Toddler Activity: Poetry and Watercolors

April is National Poetry Month, which makes my English heart flutter. Of course, I had to get Mila writing poetry too.

To create watercolor poetry with a toddler, here’s what you’ll need:

So you’re probably thinking, how can an almost three year old write poetry? Well, after spending all day with a chatty toddler, they end up saying pretty important things. Even if they don’t realize it!

Inspiration strikes any and everywhere.

A couple weeks ago, I did six word memoirs with my students. Before the lesson, I came up with a few at home. Mila, unknowingly, helped contribute as well.

She said one silly thing and another one that really made me think. Both are great pieces of poetry…

Stinky girl, I don’t know you.

Don’t touch bumblebees that fly high.

Okay, the first one made me laugh a lot. But, it’s something I don’t want to ever forget.

The second one made me think. She definitely meant it literal, but I thought deeply about it. For me, it meant like don’t mess up something that’s going well. That’s what makes poetry so much fun.

To showcase Mila’s wise words, we made watercolor paintings. I had her use whatever colors she wanted. It came up a little messy and sort of made me think of stinky girls or that sort of idea.

Then, I created the lavender and bee watercolor for her bumblebee poem.

This is a very simple way to introduce poetry to your child. It’s only six words! I believe that when kids see their work showcased, they know it’s good too. Letting Mila know those were her words, goes a long way.

I can’t wait to build upon poetry for Mila. It’s a beautiful way to express oneself.

Another alternative for this activity is to let your child do any type of watercolor activity and then you come up with the words.

Either way, you both can be creative and let each other know poetry isn’t that scary.

Let me know in the comments if you ever write poetry and if or how you introduce it to your children.

7 Spring Books Your Toddler Will Love

With spring books comes beautiful illustrations that toddlers love. It’s also a perfect time to teach little ones about all the new things that happen in spring.

I can’t even explain the importance of reading to toddlers. That’s how they expand their vocabulary and learn about everything around them. Plus, it’s great time to bond with your little one too.

Here are seven spring books Mila and I are loving.

This is the latest book I’ve purchased for Mila. The covers illustration is beautiful and it carries on throughout the book too. I love how Mila is learning without even realizing it. Plus, it lets her know how important bees are to our world!

“Also an Animal” is a beautiful book about spring babies and the love between mothers and their babies. The book is so informative. I didn’t even know the name of some of the babies. Mila loves mama and baby pairs, so this book is perfect for that.

This classic book is perfect for spring and Easter too! Mila loves all the pictures and I enjoy sharing stories that I read when I was a child too. It’s a perfect book to make an Easter Eve tradition with too!

Everyone knows this classic song! This book version has beautiful illustrations that helps a toddler visualize what’s going on. At the end, it lets you know the hand motions to use too.

I also enjoy this book to explain to Mila that spiders aren’t scary. It seems to help!

Love You More
by Hannah Green

One of my favorite Aldi finds, “Love You More” is a beautiful book about family with bright colors. It lets young kids know that no matter what, they are loved. Mila loves pointing out the colors and we count the flowers on the page too.

If you can find this treasure online, let me know so I can link!

Another classic story, “Play With Me” is perfect for teaching patience and gentleness to little ones. If you have a toddler, you know those two aren’t their strong points. It was a great teaching moment for Mila. Plus, I personally love the illustrations in this book. They’re not as bright, but they’re still beautiful.

I was originally gifted this book and Mila and I fell in love. This is a beautiful story about mothers of all creatures love of their children. Again, the illustrations are beautiful and Mila loved the babies in it.

All of these books are staples in our home. Let me know in the comments what are your favorite spring time books?

5 Ways to Protect Your Face from Maskne.

5 Ways to Protect Your Face from Maskne

No matter where you stand on the mask mandate, masks are still going to be around for the foreseeable future. The worst part of them are the subsequent breakouts.

These breakouts have been coined as ‘maskne.’

maskne (mɑːsknɪ)- acne and other facial breakouts that arise from regular use of facial masks traditionally worn by medical professionals.

Since I wear a mask almost everyday, I’ve found out what works best for my skin. My skin is typically oily, which isn’t a great mix with the extra mask moisture. But by sticking with a skincare routine and taking precautionary steps, my face has been clearer than ever.

Here’s the products and tips that have protected my face from maskne and might help you too.

Skin Care Routine | Eclectic Serenity Skincare Products

Remember when I went and got reiki done a few weeks ago (and again recently)? Well, Kiersten at Eclectic Serenity, also makes skin care products.

My face has drastically gotten clearer and smoother after using these products. Besides that, I love actually being able to pronounce everything that’s actually going on my face.

I cleanse and tone twice a day and use the serum once a day. She also makes makeup wipes. They take all my makeup wipe in one cotton disc.

The ingredients in the products are easy on my skin and still make a huge impact. They smell amazing too.

They’re locally (to me) made in Uhrichsville, OH and she ships!

Although I’d love for you to try Eclectic Serenity’s products, a skincare routine is a must to protect against maskne. Make sure to cleanse and tone, especially at the end of the day.

Less Face Makeup

Working away from home the last few months has forced me to do my makeup again. Yet, half of everyone’s face is covered by masks.

The solution I’ve found with masks and makeup is to stop wearing face makeup. Well, at least on the bottom half of my face. It might look a little silly, but just focusing on what people see or not wearing it at all has worked so far.

It feels like the combo of makeup and mask helps clog pores. If we have to have one, the other goes.

I feel like this has helped my face stay clear and keep money in my pocket.

Less makeup, less problems.

Masks with Good Material

What you put on your skin matters. Purchasing and wearing masks that are made of quality fabric will do wonders for you skin.

One of the best types of fabric to keep maskne away is cotton. I’ve bought reusable masks from the start, but fell in love with this listing on Etsy. They’re stylish and just feel light on your face. It didn’t take long to ship either. PLUS, they’re good for the environment, which is so important to me.

I know a lot of people wear disposable masks, so the key here is to not wear just one all the time. Make sure you’re using new masks so you have a clean slate.

Humidifiers

This year, I got two big humidifiers. I mostly got them to keep my plants healthy this winter, but they’re really good for your skin too. Humidifiers keep the air humid and not dry, that helps keep your skin nice and moisturized.

So, when I’m home and not wearing a mask, it helps a lot.

They also make the air you breathe better too. Just overall a ton of benefits for having humidifiers in your home. I like bedside ones to keep on at night!

Clean Masks

Honestly, this one sounds so simple, but I think sending out a reminder is good for everyone!

If you wear reusable masks, they need cleaned and refreshed often. It’s nice to have a few masks to rotate through. Most are machine washable and can either be thrown in the dryer or air dried.

Honestly, I like drying mine in the dryer. Masks can stretch out, so getting them a little smaller helps the fit!

Obviously, clean masks help keep your face clean. That ultimately helps you fight maskne.

Even though I’ve gotten a little maskne here and there, this fall and winter I’ve definitely found what works best for me.

What have been your tips and tricks to prevent maskne?

6 Self Care Journaling Prompts

No matter if you’re a good writer or not, journaling is healing. When used as a self reflective tool, writing can help organize your thoughts and come to conclusions about what you’re going through in life.

The hardest part of it all is just starting.

Sometimes it’s difficult to think about what to write. Prompts are a great starting point to get your thoughts moving.

Here’s six writing prompts that I find myself going back to when I journal for self care.

I hope they help you too.

1. What do you wish you could say to someone if there were no consequences?
2. Why do other people look up to you?
3. What is something you accomplished this week that you’re proud of?
4. How would your child/spouse/parent describe you?
5. What does your dream life look love?
6. Write a letter to someone who’s impacted your life the most.

Again, the hardest part to writing is starting. These are all thoughtful jumping points that can help you pick up a pen or type on whatever device.

Remember, you deserve time to be you and do what’s best for you.

If you’d like to see more of my personal journaling prompts, let me know and I’ll share more. Of course, if you have helpful prompts to share, please let me know in the comments.

Weird Things My Toddler Does: Part Eleven

At the beginning of the year, I made a jar to document the good things we experienced that week. It’s been fun reflecting, but knowing Mila, she has to make it a little weird.

That’s just what toddlers do!

I will admit, this one is more cute than weird, but I thought it’d be perfect to share with Valentine’s Day coming up.

Mila has had the same thing that makes her happy every week… ME!

When I go to our jar, I date it, then make an “M” for what makes her grateful. Then I ask her what made her happy this last week.

The second time we did it, she just said, “you.” I thought it was the cutest thing ever.

When it came to ask her again, she replied with the same thing. Admittedly, I felt a little bad. I was writing down things I wanted to remember at the end of the year, not just Mila or Jensen. Maybe it was a fluke of her just saying me?

On the fourth week, she said, again, said I was what made her most happy. Still feeling sad, I asked her to elaborate and she said, “playing with you.”

Since that fourth week, I haven’t re-asked her what made her happy and accepted this cuteness.

As much as she loves Pizza, her grandparents, Max, and Mickey Mouse, I always find it a little weird that she consistently chooses me as her happiness. Of all the things in the world and her lame mom is her answer.

Honestly, I’m going to love looking back and remembering that I made her smile for weeks in a row. I know one week she won’t say me and that’s okay.

For now though, I guess she’s just a weirdo, with a big heart for her mom.

You have the strength.

Whenever I’m feeling down, I remember I have the most important cheerleader looking up at me. 

She reminds me that I have the strength, especially when she hits this power pose.

Even on the days, I can’t imagine getting through, I know she’s watching. She reminds me that with love and determination, I can accomplish anything. 

Now I know motherhood, and parenthood, in general, is hard. It’s even harder when the last year has been all out of whack. We’ve been through a pandemic, crazy election, and overall change in every aspect of life. 

Somehow, we’re still doing it. Every day we come back better than ever. Before we know it, this hellacious time will be over. 

Today, I’m going to be your cheerleader and verbally scream online, you have the strength. 

If twenty-two grown men can go play a football game and are considered strong, you have the strength to do anything you set your mind on. 

When your kids (human, animal, or plant) are demanding all your attention, you have the strength to keep doing it. 

You have the strength of all the energy you put out in the world because all that good comes back.

No matter how long we have left with this pandemic and lockdown, you have the strength to do your best with it all. 

You have the strength to decide what’s best for you.

During your time at work, school, or home with your children, you have the strength to crush all your goals. Whatever goal you have, big or small, I know you’ll hit it.

You have the strength to be the badass woman (or man) you’ve always been. 

On the days where you don’t feel strong enough to keep going, I know you will find the strength to keep moving forward. 

You have the strength of the stubborn toddler you raised.

If you haven’t raised a toddler… I’m still cheering on that strength to you because the energy that’s in a toddler could move mountains. Everyone deserves that.

You have the strength.

Self Care Sunday: Plants and Masks

No matter if you’re stuck watching football, having a lazy day, or are needing a minute to yourself, self care is essential. Moms, especially, need a minute to themselves.

Finding out what calms your soul and clears your head is the self care for you. If you can nourish your body too, then it’s even better.

During the first few months after COVID hit, I got really into plants and helping our environment. They sort of go together, so that makes sense.

I found that taking care of plants and learning about them eased my anxiety so much.

Somehow a few plants has turned into a mini, indoor jungle, but I love it. They’ve also helped me want to take care of myself better too.

Hello self care.

Today, I want to share a little face mask recipe and give a plant recommendation and tip. This way, you can see one part of my self care journey. Maybe you’ll even want to try this self care moment.

Two things Mila and I are constantly running out of is avocados and honey. She will sit and just eat both.

They’re also pretty awesome for your skin too!

To make a mask, mash up half an avocado and 1 1/2 teaspoons of honey. Mix them up and apply. Use the other half for avocado toast the next morning.

Make sure to save the avocado seed too! I’ll make a post about what you can do with those.

Apply the mask to your face and keep it on for 15 minutes. After, wash off and do your normal skincare routine.

During the 15 minutes is a perfect time to do planty tasks.

If you don’t have any plants, snake plants are perfect beginner plants. You can get them at Lowe’s or the one pictured is from Lively Root.

They’re such easy plants. Snake plants tolerate low light, are drought resistant (which means you don’t have to water them constantly), and do well in household humidity.

Plus, snake plants were one of the plants that NASA found as top air-filtering plants. Pretty cool right?

Anyways, while waiting for my mask to do work it’s magic, I dusted my snake’s leaves. Dusting helps make sure your plant gets as much sun as it can. Even though this is a low light plant, it still needs to get as much as it can.

Self care is something everyone should make time to do. Mila put our DIY mask on too and helped me with our ‘planties.’ She just refused to take a picture.

Find something you love. Maybe it’s plants and masks or maybe not. Either way, you deserve self care on Sundays or any day.

Toddler Activity: 2021 Sticker and Writing Activity

Two posts in one day, oh my!

Anyways, Mila is getting more and more into drawing and tracing letters and shapes. I haven’t really sat down and did a full activity with her yet, so I wasn’t too optimistic about how this would go.

I made three different pages for Mila to do.

The first is a sticker activity.

Is anyone else’s toddler obsessed with stickers or is it just mine?

I knew if the other two activities didn’t work out, she’d love putting stickers on this big piece of paper.

All I did for this was tape two pieces together and write ‘2021’ in marker.

The goal of this activity is for your toddler to put stickers along the numbers. It helps them get the hang of the shape of the letter without writing it. Plus, they’ll be using motor skills by taking the stickers off and putting them along the lines.

She might not have put all of the stickers on the letters, but stickers are always a hit with Mila!

The next activity is writing. There’s a bubble number one. For this one, they just practice their numbers inside the letter. It’s just to get them familiar with it.

Honestly, this is more Mila’s speed. She did her best with trying to draw it and I think she did well.

The final page was way too challenging for Mila, but a good way to keep numbers familiar for her. I ended up asking which numbers were where and told her the letters too.

Overall, the sticker activity was a hit and I’ll continue doing similar ones for this stage. The other two I’ll keep doing similar things to see how she progresses with them. One day she’ll be a pro at them.

These can all be made with computer paper at home. The sticker activity gave me enough time to make food and wash dishes!

Hopefully, this can help give you some time to get last minute things done for NYE at home.

If you try this out, let me know in the comments. I’d love to know how it went!

Dear Fellow Bereaved Mothers,

I feel like it’s been awhile since we’ve talked, but I see all of you and your babies gone too soon.

Whether this is your first Bereaved Mother’s Day or fiftieth or somewhere in between, I want you to know that your child and the way you mother them is not unseen. I know some days are harder than others and maybe you’re in a long line of hard ones, but you are doing the best you can do. Please reach out on this day or any of the difficult ones you have. There are so many of us here to remember our babies with and to lift each other up when we need it most. And if you’re having a good, gentle day, I’m so happy those moments are here for you. You are so deserving of them.

I’m so sorry that we know this deep of a loss and the tidal waves of grief that comes after. There’s nothing quite like it. On the other hand, there’s love. That love you feel for them, oh, it’s so powerful. This love powers through death, not that anything could tear apart the love a mother has for her child.

Like everyday, say their name. Share a memory about them with someone who knew them or someone new. I know how proud you are of them. They’re proud of you too.

So today, and everyday, I want you to know, I see your motherhood and your child matters and is loved by many. And you, beautiful mother, for as much love as you pour out, there is so much coming your way.

Love,

Danielle

Forever Jensen’s Mom

Starting a Garden with a Toddler!

Fun fact… Earth Day is every April 22.

A few posts ago, I was talking about eco-friendly changes I’ve made and how I wanted to share them. Since it’s techincally “Earth Week,” I thought now would be a great time to start talking about those and some activities Mila and I are up to to thank our world.

Before I start, I am not an expert on this stuff at all. Just thought I’d throw that out there. I do what’s best for my little family and try to imagine what would be interesting for Mila. If anyone ever has suggestions or anything that would help benefit others with anything I talk about, please let me know and I’ll do my best to add it in here! As humans, we’re all doing our best to get by and be happy.

Back to the earthy things.

Last week, I got ambitious. I had been thinking about starting a garden this year or just getting a tomato plant or two. Honestly, I’ve never really had a green thumb, but maybe that’s because I’ve never tried? I just knew I wanted to try it out and see how it went. In my mind, I have this beautiful vision of Mila and me gardening and making a dinner with some vegtables we helped grow. It may sound silly, but I’ve never done it before and there’s no time like the present.

Back to ambition, I saved up some egg shells, egg cartons, and other containers to try and do seed starters. When I saw so many people starting their seeds, I knew I needed to hurry. I walked down to the local hardware store and grabbed some potting soil and seeds. I ended up getting two different types of tomates (I heard they’re the easiest to start), green peppers, and a few different herbs. When I got home, I prepped everything on my kitchen table to start our little garden.

Mila loved playing in the dirt and crushing the excess egg shells that I had. Yes, I was going to use them, but she mashed them up and was having fun; so, I guess I’ll pick my battles. She helped me put the dirt in most of the containers and sat watching me for a while. After about thirty to forty minutes, she was over it. She’d come over while I continued pressing on to make sure I was doing a good job, but she played and did a good job entertaining herself.

I can’t blame her, if I was watching someone put seeds into random egg cartons and old containers, I’d be bored too.

FULL DISCLAIMER. I didn’t realize how much work was all entailed with planting everything and getting it all started. Halfway through planting, I realized that I had purchased entirely too many seeds. I felt like I was planting seeds for seven hours. By the end of it, I was just like throwing seeds into pots because I didn’t save enough egg cartons and containers for everything. Then I was stressing out because I was worried about the watering situation. I’m just being real here. Next year, I’ll be a lot more prepared!

When it was all done, I was super proud of myself and Mila’s patience with the whole ordeal. She likes to check on our little garden throughout the day. It makes me happy that she’s so excited about it, it’s probably because I make it a big deal every morning to see if any have sprouted.

It’s been a week since we started our seeds. I’ve been a little disappointed since nothings sprouted, but it hadn’t even been a week. Well, last night, I checked on them before I went to sleep and there are sprouts! I’m feeling like such a proud plant mom. Hopefully, more will sprout up in the next few days too. I’ll for sure new you guys updated as they grow and we eventually move them outside.

If anyone has any suggestions or tips moving forward about starting a garden, I’m all ears. Seriously, I am going into this blind and just relying on Pinterest and blog posts. I’m really excited though and can’t wait to see Mila’a reaction as our little plants grow.

Later today, I’m going to share either a new eco-friendly project or subscription that’s newly in my life OR Mila and I’s Earth Day craft box, which is a monthly subscription that provides various crafts and activities monthly for kids!