We recently read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Aiden, after which we watched the classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
At age 4, Aiden has both the interest and the attention for longer stories, so we figured we might as well graduate from some of the long but boring stories we already had into a chapter-style book. This would allow us greater freedom in choosing more interesting stories, reading them over several nights. We still read other books, but this has been a great experience so far.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a perfect book for the 4-year-old set, both easy to understand and exciting to read aloud. In fact, I think the book is better read aloud. It was hilariously funny, flowed really well, kept Aiden super engaged (and asking questions, which is rare for him!), and we just loved it.
We chose the classic movie as opposed to the remake since, well, it’s less creepy. I mean, it has its own level of creep, but it’s not so bad. There were moments that Aiden was nervous, anticipating the fate of each child, but he tends to be quite sensitive to tension in shows. Overall, I think he enjoyed the movie, though it’s not one that will be on repeat for him yet.
If you are interested in keeping in the loop on some of the better books we’ve read, I’ve recently created a 4+ Shelf on my Goodreads account to review some of the books we read to Aiden. Considering he has well over 100 books on his shelves and we take a couple of dozen books from the library each week, I don’t anticipate I’ll be reviewing all we read, but rather just the gems or the complete busts or the books I thought would be good but weren’t.
Every night for many months, Ianiv begins reading to Aiden the same way:
“In the light of the moon, a little egg lays on a leaf,” which inevitably results in a comical / annoyed “Daddy!”, but which never fails to bring a smile to my face.
Sometimes it’s the little things about parenting that we remember long after.
Damien at 21 months – what a character! The last month came and went and he’s oh so close to being a 2 year old now. I’ve stopped obsessing about his lack of talking because he’s finally started to use those words! Who knew that he would start saying words at 10 months but take so long to finally use them regularly!
The ability to communicate has really enriched Damien’s life, as he’s interacting on such a different level. I can see this most when we’re reading or when he’s playing with Aiden. The two brothers now have many special games they play together, which is great to see.
Damien also has boundless energy for being outside. He loves to walk, even when he’s really tired. He’ll walk all the way to the library (over 1km) without a single complaint. The stroller is already for sale!
- 33″ tall, size 6 shoes
- Has 15 teeth (got his 16th a couple of days after he was 21 months)
- Favourite foods: watermelon, roast chicken, grapes, oatmeal, pancakes, sweet potato, mashed yams, sushi, toast with cream cheese, pizza, lollipops, cake, fried rice, omelettes, edamame, pistachios, apples
- Can say most letters of the alphabet, if prompted
- Loves to sing, but doesn’t yet string together many words. Baby Beluga is often repeated by him as he plays.
- Understands the sequences in songs, the alphabet and in counting up to 10. If you begin, he can fill in words / letters when you pause.
- Has a vocabulary that grows daily by leaps and bounds. Averages at least 6 new words a day. Has used some 2-word sentences / statements. Is beginning to self-correct some baby words, such as bapple becoming apple.
- Will proclaim “turn” or “too” when he wants something someone else has (as in, my turn? or I want it too!), though he’s decent at not grabbing stuff
- Loves to hold my hand while walking, and yet he always seems to drop it just as we’re in the middle of the street
- Is currently obsessed with Elmo. Due to his last set of teeth waking him long before 6am, we’ve broken our “no tv before 2″ rule and let him watch some Elmo on YouTube.
- Has begin showing an interest in the potty
- Loves the park. Taking a greater interest in climbing, going down slides, digging in the sand
- My favourite of his words / phrases: again!, milk, ullaulla (which is now um-lala for umbrella), Melmo (Elmo), Baby Be-ll-la (baby beluga), bapple (apple), lalum (his word for ‘music’ for many weeks, no longer used)
Now that we’re sort of getting caught up on our photos, I bring you my festive Christmas elves! In February!
Still, who can resist a Santa hat? We even kept one in our dress-up bin to enjoy all year round.
P.S. Please ignore the dust on the clock Damien is playing with. Obviously the dusting elf forgot to clean the mantle before swapping in the Christmas decorations.
Aiden will be heading to Kindergarten in September and I’ve been giving a lot of thought as to what and how I’ll be packing his snack and lunch. I’ve been lucky to stay at home with Aiden, so his options for lunch have always included the ability to warm up, toast or cook something. Even at preschool, he’s offered a hot lunch each day. All of that will soon change.
PlanetBox Rover Lunchbox Review
I have been testing the PlanetBox Rover Complete as our lunch solution for a couple of weeks now. My Journey to choosing the PlanetBox is included below, but now I’ll share with you how the choice solves many of my lunch planning challenges.
PlanetBox makes a variety of lunch and snack boxes, the most popular being the Rover. If you purchase the entire PlanetBox Rover Complete, you get the carry bag in a choice of colours. The carry bag has a generous pocket for a water bottle, a strap and handle for carrying, and a large velcro pocket (which I plan to use for the school snack). The interior of the case has a pocket where you could place an ice pack.
The interior of the PlanetBox is very generous, rounded on both top and bottom so you can even fit bulky items like bagels. The capacity of the box is one of the highest on the market. While it may be more than a Kindergartener will need, lunch is Aiden’s biggest meal of the day and I’d rather pack too much than too little.
The Complete set comes with the Dipper set, for wet or messy foods. The Little Dipper is perfect for dressings or dips (we’ve used it for honey for apples) and the Big Dipper is perfect for yogurt or wet fruit. Both Dippers can fit in the box when closed, though I’ve also used the Big Dipper in the exterior case pocket.
The PlanetBox Rover is a single piece made from stainless steel. The exterior comes plain, though you can buy a variety of Rover Magnets to decorate them (the Complete comes with one set) – I’m pretty sure the Train design will be going in Aiden’s stocking next year! We also added our Mabel’s Labels to the magnet.
The clasp on the lunchbox is easy for Aiden to open and to close. He can also open and close the Dippers with ease. The entire box easily slides into the lower rack of our dishwasher for cleaning and the rounded corners of each compartment seem to help it get really clean.
Does Aiden like it? YES! He always asks for lunch in his “tray”, and it really forces me to give him a greater variety of food. Typically his lunches had 3-4 items on it (he’s never loved leftovers for lunch), so this usually gives me an excuse to add in the extra veggie or fruit.
Do I like it? YES! I love having things organized and the tray forces me to be creative, which I enjoy. I know school lunches will become boring all too quickly! The smallest compartment is a nice place to add a treat – it’s the smallest portion, to remind you to balance the meal. I was very pleased that our entire bread fit in the largest compartment, as I know some people have trouble with that. Will we use it every day for school? We will see. I expect that on days I send hot food in a Thermos, I’ll still use our other lunch box and containers.
The PlanetBox Rover Complete, the full set, sells for USD$59.95, plus shipping, and is one of the more expensive bento sets on the market. That said, I think the size and sturdy construction makes it something that our kids will be able to use for years to come.
If you are looking for meal ideas, PlanetBox has a fantastic meal planning app on their website, though you can also find inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram (I love the weelicious lunches).
My Journey to the PlanetBox
For years, we’ve been packing our snacks or lunches into our Pottery Barn lunch boxes in a variety of containers, mostly using the Wean Green containers since they arrange well and can be opened easily by little fingers. That said, I was TIRED OF ALL THE DISHES. The top of our dishwasher is perpetually crammed with containers and trying to find the right combination of containers to fit the lunch box can be annoying.
For many months, I’ve been researching bento boxes to offer a better alternative to lunch packing. Most bento boxes, however, didn’t solve the CONTAINER OVERLOAD I was feeling, as many still involved the arrangement of smaller containers into a larger tray. The ones that did work, like the Pottery Barn Bento that I was considering, had reviews of the plastic breaking and I couldn’t figure out how to insert items that may be wet (yogurt, watermelon). Some bento boxes seemed to big or oddly shaped or too small. I worried about how to pack lunch and snack – in one box? A second container? I spent far too many hours researching options and reading reviews.
In steps the PlanetBox, the only bento that met all my requirements: easy to clean, multi-compartment, decent size, easy for kids to open and close. As a bonus, it came with several other amazing features, as you could read above. I am actually looking forward to testing out the lunch box properly once Aiden goes to school in September!
Want to check my progress? Follow me on Instagram as I share some of our more fun lunch creations.
Disclosure: I received the PlanetBox Complete for a review, though I was already planning on buying it! All opinions are my own.