Activity Tables

I recently purchased an activity table for Juliet. I never had one for Drake, and in the world of bouncers, jumperoos, swings, and around the go stations, an activity table was one of those things I decided we didn’t need. When we had Drake we lived in a small condo and just trying accommodate all of the aforementioned stuff was tricky, and an activity table just seemed like one more piece of baby entertainment.

But during Juliet’s most recent physical therapy session, the therapist asked if we had one of those activity tables. She was looking for a toy to help Juliet want to pull up and stand to play. I showed her my Zany Zoo and so we tried to encourage Juliet to stand up on that, but in her attempts she face planted right into it and of course got upset. I showed her the ottoman that Drake learned to pull up on, but it wasn’t placed centrally like it had been in our previous place so she quickly kept crawling away from it towards people. We tried the around the go station, but Juliet was used to walking around in the supported walker piece so she had no interest at all in pulling up on it. Before her therapist left, she said if I ever wanted to buy Juliet a toy she recommended the activity table.

I debated for a while if we really needed this toy after the session. I reasoned Juliet would learn to pull to stand on anything she could reach in time, wouldn’t she? Drake certainly did.  But after much talk with Mr. Chocolate I decided to buy one, since Juliet rarely got any new toys and the therapist felt like it would be beneficial. Drake would also be intrigued by a new toy and it might encourage more playtime between the two of them, as well as maybe entice Juliet to try to pull up to be more engaged with Drake.

I decided to look at all the different kinds on Amazon and compare before buying one.  These are the ones I considered:

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Starbucks Ginger Molasses Cookie Hack

Starbucks has the most amazing ginger molasses cookies. They are soft and delicious, and honestly, I’m really not a cookie person, but I love me some soft, cakey cookies. This is one of my favorite cookie recipes, and it’s fantastic because the real deal is pricey, and many Starbucks no longer carry this gem.

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“Resolve to Know More”: National Infertility Awareness Week Part 1

This week is the Annual Infertility Awareness Week. A week I’m very passionate about. The theme this year is “Resolve to Know More” and this is right up my alley. From the day we got our infertility diagnosis, we researched every.single.thing we could. Poor Mr. Piñata took every supplement ever known to help with male fertility issues. I looked up statistics, specialists, differing opinions on treatment plans, etc. We wanted to KNOW MORE about this medical condition we were now diagnosed with and walking through.

But, during this week I do feel responsible for helping educate others about infertility, both on the medical and emotional level. Here is some worthwhile information from Resolve, the National Infertility Association. Check out their site for information on these infertility myths and facts below, and much more.

Myth: Infertility is a women’s problem.

Fact: This is untrue. It surprises most people to learn that infertility is a female problem in 35% of the cases, a male problem in 35% of the cases, a combined problem of the couple in 20% of cases, and unexplained in 10% of cases. It is essential that both the man and the woman be evaluated during an infertility work-up.

Myth: Don’t worry so much — it just takes time. You’ll get pregnant if you’re just patient.

Fact: Infertility is a medical problem that may be treated. At least 50% of those who complete an infertility evaluation will respond to treatment with a successful pregnancy. Some infertility problems respond with higher or lower success rates. Those who do not seek help have a “spontaneous cure rate” of about 5% after a year of infertility.

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Second Birthday Inspiration: Picnic!

Last year, I had so much fun planning Miss H’s rainbow first birthday party! Of course I spent far too much time with planning, crafting décor, making the cakes, etc. It was worth every single minute, but wow I was wiped out at the end of it all!

This year, we’re going for a bit of a more laid back approach. Partly because I just don’t have the energy to go all out. And partly because I know that I don’t need to go wild and crazy each year for her to have a fun, wonderful celebration. She’s just so excited about the day: she talks about her “happy birthday,” sings her own version of the happy birthday song to everyone, and is looking forward to having balloons at her party! So I know I won’t have to work very hard to give Miss H a day she will enjoy and remember.

Because April is still a bit chilly in Chicago, we are opting for an “indoor picnic party.” I like the idea of a casual, fun picnic for Miss H, just set inside our home!

To set the tone, I found these fabulous invites from Etsy seller Boo and Lou Design. We modified the language a bit on ours to reflect that the “picnic” will be inside.


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An only child

I was an only child until I was 18 years old. My parents were divorced when I was two, and my mom married her boyfriend of 7 years when I was 18. She had my half brother later that year and I also gained a step sister. Growing up, I hated being an only child. I was bored and wanted a playmate. I envied my friends who had siblings or even cousins close in age. My cousins on my dad’s side were close to my age, but I only saw them once every few years. My first cousin on my mom’s side was born when I was 10. I loved family gatherings because my mom is one of six kids, so there were lots of people and it was always lots of fun. I have always wanted a big family of my own because I loved all of the chaos and love that came with my mom’s big family.

Our little family of three on Easter Sunday.

Now, I find myself wondering if Liam will be an only child. I know that it’s too early to go there, but after a miscarriage and trying to get pregnant for 8 months, the thought does pop into my head every once in a while. I used to think I wanted four kids. Now I know that will likely not happen. I will feel lucky to have two, but what if Liam doesn’t get a sibling?

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DIY felt flower crown

I’ve been wanting to make a felt flower crown for Gemma for a long time so I finally gave it a try! I used a simple women’s headband that I already had and some felt in various colors.

Before I started the project, I made some simple felt flowers (from this tutorial). I use this tutorial a lot for different projects and find it really easy. I also had to make some leaves, but I just cut them out free-hand. The trick to this project was to make a base to secure underneath the headband to give it support and something to glue all of the flowers and leaves to.

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Ready to Go Homemade Play Dough

As a toddler/preschool teacher, one of my favorite go-to activities was play dough. I made a point to always keep the ingredients for my favorite simple recipe in my classroom. Now that LL is getting a little older, I am finding myself wanting to make it at home too!

I am far from a germ-a-phobe, but reusable play dough is just not for me (at least with young kids). Toddler hands are never really clean, and we all know that everything goes in their mouths. I have always viewed play dough as a one time use material. By using inexpensive ingredients, I don’t have guilt about tossing it in the trash when we are done playing. If LL isn’t interested in it that day, it does keep for a few days in the fridge.

Rather than mix up the recipe every time we want to play, I decided to make ahead one big batch of the dry ingredients, so that I can save myself some time. This way all I have to do is scoop out the desired amount, add a little water, and play! It takes some of the prep-work out of messy play, and that is always a plus in my book!

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