It's been a busy one folks. This morning I though, "hmmm I' haven't blogged in a while..." Almost a month actually. Is summer really almost over?

I finally had some days this month though where I did absolutely NOTHING and it was awesome. Well, nothing except play with Jillian and her baby toys. She's gotten used to me being home all summer and spending lots of time with her, because now any time I try to do ANYTHING she follows me and tugs on my legs to be picked up. Which was cute, like the first two times. :-)

So I'm realllllyyyy hoping this whole "work from home" thing doesn't get royally screwed due to an uncooperative toddler. We'll work on it. Lots. 

Oh yeah! I don't even think I mentioned on here that I landed a job with Provo eSchool! I'll be working mostly from home with kids that are home schooled. It will still be busy and challenging in a new way, I think, but there is SO much stuff I won't have to worry about anymore (shout out to my teacher friends finishing getting ready this weekend!). But I will miss my old school TERRIBLY. I'll probably go back and volunteer occasionally.

Which reminds me of my New Year's Resolutions...

1. Lose the rest of the baby weight..plus a few! (6 more pounds until pre-prego weight, and 10 more until the goal weight) *Current: -3 lbs from pre-prego weight and 11 more til my new goal weight. Wa-hoo!
2. Be a little kinder. Hopefully? I dunno...probably not...I actually completely forgot about this one.
3. Hopefully land an online teaching position for next school year. Check, check!
4. Be a better listener. Not that I'm DONE with this one, but I really think I've been working on it!
5. Make at least half of the crafts and recipes I've pinned on Pinterest.  BAHAHA! 

So back to this whole "entertain a toddler" idea. "Baby-taining" as I call it. I don't know what I was thinking, but for some reason I got it in my mind that in order for her to be entertained, I had to be the one doing the entertaining- at least lately any way. She used to be REALLY good at entertaining herself, then just stopped, out of no where. BUT THEN I started perusing Pinterest (where all things GOOD IDEA are found) and I had the biggest AH-HA moment. Make her stuff to do!!! I know some of you are like...uh, duh? But when your brain is on full on summer vacation mode, it happens. 

So I found some GREAT ideas that I'm going to make TODAY (because school starts Tuesday). A lot of them are for older toddlers and involve smaller things, which Jillian will eat, so I had to pick and choose several things and come up with a few of my own that would be good for a 12-18 month old. These aren't meant to replace their toys, but will be busted out when she gets bored with her toys, which yes, happens. That's when she goes into destructo-must-have-mommy-mode. (Also why I recommend rotating toys every week or two, just switch out their bins). But here is what will start my:

(The links take you to the original site with a picture example..I'm too lazy for pictures)
1. Small chalkboard and chalk-non-toxic chalk, preferably... 

2. Fuzzy craft balls and different sized containers (she LOVES taking things out of containers)  You can also cut a whole in the lid of a container and they can "stuff" it in the container.

3. Stickers- all kinds, all sizes. You can also provide paper or a coloring book to stick on, but chances are with a 12 month old, they'll just stick them all over themselves and the floor, and that's okay too.

4. "I Spy" bottles  Fill a clear bottle with rice and "hide" objects in the bottle for them to shake and see.

5. Discovery bottles Fill a water bottle with glitter and/or confetti. Shake. Enjoy.

6. Homemade shakers- Easter eggs with Cheerios or other snacks inside

7. Sponges and bowl of water- You could also use foam shapes or "shaped" sponges. Ooo also those magic expanding washcloths ..all found at the dollar store.

8. Sliced pool noodle and string or wooden dowels String them, stack them, throw them, it's all good.

9. Box of tissues- get one from the dollar store, because when they're done with it, it will just be shreds, so at least you won't feel like you've wasted too much money. But this is a serious entertainer.

10. Box of Q-tips- same as above. Jillian just likes pulling them all out.

11. Shaving cream + food coloring in Ziploc bag- use the white foamy shaving cream and duck tape the top of the bag closed. You can also put paint in the bag for mess free finger painting.

12. Cooked spaghetti- No need to cook all at once, just a little at a time. Cook, drain, cool and give to toddler in a giant bowl. Best done in the kitchen.

13. Ball of yarn- although it's rather cat-like, they really like "unraveling" things. Same with a roll of toilet paper.

14. Pipe cleaner toy- Punch holes in the lid of a cylinder container, kiddo sticks in pipe cleaners. You can also add colored hole reinforcer stickers so they can sort by color when they're older 

15. Edible play-doh (most homemade recipes are)

16. Play-doh balloons  - Fill balloons with playdoh for a squishy bag thing.

17. Deck-o-cards- Yep. Just a deck of cards. Tried. Proven.

18. Caterpillar- tie beads on to a piece of yarn. I tied about 10 off each section so they don't all clump up on one end.

19. Straws in spaghetti box- Goes back to the whole "pulling things out of containers" idea.

20.  Coloring book + crayons

21. Objects in a small zipper pouch, I used giant plastic coins from the dollar store

22. Rubberband/shoebox guitars. These are fun to play, and fun to make. Just a couple of shoeboxes with rubber bands around them create music (but not too loud) and lots of opportunity for exploration. 

23. Stacking cups- seriously a good investment. Jillian LOVES making towers and knocking them over. This also helps with spatial reasoning development. 

24. Magnets- On the fridge or on a cookie sheet. I got some ABC magnets (NOT any small ones- choking hazard people). 

25. Family pictures- Jillian (13 months) is to the point where she loves looking at pictures and identifying people in them. Even though every time she sees me in a picture, she calls me "Kiki", which is my sister's name. It's all good. I only gave birth to her. *Put in a photo album if you're worried about them tearing them up.

26.  Stack of Post-it notes. They're fun to pull apart, even more fun when they realize you can stick them...everywhere. 

27. Math manipulatives- those blocks that snap together 

28. Ping pong balls

29. And if it comes down to it, Baby Einstein videos on Youtube. Discoveryeducation.com also has picture books on video.

 And hopefully keep her entertained enough so I can get SOMETHING done every once in a while. Oh, I put several activities in a giant 5 gallon Ziploc bag and will pull one bag out at a time.

There is a BAJILLION more you can add to the list when they get older and don't tend to eat so many of their toys, but I've found these to be good for this age! 

Check out my other "kid" stuff on my Pinterest board, because these people are ridiculously creative:

Here's to starting school next week, cheers! 

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