Ice Fishing, Bath-Style

The last week has been a torrent of tears at bathtime. My husband’s mostly…just kidding…kind of.

But seriously, for some reason, the kiddo just keeps FREAKING OUT when it’s time to splash around. And we need to do it–with the hotter Seattle days, sweat and sunscreen and general toddler messiness require daily hair washing. Or at least rinsing. Anyway, we took a nice long walk this weekend and stopped in an adorable gift shop to browse. I saw these fish ice cube trays and it hit me: I could make colored ice fish for the bath! Thunder struck, the heavens opened, and I was overjoyed at the prospect of a peaceful bath that night.

Silicone ice molds

Water, food coloring, and silicone molds are my gateway to bathtime happiness.

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Finger Painting for Neat Freaks

We’ve got some gorgeous weather happening in Seattle right now, which means lots of fun outdoors. But sometimes, we gotta eat. Which means kiddo is restless and unoccupied for about 10 minutes while we get meals together. Enter this:

Finger painting for toddler

Occupy your toddler with minimal chaos and destruction!

I found this brilliance on Pinterest, and couldn’t wait to try it. I could only find one color of finger paint, so I added a few drops of blue food coloring for interest. I think it helped thin out the paint so it would squish and swirl more. Just add a few blobs of finger paint to a gallon-size freezer bag, squeeze out the air, seal, and tape all edges to a window. I say tape all the edges because as the kiddos get older, they like to peel, pull, and basically destroy everything they get their hands on! We did get a hole in ours, but patched with more packing tape and it was fine. We had fun stamping footprints, handprints, and even stamping shapes with some of our Melissa & Doug play dough tools.

Oh, and PS–make sure their nails are trimmed. We went back for a second round and Wolverine’d that bag up pretty good, thus making it messy (but not as messy as regular fingerpainting!)

Happy painting!

Bye-Bye, BooBoo

Amidst all the craziness of getting ready to move to a new home (a post or series of posts will becoming soon), we suffered a loss of a dear friend and family member. Our cat, BooBoo died suddenly on Thursday afternoon.

Bye Bye BooBoo

I didn’t think I would be so sad about losing a cat, after all, I always contended that he was “just a cat.” I am NOT a cat person, but maybe it’s because until BooBoo, I’d only met shitty cats. But really, he had a great personality and charmed everyone who met him. Regardless, watching the seizure or heart attack take him in those 30 seconds was horrifying and painful to watch. Seeing any living creature suffer is difficult.

But what this post really is about is how to manage the death of a pet with a toddler.  Continue reading

5 Things My Toddler Taught Me

Lately, I’ve been losing my patience. With so much to do, I want to GET SHIT DONE NOW.

But having a 2-year-old doesn’t allow for things to get done right away.

It's no coincidence toddler rhymes with dawdler Continue reading

One thumb up, plus a middle finger

Thanks for the helpful unsolicited advice, Stranger.

Here’s to you, lady in the pharmacy. Love, Committed.

I was at the pharmacy the other day, toddler sucking her thumb quietly in stroller, when the woman ahead of me in line turned around and exclaimed, “That’s gonna RUIN her teeth! RUIN them!” as she gestured her thumb toward her mouth. Was she telling me to make my 2-year-old stop sucking her thumb right now?

“Oh, yeah,” I said, trying to brush it off. “I’m not too worried about it.”

But she insisted, “No, they’ll be ruined! It’ll save you a LOT of money in braces if she stops.”

“Thanks, but she’ll probably have braces anyway. I’m not too worried about it” (and please leave me alone and deal with your own problems…don’t you have a urinary tract infection to take care of?).

She made one more urgent gesture and walked away.

I wanted to make a gesture of my own.

Listen, I know every parenting decision is basically controversial. This “baby sleep expert” tumblr underscores how confusing it can be to do the right thing when it comes to your kids. I also know that this woman meant well and that she probably dealt with the heartache of bad teeth in her childhood and only meant to spare my daughter a lifetime of dental misery.

HOWEVER. I never asked for any advice. And in giving unsolicited advice, she is assuming that I don’t know any better, which can come off as insulting. Moreover, she didn’t ask if I was concerned about the thumb sucking, which would have opened a dialogue about how her dentist actually said it wouldn’t be an issue for another few years, that her doctor said that braces are cheaper than therapy (self-soothing is a valuable tool), that my husband and I were both thumb suckers, and had braces for unrelated reasons…she was basically telling me how to be a parent without knowing that hey, I’ve already looked into this and I’m okay with it.

So a word to all you wise, unsolicited-parenting-advice-givers: if I want your help or advice, I will ask for it. And if you give it, I will appreciate it. Otherwise, please mind your beeswax.

The Easter Bunny Doesn’t Poop Chocolate

I know that a mythical bunny leaving candy-filled plastic eggs on your lawn has nothing to do with religion. But it’s a tradition that I love and I love that my daughter is old enough now to get into it. What I don’t want her getting into is a sugar-induced-toddler-frenzy ending in some form of tragedy. So even though I bought 12 different kinds of Easter candy to decorate cupcakes, very little of it is going into those aforementioned eggs. I’m stuffing those plastic vessels with fun non-chokeworthy gifts, including hair ties, stickers, and DIY crayons.

This post is about the crayons I attempted to make. Some were successful. Some were pitiful.

I should have found these tutorials (SheKnows, MakeandTakes, GabrielsGoodTidings) before starting, but as usual, I thought I’d just figure it out and forge ahead.

But here’s what I did:

1) You’ll need: crayons, a silicone mold (for making confections), a ziploc baggie, a cookie sheet, and a blunt object (to smash crayons). Optional: exacto knife to slit crayon peels. And you’re smart people–you know which to give your kids and which to keep away from them.

2) Preheat your oven to 225-250.

3) Follow along:

Start with crayons

Start with crayons, broken or whole.

Peel your crayons.

Peel. This can be made easier with an exacto knife.

Crush 'em. I just put them all in a baggie and smashed with a meat tenderizer. You can keep colors separate if you like.

Crush ’em. I just put them all in a baggie and smashed with a meat tenderizer. You can keep colors separate if you like.

Froggy mold for DIY crayons.

This froggy mold came from Japan, but you can get silicone molds at Ikea.

Melt the crayons.

Melt ’em. Fill the molds completely. This was about 5 minutes into baking.

Fill your molds completely.

I tried adding more bits halfway through. I do not recommend this. Just fill them enough at the beginning.

Some good, some bad, some ugly DIY crayons.

Some came out, some did not. Read my tips below.

Basically, I’d recommend filling your molds overfull. Don’t let them melt to liquid because the colors get really muddy. It’s fun when they swirl a bit, but too much and it’s not as pretty. But what toddler really cares? Right? And don’t (like me) try to add more chunks halfway through to make the molds full. Basically, you’ll have a liquid mess at the bottom, and crayon chunks on top.

Overall, this was super easy. It took about 15 minutes altogether and could be fun to do with the kiddos.

We’ll see what mine thinks of the Easter bunny after she opens her eggs!

All Supermoms Cheat

I am staring down a chillingly long to-do list tonight and on it: “Bake cookies for Teacher Appreciation Day” at my daughter’s daycare. Oh HELL no.

Here’s the thing. I LOVE her teachers. They’re amazing. They go far beyond what I could do as a parent, and I am so grateful. But do you think they’ll understand that less if it’s not home-baked chocolate chip cookies I bring to their break room? No. So, I’m going to do what any true Supermom would do in this type of situation. I’m gonna cheat. I’m {gasp} buying cookies. Tomorrow morning. On the way to school. Like, not even ahead of time.

Believe it or not, this is a total Supermom move, and I’m not ashamed. Kittens will be rescued, fires will be put out, and I will still appropriately show my gratitude to people I appreciate. The time savings will be enough to allow me to press my cape and polish my belt. And tackle that massive pile of laundry tonight. To the Grocery Store…and Beyond!

via anenglishwomaninsalem.wordpress.com

Flying Solo

As a wife with a husband who occasionally travels for work, I am prone to put a lot of pressure on myself to take on the role of both parents while he’s gone. So instead of wallowing in the failure to put away clean laundry or wash all the dishes, I’m going to share this week’s successes with you all:

1. I took out the trash
This is a BIG DEAL. For whatever reason, I hate this chore. Maybe it’s putting on mismatched slip-on shoes to trudge through the cold dark alley, maybe it’s the smell, I don’t know. I hate it, but I did it.

2. I fixed the garbage disposal
This is less of a big deal. I’m a pretty handy lady, but I occasionally have vivid horror-movie visions of my arm getting chewed up by demonic blades. Turns out, a toddler-sized fork was crammed in there. Sorry, kiddo.

The disposal is motherforking broken

The disposal is motherforking FIXED

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Transcontinental Toddling

This weekend, I took my 19-month daughter from Seattle to New York. Alone. In my lap.

I had my hesitations about taking the unnecessary adventure, but it paid off. I got to see some great old friends, introduce my daughter to their children, and see a little of the Big Apple during Christmastime. All around win. Here are the packing tips that helped us survive a redeye back East, and a 6.5 hour flight west. With a lap toddler.

Carry-on luggage

With only carry-on luggage, efficiency was key

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Hell-iday Shopping

I have to say it. I hate holiday shopping. I don’t get giddy over 5am freebies or salivate at the thought of finding the perfect parking spot. However, I do love a bargain. And I think I’ve cracked the code for surviving the absolute hell that is post-Thanksgiving-weekend Christmas shopping.

Holiday Shopping

Holiday shopping is the devil.

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