Book Shower: Complete Amazon Registry for Baby Books

Posted by Carly Morgan

I love the idea of books-only baby showers. I’ve seen them done when it’s not the first time the parents are expecting or when the parents are overwhelmed with hand-me-downs from friends/family so they don’t need as much baby gear.

The hard thing about being invited to books-only baby showers is that you don’t know if you’re buying the same books everyone else is buying so I always feel like I have to go for the really unusual books. There are a ton of great books out there, but that might mean that the new baby doesn’t get a few great classics that no kid should miss.

For this reason, I would find a book registry SO helpful when shopping for baby. Even if you aren’t doing a books-only shower, here are a couple of titles you might want to add to your list:

Great gift books for the expectant parents

Books for the expectant parents:

What to Expect the First Year /// The Sh!t No One Tells You: A Guide to Surviving Your Baby’s First Year /// Mayo Clinic Guide to Your Baby’s First Year: From Doctors Who Are Parents, Too! /// Lucy Darling Little Animal Lover Memory Book /// C.R. Gibson Memory Book, Linen Tree /// My Baby Book: A Keepsake Journal for Baby’s First Year

Must have baby books to add to your registry

Must-Have Board Books for Baby:

Corduroy: Giant Board Book /// Good Night, Gorilla /// We’re Going on a Bear Hunt /// Look, Look! /// Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? /// Goodnight Moon

Board books that let you play with baby

Interactive Board Books:

Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Softly Book (Dr. Seuss Nursery Collection) /// Where’s Spot? /// Flaptastic: Colors /// The Very Hungry Caterpillar /// Whizzy Wheels: London Bus /// No Biting! (Lift-The-Flap Book) /// Bottoms Up! (Yonezu Board Book)

These gorgeous picture books make wonderful baby shower or holiday gifts.

Gorgeous Picture Books:

Waiting /// This Is New York /// Journey /// Home /// The Day the Crayons Quit /// Mix It Up! /// Beautiful Birds

Classic childrens books to add to your library

The Books Everyone Knows By Heart:

Hop on Pop /// Chicka Chicka Boom Boom /// Llama Llama Red Pajama /// Are You My Mother? /// The Paper Bag Princess /// Olivia

Great books to read at bedtime even for baby

Books to Read at Bedtime:

Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings /// The Wind in the Willows /// The Story of Ferdinand /// Charlotte’s Web /// The Real Mother Goose /// The Complete Adventures of Curious George: 70th Anniversary Edition

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Complete list of books to add to your Amazon baby registry

Baby Safety: Introducing First Foods

Posted by Carly Morgan

This post is sponsored by Owlet for Baby Safety Month. The words below are my own. 

This month is Baby Safety Month and I’m excited to be part of a group of bloggers organized by Owlet to share tips on keeping baby safe. We chose our own topics so I’ll be talking about introducing baby to first foods. Those of you who have been reading me for a long time know that we had quite the roller coaster when we started introducing Miss Eva to solids so I’m hoping this post will smooth the way for other parents! I’m also sharing a great baby gear giveaway sponsored by Owlet to bring awareness to Baby Safety month.

Baby Safety: Introducing First Foods

As a mom of a kid who has major food allergies, I’m pretty cautious about introducing baby to first foods. I didn’t ever think that we’d have a child with allergies but it made me appreciate that you really want to pay attention to how your baby is reacting after those first few bites.

It might seem like you won’t need to watch for allergy symptoms until baby tries a big allergen (like peanut butter) for the first time, but some formula-fed infants actually show signs of a milk allergy much sooner. Luckily, milk allergies are very rare, but if your baby is spitting up often, vomiting after feedings, has diarrhea often, or develops hives, that could all be a sign that a milk allergy has popped up and you should check with your pediatrician.

Later, when starting solids between 4 and 6 months, try one new food every 3-5 days so you’ll know which food is the culprit if a food allergy does pop up. Diarrhea and vomiting are good signs of an allergy, but you also might want to look for a redness, swelling, and wheezing because those might indicate a serious reaction that you want to seek help for. In fact, when we gave Eva peanut butter for the first time, she immediately broke out into hives and started coughing a lot. At the time, we gave her Benadryl and didn’t take her in after her symptoms subsided, but looking back we should have taken her in to the emergency room just from her coughing alone.

The good news is that you have a much better chance of your child having no food allergies than of having any kind of reaction. Even with his big sister having big time scary food allergies, Calvin has never reacted to anything. Just keep allergies in mind during that first year of food exploration and have a plan in mind if a reaction does pop up. It’s not a good idea to try peanut butter, for example, while you’re on a camping trip 30 miles from the nearest medical center. If baby might need help, you want to be able to get it!

Some foods, like cow’s milk, should wait until after the first birthday because they aren’t easy for any babies to digest. Honey is another one you should wait on until after baby turns one because of the risk of botulism. Also, some foods are choking hazards for a long time (like popcorn, bacon, and gum) so even as baby moves from soft foods to more solid pieces, stick to things that will break down easily as baby chews.

According to the latest research, you no longer have to delay the big allergen foods like peanut butter and scrambled eggs, provided baby has gotten used to chewing and swallowing foods that are mostly solid. Doctors used to recommend waiting but research has actually shown that introducing those foods earlier in life might reduce the chance of a reaction! That being said, if a reaction does happen you can’t beat yourself up because of how you timed it. For some reason, those allergies just happen and even if you feel overwhelmed, your pediatrician will be able to help you and point you in the right direction to get all the support you’ll need.

If you liked this post, you should definitely check out Vanessa’s post over on Our Thrifty Ideas. She shared ideas on child proofing your home for visitors (great timing for the holidays!) and tomorrow Kathy from Go Adventure Mom will be talking about what she wishes she’d known as a first-time mom.

Now for the giveaway! Owlet is giving away:

(1) Owlet Baby Monitor ($249.99)
(1) Kinsa Smart Ear Thermometer ($49.99)
(1) Evenflo SensorSafe Car seat ($149.00)
(1) Burley Solstice Jogger  ($399.99)
…and there will be 4 winners so definitely enter! Good luck!!
owlet-baby-safety-month

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Homeschool: Eva’s History Notebook

Posted by Carly Morgan

World history notebook for homeschooling the early grades

One of my favorite advantages of homeschooling is the opportunity to teach history in a chronological way. When you think about it, kids in school tend to bounce around a lot when it comes to history, learning about great societies in whatever order happens to fit the curriculum. With homeschooling, especially if you’re doing classical homeschool, it makes more sense to learn about history in a linear way and then go back and repeat the line in later grades so kids can get deeper into the subject.

The funny thing about starting this line is that it takes you back and drops you into different subjects, namely theology and science. History textbooks don’t do a lot of talking about the world before man shows up so we had to piece that together on our own. Trying to answer the “how the world began” question for Eva was complicated by the fact that Kyle and I don’t believe in the Genesis story but we both felt like it was important for Eva to know it since we want to parallel teach the Bible as a historical text. We don’t know what the kids’ religious beliefs will be as they get older so we’re leaving it as open as possible.

Interestingly, Eva had no problem understanding either the Genesis story or the theory of the Big Bang, which were the first two creation stories we covered. What she got hung up on was the idea that one of them HAD to be right and she had to pick one, like picking a sports team. She couldn’t believe that you could walk around just not knowing. I blew her mind even more when I explained that some people believe that God is responsible for the Big Bang and therefore believing in that didn’t mean you didn’t believe God made the Earth. Yeah, heavy stuff for Kindergarten.

To make these heavy concepts more tangible, we started a history notebook. We’ve been going slowly, talking over lessons a little at a time, and when she’s ready I write down a concept and she draws an illustration for it. Then we tape both into the notebook and move on. I’m hoping that by being able to flip through and see her own work, she’ll retain more of our conversations as we keep moving. I’m also trying to get her to leave space for questions or other thoughts in case something comes up later, but she thinks the space is for stickers so we’ll see how that goes.

Oh, and that gorgeous Earth in the front of her notebook was done the same way we did the coffee filter Halloween pumpkins. I love it! I want her to make a garland of them for Earth Day when we get there.

Kindergarten world history notebook for Kindergarten using a painted coffee filter to create the Earth

Homeschool history notebook: illustrating the Genesis story

Homeschool history notebook: teaching Genesis and the Big Bang at the same time

Homeschool history notebook: explaining the Big Bang in Kindergarten

Homeschool: explaining the creation of the world with religion and science

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Kindergarten homeschool history notebook

Preschool Craft: Coffee Filter Halloween Pumpkins

Posted by Carly Morgan

We hung pumpkins up in the dining room today.

Make coffee filter pumpkins for Halloween

Seeing as it’s mid-September, it’s definitely a little early for Halloween decorations but the pumpkins are out at the grocery store and with the baby coming some time next month (most likely), I don’t want the older kids to miss out on Halloween festivities because life got crazy. So, we’ll be making pumpkins and witches hats and caramel apples and if we go all the way to Halloween and I still haven’t had the baby it will just be that much more fall fun.

Most of our pumpkins were construction paper creations with all the rough edges and funny shapes, but we made a few special coffee filter ones to let the light through. This is a very simple craft that was great for both the three year old and the five year old so I thought I’d share.

 

First, you take an orange marker and color in a coffee filter, being sure to put something underneath it because the color will leak through. Don’t worry about the kids covering the whole thing with color because the next step takes care of that.

How to make pumpkins for Halloween from coffee filters

After the filters are colored, it’s time to get them wet. You can use a plate to catch the water, but I saved the plastic tops from portable cake pans a couple years ago and they are GREAT for projects like this so we used that. Just put the filter in and use a spray bottle to get every bit of it wet.

Idea for a fun coffee filter craft for preschool

Pull it out carefully (your fingertips will get orange, by the way!) and let it dry flat on a piece of aluminum foil. Once totally dry, add a few construction paper eyes, noses, mouths, and stems and you’ve got yourself a pumpkin. I cut out a ton of different pieces and let the kids do the whole stack of pumpkins at once so they got to design all the faces and give them personalities. The results were pretty awesome.

Make pumpkin decorations as a fun preschool craft for Halloween

Easy coffee filter jack o'lanterns

Materials: coffee filters, orange markers, cake pan tops, construction paper, glue sticks.

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Halloween Preschool craft: make jack-o-lanterns with coffee filter pumpkins

A Messy Mad Scientist Playdate

Posted by Carly Morgan

This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

It’s been a pretty hectic few weeks with back to school season starting and lots of changes happening in our family. Even though a lot of it has been good, there’s still been more stress than usual for the kids as they’ve adapted to new schedules, gotten used to new friends/teachers, and started really preparing for the new baby who will be joining us next month.

To blow off some steam, I decided it was time to host one more big blowout messy playdate before we wake up one morning in the snowy holiday season. Last year we did a playdate around Halloween that let the kids make magic potions using Jello mix, vinegar, and water and it was a ton of fun for them so I wanted to do something along those lines. I also knew that I had an opportunity coming up to introduce friends to WaterWipes, the non-chemical baby wipe brand that I’ve been teaming up with lately, so I decided to go super messy this time with our potion making.

Easy clean up after a mad scientist playdate

We went for a mad scientist theme, breaking out the Learning Resources beakers and test tubes along with our little jars and pitchers and I added new ingredients to the table. A lot of the ingredients looked the same to the kids at first glance, but as they started playing with them they realized that there were a lot of different textures, colors, and consistencies on the table. We had six different colors of gelatin mix, a few different pitchers of vinegar, a bunch of baking soda, a large beaker of light corn syrup, some regular water, some soapy water, and different sizes of glitter for the kids to play with.

Hands on science homeschool activity

It took them just over an hour to take the table from this:

Mad scientist play date

…to this:

Mad scientist halloween party

The kids had such a good time chatting and playing while making some of the most fantastic goop you’ve ever seen. It was great to see how scientific they were about a lot of it, comparing layers and colors and consistencies. By the end they were perfecting their methods and carefully measuring out little spoonfuls of random stuff to get the exact goop they wanted.

Fun science experiments for homeschool using household items

Three year old doing a fun science experiment for homeschool preschool

Fun mad scientist preschool activity using vinegar, baking soda, and gelatin mix.

Make mad scientist goop at home as a fun science activity

Science experiments are a fun idea for a messy playdate

Make mad scientist potions for Halloween

Preschool science activity at home

Honestly, I thought I might have overdone it, what with all the gelatin powder and corn syrup flying around, but the kids actually seemed to enjoy the responsibility and did a great job cleaning themselves up. The wipes held up just fine against all the crusty goopy mess and they didn’t tear or fall apart even with all the little fingers grabbing at them. At the end of it, we (the parents) really didn’t have to do much to clean anyone up with the exception of Calvin who actually managed to glitter slime his hair because my boy is that amazing.

 

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Messy homeschool playdate for socialization

I really love that you can use as many WaterWipes as you want and they don’t irritate the skin, which made them perfect for this playdate. As many of you know, we have an ongoing battle with Eva’s eczema that we’re often losing but these wipes are totally gentle on her skin. She scrubbed her hands over and over without hurting her super sensitive skin at all.

Mad Scientist playdate for Kindergarten friends

Use WaterWipes to clean up for kids with severe eczema

If you’re curious about cleanup beyond the kids, when it was all said and done and the kids were eating lunch, I filled a plastic tub with water and put all of our jars, pitchers, and science pieces in to soak for a bit. Then I took the hose and just rinsed the table and chairs. After soaking to remove the glitter chunks, all of the materials we had used were ready to pop in to the dishwasher and came out ready for the next round of experiments.

Little note – gelatin mix is definitely something that stains when you get it wet, so if you were going to do this I recommend head to toe art clothes. The corn syrup was a HUGE hit with the kids but it was also the main reason that the whole table was slimed by the end so unless you’ve got laminate flooring or a really big splatter mat, I would say this is strictly an outdoor activity.

Messy mad scientist activity. Fun science activity for preschoolers using household items!
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