Monday, December 23, 2013

Playing Pretend in the Kitchen!

Our toy kitchen has been getting a lot of love lately. I have recently added some accessories and revamped our storage, to make it a more inviting space for Munchkin to play.

We have the Kidkraft Suite Elite kitchen which I like a lot. Our toy kitchen is in our living room, and I love how this set looks. It's very kid friendly, but not too obtrusive. We got a deal on this kitchen last holiday season, and it came with a set of pots and pans from Step2 which are great! These pots and pans have been a favorite for a very long time even when the kitchen itself was ignored. 

I recently purchased a set of dishes and silverware from Green Toys after he started taking silverware from the kitchen for his pretend play. We have some wooden food from Melissa and Doug, but it is very heavy and also kind of dangerous with Baby E around. I am looking for some plastic food to add to our collection, and we also have a shopping basket with cardboard food by Melissa and Doug. (The food in the basket is great, but the basket itself is also very heavy). 

I bought a cheap set of drawers at Target to organize everything, and laminated some picture cards so the little ones who play can easily see where things go. The kitchen also has some good space for storage, but I find that the drawers keep things neater. 

I love how there are so many opportunities for imaginative play in the kitchen, the possibilities are endless! Right now, Munchkin enjoys making soup and setting the table with his play dishes. He also loves "feeding" Baby E his creations! Some easy and cheap additions to his kitchen include regular sponges, a set of measuring cups, and a tinfoil muffin pan that he loves to play with.

*This post contains affiliate links 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Review: Conair Sound Therapy Clock Radio

If I had to choose only one item to buy after having a child, I would be very tempted to choose this Conair sound machine.

Conair Infant Sound Machine

White noise has proven invaluable to the sleep of both my kids, and therefore to my sanity as well. Munchkin showed a love for white noise right away. As a newborn, he was soothed by the ocean sounds that came with his bassinet. Later, we accidentally discovered one night that he slept way better listening to the static from a broken baby monitor. We quickly looked for a noise machine to purchase, and this one from Conair was the one we could get the fastest.

I have been really happy with this sound machine, and it has served our needs well. The noise is a very artificial sound, it does not sound like a fan at all. It sounds like loud static that plays on a loop. It has great volume controls ranging anywhere from very quiet to extremely loud. Most importantly, it does a great job of masking sounds outside the room. With the door closed and the sounds machine playing at a medium volume, you really cannot hear much if anything going on outside the room. (aside from blaring music, construction, or other heinously loud things that should never be allowed to happen when babies are trying to sleep)

Some other features of the sound machine include 9 other sounds such as heartbeat and thunderstorm. It also has a great illuminated clock that works great as a small light in the room. As a bonus, now that Munchkin is learning his numbers, he knows that he needs to stay in bed until the first number on the clock says 7. This works most of the time...

That being said, I don't think the sound machine is made amazingly well. We have had to replace them once, and we learned that these sound machines can't survive an airplane ride for whatever reason. Sometimes after being unplugged, it takes a few tries to turn the sound machine on. But Munchkin has used his machine every single night for 2.5+ years, and we have never had any other issues. I like that the machines can plug in or take batteries, so we have different options if necessary. Baby E has one as well, and I love knowing that we can talk in normal voices without worrying too much.

Overall, I would definitely recommend the Conair Sound Machine as a great option if you have a baby who is a light sleeper, or need to block out noise for any other reason!

*This post contains affiliate links

Monday, December 2, 2013

Meal and Snack ideas for Babies 12-18 months

I am often astounded by how much Baby E can eat in one sitting. I fear for my shopping bill! I am always looking for more ideas, but here is some of what Baby E currently eats:

Waffles - I like the Earth's Best ones or some other whole wheat waffles
Fruit-he eats any and all fruit. Some favorites are bananas, clementines, cantaloupe, honeydew, and strawberries

Cream cheese on whole wheat bread
Toast with melted cheese
Pizza - he loves loves loves pizza!
Yogurt (only when he accepts being fed which is almost never) 
More fruit

Most types of Chicken
Fish sticks
Eggs with cheese
Dr Praeger's broccoli or spinach bites
Some vegetables - cauliflower, cooked carrots, sweet potatoes 
More fruit 

I struggle to find healthy filling snacks that he likes and are easy to take on the go. Right now my go to snacks are whole wheat crackers and string cheese. He also likes oatmeal muffins which I can sneak all kinds of fruits and vegetables into. And more fruit...

We are slowly transitioning over to whole milk. He is not a huge milk drinker, but also barely drinks any water, so I am still offering him 3-4 bottles a day. I am hoping to teach him to drink water from a straw in the next few weeks.

What is your 12-18 month old eating?