Activities · Art · Boredom · Enjoying life · Kids · Kids activities · Moms · Parenting · Rainy day · Science · Sensory · Spaghetti · Summer · Taking time · Uncategorized

Dyed Spaghetti Sensory Play

Our weather the other day was unseasonably cool (not complaining and neither is my electric bill) and also a bit rainy. I was trying to think of something different and hands on for my kiddos to do and while I was cleaning out the pantry, I found a partially used box of spaghetti. Box in hand, I set out to try a little experiment and here it is…

What you need: 

  • spaghetti – amount is up to you and based on the size tray or bin you will be using for play. I used a large cookie sheet and the almost full box I had fit great.
  • Large pot to cook a spaghetti 
  • Bowls or bins for each color you want to do (we did three)
  • Cold water
  • White vinegar
  • Food dye (I used gel dyes)
  • Paper towels
  • Large cookie sheet, bin, container, etc for play
  • Scooping items like measuring cups, tongs, etc for play 

What you do:

  • Boil water in the pot and cook spaghetti as directed on the box
  • While the spaghetti is cooking, you can prepare the dyes.  Add cold water to your bowls or containers and then 5-7 tablespoons of vinegar. Put in 15-17 drops of food dye, stir it up and set aside.

  • Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain and divide it between the bowls you set aside with the water, vinegar, and dye (no need to let it cool). Let it sit for the desired amount of time you want. The longer you leave it, the more rich the color will be.

  • When the spaghetti has reached the desired color, drain the bowls and lay it out on a cookie sheet to dry off. I also used a paper towel to take some of the moisture and extra coloring out.

Note: I did not rinse the dyed spaghetti, but you may want to try rinsing to clean off some of the extra dye. My kiddos did have some dye residue on their hands, but it came off easily with dish soap and water.

  • After the spaghetti has mostly dryed, add a very small amount of oil (I used cooking spray) to keep it from sticking together
  • Put it all in a bin, container, large bowl, cookie sheet and play! Scoops and tongs were super fun ways to play with it and I also put down silicone cooking mats for easy clean up. 

I hope you enjoy this activity as much as we did!

Until next time,

One Cool Nerd Mommy

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Activities · Art · Balance · Boredom · Enjoying life · Fairs · Family · Festivals · Kids · Life · Making it all work · Making time · Moms · Recipes · Smell the flowers · Summer · Take a deep breathe · Taking time · Uncategorized · Walking · Water · Wine

Summer Boredom Blasters

With the summer season finally here, I began thinking of different things to do with my kiddos and as a family. I couldn’t keep the list just to myself, so I had to share it with my One Cool Nerd Mommy followers. Some are for kids, some for adults, some for families and all fun. Please feel free to add your own ideas in the comments and come back to share your thoughts, ideas, and pictures of your summer adventures.

Visit a local fair

Buy locally grown fruits and veggies at the farmers market or stand

Visit local museums or historical societies

Go out for ice cream (I always say yes to this one)

Do chalk art outside


Jump rope

Bean bag toss

Freeze dance

Have a dance party

Go to local gymnastics place for open gym

Bubbles (We picked some super fun bubble makers at the dollar store. They even make bubbles inside of bubbles!)

Attend story hour at your local library

Visit your local hardware store if they offer kids crafts. They usually cost you no more than $10 each

Attend music classes

Watch your kids play, they will only be that age for this summer. Take it all in. 

Find music in the park events. A lot of these are free and give kids the chance to move, play, and dance 

Grow your own herbs and reap the benefits. I grew fresh basil for the first time this year and paired it with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and balsamic dressing. I had some leftover bacon from a Sunday breakfast and put it on toasted sourdough with a little bit of mayo and the salad and it was AMAZING!

Go out to eat where there is outdoor seating, preferably by water. It instantly calms and relaxes you.

Check with your local movie theatre to see if they offer summer children’s movies. One of ours has the movie, popcorn, and drink for less than $5 each and its in the late morning before naps. 

Fill a large bucket or bin with water and give your kids different things to play in the water with. We bring a lot of our bath toys out or kitchen strainers and gadgets. 

Color outside of the lines and in a box

Visit a local winery

Sign up for a paint class (wine optional)

Read a book

Ride a bike

Sit outside at some point every day

Breath the fresh air

Go for a walk

Leave rock art on a trail for the next person

Find some form of beauty every day in the summer and post it to Instagram account

Volunteer at an animal shelter

Find a food truck festival and have a day of eating

Take a day trip to a town you’ve never visited

Fill a kids pool and let’s your kiddos have fun – soak your feet too

Attend festivals and try something new

Visit the zoo

Give your dog a bath and don’t be afraid to get wet

Play in the sprinkler with your kids

Visit a pool

Create a scavenger hunt and go out as a family to find everything

Visit a splash pad 

Take your favorite canine(s) for an early morning or evening walk (when it’s not so hot and the pavement is cooled down – don’t forget water for them too)

Attend a local sporting event 

Have breakfast outside

Watch the clouds pass by, find shapes within

Barbecue – don’t forget to grill your veggies too

Create an amazing fresh salad with the goodies from the Farmers Market

Bake muffins with your kids

Have a water gun fight

Collect rocks, paint them, display them outside in a rock garden

See if any local parks are hosting a movie after dark

Visit a drive in movie theatre 

Go out for happy hour

Watch the sunset

Go to the beach

Play in the sand

Pay for someone’s coffee on line behind you at the drive through 

Visit an arcade

Play a game on the boardwalk or at a carnival and try to win a prize

Freeze coffee to make coffee ice cubes for iced coffee

Visit a botanical garden

Do yoga at the park or the beach

Make a fort

Play mini golf

Play an outdoor game with your kids

Freeze blended yogurt and fruits in popsicle molds for a yummy treat

Spend time with those that mean the most

Take time to relax

Buy a few beers or wine you have never had and have a sampling at home

Stay in a B&B, even if it’s down the road from you

Visit a waterfall

Swim in the ocean

Go kayaking

Have a hula hooping contest 

Create an obstacle course

Have a movie night

Enjoy an ice cream sundae night at home – don’t forget the toppings!

Enjoy every day. You won’t ever get that day again. Take it all in, take photos to remember, and have an awesome summer!
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Copyright One Cool Nerd Mommy 2017

All photos are Copyright of One Cool Nerd Mommy 

Friendship · Life · Making time · Relationships · Taking time · Uncategorized

The Social Friendship


“I think if I’ve learned anything about friendship, it’s to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don’t walk away, don’t be distracted, don’t be too busy or tired, don’t take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff.” ― Jon Katz

According to my current Facebook page, I have 440 “friends” at any given time. So with that number, you would think the odds of having someone ask about my day, take interest in my successes, or pick me up when I’ve literally tripped over life would be favorably good, right? 

I recently celebrated my birthday and in my now 35th year of life, I am finding the friendship area to be a more difficult one.  Out of the 440 friends, only five wished me a happy day outside of the Facebook confines. If I had an emergency, these five people would be the ones I would call even though in the land of social media I am invisibly surrounded by likes, support, and friendship. In a world a virtual friendships and constantly being connected to one another, how is it possible to feel so alone in the friendship department of life? 

Collectively, we have all become dependent on social media, myself included. Facebook reminds me of Birthdays, invites me to events, keeps me “in the know” of the goings on around me. I have had moments where I missed the life event of a loved one because a post about food or cats appeared at the top of my social media platform. We rely on technology to do the job. We trust that virtual media will inform those that need to know. We allow the convenience of typed words to let the spoken language fall through the cracks. 

The people we meet in life, good or bad, help define who we are as a person. Friends and experiences from high school shaped who I began college as. The friends I made in college laughed when I laughed, cried when I cried, saw the good and the bad along the way. They helped get me ready for life beyond the safety of a dorm room. However, with all of that preparation, nooone prepares you for making new friends as an adult when you’ve left the security of those who surrounded you. Life offers us change as we journey from chapter to chapter. The first day in a new school, living with a roommate in college, starting a new job, having a child, joining a fitness class,  beginning a relationship, marriage, divorce, and the list goes on.  Any life change presents the opportunity to gain new people in your life and also sometimes closes the door to others. 

Making a new friend can sometimes feel raw, vulnerable, and exposing.  It’s sometimes hard, awkward, confusing, and feels similar to going on a first date with someone new. To gain, you have to give. Giving or sharing is not always easy. The human race by nature can be judgmental and rough on the exterior. We often act the way we think we should.  Say the things we think others want to hear. Harbor who we are to impress. The thing is, what’s the point of all the effort if the result is false? I envy the fearlessness of my daughter who can walk up to a child an effortlessly engage in conversation and play all because they like the same crayon or have sparkles on their shirts. 

A friendship is a relationship and relationships take work. Reciprocal effort from both sides is needed to effectively and successfully maintain a friendship. When recently asked about maintaining established friendships, One Cool Nerd Mommy Reader Ellen replied with this: “I think the biggest challenge is that people are constantly changing. None of us are the same person we were 10 years ago, or even last year for that matter! And when life circumstances change, when paradigms shift, not everyone is able to accept and support that. The person you may have partied all night with a few years ago may now be a mom of 3. Or your atheist friend may now be a conservative Christian. And if your own life hasn’t evolved in the same way, it may take a lot of patience and effort and understanding to keep that friendship going (because you may have to get to know that person all over again), and not everyone is willing and/or able to do that.”

Our lives, whether we like it or not, are directly or indirectly driven by social media. If you’re reading this, it’s on social media. Text messages, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, you name it. We stay in touch, but when is the last time you picked up the phone and called a friend instead of messaged them? Gone out for coffee instead of sending an emoji about it? Sent a card just because? We have lost touch with ourselves and with each other. Friendships take time to develop. They take time to maintain. Friendships take communication and truth. Honesty to be who you are and accept the person on the other side. Development and evolution. Friendships in a social world have lost the social component. We need to type less and verbalized more. We need to fight more, love more, be more. We need to be the person you want to have in your life. Stay connected with those who support you on social media, return the virtual love, but make time to get to know the people behind the screen.  Life’s moments are immeasurable, our time limited, so why not get out and get to know your neighbor, the person next to you in moms group, the familiar face at the gym.  Call that lifetime friend who you’ve lost touch with. Laugh a little, cry a little, experience a lot. In the motto of the Girl Scouts, make new friends, but keep the old. 

Until next time, 

One Cool Nerd Mommy

Copyright 2017

Balance · Enjoying life · Life · Making it all work · Making time · Parenting · Smell the flowers · Take a deep breathe · Taking time · Uncategorized

Stop and Smell the Flowers…and then take a Benadryl

I used to see the world in color. Vibrant, brilliant colors, but somewhere between nights out dancing with friends and nights in with a cup of tea, my view faded from bright to dull.  The pink hue of my childhood was stripped of it’s red and I was left with white. The white bounced off of black and in crowded gray. It wasn’t until I had my children that I realized just how much gray had been a staple in my life.  From my opinion of people and humanity, to the drab dark colored clothes I wore.  It surrounded me. I was happy, but so many layers of me had been stripped away from experiences and choices I had made.  I teach and guide my children everyday, but the real educators are them. They have not only given me bright sparkly colors, but they have taught me to stop and smell the flowers…and then take a Benadryl.

My children are wild. Wildly fun, wildly humorous, wildly entertaining, curious, exquisite, and miraculous. They are also at times, as children can be, wildly frustrating.  I find myself (more often than I like) getting caught up in the hustle of daily life tasks.  Feeling like we are always running late and getting frustrated when my beautiful wild little get frustrated at my errands or expectations. Trying to fit it all in becomes exhausting and sometimes overwhelming. After caring for my family, preparing meals, getting to school and activities, exercising, eating those prepared meals, cleaning the clothes after the eating, playing with my kiddos, work, spending time as a couple, and the rest of the list of tasks to do; I feel cheated on time. Precious time. My heart often aches because when my head finally sinks into my memory foam pillow, we are all one more day older and while the pillow has a good memory, I feel like a claw machine trying to grab onto everything so I can file it away.  For so long I felt like I was missing out and rushing through my days like my backside would ignite in flames if I stopped.

Recently, my oldest and I planted flowers together. Which really turned into we did three flowers as a potting duet and I did the rest while she played with a bucket of rocks.  I was shoveling and patting quickly to just get the job done when I looked up at her precious face nuzzling a marigold with her perfect little nose. It was in that moment that my gaze yearned longingly to  live in the moment and just take in the beauty of the bounty before us. So I stopped. I moved over, sat in a pile of dirt and smelled the flowers with my big little.  The smell was sweet and if you closed your eyes, it was like you could taste spring. I felt yellow.  I became yellow. My heart sang in that 13.5 second window of time and it ached to feel more. Somewhere in the hustle of every day, I had lost the ability to find the good. To feel the colors.

Now like most things, my action created a reaction and my flower sniffing euphoria of emotions collided with my allergies.  In the coin toss of the football game in my sinuses, allergies won and the kick off commenced as they bounded to the end zone.  The thing is , I wouldn’t change the course of my actions despite the puffy eyes and impressive bouts of sneezing.  In life we have choices, opportunities each day.  We can play it safe in the gray area, or get out and experience life around us.  Our life, this life has an expiration date. Tomorrow is not a given nor is the day after.  Find time every day to just stop.  Take in the smell of the coffee beans before you wake your soul in the morning.  Eat foods that keep you good, but also treat yourself to the ones that taste like a little slice of heaven. Play with your children, the dishes can wait. Spend time with your loved ones, that time is a gift. Hold your pets, because to them, you are their entire world.  Continue to learn.  Exercise.  Dance it out.  Doing something for yourself is doing sometching for those you love. Taking care of yourself first enables you to care for others not only whole heartedly, but also uninterrupted and completely.  Life is hard, but it doesn’t have to always be difficult.  Don’t let the minutes grow wings and take flight.  Just stop.  Stop and smell the flowers….and then take a Benadryl.

Until next time,

One Cool Nerd Mommy

Copyright 2017 One Cool Nerd Mommy

Breastfeeding · Fighting · Moms · Parenting · Uncategorized

Wear Your Gold Star ⭐️ 

I had spent the better part of the almost nine months of my first pregnancy preparing for my little ones arrival . Listening to the recommendations, the dos and don’ts, making the decisions of light wood vs dark for the crib, butterfly’s or flowers, and answering everyone’s questions about how I was feeling. I had never been a person that was all for breastfeeding. However, while my little gymnast did somersaults in my ever stretching stomach prior to her 36 hour entrance, I had made the decision to give it a go when she arrived.  

So there I am. A new Mommy to a beautiful baby who knows nothing but to totally entrust me with their wellbeing, love, and care and I felt like I was drowning. Nursing was a natural bond between my other half and me, but she wreaked havoc the first few weeks. What was once a smooth canvas was now a dimpled, wrinkled, pot holes everywhere after the long winter mess. I barely kept it together and couldn’t figure out how I was supposed to be a mommy when I could barely make it through a day without my own Mom.  Eventually, like all things, we settled into a routine and my husband was even able to take over some of the feedings while I feverishly pumped away in hopes of filling an entire bottle a day.  (Whoever said don’t cry over spilled milk clearly has never knocked over a bottle of liquid gold and had it pour off the counter while the dog and cat go tit for tat (pun intended) for every last drop).

At about five weeks in I declared myself a feeding warrior and slapped an imaginary gold star on my spit up stained shirt. I entered the days with a “you got this” attitude and went about our days. The thing was while I was happy in our communal union of mother and child, my daughter was upset a lot. She cried often. She was in pain. The doctors had every answer in the book for her unhappy well being and patted me on the back with a well done, good job.  I figured since my breast had been declared BEST by others than my loving husband, I was doing the right thing and we would just keep on keeping on.  The doctors were wrong. I was wrong. We all were wrong.

My last memory of nursing my daughter is of her projectile purging her little body of what I had given her. My liquid gold was seemingly toxic sludge. The doctors suggested formula to clear her system while I made even more diet changes. The bloody diapers, sickness, and pain continued.  In 24 hours time, my beautiful perfect baby was lifeless. Upon our arrival to the hospital, we were told our precious little girl was so sick that she may not make it through the night. She was diagnosed with a severe milk allergy to the proteins found in dairy.  We spent a week in the children’s hospital and watched as they poked and prodded her with needles and catheters while what seemed liked a never ending entrouage of doctors came into the room.  We were stuck inside a revolving door of empathetic faces while clinging to the hope of recovery; which she did.  With the empathic faces came willing minds and capable hands. Hands that helped heal my now very tough, strong, and encouraging three year old. 

She was better, but we had all changed. My husband became even more protective than he had already been. Cautious. Stern with others when it came to her health and wellbeing. Our daughter no longer like to be cuddled or held by anyone but myself or my husband.  She was now a strong and independent fighter. Her gold star had glitter and flashing lights on it; mine had fallen off.  I was relieved and happy that my baby was now healthy, content, and pain free. I was also crushed, let down, guilty, and defeated.  I mourned the loss of our private bonding time like the loss of a person. Breast feeding was not something that I necessarily wanted at the start, but it was something that I needed at the end. Like a tragic accident it was ripped from me.  The close of that chapter was painful both emotionally and physically. I couldn’t understand why the thing that was supposed to be the “best” could be so damaging.  

A year and a half went by and as I prepared for the birth of our second tutu wearing bundle of girly cuteness, I cut out dairy completely.  I was determined to get this right. When five and six weeks after her birth came and went without a glitch I slowly unfolded the corners of my tattered gold star. It was at 8 weeks old that the familiar signs began again. My heart sank. My stomach ached. I looked into the eyes of my baby and just wept. After weeks of formula and cutting virtually everything out of my diet I tried one more time. To no avail, the results were the same.  The problem did not lie within my little girls sensitive and new digestive systems, but instead inside of me. My children were literally allergic to me like a pollen or mold. 

Grief. Anger. Grief. Guilt. Guilt. Guilt. Guilt.  Acceptance. Peace. 

My reasons for sharing my story outside of dumping my pent up emotions onto the screen are simple.  Best is not always best.  This applies to all areas of our lives and to all people, not just parents.  The old adage of trust your gut is so true.  My gut (or in this case theirs) was telling me something was not right. Had I listened earlier, maybe my oldest child would have been a happier newborn, a healthier one. I have decided not to dwell on the what if’s or could have been’s. That’s the thing about life, nothing we do can change the outcome of what has already happened.  We cannot wave a wand and get different results, but we do have the power to learn.  What I grasped onto in the end about becoming a new parent is that a fed baby is best.  My oldest traumatically threw me into a new mom nightmare, but in my experiences I have become educated, smarter, more capable, an advocate for my families wellbeing and a fighter. I wear my gold star proudly with all of its imperfections and achievements.  Life is messy.  It hurts sometimes. We carry our scars hidden in the aged lines of our skin, but life is also beautiful.  Live every day fearlessly.  Trust in yourself. Learn from your heartaches. Grow stronger with experiences and last, but not least, wear your gold star close to your heart. Wear it proudly and don’t fuss over the bent corners, cracks, rips or holes.  You have earned every one of them because you too, are a fighter. 
Until next time,

One Cool Nerd Mommy

Copyright 2017 One Cool Nerd Mommy