The Gift of Experience – 2017 Edition

Providing your child with new experiences naturally exposes her to new vocabulary. These experiences can capture your child’s attention and provide an opportunity for you to model new vocabulary in the appropriate setting. These experiences can happen anywhere, whether it be heading out around town to visit a new place, participate in a class, or having a fun activity delivered straight to your door. In addition to promoting language development, these experiences support your child’s cognition, sensory, fine motor, and creativity. Christmas is a great time to give the gift of experiences, many of which will last well beyond the holiday season.

Below are some suggestions on how to give the gift of experience.

Art With Anna: This art studio “strives to create an artistic space where you and your child feel safe and free to be just exactly who you are.” Art with Anna offers a variety of classes for children, adults, and families which will in turn foster creativity to help develop mental, social, and emotional abilities. Gift certificates in all amounts and art supplies are for sale in-studio. Be sure to mention Say-n-Play when checking out to receive a 10% discount off your entire in-studio purchase.

Goldfish Swim School: Give the gift of swimming lessons with Goldfish Swim School. Your child will benefit from weekly opportunities to learn the basics of swimming, water safety, and expand her vocabulary and ability to follow directions. Children as young as 4 months of age can begin swimming lessons. Early exposure can reduce your child’s fear of water while also providing the foundation for a safe relationship with water from an early age.

This year the Goldfish Swim School Holiday Baskets are available at the Dublin and Westerville locations while supplies last. The basket includes $193 in family credit at GSS as well as array of free family experiences from local businesses, including:
 
$193 Family Credit at Goldfish Swim School 
2 Family Swim Passes at Goldfish Swim School 
Bundlet from Nothing Bundt Cakes 
2 Kids Meals from Texas Roadhouse – Polaris 
2 Child Admission Passes to ZipZone Outdoor Adventures Kids Park 
1 Large One-Topping Pizza from Jets Pizza 
1 Jar of Pure Peanut Butter from Crazy Richard’s 
1 Preview Class at Gymboree Play & Music 
1Half Dozen Donuts from Duck Donuts 
1- 5 oz cup from Menchie’s 
2- 30 Minute Passes to Sky Zone 
1 Child’s Nail Polish from Sweet & Sassy 
1 Philly Sandwich from Charleys Philly Steaks 
2 Ice Skate Rentals from The Chiller 
1 Kids Meal from Matt The Miller’s Tavern 
1 $50 Gift Certificate from Aaron Taylor Photography 
3- Two Hour Play Passes to Recreations Outlet 
2 Adult Admission Tickets to the Arnold SportsWorld Expo for Kids & Teens 
1 Class at Barre3 in Powell 
1 Attraction Pass to Magic Mountain Fun Center 
The baskets retail for $205 and the value is well over $500.

Piccadilly Play Cafe: In addition to the traditional indoor play space, Piccadilly sets itself apart from other play cafes by offering in-house babysitting, weekly classes, and a café. The classes offered are some of my favorites and include messy art experiences, cooking class for young children, mommy and me workout classes (yoga/squats & tots), and language classes. Gift cards can be purchased here (or in person at the play cafe) and the recipient can decide how she would like to use the monetary value (play passes/classes/toys/etc).

Franklin Park Conservatory: A membership to the Conservatory provides your family with unlimited access to the beautifully designed indoor and outdoor gardens. Each season brings with it a redesign of the park that includes “multi-faceted, art- and nature-based exhibitions.” In addition, there are weekly activities for families that are free with admission, including performances, cooking, and arts and crafts. Be on the lookout for the multi-sensory children’s garden that will be opening May 2018.

AHA! Children’s Museum: This Children’s Museum is an easy 45-minute drive southeast in Lancaster, Ohio. The mission of the museum is “Educating children in a world of discovery, curiosity and imagination through hands-on play.” It’s my favorite children’s museum to take my daughter, because it is located in a building with a smaller footprint, which makes it easier for my toddler to navigate (and for me to keep an eye on her), but it’s still packed full of a ton of hands-on, interactive activities. Memberships are extremely affordable, and will carryover to the new building that will open in January 2018.

Have you given the gift of experience before? Please share in the comment section below your favorite experience to give.

Introducing Peekaboo Beans to the U.S.

I was recently introduced to Peekaboo Beans – Playwear for Kids on the Grow, by my friend Kelly Zarifa, who is a fellow Speech Language Pathologist and also a Play Stylist for the company.  Peekaboo Beans is a sensory friendly, ethically manufactured play wear company for kids “on the grow.” The clothing brand was founded by a mom in Canada and the U.S. launch took place September 19th. I must admit, reviewing a children’s clothing line is a little out of the norm for me, but considering that the clothing company’s mission is to be focused on play, I was intrigued and had to give it a try.

 Providing the Ingredients for a Playful Life…

… is the Peekaboo Beans mission.  This company is on a mission to promote PLAY in children! Not only do they create clothes with play and development in mind, but they also host pop-up play dates to get kids back outside and playing with one another. This socially conscious ideal also lends itself in the company’s philanthropic work with playgroundbuilders.org which is an organization that builds playgrounds in war-torn countries.

What We Wore

Kelly provided us with a few pieces from the Peekaboo Beans Fall line to take for a test play…

The Friendship Tee ($30)

The Open Wings Tunic ($44)

The Spirit Legging ($26)

The Details – There is so much thought put into the details of these clothes. From the fabrics used to the design choices made, children at play is at the heart of every decision that was put in these items. The tunic my daughter wore was designed to be worn in different styles as children grow. First it can be worn as a dress, then a tunic, and then a Tee. Her leggings are ruched at the bottom to outlast a growth spurt. These simple details mean my daughter can wear these pieces for multiple seasons. She’s itty bitty for her age; so at the rate she grows, they will probably fit her for multiple years. No more of the classic Mom line, “Don’t worry, honey. You’ll grow into it.” These clothes are actually designed to fit your child as she grows! Other thoughtful, kid-friendly details include: chin guards to avoid zippers pinching skin, thumb holes for easy layering, and easy pull-on waistbands to support independent dressing.

Personal Thoughts

  • I have to admit, I was initially shocked at the sticker price for these pieces of clothing. I have a budget and find it hard to spend above a certain amount on me, let alone clothing for a toddler. However, after feeling and seeing the clothing items in person, I could tell that these are high quality pieces and could rationalize the cost. Peekaboo Beans doesn’t believe in “fast fashion,” so these clothing items are built to last and their thoughtful design allows them to be worn for multiple seasons and by multiple children.
  • Peekaboo Beans also designs their clothing with movement in mind and offers clothing that kids love to play in. A-line shapes accommodate comfort for “buddha bellies” and flatlock stitching creates less irritation on sensitive skin. My daughter’s movements were in no way inhibited by her clothing.

  • The clothing fit well. I often have a hard time finding clothes that will fit my daughter lengthwise AND around her waist. Often pants just don’t stay up. The pants we took for a test run fit her perfectly in both the length and waist. The best part is these clothes are preshrunk so that they will always fit your child perfectly.
  • I was pleased to learn that these clothes are produced free from carcinogenic dyes, heavy metals and harmful chemicals that can be absorbed by the skin. I am completely worry-free about her attire when my daughter is running around in these clothes.
  • The clothing line is adorable! The pieces are designed to be mixed and matched. My daughter loves showing off the butterfly detail on the back of her tunic.

I have to say I am sold on the Peekaboo Beans clothing line. From the initial feel of the high-quality cloth to the details put into each piece, I could tell thought was put behind this clothing line.  If you are interested in learning more about Peekaboo Beans or would like to place an order, click here to visit Kelly’s site or drop her an email at kzarifa.peekaboobeans@gmail.com.

Take a Taste Tuesday with State of Motherhood

I’m Zoe and I’m delighted to have been asked to be a part of ‘Take a Taste Tuesday’. I live with my family in a little town called Bishopbriggs in Glasgow, Scotland where I’ve been a stay at home Mum for the last 3 1/2 years.
I was inspired to start my own blog @stateofmotherhood after a couple of years following other mummy bloggers. In my blog I share my day to day life as a stay at home Mum to my 3 year old daughter Mae Josie and my 10 month old son Bertie.
I personally spend a fair bit of time in the kitchen as I really enjoy cooking. This is definitely due to the fact that when I was growing up my Mum gave me and my sister free reign in the kitchen. We also didn’t keep sweets in the house, so if we wanted a sugar hit, we would bake ourselves a cake! I want to encourage my children to have confidence in the kitchen like I did. I like to get them trying lots of different flavours and textures but more importantly I want them to have healthy attitudes towards food. That’s why I try to get the kids cooking in the kitchen whenever I can. Mae Josie loves to get involved and has helped me ever since I can remember. However, Bertie is really still at the ‘watch and learn’ stage.
My youngest Bertie has been teething pretty badly for the last few weeks. So when I came across this recipe for sweet potato and chamomile teething rusks, I had to try them. Looking over this recipe from My Kids Lick the Bowl, I knew right away that it was a perfect one to get MJ involved in. It has only 4 ingredients and very simple steps. At the moment when I cook with MJ I always measure everything out beforehand. She gets bored very quickly if we don’t, as she’s still a little young to fully understand that part. I then put all the ingredients into separate bowls so it’s easy for her to identify the different ingredients.
Any part that is safe for her to do, I let her. With this recipe the only part I played was pouring the hot water into the pan with the sweet potato and draining the hot water once it was cooked. The rest was down to MJ. She tipped ingredients into bowls/pots/blenders, blended the oats into oat flour, mixed up the dough, cut the baking paper, rolled it out and then cut it into pieces before we baked it.
Even the simplest task, like tipping flour into the mixing bowl, is exciting for her. She can do anything from washing vegetables to using a butter knife to cutsoft things like butter/mushrooms/bananas, etc. My advice is to get your child to help wherever you can. It not only helps them develop cooking skills, but helps with hand eye coordination and dexterity.
I also always find that when I get MJ to cook with me she is much more likely to eat things she normally wouldn’t. Needless to say, the girl who never eats sweet potato wolfed these rusks down and Bertie was one happy baby. Definitely a winning recipe in our house!

Healthy Baby Rusks Teething Biscuits

Cook 25 mins

Total 35 mins

Yield 12 rusks

Ingredients

  • 200g sweet potato
  • Chamomile tea bag
  • 1 Cup oat flour
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, or other light flavoured oil

Instructions

  1. Peel and chop the sweet potato
  2. Place into a saucepan and cover with water, add the tea bag to the water
  3. Boil  sweet potato until tender
  4. Remove the tea bag and drain the majority of the liquid, leave a minimal amount, 1-2 tsp to help with the puréeing
  5. Purée the sweet potato, yield should be approximately 3/4 of a cup
  6. In a bowl Add oat flour, sweet potato purée and oil
  7. Mix with a wooden spoon or similar until a ball forms
  8. Line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicone sheet
  9. Place the dough on the baking paper and roll to approximately 5mm thick
  10. Take a knife and score the dough into large shapes that your baby will be able to grasp
  11. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25mins, until firm to touch and golden on the edges
  12. Cool
  13. Snap the rusks along the score marks
  14. Store in an airtight container

Each Tuesday for the next several weeks a fellow mom/friend/community member will be sharing a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant for “Take a Taste Tuesday.” If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!

Take a Taste Tuesday with Tidy Little Kitchens

Hello everyone! Thank you so much for inviting me to share a bit of our busy life. I am Natasha from Tidy Little Kitchens – I am the proud mom of two wonderful boys (3 and 2!) and I run Tidy Little Kitchens out of my own home kitchen.

I have had my boys involved in the kitchen with me from the time they were born, when they were old enough to eat they got a taste of what we were cooking, and I talked to them constantly about what I was doing in the kitchen.

Now they crack eggs, stir batter, scoop and pour right alongside me. They love being involved in the whole process – from getting the right ingredients out of the fridge or pantry to seeing cakes and muffins rise in the oven and eggs cook on the stovetop.

I discovered that the learning possibilities in the kitchen are endless – we use everyday foods and tools for hands on learning: colours, descriptions, patterns and more

Hands down my favourite recipe to make with kids of all ages is Shish Kebobs. I use it for food identification, colors, patterns and hand eye co-ordination for my toddlers. For my older niece and nephew (and friends kids!) I use it for math (it’s great for fractions!), colour wheel, plant identification (nightshades, tomato as a fruit), even geography! (which country is the biggest exporter of mushrooms for example).

There are almost unlimited options for learning in the kitchen, and most of the time kids aren’t even aware that they are learning they are just enjoying being a part of the process. There’s a reason most parties wind up in the kitchen!

Here is my recipe for our Shish Kebobs

2 pounds meat of choice (I highly recommend marinating overnight)
3 peppers (Vary the colours)
1 red onion
2 zucchini (we were lucky to be able to grow both yellow and green)
1 pkg white button mushrooms

*if using wooden skewers remember to soak them at least 10 minutes prior to adding ingredients and grilling

Make sure to start and end with meat or a mushroom – it keeps all of the food from sliding off!

Thank you for letting me share in Take a Taste Tuesday – I look forward to interacting with you all again soon!

Take a Taste Tuesday with Dayana

My name is Dayana. I married my best friend and am a mom of three cuties ages 6 (soon to be 7), 5 and 1. They sure keep me on my toes, but I love spending time with them, especially now that school is out. We stay busy by trying new things, going to fun places, gardening, doing crafts and of course we LOVE  cooking together. It’s funny because that is where the idea for my small business came from.

You see, when I was expecting my oldest daughter, my mom (who happens to be a professional seamstress with over 30 years of experience) made the cutest matching apron set for me and my daughter and I instantly fell in love. Who would have thought that that special gift would become the sample for many DayLu Designs mommy and me sets. (www.dayludesigns.etsy.com)

My kids – as is the case with most kids – tend to be picky eaters. I am always looking for easy and yummy recipes that are also healthy and nutritious for them. That’s exactly what I found on Pinterest the other day. I ran to the grocery store to gather what I needed and then asked my kids if they wanted to help me. Luckily, they jumped in excitement and offered to help. I’ve found that when I include them in the process they are more open to try the food, which is why it is so crucial for me to find recipes that are easy and fast so that they can help.

Now that school is out I decided that we will be trying a new vegetable every day to expand our horizons. We gathered our ingredients and started prepping our delicious Zucchini Fritters!!

Here is the recipe if you want to try it out with your littles. Make sure you let them do almost everything of course under your close supervision. I even ask them to adjust the flavor with spices as we go!

5-INGREDIENT ZUCCHINI FRITTERS

  • PREP: 20 MINUTES
  • COOK: 5 MINUTES
  • YIELD: ABOUT 14 FRITTERS

Ingredients

  • 4 cupsshredded zucchini
  • 2/3 cupall-purpose flour
  • 2large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cupsliced scallions (green and white parts)
  • 2 Tablespoonsolive oil
  • Sour cream, for serving (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Place the shredded zucchini in a colander set over a bowl and sprinkle the zucchini lightly with salt. Allow the zucchini to stand for 10 minutes. Using your hands, squeeze out as much liquid from the zucchini as possible. Transfer the zucchini to a large bowl.

Add the flour, eggs, sliced scallions, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to the bowl, stirring until the mixture is combined. Line a plate with paper towels.

Add the olive oil to large sauté pan set over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, scoop 3-tablespoon mounds of the zucchini mixture into the pan, pressing them lightly into rounds and spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Cook the zucchini fritters for 2 to 3 minutes, then flip them once and cook an additional 2 minutes until golden brown and cooked throughout. Transfer the zucchini fritters to the paper towel-lined plate and immediately sprinkle them with salt. Repeat the scooping and cooking process with the remaining zucchini mixture.

Serve the zucchini fritters topped with sour cream (optional) and sliced scallions.

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Take a Taste Tuesday with Lauren Seitz

Hey there, I’m Lauren! I’m a wife, mom and reading specialist in the Columbus area. My daughter is 19 months old and enjoys being outside, dancing and chasing our dog around the house. I am so happy to be collaborating today and sharing with you one of the ways we have fun in the kitchen!

Every night at dinner time, you can find my little one clinging to my legs while I cook or asking to come up so she can “mix, mix, mix”. (She does the cutest little motion with her hands as she says it too!) I try and let her join in when she can and I can tell that she loves being in the kitchen. It probably stems from her love of food, because she’ll eat just about anything. I think it also helps that she sees us in the kitchen almost every night. I love to cook and hope that this provides us with many opportunities as she grows to spend time together doing something we both love! One of my favorite things to make with her is guacamole. Avocados were her first favorite food and to this day, she can put a whole one down if we let her. It’s also a fun one to make with kids because it’s simple and fun to mash up the various ingredients. Having everything cut up ahead of time makes it super quick for her low attention span and means we are just that much closer to trying out the finished product! I try to teach her the terms for the foods we are using, and have her repeat them, as well as terms for what we need to do. It is hard to keep her from “taste testing” sometimes-we had a few less tomatoes than I planned on using in this one!

I’ll be honest that I am usually not one for recipes. I wing it more often and add a little flair if I feel it needs it but that’s part of the appeal of cooking for me. Guacamole is one of those things that is perfect for adaptations too which will help if your kids are a little more picky. Here is my “recipe”and some photos of us making it together.

4 avocados, peeled and cubed

4 Roma tomatoes, diced

1/2 of a small red onion, diced

1 handful of chopped cilantro

Juice from 1 lime

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 small jalapeño (optional-I chop for us and add in after getting some out for her)

Mix all ingredients together, mashing the avocado as you mix. Add more cilantro or salt to your liking. You can also substitute white onion for red, add Tabasco instead of jalapeño, and add chili powder for a little extra flavor.

I’d love to know other recipes your kids love making with you! You can find more about me and my family on my blog, takingintheSeitz.com and on Instagram @lseitz8986!

Thank you for letting me share a little about me and my family in the kitchen!

Each Tuesday for the next several weeks a fellow mom/friend/community member will be sharing a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant for “Take a Taste Tuesday.” If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!

Some Thoughts on Toddler Language Development

This past week, we had an epic morning filled with toddler tantrums. After the tantrums subsided, I analyzed what had happened and jotted down some thoughts based on toddler language development and how to survive a future one. Just some thoughts are listed below.

  • A toddler’s receptive language (what she understands) is higher than her expressive language (how she communicates). I know that that discrepancy would be frustrating for me, even as an adult.
  • A toddler has very little control of her environment. For the majority of her day, she is being told where to be and what to do. To help your child feel as if she has the power, yet you maintain control, try giving her choices. Ex: If you are having trouble getting to the car, give the choice of “you can walk to the car or I can carry you to the car.” Wait and see how she responds.
  • Some battles aren’t worth fighting. If the girl wants the blue cup, she can have the blue cup. If she wants to jump off the back of the couch to her doom, now that’s a different story!
  • Whining is an easier sound for a toddler to produce, and generally more effective, than using words. Often tantrums are powerful for a child because she gets exactly what she wants. As hard as it is, try to make her words more powerful than the tantrum by waiting for her to calm and by having her use a sign and/or a word before you give into a demand. Ex: If your child is whining to be picked up, have her replace the whine with a sign and/or a word before you pick her up.

Copper Pearl: Multi-Use Cover

When I was pregnant and putting my baby registry together, I didn’t include a multi-use cover. In truth, I didn’t even know multi-use covers existed! It wasn’t until my baby girl was four-months old that I had the opportunity to  partner with Copper Pearl to try one out. Let me tell you, their multi-use cover with a 3-in-1 design is amazing. After the first day, I was in love!

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This cover can be used as a privacy screen during nursing, a cover over shopping cart seats, and a cover over infant car seats to keep baby protected from Columbus’s ever-changing weather. I even wear it as a scarf at times (Bonus fourth purpose!). This cover is unique because it proves 360 degree coverage during nursing. You can wrap it around you and your little one so everything is completely hidden (babe, back, sides, etc.). Other nursing covers that I used left me feeling exposed and not quite as comfortable nursing in the company of others…and they certainly weren’t as functional or fashionable as the Copper Pearl cover. The Copper Pearl multi-use cover I’m using in the pictures is the “Harbor” design, but they offer several more designs from which to choose on their website. The fabric is an extremely soft rayon blend that is breathable and stretchy (but does not become stretched out).

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I love when baby products serve a multiple purposes, and this cover does in functional and fashionable ways. Expectant and new moms of Columbus, heed my advice! Add the Copper Pearl Multi-Use Cover to your baby registry, today. You won’t want to go a day, let alone four months like I did, without it!

The Teal Pumpkin Project

Have you heard of The Teal Pumpkin Project?

Food allergies can be life-threatening to children and, unfortunately, most Halloween candy is filled with these dangerous allergens (peanuts, milk, wheat, etc.). This fall, the Food Allergy Research & Education Organization is encouraging families participating in Trick-or-Treat to “go teal.”

The Teal Pumpkin Project aims to provide children with food allergies a fun and safe evening of Treat-or-Treating with their peers. Homes participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project offer non-edible treats (stickers, temporary tattoos, etc.) to children with food allergies as alternatives to traditional candy. To join in on the all inclusive fun, place a teal-painted pumpkin outside your front door during Trick-or-Treat. This signals to other families that your house is participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project and will have alternative treats for their little ghouls and goblins.

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In addition to children with food allergies, families with children who are diabetic or are unable to eat by mouth are supportive of the project. The Teal Pumpkin Project is a wonderful opportunity to include children with special needs in your community’s Trick-or-Treat night by providing them with a safe and happy Halloween. Our family will have our teal pumpkin out for Trick-or-Treat 2015 (Ok, it looks more blue than teal, but you’d be surprised by the lack of teal spray paint at the hardware store). If your family chooses to make your own teal pumpkin, spread the word by using the hashtag #tealpumpkinproject

 

 

 

 

My inspiration has arrived!

My inspiration for this blog has arrived!

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I have been a mother now for nine whole days. Miss Ingrid Rose made her grand appearance on July 27, 2015, at 6:49 p.m. She was a perfect 7 lbs., 5 oz. and 19.5 inches long.

My husband and I have spent the last nine days cat-napping (barely), eating (sometimes), staring at our little lady (always), taking hundreds of pictures (in between phone charges), and trying to figure out this parenting business (work in progress).

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Through her cries, Miss Ingrid came into this world ready to communicate with us. She does a great job letting us know when something is wrong. We just have to be smart enough to figure out what she needs! So far, her cries have let us know when she is hungry, gassy, in need of a diaper change, has cold feet or just wants to be snuggled.

I recently had a friend tell me that the days with a newborn can seem long, but the weeks will fly by. I have already experienced this in the past week. Where has the first week of her life gone?

I am excited for the adventures we will have around the city, but right now I am soaking up every ounce of her newborn baby sweetness at home! Many adventures will come…once we sleep more than three hours a night.