Montessori Reading For Little Ones Interview - Meet Pauline Meert

My little man has turned 2 and I've been finding great learning items for his play room. I am came across a shop on Etsy called ForLittleOnes. The shop had these wonderful book sets for young ones to start to learn reading, inspired by Montessori teaching.  

I choose the 8 Early Reader set, Bundle A and B. It comes with 8 books, each with cards.
I thought they were a perfect addition to any childs learning materials and thought they'd be great for my little man. 

The moment he opened the package, my son wanted to read them all. 

They are a perfect size for his little hands to hold. Each book comes with sight word cards tucked safely in the back. 

The pictures are very cute hand drawn images, easy for a child to identify and the words are nicely printed and written so that a child can understand and relate them to the picture.  

On each package, it explains a little about the Montessori method and how to use the books. Great Gifts!

I wanted to introduce the woman behind ForLittleOnes, Pauline Meert...

    Hi! I am Pauline from ForLittleOnes on etsy.com, a store dedicated to meeting the needs of children through Montessori materials, activities, books, and toys.

 Can you tell us a bit about Montessori teaching?
    Montessori education is the perfect mix of beauty, simplicity, and learning. A Montessori teacher is trained to guide children towards their full potential. This is done through a carefully prepared environment, by using cleverly designed materials, by fostering life long skills, and by offering each child a deep love for learning. Montessori education at its core thrives to respect and nurture each child’s dignity and uniqueness leading them towards their God given full potential. It is beautiful. I am currently doing my Montessori Masters and continually falling in love with the method. There is so much depth Maria Montessori’s work!

 What inspires you to create?
    The children in my classroom are very inspiring. By watching them and their needs I can see what materials would be helpful. They challenge me creatively. Other people, artists, friends, family, also inspire me. I love creating baby dolls for friends and family who are expecting. I find hobby stores to also be create places for inspiration, particularly during sales!

 How did you learn to create your items?
    I began by learning to sew from a wonderful teacher when I was 18. She was very patient, even when I wanted to create a full renaissance dress after 2 month of classes. She helped me and encouraged me. I only took classes for a little while and then went rogue making what I could and trying new things. Through my Montessori training I found many ideas of things to create and tried my hand at using various medias. I do a lot of trial and error!

 Have you always wanted to make and sell your creations?
    Not really. This all kind of happened. In high school I discovered that I loved to sew. When I began my Montessori training this love spread to creating materials and various trinkets for children. I enjoyed this and found a way to share it with others through Etsy. Etsy challenges me to create new materials. It also inspires me to be more creative. 


Can you share any new items coming out soon?
    At the moment I do not have a lot of new items in the works. I am working on my Masters and teaching full time which makes time disappear far too quickly. I do hope to make more books in the near future as well as more Saint Peg Dolls. Feel free to ask for a custom item though!

Where can your products be found?

    Currently my products are only available on etsy or if you come by my place!

    I can be found in a few different places-



Thank You Pauline!
Sincerely, Sue


MiiniMoh - Handmade Wood Toys

Handmade and natural, Melody of Miinimoh makes adorable wood figures, stackers, sorting toy sets and more. 
I recently had the privilege to acquire some of Miinimoh fun items for my son. I chose the acorn sorting set, plus an additional pink bowl ( everyone needs a little pink!) and a rainbow ribbon ring.

My son had fun taking each bowl out of the package and got excited when he saw all the colorful wooden acorns. 

Who could resist such bright wonderful colors! Each bowl has 2 coordinating colored acorns that fit in each bowl. 

Great for color learning, sorting, counting, hide n seek and more. He also liked stacking all the bowls and of course, using the bowl to throw the acorns in the air.

The rainbow ring is a fun toy for running..oh yes, lots of running..

And running..

Did I say running?

He had a lot of fun holding it and making it swish in the air while he ran. The ring can also be used for imaginative play, counting, color learning and more.

Super cute safe and colorful toys! We are having fun with them and I know we will for years to come. You can too by visiting Minnimoh and Melody at her shop on Etsy.


How to get your Baby to Sleep - Book Recommendation

Short story- 

When my son was 5 months I met a woman in the produce section of my grocery store. Her son was around the same age and she started to talk about her sons sleeping. She said I had to get this book "Healthy Sleep, Happy Baby" by Marc Weissbluth. 

She swore by it, how great it was and how well it worked. She spoke about how her son went to sleep every night early and slept through till morning. At the time, I was very tired, as everyone who breastfeeds knows, sleep is a prized commodity. I decided to give it a try, and ordered a copy.


She was so right! We were putting our son, who was in his crib next to our bed at the time, to bed when we went to bed, like 9-10 pm. We just figured that was convenient for all. According to the book, and his age, we should try 5-6 pm!! I was like, WHAT? That's crazy sounding.  So we tried it. It took 3 nights of letting him cry for 5-10 minutes, then silence. Silence for 4-6 hours! I was amazed. 

Since then, we recommend this book to everyone we know who has a child. My son is now almost 2, and is a wonderful sleeper to this day. He still goes to bed early, at the latest 7-7:30pm and sleeps all night. 

I HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!! Try it, at the worst your child might sleep more! (:

You can purchase this book at various online and book stores. And if you don't mind used, try Ebay or Amazon!


Great FREE Ipad Apps for 1-3 year olds Preschool

Yes, I did it, got an ipad, and am now sucked into the app world. And now having an almost 2 year old, I am on the search for some great FREE apps, preferably ones with some creativity and some accent of learning. So I went on a search and after downloading and deleting and downloading and deleting, I now have compiled a short list of some of my and my sons favorites. None of these apps are gender specific, so they are great apps for your little girls too.

My first app choice is Endless Alphabet

I can't say enough great things about this one. It's a very cute and creatively designed app. Little monsters run the show. You choose a word, the word appears, they say it , they the monsters come parading out and scramble the letters out so your toddler can drag each letter to it's appropriate spot. Once your toddler touches a letter, it comes alive, saying the sound of the letter while animated until it is in it's letters spot in the word, the letter is then said, and it continues until the word is spelled out. They then all cheer and say the word. Then a short explanation of the word is played out with the monsters animated and the word is defined.

 The narrator is a woman, she's nice sounding and silly at times. The monsters are cute and non threatening. The words are various and interesting. My son started doing it at 1 1/2 and is not almost 2 and still LOVES it. And I swear he has learned letters through this app. I found him repeating the sounds of the letters at his wooden blocks and it is fun for him in the process. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

You can read more and find it on their site

Another fun app is Pepi Tree

We found the version for free during a promo, and I'm sure you can still find it, or at least the mini version for free. It's a super cute animated app that takes place in a tree. There are 5 different levels of the tree. The app opens to cheery music with a hooting owl, where your little one can touch the animals or insects that appear in the owls vision and then are dragged into the puzzle place of each object. Then you can scroll up to meet a fuzzy catepillar ready to eat. He eats a leaf with the help of your child then wraps into a cocoon and turns into a butterfly. Once you take his picture, you can let another eat a pear and it goes on to an apple and a plum. Super cute.. There are 3 more levels down below the owl, one where you feed a squirrel family, another where you can grow things and feed a porcupine with a crazy rabbit and the lowest, with a maze.

Each level has a cute music jingle, you can't help but hum, while it's played. The animals are silly and cute and my son really likes doing all the tasks. A nice nature addition to the apps.

You can read and find it on their site

They also do a Pepi Bath app, where a boy or girl needs to be cleaned, so there is a laundry side and a bathing side. You wash their clothes in a washing machine and hang them to dry, or you brush their teeth, wash their hands, comb their hair, etc. Very cute animation and easy to follow. Also available on their website

A great App company is Toca Boca

They make a lot of good apps. Some are just entertaining, others better in the learning department. Some are available free while others have a fee. They have Toca Kitchen or Toca Monsters, where your little ones can learn to choose food and cook it in different ways according to the animal or person eating. There is Toca Band where they can choose band members, make them sing in different ways and choose to create many different bands, all singing variations of the same song. Toca Hair Xmas is a small app letting them cut Santa or a Christmas Trees hair, yes a tree. You can decorate with ornaments, trim them up, change the color and more. And we have Toca Train, where your child can be a conductor, running a train, picking up customers, collecting and dropping off parcels and even sipping a drink while blowing the horn. Very cute.

Overall, all Toca Apps are very impressive with their animation and easiness of use. My son figured everything out very easily, which is important. No ads popping up or annoying banners. Great Overall Apps.

You can read more and find the app on their site

There are many more apps I could list but I'd start with the above if you want some nice fun ones with easy learning ability and great animation.  Also 2 to mention are the PBS has their own app and the WWF has a nice app

Happy Apping!!


DIY Easy Homemade Play Dough

So onward to my DIY Play dough experience! It's something I've wanted to try for a while, it is safe, all natural and I knew my son would love it.

Now that I had my coloring, I asked my friend who had given my son some home made play dough at a party for her recipe. It lasted months and was just perfect. She had a recipe she used from an old kids craft book and passed it on, (I don't know what book it's from) I used organic ingredients, cause that's what we use, but you can use whatever you usually use as well..

The recipe is-

5 cups of water
5 cups of flour
10 Tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups of salt
3 Tablespoons of cream of tartar 
Coloring- I used natural food derived dye (see previous post)
Large Pot- Preferably stainless or enamel cast iron
Wooden Utensil

Heat water and salt over low, stirring until dissolved. Add 10 Tablespoons of oil. Add Flour. Keep stirring consistently. This took some time to get it all integrated. I had to up my temperature on my stove to get it going faster, it depends on your stove. The dough will start to pull away from the edges when stirred. When it's not sticky between your fingers it's done. I found my dough had to really become almost a big ball until it wasn't sticky. Then let it cool slightly in the pan, scrape it out onto parchment or waxed paper with a little flour on it. Let it cool. 

Once just warm, I divided it into different balls so I could add my coloring. I took about 1/4 teaspoon size coloring gel and put it into the balls middle. I then hand kneaded it to get a consistent color.  And repeated that for all the colors. Then you can take some dough of different colors,  say yellow and blue and mix to make green, red and blue to make purple, etc.

It made alot of play dough! Maybe too much, but can you have too much? You can always put it in recycled jars, add a label or bow and give it away as gifts, party favors or host a play date and use it with other kids!

A "Single" size Version would be-

1 cup of water
1/2 cup salt
2 Tablespoons of Vegatable Oil
2 teaspoons of Cream of tartar
1 cup of flour
wooden utensil

My son loves it. He points and says play dough play dough! Anything can be used to poke, prod or flatten play dough. Crayons, pencils, wooden blocks, small cars make cool treads, toys, fingers, noses...Or just squish it in your hand, make faces with it, roll it... It's all fun! It's a great home made toy that you know what's in it. 

You can also put food grade essential oils in your play dough for a nice smell. But I don't have any experience with that (I did read lavender oil can have some effect on small boy babies estrogen levels, so I would keep that at a minimum if used)



The Search for Natural Food Dye

My little man has become a toddler and it is time for play doh! A friend of mine gave me a wonderful recipe for playdoh, so I needed to find some natural food dye. Regular food dye is full of chemicals and I'd rather find an alternative that is safe should me little man decide he loves to eat play doh, yuck! 
After much research at my local stores and seeing that not many stores even carry any options, I looked online into various brands and reviews I only found a couple of brands and the main ones that I found didn't get great reviews.

So I kept searching online and came across a company- Confection Art Inc. They offer various sets and single colors of natural food colors. They have liquid, paste and powder. They also offer cool items like mica or gold to add to your baked goods, etc. As well as sugar sprinkles colored in their colors.

I opted for the paste, since it said you can get intense colors with them. The shipping was very reasonable and I received it within 5 days. With natural food dyes from spinach, cabbage, berries and tumeric, you can keep them in the fridge or freezer so they last longer, so I stuck in in the fridge to keep. 

I made the playdoh- super cool- recipe to post next.  I divided the dough once cooled and added the food coloring in. I used about a 1/2 of a 1/2 teaspoon, not much and came out with some great medium pastel colors. I then added a bit more and got some darker shades. I wasn't too picky on the colors, so I was happy with the results.(pictures to post in next post) The yellow, green looked great. The red comes out a bit more pink. The blue was basically purple although I hardly used any( you could probably use more and achieve a better blue), and over a week or two basically faded to be like a darker pink, but hey, its natural and my man doesn't really care (: As long as it can squish he's happy! And I'm happy too knowing it's super safe and all natural. You can also use it for cookies, baked goods, dyeing eggs and more!

I'm not endorsed by this company, just was happy with their product. Thanks!


Hop Hop Hop to Easter!

Easter is just around the corner!
Mr Hop A Long knows all too well and is ready to jump into your eco basket! Made of sift organic cotton and eco friendly materials, perfectly natural for your little one.

Ms. Hop A Long is ready as well!
They can introduce themselves here at my Etsy Shop..

Hop Hop Hop...