Morning Memoirs

I’m not a morning person, never have been. My children, like most, wake up early. They occasionally come in my room at 6am with the intent to wake me up, but not often. I tend to be a little grumpy, plus I need my 15 minutes of waking up (in bed) to become a human being again. Most mornings, I get out of bed slowly when I hear that my girls are awake. I don’t even know how to properly respond to some of the things I’ve walked in on.

I’ve decided to start documenting that moment of dread. Sharing it with the world might make it a little easier to handle, and funnier in the moment. One morning, I woke up to a naked 2 year old jumping up and down on her potty, and my 5 year old singing to herself in the mirror. I realized at that moment how important it is that I keep a camera with me at all times. So, from here on out, I’ll be taking a picture of what I wake up to every morning.

Here’s the first:


My oldest nicely playing with her chore chart. My 2 year old sitting on the table, admiring the (breakable) decorations. I rate this morning: Mild.


Why I’ve Let Go… (a little)

My girl’s are 2 and 5 years old. They make messes, they destroy any chance of my house staying clean, they’re always into something or up to something. They need parenting and guidance, I’m not arguing that, but they also need their freedom and space to learn and grow without me hovering.


I noticed that most of my day was spent lecturing, scolding, redirecting, and preventing behavior. My stress level was high, and my girls were only learning that mommy doesn’t want them moving or touching anything.
My husband was out of town, and I decided to just let go. I would leave the room more often, let them work out their own issues more often, and try to react to most situations calmly (or like I don’t really give a shit). You might think this takes developing a drinking habit, but it doesn’t. I had just had enough.

I’m not sure if it’s helping my girls much, but it’s helping me a ton. I can fix whatever they’ve done later. As long as they’re not going to hurt themselves, I back off. I’ve also cut their TV time down, because I don’t feel the need to constantly keep them occupied. They need to learn to occupy themselves.

I still spend time playing with them, reading to them, and taking care of them, but I also have time to get the laundry done, cook dinner, and relax a little. I still keep a routine, but I’m learning that they’re response to things like bedtime is better when I’m not rushing around trying to do everything for them. They know what needs to be done. They know where they’re suppose to be and as long as I stay chill about it, so do they.

Fighting still happens, but unless someone is getting hurt, I generally stay out of it. When they misuse things, like their art supplies, we clean up the mess later and they loose those privileges for a while. It’s really much simpler than trying to prevent everything, plus I feel like they’re learning more about consequence.


Easy Imitation Crab Fried Rice

Is there anyone else out there who likes imitation crab? I love the stuff, so when I saw it for sale at Sams Club I had to buy it. Once I got home with it, I realized I didn’t actually know how to cook with it. I’ve only had it at restaurants, you know, like Chinese buffets. First, I tried just heating it up and eating it with rice, but that really wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. Today, I tried something new, and it was actually pretty tasty.



Easy Imitation Crab Fried Rice


4 TBSP          Vegetable Oil

1 TBSP          Soy Sauce

to taste          Garlic Powder

to taste          Onion Powder

to taste          Salt

2 c.                 Frozen Mixed Vegetables

1 package      Imitation Crab (cubed)

2 c.                 Cooked Rice




Add the first 5 ingredients to a large pan and cook on high heat.


Once the oil is hot, add frozen vegetables. Stir fry for 2 minutes, or until vegetables are no longer frozen.


Lower heat to medium and add imitation crab. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes.


Add rice and stir fry for another 3-5 minutes.



My First Quiet Book


So, I’ve seen these Quiet Books or Busy Books all over Pinterest and Etsy lately, and I couldn’t believe the prices. I mean, how hard could it be? Turns out it’s not that easy, they’re extremely time consuming and can be rather costly to make.

I felt like my girls really needed one of these to fight over on our flight back to the mainland, so I decided to make one myself. Having no sewing machine in Hawaii, the plan was to sew everything by hand. After doing some research, I bought sheets of felt, embroidery thread, buttons, ribbon,….(you get the idea)…., and went to work.

I averaged about a page a day, which I’m proud of. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s my own creation and I put in as much effort as I was willing to. If I make another, I’ll spend a little more time perfecting the thing, since I’ll know it’s not a lost cause. I’ve learned a lot through this process. First things first, make sure your felt pages are all the same size before you start, also decide what size you’d like your pages to be ahead of time (I never intended for mine to be so large, but I got ahead of myself.). Making a plan first is always a good idea.

What I intended to be the last page ended up as the first page. Why? Because when I went to put the book together, everything was on the wrong side. I expect this has something to do with my dyslexia (I have a type that causes me to see everything backwards.), but I should have planned ahead and laid it all out first.


I did not pay particularly close attention to straight lines. I cut everything out without a pattern or stencil. I actually prefer the untidy look of uneven seams, this way when I mess up I don’t have to go back and fix it. No one will ever know.

On this page, the flowers button on and off the stems. I’ve seen several ways of doing this, but since I’m doing everything by hand, I just sewed up the button holes to keep them from ripping.


Peek-a-boo Tiger is on the next page, and I’m pretty proud of this guy. I found craft fur scraps in the clearance section at Wal-mart, and magically turned them into a tiger. Don’t ask me how it happened. I wasn’t aware of this talent ahead of time.


On the opposite page is the Panda, and it didn’t turn out nearly as pretty as I was hoping. Panda’s seem simple, but apparently they’re more complicated than tigers. At least it’s super soft, like maybe the softest thing you’ve ever touched. Another shout out to the Wal-mart clearance section.


Sushi was a must for this book, even though I wasn’t sure how to pull it off. I seriously considered making actual felt sushi, like I’ve seen on Pinterest. You know, the life-sized versions for kids to play with. I finally came to my senses and chose a different route. I would make flat versions, mostly because I’m doing this all by hand, plus that could potentially take forever. The bowl for the sushi was much easier than expected, which was a nice surprise.


I loved the idea of a clock. I saw several on my little Pinterst research project. My preschooler is still  learning to tell time, so this part is perfect for her. I sewed the hands on the clock like the flowers on the front of the book, this way you can turn them easily around the button in the middle.


Okay, now for the inspiration for the whole book; the doll’s room. Before I did anything, I made a doll, which took as long as a full page normally takes. This is her book, or at least that’s what my 4 year old has to say about it. She’s been kind enough not to mention how crooked the bed is. I made a chest of drawers and chose to have it swing open, with the dolls clothes inside. I have since decided to store the dolls clothes with her in her pocket on the back of the book, otherwise they fall out all over the place.


On to the doll’s yard. I really over thought this page. I thought it was just going to be too hard, because I was trying to add too many elements. I finally decided it wasn’t going to be just like the books I’d seen for sale online. I used an old onsie (that was falling apart) for the snaps. I just cut the snaps off and sewed them directly to the felt tree and the buttons. They’re holding up great, and I didn’t have to go buy anything.


Back to the doll, here she is in her nice little pocket on the back.


The pocket is the only fabric on the book, and is recycled from the same onsie as the snaps on the tree.

Stay tuned for a tutorial on the next book I make. I was really thinking this would be a disaster, so I didn’t think to take pictures along the way. I hope you find some inspiration though. I know I found lots of inspiration through pictures of other quiet books.





Open-Ended Preschool Science

Most of the experiments we do have a very direct goal or purpose. Today, we did some open-ended experimentation, which I think is important and more gratifying for the preschool set.

I provided the supplies, and with my daughter’s direction, we began on a scientific journey with no definitive ending.

First, she filled a container with some vinegar.


Then my daughter dropped dots of food coloring into tiny cups of oil.


She was very excited when the food coloring became “eyeballs”.


Then she stirred it a little, creating “lots of tiny eyeballs”.


Then she dumped the cups into a large container of water. (She also added some vinegar to the water.)


We placed our container of vinegar in the center of our large container, and I ran inside to grab some baking soda. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.


My daughter slowly poured the last of my baking soda into the vinegar.




She poured some oil into the small container of vinegar and watched them separate.


Then, she poured everything into the large container.


We were left with an oily, swamp-like mess to play in.


…and the rest is history.

Easy Paper Science Experiment

First off, I have to give my 4 year old credit for this one. She asked me if she could do an experiment with paper and water. At first, I started to tell her that paper will just fall apart in water, but then I corrected myself. How will she know that, if she doesn’t see it for herself?

I expanded a little and added oil and vinegar to the mix, but all in all, the whole thing was her idea.

We had just done some preschool work with some little astronaut cut-outs, so we decided to use those. If you’re interested in free printable preschool theme packs, visit Homeschool Creations for these and many others.


I let her pour in the water,…


…the vinegar,…


…and the oil, each into a separate shallow, tiny bowl.


The color on the paper, in the water, instantly started to fade, and my 4 year old noticed.


This is what all 3 of them looked like after about 20 minutes. We observed that the papers in the water and vinegar were both fading, while the paper in the oil was not.


After an hour, the touching began. This was the most interesting part of the experiment for my daughter.

When she gently rubbed the paper in the water, it started to fall apart.


When she rubbed the paper in the vinegar, it began to fall apart as well.


When she rubbed the paper in the oil, it was slippery and didn’t fall apart at all. It also hadn’t faded, like the other 2.


When doing experiments, like this, I think the most important part is the communication. We talk about everything we see, even if it seems obvious.

Space Mobile

My 4 year old’s thematic lesson plan, this week, is space. Because we’re temporarily living in Hawaii, I’m short on supplies. It just doesn’t make sense to go buy a ton, when we don’t have much space and we’ll be leaving soon. It’s inspired me to work with what we’ve got, and one major change I’ll be making at home is re-purposing materials for art projects. I printed off preschool theme packs before we flew out. The one we’re using this week is from Homeschool Creations: Astronaut. The planet cut-outs are part of that particular preschool pack. Visit for different themes and ideas.


I would have chosen to call this Our Solar System Mobile, but I felt like it wouldn’t be accurate. No attention was paid to where the planets were placed in relation to one another, plus I’m working with what I’ve got here.

Prior to starting this project, I cut out 2 of each planet and gathered the supplies we would need. However, we needed more supplies than I anticipated, plus I couldn’t find several things (like usually) and had to improvise.

What you should have for this project:

  • Double Print Outs of the Planets
  • Glue Stick
  • Scissors
  • Hole Punch
  • Fishing Line
  • Small Sheet of Cardboard


First, my 4 year old glued every matching planet, back to back.



When she came to Mars, she said, “You’re trying to trick me!”. She knows that Mars is “The Red Planet”, and it clearly wasn’t red (probably because my printer was running low on ink). I suggested that she color it whichever color she thought it should be, so there wouldn’t be any confusion. So, she picked an orange-red crayon and remedied the situation.



I had her try to sound out the name of each planet. Neptune must have stuck in her mind from one of our many planetarium outings, because she new it immediately.


I lost my precious hole punch, so I used a pencil to poke ugly holes in the top of each planet.


Next, I found an old empty cereal box and cut a piece into as big of a ring as I could.


The string would have to do, because I can’t find my fishing line either (recurring theme).


I cut and tied 4 pieces of string to the top of the ring.


I had my daughter pull a piece of string through each planet, and I tied them for her. Then, I tied the other end to the bottom side of the ring.


TADA! You have a Space Mobile! (with an upside down Saturn)


But we’re not done yet…. It needed a Sun, even my 4 year old thought so.

First, I cut everything out. One circle from a paper plate and tons of tiny triangles from our cereal box.

What you’ll need for this one:

  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Orange Paint
  • Salt
  • Paint Brush
  • Paper plate
  • Cardboard/Card Stock Pieces



I wouldn’t recommend using super glue anywhere near a 4 year old, but I was left with no choice when I couldn’t find the Elmar’s glue. So, I put the glue around the circle and let my daughter stick on the triangles, reminding her every few seconds not to touch the glue.


(And yes, I know I need to get a less bold tablecloth for this very reason.)


Now it was time to paint the sun. We used orange, yellow, and red paint, just to mix it up.


Then to add texture, I gave my 4 year old a snack cup of salt to sprinkle on the sun.


Here is our finished product, which is functioning more as a silent wind chime, then as a mobile:


One thing that my daughter brought to my attention through this whole process, was how important it is that I let go of the reins a little and let her do her own thing. When she sat down to paint, she started to ask me which brush she could use for each color. I said, “Go crazy! Paint it however you want.”I really didn’t think that small statement would have such an impact, but she was so excited about being told she was in charge. If I made a suggestion, she would say,”You said I can do it how I want.” Yes, yes I did my independent little person.

At this age, they take in every little thing you say and soak it up. Simple phrases hold a lot of meaning.

We happened to make the sun, after my toddler was down for a nap, so when she woke up it was texture painting time. I just left everything as it was when my 4 year old was done painting, and my toddler picked up where she left off.