DIY Light Table

I’m famous for seeing something on Pinterest, thinking it looks easy and then bombing it royally. And heaven forbid I want to take a Pinterest idea and “tweek” it a little! I’m surprised my husband gives any of my Pinterest inspired ideas a second thought, much less a chance. But sometimes, just sometimes, they work!

For Christmas I’ve wanted Pip to have a light table. I’ve read so many great blog posts about them, seen so many fun activities and he LOVES the one at the Lakeshore store. But the price tag on many of them was slightly astronomical. So I hit up Pinterest to see what I could find.

There are a ton of “tubs with lights” adaptations, but I know I wanted something more. With hosting co-op, kid #2 on the way and plenty of play dates hosted here… it needed to do the job well and stand up to the test of time (also known as “toddlers”).

That is when I came upon THIS tutorial. Now, any excuse to drive to IKEA is always welcomed. And over half the supplies are located there. So, over a few months, I purchased pieces to this project. And, on Christmas Eve, Oliver gave it a go. And it was a success! Pip LOVES it!

DIY Light Table | oliverandtara.com
Pip’s new light table!

Disclaimer: We made ONE change. We used this stuff instead of the spray paint frost. Spray paint already acts a bit different at altitude sometimes and the fact that it was below freezing… it just wasn’t feeling like it would be successful.

On to the next Pinterest inspired idea!! [kidding hunny… kinda…]

-Tara

Co-Op Fun: Cookies!

This week for co-op we combined snack and art – and decorated gingerbread men! As many of you know, Pip is gluten free and dairy free. So I took the responsibility of making cookies for the class. I found this recipe and they turned out quite yummy! My coconut milk wouldn’t solidify, so we used peanut butter for icing and then sprinkles on top. Mmmm!

-Tara

Gaming: Koala Capers

My mom stumbled upon this game on Zulily a few months ago. She thought it looked perfect for Pip. Sure enough! He loves it!

Caption reads:

A lot of people ask how I adapt and play games with Pip (who turns three in January). This is a sneak peak of a game we just opened today called “Koala Capers”. The game called for rolling two dice, a pattern one and an article of clothing one. There is a “lose your cards” option on the clothing die – a pair of underwear. *giggle* Because Pip knows the names of articles of clothing, doesn’t understand “losing” cards, and isn’t quite to following two step descriptor directions yet… We just used the pattern die! We take turns rolling the die and finding a Koala that has our pattern on any article of clothing. He’s getting really good at naming the pattern types (zip zag, polka dots, etc) and finding them amongst all the cards set out before him! We’ve played it twice already and he’s right now asking to play it again!

We typically play this game up to 3 mornings a week. We all get ready together in the morning (mommy, daddy and Pip), so we keep this game in the bedroom to play when waiting for a turn in the bathroom or for everyone to be finished!

A lot of people ask how I adapt and play games with Pip (who turns three in January). This is a sneak peak of a game we just opened today called "Koala Capers". The game called for rolling two dice, a pattern one and an article of clothing one. There is a "lose your cards" option on the clothing die – a pair of underwear. *giggle* Because Pip knows the names of articles of clothing, doesn't understand "losing" cards, and isn't quite to following two step descriptor directions yet… We just used the pattern die! We take turns rolling the die and finding a Koala that has our pattern on any article of clothing. He's getting really good at naming the pattern types (zip zag, polka dots, etc) and finding them amongst all the cards set out before him! We've played it twice already and he's right now asking to play it again! #homeschool #slpmom

A video posted by Tara Nicole (@speechykeenslp) on

-Tara

Link to the game on Amazon

Gaming: Seek-A-Boo

My mom is great at finding some fun games for Pip! Because he is still just two, I adapt them a lot so he can be successful. Then I up the difficulty as he is able! This game has a bunch of categories (differentiated by the border color). The game calls for the circles to be face down and for kids to find the ones that match a card. For Pip, I leave them face up. As he has gotten REALLY good at this game, I will often do a few categories together now, so he has a bigger group to search through.

For some of my older work clients I not only put them face down, I also don’t tell them what is on my card. Depending on their goals I may describe it, act it out, etc. So this game can really age up, which is always wonderful!

Dinner done, TV off, games have come out! #Thanksgiving

A photo posted by Tara Nicole (@speechykeenslp) on

Hope you love this game as much as we do!

-Tara

Link to the game on Amazon

Co-Op Fun: Train vs. Subway

Another Monday, another fun day at co-op! Today we talked about trains and subways. We discussed what was same and different between them and watched short YouTube videos about each! We had fun using a poster mailing tube as our subway tube to send subway trains through, then placing tracks across the top of the tube for the steam engine train! We talked about above ground, under ground, through.. So many fun concepts!

 

-Tara

Co-op Fun: Fall Books!

I’m going to go ahead and say it. I do NOT like how my library organizes the children’s book section. I get that seeing the covers can work well for the littles. But as an SLP, homeschool mom and co-op host… it’s a nightmare! So, I cheat. I go on and request all the books I need for each unit (sometimes using my card, my husbands card and even Pip’s to get enough!). Therefore they are all waiting on a pretty little shelf for me when we show up at the library each week! #winning

But seriously, we get a LOT of books…

Some our favorites from this batch have been We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt

https://www.instagram.com/p/8yzwqwwJYU

Fall Mixed Up
(better for older kids!)

Secrets of the Apple Tree
(if you haven’t seen this flashlight series by Usborne, you’re missing out! If you decide to buy any books by Usborne, please consider buying it through our fundraiser – your purchase gives books to our school in Rwanda!)

and Tap the Magic Tree
(we loved this one so much we bought it!)

What are some of your favorite books?

-Tara

Co-Op Fun: Adding Things

Caption Reads:

As co-op continues, I add new things to the schedule to challenge and engage our little group. They are masters of our circle and lesson time, while craft time is getting stronger each week. So, today I added a group story and music element to wrap up our school day. The book in this month’s box had them in giggles and learning new vocabulary (like “pike”) while listening for rhymes (a goat in a boat?!). We then finished up with some Jim Gill and Laurie Berkner to get remaining wiggles out before heading home for nap time. Even our shyest member joined in on the silliness today – a first!

 

-Tara

Jim Gill Music

Laurie Berkner Music

This Month’s Book

Co-Op Fun: Drawing Journal

Pip is really beginning to color, paint, glue, cut… his crafty side is starting to show! I found some great art journals at Michaels, used my 40% off coupon and we are now keeping track of his fine motor abilities as we journal and create inside our book!

-Tara

Then and Now: Changes since the frenectomy

Then and Now: Post Lip Tie Tongue Tie Frenectomy | http://www.oliverandtara.com

So much has changed for Liam since we corrected the lip tie and tongue tie. I don’t even know where to begin!

Nursing: I convinced myself that Liam had just become a very efficient nurser – when in actuality, his latch would fatigue due to the lip and tongue tie! The first 24-36 hours after his operation were frustrating. He would slam his head off of me and really struggled to latch. Now? He’ll nurse 2 hours at a time! It’s crazy amazing!

Pre and Post Lip Tie - Tongue Frenectomy | http://www.oliverandtara.com

Straws: Liam has drank out of a straw since he was very young. We went almost straight from breastfeeding to straw with just a few bottles in between. He stunk at drinking from a bottle, he’d collapse the nipple. He did better with straws, but always would lose 50-80% down the front of him. I thought he was just “lazy” or “silly”. Now, less than 5% leaves his mouth when he drinks from a straw! It was startling! He can even blow a whistle!

Puckers: Liam couldn’t pucker his lips before. He’d ask for kisses with a kissy noise by placing his tongue between his lips. So, rather than being kissed, you ended up getting licked! Now? He loves to make “fishy faces” and kiss with puckered lips!

Speech: With an SLP mommy, I was *freaking out* about his lack of speech. He had a great “vocabulary”, but it was all receptive (he understood words) or in sign language. I knew his hearing was fine, so this lip tie/tongue tie was the missing piece. His speech has taken off since the surgery, making the biggest jump 4-6 weeks out! Practicing oral motor exercises were a big key in teaching him how to move his lip and tongue. Ask me more on this if you need it!

Weight Gain: We survived RSV back in January, and during that time Liam lost over 10% of his body weight. It was impossible to get it back on! My 9lbs 7oz baby was now in the 14th percentile for weight and not moving. When he ate, he’d fatigue. 5-10 minute tops when nursing, and very small amounts of real food. Now? He’s back to nursing like crazy and eating his body weight in ham, dumplings, tomatoes and Plum food pouches!

Sleeping: My little guy still woke 4-6 times a night. Talk about a tired mommy. And each time he was genuinely hungry! Which made the weight gain problem even more confusing. Once repaired? We’re down to 1-2 times a night and even that is dwindling! Hello sleep, my dear old friend!

 

Pre and Post Lip Tie - Tongue Tie Correction | What a wonderful smile! http://www.oliverandtara.com

Smile: This was my biggest worry – my son’s smile would change. The only smile I’d even known. And guess what… it did. And it’s ok. Honestly, it’s even cuter because of everything listed below. Well, that and those chubby cheeks!

❤ Tara

Scrunchy: Vacuum Cleaning!

ABM_1403196559

With a toddler,  120 lbs Shepherd mix and overall active family, my floors see a lot of traffic. Fur dust bunnies grace every corner of my house after just a few days of not vacuuming…. You get the picture!

Yesterday,  as I was switching out the vacuum cleaner bag,  a childhood memory popped into my head. My mom used to have this special "vacuum spray" that she bought and used in our vacuum cleaner growing up. It always filled the rooms with cinnamon scent and left the house feeling "done" after a good cleaning. As I sat looking at my new vacuum cleaner bag I wondered how I could duplicate this experience for my own little guy. It only took a second for the idea to formulate and send me running to my essential oil drawer!

I picked Thieves,  as it had that cinnamon smell I desired while being good for our air and immune systems! I dropped 4 drops around the inside of the bag and let it dry a bit before install. Then I started vacuuming our family room. As soon as I was done,  I called the hubby up (without divulging my "trick") and asked him how the room smelled. His response?" Wow! It smells great! "

Mission accomplished!

Do you have a bag-less vacuum cleaner? Try to put a few drops on a cotton ball and wedge it in the air vents! Just don’t block them completely!

Let me know what scents you loved trying! Happy vacuuming!