Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pinterest Thursday - Colored Rice for Sensory Play

Seattle is a rainy, rainy place in January and I have a very busy toddler. Keeping these two things in mind, I went out searching on Pinterest for fun activities to keep Molly entertained.

I was thrilled when I found something called "Rainbow Rice" which is supposed to encourage imaginative play without the HUGE mess that sand can create.

This was a fun project to make and I was able to get Molly involved in the process. She thought it was a hoot! First I gathered my supplies which were few and cheap! You will need rubbing alcohol, rice, food coloring and gallon sized Ziplock bags.


For each color (I made 5 different colors), I mixed 2 cups of rice in a gallon sized Ziploc bag with 2 Tablespoons of food coloring and 3 Tablespoons of rubbing alcohol.


I showed Molly how to mix up the rice with the food coloring and let her smoosh the bag around. I gave the bags a final smoosh to make sure all the rice and coloring were thoroughly mixed.


Then I smoothed the colored rice onto baking sheets. You have to be careful with this step as the food coloring can color everything! I used an old wooden spoon and wore gloves while shooing Molly away.


I baked the rice in the oven at 200F for about 20 minutes. The smell of rubbing alcohol was quite pungent at this point in the process.


Once the rice was dry, I let it cool on the baking sheets for about an hour before moving it into an old plastic bin I had in the basement.


Once everything was cool and dry, I set Molly up with the rice bin on our front steps and gave her a cup, spoon and some other fun utensils.


She giggled and laughed as she played with the rice. I also took the opportunity to show her the different colors and name them for her. We played for quite awhile on the front steps with the rice. It felt nice running through my fingers.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mini Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins for Littles

Pumpkin Oatmeal Mini Muffins

Now that Molly is eating solid food all the time and I mean, ALL the TIME, I've started creating some fun recipes that also save me a bit of time. It's important that I make food that Molly can hold herself and is packed with nutrition. I'm lucky right now in that Molly eats pretty much anything but I'm aware that someday finickiness will rear its' head.  I hope I'm ready for it! 

Until that time comes, I've been busy making lots of mini food items for Molly. One of favorites is mini muffins. They are not terribly messy and can be packed full of delicious treats. I like these muffins in particular because Molly can easily feed herself with them and she gets super yummy nutrition. 

Pumpkin Oatmeal Mini Muffins

Pumpkin Oatmeal Mini Muffins
Makes 12


1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup pumpkin purée 
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup wheat bran
1/3 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup light brown sugar (optional, depending on how sweet the muffins)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt (optional) 

1. Preheat oven to 375 (F). 
2. Mix first three ingredients in a large mixing bowl. 
3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. 
4. Add the dry mixture to the wet in large spoonfuls and mix to just combined. 
5. Drop batter into greased mini muffin tray by the heaping tablespoon (I use a cookie dough scoop).  
6. Bake for 15 minutes or so. 
7. Cool in pan and then remove and cool for an additional 5 minutes on a wire rack.

Note: I think adding a 1/2 cup of cranberries, raisins, dried apricots or even mini chocolate chips would make these even more delicious! I freeze 4-6 muffins in freezer bags to serve later. They keep well for about two months. 

Packaged Pumpkin Oatmeal Mini Muffins

Monday, January 28, 2013

On Routine

Beach House Window
After Molly was born, I worked myself into a frenzy trying to keep up on the laundry, grocery shopping and housework along with all the new duties that having a baby entails. After a few months of this never ending cycle of not getting anything done, I decided that I HAD to create a routine. I kept it simple and it has been working so well for us in the past few months. The holidays got us off track but now that the new year is here, we're working to get right back into our routine. Laundry Day!

Our routine is simple as I said above and I also try to keep my expectations low.

My routine is as follows:

Monday - Errands: All errands are run on Monday and include grocery shopping, Costco (bi-monthly), drugstore visits, clothing shopping, etc. This has not only simplified my time and kept me from visiting the grocery store three times a week, it is also saving us money.

Tuesday - Laundry: I pick up my Mom on Tuesdays and bring her to my house so it is the perfect day to get the laundry done. I also wash all of our dirty clothing, strip the beds and wash the sheets and gather every towel in the house for washing. Additionally I wash all the pet beds and blankets. This has really cut down on the cat fur floating through the house.

Wednesday - House Cleaning: House Cleaning Day! Both the best and the worst day of the week. I love having a clean house but I'm not too enamored with some of the chores that come with keeping the house clean. I do a 20 minute pick up every night before bed and try to do the dishes every day so Wednesday is actually just for cleaning, not picking up.

Thursday - Free Day: Thursday is my free day. It's the day that I either do nothing house related or I catch up on things I didn't do earlier in the week. Thursday is also the day we tend to have a lot of play dates and now when we have swim class.

Friday - Big Projects: This is the day reserved for big projects like reorganizing my pantry or scanning in all the articles I wrote when I was writing for the newspaper. I use this day to chip away at projects around the house, the ones that never, ever seem to get done because you get caught up in the everyday of life. Circles of Clothing
Now this routine would be completely different if I was currently working outside the home. For one thing, I would completely and totally have a cleaning service. The only reason I don't have one now is that it seems silly to pay someone to clean my house when I'm home all day. Also my husband would have to do more household chores if I was working. Again, it seems silly to make him do more the house when I'm home all day and he's off at working, making money for the family. 

What kind of routines keep you sane? How do you juggle kids and life? 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Sendakian Moment

I shall run FREE!!!!!

I took Molly to Greenlake for a run on Tuesday. My plan was that she would sleep while I ran the lake. Alas, plans at times go to waste. The run was fine. My legs were popsicles for the first mile, mile two was pretty good and right when I got into my groove around mile 2.5, Molly fell out of hers. She began thrashing around in the stroller and tossing her body, like a wild thing. I decided to just let her out since I only had a half mile more of my run to do and it didn't really matter if we slowly walked it.

Wait! This is hard! You carry me and run?

Molly took the opportunity to dash toward the water with a frenzy, pick up every stick she could find and run toward the trees like a wild thing. She tore off her mittens and hat which made her cold as it was only 37 degrees outside. The cold led to a complete and utter breakdown which led to me holding a squirmy toddler while trying to push the stroller back to the car. I'm sure if she could form proper words, she would have yelled, "I'm a wild thing! Rawr!"

Momma! I no ride in stroller while you run. I run too!

It was a very long half mile. We finally got back to the car where Molly continued to scream and cry as I loaded her up. I got a lot of sympathetic looks from people all around me.

But 5 minutes after I drove away from the lake, Molly was sound asleep in the backseat. Being a wild thing wears a little soul out and rest is the only way to gain back one's wildness.

Friday, January 25, 2013

14 Months with Molly Pop

Play Time with Bear!

Molly! You are 14 months old and doing so much. Your vocabulary is starting to really open up and you are understanding so much!

Molly - 14 months

Every morning I ask you if you are hungry for breakfast and until about a week ago, I never got much of a response. Now you run to your high chair and try to climb in it while saying, HONGREEEE! Then you dive into your food with such enthusiasm.

Pho Baby

This month you also got to meet your new baby cousin, Abby. You love watching her and get really excited when we let you hold her. Of course, we are right next to you when you do so as you are not that good at holding yet. You are so gentle with her too which is nice as I was a little nervous that you would thump on her as you do the cats!

Little Imp

We've started back up with swim lessons which is such a delight. You LOVE the water so much and really I shouldn't let lessons lapse again. It's a fun way to spend some time and a great way to get you to nap!

Tunnel Kid!

You have also discovered your belly button and are obsessed with seeing everyone else's. Not everyone wants to show off their belly though! You can also identify your nose and head some of the time. It's really hit or miss right now.

I broke out a set of blocks for M and now all I hear is wood crashing on wood (with giggles).

We are loving each day with you and taking on each new challenge as it comes. It's wonderful that you are beginning to understand more and more and can communicate (however rudimentary) with us!

Cthat? Cthat?

Keep bringing on the fun! And know that it is just as much fun to ride in the stroller on Momma's runs as it is to run alongside her.

You are also learning how to give kisses without licking our faces. You also now give your kisses and hugs freely which is wonderful. We have so much love for you and you for us that I think we are all bursting with so much love in this house.
Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pinterest Thursday - Play Tea Bags

For Christmas, Molly got a talking tea set and while it annoys the crap out of me (THANKS MOM & DAD!), she LOOOOOVES it. She will pretend to pour tea into cups and even into your mouth while giggling at the funny sounds. And that makes it worth having around.

I was browsing Pinterest (as I often do) and I found the sweetest pin showing homemade tea bags for a kid's tea set. I decided to try out the pin right then and there!

Unfortunately the site is in french, a language I do not speak but between Google translate and the beautiful photos, I was able to cobble together some ideas for the tea bag creation.

The first thing I did was take an actual tea bag and cut it up as a template. Then I sewed my fabric with right side to right side into a long strip. 

Next I folded down the top of the tea bags into points and sewed in the tea bag string (I used kitchen twine). I then added a tea bag 'label' onto the other end of the string before stuffing the tea bag with a bit of fluff and sewing the bottom closed. 


All in all, this was a fun and quick project. Molly loves pretending to brew tea with her tea bags and while I know these won't last long before being destroyed, they are cute for now. 



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Wednesday Links from Around The Web 1.23.13 Edition

Greenlake (in the morning)

Life List Ideas I need to make a life list. I like life and I like lists.

Fantastic Play Room - I'm working on redoing the basement (we're having some work done first) and I want to make part of it a great playroom for Molly. I'm hoping it will contain her toys and mess but let's be honest, those things can't be contained.

And speaking of clutter, here are some tips to contain kids clutter!

Small Space Solutions These are great even if you have a lot of space!

Cute Valentine's Day Classroom card idea!

I love gear, especially fitness gear which means I really want this!
Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Two Things - I always have these two things (fit it and iPhone) with me. #fmsphotoaday For Christmas, I received a FitBit and I have to say that I LOVE IT! Yes, I'm shouting that from the rooftops. I'm a data person. I love to collect data and then analyze the results to see what is going on. The FitBit lets me analyze MY DATA and tells me where I can make some healthy improvements. The FitBit is easy to use and yet also provides an abundance of data. FitbitWeeklyemail
 I get a weekly email from FitBit that tells me how I did on my goals and how many badges I earned. It's corny but I like the badges! Fitbitupdate

 I can also go to the website to sync up and check my stats whenever I want. I especially like to see how I'm sleeping and how many times I woke up. You wear the FitBit on your wrist at night and it measures movement and notes that as awake times. It appears that I have a 97% sleep efficiency! I'm not sure what that means. Maybe I'm an excellent sleeper? Ha!
Additionally I can see how active I am. This is an area I need to work on. The cold January weather has kept me from being as active as I'd like to be. I'll admit it! When I can see my breathe outside, I kinda want to curl up on the couch with my knitting instead of going out for a run!


Another way I can check my progress is on my iPhone


I can check my steps, my sleep and track my eating habits. I need to track my eating a bit better but we all have areas of improvement.


And that is the full detailed report as to why I love my FitBit! Do you have one? What do you think of it?
Monday, January 21, 2013

Baby Swimming

We started swim lessons again. I'm not exactly sure why we stopped them as they bring Molly an excessive amount of joy. Her whole little body begins flailing and kicking as soon as she sees the pool. It's quite the sight. Her voice rises out of her body, flooding my ears with joy. Swimming is what this little girl loves to do!

We started swim lessons when Molly was just 5.5 months old. She's loved it from the beginning and I've learned a lot of tricks along the way. When we first started lessons, I'd try to carry in the infant car seat and two bulging bags full of things we might need for swimming. I've pared down our stuff and now employ a few time savers. 

Ready - Molly was so excited for swim lessons! I was also excited so we got there a bit early! #fmsphotoaday

The first thing I did was pick up a cheap umbrella stroller to use as a Molly containment system. The stroller is small and fits in my car without any issue and doesn't create a jam in the locker room. I dress in my swimsuit so that when I get to the pool, I'm ready to go. I dress Molly at the pool due to her swim diaper and its' non-ability to hold in liquid. It does the job for more solid containment though which is excellent!

Speaking of swimsuits. Molly wears a rash guard shirt and a swim diaper. While I love all the cute swimsuits out there, they just don't work when you are trying to wrangle a toddler and keep them warm. An added bonus during the summer is that the shirt protects her from the sun which means I don't have to wrestle her to put on as much sunscreen

Molly Floats

Inside our swim bag is a clean diaper, an outfit for after swimming, two plastic bags, a comb, lotion, shampoo and two beach towels. I also pack a snack; a pouch of applesauce, crackers and milk really help keep the crankies at bay. 

When we get to the pool, I strip down to my swimsuit before releasing Molly from the stroller. Then I change her before hitting the showers. After lessons are over, I give Molly a shower with soap to get the chlorine off and get her dressed. I then bundle her up and strap her into the stroller. Then I shower. I'm usually a bit cold at this point but since I'm the Mom, I can handle it and it just means that I get ready faster.

My favorite part of swim lessons is the nap afterwards. It's a glorious thing and gives me time to blog, clean the house, get dinner ready or even just sit and knit. I do love the post-swim nap the most.

Rebecca Mongrain's Blog © 2013.

Design by The Blog Boat