Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Week In the Life--Monday

In the past I have done a "day in the life" post.  It was fun and a nice way to look back on Olivia at that stage of life.  Ever since then I have been meaning to do another one, but then always end up forgetting to actually document a day.  I have seen many bloggers do "a week in the life" posts lately.  My first reaction was that my life is too boring for that.  But then I thought 1) every day of the week is different, so one day wouldn't do it justice and 2) this will be something fun to look back on one day.  Sooo.......  I'm going to do a series of "A Week in the Life" posts.  Hopefully it won't be too boring for you! :)

It seems that things come and go in waves for us.  We will have a week where literally everything is jammed into the calendar and then the very next week we will have absolutely nothing going on.  This week happens to be one of our more buys weeks.

My morning started around 7:45 when Michael kissed me good bye.  I began getting things ready for our play date.  Olivia woke up at 8:15.
I gave her a sippy with milk and she hung out in there for another 15 minutes.
I started a load of laundry, picked out her outfit for the day and got a cup of coffee.

Breakfast time!
Our play date included a picnic, so I packed our lunch as she ate.

She played while I showered and got ready.  I packed our bag, lathered her up with sunscreen and we were off!

Our playgroup was at a local park with our friends from the pink table at MOPS.
It was a hot one!  Olivia did a little swinging, but mostly she thought running away and having me "chase" her was hilarious.  She did stop running long enough to enjoy a little of her lunch.

By the time we got home, it was pretty much time for nap.  We ate lunch about an hour to an hour and a half before she usually eats, so she was asking for something to eat.  She had a little yogurt and then down she went.

She slept her usual 2 hours.  I unpacked our bags, cleaned up the kitchen, sent some 31 emails, checked Facebook and talked to my friend on the phone for a bit.  Man, that time goes fast!


She dropped a few cheddar bunnies on the ground and was picking them up.
She's saying "I got it!"  Oooooh, I just love that girl.  A toddler who picks up food she drops on the floor?!? YES, PLEASE! :)

Snacking and playing.  She plays in this little corner with all of her Little People toys every. single. day.

Our mentor mom got Olivia this book called "Olivia".  She gave it to us at the park today.  Olivia spotted it and sat down to read it.  She was flipping through the pages making up a "story" and talking about the pig.  When she got to this last page where it was a black and white picture she said, "turn the lights on Pig!".  I thought that was both a really good connection and hilarious!

She entertained herself and I spent some time online researching places to buy her some water shoes.  I also wrote yesterdays quick blog.

It was time for me to start dinner.  Sometimes she does great with this.  Sometimes I have to try to distract her with toys and sometimes turning the TV on is required.  She hasn't played with her magnetic letters in quite a while, so I thought this would be a great distraction.  She was pretty excited about it and was singing "lets build a word, let's build it NOW!" from Word World.  She lasted about ten minutes with the letters and then went off to play in her room.

Michael gets home from work at 6 o'clock exactly.  I try to have dinner ready when he walks in the door because by that time we are ALL hungry!  We sat down and had dinner.  After that we just ended up in Olivia's room.  We read the Olivia book again and played with some toys.

She went "flying"

Then she ended up out in the living room playing and Michael and I sat and talked for an hour.  She would come back in every once in a while and then run back out and do whatever it was she was doing.

We started her bedtime routine shortly after 8.
We read her a few books, sing a few songs, read from one of her toddler Bibles, pray, and then do hugs and kisses.

She was being all cute with her hugs to Michael and then when I tried to take a picture she kept giving me scowls. :(

After tucking her in, we got cozy with a bowl of ice cream and watched the latest episode of Once Upon A Time on hulu.  Lastly, I wrote this blog and Michael watched movie trailers on hulu.  He is all excited for this summer's movies.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Dairy Diaries

Those of you who have been reading for a while know that we had a rough first few months with Olivia.  It turned out that she had a Milk Soy Protein Intolerance (MSPI).  Basically it means that her body wasn't producing the proper enzyme to break down the proteins in those types of foods.  This was causing severe stomach issues.  As soon as we put her on the special formula she was 100% better.

Most kids outgrow this.  Some as early as 6 or 9 months.  Others deal with it until they are 2.  I think there is about 1 percent that never do grow out of it.  We were hopeful that Olivia would outgrow it by 1. That didn't happen.  Her doctor said to just wait until age 2 and see what happens.  That was our plan.

But as she is getting older and more picky about her foods, I started getting a little more lax on the issue.  I had remembered the doctor saying that some kids with MSPI can handle milk or dairy products better when they are cooked.  Over the last month or two I have gradually let Olivia eat meals I have cooked that have had cheese in them.  She's did fine.

I quit putting the allergy sticker on her at MOPS and nursery and let her partake in animal crackers and goldfish.  I was pretty sure this wasn't going to be an issue and it wasn't.

Just recently we have let her have dairy based yogurt.  Mainly because we were out and about and almond milk yogurt wasn't readily available.  I figured what is two months of waiting going to do?  Either she's going to have an issue, in which case this would probably be a life long thing for her, or she had likely grown out of it.  She didn't have any issues!  Yay!  It appears that we may be past this pesky little diagnosis.

For the time being we are planning on keeping her on almond milk.  We aren't comfortable giving her cows milk and aren't quite sure if and when we will give it to her.  Honestly, in a perfect world we'd like to give up dairy completely, but that's easier said than done.  So we'll let her eat the things with dairy in them that we do and just go from there.

It sure is going to be nice not to have to read every single label!  Praise the Lord!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pinterest Finds

Baked Apple Chips
This is another one of the first things I pinned.  I figured it was time to try it out.  I am always looking for other ways to get fruits and veggies in Olivia and these sounded like they would be yummy to me too.  I prepped them right before nap and put them in the oven when she went down.  I cooked them for about an hour and 45 minutes and then they had time to cool down a little before she woke up.  We shared these as an after nap snack.  We both enjoyed them.  I will be making these again.  Note: The little note on the pin says to cook at 200, but hte blog actually says 275 so that is what I followed.
broiled corn

Crock pot Cranberry Chicken
When this came across my Pinterest feed I decided to go for it.  I already had the onion mix and I'm always up for an easy crock pot recipe.  I think I might have cooked it a little too long.  I didn't use a whole chicken.  I used breasts, so I was trying to guess at the right length.  Both Michael and I thought it was alright.  We didn't love it, but we didn't hate it either.  Olivia really seemed to enjoy it.  I probably won't make it again, but it was decent enough for a one time thing.

Broiled corn

Normally I don't repin things that have broken links, but since the directions were in the pin and it looked good I decided to go with it.  In case you can't read it, it says spread frozen corn on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Broil for 5 minutes.  I'm not sure if it's my oven or not, but I broiled it a little longer.  It was SO GOOD.  I will definitely make it again.  Michael isn't a fan of pepper, so I hesitantly waited to see what he thought.  He said, "It tastes exactly like corn on the cob to me".  Olivia kept saying "more corn! more corn, please!"  Yum!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

ABC Mouse

Michael saw an ad for a website called ABC Mouse and wanted me to check it out.  I was a little skeptical.  I didn't think Olivia would be able to use it yet.  Also, since I have an education background I just wasn't too sure how I'd like an "online" school.  But I thought I'd give it a look.  I watched a few of the videos explaining exactly what it was and I was impressed.  I signed up for the free one month trial.  I figured it wouldn't hurt anything.  Plus, there are TONS of free printables so I thought if all else fails I'll just print a bunch of coloring sheets before my month expires.

Well, it turns out Olivia IS IN LOVE WITH ABC MOUSE.
Here is a screenshot of the main page.  There is so much to do!  Right now we are trying to do a few of the "Learning Path" lessons whenever we get on.  I honestly thought that this was something I would look into and then do in a year or two when she's older and "gets it".  However, we've done the whole "toddler time" learning path and she did great!  We use our laptop right now and she just clicks the button.  I use the touch pad to move the cursor. We eventually want to get her a little mouse to use, but right now this is working for us.

This is a screenshot of the "Classroom".  You can scroll over any of the pictures and it is linked to one of the educational categories.

Here is a screenshot of the current learning path we are on.  The background changes after so many lessons. Each lesson has 3 to 6 tasks that have to be completed.  Most are similar in their make up, so there is some repetition. 

If you look in the left you can see a tag that says "Farm" and another one that says "Zoo".  This is one of Olivia's favorite parts.  She'll ask, "Play ABC Mouse.  See the animals?!"  You can choose to either visit the animals just for fun or do games and activities.  We generally just visit.  Her favorite are the elephants.  It gives you facts about the animals, the animals move around the screen and they make the noises.

We all learned something new.  The giraffe noises were weird to us.  Here is a cute (but choppy) video of Olivia's reaction.  (This was actually the second time she did it.  She did it earlier in the day and I was trying to get her same response for Michael to see.  You know they never do it as well the second time, but it's still pretty cute!)

We are very conscious of Olivia's "screen time".  Even though she asks to do this every day, I try to take breaks where we may not do it for a day or two.  We also try to limit her time to about 20 minutes a day when she does do it.

Our free month has just ended, but we are going to keep with it.
It's $8 a month, or they give a special offer if you sign up for a year at a time and even cheaper if you sign up for two years at a time.  I think we will get our use out of it.

If you have a preschooler and are looking for some educational fun, I would suggest checking it out.  It's very user friendly!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sensory Bottles

I'm pretty sure I've been talking about making these for months.  In fact, I was actually collecting bottles before we even moved here... in September.  Yeah.  That's sad.  I almost decided to just forget the idea.  I wasn't sure if Olivia was going to be too old for them.  But since I wasn't spending any money making them and very little time, I figured it would be worth a shot.

For those of you who may not know, a sensory bottle is just a bottle filled with any old thing you can find.  Then the child uses their senses to explore the contents of the bottle.  Mostly the child will be using the visual and auditory sense.  It also peeks a child's curiosity and can encourage problem solving.  (Sometimes these are also called Discovery or I Spy bottles.)

I went down to the garage during nap one day last week.  I spent about 10 minutes rummaging through my teaching boxes.  I came upstairs and got to work.  I know some people go all out and get the fancy bottles with the silver lids. I wasn't taking this too seriously.  I had saved a few heavy duty bottles and the rest were just water bottles.  All the bottles were made with things I had on hand with the exception of one bottle.  I paid $1.09 for a vitamin water so that I could have a wide mouth bottle to fit some of the transportation pieces in.  Other than that, this activity was FREE! :)

Once again, Olivia couldn't wait for me to give her the activity.

She picked up the one with the foam letters first (go figure!).  She immediately started telling me what letters she saw.  I didn't even have to prompt her!

Next she went for the pink bottle.  The water changed color from something I put in it (pom poms or pipe cleaners?)  I had originally planned on putting coloring in some of them, but then just went with what I had.

Glitter and sequins!  She kept saying "pretty circles!"

Watching the marbles go from one end to the other

Shake, shake, shake!

Making bubbles.  I think she impressed herself!
She kept calling it bubble bath.

I actually made this one for our Thanksgiving road trip.  You can't tell by this picture, but it it has little animal figures in it.  She said, "I see a pig!"  It's an I Spy type of activity.

"I see a car.  Do you see a car?"

This one had cut up pipe cleaners in it.  She is trying to move the pipe cleaners with the magnet, but our magnet isn't strong enough.  I'm going to have to get one of those educational magnet kits.

She loved these little beads.  She kept calling them strawberries?!
I think this was her favorite bottle because it made the most noise. :)

After shaking this one we talked about if the sounds from the two bottles were the same or different.

I think she liked the activity!

We did this right before it was time for me to make dinner.  All the caps are hot glued on, so I wasn't worried about a mess.  I left her to play and went to the kitchen to start cooking.  A few minutes later this is what I saw at the kitchen entry.
What can I say?  The girl loves order!

The bottles....
1. Water with foam letters
2. Water with pom poms and pipe cleaners
3. Rice and farm animals
4. Colorful straws cut up

5. Water, ribbon, green and white marbles/rocks from our wedding, fake flower petals
6. This was a door hang type thing that has shiny metallic circles
7. Water and dish soap
8. Beads

9. Water, sequins, glitter.  I did add some sesame oil after the fact to make it more of a lava lamp
10. Sand and transportation pieces-car, bus, van, airplane
11. Pipe cleaners cut up

I may make more as I stumble upon items to use, but for now these are going to be a great addition to our play time.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Olivia's Smoothies

It has been 3 years (almost to the day!) since I first shared about green monster smoothies.  Michael and I use to drink them all of the time.  We haven't been drinking them lately, but we have passed on the smoothie love to Olivia.  She drinks them multiple times a week.

A "green monster" means different things to different people.  Basically it is a smoothie with whatever you want to put in it and then (usually) spinach as the green.  The purpose behind them is that it is a good way to get your leafy greens in.  You can't taste them and they go down so smooth.  Plus, who doesn't love a yummy smoothie?

I have been asked about Olivia's smoothie and/or green monsters multiple times  in the last few months, so I decided I'd just go ahead and share.

No two smoothies are exactly alike, but there are a few common denominators.
I always put a banana in.  I think it hides the taste of the spinach the best.  For Olivia, I sometimes use half of a banana and freeze the other part.  It depends on what else I am putting in it.  This time I used a whole banana because I was making her a smoothie as a meal replacement--breakfast.

You may remember that the doctor said to feed Olivia avocado.  Since she doesn't drink cows milk we had to be mindful of giving her healthy fats.  Well, she is not an avocado fan. So in the smoothie they go.  Depending on the size, I either put half of one or a quarter of one.

Next up is the spinach--stems and all.  I don't measure, I just put a fair amount in.  (Not too much though--I still have to change her diapers!!)  I have put small amounts of kale in, but it's not the norm.  It's a good source of iron though, so I do buy it occasionally.

Normally I put a little thing of carrots in, but Michael fed her dinner last night and gave them to her. She has refused to eat them for months now (which is why they go in the smoothie), but ate them fine last night.  Oddly enough, she has decided that mandarin oranges are no longer a favorite.  So I saved them from a meal yesterday and in they went.  I often joke with Olivia that she better not decide that she's no longer eating fish--or her smoothie is going to get really nasty! ;)

Lastly I threw in some frozen mango (sometimes it's peaches) and some orange juice and blended it up.  I have made it with milk in the past, but since she is liking orange juice these days I go with it.  It also helps hide any tastes.  I usually put her vitamins in here too.  I'm going to post about those another time.

Then I blend it all up

She loves them!  (Yes, she is wearing Christmas pajamas in April!)
One batch usually fills that take-n-go up and then there is enough for a half a cup refill.
I usually only give these for breakfast or an after nap snack.  I don't want to take the risk of any bad diapers during nap.

Other things that I have added--blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, apple (peel and all), pear (peel and all), a squash and pea food pouch she didn't like (didn't like it in the smoothie either), coconut, and a Lara bar (not recommended).  I plan on adding coconut oil to it, but currently the only coconut oil in the house is in the shower.  Yep, that's a whole other post too! :)