Category: Family

Bubble Painting

Bubble Painting

I wrote an instructable for paper flower bouquet last week. This project creates my preferred paper to use in those bouquets–bubble painted paper. I used to do this even before I had the kids just because it’s so much fun.

This is, however, my first attempt with the girls. I’m sure it’s going to be a bit messy. Heck, my kids are always messy, so it doesn’t matter much. Just be prepared for the cleanup. On the bright side, it’s soap! Cleanup is always better when what you’re cleaning up is soap.

Let’s do this!

Supplies:

white paper (8 1/2 x 11 printer paper is what we used)

Cups or bowls

straws

soap and water or bubble solution

water

food coloring

 

Steps:

 

1. Pour soap and water or bubble solution into bowls. Add a few drops of food coloring (adjust according to how bold you would like your colors to be). Give the cups or bowls a little swirl to distribute the color.
2. Distribute straws, bubble mix, and paper among all involved adults and kids. I had a 2 1/2 year old and an 18 month old participating. I quickly found out that the bubble mixture was inappropriate for my younger daughter, who tried to drink it. We then substituted her solution for colored almond milk, which she painted with and drank happily.

3. Blow bubbles onto your paper. They should cascade across your paper, clinging to it, creating fun marbling effects, and splattering color everywhere! It’s delightful.

 

4. Set aside to dry.

Once dry, these papers make lovely origami bases. I do suggest trying out a Paper Tulip Bouquet, which is fun and beautiful. Next week maybe we’ll do another related project!

Paper Tulip Bouquet

Paper Tulip Bouquet

Happy Mother’s Day, moms!

Last night I wrote up my first instructable for a gift I’m giving my mom tomorrow, and this morning it’s featured on the front page, so that’s awesome. If you don’t have something for mom yet you can find it here:

https://www.instructables.com/id/Paper-Tulip-Bouquet/

My other projects are on here but for this one I suggest looking at the link on Instructables, because you really need the pictures laid out with it and I love how their site handles it.

The Zebra Box

The Zebra Box

Hello and happy Friday! This week I’m excited about sharing something wonderful that’s been happening in our house. I hope that it might be of some service to you as well!

My kids hate to clean, which is fine–a lot of people don’t like to clean (myself included), and they’re both still very young. Nonetheless, it’s important that they learn to clean up after themselves. We ask them regularly to tidy up once they’re done playing, but they are oftentimes so busy having fun that my pleas go unnoticed.

One evening, after a particularly hectic day, I sat down on the bed and looked at the bedroom. Our girls sleep in our bed, but have two toddler beds as their own personal spaces. Clothes and toys littered the floor. As I was cleaning up the mess I had a multipurpose idea: what if someone left them each a small box to entertain them when they first woke up? I could wake up more leisurely and get dressed without hearing “mommy, pick me up,” and they would be happy. Perhaps the condition under which this occurs is that the floor is clean enough to walk through.

The first morning when we woke up I told them that on the way to bed I met a zebra that told me he’d like to do this for them, but it had been very hard for him to get into the room with so much stuff everywhere. If they kept it clean enough then he would make sure that they had new items in the box every morning. The box is very simple: a few quiet, low key items such as a book, a stuffed animal, and some blocks or figurines.

To my surprise, it’s working! Tonight before bed it was extremely messy in the living room, so daddy asked them to please pick up so that the zebra could fit through the living room, and to both of our astonishment they both tidied up the entire floor (while singing “Tidy Up” from Little Baby Bum).

The stray necklace came later.

My two and a half year old excitedly jumps out of bed to see what’s in her box! What other creative ways do you get your kids to help out? I’d love tips and new ideas!

 

Toddler Activities for Rainy Days

Toddler Activities for Rainy Days

Well, we had told the kids that we would go to the zoo today because it was supposed to be cooler. We woke up to a dark sky and pouring rain–no way was the zoo happening. Boo!

Oh well. I felt bad, though. I wanted to give them something different and engaging to do.


Activity 1: pom pom toss

I used painter’s tape to tape some toilet paper and paper towel rolls to the wall and handed each a cup full of pom poms. Karissa loved this and kept going back to it constantly.

Bonus Activities: Madilyn dropped a few through the tubes before deciding that it wasn’t really her thing. She decided to sit down and sort the pom poms instead (she really loves pom poms), and then wanted to stick and unstick tape to the wall for a while.

Relocated pom pom toss

Activity 2: Paper Basketball

My mom in law constantly gets junk mail clothing catalogues, so today we utilized them! We made some crumpled paper “balls” and tried to throw them in our bucket “baskets.” Alas, mommy doesn’t have great aim.

Oh well, still fun.


Activity 3: Straw Bead Necklaces

I still love crafts, but since we moved I’m not sure where everything is. This is really easy–all you need is some stiff string (we used paracord), plastic straws, and scissors to cut your straws into beads.  Give them to little hands for great motor skills practice. I was very impressed with both girls, Madi even strung the beads herself.

So proud of her work

I love getting to share what we do with you and I’m always looking for new fun and/or easy activities to do with my girls. What does your family do for fun on rainy days?

A Family Announcement

A Family Announcement

Hello everyone!

Today I have a little family news. No, it’s not another baby–I know you were thinking that.

We are moving to San Antonio! We are hoping to be there before March. We’re super busy packing for a move a month away (plus the usual kid stuff) so questions, comments, or just general excitement is best expressed through text. At least I usually answer in writing, haha.

This means we have a thrilling 20 hour car trip with 2 small kids and 4 cats in the near future. Super exciting (read: exhausting).

Love you!

Kristy

The Importance of Ritual

The Importance of Ritual

I have my first ever couples massage tomorrow! All I have for you today is some heart to heart words of encouragement.

Life can be exhausting–trust me, I know. Sometimes I wake up not sure how I’m going to get through the day. Sometimes I see the dishes in the sink and the toys on the floor and give an exasperated sigh.

It’s okay to get tired and burnt out, it’s just the way it goes–we’re human, we can only handle so much. Sometimes the shrill, high-pitched scream of my younger daughter grates on my nerves one too many times or my tired toddler’s whining just gets to me. What’s important is how you handle it. I generally have a three tiered system for hard days:

1. Stop and take a deep breath. If your kids are frustrating you, try your best go empathize. Maybe they don’t know how to express that they’re tired, hungry, or just need you. And that’s okay, they’re kids. I find that I can often talk my toddler through figuring out what she needs.

2. Fall back on the basic routine. Don’t stress over housework, chores, or anything extra, just the bare bones necessities. So for me diapers, food, nursing, naps–the dishes and toys will be there to pick up later.

3. If this isn’t working, We get up and change the scenery. We go to the library, park, sit at a favorite haunt, or even just go walk somewhere for a while. Changing the scenery really helps me and the kids when we’re all in sour moods and brightens the day.

And last of all, it’s important to have time to yourself, for your sake as well as theirs. Make sure that you make time for your significant other and for keeping in touch with who you are and your own interests. Make it a regular part of your routine, even if it’s only five minutes in the shower alone. You’ll be thankful for the break. Though I know it’s easy to do, don’t get lost in being a parent.

 

Glitter Pinecone Ornament

Glitter Pinecone Ornament

Trying to get two small children immersed in the spirit of the season can be tough. It involves lots of music, lights, walking, crayons, wrapping paper and bows. When you add crafting components it can get loud and messy. That’s alright though–we had a ton of fun! Karissa kept saying, “It’s pretty, mommy,” as she poured it through her fingers over the pinecone. Fun fact: everyone was 85 percent less frustrated than usual. That’s a win for me! Heads up, my one year old did nothing except eat glue and chew on the brush, so that could be in your future.

Supplies:

Elmer’s glue

Pinecones (we used three)

Paintbrushes or sponges

Festive colored glitter (we mixed green and silver, and red and gold)

Ribbon

Steps:

1. Brush glue over the outside of the pinecone.

 

2. Pour glitter over the pinecone.

3. Set aside and allow to dry.

4. Tie a ribbon to hang.

Nourish and Nurture

Nourish and Nurture

Well, December is here! Confession, I don’t have much to talk about this week. My mom’s birthday was yesterday, though–happy birthday mommy! This is mostly a rambling family update.

So here in Southern California it’s in the 70s and I’m really missing Texas December. I miss cold. I got some blood tests done and I’m super Vitamin D deficient, my thyroid hormones are off, and I had high RDW, which I think means leaky gut issues again. I feel like there might be some adrenal fatigue mixed in there. Fun stuff!

It seems that for our family the holiday season is going to have to be all broths, meats, and immune support. Sure, that’s ideal, but we’re an indulgent, dessert-loving lot (except Madilyn, who doesn’t seem to like sweet much). Hard to accept that I can’t have a slice of pumpkin pie and whipped cream. It’s taken a long time to figure out that cheating on eating right is only cheating myself.

So this is why I don’t really know what to say. We’ve gone back to Autoimmune Paleo to try and resolve issues for both me and Karissa: that means no nuts, dairy, nightshades, seeds, grains  (which is always), soy, eggs, or legumes to eliminate inflammatory sources and will reintroduce some foods in the spring. For now its all soups, scrambles, and stir-fry.

It’s tough to get myself outside to get enough vitamin D sometimes, especially in the winter. Increasing my supplementation has already made me feel quite a bit better, but I’m still tired a lot.


Still working on moving. No news. Seems like one final Christmas in California. I have an Amazon wishlist for the girls, some ideas for Santa or whoever. Anyway, have a great holiday season!

My Sweet Kids

My Sweet Kids

I never knew what I was in store for when I became a mom.

Karissa was fun, curious, and energetic. We read, played, laughed, and loved for 13 months. We had our struggles, too, but it was amazing. But I was so scared. People would tell me that she was going to hate and resent her little sister. I was terrified that she would hate both of us, that she would hate me.

I wanted her to have a sister though. I wanted her to experience that form of love–a sister is a unique, special bond that is ineffable. I can’t imagine life without my sister.

Then Madilyn was born. My second all natural birth, how lucky and amazing. Karissa didn’t like seeing another baby nursing, but she slept in the hospital bed with us. She was curious and excited. She was also jealous and still is sometimes. No big deal, she is human. She fell in love with her little sister. So did I.

Madilyn, my love, I had no idea how awesome you are when you were born a year ago; you were this screaming little mess that had been resuscitated and handed to me. You are adventurous and fearless, you are smart and strong. You have an amazing big sister. You are always happy and your laughter is music to my ears. Your sweet smile makes my heart melt.

I am so thankful that those people were wrong. I am so happy that I had both of you 13 months apart. You spend every waking moment together, and nearly every moment of the day is pure joy. I never knew how much love I would feel. I never knew how protective and scared I could be. I never expected that you two would change my life in different ways and make me into a new person. I am stronger, better, and wiser because of you two.

A year ago tomorrow our family grew one stronger. Happy birthday little miss Madilyn.

Easy Halloween Trick-or-Trio

Easy Halloween Trick-or-Trio

Blurriest picture ever

I really enjoy encouraging the kids to get into upcoming holidays. Madi doesn’t know what Halloween is yet, but Karissa seems to remember! We are going to be attending Boo at the Zoo! at the LA zoo dressed as 4 characters from My Little Pony (Matt is Princess Twilight Sparkle, I’m Applejack, Karissa is Pinkie Pie, and Miss Madilyn is Rainbow Dash). I like to plan little craft activities during the week to entertain them that are themed around whatever we do for the upcoming weekend. Aquarium week we made our own construction paper fish tanks and fish, zoo week we do animals, arboretum week we do plants. It logically follows that Halloween week we do Halloween.

These are constructed for very young children where focusing on the end result isn’t as important as the activity.

Craft #1: Spooky Sticker Tree

Supplies:

Computer paper or construction paper, color of your choice

Brown or black marker

Halloween stickers (I got a book of stickers at Dollar Tree)

Steps:

Prep: Draw a Spooky looking brown or black tree trunk. Older kids can do this part, or if you want to let your toddler do it that’s cool too. Mine will do a brown scribble, but I think she enjoys having an actual tree drawing to decorate too.

Simply give them the paper and some stickers and let ’em at it!

Craft #2: Halloween Collage

Supplies:

Construction paper

Glue

Colorful baubles and things to glue to paper. We are using torn up tissue paper, feathers, pom poms, and paper shapes. Foam Halloween shapes or sequins would be cool if I could find them in the closet.

Steps:

Give them their paper, some decorations, and some glue (maybe a small amount, Karissa goes nuts). See their creativity blossom.

Craft #3: Paint a Pumpkin

We don’t have time to carve a pumpkin this year, so today we are going to paint our own mini pumpkins. I am sure Karissa is going to love this!

Supplies:

A small pumpkin or multiple pumpkins

Paint (we use washable tempera right now)

Brushes

Something to cover your workspace

Apron to protect little one’s clothing

Glue, glitter, sequins, feathers, rhinestones, or whatever else seems fun

Steps:

1. Prepare workspace by covering it (if you’re the kind of person who is inclined. I’m not). Put an apron on kid (again, if inclined).

2. Give kid pumpkin and painting materials. Let them paint.

3. If you have a child that will let paint dry before trying to further decorate with glue and things then congratulations, thousands of us envy you. If not, just give them the sequins and whatever else. It will be messy, but they’re having a blast.

That’s it. I hope you have a fantastic holiday full of magic for the kids. Happy Halloween, everyone!