Monthly Archives: August 2011

Saturday Links – Inside-out Laundry

Theory Links

Save time while folding laundry: fold it inside-out – While the OCD freak in me shudders at inside out clothing, this post deserves to be shared if only because it turns “Let the wookiee win” into a parenting philosophy.  LOVE.

Infant Sleep “Rules” Don’t Work – The title’s a little misleading, since it’s not saying that techniques don’t do anything.  It’s simply saying that your attitude towards the child matters most of all (which is advice you’ll find in most sleep books).

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Filed under Baby (9 - 18 mos), Infant (0 - 9 mos), Saturday Five, Sleep

Spreadsheet Wednesday: Packing Lists

Edit: Fixed the link to the spreadsheet.  Sorry folks.

I meant to share this before we went on vacation, but I was too busy using this spreadsheet at the time. :D  This spreadsheet is one of the cases where a little effort to design it well once will save a lot of time in the future.  (As opposed to some of my other spreadsheets, which I spend hours making and never use . . .)

Click to view and download a copy

Yes, as the title so brilliantly implies, these are my packing lists.  I’ve only got parent, baby, and toddler lists right now, but I’m sure I’ll add child and teen lists as our family gets older.

I love this spreadsheet because I don’t have to even think about what to pack for a trip anymore.  I print out lists for everyone on packing day, tape them to their door, cross things off as I go, and don’t take them down until everything is packed and in the car.  It takes all the “did I forget to pack black socks?” out of vacationing.

Changing the numbers in the boxes labeled “# Days Total” and “# of Days (w/Laundry)” (meaning days in between doing laundry) will change the numbers on the items of clothing you need to bring, and amounts of food and diapers for the kids.  You may need to tinker around with the formulas to get it to your personal ratio of re-wearings versus laundry done.

I’ve also sorted the packing list by categories so I don’t need separate packing lists for summer and winter or if I’m going to exercise on the trip or not.  Also useful for packing like items in similar places.

Okay, maybe I should stop drooling over my spreadsheet.  See you later.

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Filed under Spreadsheet Wednesday, Travel

Parenting Book Review: 12 Hours Sleep by 12 Weeks Old

So, if you recall, one of my first posts on this blog was my version of the Baby Wise sleep method.  I posted it first to help myself remember for the next time I go ’round the baby wagon, but also because I hate the tone and style of Baby Wise even though their techniques worked like a charm for both my kids.

Well, a few weeks ago, I found my new alternative to Baby Wise: Twelve Hours’ Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old by Suzy Giordano.  (My husband looked at me funny when he saw I was reading a baby sleep book even though both our kids are done with all that.  Yes, I have odd hobbies that include raiding the parenting section at the local library for fun.)  This book has much less of a moral tone and focuses more on techniques and strategies for stretching a baby’s sleep schedule to fit yours.

In particular, I loved the daytime and nighttime “toolboxes” she includes for you to use in the transition from “eat whenever you want” to “stick to the schedule, kid.”  Continue reading

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Filed under Baby Wise, Infant (0 - 9 mos), Parenting Book Reviews, Sleep

Saturday Links – Top Formula Myths and Duplo Painting

Theory Links

The Top Five Formula Feeding Myths, Debunked – As a formula feeder myself, I have certainly been (unintentionally) hurt by a lot of lactivist comments.  I think every mother should know the truth and get their facts straight, whether you breastfeed or not.

Dealing with Diaper Changing Disasters – Some good go-to places for the stage Sailor’s currently in, where a diaper change is the worst thing that ever happened to him.  Some of this advice seems to have worked over the past few weeks, so we’ll see how it goes.

Activity Links

Duplo Printing – We loved painting with cars so this is the next logical step.  What other plastic toys can I hit up?

Constructive Eating – I have to wonder if this would make dinner take  more or less time.  I think some modified “pusher” tool should become the fourth official utensil, because really, spoons can be tricky devils.

Fun Uses for Kool-Aid – Because at $.10 a pop, you can always use more.

Table manners come more easily when practicing them becomes a game – So obvious. I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to compete.

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Filed under Baby (9 - 18 mos), Feeding, Infant (0 - 9 mos), Magda Gerber, Preschooler (3 yrs - 5 yrs), Saturday Five, Toddler (18 mos - 3 yrs)

Road Trip Activities, Redux

And we’re back with a review on our toddler and baby road trip activities:

Organizational strategy: Wow, the “surprise packages” idea takes the cake for an idea that sounded good in theory but blew up in practice.  I clearly did not think through the logistics of trying to manage 15 brown lunch sacks per child in the cramped car environment.  The sacks filled up two office paper boxes (you know, the ones that reams of paper come in) and were a complete mess within hours, sending me into OCD convulsions trying to organize from the front seat.

Luckily, I had a brilliant idea before we returned home and turned one box into a divided storage compartment by cutting the sides off the lid, cutting the lid in half, and duct taping the two pieces inside the box.  The result: three compartments effective at sorting toddler toys into a slightly more manageable mess in the car.  And it fits perfectly on the floor between the carseats and the front seats.

As for the activities themselves: Continue reading

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Filed under Baby (9 - 18 mos), Toddler (18 mos - 3 yrs), Travel

Saturday Links – Tips for Broadening Play and Button Snakes

Theory Links

But My Child Doesn’t Like to Play _______ – I totally have experience with this. In order to get Monkey to play anything new, I have to incorporate the alphabet.  Driving cars in letter shapes, building letters out of Legos, making food into letters . . .  I appreciated the additional ideas for broadening my son’s play.

Modeling Healthy Technology Use – If you have a smartphone, this is for you.

21 Reasons to Travel Around the World with Kids . . . From Those Who Have Done It – These reasons are part of why I’m looking into travel hacking (a natural extension of couponing :D).

Activity Links

Button Snakes – Simple, yet effective.  I will be building some of these soon.

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Filed under Couponing/Money Saving, Parental Motivators, Preschooler (3 yrs - 5 yrs), Saturday Five, Toddler (18 mos - 3 yrs), Travel

Let’s Go Drivin’ in a Automobile: Toddler and Baby Road Trip Activites

As I mentioned in yesterday’s library hits, we’re leaving Friday on a road trip.  It’s going to be our first road trip ever with Monkey (age 2.5) and Sailor (age 11 mos).  If you’d been at my house the last few weeks, you might think I was over-planning for a dinky 14 hour, one day road-trip from Seattle to Salt Lake City.  There are bags of toys and distractions everywhere, several new spreadsheets have been generated, and I’ve been refining the perfect mix CD of singable adult and children’s music.  This might be overkill, but right now I live in fear of three words: road trip meltdown.  There’s nothing that turns me into an irrational mess like hearing my kids crying in discomfort and boredom from the back seat and not being able to do anything about it.

Sure, I could probably just hand Monkey a portable DVD player with some Fraggle Rock or Word World, or even better, use my Grandma’s time-honored trick and knock them out with Benedryl (don’t worry, I won’t).  But part of me says that my kids need to learn to entertain themselves on a road trip, not  just send them into a coma; it’s morally beneficial, right?  (Additionally, we don’t have a portable DVD player.  Hey, the kids should feel blessed that we have air conditioning.  Back when I was a kid . . .)

So, how do you entertain toddlers on a road trip when so many traditional road trip games depend on more observant eyes, more brain power, or more ability-not-to-drop-everything than they currently have?  Continue reading

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Filed under Baby (9 - 18 mos), Toddler (18 mos - 3 yrs), Travel