Mar 30, 2010

Signing with John

I have been thinking about my precious baby John and one of the things that I am most proud of is how well he can sign. I was a little worried because he doesn't say much, but he signs a TON. But at his last check up, the dr said it was normal for toddlers his age to only say about three words and in about 2 months he will start talking more. So, my take is that if we didn't teach John how to sign, he would only know those three words right now. Instead he is able to communicate with us so much more! It is so exciting and I can only assume it helps alleviate John's frustration at not being able to communicate freely with us.

Here are the signs John knows at the age of 16 months:
1. milk
2. more
3. eat
4. bath
5. nap/sleep
6. cat
7. banana
8. bunny
9. apple
10. turtle
11. fish
12. done/finished
13. car
14. hat
15. teddy bear
16. hug
17. baby
18. duck
19. water
20. cookie
21. please
22. thank you
23. bird

Now, Brad jokes that we teach John American Sign Language, but John uses 'John Sign Language'. Most of the signs John uses aren't perfect but we know exactly what he means. I remember feeling a little bad when then daycare teacher told me they try to really get the kids to do the exact movement. Well, I don't really care that he doesn't do the exact movement because....hello...he is only 16 months old and if he can do 23 signs to where I know what he is telling me, then I am perfectly fine with that. (And not to brag, but I seriously doubt that the other kids in John's class know as many signs as John does.)

To teach John to sign was actually really easy. I have taken him a couple times to a wonderful storytime at a local library that teaches 4 new signs each time with a puppet and a song. Then I just use those at home with John. I also have a book from a friend that shows how to do a handful of simple signs. My SIL also gave John a book with some signs and flashcards. I use the flascards with him sometimes at night only because it keeps him entertained while Brad is trying to put on his diaper after bathtime. That is it- he just picks it up since I try to use little signs with him often but I am not obsessive about it. I think it is fun! It is so cute to watch John read his books by himself and he does the signs for the animals as he sees them. So precious!

I know teaching babies to sign isn't for everyone, but it worked with John and I love love love it! It has been most rewarding when John walks up to me and signs 'eat' or 'milk'. Then I know exactly what he wants without him crying until I guessed what would make him stop crying! :)

Double bonus is that when Brad or I go deaf in our old age, we already know 23 signs to use with each other! :)

So, did you teach your kids to sign?

Mar 22, 2010

Weekly Date Night- Java Time!

Last week Brad and I headed over to a coffee shop for coffee and hot chocolate for our date night. The timing was perfect because Brad's mom was watching John for the night so we already had plans to get dinner out and run errands sans child. Finishing off the night with coffee and hot chocolate from Corner Bakery was super yummy and easy! Can't get out of the house? Brew a cup o' joe and snuggle on the couch!

Mar 20, 2010

Preppy Bib

For the big craft show in May, I decided to make bibs. I pulled out some of our old clothes in the 'recycle' pile and saw one of Brad's cute blue polo's. I then had the idea to make the bib out of the top part of the shirt so it included the buttons and collar. Here is how it turned out and the steps to make it. It is NOT perfect and I certainly can't sell it (hope John likes it since it is his now!). But it is the thought that counts, right!?

1. I used a bib I already had to trace around the shape of the bib. Originally I kept the entire collar in one piece thinking I could just fit it over a kid's head. You could easily fit it over a kid's head, but then the opening was too big and the bib sat all wrong on the body. So I cut it to make two neck pieces.

2. I decided I didn't want the collar flapping around so I pinned it down and then sewed it in place on the right side of the bib.

3. I placed the bib on the backing material, right sides together. I used a soft white dot material since I had tons of it. You could also use terry cloth from an old towel too! Pin around, leaving an opening to turn the bib right side out after sewing.

4. Sew around the bib, remembering to leave the opening open! :) (This is also when you might curse at your sewing machine for gathering the material as it was sewing. What is up with that, Mr. Sewing Machine? You are not my friend anymore!)

5. Trim the backing material and clip the corners.

6. Turn right side out. This is when I realized that this didn't turn out as nice as I thought it would, but figured I might as well finish it and see what happens. Plus, it doesn't help when Mr. Sewing Machine makes it gathered along the edges!!!

7. Top stitch around the bib, making sure to close the opening as you sew. I didn't sew around the inner collar because it was SO thick and I didn't think my machine could handle it.

8. Sew in some velcro or add in snaps for closure. (I didn't have either on hand, so this is where I stopped!) And then you are done!

I still really like the idea, but just am not quite the seamstress yet to pull it off completely. I think if I did this again, I would use a different polo with thicker shirt material but thinner collar material. It might be easier if I used a larger kid polo instead of an adult, especially if you want to keep the entire collar in one piece.

If you try this, let me know it goes and share any tips to make it better!

Mar 18, 2010

Painting with Pudding

I saw a fun idea online which was to have the kiddos 'paint' with pudding! I was really excited about it because I have always been so worried about using real paint because usually John puts everything in his mouth. (Of course when we did this activity and used pudding for paint, he didn't try to taste it at all!) So, I bought John some vanilla pudding and used food coloring to make different color 'paint'. Then we went outside on a gorgeous day and painted to our heart's content. And apparently John's heart is content after 10 minutes. We only used one premade cup of pudding so now we have plenty of pudding in our fridge for next time! :)

Make sure to wear your crafty apron {THANKS Nana!} or 'messy' clothes!

Put a couple spoonfuls of the pudding on the table or high chair tray.

Then watch the master do his thing!

Obviously you can't really save these pictures, but they are pretty to hang up on the fridge even for a short time! Definitely something I would do again while the weather is so nice!

Mar 17, 2010

Weekly Date Night: Free Movie Night!

For our last date night, we were to rent a classic movie from the library and watch it while eating popcorn. Yeah for a free movie (and a practically free date)! The Frisco Library actually has a really good selection of movies. However, Brad was holding John and looking for a classic while I was in a different section looking for a book. So, Brad came back with a movie, but probably not a 'classic' since he admitted to just grabbing something before John exploded with antsy-ness. Come around date time, we were supposed to watch 'All The Pretty Horses'. However, we decided we would rather watch something we DVR'd and eat ice cream instead of popcorn. Either way, we had a nice 30 minutes to ourselves on the couch! Super fun and easy peasy!

Mar 9, 2010

Trial and Error

I came across this picture today and it made me laugh.

When I first started knitting, my aunt told me, 'Just cast on some stitches and make a blanket'. I had only knit scarves up to this point and I am VERY bad at judging anything that has to do with distance, time, length, etc. So, I casted on a crapload of stitches and started with my pattern that I made up. I commented to my mom at one point that it was taking me 45 minutes to knit just one row and my hands were getting tired from so much work! She thought I was just being a whiny baby. When I had to buy the 5th or 6th ball of yarn and the blanket was still only about 1 foot long, Brad said this was going to be the world's most expensive blanket. Yet, those two huge warning signs didn't stop me from trudging through this project.

One night after I had spent forever completing a row, I was so excited that the blanket was finally getting long enough to lay across my lap. But then I realized that the blanket could lay across my lap with TONS extra on each side of me. I took out a measuring tape and started measuring the length while it was still on the needles. The number astonished me and I couldn't believe it. Surely since the blanket was on the needles, the measurement was off. So I took it off the needles, and sure enough, it was the longest blanket EVER!!!

I called my mom and we were cracking up at how long it was. But then she said the most devestating comment: 'You will have to rip it out and start over'. I almost cried right then. But she was right (as always) and I unraveled the blanket and started over with a more appropriate length and finished the blanket to be the perfect size for me!

So, the moral of the story is that we are all going to make mistakes when learning a new craft. I think it is all part of the process. At least I won't make that same mistake again...and I will always crack up when I see the picture of the big ass blanket.

Mar 7, 2010

Weekly Date Nights- Baking with my Baby!

Our latest date night was to bake cookies together. Brad makes THE BEST chocolate chip cookies ever so this was quite a treat for me! I would like to say that I helped him with the dough, but instead I stood at the opposite end of the counter hemming my maternity pants.(See, there is a reason my stomach is huge! Although eating lots of cookies and ice cream probably could be a part of it too!) So, even though we weren't technically baking cookies 'together', we were in the kitchen together and spending time together which is all that matters.

We did try to use real butter instead of crisco and some Mexican vanilla that I got as a present. I of course had to taste the dough to make sure it wasn't poisonous or anything. The things I do for Brad! :)

The cookies turned out yummy as usual!

I can't wait to pick another date card tonight!

Mar 1, 2010

Freezer Paper Attempt #1

Tonight was my first attemp at working with freezer paper. I have seen a couple tutorials online and it seems easy enough. I am making bean bags with numbers and letters on them for the craft show in May and thought it might be easier to paint the bean bags instead of applique them. Not sure how much of a time saver it is, so the jury is still out on how I will actually make the bean bags! Here is what I did though... (and consider this my new craft of the month for my New Year's Resolution!!)

1. Use your wonderful friend's Cricut to cut out numbers on the freezer paper. Tada!! Custom stencils! Be sure to cut on the non-waxy side otherwise your stencil will be backwards!

2. Iron the stencils to your fabric. I eyeballed the middle, which is probably not a good idea and now my bean bags will look lopsided. :) Be sure to get a good seal around the edges of the number so the paint won't leak through.

3. Gather your painting supplies, only to realize you don't have white paint or a paint brush! Lovely! So, improvise with a make-up brush and use a second choice color paint. (Make mental note to get to the store to buy correct supplies!) Be sure to put your fabric on a protective covering (like cardboard) so the paint doesn't get onto the counter or table. Lightly paint the fabric. Do not paint too much on the edges of the freezer paper itself or it will leak through onto your fabric. Wait until the paint completely dries before painting the next coat. The yellow paint took three coats and the blue took two. Again, not sure if this is a time saver, but watching The Bachelor inbetween coats helped pass the time!

4. Once the paint is dry, peel away the freezer paper. Supposedly you can use the stencil a few times, but I haven't gotten that far yet. I ironed over the paint to seal it, but not sure if that worked. And it got paint on my iron which may present a problem tomorrow when I try to iron my pants for work!

And there we have it...painted numbers! Easy as can be. My next step is to sew the back and fill it will beans. That will be saved for another night when I am not busy watching ultra-important TV shows!