Natural Home Pesticides

Since we have an adventurous two and half year old, who likes to lick EVERYTHING, I have embraced more natural methods and solutions to resolving various pest invasions.

Thankfully, the internet is full of tried and true suggestions, with comments to boot.

Here is what worked for our fruit fly invasion:

We used the Apple Cider Vinegar solution featured on this blog.

For ants, we are trying a few various things, but a family member did the Powdered Sugar & Baking Soda solution featured on this blog.

Candy Fairies…

Holiday Card Planning Season

I am slightly obsessed with our holiday card each year.  I don’t know why it is a thing for me, but it is.  I am almost sold on an idea, which I will share once we are all done, but here is what we did last year…There is nothing photoshopped in this scene!  TillyLadybugXmas

What are some clever or unique Holiday card ideas that you have used in the past or are toying with doing this next year?

Dress Up Dolls

Let me preface this post with, I am not an Alex Toys affiliate, whatsoever!*  My previous post about the Alex Toys’ craft kits were purely coincidental!

A few months back, I bought the Alex Toys – Learn To Dress Kitty on Amazon.  Lana was starting to show curiosity toward buttons, zippers and snaps, so Dress Up Kitty seemed like a perfect fit.  Normally, I wouldn’t pick an obvious gendered toy, but in this case, Kitty wasn’t terribly “girly.”  Alex Toys does have the Learn to Dress Monkey as an option too.  For months, Lana would randomly play with Kitty, but about a week ago, Kitty became her favorite toy.  Kitty has been going with Lana in the car, to my aunt’s house, pretend plays with Lana, and even sleeps with Lana.  Kitty sits next to Lana during bedtime storytime, and we remove Kitty’s shoes for bedtime!  At first, my husband was worried we were allowing something bad, but I explained that this is great for her to pretend and use her imagination with Kitty.  Somehow Kitty has also assisted in calming the sleeping issues we have had recently.  Once when Lana was hysterical during bedtime, after asking Lana if she was scared, she hugged me and then I asked Kitty the same thing.  Lana immediately started gently petting Kitty, followed by a huge.  It was so sweet and innocent!  Maybe I am screwing Lana up by personifying Kitty, but I am trying to teach Lana how to express what she is feeling.  Lana laid down and hugged Kitty all night.

I’ve seen Lana reading to Kitty, showing her how to color, talking to Kitty while playing and even sharing a cup of pretend tea with her.  Hopefully I am not writing about Lana in 12 years and how she won’t part with Kitty on her first day of Junior High.  I kid!

While researching for this post’s images and media, I stumbled upon a fairly hilarious Alex Toys’ item.  GIANT Dress Up Kitty!  Lana’s Kitty is already almost as big as her, I can’t even fathom a GIANT one?!!?  For nearly $200???  That’s terrifying and expensive!  Can you imagine waking up to a giant kitty looking at you??  Maybe I have seen too many Puppetmasters or Chucky movies?Giant Kitty

But, on the upside, today I discovered that on Alex Toys’ website, they have free printables and a great search function by age and type in their toy section.  That being said, Amazon and Target usually have better prices, Kitty is nearly $44 on Alex Toys’ site and in contrast is $29 on Amazon.  Today, I did read the reviews for Kitty on Amazon and people mention the snaps coming off or being poorly made, we haven’t had any issues related to that, but I will agree with other reviewers that the button is frustratingly difficult for little hands.  Here is the promo video of Monkey & Kitty by Alex Toys:

There are many other brands and options, some with well known characters, like say Elmo as a dress up, learning toy.  Montessori has gear for sale that is supposedly superior to Kitty and all dress up dolls (based off reviews out there by Montessori teachers, so that’s biased).  You can find the Montessori frames all over the internet, but here is an example off youtube:

For a comprehensive overview of the stages of learning to dress themselves, I find this the more encompassing and informative:

http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/getting_dressed.html

All in all, Lana is only 19 months, so I am not as concerned with imposing the Montessori ways or spending a ton of time trying to get her to figure out buttons and zippers (she can unzip my purse now, egads!), so Kitty works well for now.  As time progresses, I will look at other options if she isn’t where she should be developmentally.  But for now… I leave you with a picture of Lana in my trainers:

Lana with Mama's Shoes

*disclaimer – nappies + milk is an Amazon Affiliate to help pay for the site costs

Grandparent’s Day

I’ve been looking into what Lana will get her grandma, poppy, nana and papa for Grandparent’s Day. Last year, we didn’t do anything because the day skirted right by me without remembering its existence, after all, I wasn’t a kid in elementary school being barraged with reminders and I was a first time mom in the midst of the plethora of “firsts.”

This year, I saw something that reminded me, I better up the ante a bit and do something special! Aside from the usual trinkets, flowers and whatnot, there are lots of Pinterest ideas out there too. Since I am a working mom, I can’t dedicate a lot of time to something homemade, here are some ideas that I can get behind (some require purchases and more time, but maybe this will stir the creative juices):

UPDATE:  Apparently even one of nappies+milk’s own mamas didn’t know what Grandparent’s Day was so here is a quick link to read up on it:  http://grandparentsday.org/

Homemade Foam – Easy Sensory Fun

As a working mom, making an intentional giant mess isn’t always in the cards. First off, we don’t have a lot of free time to prepare for some of the sensory activities on many of the mommy blogs. Secondly, I don’t have a craft arsenal begging for use. Thirdly, cleanup has to be considered, because of the same reason for the first point.

I’ve noticed lately that Lana loves squishing and poking at various food. Watermelon squeezed and smushed, spaghetti poked and swirled, and the list goes on. I knew my baby girl needed some sensory freedom without a caregiver intervening.

I searched around for any sensory activities but homemade foam made a lot of sense. Simple, check. Supplies on hand, check. Space on our patio, check. Labor Day weekend with some free time, check! I setup Lana’s water table that we had bought for her earlier in the summer. While she was playing, I whipped up two pink batches and then a couple of the blue batches. I had read the comments on the site I found the recipe and many stated the Dawn soap, often recommended for homemade foam, burns little eyes. I first tried the Burt’s Bees Bubble Bath that we have, but the foam wasn’t as fluffy, so I swapped to the Dapple soap we use for Lana’s dishes. Instead of food coloring, I used some of the color tablets we use at bath time. Voile! Success and she was free to squish, throw, and dump the foam as she wished!

I found the initial recipe here:
http://www.two-daloo.com/soapy-sea-foam-sensory-play/
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Ladybug Art

Tots Art Start

Full disclosure, we do take Lana to Gymboree Art Level 1 on the weekends.  We recently swapped from the Play and Learn class after she turned 18 months and due to the timing and how it hit her nap schedule.

That being said, lately, I feel as though I default to iPad and TV while trying to prep dinner.  Sometimes, we cook “together” but I worry considerably when she is under my feet while the stove is going and I have my hands on a knife.  We had an incident months ago where she grabbed a knife on the counter and sliced her index finger a little bit, so I am overly cautious now.  After perusing Amazon and Zulily one day (another story for another day, but I am an online shopper to the nth degree due to being a working mom with multiple balls in the air at any given time, hehe hear my rationalizations for the plethora of boxes that show up at our doorstep?), I spotted the Alex Jr. Tots Art Start kits.  Most of them are geared for 18m+ so I grabbed a couple via Zulily and waited the obligatory 2-3 weeks for arrival.  They showed up on Tuesday! Tuesday night, before I could even get the box open, Ladybug had spotted the package and was eagerly trying to assist me as I opened the box.  I pulled out one of the simpler kits, setup Lana up near the end of the kitchen and she created art while I cooked.  It was a nice way to still spend time with her but keep her from being under my feet and potentially in harm’s way.

Sure you could buy your own craft stuff, but I don’t have the space nor the time to really think it out, at least not for now.  Perhaps after working through these kits and going to Gymboree’s Art class for a bit, I will be able to do it all myself, but for now, this is AWESOME mommy and me time while I work on getting dinner on the table after a long day at work.

I have no affiliation with Gymboree nor Alex Jr. but here are a couple of the kits that we have now in the house: