Aug 19, 2014

Lizard Small World with Scented Rice

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In these final few days before Bentley gets here, we have simply been focusing our toddler homeschool on things that Kingston likes and is enjoying playing with and exploring. His most recent fixation has been on lizards or "yizards" if you ask him! After a recent trip to the science museum this week, we picked up this awesome bag of reptiles: Wild Republic Polybag Reptile 5 Pieces (FYI I'm blown away by that Amazon price, since I paid DOUBLE that. I can't believe how inexpensive they are on Amazon... Also, if you haven't checked out the Wild Republic Polybags, they are amazing, perfect for little fingers, and so affordable!). Inside the bag is a chameleon, iguana, Komodo dragon, gecko, and a frilled lizard. They are big, sturdy, and incredibly detailed. K has been toting them everywhere. It was pretty apparent that he would enjoy a lizard small world, so I threw one together for him! 
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Aug 17, 2014

Favorite Potty Books for Toddlers

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Potty "training" or potty "learning" is something that has been going on over at House of Burke for quite awhile now. Kingston is 22 months, which is still pretty young to be fully potty trained, but we have been getting him used to the potty for a long time. While we have begun to gather big boy underwear and the other necessities for really fully learning how to use the potty, the products that seem to have become the most important in our potty learning journey are Kingston's potty books! He is really into reading his books and seeing characters in stories using the potty. 

Before we talk about the potty books that K loves, we should talk about his potty. We have the adorable, affordable, and highly rated Babybjorn Potty Chair in Turquoise. I chose this model after a lengthy discussion with other parents over on the House of Burke Facebook page. We love it. It is extremely comfortable for Kingston, doesn't take up much space, and I appreciate the extra room in the front that helps keep the urine IN the potty! It is also simple and quick to remove the seat and clean. The fact that it is lightweight makes for easy travel from room to room. 

Now that you've met our potty chair, here are the books that K likes to read when he sits on it! 

Potty by Leslie Patricelli - This book was a must-have for our potty training journey. K LOVES anything Leslie Patricelli (if you haven't checked her books out, you must! No No Yes Yes and Yummy Yucky are a great place to start!) He loves the little bald boy character and thinks that he is hilarious. This book is too cute. The graphics are bold and vivid and the text is simple. In the book, the boy investigates his cat and dog to see how they use the bathroom. I also love that he gets his own book to read on the potty.

Once Upon a Potty - Okay. SO, I must admit... I do NOT like this book. I am not really into the unrealistic pot that the boy uses as a potty, and I don't like the mother's narration throughout. That being said, Kingston LOVES it, so I don't really think my opinion on it matters much. He gets excited to read it, and he understands the descriptions of the little boys body parts and what exactly he does in the toilet. He also likes when the boy tries to figure out what the potty is used for. The fact that it entertains him while teaching him how to use his potty makes it a recommendable book in my eyes! Plus, this book is a classic and has been around forever. They even have a girl version - Once Upon a Potty!

I Have to Go (Sesame Street Toddler Books) - This book is seriously adorable! Out of all the books we have on potty learning, this is his favorite. We don't watch Sesame Street, so he doesn't really know the characters other than from this book, but he is drawn in by Little Grover and his journey to get to the potty. I think he loves it because the language is reminiscent of his favorite tv short "Nina Needs to Go". I love this book because it shows how important it is to resist the temptation to play until you have taken care of "business".  I also love how realistic Grover's potty chair is, like a tiny mini toilet. We would definitely recommend this book for all potty learners!

A Potty for Me! by Karen Katz is an adorable potty learning themed lift-the-flap book. The first thing that I love about this book is the length. It is short and interactive enough to hold your little one's attention, but it has plenty of pages to keep your little one entertained while sitting on the potty. Another thing I love about it is the fact that the character is gender ambivalent. I think this book would work perfectly for a girl or a boy because it never specifies which one it is and you really can't tell. It also depicts the potty trainee wearing a diaper at bedtime and nap and what happens when they have an accident while playing. I think this book is adorable, and a potty learning must have!

There are plenty of other potty training books out there that we haven't read yet. What are your favorites? I would love you to leave your recommendations in the comments below.

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Aug 15, 2014

Blueberry Cinnamon Freezer Waffles

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House of Burke has been all aflutter lately in preparation for Baby Bentley's arrival! One of the things that I have been doing to prepare for our newest little bundle of love is to stock our freezer with quick and easy meals and homemade convenience foods that we can enjoy with very little prep during those crazy early days of newborn chaos. 

Kingston LOVES homemade waffles and muffins, and I love them because they are yummy, easy, and healthier than their store bought counterparts. I like to know what goes into our food, especially the food that I offer my toddler. There are a million waffle recipes out there, but these particular ones happen to freezer extremely well! 

The Recipe: 

This recipe makes a giant batch of waffles - about 20 waffles (in 1/2 - 3/4 c. increments) in a regular 4 square waffle iron. We have and love the Cuisinart WAF-100 4-Slice Belgian Waffle Maker. It is amazing, and makes perfect waffles each time. Any standard waffle maker would work, but I would suggest a square one because square waffles are much easier and convenient to store. When I make freezer waffles, I want to make a giant batch, at least enough for a month or so. If you DON'T want to make this many waffles however, feel free to cut this recipe in half!
  • 3.5 cups of all purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 3.5 cups of milk
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cooking oil (or can substitute for melted butter)
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (I also like to add a few shakes of nutmeg for added yumminess! I've also done pumpkin pie spice which was delicious!)
  • Blueberries (These are actually completely optional, and you may add as many or as little as you want. I add about 1.5 cups and eyeball it. You can also opt for another type of berry or even some chocolate chips, but these waffles are also super delicious plain!)

What to Do: 

Whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl, except for your berries. Make sure your waffle maker  is plugged in and preheating while you are doing this. Pour about 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup into each section of your iron and cook until it beeps. Remove and set aside to cool. When you have made all of your waffles and they have completely cooled, you are ready to start packaging them for the freezer.

Freezer Supplies Needed and Instructions:

heavy duty freezer bags
aluminum foil
a pen

Label your freezer bag with the contents and the date. I always use pen because sharpie or marker tends to wipe off during the transitions in and out of the freezer. Remove a piece of aluminum foil a little larger than your waffle, and wrap each one individually. Stack them in your bags, remove all air, and pop into the freezer!

When You Are Ready to Eat: 

Remove waffle from freezer and foil wrapper - either microwave for 50 seconds or use your toaster oven/toaster to heat up. If you are preparing for a toddler (as I always am because I only make these for him), I would suggest microwaving it because then it stays nice and soft. Top with your favorite pure maple syrup, and you have a delicious and homemade breakfast ready in a minute!

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Aug 12, 2014

Books My Toddler Can't Put Down

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We are book obsessed over here. Okay, I must admit, that it all stems from me and my desire to own every children's book ever made. Yup, I have a problem folks. BUT Kingston is certainly following in my footsteps and it is thrilling me to no end that he is now getting into longer books with plots that are fun to read. Of course, books for babies are great, but my heart truly lies with books that have a little more depth. 

Listed below are the books that Kingston currently can't put down. He is 22 months! I don't necessarily think all toddlers his age will be interested in these books, however, they are definitely worth checking out. 
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Aug 5, 2014

Rhino Footprint Craft

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Kingston has a rhino obsession. It is quite serious! We probably have about 10 rhino toys, read books about rhinos, and spend tons of time ogling them at the zoo. He loves his "nynos", so when we started our animal unit, I knew I had to figure out a way to make a rhino print craft to capture his adorable feet AND his adorable obsession. 
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Aug 4, 2014

I See Me Review

 (Disclosure: We were sent a complimentary personalized book, placemat, and set of stickers for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own!) 

I am so excited to have the opportunity to review products from I See Me! We were first introduced to this awesome company that specializes in personalized children's books and unique personalized gifts for kids when we received one of their books at Kingston's 1st birthday. He loves that book, so I was really excited to receive this one. 
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Aug 1, 2014

Feeding the Lion Fine Motor Play

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Happy Fine Motor Fridays! Our post today is not only part of our weekly blog hop, but also part of an awesome series hosted by one of our favorite bloggers Devany from Still Playing School - Everyday Fine Motor Materials from A-Z. We chose the letter S; and the material we chose was straws ! Most people have straws on hand at their house, and we just so happened to have a TON of them leftover from Kingston's 1st birthday party last year. (If you haven't read about his awesome party, you should: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Since we are currently focusing on animals, I thought it would be fun to put together a fine motor activity where Kingston could feed an animal. There were so many animals to choose from, but why not choose the "king of the jungle" for my little king?! I printed a picture of a lion with it's mouth open. Then I taped it to an old recycled clementine crate and cut a small hole right above his tongue. I chose this box for multiple reasons: the first reason was that there were tons of holes in the back of the box that were awesome for extra fine motor practice, and the second was that there was plenty of room between the box opening and the paper for me to reach in and assist Kingston unbeknownst to him if necessary! I provided him with a plate of straws , clothespin , and a frog bag clip. 
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