Photo Guide to Car Seat Safety

I thought I had car seat safely nailed down, but I still found this photo guide super helpful + interesting. If you’re a visual learner like I am, be sure to take a look. It’s a good refresher… And it’s SO IMPORTANT!

– Lindsay

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30 Days to a Clean + Organized Home

I’m not sure how I’m just discovering this on THE LAST DAY OF THE MONTH, but Canadian Parents has been guiding people through 30 days of home organization during the month of April… And I’m thinking it will be just as helpful to start on May 1 instead of April 1! I love the idea of a big crazy job like spring cleaning (insert ominous Jaws-like music here) into tiny and totally manageable daily tasks. You can check it out here.

Do you schedule a big spring cleaning day? Do you accomplish it in baby steps? Or do you skip it altogether?

– Lindsay

This Week Is At…

Bethel! This is our first official Summer MOMs meetup. We’ll be in the lower lounge with coffee. I’ll try to be there around 9:30, but Summer MOMs is relaxed, so arriving at 10 or 10:30 is just fine. It tends to get later and later as the summer progresses. 🙂 Bring snacks (and expect other small children to poach them) and  we’ll bring in toys from the rooms. See you then!

~Annemarie

New Mom Meal Ideas

I know none of us are strangers to the awesomeness of bringing food to new moms, but I know that sometimes it’s hard to think of what to make. Lasagna often takes centre stage for meal delivery, but there are lots of great options. Apartment Therapy’s Kitchn blog posted this week about a “taco box” for new parents, and the comments are full of great ideas.

If you received meals after your baby, what were your favourites? Or, what do you like to make for other people? I like making borscht and bread for others because you can freeze them easily, and it was amazing to get a couple of giant salads to eat for lunches after my babies.

~Annemarie

Want To Try Bellydance?

Erinne asked me to post an announcement for her new bellydance class, in case you were intrigued at the caregiver tea. If you have questions, you can email her through our contacts page.

~Annemarie

Hello Bethel Moms!

I have a new session of Tribal Bellydance classes that just started!! For those of you who were not at the Caregiver tea, Tribal Bellydance is an improvisational dance style encompassing a language of moves and clothing of nomadic tribes as they traveled India, North Africa, the middle east and Spain.

Each class focuses on core strengthening, muscle isolations and learning basic tribal movements. At the end of the class we will dance through everything we’ve learned. Classes are $12 per class when registering for the full 7 week session or $15 / class when you drop in.

We’ve had one class so far and drop-ins are always welcome anytime throughout the session. For those of you who have tiny babies you are welcome to bring your little one in a carrier. (Be sure you are 6 weeks post delivery and feeling up to it!!) This is a class for just the moms though so if your babe is starting to get active with crawling or walking – this is a night out just for you so bring yourself and your sauciest hip scarf! It’s also a great class for expectant mothers to strengthen muscles needed for birthing and connect with other women.

Come join us Monday nights from 6 to 7:15 at the Isaac Brock Community Centre – 715 Telfer Street. It’s the big orange building between Spruce and Clifton.

Erinne

This Week Is At…

Bethel! This is our informal learn-about-the-committee morning. Since the lower lounge is booked already, we’ll have to make do with another space – probably the 4/5 room or the nursery. I’ll put up the whiteboard on Thursday morning so you know where to go. We’re meeting at 10 (I am arbitrarily deciding this because it gives me half a chance to make it on time) and I’m sure we’ll be done by 11. We’ll have toys and a DVD to keep them distracted while we talk. And for everyone who isn’t interested, we’ll see you next week for our first playdate.

~Annemarie

It’s A Boy

Congratulations to Vivian (and the entire family) on the safe arrival of baby Nathaniel last week Friday! We’re so happy for you all and can’t wait to meet him soon.

– Lindsay

Coming Up: Summer MOMs! Hooray!

How have your last two Thursday mornings been? I hope you weren’t too sad and lonely without MOMs. I have good news for you – Summer MOMs is set to launch VERY SOON. Next week we are planning to have an informal learn-about-the-committee meeting for anyone who is interested – you don’t have to commit to anything yet, but come find out what’s involved. We’ll have a few options available to keep our kids entertained and it won’t be very long. We’re planning to meet at Bethel, but the specific location isn’t confirmed yet. I’ll put it up on Monday.

The following week, May 3, is our first “official” Summer MOMs get-together. We’ll meet in the lower lounge any time after 9:30. If you can’t make it until 10 or 10:30, that is just fine. Bring your own snacks, and I’ll make coffee and bring in some toys. It’s basically a giant playdate.

After that, we’ll meet at Bethel every other Thursday, and on alternate weeks we’ll be at various parks. I would LOVE your park recommendations, or even just a heads-up to where in the city you live. Last year we went all over. I’ll post our upcoming location every Monday, so make sure you keep checking the blog.

~Annemarie

 

What To Do On A Rainy Day (for cheap to free!)

  • Holy cardboard box, Batman!  Cut holes in a large cardboard box: one big enough to get into the box, many others for pushing small toys in and out of the box.  Crawlers and big toddlers will love this.  Big kids will probably, too!
  • Baby noisy toy:  Put noisy cellophane/tin foil/newspaper/wrapping paper into an empty orange or onion bag and tie closed.  Babies love the sound and can easily grab with the little holes.
  • Kitchen drawer fun: Crawlers explorers in your family?  Fill a drawer in the kitchen with stuff that can’t break and let little kids dig through it and explore.  They’ll do it anyway, so you might as well choose what they play with!
  • Painting with water: for tots 1 and up, use water and paintbrushes to paint on a chalkboard — no mess, kids are painting and you can leave it out all the time.  Works well if a chalkboard is on an easel, so if someone wants to use the other side of the easel for dry art, it’s available.
  • Make an egg carton caterpillar with pipe cleaners for antennae and googly eyes.  Paint it with thicker paint or markers.
  • Create and then walk along a toilet paper trail.
  • Make a dried bean box for indoor play.  Try using little scoops, toy trucks, hiding animals or cars, practice filling things, etc.  It’s like having an indoor sand box but without the grainy mess!  Sandy keeps the beans in a shallow, wide, lidded Rubbermaid container to use over and over.  You might not be interested in cooking up the beans afterwards, but they’d probably work for doing…
  • Bean art: Use glue to attach dried beans to paper to make pictures.  Or try adding rice for complete protein art.
  • Make a domino chain.
  • Make cardboard-box cars and use scarves or rope for straps.  Criss-cross the straps (behind their necks!) so they can wear the cars while they zip around.  Try playing…
  • Red Light Green Light: You say “green light” and they run around until you say “red light”.  Say it often so they’re starting and stopping and laughing lots.
  • Make a nature collage.  Or cut out pictures from flyers and make collages.
  • Dance party!  Try different types of music, just be aware of language!  Nicole does NOT recommend Jay-Z.   If kids are hesitant, try songs with actions in the lyrics or make up actions to go along.
  • Play in the kitchen sink!  Towels or a shower curtain on the floor help to contain water and make parents a little less stressed about water damage!  Do the dishes or give toys a bath, or try painting toys first, and then washing them off (fills up 30-60 minutes!).
  • Play the matching game with a deck of cards.
  • Have a scavenger hunt with items around the house.  To make it super easy, make it up as you go along so no prep time needed.
  • Along similar lines, Easter egg hunts are super popular in our house (multiple hunts in the weeks before and after Easter!).  Plastic eggs that open up can be filled with anything (grapes, marshmallows, pebbles, marbles, stickers, cotton balls, etc.).
  • Blow bubbles.  Here’s a recipe for bubble water without glycerine (not everybody has this on hand): 6 parts water, 2 parts dishwashing liquid (apparently Joy works best) and ¾ parts corn syrup.
  • To make bubble blowers, try twisting a pipe cleaner or twist tie into a circle.  Also, try cookie cutters, yogurt lids with centres cut out, or use a sieve (for lots of tiny bubbles).  For a larger bubble maker, take the top and bottom off a large metal can and hammer the inside edges until smooth, then dip one end into solution and wave through the air.
  • For bubble art, try adding food colouring to dish soap and water, then use a straw to make lots of bubbles.  Scoop onto a piece of paper and watch the bubbles pop, leaving behind art!
  • Make a camera (or use a digital one) and go on a Safari around the house.
  • Set up a tent in a living room or bedroom.  Activities that might have been boring an hour ago are extremely exciting in a tent.  Also, try spending the night in the tent (indoors or outdoors).
  • “Roast” marshmallows inside!  Half the fun is finding things to build the “fire”.  Try chop sticks, building blocks, construction paper, pillows, Lego, etc.  Chop sticks also make great marshmallow sticks.  Be sure to blow on them before eating!
  • Go grocery shopping in your pantry for food to give away to the needy.  There’s a big yellow drop box at Bethel for Winnipeg Harvest.  Or, cut out pictures from grocery store flyers and paste on a paper to make a grocery list for food to give away.  Older kids can add up prices in the flyer and figure out how much money it might cost.
  • Wash windows together.  Spray bottles with water make everything more fun!
  • Spring cleaning (if anybody actually does that!) could provide opportunities for fun.  Maybe vacuuming (but please watch out for hot parts.  A friend’s toddler got badly burned from a vacuum)…um, I’m stuck.  What do people do when they spring clean?!?
  • Put a leash on a stuffed animal and walk around the house.
  • Act out a story with your bodies or stuffed animals.  Try using a (sturdy) nativity set to act out a kids’ nativity book.  Sandra Boynton’s Barnyard Dance is a great way to act like animals doing a square dance!
  • Make an edible necklace.  Buy Froot Loops and have your child make piles of 10 of each colour.  Get a string and have them string the Froot Loops on.  Then you will have a 100 candy necklace to eat!  Apple rings (dried or fresh) or Cheerios could also work.
  • Make a zoo for toy animals with building blocks.  Each animal could have its own room or all be together.  Don’t forget a gate so the animals can leave the zoo!
  • Everybody suggests fort building but how do you do it?  Drape a sheet over sofa cushions or boxes that are stacked up, chairs with their backs turned, or even just a table.  And then you could…
  • Enjoy an indoor picnic.  Whether it’s a meal or just a snack, eating on the floor is always more fun!  And how about a tea party?
  • Make a pillow pile to jump on.
  • Arrange buttons into muffin tins then string them together.
  • Finger painting with paints for older kids.  Have little kids?  Try pudding painting.  Drop a blob of pudding onto some paper, and then let them at it!  Try adding sprinkles for different textures.  (This is also popular with bigger kids!)
  • No time to clean up the mess?  How about no mess finger painting?  Dump 2 blobs of paint into a freezer bag.  Squish out the air, tape the bag to your table and have fun!
  • Decorate Cookies.  Pretty self-explanatory…
  • Play dough creatures: try adding things like googly eyes to liven up play dough animals or monsters.
  • Cornstarch magic: Ever tried this?  Awesome science at work!  Mix 4 parts cornstarch, 1 part water.  It’s a solid when moving, a liquid when still.  All ages will love it, including babies!
  • Gak: a cross between play dough and cornstarch magic.  Using wire whisk, mix 1 cup all purpose white glue (recommended: Elmer’s Regular), 3/4 cup water, and food coloring.  Mix separately 1/3 c. water and 1/2 tsp. Borax. Slowly pour Borax mix into glue mix.  Let stand a few minutes, then knead. Pour off any remaining liquid.  If it’s too sticky, trying adding a pinch of Borax dissolved in 1 T water.  Store in plastic bags.  Repeat for different colors.  Maggie’s warning: do not let kids make a Gak Hat!  If they manage to do so before you can stop them, toss them in the bath and hope for the best!
  • Marble painting: drop marbles into paint, then roll the marbles around a piece of paper on a cookie sheet.
  • Bowling using cottage cheese containers.
  • Balloon ball: hit a balloon around for burning off steam, do a counting or alphabet game at the same time, see how long you can keep it from landing, etc.
  • Vegetable stamps: cut a potato in half, then cut out a shape.  Using the shape, dip the potato into paint and make art.  An easier version is to simply cut different vegetables in half and not bother with the shapes.
  • Fishing with magnets: cut out fish shapes and attached a paper clip.  Make a fishing rod with a fridge magnet.  Write the name or paste a picture of a different animal on each fish, then the kids do actions and/or sounds of the animal that they “catch”.
  • Play dress up with parents’ clothes, Halloween costumes or out of season clothes.
  • Junk craft: glue all the recycling together
  • Fine motor activities (weaving, lacing, finger knitting, etc.)
  • Wax paper/crayon creations: melt grated crayon between layers of wax paper with an iron
  • Make a drum out of a box or plastic tub.
  • Bath time was the most popular suggestion, including adding food colouring, wearing bathing suits, having beach toys and music, doing it when they don’t have to be cleaned, etc.
  • Have a hankering for indoor T-ball? Hang a Whiffle Ball (or other easy to hang ball) from the basement ceiling.  A soft ball could be hung from a light fixture or door way for wee ones to bat about.
  • Put on a puppet show.  It can be as basic as socks on hands, hiding behind a chair.
  • Q-Tip science!  Pour a shallow amount of milk into a pie pan.  Put a couple of drops of different coloured food colouring in.  Dip a Q-tip in dish soap then into milk/food colouring mixture and enjoy.  Makes a very cool reaction.
  • Stickers: Always a huge hit for preschools and older toddlers, it seems.  Try drawing a scene (e.g., barn, zoo, town, face, or house) and then add the stickers to the scene.  Tip: Dollarama has 1000 stickers on a variety of themes for $1.25.
  • Make an obstacle course out of cushions and/or furniture.
  • Coffee or formula can bird feeder: attach string to top and bottom of can, then hang on its side and fill with bird seed.
  • Pasta fun: dye pasta a variety of colours and make necklaces or art.  One of my favourite Christmas decorations is a paper cup with silver macaroni on it that is signed “Heidi5” (that’s how I signed everything when I was 5).
  • Practice Knee-Bouncing Rhymes, especially with wee ones.  These will become invaluable when you’re waiting to see a doctor and the kid is antsy.  Having your kid be familiar with a bunch of different could save you a lot of sanity later on!  Don’t know any?  Make them up!
  • Play Hide-and-Seek then try mixing things up and hiding items (e.g., stuffed animals) and then seeking them together.
  • Laundry Basket Fun: Use a laundry basket as a train, boat, rocket ship, cave, cage, etc.  Never ending fun!  Try continuing the theme throughout the day (e.g., if the basket is a boat, serve fish crackers, pull out sleeping bags and camp, make a tent, etc.).
  • Homemade backpack: Take old cereal boxes, glue piece of paper to one side, then decorate how they like (e.g., draw pictures, put on stickers, etc.).  Cut slots on other side and use string or ribbon to make shoulder straps.
  • Toddler busy bags
A few links to help you out:

And some ideas that are indoors but not at home:

  • Rheanne suggests checking out a fire hall (and the firemen, too!).
  • Go to the grocery store with their shopping list for Winnipeg Harvest (see above)
  • Play in the car (especially great for listening to rain)
  • Children’s Museum
  • Dollar Store: have a set number of toys or craft supplies that they can pick out.
  • St. Vital Mall play structure
  • Library: try out a different library you don’t usually go to.
  • The little museum at The Forks (by the visitor centre desk in Johnston Terminal)
  • Airport: try taking the bus for added adventure
  • Zoo: several indoor exhibits including monkeys, tropical house, discovery centre (meerkats, dinosaur eggs to climb in and around, etc.)
  • Indoor tunnel downtown

Of course you should add more ideas in the comments!

~Annemarie