1. Simple Organized Living inspired me to share some of my favorite things.  While I haven't been blogging much{busy with my little guy--so fun!}, I wanted to jump in with this.


    Boppy Water Resistant Protective Cover



    My friend told me she got one of these, and I got right on that.  Instead of having to wash your entire Boppy because of a blow out or a major spit up, you just pull off your slip cover and water resistant protective slipcover.  Genius!  This saves on your Boppy--big time!



    Braun ThermoScan Thermometer



    My good friend was a pediatric nurse.  She recommended a Braun ear thermometer, as the practice she worked at used one.  Now, I will also mention that she would want me to say that most pediatricians will ask for a rectal temperature reading if you call mentioning a fever(and your child is younger than 6 months); however, since this is an exact read, I only take it in his ear.  If the temperature is high, I will take a rectal temperature(with a different thermometer, of course!); then I can tell the doctor that I took a rectal reading. Who wants to do that every time you think your baby has a fever, though?  This has saved many rectal readings. :) For the skeptics, I have tested it by taking a rectal reading and an ear reading, and it was the exact same reading as it says!  I appreciate the disposable lens filters.  That enables our entire family to use this thermometer without having to worry about cleaning it every time.



    California Baby Shampoo and Body Wash



    This is well worth every penny.  Okay, so I didn't buy it:  I received it as a shower gift. ;)  I also have another back-up. The pump makes it ever-so-easy to use while trying to wash a baby.  Your skin is the biggest organ of your body, so I wanted my baby to have something that was safe, yet effective.  It has gotten in his eyes while rinsing his hair, and he has never shed a tear.  Ever.  He smells so clean afterward, and it's gentle on his skin.  I still have some left in the first bottle, and he's 4-1/2 months old.  It's all I've used on him so far.  So, while the price may be intimidating, it lasts for a looong time.


    Crocs Flip Flops



    Last year, Moneysavingmom.com listed Croc flip flops for $15.  I couldn't pass up the deal.  They were my shoe of choice during my pregnancy because of their great support.  During labor, they were perfect!  Let's just say that amniotic fluid went everywhere while I bounced away on the birthing ball, and my Crocs didn't get ruined. ;)  TMI, maybe?  After a good disinfecting, they are back in their groove--on my feet!

    Vtech Rhyme and Discover Book



    My baby loves this book{great gift from Papa!}.  I use it to distract him as we do his stretches(to help his Torticollis).  We "read" it during Tummy Time and story time.  He likes to watch me push the interactive buttons throughout the book.  He also enjoys pushing the animal heads as they light up.  Fun!
    I especially like that part of the songs are recorded and sung, and music is played for other parts of the song so they can sing it(when he's older...Mama sings it now!).  This would make a great gift for someone. :)

     
    What are some of your favorite things right now?






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  2. Click here to print a $1.00 off coupon for any Little Remedies product.  We use their Infant Fever Reliever, and that works well. 


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  3. Skill Focus:  Sensory
    Age Appropriate:  3 month+


    One of my son's favorite toys is the blue ball that he is holding(from Papa!).  The holes allow for an easy grip, which is great for babies.  He flings it all around(unintentionally at this point).  In the months ahead, I have no doubt that he will fling it for the pure enjoyment of watching Mommy and Daddy pick it up. ;)

    The other little ball(Baby Einstein Activity Balls) has tiny balls inside that make for a fun rattling sound.  Exposing your baby to different sizes of the same shape enhances their sensory skills and challenges them to hold their hands differently for the different sizes(working their fine motor skills, too!).

    Look around your house to find items with similar shapes so your baby can hold.  As always, be careful that you monitor their play and watch the size.  Doctors recommend that babies shouldn't hold items that could fit through a toilet paper roll tube(choking hazard).

     
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  4. Skill Focus: Sensory
    Age Appropriate:  2 months+

    While reading other baby activity posts, you might see a repeating theme--reading!  Dave Ramsey, a financial guru, shares Charlie Jones's quote:  "You are the same today as you'll be in five years except for two things: the books you read and the people you meet."  

    Books can change you, too.  So why not start young?  I loved this book that a friend bought E, because it has different materials throughout it for him to touch.  It's neat to see his reactions.  Sometimes his facial expression looks as if nothing happened when he touches the material.  Other times, his eyebrows furrow, and he looks very serious.


    Of course, I enjoy toys as much as E.  I have a very short attention span, so that works well with a baby. ;)  We have a bucket of toys that he loves to play with.  I try to keep different materials flowing through his hands, so that his sensory skills are getting sharpened.  He tends to enjoy touching soft things while chewing on hard materials at this point. Although, Ele(pronounced El--ee), his blue elephant can often be found in his mouth. I guess she's a favorite.  

    Notice the Grab and Stack Blocks that are on the floor.  They have different materials such as tags(made from a harder material), ribbons, felt, silky-ish material on a fish fin, and other materials.  He likes the different sounds they make as well.  Two of them have bells inside, while two of them crinkle.

    What are some of your baby's favorite toys?
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  5. E's first smile was at Target when I showed him this book. I had to get it for him. Well, Papa did(Christmas money, check!). =)
    Skill Focus:  Visual Stimulation
    Age Appropriate:  Newborn+

    Puppets are a great way to incorporate 3-D visuals and fun while reading.

    When choosing books, it's good to think about how it will add to your child's development.  I can already tell that E is a visual learner.  Okay, okay, perhaps the teacher in me is over-evaluating, but really, my husband even picked up that he is a visual learner.

    As a parent, find out how your baby/child learns.  Then run with that, but don't forget to strengthen other areas of learning.  Is your child a visual learner?  Get books with bright colors and interesting pictures.  An oral learner?  Audio books are great for that!  It will keep them interested in reading.  Put your pride aside.  Not every child is going to sit down to read a book.  Mine "reads" at this point, because he can't crawl/walk yet to get away from a book--haha!   Hands on learners--pop up books are GREAT!  It keeps those hands busy while learning.

    What you love, your children will love.  Do they see you reading?  I hope so!  Whether it's the newspaper or an article on-line, it's so important for your kids to see you reading, too.  And I'm not just talking about facebook status updates.  Speaking to myself, here!

    I'm reading through the Bible in 90 days, so that's been keeping me busy.  I've also been reading National Geographic and Guidepost magazines.  When I finish reading the Bible in 90 days, I'll start reading it all over again(not in 90 days, though!).  Then I'll be getting my hands on some books I've downloaded to my Kindle.

    What are you currently reading?

    Puppets and reading all in one--perfect!
    Linked to Blue Mondays 
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  6. He especially loves the taste and texture of the trunk. ;)




    Skill Focus:  Hand-eye Coordination
    Age Appropriate: 2 Months+

    Before giving the baby a rattle, it's good to hold your baby while showing him/her the object.  This helps as they develop hand-eye coordination.

    As your baby opens his/her hand, place the rattle in it.  It's great to expose them to different materials, so it's important to include different rattles to help them with their sensory skills.  Who says a baby isn't continually learning?

    Giving both hands a turn! ;)

    Their grip and/or attention span may not be long, so just go with the flow. 
    Oh, so good!


    What are your baby's favorite rattles?

    Please remember to check out my disclosure policy.  As always, check with your baby's doctor with any questions/concerns.
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  7. Skill Focus: Gross Motor Skills
    Age Appropriate:  Newborn+

    Tummy time has not always brought smiles in our home. In fact, it was my worst nightmare at one point. I hated seeing my little guy crying.  Screaming.  Kicking his legs.  Yet, his doctor kept telling me over and over that he needed tummy time.  Since the week he was born.  But did he really?  After what I thought were failed attempts, I was ready to just skip over tummy time for a while.  I mean, he wasn't going to be crawling for half a year, right?

    Then we found out E has torticollis.  Tummy time was no longer something I could do lightly.  He needed this to strengthen his neck muscles.  There seemed to be a purpose for this now, other than preparing him to crawl in the far-off months ahead.  That motivated me.  A lot.

    Just because I was motivated didn't mean my little guy was.  Have you ever done tummy time as an adult?  I honestly can't make it as long as he can.  It's hard work!

    So I try to help the 'lil guy out. ;)

    He loves his baby einstein.  The rattles keep his attention. 

    Rolling up a towel or blanket helps give him extra support. This helped him to last longer during tummy time. Since we have to do six ten minute sessions a day, this was a must. 

    He loves his dog that his papa bought him.  The songs are contagious, and he loves when I sing, too The blinking heart also helps distract him.  Toys and singing are great distractions! 

    A friend on facebook posted a picture of her baby watching a dvd. I loved the idea, and tada!  Daddy had fun pointing out the different things on the screen while watching with E.  As an educator, that made my heart skip a beat(okay, so I'm a drama queen!).  

    It thrills me that E loves to "read."  He is so much fun.  Because he has torticollis, we try to keep things to his left to strengthen that muscle!  However, do keep things centered or try to move his focus to his right as well.  We don't want those muscles to weaken, either!

    I will be doing a post about exposing your baby to different materials. This really gets him into "deep thought." While he doesn't necessarily have perfect hand-eye coordination yet, just moving his arms can knock these around.  Here, he is reaching out to touch them.  What a guy!  Also, notice that he is propped on the Boppy.  This is great when they get bigger.  When they are too small, it is hard on their back, as the arch is greater.


    While tummy time isn't his favorite activity, it is necessary.  It has helped him so much with plagiocephaly from the torticollis, too!  The flat spot is still there, but tummy time helps so much.  He is enjoying it more, and that means the world to me.  Making something that isn't fun more enjoyable is a must for me!  

    As always, check with your baby's doctor.  ;)  

    What do you do for your baby's tummy time? I'd love to hear ideas and incorporate them into his tummy time activities.  

    Please remember to check out my disclosure policy.  As always, check with your baby's doctor.  




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  8. I happened to see this product in the store one day and decided to give it a try.  I will not turn back now. Let me let the pictures do most of the talking.


    My sweet boy was sporting this onesy.




    Back side of said onesy.  It's not a Picasso, but it sure is a work of art, isn't it?


    I use All Free and Clear as my detergent now, and I had scrubbed the shirt with the Fels-Naptha bar.   That's it.  Whether you let it sit for a day(with treatment) or throw it in the wash right away, it works. Every time.

    This cost me under $2 and saves me a lot of money by not having to replace clothes because of huge stains.

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  9. Skill Focus:  Hand-eye coordination
    Age Appropriate:  2 to 6 months

    Teaching your baby hand-eye coordination is fun and easy.  Simply dangle an object within reach.  It's best to start in the center, so they can focus on the object.  Then, move it to the left and right.  His daddy would say this is getting him ready for the big leagues some day.  Let's hope it's with the Sox.  Red, of course!  Mama wouldn't mind the Tigers either. ;)

    Since E has Torticollis, I make an extra effort to focus in on the left when possible.  However, I don't want to ignore the right side.  He's actually working his mind and body but doesn't know it.  Shhh!

    The left side takes a little more work, and you can tell he has something to say about it. ;) 

    The right side is more enjoyable for him, because it's easier with those muscles.


    What activities does your baby enjoy doing?  I am going to try to post an activity each week.  I'd love to see links to your baby's activities or ideas in the comments section.

    Aren't they fun?

    Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  ~James 1:17

    Linked to Friday Favorite Things

    Please remember to check out my disclosure policy.  As always, check with your baby's doctor.

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  10. If you read my previous post about E being diagnosed with torticollis, you may be wondering about his progress.  

    Quick review: Torticollis involves swelling of the sternocleidomastoid muscle, making it difficult to rotate the head in a certain direction.  If you notice the picture of E above, his head naturally tilts to one side.  Turning his head to the left causes him great discomfort.  

    We were prescribed(from a licensed institution) exercises(stretches) to help with his torticollis.  He does not enjoy these exercises.  At all.  In fact, he knows when we are about to do them.  He bucks me.  He screams.  He cries.  It breaks my heart.  However, I know that I have to do these with him.  We were told this would happen.  So, I put on my big girl pants and keep doing what needs to be done to help him.  All the while trying to make it as enjoyable(yeah, right!) as possible for him.  There are times that he does smile or laugh.  That helps.  A little.  

    We normally do the stretches after a diaper change.  However, we try to do them at other times, because the 'lil guy has picked up on this. ;) Too smart!  I sing.  Make weird noises(I have been accused of barking like a dog).  Whatever it takes to help him along. 


    When putting the Pack 'N Play together(thanks to sweet friend for suggesting this brand, my daddy for buying it, and my husband for putting it together!), my husband assembled the mobile so that it's to his left.  Everything needs to focus on his left(to strengthen those muscles!).  


    It's not like every time he has a diaper change, his head automatically turns left because of the mobile.  We have to point out the mobile and encourage him to look at it. Once it gets his attention, he'll look at it for a bit.  Every stretch helps!  When he smiles at the mobile, it melts this mama's heart.  


    After changing his diaper, I put him on my left breast(his favorite--TMI, maybe?).  He used to like this one the best, because I used to feed him cross cradle style on both breasts.  That meant his neck was stretched the way he liked it(his "good" side) for this jug.  I was encouraged to continue feeding him cross cradle on the right breast but to start feeding him with the football hold on the left breast.  Again, this encourages stretching of the muscles on his left side.  Without him getting upset about it.  Because the boy loves his milk. ;)


    When burping my 'lil man, I always burp him on my right shoulder.  Since my big head is in his way, he turns to the left.  *giggle*  I love tricking distracting him so easily this way.  


    After burping him, we normally have play time during the day.  However, if he happens to fall asleep with his head looking left, Mama is not going to wake him.  Let's just say that night sleeping with his head correctly positioned is still a work in progress.  I have been "caught" by my man turning E's head multiple times in the night.  Although my little man is sleeping through the night now(please, Lord, let this continue!), Mama isn't.  'Cause I have OCD with turning his head the way it needs to be--left!  If you are wondering, almost every time I wake up his head is turned to the right.  We press on.  


    If I notice he is taking a "for real" nap(longer than his usual cat naps), I will position him lower on my chest so it's comfy for both of us. ;)  

    The exciting part is that the stretches seem to be working.  He does turn to the left more easily, and his head isn't as tilted when he's relaxed.  Praising Jesus for His awesomeness and grace! 

    We continue to trust that God has a plan for everything--including our son's torticollis.  While this is not life-threatening, it's something he has to live with for right now.  I was raised to make the most of situations and put my best foot forward.  My left foot, in this situation.  When in Rome...

    He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.  ~I Thessalonians 5:24

    I am not licensed to give you or anyone advice.  I'm just sharing what has worked for our family.  As always, please read my disclosure policy

    Correct grammar is not always used(for emphasis).  ;)  Former students reading my blog may be appalled.  Lol...
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