Moon Phases Printable Sheet

Made a quick printable to celebrate equinox and the harvest moon (full moon).

You can print a moon phase with text or without text on 8.5×11 letter paper.

Moon phases with text. Click on the image and save as. They are .png and not .pdf’s. Sorry, I didn’t have time to convert them!

Moon phases without text

Images are courtesy of NASA. Please feel free to print for your own personal use or home school classroom. Link to this post if you want to give a shout-out online. Thank you!

How to Read to a Baby

It’s the time when I post a question from a mom and crowd source answers.

Question:
I want to read to my baby. She is 6 months and when I try to read to her, she snatches the book and puts it in her mouth. She does this every time!

Her tiny hands have an iron grip, recovering the book is nearly impossible. How do you read to baby without them stealing the book?

Answer:

The short answer is that at the six months age, they will eat anything. Like zombies. Just chew and hold tight onto they find. The 6-9 months is tactile learning where they have control over their hands and mouth; nothing is more fun than understanding what an object tastes like.

There are a couple ways to combat this. Let little baby eat a book of her/his own choosing while you read another book. Or give her a chew toy while you read a book.

Either way, baby is going to do what baby knows how to do best: chew and eat things!

Keep persisting and reading to baby, you’re helping to develop thousands of neurons and get her brain going. Eventually baby will listen to you and you will be able to read 1-2 pages to eventually a whole book.

High five for reading! If you want inspiration on favorite baby books, check out my list.

Montessori Marbled Bowls {DIY Art Project with Your Toddler}

I’ve been inspired with the marble “ring bowls” people have been making with Sculpey clay. I love the marble look of these bowls but I don’t have a purpose for them myself.

Since I have been looking to buy some classic Montessori/Waldorf toys, I thought if there was a way I could do an art project with my toddler, make a Montessori toy, and have something beautiful.

That’s how I came up these Montessori marble bowls with matching string beads.

Score!

I was so impressed with my son who followed the directions from this post. He’s almost three years old and the directions are simple enough to follow. There’s also no mess in coloring the clay or painting (I did the gilded edges myself).

There are several elements of learning your child experiences on top of the fun and satisfaction of making your own toys!
What your toddler learns:
Color sorting
Rolling dough
Making ‘snakes’
Mixing colors – color theory
Baking – adult supervision of course
Stringing beads
Creating something from start to finish

How to make Montessori inspired marbled colored bowls with matching balls

Here’s a video in hyperlapse speed – it’s my first ever video, so be kind!

What you need:
Scupley clay in different colors (affiliate links!)
Large block of sculpey clay in white, 8oz
Knife
Bowls to shape with – they should be oven safe
Gold pen or gold paint to paint the trim
Bamboo skewers to make the holes in the balls

1. With a knife, cut out a large block of white clay.
2. Cut out small blocks of 3-4 color clays. If you look at the video, I cut out a pretty small piece, 1/4in thick. You don’t need much color to give the bowl that beautiful marbled look.

I let the kiddo choose the colors and encouraged him to pick 2-3 similar colors and one contrasting color. We are currently in a phase where everything is “orange” or “green” even though he knows the colors are different. Hahaha!

3. Roll out each block of clay into a snake. Yes, that is the technical term.

4. Combine the snakes with the white clay into a super snake.

5. Roll and twist the super snake. Then twist the snake into a ball and roll it out again. I figured out to get that beautiful marbling effect is to roll out and squish into a ball a few times. If you look at the photo, we only lightly twisted the purple bowl – it has more of a mid-century modern look. You know, if you feel like work with 20th century art styles with your little one.

6. With a rolling pin, roll out the bowl to an 1/8th” thick.

7. Use bowl to trim dough.

8. Fit clay dough into bowl.

9. Bake according to the Sculpey instructions. It will be around 15-20 minutes.

10. Let cool down. You can paint the bowl to seal and gloss or leave it as it.

11. Paint the edges with gold, silver, or nothing at all! Up to you. You can see I haven’t done this yet, but I will!

The bowls are delicate, we already cracked one (but hey, there’s glue), but they are a hit in the house. Our son loves stringing them and cooking with them.

Have a photo of your project? Share it on instagram and tag with #bindisandbottles

Best Potty Training Books for Parents & Toddlers

It’s that dreaded moment in parenting. Ranking up there with letting your teenager drive a car, move away and attend college, it is time to potty train.

I have been stressed out about potty training since I was pregnant four years ago. Yes, pregnant! Perhaps the thought of peeing on my carpet or pooping on the floor seriously grosses me out.

We’ve been doing on/off potty introduction to our toddler since he was 2 years old. For a while he was enjoying using the little potty and the regular toilet to pee in. Life happened, and second baby showed up, so the training stop – too much new stuff for a little brain is stressful.

I also had a few yelling matches when my toddler peed on the toys, floor, sofa because he refused to wear a diaper; and then thought it funny to pee on everything.

This time around, we are more serious and calm about what is to happen. To crowdsource answers, I took my question to my Facebook community: What potty training books should we use?

Here are my friend’s favorites along with a few excerpts from Amazon reviewers. Remember, this post contains affiliate links. I make commission from the sale of product through them – they don’t affect your cost at all. It’s a win for everyone!

Potty Training Books for Parents:
Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right

Early-Start Potty Training
“I agree with complaints about it, though. It could be a more in-depth “how to”. The author feels very strongly about this and tends to come off as a bit hostile- likening diapers to starving a baby. Although I agree with the idea of diaper-less babies in theory, it’s not always possible and diapers aren’t hugely damaging. The severity of the author’s position can be off-putting. I agree whole-heartedly with the idea behind EC and wish we had been able to start it from birth, and I still found the author to be a bit heavy handed. Someone who is on the fence or even not convinced may be put off by it.

I found the personal accounts to be the most helpful part. Seeing a variety of descriptions about what this has looked like and how it worked for people was encouraging.”

Once Upon a Potty — Boy
“This book is perhaps a bit graphic to the uninitiated, but then again, so is potty training, especially with inquisitive toddlers. I purchased this to read to my son when he sat on the potty for longer periods of time when he was first potty training, and he loved it. He helped read some of the funny parts–“Was it a hat? No, it wasn’t a hat. Was it a milk bowl for the cat? No, it wasn’t a milk bowl for the cat. . .It was a potty!” and he was fascinated by the straightforward explanations. I was blessed by a child that potty trained early, but this book certainly helped him understand some of the tougher questions of potty training. Cute illustrations, pleasant storyline, all around helpful. I even purchased an additional one for a friend’s son who was not showing any interest in potty training, and he loved it too.

One addition: We personally choose to say “pee” and “poop” at our house, rather than the other descriptors like “pee-pee”, etc. used by this book. In other reviews people seem to really have a gripe with having to change the wording, but I own several other potty training books and even an Elmo DVD, and none of those use “our” wording for all parts and processes, either. I like to personalize books for my son, and, as in this one, I changed not only the “pee”-type words, but also changed the little boy Joshua’s name to my son’s name instead. It’s not a big deal, that’s just how I choose to read books. Also, the tone of this book is pretty tongue-in-cheek funny for the adults reading it, or at the least to me. I got pretty sick of reading the other potty training books we owned, but this one was always welcome.”

Potty Training in 3 Days: The Step-by-Step Plan for a Clean Break from Dirty Diapers

Oh Crap Potty Training from Me to You
This website blog is from certified consultant Jen L’Italien. NOT related to the Oh Crap Book, this blog has great pointers and resources from training to issues.

Potty Training Books for Toddlers:

Lift-the-Flap Very First Questions and Answers: What is Poop?
There is a British version of this book called What is Poo. The only difference is that they use ‘loo’ and ‘nappy’ instead of ‘toilet’ and ‘diaper’. This book is geared towards potty training toddlers and talks about food, digestion, the human body. It’s fun and a lift the flap style book.

Potty
This is a simple but well drawn book from Leslie Patricelli’s board books series. I would reserve this for younger toddlers, under 2 years old, as the older ones may find it a little boring.

Next up will be potty training products you need to get started on this adventure!

Best Montessori/RIE Toys for Babies & Toddlers: 0-4 Years

As you have guessed by now, I love toys. I have a bit of an obsession with toys. This makes it very non-Montessori friendlyL lots of toys – not a minimalistic way of life. But, I do a lot of toy rotation and storage (for later donation).

One of things I have focused on in having in the household are real things (heuristic) and quality toys. Real things meaning scarves/fabrics, tupperware, spoons, and basically anything your baby will steal from your kitchen (because kitchens are awesome). And of course real things from the outside world, stones, pine cones, sticks, water, etc.

Our “quality toys” are usually wooden but we do have a few plastic toys like Duplo, Green Toys and Hess Trucks (my collection from childhood). What’s important to know that if you have a Montessori household, Montessori never advocated for toys – she wanted real materials for children to experience. Of course toys are a medium in which babies and children experience the world, but it’s not mandatory.

However, Montessori/RIE toys are always battery and lights free. It of course doesn’t mean your house should be 100% battery free, but rather the toys you have should stimulate active learning in children. I went through a phrase to try out a few battery toys and bought them on Facebook Marketplace (5 for $15 – score!). I bought them last year when my son was 20 months and mainly used them on a trip abroad. I won’t tell you the company names but they rhyme with StepBog and X-Mech. 😉

Pros: can entertain for long periods which are especially needed on long haul trips.
Cons: make a lot of noise, gimmicky, no learning or real entertainment.

My Hess Trucks on the other hand, are also battery operated, where the truck lights up. I have many great memories from those toys and I love my son playing with them (to be clear, my son sneakily found one of the trucks in a box – these are really for 5 years+ old)

Back to business, if you are looking for making your household less battery operated, these baby to young child toys are perfect. PS – This post contains affiliate links.

Haba Color Fun Play Gym

Wee Gallery Animal Alphabet Cards, High Contrast for Visual Development

Hape Color and Shape Wooden Block Sorter
Age range: 8 months – 2 years
Rainbow colors of nine pegs with 3 distinct basic shapes – triangle, circle, square

Plan Toy Solid Wood Drum
9 months – 3 years old

Ring Stackers
6 months – 12 months – teething, throwing around
12 months – 18 moths – stacking
Wooden Ring Stacker Toy | Fisher Price Self Correcting Ring Stacker | Grimm’s 11 Piece Ring Stacker | Grimm’s Nesting Rainbow Bowl Stackers | Pyramid rocking with Top – this you need to paint and varnish

Hape Roller Derby Wooden Marble Racing Toddler Toy
Age range: 2-3.5 years old
From an Amazon review: “Why I think it’s great: there is just enough color to pull them in and get them playing, but the toy is neutral enough that I don’t feel cluttered by it. The ball ramps are on both sides, so my children can easily play together. Each one had their own side. The developmental benefits of this toy are numerous. What I would change: I wish the little yellow starting platform was a bit bigger. My 22 month old struggled to get the ball started. ”

Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone
Age range: 1-3 years old

Amazing Tracker Ball Maze
Age range: 1-4 years old
It’s large and with a hefty price tag for a child’s toy ($88 on amazon), but it is amazing. Standing nearly two feet tall, the older babies and toddlers will get endless entertainment from it.

Galt Toys Wooden Retro Pop Up Toy
From an Amazon review: “I bought this to replace the original one that I owned over 20 years ago! It is such a perfect toy to have for small children. each of the coloured peg people bob about easily in the holes and are the perfect size for little hands hold easily – it is great for their dexterity! the colours enable early colour recognition and matching. A simple, well made classic toy that I highly recommend having in your child’s first toy box!”

Little Climber Pikler Triange
Age range: 8 months – 4 years old
Foldable for Flat Storage | Includes Climber, Reversible Accessory, and Board Book

Guidecraft Peekaboo Lock Boxes (Set of 6)
Age range: 18 months – 3 years old
Good for fine motor skills, color matching, shape sorting
Amazon review: Wonderful quality, super sturdy and well made. I was a bit sceptical because of the prize, but just like other reviews said, we’ll worth the money. My 2 year 4 month old daughter plays with it every day. The locks are just difficult enough to keep her thinking and exploring, but doable so she doesn’t feel like it’s impossible. So many options with the blocks, the color base to sort the colors, count, stack, etc.”

Grimm’s Stacking Rainbow
21 months – 5 years old

Manhattan Toy Skwish Natural Rattle and Teether Grasping Activity Toy

Natural wood Six Piece Chunky Shape Puzzle |

Stringing Beads
Age Range: 12 months – 3 years old

Pounding Peg Boards
Age Range: 10-18 months
Plan Toys Pounding Bench | Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Pound | Hape Little Pounder
The Hape one has music. All three brands are similar except for sizing and number of pegs.

HABA Palette of Pegs – 32 Piece Wooden Pegging & Arranging Game
Age range: 12 months – 2 years old

Radio Flyer Classic Walker Wagon

PlanToys Plan Preschool Walk N Roll, Push and Pull

PlanToys Dancing Alligator

Plan Toys Stacking Tree

BeginAgain Cat Family Puzzle
Age range: 2-3 years old
What makes this puzzle great: Kids learn colors and their names. Play with pieces individually, use them as stencils and in storytelling, or complete the children’s puzzle. Each piece has the color name in English on one side and Spanish on the other to build kids’ bilingual language skills. Handcrafted from plantation-grown, sustainable rubberwood. Comes with storage tray.

IKEA Kitchen
18 months – 5 years old
Wood based, simple, no logos, brands, and ‘stuff’ on the kitchen set. You can IKEA hack it as you please. The fabric food, metal pot set, and ceramic tea set are also worthwhile.

Little Partners Learning Tower Kids Adjustable Height Kitchen Step Stool for Toddlers or Any Little Helper

Plan Toys Cone Sorting

Remember, it’s not about living the Montessori way 100% of the time – it’s about fostering independence, exploration, and curiosity about life.

The Ultimate Must Have Newborn Baby Products

After a long time in the making, I’ve finally completed my newborn must have list! This is inspired by my friend R who is expecting a baby next year and is overwhelmed with what to buy.

I wanted to keep the list simple and easy. The baby market is massive and there is so much you can get lost in. While there are plenty of fancy things you can buy, newborns are fairly simple creatures; they just need clothes, milk (breast milk or formula), a safe place to sleep, and a way to be transported.

For some sections, like strollers, I listed budget friendly and splurge items. Splurge products are more expensive but not necessary something you need.

Note: There are affiliate links below. If you click and buy anything, I may make a small commission (and it doesn’t affect your cost). Your support keeps this blog running. Thank you!

**Strollers:**
Splurge: Uppababy Vista Stroller, Bugaboo
Budget Friendly: Uppababy Cruz Stroller, City Mini, Graco

Buying for twins: Uppababy Vista, Bugaboo, and City Select all

**Car Seats:**
For newborn babies, you can get a bucket seat (see pic below) or a convertible car seat that lasts a few years (from newborn to toddler/child). The benefit of bucket seats is that you can remove them and insert them into the stroller. Standard car seats cannot be removed for in-out use but have a longer lifetime.

Depends on the type of stroller you buy, you’ll need to get a compatible baby bucket car seat. Top line car seats are Maxi Cosi, Nuna; more economic friendly car seats are Graco and Britax.

Also good to have is a car seat mirror.

**Diapers:**
Honestly, it doesn’t matter what brand of diapers you get, as long as you buy ones in your budget and style.

Budget friendly diapers tend to be the store brand, Up and Up (Target).

Environmentally friendly diapers: Naty (biodegradable, compostable, and eco-friendly and cheapest at Target), Seventh Generation (eco friendly diapers), Honest Company (less chemicals used), Earth’s Best (biodegradable and eco-friendly). Babyganics (less chemicals used but not biodegradable.).

Major brands: Pampers, Huggies

Don’t forget the wipes, diaper pad, and diaper trash/diaper genie.

Bathtub: A simple tub is great. If you have space, you can get a standard size baby tub. For space conscious bathrooms, a folding tub like Plaj works.

Bottles: Bottles are tricky; every baby is different and bottles deliver formula/breastmilk at different speeds.

In general, for newborns to four months, use nipple size 1 from the bottle manufacturer. Around 5/6 months, you can switch to nipple size 2.

Some bottles help with reflux or colic (though not proven through any research studies), some are ergonomic, and some are simple.

Personally, I like the Munchkin bottle. You can try out a single bottle with nipple size 1, before buying a 3 pack package (better pricing). The Munchkin bottles also come with adapters for the breast pump, which means you can directly pump into the bottle.

I also used the Lansinoh bottle when my firstborn was 5 months old.

Other parents love Dr. Brown’s (either in plastic or glass bottles), Aventi, and Medela.

**Pacifiers:**
Like bottles, pacifiers are dependent on the each baby preferences. Almost every bottle manufacturer makes pacifiers from newborns to twelve months (after one year, baby should be kicking the habit).

Many gift bags that stores give when you create a baby registry will include a pacifier. Try it out and see what sticks.

Health: Thermometer, nasal aspirator, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, gripe water, butt cream or lotion , baby wash. You can skip the baby oil and bubble bath for now.

For moms who are breastfeeding: lanolin cream, nipple soothies (the most amazing thing ever!)

**Clothes:**
Depends on the time of the year baby is born, you’ll need a mix of cool to warm clothes.

To buy a whole collection for a reasonable price, your best is to search Facebook Marketplace. Many moms will sell giant lots of newborn-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-12 months, etc clothes/accessories. They can be as cheap as $.50 an item. Considering how quickly babies go through them, it isn’t until they are older, you need to buy them. And from experience, the older baby gets, like toddler hood, the harder it is to buy secondhand (I don’t know why).

Buy the basic lot of clothes and your special items as splurge. Holiday outfits, dresses, and trendy brands for example.

Remember if you are in a cold climate, you will need more full sleepers and pants.
5-10 Onesies
4-8 Full sleepers
6-12 Pairs of Socks
3-5 Pants – My favorite pants are the ones with the footed covers. This way, you can skip the socks and the search 5 minutes later when baby kicks them off!

**Swaddles:**
My favorite is Aden and Anais, the market standard. Made from muslin, they are soft and a bit stretchy.

**Nursery:**
This is when I highly recommend to get these items used. Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, and Craigslist are the best places to buy nursery.

Truly, nobody cares except you how the nursery looks and how much you spent. We bought our bassinet used for $50, the crib (an IKEA one) also for $50 (and the parents gave us lots of extra things), and a small IKEA dresser for $75. We instead splurged on a high end stroller system that would last years.

* Crib + mattress or bassinet
* Dresser
* diaper changing table

Splurge:

* Rug
* Quilt set – this is really just for decoration as baby won’t be using blankets for at least a year
* Rocking chair glider

Wraps & Carriers:
Baby K’tan or Lillebaby

Here’s a quick shopping guide at some of the favorites listed above and other essential baby products. Be sure to click the right arrow below to scroll right and see all the products 🙂

Gift Guide: Books & Toys for Babies 0-12 Months

Call it the holiday gift guide, the Christmas guide, or the baby guide, these have been my favorite books and toys for my son (and hopefully daughter!).

This guide is for babies under one year old. Head over to the 12-24 months guide for babies 1-2 years old.

I haven’t gender separated the books or toys because I don’t believe children should be told what toys are for “boys” and what are for “girls”. I picked toys that I/he love(s).

PS: These are affiliate. If you click through and buy, I’ll make a small commission that keeps this site alive. Thank you! <3 Everything Is Mama
by Jimmy Fallon, Miguel Ordonez (Illustrator)

Teaching your babies to say words? Of course you are. But no matter what you say, they all end up with ‘mama’. This is a cute book by comedian Jimmy Fallon. Check out his [DADA book](http://amzn.to/2zRllpo) too.

Goodnight Moon

A classic book for toddlers and children. I felt this book wasn’t good for babies under 10 months because the details in the images are tiny. And babies love high contrast, large images. But this is a must-have in your babe’s book collection.

Cottage Door Press Books
Babies Love Animals: Lift-a-Flap Board Book
![](/content/images/2017/11/Screen-Shot-2017-11-20-at-11-54-32-AM.png)
I am a big fat of CDP’s books. The illustrations are bright, big, and appealing for little brains. They have the lift a flap books, large board books for numbers and [letters](http://amzn.to/2zSVKwb), and books about holidays. These books will definitely last you from 6 months through the toddler years.

Toys:
High Contrast Black and White Cards for Baby

Printed on thick stock, these gorgeous illustrations in black and white will keep any baby entertained.

Infantino Baby Turtle Activity Mirror

Babies are narcissists. Really cute narcissists. And what do you buy a narcissist? A mirror. An adorable stuffed turtle mirror.

Stackers and sorters:
Every toy brand makes some type of stacker or sorter toys. Babies and toddlers love these toys. At the beginning they are disorganized but over time you will see them blossom and magically stack and sort. My son wasn’t fond of the traditional stackers but he was crazy for measuring cups and blocks.
The classic sorters and stackers come from Fisher Price, Melissa and Doug, Grimms, Haba