Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cloud Dough

Today we made cloud dough for the first time. I was looking for a new sensory experience for Little Guy that would also keep us busy for a little while. I used 1/2 cup oil (I used canola oil, but I bet vegetable oil would work too) and 4 cups of flour. I mixed them (until Daddy took over) with a whisk until it started to clump as it was mixed and I couldn't see any more clumps of oil. Since this made a relatively small batch, I put it in a casserole dish. I knew it would be messy, so I spread an old fitted sheet on the floor to catch any spills. (The advantage of the fitted sheet is if anything does spill, it will stay contained on the sheet and can't slide off, as I put the elastic on top.)

Here is our cloud dough on the sheet.

I put Little Guy on the floor with it and he immediately stuck his hand in! He started squishing it and burying his hand in it.

In he goes!

The cloud dough is very neat in that it clumps if you squeeze or press it, but also crumbles. Daddy even got in on the action, enjoying the cloud dough!

Daddy and Little Guy enjoyed the cloud dough!

For "tools," we used mandarin orange cups. They were fun to pack full of dough. We could have made a great "sand" castle with them, except Little Guy kept breaking them up!  Little Guy really seemed to enjoy the cloud dough, as it was a new texture and fun to play with. I think he even tasted it, but since it was just flour and oil I didn't worry.

He let me know when he was done...he turned around and sat in it!

I'm all done playing, mama!

I put the cloud dough in a zip lock bag for future use. I hope it holds up, I guess we'll see. I plan on getting it back out towards the end of the week, when it will be novel again.

In the bag, it feels similar to brown sugar.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

10 years ago

This post is different.

Its not about the joys of mommy-hood, but the sorrow of real life.

Its about memories, and grief, and saying goodbye.

Unfortunately, its not about Little Guy at all.

10 years ago (has it really been that long) my world changed forever.  I said goodbye to my mom that day.

How do you say goodbye to your mom?  How is it that I can no longer call her on the phone on my way home, asking how her day was?  Why can't I call her to ask her how to make spaghetti sauce, or biscuits, or any of the other foods that she made when I was growing up?

Why wasn't she around when I met my now husband, so share my joy, giggles, excitement, and hope?  My wedding pictures have a missing person, someone who should have stood by me.

And when we announced I was pregnant, she should have been one of the first calls, should have waited excitedly for news after each of my appointments, been at the hospital when Little Guy was born.

But...10 years ago my world changed forever.

I have lots of memories of her, helping with Girl Scouts, making blueberry muffins for breakfast, coming to school to eat lunch with me, helping with colorguard, visiting her at work, going home after I moved out just to do laundry, helping me set up my first classroom.

I also have memories of the last few days.  Calling home to ask if I could come over for dinner, to find out she had collapsed and an ambulance was on the way.  Her sleepily telling us that her right foot was attacking her left foot, as it would not stop twitching.  Moments of hope, followed by none.  Calling my best friend and telling her that my mom was going to die.  Making hard decisions as a family for the sake of one we loved so deeply.  Being in the room at the end, saying goodbye.

Crying in church two days later at a prayer for my mom.  A memorial service, where the church was filled with people whose lives my mom had touched.  A small service at the cemetery, with just family.  Greeting my first graders after being gone for a week and one of them asking if my mom was still dead.

Life still moves on.  New memories are created.  Other people came into my life.  But she is still missing.

I love you, Mom!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pasta fun

Little Guy is a busy little guy. That leaves me to try to come up with new ways to keep him entertained and, hopefully, learning. I had bought some pasta for Little Guy to play with. Some was bow tie, and some was rigatoni. I also had some bamboo skewers in a drawer. I wanted to create an activity for Little Guy where he could practice some fine motor skills. So this activity was born.

I took an empty cottage cheese container and poked 4 holes in the bottom. Into those holes I stuck 4 bamboo skewers.

Then we took the rigatoni and put it on the skewers. This was a great activity for Little Guy. It was good for his fine motor skills as well as his coordination in order to get the rigatoni on the skewers.

Hard at work!  Look at him concentrate!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Joy of Jello!

Everyday, I get an email from Productive Parenting with an idea for an activity I can do with Little Guy. One activity was to play with Jello! When Grandma B was here watching Little Guy, we made some orange Jello. I used about 3/4 of the water it called for, in hopes of making it a little stiffer.

Grandma B put Little Guy in his highchair one morning and put some Jello on the tray! Little Guy had fun with the Jello, and enjoyed eating it as well. One downfall: it stained his hands orange!

What is this stuff?

Ohhh...its kind of squishy!
The following weekend, we got out the rest of the Jello. I stripped him down to his diaper and plopped him into his highchair. I cut the Jello into strips and then let him play (and eat...see the orange around his mouth?!).  Little Guy was not the only one who had fun with the Jello. I enjoyed squishing it between my fingers, too!  This time, he ended up with an orange belly too!  We went straight to the bath!

I think I remember this stuff...

Oh yeah!  It's really fun!

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Every little person needs a lovey, right?  For a baby shower gift, we received a flat monkey with a little stuffed head.

I thought it would make a great lovey, as it is not too big, but very soft, and, most importantly, it is MACHINE WASHABLE! (This is a very important feature for a lovey!  Since it goes everywhere, you need to be able to throw it in the washer and dryer and not worry that it will fall apart!)  So, since it was a gift from Grandma A, we asked her where she got it, so we could have a "backup."  This was advice from some mommy friends!

Well, Grandma sent us not one, not two, but three more!  Let me tell you, it is great having 4 loveys.   Little Guy is now at the point where he takes Monkey with him, especially to daycare and naps.  I keep the extra loveys in a drawer in his room, so if we accidentally leave monkey downstairs at nap time, Mommy just opens the drawer and pulls out another!

4 little monkeys!

Now, this may not work so well when Little Guy realizes for what is going on, but for now, it is great!  The other day Monkey accidentally got left at daycare.  If there had been no extra loveys, we could have had a catastrophe on our hands.  Luckily, we had 3 other Monkeys at home, waiting for their turn to be cuddled!

Little Guy with Monkey at his 9 month pictures!  He is so much bigger now!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Someone's in the kitchen...

During the day, Little Guy and I spend a chunk of time in the kitchen. Being as that he is only 14 months old, he is not quite big enough to help mama cook or unload the dishwasher (although he does try). That means he has to be busy while I am working.

We have a bank of drawers, and the bottom drawer is his. We keep his cups, spoons, and bowls in there. Inevitably he will open that drawer and begin pulling things out. Lately, he has had a fascination with having a spoon in his mouth and will walk around with it.

However, sometimes mama gets tired of stepping around bowls and so I try to give Little Guy some alternate activities to do, usually reusing some household materials. One such activity uses an empty Puffs container. It has a little flip-top lid, which is fun in and of itself. Originally, I had several plastic baby spoons that Little Guy could drop into the container, then we would dump it out and he would do it again. This was fun for a while, but after too many times of using it, Little Guy became bored with this activity!

We have now changed the activity. I recently emptied a small cylindrical container (think oatmeal container but smaller). I put several small wiffle balls into the container for Little Guy to take out of the cylinder and put into the Puffs container. This is pretty fun! The balls add the extra challenge of rolling away if he doesn't quite get them in the hole. Little Guy also made it into a new activity by putting one ball into the Puffs container, closing the lid, and shaking it! These activities can keep him occupied in the kitchen for up to a half hour!

Look! I can open the lid!

Putting the ball into the container!

This morning we tried another activity.  I buy the little containers of mandarin oranges for him to eat, and then I save the containers. The containers are a perfect size for him!  Anyway, I got out a bag of bowtie pasta and he went to town, putting the pasta into the bowls!
Ohhhh! I love to get the pasta out of the bag!

The pasta goes in there!