Toddler Activity: Frida Kahlo Portrait

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, femininity, and art, Mila learned more about one of my favorite historical woman: Frida Kahlo. Of course, we had to do a craft of a Frida portrait; just with a toddler spin.

If you don’t know about Frida, she’s truly an amazing woman. Her history was tragic, but her perseverance to keep going against all odds really speaks to me. Through everything, she became one of Mexico’s greatest artists. She did a ton of self portraits, which is why we honored her this way.

Now, I understand Frida has NOTHING to do with Cinco de Mayo. This holiday commemorates Mexico’s unlikely defeat over France in 1862. Since then, it’s turned into a huge celebration.

With Mila being three, I don’t feel completely comfortable talking about war with her yet. It’s still a great way to teach her about Mexican culture. Frida is a huge cultural icon and since we love learning about art, it felt perfect.

Anyways, you can look up all kinds of information about CInco de Mayo and Frida all over the internet. Now it’s time to get to our little craft.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Honestly, i wish I had a free printable for everyone to make this craft a little easier. The elements in this project are a little detailed, but the end result is worth it.

To prep for this craft, I drew the different elements of Frida’s face on the construction or craft paper. They don’t have to be perfect. I think the more unique it is with its imperfections, the more it connects with Frida and her work.

I drew Frida’s hair, nose, eyes, and unibrow on black construction paper. Her lips on red scrapbook paper. The accessories on yellow scrapbook paper. Her body is made out of brown construction paper and the dress out of floral scrapbook paper.

Once everything was drawn, I cut them out.

Since we used a canvas, I hot glued Frida’s body and part of her hair down. Then, it was all up to Mila.

She has seen Frida and her artwork for her entire life. We read books with her in them, but I showered her a picture before she started. After, I asked if she could make her face.

Honestly, she did a great job. She loved talking about the different parts of her face and was in love with the flowers. I think she said Frida about a thousand times too. It amazes me that she picks up on all these new words.

I think she did a really good job. She put it in a prime spot for all to see! I love that she loves all her hard work.

Plus, it was a fun way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

Tonight we’ll be enjoying tacos and I’ll have a margarita. We love to celebrate these holidays and learn all about new culture.

Let us know what you think about this Frida craft and how you celebrate Cinco de Mayo!

Before you go, check out how these moms celebrate Cinco de Mayo and Mexican heritage.

6 Life Lessons from a Three Year Old.

photo by simplicity of grace.

I always thought motherhood was teaching your children about the ins and outs of life.

We teach them to walk, talk, and be functional humans. Or that’s the goal. Through their trials, we help encourage them to become better people and learn from what life hands them.

My unconventional start to motherhood sort of took that away from me. I learned so much from Jensen and his death that I would have never imagined. With Mila, I thought it’d be me doing all the teaching, not the learning. In many ways, being her mom has surprised me.

As much as I’ve taught her and helped encourage her to become the sassy three year old that she’s become, she’s made me into a whole new person.

With Bereaved Mother’s Day and Mother’s Day coming up the next two weekends, I’ve been thinking a lot about my motherhood. Jensen has taught me so much about love and living fully. I’ve talked about it extensively through this outlet. This morning, as Mila hugged me not to go, all the lessons she’s taught me have flooded my head.

Here’s just a few.

It’s okay.

One thing Mila did not get from me is anxiety. She is the most steady person I know and it’s a beautiful combination with us two.

When she needs comforted, I’m there for her. I never thought kids could do the same thing. Yet, anytime I’m upset, she comes over and just says, ‘it’s okay.’ Then she’ll shush me and just give me a tight squeeze. This act of hers has taught me so much about patience and realizing the moment will go away.

Anytime I’m feeling stressed when she’s not around, I remember her sweet voice and that seems to help make a lot of things feel okay.

Laugh at the little things.

All I have to do is give our dog a certain look and Mila laughs wildly.

Mila’s taught me not to take life so seriously. After Jensen died, it was hard to laugh freely. With her, she just demands humor and lightness. She’ll do things just to make other people laugh. Or when she’s upset, I know if she laughs once, she’ll be much better.

The mix of seriousness and lightness has balanced out the last three years. She’ll always be the one who giggles at the the little things. I’m happy for that.

Just be you.

In a world where social media dominates, it’s hard to just be yourself. Influencers and the media try to sway us constantly, but Mila has taught me the opposite.

She doesn’t understand advertisements and social media yet, but she’s the opposite force. When I look at her, I see so much uniqueness and individuality, I would never want her to be like anyone else. Just herself. I reflect on that often and encourage her to do follow her ways.

Then, I think about how I can apply that to myself and others around me. I want those that I love (and beyond) to just be them. For me, I just want to be me. There’s not code to follow or correct way to live. The most beautiful person we can be is just ourselves.

Every time I look at her, I’m reminded of that.

Live in the moment.

Mila has taught me to see the world completely differently.

The main way is to live in the moment. I can have 100 things planned out, but she pulls me into the present like no other. It’s funny because I could be doing work and she says, “watch me.” Sometimes I tell her to wait, but then I realize, I can never get this moment back with her. So, we pretend and play and just live.

Work will always be there and it gets done, just a little bit later.

We’re in this together.

I know moms, even myself, complain about never having any alone time. It’s exhausting, so of course Mila and I are in this together.

But, that’s not what I mean.

At three, I have such serious conversations about what she wants for our life too. We decide on where we want to go or what we want to eat. We’ve talked about different vacations or what plants to buy too.

It sounds silly since she’s three, but this is her life and childhood too. Together, we have to make it the very best it can be. When she’s happy, I am too.

We’re in this life and growing together.

Love.

The one thing children bring unconditionally is love.

Love, love, love.

I love Jensen and Mila more than anything. Mila has physically showed me how kids love outwardly. It isn’t in the moments everyone sees or knows about. Even though she’s in a “I like you” stage, she always nods her head when I say, “do you mean love?” back to her.

Love isn’t in her words though. It’s in the hugs where she tells me it’s going to be okay, her laughter that fills the room, and the fruit snacks and juice she brings to bed for us.

She’s taught me how love can glue back a broken heart and even leave space for more.

In these three years, sometimes I get confused about who’s taking care of who. As much as I help her grow, she helps me grow too. I love being her and Jensen’s mom.

What big life lessons have your children taught you?

5 Tips to a Successful Garden

Last year, Mila and I tried our best to maintain a toddler garden. With a little practice, we’ve found five tips that really help our garden grow and thrive.

I will admit, we’ve acquired a few houseplants since our go at it last year. It’s really helped up understand what plants need to grow. Germinating seeds are a little more tricky than having houseplants, but it’s the same principal.

We ended up buying an herb kit from the dollar store to practice. It costed $5 for the seeds, soil, and container. I thought it was a great deal. They’re a little wonky right now since they’re growing towards our grow light, but they’ll even out soon!

Here’s what we did to make them sprout.

Warmth

One of the best things you can do for your seeds is to plant them in a warm environment.

At this point, they don’t need a ton of sun. Windowsills can be really cold in April, so keeping them in the kitchen or another warm room of your house is perfect. This will help promote them to germinate and sprout. They also grow quicker when they’re warm.

If they get too cold, they’ll freeze and won’t be viable to sprout.

Humidity

Besides warmth, the other most important component of starting seeds is humidity.

If the heat in your house is on, your home probably doesn’t have a humid environment for the seeds. But, there are easy ways to create it.

The easiest way is to use saran wrap. After you plant your seeds and spray water on them, just tear off a piece of saran wrap and put it over your containers. This and heat will create a humid environment that your seeds will thrive in.

It may not be the prettiest sight, but it really does help!

You could also use plastic takeout boxes or Tupperware to create the same effect too!

Shallow Planting

I think this is where Mila and I messed up the most last year!

Your seeds do not need to be buried in your soil mix. They need to be able to feel the warmth and humidity. Last year, I put them further down and although some sprouted, it was too deep. This year, I mostly spread the seeds on top of the soil and gently pressed them in the soil.

It took them a shorter amount of time to sprout this year and they’re really thriving. I believe this tip was the biggest factor there.

Patience

Gardening and growing herbs and vegetables from seeds take a lot of time and patience.

It can take up to two weeks for seeds to sprout. If they get overwatered or it’s too cold, they can end up rotting and not even sprout. There’s a lot of components and science to starting a garden.

This garden is a great time to talk to your toddler or child of any age about patience. They’ll be excited to check and see if their plants have sprouted every chance they can get. Once they finally start to, your child will be so proud of their efforts. You will be too!

Love

They say plants grow better when listening to happy music. Think how much they can grow from kind words and love from you.

Gardening truly is a labor of love. Not only to the plants, but with you and your little ones too. There are so many teachable moments and just teaching your child that something can grow from the love you put into it sticks.

I might not be the gardening guru, but these tips have helped us out this year. Mila is so excited to see her garden grow!

When our plants get bigger and it’s time to switch pots, I’ll update with those tips too.

If you’re wondering if you should start a garden, you most definitely should! Start small and see what works for you this year. By next year, you can take on more if you’d like. Either way, it can be a fun and ongoing experiment with your kids.

Before you go, check out how these other moms garden with their children:

As always, let me know in the comments if you have any other tips or tricks. Or you can let me know what you’re growing this year.

Weird Things My Toddler Does: Part 14

Mila and I cook a lot.

Like seriously, it’s about five times a week. She’s super comfortable around heat sources, tools, and utensils. Plus, she loves trying new foods and dishes. I think when she has a hand in cooking, she’s more into trying whatever we cook.

Her favorite part is mixing and stirring our food. At first, it went normal. Lately, though, I’ve noticed she’s been doing something a little weird while I cook.

It doesn’t matter how many pots we use, she stirs with every single bamboo utensil. Weirder than that, she only uses the utensil for one stir and then discards it.

Not only is it a strange practice, it calls for a ton of clean up.

I guess toddlers like making a mess too. Maybe it’s about time she starts helping with all the dishes.

Let’s hope that she always loves cooking with me and wants to experiment with her food, but maybe gets a little less messy as time goes by. Even just practicing using one utensil instead of them all.

Toddlers are just weird.

Does anyone else’s toddler have to use every single one of an object? Mila does this with paint brushes too!