Saturday, August 30, 2008

Toddler games, toddler fun, toddler activities, toddler ideas - introducing

The other day after an "aqua-painting" session (where Biscuit used a foam brush dipped in a little bowl of water to "paint" plain paper, his toys, his feet, you name it!), I decided to rename this blog with a title more relevant to what it's about, which is our toddler and all things toddler play-related, plus a little of whatever we learn along the way. We hope you can use some of the toddler ideas and adventures we share here (see my tags down the right-hand column for specific categories like games, crafts, indoor fun, free activities for toddlers, money-saving tips, toys, parenting solutions, etc) and even if you can't use 'em but just want to follow the life and times of a lively, loving Little Biscuit, well welcome, and happy reading!!

Friday, August 29, 2008


Today is a very special day for Biscuit's Grammy. On this very day seven years ago she had surgery for cancer and (praise God!) the doctors got it all and she's been cancer-free ever since!! We like to remember this day every year with what we call "Yay Day!" in celebration of God's goodness to our family through the whole here is a little "shout out" Biscuit helped me work on just for you, Grammy (he was the sticker "sticker"). We LOVE YOU :D

Hard at work (almost done)....

Let's have a parade!! Hip, hip, hooray!! :D

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Books as Toys! (Building Blocks of a Toddler's Love for Reading)

Biscuit already loves books any way he can get them...he enjoys finding pictures of stars, dogs, balls and other familiar shapes in them, he likes touching and feeling texture books, opening and closing flaps on the lift-the-flap books and just snuggling up for a short story time. But we found out this week that books can be toys too! They make great blocks (especially board books, and puzzles too). They also work well as streets, ramps, bridges and obstacles for trucks, and are fun for balancing games (try to walk with a book on your head and see if your toddler will copy you - even if he can't, he'll sure think it's funny!) Books even work as push toys - Biscuit likes sliding them around the house, sometimes one under each hand! I'm hopeful that even though these aren't the "usual" uses for books, as long as he associates them with playtime fun, smiles and lots of mommy time, he'll be well on his way to thinking of books in a positive way later on when it's time to actually read them :D

Monday, August 25, 2008

Comic Book Kid!

At an outdoor shopping adventure this weekend, I thought Biscuit was just having some fun exploring new sights - but after looking at these pics it appears that he was pretending to be superheroes! Here he is as Clark Kent in the phone booth...'s a bird, it's a plane, it's SUPER Biscuit!
Here he is again ... this time morphing into a mutant ninja turtle tot at the Build-a-Bear Workshop!

SpiderBoy learns that, with great power (in his case, the new ability to walk!) comes great responsibility :D
And finally, here's Itty Bitty Batman honing his art of stealth as he tries to appear invisible behind a fountain from his itty bitty Batmobile. (He has some work to do!)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Easy press 'n paint fridge art (Biscuit's first toddler art project - playdough fresco!)

toddler doodling in playdough

It was another rainy day so I decided to let Biscuit get colorful and artsy here at home. I didn't really want to do fingerpaints yet as I know he'd still try to eat it (same goes with crayons and markers) or splash it all over the place. So I rolled a ball of playdough onto some copy paper and mashed it into a thin layer; then I scraped off the excess with a plastic knife and back into the container. Biscuit used this no-mess surface as his toddler-friendly "paint" - it was a fun texture to doodle and play in with his hands (but I didn't have to worry about him eating dough since it was stuck on the paper). I showed him he could use his megablocks, some alphabet magnets, shapes from his sorter and random stacking toys as stamps by pressing them into the dough. He caught on quick so I just let him go at it. He got creative, as you can see - here's a peek at his finished masterpiece, which now adorns our refrigerator.

"Sticky Starry Night" by Biscuit Van Doh

toddler artwork from stamps and playdough

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Top Toddler Secrets: REVEALED!

Little Biscuit's Biggest Fears:
1. Hearing someone cough
2. Elevators (but he's getting over this one)
3. Going to bed with (or following) a cold
4. Anything new (a change to his room or routine, a new bowl or plate, etc.)
5. The bulb syringe or toothbrush

Health Hints:
  • won't eat, won't sleep through the night, won't play for long, more dirties, more chewing, more fussy, more clingy=more TEETH
  • slightly elevated temp, runny or stuffy nose, croupy cough, rough nights, more clingy=another VIRUS
  • all of the above=more teeth AND another virus
  • head-banging, tantrums, eczema=possible environmental allergy and/or result of eating a problem food (milk or corn?); the eczema seems to get worse with any immune system response (even just a cold, but also shots, etc)
  • ear-holding, slight fever, inconsolable at night=probable EAR infection
Hush-Hush Sleep Tricks: (what works right now when nothing else will)
1. A back rub (or behind-the-ears massage)
2. Rocking and a lullaby (hummed not sung)
3. DVD or Newsboys "Go" CD (but these are losing their effect)
4. warm milk (I know, I know)
5. prayer and divine intervention ;)

Baby Talk Translator:
tea: EAT!
ba-ba-ba: bounce, bounce, bounce!
dee: drink
wuff: dog
diddy: DVD
puh: puffs
deh: yes
bah: ball
dih, dih: kick, kick
t-t-t-t: light!
buh: book
wa-wa-wah: WALK!
ra-ra-rah: rock, rock, rock (as in, a rocking chair)
mmm: this tastes good
woo, ooov: fire truck siren
ooua, oooooooua (grunty noises): uh-oh, a dirty diaper
nana, nana: wipe my nose or no, no, no! or banana, or help me!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Survivor: Toddler Island

It struck me, while the Biscuit was playing in the woods the other day, that he'd make a great contender on reality TV. Here's how he could outwit, outplay and outlast the best of 'em...

(You'll never know by his face what he's thinking or what he'll do next...)
toddler in the woods

(...and he can find his own way around to map out the lay of the land).
toddler crawling in the woods

OUTPLAY! (He doesn't need toys to have a ball...)
toddler smiling

(...and if it means jumping off a bridge to prove you're brave, he's got what it takes.)
toddler on bridge over creek

(He can start a fire with just a stick and his teeth....)
toddler with a twig in his mouth

(...and he's not afraid to eat ANYTHING - unless it's his own baby food).
toddler eating a yellow leaf

Well, there you go...he's almost ready for the auditions ;) We still need to work on endurance though...specifically, when he can survive a whole night without waking up his tribe for milk, he can start working on his application ;)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fun ways to celebrate a toddler's "14 month" birthday

This weekend was busy and loads of fun ;) Saturday Little Biscuit turned 14 months old so to celebrate, Big Biscuit and I packed him up for a drive...we went to the hospital where he was born to visit the nurses at the special care nursery (he had to stay there for several days as a newborn for some serious medical concerns). The staff enjoyed getting to see the "results" of their loving care over a year later (of course we know it was all by God's grace!!) And we enjoyed thinking back about what an adventure these 14 months have been so far!! Biscuit's favorite part was bopping the big monkey balloon he brought for them :) Here's the pics we gave the nurses of "then" and "now" for their album .... (one of these days I'll post the birth story on here too so you can get some background info):

birth story NICU newborn in hospitalcute toddler hanging upside down, toddler smiling

What a difference, huh!? Well, so, that evening we went to the mall - the real treat there was go-kart watching! Biscuit is obviously too little too ride them (even the 'tot rods' have to be 36" tall) but he sure enjoyed watching the 'big boys' whiz by, around and around the track! He also enjoyed playing at the indoor play space, exploring the toy store and eating tomatoes off mommy's plate at Chevy's Tex-Mex! (It's okay...I was already full on chips n salsa!!) Big Biscuit liked stopping in at the Soda jerk and guarding the stroller from "car-jackings" (which was attempted once by a pint-size thief!) We also went into the glow-in-the-dark putt-putt just to let Biscuit see the eerie effects...indeed he was in awe and liked seeing the stripes on his shirt light up ;) Sunday was another first because not only did Biscuit stay the whole time during church in the nursery (without one of us being called back to console him), he also went again that night! He is improving so much in the area of separation anxiety! It was just one more reminder that our little baby is growing up way-y-y too fast!! :)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Playdate at the Park!

Biscuit and I have been itching to meet some new friends outside of church and work these days so yesterday we joined a playgroup we found on Meetup! Our first playdate was at the park and we both had a great time getting to know some other mommies and kiddos from around town. The group has an awesome list of activities (something always going on!) so we should have plenty of social time now!! Yippee!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Baby-proofing the TV buttons

Biscuit has discovered a new hobby of playing with the buttons on the TV - he loves flipping the power on and off, turning the volume up and down and fiddling with all the screen settings. A firm "no" and distraction is not enough to keep him away. Baby stores sell guards for electronics panels but it was just one more thing I didn't want to buy. I figure there's almost always a way to here's our workaround: I found one of those el-cheapo, one-piece clear plastic 8x10 photo frames I already had (my mom had given it to me - the kind with a little stand at the bottom). I took out the pic that was in it and slid the frame under the TV, so that the stand section covered the buttons. The TV still works fine with the remote (which I can store out of Biscuit's reach!) Looks like he's stumped...for now! ;)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Let's Dish! (Servin' up some indoor fun)

Biscuit had a rough night last night since he's still feeling yucky from his cold (or whatever it is), so we were both pretty tired this morning; we decided to entertain ourselves at home. We broke out some plastic containers with easy-snap tops and practiced putting lids on. He had fun trying to match the right lid with the right container (and just as much fun putting the wrong lid on, just to see the result!) :D He also liked seeing what would go inside the containers, and dumping them out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

If only his cold were a soccer ball, he could kick it!

Biscuit's nose is running again today (seems like he clears up for about a week then gets it all over again); he clearly needed another cheer-up activity. So we headed to the sports park for the first time ever this morning.

Among the fun things we found to do there were:

1. chase a soccer ball and kick it into the net (of course)
2. try to crawl through the little holes in the net (no comment)
3. see how many abandoned soccer balls we can find (3, I think)
4. watch a big tractor haul out and set up the stands (good timing I guess)
5. play in the gravel at the parking lot (and by "play" Biscuit means, "See how fast I can shove a rock in my mouth before mommy can stop me.")
6. watch a gated field get watered by the sprinkler system
7. try to figure out a way to play in the sprinklers (to no avail)
8. watch a Dr. Pepper truck go by, hoping it might stop and share (it didn't)
9. realize we aren't at the public sports park after all (we're at a private soccer club--oops!)
10. Too tired to play outside anymore, we drive back and forth jumping speed bumps at the real park--yippee!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Little Biscuit, CEO (Cutest Executive Officer!)

Well, I have no idea what Biscuit wants to be when he grows up but yesterday he got to pretend he was the president of a big company (our local office supply store)!

I'm not sure what he thought of the job, but he really liked that his big cushy leather chair rolled around, and that he could pound on his desk to his heart's content :) As he toured his new office space he actually found a golf club just his size under the desk...go figure. I was hired as his secretary for the day and I will say that he has a VERY busy schedule and can be a challenge to keep up with! He pops in at random departments throughout the building to make sure things are running smoothly. He even tests out the current products on the shelf for quality control! I noticed he has a tendency toward kleptomania, especially with regard to pens (or maybe just wants a promo stash on hand?) Another thing I noticed is he's also really picky about his carpet...he physically inspects it and insists on no fuzzballs (he removes them himself if needed):

I wonder if I should pick up the classic job-hunting book, "What Color Is Your Parachute?" from the library for him today? On second thought, if all he can understand is the pictures, his next request may be to go skydiving with me. I'm not sure I'm ready for that adventure yet!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Toddler-Style Game Cube ;)

A NOTE ABOUT SAFETY: this project contains small parts and sharp wire so if you make your own cube, make sure to take measures to keep the components securely fastened to the basket and fold down all sharp ends inside the basket; tightly tape small sections of plastic neon straw over any connecting ends of chenille stem on the tangle maze. A cardboard wipe box or other object can be fastened inside the basket to limit accessibility. Always supervise your child when using this toy.

The past few weeks Biscuit has been getting really impatient. Specifically, he cannot bear the idea of waiting for me to finish doing something in the kitchen. For instance, if I have to wash the dishes, warm up milk, make dinner or anything whatsoever in the kitchen, he stands behind the gate and pounds his head on the bar until I'm done. I really needed something special to let him play with to distract him ONLY when I have kitchen responsibilities to attend to - something he might actually look forward to using while I work. He really likes those little wooden play cubes they have at doctor's offices and the library, but they are super expensive. So I decided to try to improvise one out of a plastic storage bin I already had from the dollar store. First we went to Hobby Lobby for a few odds and ends to add to it and I worked on it while Biscuit took his nap. For part of the first side I made a mini-abbicus for learning to count one to five; on the other section of that side I tied on an old shoelace for him to maybe eventually learn to tie his shoes (I colored it with a marker for some visual interest). The next side was inspired by toddler book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar; I made it out of fuzzy bright pompoms strung onto bead wire with chenille-stem antennae so Biscuit can slide the pompoms up and down to make the caterpillar seem bigger or smaller. On the third side I made a yellow tangle maze from chenille stems with baseball beads and foam star beads to glide along. And the final side was an over-sized jingle bell (Biscuit's favorite part!) with some washers and nuts from Big Biscuit's tool box strung on for more fun sounds and movement.

I realized it had something for all the senses except taste and smell, but then it hit me that the top of the cube can be used as a snack tray. So I guess it covers all those bases. He has really enjoyed it so far (particularly the bell). But now the real test is whether it'll work for those "waiting times" when I'm busy in the kitchen! I'll keep you posted ;)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

You might be a lil' redneck if... think eating "homestyle" at the Cracker Barrel means you should make yourself right at home in your high chair.

...your idea of a "time out" is relaxing in a college football rocker on the porch just your size.

 can do a flawless deer call with only your tongue--a talent discovered accidentally through experimental razzing sounds.

 know exactly which game fish says "meow."

...your idea of "Duck, Duck, Goose" involves handcrafted wooden decoys.

 prefer a camping tent to your own playpen.

 ask for REALLY expensive bath toys,

...and really SCARY pets!

...your new favorite color is camo green.

Okay, well, maybe I'm pre-judging my little Biscuit, but we all had a great time at the nearby sportsman's warehouse this weekend during the Hunter's Classic (free of course)! We especially recommend this exciting adventure to all the urban mommies and daddies out there!! :D