One Chance Parenting

If you are reading this… chances are you are a parent, have a parent, or plan to be a parent one day!  Or perhaps you are just a curious friend checking to see what this lady has to say 🙂  Whatever the reason – welcome!

This is my first post, ever.  And, to be clear upfront – I do not in any way intend to ever sound like I’ve got things figured out and I am here to teach it to you.  The truth is I stumble on a daily basis and I try each day to be better than yesterday.  I am human.  The purpose of this blog is to perhaps spark an interest, encourage, give hope and uplift the parents who wear this hat called “parenthood.”

Parenting, of all my other jobs, by far is the most responsible and difficult job I have done.  The scary part is that there are no second chances here – no way to undo or redo things once children are grown and have a life of their own.  When I came to this “one chance parenting” realization,  I started to be more aware, more intentional and more responsible about how I am when I teach my children, what they hear, what they do, where they go, with whom they go, and just about anything that has to do with my boys.  At the same time I feel I need to be clear that my children are NOT my “all” they are not my “whole world.”  I love them and while they are little this is my chance to raise them, teach them and guide them.  Somehow though, I need to find a balance between “parenting” and all the other hats I wear.  

Nothing we do, is done alone.  Let me explain what I mean: we don’t ever wear just one “hat” at a time (by time I mean a time period not a minute of the day).  On top of parenting, most of us are also spouses, siblings, children, friends, co-workers, employees, and so on.  So really – we have to learn to be a “balancer” and daily balance our many titles and responsibilities.  This somehow always makes me think of the Proverbs 31 woman… Sometimes, reading it is a bit discouraging because I start to feel overwhelmed and almost like I’ll never reach it, but other times it is encouraging and helps me stay focused with always some area I can improve in.

I want to encourage you as a parent to be proactive during the time you are wearing your parenting hat, and not at all to wear your parenting hat at all times.

 

I started reading more books about parenting and looking for ways I can improve.  The best part is that I’ve noticed a change. A change for the better.  This change is what moves me to try harder and find ways to improve and be the best I can.  I am certain that I will make mistakes, I will stumble and perhaps fail occasionally – but I have determined to keep trying and I believe that with help from God – I can be the best parent for my children.

On this blog I plan to share the things I learn that help me, projects I do with my boys, and just about anything that I feel helps me be a better parent!  So be sure to check back often and join me on this not so easy journey.

DIY Play-Dough

One of my favorite playdates to host is a play-dough playdate!  Kids of all ages seem to be interested in play-dough and when they get to make it from scratch, it seems to add this thrill for them.  Also, for those parents with small children, you might feel more comfortable knowing what is inside of the play-dough your small child plays with and might be tempted to stick in their mouth.

 

If you are looking for a simple play-dough recipe that you can make at home with your kids, this recipe is as simple as it gets! You will find most of your ingredients in your kitchen!

What you need:

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1 cup of flour

1/2 cup of salt

1 cup of boiling water

2 tbsp. oil (optional but this makes the dough soft)

2 tbsp. cream of tartar (optional but it prevents the dough from crystallizing)

food coloring (optional, but who wants white play-dough?)

 

First you need to measure out all your ingredients except the food coloring and mix them in a bowl.

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Add more flour if it’s too runny and mix until it’s a non-sticky, soft and dough-like consistency.

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 Separate the dough into parts and add different color food coloring to each part.

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If you don’t want your child’s hands to be covered in food coloring you may want to put on some gloves, however, the food coloring washes out with a few hand washes.

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Enjoy!

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Here is a video tutorial for you to see how we made it.

*This post contains affiliate links, thank you for your support.

DIY Bouncy Ball

Bouncy balls are always fun for the little ones to play, it’s only better when they can make it themselves too.

What you need:

  • 1/2 tsp. borax
  • 2 Tbsp. warm water
  • 1 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 Tbsp. white glue
  • 2 small containers
  • Something to mix with
  • Food coloring (optional)

Step by step instructions:

  1. In the first container mix 1/2 tsp. of borax with 2 Tbsp. of warm water, mix well and set aside.
  2. Measure out 1 Tbsp. of corn starch and put it in the second container.
  3. Measure out 1 Tbsp. of white glue and add food coloring to it if you desire.
  4. Mix the glue with corn starch.
  5. Add 1/2 tsp of borax mixture into the corn starch and glue mixture and mix.
  6. When the mixture comes into one big clump, take it in your hands and roll it until desired round shape.

You may need to roll it for a while and if your bouncy ball is a little dry dip it into the borax mixture and keep rolling.  To preserve your bouncy balls, store them in ziplock bags or airtight containers.  The balls may flatten out with time – just roll them in your hands to round them out.

Below is a video link of our son making a bouncy ball and playing with it!

 

 

All of the projects should be done with adult help and supervision.

Color Changing Milk

Do you ever feel like a parent who never does anything with kids? You see all the Facebook and Instagram posts of all the projects and activities other parents are doing with their children and think to yourself: “I wish I had time for that!” Well, I have great news for you, this project is probably the one you do have time for! The only “special ingredients” are food coloring! If you have that, I bet you have the rest.

Things you need:

  • Shallow dish (plate, small bowl or cup)
  • Milk (whole milk is best)
  • Food Coloring
  • Dish Soap

Now, on to the experiment:

First, pour the milk in your container:

Next, add a few drops of food coloring;

After this point you give your child the instructions on what to do with the dish soap and you grab your camera to document this fun moment.

The last step is to add a drop of dish soap in the middle, and voila! Enjoy the beautiful sight!

The science behind it:
The fat and the proteins in the milk have a reaction to the soap. The fat molecules start moving around in all direction as the soap molecules try to join with the fat molecules. This is how the movement is created. The food coloring makes this movement visible in color. As the movement continues, the colors are mixed with other colors and create new colors.

Ways to use this experiment:

  • Have the kids make predictions about what they think will happen with the milk;
  • Testing a hypothesis by using different types of milk (whole, fat free, maybe even half & half) ;
  • Use as a demo when introducing the topic of science to get the children interested and curious.
  • If you are teaching colors (primary and secondary colors), this can be used to see the change in colors when they are mixed with other colors.

Check out a video we made while making this project:

I sure hope you enjoy it and would love to hear from you if you tried it, if it is really as easy as I say it is, and more than anything, what did your kids think???

DIY Slime – Is it Worth the Mess???

If you’re a parent (or a teacher), you most likely heard of SLIME…

Or not!

Slime???  What is this stuff?  Isn’t it gross?  It sure sounds gross! Is it food? And more than anything, is it messy???? Those are probably just a few of the questions that might go through your head when you hear this word.  Let me take a few minutes of your time to give you the short run down of what I’ve learned about it.

First of all, there are different types or slime.  The type I will mainly focus on is play slime that you can either buy at the store/online or make at home using just a two (yes 2) ingredients!  I will share our favorite recipe and way of making it below.  Is it gross? Well – yes it is! Especially if you are an OCD, clean and control freak.  Some people (usually little humans) do not think it’s gross at all!  It is NOT food! And, yes, IT IS MESSY!!!!

With all that said… why in the world would you ever make it? Here’s my short list of why:

  • It is so much FUN!!!!
  • It is great for sensory play;
  • It is good for social development – interaction with adults (parents, teachers, babysitters) and other children (siblings, friends or classmates) while making or playing with slime;
  • Important physical development happens when the children play with slime- fine motor skills, gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination and attention skills are all developing and improving as your child(ren) play;
  • and so… much… more…

If I still have not convinced you to make slime with your child because you can’t get past the messy part – here are my tips for cleaning after slime:

  • plan ahead and give yourself time;
  • wear old clothes or craft aprons;
  • use bigger slime pieces to pick up smaller slime pieces – they stick to each other beautifully;
  • stick to a table that has no rug under it;
  • tile, laminate or wooden floors are easiest to clean if you pick up the little pieces with a large one;
  • if you get it on clothes, rug or anything cloth – wash it! It comes right out! don’t let it dry up;
  • don’t let your children walk around the house with it;
  • take them to your crazy friend’s house who does not mind making slime! (good luck with this one, I have not had luck with this – all my friends are normal 😛 )

Play time is important for your child and when it has additional benefits (I’m all about those additional benefits), it is always worth the time!  Just think, in a few years your child(ren) will be grown and may not want to play with you, moreover make slime.

As promised, here is our simple and favorite recipe for making slime, it only requires 2 ingredients:

Here is a video we made making our own slime hope you enjoy it.

Don’t forget to mix it really well… so well… that you don’t even know how well 🙂

If you do give slime a chance, do let me know how you liked it and suffered through the mess… maybe you have a cleaning tip I should add above – leave a comment below to let me know!

Vinegar Volcano

In this post I want to share with you our all time favorite project – vinegar volcano!  Have you ever seen a movie or a video clip of an active volcano?  It is so fascinating!  A few years back we got to visit the state of Washington, where I learned about Mt. Saint Helens volcano.  Unfortunately we did not get to visit the mountain and learn more, but it is definitely on our bucket list!

It might be because I only have boys, but it seems my children are always attracted to any activity or project that ends up a mess… this one is definitely one of those messy ones… but totally worth it!

What you need:

  • vinegar
  • baking soda
  • dish soap
  • food coloring
  • 2 bottles
  • brown foam paper or brown construction paper
  • tape or stapler

First you need to add baking soda to one of your bottles:

Next, in second bottle mix vinegar, food coloring and dish soap;

Fold your paper into a cone shape, staple together and place over the bottle with baking soda in it;

Finally, add the vinegar mixture to the “volcano” and watch it erupt.

Science behind it:

Baking soda and vinegar react with each other because of an acid-base reaction.  Baking soda is a bicarbonate (NaHCO3) and vinegar is an acetic acid (HCH3COO). One of the products this reaction creates is carbon dioxide.  The soap helps trap the bubbles produced in the reaction to make better “lava.”  Food coloring makes it the color similar to what actual lava is.

How you can use this project:

  • for a science fair project;
  • before learning about volcanos;
  • a great demo at science class;
  • simply to entertain your kids – or for your kids to entertain their grandparents;
  • because it is FUN!

Check out our video with step by step instructions on how to make this volcano.

You can also buy a ready Volcano Kit from this sponsored link on Amazon:

Volcano Science Project Kit

Hand Boiler – Science or Fun???

Some of you may have seen this cool looking “toy” and wondered what it really is. A hand boiler is a glass toy with a colored liquid inside. The liquid is ethyl alcohol. There are two bulbs in a hand boiler, one larger on the bottom and a smaller one at the top. These bulbs are connected with a glass tube that is twisted into a fun shape or a spiral. Using the heat from your hand, the liquid in the boiler begins to bubble up or “boil” and move from one bulb to another.

What is the science behind it?
The liquid inside does not actually boil, it just appears that way because of the pressure and temperature of the gas inside. As you hold one of the bulbs, the heat from your hand makes the temperature and the pressure of the gas rise therefore creating a difference in the pressure and the temperature between the two bulbs. This makes the liquid move from the bulb with higher pressure to the bulb with the lower pressure. As the gas continues to expand, it will begin to bubble through the liquid making it appear as “boiling.”

How can you use this toy?
You can use the hand boiler when introducing topics such as gas pressure, gas temperature, boiling temperatures, etc. It is also great for making predictions and testing hypothesis, not to mention a great way to catch a child’s attention and make them interested in science and chemistry!

Check out our short video of exploring the hand boiler and nearly dropping and breaking it! This is a great lesson to remember to never let kids play with a hand boiler unattended and take extra caution as it is not only made out of fragile glass, but also contains a chemical inside which can be harmful.

With all safety and precautions in mind, your kids will absolutely love this toy and ask you many questions!