Tuesday, September 12, 2017

How to Make Glitter Slime


Yes, you read the title correctly: I'm writing one of my rare how-to posts.

But first, a little backstory: All summer, my daughter asked if we could make slime. She saw it on some silly kids channel online and was dead set on making her own. Plus, she loves anything having to do with mixing and measuring. All summer long, I put it off. "Sure, sure we can do that...at some point." Well, all the sudden, it was the last day of summer break, and I felt pretty crummy-- we still hadn't made the darn slime.




I'm happy to report, however, I pulled up those shirtsleeves and we did it. We made slime. The incredible part was that for the recipe I found, we actually had all of the ingredients (there were only 3, but still).

Ready to show your kids you still have a little fun left in you?

Here's what you'll need:

Baking soda, glue, and contact lens solution.
Ingredients:
4-6 oz. glue (we used the blue glitter kind, naturally; or, if you're using white glue, you can simply add glitter into the mixture).
1/2 tablespoon of baking soda (we used a little more)
1/4 -- 1/2 tablespoon contact lens solution (if the slime seems too sticky, add an extra tablespoon of this)
This is not a perfect science. Play around to get the consistency your kid likes. 

Here comes the tricky part-- NOT-- You mix it all in a bowl.




Mixing was her favorite part. 
We added more baking soda than the original recipe to make it thicker.





That's it! She got her slime, and I got...a sticky bowl and a happy kid. 

P.S. I used old dishcloths to scoop out the slime and throw it in the trash when she was finished. I didn't risk putting it down the sink and clogging everything up!

What "fun" activities did your kids convince you to do recently?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama



Sunday, August 20, 2017

Hummingbirds, Elmer's Glue, & an Umbrella

Yesterday, while in a waiting room, I had the chance to page through a magazine I've never read before: Birds & Blooms, all about, of course, birds and flowers.

This particular issue focused on one of earth's most magical creatures-- hummingbirds. Plus, it was the only magazine in the waiting area, so I opened it up.

Paging through the issue, I happened to land on an incredible true short essay that caught my attention. It made such an impact on me that I want to share the gist of it with all of you:




One day, the author noticed a tiny hummingbird nest on a tree in their yard in Arizona. The eggs must have been miniscule. A few days later, however, the nest and its two eggs were on ground. The mother hummingbird frantically flew around the fallen nest, clearly distraught. One of the baby birds didn't make it. The other egg, however, was still intact.

The author somehow thought to use Elmer's glue to help restore and secure the tiny nest to its tree branch. The mother hummingbird went right back to guarding her single egg. She didn't abandon it.

The mother and her nest were soon in for another challenge as a hailstorm was fast approaching. The author stood out in the hail to protect the nest using an umbrella. Eventually, the wind was too much for the umbrella and it snapped. For rest of the storm, the author used her hands to shield the nest. Miraculously, the egg and nest remained intact after the storm.

When the bee-sized baby bird emerged from its fragile egg, it appeared the mother and baby hummingbird knew how much this human had helped them. Hummingbirds are notoriously skittish, but these two happily buzz about the author and her husband. The baby has even perched on the author's shoulder.

I find this story remarkable for so many reasons. I love witnessing that fierce, instinctual mother-child protection. In this story, we see two versions of it-- with the mother hummingbird, and with the human.

I love that in a world so often filled with cruelty and sadness, one where everyone always laments how "busy" they are, someone devoted so much time and care to help one of earth's tiniest creatures.

And I love a happy ending.

~Julia @ Frantic Mama 


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Growing up


If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that I haven't had the easiest time with my son. He recently turned 7, which I both can and can't believe.

I've written about his high sensitivity before. It's hard to put a finger on the challenges I've faced with him since he was a baby. He was a beautiful baby, and I was so thrilled to have him, but very soon after birth I noticed that his disposition was 'harder' than other babies. He cried and fussed more; he was not happy-go-lucky. As a toddler, he was the 'hardest' in any playgroup, and then in preschool he continued to be challenging, often getting into issues with other children or acting out with the teachers.

It is impossible to sum him up with a few words. He has a hidden old-soul sweet and sensitive side, and a hilarious sense of humor. He has also always been easily overstimulated and overwhelmed, and that's when negative behaviors occur (yelling, hitting, outbursts). You might say he's quirky, to put things lightly.

As a very little boy, he didn't get along easily with other children at the park. His social struggles have made me sad countless times, and I know he isn't unaware of his challenges. Though, with time, he has made some friends. I am so happy for him.

I'm sure he could see the differences between himself and the easygoing kid at the park who easily blends in with other children (like his sister). He still cries and angers easily, to the point where I can lose my patience and question every decision I ever make, but that's also dissipating somewhat.

When my little guy started kindergarten, to say I was nervous would be an understatement. How on earth would he be okay away from home for 8 hours a day? Here's the silver lining: my son had a great 1st year of school.

His experienced kindergarten teacher seemed to understand him almost immediately. She quickly recognized his intelligence as well as his challenging [often obsessive] need for perfection. She easily grasped that he loves a challenge and loves working hard and learning new things, but that he also has a low tolerance for frustration and for other kids picking at him.

Here's what I learned from his teacher: she didn't expect him to be perfect socially. What I think she recognized early on that I'm just beginning to accept is this: you can't be perfect-- or even good-- at everything. Everything can't be easy for you.

She focused on his talents rather than his struggles. She was excited about his abilities. He had another great 1st grade experience. He made a few good friends. He laughed more. He enjoyed his sports and even went to some birthday parties. School has suited him.

When we have those hard, patience-testing moments, I'm trying to remember this: No one is perfect at everything. No one is even good at everything. This should be my mantra-- for both of us.

When my son triumphantly arrived home after finishing his last day of kindergarten, and again after his first and last day of 1st grade, smiling and proud, I felt proud of him too.

In those brief moments, I feel myself letting go of the constant worry, the wondering if he will be "okay," because while he may never be like the vast majority of his peers, he is special the way he is. I'm a better person because of him.

I'm excited to see what my bright, challenging boy will discover and accomplish in his life, and what will emerge from his unique brain. I hope I'll be the mother he deserves to support him and embrace him as he grows.

~Julia @ Frantic Mama


Thursday, July 27, 2017

My Favorite Kids Clothes


I love a good hand-me-down. I do not feel compelled to buy my kids fancy clothes they'll wear once or never. However, as a mom, you've gotta #treatyoself sometimes, right? It's fun to occasionally buy cute outfits for the kids. And we all deserve some fun.

My friend Leah Adamski sells Peekaboo Beans children's clothes. It's now my go-to brand for well-made, nice-looking clothes for my son and daughter. They have simple designs, bright colors, and best of all, they are sensory-friendly-- no tags, no itchy spots, no ridiculous buttons and ties that are impossible to buckle. The whole point of the line is to make your kids comfortable so they can play and have fun. [Okay, and look cute doing it.]

I'm trying to eliminate unnecessary chemicals in our home. Unlike mass produced children's clothes, Peekaboo Beans are free from carcinogenic dyes, heavy metals, and chemicals that can be absorbed by the skin. The company pays fair wages to its employees, and they support Playground Builders, a non-profit charity that builds playgrounds in war torn countries. Plus, the entire company was started by one mom. Moms are awesome.

My favorite purchase so far is this pair of stretchy bell bottom jeans for my curvy little girl. The waistband is elastic to fit comfortably on little buddha bellies, and they wash and wear so well. You would have no idea she's been wearing hers for a year!


My son, one of the pickiest clothing people on the planet, willingly wears these cool lightweight, elastic-waist shorts:

My next purchase is going to be this sweet little play dress that will take my daughter from summer to winter (just add leggings and a long-sleeve shirt under or over it):

Browse the shop and connect with Leah:  www.peekaboobeans.com/GGBeans 
Leah's e-mail: leah@thebetterbeing.com

*Psssst....It's a Canadian brand, so their prices are currently listed in CA dollars. American customers, make sure to do a currency conversion. Otherwise, Whoa! Sticker shock!

I'd love to know if you end up trying Peekaboo Beans! What did you order? What do you love? Is there another brand of kids clothes you love? Please share!

~Julia @ Frantic Mama




Saturday, July 15, 2017

Surviving Summer with Little Kids


It's now almost mid-July. How YOU doing?

I'll tell you how I'm doing: not terrible. not perfect. somewhere between meh and pretty, pret-ty good [channeling Larry David there].

Things get easier in the summer months for work-at-home and stay-at-home parents once your kids are a little older, mainly because there's more they can do! My daughter is 4.5 and my son just turned 7 (SEVEN!). They do a morning park camp most days of the week, which is when I work, get caught up on errands, and/or catch my breath a little. The afternoons are... pretty much wide open. Which is good until it isn't.

You see, I love getting outside in the summer, exploring new places, working in the yard, and doing All The Things. My kids don't always agree with me or with each other on these little adventures, and they are kids, so naturally, they get crabby, hot, hungry, tired, wet, etc. That's when Chaos Ensues.

Sometimes my kids make me want to tear my hair out. The bickering, the yelling, the crying, AHHHH! I like peace and quiet, or at least laughter and joyful screaming.

To cut back on the "Save me!" and support the "this is fun!" I have a few go-tos to help us get through the dog days of summer with as little pain and as much enjoyment as possible. I want to look back on these summers and remember the fun we had, not all the exhausting, annoying stuff. Who's with me?

Here are a few simple survival activities:

Parks. The less crowded, the better. I'm an introvert, remember? Pretty much the last thing I want to do at a park is try to carry on a conversation with another adult while also focusing on keeping my kids well-behaved with each other and all the other kids. I don't want to have to scold my kids constantly and I don't want to undergo the exhausting process of acting like every second is wonderful. I just want to sit for a few minutes and watch my kids play. Is that too much to ask? They have a ton of energy and a new playground is usually a good bet to occupy them for a while.



Library visits. My kids and I don't do great on super hot, humid afternoons (we're Minnesotans!). One way to escape the heat without turning on a t.v. is to visit a library. Even better if it's a new one or a less busy one (see above). Some of the local ones offer free programs throughout the summer like magic shows and a yo-yo master (seriously).

Cooking. My son has very little interest in cooking, but this is something my daughter LOVES. So I'll often pick out a simple baking recipe and let her help stir and measure. It's an activity we both enjoy, and we can do it in the comfort of our own home on a lazy afternoon.

Planting fun. Growing stuff may not sound interesting to everyone, but as luck would have it, my son shares this interest with me. He especially loves learning about and watching the vegetables we plant in the spring grow throughout the summer. We often walk around the yard to inspect which plants are doing well and which ones aren't, and he likes helping water them. It's another mutually enjoyable hobby we can do in our own yard.

In the meantime, let's drop the "everything is wonderful!" charade this summer, folks. Saying you had a hard day/week/summer with your kids does not mean you are a bad parent. It means you are a human one. The more open we can be with each other, the healthier and more real we'll all be.

What are your summer go-tos?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama