Category Archives: Children

Easy Breezy Big Book of Boo-Boos

My two year old loves playing doctor. Doc McStuffins is her current favorite show. She has a Doc McStuffins set and would pretend that one of her travel-size coloring books is her big book of boo-boos. I decided to make her one and found Disney’s printable version here. I felt like it was too much ink with the notebook background so we went for a simpler solution.

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Everyone is always in shock at how much Marley can do for her age. The only reason she can speak so well and do so much is because we start everything early! We challenge her to challenge herself. It gives her drive to be independent and want to learn new things. Even if a game is not meant for a young child (2.5 here), it can be modified so they can participate too. Here she is playing Uno, but we also play many others. From dominoes and matching games to candy-land and war. You’re never too young to play!

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The problem of being in between [plugging in or turning off]

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Technologically and socially, I feel like we’re in a very awkward place and time. It’s official that we can no longer live without our smartphones, our email, our snapchats, and facebooks. Yet we also hate ourselves for it. For the cost it imposes on our personal time, our family time, our time for personal reflection and focus, and our mental and physical health.

As a software developer, I love all of it but like many others feel that something is out of balance. I find myself drawn to pre-industrial times, crafts, nature, and a slower way of living. I often find myself being nostalgic for a childhood without push notifications and asynchronous communication. Yet I cannot give them up because they define my relationships, my industry, my hobbies—they enable them, make them possible and help them thrive.

I’m not alone. If we were forced to choose what is healthy, what is sustainable, and what is more meaningful, my peers and I would no doubt choose that which is real and natural instead of virtual and artificial.

I swing from deleting all my apps, to installing them all back plus more. I swing from feeling guilty to feeling indulgent in answering all my technological cravings. I’m a binge consumer of digital things. This is no doubt a problem of discipline, one must control their compulsions. Unplug, go for a walk. Sure, I’ve always said, but I am made like everyone else, from the same faulty organic processes.

We can play a prediction game: what will satisfy all these needs and eliminate the inner contradiction in me and in you? The ultimate end is to surrender to a virtual life, the end state is one of living in bits and wire; it’s the virtual reality that will be developed in the next twenty or thirty years. A virtual world where everything is perfect and everything is possible. In this world, there cannot be any resistance or guilt. A fully virtual life, ironically, could be the answer to all our banal and civilizational problems. I think that’s where we are going, and it will eliminate any last vestiges of our luddite past.

We are having a problem of adolescence—a problem of being in between. We know where we are going. We are going to where our nature is. We strive for consistency and cannot help ourselves until we achieve it.

Valentine’s Day Crafts

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I took a few ideas from the February issue of Parent’s Magazine and put our own spin on them for Marley’s Valentine’s Day crafts. We used the following supplies:

Some items are not visible in the photo including pink yarn, pink construction paper, red construction paper, a paper plate for the paint, and some markers.

I used the ruler and pencil to mark and cut a square from the watercolor paper then drew a light 2×2 grid as a guide for her. The two extra rectangles were used for the bookmarks. After mixing the pink and red watercolors she painted two squares pink, two squares red, then did her own thing on the bookmark papers. While we let the watercolors dry we did the handprint hearts.

We traced four of her hands, three for the door hanger and one for Daddy’s card. We folded one piece of each colored construction paper in half and traced her hand on them with her thumb and index fingers touching the folded edge. Then I cut all four out, let her decorate them, and punched two holes in each. After the papers were dry we used the toilet paper roll to stamp the acrylic paint on them, we had to squash the heart a bit for it to fit on the bookmarks.

Finally, once everything was dry I punched a hole in each corner of the hearts picture, and the tops of the bookmarks. I cut some pink yarn and threaded it through the picture and hands. Viola!

DIY Playdough Recipe

Marley and I made some play dough the other day and I thought I would share the recipe. I remember my parents making us homemade playdough as a kid but it was always so salty, smelled really funny, and wasn’t the same texture as actual playdough. This recipe turned out great and we will soon be making more colors!

You will need:

  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 1 tbsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup water
  • food coloring (optional)
  • vegetable glycerin (optional)

Instructions:

Put water on stove top to boil. Meanwhile, mix all dry ingredients and vegetable oil in a large mixing bowl. Add food coloring to water once boiling and pour about half of it into the bowl. Mix while adding small increments of the water until it becomes a combined, sticky dough. Add glycerin, mix, and allow to set to cool. The glycerin helps prevent sticky while adding some shine.

Once cooled knead the dough for at least 4-5 minutes. Do not skimp on this part as it is the most important part of the process! Just keep kneading until it is the right consistency. If you find the dough is still sticky you’ve added just a hair too much water. Add a tiny bit more flour and continue kneading. Once it is the perfect consistency it’s ready for play! Store in an air-tight container for up to six months. We store ours in a ziplock bag and keep it in the pantry. Be sure to rinse hands after play, as the flour can leave a dry texture behind. It is also a good idea to wash hands before play to prevent bacteria and dirt from getting into the playdough; just so it lasts longer. Enjoy!