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*Happy Birthday Bingo Game* – Free Party Printable

Oh! I just realized I’ve never shared the printable birthday party bingo game that I made for Chloe’s 3rd “Rubber Duck” birthday party! The bingo game was a hit, especially because it was easy to do with a big group and even the parents could participate. We used Chloe’s set of washable Dots and Dashes Paint, but I’ve seen real “Bingo” markers at the dollar store, too.

*** Click here to download Happy Birthday Bingo PDF 779 kB ***

To play, cut out the squares on pages 1 and 2 (shown above). These are the call out cards. The caller piles the cards face-down and calls out one image at a time, allowing enough time for all players to check and see if they have a match. If they do, they mark that image on their bingo card. Once a player has found all 9 images and calls out “Bingo!,” that player wins! There are 12 unique bingo cards in all.

This is fun to play as a family, too. Just cut off the portion that says “Happy Birthday Bingo” and you’re good to go. 🙂


For more of our party details see Rubber Duck Party part 1 or part 2 or the flickr set.


Water shoes for Toddler Girls

Chloe’s got new kicks! Originally, I thought we’d try to make it through the summer in the hand-me-downs that we’ve received, but after seeing Chloe play at the city park fountains and on the river’s edge, I realized a better fitting and safer pair of water shoes were in order. Her Crocs, although easy to slip on, cause her to fall a lot, and the other pair, a cheap combo of hard plastic and foam, become slippery on the footbed when soaked, and cause her feet to slide too far through the toe opening. Not good!

After doing an online search, I narrowed it down to a handful of choices, but eventually decided on  Columbia Kids Splasher. The features I liked were their modern style, that they are lightweight and flexible, have a closed toe, two points of adjustment for a custom fit, and come in a stinkin’ awesome colorway (tarte/orange pop). Plus, the modified mary-jane style make it look like more than just a water shoe, but maybe an everyday shoe, too. I would gladly wear these shoes myself! The only problem is that the two reviews on zappos (free shipping!) don’t sound promising, but I’m willing to see for myself.

Here are some other nice water shoes:

Robeez Mini Shoes Breezeez These are super-lightweight and flexible. Probably the next best thing to bare feet while still giving some protection. No free shipping available on this style though.

Salt Water Sandal by Hoy Shoes How adorable are these? Nice enough to wear with a dress, but waterproof for an impromptu sprinkler party. Expensive.

Teva Kids Tirra
More than I wanted to spend, but I love the style, color options and the multiple adjustment points.

Teva Kids Psyclone 2
More foot coverage, and possibly more comfortable than the other Teva Kids shoes above, not to mention cheaper. However, the heel height reminds me of Crocs, which is too tall in my book.


Heat Wave

We’re suffering through a heat wave in Portland right now. So far we’ve gotten by with only fans, but tomorrow I’m guessing the AC will get its first run of the season. Chloe’s lovin’ it, though. Yesterday she got to play in the nearby park fountain for the second time, although she will still quite timid. All of the jets except four are quite forceful, and the four tiny jets were crowded with other babies, toddlers and parents. So, today we broke out our new Melissa & Doug Blossom Sprinkler. I bought two on a whim back in March, and gave the second as a birthday gift. It is everything that I’d hoped for. Right now we’re keeping the flow low, so Chloe can get used to it, but it also goes big, and the sprinkler heads are soft and flexible for little feet. I think we’re going to get a lot of use out of it this summer, and since losing our trees, I’m sure our grass is going to thank us.

On another note, I recieved a lot of really insightful advice in the comments of my recent Maybe I should have spanked her post. I appreciated reading every one, and gleaned some good information.  It also spurred me to look at some “raising toddler” help books at the library. The one I’m currently reading is The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp, MD. I was really impressed with how well the techniques from his other book and DVD worked when Chloe was a newborn. I’ve gotten through the first four chapters so far, basically presenting the idea that parents should act as an “ambassador” to their children (vs. being a buddy, or a boss), and how to communicate respectfully using the “Fast Food rule” and “Toddler-ese.” To be honest, I was skeptical about the “Toddler-ese,” but I had an opportunity to try it during dinner tonight. Chloe must have hurt her mouth somehow and was crying. Daddy tried to distract her with redirection, which usually works, but she just continued crying. It was my opportunity to give toddler-ese a try. To my surprise, Chloe responded by pausing mid-wail, which was just long enough for Daddy to redirect her again with the promise of a cookie (it was the end of dinner, after all). Whoa! Was this just a coincidence? Hard to tell. I plan on trying it again in other situations, and if it works even half the time, then I’ll be happy.


Rocks and Water

On Saturday we drove down to Eugene to see my photograph hanging at the Jacobs Gallery. There were some beautiful works of art presented, and if we had that kind of money I’m sure we would have bought one or two of our favorites. Afterwards we got  lunch at the Saturday Market and then headed up river to one of David’s favorite fishing spots.

We ended up at one of the resevoirs not far from the waterfalls. The water was so cold and the gravel prickly, but that didn’t stop Chloe from wanting to play. Rather than fight it, I took off her shoes and socks, rolled up her pants, and let her go. We were high in the mountains, so the water was fairly calm and clean (not like the dirty lakes and rivers of the city). I like how she looks so serious in these photos – having fun is hard work sometimes!


Goodbye Sigg, Hello Klean Kanteen

After countless years of using old polycarbonate Nalgene bottles, we finally switched to aluminum Sigg bottles a while back after learning that our Nalgene bottles contained bisphenol-A, a hormone-disrupting chemical also known as BPA. The Sigg bottles seemed like a reasonable choice, with cool designs and a better fitting top (unlike my Nalgene that constantly dripped water out of the cap threads). The only thing I didn’t like about it was that the mouth opening was small, making it hard to clean. After a while it would develop a strange smell and seemed to make water taste musty. They do make special cleaning tablets, but I never tried them. However, I was bummed to find out recently that the epoxy lining in our Sigg bottles were actually made with BPA, too!

A few months back, David opted for a Klean Kanteen. Sleek and much easier to clean with rounded corners and no smell. More importantly, it is made with toxin-free, high quality, recyclable, food grade stainless steel. When I came across a wide-mouth version, I also made the switch (and was tempted by the kid kanteen with sippy attachment!).

For the record, both new Nalgene and new Sigg bottles are now BPA-free. Also, Sigg says that their liners have not been proven to leach BPA, but there is some controversy that they knowingly hid the fact that BPA was used at all. We knew we had the BPA version of Sigg bottles because our liners were shiny gold, purchased before Sigg recently switched to their new ivory colored “EcoCare” liner. Here’s a visual comparison, so you can check your own bottles.


While I was perusing mysigg.com I came across their voluntary exchange program. You can ship your old bottle back and they will email you a gift certificate code to shop online for a replacement bottle! Download a shipping label and return form (although you will have to pay to ship it back yourself).

Postscript: Just read My Body Burden on the 7Gen blog and found the information on BPA very interesting.

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