half of it off to a friend due to allergens. And it wasn’t anything obvious! There were pears in something like a beef and veggie dinner. Pears! So be sure to read all ingredients on everything.
There are plenty of articles online about how to get your kids to like and eat food. This article is the one I wish I’d had to warn me about food allergies. Keep in mind, not all food allergies are life-threatening. I do NOT want to add more stress for anyone! It’s just something to keep in mind when starting foods for the first time. Hopefully, you’ll never have to open that little bottle of Benadryl, and can pass it on to someone else. In the meantime, it will be comforting to know it’s available in an emergency.