Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog


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Toddler Activities with Egg Cartons

It is especially fun to create toddler activities with recycled trash!  Cheap, homemade (of sorts) and DIY are some of my favorite descriptions for toddler activities.  So, egg cartons are perfect!  I keep a stack of different kinds of egg cartons in my craft cupboard.  They are great for sorting, counting, and art activities.  They are also great for holding small items and organizing your drawers or cupboards.  Ice cube trays also serve similar purposes.  Here are some basic activities with egg cartons but you can do so much more!  One-to-one correspondence activities such as placing wooden balls, puff balls or wiffle balls in cartons are early math activities.  You can also color code the egg baskets or assign numbers or letters.  You can use them for more complex sorting or use them as paint dishes.  I still remember uses egg cartons when I was in elementary school for painting projects.

Here is B (21 months old) is placing wooden balls in a 6-egg carton.  He did NOT like the activity with puff balls so try different materials and don’t get discouraged.  I usually have to introduce an activity several times before B wants to try it.  We counted each ball as he placed them in the carton.  I’ve seen other people write numbers or letters on the balls and in the cartons for a matching activity.  We’ll build up to that.

 

egg carton activities from forcingthebloom

egg carton activities from forcingthebloom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is B with a 12-egg carton.  He enjoyed filling it with wiffle balls.  No puff balls, please!  Maybe it’s boy thing?   A major part of the activity is taking the carton off the shelf and putting it back when B is done.  He knows he can’t get something new until he puts everything back.  The practice of moving things on and off the shelf helps with body control.

egg carton activities from forcingthebloom

egg carton activities from forcingthebloom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some more ideas from other Montessori mamas using egg cartons !

Living Montessori Now  – Color Walk

Our Natural Journey  – Repurposing Egg Cartons

Kindergarten Basics – Upcycle Egg Cartons to Building Blocks + links to many other egg carton ideas!

Gift of Curiosity – Math with Egg Cartons + several other cool Montessori activities

Any other ideas?  How have you used your egg cartons?

We’ll revisit this theme again in the Spring!  Say, around Easter time!  You, me and that crazy Easter bunny.  This will be the first year B really gets to open Christmas presents and will understand the idea of an Easter egg hunt.  Can’t wait!  Have a Merry Christmas!!

Christmas Tree from forcingthebloom

Christmas Tree from forcingthebloom

 

 

 

 

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Greens Puree Pasta & Chia Seasoned Sweet Potatoes

I made a few interesting meals this week that I thought I’d share.  I’m always looking for new ways to serve healthy food.  Quick and easy is very better.  Since my little guy is 13 months, I try to find foods that he can pick up and aren’t even close to resembling a choking hazard.  I have enough things to think about.  A one pot meal I made this week was a tortellini dish with pureed greens as the sauce.  I boiled 1/2 a bag of tortellini.  To the cooked pasta I added 3 cubes of frozen pureed greens (kale and broccoli mix – but you can use any greens), a cup of peas, a cup of corn and about 3 tablespoons of pine nuts.  I cut of the cooked pasta for Baby B but he probably would have been fine chewing on his own.  I, of course, always watch him when he eats.  I found the pine nuts soft and easy to eat but every baby is different so you may want consider leaving those out.  Also, you want to monitor possible allergic reactions when nuts are involved.  (Only do what you feel comfortable with).  I seasoned the dish with garlic salt and olive oil but most any seasoning will work.  And you can decide not to season it at all.  My little guy loved it!  I appreciate a one pot meal that we can both eat and is great as a leftover meal.  This meal was especially appealing because of the “hidden” greens in place of a sauce.

Green Puree Pasta

Green Puree Pasta

Green Puree Pasta

Green Puree Pasta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to the hidden greens pasta dish, I also found a new way to hide some chia seeds in a side dish this week.  Just to back up a moment for some further explanation.  I try to follow most of the healthy baby food ideas from Super Baby Food Book.  In this book the author, Yaron, highly recommended trying to eat seeds ever day.  I always find this challenging.  So I usually pick a seeds in the morning – chia, alfalfa, sesame, flax, pumpkin, etc. – and grind it up in my coffee grinder.  I don’t actually drink coffee I just use the grinder.  Sometimes I add brewer’s yeast or some legumes into the grinder.  I put the grinds in a cup and leave it sitting by the stove during the day as a reminder to sprinkling it into different things, like smoothies, hot cereal, rice, etc.  This week I sprinkled ground chia seeds over my diced, baked sweet potatoes.  I also added some basil and a little salt and pepper.  Both my husband and 13 month old loved it!  They were none the wiser about the hidden, healthy addition – ground chia seeds!

Chia Seasoned Sweet Potatoes

Chia Seasoned Sweet Potatoes


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Run Your Family Like a Business

Should we run our home and family more like a business?  Weekly meetings?  Family mission statements?  A mommy friend recommend this very interesting article from the Wall Street Journal – Family, Inc. – which discusses business strategies that may work in the home setting.  The essay was adapted from Mr. Feiler’s book, “The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More,” coming out later this month.  This article really hit home now that I have completely merged work and home responsibilities by starting my own law practice.  One morning I’m talking to a prospective client and the next I’m off to a mommy playdate.  The self-discipline required to focus on one task and get that task completed, rather than have the day flow like my stream of consciousness, is MUCH more challenging than I imaged.  It is a good challenge and I love it.

I read several of the business books mentioned in the article, such as Good to Great.  I never imaged applying those principles to my home but it makes sense in many ways.  Having a central, charismatic leader with a top-down approach doesn’t work in most start-ups so why would it work in my new family (ad)venture?  Having all members of the team buy into the team’s mission statement is as important for a functional business as it is for the functional family.  Weekly meeting and reviews should help employees and kids learn accountability.

The other day I was pondering ways to improve my relationship with my little guy (10 months old).  The thought of improving my relationship with my husband popped into my mind.  I briefly thought, “What does he have to do with it?”  That should have been a red flag but it still took me awhile to accept the idea that a commitment to my baby was also a commitment to my husband.  There is no “I” in TEAM.  Just like any other startup, we need to get the right people on the bus and empower them to do what they do best.  It’s also important to remember that a new baby is NEW and that it requires love, time and patience for the relationships to blossom into a full-fledged functioning family (your own Fortune 500 company).


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My First Week At Home

I quit my job!  Last week was my last week at a big law firm.  This is the first week of my new life, which I am inventing as I go.  My goal is to start my own practice and be up and running by the end of the year.  I kept daycare but have more time and flexibility.  I’ve already filed for a PLLC, which is very exciting.  I had to contact the State Bar then the Secretary of State and then the State Bar again.  Good grief.  I also need to tackle insurance and a trust account.  I’m having fun learning new skills.  Seriously!

The main reason for leaving my job is to spend more time with my family.  At least, I think they need me.  It will also be nice to have time to exercise.  This is my second day home and it’s been good so far!  I feel a little out of sorts, like I’m paving a new path, but it’s also exciting.  I made a few house rules to promote success.

Rule 1# Dress for success.  That means business causal or better a majority of the time.  Yes, even at home when no one will see you.  I’m hoping this will promote a working environment and professional image.  Rule #2 Set a Schedule.  This means a full calendar.  So I set up lunch dates twice a week for the next two months.  And don’t let the day dictate what you do.  Decide the goal for the day, week, month and year.  Even have a 2-year plan.  Then make sure to modify the schedule as you go.  We’ll see how I do by the end of the month!  I have also dedicate my first two weeks at home to self-reflection and organization.  I have set aside several hours each day for quiet reflection, goal-setting and prayer.  I’m also organizing the house, which is awesome to do at the beginning of the year no matter what!  I think better with a clean, organized house.  Like I said, it’s only day 2!  🙂  Wish me luck!