Valentine’s Day Soup – A Sensory Activity

Another day at home by myself with the twins; another reason to find an enjoyable, affordable sensory activity. I’m starting to take a real interest in finding good ideas online and either copying them exactly or altering them a bit to make it work for my kids. I also love the process of picture-taking and then blogging about what I did. Most of the ideas that I find come from other blogs out there, so I’m happy to add myself to the mix to help others keep their little ones busy. And it’s not just for fun – if I don’t have something for my 18 month olds to do that’s outside of the normal “free play” (because how many hours can we do that?), they get antsy. Especially B.  I find he’s the happiest when he’s exposed to new experiences and activities. C just goes along for the ride – but it’s just a more pleasant day for us all if I’ve got something planned for them.

One of my absolute favorite blogs for sensory activities that are cheap and easy is Asia’s Fun At Home With Kids blog. She’s kind of living my dream life right now – a former teacher (ahem), she’s now a stay at home mom who has amazing ideas and activities to keep her two kids stimulated and learning. Then she takes pictures and blogs about them. So jealous.

I subscribe to her blog and came across her idea for Valentine’s Day Soup. With Valentine’s Day coming around the corner, I’d like to do some crafts and sensory activities with my two that get them thinking about lots of red and pink hearts!

I modeled our water play activity today after Asia’s almost to a T. In fact, I jetted off to the dollar store in search of some play hearts to use in our bin and came across the exact hearts she used as well (“Table Scatter”). In preparation for the activity, I gathered up some extra kitchen utensils set aside for the twins and used 5 drops of red food coloring in warm water.

DSC_0446 DSC_0447

Now, regarding the mess: Yes, there’s a mess. It’s water play and the kids get wet. I also got wet. I put down two large towels under the bin and kept a hand towel ready to quickly mop up any water that made it past the towels. I put the twins in fleece, so they wouldn’t feel soaked immediately. I got my camera ready and after their nap (1 hour and 15 minutes – grrr), they were ready to roll! Water play is just an extension of bathtime. Children get to explore various objects and see how they work and affect water. They can compare sizes and colors. They make observations about wet versus dry. All in one convenient bin of water! I also like the way this is themed for Valentine’s Day – but you could do water play for any theme imaginable. If I weren’t working full-time, I’d love to do a water play activity at least once a week. It’s worth it – the kids absolutely loved it.

As I expected, both toddlers took an interest right away.

Valentine's Day Soup Water Sensory BinValentine's Day Soup Water Sensory Bin

There was a lot of stirring, splashing, and plucking out the hearts one by one, which is great for fine motor development. They transferred the hearts to cups and counted them. They put them back in the water. C tasted her wisk after stirring out of habit, as that’s how she eats with her spoon (stab, stab, stab, lick).

Valentine's Day Soup Water Sensory BinValentine's Day Soup Water Sensory Bin

We talked about dropping the hearts from high above our heads and seeing what would happen. We discussed patterns (no, B didn’t do that), and practiced “sticking” the hearts to the side of the bin. And then after 25 straight minutes of play, C got up and started doing other things. This was no surprise to me as she typically does this. She’s not the type of toddler who sits down for a long period of time. She’d rather explore a variety of toys. Free play works well for her. And also as expected, she rejoined us on the kitchen floor a few more times after that to check in and shove her hands in the water.

But B stayed at that bin, stirring, pouring, counting – so focused, so serious, for almost an hour and a half. In toddler time, that’s like 5 years.

Valentine's Day Soup Water Sensory BinValentine's Day Soup Water Sensory BinValentine's Day Soup Water Sensory Bin

It made what could have been a long afternoon into a very easy, laid-back, happy one. Another successful sensory activity!

Snow Day!

We had our first snow day today. In fact, it actually rained, but I’m not complaining. I had a relaxing day off from work, at home with the twins. It seemed like the perfect day to try out various indoor cheap activities I’ve been so interested in. When the natives started getting restless at about 8:00 in the morning, we got right to it:

DSC_0579

First, I cut out a few hearts and placed them in two ziplock bags with some paint. After sealing it shut and getting all the air out, I let the twins go to town squishing the paint around inside the bags. B even did a bit of driving on his bag with his cars.

DSC_0586DSC_0588

Unfortunately, this activity didn’t last long. For one thing, I didn’t have any thicker paper or cardstock, so I had to use computer paper, which was too flimsy and therefore ripped.

DSC_0638

More than that though, the twins were obsessed with the paint and C was upset that she couldn’t open the bag and get her hands on some bright colors. So I dug through our “busy bag” bin (more on that in another post) and found the markers. This hit the spot: the twins loved coloring on paper plates.

DSC_0595 DSC_0601

I couldn’t uncap the markers fast enough. C really enjoyed dotting her plate as she does with her spoon when she eats yogurt. B though figured out what I was doing with the caps and desperately wanted to try it himself. This involved lots of marker all over him as he grabbed both ends of the marker. So this activity lasted a bit longer than the last one, but no more than 10 minutes. Two activities already and it was only 8:30!

While I cleaned up the kitchen from the first two activities, I gave B and C two brooms and encouraged them to push and “sweep” a few more paper plates around the floor. After switching their brooms a few times, they had a good time with this one as well.

DSC_0608 DSC_0613 DSC_0624

Then we found a spider. Now, I don’t do spiders. But I’m attempting to be a good role model and not stamp my feet and throw a fit when I see a bug. So I allowed it to crawl around the floor as we sang “The itsy bitsy spider”.

DSC_0582

The babies loved the spider and waved to it many times. We continued with our day, taking a break so I could browse Pinterest for some quick ideas for what to do next. I found a lot that involved some pre-activity work from me, which was time I didn’t have.

So instead, I used a free resource that we had on hand – snow. Being that it was cold, raining, and the babies are recovering from bronchitis (B) and a double ear infection (C), we weren’t going outside. So I brought the snow to them. After laying down a few towels and gathering up lots of measuring spoons, cups, and other items, we explored a snow sensory bucket right on the kitchen floor (also the home to our spaghetti bin party).

DSC_0646 DSC_0705 DSC_0717

This was the hit of the morning. C enjoyed many tastes, and B intently sat there for a good twenty minutes, maybe even a half hour, just digging and stirring and transferring snow from bin to cup. He really enjoyed this. The dogs got a little crazy, but in my house that’s nothing out of the ordinary.

DSC_0703

When C got bored, she wandered the kitchen and played a bit with another super easy and cheap activity for toddlers: a paper towel tube and pom-poms. She plays with this one often actually.

DSC_0732 DSC_0745DSC_0496 DSC_0521

Speaking of pom-poms, I can’t say enough about all the things you can do with them! They come in all sizes, which is nice. For the most part, I limit my twins to the medium and large sized pom-poms as they still put a lot in their mouths. But really, the possibilities are endless.

DSC_0548

The morning was really nice. Not relaxing, but then I doubt I’ll have another relaxing day for quite a while. After the nap (which was only an hour), I felt myself running out of steam. We played a lot with our toys and then the bickering started. Time to venture out of the house! The day capped off with two meltdowns at dinner (one from each, and not at the same time), and a giant poop in the tub. There’s nothing like evacuating a tub full of poop with two toddlers in it. All in all though, a successful snow day! Back to work tomorrow…

A Day in Spaghetti

To continue our sensory play this week, I decided to try an activity with cooked spaghetti. Yes, some might think that’s absolutely nuts, but I’m all about using the senses to discover things in our everyday world. To me, cooked spaghetti was along the same line as a rice table, or dried bean activity…except this was cooked.  I did not make this up, either. There are a million blogs dedicated to toys and play for babies and toddlers. Here were a few places I found inspiration using cooked spaghetti: Here and here. I love the brightly colored rainbow pasta, and I can see how awesome this activity would be for toddlers identifying colors and textures and all that. For my 10 month olds, I used this as my basis when making this activity happen.

I didn’t want there to be too much dye in my pasta, as my babies are still in the stage where everything goes in the mouth. I know it’s called “food coloring” for a reason, but I wanted to limit the amount they may digest. I liked how Bean (in the last link) played with pasta that had a hint of raspberries, to engage the taste and smell senses. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the blueberries I might’ve used (which probably saved me a onesie or two), but I did have some already cut watermelon. So I purchased a box of spaghetti from the dollar store, cooked it up and as it cooled, added a little olive oil to keep it from sticking. I used too much oil. Sticking was not an issue. So for anyone that tries this, just a little oil will work . 🙂

Then I dumped the juice from the cut watermelon and also chopped up a few pieces just in case the babies wanted to taste the chunks (they love watermelon at the moment). It didn’t really make the pasta smell much, so if I did this again, I’d 1) cut back on the oil and 2) skip the fruit. Plain, white pasta would’ve been just fine! I also made this the night before and it was cool when I put it out for them.

It was a beautiful day out so I considered doing the activity outside, but didn’t want to deal with the bugs. Instead, I put down a clean shower liner on the kitchen floor for easy clean-up, plunked the babies down with a bucket of pasta and let them go to town. And this is what happened:

Tentative at first, they each put a hand in and didn’t really explore too much.

DSC_0273

 

DSC_0182

 

It didn’t take B long at all to try a taste, though for the most part I don’t believe C ever did. (This might have something to do with the fact that they still don’t feed themselves their finger foods…)

 

DSC_0185

And once he tried it, he liked it. Clearly.

DSC_0196

 

DSC_0199

 

DSC_0222

Yes, somewhere in there B had a mini-meltdown over his bib so I decided the shirt would just be destroyed and so be it – thankfully, it’s totally fine!

C continued to just feel it with her hands, while some fell on her leg.

DSC_0252

One of my dogs, Riley, was having a field day with all the food on the ground and even though I tried to contain her tongue, she slipped a few licks and slurps in.

DSC_0241

 

They were having a grand time, with C concentrating pretty hard and B just going crazy with delight.

 

 

 

DSC_0260

Then he lifted up the bucket and I knew this activity would end soon. Thanks to the handy shower liner, I just let him go for it.

DSC_0281

 

DSC_0290

 

Nothing is a mess until you have a box of slimy, cooked pasta on your floor. They weren’t even interested in playing around in it. So after a minute I decided it was time to clean up before the shower liner didn’t do its job anymore and I just grabbed the pasta with my hands and put it back in the fridge, in case we do a repeat in the next few days. While I was cleaning up, I gave them two clean buckets, and I think they would’ve been fine with just those to begin with.

DSC_0312

They slid on the floor so well! Maybe from the oil, maybe not..

DSC_0323

 

DSC_0337

 

They got up close and personal to finish up.

DSC_0353

 

And then this happened:

DSC_0365

Resulting in C falling backwards, C screaming, causing B to scream, and that was officially the end of the activity.

Clean-up is a hose to the shower liner (or just throw it out), a wash of the buckets, hands and legs, and that’s it. No pasta on the floor, just some dirty buckets.

Would I do it again? Yes…but I might wait a few months until I think the babies will get even more out of it. I mean, if I’m going to give them a messy activity, I want them to get messy. Step in it, feel it between the toes, that sort of thing. C sitting there picking up one strand at a time…very cute, easy clean-up. But next time I’ll take it outside, maybe color it, maybe not, and again, go easy on the oil.

I still do love these sensory activities and am on the hunt for more, especially for babies. Yogurt as finger paint? I’ll think about it.

Almost there!

It feels like the babies are on the brink of some major milestones. I’m reminded why I need to really enjoy the baby phase (like Muppet’s mom discusses) and so I do try to keep that in mind. I have loved the snuggles, the baby smell, the tiny toes. Yet for me, I love how C deliberately puts her head on my chest and wraps her arms around my neck, whereas when she was an infant, she couldn’t do that. And sure baby skin was even softer and smelled even better when my twins were newborns, but now they laugh and when I say, “Where are the doggies?”, they whip their heads around trying to find a dog and grin. That level of understanding, for me, is where it’s at. And so I feel like with this new understanding taking place between myself and them, they’re getting close to making some serious discoveries.

Foods – Recently I recall not yet making that leap to finger foods and wondering how to go about it when the babies loved their purees so much. Well, C suddenly decided she wouldn’t touch another puree and happily went right to finger foods, no “thicker textures” necessary. I was making my own purees, so they were on the thicker side to begin with, but I never put chunks in them. Now she loves mushy finger foods especially, as most babies do I assume. I’m starting to push the envelope by adding new things with different textures little by little. Chicken is the most recent addition. C is finally starting to try feeding herself. She keeps missing her mouth, or her hand will make it to her mouth but the food will fall. But I’m pleased she continues to try. B – not so much, but then, he was content with purees as well. He’s content to be fed by me, period. He’s made the switch to the straw cup, but won’t hold it himself. C is working on a regular sippy cup with handles – she does drink water from it well, by herself. Thank goodness. But when I put the milk in it and have her attempt it at mealtime – no way. She still wants me to feed her the bottle.

I’m at a bit of a loss right now for new foods to give them that don’t involve a spoon. We still have some protein sources to go, some veggies to go, but if it involves a spoon, they’re out for the time being.

As for movement, again, C is making some major leaps right now. She’s still not crawling but she’s really, really close. Finally – one day about a week ago she decided to roll, at 10.5 months. And roll she does. Rolling even onto her stomach to sleep for naps, which for her is unheard of. Flopping all over the living room floor. Wanting to pull up on things. So, she’s getting there. As for B – when I hear people say, “My baby skipped crawling and went right to walking. He/she only scooted around/army crawled.”, I’m confused because to me – any movement in which child gets from point A to point B I consider crawling, even if it doesn’t look exactly right. So my question is, can a baby COMPLETELY skip crawling/scooting/sliding/army crawling and go straight to walking? Because that’s what B wants to do. He is only happy when standing, he is pulling up more and more, and he’s using my hand to turn himself around (while standing) and take steps toward something he wants. We’ll see. Sometime soon, all these changes will take place. And I’m not RUSHING it…but at the same time, I want these things to happen. B is 3 pounds away from maxing out the weight on my changing table – the boy needs to move on his own. This mommy is ready.

Thanks to Pinterest, I’ve come across some fun little activities for babies in the summer months. As usual, my babies get sick of their toys (or is it just me?) and I try to only bust them out once or twice a day. The rest of the day, for my own sanity, needs to be something different. So this week I’m trying out a few new (but yet so uncomplicated) sensory activities to keep them interested and curious and keep myself from falling asleep on the floor.

So with today’s hot and sticky weather, we had some good fun splashing around outside with some dollar store bins and colored ice cubes.

DSC_0500

It started out all nice, with the babies happily splashing while wearing their hats. Until they realized they were wearing hats (hence the tie in C’s mouth). Then there were double meltdowns, and the options for me were to either end the activity or go without hats. So with sunscreen slathered on, the play continued.

DSC_0520

I found it interesting that B was all into the water today, while C quickly took her bin and dumped the water out, turning it into a drum.

DSC_0578

After that became boring, I brought out the colored ice cubes which happily did not stain any clothing (though they wore some PJ extras just in case). This was a fun fine motor activity and B especially loved it.

DSC_0594

 

DSC_0601

 

DSC_0612

I dumped out the bin after a while and got him some fresh water and ice cubes, making the water really cold, but he didn’t seem to mind.

DSC_0660

C decided to use her bin to try and stand, all the while leaning forward to eat kiss her brother. She doesn’t get that her open mouth means nothing to B, except to maybe smack her with his hand.

DSC_0684

 

Luckily, the twins like water. This wasn’t our first mini-water activity. In fact, a few days ago after breakfast I kept them in their high chairs and poured some warm water on top of their high chairs, threw a towel down on the floor and let them splash away. I also added a drop of food coloring. That day, C was into it but B less so.

DSC_0331

 

DSC_0338

 

These little activities remind me of teaching, a lost art that I will be returning to in a few months. Planning an activity, getting the supplies, and executing it. And I like that – it makes the day exciting knowing that I have something planned for the twins to do. On the list for the rest of the week: sensory bags, spaghetti play, and a yogurt/food coloring snack/play…thing. I could never come up with some of these things myself. Thanks, Pinterest.

DIY sensory boards

 

*This post was originally written in May of 2014, when the twins were 9 months old. It has just been updated (20 months old) to reflect the multitude of ages that can enjoy a sensory board! 

I find a lot of enjoyment in creating things for the babies to use, such as toys. I’ve started an adorable felt letters project but I barely carve out the time to work on it, so when it’s done, I’ll be happy to share. (Yeah, still haven’t finished that one.) Up until now, I’ve spent just a few minutes of time creating sensory bottles and treasure baskets for the babies. We still use both of those things every day. And then Pinterest gave my husband and I the idea of sensory boards.

DSC_0643

My major influence for this project was this.I loved how both the preschooler and the baby got a ton of use out of the same board – going to show that they can get years of use. Here’s another example of simpler textured items, specifically for babies. Anyway, I just thought they were the coolest thing and a great toy that will last for a very long time.

My husband was excited to make them. (I apologize that I can’t give you a tutorial of this project. When my husband made the boards, I was a very different blogger than I am today!) I don’t know the exact amount of money he spent in all, but we got most of the items at Home Depot, including free carpet samples and dollar items if we could. He did choose to sand and stain the board, but you wouldn’t necessarily have to do that. I imagine extra money was spent in the quality of the board, the sanding and the staining. After doing that, he screwed the individual components onto the boards. What you add to a sensory board would be completely up to you and the ages of your children. We wanted pieces that would be fun for both babies and toddlers.  It took him a few days to complete, so the stain could dry. He made two sensory boards (with items you would find also on a latch board), and here are the finished products (updated to show mounting on wall):

 

DSC_0640

So today being their first day of use, we had these boards on the ground lying flat. But my intention, especially as the babies get older and can stand, is to secure them into the wall of the upstairs playroom. I found out today that the board on the right is a little better for the babies at their current age, 9 months, than the board on the left. I mean, I obviously knew the twins couldn’t hook some of those items on the left but they do like to slide and flick whatever they can. It can definitely be used. But I decided to save the second board for a few months from now and just use the board on the right. It’s hard to see, but it’s got the end of a brush, a mirror, a front door knocker, a spinny wheel that I’m sure has a more sophisticated name, a carpet square, a push light, a piece of textured…rubbery thing I got at the dollar store, a door stop, and a mini door. That came from C’s desire to open and shut our cabinets, so we bought the knob for $1 and my husband cut a little piece of wood and made it into a mini door for them to open and shut. I thought it went swimmingly well today, and the boards will have many more days and months, and possibly years, of use. And obviously at this age, this is a toy that I need to be sitting with them for them to play with, as these items aren’t exactly toys for the mouth. As they get older, I won’t be as concerned (at 20 months, I am not concerned at all. It’s a very safe toy for toddlers!).

img_5479

 

The door stopper was a huge hit, so we might add a second to the board. It makes a great noise and is fun to flick.

img_5488

 

B enjoys the texture of the carpet.

 

img_5491

Just checking out her reflection. I didn’t add the blurry picture of her bending down to kiss herself in the mirror – so cute!

Updated: The toddlers still enjoy using these sensory boards on a daily basis. I am glad we put a variety of components onto the boards, because their interests and ability levels have obviously changed in the last year. Now, the mirror and door stop are less of a hit (though still fun!). Instead, C uses her fine motor skills to slide the lock.

DSC_0631

B still enjoys spinning the wheel as well as feeling the texture of the broom.

DSC_0626

These boards are super durable and will hopefully be passed down through a few generations of children!

DSC_0628

 

Please “like” my Facebook page for more DIY crafts and activities – not just from my own blog but from many other amazing bloggers!

 

DIY baby/toddler toys: Sensory Bottles and Treasure Baskets

Sick day(s)!

I think I remember calling my twins’ first illness “a cold” in my last post. As in, just a cold. Some sneezing and sniffles, nothing a mom can’t handle, right? Well. Not 10 minutes after I published that post on Saturday night, Lil C woke up crying. When I went up there, I found she couldn’t take her pacifier because she couldn’t breathe through her nose. While B lay in his crib a few feet away, I tried suctioning out C’s nose which not only didn’t work, but made her cry louder. Then I panicked, thinking she might be in some pain, and gave her Tylenol, which in my arms, she projectile vomited that and her bedtime bottle of 9 ounces all over the babies’ floor.

With C now really crying, my husband is trying to clean up the milk/Tylenol mess because the Tylenol is RED, and the carpet is TAN. (Ah, that’s why we should’ve chosen a darker color rug) He’s using a flashlight to scrub, C is screaming and now B’s awake, crying as well. I’m COMPLETELY covered in vomit.

Good times. And she was up all night, coughing and gagging on what was dripping down her throat.

Now, a few days later, we are skipping playgroup but slowly on the mend. Still lots of mucous of all colors, stuffy, coughing, terrible sleep – these babies are a mess. What little cold was I thinking of? Two nights ago, I found that C could breathe better if she were straight up and down. Elevating the mattress wasn’t enough. So I pulled up a rocking chair in the next room, and we snuggled in for the night. I got no sleep, but C was breathing better. Last night, she luckily was okay in her crib.

Anyway, this isn’t a little cold by any means. It’s so hard to see your babies suffering and being so sad. There wasn’t any fever though, just strictly a nasty cold with lots of tears and yuck.

And of course, all four of us have this cold now. In the future, I’m wondering how parents possibly avoid getting whatever illness their children have. I don’t think it’s possible – especially with babies who need to be held and snuggled. So we all feel crappy.

 

Since we are home and have been recuperating the last few days, I decided to bring out some new toys for the babies to enjoy. I’ve been on a DIY kick lately, and have a few projects in the works. I have to give credit where it is due – the majority of the projects I’m working on come from The Imagination Tree – this woman is amazing. Her ideas are cheap and easy, and awesome for kids. Here are a few completed toys:

Sensory Bottles

I’ve been working on this one for a while. For a cheap set of toys for babies or toddlers, sensory bottles are a great way to change up what your child plays with every day. You can be really creative, make many bottles, or just a few, but it’s so easy to do.

First, I collected water bottles. We only had the larger, standard size at the time which is fine for older babies, but the younger ones can grab onto the smaller bottles easier. After washing the bottles and caps and letting them air dry, I filled them with an assortment of items I either had around the house or bought at the dollar store. Some have water added and some do not. I super-glued the caps on, and I keep them in a basket. SO easy!

IMG_4241

From left to right, here are the bottles I made:  1)Water with pink plastic hearts and small beads, 2) Pompoms of different sizes, 3) Water with silver glitter (you need a lot of glitter for a good shake!), 4) Pipe cleaners, 5) water with standard colored beads, 6) small bottle with plastic buttons of different colors, 7) small bottle with plastic necklaces, and 8) Water with yellow food coloring and dish soap

*Another great one that I haven’t yet made is ripped up pieces of tin foil – so shiny!

Again, you can be creative or not, add whatever you’d like, but the idea is to stimulate the different senses. I have a few bottles that make loud noises when you shake them, a few that are great for future color identification or counting, and a few that show slow movement and are great for visual stimulation.

So far the babies love to shake the two smaller bottles, and hold onto/look at/try to eat the bigger bottles.

IMG_4247

 

IMG_3805

 

IMG_3934

 

Part of my reason for making some of my own toys is that I can keep them for years and use them for different purposes as the babies get older. Right now, they’re all about making the bottles crackle and looking at the colors and shine, but in the future I’m hoping to use the bottles for counting, rolling, and that sort of thing.

 

Treasure Baskets

What I like most about this idea is that you can store these baskets away and bring them out on a rainy day or when the babies are fussy. Or, in this case, on our Sick Day when we need a pick-me-up.

Using cheap baskets from the dollar store, I filled one with regular items from around my house that are safe for babies. We have so many light up, sing-song toys in our house that are great but also do the work for the babies. Treasure baskets are supposed to be for exploration – you put in items that aren’t toys, giving children the opportunity to feel and discover different materials.

I’ve only made one basket so far, but I’d like to make a few with different themes. The Imagination Tree shows baskets full of wood products (like a wooden spoon, wooden blocks, etc), soft textures, crinkly textures, and so on.

This basket has a variety of items from around my house but not with any theme to it.IMG_4242

As you can see, there is a pot holder (clean and new 🙂 ), a bath mit, two fake foods, measuring cups and spoons, etc.

I gave this basket to the babies for the first time and it kept them happily engaged for a good half hour, which in baby time = forever.

IMG_4252

 

Checking out the basket for the first time..

IMG_4262

 

IMG_4261

 

IMG_4266

 

IMG_4273

 

They seemed to really enjoy the contents of the basket. And it was great for their fine motor development, as they had to use their fingers/whole hands to pick up oddly shaped items. For the first time, I witnessed C with something in her right hand but an item on her right side she wanted to grab. She transferred what was in her right hand to her left, and then grabbed the object on the floor.

It’s the little things.

Treasure baskets are awesome for different textures and sizes. As the babies get older, you can still use these for toddlers but can switch out any of the items for things that might be more appropriate for their level.

With sick babies who only took a half hour nap (ugh) this is all I’ve got time for at the moment! I’m hoping to make more toys – it’s very satisfying for me and good for the babies.

For now, it’s time to bring out the basket again I think, this cold has them quite fussy…

Coconut oil is my jam.

Adding fresh to the list of “hippy” mom things I’ve decided to undertake, I now…

Make my own baby wipes.

But before I get into that – let’s just talk about coconut oil for a minute. Who knew such a product would have 5,000 different uses? It’s like a miracle oil.

The forums are all abuzz about coconut oil so I decided to give it a try. We already had it in the house as my husband likes to cook with many different healthy oils. It comes as a solid lump, so I plunked the whole jar in a warm pot of water and waited for it to liquify. After a few minutes, I poured the oil into a small tupperware container that would make it easier to access when it hardened up again.

Then I got to work using it on my cloth diapers. Now, cloth diapers can’t tolerate your typical diaper rash creams. That was unfortunate, since I have 3 bottles of Desitin in my house. But they won’t come clean off a cloth diaper and would eventually create a barrier resulting in leaks. And the only way to solve that one is with dish soap and a toothbrush. No thanks. In an emergency, crazy-bad diaper rash situation (like the one I had last week), I still resort to Desitin since I’m new at this whole “natural” products game. My options were to throw down a liner on top of the diaper (fleece liners – I do that for every diaper anyway) and then wash the liner in normal laundry, throw out the liner, or use a disposable diaper.

Well part of the cause of B’s nasty rash was from sitting in acidic poop all night in a disposable diaper, trapping moisture like woah. So I wanted to use the hemp overnites for a while until it all cleared up. But after a few days of lots of air and Desitin, it wasn’t clearing up too much and I thought – let’s go back to coconut oil. I had been using it as a preventative measure and sort of as a natural replacement for Vaseline (again, can’t touch cloth diapers). Now, a week later, the rash is basically gone, and I’m applying coconut oil for both babies at almost every diaper change. This is GOOD stuff.

I’m also using it for dry skin on C’s legs and hands, chapped lips  – and cooking.

I’m still getting into the craze, but basically, anywhere you would use 1) oil, 2) vaseline, or 3) moisturizer, you can substitute it with coconut oil. For kids or adults. It’s thin and easily spreadable, and no grease stains whatsoever. I use the back of my nail to scrape a little out of the tupperware, and then put the chunk on a q-tip and apply. You know what’s in it, so no guessing there. It’s good for babies and their skin. One jar lasts a long time. I’m impressed!

Back to the wipes – the wipes we were using ran out. I busted out some old wipes we had on hand, and B got a rash from it. Clearly he has sensitive skin. Most wipes have a lot of chemicals in it, which, I’m not concerned about in terms of the long-term health of my kids, but I do think it could have an adverse effect on skin -too drying, allergic reactions, whatever. Plus, it’s a hassle to constantly have to buy more wipes.

I decided to make my own. These are disposable, not reusable. Good for some people, but I just can’t do it. Nasty. I’m using cheap paper towels (from Costco – working fine!); Bounty is generally recommended on the interwebs. I’m also using select-a-size – the perfect wipe size.

IMG_3567

 

These are my ingredients – tea tree oil was my big expense off Amazon, then the baby shampoo I already had and was using, the coconut oil I was already using (we still had a little left in the jar), paper towels and a container from the dollar store. Voila!

The recipe I’m using comes from Quad Mom Amber, so you can check her out there. I didn’t use any lavender or other oils as I didn’t have them  and don’t mind the smell of the tea tree oil, and instead of baby oil (it irritates the crap out of B’s skin – no surprise there) I’m using coconut oil. Otherwise I followed her recipe exactly. It literally took me less than 5 minutes to make start to finish.

To get the tube out of our paper towels, I poured the liquid on the bottom of the container first, then put the roll in, let it soak for a few minutes and it came right out. However, my over-sized roll from Costco was wider than I think is typical, so instead of the 5-10 minutes it would take for the liquid to completely absorb into the roll, it took more like 3-4 hours. I also had to add another 1/4 cup of water. I had a feeling the roll would dry out and would be a giant fail. Well, at the end of the week, we’ve still got some roll to spare, it’s not even close to dry – in fact the more wipes we use, the wetter they are. They smell clean, no mold or grossness (that’s the tea tree oil), no drippy mess, easy to come apart from the middle, like cleaning wipes – I love it! And CHEAP! That’s the biggest pro as far as I’m concerned.  And now I have wipes.

With B’s sensitive skin, I’m always trying to find products that don’t bother him. So far, I’m finding that scents and chemicals do irritate his skin, and I’ve absolutely NO problems with coconut oil for any use, and now, baby wipes too.

So hooray for simple at-home methods that feed into my laziness and are good for the skin!

Maybe I should make my own cleaning wipes too as we go through a million a week….is that crossing the line?