Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pinterest- the functional addiction!

So, like most web-loving people of the world, I have become a keen user of Pinterest. 
I can readily admit to being addicted.  I mean, most users of the site are happy addicts....  My love affair comes and goes in waves...and this is with intent.  See, I have made a pact with myself.  If I am going to see and love and repin all of these amazing things, I'm going to USE them!

D and baby Mokey - a year ago.
When we first were considering getting a third pet (the debate was on whether it was to be a dog or cat...eventually we got cat #3, who just happens to act like a dog and THINK he's one of the human kids), I started a pinterest page called "pets that need homes that I would LIKE to adopt".  I didn't even get to bring home a single pet from that page because they were all so cute, other folks took them home!  We ended up being given Mr Mokey Kitten via another internet vice of mine.  Facebook auction pages.  (a whole 'nother story). tangent....

I have dreams of things I will create one day for my home..getting depressed that small kids are keeping me from using my skills to actually achieve these things, I pacify myself with finding amazing things that I will do in my future...a couple I have the live edge dining table....
homemade crayons!

The crafts for kids and recipes I've been super good about.  I average about one new Pinterest idea per month.  I've made the super-easy in a pot bread   which is awesome...and I LOVE LOVE the brownies in a mug   recipe - great emergency chocolate supply...for those times when a woman just NEEDS chocolate...we made some upcycled crayons, making tiny pieces of crayons into lovely little frogs,
Crocheted chicken set for a friend
ladybugs and butterflies..(note - if you use a microwave to melt wax, please ensure there is also a cup of water in the microwave.  This little activity cost me a microwave....groan).  I learned to cook bacon, finally, without burning it, by cooking it in water, of all things...even made these adorable chickens for a friend!  I even got the funky smell out of old
got the stink out!
dishcloths and towels using this trick!

Over Christmas this year, the girls got a 2nd hand vintage Playmobil castle for Christmas (they still believe it came from Santa - shhhh....)...After acquiring it, we discovered that some pieces were missing.  I used Pinterest to help me keep track of all of the missing parts and where I could buy them online.  Solely for my own purposes, but I found that a toy store started following that page!  

When learning about B's sensory issues, I discovered a WONDERFUL Facebook page that helped me understand her and her needs better...and they have amazing Pinterest boards, wonderfully laid out in sections and topics in a way that is completely understandable and useful - much easier access than on a single website!

If you haven't discovered Pinterest and all that is wonderful about it, I have some advice for you.  Be prepared to lose time.  Really.  The first few times I used it I was sucked in for hours.  But overall, I'd say my experience has been fantastic.  

Okay, gotta go now.  I have a bit more pinning to do before bed.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

my daughter

our bodies,
which were once one
fit together still

your little head 
tucked perfectly against me
little fingers picking
at the softness
of my sweater

we were meant to be together
you and i
our differences more similar
our similarities more different

you mirror to me
all of my hopes and dreams
my strengths 
my weaknesses
my fears

from whence you came
you shall never fully return
but my heart
and yours
shall remain

as you reach out into this world

in your own way
because of me
despite me
to spite me
regardless of me

more than others
finding strength
more than others

all obstacles
never alone
always with my heart

my strength 
my happiness
my love
to you

little toes
pressed firmly 
against warm 
weathered flesh

little heart 
pressed firmly
against warm
weathered heart


you are

my daughter

Friday, April 5, 2013

Magic Mud. Thank-You, Dr. Zed.

 Do any of the rest of you remember Dr. Zed, and his experiments from Owl magazine?  I used to get those Scholastic Book Orders every month, for books I could buy, and help our school earn a few books as resources...Those Scholastics still come home with the kids, and Owl, and it's younger sibling Chickadee are still out there, but I haven't seen good ol' Dr. Zed in a long of course, I went to the one place I KNEW I'd get some answers.  I googled it.  Not much was out there, because apparently, he has since retired from magazine fame....I did find a good pic of him in the Owl Magazine archives...
He had his own books too - I had, and still have, Dr. Zed's Dazzling Book of Science Activities.  It's out of print, these days. The ONE reason I wanted this book, the ONLY reason I wanted this book, so badly that I begged for DAYS to get it from the Scholastic orders, was the hope that it would have the recipe for the amazing and magical concoction known as Magic Mud.  Now, this was in the days pre- Pinterest, and Google, remember.  Even before the remarkable Interweb....
Much to my chagrin, it did not have the recipe, and for years after, I wondered how to make the magical stuff.  
As an adult now, I want to spare my children the misery and longing of never experiencing magic mud.  So, I have used the web, and all of the resources available to us in this amazing 21st century, and when kid #1 was old enough not to eat the stuff, she was introduced to magic mud!

Having a child with sensory issues (namely kid #2) has made experimenting with stuff like this all the more important and useful as a day-to-day tool for keeping mommy sane" as well as giving her some well needed tactile stimulation.  I'm going to share the recipe here with you now, with photos of our day yesterday, enjoying ourselves with it.

*Note - half of the enjoyment of magic mud is the MAKING of it.  If you are doing this with your kiddo, please let them help.  It will mean the world to them, and it will make it all the more a fun experience!  This WILL make a mess, be prepared for it.  But it is actually SUPER easy to clean up - it is very water soluble, and when dry vacuums up super easy.

You will need:  one large bowl or deep tray, one box of cornstarch, tap water, and some sort of colouring.  I've used Wilton cake dye, mixed into the water before adding it to the cornstarch.  Any food dye, or even juice would probably work.  Here`s B opening up the box of cornstarch.  She needed help ripping open the waxy-paper baggie inside.

 Step 1:  Dump cornstarch into bowl.  B is taking this very seriously.  To her, this needs to be as exact as when we are baking.  She doesn't realize that there's not really a way to do this wrong!


 Step 2:  B is mixing the Wilton icing dye that I put in the water.  I was smart enough not to let her put the coloured paste in herself, because I know it would have been a disaster.  That stuff stains before it is diluted, and B's self-control is, shall we say, lacking.  If you are using juice, or even regular food dye drops, your kiddo could probably enjoy adding it themselves....

Step 3:  Pour the coloured liquid into the cornstarch.  I used about 2.5 cups for the box of cornstarch, this is a 1 cup measuring cup in the picture, we refilled itHave towels on hand if you or your young one's aim or self control is questionable. 

Step 4:  Get messy!  Hands in, mix it up and play!  You will get the coolest textured goop ever.  Half liquid, half solid, both at the same time, neither...mix,  play, have FUN.  And not just your kiddo.  Get your own hands in there.  Even if you hate messy hands.  It's therapeutic.  Cathartic.

Pick up solid fistful of goo
Open fist - solid dryish mass turns to ooze

 The solid-liquid gooeyness of being able to pick up a solid "chunk" of the stuff, and then letting it ooze all liquidy back into the bowl is unbeatable.  Trust me.  

At this point I learned a new trick.  Put a towel under your play area.  The rationale is two-fold.  One, it makes the clean-up WAY easier.  Take towel out to yard and shake.  Wash towel.  

Two, we discovered that magic mud makes great mud pies on the towel, as the liquid is absorbed into the towel....and neat little dry-ish mud balls too.  More water was added after to the bowl to re-moisten the mud.

It is also fun to add toys - any plastic ones that can be easily rinsed off - this stuff doesn't stick permanently.  It rinses easily and cleanly away. 

This activity easily falls into my acceptable indoor project ratio of:

[Fun time]=/>[prep time]+[clean time]
where =/> means equal or greater to.
Have fun!