Activities: Pull String Toy

Pull String Toy: A DIY activity for infants and toddlers! Great for cause and effect as well as fine motor! | find it at

Continuing with activities I’ve created for Pip, here is how I made our fun Pull String Toy. I found this idea on Pinterest, and it was quick and easy to recreate at home! This toy is great for cause and effect,  pincher grasp,  pulling, using two hands separately (one to hold the container, one to pull)… I started using this toy when he was around 9 months old and we still pull it out to play!

Single hole punch
3/4” ribbons of different materials
Thin,  flexible, plastic container (found at the dollar store!)

How To:

  1. Punch holes into the sides of the container. I did a triangle pattern like this: ◦.◦ I matched the pattern on opposite sides, and reverse the pattern for the opposing opposite sides: .◦.
  2. Feed the ribbons through the holes and into the opposite side’s holes. I criss- crossed some to give Pip a different “feel” when pulling.
    Pull String Toy: A DIY activity for infants and toddlers! Great for cause and effect as well as fine motor! | find it at
  3. Tie off the ends of the ribbon with knots big enough to cause them to stop at the hole. I left a longer “tail” at the end of each knot to practice “pinching” when pulling.

Then just put the lid back on and you are set! I found I had to demonstrate how to play with this a few times for Pip to understand. But he loves watching the ribbons going back and forth!

❤ Tara

Scrunchy: Toy Cleaner

Continuing on my “scrunchy trend”, I made some toy cleaner from my essential oils! I got this idea over the weekend from my friend Anna who had made some for her diaper bag. Between our day trips around Colorado and flights back to California, this stuff will come in handy! And the best part? It’s the easiest recipe you’ll ever have to follow!

Scrunchy: Toy cleaner made from essential oils like doTerra and Young Living! | found on

Toy Cleaner

  • 3 oz spray bottle (< $1 at Target)
  • Thieves (Young Living) or OnGuard (doTerra)
  • Water

Just fill the bottle up with water and drop in 3-6 drops of OnGuard or Thieves and give it a shake. Keep it in a Ziplock in your bag (in case of spills) with a cloth and you are ready for whatever hits the ground! And, because doTerra and Young Living are of the highest quality, you can feel confident in your little one putting that toy back in their mouth!

❤ Tara

Activities: Clips!

With a Masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology and many years of experience in the special education system, I’m quite keen on exposing Pip to a multitude of activities. I work hard to vary the modalities he is using in the activities I am providing. We love to do a lot of fine motor activities together, despite how anxious it makes others. Everyone is sure he will choke on the tools I give him! But trust me, I keep him supervised until I know he can be safe. And once he know how to be safe with them, he gains so much confidence with the activities!

What are fine motor skills?

Fine motor skill is the coordination of small muscle movements which occur in body parts such as the fingers, usually in coordination with the eyes. – Wikipedia

What are some important movements?

There are so many! Pinching, threading, pulling, scribbles… there are so many different fine motor movements. If you google it you can find a variety of lists. Some will make you feel like you’ve done something right, others may make you feel like you’re failing your child. Try to find a middle ground *smile*


A simple activity to help your toddler develop their fine motor skills! And you can buy the materials at the dollar store! | found on #moms #parenting #activities

This simple activity can provide fun and some fine motor exercise for your little one! We play this game everywhere now, as I can always have the supplies in my purse.

What You’ll Need:

  • Rubber coated metal clips (I get them at the dollar store!)

How to Play

  • Always start each “level” by barely attaching the clips to the edge of something. You aren’t trying to “stump” your toddler right out of the gate! First you want to establish that they know how to get the clip off at each level.
  • Begin with something hard and sturdy where the pulling motion is towards themselves or down (not up). The edge of a toy crate can work, or a counter/table. Show your toddler how much FUN it can be to pull them off! (Find that inner child!) The rubber coating should protect your items, as well as make it easier to slip off. Increase the difficulty along with your toddler’s progress. You can even try clipping them so that they would need to pull “up” once they have the hang of it!
  • Attach the clips to a stuffed toy or blanket. Show your toddler how to hold the item with one hand, and pull the clip off with the other! This is great for core strength, stability and lateral motion – along with that grasping motion!
  • Attach the clips to your toddler’s clothes! We have a lot of fun with this one! I’ll put a clip on the feet of his PJs, up the legs, in his stomach region and even on the arm of his shirt. He has to coordinate all of his limbs to reach the clip and then pull against it! Be sure your little one is somewhere “soft” when you start this one. They often pull so hard they topple themselves backwards! When Pip has to wait somewhere in his car seat or stroller I’ll pull out this activity for a few minutes of cheap entertainment!

More dollar store activities to come! Stay tuned!

❤ Tara

Scrunchy: DIY Hair Detangler

I’m surprised at how “crunchy” I have become since having Liam. I’m not TOTALLY “crunchy”, just somewhat. Hence the term “scrunchy”. I read all the labels and am very aware of everything that goes in or on his body. That’s why I delved into the world of essential oils. Even then, I really researched the companies and identified what made some better than others. Since stocking our house with oils, I’ve been replacing EVERYTHING. From my face care, to what we wipe down counters with to what touches Liam’s body! I won’t FILL this blog with everything essential oil, but I will be sharing things we love because it’s a part of being a mom – finding things that work for our kid and sharing it with others! That being said …

Hair Detangler recipe using essential oils by doTerra or Young Living! | found on

I often joke that Liam has “daddy’s hair in the front, mommy’s in the back”. His hair is nice and smooth in the front while frizzy and wild in the back! Even though I brush it every morning, it looks like I haven’t by the time we reach story time, church, etc. And “just brushing” doesn’t work – it needs wetted. Which sometimes makes him a tad “crunchy”. I knew I needed to get some detangler that could also smooth his hair in back without greasing the front. Reading the bottles in the store made my skin crawl, I just couldn’t put some of those things on his sensitive skin! Searching Pinterest didn’t give me a GREAT answer, but I mixed a few recipes and created this! The recipe is so simple…

Hair Detangler

  • 2 TBS fractionated coconut oil
  • 1 TBS grapeseed oil
  • 2 drops peppermint (doTerra or Young Living)
  • 2 drops lavender (doTerra or Young Living)

I diluted 1 part of this mix into 10 parts water. This means I put 2 teaspoons in a 3 oz spray bottle (I bought mine for $.97 at Target) and then filled the rest up with water. I filled to small spray bottles and still had some left over!

I’ll give you an update in the future to let you know if we still love it!

❤ Tara

P.S. You can get your Young Living or doTerra oils through me – feel free to ask me more about oils or why I think these two companies are the CREAM of the crop! Link in the menu to your right!

Tried & True: Braun Forehead Thermometer

voxbox-blogimage-popup2Shortly before we moved into our new house, a box arrived for me. Imagine my surprise when it was a Braun Forehead Thermometer to test out on the family! Although the product was provided for free to me, all the opinions below are my own.

Triedd and True: Braun Forehead Thermometer |

Previously we’ve used a medical grade forehead thermometer which required a PhD to operate. We’d recently resorted back to the underarm for temps, which upset Pip to NO end. You’d think we were torturing him! So, I was very excited to test this forehead thermometer out! Sadly, we got the opportunity to test it out too soon – as Pip  caught the flu over Christmas, spiking fevers of up to 104.


  • Compact!
    It fits in the palm of my hand and is quite lightweight
  • Fairly Accurate
    Testing it against my underarm thermometer, I got pretty consistent results!
  • Easy!
    And in case you forget, the directions are ON the thermometer! No need to go looking for the booklet!
  • Backlit
    For those middle of the night temp checks – it not only is backlit, but the light corresponds to the temp (red for a fever, orange for too warm, green for ok!)
  • Quick!
    It only takes a few moments, which is good. Sick babies are irritable! Here is a short clip of me taking Pip’s temperature today:


  • Beeps
    As it takes the temperature, it beeps. Although not extremely loud, it did disturb the baby when in a light sleep.
  • No Case
    I would have loved a labelled case for storing it in – Therefore I could find it at a glance while keeping it safe!

As you can see, the pros outweigh the cons for us! We really love this one and it is easily our “go to” thermometer now – especially since Pip is a fan too!

– Tara

Note: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes

[the] Fam’s 5 Faves: Babywearing (in the heat!)

[The] Fam’s 5 Faves: Babywearing (in the heat) by tararoehl on Polyvore

A floppy hat is great for covering baby’s head, especially when they don’t want the hood up!

I love my Arctic Chill Towel! I wear it between baby and me. The key to keeping baby cool is to NOT let them get damp! This towel does the trick!

Those legs hanging out are ripe for burning! These leg covers have UV protection and are cooler than most leg garments!

Some good sunscreen is important on that precious baby skin! This stuff is greasy, but does the job!

Something cold to chew on is a great way to help baby regulate their temp. Hang this frozen toy from the loops on your carrier!
And here is a slightly ridiculous, haphazardly thrown together video of how I use my arctic chill/frogg togg towel to keep Liam cool while babywearing!

❤ Tara

Babywearing: The “M”

Babywearing: The "M" |

Continuing on last Thursday’s post about “Knee-to-Knee“, I wanted to discuss the important of baby’s leg and hip positioning when leg’s out in a carrier. Firstly, the carrier should ALWAYS go “knee-to-knee“. If it does not, it is not adequately supporting your little one’s hips.

The ideal position is the “M” position. The blue arrows show Liam’s legs, folded over at the knee, represented by the black circles. The red arrows show the line of his seat, which drops slightly below the level of his knee, the deepest point being at the star. This position gives baby a good “seat” while holding the hips in an open and supported position. The thigh is supported all the way to the knee, because you are in a carrier that goes “knee-to-knee“!

This applies to ALL carriers in which a baby is “legs out” – on your front, side or back!

Babywearing: The "M" | oliverandtara.comThe “M” position in the Tula…

Babywearing: The "M" | oliverandtara.comThe “M” Position while wrapped..
(have mercy on my wrapping skills here.. this is the FIRST time I got him on my back!)

For more information on the impact of leg positioning and hips, you can read this page over at the International Hip Dysplasia website.

❤ Tara

Why We Wear #2

Why We Wear #2 | oliverandtara.comBecause when you have a new baby, they aren’t the only one who’s tired.
And it is much safer to have them wrapped to you when you both need a nap.

Wrap that baby on, sit in your recliner/glider and rock yourselves to sleep mama.

You deserve that nap!

❤ Tara

Tried & True: Soft Structured Carriers (SSC)

Tried & True: Soft Structured Carriers |
We are big fans of Soft Structured Carriers in our house. It’s often our go-to carrier. Quick to buckle on, multiple position options, toss it in the wash when it gets grimy … everything a frazzled new mommy needs!
I’ve seen a lot of people asking about the differences between a Tula and an Ergo. So I wanted to give you a few factual comparisons between the two, then go into my own personal pros and cons of these two.
Here is a little visual of what each measurement in the table is actually measuring…
Measuring Points of an SSC |
Image source
L = length, W = width




L: padded shoulder strap



W: padded shoulder strap



L: adjustable shoulder strap



L: body



W: body

13 – 16.5”


W: seat



L: padded waist



W: padded waist

3.25” – 4.5”

3.25” – 5.5”

L: adjustable waist

~ 30”

~ 28.5”

W: adjustable waist




Now that you can see the facts, here are my opinions!

Ergo Performance

  • Tough – made of durable material, easily washes/wipes clean
  • Breathable!
  • Dark colored, so it doesn’t show a ton of dirt
  • Pocket for hood
  • Hood snaps on quite easily
  • Good sized zipper pocket for phone, keys, etc
  • Rolls up small
  • Let’s just face it – it isn’t “cute”. But the other Ergo styles are beginning to come in cute patterns!
  • Not as wide as the Tula – narrower seat and body means baby will grow out of it much sooner!
  • Not great for really petite people – the waist strap doesn’t go small enough!



  • Ohemwow – can we say totally ADORABLE patterns?!
  • Body stays wide overall (versus “wave” style body of Ergo)
  • See the difference in lengths of adjustable straps?! This gives you a ton of room to find your “sweet spot”
  • Hood detaches completely and can be stored away
  • Hood can be cinched tighter around baby’s face
  • Canvas material is pretty durable, but “softens up” to “super cuddly” status!
  • Rolls up well!
  • You need to be gentle when washing – you don’t want to wear it out or damage it. And some of the lighter styles stain easily
  • It can get quite toasty inside of there – for you AND baby! The price of a bigger body panel. Canvas is NOT breathable
  • The pocket is too small – MAYBE can hold my phone. Or my credit cards/IDs. Doubt it could hold both.

Here is a comparison shot of Liam in both carriers. For reference, he is 8 1/2 months old, 27.5” long and 19 lbs, 2 oz.




❤ Tara


International Babywearing Week: My Stash

For day 1 of International Babywearing Week (but day 7 of our babywearing series here!) I thought I’d offer a “peek” into my “stash”. It isn’t complete – a wrap will be added very soon! But for now, here is where it stands…

International Babywearing Week: My Stash, October 2013 |
  1. Moby Wrap
  2. Seven Sling
  3. Ergo Performance
  4. Peanut Shell
  5. [vintage] Snugli
  6. Balboa Sling
  7. Maya Ring Sling
  8. Standard Tula
  9. Infantino Sash Wrap (Mei Tai)
  10. Boba Air

Only two of my carriers don’t have images for the stash. A stretch swim wrap made by a mom (I bought it from it’s second owner, through a Bay Area mom swap) and one of my vintage carriers (bought through the same swap).

Friday I posted about our 5 favorites from this stash. But I’ve used almost all of them for different reasons and different places – love them all! I’ll be going into more specifics with tomorrow’s Tried & True update and I’ll give you more of what to look for in a carrier with Thursday’s post.

Until then – goodnight!

❤ Tara