Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Toddler Activity Review: Whistler Bounce!

We had our first weekend getaway as a family of four this past weekend to Whistler after spending Saturday in Squamish at Day Out with Thomas.
Our first stop on Sunday morning was Whistler Bounce Acrobatic Academy at Function Junction, a 10 minute drive from Whistler Village.
Bounce features 23 trampolines, a foam pit, trampoline half pipe, a SUPERTRAMP and a ball pit upstairs! Aside from drop in sessions, Bounce also offers trampoline lessons, birthday parties and corporate events.

This trampoline park has destinated hours in the morning for toddlers (5 and under) between 9am-11am(12 on weekdays), which is great as the older kids (adults included!) could get a little rough at times, making it less appropriate for the toddlers.
We arrived at around 9:30 that morning.  It was actually busier than we thought it would be when we arrived; but not to the point where it makes you feel crowded. There was a good mix of tourist like ourselves and locals from Whistler.
After signing the waiver, I thought I would have to watch C and daddy dubs from the reception area, but Bounce is very baby friendly that I was told that I could just bring baby C in with his carseat.  A few other babies and new moms joined us not long after.  
It took C a little while to warm up but once he remembered what trampolines were all about, it was just pure happiness on his and daddy dubs' faces. In fact, we had a hard time getting C out of there because he was having so much fun. I am sure we will be visiting Bounce again the next time we are in Whislter!

Venue Info:
Whistler Bounce
101-1055 Millar Creek Road (Function Junction) Whistler B.C.
Toddler Time Drop In: $10.50

Friday, 20 May 2016

Birthday party idea: Thomas and Friends

C turned 3 today!  We decided to throw a Thomas and Friends birthday party for him this past weekend since he loves trains and Thomas.  Who doesn't love Thomas?

We found a train ticket template and personalized it with all the party details.

Decorations were mostly store bought this year as we have the newborn to take care of this year.  Plates, napkins and table cloths were all Thomas themed or blue and green for Thomas and Percy.  We also used some of C's toys as decorations - train tracks with motorized Percy around the plates and utensils, Thomas as a centrepiece, an AirWalker balloon and other blue helium balloons to keep it consistent with theme.

Gift and Loot Bags:
We included a few things Thomas in the goodie bags - a mini Thomas train, Thomas and Friends bubbles, some Thomas stickers and a Thomas stamps.

Games and Activities:
This was the part we were all so excited about and it turned out to be a blast! The kids at the party (from age 1 to 5) all had so much fun with it that all the adults wished that they could give it a go too.  The Step 2 Thomas the Tank Engine Up and Down Roller Coaster was such a hit.  It was the perfect size for the toddlers.  The train stayed on safely on the track and it was hours of entertainment for the kids.  We just took it out of the box the morning of and it took Daddy dubs less than 30 mins to put it together.  It's a great alternative to the regular ride-on's or an indoor slide for both boys and girls.

Aside from the roller coaster, we also included C's Thomas train table at the party.  We have the Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway Grow With Me Play Table which has the pre-grooved tracks.  It was perfect for the party as it allows the kids to play without having to worry about losing the tracks or having to constantly rebuild the tracks for them.  Even though the manufacturer suggested age is from 2-4, C has had this table since he was a little older than 1 and all the younger kids at the party seemed to have no problem with it as well.

Thomas Pinata was another highlight of the party.  We got a pull string pinata as that seemed to be a safer choice for kids his age.  We didn't want to stuff the pinata with candies and we wouldn't want our kids to be picking up just candies from a pinata if we were at a party with it.  We ended up stuffing it with some random noisemakers, mini boxes of raisins, wooly balls, bouncy balls, some granola bars and fruit gummy.

Because Thomas and Friends is such a common party theme we didn't have to go through the trouble of finding a baker to make a custom cake this year.  We ordered a cake from a local grocery store which included a movable plastic Thomas train and a cargo with it.  Very cute cake and was perfect for the theme!

It was surely a fun and exhausting day for all the kids, we were told everyone had a good long nap after the party!  It has been two days now since the party but C is still busy opening the presents and is still talking about his birthday party.  Happy birthday, little one! :)

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Toddler Learning Activity: Name Tracing

I was looking for things to do with our almost 3 year old at home while our newborn was taking his nap the other day.  I wanted to find something that's somewhat eucational yet can be done quietly so that we could make it an activity during baby's nap time or during quiet time on days when C wants to skip his naps.

A while ago, C was really into the line tracing activities in one of his colouring books so I started looking up line tracing printables on pinterest.  I ended up seeing various pins on letter tracing.. on line tracing.. and eventually came across customized name tracing worksheets!  So I printed a copy for C and planned to laminate it so that it could be used over and over again with a dry erase marker. The printout size is perfect for a preschooler.  Not only are the words (names) customizable, the fonts are customizable too.

Unfortunately, C only showed interest in it for a short period of time so it didn't exactly do it's job of keeping him busy like I had originally hope for.  However, I'm still bookmarking the page as it would be such an useful tool to have when he does start to learn to write in preschool.

Want to make your own name tracing worksheets? Check this custom name tracing printable out from Powerful Mothering.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Baby has arrived!

The journey to my pregnancy ended on Friday morning with a smooth delivery of our baby boy. It was definitely an interesting experience as this time round we also had to make arrangements for our toddler whereas last time all we had to worry about was our hospital bag.

We have arranged for C to stay with grandparents during our stay at the hospital. I was a bit worried as it would have only been the second time of C sleeping over at grandparents and let's say he had a bit of trouble sleeping without daddy and mommy the first time round. In the past month, I have been talking to C about what would happen when it was time for us to head to the hospital and was basically hoping to prepare him mentally for it.  Thank goodness for the fact that C has been super excited about the arrival of the baby and has accepted the idea of having to sleepover while we were away.

I also wanted to make sure that C is going to find meeting his sibling to be a positive one as I am sure it's quite a dramatic change for a little person to deal with and to adjust to.  So we decided that we would ask C to pick out a gift for the baby and at the same time we have prepared a gift from the baby to him.

C picked out a Jellycat rattle bunny, he loves his Jellycat bashful bunny himself so he felt that the rattle is his bunny's baby sibling.  For his gift, we got him a cute book about brotherhood called "I am going to be a big brother" by Caroline Church.  The illustrations are very cute in the book just like other books by Church and it's written simple enough for a toddler his age to relate to and understand.  We have also included a boogie board that we found him enjoyed very much awhile ago when he was visiting his cousin, along with some of his favourite snacks.

Needless to say it was a huge surprise for C when he got the gift from the baby; it was also such a precious moment to watch him give the baby the rattle he picked out for him.  I am glad that we did this as it was such a great way for the brotherhood to begin.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Baking with a toddler

We have been talking about baking some muffins the last two weeks but never got around to it as the weather has been really nice to stay in. We finally managed to get some baking done this morning and I didn't expect it to be so much fun to do with a toddler! C loved it.

I basically got everything measured out for him and he ended up doing all the mixing. He was so excited for it that he sat in front of the oven for 20 minutes to wait for the muffins to be ready. The whole "project" took around 40 minutes, which was perfect. I think it would been a little too much for C if it took any longer.

Here's the simple recipe (from allrecipes.com) we used for our banana muffins this morning:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat muffin pans with non-stick spray, or use paper liners.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
Combine bananas, sugar, egg, and melted butter in a large bowl. Fold in flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Scoop into muffin pans.
Bake in preheated oven. Bake mini muffins for 10 to 15 minutes, and large muffins for 25 to 30 minutes. Muffins will spring back when lightly tapped.

... and I almost forgot to mention that I am so glad that we got him the BEKVÄM stool from Ikea.  It is a much more affordable alternative to a learning tower.  Daddy dubs is planning to try an ikea hack out on it to make a safer for C to be on it especially if we were to keep using it as a learning tower! To be continued...