Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Thumbs Up for Fairfax!

I have to take a minute to give a "thanks guys!" shout out to Fairfax County Public Library.  Yes, it's true, I had been annoyed with them a while back because they said they were taking away most programs for children under 2.  However, they have kept a few which we've attended and that I've mentioned before (example: Jammin' Beach Party, and Beach Bunnies, which they've gotten rid  Some of these programs we've been to recently, though, haven't been too great.  I think it really depends on who's running it.  When you're putting on a program for the under-two set, you really need to be sensitive to your crowd.  I've been to some where they read books that are too long, don't do enough songs, or don't let you bring in  a stroller (a real problem if you have twins, like some of our friends). 

So, in light of this, yesterday was a real treat!  We went to a program called Pohick Regional Library, which is just around the corner, called "Tiny Tots."  It was for children ages 13-17 months.  First of all, it is awesome that they narrowed it down to this small group.  They are a unique bunch of bears, kiddos this age, and if you have one, or ever have had one, you know what I'm talking about!  "Tiny Tots" was great.  They had a large, colorful carpet spread out with board books scattered all over.  The librarian didn't mind if your child stayed on your lap or crawled around.  She mixed very short, repetitive, and fun stories with songs, rhymes, jingle bells, and even the ever-popular BUBBLES at the end.  Can't go wrong with "bubbies," right?  Enjoy this little clip, and find activities at Fairfax County libraries here!


Baby Nature

I've recently noticed that LB is getting pretty good at following simple directions.  "Get the ball" and "Put the blocks away" are phrases repeated several times in our house.  LB also enjoys to walk around outside and pick things up.  The other day, I decided to see if we could put these two activities together! 

Didn't need anything special, just a container and some "outside stuff"

Once I instructed her to "put the ___________ in the container," she was unstoppable!

I think we have a little while before we understand that big things don't fit into small things.

We also worked on a lot of vocabulary: pinecones, sticks, leaves, etc.  This was one of those afternoon activities that reminded me to think like a one-year-old.  The "game" doesn't need to be fancy; just observe what your little one likes to do and go with it! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

An Apple a Day... what we'll be eating for a long time after our first fall excursion on Sunday! 

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year.  I've heard a similar sentiment from many people, and I think it's because it's a break from the stifling humidity, the heat, the hamburgers and hot dogs.  Now don't get me wrong, I do love a burger and a dog, but doesn't it feel so good to eat a good potroast in a cozy house while wearing your fuzzy slippers after a long, hot summer?  It's like a hug.  The air is crisp and the colors of the trees and the apples and pumpkins are the best.  What's not to love? 

Anyways, along with fall comes a lot of really fun activities that we're excited about---and apple picking was first up!  We headed out to Homestead Farm in Poolesville, MD with our buddies the Mallons and had a great time.  We really liked this place---it was big enough to not get crowded, but small enough that you didn't need to take any tractor shuttles to get to the orchards.  We put the girls in the wagon; they had a blast and we didn't have to chase after them (too much)!  Picked some apples, saw some farm animals, ate giant caramel was a fabulous day!  And, a come-from-behind Buffalo Bills win didn't hurt either!

Warning---there's a lot of photos ahead, but I couldn't only choose one or two.  It was a great day!

The happy girls ready for some apple picking!

Enjoying an apple---reaaaaaaaaaaally enjoying it!

I just love this picture of Chloe's little friend Cate

LB and her daddy

Running around


We are going to need a basket of gourds...this provided a lot of entertainment.

Look at our walking girl!

...stay tuned: I'm thinking I'll do a post on what we did with our 17 pounds of apples! 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Play-dough Fun! try or not to try?  I was thinking it could go one of two ways---either Chloe would love it, or she would eat it.  Or maybe both.  So I was a little hesitant to try this activity, but when I found this recipe on Pinterest, I decided to give it a go.  It just looked so smooth and squishy, and I loved how the colors came out in the dough.  I couldn't resist. 

I have to say, this recipe was super easy.  I happened to have all of the ingredients, and most people would, I think, except maybe for the cream of tartar.  I gathered ingredients, "cooked," cleaned up, and was finished in about 20 minutes!  Here's the recipe:


1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/4 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar (I think this is what makes it so smooth)
1 TBS veggie oil
4 drops food coloring


Combine ingredients and cook on lower medium heat until dough forms a ball, stirring constantly.  Put dough on wax paper to cool and then knead to smooth out. 

Don't be fooled---the mixture is very liquidy at first, but it thickens up quickly.

Finished product---I can't wait to make more colors!

I love the original blogger's idea for using those Target baby applesauce cups for storage cases, but I used ziplocs, which worked great too! 

Oh, so the outcome---Chloe really enjoyed this one.  I think it kept her attention for an entire 15 minutes, which is HUGE for her, or any 1 year old, for that matter.  I put her in her highchair and armed her with some tools (avocado slicer---so not useful for avocados, great for play-dough), cookie cutters, these little egg molds for hard-boiled eggs) and let her get to work.  I saw her creative juices flowing, I swear.  And she only tasted it once or twice. 

Testing things out

Using a cookie cutter

What, mom? 

This is a must-try, moms!  And if your bear eats it, it's all safe anyways.  Have fun!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Beat

We love a good concert.  And the other day, we were able to attend a really fun one! 

LB and I belong to the Burke chapter of the MOMS club (they have them virtually everywhere...if you're a stay-at-home mom and not a member, look them up)!  We go to a weekly playgroup for kids her age, but there are also many other events sponsored by our chapter---book clubs, nights out, playground meet-ups, ice cream socials, etc...and a montly meeting too.  We haven't gone to many monthly meetings, but when I heard there would be music at the September meeting, I knew we had to go! 

The group invited Beth Barbaro of Wee Got the Beat, a music therapist, to put on a little show.  She was great!  Beth had instruments for the kids to play and lots of songs to get their attention, including many with movement.  Kids from 1-4 years were in attendance, and it looked to me like everyone was having fun!  Wee Got the Beat does classes and birthday parties too...very cool. And again, the special education teacher in me LOVES anything that gets all kids involved no matter their ability level, and things that get kids socializing, expressing themselves, and working on fine and gross motor skills.  Lots and lots of stimulation!  Check her out for sure.

Oatmeal "Sandbox"

Sooooo much rain. 

If you were anywhere in the vicinity of DC last week, chances are, you were wet.  It rained all week...and not just an on-and-off drizzle---no, this was a "gather the wood and the animals, I am going to build an ark" kind of rain.  Chloe was also just getting over a bug.  Needless to say, we were inside a lot. 

Although I hate being a house mouse, I was excited to try out a few of the activities I'd found on Pinterest.  (I described this website a few posts ago, and don't forget to follow me by clicking on the little red button over there ---->)!  

It's no secret that LB loves the beach, so first up, I decided to build her an oatmeal "sandbox."  I'd seen a few variations on this idea, but here's what we did:

Filled a big bowl with dry oatmeal; added some feathers and pom poms for a different sensory feel, and so she'd have something fun to "dig" for.

Grabbed a shovel and let her go!

Of course, it was fun to throw the oatmeal out of the bowl, so I tried to get her to put it into the other container (a little fine motor work, as well as me trying to keep the kitchen semi-clean).  It kinda worked.

Aside from the sandbox, we spent a lot of time building with/ hiding blocks.

The rain broke for about 34 seconds, so we decided to head outside an enjoy the puddles!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Amazing Playground

I can't think of another title, because recently, we've visited a playground a couple of times that really deserves the description of "amazing."  If you've been a reader, you know that I have a soft spot for places that are accessible to people of all abilities (see the Sprayground post).  It's important for everyone to have opportunites to learn, socialize, and just plain PLAY! 

Clemyjontri Playground in McLean is one of these places. Named for the donor's children, it's a huge playground that is extremely accessable---think: soft rubber ground, ramps, plenty of wide space around equipment, swings with straps and backs, and a carousel that's built level to the ground that you can just roll right onto, if need be.  Wow.  And, for someone with a toddler, this place is a dream!  LB loved walking up the ramps, exploring the maze, and going down the little slides.  Of course, the carousel was a big hit too!  We loved it so much, we decided to take Daddy back to show him too. 

Although we're big fans, there were a couple of tricky things to look out for, if you're going to go.  Timing is everything---with the nasty construction in Tyson's Corner on 495, it's easy to get caught in a jam trying to get there.  Also, the park itself has a tiny on-site parking lot.  There is parking further down the road as well, but you have to cross the Georgetown Pike to get to the park.  The first time we went, it was a Monday morning, and we had to use the overflow parking, but when we went back with Mike, it was a later Saturday afternoon, so we were able to find parking close to the playground.  Also---bees seem to be an isse.  Not so much right on the playground, but when we went with our "yoga buddies" we tried to eat lunch in the pavillion and the bees just swarmed.  So I'd eat before or after your visit! 

Here are some pictures from our two visits...we'll definitely be making some more trip to Clemy...what a place!

Rocking butterfly

Clemyjontri---where everyone can play!

Checking out the gears

Piloting a plane with Daddy

Great of only a few in the country that's built for wheelchairs

A little fuzzy...but a good carousel pic!
                                    ...and a nice little clip of LB and Daddy riding the carousel!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pinning Princess

...that's been me today.  I can't get enough of Pinterest, you guys!  It's a site where you can "pin" cool internet finds in the form of pictures on virtual bulletin "boards."  LB has been sick today (boo, three day weekend sickness, and a sad LB to boot), so we had a low-key day which allowed me to take a peek at the sight and try some things out.  I love it!  I'm always saving things to my favorites and then forgetting them, but this gives me a great way to categorize great finds.  And it doesn't hurt that it's all "pinned" in pictures...easy to remember what you liked about the site! 

So far, I've been "pinning" fall things (my favorite season, I'm so excited for the cooler weather), and cupcakes (just love 'em).  But what I really think you might like to see, as AWLB readers, is the Toddler Food and Kiddo Activity pin boards.  May give you a preview of some things we might be up to soon! 

As soon as LB is feeling better, I'll get back to writing about our adventures....until then...look to the side of the blog---there's a little button so you can follow me on Pinterest and see my boards.  Go take a look, it's fun!