Weird Things My Toddler Does: Part 13

In all the weird things my toddler does, this one has me the most perplexed.

A few weeks ago, I bought Max, our dog, a new chew toy from chewy.com. This pink bunny would be perfect in distracting him away from all of Mila’s stuffed animals… or so I thought.

When I opened it out of the box, Max wagged his tail so much and was so excited to get a new toy. But, there was someone else who had their eye on it…

She still hasn’t let it go either.

Mila has taken claim to this stuffed bunny. Max isn’t even allowed looking at it without her interjecting. Before we leave the house, she hides it in her closet so he can’t get to it. It’s a cat and mouse game that I don’t quite understand.

Instead of her other stuffed animals being saved from Max’s love of chewing, she has protected this bunny with all of her might.

At least this is one toy that doesn’t go into the bathtub.

So, here’s my daughter with the dog’s her chew toy bunny. In her zoo full of crazy colored stuffed animals, for some weird reason, she’s crazy over this particular one.

Toddlers are just weird.

Read Across America Day: 3 Books that Cultivate Compassion

Today is National Read Across America Day. What better way to celebrate with your child than a new book and activity?

As I was picking out books for the day, Mila’s Little Bookish Wardrobe box came in. I thought it fit perfectly in the NEA’s theme this month: cultivating compassion.

The Unbudgeable Curmudgeon by Matthew Burgess is a book all about feelings and helping someone out who’s in a bad mood. We all get in bad moods, but this book helps cultivate compassion by thinking what will help your child’s sibling, parent, or friend in a nice way.

Mila loved the images in the book and it was a great way to talk about emotions. It also opened us up to talking about what makes her mad. Honestly, hearing her talk about being angry was a learning moment.

When we normalize feelings and having different ones, we can learn so much about our kids and selves.

In the box, we always received a red wig (that Mila is wearing in the first picture), a rainbow sweater, and a slippers activity. Every thing in the box goes right along with the story. It’s always fun to explore.

This months activity was drawing on slippers. In the book, they paint to feel better and the Curmudgeon has big, furry feet. They sort of look like slippers.

So, Mila drew her different colored lines on the slippers. She’s so proud of them.

I think it might be a good learning tool for when she’s mad or having big emotions. It might be something she wears if she’s feeling overwhelmed. It’ll let me know there’s something going on if she can’t express it.

Two other books that we have that cultivate diversity that I think you guys would love are these.

Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer

I absolutely love this book. It talks about a wide range of diverse families. There’s families of all backgrounds and sexualities. For us, it talks about single parenthood too. All in a compassionate way!

The Sloth Who Slowed Us Down by Margaret Wild

Another great story that promoted compassion is this little story. It’s literally about the title. It’s such a cute story that talks about family time and slowing down for each other.

No matter what you read today or anytime with your child, you’re giving them a gift they’ll always be thankful for.

Even if you put them in a red wig.

Check out these other bloggers who are celebrating Read Across America Day too!

5 Ingredient Cheesy Chicken Roll Up Recipe

If you’re looking for another easy week night dinner, this one is great to add in. It reminds me of the Chicken Pot Pie Recipe. Yet, this meal has a completely different flavor profile.

You might have noticed, I love cooking with rotisserie chicken! It’s a simple way to add chicken in our meals. Plus, it tastes good!

Although this isn’t technically, ‘one pot’ the clean up is easy too.

Now that I’ve sold you on the recipe, here’s all the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Crescent rolls
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese
  • Cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 cup of milk

There’s not a ton of steps for this recipe, but it’s oh so yummy.

The first thing you should do is preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Then, in a casserole dish, mix together the cream of mushroom soup, milk, and 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.

After it’s mixed together, pull apart your chicken. Then add the remaining cheese with it.

Next, unroll the crescent rolls. Place a small amount of the chicken and cheese mixture in the big part of the crescent roll triangle.

Now comes the fun part. Roll the crescent roll. Mila had a blast helping me with this beautiful part.

After you have your crescent rolls filled, place them on top of the soup and cheese mix.

I added some garlic and butter on top of the crescent rolls at this point, but this is totally optional.

Then, place them in the oven until the crescent rolls are golden brown. This takes about twenty-five minutes to do.

These cheesy chicken roll ups are so good. We didn’t even have left overs! I served them with green beans and it made for a perfect dinner.

As with all my recipes, let me know in the comments if you try it out.

I got a random tattoo and here’s how it went.

Last weekend, I went to a new tattoo shop and picked a tattoo from a sheet.

Before I went, I had no idea what I’d leave with or if I’d like even like it. I just knew I was getting one. It might be crazy to get a random tattoo, but it reminds me nothing is really permanent.

I’ve wanted a tattoo for a while now. Since I’ve been trying to do a new self care project each week, this happened to be what I wanted to do last week.

When I went into the tattoo shop, I instantly saw the one I’d be getting: a little flower.

To test me, I had to wait two hours to actually get it done. After some chips and salsa with a margarita, it was time to get my new ink.

It hurt a little more than I remembered my other ones. I’m going to blame the placement.

I think it turned out beautifully.

The healing process has went smoothly too. Honestly, the only bad thing from my spontaneous, surprise tattoo is Mila dislikes it. She loves all my other ones, but not this one.

That’s okay though.

Of my five tattoos, only two of them have not been ‘planned’ or rest thought through. My favorite tattoos will always be my Jensen ones, but these are full of me.

It’s been years since I’ve gotten my last one and I have more in mind now. Actually, I’ve planned for another tattoo here soon and I’m embracing it.

Self care is also about self expression. This is what’s working for me. Tattoos are kind of like glimpses back to our old selves. This tattoo will remind me of this healing time of my life.

I love it.

It’s me in the present moment and I think I really like the path I’m on.

Even though Mila HATES this tattoo, she graciously helped me take these pictures of it. She did a pretty good job.

Have you ever spontaneously gotten a tattoo before? Or would you in the future?

Toddler Activity: Rainbow Heart Match and Diversity Learning

Diversity is one of the most important concepts to add into toddler activities and crafts.

I make sure to do different games with Mila that lets her take in a wide array of different concepts. Some she might not even know she’s learning.

Today’s little game incorporates two of heart favorite things: hearts and colors.

This quick activity doesn’t take long to make and you most likely have all the supplies at home already.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Paper
  • Markers
  • Scissors

The first thing to do is draw and color in different colored hearts. Then cut them out.

After they’re cut out, trace them on another piece of paper. Here I added the color of the words of the corresponding hearts. That way she’s getting some word recognition while playing.

When you’re done tracing and writing the names, it’s time for your toddler to play.

Obviously, they can use this as a color matching game, but there’s even more to be learned when you engage with them.

While Mila played, we talked about how each shape was a heart. I asked her what made the hearts different. She replied with naming all their colors.

I also showed her that under each heart is the same too. Even if they have different names and colors, they are still always just hearts.

To expand on that, we talked about people have different names, hair, and skin color.

It’s not groundbreaking conversations, but letting her explore differences and still loving all the hearts is so important. There’s no bad colors, they’re just different on the outside.

I can’t wait to laminate this set up so we can keep on playing! It will definitely grow with her as she learns to read and spell.

If you try this activity out, let me know how it goes 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.

Another Spooky House Story.

Accurate description of what my face looked like this morning…

I had another post planned for today, but I wanted to write this out before it got lost in the others.

My house and I have had an up and down relationship. Yes, you read that right. The house I live in is sort of it’s own… entity. I’ve had a lot of spooky things that have happened throughout the years I’ve lived there.

In 2019, the house got so bad that I had to get it blessed. Honestly, it was a really scary time to live at my house. I considered moving, but wanted to try everything to stay there. Since then, it’s slowed down a lot. But, there are days, like this morning, that bring back that eerie feeling.

Back to this morning.

All night, I was in a deep sleep with really vivid dreams. So, when I woke up before my alarm, I was a little drowsy.

I opened my eyes and it looked like my living room light was on. Then I heard two things. The first was Max breathing and sounding like he was getting pet. Remember, he gets excited and when he gets attention, he sounds different (that sounds strange, but animal owners will understand). Then there was this squeaking. I thought it sounded like Mila’s one dump truck toy, but I had picked up the toys last night. So she must have found it and started playing with it again…

It’s not unlike her to get up and play with Max in the morning. She can reach the lights and knows where her toys are stored. I relaxed thinking it was just her.

Until, I felt someone move in bed beside me.

I turned my head to see Mila in a deep sleep. So, it wasn’t Mila out in the living room playing with Max and her truck.

After that realization, I involuntarily let out a sigh.

The truck stopped squeaking and a few seconds later, Max got up and ran into my room. I was afraid someone had heard me wake up and left, but I didn’t hear any footsteps or the door open.

Instead of getting up, I just laid there for a few minutes more.

There was no way Max could get the truck out of the bin and how could he make that squeaking sound. Maybe that sound was just in my head. I had been dreaming all night. It had to be explainable because my house has been so calm.

Before I got out of bed, I told myself that the truck was put away and I was psyching myself out.

When I walked into the living room, her yellow truck was flipped on its side. Just like it had been played with and put back down. Cold chills instantly went all over my body.

I know not everyone’s a believer, but it felt like there was someone in my house or Mila was playing out there. It’s the strangest feeling to not know what happened out there, but I know the toy was being played with and Max was getting attention.

No matter what anyone things, it definitely had to be a spirit or ghost. I didn’t feel threatened. It literally felt like a child was in my living room waiting on me.

Let’s just say, I’ll be burning sage in my house later tonight.

Weird Things My Toddler Does: Part 12

If you were wondering if I ran out of weird things Mila does last week, I didn’t. There was just other things to share.

Don’t worry, she’ll always be full of weird things.

Mila’s bedtime routine consists of brushing hair and teeth, reading books, and snuggling. But, a couple months ago, she added something new.

Every night before bed, Mila brings fruit snacks and Capri Suns for a midnight snack. It’s almost on cue. When she’s tired but still fighting sleep, she gets up and gets in the snack cabinet. Then comes with her hands full with these sweet treats.

Every. Single. Night.

I guess it’s sweet that she thinks about me and brings me snacks too. She could just keep them for herself… so that’s sweet.

It’s just a really weird thing to have added into a bedtime routine, especially after her teeth are brushed.

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, toddlers are just really weird.

Does your toddler ever bring food to bed?

How Anxiety Makes a Scary Situation Worse.

Story time.

Three nights ago, I had a scary incident. I still have the bruises on my arms to remind me what happened.

Since it’s happened, I’ve been unsure if it’s a loss mom thing or a general parent worry. Either way, I wanted to share it with everyone who reads this little blog because you’ve followed my family’s story this far.

So, I have a barn door for my bedroom door. The doorway is in between my bedroom and living room. My mom and I built it and it’s pretty heavy and sturdy. It’s fallen off the tracks a few times, mostly when I’ve been messing around with it and no little living thing is in the way.

The other night, Mila and I got home later than normal. Max was super excited to see us. As I’ve stated before, he can get a little hyper.

I fed Max and gave him a bone to calm down. Afterwards Mila and I walked into my bedroom and I didn’t latch open the sliding door. Max figured out we weren’t in the living room anymore and took off to my room.

While he was running, the door was shutting. Mila was going toddler speed and was only a few steps in front of the door when it happened.

Everything that happened next was in slow motion.

Max tore through the door and knocked it off the track. I saw it pop off and lift up. Then it started to tilt.

I yelled for Mila to move. All my anxiety could just imagine the door smashing into her.

Of course, she was frozen because she didn’t know why I was yelling. The dog looked scared… probably because it hurt a lot and he knew I was upset.

As it falls more slowly and everyone’s still froze, I had to jump into action. When I took that first step, time caught back up.

I threw my arms under the heavy door as it neared Mila. Somehow I kicked her to safety too.

The door landed on my wrists and forearms. There’s cuts and bruises, but nothing I can’t handle. Mila was upset and the dog was too, but everyone was safe.

After it all happened, I just kept thinking of what could have happened.

What if I was in the laundry room and didn’t see it happen?

What if I didn’t catch it in time?

How serious would it have been?

Would she have gotten badly hurt?

What can I do to make this safer?

Even though everything turned out ‘okay,’ all those questions scare me. I don’t know what I would have done if she had gotten hurt.

I think after losing a child, the thought of losing another is always right there.

Anxiety is always in me. When I’m not with Mila, it skyrockets because I can’t be there to save or help her. It’s exhausting to always keep worrying and thinking of the bad.

These cuts and bruises on me remind me that she is safe and I’m doing my best.

I’m never going to be able to protect her from everything; I’m just learning how to manage that.

Do you overthink situations like this? Or can you just put it in the past?

One Pot Sausage Gnocchi Recipe

Since last week’s one pot recipe went so well, I figured I’d share another delicious one. It’s another Italian inspired recipe, but with a different taste.

Gnocchi is one of my favorite foods and I love how easy it is to cook with. You’ll love it too.

Here’s the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 lb mild ground sausage
  • 1 16 oz package gnocchi
  • 1 onion diced
  • Minced garlic
  • 1 can garlic and olive oil petite diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups spinach
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • Garlic powder

Honestly, there’s more ingredients than there are steps with this recipe. That’s how you know it’s good and easy to clean up.

First, over medium heat, brown the sausage, onion, garlic, and seasonings.

After, add in the tomatoes, cream, gnocchi, and spinach. Keep cooking until the gnocchi is done, spinach is wilted, the sauce has reduced.

Then, stir in the cheese. I ended up adding extra cheese after putting it in the bowl.

This recipe is so easy to make and it warmed us up. I loved the different textures in the meal too. Plus, you can sneak in some extra veggies, which we all need.

As always, if you try out this recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments.