Mama Miller Parenting

Passionate parenting and homemaking.

Dried Bean Sensory Bin Play

We love our little red tub. We use it for all sorts of fun sensory play activities. It is a great size. We love to fill it with all sorts of fun things. We even filled it with snow two winters ago (no snow in Texas last year) and let K play with his snow indoors.

Last night our bin had dried beans, shells, rocks, and Easter eggs in it.

Dried beans, shells, rocks, Easter eggs, salad tongs, and construction utensils.

K digging in his sensory bin.

E sitting in the bin.

It was a good evening play activity. We talked about how shells are made with K. E loved shaking the plastic eggs filled with beans.

Beans have a great texture but are far less messy than sand. Just keep an eye on your little ones with any bin filler and make sure nothing goes up their little noses!

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Felt Bows and Bow Ties

Here’s a shocker… We have a nerdy family.

We love Star Wars, Star Trek, musicals, super heroes, and especially Dr. Who.

Bow ties have become a big thing lately. You know, because bow ties are cool.

For felt bow ties and bows you need:

  • A hot glue gun
  • alligator clips (less than $3 for a big bag at our craft store)
  • sheets of soft felt (4/$1 at our craft store)
  • scissors

Step 1: Cut a rectangle from your felt (this one is about 3′ x 5′) and a smaller rectangle (1′ X 3′). I tend to eye ball my sizes. I’m not good at measuring or follow exact recipes.

Here are my supplies and the cut felt.

Step 2: Pinch the middle of the large rectangle to make your shape and glue it.

This is the back of my bow tie with glue.

Step 3: Clip your alligator clip to the small rectangle and glue it onto the back of your bow tie. Bring it around the front and then tuck it under the open clip. Glue it and cut off any extra felt.

The back of the bow tie with the middle added. Sorry, for the less than great picture. It is hard to hot glue and take pictures at the same time!

Optional (but not recommended) step: Burn the tar out of your finger on hot glue. Dance around the house in pain. Try to run your finger under cold water but realize that you, sadly, live in Texas and it is August- the “cold” water tap only runs warm. Try not to cuss in front of the children… Just keep crafting…

You are done!

They clip really well onto polo style shirts but can also be clipped onto the neck of a t-shirt or used as a hair bow.

Here is K’s bow tie clipped to his t-shirt.

He decided this black bow tie was his “super spy bow tie”. He also has a yellow one that he always wears with his Batman shirt. (Yes, my son is a gloriously nerdy little soul.)

Here is Super Spy K.

Here are few more pictures of finished bows and bow ties from past and present crafting sessions:

Here are a few from today. I love the dinosaur felt I found. The pink one is E’s. I added a little felt flower to it.

Here are a few more bows and bow ties. I love my models. They are super cute.

E’s birthday is coming up and we are planning on doing a Minnie Mouse theme and giving bows and bow ties as favors. I can’t wait! (Although I will probably let the blister on my pinky heal before wielding the glue gun again.)

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It has been a long day.

I had some things I had to get done on the computer and the kids were restless. E is walking all over the place now and I’m trying to let her explore more of the house.

I figured that they couldn’t get into too much trouble playing in her room and brother’s room…


Hindsight and all that.

This is what I found:


Me: What are you doing in here?
K: Um… just playin’ with yarns. Can you help me?

That would be K completely tangled in yarn. He was actually stuck to his tricycle. E was walking around and giggling. Brother is hilarious after all.

This is his tricycle after I removed him:


All I could do was sigh and laugh. It has indeed been a long day.

Other events included K trying to paint his sister with mascara, setting my phone down in a puddle of milk, E being sniffly and fussy, dealing with bills, and clearing out a storage unit.

I had stress up to my shoulder blades today and one mini meltdown, but baby girl Eskimo kisses, kind words from a friend, and watching My Fair Wedding with David Tutera have done wonders for my mood.

We’ll try again tomorrow for pleasant and maybe only stress to my knees.

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Update on Dyed Spaghetti Play

Here is my original post on dyed spaghetti.

We put dry spaghetti into baggies with food coloring and vinegar to let them soak up the color, let them dry, cooked them, and then played with them. It was so much fun. When I did my original post, we were having computer issues and I had to use phone pictures in my post. Our computer is back and I thought I would show a few better pictures of what our spaghetti looked like.

This was our set-up. We spread a sheet out over the living room floor and put utensils and bowls in the bin.

Here is a close-up of our spaghetti.

I think he was pretending to sleep on it in this one.

The clean up was actually fairly easy. I shook the sheet out in the front yard and we bathed the kids. Not bad at all!


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Kid Logic

I am so blessed. I get to hang out with the funniest kids ever.

As I mentioned yesterday, we had our dearest friends staying with us on Monday night. They have great kids. Their son, Bug*, is about a year a half older than K. Their daughter, Bird*, is almost 2. She is actually EXACTLY one year older than E. How cool is that?! We have little birthday buddies.

Here are a few gems of awesome kid humor from the past couple days:

Playing with Fire
Bug and K were having a picnic under the table in their “Bat Cave”. I had put blankets over the table and used tape to stick fake candles to the underside of the table. Bug looked up at the fake candles and got very concerned.

Bug: Um… Aunt Cori, why is there fire under your table? You are not supposed to have fire under your table.
Me: It is ok. They are fake candles. It isn’t real fire.
Bug tentatively touches the candle: Oh… I guess it is fake fire.

Name Sharing
After the other kids were napping, Bug was laying in the living room and watching My Fair Wedding with me. The groom on the episode was named Kory.

Bug: That show is talking about you Aunt Cori!
Me: No Bug, that man’s name is Kory. He is a boy Kory.
Bug: Why is that man trying to be Aunt Cori? That is silly. He isn’t Aunt Cori.
Me: No Bug. He just has the same name as me.
Bug: Oh… I don’t want to share my name.

It’s Only Logical
K was supposed to be getting dressed this morning and after 10 minutes ran in the living room wearing only a t-shirt.

Me: Why aren’t you wearing any underpants?
K in an exasperated voice: Because I have my jacket!

Well sure. That makes perfect sense.

Not What I Meant
K runs into the living room- again without pants. (I’m seeing a pattern today.)

K: I’m done poopin’ Mom!
Me: No bud! Please don’t get off the potty. Just call me from the toilet and I’ll come help you.
K yelling as he runs back to the bathroom: MOM! I POOPED! I’M DONE! COME HELP! See? I called you.

*face palm*

There is never a dull moment around these kids. Motherhood/aunthood is anything but boring.

While they were here both boys wore their Batman shirts. I don’t think they’ve ever seen Batman but they know he is a super hero. Of course we had to make the table into a fort/bat cave. We also did picture sticker art. (Let the kids pick out a few stickers and color a picture around them.)

We miss them already. Living across the state from friends is a bit more difficult when the state is Texas.

*I am sure you have guessed by now that I don’t use my kids’ full names in my blog for the sake of privacy. Out of respect for our friends’, I have used their children’s nicknames.

**Oh, and I got my computer back! Yay! *Insert happy dance here*

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Feeling like a Momstar

Motherhood is undoubtedly humbling. It is a daily resolution of servitude and sacrifice.

We are always accountable for the well being of our families. Our needs don’t come first or second or sometimes even twentieth. We don’t get sick days or vacation. Our station in life, education, or wealth mean nothing to little noses and bottoms that need wiping.

It is so easy to let the weight of responsibility crush us. We tear ourselves down for what we can’t accomplish.

My home will not always be perfectly tidy and decorated with the latest craft trend. It just won’t. I am not a super organized soul.

It is easy for me to find my faults, and I suspect this is true of all moms. We are hard on ourselves.

I don’t want to talk about the moments that get us down but those fleeting, amazing moments that make us feel like a rock star. The ones where you pat yourself on the back and bask in your own awesomeness.

Today I had a “Momstar” moment.

Our dearest friends came into town for a funeral. So today while my husband was at work and my friends were at the funeral, I was at home with four kids. I had their 4.5 year old, my 3 year old, their almost 2 year old, and our almost 1 year old. We actually made it through the morning with zero meltdowns. I got all the kids fed, vacuumed my floors, I got the three younger ones to nap at the same time, and had their son resting.

Holy cow!

I can’t get my 3 year old to nap most of the time. My floor often just stays crumb coated until well into the evening or next day. I couldn’t believe how smoothly everything went. I was dancing inside.

It is ok to have those moments. We are so often humbled and discouraged, let God build you back up!

Celebrate little victories. Let kind words touch your heart. Acknowledge your strengths.

Pass those blessing on to other moms too. It is not a competition. We all have strengths and we should build each other up. We are meant to be a sisterhood.

I personally don’t care if you breastfeed or bottle feed. I don’t care if you use cloth diapers or disposable. I don’t care if you discipline differently than I do. I don’t care if you make your own baby food and products. As long as your child isn’t abused, going hungry, or sitting all day in their own poop; we are in this thing together.

Have you had any “Momstar” moments lately?


Bodies of Water Cards

We pass over a lake every time we visit my mom. K loves the lake and always looks for boats.

The other day we started talking about lakes and rivers and oceans. Now when we are in the car he says, “Tell me the water story ’bout wakes and ribers and the ocean.”

I decided to look for some sort or color sheet or printable on bodies of water for him. I found a free one at Super Teacher Worksheets.

First we colored our cards and talked about each one. I had to point out what parts were water and what parts were land.



He cut them out with my help. He is 3 and his cutting skills aren’t exactly precise.

Then we played a memory game. I’d ask him where a certain type of body of water was and he would land his plane on it. Of course, this wouldn’t have been complete without him talking in his funny plane voice to each one.


K in his deep machine voice: “How ya doing Mr. Lake?”
K in a different voice: “I’m good Mr. Plane!”

He also got a placemat of America and we’ve been working on the states. His plane likes visiting states too.

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A Love Story

We celebrated my husband’s birthday yesterday. His birthday is always special because we first started dating the day after his birthday.

Nine years. It is so strange to realize that we’ve been together for almost a decade. We started dating in our late teens.

We met the first day of college band camp. We were both freshmen and we became fast friends.

Two weeks later he met me in my dorm lobby with a teddy bear and flowers. He awkwardly asked me to be his girlfriend.

The rest is history, and a great history at that.

We experienced college together. He was my first kiss. My first real love.

We decided to save sex for marriage. It was not an easy choice to follow. We dated for three and half years before we became engaged and another year before our wedding.

It was worth it. He was worth waiting for. He has been my best friend for nine wonderful years. He has been a source of strength, encouragement, and comfort.

Almost five years ago he became my husband. Three years ago we became a family of three. Almost a year ago we became a family of four.

It has been an amazing journey and I look forward to continuing along together in this crazy, beautiful life.

We’ve had some trials and rough life situations but God has been good to us.

Happy Birthday Andy! I love you!


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The Red Closet Monster

My 11 month old daughter has started chasing the vacuum. She plays with the cord, tries to tackle the vacuum, and generally makes it hard to accomplish the task at hand.

When my son was younger he was the exact opposite. The vacuum used to make him cry. Not just cry, weep uncontrollably. We eventually got him a little play vacuum and he began to accept the big vacuum as part of our home.

Thinking back reminded me of a note I wrote a while back before E came along and while the sight of the dreaded vacuum turned K into a blubbery mess. I was substitute teaching at the time. Here it is:

I promise I haven’t lost my mind. I taught a creative writing class today while subbing. I am not a writer. I am just a sleep deprived mom that has been dealing with middle schoolers, chasing a toddler, and cleaning while trying to stop a toddler from uncleaning. This is just a story to amuse myself and let some of the crazy mom-ness out. If you decide to read it I hope you enjoy it.

The Red Monster in the Closet

All is well in my little world. My things have been neatly put away in places about the room and I can hardly contain my joy. I shall soon pull them all down again. I have to bide my time for a bit. If I go for everything too soon I will agitate the one called Mom. If I make a mess now she will use the dreaded word and put me in my wooden prison. Then all will surely be lost.

I think she is about to retreat to the great room and take her place there with a book that has no pictures. I often grab the books from her and try to look through them but they make no sense to me. My books have bright happy things in them but hers only has the sribbles I am told are words.

Instead of making her leave as I expect, she makes her way to the door that holds my clothes. I see her pull a great red thing from the hole in wall. At first I am curious. I edge closer to the thing but I dare not touch it. I don’t know what she means to do with it. I see her reach to the spot in the wall that I am told not to touch. She pulls something out of the spot on the wall and takes the red beast’s long tail and put it into the wall. What happens next I am almost too scared to convey…

The thing springs to life with a great roar and keeps making that dread noise. It starts moving about the room. I think it wants to eat something and I pray it isn’t me. Mom walks calmly behind the thing. Perhaps she doesn’t know it means to eat her. Frantically I run about the room trying to signal her. I tell the beast “no” and “stop” but it pays me no mind. Fresh tears form in my eyes and make their way down my cheeks.

This thing is going to eat me and my own mother just smiles at me and tries to say it is all right. I can barely hear her over the roar. I don’t want to leave her to be eaten but I retreat to the bigger room. All I can do is sit with my blanket as the great Red One makes passes around my room.

Suddenly the din is gone. I will myself to go back and when I do I see her wraping the things tail around it. I am tenative at first but when she pushes it back into the wall and closes it in I rush back in to my champion. My mom has bested the monster. I can still see the tracks on floor; a grim reminder of where it had been.

She picks me up and spins me about the room. I snuggle in for a hug. All is well for now. I just hope it doesn’t break free again. What if Mom isn’t here next time? Does Daddy know how to beat the creature? Only time will tell. For now I will be content to drink my juice and sit in Mom’s lap with one of my books- the good kind with pictures.

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Texture Painting

Who says you can only finger paint with fingers?

We found some different fun things to add to our painting experience. I set up a plate with finger paints and another with some objects; a truck toy, cooked spaghetti noodles, uncooked noodles, and a potato cut in half.


K, my 3 year old, had fun seeing what shapes and textures the different things made. His favorite was the toy truck.


He also got some craft sticks out to paint. Here is his finished art.


Computer is still in the shop and I’m still blogging from my phone. Sad sad fuzzy pictures. Oh well!

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