Mama Miller Parenting

Passionate parenting and homemaking.

Valentine Play

The kids are finally asleep, Andy is still at work, and I’m force-feeding myself a few pretzels in hopes of lessening the nausea.

Because Andy had to work tonight, we did our date night yesterday. My in-laws graciously agreed to babysit and we got to enjoy amazing Thai food, a bubble tea slush, and adult conversation.

I wanted to make today special for the kids. When they were napping I whipped up some homemade Playdoh. (This is my favorite recipe.) I made blue for K and pink for E. I added a splash of vanilla to make it smell yummy. I set up their little table with small cups of glass stones and beads.

Here is E playing and squishing beads into her dough:

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Her “art”:

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K finally woke up and joined us:

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This entertained them for almost an hour and a half! They loved it. They squished in beads and dug them out. They filled E’s little tea cups with “dough tea” and K made “smoovies”. We rolled balls, made roads, and even mixed a little pink and blue together to make purple.

I also filled our cute little heart ice trays (Target $1) with water and added one drop of neon food coloring to each heart. I used blue, pink, and purple.

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For bath time I dumped all of our frozen hearts into a bin…

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I set the bin in the bath with them. They had fun dunking them in the water and watching them disappear and color the bath. We eventually had a purple bath. The ice hearts only lasted a few minutes but they really enjoyed it.

No pictures of my ice hearts in action. My kids splash and move too much for bath pictures.

We worked on E recognizing the color purple and the shape of a heart. K and I talked more about color mixing and the states of matter with our ice play.

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Soap Snow and New Friends

Yesterday afternoon was gorgeous! We had to play outside. Texas is rarely in the 50s or 60s in the middle of the afternoon.

The kids ran and kicked a ball around in the field by our apartment. I went in and filled our red tub with toys, scoops, old jars, and two big soap clouds.

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Pretty soon our soap clouds had been pulverized to snow.

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E lost interest after a bit and went back to chasing her ball and rolling in the grass. K asked if we could invite the little boy from a couple houses down to play.

He always says hi to everyone, but this was the first time he has gotten to play with neighbor kids. I was excited for him to make a new friend. Pretty soon we had two new friends (both 5) playing with us. I had to make two more soap clouds and get more scoops.

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I promise I’m not a crazy hoarder, but I do tend to hang on to glass jars. K loves playing with them and filling them with things. The kids had the most fun scooping “snow” into jars.

I let each of our new friends take home a jar of snow. I wrote their mom’s a note explaining that it was Ivory soap and how to make it. I figured I would probably want an explanation if my kid went to play and came back with a jar of white powdery stuff!

Eventually the kids ran home. K, E, and all the tools/toys went into the bath. We sprinkled “snow” over them. They were extra clean. Their clothes and blanket washed fine, but I did set an extra rinse cycle.

It can easily be an inside play activity if you vacuum afterwards. It makes the house smell great!

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Bonsai Baby Butt Bomb

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This picture really says it all.

This was not a fluke or some rare occurrence. E really does enjoy sitting on her brother. Poor K doesn’t stand a chance. If he tries to tackle and wrestle with her, she comes back ten fold. That little girl can take her big brother down.

Her signature move is waiting for K to lay down on the floor and plopping down on his head. Daddy has lovingly named this move the Bonsai Baby Butt Bomb.

She doesn’t do anything maliciously though. She is just a tough little cookie. She gleefully climbs all over everyone with a big smile. Watching them fills me with a sense of pride in her toughness and pity for K. I can already see her becoming skilled in the art of brother pestering.

Daddy, Poppy, and Papaw don’t stand a chance either… I can already picture her looking up at her dad or grandpas with those big blue eyes and watching them turn to putty in her little hands.

Daddy says we are going to lock her away when she hits puberty and arrange a marriage to one of our friends’ boys…

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Soap Clouds and Small Failures

I’ve been seeing a lot of hype about putting Ivory bar soap in the microwave and decided it was time to give it a try.

I loaded up the kids today and went to my friend’s house for a play date. I stopped by my mom’s on the way to borrow her blender. We also stopped at Sonic for slushes.

We got to my friend’s house and started our soap experiment:

We cut a bar of Ivory Soap in half. (It must be Ivory!)

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Next you pop it in the microwave for two minutes and watch the magic. It smells really good too.

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(In the process of picking up kids to let them see I managed to knock K’s blue slush all over the floor. )

The kids loved it. It puffs up into a huge cloud. I didn’t expect it to be so light and fluffy!

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K decided it was snow. Here are the kids playing.

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When they were done playing we put our soap snow in the blender with a little water and food coloring.

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I have a molded cookie pan with princess/girly shapes and another with cars/planes/rockets. We sprayed them with cooking oil. We scooped our soap into the pan and put it in the freezer to set up.

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We actually made a blue batch for the boys but K tripped on the blender cord and we ended up with glass and blue soap everywhere.

Here are the soaps that came out. Not perfect but they were excited.

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I felt terrible that we made such a big mess but it turned out ok. The kids still had a blast. Not every craft or adventure will turn out the way you expect. Most of the time our set backs bother me way more than the kids. They just thought it was fun to watch a bar of soap puff up and really didn’t care if they made perfect mini soaps.

Now I need to see if I can find a new pitcher for my mom’s blender…

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***Update***I forgot to mention that it isn’t wet at all. It really is fluffy and dry to the touch. Also, I highly reccomend sweeping/vacuuming up any mess before wiping with something wet or you’ll get a big soapy mess.

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Felt Scenes

I apologize in advanced for the pictures. The lighting was not my friend today.

I decided it was time for another fun felt craft. I made a felt pumpkin and ghost a few weeks ago. Today we made a felt aquarium scene and a felt space scene to hang on the wall.

We got a ton of felt in various colors and a large rectangle of blue and black at Hobby Lobby. We also found clear buckets at Target in the bargain bin section. In all, less than $10.

We also used scissors, sharpies, and push pins.

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I let K dictate the colors to me. We cut out two long strips of black for the aquarium rocks and dark brown for land on the space scene. I cut squiggly pieces for sea weed and drew on the felt with a sharpie for other pieces. We made a crab, fish, starfish, a treasure chest, and a turtle for the aquarium. We did stars, Earth, the moon, Mars, a rocket, aliens, and astronauts for the space scene.

I hung the large pieces of felt on the wall with push pins and hung the bucket with all our pieces.

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Here is our finished aquarium:

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Our space scene can be space exploration:

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Or visiting a new world:

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I free handed everything but you could easily make templates. The kids are having a blast taking the fish and astronauts on an off.

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K’s Girl Jeans

I love clearance racks. I have a serious obsession with finding good deals. It works out well living in Texas because we probably only need non-Summer clothes about 2-3 months of the year. (We do a lot of layering in those months.)

The only problem I have discovered with clearance rack shopping for the kids is that all the boy and girl clothes tend to be all mixed in together…

You’d like to think it would be idiot proof (pink, sparkles, and bows equal girl; blue, super heroes, and bugs equal boy), but it isn’t. Jeans all look alike to me. I see $2 pairs of jeans and will gleefully scoop them up in E and K’s current sizes.

I swear I saw regular jeans but, in my quest for cheap play clothes, I somehow made it home with K sized girls’ skinny jeans/leggings… Mom fail.

Luckily, K does not realize they are meant for girls. They have been dubbed comfy pants. Comfy pants are usually cotton pants that are only worn around the house or to sleep in. They make great craft pants because I really don’t care if they end up paint splattered.

K and his pumpkin in his girl pants and ghost footprint shirt:

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Painting his “electric punkin”:

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I’d like to pretend that this has never happened before, but alas, I have photo evidence to the contrary. Somehow he ended up in girl jeans for pictures at three months old. I didn’t even realize the little pockets had a frill on them until later.

K in all his chubby, cute, girl jean clad glory:

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Oh well. Hopefully I learn to correctly identify jeans before he hits elementary school.

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Glow Stick Bath and Fall Fun

It is finally starting to feel like Fall in the Lone Star State. We’ve actually needed light jackets the past few days! We almost turned the heater on tonight but decided to settle for warm jammies and blankets.

Somehow the “cold” weather is having varied effects on our family. All I want to do is snuggle up and sleep, but the kids have been popping up before dawn. I had both kids clinging to me and demanding things before six this morning. I have a rule now that I don’t make breakfast before the sun comes up.

I’m grateful for my husband’s job, but his early shift on Sundays is getting old. I get so frazzled trying to get the kids and I ready for church by myself. I try to trap E in the living room so I can take a shower but K knocks down the gate for her. They do their best brother/sister collaboration when they storm the bathroom to find mommy.

A cup of coffee with my mom, wonderful worship music, and helping my dad with Children’s Church all soothed my mom soul. Andy met us and we ate lunch with a sweet lady from church who opened her home to several of the young families. We are blessed.

Tonight we attended our church’s Fall Festival. This year was a western theme. They had games, candy, a hay ride, a bounce house, hot dogs, ponies, and even two boa constrictors to pet. (Having a former museum curator as an elder can have its perks!)

Here is our little Minnie Mouse:

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Construction Worker K:

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My father-in-law found a real carpenter kit for $10 and I found the vest at Dollar Tree for $1. He was super cute and now has all the gear to help with remodeling the Old House.

Our dear friends came and here is Thor J with Construction Worker K:

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My friend Nicole has a great blog about raising J. He is an amazingly smart kiddo and a sweetie but has seizures and other special needs.

E decided she was just going to sit for a minute:

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Andy shaved his beard into a mustache and dressed up as his dad. I wore one of my homemade bows.

Here we are at my dad’s booth:

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We got home and K asked if he could use all the glow sticks he got in the bath. Of course I said yes! Glow sticks are a great sensory bath activity. You can just throw them in the bath or put them inside water balloons to make glowing orbs. We wash them really quickly with the lights on and then turn them off and let them play.

It is hard to capture a glow stick bath on camera…

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Well, I hope everyone had a great weekend! I’m beat. I’m actually looking forward to tomorrow being Monday!

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Monsters from The Blue Slime Lagoon: Making Homemade Slime

We love sensory play in our house. I try to do a couple activities a week. I have been coveting a sensory bin table recently. I hope we can build one when we move to the “Old House” in a few months. For now we have a big red bin that we use as our sensory bin.

E gets to participate in most activities, but I try to do a few each month especially for K when sister is napping. Even at 13 months old, E still takes a lot of my attention. I think it is good for K to get some special mommy time when possible.

In honor of Halloween we decided to make slime. K decided it had to be blue slime. Everything has to be blue right now.

I set up our red bin on an old blanket*. I added one tub with corn starch. I also added a bowl of water with some little scoops. (Save formula scoops if you have them! They make great sensory scoops.)

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He added a big heaping amount of blue food coloring to his corn starch.

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He added water and mixed it by hand.

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Mommy’s hands ended up blue too.

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“My hand is slimy!!”

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He poured it out into the bin and played with cars, a rocket ship, and his dinosaurs.

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The neat thing about corn starch slime is that corn starch sediment will settle on the bottom. It is hard when you pick it up but turns back into slime in your hands. He played for about an hour.

It was messy. If you do it over carpet, make sure you have a thick blanket or towels underneath. We threw the dirty blanket and clothing in the wash. I poured most of our slime down the bathtub drain and threw the toys in with the bath water.

When I started running the bath water to clean up, E woke up from her nap. She wasn’t sure she wanted to trust mommy’s blue hands but finally came to me and joined K in the bath. They played for about 30 minutes in their murky blue bath.

Our hands only have a little blue on our fingertips and nail beds. Just enough blue to suggest the onset of frostbite, but we are not so blue as to give the impression that we should live in a toadstool and battle a guy named Gargamel.

*The blanket we throw down for a lot of things is about to be ten years old. I won a car wash kit at Senior Celebration after my senior prom. I traded it to a guy for a quilt bed set he won. I used it all through college and now it is well worn and thread bare but loved.

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Pumpkin Activities

It is finally chilly in Texas!

I love Fall. The food (pumpkin, salted caramel, cranberry sauce), the smells, the colors… Love it!

In honor of our cold front today, K and I decided to paint pumpkins while sister was sleeping. We’ll carve one soon, but for now we decided to use a bag of little pumpkins.

Just some acrylic paint and brushes we already had and five little pumpkins.

Here is K painting:

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Here are our finished pumpkins:

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Mine is the pink one. At 3 years old, he doesn’t care about pretty. He just wants to paint and that is OK.

Creat a Face Ghost and Pumpkin

I also decided to make him a felt pumpkin and ghost to play with. The felt was 4 for $1 at the craft store. (Loyal readers know I love felt.)

First I drew a pattern on my orange and white felt. I free-handed it. I am not precise on anything, but you could use a template if you are.

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Next I cut out my pumpkin and ghost and a bunch of different shapes out of black felt. I ever used brown to make 3 different pumpkin stumps and green to make a few leaves.

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I plan to keep them in a baggie and let him pull them out when he wants to play. If you are working on shapes, you could do only basic shapes. K has shapes down, so I did some wonky patterns too.

Now we are all enjoying some gnocchi and turkey soup. I really love soup weather!

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Adventure in Texas Hill Country

I survived my road trip with two kids!

We left yesterday morning on the scenic country route. The kids were amazing on the trip down. No crying, no messes, no fuss. Just a gorgeous drive.

I love Texas hill country. It is so awesomely beautiful. I love the red dirt and boulders peeping out between cacti and wildflowers. I love all passing all the farms and hills. I love the big Texas sky.

Spring is the best time to drive through hill country, but Fall comes in a close second.

My presentation went well. It wasn’t a huge group but we had a good time. I covered parenting tools and ideas for creative play. We had a few child care workers too.

The best part of this trip by far was getting to see my best friend. We were friends and our husbands were friends in college and now we have children that play together. I missed my sweet nephew and niece. I really wished they lived closer.

The kids had a blast playing together. Their son is almost 5 and their daughter is exactly one year older than E. They do really well together.

Yesterday afternoon we took the kids out to an area called The Slab. It is a big basin of granite riddled with streams and natural pools.

E decided to plop down in a puddle.

The boys climbing the “mountain”.

Playing the natural pools.

My friend and the kids playing while I took K to relieve himself. He got to pee outside. He was in boy heaven.

Simply beautiful.

The kids had so much fun.

After bathing some stinky, soggy children we loaded up for the long trip home. We took the boring main highway home. It is longer but has a lower threat of deer and more towns if we needed a break. The kids were out cold before we even left my friend’s driveway.

For how much I loved the drive down, I hated the drive home that much more. There were big trucks everywhere and I was so tired! I also had damp jeans from wading the pools and desperately wanted a shower.

We stopped once at a gas station. I managed to drop K out of the truck.

Poor kid…

Mother of the year over here. I woke him up and set his feet on the ground but he didn’t stand, he fell.

K and I finally went potty and got E changed. I let K pick out some cheese crackers and I got some coffee. The creamer machine mooed at me… I did not appreciate this. Oh, and E grabbed one of brother’s crackers and decided to paint her toes with it.

Luckily the coffee helped and K stayed away the rest of the way. We jammed to Imagination Movers for the remaining 3 hours of the drive.

We were very happy to see daddy. That sweet man had the house clean and all the laundry put away when we got there. He knows the keys to my heart. Cleaning beats gifts any day.

Showering and slipping into my own bed was glorious.

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