Starting a Garden with a Toddler!

Fun fact… Earth Day is next Wednesday, 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!

Toddler Activity: Salt Dough

When I first thought about doing Easter crafts, I wanted to get wooden Easter eggs to paint. With everything going on, I didn’t want to leave my house with Mila and chance anything. Instead, I started seeing recipes for salt dough and knew I had everything on hand. I just didn’t realize they were going to be such a labor of love.

The salt dough recipe I used was:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt

1/4 to 1/2 cup of water

Then, preheat over to 200 and bake for hours*

Simple enough right? I measured out all the ingredients the night before we made the dough so it was ready to go for Mila and me.

Mila loved mixing the ingredients together. She insisted on pouring everything in and using the spoon to mix it. When I told her to use her hands, she gave me a weird look and ran away. Funny enough, she went to put her hands in the dirt, which I guess is better in her eyes? Anyways, I kneaded the dough until I thought it was good enough. Since it was our first time, I wasn’t exactly sure how it needed to be, but we went with it. It reminded me of pizza dough.

After I had rolled it out and was ready to cut, dilemma there… mila was ready to help out again. I wanted to make eggs shapes, but it turns out I only have Christmas cookie cut outs and rainbow/unicorn/magic ones. I ended up using the top of a mason jar, grabbing the top of it to stretch the dough out in an egg-like shape. Obviously it wasn’t perfect, but it worked out for us.

Along with a few weirdly, shaped eggs, I had Mila make two little handprints as well. I only have a few hand and foot prints of Mila since she’s been born. I thought it was a perfect time to do it for us, since she turns two here so soon. She kept saying ‘hand’ and wanted to make more prints. I do think I’ll try to make salt dough hand imprints every year since she enjoyed it and to mark her growth.

Anyways, the handprints and eggs were formed and ready for the oven. Up until this point, I thought it was all going really well.

I kept checking the ornaments every hour. After a couple hours, I still didn’t feel like they were done completely. They still felt mushy and maybe I just didn’t do it right? Or maybe they would’ve hardened up after I took them out of the oven? I’m really unsure where I messed up, but I had them in the oven for a crazy amount of time. Probably like seven hours in all. Next time I try to make something like this, I’m going to see if it was just a first time fluke or maybe I’m just bad at making them.

After they were finally done, I spray painted them white and let Mila paint most of the eggs and her hands, but one, because I really wanted to join the fun.

I think they turned out amazingly, especially after everything and all the time we put in them. Mila loves holding her hand. This Easter craft will be something Mila and I look back on in the future and smile about. I feel like it’ll always be excited to pull them out and see what she did when she was almost two!

Ever since she was born, I knew I wanted to make these type of memories with her. I missed so many with Jensen. Plus, Mila has fun with them so it’s not completely in vain.

Instead of just stringing them up in the house, I did something a little special. A few days ago, I read something about how communities are putting eggs in their windows for kids to go on ‘Easter egg hunts’ amidst social distancing. I thought this was so cute and I’m hoping some other people in our town have done the same! This is what I have strung in one of my windows.

If you live by me and are hunting for eggs, your kids will definitely be able to find them! I can’t wait to see everyone else’s.

So, although we had a little trouble with our baking, I love how everything came out. Mila had a blast and we were able to create some magic for Easter this year.

If anyone has made salt dough in the past, did it take ages for yours to bake? If not, do you have any tips or idea in what I did wrong? LOL. Just trying to get better for next time!