One of our favorite Bible teaching tools for kiddos

Last fall we discovered the Toddler Curriculum by Children Desiring God  and we’ve found it to be a FANTASTIC resource for introducing Audrey to key Bible stories in an age-appropriate way.

We are also big fans of the “Big Picture Story Bible,” but at 18 months it was still beyond her comprehension level.

The Children Desiring God curriculum is designed for Sunday Schools but oh-so-easy to use at home, too.  Each story (creation, resurrection, etc.) features 3-5 picture cards (in nice cardstock) and a corresponding “script” to use to tell the story.  Each lesson also includes a song and other materials to supplement the main story.  There were even coloring pages to correspond to each story (which we didn’t do as often as I wish we had).

I felt a little silly going through the cards the first couple of times, but Audrey really seemed to love it, and to catch on, too!  I was impressed with how age appropriate the scripts were; they explained the stories in language she could easily understand.  We did the same story for 1-2 weeks to give her a chance to really soak it up before moving on.

We ended up ordering the Older Toddler Teacher Booklet and the Older Toddler Story Pictures since both packages include the stories for the younger toddlers.

What are your favorite resources for teaching the Bible to your kids?

 

Advertisements

Our favorite 1-2 year old items (including toys!)

Here are some of the items that were our favorite for Audrey last year!

GEAR

Straw cup: when it was time to transition from a bottle to a cup, Audrey had trouble with the sippy cup concept so we went straight to this small straw cup. When she outgrew that, I found that the larger Playtex straw cups were great as they are easy to wash and the straw can be covered to keep it clean for outings.

Cart Cover: I loved how (relatively) compact this cover was and how easily it fit over most shopping carts. The Target carts were always a bit of a stretch, but it was doable.  It also fit over high chairs.

Costco Wipes and Huggies overnight diapersfor diapering needs.  Need I say much more? We were very happy with both, and still use them since we diaper for nap and nights.  We often went up one size for the overnight diapers compared to the daytime diaper.

TOYS

Hape Toys Walker: This was an absolutely wonderful gift Audrey got for Christmas right after she turned one. I was absolutely delighted with how sturdy it was– no tipping over for this walker!

Music cube: Audrey adored this simple music toy and often pushed it around in her walker.  It was easy to push and played a variety of not-too-annoying tunes.

Scooter: Audrey was actually able to figure this out before she turned one and it provided hours of amusement– and still does!  We’ve kept it primarily for inside play and it doesn’t take up too much space. (Note: the current Amazon price is WAY higher than when we got it, so it might be worth shopping around if you are looking to purchase this one).

Stroller: We got this inexpensive Target stroller and it is still one of Audrey’s favorites for pushing her stuffed animals around the house.  It folds up compactly, which I love, and is sturdy enough for her to sit in it (ha!).

Picnic Basket: this is a toy that has really grown so well with Audrey. Initially she loved just taking things out, and later she learned how to match the shapes on the plates to the appropriate foods.

What have been YOUR favorite gear and toys for the 1-2 year old set?

Our favorite baby items (6-12 months)

View Full Size Soft Bib • Red/Blue, 2-pack

To continue this little series on baby items, here are some of our favorites we started using at 6-12 months:

High Chair: We’re still using this one at well over 2 years.  I love how relatively simple this high chair is and how easy it is to clean (the cover and straps come off easily for washing).  I really prefer having Audrey at a high chair because it is so easy to clean the tray when she’s done.  It’s also a great place for her to color or do play doh.  All in all, we’ve been very happy with this purchase!

Bjorn Bib: another item we still use every day!  After trying several other types of bibs when Audrey started solids, this one won hands down.  She can’t rip it off easily, it catches food, and I can throw it in the dishwasher.  We only have one and it has traveled all over the country with us.

Ergo: need I really say more? We particularly loved the Ergo when we were flying.  Audrey pretty much only napped in her crib by this stage, but with the handy Ergo hood we could usually get her to nap while flying.  Incidentally, we got ours from REI because of their outstanding return policy in case it didn’t work out for us.

Doorway Jumper: Audrey liked this better than the stand-alone version and spent many hours happily jumping away.  I was impressed with how securely it fitted over our door frames. (If any of our Boston friends would like to borrow it, let me know!)

BOB stroller: We love, love, love, LOVE our BOB!  We got it used on craigslist when we moved to Boston and continue to use it daily. It just navigates so beautifully and Audrey is so happy in it.  I love that I can jog with it if I want to. We have also loved the handlebar console and the rain shield. We use it primarily for walking outside but have find it surprisingly easy to navigate during quick runs to the grocery store. I keep an umbrella stroller in the car for shopping.

Our favorite infant items (0-6 months)

A couple friends have contacted me and asked me about some of our favorite baby items.  If you are a mom-to-be, I hope you enjoy this list and find it helpful!

Fisher Price Swing: We didn’t get one until after Audrey was born, but this was one item that was worth its weight in gold for us. We got a “cradle” style swing that goes side-to-side as well as back-and-forth. We also made sure to get one that we could plug in so we didn’t spend a fortune on batteries. The fabric is washable so this would be a great item to get used!

Swaddles: We swaddled until she started rolling over. We really liked the Halo swaddles. They are a bit pricey, unfortunately. If you put them on your registry, I’d suggest getting at least two each in the newborn and small sizes. They come in two types of fabric: fleece and a lighter weight cotton. We found that the fleece were less likely to come “unswaddled.”

Tommee Tippee Bottles: I nursed Audrey for the first 6-8 months, and these bottles made for a great transition.

Monitor: We got a straightforward audio monitor. I really like that this one has noise-activated lights so that I could look at the monitor and tell if she was making noise rather than having to have it turned up all the time.

Bath Chair: Cheap and simple. I wish it was easier to fold up!

Target Diapers: We used Pampers for the first month or so and then switched to Target. They are about the cheapest diapers I can find and they have worked great for us! I like that they aren’t scented since Audrey’s skin is a bit sensitive.

What baby items are essential in your family?

10 Tips to Surviving as a Brand New Mom

Recently a friend wrote and asked me for advice about how to pass the time at home after becoming a new mom.  Maybe what I wrote to her can encourage you or another new mom in your life!

1) Go for walks. I have found it so helpful to get some fresh air in the afternoons between nap time and bedtime.  It helps my mental health a LOT to get out of the house and breathe some outdoor air!

2) Skype. We Skype with my mom almost every day and having the grown-up interaction is a lifesaver. Thanks, mom! Aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. love seeing Audrey, too!

3) Routine. It may be a while yet before a newborn settles into a more predictable pattern and that is totally normal. I have found that I really thrive off of routine, though.  Even if things happen at different times each day for you, it can help to know that in the morning you’ll Skype with someone, then have lunch, then go for a walk in the afternoon, then read some books to baby in the last little bit before Daddy comes home. It just gives a little structure to the days so they don’t feel so long.

4) Playdates. This can be tricky if you are trying to keep baby away from other kids but I’ve found it SO refreshing to spend time with other moms. Maybe you could have a friend over for coffee!

5) Music and/or sermons. At Audrey’s stage it is harder to listen to sermons, but sometimes if she is playing quietly I can listen to one. I find it helps to give my brain and heart something to think about it. I also play music a lot, even if it is instrumental as it gives a nice soundtrack to the day.

6) TV series. Audrey was a HARD baby and would often take 1-2 hours to settle down for the night and would need to nurse a lot. In those first few really hard, dark, winter weeks I watched a Downton Abbey episode every night and it made those long evenings something more fun. Alex and I also watched White Collar in the evenings which gave me something to look forward to.

7) Enjoy your trips to the Pediatrician! While you’re out, drive through somewhere and treat yourself to an ice cream cone– or a salad! I would sometimes just sit in the car and enjoy being out of the house.

8) Rest.  Listen to all those people who tell you to “sleep when the baby sleeps.”  You’ll find a new normal soon enough– keep work and cooking to a minimum in the mean time. (If baby isn’t sleeping, you might want to check out Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child or The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems).

9) Get medical help when you need it.  I remember being scared of “failing” the postpartum depression questionnaire my OB’s office gave me at my six week appointment.  While I apparently “passed” (I don’t remember them saying otherwise), the fact is I struggled with postpartum depression symptoms for a very, very long time after becoming a mom.  When I finally got medical help, it was life changing for my marriage and my mothering.  If those around you, especially your husband, are telling you don’t seem like yourself, listen.  Don’t be afraid of getting help.  (You might want to check out this simple questionnaire.)

10) Remember that “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him” (Psalm 103). As a mom, I can easily feel like I am not doing enough. At least for me, I need to remember that the Lord is watching over me and caring for me just as much as I watch over and care for Audrey.

If you are a parent, what advice would you you have for a new mom?  I’d love to hear!

How We Travel

Audrey and I have taken more flights together than I can count.  Sometimes Alex has been able to accompany us, but often it is just Audrey and me. Our longest adventure so far was the 5-6 hour flights between Boston and Seattle.  Whew!

I thought I’d record what works for us.  Maybe it will be helpful to you.  And one day I know I’ll look back on all these details and smile.

Packing

-Diaper, extra shirt and pants in a large ziplock bag. It is handy to stick wet clothes in here if needed.

-Our allergy kit with extra epi-pens (since Audrey has a peanut allergy and airplanes are scarily full of peanuts! Side note: if you’re reading this, would you be willing to consider abstaining from bringing peanuts on or eating peanuts on your next flight?  There are SO many people who are allergic to peanuts and it is one of the most serious allergies.)

-iPhone with photos (this has been great for the last hour of the flight when Audrey might be tired.  We look at photos of all our family members and talk about what they are doing in each shot.)

-Books (this small Caillou set doesn’t take up much space!)

-Lots of stickers and construction paper.  This set is neat if you have an older child but regular stickers are just as good.  We made a card for Daddy on our last flight.

Imagine Ink marker and pad.  $3 in the dollar bins at Target!

-iPad loaded with plenty of Curious George episodes and these awesome headphones.

-Lots of nut-free snacks and a cup for water.  (Applesauce pouches and Annie’s cheddar bunnies are favorites).

-Anti-bacterial wipes: great for wiping hands and wiping down the tray table and windows for any peanut residue.

How We Roll

I bring our umbrella stroller and pack everything into two bags: a bag I can ‘wear’ and a small bag with food that can be hung on the stroller.

We also carry on Audrey’s Cosco Scenera carseat.  It is super lightweight and hangs easily off of the umbrella stroller for getting through the airport.  Since she knows that she has to “stay put” when she’s buckled into a carseat, we don’t have to struggle to keep her in her seat.

Other Tips

We’ve found it helpful to get to the gate (after visiting the bathroom for a fresh before takeoff diaper!) about 15 minutes before boarding.  This allows time for Audrey to run around and get out some wiggles after being confined to the stroller going through check-in and security.  We also try to just board with our regular group to cut down on having to sit longer on the plane!

Once on the plane, we’ll look out the window, talk about what we see and usually read some books during takeoff.

After take off, if it is a longer flight I alternate letting her watch 2-3 episodes of a show with playing games, going for a walk down the aisle, and having a snack.  This has helped things go super smoothly!

As I look over these notes, I can’t help but be grateful for the chance to travel with my little girl to see the people we love most.  If your a parent who travels with your littles, what are your favorite tips and tricks?

I absolutely love this photo of Audrey traveling last summer with her Great-Grandmother, Nonna, and Aunt Tiffany!

I absolutely love this photo of Audrey traveling last summer with her Great-Grandmother, Nonna, and Aunt Tiffany!