My Coffee Cutie

My daughter has inherited many things from me. My eyes, my hair, my typical voice volume- and apparently my relationship with coffee.

I started drinking coffee as a teenager. I remember it being something I shared with my dad, and the caffeine monster quickly took hold of my brain. Several cups a day isn't out of the question for me. Switching to decaf while pregnant was no picnic. I missed my java more than wine.

Now I have my fancy Keurig brewer, and I can count on CeCe each morning to come running when she hears the gurgle of the water reservoir. But the nifty K-Cup carousel is what she's really after:

Each K-Cup fits into a hole on this lazy-susan-style contraption. And CeCe will work diligently to return each little pod of coffee to it's home (after she dumps them all out on the floor, of course.)

This is yet another moment in parenthood that I ask myself, "Why do we spend money on toys again?"

Halloween Freak Out

Two years ago this October I was the size of a hippo and on bed rest. I spent my days worrying about preterm labor, and whether or not I would get to see the new Harry Potter movie before the baby came.

Flash forward to October 2012, when I have a toddler who can go trick or treating. Now I'm worrying about poison candy, sex offenders hidden behind masks and razor blades in chocolate bars.

Halloween can be so much fun, but I am acutely aware of the urban legends about crazy people using trick-or-treat as the perfect opportunity to subtly poison a town full of children all at once. And I've seen that episode of Law and Order where the kidnappers wear the most popular Halloween costume of the year, so you CAN'T TELL WHICH ONES THEY ARE.

Taking my two-year-old around the neighborhood door-to-door sounds like a cute idea, because I relish every chance I get to hear people tell me how stinking cute my baby is. Her lion costume will turn your heart to mush, especially if you can get her to roar.

My concerns are over-the-top, but I'm not ready to drag my child up and down the street while my paranoia is at a high. Besides, I don't let her have many sweets anyway and she will have a blast handing out candy to neighborhood kids. It will be like a private costume fashion show.

Here are some safety tips from the CDC if you are taking children trick-or-treating:

  • DO NOT trick-or-treat alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
  • Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
  • Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
  • Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. Always WALK and don't run from house to house.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street. Walk on sidewalks facing traffic.
  • Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
  • Enter homes only if you're with a trusted adult.
  • Only visit well-lit houses. Don't stop at dark houses
  • Never accept rides from strangers.
  • Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

Playing with Felt

Desperate for a reprieve from the noise-making, light-flashing toys in our living room, I channeled my inner Girl Scout looking to earn her arts and crafts badge. I headed to Wal-Mart’s crafts section with $5, and ended up with a new activity station in my kitchen that keeps CeCe entertained for hours:

My favorite part of this project is the cost. A sheet of felt is 20 cents at Wal-Mart, so you have endless possibilities for low cost. Grab whatever colors you like and a pair of scissors:

I chose four blank backgrounds to work with. They are simply different colors of felt taped to the wall.

The deep blue reminded me of the ocean so I started with an under water scene. I cut out some fish, a starfish, a shark and plant life.

In addition to the ocean, I made a sky with butterflies, some basic shapes, and started a jungle with some animals (with the help of CeCe’s aunties and their animal tracing skills.) Here is how it all turned out:

CeCe can mix and match all the felt pieces, so we sometimes have a cheetah in the ocean or a turtle flying in the sky. Since felt sticks to felt, there are no adhesive materials required. Simply stick the shape to the background and there it stays! Hours of entertainment for pennies!


Dentist Drama

We had our first visit to the pediatric dentist last week. So if you were wondering who was making those “screaming toddler” sounds you were hearing, that would be CeCe. Even you folks outside of Kentucky might have heard it. Her level of screaming undoubtedly crossed state lines.

While I read that children should visit the dentist by their first birthday, I am a negligent parent who waited until my daughter was almost two. The information I gathered at this visit was mind-blowing:
  • Juice is the equivalent of rubbing sugar-water on your child’s teeth. Dr. J laid out a new hydration diet of milk or water. I come from a place where it is common to see Mountain Dew in baby bottles, and I’m sure that idea would give most dentists an aneurysm.
  • Pacifiers are the devil.  It doesn’t matter that they are the only thing allowing you any significant portion of sleep at night. Those damn binkies are a sure-fire ticket on the braces train. Dr. J recommended snipping off the end of the pacifier gradually until your kid is like, “Why am I sucking on this nub? Where is my paci? WHAT DARK MAGIC IS THIS?”
  • Children’s toothpaste tastes like candy. CeCe treats her toothbrush like a lollipop. After brushing she sucks all the toothpaste off the brush and then asks for more.
  • Screaming at the dentist is A-OK. Because if you’re screaming, your mouth is wide open to examine. I’m surprised the hygienists don’t wear ear plugs.
  • Plastic dinosaur toys heal all trauma.  

The dentist is a necessary evil in life, and I’m glad we have Dr. J who is such a straight shooter. So as I raise my cup of milk, I cheers to a fulfilling, cavity-free relationship:


Mommy's on the Small Screen!

Hey folks,
Just letting all you readers know I will be back on ABC36 News@Noon tomorrow sharing my favorite baby shower gift ideas. And as always, I have so many freebies to giveaway to viewers, including a Blooming Baby Bath:

So tune in and see what cool finds I have for expectant moms!


A Lion in a TuTu

Pinterest is like crack for crafters. And for moms. And people who like to cook. Or shop. Or look at things. Pinterest is like universal crack.

I've seen several DIY projects where people turned old entertainment centers into play kitchens for their children. Since new televisions don't fit into these old square-shaped units, craigslist is always chock-full of used ones for cheap or free. CeCe already had a play kitchen, but I decided I wanted a more organized toy system for her. So the Master Toy Station was born:

The DVD cubbies are perfect for holding books, and the shelves meant for a DVD player or VHS player hold puzzles and toys. Just kidding. No one has VHS players anymore.

I took some hooks and screwed them into the "ceiling" of where a TV would sit. This is the dress-up closet. I've found that when CeCe's toys are visible she is more likely to keep herself entertained. The toy box and canvas bins were handy, but you couldn't see what was in them.

Of course, now CeCe often wants to play with everything at once, or wear everything at once. Here she is after she put on every article of clothing in her dress-up collection:

This includes a tu-tu, two Disney princess dresses and a lion's costume, which she calls the Tiger. So we have Beauty and the Beast in one cute little package. She was content to wear it all afternoon, even when our attention wandered to other toys:

The toy center is my favorite way to organize CeCe's things so far. And for a craigslist find that cost me less than $20 total, you can't beat the price.