Joanna Anastasia

toddler

Valentine’s day card, that your child can make on its own!

Valentine's day card that your child can really make!

Valentine’s day is approaching, and I know you’re hungry for new ideas! Remember how I was writing about paying attention to not overstimulate our kids? And guided crafting was one of the things to look at? So, I’m happy to say, that this craft is equally a fruit of unguided creativity, and of a guided crafting with mom. So kids get to express themself, and then they can make something really nice too, a win-win!

My girls love crafting, and this card here is their collaborative work, with just a tiny bit of help from my side. But if your kids are confident with scissors, then they can make this card entirely on their own!

What you’ll need :

A big sheet of white paper
Red and pink paint

2 pink cardboards
scissors
Glue

Valentine's day card

First step is unguided painting. Let kids ( even an older baby or a toddler ) paint whatever they want with pink and red paint. You could even give them pompoms to paint with (especially toddlers love painting with unusual materials!) Then let it dry.

Valentine's  day car

Take two, equal in size pink cardboards. Set one aside. Fold another one in half, and cut a half-heart. Set it aside.

Valentine's card

And now cut the painted sheet of paper in to long stripes. Take the other pink cardboard, and glue on it the pink and red stripes. Make sure there’s no space in-between stripes left.

Valentine's day card

Now place the cardboard with a heart on top ( add glue to the edges so it stays).
Your Valentine’s card is ready!

Valentine's day card

We’ll be making more of these, since my daughter decided that she wants to send one to each of her grandparents, and aunts and uncles. And are your kids making cards for friends and family?

Why I choose organic baby clothes and accessories

Why, whenever I can, I choose organic baby clothes and accessories, and why it's actually saving me money.

Sometimes it’s all about the little things. A calm and smiling baby, wrapped in a super soft blanket. A joyful toddler running around dressed in nothing else then a pair of adorable leggings. A four-year old imagining that a penguin pillow is a friend who’s lost and needs to be guided back home. And then when they are fast asleep, and I look at their sweet sleeping faces, I can’t help but smile thinking about these moments.

organic baby leggings

I do believe in sustainable lifestyle, and that’s how I try to raise my kids. But I’m not always getting new and organic things for them. First I use the hand-me-downs (because reusing is always the best, for the planet and for my wallet) and then, when I’m missing something I try to get them either locally made items, or organic ones.

Also, when I choose the locally made and organic items, I actually
:
1. Save money.
Because I plan on having more kids, I know I’ll be reusing everything that I buy. And while buying organic, I buy the better quality product, that’ll stay in good shape through the years!

2. Teach my kids about the value of money.
If I choose the pricer product that I use with care for a long time , it teaches kids respect for money. Rather then buying cheap bad quality items, and frowning them away when they get broken/ shrink /or loose their colours.

3. Help small business grow.
We all know, that everyone profits when local economy grows, right?

Organic baby clothes

So I first saw LelefanOrganics on Instagram. I was instantly attracted by their simple and fun black and white design.

Since I have two little girls, most of the clothes that they have are pink. As I mentioned, I believe in reusing, so even though I’m not the biggest fun of pink, they wear it a lot. That’s why when I get to choose clothes for them myself, I go for simple gender neutral style.

At first all I wanted was a pair of organic leggings with a hat for Rose. They are so soft, yet still really warm, and I love how they pair with everything!

Organic baby blanket

I also got this adorable and super soft baby blanket, big enough for Rose to nap underneath. You can get this penguin pillow to go with it (it’s also 100%organic) that I think is the cutest thing ever. I imagine that it would work really well in a gender neutral nursery, or as a toddler pillow ( because it’s so soft). But even though I thought I’m gets this for Rose, it was my four-year old Lili who got obsessed with the pillow!

Organic clothes for babies

I’m really regretting that I don’t have a tiny little baby on my hand now, so I could get some more of their adorable and super soft rompers and leggings! And it’s such a pleasure to see your kids happy about something that you know is ethically made, while being really soft and warm!

Organic baby clothes

Do you get organic clothes for your kids ? What are your favourite brands ?

Disclosure : I revived these products free for review, all opinions remain my own.

Easy homeschooling with kindergarten toolkit

This is the best method for homeschooling!

For a while now I was looking for a complete method to homeschool my daughter Lili. Unlike many homeschooling parents, I teach her only half time. Our situation is quite special, with me raising my kids bilingually, and them being at daycare only halt time. But whatever is the reason for parents to homeschool, whether full or part-time, for sure it’s all about good preparation.

I know for myself, that preparing different kind of activities isn’t always easy. They need to be educative, that’s for sure. Yet kids learn through play, so they should be playful. Also, we shouldn’t rush things, as kids learn at their own speed. But activities shouldn’t be repetitive neither, because boredom is as bad as overstimulation. While teaching letters and numbers it’s easy to overwhelm kids, so we should be careful not to do so..

If you were never a teacher, and you didn’t study education or pedagogy, then you probably know how I felt. A bit lost at times. That’s why I was looking for an overall method on homeschooling preschoolers. A method easy to follow, flexible and useful. And that’s how I found the Kindergarten Toolkit.

Kindergarten toolkit

It’s a method created by a former kindergarten teacher, turned WAHM of three boys. I think it’s a perfect tool for any homeschooling parent. I can’t even stress enough how useful I found it! Within the two weeks that we’ve been using it Lili have already mastered new writing skills, and Rose started to recognize shapes!

What you get is a booklet with mini lessons that support each of the 10 kindergarten goals, flash cards with shapes, letters, numbers and words, and white board with a pen. Each goal is concentrated on a specific skill , so you don’t double guess yourself, wondering if the activity that you found on Pinterest is appropriate for your child’s developmental stage or not.

Kindergarten toolkit

It’s really easy to use by any parent, and it gives you 3 to 4 different activities for each goal. That’s over 40 different lessons, plus some sanity saving ideas for activities while you’re on the go.

Toolkit

What I love about it, is that I can use it with both of my daughters, because there’s so many different lessons. Lili already knows her shapes and colours, so I’m more concentrated on writing skills with her, while Rose is a toddler who’s just starting to learn colours.

Toolkit

Within last two weeks we had 5 learning sessions of around 30 minutes each. Every time I got to try a different activity, while keeping track of Lili’s progress and skills. Honestly, I feel like homeschooling just got so much easier for me!

Kindergarten toolkit

So now, while homeschooling Lili, Rose sits just next to us and does her own activities. It’s so much fun seeing them both learning one next to another!

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But most of all, I love the overall approach of the Kindergarten Toolkit: encourage you kid, have fun and built a foundation for kindergarten!

Toolkit

Disclosure : I received this product free for review, all opinions remain my own.

Educative screen time for kids

Kids , apps & screen time tips

I remember when I was pregnant first time around, and I was having this mental list of the-things-I-won’t-ever-do-as-a-mom. And believe me, it was a long one. And no screen time before the age of two was somewhere between the: my kids won’t eat fries, I’ll never raise my voice and I won’t let my daughter play with that skinny and unrealistic Barbie.. As you can imagine non if it is still on my list.

I learned to see screen time as a special mix of a cheap babysitter and an opportunity to learn and discover. And I think that it depends from us, parents, which component will be the dominating one.

As you might have read already here, I raise my kids bilingually, so if they watch kids shows, it’s only in Polish and usually on YouTube. It’s always me who’s choosing what they watch ( for now at least). And my three and a half-year old has different rights then my 18 months old. Actually, my baby turning in to toddler can watch a maximum of 30 minutes of animated songs and not more than 3 times a week. And my older one can watch a max of three hours of kids shows a week. And I do count playing on my iPad as screen time. ( And of course, event thought I try to stick to my rules as much as possible, sometimes we do have one of these days when you just let go the rules..)

And believe me, I’m really picky when it comes to choosing apps for my kids. I don’t like it when they don’t teach nothing , or when the illustrations aren’t pretty or when the music isn’t calm and nice ( as a parent I have to endure too much noise!). And being honest, I would like them to play only classical music because it’s stimulating the brain, and because I never get to listen no it anymore.

But I do have a couple of favourites, and DuckieDeck series is one of them. Funny illustrations, calm music and the educational aspect have totally win my heart.

Educational screen time

Playing bird houses was a great opportunity to explain how different birds live in different places, and what are the names of different trees. And then she got to create a bird house. A cute one, to be exact!

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First she got to choose a tree and a bird house shape.

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And then she got to paint it and decorate it. And she even cleaned her room to play it again!

Educative screen time

The Sharing app from DuckieDeck is another one that we played recently.

Educative screen time

There are 6 games to choose from,ball concentrating on equal sharing between kids, and my daughter really liked it!

Educative screen time

The last one that we enjoyed playing was the Collection app, with also 6 games to choose from.

Educative screen time

I think that this one is perfect for a toddler: they can feed animals ( and learn what they eat) clean, decorate cakes, create funny monsters and pick fruits and veggies to see if they have seed or maybe if you eat their or roots.

Educative screen time

What are your favourite children’s apps?

Disclosure : I revived this product free for review, all opinions remain my own.

Can you have a favourite child?

Can you have a favourite child? You can have a favourite age! Why it's ok to admit that one child is easier, and what to do about it.

Last spring I started to feel that I may have a favourite child. It may sound terrible, but realizing it, and then understanding why it’s so, have made me more in peace with myself, and with my kids. I think that actually it has made me a better mother.

I used to repress this thought though, telling myself that I can’t have this feeling, because I love them both, and because it’s only bad mothers who choose one child over another. So I tried to push it far away, but I couldn’t.

Because sometimes I really felt that I had a favourite child. The one that was always smiling at me, and was calling me with excitement. The one that even when crying and upset was still really cute and adorable. The one that needed me and always listened to me. The one that didn’t say no as often ( nor repeat it over and over again).

And there was my intelligent, demanding and stubborn terrible three turning to f** four. Who was saying “no” a hundred times a day. Who when upset screamed and cried, but not in a cute and adorable way. The one that was testing my limits all the time.

So obviously the one that validated my parenting skills was my younger one. I felt like I’m doing a great job around her. She was happy, cute and easy to sooth.

And with my big girl around, at least once a day I was asking myself: am I a terrible mother? Am I doing it right? What could I do better? How should I react? I struggled. A lot.

So you might think that indeed, I was a terrible mother for picking a favorite kid. But I didn’t pick any. I love them both, and equally strong.

My challenging daughter used to be the cutest, nicest baby ever. I know that soon she’ll grow up, and become a smart, funny and kind young lady. I’m sure we’ll have plenty of fun.

And I’m pretty sure that my adorable baby will become a terrible two soon enough. And that I’ll struggle with her as well.

I realized that they are at different developmental stages, and that I have more ease with one stage than the other. So I understood that in fact, I have a favourite age, not a favourite child. And I think that they have different temperaments, and obviously I’m better at dealing with one, than the other.

So now I think that it’s ok to deal better with a certain age. It’s ok to like less some stages that they go through. It doesn’t make me a terrible mother, and it doesn’t make me love less my children.

And realizing that has made such a positive change in my approach toward my older daughter’s tantrums! Now, when she’s starting to loose it, I stay calm, and think that it’s just a phase, it’s not really her, she’s still my sweet little girl, and that the screaming and the whining is just a phase that she’s going through.

So here is my mantra now, my five rules to deal with it ( without ruining my kids psychic for life). And what I suggest you to do, if you’re in the same position as I am.

1. Realize that you might have your favourite developmental stage. (Ex. baby vs toddler)

2. Don’t show the preference.

3. Spent equal amount of quality time with each of the kids.

3. Talk about it with a friend or your partner, explain your feelings and don’t let the mommy guilt take over!

4. Realize that this is most likely a temporary preference. It’ll change or disappear.

So instead of felling guilty about my feelings, I try to deal with them. Because mommy guilt have never made a better mom out of anyone!

And I believe that it’s ok to admit to ourselves, that there might be a child with whom sometimes we feel better around. That there is one of our kids who is easier to parent then the other.

[bctt tweet=”It’s ok to admit that there is one of our kids who is easier to parent then the other. “]

I love the two of them like nothing else in the world. I just really prefer one developmental stage more than the other! So I guess that whoever will be in the terrible two / f* four stage will stay my least favourite but not least loved!

Do you have a kid that is easier to deal with then the others? Do you feel like you prefer to spend more time with one of your kid? How do you deal with it?

Old fashion birthday cake

Old fashioned birthday cake

My little baby just turned one, so finally I had an opportunity to make this old fashion birthday cake, topped with a little paper banner! My family and friends probably thought that I went crazy, and/or I’m so utterly bored at home that I started making useless cake banners ;). But cutting out little diamond shaped paper pieces, gluing them together on a string and then decorating a home made birthday cake with it, is actually my kind of kick-off-and-relax activity :).

I wanted a delicate light blue, slightly ombré cake, that when cut would be pink with blue icing in side. I got some colorful garlands that had set the cheerful and bright tone of the party. And since none of my kids knows what a birthday party theme is, I didn’t bother too much about coordinating the plates with the cake and the favours :). I got Sesame Street plates (on sale) that kids loved, little pirates straws (on sale) that they loved even more, and bubbles and stickers as favours. Honestly, not sticking to a strict theme got me saving money, and stress :). Totally worth it.

Coming back to my cake:). Here is the recipe for my foolproof angel food cake. But it could be also done with a cake mix. ( yes, don’t be shocked, a busy lazy mom, sometimes is using a cake mix). And I used pastel food colouring, so the insight of my cake was light pink. Oh, and it was heart-shaped too! (because I love my baby so much and because that was my only baking dish available:) )

Old fashioned birthday cake

Once my cake was baked, I cut it in half, and spread some light blue icing . For the icing, you can either use this delicious recipe of mine, or you can use a store-bought French vanilla icing. I won’t judge you. I divided my icing in three portions, and then tinted one in light blue, another in even lighter blue, and I left one white. Then starting from the bottom I spread the icing in a rather nonchalant way:) It’s old-fashion birthday cake, it should look rustic !

Old fashion birhday cake

Now, it wouldn’t look like an old fashion birthday cake without sprinkles, am I right?

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And here is how I made this lovely, cute and in the eyes of my friends rather useless cake banner :). I started by preparing :

A string
Pretty paper
Wood sticks
Glue

Old fashioned birthday cake

I cut the paper in to diamond shape, I wrapped the string around the stick, and then I glued the paper around it. Really simple and in my case very relaxing craft 🙂

Old fashioned birthday cake

Once everything was ready I had to keep my kids and my cats away from it, and believe me, its easier said then done! Lili wanted to ” just lick it a tiny bit”, and I had to close one of my furry babies in the basement, in order to save my cake from being eaten by a cat!

Old fashioned birthday cake

But honestly, my adorable one-year-old seemed like she couldn’t care less about the cake flavor, color or banner. It was sweet, and it was all that mattered to her :). Calmly, without a sound or a blink, she ate her piece in less than 2 minutes 🙂

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