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Ideas for toddlers

I have an 18 month old boy and in May will have boy number 2, and while I'm really excited to have our family grow I feel like I need to get my life in order before the next one arrives. My question for all you expert mom's is what do you do all day with young children?

Porter is getting to the age where he is kind of in the middle of things, and I don't know what I can do with him all day without also being completely bored myself. For example. I can't take him to the park because he gets trampled on by the older kids, he can't sit and color because he sticks the crayons in his ears after 2 seconds of coloring, and the list goes so forth. He likes TV but we try to limit how much he can watch since it's my secret weapon when I need to get something done. Play dates are nice and usually occur about once a week but he still prefers to play by himself even though there are other kids around and just ends up making them cry by taking toys away from each other. We do read and play together but each activity doesn't last very long.

So moms, what do you do with your younger kids all day? Any activities or ideas would be very appreciated! Thanks!


The New(est) Girl

Hi there! My name is Evelyn Perkins and I am excited to join The Mommy Diaries as a contributor. I have been following for awhile and love the sense of community found here. Hopefully, I can add a few new insights, ideas, and recipes.

My family is originally from the great state of Idaho, but transplanted to Arizona two years ago for my husband's job. One day we'll learn to love the real desert, but for now we miss our family, home, and potatoes.

Clayton works as an instructor for a technical institute and I stay at home with our three kiddos. He loves watching sports, eating out, and exploring back roads. I enjoy blogging (, music, and paper crafts. I am trying to get to the point where I enjoy running. Haha!

Deacon just turned five and LOVES preschool, soy milk, and anything with wheels. Eliza is three and a half and rarely seen without her bear tucked under her arm. She has a thing for ponies. Lydia (18 months) is our little third-time-is-the-charm baby. She is our only blondie and the biggest cuddler.

We like to travel home as often as possible, eat, go on walks, read, and play at the park. Our life is very much in toddler/preschooler mode. Sometimes it's hard not to eagerly look forward to the days when our children will be more independent. We certainly love the moments, milestones, and miracles we get to see everyday and hope they don't pass too quickly.

I'm excited to be here and look forward to connecting with other moms out there!


At the Store with the Kids

I am not very good at sticking around the house all day every day. I have things to check off my list, and many of them involve running around town and inevitable stops to the grocery store, department stores, etc. But, just adding one more kid to the mix has made these types of trips a LOT more difficult, and I just don't want to do it sometimes. But, I have a couple things that help me get through trips to the store with my kids, and I'm sure you all have a ton more.

Here's what we do:

-My 2 year old uses the potty BEFORE we leave the house
-Make sure the diaper bag is loaded with diapers, wipes, extra clothes
-Bring toys the kids don't always get to play with
-Lots of snacks
-Don't go to the store during nap time...ever...

Then when we are at the store, I have started picking out a "treat" or small thing with my daughter that she can hang onto while we are shopping and if she is good, meaning no fits, whining, disobeying, etc., then she gets to keep her treat. Otherwise, it goes back on the shelf. This particular tactic has worked REALLY well for her, but could be hard to maintain if you have a bunch of kids or the treats are pricey. We usually pick a pack of stickers that is $1 or at the grocery store some sort of food that is what we need, but maybe a little special, like cinnamon applesauce instead of plain so it has been good so far.

What are your tricks for maintaining peace and happiness while running your errands?



So we are currently living with my in laws which I love.... but it has thrown off our groove like no ones business! When we first moved in.... my oldest, Mykl who is 4 would not go to bed before midnight! Yes, it is difficult when grandma and grandpa, not interfere with our parenting, but definitely put in their 2 cents! We are now into more of a routine and will hopefully soooooon be buying our own place, but I am wondering........
What are some activities that we can do in the middle of winter at grandma and grandpas house that will make it feel some what like we are living our normal lives! I am somewhat organized here, but living in 2 bedrooms and having most of our lives in storage has made things a weee bit difficult!!! HELP! :)


Wall Craft

You know those necklace holder's everyone seems to be in to? Well I wanted one, but I didn't want something that just had pretty paper on it. I wanted a little more personal appeal. So I decided to go with something that pulled in a bunch of different idea's. This is what I came up with:

I didn't think until after that I should have taken pictures. But I plan on making another one so maybe I will then. Here's what I used-

Items: Plywood, Black spray-paint, old frame I had around the house, a photo, hook and screws, ribbon and buttons, and a wall hanging hook thing for the back (what are those called?).

Tools needed: Hot glue gun, mod podge, drill or screw driver, a saw, and your imagination (or in my case the combination of mine and my 8 year old's).

All in all it cost .96 cents for the spray paint, everything else I had around the house. I did have to use a hand saw to cut the wood to size but that wasn't to bad.

Hope this gets your creative juices flowing!


PS. here's a hint... I had a hard time getting the thing to hang straight especially after I put the necklace on so I took a tiny piece of adhesive Velcro and stuck it to the back and wall. Voila! no more slipping and sliding.


Milk allergy

I'm super annoyed. Hear me out. I have never dealt with a food allergy before and so it is mostly inexperience and ignorance.

Pete is almost 11 months. I haven't given him any cow's milk yet. By this time, my first son, Charlie, was living on cheese, yo-baby yogurt, and scrambled eggs. A couple months ago I tried the yogurt with Pete and he got a red rash around his mouth. The same thing with cheese, the fruit and yogurt baby cereal, and even milk-based formula. I recently tried giving him cheese again and he got the same red rash. Doctor says he'll probably send us to an allergist but in the meantime we gotta do soy formula, which he isn't drinking very well (I'm not nursing as much so we've got to supplement) and to also avoid eggs!!

I guess I'm annoyed because now I'm having to come up with all these other ideas of foods to give to Pete. We love cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, and milk in our family. Has anyone had experience with food allergies? Do they go away? Is soy milk going to be permanently in my fridge? What else can I feed him? Help!!


Homemade Tortilla Strips (or chips)

I love making homemade tortilla strips and it's a yummy addition to any mexican dish (I prefer topping a cafe rio salad with them or taco soup recipe) and it's a fun activity to involve the kids in.

Corn tortillas
Vegetable Oil
Kosher Salt

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400ish degrees.
Step 2: "Paint" corn tortillas-
This is the part that the kids will love! Just pour a small amount of vegetable oil into a bowl, grab your basting brush and let them "paint" both sides of corn tortillas.

Step 3: Cut the tortillas-
I typically cut mine into strips but you could definitely cut them into triangles to make chips instead. I'm sure a pizza cutter or knife could work too but I prefer my kitchen shears.

Step 4: Lay strips on an ungreased cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt-
I can usually fit 4-5 cut up tortillas on my cookie sheet.

Step 5: Bake for 5-6 minutes. Flip strips over with a spatula and bake for an additional 5-6 minutes or until preferred crispiness is achieved. I would show you a picture of them all baked up but we ate them too fast!


january's craft - feathered headband

Well, this isn't a food recipe, or my 2010 goals... but it is certainly something that will add a spice to your life! :) I've seen these cute, vintage-ish, headbands all over the place. So I thought I would try my hand at making some. These were SUPER fast, SUPER easy, and SUPER cheap! I love that combination.... here we go!

First, your supplies:

Feathers (can be found at almost any craft store, or you can order some online on Etsy)
Headband (fabric or plastic seems to be working for me, I got mine at Target)
Glue of some sorts, hot glue, craft tacky glue, whatever you've got that sticks (I opted for hot glue)
Felt for the backing, not much, just a few smallish pieces, depending on how big you want your feathers to span out.

(this is a horrible picture of supplies.... sorry I shouldn't have even put it in here)
Here's my feathers I chose.... I thought they were cute and would go with brown or black.

Step 1: get your felt and cut 2 pieces. This one is slightly larger, and oval shaped. I also did one that was a little smaller and round)
Step 2: Take ONE piece of felt and start glueing on feathers. Make sure they face the same direction (don't curve two ways) and spread out the way you want them to fan out. Work top to bottom, right to left.
Keep adding and layering until eventually you've got this:
Now, turn your feather pad over and put glue either on your headband or on the pad. I think it is easier on the pad:Then glue it to your headband. Let it set for a couple seconds, then glue the SECOND piece of felt to the back side to make it look all nice!

Ta Da! Here are the two I made all finished. It seriously took me less than 30 minutes from start to finish. The one on the left is the one I did with a smaller round circle. The one of the right is the oval shaped pad.
And, the end results..... a bunch of dorky pictures of myself sporting the fun accessorie. I love it. I'm going to be making a whole bunch more in the next few days I'm sure of it. What else is there to do in Cleveland when snow is falling by the FEET, you have a brand new baby, and you hardly ever go outside? Imagine all the colors.... I'm thinking turquoise peacock feathers are next on the list!
I told you these were dorky pictures. My photography friends are laughing their guts out right now.
This picture is dorky too, but I had to include it because you can see my little E baby in the background! Isn't he cute?!
Here's a top shot of the smaller one.....

Enjoy my friends! And please share if you make one!!



Happy 2010! We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's!
And since we're just starting out the New Year our "about us" question this month is; what are your New Year Resolutions for 2010? And what are you hoping 2010 will bring to you and your family? Are you moving, having a baby, or did you set some goals for yourself? Let's hear it!