Do You Want to Play a Game?

Playing a game with a three-year-old is a unique experience. It takes a lot of patience, imagination and a complete lack of concern for following rules. We got this great set of games from Goliath Games and Pressman Toy Company and my son couldn’t wait to rip open the box and try every single toy, regardless of those pesky age recommendations.

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We got started with Googly Eyes, where you get to wear funny glasses and draw pictures while your team guesses what you are drawing. I can tell this one is going to be a lot of fun as soon as he can draw something more than a scribble. The glasses have three sets of lenses and we had fun trying them on and just trying to draw any kind of picture!

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Next up we gave Sequence a try. It’s a game of both strategy and luck, played with a board game, cards and chips. My son made up his own set of rules for this one involving the color-coded chips while I quietly snuck the cards out of view before they ended up all over the house. I thought this one looked like a good one to stash away until he’s a bit older.

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The last one we opened, and the one my son keeps pulling off the shelf to play again, is Rummikub. Must be something about all those little tiles. He’s convinced he’s quite the Rummikub champion and keeps telling me he’s winning every time he fills up one of the trays.

Another game of luck and strategy, players take turns placing numbered tiles in runs (consecutive numbers of the same color, like 2, 3, 4 in red) and groups (three or more of the same number in different colors, like a red 9, a blue 9 and a black 9), rummy style. The Joker tiles can be any color or number. The object is to be the first to play every tile on your rack. The “board” changes all the time as players adjust the tiles on the table.

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The next Rummikub champion

As much as my son loves trying to play all these games, his ultimate goal is to throw all the pieces everywhere and create as big of a mess as possible. So you can see why Sequence was hidden away with all its little pieces. But he’s quite attached to Rummikub so it’s a good thing all the little tiles are an easy clean-up. We even make a sort of game out of that part.

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Think your family would like a prize pack of these great games? Be sure to head to GeekMamas.com for this week’s giveaway! Starting Wednesday 2/20 and running until 3/4 you can enter to win.

Making Wall Worthy Kids Art with Stencils

Stencils are a great way for kids of almost any age to make wall worthy art. As long as they can hold a painting utensil or sponge, then they should be able to transfer paint onto the prepared stencil surface and have it result in something pretty decent!

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We recently took advantage of a cold rainy afternoon to do an art project compliments of Stencil Revolution. I picked out a neat seahorse stencil to go with our beach house renovation decor and set it up so my three-year-old son could do the painting.

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The first thing we did was head to the hardware store to get a piece of wood to use as a base. I also had a second Halloween themed stencil, so I got a 4ft. piece of wood to fit them both for just $9. After cutting it to fit both stencils I still had enough left over to make something else. After cutting the board to fit, I stained them a navy blue. You can also paint the boards a solid color.

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After the stain was dry, I taped the stencil where I wanted the design to be. My board wasn’t as wide as I should have been, but I just went with it. I realized later, as my son was really going crazy slapping on the paint, that it is best to have all the sides taped down really well. I was only able to tape down the top and bottom so it slipped a tiny bit, but not enough to mess it up in the end. You do need to have it secured better than we did if you want a crisp stencil edge.

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With our surface prepped, next we mixed our paints. We used acrylics in a metallic teal, blue and a dash of white. Our painting tool or choice was a sponge painter. My son took to sponge painting with gusto, scooping large blobs of paint out and slopping it down as I scrambled to make sure it wasn’t splattering beyond our small art mat.

At first I kept trying to limit his paint and show him how to do it, but then I just let him go with it and his unique blob painting technique actually resulted in a really cool texture! The bubbles and lumps make it look almost like the seahorse has scales.

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I made sure every spot was covered and then Mr. Impatient had to see his creation immediately, so I removed the stencil and we were both very excited to see something so pretty! I’m sure you’re probably supposed to let it dry and then remove it so you don’t risk smudging it, but it was hard enough to stop the flailing little arms from smearing the whole thing while it was on so I figured I’d better show him and then display it up high where he couldn’t touch it.

After I removed the stencil, I immediately rinsed it off and the acrylic paint easily came off with a little scrubbing. The stencil is made from laser cut 12 mil Mylar and can be used over and over again. It can also be cleaned with paint thinner if you choose to let the paint dry on it and have a harder time cleaning it off. Acrylics will usually wash off or peel off easily though, even when dry.

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So you can see our seahorse doesn’t have super crisp edges and isn’t “perfect” but I think that adds to its beachy vibe. I just have to add a little hook to the back and I’ll be hanging this little masterpiece on the wall. And thanks to StencilRevolution.com for sending the stencil for this fun little project!

I Don’t Want to do The Thing

So, this is me today:

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I keep sitting down and trying to do The Thing I’m supposed to be doing and it’s just not happening. Actually typing about not doing it is the closest I’ve gotten to doing it. And therefore, I’m almost giving myself a pat on the back for half-assly doing The Thing without trying. Good good! You wrote 61 words so far, write just a few more and we can call it good enough and press publish.

I haven’t had much time to actually sit down and think today, and in the few moments I have been able to have computer time it’s like all my thoughts just get jammed up and then come lumbering out in a weird cumbersome way. So then I just scroll through Facebook until my son realizes he hasn’t asked me for food in the last seven minutes and I have to go back into Mom/servant mode.

There are actually a TON of things I could be doing on the blog right now. Products to review, SEO to brush up, drafts to edit, photos to resize…and I just don’t feel like doing a darn thing. My fire seems to have fizzled a bit today. Life kept throwing things at me. Like if I was the fire and those things were snowballs. So one by one they piled up and now I feel sort of like a pile of unmotivated slush.

But tomorrow is a new day. Time to shake it off. Try again. See if I can catch that spark. My fire may go up and down, but everything is fine as long as I make sure that pilot light never goes out.

 

Book Review: P is for Poop by Ben Luster

My son has not been the most receptive little reader. In fact, he’s been downright combative at times, like when I tried to read him What’s Making Walter C. Laugh? and he threw a giant tantrum, and then there was the time he kept shoving poor Sgt. Stubby in the trash. It got to where I was hesitant to even suggest we try looking at a book together. Then Ben Luster sent us a book that involved poop and other gross things and I thought, maybe this book has a chance…

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P is for Poop is a funny, rhyming alphabet book that was inspired by the many diaper changes of a sleep-deprived parent. It started as a birthday gift for Ben’s daughter and was made public with the encouragement of his wife. Each page is dedicated to a letter of the alphabet and features a bright colorful illustration drawn by Sarah Walsh.

The story follows typical family shenanigans from A for awake to ZZZ for goodnight. And during that time, plenty of funny, silly and yes, sometimes stinky things happen. My son was captivated from pages 3 and 4, as soon as the cat pooped in the shoe. And guess what? The dog pooped there too!

No crying, no tearing the book out of my hands and throwing it in the trash. So there’s the secret- I just have to get him books about poop! Of course there’s more than just poop in there- the pages that speak to me the most are “M is for Memory, Mine is no more” and “N is for Nope, can’t remember what I came in here for.” Ben is talking to us parents too!

You can find P is for Poop on Amazon in paperback for $9.99  — (*links to amazon are affiliate links)

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How to Use a Nebulizing Aromatherapy Diffuser

A lot of moms these days seem to be getting into oils. I’ve been into essential oils since I was a teenager working in a hippie shop that sold oils and part of my job was to educate myself on all the different oils and their purposes. So I’ve always had a bottle of tea tree stashed away for disinfecting and a bit of lavender for soothing. I’m not new to this.

What I am new to is the nebulizing diffuser. At the shop we had a stone you put drops on, some little sticks soaked in oil, a heated lamp type thing and one that used water. I was recently sent an Ionic Nebulizing Aromatherapy Diffuser from Utama Spice and I really like the concept! No water, no heat – just pure pressurized air is used to disperse the oil into the air so it’s not diluted or changed in structure.

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The Danau Satu has a light color wooden base and custom-blown lead-free glass top and looks great sitting next to my desk. It has a low-energy cycle with a 120 minute pump auto shut-off and fully adjustable dial to instantly fine-tune the mist intensity. It also has a pretty mood light inside the glass.

It’s very easy to use- just remove the little spout at the top and add drops in the hole. I started with 6 drops to test it out, then added more when I was sure I liked the scent. You can fill it all the way to 1/4 inch below the inner glass tubes, but you don’t want to overfill it.

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When you switch it on, you will see the glass fill up with a mist and the mist will start to come out of the directional spout. You can then adjust the amount with the dial.

The Utama Spice website has a helpful video on cleaning your diffuser, which you should do every so often to prevent build up, and when you want to switch to a new oil.

 

So that’s it! Pretty easy! Just put drops in, turn it on and go. Make sure you don’t lose the dropper things that come with the diffuser because otherwise getting liquid (after cleaning) out of the glass ball is tough. If you watch the video, you’ll see how they turn it on its side and use the dropper to suck it out.

I’m really enjoying my new aromatherapy enhanced workspace!

For the Love of Noodles

My son loves noodles. Just plain spaghetti noodles with a little butter or olive oil. He doesn’t like to spoil it with any sauce. I keep trying to encourage him to try them differently- marinara, cream sauce, maybe some meatballs, but no. Just noodles. It makes me think of a photo of me as a little girl, where I’m eating spaghetti and it’s smeared everywhere. I expected this to be some sort of normal baby ritual- the spaghetti mess. But when my kid is done he just looks like he’s oiled up and ready to wrestle.

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He loves them so much that when we went on a two week cruise where he could order absolutely anything he wanted for dinner, every single night he ordered plain noodles. One night he tried nuggets and sent them back in exchange for noodles.

So I’ve embraced this and now make a big batch of noodles all at once, put them in a gallon freezer bag and keep them in the fridge, ready to heat on-demand. That way, I can make noodles in 15 seconds instead of cooking them from scratch every time. I’ve also started getting those “Hidden Veggie” noodles and other healthier varieties rather than regular old pasta. So far, he likes them all the same.

To be honest, I’m just happy anytime he shows excitement about eating something besides chocolate and gummy bears. We have a lot of arguments over what consists of “real food” and why he needs to eat it. So if he loves noodles, I’ll make noodles!

He also went through a serious Puffs phase and a hot dog phase. As a first-time mom, I’m guessing this food fixation is a universal toddler (and child) trait. So what food is your kid obsessed with right now?

Happy New Year! Changes to Sponsored Posts in 2019

I know it’s only New Year’s Eve, but I haven’t written on here since Christmas so thought I would stop by and drop a little Happy New Year. Also, I woke up before my son today so a mom has to steal that time when she can.

I only started this blog about six months ago and am still unsure of exactly where I’m going with it, but I know it’s going somewhere. I already renewed the domain for another year. If you just stumbled across this one, my main blog is GeekMamas.com and I started this one as sort of a “sister site” where all the total mom stuff can go. Geek Mamas is a little more personal and humorous, so I was trying to start a more normal “mom blog” with this one. A place I could put articles that might not fit as well on my main site.

And sponsored posts of course. I was wanting to do a lot of sponsored content over here and make it a bit of a money-making machine! But a funny thing happened along the way and I found out I still don’t like dealing with a lot of the sponsored content stuff unless it’s actually something I would read. I have some sort of built-in journalistic integrity where it just gnaws at me if I post something really lame or salesy. So I have been going through and weeding out some of the earlier unpaid contributed content that has links to businesses. I’m all about linking to bloggers and helping other mom bloggers get exposure, but I started to feel like businesses were taking advantage of me asking for me to publish the article as if I had written it and sneaking links in there, all while submitting boring re-hashed articles.

I just couldn’t do it. I tried. I really tried.

So while I still plan to accept sponsored content here, (it would be nice to cover my hosting fees at least), I’m going to be more picky. There will be a small fee for businesses, it has to be introduced as a guest or sponsored post and it has to actually be something people will read. Blogger guest posts, promoting their blog, will always be free.

So I hope to write more and publish more guest posts here in 2019. I think there is a big blogging year ahead for both this site and Geek Mamas! And feel free to contact me to pitch guest or sponsored content.

Hope you all have a very Happy New Year!

 

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