Craft Tutorial: Poster Board Animal Wings

Posted 03-20-2015 at 06:37 PM by Banana Cat


Ok, I really forget why my daughter suddenly decided she needed wings. Not just any wings would do, either—they had to be bat wings. I reached under the bed for the plastic bin that serves as our very lame dress-up costume repository, only to discover that we had no wings at all. I’ll pick up a bunch of costumes at Goodwill for cheap after Halloween, I had thought but never actually followed through on. So instead we made some.

Are you in my exact same situation? Never fear! Whip up some animal wings at home really quickly, and you get the bonus of your child helping out, as well.


  • Poster board
  • Scissors
  • Decorative materials
  • String

Step One

Diaper Swapers

I’m a Grown Baby

Posted 03-10-2015 at 05:23 PM by Matrivine


Congratulations! And commiserations all at once. We have reached that stage where our children want to be independent. They want to dress themselves, feed themselves, and go potty by themselves.

At the same time they are still fascinated with the flush mechanism in the bathroom and will still flush the earrings we have left in the soap dish. They feel bathing suits are obviously for the rain. Let’s not mention that ranch dressing suddenly became an art supply just yesterday.

How do we balance letting our children do for themselves and how much we can take of them doing that?

Two Person Jobs

One of the best ways to work with a toddler that feels they don’t need you anymore is to start doing things that require two people. Cooking is great for this. They can be mixing or frosting something while you are cutting things up and using the stove. They can sprinkle cheese over things, pour salad dressing, or dipping sauce.

They get a better idea of how to properly use kitchen items and you are allowing them to help instead of clearly underestimating their culinary abilities.

Choosing a Preschool for Your Preschooler

Posted 03-10-2015 at 05:12 PM by Matrivine


It doesn’t seem like it would be a big deal, but these developmental years are critical to a child’s educational growth. At this age that can mean anything from academics to social interaction. How do you choose the right preschool for your child?


There are play schools, church preschools, and Montessori schools. There are Headstart programs and day care preschools. You can even do homeschool preschool. It’s easy to get caught up in the frustration of trying to find a preschool. The real question is not what type of school you want to send your child to. The real question is what you want the school to do for your child.

Do you want your child to focus on letters and numbers? Do you want your child to spend a lot of time playing instead of at a desk or sitting down? Are you more concerned about your child developing good social skills? While many preschools work on all of these skills, some focus on one or two more than others. Know what you want your child to focus on and choose a school that is focused on the same skills.

The Confident Toddler

Posted 03-6-2015 at 09:06 PM by Matrivine

mother and toddler

No one wants their child to grow up feeling insecure. We want them to feel like they own the world. Confident children are more likely to create and use opportunities available to them. So, how do we build confidence in toddlers?


How do I feel about myself? Well, it seems that no matter how much I exercise or how healthy I eat I haven’t lost weight. I should wear makeup more often. I am not a fan of my skin and I hate my nose.

Imagine how surprised my two year old would be if I told him all that. To him I’m beautiful. I know because he tells me daily. Now imagine how he would feel if I told him everything wrong with me. Best case scenario he would feel mommy is sad and try to comfort me.

Worst case scenario is a much darker road to go down. The person he thinks is beautiful and perfect as she is has flaws. These flaws, she says, makes her not pretty. How many flaws does he have? What does he need to change about himself to be cute? Did he get mommy’s nose? Mommy is always saying she hopes he didn’t get her nose! What if he did?

The Bedtime Blues

Posted 03-5-2015 at 06:18 PM by Matrivine

Two Kids

Woe to the mother that tries to put young children to bed. This is particularly true of mothers putting multiple young children to bed. How do you keep them from ganging up on you? How do you keep them in bed? Here are a few tips.


Each child should have their own bedtime ritual. This means they have their own special songs, special blanket, and special stuffed animal. Have a spoken checklist of before bed activities. This could include prayers, turning on the night light, and getting a drink of water. Let each child know they are loved and safe. After the ritual of bedtime give them a kiss goodnight and walk out of the room.

Two In A Room

When children are young they often share a room. This means double the trouble at bedtime. They seem to have a tendency to feed off of each other in bedtime defiance. The trick to turn this pair into dueling snorers it by separating them as best you can.

Helping Little Ones Meet Milestones

Posted 03-4-2015 at 06:06 PM by Matrivine

Reading to children as a family

Our children meeting developmental milestones is a big concern for many parents. We notice other people’s children progressing at a faster or slower rate and often judge how our children should be progressing based on that. We know that each child progresses differently. Some are advanced in motor skills. Others have excelled in language skills. We often see in other children the skills that we worry about our child doesn’t seem focused on.

Wellness Visits

The best way to know for us to know if our children are progress developmentally is to keep up with the wellness visits with our pediatrician. These visits help measure the mental growth our toddlers are experiencing. It’s nice to hear a pediatrician tell us that our worries are unfounded. Sometimes, however, worries aren’t unfounded and need to be addressed quickly with tools such as speech therapy or a hearing test.

During the visit our pediatrician usually gives us a sheet with all the upcoming milestone in our little one’s life. It give us the opportunity to work with our children with a goal in sight.

Upgrading For Toddler Safety

Posted 02-27-2015 at 03:39 PM by Matrivine

toddler climbing

The arrival of the toddler years bring a whole new set of firsts. Those firsts can bring with them a whole new set of safety issues. Child proofing your home is no longer enough to keep a toddler safe, and they find danger in some of the strangest places.

Higher Than Out Of Reach

Toddlers climb, so we need to take another look at where dangerous items are in our homes. For me it was our medicine cabinet. I found my toddler trying to climb the bathroom sink to get to all the goodies that he hadn’t been able to get to before. Now all our medication is on the top shelf of our kitchen cabinets and our medicine cabinet is almost empty.

Secure Furniture

Speaking of toddlers climbing, it is absolutely essential to anchor any furniture they may climb so it won’t topple over on them, which is generally a life threatening injury that only takes a second to happen. Shelves, dressers, TVs, etc., anything tall or unsteady needs to be secured to a wall.

Discipline and The Public

Posted 02-27-2015 at 03:21 PM by Matrivine


It’s unavoidable. Children need discipline and most communities don’t agree how that should happen. Society has raised eyebrows at spanking (barbaric) or proclaimed the futility of a time out (they will just play in their room). With the joy of social media, however, another player has entered the arena of child discipline. Unfortunately that player comes in the form of public shaming.


Public humiliation is not a recent form of discipline. It has been used as a form of punishment for centuries. People have been put in stocks, spanked in public schools, put on public display for adultery, and publicly hung by the neck. Some cultures or religions may not go through a huge public display of public shaming. Instead the entire community will ignore, shun, and turn there backs to the one they perceive at fault.


Public shaming has been once again become a source of public entertainment. People shame their pets with signs about the bad behavior the exhibit. The public laughs because we have been there with our own pets and it is kind of funny.

The public shaming of bad children was the next natural step. There are texts, tweets, and posts about the bad behavior of our children. People post pictures of discipline hair cuts and their toddlers holding signs discussing their bathroom learning process. Is this something that is funny? Even if it does get a laugh out of us is it something we should promote?

Tips For Grocery Shopping With Toddlers

Posted 02-26-2015 at 06:04 PM by Banana Cat

Costco is good for cheap treats. Also, the kids never finish them so I get to munch on the leftovers during their naptimes. Score. Also we only go to Costco like twice a month so don’t think they live on a diet of churros and ice cream every day. Sometimes they have pizza too. 

I used to like grocery shopping. I would spend more time than I should wandering the aisles, thinking up dozens of fancy, tasty plates to make for the week’s dinners and what new fancy coffee my husband and I should try for our special Saturday breakfasts.

Now, with two young, mobile children, going to the grocery store is basically the very last thing I ever want to do with kids in tow. However, and this is NOT to brag, I’ve had multiple people come up to me and congratulate me on how well-behaved my children are in the grocery store. This befuddles me every time, because these compliments usually come at the rare moments between the kids screaming to get down, or get up, or for juice or cookies, or “ICE CREAM NOW MOMMY NOW WAHHHH” and I’m always like, “Did you seriously not hear my kids five seconds ago, because I’m sure they could be heard in the next town over?” After some thought, I do realize that while I wouldn’t say every grocery trip comes smoothly, we’ve gotten to the point where I don’t feel like picking up a keg on the way out to self-medicate from the trauma. Here are a few tips that have worked for us.

Toddler Snack Tray Ideas

Posted 02-18-2015 at 03:56 PM by Banana Cat

Toddler Snacks Featured

I mean, not to brag or anything, but my daughter used to eat everything.

And do I mean EVERYTHING. Pickles? Steak? Mango? Yes. She’d eat half a bag of steamed green beans for dinner. Her favorite food for the longest time was pickled ginger, something that even me with my Asian taste buds could only eat in tiny bites, but she scarfed it down by the spoonful. I was super proud of my amazing kid. Chicken nuggets and French fries never saw the inside of our kitchen.

And then one day—she didn’t eat everything. It was like the universe knew how smug I secretly felt about my Kid Who Ate Everything, and overnight turned her into the pickiest eater on earth. Mealtimes started becoming battles, and I didn’t want to be battling with my toddler over food.

Enter: The snack tray.