Toddler Activity: DIY Nail Salon

Mila can be such a girly girl.

One thing that she absolutely loves is painting nails. No matter if it’s her nails or someone else’s, she always asking.

I saw this activity last year and figured now was the perfect time.

All you need is:

  • Cardboard
  • Marker
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes

I had everything had home and used old cereal boxes to draw the hands. To hold the paint, I used the caps of milk containers.

Next, I traced my hand and then drew finger nails.

To get her used to seeing her name, words, and numbers, I wrote them on the cardboard too. Before she painted, we counted all the fingers, told her which one was right and left, and spelled her name. She tells me her name is ‘la,’ which always makes me smile.

Then, I let her paint these nails.

She enjoyed mixing the colors and practicing painting nearly, at first. It switched from near to a little wild soon after.

This is a quick activity to put together, but it gave me enough time to do some work on the computer. Sometimes you just need five minutes of peace and this did the trick.

I will continue doing this activity with Mila. To help her with her pre-writing, I’ll make dotted lines that she has to trace for bracelet and rings. It would also be fun to do color recognition or teach the order of the rainbow here too.

Either way, this is DIY nail salon is fun and toddler approved.

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.

Un-talked About Nights.

This is the side of motherhood that doesn’t get talked about a lot.

The times where it’s 2am and there’s been an accident. Instead of getting mad at your child who’s already upset, you choose to do the harder thing.

You strip the bed, get it cleaned up, and then take every clean blanket to the living room.

They’re still crying. It’s disappointing and when you’re almost three, you have big emotions. A single accident feels world shattering, but it’s not.

It’s the decision to sleep in another bed or, in our case, make a huge, blanket sleep space in the middle of the floor. You tell them it’s much more fun to have a sleepover in the living room anyways.

Then, you calm them and help get them back to sleep.

No. It’s not the night you wanted. I mean, who wants to sleep on the floor? But just because it was a physically messy accident, doesn’t mean it needs to be emotionally messy too.

Parenting is hard. Parenting with lack of sleep is even harder.

These nights are not in the greatest hits moments. Yet, something tells me these un-talked about nights have lasting effects.

Toddler Activity: Fireworks Before Midnight Experiment

Let’s first start this off by saying… HAPPY NEW YEAR! We’re not quite there yet, but oh so close.

Mila and I did fireworks at noon, in case she doesn’t stay up. Its a little science experiment that I thought I’d share here. We did it a few times, if that gives you a time estimate.

It was fun and Mila loved helping too!

Here’s what you’ll need…

  • Jar
  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • Oil

Yes! It’s that easy.

All you do is fill up the jar with water. Put the food coloring in the oil. Then, slowly pour it in.

The food coloring escapes the oil and creates ‘fireworks.’ Mila thought they looked like different things. It made me smile to know she’s connecting so many different things.

I took a video of our experiment and wanted to post it here.

Again, Mila and I hope you have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve!

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!

Toddler Activity: DIY Countdown to Midnight Clock

To make the New Year’s Eve day a little more special, I made a countdown clock for Mila. It took a little bit of time, which is why I’m posting today.

You can definitely get help from your kids with this activity, but it’s mostly for adults or older kids to make. Kids of all ages can enjoy when it’s done.

Like most of our activities, I had everything at home. If you don’t, all of these items can be easily bought at a variety of stores.

The supplies:

  • Poster board or craft paper
  • Marker
  • Balloons
  • Confetti (I used scrap paper)
  • Tape
  • Candy or other fillings

The idea of this activity is to celebrate NYE all throughout the day. As each hour passes, kids can pop the balloon and have confetti and whatever else you stuff it with.

If they don’t stay up until midnight, then at least they get some excitement throughout the day!

This project was a little more longer and in depth than our usual ones, but I think she’ll love it when the day comes.

First, draw a big circle on your poster board or craft paper. Then, add the numbers around the circle like a clock. I wrote in the middle of it, but you can personalize it however.

Once that’s done, it’s time to stuff and blow up balloons.

You’ll only need twelve balloons and some come with confetti already in them. That would have been way easier, but I just made confetti by cutting up scrap pieces of paper. This takes a little time, but it looks cute all mixed.

If you are making your own confetti, have your child practice their cutting skills and help you out!

Next, stuff the balloons!

This can be a tricky task. I used a funnel, but there are others ways to do it too.

In addition to the confetti, I added chocolate hearts to the balloons. Mila loves them and she’ll be shocked by the surprise.

After this is done, blow your balloons up and tape them to your clock.

Hang your clock to a wall and enjoy popping them on New Years Eve! Kids who love messes will be excited to make one every hour.

I hope you enjoy this way to celebrate bringing the new year in! If you decide to do this activity, comment your experience. I’d love to hear from you and see pictures.

Toddler Activity: NYE Firework Painting

If you enjoyed last weeks Christmas activities, I have a few New Years ones too!

This first one is a firework painting. Mila loves to paint and experiment with how brushes work. That makes these DIY paint brushes even more interesting for her and toddlers.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Toilet paper or paper towel tubes
  • Scissors (kid and adult)
  • Paint
  • Canvas
  • Paper plates

I had all of these supplies at home, but most everything can be easily purchased. Feel free to use whatever color of paint. Mila just picked these three and I added the silver in.

First, you’ll want to cut the paper tubes to make the brush. If your child is learning how to use scissors, guide and help them with this. You can also get this step done beforehand.

We did three different firework shapes to get different looks.

Then, we put our paint on paper plates. Mila poured the red, which might have been a mistake. One recommendation is to spread the paint around. This way when your child pushes down with their brushes, all the bristles get paint on it.

After you get all your desired paint ready, it’s time to start painting.

I let Mila know we were making fireworks because that’s how we celebrate the new year. She’s seen fireworks before, so she understood what they were.

Of course she doesn’t grasp the concept of a new year, but it’s fun to begin those conversations with her.

I did have to show her how to push down on the brush. She got the hang of it pretty quick!

It helped when I really pushed the bristles down to make them more flexible. They are quite stiff at first!

With their finished project, you can either write over top of it or just leave it. Mila ended up making two. The canvas will have ‘2021’ written on it and the paper version will be untouched.

I’ll update this post with a finished picture after her artwork is all dried.

This activity is pretty quick, but a lot of fun. Toddlers and young kids will love making their own brushes. Plus, what kid doesn’t like fireworks without all the noise.

If you try this activity out, let me know in the comments below!

Quick and Easy Toddler Thanksgiving Day Craft.

If you’re looking for an easy Thanksgiving craft to do, look no further.

Mila had a blast making these turkey day cards for family and one to keep. Most of the supplies I had on hand, minus the feathers and small canvas. I got both at the local dollar store.

Supplies:

  • Brown or copper paint
  • Red paint
  • Yellow paint
  • Orange paint
  • Feathers
  • Black marker
  • Tape
  • Computer paper
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Scissors

All you need to do is get your computer paper or canvas ready, paint your child’s hand like a turkey, and place it on the paper or canvas. It’s really as simple as that.

When you put paint in their hand, really put a lot on there or it’ll dry before you get everything painted. I painted the brown last and it seemed to help. With the one paint application, I was able to get four turkeys. One on canvas and the other three on paper.

After the turkeys dried a little, I glued on the feather and added the turkeys face and legs.

To make the three into a card, I taped them on scrapbook paper and wrote a little message on the back. Then it was done.

You can personalize these however you’d like or even add them to tea towels or plates with the right kind of plate. For us, it was easier to do this and they turned out adorable.

We all know this year is not a normal one, but it’s still nice to still make memories and send out cards to the ones we love.

If you give this Turkey Day craft a try, post in the comments so we can see. Lastly, Happy Thanksgiving!

Mom Fail: Dream Edition.

I just want to start off by saying, I’m not exactly sure if this should be categorized as a mom fail, but I’ll leave it up to you at the end.

Mila has long, beautiful, thick hair. It’s always crazy to me to see how much hair she actually has. I think a lot of people dream about their daughters having nice hair, but, if you’re like me, you didn’t realize how much of a struggle it is. She’s had to have her hair brushed EVERY SINGLE DAY since she’s been a newborn and still hates it with a passion. Lately, it’s gotten worse because she doesn’t want to sit down and wait for me to do it.

Since it’s long, it gets a lot of knots and tangles. My mom always called them rats and that’s what I’m calling them for Mila too. Every night and morning, our routine is to get the rats out of her hair. I don’t even know if she knows what a rat looks like or whatever, but she knows it’s bad and needs out.

I wake up and go to sleep talking about these rats, but I didn’t know how much it was impacting me.

After our normal rat evacuation, I ended up falling asleep with her. That night, I had one of the most strangest dreams. There were actual rats everywhere chasing Mila and I had to shoo them away. It was like little faces and eyes constantly looking at me and I was trying to throw them out of the house. I felt like I was struggling through the dream to get them all away and Mila wanted no part of it in my dream either. Just the whole entire night/dream, I was getting rats away from her.

You can laugh. I would laugh too.

Let’s just say, the next day I went to go get detangling hair spray to add to our after bath routine. The less ‘rats’ I have to think of and deal with, the better.

I’ve yet had any other rat related dreams and plan on keeping it that way.

Again, maybe not a mothering fail in terms of not providing for Mila, but definitely a dream fail, to say the least. A little tip to not have rat nightmares, buy detangling spray before that’s what you think of before bed.

How Does That Make You Feel? cont.

Yesterday, I shared a post on Newsymom about how I started going to therapy again.

It is DIFFICULT to talk about therapy. I grew thinking it was a hush hush thing and only people that were deranged went. Obviously, that’s far from the case. What’s funny is that this blog originally was about Jensen and documenting stillbirth, grief, and my journey after loss. Like life, it’s taken different directions and I try to write about what makes me smile.

I’ve sort of backed myself in a strange corner. There was a point where I felt like I couldn’t express my grief anymore and the other… ‘troubling’ things in my life weren’t allowed to be expressed either. I talked about what I could and what I felt others were comfortable with. I guess that’s the type of person I am… trying to make others feel comfortable while putting myself on the back burner. Hello HUGE topic I talk about with my therapist. I’ve been thinking about making a schedule for this blog and delving into other things besides the light and happy. Not for anyone else, but for myself and to continue my healing journey.

Anyways, I think it’s a mix of where I’m at in my grief journey, parenting Mila, and what’s being reintroduced in therapy. I felt like I needed to share my new experience with talking to a professional and how it looks different this time around. There are three big factors I can instantly tell that are being more impactful already.

1. The right person.

There was nothing wrong with my therapist beforehand. She helped me in so many ways with the initial year after losing Jensen. I have no idea where my headspace would have been without her helping me along the way. But, it got to a point where I felt like I couldn’t really connect with her anymore and, like some relationships, our time just ended.

This time, I feel extremely connected to my therapist. I’m unsure if it’s the way we talk (I’ll get into this in a second), how she’s helped make deeper connections with me, or if our personalities just click. It feels like she really listens and puts the way I think first. When I’m talking, I don’t feel like I’m boring her and she reacts the way I need her to. I feel like that sounds so basic, but it’s hard when trying to find those things in a therapist,

I think life has a way of bringing us the right people and I’m glad I’ve found her.

2. Being 100% honest.

I’m unsure if I’m the only person that wasn’t completely honest with my therapist. Four years ago, I was not honest with my therapist if it wasn’t directly related to my grief with losing Jensen. That sounds AWFUL, but directly ties in finding the right therapist. I can remember telling half truths or leaving our important information. It impacted how my healing went and was detrimental because I couldn’t even be honest with myself during the time I really needed to be.

This time around, I made myself accountable. I told my therapist I had a hard time of telling the whole truth my first go with therapy. My main reason was not wanting to look bad and not being trusting of another person. I straight up told my therapist that what I’m going to say in the next months of working with her aren’t always going to be… good. In saying that, I told her I wanted to trust her and get myself to a better place.

During my sessions, I’m really working. I’m being honest with myself and her. Sometimes it’s hard to say certain things out loud, but I know it’s best. I don’t always feel my best right after our hour, but I know I’m getting back what I put into this time.

3. A happy space.

Besides the two reasons I stated before, the biggest difference is I’m not actually leaving my house to talk to my therapist. I downloaded an app (BetterHelp) so I can text, call, and video chat with my therapist. Every week, I directly talk to her for an hour and I can message her anytime I need to on other days.

There’s no awkward waiting rooms and I’m not in an unfamiliar place. I can be in the comfort of my home and not feel like i’m doing the walk of shame after I cry for an hour. Being able to communicate on the phone is also more familiar… not saying I don’t talk to others face-to-face, but you get what I mean. On top of that, with COVID, I don’t have to worry about the precautions I’d have to take by going to an appointment. I can also talk to her while Mila watches TV and am not stressing if I can’t find a babysitter on certain nights.

It allows me to have the freedom to talk in my safe and happy space, while getting the help I deserve.

I’ll never say I know everything about therapy or can tell you it most definitely will help your situation. I know that it’s helped me and I’m not ready to stop anytime soon. There’s a deep tugging that is telling me by doing this I’m helping my future and stopping so many traumatic cycles. In my Newsymom article, I wanted others to know that it’s okay to choose to go to therapy. I want to echo that same sentiment here too.

I deserve to be happy and mentally healthy. I can’t change the things that have or will happen, but I get to decide how I handle them. I wish that for everyone.

If you’re thinking about signing up for therapy or want to browse different options, if you’d like to use BetterHelp, use this referral. You get a week free and so do I. I highly recommend BetterHelp and you can find a ton of information on their website.