November 22, 2012

Gift Ideas for a Deaf Baby/Infant

Christmas is quickly approaching, and as usual, I like to get my gift buying and wrapping done early. 
As a hearing mom to a deaf baby, I decided to Google "gifts for deaf babies" in hope that I would be able to get fresh and new ideas for Benji. I do this every year.
But like every other year, I was disappointed to see nothing new.
So, I started to shop around and came across many toys that a baby or younger child may enjoy.
This post may not help all of you, as the majority of you have hearing babies, but I'm sure they may like some of these toys too. I am writing it mostly for me (so I can remember the stuff I want to buy him!), but also in hopes of helping another mom who just got the news her baby is deaf and needs to find something her baby will love.
The ages aimed for here are from about a year to three. Also some require adult supervision.


I've noticed that Ben is very captivated by lights. Fireworks, lamps, flashing lights, Christmas lights. If you have an iPad there are some really great apps that are easy to use and visual stimulating. But that's a whole different post. 
Here are some ideas of light up toys your baby may enjoy:

UNCLE MILTON™ Rainbow in My Room

Uncle Milton Rainbow in my Room
(found at Sears)
This looks so fun! We don't have this, but I'm betting Benji would love it.

KinderGlo T-Rex Night Light
(found at Toys R Us)
We actually have a similar toy my SIL and BIL gave Ben two Christmases ago. He really enjoys it. And because the body is a soft (but not squishy) plastic that stays cool to the touch (even after hours of being on) Ben can actually handle it all by himself and by tapping it, can turn it on or off.
Best night time toy we've got.

Twilight Turtle
(found at Toys R Us)
This is very cute. You can chose from 3 color settings, blue, green and amber. It turns itself off after, I think, 20-30 minutes. Ben used to be a bit scared of the pitch black darkness at night and this helped. But since it shuts off, we needed something more. So we got the toy I just mentioned (see above).

Music Garden
This one apparently plays music, BUT it also has flashing lights. It's a great cause and effects toy. Turn a flower and lights come on. Push a flower and some more lights. We don't have this one, only because I can't find it here in Canada. But it seems like a great toy to have. 

Fireworks Light Show
Baby won't be able to do this all by him/her self. But I imagine that this would be great fun for baby to watch while you put on your very own fireworks display safely, and indoors. 
Ben loves fireworks. I think he would enjoy this.

Flashbeat Drums
Ben borrowed this toy for a couple of months. He is very reluctant to touch new things (never mind bang) so this didn't go over too well with him. However, my friend's baby LOVED it. The baby is hearing but since the drum plays music AND lights up when banged, this would be good for any baby.

Some other toys you may want to consider are toys with different textures. Things they can touch and rub and explore that will be interesting and different. 
Here are a few ideas of tactile toys:

Sensory Balls
We have these. Ben enjoys holding them, passing them from hand to hand and if I catch him at the right time, he likes to have them gently rubbed up and down his arms or back. But it tickles when done on his tummy :)

ORBEEZ™ Magic Maker
Orbeez Magic Maker
(found at Sears)
I haven't bought the actual Orbeez, since they seem a bit expensive, but I bought the ones used for flower pots at the local flea market. Seriously...the EXACT.SAME.THING. This will require constant adult supervision as you don't want them to swallow any. But if you sit with them on your lap, and a bowl full of these slimy, watery, fun little balls, I guarantee they will LOVE it. (Be somewhere without carpet, they may throw a few!)

Play Doh
Play-Doh is king at our house. Ben knows and responses to some sign now but very rarely ever uses it himself. However, when he plays with playdoh, he will always sign "more" and "yes"! He enjoys squishing it, molding it, digging his fingers into it, and if I'm not watching, he will try to eat it! Which is how he learned the sign for "NO!" 

(you can find these everywhere)
We have like 5 of these. Some with beads, some without. All of them are thoroughly enjoyed. Good for little fingers to get into and flexible enough for little arms. 
A good toy to clip to your stroller. 
He and big brother play with these a lot. A sort of throw and catch game :)

Tangle Therapy
Ben is going to be getting this in his stocking this year. It's actually really fun to handle. The surface is a smooth plastic with tiny bumps and it moves in such random ways. I know he'll emjoy it.
Another variation of it is:

I could go on and on. But I feel this is getting a bit long so I'll wrap it up. I'm trying to do this before nap time ends and I have to rush to get my oldest from school, so gotta hurry.

Some other good toys are:
Wooden Activity Cube by Alex
I don't have this, but we've played with it at other peoples houses, and he likes it. He doesn't really know what to do with it, lol, but that comes with practice.

Power Stretch
Ben loves to look at himself in the mirror (or iPad!) and make funny faces. I could see him liking this. (Plays sound when pulled taut, I wish it vibrated too)

Fli Ceiling Mounted Dragonfly Mobile
How perfect are those dragonflies?! I think ANY baby would love these! (they flutter their wings and "fly" around! How precious)

Cleaner than markers, and just as fun. This is for older babies, obviously. And you probably will need to help them a bit. But still, how fun! We don't have this, but I'll be buying this during Black Friday!

I'm going to leave it there. I was about to make a whole new category for low-tone babies buuuut, my time's up.
So real quick, here are a few more ideas that have Benji's seal of approval!
Other ideas:
-anything soft with mirrors
-soft toys that vibrate when baby pulls on it
-bright colored multi-texture toys, the kind every baby likes. Like Taggies.
-finger painting (when old enough) prepared for a mess of epic proportions.
-Board books on Animals, Colors, ABC's with big colorful picture showing object. Good for teaching sign.
-Crib Mobile that moves
-those crib "aquariums" that have plastic fishies that move when baby pushes on big button the outside. Ben loves his, he actually turns it on by himself if he wakes up at night. So sweet.
-Infant Swing
-Soft "Quiet" books with flaps and pull out parts, zippers and velcro. We have some Sesame Street ones he loves.
-Bubbles. We have two bubble maker machine Ben loves to watch.
-Cause and effect toys. I prefer the ones that light up, vibrate, or move to the ones that play music. But that's because Benji is also profoundly deaf so he gets zero auditory feedback from any that ONLY play music. If it's music and lights, that's fine. As long as he sees that he made it do something. Noah loved the music ones, tho.
- DIY laminated flashcards with family members pictures, pictures of food, pictures of favorite toys, places, people, activities. These are good for early communication (or if they are not picking up sign as readily or quickly as hoped for), BUT also good for teaching signs for the things that are in baby's everyday life. 

Please know, I don't pretend to be an expert, and I am not a deaf person so I don't have first hand experience with these toys. I can only write what I've noticed works for or delights Ben. And things I've learned along the way (almost three years now) through Ben's Dream Team (his OT, PT, Infant Specialist, Signing teachers, etc,.). Anyway, I hope you find it useful or helpful. I know I would have liked to know this the first Christmas with Ben or for his first birthday. And I know some relatives always ask me what he may want or like. Some have to told me they themselves google search it, only to com up empty handed. So here's hoping it helps someone. But really, there are so many fun things out there for deaf babies that will delight them and make them giggle, just keep your eyes open for them and change your perspective a bit. You'll start to see them everywhere!

October 15, 2012

A Useful Little Gift for Baby

My SIL's sister-in-law has the CUTEST little baby boy. He has these great big blue eyes and these chubby cheeks and the sweetest smile. He's basically irresistible :)
This past summer, at one of my nephews birthday party, she asked me if I could make her a drawstring bag to carry around her son's change of clothes. 
She said that it didn't need to be fancy or lined or anything.
Yeah, right. You KNOW I had to line it.

Anyway, here it is:

It's a pretty standard drawstring bag, nothing to special about it. I was going to make it like I did here or here, but, while surfing Pinterest I came across Jeni's super cute and easy lined drawstring bag tutorial. So, I just followed her tutorial instead! I just changed the size, since I needed mine a little smaller. It was very VERY easy and so fun not to have to think too much! Just some fun and fast sewing. My favorite kind :)

Anyways, don't you just love the fabric?! 
Boy fabric has come a long way!

And here's some more, just for fun :)

Anyway, that's all for today. I have some other stuff I want to post (I'm sure you know what I'm talking about, if you follow me on facebook). But we'll leave that for another day  :)

Enjoy your day!

October 3, 2012

Yarn & A Movie

Last week it was pretty chilly, the weather  is starting to change to a more Winter-y feel. I walk my kiddo to school everyday, rain or shine (we don't live far, so it's no biggie) and one particularly cold morning I noticed his little neck was all exposed. My first thought was "he'll need a scarf soon", my second was, "I can buy one at the Gap" and my third and most favorite one was "Forget that! I'll make it myself!"

So I came back home, put on my comfiest (corniest) flannel jammies, rocked my babe to sleep, got out Netflix, and my supplies and started in on it...

I watched "Love, Actually" for the first time ever (not bad, cute, but looong). And finished the scarf way before the movie was over.
I decided to make a small cowl instead of a scarf. To be honest, I'm not a fan of long thick ropes around my babies neck ;)

A quick and easy project that is useful and warm. 
My favorite kind :) I'm all about instant gratification in the crafty department ;)

And, more importantly...he liked it :)
(all pictures were taken with my phone, so I apologies for the not-so-great quality)

I've made this exact same cowl (same yarn and pattern) but on a larger scale for my nephew, as Christmas present. I show it off and explain how to make one here.

Hope you're all having a great week so far. We're all getting over a cold, so things are finally starting to feel normal again!

"See" you all soon :)


September 26, 2012

A Crafty & Colorful Round-Up

I've been feeling a lot like crafting lately. I want to sit down and sew something, embroider, crochet, knit, paint...whatever, really. I've done some of those (I'll blog about them another day), but still wanna do lots! I think it has to do with a change in weather. 

Since I haven't taken any photos of what I've been up to (yet), I will do a round-up post. 
Here are somethings I'm itching to make:

How comfy does this look?!
Pinned Image
via Moda Bake Shop by Val from PinkPlease!

Seriously, crochet AND fabric?! I'm in heaven...
Pinned Image

This is SUCH a good idea and would be so handy to have. It would make a great Christmas present for the book lover on your list (just add a book or two or/and a gift card!):
Pinned Image

For those of us with kiddies in our lives, how much would they love these?
Pinned Image

I have no idea why, but I've been on a doll kick lately...I wanna look at them, draw up patterns for them, buy fabric to make some. I can't even justify it, I don't have a daughter! Maybe Christmas gifts?
Mae PDF Pattern

I think I like the look of handmade bags better than store bought ones. Except for Vera's. Love my Vera's :)
Pinned Image

And we ALL need new scarves for the winter (this will be my first 'knitting in the round' project! eek!) :
The Mallory Cowl - Adult Version!!! I'm so excited for you all to make this! I love it!

Hope you enjoyed all the beautiful, creative and colorful eye candy! Most links will take you right to the tutorial, pdf, or pattern so be sure to check them out.
I haven't really been feeling that great lately ( I  think I'm getting a cold. boo.), I have a bad headache and body ache so I think I'm going to take advantage of my baby's nap and go nap with him :) 

Have a great day, all!

September 18, 2012

A Quilt A Day...

Yesterday was one of those magical days where I got EVERYTHING I need to do actually DONE!
The house is back in order after a week of being not-so-well myself, and then the kiddies getting sick too.
The laundry is *mostly* conquered. Cuz, really, when is laundry ever "done"?

Anyway with my oldest at school, the baby still napping and a clean house, I found myself with some *gasp* FREE TIME! So, what did I set out to do?
Why, quilt of course!

*not so great, late at night instagram photo*

Now don't get me wrong, I have never actually tried my hand at making a quilt before. So this is my first try. 
It's going to be for my oldest. My dream for this quilt is to see it packed into a box that he will take with him to University. *tear*

For those of you that "Like" me on Facebook, you've already seen this pic. 

I have attempted quilting before, in a much smaller scale.
Here is a sweet little makeup pouch I made myself this summer:

And of course, my tote I made last year:

You can find the tutorial here

I want to have the quilt done for Christmas, so I can give it to my boy. I know he'll love it, he loves cuddly things :)

And if you're curious all the fabrics on this post and pattern were bought over at The Fat Quarter Shop.

The quilt fabric is
Michael Miller Letterman Hall of Fame, and the pattern for the quilt is called the Nina Quilt.

You can find the fabric here.
The quilt pattern here.

The fabric for my makeup pouch is Amy Butler's Glamour Lark Fat Quarter bundle.
You can find it here.
Pattern was my own.

The fabric for the quilted bag is now not available. Boo. But it was made by Bonnie & Camille by Moda Fabric. I think it was called Buttercup or Butter Cream or something. It was BEAUTIFUL.
A beautiful and comparable print (also from Moda by Bonnie & Camille) is Marmalade.
It can be found here.

Well, I'm off to sew a couple of items for friends. Totally had forgotten I had a couple requests in, so better work on this perfectly rainy day.

Have an awesome day!

September 5, 2012


My first and oldest baby started Junior Kindergarten yesterday.
I am beyond excited for him and so happy that he seems to enjoy it so much!
I am really sad for me. I'll miss him so much. He's the life of the party around here.

Anyway, I made a little gift to give to his new teachers, as a Thank You for all the hard work they do from the very start.

Here's close up of the tag I made:

I had seen some other printables with the smarties idea, but they never quite said what I wanted them to. 
So I figured I'd try making my own. It was actually easy and fun! And really adds such a cute touch to the little gift.

Inside are Smarties and a Starbucks gift card. and chocolate :) The cup is made of glass and double walled for hot/cold.
I'm pretty happy with the results :)

And just in case you like the tag and want to use it, I made a printable.
Now, I'm not sure if this is the way to do it, but I figured this will work.
Just save the picture, copy it into Word, and resize as needed :)

Oh, and his teachers (he's got two) LOVED them! One said "what a SMART way to start the year! WIth Smarties" lol... :)
Hope you're all having a great day and hope your kiddies are enjoying the new school year.

xo, Dorian 

June 21, 2012

Some Sewing, a Serger and a Shoe...

Hello friends,
it's been a while since I've been on my lil' ol' blog.
Summer's officially started (weather wise) and we've been enjoying every bit of it. And I have found that there is less and less time to blog. So, during the summer I will be posting as much (or as little, I suppose) as the weather, the kiddies, the fun allow me to.

So, I've been sewing again! It's a huge deal since I'd fallen into a rut and not sewn a thing since December! Can you imagine?! Wanna know what prompted me to sew again? Well, you see, last month was my birthday and I got a little spending money. And with that spending money I bought this:

Janome Jem Gold Plus Portable Sewing Machine with Light Serging System (LSS) Model 661
The Janome Jem Plus LSS. The LSS stands for Light Serging System. And yes, it's a sewing machine and serger in one! I LOVE it! It makes SUCH a difference in my sewing! If you wanna read more about it, you can go here. (I can also do a review on it if you guys are interested)

Anyway, it got me motivated to sew and I've been busy making shorts out of out-grown pants, coin purses, NapKits ("what's a NapKit?" more on that in Monday's post!), pjs, and shoes!

My sweet baby Benji, is tiny tiny tiny. And I can never find shoes I like, that fit well AND are comfy. SOOO, I made my own. *insert proud grin here* :)
I made them out of an Elvis printed cotton (how cool, right?!) for the outer and a dark brown flannel for the inside:

I am in love with how they turned out! I didn't use a pattern, instead I kinna went with what I saw in my mind and IT WORKED OUT! Yay! Love when that happens :) I made a pattern but not a computerized one. I think I need PhotoShop for that. Rats. Instead I sketched one and I already have a second pair all ready to go!

Oh, and what am I naming these cute little shoesies? The BENJIS, of course!

Well, that's all I have for now. Hope you're all having an excellent day :)
Be back soon!


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