Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog

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Favorite Toddler Activity – Cleaning!

My toddler’s favorite activity by far is cleaning!  In Montessori terms this is called Practical Life Skills.  Toddlers want independence and they want to help.  They like to mimic you and they want to do what you are doing.  As it turns out, they have a natural desire for order.  Cleaning activities are perfect.  They can participate in household activities that are meaningful.  Here are some of B’s favorite cleaning activities (always supervised): spray bottle of water and cloth for wiping, using toothbrush to clean big shell, dishes, change the garbage, and water plants.  B also likes to vacuum, change the laundry, empty the dishwasher, and help cook meals.  Lots of messes but it’s total worth it!















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Field Trip to the Nature Center

Ready to explore nature this spring!  Last week, B and I took a field trip to the Charlotte Nature Center near Freedom Park.  B is turning 2 this week and the Nature Center was a perfect outing for him.  It was not too big and overwhelming but there was also plenty of activities.  B liked the butterfly room, the giant insect head and the indoor slide.  The outside play area was very cool.  There were wheelbarrows, logs, tents, instruments, fountains, and sand.  Everything a child could want.  There were imagination, creative, and construction activities covering a wide range of ages and learning styles.  There were also plenty of chairs for parents to sit on and relax.  Before heading out, we enjoyed a snack on the big, wooden deck behind the Nature Center, which is surrounded by large trees and the sounds of nature.  Can’t wait to go back soon!

What are your favorite ways to explore nature with your child(ren)?  Hikes?  Trails?  Biking?  It’s never to early to start!

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Getting Your Greens

Looking for ways to get your greens?  How about hummus with kale or kale applesauce?

Here is a healthy lunch idea for you or your toddler:  1.) cantaloupe, blueberries, strawberries with low-fat plain yogurt sprinkled with wheat germ and low-fat granola; 2.) kale hummus on toast; 3.) scoop of kale applesauce and 4.) WATER!

When you make applesauce and hummus at home it’s cheaper and you can easily add greens such as spinach, kale, or parsley.  Your toddler will never know.  My toddler LOVES hummus and applesauce!  A change of color – green – even better!  You can also try pumpkin or sweet potatoes in your hummus or peaches and strawberries in your applesauce.

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See also Save Money Making Homemade Hummus; Homemade Nutbutters and Applesauce; Healthy Toddler Breakfast.


Spinach for Toddler by Millsap Farms

Frizzy Cabbage “Noddles” by Kid Tested Firefighter Approved

Green Vegan Pancakes by Weelicious






Creating a Montessori-inspired Environment

Are you looking for a clutter-free play area for your baby or toddler?  Easy to clean?  Organized?  Do you need to initiate toy rotation?  Is you baby or toddler getting bored with toys and activities quickly?  Do you want to create a Montessori-inspired space?  YES!  How do you start?

I recently cleared all the toys and activities off our shelves so that I could reorganize our Montessori-inspired play areas.  This was the same process I used to create our Montessori-inspired play areas in the first place.

FIRST, I gathered all toys, books, and activities.  I put everything in one guest room that my toddler could not access.  SECOND, I grouped toys and activities together by type of play.  Stuffed animals, cars/vehicles, blocks, sorting activities, art, music, sensorial, practical life, etc.  I created a place for puzzles, supplies and a good storage space.  THIRD, I picked out a variety of toys from each play category and placed them either on a shelf or in a special play space.  I tried to pick a variety of toys that were – easy, challenging, favorites, never used.  Most things went on our two shelves but things were also placed on a play mat or around the play rooms.  You can either rotate one thing every day or change everything every week.  It depends on what interests your child.  Sometimes B is only interested in things that I play with him and that’s okay.

Things I learned:  1) If I take all the toys away, B is still happy.  2.) Moving big things around or taking them away for awhile, makes them new all over again.  For example, I moved B’s huge stuffed lion and he rediscovered it in another room.  3.) Toys in surprise locations are FUN!  For example, teddy bear sitting on the potty or visiting the bathtub is exciting.  4.) Baskets of books all over the house is helpful.  Rotation is also helpful for Mom.  5.)  LESS is MORE!  One toy in an empty room is more fun than a floor full of toys.

Here are BEFORE and AFTER pictures of organizing our Montessori-inspired play/work rooms.

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10 Year Anniversary in St. John, US Virgin Islands

Just back from our trip to St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  We stayed at Caneel Bay near Cruz Bay.  It was so beautiful words can’t describe so…pictures!  As soon I get caught up on work, laundry and cleaning, I will post more!  😉

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