Paper Plate New Year’s Clock

Paper Plate Clock with movable hands & pendulum - A great way to teach time & a cute craft for New Year's Eve

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Before my husband & I had our daughter, New Year’s Eve was a whole lot different from it is today. We used to have a big New Year’s party every year complete with a New Year’s back drop. Our celebration has changed over the last few years. It is a far quieter evening, but has still remained festive and fun only in a much different way.

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Last year we celebrated with friends & the kids almost made it to 11 o’clock.

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11 o’clock last year meant nothing to my daughter as she had very little concept of time, but this year she understands it a bit more & we have been working on our time telling skills. With New Year’s fast approaching, it seemed fitting to make a New Year’s clock. It would be a great craft for the holiday & allow us to continue with our teachings on time.

What you will need:

Paper plates (2 for each clock made)

Construction paper



Split pins



Paint inside of the bottom of a paper plate avoiding the outside edges. Let the paint dry.


Use a marker to write in your hour numbers around the clock.


Cut out clock hands. Make one larger than the other.


Push a split pin through the hands & the paper plate. Secure loosely so that the hands move easily.


Cut a pendulum shape & another shape like shown to house your pendulum. Glue the pendulum housing to the back of the clock face. Center it under the 6 o’clock.



Use another split pin to insert the pendulum to the middle of another paper plate.


Glue the paper plates together while avoiding the area that houses the pendulum.

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Use your new clock to teach your child how to tell time. Hopefully they love changing the time & moving the pendulum as much as my little girl does.


Paper Plate Clock - a time telling craft & activity

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What Daycare Teaches An Only Child


When we made the decision to start a family, it never occurred to me that we might only have one child. In every day dream that I ever had there were always two children. I saw my husband carrying a little girl on his shoulders while I held a little boy’s hand. Of course they were perfect well behaved children & we were all full of smiles walking together hand in hand.  After our daughter was born, I woke up from that dream. After what seemed like endless sleepless nights & a colicky infant that cried constantly, we started to rethink baby #2.

Things eventually began to get easier, the cries slowed down, our baby began to sleep through the night & I began talking to my husband about baby #2. His mind had not changed. We went back and forth with it, named off the pros and cons and even asked for opinions here on my blog. It was a hard sell, but after a lot of convincing the day finally came and we began to try to get pregnant. We were not successful. With my advanced age and some medical issues, it seemed that my dreams for a second baby came to an end.

Even though my husband & I were perfectly happy with being parents to our one sweet little girl, there were some concerns about her being an only child. I worried about how it would affect her socially. Would she be spoiled from always being the center of attention? Would she learn how to share? These were definitely valid concerns as I already noticed that Mai had problems in dealing with organized events & classes she was in involving other children.

We recently started her in daycare a couple times a week. Even though it still pains me to send her off to day care, I know that it will be beneficial to her. Being an only child there is much that she can learn from this environment.

1. Sharing: Our daughter came home from daycare the other day and said to me “Mama the kids took my toys.” This made me sad for a moment and then as horrible as this sounds, it made me smile.  While the kids were not actually taking the toys out of her hands, she still thought they were taking them from her because in her mind all of the toys are hers. Other than the occasional play date, she has seldom had to share. She has free reign over a houseful of toys daily.

2. Patience: At home when our daughter wants something she is attended to right way or at least pretty quickly.  She is not accustomed to waiting. With several other children to attend to, her daycare provider is not always at her instant beck & call. At daycare she is not the center of the universe. She needs to wait until it is her turn.

3. Learned behaviors: This can be a good thing and a bad thing as she may also pick up bad behavior, but socializing with other child especially of an older age can be a great learning tool. For instance, my daughter has a difficult time sitting still in her seat & eating, but at daycare we get a report back each day that she sat & ate almost everything on her plate at each meal & snack. I was amazed. Our provider explained that at first she was resistant pushing her plate away as she often does at home, but when the other children continued to eat & talk, she joined in. Hopefully she can take some potty training cues.

4. Basic socialization: We talk with our child all the time, but it is not quite the same as interacting with her peers. After 2 1/2 years of mostly talking to mommy, daddy & nanna, she is now able to chat with children her own age. Today she told me all about her new friend Colton & how he really likes bears, but is still afraid of them too. Oh, the conversations they must have.

5. Dealing With Conflict: All of my friends that have multiple children have kids that fight like cats & dogs. They love each other. They hate each other.  They beat up on each other. Having only our daughter I feel that we shield her from far too much sometimes. After daycare the other day, our daughter told us, “Colton hurt me.” What happened? “Colton pushed me.” I checked with the provider to make sure that it was nothing serious. She assured me that nothing concerning happened, but then I learned that they also got into a verbal argument over a picture in a book. One was certain that the picture was of a boy, the other thought it was a girl. Neither backed down. Debates, conflict, differences of opinion are a part of life & something that should be introduced early. The longer you shield your children from these things the harder it will be for them to deal with at a later age.

I am enjoying listening to all of Mai’s new experiences. She is loving her days with her new friends & is learning a lot along the way.




Phonics Lessons

I know I have told you many times about what a difficult infant my daughter was. From the moment she was born, she gave me a run for my money. She cried all the time, all the time. I remember my first day with her in the hospital, when she first started and did not seem to stop. In a panic I started singing the first song that came to mind, the ABC song. It miraculously quieted her cries as she stared up at me taking in my song as I named off each letter. She listened so intently, her eyes fixed on my mouth as I sang. This became my go to song to soothe my daughter.

Now here it is 2 1/2 years later & it is still a favorite. Mai sings her ABC’s all the time. Many mornings we are awaken by the sounds of her sweet voice reciting her alphabet. We have been working on sounding out our letters for quite some time now. We do many activities and lessons to practice. At random, I will start pointing out objects and sounding them out for her. “Look Mai, hat. “H” hhhhhhhh. “A” aaaaaaaaaaaa. “T” ttttttttt, hat” We read, work on her ABC puzzles & she watches me write the letters out on her chalkboard.


One of my daughter’s favorite phonics games to play is a simple one. We like to have living room picnics, so we usually lay down a blanket and sit on the floor. We use her ABC magnets & put them in a pile on the floor. We grab them one by one and Mai will tell me the letter and a word that the letter begins with. As you can see from her video, she is very enthusiastic about this game. She is very proud when she gets them all and so is mommy. Sometimes it is the simplest of things that have the greatest effect. What is wonderful is we play this often and she comes out with new words each time. Sometimes she even says some that mommy doesn’t know. The other day, she told me “Q” was for quoll. I had to ask her a couple of times to repeat it. “Are you saying quoll?” “Yes, the quoll is sooooooo cute.” I had to Google it. A quoll is a little animal that kind of looks like a mouse. She was right they are pretty cute. I discovered later that one of her ABC Mouse activities featured a quoll. My little smarty is already smarter than mommy.

20 Outdoor Toddler Activities

outdooractivities.jpgSpring is here & so is the beautiful weather. There is something about the spring and the summer that just makes you happier. Anyone that has ever had the winter blues knows what I am talking about. The warmth of the season brings calm and contentment. Being outdoors has proven to relieve stress and aid in sleep. This is not just the case for us adults, but also for our little ones.

One of my daughter’s favorite sayings is “Mama, I’m so busy.”. She really is. Toddler’s days are so jam packed with learning, exploring, playing & creating. My kiddo has a lot of energy. After being cooped up in the house all winter she is ready to get out and burn some of it off.

There are so many outdoor activities to occupy their active minds and bodies & most you can do without ever leaving your backyard…

1. Go for a walk or a hike – This is not only great exercise for your child, but for you. A nice family walk after dinner is a great way to bond. Bring your furry baby too if you have one.

2. Have a picnic – Pack up your lunch or dinner and bring it outside and enjoy it in the sunshine.

3. Have a scavenger hunt – Scavenger hunts aren’t just for eggs at Easter. Give your child a list of things in nature to find. Have her find and gather a pine cone, acorns, sticks or place some inside objects outside to find.

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4. Do some outside art – Sidewalk paint or chalk, squirt gun painting on a sheet..there are many outdoor mess-worthy activities for your little artists.

5. Play tag – Or as my daughter calls it “Mama, chase me.” 3271

6. Make an obstacle course – One of my daughter’s favorite things are her fabric tunnels. Make a course with tunnels, slides, hurdles, cones and other fun obstacles.

7. Play ball – Kick around a soccer ball, throw a baseball or shoot hoops if you have one. This will help with hand-eye coordination.

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8. Ride bikes – Don’t forget their helmet.

9. Play hopscotch – I don’t know about your toddler, but mine loves to jump. This also aids in coordination.

10. Fly a kite – I have actually never flown one, but Mai talks about flying a kite often. We will have to make one & give it a try.

11. Gardening – Toddlers love to emulate and help us. They also like to dig. Combine all three and that spells happiness.

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12. Go swimming – What is more refreshing or fun on a hot day.

13. Toss water balloons – SPLAT!

14. Take the books outside – Seat on your porch or swing on a hammock and read to each other out into the fresh air.

15. Have a nature lesson – Thanks to Nanna, Mai has learned a lot about different flowers. She can differentiate and name the different flowers in our yard.

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16. Pick flowers – My daughter proudly picked some violets for me. They reside in a small shot glass in our kitchen. “Mama, smell the violets that Mai Mai pick.” They smell beautiful.


17. Wash your cars – Sudsy soap and a hose = fun. If they have a little push car of their own, let them clean their own car, while you do yours.

18. Run through the sprinkler – This was one of my favorite things to do when I was little.

19. Blow bubbles – Kids love bubbles. They love blowing them, chasing them & popping them.


20. Play on the swings – Swing on the swings, slide down the slide. Both are so free & liberating. Enjoy the season & be safe. Be sure to use sunscreen and bug spray. Explore, learn, play & just have fun.


What outdoor activities do your children enjoy?