Home made fingerpaints

My daughter and I made a large amount of finger paints for me to use with my kiddos at work.  It was very easy and the end product was acceptable and kid approved.

For large batches of finger paint (picture above shows 3 batches)

  • 3 cups flour
  • 6 tablespoons of salt
  • 4 1/2 cups of cold water
  • 4 1/2 cups of hot water
  • food dye

Combine as follows

  1. Mix the flour and salt together.  Then add the cold water.
  2. Whisk until there are no lumps.
  3. Add the hot water and whisk again.
  4. Cook over medium heat until similar to gravy texture.  Whisk frequently to avoid lumps.
  5. Remove from heat and whisk until smooth.
  6. Divide white mixture into different containers and add food coloring.

The recipe I follow states to refridgerate this – what I love about this recipe is that it cleans up easy.  It wipes off kids skin super easy without staining the skin.  If children eat it they will be okay as it’s just flour, salt and water with a little bit of food dye.  It does not have a pleasant taste so they won’t eat much of it if they do.

My daughter had a great time with me deciding on the colors and then she helped with the activity with a group of kids.  I use freezer paper as it has that lovely waxy side so the wet paint doesn’t soak right through.  Freezer paper also is a long roll of paper perfect for a variety of craft and art projects.

Here’s the link to the blog for the finger paints – http://www.icanteachmychild.com/2011/06/squeezable-homemade-finger-paint/

My daughter can ride a bike!

So my daughter can finally ride a bike without training wheels.  This was harder for me than it was for her as my need to protect clashes with her need to learn.  I finally let her try to ride last Saturday and she fell several times.  This was a picture my husband sent me Wednesday.  She is so proud of herself!  She may finally be ready for her big girl bike that is waiting for her in the shed!

Easy Outdoor Fun

My daughter loves playing outside.  I on the other hand hate it prefer the indoors.  I’m starting to find happiness in outdoor activities and wanted to share some of my favorite outdoor activities.

1.  Bubbles

Homemade bubble solution – gently mix the ingredients to prevent foaming.  distilled water works best but any water will do.

  • 1 cup Dawn dish soap
  • 10 cups water
  • 10 drops glycerin (bought in the pharmacy department)

Many different things can be used as a bubble wand – pipe cleaners, looped ribbon, etc.  I use bubble wands saved from purchased bubbles.

Here’s a link to – Homemade Bubble Solutions.  Many good recipes.  I got my recipe from The Bubble Time guys.  My daughter and I saw these guys live and it was great.  if you look them up on YouTube they have bubble workshops to teach you how to make great bubbles.

If you don’t feel like making your own bubbles I’ve found it helpful to add some dawn dish soap to store bought bubbles.  It makes for bigger, stronger bubbles.

2.  Baking soda volcanoes

This was a fantastic activity for my daughter and several of her friends.  I brought out the supplies and asked them what they thought would happen.

Supplies needed – some are optional

  • vinegar
  • baking soda
  • assorted containers
  • measuring spoons
  • funnel
  • food dye
  • dish soap
  • tissues

now if you are creative a google search will give you many recipes on how to make a paper mache volcano.  I used various containers instead (soda bottle, wide mouth jar, a cup).  We experimented with different combinations until we got the desired result.  I definately would recommend this activity for outside as it’s very messy.  We even tried a baking soda “bomb” by wrapping up a pile of baking soda in a tissue and dropping it into a large amount of vinegar.

3.  Water Play

We have a tote full of various items that are meant to get wet.  there are the spongy balls, water shooters, a sprinkler, her new water table and more.  Last summer I would accidently miss watering the garden and water the kids instead.  They LOVED it.

4.  Family Garden

We have a garden – last year we planted our first garden.  It wasn’t successful as far as yield goes but it was a good experience.  This year we are working on another garden.  We picked out the seeds together, planted them in sead starters together and will watch them grow together.  Every day new things can be found in a family garden.



Yard Sale is 11 days away!

Man, time is ticking away fast.  Only 11 more days before this yard sale.  Feels like not enough time before this “magical” day where my wallet will be fatter and my house lighter.

My daughter and I went through her toy box, stuffed animal net and dress up clothes today.  She was able to fill a small tote with items for the sale.  I think she is finally starting to see that when there is less STUFF there is more opportunities for play.  It’s also easier to pick up and put away.  It becomes easier and easier.

Here are the items that we’ve pulled aside for the yard sale since May.  (all the yard sale stuff collection before April 30 is out in the shed already).

A small glimpse into the nightmare known as my family room.  The books and games on the shelves are not for sale but everything else pictured is going out on June 2.  I’m so excited.  Race car tracks, her dress up trunk, the kitchen set, and quite a bit more.  I purchased two under the bed totes for my daughter that will create limits – one tote for her dress up items and one tote for doll clothes.  She likes the totes and likes how easy it is for her to get to them.  She also agreed to the set limits (once the tote is full something has to go before new can come in).

I used to be so opposed to anything being under the beds.  You might not have been able to walk through the room but by golly the space under the bed would be free.  We have two totes under our bed – one for our linen and one for our daughter’s linen.  I was so opposed to this but it really helps.  If the sheets don’t fit in the totes then we have too much.  The totes also keep the linen clean and dust free until we need to change the sheets (our house gets dusty really fast).  I wish that the blankets would fit in them but it’s not quite big enough so a small laundry basket is in our closet with our extra blankets.

I’m tired of telling her no.  It’s been so difficult though because she had (has) so much stuff that she struggled with putting it away so the mess would be in every room and it would be so overwhelming.  It’s gotten so much easier as we’ve been decluttering.  I also have her help set up where the items go so she remembers.

Zone Cleaning the Master Bedroom

So zone cleaning in the master bedroom is increasingly difficult but I don’t mind so much.  My husband definitely needs his sleep too.  I did do some work in it today.  I finally bought a lovely comforter for this room.  When husband and I got our first place together we bought a lovely blue comforter that both of us enjoyed.  Through the years it became worn and tattered and we needed to let it go.  It felt so hard to buy a new one because we are often the fortunate recipient of other people’s unwanted clutter.  They mean well but we often cannot say no but most times the items are not our style.

Give you an example – we were using a brightly colored quilt covered in Macaws!  YUCK!  It would annoy me so our other options were a bright pink down comforter (also a gift) that crinkles when we move or our patriotic quilt (a purchased item I love but not for our bedroom.  It’s our picnic blanket and living room blanket.)

I was shopping at Aldi and found the quilt set below.

I have to say even though I’m not drawn to floral patterns I fell in love with this one right away.  I bought it and it looks lovely on my bed.  I decided that the comforter in my daughter’s room needed to go as well so we went shopping for her.  The current one was given to us and was closer to her style when she received it (pink with princess design) but over the years has become stained from us allowing her to have crystal light at bedtime.  After several stores she decided that she wanted the same quilt that we purchased so I went back to Aldi to pick her up the same.

So today I made our bed and put freshly laundered sheets on.  It smells lovely now and feels great.  I pulled the two totes out from under the bed and took inventory.  We’ve purged down to two sets of sheets for our bed with the matching pillow cases.  Our daughter has three complete sets of sheets and mismatched pillow cases.  We’ve kept two flat sheets that don’t go to either bed but I love them.  One is a lovely pink and white checkered sheet that i have used for a picnic blanket, a table cloth, a make shift play tent and more.  The other is a lovely blue and green floral sheet that is a perfect summer coverup when a blanket is too much.

besides the bed we each have our own dresser and husband has a side table with two drawers.  I cleared husband’s dresser top off to two picture frames, a jewelry box, a vase, his tv and dvd player.  My dresser top still needs a little work and I need to purge through my drawers.  Closet needs a little work as I need to go through my clothes still.  Fortunately it’s a small closet – about 6 feet wide and only slightly deeper than our hangers and we share so I only have about 3 feet of space plus the shelf.  There are two small totes of seasonal clothes and husband’s dress shoes on the shelf.

on the floor some work is needed.  there is a large tote full of dvds that I would love to purge by half but need husband on board with this and then there is a large basket full of blankets.  There is also a GINORMOUS piece of thick glass that came with the house.  It’s so heavy I can’t even move it out.

On my to-do list is to convince husband to go through his drawers, flip the mattresses to staple the lining back in place on the box springs and finish sorting my clothes.  I believe it’ll take 30 minutes total to finish.


On a completely different topic –

Here is what I found at Aldi that I bought for my daughter.  This ball is 4 foot 3 inches tall when inflated and is super amazing.  (ad picture below).  We took it up to mom’s house and I let her play with it.  Super, super awesome.

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day!  My little girl is wonderful and I don’t always deserve her.  She was so excited about Mother’s Day that she couldn’t wait for me to wake up.  I, of course, am sick and grumbly.  5am she is waking me up.  “let me sleep”  7am my husband comes home and she has tried getting me out of bed at least 20 times already.  “let me sleep, let me sleep, let me sleep!”  I was so tired from waking up so many times last night to cough, blow my nose and use the bathroom that i was almost delirious from lack of sleep.  Next thing I know it’s 9:30am which is over sleeping by 3 hours for me.  I felt like such a bad mom and wife.  I came out and apologized for being so rude to her.

She pulls me out to the kitchen where I find flowers, a beautiful necklace, a card with singing and dancing cats and dogs, a picture frame and an automatic air freshener for the family room.  Also on the table was breakfast – a bowl of Life cereal (my favorite) with milk and a drink.  It had been sitting out since before 7am.  she tried to remake it for me but instead I hugged her and offered to make her breakfast.


Decluttered the shed and played in the creek

After surviving the outing I was starting to feel energized.  I was ready to tackle the shed.  We only have 3 small closets in our home so everything goes in the shed (or on the family room floor).  My husband pulled out the grill which required everything being taken out and then put back in so it was a hot mess.  craziness abounds.  I took with me a roll of masking tape, a black sharpie, garbage bags and a microfiber rag.

One by one I pulled out a tote, sorted through it and pulled out items for the yard sale.  The mismatched items put together and totes formed lines out on the lawn.  As I pulled out an item for the yard sale I wiped it over if needed with the rag and then priced it then and there.  It felt good knowing that at least those items won’t be priced during the yard sale itself because it’s already done.

2 full totes ready for the yard sale.

Here’s what I was able to sort and organzine!

  1. 2 yard sale totes
  2. 4 totes full of my daughter’s things for her to ultimately decide what to do with.
  3. 3 Halloween totes – decorations, costumes, etc.
  4. 1 Thanksgiving/ autumn decorations tote
  5. 4 Christmas decorations totes

There is more to go but I’m proud of my accomplishments today.  1/2 the shed is neat and organized.

The Creek

I’m not very good at outside play.  My daughter asked to play in the small section of woods near the creek.  The answer is always no but today it was a yes.  I figured I was outside sorting totes so she would be within earshot if needed.  She ran up to me and was so excited about a “BIG ROCK!” that you could walk on and she wanted me to see it SOOO BAD.  Normally I would say no.  Today I said sure if you help me finish up a small section in the shed.  We walked into the woods and she pointed down the steep slope down to the creek bed and rocky shore.  She slide on her butt down the hill and yelled up, “See Mom!  That’s a big rock isn’t it?”  I must admit it was huge.  I stared at the slope – battling within myself – “Do I go down? I could get dirty?  My shoes might get dirty and I really like these shoes.  What if I fall?  I could get a cut and bleed and then I would have to look at it.  If I lost my balance and had to touch NATURE then my hands would surely get dirty.  The dirt would get on my clothes and then what if the wash machine doesn’t get the dirt out all the way or what if dirt is left in my washer and then the dirt would get on my other (dirty) clothes.  What if I get down there and there is a spider?  What if I step on a snake?  What if, what if, what if.  maybe i can search for an easier way down because this way is MUCH TOO RISKY but then I’d be walking further into NATURE and then I might encounter more unpleasant things and I don’t want to disappoint her but I JUST CANT DO IT”  This internal monologue took all of 1 minute and I gave you the abridged version.

I was about to say, “okay now, it’s time to come back up” when the unthinkable happened.  My feet took me down the steep slope.  I had to quickly force my hands out of my pockets so I could actually make it safetly down the hill. but I didn’t fall.  It was easy – much easier than I ever could have thought.  I walked right over to the giant rock and climbed up it with her.  On my way down the hill I saw some spring flowers hidden in an unusual place and wandered up the rocky shore to show her my discovery.  It was beautiful – she thought so too.

She was overwhelmed with childhood delight and was telling me how much she loved it down there.  I remember loving it once when I was young before the OCD took hold.  I remember the adventures, my love for nature.  She saw an “undiscovered island” in the middle of the creek.  This creek is only a few inches deep (6 at the most) and about 15 feet across, maybe 20.  The island was a small section of rocky ground that was barely above the water.  she started building a rock bridge to get to this exciting island.  her feet were getting wet, so were her socks and pant legs.  It was a bit chilly out and I thought about correcting her and heading back up when I found myself bending down to pick up a large, dirty rock.  I carried it over and added it to her bridge.  I add another, and another.  I saw some spiders, a salamander, lots of mud, thankfully no snakes.  I stepped on her bridge and felt the water seeping into my favorite shoes and I stepped further in.  I dropped a particularly heavy rock in the next spot and water splashed up over me and her and she started laughing so loud.  I laughed a bit too.  We got her bridge to a point where she thought she could jump to the island.  It was a bit too far and I knew she couldn’t make it.  Normally I would say that it wasn’t good enough yet and make her go the extra step to make it just right.  I said, “Go for it”.  She was a few inches shy of the dry land but i knew she would be safe (wet, but safe).  She picked up some rocks from the other side and added a few to make up for the shortage and proudly walked back across and said, “we made this – our bridge to our island.”

Hesitation is a problem maker (though it is a safety mechanism).  Mine is overactive.  It was time to climb that slope.  Normally I would second guess every step, every scenerio and ultimately need help getting up the hill.  I just went for it and beat her up the hill and was actually able to offer someone else the helping hand.  Which she refused to my delight because “she got this”.  she figured it out on her own.  she won’t be stuck staring helplessly at a situation without working her way through.

Today was my day to explore the creek instead of passing this opportunity off to my husband like all the times before.

Still Smiling

Our eggs are dyed – all 18.  20 fingers dyed as well.  part of the tablecloth, a paw on the dog and some small spots on the rug.  My daughter got up and banged into the table spilling some dye.  She tripped over the dog while sitting back down and spilled quite a bit more.

normally at this point I’d be freaking out, losing my patience and smile would be gone.  I guess today is different.  Even my husband noticed a difference.

Her hand shortly in – much more colorful now.

Smiling through the OCD

My head is hurting and my hands are shaking but I’m smiling as I type this.  Today felt like a break through day for me!  A wonderfully, marvelous break through.  The first occured this morning – I was in a small room with an obviously disgruntled individual and I didn’t allow their mood to bring down mine.  I tend to be an emotional sponge.  Negativity especially likes to leech off of everyone in a room.  I didn’t allow it in and helped to block it from the children as well.  So by the end of this visit my mood wasn’t tainted and my spirit wasn’t dragged down.  Second point to cheer about – I touched something DIRTY.  I started to sweat, my heart was palapating. My hands were shaking soooo bad.  My head was screaming – SCRUB THOSE HANDS!  DROP EVERYTHING AND RUN TO THE NEAREST SINK!  NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The staff with me knew something was wrong.  She asked me if I needed to step out and wash my hands but I said, “it’ll be okay.”  There were baby wipes in the bag (definately not a substitute for a suitable hand scrubbing), hands shaking so fiercely that I fumbled multiple times trying to take out one wipe to give my hands a quick swipe.  I firmly told myself that I would get through this.  and I did.  I survived and the world did not come to an end.  The OCD did not beat me.

Second triumph for the day – home visit with a truely delightful family.  13 children ranging from 1-13.  I brought a memory match game to play with the younger children.  we dumped the pieces on the floor and they were quickly scattered to the four corners of the room and wandered further into the dining room.  Normally at this point I’d be sweating and quickly gathering up the pieces (and counting them twice to ensure no piece was lost).  a piece went into a mouth, the box was stepped on but still we played and I smiled and it wasn’t fake.

84 eggs boiling on the stovetop.  6 eggs per child with 6 extra just in case.  styrofoam cups full of dye, water and vinegar.  little hands, unsteady hands sitting around the table.  cups abound.  still i smiled.  a little one smooshed a egg in her hand – pieces crumbling everywhere.  a cup knocked over – pink water seeping down to the floor and spreading over the table.  hands colored blue, green, pink and orange.  my head was aching but I pushed through.  I calmly and genuinely helped and went in turn complimenting the young ones on their marvelous eggs.  no criticisms came close to my tongue – no corrections to be made.  It was a wonderful experience that I was lucky to share with a group of fantastic children.

the younger ones began to cry.  it was close to lunch time – to nap time.  Crying babies send me running.  – it’s the noise, the tears, the snot.  usually it’s my cue to go.  “what can I do to help?” came out of my mouth without a second thought.  snuggling close, rocking gently, rubbing back and feet till the smiles came back on the little one’s face.  I held many of the children today – watching tv, rocking, gentle talking to them.  there were dirty faces, runny noses and maybe even a dirty diaper.  i didn’t reach for the hand sanitizer or run for the sink or the door.

I left feeling happy and fortunate that I work with such wonderful foster parents.  They do a job so hard that I could only imagine what it’d be like.  fostering is a 24-hour, 7 day a week job that is underpaid and under appreciated.  I work with severely traumatized children and it’s not easy to be a foster parent but we are blessed with some of the best ones out there.

I love my job and that is why managing my ADHD and OCD is so important.  My children need me to be on my game.  They need me to play with them and comfort them.  I need to take care of myself so I can take care of them and the foster parents.  I need to be a good role model for my birth parents.  and I need enough left over to take care of my own – my beautiful (special needs) daughter and my husband.  Today I felt like a success and I didn’t have to fake it.

I left proud – compulsions were running high but not forcing me to run away.  I went out to the vehicle, put a squirt on sanitizer on my hands and did the motions.  held off counting the game pieces.  i drove away.  I must admit.  I could only make it 14 miles before I pulled over and counted and sorted the game.  failure?  no – because that is amazing that i could put if off for that long.  maybe next time it’ll be 30 and then maybe not at all.  pulled back out onto the road – anxiety soaring high – starting frantically counting to 100.  warding off some DOOM and DREAD.  I made myself stop – slowing breathed in DEEP and FULL.  the calming deep stomach breaths and counted to 10.  10 deep breaths.  anxiety dropping.  still want to count, still shaking.  called my mom – want to go all crazy and ramble about my nerves.  instead, i asked her how her day was going and talked about her.

Right now – I’m boiling eggs – 18 total.  going to make a delightful mess with my own daughter.  no corrections, no criticism, no fears.  I can do this!  The OCD will not beat me down!  The OCD will not rule my life and take away my joy!

A long drive, a Bunny Cake and Just Dance 3

Today my daughter was outside crying in the rain.  Her face was blochy red – tears were mingling with the rain.  I viewed the scene with a pain in my heart and anger boiling up.  Two other girls stood outside with her – no, not with her but separate from her.  They stood there together and my daughter alone with her tears.  I heard the one – her supposed friend – saying in a hurtful tone, “I can’t aways play with you, you know.”  Almost every time this third girl comes around my daughter is rejected, cast aside and ignored.  The other said, “I’m not getting involved with this” but there she stood in the middle as always.  I said to the friend, “so it’s okay to be friends with her when no one is around but she’s not good enough for you when others are?  just remember this next time your lonely because she won’t be here for you.” I made my daughter come in and I shut the door – shutting the harsh cruel world out.

I held her close and hugged her tight.  I helped her change into warm, comfy, dry clothes and hugged her again.  We woke up her dad, my husband, and crawled under the covers and I held her while she cried.  until of course the dog jumped on the bed and tried licking her face to cheer her up.

I texted the other mother and politely informed her that there was a problem.  I needed to get out, to get her out and away.  Told her to grab her quarters and stated we were going for pizza.  I took the long way to pizza.  The highway takes you there in less than 10 minutes.  We turned right instead of staying straight.  Drove past the fields, over the river, leisurely drove through the town pointing out the large, old houses.  There was a lovely lavendar home, a faded green one.  We passed this large old home with sprawling front porch that had hundreds of jack-o-lanterns decorating it two years ago for Halloween.  We drove along by the railroad tracks and looked at the trains, drove downtown pointing out the shops.  We’ve lived here for almost 2-years and we don’t know our own town.  There is a chocolate shop, a hot dog shop, two tattoo palors across the street from each other.   We drove past a duck pond that we will come back to on a sunnier day.  Stopped for milk shakes and drove some more.  found a museum and some vacant store fronts.

We ordered our pizza and she spent her quarters on the machines.  They are such a waste of money but to a child it brings great joy especially when mom says yes when I normally say no.  Off to redbox and more quarter machines.

She wasn’t in the mood for Happy Feet 2 and we couldn’t rent the Muppets so I decided to splurge if there was a game she wanted and we looked at the games available.  An evening of Just Dance 3 and some pizza is a sure fire recipe for brighter moods.

Shortly after we got home there was a knock on the door.  The little girl came to apologize and invite my daughter over to bake a cake.  I reminded her that it was pizza and game night and tell the other girl to go home.  We sat eating our pizza and I realized that she needed to go.  I sent her over.  A short while later they came back over and I invited the girl in to play the new game.  It was so fun watching them dance and laugh together.  They then went back over to decorate their masterpiece. She came back over with the ear to share with us.

Her feelings appear healed.  but mine not so much.  How many more times do we go through this before we put our foots down, turn away and not look back?