DIY + Teach Your Baby To Read

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The kids have gone back to school. The lunches are packed, first day photos have been posted and moms everywhere let out a sigh of relief as they no longer need to plan activities to occupy their children’s days.

I have a few years before I will need to start back to school planning, but I thought this would be a wonderful time to start a learning routine of our own. Now at 7 months old I know that my little guy is learning and growing every day. In fact, studies show that 60% of all the energy that an infant will expend is concentrated in brain development. This means that if a baby’s body grew at the same rate as their brain, then by one month of age they would weigh 170 pounds. Yikes!

With this information, I thought it was a good time to start using flash cards to help my baby’s brain development. These flash cards are similar to the flash cards that I remember using when I was learning to read. However, starting when your baby is between 6-9 months old greatly improves the chances of having an early reader. This makes sense since children’s brains have formed 1000 trillion connections between neurons by the age of 3.

So pull out your ruler, glue stick, and scissors (assuming you could find any along the barren school supply aisles) because it’s time to get a little crafty.

 

You will need:

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  • Cardstock – I used 140 lb. weight
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Self-adhesive laminate sheets (optional) I found them at target for under $7 a pack and needed two packs.
  • Printable ABC’s – click here and here.

Now the easiest way to create these cards would be to print the images directly onto the cardstock. I found that my printer would not take the thicker cardstock that I used. I simply printed the ABC’s on printer paper and cut them out. Then I glued them onto the cards.

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1. Cut out your cards.

Measure your cardstock (or eyeball if you like to live dangerously) and draw lines where you will cut out your cards. Cut the cards out.

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2. Paste

Glue the ABC’s to the card stock. Letters on the front of the card and pictures on the back.

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3. Round the corners

Optional: round the corners and laminate the cards, then cut the cards out of the laminate sheets. I used a bottle cap to trace half circles to round the corners. I didn’t do this at first but after realizing that my 7-month old wants to eat everything I went back to the craft table.

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4. Admire your work

This is a pretty simple DIY as long as you don’t get frustrated with the laminating sheets. Follow the directs for your sheets carefully and work with half of the sheet at a time, pulling the backing apart slowly.

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When it’s time to learn, Bronson and I sit on the floor with the cards, a few books and toys. We aim for a 30-minute lesson depending on his attention span that day. As I flip through the cards I start with the letter side first and pronounce the letter and word slowly a few times. Then, I flip the card over to show him the picture side and pronounce the word again.

We have been practicing baby sign language so as I show the picture side, I also do the sign for that word. I keep my phone close by in case I need to look up a sign that I haven’t memorized yet. After we are done with each card I hand the card to him so that he can explore it. Once we have finished with all of the cards I scatter the deck so that he can play with them. I also say and sign any card he picks up.

 

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Do you have any fun games for teaching your little one? Have you ever tried baby sign language? Comment below and tell me about your experience or ideas.

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Perfect Parenting + Penny for Your Thoughts

 

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It breaks my heart that we live in a world of parents shaming parents.

Maybe it’s because of social media, but I see mom/parent shaming too often. It is easy to act big and bad behind the keyboard. Saying things that would never be said in person.

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I wish I had a great piece of advice or wisdom to make it stop or to make it go away. If I’ve learned anything from my baby, it is that motherhood is nothing, if not a humbling experience. I can’t promise that I will be a perfect parent. I can try but the truth is that I will fail.

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Because despite all of the books we read, the advice that we seek, and the google searches, at the end of the day we are all just winging it.

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No one said it would be easy, but it is definitely worth it.

 

Boho Baby + Mama Essentials

As a first time mom I remember devouring any and all information about what I needed for my new baby while I was pregnant. Now that my son is 6 months old, I feel like I have a pretty good idea about what I actually used, and what was unnecessary. While I could do multiple posts and break down the difference between newborn essentials and what we use most now, honestly what I consider my essentials list has not changed much from birth to 6 months. Here we go….

1. Ring Sling

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I am the biggest fan of baby wearing. I don’t think that I would be able to get anything done without wearing my son. In fact, he is strapped to me now. I pretty much have all forms of baby wearing fashion, a ring sling, a wrap, and an ergo. I love all of them for different reasons, but my ring sling is my favorite. You can carry your baby from newborn all the way up to toddler in these works of art, not to mention that they add to the cuteness of your outfit. In my opinion, a ring sling is the new must have mama accessory. From nap time to lunch time, this sucker has saved me over and over again.

You can find my DIY ring sling here.

2. A well stocked diaper bag

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While I’d like to say that my diaper bag is as well organized now as it was in the picture above, that is not always the case. I do however, make my best attempt to clean it out every other day or so. It can quickly become your newest catch-all. My diaper bag is made by Big Buddha and you can find a similar one here.What I like to keep in my diaper bag:

  • Diapers of course. I like to have three in the bag and I also have a few in the car as well. We cloth diaper so I carry a wet bag too.
  • Wipes, both cloth and disposable.
  • A bib
  • A few toys
  • Three changes of clothes for baby. I also have an extra change of clothes for my baby and myself in the car.
  • Bug spray, sunscreen, homemade hand sanitizing spray, and coconut oil.
  • Blanket
  • Sunglasses for me
  • Snacks for me. I like to have natural applesauce since it is easy for me to eat but I can feed it to my son now that he is old enough for solids.

3. A small purse

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This small wonder holds money, cards/I.D., cell phone, a pen, receipts, lip balm, and anything else  that you would keep in a purse. The beauty of it is that I can throw it in the diaper bag or take it out with me when I’m baby free. I highly recommend an option like this. I purchased this one from Target but you can find a similar one here and here.

4. A safe multi-use cleanerHonest Company home cleaner

I am a total DIY girl. My go to cleaner is normally vinegar but when I was given this as a gift I fell in love. I use it mostly in the kitchen and bathroom. It is a plant based cleaner with a fresh grapefruit scent. Find it here.

5. Coconut Oil

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By now, I think that everyone loves coconut oil. I use it on my face, body and hair, and it is the only thing that I use on my son’s skin. After his bath, I use it in place of lotion or baby oil, and I use it as a diaper rash cream. I can’t get enough of this stuff and it makes us both smell delicious.

6. Slumber Mist

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Nighttime Soothing Slumber Mist…. One spray and my son is in a trance. I can’t say for sure if it is the essential lavender oil or the relaxing sight and sound of spritzing this product on to his PJ’s before bed, but it has a nice little home in our nighttime routine. The fact that it smells like heaven is a giant plus.

7. Nipple Butter

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As one of my favorite product company’s, Earth Mama Angel Baby struck gold when they created this nipple butter. With 6 months of nursing and still going strong, I have used this from day one of motherhood. I also use it on my lips when I can’t find my lip balm.

8. Amber Baby Necklace

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Made of Baltic amber; it is believed that wearing the necklace causes the release of oil containing succinic acid. This is a naturally-occurring substance in the body and when the oil is absorbed, it is said to have an analgesic effect on swollen and sore gums.

9. Mama Teething Necklace

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While we are talking about teething and necklaces, I like to wear this silicone necklace to give my baby something to play with and chew on. It is perfect for baby wearing as it gives your little one something that is within reach, other than your hair. I like to wear it while nursing too since my little guy gets grabby and tries to pull at my face. This one is by My Baby Chews and I love that it is not only functional but stylish.

10. Water

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Last but not least, is water. Staying hydrated is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself and your baby, especially if you are breastfeeding. I am a lover of minerals and crystals so I like to drink crystal elixir water. I have a glass tea infusing water bottle and I simply add my crystals to the mesh infuser. This may sound extra fancy, but as long as you are well hydrated, that is the goal.

 

How about you, do you have any boho baby and mama essentials that you love? Share them in the comments. I would love to take a peak at your list.