Practicing Writing Letters (ABC’s) with My Toddler

Pencil and paper…not always so easy for little hands.

Plus, not nearly as FUN!

Let’s try shaving cream instead!

Simply add a big dolop of cheap shaving cream to a plate/half a styrofoam container/baking sheet.

If desirable, add a few dabs of food coloring (today is Flyer Red Friday, so we added red).

Then have your child mix the coloring into the shaving cream around the container with the paintbrush.

Give them time to “play” with the shaving cream and enjoy the “newness” of it.

Once enough time (you decide based on your child’s age and attention span) has passed, begin to ask them to draw certain letters with the paintbrush in the shaving cream.

If you are comfortable with it, they can even use their fingers to draw the letter.

Start with letters in their name.

If they are young toddlers, like Anthony, begin with a lower case “i” or an “x” or a “t”.

Teaching My Child Colors

I like being efficient.

I like working on multiple skills at the same time.

So to help the children learn about colors, I made books from construction paper.

I made the cover orange, and the inside pages an off white color.

On the cover I wrote “_____’s Color Book” and drew 3 balloons for them to color any way they wanted.

The next page I wrote “My favorite color is __________.”

I drew a flower in the middle of the page and put directions on the bottom of the page:

“Color the flower with your favorite color.”

I used the color that they selected to write in the name of their favorite color.

On each of the next pages in the book, I wrote the name on the top of one of the colors:


Each day, we review the pages we have done, and work on 1 or 2 new colors for the day.

These will remain as learning tools throughout the year.

They will be able to take them home, but also read them here during the day to review what they have learned and created.

Allergy-free No Bake Cookies

This is a recipe I got from an allergy free dessert book I have, however, I tweaked it to fit all of Anthony’s allergies.


She calls these no-bake cookies: haystacks.

One of the ingredients is rolled oats, but the rolled oats I have in the house are made in a shared facility, which is a big no-no here. πŸ™‚

So ingredients I used were:
1 1/2 cups of turbinado sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup of expeller pressed virgin coconut oil (make sure you stir it before measuring)
1/2 cup of unsweetened rice milk
2 cups of baby oatmeal (I used Gerber, it’s what Anthony eats)
1/2 cup of natural sunbutter
1 tsp of 100% pure all natural vanilla extract
parchment paper

In a medium saucepan, I heat to a boil the sugar, cocoa, coconut oil, cocoa, and the rice milk. Once it was boiling, I waited until it boiled and then continued to stir for 1 and 1/2 more minutes.

Then remove from heat and add the oatmeal, sunbutter, and vanilla.

I scooped about 1 tbsp. scoops onto the parchment and let it chill and set in the fridge. The longer it sits, the better, as the coconut oil solidifies again.

These are a nice treat and don’t require a lot of time. They were read to eat right away, but got better as they sat longer. πŸ™‚

Apple Pie for Kids to Make

Well, ok, it’s not edible, but heck, it’s a ton of fun!

Easy clean up for you, and lots of fun for the active toddler.

What you need:
A paper plate for each child
A paint brush for each child
3 bowls for each child
red paint

I prepped the table first by setting out the supplies. Leads to more attention on the actual project rather than the kiddos waiting around at the table.

Put a blob of red paint in a small bowl for each child.

I used small prep bowls and added enough sugar to fill about 1/4 of the bowl (one for each child)

I used a small bowl (but would have used a prep bowl too) with freshly grated cinnamon from the stick.

Since I used freshly grated, I actually put a small piece of the cinnamon bark in each of their bowls as well.

Set out the above with the paint brush and the plate in front of each child’s seat.

We started out by smelling the cinnamon and saying “cinnamon”. We described it.

Then I had them dab their finger in and taste it. Their description words were “spicy” and “delicious”. What colorful words!

Had they used words like “good” or “bad” I would have asked them to think of a more colorful word to use and guided them along.

Next we repeated the same process with the sugar. I bet you can guess their reactions! πŸ™‚

Finally, we followed a “recipe” and added the paint the plate first, followed by the cinnamon, and finally the sugar.

After all the ingredients were added, they mixed away!

Once their pies were ready, we placed them in the “oven” to “bake” (dry). πŸ™‚

We followed this up with a tasty snack of freshly sliced apples from the orchard.

Apple Art Project for Toddlers

Here’s a simple easy project I did with two toddlers yesterday during our September month of apples!

First, I took red construction paper and tore it into small squares.

To avoid them having to use the scissors, I was going to have them tear, but during their naptime, I felt it would be better for me to tear, as 1 is 2 years old and the other is 3 years old.

You always have to consider attention spans.

I put the torn red paper into two small bowls.

I gave them both a paper plate.

I had them dab and rub the glue all over the back of the plate.

Then, they covered the back of their plate with the red papers.

At the end, I gave them a leaf and a stem, and had them glue those on top.

Ta Da!

To modify for different ages:

*Have them tear/cut the paper

*They can cover more/less of the plate

*They can draw out the stem and leaf

*They can use marker/crayon to color in the white spots

What Did They Learn?

*They worked on following directions AND motor skills (gluing and placing)

Alternatives for Wen Shampoo

I’ve been watching these commercials for Wen.

I’m all about paying for a product that does it’s job.

I am a firm believer in the fact that you pay for what you get.

But there are certain products and items that I feel the generic version does the job PERFECTLY as well as the name brand.

Toilet paper is NOT one of those in our home. πŸ™‚

I’ve had some really bad knots in my really long hair when I get out of the shower. I have doused it in conditioner, used leave in conditioner, masks, etc. Nothing is bringing the moisture back.

I was at my parents’ house last weekend and was telling my mom about this as the Wen commercial came on.

She told me that she bought some of the products on Ebay and was very pleased with them.

She has super fine hair and it is a cute little bob…nothing like my long thick mane of hair.

She told me she went to Sally’s Beauty Supply and found that they have Hair One, which is there store line’s version of Wen.

She bought it and tried it during the week and thought it worked and smelled just the same (and for 9.99 on sale).

Well, for 9.99 it was worth a shot for me.


I’ve used it for about a week now and see such a difference in my hair.

The first time I used it I didn’t truly work it in my hair enough, so it took forever to rinse out and the crown of my head felt greasy.

Trial and error…

Since then, I’ve been really rubbing it into the hair from the side as I shower.

Then I flip my head over and rub it into the hair upside down, really concentrating on the ends and staying away from the roots.

I tie it up into a bun on the top of my head until I’m done with my shower and ready to rinse.

It still takes a bit to rinse it out, but let me tell you, it’s totally worth it.

My hair is so much healthier!

It combs out neatly, dries nice, and just looks and feels 110% healthier!

Do you have a Sally’s near you?

Cheap Activities to Do With My Child

Water, buckets, paint brushes.

Can’t get much simpler or FUN!

Target had all of their summer toys on clearance last week, so I bought:

three buckets
three spray water bottles
a little mini watering can
5 paint brushes
A paint roller

This has provided hours of fun for Anthony and his friends over the last week and continues this week! πŸ™‚

Just fill the buckets with water and let them “paint” the sidewalks!

We made letters, shapes, and just wet everything in sight!

Best part about cleanup…the sun dries most of it up! πŸ™‚

When Should I Start Asking My Child To Help Around the House?

I believe in the power of lists.

I believe that children learn to be responsible and to do tasks on their own when given a chart with goals.

This is the beginning of life training for Anthony.

Here’s the chart I made for him this week.

Don’t go out and buy anything! It’s super simple to make and use!

Anthony’s 2 1/2, so I made this with 8 simple tasks that he can do daily.

On the bottom I placed a picture of him “painting with water” outside to remind him…once he gets all of his tasks done, we can go out and play. πŸ™‚

His simple tasks are:

Go to the bathroom
Brush Your Teeth
Eat Your Breakfast
Make Your Bed
Help Empty the Dishwasher
Get Dressed

Each of the 8 tasks are labeled with a different color and arrow.

Once he finishes the task, he moves his star to the other side of the arrow as “completed”

How to make the stars:
You know those magnets you get from pizza places, etc that are taking up a ton of space on your fridge?

Use those up!

I placed a post it note on top of it and then a silver foil star on top of that magnet and cut them up. Then I put packing tape over that just to keep it secure. πŸ™‚

Games for Toddlers

Simple and fun way to take a preschool game and play it with your toddler!

Healthy Soup Recipe

I’s summer, and that’s not usually the time for soup.

Yesterday, I had such a taste for a good cup of veggie soup.

So, we trekked over to Whole Foods and picked up all the ingredients we needed…and made a double batch.

We purchase all the ingredients that I had on the page I tore out from the magazine.

I get home and realize…um…the rest of the recipe isn’t here.

I think I threw out the rest of it!


So we made do…and WOW what a good soup!

Having a cup of this as your first course before the rest of your meal will help you fill up on good veggies.

Here’s how we did it:

1 onion, diced up
1 whole cabbage shredded up
1 carrot cut up in circles
1 cup of diced up fresh green beans
3 ribs of celery diced
1/2 a container of grape tomatoes diced up
3 baby zucchini, diced
1 whole head of cauliflower, cut up
1 8 oz container of mushrooms, sliced up
2 quarts of low sodium chicken stock
ground pepper
olive oil

I started by prepping all my veggies.

Once the veggies were ready, I squeezed 2 tbsp of olive oil in my 14 quart soup pot.

Then tossed in the onions and let them sweat until they were translucent.

Then we tossed in the carrots and celery and let them sweat it out.

Next, I threw in 4 tbsp of fresh minced garlic.

Then went in the cauliflower and the thyme, oregano, pepper, and parsley.

Next the mushrooms, green beans and zucchini.

Finally the tomatoes and cabbage.

After all the veggies were good and “married” we poured in the stock.

We brought the pot back to a boil and let it cook together for about an hour.

We shut off the stove while we went to mass, and came home to a delicious cup of soup to enjoy before our dinner. Even Anthony had some of it!

(I liked it so much, I had a second cup and skipped the rest of dinner!)

Do you have a good recipe for veggie soup? Would you add or subtract anything?