Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mini Rainbow Sensory Bottles

In addition to Nora's toys, I wanted to create a safe sensory experience for her. What better than mini-rainbow bottles for my rainbow baby. 


I had seen this pin, around Pinterest and knew I wanted to do something similar. But, I wanted something smaller and more manageable for a young baby. 


I found the small plastic bottles at Hobby Lobby. They are refillable craft bottles meant for sand art and other similar projects.

The objects are just things I had at home. Every bottle is different, but the objects included wooden beads, Pom-poms, foam pieces, buttons, ribbon, shredded paper, wrapping bows, fabric flowers, small scraps of fabric, paper clips, colored pasta, mini umbrellas, mini erasers, confetti, and other similar objects. Pretty much if it fit into the bottle and was the right color, it went in!


I loved that they all turned out a little different from each other. They are truly a unique sensory experience on their own and as a group. Henry has been obsessed with these -- especially the yellow -- since I finished them. 


Nora has been completely mesmerized when I introduce a bottle to her. She also enjoyed studying the group as a whole. It turned out to be a great way for her to get some tummy time in. The bottle is an easy size for her to hold and to watch. They are pretty lightweight so I don't have to worry about her getting hurt if she drops it. 



After the success of these, I can't wait to make some other themed sensory bottles for her! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Montessori Baby -- Toys at 4 Months

Now that Nora is past the sleepy newborn phase, she is becoming much more interested in toys. Things are holding her attention for longer and she's looking to be engaged. 


As I mentioned before Nora was born, we decided this time to be very conscious about the types of toys we allow Nora to play with. Instead of toys with music or lights, we've opted for more natural choices. It has been exciting watching Nora develop concentration while she plays. 
This post contains affiliate links.

Nora's Montessori friendly toys at 4-months-old include: 

1. Manhattan Toy Baby Peanut Doll -- the perfect sized doll for cuddling or nomming. 

2. Haba Wooden Triangles -- these are fantastic. Again, lightweight but sturdy this is a favorite teether and the first toy I saw Nora transfer from one hand to the other. 

3. Montessori bell rattle {I made this one} -- this is Nora's current favorite. Something about the metal bells just speaks to her. 

4. Wooden keys -- I love this set of Plan Toys keys, they are sturdy yet lightweight. Nora loves the rope-like ring.


5. Assorted fabric lovies -- Nora loves fabric. In particular, she loves the owl, which she's cuddles with to sleep. 

6. Manhattan Toy Winkel -- We have an owl version and the regular version. They are easy for Nora to grasp yet have a fun subtle rattle. 

7. Hungry Caterpillar Teether -- The fabric on this toy is made from that crunchy baby paper material and Nora just goes crazy for it. Plus the reverse is a mirror which she also loves. 

8. Wooden grasping rings -- from Essential Montessori are awesome teethers and so easy to grab and transfer. 

9. Montessori Puzzle Ball {I made this one with A LOT of help from my mom} -- this is one of the newest toys Nora is using. It's easy to grasp and manipulate. 

Nora has other toys that she uses from time to time but these are the main ones. We rotate which ones she uses throughout the day depending on her mood. When I present a toy, I try to either say it's name or ask if she wants to use it. Then, I don't just put the toy on top of her, but hold it out until she reaches for it.  If she doesn't reach for it, I pick a different toy until I find one she will reach for. I think this is a great way to introduce choice and respect her individual interests. 


What Montessori-friendly toys does your baby enjoy? Any suggestions on what I should introduce?

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Friday, October 24, 2014

The Line Between Scheduled and Over-Scheduled

I'm flirting with a dangerous line...the line between being scheduled and over scheduled. This post comes to you at 4:49 a.m. as I nurse Nora. In fact, it's a safe bet that any post you've read on this blog in the last two months has been written, edited, or scheduled during the middle of the night. {insert joke about the declining quality of the writing, because I'm too tired to think if one}

This isn't because Nora is a particularly bad sleeper, because she really isn't. It's just that life is that scheduled that this is where blogging fits right now. From the moment I wake up, until the moment I crash into bed, I feel like I have something I need to be doing. Between the kids, work, my relationship and maybe a tiny social life, I feel like I've built a house of cards. 

And a lot of the time I really like what I'm doing, don't get me wrong. But, I'm starting to feel the pinch of being a work-at-home mom. Starting to feel like I'm failing at everything because I can't ever just focus my attention on one thing. 

I can't sit and play with Henry as much as I like. I can't blog as much as I want. My house is a mess. Work invoices pile up. Projects are left half done.

It's just hard, this work-at-home mom thing. I wouldn't trade it for the world, but  I'm feeling like any second, this little house of cards could just come crumbling down. 

Please tell me I'm not alone. Do you ever feel this way? 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nora -- 4 months old


Where has the time gone? I blinked and Nora grew up. 

Nora is just a dream. Seriously, she makes me so happy just by being here. She has her crabby moments but overall she's just a happy, lovey baby. 




I'm a couple days late on this update so I could include her stats. Nora is 14 pounds even, and 24.25 inches (so slightly smaller than Henry was at this age.) She wears size 2 diapers, and mostly 3-6 month clothes, although some of her pants are still 0-3 months. She still has big blue eyes and light spikey hair. 



This month, Nora has decided to be awake. She went from 5-7 hour stretches a night to between 3-5 hours. She also is spending more and more time awake at night -- so she will get up but not go back to sleep for an hour or two after waking. Napping during the day is still pretty much the same -- mostly 40 minutes long three times a day and the occasional long nap. 





Nora is still exclusively breastfed. She is still a huge snacker that nurses pretty much every hour all day. She's stretched the length a little bit, but still pretty much nurses 14 or so times a day. 




With all that eating and {not} sleeping, Nora has been learning lots of skills. This month she started rolling belly-to-back and back-to-belly. She discovered her feet. Passes toys from one hand to the other. Blows raspberries. And sits if supported. 



Nora loves being sat up to watch the kids. Henry is her favorite person of all time. In fact, nothing makes Nora light up the way Henry can. She also loves her Montessori bell rattle, her owl lovie, sitting up in the Bumbo, and (oddly enough) playing with our shower curtain. 



She loves sucking on fabric and constantly a drooly mess from trying to eat her shirt. Speaking of eating, Girly is showing some serious interest in food. She loves to watch us eat and drool just pours from her mouth -- but she has a couple months before that's going to happen. 



I'm having a hard time thinking of too much that Nora really dislikes. We did learn that she is not a fan of driving in the dark and has screamed every time she's had to. And she really hates getting trapped on her belly when her arm (or a toy) make it hard to roll back to her back. She's also not much of a snuggler -- she much prefers to be held out. 




Every month with Nora I just feel so grateful that she gets to be here, even if it is hard to see her getting so big so quickly!




Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Letter P -- Montessori Trays

Letter P trays! These were fun and reminded me how much a simple practical life tray can be enjoyed when just one more step is added. 

The first tray we did this week was wet pouring. But instead of just using pitchers, I added a funnel for the first time. This changed the process and the kids really had to concentrate on the amount of water they were pouring into a vase. 


This was by far Henry's favorite work this week. I often found him working on pouring and filing up vases.


The second tray this week was another practical life -- scooping peas. This time, however, I made it a two step process. Scoop peas from one pail into a pitcher, then pour pitcher into the second pail. Just that extra step kept Henry interested in the work when otherwise it would be a bit basic for him. 


The third tray this week was a letter sorting tray. Here the kids could sort pandas that were stamped with a p,q,b or d. This was quite a challenge for the kids. While I thought it was a fun way to start to reinforce the letters, Henry was not attracted to this and never chose it. 


Other things we did this week included: 

Patterning -- using wooden shapes, I created a few pattern sheets for the kids to follow. Henry never chose to do this either and I don't think it was all that popular during co-op either. 


Polishing -- this was a big hit this week! I included some wooden fruit {a pear and a peach}, q-tips, polish, and a cloth. The children could then polish the fruit. This was the first time I've done polishing with Henry or any of the kids and, boy, were those fruit clean by the end of the week!


Pig Sorting -- this was a tray from last year when we did the letter P. Here the kids had to sort the pigs into three sizes. The corn adds an extra sensory element that Henry and the other kids enjoy. 



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