Toddler Activity: Rainbow Bubble Wrap Painting

In our house, rainbows hold a special meaning.

Mila is my rainbow baby and any time we can incorporate them in our home, we do. So, it felt pretty fitting to make our big canvas painting a rainbow this month.

We’ve done smaller rainbow crafts, but this big painting may be my new favorite.

All the supplies you’ll need are:

  • Paint (the colors of the rainbow)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Canvas

Since Mila was busy with the nice weather, I was able to prep this easily. When she did notice we were painting, she ran over.

We talked about all the different colors. She’s finally able to say ‘orange’ and let me know that her favorite color of all of them was purple.

All I did was put paint in rainbow arches in the correct order.

Then, I helped Mila put the bubble wrap over top of it. When it was there, she pushed on all the paint to spread it out.

It was fun watching her figure out how it all worked. She thought it was pretty cool to see how the paint mixed together and everything. The best part was pulling off the bubble wrap.

We all know my love for using random things to paint, this turned out so different than I expected. It’s textured, but not in bubble wrap’s usual way.

Mila was so proud of her latest artwork. It’s hanging up now, even though I may add a quote above the red arch.

No matter what, this artwork is easy to do with kids of all ages. It can be modified for babies by putting a more secure wrap on the canvas. For older kids, they can pour the paint on too.

I hope that you and your toddler love this activity! If you end up doing it, let me know in the comments.

10 Thoughts of a Toddler Dance Mom.

Toddler classes and sports can be a little… different than older kids. You never know what a toddler is going to do or say.

For us, dance class has been amazing. Mila loves the girls that are there, dancing, and following around her dance instructor the entire time. On the mom side of things, it’s a little more stressful, but full of proud moments too.

Every dance evening is full of thoughts, even though class is only a half hour long. Here are some of mine for you to laugh with.

What to do with her hair this week?

Every single week is a constant battle of doing something fun with her hair, but making sure it stays up. It’s even harder when your toddler doesn’t like their hair touched. Yet, somehow it ends up decently cute.

Where are her dance shoes?

Quiet panic sets, until you realize you just misplaced it in the car. Oh well.

Why are dance shoes so hard to put on?

Um, what shoe goes on which foot? Maybe she needs a bigger size… nope. Just on the wrong feet.

Please, let her be nice…

Thank goodness for socialization and her playing with other kids her age. Oops. No! Don’t push while you guys are racing.

Her teachers are ready. It’s go time.

She is so cute when she listens and dance.

Aww, she instantly found her sticker and is ready to go. Are all kids this cute when they listen?

Run and hide!

Time for a half hour of alone time. Let’s see if I can escape before she sees me leave.

Is she doing okay? Does she miss me?

Being away and not knowing is hard. I wonder if she’s listening and dancing her heart out. What if she’s looking for me and I’m not there?

Is the music really loud or am I just getting old… it’s definitely the music.

Time to watch all her dance efforts.

Her little face pops through the door. It’s time to watch all her hard work.

Just joy…

The smile on her face and all the little dancers face makes every up and down of the evening worth it.

There’s just joy all around.

Toddler Activity: Thankful for You Lollipop Flowers

It’s National Random Act of Kindness Day! Although we try to do as many acts of kindness everyday, we wanted to share this today.

Mila loves her ‘kids’ and ‘girls.’ These kids consist of all her cousins and her girls are from dance class. She loves the time she spends with them.

When I asked who she wanted to share kindness with, it’s no wonder why she chose them.

We talked about why it’s nice and important to do nice things for other people. There was a mini brainstorming session about what we could do. Valentine’s Day definitely helped the matter!

Mila suggested flowers, so we compromised.

All you need to do to create these lollipop flowers are paper, scissors, and suckers! I used taped to secure the flowers too.

For creating the flowers, I just drew ones on the back of the paper and cut it out. To get the lollipop stick through, I pressed a hole in the middle with the scissors.

On the underneath of the flowers, I put, ‘I ♥ You! -Mila.’ Short and sweet!

We’ll be giving them out as soon as she sees her kids and girls. She loved how they turned out and wanted to hold them like a bouquet.

If we did a large scale random acts of kindness, I’d definitely add a quote to the flowers. These would also be adorable for a birthday party or class treat.

We’re so happy and excited to spread a little extra kindness in the world. This year, we hope we can do more random acts and bring joy to those who are least expecting it.

Let me know what you think about this kindness project in the comments below.

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.

Toddler Activity: Celery HeARTwork

Process art is one of my and Mila’s favorite ways to be creative. This week we discovered that celery makes the cutest, little hearts.

Isn’t that just amazing or is it just for me since I’m the worst at drawing heart?

Anyways, this celery heARTwork activity is so easy to set up and your child can be as creative as they want. It was also great for us to mix in with snack time.

It takes playing with your food to a different level.

This is all you need for this activity:

  • Canvas or something to paint on (craft paper makes amazing wrapping paper!)
  • Paint
  • Celery
  • Something to put paint on (I used recycled milk jug lids.)

That’s seriously it! We obviously used different shades of pink and red. You can use whatever colors your child picks.

All they have to do is use their celery sticks like a paint brush. Dip the celery into the paint. Then press it down on the canvas.

At first, Mila wanted to move the celery like a brush. I showed her how to use it like a stamp to clear that confusion. She immediately recognized they were hearts.

Celery transfers the paint MUCH easier than potatoes. That means they don’t have to push down as hard.

Mila had so much fun playing with her food, while eating the same type.

When she would switch to snacking, I had a rule that all four celery paint sticks had to be in the upright position. That made me feel a little more comfortable when she kept switching back and forth!

No paint was consumed during this art project.

I love the way this process celery heARTwork turned out.

She just made the canvas and wrapping paper, but again, this can be used for anything you need hearts on!

The biggest thing to remember while kids do process art is there’s no end goal. This is their time to be as creative as they like.

I think the best part of process art is to see how your child grows with it. They get a better sense of composition, shapes, and colors the more they paint.

Their growth is truly the greatest gift.

As always, I hope if you do this activity, you let me know in the comments.

I got a custom painting done and here was my experience.

If you would walk into my house, you would be able to tell a few things:

  1. A toddler and a dog reside here.
  2. There’s a lot of plants.
  3. I love art.

My walls are covered with art, pictures, and things that make me happy. Art comes in so many different types of forms and it’s a great way to represent what’s going on inside my head… just on my walls.

I’ve always wanted to get something custom done for just me, but the opportunity never arose. Until a few weeks ago.

On Instagram, someone I followed shared this one-line artwork and I was obsessed. The artist’s name is Ami Pruett and I dove deep into her website. Her paintings and prints really struck me, but one stuck out. She has a mother, baby – rainbow edition that I thought was beautiful. I was just about to put it in my cart, until I saw she did custom paintings.

Instantly, I reached out and sort of told her my family’s story and how much I longed to have an image of me, Jensen, and Mila all represented the same. All our family pictures we have, Jensen is represented in his bear or a picture, which is amazing and I love doing.

But… thinking there was some way we could be interconnected and together really spoke to me.

Ami got back to me a couple days later and we went for it.

She seriously was amazing to communicate and work with. Obviously, I feel comfortable sharing Jensen and our family’s story with others, but Ami was so genuine in just her website and Instagram, that I felt SO comfortable trusting her with something that meant so much to me.

The process was pretty simple.

Again, I told her my idea of what I wanted the art to portray and we bounced ideas off of each other. She came up with two designs to show me and we both agreed on the one.

Honestly, seeing both of the designs was intriguing. I think just having something custom for me on paper felt surreal.

Anyways, after I picked the design, it went quick.

I could’ve customized it with different paint, but I stuck to black. She gave me different options. So, it was nice to know that people have choices in what works best with their own individual decor style and personality.

While I knew she was working on it, I stalked her Instagram for updates. I felt like a kid on Christmas when I saw her working on it.

After approving the pencil work, she painted. Seeing it completely done for the first time made me cry. It’s absolutely beautiful and perfect; even better than what I had envisioned in my head.

This isn’t the painting’s forever home, I want to get the perfect frame for it. It deserves the best.

I would 100% recommend Ami to anyone who loves her style. She just dropped new prints for Valentine’s Day, which showcase love perfectly. I definitely scooped one of them up.

Ami, if you’re reading, thank you SO much again. You have no idea how much this painting fills my heart. It helps bring my family together in a way we can never be. I’ll have no way to truly thank you for that feeling.

Have you ever gotten a custom painting done before?

Valentine’s Day Gift: I Love You Instax Picture and Frame

If you want to show off the cutest series of photos at the office, in your home, or even as a gift, you should definitely try this out!

‘I love you.’

We have an Instax camera and love snapping pictures. Mila likes how the film instantly come out and their aesthetic pleases me.

I got an idea to make myself (sorry not sorry) a Valentine’s Day present that I can always remember Mila at this time. So, we had a little photo shoot.

Obviously, she loved getting dressed up and making her hair ‘pretty.’ She was all for it!

Then it was time to shoot.

Since I can’t have Mila’s voice always telling me she loves me while I work, I thought of the next best thing… sign language.

In one of Mila’s dance songs, they sign ‘I love you,’ but a little reminder didn’t hurt.

After I got those first three pictures, she wanted to take more. So, so obviously I took the opportunity to take a few pictures of her.

Anyways, I found a perfect, Instax picture frame on Amazon! It’s pretty sturdy. The only issue I had with it was I had to tape the pictures in to stay, but that wasn’t a big deal.

Once I put it all together, it turned out so beautiful.

If you have more than one child, this frame also has a six opening frame too.

I think this would be an amazing gift to parents, grandparents, or anyone your child loves. It didn’t take too long to do either.

Your child will love seeing their pictures instantly and will be happy to give this as a present.

I hope if you decide to make this Valentine’s Day gift, you’ll let me know in the comments below.

Grilled Caprese Chicken Recipe

This is going to sound silly, but I’m so intimidated by cooking chicken.

I have this fear it’s going to be REALLY raw and it gives me the creeps. So, when I do make it, I usually bake it for a few more minutes than what a recipe calls. Any recipe that says to put it on the grill or pan, I just skip it.

Until I came across this one.

This grilled caprese chicken made me feel like I was back in Italy.

Not only was I able to grill it on the stove top, it was so good and not raw. I think this is a culinary win on my part! You should try it too.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Tomatoes (I used roma, but you could use other kinds too)
  • Basil
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Parchment paper
  • Grill or griddle
  • Rolling pin

That list seems huge, but it all comes together and you probably already have a lot of the ingredients. This recipe is also a little more in depth than what I usually share, but it’s pretty easy to follow along.

First, turn on your grill or griddle to a medium heat. This way it’s warmed up after you’ve prepped.

The, beat your chicken. No really. Wrap your chicken in parchment paper and hit it with a rolling pin. You’re trying to make your chicken have an even thickness.

After it’s evened out, brush on olive oil.

Next, it’s time to season. You can either mix your seasonings together in a separate bowl (what I did) or put it on top of the chicken. I always add extra salt and pepper too. Place on the grill or griddle and let it cook for five minutes. Then flip it over for five more minutes.

Pro tip… I used a griddle. To get the grill effect, I placed a baking sheet over my chicken to keep the heat in.

While your chicken is cooking. Slice your tomatoes and mozzarella if it isn’t pre-sliced. This is also a great time to chop your basil too.

Once your chicken is finished cooking on the second side, flip it over again. Place two pieces of mozzarella on top of each chicken. Cover them back up and let the cheese melt for about two to three minutes.

After it’s melted, plate them and put the tomatoes, basil, and balsamic glaze over top.

Then enjoy!

For sides, I made broccoli and garlic-butter noodles. It tasted great and Mila even enjoyed a few bites of the chicken too. She was way more into the noodles though.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you give it a try, let me know in the comments!

Mom Tip of the Week: Dress Up

I had a lot of things planned for Mila and I to do today. Of course, she had an agenda of her own when we woke up.

She ran straight to her closet and picked out a dress. Not unusual if you know Mila, but…

This is the dress she chose. Today she is Princess Mila.

I brushed her hair all out and put her in a little ‘crown.’ We found the most perfect princess shoes. Then, we put it all together and she wanted to take pictures with her ‘beast.’

So, we did just that.

My biggest tips for moms is things don’t go exactly as planned. Just try to roll with it.

It might not be what you wanted, but these unexpected moments can be just as wonderful. You never know when you’ll have the beauty and a beast in your house. Or a fire fighter, police officer, chef, or dance teacher.

Embrace these moments. They go too quick.

What’s your child been pretending they are lately?

Goodbye Kisses.

One of the toughest things I face as a single mom is wondering if Mila has enough love.

It’s hard being away from her during the days, but I have to be to give her the life she deserves. When we’re together, we play, read stories, and create. I tell her I love her every chance I get and she does the same.

We’re happy in our own little world.

But, it’s the days I have to go away. I question if she forgets about all our fun. There are some times I wonder if the love I instill in her stays. Or if she’s just made at me when I’m gone.

A few nights ago, I realized I shouldn’t put any thought into those fears.

I picked her up one afternoon after school. She sat in the car as my mom told her goodbye. As usual, she asked for a hundred goodbye hugs and kisses. Then kept saying bye. As my mom walked away, then started the goodbye kisses.

She blew them and for awhile they were reciprocated. Mom had to go back inside, but Mila did something that made me smile.

As the door shut and we backed out of the driveway, I saw her continue blowing goodbye kisses.

Between each kiss, she yelled, “goodbye! I love you!.”

She didn’t stop when we backed out. Or when we went down the street. Or even parked in our driveway. Outside our door, she kept saying goodbye and how much she loved her Gigi.

That’s when I realized, Mila has all the love in the world. She knows what love feels like and how to feel it towards others.

All those worries about if I’m doing good enough ease.

The next morning, when it’s hard to go away again. I see her goodbye kisses in action. It made leaving a little easier.

Because, I know those goodbye kisses never end and that love travels where ever we go.