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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Butterflies & Nature

I decided to take Lana and check out a free Butterfly House in a local Nature Center here in SoCal. The entire nature center is geared toward kids and education. Even in places with urban sprawl, nature centers are a great weekend activity to spend interactive time with your kids for little to no money.

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Lacking a yard?

We live amidst the typical Southern California urban sprawl.  Tucked inside of our three story townhome that was built in a tightly packed community.  Sure we have tennis courts, a pool and two spas, but there isn’t a single playground or grassy patch that would break down the gremlin energy Lana has to burn.  I love being outside, and we try to take her to the beach or to parks, but that fool eats sand.  Yep, every single time I think “wow I have a genius on my hands,” she licks the sand, expresses her displeasure with the sandy mouth and then does it again!  I digress.

In Southern California, lots of indoor trampoline type places have popped up whether it be a “Sky” place or a bounce house style, but consistently they all get low ratings on imposing their rules against older kids in the toddler areas.  Let’s be clear here, I have to take Lana on the weekends and usually that correlates to larger than average crowds.  Chasing her around an indoor bounce house wouldn’t be so bad, if I also wasn’t having to block and prevent tackles from older, much larger children all while trying to remind Lana that she needs to share and/or wait her turn.  EXHAUSTING.

Thankfully, in our community there are a couple of alternatives.  Pretend City is one of them, and while it can get busy, the price and location keeps it relatively manageable.  Pretend City is a non-profit children’s museum.  While most of the events and classes are during the work week, the weekends are fun to visit and even reasonable in pricing to consider for a birthday party.  Secondly, there is a new kid on the block called We Play Loud.  We Play Loud has only been open about a month, but the 50+ Yelp reviews are stellar.  Their website has a few broken links and kinks, but I am certain over time, that will all be resolved.  I love that you can fill out all of the registration information online and avoid trying to temper your toddler’s potential tantrum as you try to rebuff the unfettered attempts to break free and run! 

I highly recommend googling or searching yelp for various Children’s Museums in your area that have tactile play, but also, indoor complexes that don’t just bank on the bounce house and/or trampoline experience. 

11AM on A Weekday??

Sure, I would love to do nothing more than take Lana to a storytime at a local library at 11AM on a weekday, but uh, I generally can’t, at least not regularly.

On any given weekday at 11AM, I am likely knee-deep in a conference room full of men ranting about why our eCommerce site isn’t faster or what new product needs to be developed.  Perhaps at 11AM, I am sneaking away for a quick bite of food that doesn’t require me shoving said food down my throat, while chasing an 18 month old or dealing with an emergency at work.  Hell, maybe my head is down on my desk pondering how I am going to get all of my priorities done for work, home and our side consulting business.  I don’t know exactly what 11AM will bring, but it surely won’t be a lovely storytime with my daughter.

My husband and I read to Lana before bed.  We both look forward to that cozy time of night, but I grew up going to a storytime at a local library.  I want Lana to experience the magic of the group storytime setting!

Thankfully, many libraries are now offering weekend and evening storytime options.  If a library around you doesn’t, check out the local bookstore, as many of them have children storytime offerings as well.  If neither exist, request that your library and/or bookstore start one, you likely aren’t the only one around looking for storytime options.  If you are feeling inspired and are deep down not only a working mom, but a pinterest-y working mom, start your own local storytime!  If you live in an association, maybe start a community based storytime in the clubhouse.  Many associations will donate the clubhouse rental, as long as it isn’t prime rental time, for such a community friendly activity.  If you go that route, don’t be a supermom and forget to ask for help from parents who bring their little ones to the storytime.  Get others in your community involved so it doesn’t all fall on your shoulders and push you to be a burned out mama!