Emma absolutely loves being included in everything we do. She wants an empty mug to hold if we’re drinking coffee, she wants to type on our laptops, wear our sunglasses, and to try a bite of anything we’re eating. So, for her birthday, Rodney made this cool learning tower (sometimes called an activity tower) – it’s an Ikea hack that I found on Pinterest and then we tweaked it a little. Now, my husband loves to build things, but if you prefer just to buy things, here is a list of some store-bought learning towers.
Here is the original post and instructions we followed. Rodney tweaked it a little by adding the tiny shelf in front of it to make it flush with our counters and to “give her her own little workspace” haha.
I hope everyone had a great weekend! I just wanted to tell you about something I’m having a ton of fun with at the moment. I recently downloaded the Chatbooks app onto my phone. It’s really cool because you can sign up for a service where you link it to your Instagram account and every 60 images you post, they’ll automatically make a 6×6″ book for $6 (the price is going up to $8 soon, but if you sign up in the next 6 weeks or so the $6 rate will be grandfathered in for the next 2 years!) and ship it to you. You can also create custom books really easily. I have a private photo stream on my phone that friends and family are invited to and where I post a ton of photos of the kids. We all love the stream so much that I got it printed and made a bunch of copies. I’m a professional photographer and I still take 90% of the photos of my kids with my iphone & I love that this is such a simple and fast way to get them into my house/hands/real life.
You’ve got to get your photos off your computers and phones or you’ll lose them or never look at them again – get your photos printed! Even if it’s just your instagram photos – it’s perfect for busy parents because you sign up and then never have to think about it again – books will just start arriving. I’m really way too busy/lazy to have it any other way!
I found this idea on Pinterest recently and thought Emma might love it! I worry that Emma’s been getting a little bored lately since I’m 37 weeks pregnant and having a tough time getting around and playing the way I used to. It’s become really hard for me to even take her on walks because my back hurts so badly – so I got really excited to try a brand new indoor activity that would break up our routine a little!
The “paint” is made from plain greek yogurt and some kool-aid for color. So, it washes out of everything really easily and is safe if she puts any of it in her mouth! It was really fun and I got in there and painted with her. She didn’t really like getting her hands dirty, but seemed to enjoy using her feet! We didn’t keep the painting afterwards as it’s made from food so I’m not sure how well it would hold up or if it would attract bugs – it was more just about the experience. 🙂
_ plain greek yogurt
_ kool-aid or food coloring
_ poster board
_ an old blanket or towels or something to put underneath to keep clean up as easy as possible
_ a play yard (optional but recommended) – I liked being able to confine her to a smaller space as she got covered in “paint” and I didn’t want her to crawl off onto the rugs or furniture.
Combine about 1/2 a cup of yogurt with kool-aid or food coloring. Start with just a little of the coloring and keep mixing and adding more until you get a color you like. Put a few spoonfuls on the poster board and let baby have fun and get super messy!!
I while back I stumbled across baby sensory bottles on Pinterest and I knew Emma would LOVE them. I decided to make a couple Christmas themed bottles for Emma as presents. So I went to Michael’s and grabbed some mini ornaments, sequins, bells, and other Christmas-y doo-dads of various weights. Combined them in water bottles. Hot glued the caps back on and voila – cheap and easy toy that I’m fairly certain is going to be a hit! (I don’t think I need to say it, but obviously don’t leave your baby unattended with a bottle full of choking hazards even if the lid has been hot glued).
I’m very much a traditionalist when it comes to holidays – especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. They’re the two times of the year that I don’t want anything to be cool or unique, I prefer classic. And when I think of a Thanksgiving table, I think of the traditional cornucopia – “a horn of plenty… a symbol of abundance and nourishment… overflowing with produce”. I skipped the actual horn part, but love the idea of decorating with fall produce. At the farmer’s market this past Sunday, I grabbed some plums, a persimmon, some apples, pomegranates, and some eucalyptus branches and had a couple pumpkins left over from Halloween and I just played around a little.
I love this print from Oh My Deer. It’s a prayer called Thanksgiving by Ralph Waldo Emerson and it reads: “For each new morning with it’s light, for rest and shelter of the night, for health and food, for love and friends, for everything Thy goodness sends.” Even though we’re not in the habit of saying grace, I love the idea of it, and I truly am grateful and I like having this hanging above our dining table year round as a reminder.
Of course I’ll need to redo my table decorations before Thanksgiving as I’ve already eaten all the plums. xo
There are still some nice beach days left if you live in Southern California – just don’t go in the water because it’s freezing even in August. You might have relatives visiting from the east coast and you can take them outside and show off how it’s still in the 70s and even 80s in December – which is something I like to do to feel better about myself for paying so much to live here and for dealing with the constant horrible traffic. Or, if the beach isn’t your thing, this makes a great picnic blanket! I love it because it’s fun to make, super cheap (I spent maybe $30?), and really big so you can fit a bunch of people & food on it if you want! I was inspired by this pretty table runner at Anthropologie.