Does your child have a delay in their speech? I’ll show you the most helpful food board where you can help your toddler work on their speech and play a game at the same time. This is a sponsored post from our friends at The Genius of Play. This post contains affiliate links and all opinions are my own.
Malakai was born at 24.5 weeks gestation. We knew when we got pregnant again, we were risking a 50/50 chance at whether he’d be premature. When my oldest son was born at 34 weeks, I feel he was preparing me for how to care for Leila, who was born at 30 weeks. And her the same for preparing me for Malakai.
Freddie had zero intervention from state programs, Leila qualified for speech therapy and Malakai has had speech therapy, physical therapy, monthly EI visits and now he’s off to the public school program to follow him along after he turns 3 this month.
I’ve had many speech therapists suggest a lot of things but the thing they seemed to push was just to do what you can to be able to communicate. Constantly repeating the words they’re reaching for. Even if it doesn’t sound correct, they’re still trying to communicate so that is a positive thing. I’m going to show you this toddler speech therapy activity I came up with.
Supplies for your Toddler Speech Therapy Activity Board
Begin by printing out my watercolor food printables on to some 65lb. cardstock. I gave you the options of the entire printable or the .svg files that you can use on your Cricut or Silhouette machine.
See my suggestions for cutting laminated paper with your Cricut below.
Instead of cutting them out individually, I upload the free food .svg file to Cricut Design Space. I printed them and cut them directly from the paper, then I run them through my Xyron laminate cartridge.
Cut each one out and then apply the stiffer side of the velcro to the back of the laminated cardstock. Place the softer side of the velcro to the cabinet or board. Then you can add 4 additional soft pieces of velcro to the cabinet so that they can pull what they want and place it there.
I cut a piece of vinyl to adhere above asking him “What Do I Want To Eat Today?”.
This toddler speech therapy activity is helpful to children with speech delay because it shows them common food choices and allows them to learn how to voice it on their own.
My experience with speech therapy for my toddler
The speech therapist always tells me why it’s important that they hear words multiple times. They hear it and then realize that’s what it’s called and will eventually relay that same word to you when they’re needing something.
He has a tendency just to make whimpers to us when he wants something, I’ve learned with this toddler speech therapy activity that helps with food and with drinks. Malakai no longer just whimpers, he’s actually saying what he wants, when he wants it.
You start with simple sounds that they can learn and add more to in the future. Sounds like “ba”, “da”, “pa”, “guh”, and “huh”. Reach out to your local school district to see if they offer programs like this to you and also discuss with your pediatrician. You and your doctor can make an informed decision on what kind of therapy, if any, is necessary.
Malakai also had an issue when he needed tubes in his ears. If they seem to just make a wah noise or not really enunciating sounds, that could be a sign of your child’s ears not draining correctly. I arranged with my ENT to have ear tubes put in Malakai’s ears and I’d say within a month or two, he was got out some new sounds and words.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TrustinGentle #ChooseGentle #CollectiveBias
Create the perfect care package for NICU parents and their little tiny miracle. Learn all what you need to know about skin care for premature babies and important advice for NICU parents.
Because I’ve had two preemies before Malakai I kind of knew what to expect when it came to his care. However, because his skin was so much thinner and more delicate than the others, we had to really consider what exactly was going on his skin and what the ingredients were. JOHNSON’S® Baby Shampoo was really the best thing we were able to find that didn’t have any contraindications.I chose JOHNSON’S® because of the formulation of their products. They are 100% gentle, and free of parabens, and phthalates. They’re also dye free, sulfate free, worry free. They have a new formulation for all of their products and have released a new JOHNSON’S® COTTONTOUCH™ Newborn Wash & Shampoo that is perfect for Malakai now and I’m sure perfect when he was just a preemie because,“The Brand You Trust, Now More Gentle Than Ever” and it is the #1 choice of hospitals.
What is a swaddle bath?
Our NICU used it on all the babies and we were able to do swaddle baths with Malakai which were great because he is so small. A swaddle bath is when you fill your tub of warm water, then you put some fleece fabric or blanket, then the baby and then you wrap the baby up in the swaddle so that they retain their heat. We continued to do these for Malakai until he was 6-7 months and when he stayed warm, he enjoyed his bath times more. This is my daughter Leila when we would do swaddle baths for her in 2010.
Is skin-to-skin for preemies worth it?
To this question, it’s always yes. It’s important to do it when the baby is born but when you have a premature baby, sometimes you can only do it a bit at a time. When we had Leila in 2010, the most they’d let us do is an hour at a time until she was stronger.
For Malakai, it was a different story. I didn’t get to hold him for 10 days. We’d watch his monitor and his ventilator settings to make sure he wasn’t getting too stimulated. We were able to hold him as long as he’d tolerate it. Some days it’d be the full 3 hours before his next cares, some days it was 20 minutes. That’s why I feel a swaddle bath is always best for premature or even term newborns so that they get the sensation of warmth and comfort that we provide to them during skin-to-skin.
How do I take care of myself while my child is in the NICU?
First, your child is in the best place possible. Sometimes that is hard to realize because we are their parents and we know what to do. However, these nurses are dedicated to their work and also can be traumatized from having to deal with other premature infants.
I suffer from PTSD even three years later and a lot of therapy. There are times when I often have to close my eyes and take deep breaths and continue to remind myself that part of his life is over. The hospital still gives me anxiety with all the monitors and bells, I get very agitated and again have to do breathing exercises. I’m not sure when it will go away but I know a way I can help myself is to be sure to take care of myself and do other things besides sit in the hospital all day.
Movies, pampering, sleep, shopping, and other extra-curricular activities were so important to me as a mother because if I was taken care of, my child was properly taken care of. I wasn’t as overwhelmed by his cares and all the extras I needed to know because my mind was cleared and I was more attentive.
What should I include in a care package for NICU parents?
Be sure to include items for the parents and items that they’ll need for when the baby comes home. Remembering the parents and the baby are what is most important but also practicality has to come into play as well. Some of my best ideas are:
Head to your local Walgreens and grab those for your friends or family whose child is in the NICU. I love going to Walgreens because I know it’s always open. There were many times where we would have to run grab something for Malakai and it was never a question of where we’d go. I know that their pharmacy is reliable in providing me the medications that he needed for so long after his birth. I remember us having to go to the Emergency Room in the middle of the night and the doctor sent us home a prescription. I knew that they were the only ones able to fill it for us.
We’ve come a long way in our progress for all three of my premature children but especially Malakai. I wouldn’t have been able to give him the love and attention he needed if it weren’t for the generosity of others.
So tell me, what do you think would be a great addition to a care package for NICU parents? Head to your local Walgreens and create your own care package for NICU parents. #TrustInGentle
My son is obsessed with Moana and Maui especially. Today I’m going to use my Cricut Maker to make a Disney Maui Halloween Costume. This should take a few hours to make but it’ll be well worth it in the end. This post is sponsored by Cricut and all opinions are my own.
This post does contain affiliate links.
For starters I began by uploading this image of Maui’s tattoos into Design Space. I really tried to make an svg in Illustrator but it would not trace well. I found the best way to do this was to upload the image directly to Design Space, using this method, and slicing the image. Cricut just started doing templates in Design Space again and I used it to size the separated images. Sometimes I would get a clean sliced image, when that happened I just added another Maui image and sliced off what I didn’t need. This was a labor of love. I wish I could just share the image after I took all that time to fix it but that is just not an option right now.The first part I worked on was the neck. I then placed a square or circle on separate parts of the image and would slice it. It took a lot of small adjustments but I eventually got there. The trick to slicing is to make sure that only two images are selected. If an image is grouped together, it won’t work. You’ll need to ungroup and detach any images so that only two images are selected, then select slice. You can delete any extras so that the images are all separated and you can size them on your templates.After I cut and weeded all of the black iron-on vinyl, I used my EasyPress to attach it to the onesie. Malakai has the perfect beige tone of skin so these ones I found on Amazon were perfect. They’re the perfect tone for this Maui Halloween Costume.I sized the leg tattoos to be about 4.5″ wide and placed the weeded image where I wanted it on the pants. I used the EasyPress at 305• and pressed it for 30 seconds. I then turned the pants over again so that it’d get heated from the opposite side. When using the EasyPress, you’re going to want to make sure that no vinyl comes in direct contact with the heated element. So when you have to overlap to get a good seal on an image, you’re going to want to make sure that the carrier sheet is covering all vinyl.Start with your shirt now. I began with the neck pieces so that it would line up with everything else. I then did the sleeves, back and then the chest last.Next, you’re going to want to cut the leaves with your Cricut Maker. You can use a Cricut Explore for this as well but your felt will need to be stiff, you’re also going to want to use a deep cut blade and a Strong Grip Mat. The new Cricut Felt is stiff and it’ll cut well on both machines. When using the Maker, use a pink mat and the rotary blade. The pink mat works best with the rotary blade, it’s formulated to Lee your rotary blade sharp. You can use other mats (which I have) but try to always use the pink mat with that blade.I grabbed this package of green felt from Benzie Designs and I love that it comes in different shades. I did use some embroidery floss to add some details to some of the leaves. The felt is soft so you’ll want to thread the leaves in and attach them to each other using some fabric glue. Aileens Fabric Fusion works great for this. The colors in her cactus pack are perfect for this Maui Halloween Costume.Some of the leaves I cut are not available in Design Space. I used a few from Lia Griffith and some from Amy Robison. Just click on their names and you can buy the shapes there. Lia has a membership site and I highly recommend it. She has some many svg’s that you can download on to Design Space and cut whichever ones you’d like. She also just has great printables that are all included in her membership fees too.
So in all honesty, this was a labor of love. It does take a lot of time and attention but I really love the outcome of this Maui Halloween Costume. He looks so cute and big. He’s only 20 lbs. and turns 2 on September 30. He’ll do anything to be big. He’s been around older kids so much that I don’t think he really knows how to act like a baby, except when he’s crying and rolling all over the floor. He’s such a fun kid to have around and I can’t wait until he figures out he can go door to door and get free candy.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NewDadMustHaves #CollectiveBias
Every new Father is important and we as mothers know what we need. But what do dads of preemies need? This post will highlight all the important items you need for your home for your premature baby.
Our son Malakai was born at 24.5 weeks gestation and it was a scary time for all of us, especially his dad. I’ve had 3/4 premature babies and I’ve never seen my husband so attentive to our babies in the NICU except Malakai. Of course he was concerned with all of them but none of them had the complications Malakai had. I’ve wanted to make a round-up of all the items that a dads of preemies need to put his mind at ease.
VTech VM981 Expandable HD Video Baby Monitor with 1 Wi-Fi Camera, 5” Touch Screenis the perfect video monitor to see your new baby at all times. It hooks up to your smart phone and a 5″ touch screen so you’re able to go from room to room with the comfort of knowing if your baby is ok. The VTech VM981 Expandable Video Monitor can zoom in 10X to your desired view and the picture is always crystal clear. Grab it on Amazon here.
White Noise Machines are important because they help clear out the silence. Preemies have been surrounded by alarms, talking, pokes and prods all while they were in the hospital, it’s important to have something that clears it all out.
Cool-Mist Humidifier, I say cool-mist because the warm-mist humidifier can be a burn hazard for children. The air is the same temperature when it hits your child’s lungs but the cool mist seems to be more effective for preemies.
Large Water Dispensers can be found at your local hardware store or in Utah they have a company that you can rent from. Some can deliver the large bottles to your home or you can fill it up at a local grocery store too. I like the large water dispensers because they have a hot and cold function. This is great for making bottles, just do half and half, or even warming bottles. Bottle warmers are handy but can cause hot spots just like a microwave.
Smart Thermometers can hook right into your headphone jack on your phone and you can get a reading for their temperature right there. It also saves the history of the fevers so that you can give our doctor an accurate report.
Technology is not necessary for everything but the items above are, in my opinion, an absolute must. These help your kids transition from hospital to home very easily. Dads of preemies everywhere are going to want these great items for their kids.For more information on the VTech VM981, visit VTech here and on Facebook. Now tell me, what’s your favorite tech items for babies?
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. All opinions are mine alone. #BlueLizardSummer #CollectiveBias
Learning how your child reacts to the sun is always a fun experiment! Even though they share the same genetics, siblings often times react differently to the sun. My older three brown right up and then you have my baby who burns just like his mama. I’m going to give you some of my best sun care tips for toddlers so buckle up!
We were in Tonga over the winter (their summer) and we had to leave early because Malakai couldn’t handle the heat. It was so hot, like Arizona heat but with 85% humidity hot. No fun. I’ve never experienced heat like that and hopefully I never will have to again. Malakai was extremely sensitive to the heat there too. I’m not sure if it had to do with his prematurity or if he had somehow contracted a mosquito-borne illness. He’d toss-and-turn all night long, never napped and he was pretty much the grumpiest he’s ever been. I needed to learn quickly how to take care of him in the sun.The only thing he ended up loving was being dipped in the ocean and then laying down in the shade. Obviously that wasn’t always an option so we had to get creative with how we dealt with him overheating. Some of my favorite ideas are:
Sunscreen and a higher SPF than you think you’ll need. Toddlers skin is still so fragile and thin that they need extra sun protection. Don’t be afraid to try the Blue Lizard® Australian Sunscreen out for yourself. How you take care of your skin when you’re young will determine how it looks when you’re older.
Rompers and lots of them. The fabric in these rompers are fantastic. They’re extremely breathable and come in different sleeve and pant lengths. These were a huge lifesaver in the heat and I ended up buying more of them once we came home.
Hats and large ones too. The wider the rim of the hat, the more area it’ll cover. I do like those hats that look like a towel is hanging down, but fashion over function for me and so I like to stick with bucket hats. Be sure that there is a strap to secure it on your baby’s head. But also make sure that the secure tab can easily come off, like a velcro one.
SPF proof swimwear in addition to your sunscreen. There is never too much sun protection and get all the coverage you can find. I love that swimwear now is available with additional SPF because you can’t always swim in long sleeves and pants.
Water, water, and more water. Toddlers need hydration as much as adults and they’ll feel miserable too if they don’t stay hydrated. There is always that rule of drink before you’re thirsty. Stay on top of it and be sure they’re getting the amount they need.
Washcloths. Dip these in the cool water and place it around your child’s neck. This has an immediate effect on how your body feels and it can help them get the energy they need so that you can get them out of the heat.
Babies and ourselves need a lot of sun coverage for our skin. In the last few years I’ve had moles removed which were on the cusp of being cancerous. I’ve been more diligent to cover myself and my children more because of this. Tonga was by far my worst sunburn and so while we were there I made sure to cover them in Blue Lizard® sunscreen before they even started for the day. I knew they’d run off to the beach and sunscreen would be impossible for them to remember.I love the Blue Lizard® Baby Sunscreen especially for Malakai’s sensitive skin and you can easily find it at your local Walmart. But the most important feature I love is that the Patented Smart Bottle™ technology – bottle changes color when exposed to harmful UV sunlight. This can be used as a great teaching tool for your kids on when to re-apply sunscreen (only the bottle will change colors). Just remember to consult your pediatrician before applying sunscreen to children younger than 6 months.Tell me, what are your favorite sun care tips for toddlers? Also don’t forget to download the Ibotta app where you can get a $4 rebate just for purchasing Blue Lizard® Baby Sunscreen.
Kids Springtime fashion is one of the funnest seasons to dress them for.
See how Oshkosh B’Gosh has all the essentials you’ll ever need.
This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of OshKosh B’gosh; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
I love dressing Malakai in dapper clothing – I mean, nothing is cuter than a little boy in suspenders. Am I right?Some of the best fashion I have found for toddlers comes in the form of comfort. Yes people, babies like yoga pants as much as their mamas! But when they make adorable little clothes that average sized people would look ridiculous in – we just have to buy it. These suspenders were by far my favorite find from OshKosh B’gosh and they are now Malakai’s Sunday pants. I love that I can pair it with a nice shirt or just a standard polo and it’s giving him a new look. Did I mention he loves peanut butter sandwiches? 😉Another style I love are jogger pants. Whether their in Jean form or sweat form, they just look adorable and I can’t get enough. Malakai seems to be drawn to them too because he never tries to take them off like other stuff he wears. We paired this pair with a nice henley one-piece and these crib shoes. Malakai is almost walking and is getting more confident by the day to take off on his own. He loves these crib shoes because he can naturally curve his foot when he’s trying to take steps. I love all the designs that OshKosh B’gosh offers. I wish too that I could have gotten him these sandals but that’ll just have to wait for now. OshKosh B’gosh is a great brand for kids because they sell practical clothing and stylish clothing. You can find everything you need from affordable comfort to great Sunday clothing and especially holiday clothing. Now you can save 25% using this Oshkosh Coupon and get your Spring shopping on! Shop onlineor find your local OshKosh B’gosh store here.
Nothing is cuter than the book ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, learn how to make this farmhouse baby nursery art inspired by the book.This post contains affiliate links. Thank you to Cricut for sponsoring this post.
I love Malakai’s nursery decor above his crib. It’s eclectic, kind of farmhouse and it’s all the right tones. For this project I’m going to show you how to make this ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ baby nursery art sign using your Cricut Explore. And I’ve include the .png for you to save to your computer and upload it to your Cricut Design Space using this method. Let’s get started!
First, prepare your wood surface. I used Rustoleum stain in Driftwood (it is now called Sunbleached). It’s the perfect neutral grey and I used it on my Hair Pin Leg DIY Side Table. I then added my base color to the inlay of the wood. I wanted my monster to be light so I painted the base in Ceramcoat Charcoal. Next, you’ll cut your image using the dial setting on vinyl. Using your weeding tool, peel up the monsters body. It’ll leave behind the lettering and that’s what you want.
Next you’ll adhere your transfer tape. I love the Cricut transfer tape because it has a guide on it to ensure you get an even image transfer. I use my scraper to press out the bubbles in the transfer tape. Once your base coat is dry, place the vinyl image where you want it to be and be sure to press extra good while the transfer tape is still over the vinyl. This will ensure that you get a good seal and no paint will seep down. Once you have the vinyl where you want and it’s sealed down onto your wood, slowly peel up the transfer tape. This will now expose the area of the monster that you’re going to be painting. For this color I chose Ceramcoat Quaker Grey.
Before you paint your chosen color of the monster, take the extra time to paint your base coat over the area first. This will give you crisp lines and will help to avoid any bleeding. After the base color had dried over the monster, apply your desired color. I used the stippling method to apply my paint because I wanted a rough texture. Almost mimicking fur. Now wait 20 minutes until it is completely dry before using your weeding tool to remove the vinyl from the wood. I decided to sand it a bit for a rough texture but this is completely optional. I also sanded around the edges of the frame to expose some of the wood.
This goes so well with Malakai’s wall. I’ve listed the sources of the other art below for your reference.
I also love the versatility of the Cricut Explore Air 2. Not only does it look good in the minty green but it’s so functional for daily uses. We recently made Siaki a MLK, Jr. poster board for his biography report. He loved it and so did I because it was so easy.
*This post does contain affiliate links, thanks for your support.Malakai had so much fun at his Harry Potter birthday party. What a better way to celebrate “The Boy Who Lived” than incorporating Harry Potter. We had lots of good ideas thanks to other Harry Potter birthday parties that have been thrown by others but it was fun to put a little spin on it.
I just cut the top off of some greenery I grabbed from Ikea and glues it to the top of the babies heads. I used red velvet cake but you can get any kind you want. I especially love these Butterbeer Cupcakes from Sugar & Soul. I spread it with cream cheese frosting and dipped it in some brown sprinkles. You could also ground up some Oreos and dip them in to have it look like dirt.
I got these Honeydukes chocolate bar labels from Etsy here. They’re printable and a no brainer. They fit perfectly on Hershey bars. We had our local bakery make a replica of Hagrid’s cake and had them personalize it. I also especially love the Gryffindor smash cake. They just used a printable paper and I attached the little snitch on top. I also bought some paper stars that just added a pop to the Harry Potter table. They’re actual pages out of the book folded into tiny stars and they’re adorable. Grab them here. Get Away Today was a huge help in bringing all the decorations together. They had some Harry Potter candy from the original Honeydukes for us. They also lent us their Sorting Hat and scarves for our photo booth. I used some printable snitch wings and attached them onto some Ferrero Rocher candies and yum…
Grab the balloons here and grab the confetti here. I just stuffed the confetti into the clear balloons and then took them to my local party store to fill up.
I used the large cauldron for drinks, the medium for the Harry Potter photo booth props and the small one to hold the extra candy along with the prop Harry Potter glasses. You can see Malakai’s Harry Potter Snitch invitation here.
I grabbed a lot of candies and props for the Diagon Alley area of the party from Oriental Trading. here, here, here The skull statue and the beakers are all from Michaels and I grabbed dowels, hot glue and brown spray paint while I was there and made some fun homemade wands. I got all the table linens from Oriental Trading as well.