Well, I'm not wearing my slippers 24/7 but it is pretty close. I wear them all day long when we are home (and sometimes out) and all night long until I go to bed. They positively stink! I mean they really really stink! One solution would be to stop wearing them, but then I would be cold, so that is not an option. So I decided to find a solution that still allows me to wear my slippers. I found a way to clean them though this required me to wash the insides with warm soapy water. Apart from the fact I would have to go a day without wearing them, I don't think they would dry even hanging on the line so that can wait until Summer (or a hot Spring day). Then it hit me "Bicarbonate soda", it takes bad smells and moisture out of the fridge so why not my slippers. I wrapped some bicarbonate soda in some netting and placed them in my slippers over night. Yay! after one night they don't stink, they still smell but how will they be after two nights? It can only get better right?
When Cakes was 7 weeks old I made her a mobile. At the time it was more about my desire not to waste. We had received two boxes of Huggies nappies as gifts which had the cutest Winnie the Pooh pictures. On the box it explained that young babies see in black and white, so simple patterns in black in white are very appealing to young babies. After some research I learnt that this encourages babies to focus on objects, track with their eyes, encourages them to reach and helps develop their attention span. As I knew that babies like things that are shiny I added some aluminum foil. Cakes really enjoyed this mobile and played with it often (her cat did also). As it was made with items that she could choke on if she were to mouth it, this was only played with under supervision. When Cakes a little over a year old she gave it to her Little Pixie friend. So for a home made mobile it has proven to be pretty sturdy.
Do not leave baby unattended with a home made mobile like this
I continually am a sucker for a good product at a good price. The first was a mirror toy for Cakes when she was a very young baby. I was obsessed with the value of mirror play for young babies though was too cheap to just pay what it cost. So when I found one on sale at Big W Cakes and I raced over on opening to get one. After searching the entire store I went to the customer service desk to be told it had not arrived yet. I thought this was a possible issue that really was not the stores so left my details and went on my merry way. It was great timing that as the lady told me they had none Cakes wailed like she was being murdered with my response to calm her "I know you really wanted the mirror they just advertised a product they don't have, this happens sometimes" (little to my knowledge that this particular store it happens often).
Then again I got suckered into another special with some super cool blocks (that Cakes would not be able to manipulate for some months even a year later) at an amazing price. This time my husband and I arrived on opening went straight to the toy section and found the space where the blocks were advertised. After asking a staff member who said they had sold already. "umm you opened 5 minutes ago" I said in a not very polite way. He then spoke to several people to let us know 20 minutes later that they had not arrived. We returned after uni classes about 4 hours later and still no blocks. I returned again two days later and still no blocks. Needless to say I went to another Big W and got my blocks.
Third time lucky we arrived at the store for a book sale on opening again. We spoke to a manger this time who after 20 minutes of making phone calls and who knows what else said they hadn't arrived. After this I made a complaint, who wouldn't after three times of not getting the product.
Fast forward a few years of avoiding this shop to toy sale. Cakes had money to spend and wanted a trampoline. Being the cheapskate that I am I found the cheapest at Big W. I was going to order it online though the delivery was a third of the price again. Being her own money I thought my laziness was not acceptable. So I ventured to Toy Sale day. So I spent the half an hour before the doors opened explaining to my mother that they won't have it and I was going to be cross. So I walked in asked the lady on the door who sent me to the customer service desk who sent me to another desk with several staff at it (I think one was the manager) and asked about the trampoline, stating the entire name and page. To have them reply "That will not be in until December". In my head i was screaming "are you serious, where is that written in the catalogue?" Though back in reality I was just as rude and turned around and walked away. They made it sound like it was in all Big Ws. On the off chance this particular store is just really bad at well everything, I rang another store. Good call because Judy (a lady with fairy wings on, I know this because she told me) had three and put one aside for me. Yay!!! Win for us. So no more going to the store we have been let down by 4 times.
Why post about this today, well another store really made me cross and they had the product. I had been waiting on some spice racks at Ikea for almost six months to make book shelves for Cakes's library books. So when I recieved an email last Thursday I was pretty excited. When we got there today we went to the display model to see where they were kept, no luck as it hadn't been signed yet. Had a quick scour around for a staff member and realised there was a line up and we needed a ticket. So we got our ticket at 1.56pm and waited in line. We looked at some door handles as Cakes walked around pointing out the different shapes they mad in the packet and the different coloured door handles there were. The Daddy called so we talked on the phone, checked out the kids play centre near the counters and played on my phone. After 20 minutes we had done everything we could think of and Cakes was starting to get bored. She then emptied her entire bag, found some food and ate it, then commenced crying. It had now been 40 minutes. A nice lady named Justine (who has three children with the eldest being in highschool and all having 'J' names), gave Cakes a piece of paper and a pencil, this killed another 5 minutes. After waiting 55 minutes it was our turn yay!! When we asked about the product the nice lady serving us was looking it up (to be sure we were talking about the same product) and the man serving (well not really) insisted they were just over there (pointing to the corner of the area). When I politely apoligised and pointed out there was no label on the spice rack on display he rudely responded "We only got them in on Friday". In my head I was screaming "That was four days ago and I got the email Thursday". If I had thought of it while in line I would have called Ikea, I would have spoken to one of the people who had served me but possibly 50 minutes earlier.
Moral of this story do not expect the product you want even if advertised (or emailed to you directly) to be in store or some where you can find it.
After a great time visiting the Gallery of Modern Arts, Fly Away exhibit with Nanny, Cakes was all a buzz talking about birds, their nests and how they look after their babies. As we are still trying to establish a garden (a year after starting) for her to play in and care for, I have been trying to come up with ideas to draw animals and creatures to her garden. With this interest in mind it was the perfect time to work on a bird's nest distribution centre (a place for birds to collect materials for their nests).
Firstly we had to decide on a design. As we have a neighbourhood full of cats it was important it would be up high and not along the fence line. With inspirations from a broken link on Pinterest I decided to use an old coat hanger as the casings. I then thought I would add some fine netting around a few sides so that it would keep everything Cakes put in it in there though still allow the birds access. Cakes and I collect a variety of items to place inside the casings. She chose ribbons, materials, cotton wool, pipe cleaners and straws.
Big Cousin H and Cakes set out to add a variety of materials to their casings. This started with several minutes of both children investigating the materials. They discussed how things felt, the weight of the items and what they were going to place in the casings. Big Cousin H got caught up in the excitement of cutting. As many of the items were thick or hard to cut children scissors were not given to the children and adult scissors were being used. Cakes is still developing an understanding of how to use scissors and strength in her hands. Big Cousin H was enlisted to do all the cutting with the help of Aunty Teen. Cakes watched what items Big Cousin H put into his casing and chose items similar to his.
They were very proud to show off their bird nest distribution centre. Despite the rain both the children, Aunty Teen and I went down in the back yard to find a suitable place for the birds to collect their resources. The children helped us find a place that was high enough away from the cats and away from the fence line. We are yet to see any birds take any pieces for their nests as we have not had a clear night since placing them in the yard. I hope Cakes is fortunate enough to see a bird take something from the casing.
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Cakes loves to paint, draw and be creative. This can sometimes become very messy (and as I don't clean very often we try to keep the mess to a minimum). Adding painting into a routine time such as bathtime allows me to minimise the mess, engage Cakes in a routine situation and continue learning important early years concepts. This activity looks messy though at the end of every bath I find the bath is often cleaner than when she went in (once the blackish looking water runs down the plug hole). Give it a try and tell me how your little one enjoyed it.
A blog follower has asked for some inspiration for activities to do with her 8 month old. So here is a blast from Cakes's past when she was 6 months old.
A favourite activity for me when working in child care centres was goop play. A simple recipe to produce an art or science experience that astounds adults and children alike. When goop is out you will see childcare teachers with their hands in it just as much as the children. Why would adults be intrigued by this you ask? The reason we all are drawn to this activity is that the goop performs differently than we expect, how can it be a solid and a liquid? That just isn't possible.
When Cakes was younger she didn't like to get messy (lots has changed since then, I'll post a photo of her making her party hats this year at a later date). We mixed half a bowl of cornflour with a small amount of water making it moist. While sitting in the container it appeared solid and Cakes had to really push her hands to get them to go through it. When I picked up small handfuls and held it above Cakes's high chair table it drizzled out just like a liquid. Cakes was amazed. She pushed it around her table with her fingers and a fork. This activity lasted for almost an hour (such a long time for such a small little girl). Cakes appeared to enjoy observing the drizzling goop more than she did moving it around. By this age young children are developing a basic understanding of physical properties such as solids and liquids, this activity just lets them experience both at the same time. If you are a cheapskate (or just don't like waste) like me, you can store the mixture in a container and use it again another day by just adding a little water. We used this mixture over and over, I think we still have it some where.
I put things on the roof of the car daily. I place all items above Cakes's window as I put her in and out of the car. Items can consist of things Cakes has left in her seat such as books, food, drink bottles or things in my hand such as the car keys, my phone (which has my entire life attached to it as I do not carry a bag so I have a neardy wallet phone holder), a can of coke, etc. This afternoon when we were running late to pick Daddy up from the train station I had a clip board with paper, a pen (things Daddy requested we bring) and my phone. I had a jacket on so I had placed the keys in there. When we drove off I heard a clunk but didn't think anything of it. Within the two minutes it took to drive down the road and around the corner I looked over to where I keep my phone (as we were running late I was expecting a phone call from Daddy) and realised it wasn't there. I continued on and went up the next street taking us back home. As I pulled up before our drive way I could see the pen. I searched down the drive way, on the road and in the gutter a few metres down the road. No phone or clipboard. I kept looking as we continued on to pick up Daddy, though with no hope. The entire time Cakes was saying from the back seat "where's your phone Mum" for me to polity reply "I don't know". When I had continued down our street and a few hundred metres along the road I saw a white pile of something, I decided it was mine and stopped. Fortunately it was the clip board and my phone. If I had not been late I would not have looked at the space where my phone normally was, if I didn't have the clipboard I would not have seen the phone on the road and if I hadn't broken the phone yesterday (Cakes and I dropped the phone as she handed it to me and the home key broke) my husband wouldn't have organised a new phone for me during the day. I checked the phone and it seemed fine, up until Daddy connected it to the computer to back it up to put the information on the new phone. It must have been run over as it did not connect, he looked at the connection and low and behold it was all smashed up. So I would like to suggest Don't put things on the roof of your car.
My husband suggests (or insists) I always fill up the before the fuel gauge gets to a quarter. Seeing I do most of the driving you would think I would look at the gauge often enough to have some idea when it is getting low, but I just don't. We pick Daddy up from the train station most afternoons and he checks how the fuel is going and lets me know when I should be getting fuel next based on our itinerary of activities he keeps in his phone calendar. Yesterday he suggested I get fuel on our way home from a long drive to Dreamworld. I thought no worries, I knew I would have a friend in the car and could get fuel without disturbing (possibly the best sleep) Cakes. However on the way home I forgot and didn't think about checking how the fuel was going until I was between dropping my friend off and our house. I looked at the gauge and it was under the quarter mark. As we were on the toll road and Cakes was in a terribly deep sleep I thought I would just see if we could get home and get fuel with Daddy after picking him up from the train. Down either side of the dash panel there are several little circles that looked as though the fuel light might come on. Paranoid that I wasn't going to make it I continually looked at these circles looking for the little warning to say GET PETROL NOW (I do know you have enough fuel to get to a servo once the light comes on but Daddy doesn't like what it does to the car so I should feel the same way). When we were coming off the toll road onto the highway (about ten minutes from home) I readjusted how I was sitting and noticed at the bottom of the dash screen the fuel light was on. My first thought was why is it there, I can't even see that part of the dash screen (and I am not exactly short). Then I realised just because I only noticed it didn't mean it only just came on. For all I knew this had been on the entire drive home. I decided this meant as soon as I could I had to stop at the servo and get fuel, though how could I do this with Cakes passed out asleep in the back. I had never left her in the car unattended before and strongly believe this is not safe practice (even though my parents did it). I remember one time when I was eight I was left in the back seat of a car asleep with my four year old niece. The thing that made this memorable was when we both woke up Miss C and I kicked each other continually until an adult came and got us (I assume we were both still sleepy). So I pulled the car up in front of the store at the servo, locked the car and went inside. I did it, I left my little girl locked in a car unattended. She was fine, sleeping happily. Me on the other hand, a mess, stressed and continually looking at the car. So my word of warning is Don't let your fuel get low.
On our way home from swimming today we stopped in at the "rock shop" to see what rocks Cakes was wanting to start her garden path with.. We had been to the rock shop several times with no purchase as we just never seemed to be able to commit to completing a particular section of the yard. Thanks once again to Papa Coco (donating more pavers) we had finally completed the paved edging for the front of the garden. About a week ago I went along the edging and along where we wanted a path with the poison though there was still a healthy patch of grass. My impatience and our lack of planned activity got the better of me. This was enough motivation for me to get the arch and the start of the path done today. Cakes had the option to say no but I knew the rock shop and a promise to purchase was enough for her to say yes.
On arrival to the rock shop Cakes headed over to the samples on the shelf and commenced touching each and every one (even the chicken manure) and umming and ahhhing. She was aware that this purchase was coming out of her pocket so she was taking her time to make the correct decision (she is a clever little thing and will see if Mummy or Daddy will swipe the credit card for her purchases). When she had narrowed it down to three selections, large pure white for $11 a bag, large salt and pepper for $9.90 a bag and large multicoloured for $7.70. We discussed this as lots of money, some money and a little bit of money. Being the frugal little person that she is Cakes chose the large multicoloured rocks. I thought these were the prettiest rocks there though didn't want to sway her as she will have many opportunities to add a variety of rocks to her garden. As she headed over to the man (who was watching her and asking questions the entire time she was making her selections) with her $10 note he said "Thank you little lady, seeing you are paying cash I will give it to you for $5". I thought this was very nice of him and made sure she said thank you very much and told her she got a discount. She even thanked him for the discount. The poor little thing was a little confused when she handed over the money and received more money in return (we tend to use the credit card and only use cash if we have the correct money which isn't very often). On the way out to the car to pull it around to the rock piles Cakes spotted a white cockatiel. The bird was so friendly and was at the edge of the cage trying to get to her. I asked the man if it was hand raised and he not only answered me he showed me. He took Pretty Boy out of his cage and placed him on Cakes's arms. She was so excited to have the opportunity to hold the bird and busted out a "Thanks man, hold bird" all by herself. We drove down to the rock pile, got our rocks and headed home.
After a quick snack and a jump or two on the trampoline we got all the required resources to build the arch Cakes bought for her garden over a year ago. So with the arch, a screwdriver and Cakes's tool kit we headed down to the back yard and started to work. Cakes was in charge of unpacking and did a wonderful job. I sorted the pieces out and we took turns at screwing the pieces together. Needless to say the pieces I screwed in stayed together better than the ones Cakes did. However the fine motor skills and hand eye coordination she was developing during her part in the task could not have been planned for. After several turns with my screwdriver Cakes headed off to use a variety of her tools. She used these all in different ways and used her imagination to continue working on the arch. Towards the end of the construction I realised when getting Cakes to pull all the pieces out I should have been more focused or she could have lost one of the screws in the grass. A few moments later I lost not one but two screws. After a quick scour of the ground and recruiting Cakes to help I ran off to the shed to find a similar screw. With no luck I headed back to the grass and spent twenty minutes looking for the last two screws. Eventually I found them and silently apoligised to Cakes for second guessing her ability to look after the equipment needed to complete the arch.
Next came insulation of the arch. Due to my impatience there was living thick grass be dug up. All decked out in my slippers (great attire for gardening) I pushed the shovel in and used my big fat foot to slam it down and to my surprise it slid in easily. After I dug out the edges of a section, Cakes took her handy little spade and made sure we left most of the dirt in the ground and got rid of the grass. While digging Cakes noticed a worm and turned out functional digging experience into one of investigation. She looked at long, thin, slimy ones; short, fat, juicy ones; ooey gooey, ooey gooey worms. We discussed the variety of colours, shapes and sizes of the worms. As I am paranoid of chopping them in half I always try relocate them out of the hole we are digging. This lead to further discussion from Cakes about the worms home, their family, their status within their families and their daily routine. She always surprises me with the conversations she initiates. Once we had our two holes I picked up the arch and had Cakes guide it into it's final resting place. We both pushed it down (which was easy as the ground was so soft) and Cakes used all her muscles and sound effects to get it in place. She then laid down on the ground and said "yes same Mummy", she must have seen Grandad doing some leveling because I hadn't even thought about making them even. Once this was complete we dug out the middle to put the rocks down.
Cakes spared a few pails full of sand to place under the paver (another freebie from Papa Coco) to help with leveling. This lead to a long and enjoyable play in the sand pit which gave me time to run over to Splinter's house (our next door neighbour and my husband's godmother) to borrow a few sheets of newspaper to use a s a weed shield. We placed the paper in under the paver and started to ferry the rocks down from the front yard. It would have been easier to bring the whole bag of rocks to the backyard though I had the slight problem of not being able to move the bag (how I got it out of the car I do not know). This only took 3 trips backwards and forwards with our three primary coloured buckets. Finally the rocks all surrounded the paver and we had about half a bag to spare. This should be enough to continue the path over to Cakes's concrete slab if we taper it in a little. I asked Cakes what colour we were going to paint the leaf paver and was very quickly told "green now please".
So we headed inside for a quick wardrobe change and a snack. Then I quickly organised all the necessary items from the shed. As I am a strong believer in making the colour you want by mixing primary colours I had to get two paint cans and a mixing jar. Again the paint we used was the free paint from Masters so this project at this point has only cost Cakes $15. I asked her what colours we needed to make green and she proceeded to tell me we needed "booe and yellow", this is the third time she has been able to tell me which primary colours are used to make a particular secondary colour. Though having a very good grasp on the concept of colour I think this one was merely from keen observation as I was carrying the blue and yellow paint tins. Cakes painted the leaf with a slight hand around the edges. I really should have got her to paint the leaf before we put in the rocks as a few have a smear of green now. The minute she was finished and on her way into the bathtub the sky opened up and shared the sun shower my husband told me about only thirty minutes earlier. I could have looked up an known it was coming but really didn't think about it. A quick save with two buckets and the sandpit cover. Cakes asked if we can paint the next paver and put in the rocks tomorrow. When I said no that we were going to Dreamworld with her little pixie friend and Aunty Weeze she said "oh no, nuver day Mummy. It's okay, you can come". I think she was more worried I might stay home and work on her garden if I didn't go with her.
While Cakes was at Kindy last week I needed inspiration to clean my very dirty floor. While scouring Pinterest (just to avoid the cleaning task at hand) I stumbled across a post on Toddler Approved using painters tape on the floor. Due to Cakes's unhealthy obsession with 'colours' we had purchased some nice coloured tape only a few days earlier that would be perfect for this purpose. I rushed around madly cleaning the floor in most of the house so I could get the tape down and pick her up early. The first thing she did when she got home (after grabbing a snack) was tracing the shapes with her fingers. During each shape she would ask "whats that shape Mum?" (except the circle) and repeat after me.
She then raced off (I thought she was finished) and got herself some cars. She continued to trace the shapes with each car. This took sometime as she used each car on the same shape before moving onto the next shape. She also packed the cars back into their tin in-between each shape (she can be a bit obsessive compulsive at times). As most toddlers Cakes is pretty keen on matching at the moment so I was a little worried she might only like to drive the cars on the 'correct' colours so all the time she spent sharing the cars across each shape was a very pleasant surprise.
It then occurred to me she could use the shapes to do more than just trace the shapes. We added some pompoms and they became colour sorting spaces. Cakes lined the matching colours along the lines and talked about all the colours, which ones were her favourite and how many pompoms she was using. She is still learning to count so she often started at two and missed eight though she had added another concept she was interested in learning and practicing. It always amazes me that when setting out with one concept or task in mind Cakes adds another. I always felt facilitating the learning was me directing it though now realise I am just collecting resources and encouraging her to drive her own learning.
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