toddler

Use that leftover Easter egg dye!

I stole this from another blogger but since I feel that I’ve greatly improved over their suggestions, I feel OK with writing my own post about it. 

I am super excited about making super-easy sensory pieces — and you can too! (Even if you don’t have left over egg dye.)

What you’ll need:

  • Dry, uncooked pasta (whatever shapes you desire)
  • Leftover Easter egg dye and/or various food colorings (I found I needed the extra food coloring anyway)
  • White vinegar
  • Cookie sheets or other metal tray
  • Several bowls or pans for soaking the pasta
  • Paper towels
  • Optional: wax or parchment paper

Instructions:

  1. Turn your oven to the “keep warm” setting if you have one or set it to 200 degrees.
  2. If using leftover egg dye, pour each color into separate bowls. Likely, you won’t have enough to put much pasta in and be completely covered. To this end, proceed to the next step…
  3. Add 1-2 extra inches of vinegar to each bowl, depending on how much pasta you’d like to dye at one time. 
  4. Squirt a generous amount of extra food coloring as desired and mix thoroughly.
  5. Add portions of pasta to each. Do not add more than can be completely covered by the liquid. 
  6. Let sit for 12-20 minutes, depending on the depth of color desired.
  7. Meanwhile, lay a thick layer of paper towels on each cookie sheet. 
  8. When each soaking is complete, remove pasta with a slotted spoon onto the paper towels. Let sit until initial moisture soaks into towels. Keep each color separate until completely dry to prevent bleeding.
  9. Here’s where I divert from what I did. I left the pasta on the paper towels and put them in the oven but they dried and partially stuck to the paper towels. I recommend instead moving the damp pasta to another sheet with wax or parchment paper and finish the drying there.
  10. Put the sheet into the oven until dry (about 20 mins). Optionally you can let them air dry but it will take much longer. 
  11. Store as desired and let your kids enjoy!

Henry had a great time sorting the pieces into the colors yesterday… I look forward to many more activities with these sensory objects!

  

On “Free-Range Kids”

henry_walk

I’ve decided I really like this “free-range kids” concept. I discovered it recently and it really speaks to me, especially as it relates to my current favorite book (“It’s OK Not to Share”) and her philosophy of: unless it’s hurting people (or animals of any kind) or property, it’s OK. 

This is basically the rule I live by with my parenting now and working to have “free-range kids” works with it so well.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’ll be several years still before I’d let Henry walk down to the grocery store alone (keeping in mind, the shopping center is accessible from our house without leaving the neighborhood, and only takes about 4 minutes to walk to). But I already love proudly claiming that I am NOT a “helicopter” parent

In fact, I can see the eyes of others around me frequently wondering (sometimes judging) why I allow my child to wander so far away from me. In the grocery store, he frequently likes to sprint down an aisle and, assuming he’s not getting in someone’s way, I don’t worry about stopping him. It wears him out and he has such fun. Why do I need to force him to sit in the cart and be still when he can enjoy himself? Again, who is he harming? I also know that he’s well-disciplined and that, if asked to stop or come back, he will obey (even if not always happily). I certainly couldn’t be comfortable with his little runs if I didn’t know that I had the ability to stop him with my voice. 

kids-playing-outsideSometimes, on these little sprints, he passes a few other people along the way and one or more patrons will turn, looking for a parent. I’m never so far out of sight that they don’t see me quickly, but there has been a time or two when a question is obviously poised on someone’s lips to say to Henry, “where is your mom?” I find it amusing. 

The mall. The park. Really, anywhere. Would I allow him free rein to run through a parking lot? Absolutely not. His ability to judge the proper time to cross the street and watch for cars isn’t there yet… but it will be one day. 

I let my child play in the backyard alone. (gasp!) I peek out to check on him through the door or window every few minutes. Usually, I’m busying myself in the kitchen so I have an easy view of the backyard. And our yard is fenced and gated and he isn’t big enough (yet) to unlatch the gates so I know he’s not going anywhere (I doubt he’d want to wander off anyway…) 

 Now, before anyone goes all crazy on me talking about how unsafe the world is and claiming that my child is going to be kidnapped if I leave him in the backyard alone longer than 3.7 seconds, please read this great article from the “Free Range Kids” blog.

 

 

 

Lesson: Regarding Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent

Ash-Wednesday-1

 


I’ll be doing some brief daily activities with Henry about Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent!

Letter Focus: L for LENT

Number Focus: 14 for the Stations of the Cross

Shape Focus: Heart (crossover from the Feast of St. Valentine); we will also discuss God’s love for us

Religion Concept: Cross of Ashes


 

Activities:

At the age my son is at, I am resisting the urge to organize these activities by day or week… we might use these all in one week, they might take us through all of Lent! That’s okay. 

Craft: Cut & paste hearts. Talk about what the heart symbolizes: love, life (blood)

Activity: Create Stations of the Cross poster to follow along with during Lent. My plan is to review these a few times each week or at least on Fridays.

Coloring: Ash Wednesday coloring page

 


 

I’ll be posting more activities throughout Lent so stay tuned!

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About

Hi, I'm Lauren. Mommy to two, nanny to two, wife, teacher, homemaker, Catholic, artist, writer, friend, sister, daughter. Here you'll find everything from updates about our family, info and advice about parenting and homemaking, or pretty much anything else I feel like writing. Welcome!