Pom Pom Pets

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I love our family weekends. Every six weekends the stars align & my husband & I have a full weekend off together. Saturday was a gorgeous day. We took Mai on an outing to the zoo. She loved every second and we got to enjoy a rare family day together.

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We had more fun plans scheduled for Sunday. We were going to take Mai to a local fair, but alas the rain came & it was a gloomy day filled with thunderstorms & flash flood warnings. We did not go to the fair that day, but rainy days can be fun days too. It had been a while since we had done any of our crafts because we have been so busy enjoying the summer. I have to admit, I was kind of excited to stay in and have a rainy day craft day with my daughter & my husband was happy to get a much needed nap.

Mai loves playing with craft pom poms. We have a huge bag of multi-colored & multi-sized pom poms. We broke them out & decided to have some fun. My daughter is a fan of insects, especially caterpillars. She likes to line up the balls & make caterpillars with them.

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She said “Mama make a caterpillar too.” & that is how it all started.

Pom Pom Pets

What you will need:

Craft pom poms

Pipe cleaners

Googly eyes

Glue

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Caterpillar

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Separate your pom poms & select 1 large, 2 medium sized & 3 small pom poms. Add glue to one of them

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Join the craft ball to one from the other size group. Continue this step alternating from small to medium until you use all the balls.

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Clip a pipe cleaner to make antennas.

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Add the antennas & googly eyes. Let dry.

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Cut a piece of pipe cleaner and fold into a zig zag pattern. Glue the caterpillar over the top.

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Spider 

Cut three small pieces of pipe cleaner and fold into and arc shape.

Cut three small pieces of pipe cleaner and fold into and arc shape.

Press the arced pipe cleaner into the craft ball & bend the edges of the pipe cleaners.

Press the arced pipe cleaner into the craft ball & bend the edges of the pipe cleaners. Repeat with the other two pipe cleaner pieces.

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Glue the head into place & add googly eyes . Let dry.

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Lady Bug

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Use one large pom pom & several small black ones. Glue the black ones to the red pom pom. Attach a medium sized black for the head.

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Form a pipe cleaner into wing shape. Glue the wings on the top of the body & add the googly eyes to the head.

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Ant

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Mai put in a special request for an ant since she loves ants.

This is any easy one. 1 medium craft ball & 2 small. Attach all 3 together. Glue on top of a pipe cleaner using the same zig zag pattern as in the caterpillar.

This is an easy one. 1 medium craft ball & 2 small. Attach all 3 together. Glue on top of a pipe cleaner using the same zig zag pattern as in the caterpillar. Let dry.

Mai pets her ant.

Mai pets her ant.

Grass Hopper

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Glue one medium sized ball to a large one. Cut two pipe cleaner pieces for the hind legs & fold into a v shape.

Glue the legs into place & allow to dry.

Glue the legs into place & allow to dry.

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Cut 2 more pieces of pipe cleaner & fold into an arc shape.

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Glue underneath for front legs & add googly eyes. Let dry.

It was my daughter that cleverly named our insects her pom pom pets. She loved them & even wanted to take them to take a nap with her.

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Disciplining My Toddler?

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Age 2… it can be a fun time; watching your little one learn, expanding their vocabulary & watching their personalities come out. These things are wonderful, but then there is a difficult more frustrating aspect to this age. There is a reason they call it the terrible twos. The tantrums would be enough to drive even a patient mama crazy. We have a new addition to the terrible in the terrible twos, back talk.

My daughter’s new favorite past time is disagreeing with mommy. Not only does she disagree, she does it with an all too smart mouth. Recently, she has been tormenting the dog a lot. The other day she was chasing him around the house with her push car. I was in turn chasing after her asking her to leave him alone. She ended up ramming into him causing him to slam into the wall as well. He yelped and I scolded Mai. I told her that what she did was not nice and that she needed to pet Duke and tell him sorry. Her reply “Mama, Dukey don’t talk.”  I am not sure if I should be proud because she is so clever or mad that I was just sassed by her. Regardless, she did eventually give Duke a hug & said sorry.

I am honestly at a loss about how to handle bad behavior. I want to make sure that we are effectively disciplining her, but I don’t know if I am doing the right things. I thought back to my childhood & remembered getting lots of spankings & time in the corner. I have spanked Mai a handful of times. The result was laughter followed by “Mommy funny!” I have tried calmly reasoning with her. That was a fail. I hear myself saying the phrase, “I am going to count to 3.” 1, 2, 2 1/2… I found the only thing that would seem to get through to her was the time-out. Our active child hates having to sit still when there is so much to do. Luckily we never removed the crib alarm from her toddler bed when we converted it over. So we send her to sit on her bed for time outs & she does not move because she does not like the alarm to sound. I have read that you should never use the crib or a bed for punishment because it associates negative things with sleep, but it has worked for us without causing issues during naps or bedtime.

This week during dinner, she had a full blown tantrum. She was throwing things, screaming and thrashing around on the floor. She stopped mid-tantrum and looked at me and said “Mama count!” It took me a moment before I realized what she meant. “I’m going to count to 3.” Then she said “Mama, send Mai to bed.” I was speechless. “Mama, I do it myself.” She stood up, walked into her room closed the door & put herself in timeout.

Mommy wants someone to give her a timeout.

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Choosing A Daycare

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 I was extremely fortunate that after the birth of our daughter I was able to take a year off from work & stay home with her during such a crucial period in her life. It offered me the opportunity to be there for all of those beautiful milestones that I might have otherwise missed out on. It gave me the ability to nurse her for a full year, to take daily naps with her, to grow our bond & to just soak up every second of her short infanthood even with all of its difficulties. What was even luckier than that was when I was ready to re-enter the workforce I had a mother-in-law that was willing to take on our child care responsibilities.

Under her Nanna’s care, Mai flourished. Together they would read books, go the park & library, do puzzles and built forts. Our daughter is bright, imaginative, caring and so happy & I know that it is largely in part of her time with her Nanna. There was only one thing missing during these past 2 1/2 years, social interaction. Sure we would play with her friends on occasion, but being an only child I found that Mai lacked a certain understanding in regard to waiting her turn, not always being the center of attention and sharing.

When we made the decision to put her in daycare a couple of days a week, I am not going to lie it freaked me out. It still is and she hasn’t even started yet. Being the helicopter mom that I am, I am extremely paranoid about entrusting my heart to a stranger. Choosing a daycare has been very stressful. I found that many were full or that they didn’t have the days available that I needed or the hours did not work with our schedule. Then I also found that I myself had reasons that I did not like the facilities. When you are picking a place that it going to be caring for your most precious of packages, you better be sure. It turns out I found one that I liked. I interview with them next week. 

Here is my checklist in finding a daycare…

1. Figure out what is most important when choosing a facility. Is it distance, cost, curriculum, # of children? For me I wanted her to be in a smaller more intimate daycare where there was more attention to each child & the same educational values as we have with her at home.

2. Make sure that they are licensed & accredited. You can find this info online by state. Believe me that I stalked each daycare to make sure they were legit.

3. What hours do they operate? Is there a fee if you run behind? I discovered that many of the daycares hours were outside of our needs. With my husband and I’s schedules we would have to juggle a few things to make it work. What I did not realize is that some places will charge you an additional fee for picking up your child even a few minutes late.

4. Do they have a set nap schedule? This is something you should find out ahead of time. Mai is on a nap as she gets tired schedule. Many daycares have a set nap schedule. If you are thinking of putting your munchkin in daycare you might want to start them on a mid-day nap schedule right away to make the adjustment.

5. How many children do they have & how many workers? I opted for a smaller home based daycare. The one I am interviewing with next week only has 4 children at a time.

6. What kind of activities do they do? I was pretty certain that I found a winner when I saw all of the things that this child care professional did with the children. She puts a lot of focus on nature activities, does nature walks, lots of crafts and alphabet & number lessons. When I saw the photos on her site, it looked like things that I would do with Mai.

7. Meet the caretaker in person & check out the facility. This I will do next week. We have spoken several times on the phone.

8. What is the daily menu for meals and snacks? If it is Pop Tarts and Spaghetti Os 5 days a week than it is not for me.

9. Do they have a policy on toilet training. We are still in the process of potty training. We have taken a more natural approach and have been doing it slowly. Some daycares will not accept a child that is still in diapers. Be sure to find this out up front.

10. Don’t be afraid to ask a million questions. If they don’t want to answer then you probably do not want them there anyways.

 

 

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Embrace The Positve

IMG_3032A friend of mine from work used to always tell me that once you hit 40 it all goes downhill. It was a funny thing because she told me this days before my 39th birthday. The day after turning 39, I landed myself in the hospital with my first attack of pancreatitis. We laughed about it & joked that I guess I wanted to get a head start. This past birthday I actually did hit the big 40 & for my birthday, I got a surprise party from my husband, a few more gray hairs & another stint in the hospital with another round of pancreatitis. Birthdays have not been kind to me.

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It has been a rough week & a half. The poor diet choices I have made as of lately have finally bit me in the butt & I am back to being on a strict fat restricted diet. Bye Bye cheese cake, farewell peanut butter, ta ta prime rib & I will miss you my old friend beer.

I have been extremely irritable these past couple of weeks with the symptoms leading up to my hospitalization & the hunger since I returned home. To make matters worse with as little as I have been able to eat, I thought the one bonus at least would be that I would lose a few pounds. I gained 2 pounds instead. I have been whiney, sore, tired, hungry & just plain feeling sorry for myself. I haven’t wanted to do much of anything.

Yesterday we went to a birthday party for a dear friend’s daughter. She was turning 8. I watched as everyone indulged on pulled pork & birthday cake. I jealously made a plate of food for my husband & daughter realizing that there was nothing that I could eat. My girlfriend’s husband noticing that I wasn’t eating offered to make me a low fat fish burger. I felt terrible that he was going out of his way for me, but as he was insistent, I gladly accepted. As we stood at the grill, he asked me how it was that I was feeling, I whined on with my woe-is-me story of belly pain & low fat food, I then looked at my friend’s husband & realized that my complaint was ridiculous. You see my friend’s husband has cancer. He has been battling a rare form of it for 6 years now, but if you did not know him you would probably never know it, because unlike me complaining about my ailments, he does not complain. He remains amazingly optimistic in the face of an uncertain future. Whenever I encounter a miserable person in my travels that just seems to hate everything that life has to offer, I usually think about Alex. He has every reason to be mad at the world, but is not. His positive spirit is amazing & even contagious. As I realized this, I told him I had no right to bitch with all he has gone through. He just smiled as he always does and made me my burger. (Which was delicious by the way) Having to give up junk food does not seem quite like such a big deal anymore.

For the rest of the party, I stopped worrying about the cupcakes & just put my focus to what was the most important, the people I was there with.

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Little Miss No-It-All

IMG_2732One of the things that scared me when I found out that we were having a little girl was the fact that she would eventually grow into a teenage girl. I remember my relationship with my mother at that age. It was not a good one. Like most girls my age I thought I knew it all & thought that I was much smarter than my parents. Of course I had all the answers. It wasn’t until I was older & moved out of my parent’s home that I was able to talk with my mother & form a friendship. I fear that as Mai gets older all that sweetness & love that she has for us now & especially for me will fade. I think of this & it makes me want to hold on to every ounce of love and innocence that I can squeeze out of my daughter while she is still young, before she thinks she “knows it all”.

What worries me is recently my two year has become a Miss Know-it-all. What’s even more concerning is sometimes she is right.

Here are some of this week’s arguments between my daughter & me…

On the environment: After coming home from the craft store, Mai asked me to open up a package of pipe cleaners. As she began to play with them, I gathered up the cardboard & wrapper and said I was going to throw it in the trash. My daughter gasped and in an accusing voice exclaimed “Mama, that’s recycling.” She grabbed it from me & ran to the recycle bin. Oops. Mommy’s bad. At least my daughter is conscientious towards the environment.

On geography: Mai & I have geography lessons daily. She knows her US states & we have working on bodies of water now. Every time I show her Lake Michigan she corrects me. “No Mama, that’s not Michigan. This is Michigan.” She of course is pointing to the state. This has so far been a losing battle. We will continue to try to explain this to her every day until the protests stop.

On food: While eating a hamburger the other day. I said to my daughter this burger is so juicy. Mai: “No mama, apples are juicy. Hamburger is nummy.” Me: “Mai hamburgers can be juicy too.” Mai: “No, they not. Apples are juicy.”

On books: Tonight while reading ‘Go Dog Go’ we had a 5 minute argument over what was happening on this page.

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Mai: “Mama, what they doing?” Me: “They are skiing” Mai: “No, they not skiing. They sledding.” Me: “No Mai, those are skis on their feet. Those are calls skis. See? They are skiing.” Mai: “No. NO they not!” They sledding.”

On art: Last week I posted about how we use foam shape cut outs to create and make pictures. We have been playing with them quite a bit. Mai asked me to make her a tractor out of the shapes. Here is what I came up with. IMG_20140706_194403538

Mai took one look at it and shook her head. “No Mama. That not a tractor.” Tractor have big wheels. She quickly removed my wheels & replaced them with her own. IMG_20140706_194438

Alright my little smarty, you got me there. That definitely looks more like a tractor.

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