Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog

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Montessori-inspired Baby Play Areas

I’ve been working on little play areas for our two-month old.  The set-ups are Montessori-inspired but with some consignment items.  I stick with the Montessori ideas but if I often find things at the consignment store.  At two months old, my baby likes to look at mirrors, black and white pictures, faces, and mobiles.  He’s learning that when he hits things, they move!  He coos back at me when I talk to him.  I sing songs with him and often read short books while he’s doing tummy time.  I try to have tummy time once every wake period.  He’s very happy on his tummy.  I always have an eye on him.  Here are some pictures of our play areas for our two-month old.  There’s also a video on my YouTube channel.IMG_4753 IMG_4754 IMG_4755

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Toddler and New Baby Time

Playing with my toddler AND new baby (2 months) is a new challenge for me.  How do you juggle playing with both kids?  Did you experience sibling rivalry?  A jealous toddler while you nurse?  Guilt leaving the baby crying while you tend to the toddler (I’m thinking about potty training in particular!) or visa versa (just more guilt)?

These are all things I’m working through and here are a few things I’ve learned so far.  My toddler wants to help but he’s genuinely not sure what to do with a baby.  So I ask my toddler lots of questions about how the baby is doing.  Is he happy?  Is he crying?  Hungry?  This seems to help my toddler interact and be a part of the mommy-baby situation.  My toddler now likes to report the new baby’s behavior, especially in the car when I can’t see him.  My toddler also likes to help by getting things for me such as a diaper or water.  In the pictures below you can see that my toddler also likes to mimic what I’m doing and take care of “his” baby, who he named Isaac.  Since he likes to do everything himself, he can practice doing all the things I do with our little one.  This way if he asks to do something to help that maybe is not appropriate yet, I’ll ask him to do it with his baby!

What are your toddler/new baby tricks?  How do you handle both together?

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Ice Cube Art

Ice cube art!  I found this art project idea in Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron.  My toddler (32 months) loved this project but it works for most any age child.

1.) Mix a little washable paint with water and put into ice-cube trays.  Let them freeze.

2.) Pop out cubs and place on paper inside of tray.  (I recommend giving the child a spoon or brush to push the cubes around so their hands don’t get too cold.)  

3.) Swirl around and change the paper as it gets too wet.  Hang up the painted paper.  (It will be wet!) 

You can also put also things inside the tray to mix the paint – brush, balls, cars, etc.  (B prefers to drive his cars through the paint.)

Have a towel and warm water ready to clean up and warm up hands!  (B loved cleaning his cars when he was done.)

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Montessori Resources / Inspiration

I always need inspiration from other Montessori moms about what to put on our shelf.  I was therefore very excited to see Living Montessori Now make a post yesterday dedicated specifically to Montessori Toddler Resources.  Perfect!  She also does a link-up every Monday so you may want to join in.  What are some of your favorite Montessori (or other) resources (aka mommy blogs)?  Where do you go for inspiration and new shelf ideas?

Here are some other great inspirations (Montessori-inspired and others)…

Mary’s Montessori School


The Pinterested Parent

Happy Holligans 

A Homeschool Mom

Cooking with Toddlers

YouTube is also a great resource for ideas.  I often put up videos of our Montessori-inspired play/work room online.



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Homeschool Field Trip to Nature Museum

My toddler (almost 3 years old) attends a Montessori school three days a week.  On our days at home, I enjoy the opportunity to take “field trips” around the city.  And, let’s be honest, mommy needs to get out of the house.  Yesterday we took a trip to our city’s Nature Museum.  As a Montessori parent, I’m a strong advocate of hands-on learning.  I think we all remember and learn better using different types of media and senses (aka sensorial learning and Montessori sensorial bins).  At the Museum, which is designed for young kids’ play, we saw an opossum and chicken up close.  A worker brought the animals out of their holding areas and talked to the kids about them.  When I later asked Boaz what he liked at the Museum he remembered and was able to talk about the opossum and chicken at dinner which proved to me that the hands-on type of interaction was memorable and best promoted learning.  The snakes, frogs, bugs, and other animals in their cages were not as memorable, although I’m sure he learned something from them.  To underscore how kids learn using hands-on experiences, Boaz still talks about a science fair that we attended in New York during the summer.  He often recalls seeing the homemade rockets and talks about how they flew in the air.  Time to make our own!

Do you take homeschool or weekend field trips with your kids?  How do those trips promote learning?

Pictures from our trip to the Nature Museum.  Boaz LOVED watching the chicken and met a friendly opossum.

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Resolution TRICKS for 2015

I have to admit that I love New Year’s.  I prefer it over Christmas.  I never thought much of it until I realized that my husband doesn’t like New Year’s or at least he doesn’t think much about it.  I agree that it seems counterintuitive to take the first day of the year off.  Shouldn’t we be trying to get ahead on the first day?

I don’t like New Year’s for the parties.  In fact, I don’t drink or attend parties.  What I like about New Year’s is the opportunity to start new projects and LISTS.  Still, there are always those resolutions that get dropped before Valentine’s Day.

THIS year I have a few NEW TRICKS to keep (hopefully) my resolutions going for the full 365 days of 2015.

1.) I use a DAILIES sheet.  I was inspired by Gretchen Rubin‘s books “The Happiness Project” and “Happier at Home” to create a daily check off list for the things I want to work on everyday.  For example, read to my toddler for 30 minutes, walk 10,000 steps, sleep at least 7 hours, etc.

2.) I wrote a list of AFFIRMATIONS based on my goals.  Writing down affirmations was recommended by several people and I have been pleasantly surprised by the effectiveness.  For example, by writing down “I am happily married” or “My child is creative and fun” (things I know to be true) I am reminded that they ARE true and I appreciate them more.

3.) I have MODELS OF INSPIRATION.  I have a couple of authors (it could be anyone) that I resort to when I need inspiration to continue my resolutions.  When I’m feeling tired and unmotivated, I re-read portions of their books or glance around their websites for new activity.  I especially love Gretchen Rubin’s Youtube videos.  We may not have everything or even very much in common but just enough that I feel inspired by their hard-work and determination.

Happy New Year!

What will keep you motivated this year?  What are your 2015 RESOLUTIONS?