Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Montessori Challenge - The Kitchen

While our bathroom may be a disaster zone, our kitchen is much more of a usable room. Although we still need to decorate it, the fact that we have a completely new kitchen with cupboard doors that actually close, brings me immense joy and makes it much easier to make it child friendly.

This week, I have been observing Baobao carefully in the kitchen, so that I could think more carefully about how to improve her access to the kitchen.. I've used Carine's Bathroom Questions to make my own kitchen questions:



  • Observe the room and how your child is using it. Every time your child asks for help (or when you go and help him without asking), try to see what prevents him to do it by himself.
  • Depending of your child's age, encourage your child to be independent regarding self-care. As rule of thumb, if your child walks, he can attempt most of his self-care needs with little support.
  • Does your child have access to the sink? Does your child have access to his own cleaning materials?
  • Can your child reach the light switch?
  • What kind of snacks does your child have? Does he eat all of them? Can he access his snacks by himself?


  • Here are some of the changes we have made.


    Changes pre-challenge:





    Challenge inspired changes:
    • Create a cupboard and section of kitchen counter for Baobao to use independently
    • Create a shelf for Baobao in the fridge
    • Add a cleaning basket to Baobao's kitchen shelves, such as this one from An Everyday Story
    • Add a hook with a child sized apron to the inside of Baobao's cupboard
    • Provide a basket of healthy self-serve snacks in her cupboard and in the fridge, for Baobao to put into her Yumbox independently - Super Healthy Kids, Mom's Messy Miracles and Happy Money Saver provide some good ideas.
    • Provide utensils, crockery and cutlery on trays for Baobao to access herself.
    • Add an activity for her to do while I work in the kitchen

    Possible future changes:
    • Broaden Baobao's variety of utensils, so that she can partake in more and more food preparation.

    Do you have any other ideas on how we could make our kitchen more accessible for Baobao? What would you do differently?

    Monday, 27 February 2017

    KonMari Challenge Week 20: ELECTRONICS and ENTERTAINMENT

    This category proved to be quite quick for us. We haven't really got any electronic devices that we don't use and only keep boxes hat we use on a regular basis. We had also sorted through our DVDs earlier in the year and now only have Baobao's left.

    What I did still have was my CD collection. I realised while sorting through, that while listening to other artists brought me joy, the only artist whose CDs I really wanted to keep was Utada Hikaru. This can be illustrated by the fact that I have only listened to her since her new album was released in September.

    CDs Before


    DVD Players/Video Game Systems/Music Players
    CD/DVDs/Bluerays/VHS/Video Games

    Board Games/Puzzles
    Electronic Cords
    Electronic Boxes
    Accessories (Ear Buds/etc.)
    Cell Phones and Phones
    Spare Cords



    CDs discard

    CDs keep


    Are you taking part in the KonMari process? How did you find sorting through your electronics and entertainment items? 

    Thursday, 23 February 2017

    Xiaobao's Activity Time: Our Baby Area

    This week, I thought I would introduce you to our baby area. As with everything in our home, it is a work in progress, changing as our children develop.

    So here is an overall view of our baby area. We've included Baobao's old cot mattress, to make lying on the floor more comfortable, a sheepskin to offer comfort and regulate temperature and a mirror so that Xiaobao can look at himself.

    We've also included this black and white image board for Xiaobao to look at. I will add different high contrast images to keep Xiaobao's interest over time.

    We can't really hang our mobiles from the ceiling, so have opted to use the Ikea Leka baby gym. I hang our various mobiles with string.

    Xiaobao isn't ready yet to grasp objects, but to add a little interest to the area and to allow Baobao to get used to them being there, I have Xiaobao's toys on display. Once Xiaobao is moving, I will place them on the end of the movement mat or on the floor. 

    The best part about our baby area is that it can be compactly folded away. I have to use this part of the living room to dry clothes overnight and so need the space.


    Lastly, here is our collection of mobiles that I have made so far. I still need to make one of the gobbi mobiles, but am waiting for the thread to be in stock. Next on my list is to make some of the grasping mobiles.

    Monday, 20 February 2017

    KonMari Challenge Week 19: DECORATIVE ITEMS

    You're probably sick of me saying this, but decorative items proved difficult for me. Our house has been in flux for a long time. Many of the rooms either aren't decorated or are only partially decorated. Our living room has been painted, but the skirting boards haven't been done yet. Our kitchen has had the base coat done, but the finished colour hasn't been applied. Our bathroom has had the paint stripped, but needs replastering. In short, our house is a mess.

    I've been waiting for a long time for my husband to help tackle some of these issues. Some of the decorative items, I had been holding on to since we had moved in, waiting for them to be put up. Going through these items I had saved showed me how little things had changed in our house since then and how much more needed to be done. It was immensely frustrating.

    So the first thing I did, was go through and choose those items that brought me joy - items that I wanted to display in my home no matter what. After that, I thought carefully about each room and where I wanted to take it. My husband and I made plans for decorating the house throughout this year. We wouldn't finish all of the rooms, but we would finish those that were half done. Four rooms means one every three months. It will take time, especially once we have a newborn, but it will get done this year.
    Decorative items - before

    Collections
    Decorations/Knick-Knacks
    Empty Frames/Albums
    Candles/Holders  


    Decorative items - discard

    Decorative items - keep

    Are you taking part in the KonMari process? How did you find sorting through your decorative items? Did you rediscover something you really loved? Or have you found that the items you have been saving no longer fit in with your vision?

    Thursday, 16 February 2017

    Now That You Are Two...


    It seems like only yesterday that my rainbow baby arrived. Now you're two years old and growing bolder and brighter every day. You never cease to amaze me with what you can do, be it your independence, kindness or perseverance. You make us proud every day.
    Most of all, you are loved.

    Baobao's Birthday Gifts 2017

    Links are either where I bought the item originally, or a brilliant small business where I shop regularly. I receive nothing for clicking on links, except the warm glow of sharing great toys with you.


    Baobao's birthday is always a little tricky. It's very close to Christmas, so multiple gifts can seem overwhelming, but, since we're trying not to buy much outside of special occasions, also has to tide us over for the rest of the year.

    We tried to go for toys that would cover various learning areas over her second year and beyond. As fine and gross motor skills are so important at this age, these are covered by multiple items.

    1. Grimm's 12 Piece Rainbow
    2. Legler Threading Board
    3. Eichhorn Season Puzzle
    4. Grimm's Small Wooden Boat
    5. Wooden Counting Game
    6. Stockmar Colour Box Paints
    7. Sarah's Silks Rainbow Streamer

    Monday, 13 February 2017

    KonMari Challenge Week 18: BATHROOM and PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS

    Bathroom and personal hygiene products. My husband and I try to keep these to a minimum. Our bathroom is quite small and has very little storage space. We don't want to have it cluttering up the bath or windowsill, and so we try to only have the things we are using at any given point. Even so, we still found a few things to discard, but also found things we had to buy. For instance, we realised we hadn't bought Baobao a spare toothbrush.



    Hair Products
    Before
    Keep


    Discard

    Hair Pins/Ties

    Before

    Discard

    Keep

    Hair Appliances

    I only have a hairdryer and straighteners, both of which I use daily.
    Brushes/Combs 
    Before

    Keep

    Discard

    Shower Caps
    Perfume

    Keep
    Makeup
    Before

    Keep

    Discard

    Makeup Bags

    Before

    Discard

    Keep

    Makeup Brushes

    Keep

    Feminine Products

    Before

    Discard

    Keep

    Air Fresheners
    Bathroom Cleaners

    Keep

    Nail Care
    Nail Polish/Remover
    Travel Products
    Spray Bottles
    Razors and Blades

    Before

    Keep

    Trimmers
    Tweezers

    Before

    Discard

    Shaving Cream

    Keep

    Lotions

    Before

    Keep

    Discard

    Soaps

    Keep

    Skin Care Products

    Before

    Keep

    Discard

    Toothbrushes/Toothpaste

    Before

    Keep

    Discard

    Floss
    Mouthwash  

    Keep

    Contact Lenses
    Discard



    Keep

    Discard

    Are you taking part in the KonMari process? How did you find sorting through your bathroom and personal hygiene products? Did you find there was anything you were missing? Were many of your products out of date or did you have many duplicates?