Friday, April 5, 2013

Raising a toddler that reads

Now let me start this post by saying that I am by no means an expert on this subject.  I have one GIRL, and I just know what has worked for me…. and what I know from my years of teaching.  Girls and boys are very different…… boys tend to be much more active and rambunctious…. but I do think these things would also work for them.  My girl pretty much never stops moving when she is awake…. and she now LOVES books.
One of my baby’s favorite things to do is read.  I knew from the time that I got pregnant with her that I wanted to read to her each night and wanted to develop a love for books.  My husband hates to read, and only reads to acquire knowledge.  I love to read for pleasure and don’t particularly like reading for knowledge.  lol.  My hope is she will be a mix of both.  When she was first born I tried reading to her each night…. and it was a no go.  She hated it.  She wanted quiet nursing time.  There went my plans for her to be a book worm.  Slowly and through experimentation I learned what worked for us. 
Here are my tips….
1. Find what works for your family.  If reading at night works for you…. great!  My kid hated it.  We read casually all through the day during play time.
2. Don’t stress it.  We will sometimes read half a page of a book and then she has moved on.  That is fine!  Take a whatever goes attitude.  Don’t feel like you need to finish a book… or even the page that you are reading.  When instilling a love of reading into an infant, it is all about experimentation and exposure.  Sometimes we will read the same book five times in a row with her sitting in my lap…. other times I will read half a sentence while she is running around before she rips it out of my hands. 
3. Simply playing with books counts.  Looking at pictures.  Opening and closing the books. Turning the pages.  Remember this shouldn’t be a stressful thing for you or baby.  It is fun. 
4. Buy baby friendly books.  While they are young board books and indestructibles are your friend.  (see number 3 for reasons why)  We keep all of her books on an Emmie size shelf where she is free to pull them all out, step on them, turn the pages, etc.  They are her books.  any books that I want to keep nice stay out of reach until she is older. 

Photo Apr 05, 9 39 45 AM
5. Get books that have few words.  Babies have short attention spans.  One word on a page?…. great!  we will read that one word and then sometimes point out things in the picture.  Like… Brown.  The monkey is brown.  A monkey says *insert monkey noise that I can’t spell* (below is a picture of an indestructible book.  It is water and tear proof.  You could even take these in the tub.  Bath time may be the best time for reading for your family if that is the only time baby is in one place at one time. (see number 1)
Photo Apr 05, 9 37 28 AM
6. Touch and feel books are awesome.  We have several.  Pat the bunny is a favorite which is why it is practically falling apart.  Again…. I let her play with the books, turn the pages, etc.  so I expect them to get warn.  I will probably buy her a new one soon to replace this one.
7. Books that make sounds are also fun! While I read Em will push the buttons (not the correct button for the page… but meh… who cares.  Again the fewer words on a page the better.
Photo Apr 05, 9 38 05 AM
8. Babies love to see pictures of other babies.  These baby face books are a favorite.  They are short and she loves seeing the messy kids. 
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9. Experiment with different kinds of books.  Huge books, tiny books.  Books that come in a box. 
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10. You don’t need to spend a lot of money. Ask for board books for birthdays and Christmas.  If you are going by my tips and letting baby play with, step on, pull off a shelf, they are going to get messed up. So, if you only spend a few dollars on the book, you are more willing to let this happen. Check your local dollar store, the dollar section at target, garage sales, thrift stores, department stores when there are sales. Sometimes the most random book becomes a favorite. Also, check out scholastic! Yes those book orders from when you were a kid. I'm pretty sure you can order online even if your kid isn’t in school... or just find a friend that is a teacher and order through them. We got a ton of our board books though there.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

12 months…. my baby is officially ONE!

I can’t believe it.  I think I am in denial.  My baby is one year old.  I started to get emotional around her birthday.  How could so much time pass already?!?  I only just got back into my pre-pregnancy pants.  I miss my little squish who had the tinniest little cry and loved to snuggle.

Weight: 19 lbs 15 oz (25th percentile)

Height: 29.8 in. (75th percentile)

My long and lean baby


We had a lot of fun doing a smash cake photo shoot.  She wore the romper that she wore home from the hospital :)  Who needs a bath when you can just hose them down with the sprinklers. 


We have officially entered the tantrum phase.  Sigh.

Em still is a huge Momma’s girl.  She cries when daddy picks her up.  It is even harder because she LOVES Lan’s friends.  Dave is her best friend.  She absolutely loves him.  I think part of the problem is that she has started associating daddy with being taken away from mommy since he leaves with her in the morning and takes her to his parents.  My new plan is that he will start getting her in the morning and from naps and bring her to me.  That way he isn’t the one always taking her away from mommy. 

I am so tired of pumping at work and am trying to wean Em from breast milk while I am away.  I would like to still nurse her in the morning, after work, and before bed…. but I am so over pumping.  Getting her to take milk has been a big challenge.  She doesn’t like the bottle and only my father in law can get her to take my pumped milk… and that is with a lot of difficulty.  We have been trying to get her to drink cow’s milk at home and it is a no go.  She will take a few sips and then get mad that it isn’t water.  She LOVES water.  We have tried bottle, cup, sippy, and straw.  I am hoping that eating dairy products and nursing will fulfill her dietary needs… because getting her to drink milk is like we are torturing her.

Em’s new tricks, triumphs, and favorites:

Em has started blowing kisses and waving.  It is pretty much the cutest thing ever.  She will also copy you and try to snap and try to make indian noises with her mouth and hand. 

Her two top teeth cut finally

She has become an expert walker.  She now prefers to walk over crawl.  In fact she got caught under the coffee table because she was determined to walk out but was too tall.  So she was crouching and trying to walk.

Things that I love:

She is starting to notice all kinds of things.  She pointed out the stars at night.

She will point at things that she wants.

She loves to read and will bring us books that she wants us to read to her.  I have read Pat the Bunny so many times that I was able to recite it to my class by memory. 

We spent her birthday as a family.  Lan and I took the day off.  For breakfast I made her funfetti pancakes.  A real treat since I rarely give her junk food.  We first went to the Library and then the Park.  She loved the fish tank at the library.  We had an amazing time.   I also enjoyed going through her old photos and reading her birth story again.

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We had such a good time at her birthday party.  It was the perfect weather.  All the kids loved playing in the play house on the grass.  Tons of friends and family showed up to bless our baby girl.  I did an owl theme, which is how her nursery is decorated.  I had so many ideas on things I wanted to do… and only got a few of them done.  I was the only one who knew the things that I didn’t get to… and in the end it doesn’t matter.  We had an amazing time.


I am so proud of what a smart, silly, sweet baby I have.  I love her more than I thought possible.  This year has gone so fast.  I love watching her grow and develop her personality.  Each new stage brings so much fun and excitement, but I grieve the stage that we have left.  I can’t wait to see what the next year will hold.

11 months

so I never weighed or measured her this month…. mommy fail.  Im also over a month late with her blog post.  Better late than never.



Em was teething a lot and for about four days would eat very little.  She only wanted to nurse and wouldn’t take a bottle.  She was visibly loosing weight.  Poor baby.  I took off work one day so that I could nurse her more often.  Being a working momma is hard… and when your baby needs you ad you can’t be there for her… it absolutely sucks.

Em’s new tricks, triumphs, and favorites:

This month was filled with a log of big firsts.  Em loves to slide and can go down by herself. 

She will point at eyes in a book and say the word eyes. 

She will tickle Elmo’s tummy to get him to laugh. 

She will kiss animals and pictures in books…. and occasionally your nose when you ask. 

She LOVES Jamba Juice.

Her favorite books are Pat the Bunny and Eat (filled with pictures of babies eating)

She also took her first steps.  the first one she took for dad while I was in the other room cleaning.  He says it didn’t count because she took the step and fell.  We then sat down as a family and she took another step.  I was so afraid that I would miss this first and I am so glad that she did it at home and not at Ohm and Noi’s house (grandma and grandpas). 

Things that I love:

I love watching her take her first steps. 

I love that she points to pictures in books.

I love how much she needs me and loves me. 

I love how silly she is.

I love that she is forming favorites.  She loves to read and has favorite books.  She has favorite toys too.  She loves to play with fake food and she is at the age where we can really pretend play.  I will pretend to drink from a cup and then so will she.

bunny rolls

so pinterest is my friend.  I pin and pin and pin… and actually make very few of the things that I pin.  Part of that is because I have zero free time during the school year.  I have blissfully enjoying the start of spring break…. and with Easter tomorrow, I decided to try out one of my pins and make bunny shaped rolls.  I used my pin on pinterest as inspiration  and made my own version with modifications.

First of all I used refrigerator biscuits because, although I am on spring break, I have a one year old. 

I broke off a small bit of a biscuit and set it aside to make the tail later.  I took the biscuit and started tucking it into itself so that I could make it a round shape instead of a flat biscuit, then rolled it in my hands to keep it together.  That would end up being the bottom of my biscuit.

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I then took scissors and made two snips in the circle to make the ears.

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Then I used a toothpick to make holes and put peppercorns in for the eyes and nose.  Next time I will poke them in further because some of my peppercorns fell out during baking.

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I used a pair of scissors to make a slice in each ear to make it look more… ear like.

Photo Mar 30, 6 18 59 PM

I gave a little pinch to the head . attached a ball of dough for the tail (be sure to attach these well so that they don’t fall off when baking), then brushed each bunny with melted butter.  I made sure to brush behind the ears so that they wouldn’t stick back to the body while baking.

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Then I baked the rolls according to the directions.

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Happy Easter!

perfect hard “boiled” eggs

So many people struggle with getting the perfect hard boiled egg.  Sometimes they are underdone and a chewy center and sometimes they are over done and rubbery with a chalky yolk.  Then there is always that mysterious green ring around the yolk to combat.

Well this is by far the easiest way to get perfect hard boiled eggs…. bake them. 

-Preheat oven to 325 or if you have a cooler oven then 350.  I have a convection so 325 was perfect for me

- Place one egg in each compartment of a muffin tin, then put them in the oven and bake for 30 min.  (don’t add water… you will literally bake them)

Photo Mar 30, 8 35 57 AM

-While the eggs are baking prepare the ice bath.  You fill the bowl with ice then add cool water.  As soon as the eggs come out of the oven, use tongs to put them in the ice bath.  This will stop the cooking and make the eggs easy to peel.  Keep them in the ice bath until they are cool.

You will have the perfect hard “boiled” eggs.  Fully cooked yet tender and no green/blue ring around the yolk.

Photo Mar 30, 8 59 04 AM

Monday, January 28, 2013

10 months

Height: 28 in

Weight: 17.7 lbs



She has started doing alligator rolls while being changed. 

I am still struggling with balancing everything.  Some weeks I feel like I am getting into the groove of being a working mom…. only to get lost under a mountain of papers to grade and dirty diapers to wash (cloth diapers).  Some weeks I feel like I am rocking things…. only to start failing miserably. 

My mood changes drastically and it is often in correlation to the cleanliness of my house. When my house is clean… I tend to feel better. Like life is in order. (now I'm not talking OCD clean…. because who has time for that). When things are messy my life feels messy.

She is also starting to through temper tantrums… already

Em’s new tricks, triumphs, and favorites:

Em is becoming more and more independent.  She is beginning to stand on her own, but she is only bale to do so for a few seconds at a time.  She is pulling up on everything and cursing the furniture.  She is also pulling things down on herself, stealing things off of the coffee table, and getting into wires.

She loves pulling all of her books off of the shelf, playing with her tea set, stealing mom’s keys, and she loves loves loves her musical Elmo.  She will push a button for a song then wave her hands around as it plays.  She still absolutely loves being outside.  Wagon rides around our new patio are a big favorite. 

Even though she is still a total mommies girl, she loves ride on daddy’s shoulders.  She gets so excited when dad gets home from work… but then freaks out if he tries to take her away from mom. 

She is starting to say mum and mama all the time.

She has two adorable bottom teeth.

She loves to eat.

Things that I love:

I love that she is feeding herself.  She is so good in restaurants… as long as she has food on her tray.  Now my options when ordering out are more limited since I am sharing with my little one.  The advantage though is I actually get to eat my food while it is hot :)

I love her goofy cheese ball grin.  So darn cute!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Best Shower Cleaner Ever

Photo Jan 04, 11 03 32 AM
I hate cleaning the shower.  I also hate breathing toxic fumes of products that are supposed to make cleaning the shower easier.  So, I decided that I should try a natural approach.
I used some of my orange vinegar and equal parts of blue dawn.  I warmed up the vinegar first because I read that it helps with really hard water stains.  Put it in a spray bottle and mix.  I then sprayed it on my shower and let it soak for 15 min.  After that I wiped everything down and was shocked!
This mix worked far better than the harsh cleaners I have used before.  My shower hadn’t been that clean in a very long time.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Orange Scented Vinegar

Photo Jan 01, 1 03 43 PM
I love vinegar…. I hate the vinegar smell though.  Vinegar is an excellent cleaning product.  It disinfects, is antibacterial, gets rid of mold, etc.  Pretty much… It a green cleaning rock star.  The only reason I don’t use it more around the house is because my husband loathes the smell.  I admit, it isn’t a favorite smell of mine either. 
A while ago I read about how you can use orange peels to take the vinegar smell out of vinegar and leave a fresh citrus sent.  I thought it was worth a shot.  I had about a quarter of a bottle left so I just peeled some cuties from my neighbors tree and dropped them in.  You are supposed to let it sit for a month for it to have it full effect, but after just an hour I saw a huge difference. 
To make your own:
Have a container with vinegar in it
Jam it full of orange peels.
Put it under your kitchen sink for the next month…. or if you are impatient like me…use right away :)
Now that I have some yummy smelling vinegar, there may be a whole string of vinegar related posts ;)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

9 months


Weight: 17.2

Height: 27.7



Em is still a total momma’s girl.  She has been super clingy and cranky.  She also hasn’t been sleeping great.  She went through a big sleep regression, and for a few weeks was back to waking up 3-5 times a night.  yeiks!  She is back to waking once at night…. but it is looking like it is time to do some sleep training.  Where is my baby that was sleeping 12 hrs through the night?

One of my biggest challenges has been time.  Which is why I was two months behind on Em’s blog posts.  Between working as a teacher full time, taking care of Em, taking care of the house, laundry… and then the holidays….there just wasn't enough time in the day.

Em’s new tricks, triumphs, and favorites:

Em has begun trying to stand on her own. She pulls up on everything.  She loves toy animals and anything with wheels.  She copies Lan and says Dada.  Now when you lay her down in her crib, she will stand up holding the side and cry.  She has also begun walking with her walker.

She is terrified of the Rumba and still hates the post office.

Things that I love:

Em is starting to get into everything.  She is so interested in buttons, paper, things on shelves… or pretty much anything and everything.  She loves to play with her toy food, and she will really play with you.  She thinks it is so funny when I drive trucks up her arm and on her head.  She loves sitting with daddy and hearing him read books to her.  She loves to pull things out.  Books off the shelf, toys out of a box, animals out of a bag.