Archives for September 2013

Sidewalk paint: A Review.

The other day, I picked up Crayola’s sidewalk paint kit. It says it’s for ages 3+, but that’s because of the small parts. Personally, I think as long as your child is monitored, any age could really use this. Like all Crayola products, it is non-toxic, but I wouldn’t allow your child to eat it. The girls love painting and they love being outside. I figured that they pretty much would have to love this. I was right. 
They were excited before I even got it out of the package. We talked about it over and over before breakfast, and M even had me bring it up with us while they ate breakfast. Once we headed outside with it, there were some squeals of pure excitement as I opened it. The girls dove right in, using it to paint the sidewalk.
It comes with three, 8oz bottles of paint – blue, yellow, and pink. Each color is bright and a great consistency. Not too thick, but not thin enough that it runs off the brush either. It comes with a reusable tray, with a spot to hold both the paint once it’s squeezed out, but also to stand up the bottles as well. [Note: It also comes with 3 pieces of chalk, but we didn’t use those this day]
The girls painted for almost an hour straight [aside from 5 minutes when we saw a caterpillar crawling by]. Not only did they paint the sidewalk, but they also painted acorns and leaves. The kit includes the paint, tray, a roller sponge, and a big paint brush. It could just be the “nanny to twins” in me, but I wish they had put more than one of each painting tool in. We have some paint brushes since we paint so often, so I was able to bring out a second one, but they had to share the roller, which of course was the most desired tool. The girls are really good about taking turns (I am lucky, I know) and tend to not have issues with sharing, but I wanted this activity to be more fun than a lesson on patience. Either way, we were able to work it out and each of the girls had a few turns with the roller.
Aside from wishing there were two rollers and two brushes included (but understanding why they aren’t), my only other wish would be that there was more paint! We used around 1/2 a bottle of each color in one hour. I tried to find refill bottles, and all I could track down was this listing on Amazon. $40 for just the paint? No thanks. You can buy the whole kit for 1/4 of that price. I’d assume they’ve jacked up the price because the refills are hard to come by, but still it’s ridiculous when you can buy the kit for $10 at Target.

We talked about the colors they were making as they mixed them together. They were fascinated by the colors on the brush changing as they dipped it into another color. Not only did the sidewalk, acorns, and leaves get painted, but so did the girls. They were covered in paint. 

In true Crayola form, the paint is washable. I can attest to this. The girls clothes went right into the wash once we went inside, looking like this:
When I pulled them out of the wash, they were nice and clean. No paint left on them what so ever. This was such a fun experience for the girls, combining some of their favorite things, painting and being outside. I can’t wait to find another day where we can use sidewalk paint again!
Note: This is NOT a sponsored post. 

Aly

A Day In the Life of a Nanny

Since the last day in the life I did was 4 months ago, and young children change so much so quickly, I decided to detail another day. That day was Thursday, September 19. The girls are now 21 months old.

8:00 – I arrive at work. The girls and I play with different toys and read multiple books. They’ve been really into Halloween books recently.

8:45 – The girls’ mom comes down to say goodbye before she goes to work.

9:00 – Mom leaves and the girls and I play some more.

9:30 – Breakfast time! Today the girls eat pancakes with spreadable fruit, yogurt, and blackberries.

10:20 – Breakfast is over and the girls get their first diaper change during their time with me. With the girls about to turn 2, they’re holding it more and requiring less diaper changes during the day. Potty training is in the near future.

10:30 – While M plays with the felt board and E looks through books, I start the first load of laundry.

10:45 – We get our shoes on, and head outside to do a fun painting project. We paint the sidewalk, acorns, and leaves. We talk about why leaves are falling from the trees, what animals eat acorns, and what the acorns grow into when planted.

11:05 – We find an inchworm crawling across the ground. We call it a caterpillar and the girls tell me about its life cycle. I tell them it’s like The Very Hungry Caterpillar and he started as an egg. They are able to tell me that he’ll build a chrysalis and turn into a butterfly. Technically this is wrong, since they actually build a cocoon and turn into a moth, but they were transferring their knowledge from the book onto the inchworm. [Side note: The book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is actually wrong. Caterpillars that turn into butterflies build a chrysalis (not a cocoon as stated in the book). Caterpillars that turn into a moth build a cocoon.]

11:10 – We go back to painting. We mix colors and talk about what colors they’re making.

11:40 – Clean up begins. The girls are covered in paint.

12:00 – I switch the 1st load of laundry to the dryer and put a second load in the wash. The girls are playing independently.

12:30 – Diaper change time!

12:40 – We head upstairs for breakfast. Today the girls have a few bites of chicken before deciding they don’t want anymore, so we switch to pita bread and hummus. They also have yogurt, a cereal bar, and raspberries.

1:20 – We clean up from lunch and head downstairs for a little bit of play time.

1:50 – I check the girls diapers, they’re still dry. Then it’s milk and book time. The girls drink milk while I read them a few books to wind down for nap.

2:05 – The girls and I walk up to their cribs, they each choose a book and I tuck them in, tell them goodnight and head downstairs.

2:10 – I use the time while the girls nap today to switch the laundry, prep snack, make and eat my lunch, relax, and then fold their laundry.

2:20 – The monitor goes quiet  – the girls are asleep.

4:10 – I go up to their bedroom and gently wake the girls up. I put out their snack and cups of milk.

4:15 – Each of the girls gets a diaper change.

4:20 –  We build towers with their stacking cups, color a bit, play with bead necklaces, play in the house we built out of a box, etc.

5:00 – The girls’ dad comes down and takes over the care of the girls. I tell them goodbye and I’ll see them tomorrow!


Aly

DIY – Make a Felt board!

One thing the girls are loving right now is a felt board (also called a flannel board) that I made for them. Felt sticks to felt, so you can make or purchase felt pieces to tell stories, go along with songs, teach counting, letter recognition, etc. You can purchase your own felt board for $20 or more, but I made mine for less than $10 and in less than 10 minutes.  
What you need:
– Big sheet of felt (I used a 36in x 36in white sheet by Creatology – Sold at Michaels, you can also buy it by  the yard and have it cut for you off the bolt. You can also use flannel. Felt will stick to it as well.)
– Foam core board (I used two 11in x 14in boards and the 36 x 36 sheet of felt covered both)
– Hot glue gun
– Hot glue sticks
– Scissors

First, lay your sheet of felt down and smooth out any wrinkles. Place the foam board on top. Be sure to pull the sticker off your board. I forgot on one I made and you can see it through the felt. Whoops.
Trim around the board, leaving about a 2 inch border of felt. Fold up two of the sides and glue them to the board. Be sure to pull the felt taut to reduce any wrinkles in the fabric. Cut off each corner (I find this makes it easier to fold)
Fold up and glue the other two sides. Again, remember to pull tightly so that most of the wrinkles are gone. 
You can leave it just like this and flip it over, but I wanted to cover the back, so I eyeballed it and cut another felt square to make the back look better.
Here’s the final result. I should have pulled a little tighter to get rid of the wrinkle in the middle, but the girls don’t mind it. 
As I said before, you can cut out your own shapes from felt to use, or purchase some. The girls love this “5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” set. We found it at Lakeshore, but I can’t find it on their website, so I’m not sure if it’s still available from them. 
You can also use Velcro backed pieces, but they will pull some of the felt off and your board won’t last as long if you do. Since the felt boards are so easy to make, we do use the Velcro back pieces. Particularly this “Goldilocks and the 3 Bears” set as well as this “Teasing Mr. Alligator” set. You can also find a TON of them for sale on Etsy. 
I usually tell each story using the felt board at least once a day and then leave it out and available for the girls to play with throughout the day.

Aly

Welcome Fall!

Finally! I have my computer back. Every single thing is gone though. I’m trying to think positively and think of it as a fall cleaning for my computer. Although, I will admit, it did just hurt a bit when I went to save a picture for this post only to find none of my folders (and all of their contents) were there anymore. Lesson learned though…within the next few days I’ll be getting an external hard drive where anything remotely important will live. 
Speaking of fall, even though it’s not technically fall just yet, I’m totally in fall mode. If it weren’t for 70 degree temperatures you’d already see my boots and scarves making an appearance. I already have a ton of fall art and activities I want to do with the girls. 
Today we made our seasonal craft. At the beginning of each season we do a different one (who cares if we’re a week early for fall). For spring we did chicks/ducks, for summer we made paper ice cream cones, and today we made a handprint tree.
I started by drawing a tree trunk on a piece of cardstock and gave each of the girls a brown crayon. Once they colored the trunk to their liking I helped them put their handprints as the leaves of the tree. This was the end result – a quick, easy, fall craft you can modify just a bit to do even with the youngest of children. 


Aly

Technical Issues

Sorry for the lack of posts. My computer completely crashed about a week or so ago. A family friend is a computer and tech guy (it’s what he does for a living) He took it with him on a business trip and was able to get it up and working again but, sadly, everything on it was lost because of whatever made it crash in the first place. He has one more thing he can try when he gets home to his equipment at the end of the week, but if that doesn’t work then I have to start all over.

 

I’m using an app on my iPad to type this out and post it, but it is a complete pain compared to my computer so I feel like I can’t do a decent post from here. I have a lot of post ideas so when I do get my computer back (hopefully by next week) you’ll be seeing a ton of posts pop up!


Aly