Activities · Art · Blessed · Crayons · Enjoying life · Family · Kids · Kids activities · Kohls · Life · Moms · Parenting · Recycled · Recycling · Sensory · Wilton · Youth

Crayon Recycling

We recently made recycled multi colored “Elsa” snowflake crayons. To make your own new crayons just follow these easy steps and get to coloring!

Take all of your broken and beat up crayons (even the little pieces) and peel all of the paper off.

Either make little cups out of foil or use oven safe cups like a ramekin. Have enough cups for as many colors as you want to make. You can also put several colors in one cups, just don’t mix them up together.

Place the crayon pieces in the cups in the color pairings you want or alone – please make sure it’s oven safe. The foil makes for easy clean up too.

Melt the crayons in the cups in the oven. I was baking prior to making these, so I just left the oven at 350 degrees.

Keep an eye on the crayons and when they are melted remove from the oven.

For the next step you will need a silicone baking tray. I used this Wilton snowflake shaped tray that I got on clearance from Kohl’s.

Pour the melted crayons into the compartments of the tray. You can layer colors or pour different colors at the same time.

Let cool and then pop out and get to coloring with your kiddos – or by yourself, I have had a lot of fun with these too!


Until next time,

One Cool Nerd Mommy

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Copyright One Cool Nerd Mommy 2017

Activities · Art · Blessed · Enjoying life · Experience · Family · Friendship · Kids · Kids activities · Life · Making time · Moms · Parenting · Relationships · Take a deep breathe · Taking time · Thanksgiving · Tree of Thanks · Uncategorized · Youth

Family Tree of Thanks

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I am trying to teach my little kiddos all about thanks. Why we celebrate thanks, what feeling blessed means, the ins and outs of appreciating all that we have and what the important things in life are.

After dinner one night we made a Family Tree of Thanks that simply hangs on our dining room wall among the wedding photos and artwork. It’s simple, but effective and the kids had fun doing it. All you need to make yours is:

  • Construction paper: we used two sheets of brown for the tree and one sheet of red, orange, green, and yellow for the leaves 🍁
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape
  • Marker or pen

Cut out the shape of a tree. I used one piece of paper for the branches and one for the trunk and taped them together (the leaves will cover and lines from where it’s pieces together). Adjust the size of your tree if needed to accommodate more or less family members. Tape or glue your tree together.

Cut out leaves. 🍁 You can either draw them or freehand cut. If your kids are old enough to cut them out, get them involved in the process! ✂️

Go around your table and one at a time say what you are thankful for. We wrote all of the answers down. Everything from our house to chips. The silly answers are just fun and the more serious ones are quite humbling to hear. As the parent, you can also guide the blessings along by providing examples in your answers.

Have your kids help you tape or glue the leaves on and then hang your tree for all to see. Go back and discuss your tree and blessings now through Thanksgiving.

This could also be a great project to do on Thanksgiving with extended family!

Art · Boredom · Enjoying life · Experience · Family · GoodNites · Kids · Kids activities · Moms · Parenting · Relationships · Taking time · Uncategorized · Youth

Easy Stick Puppets

If you are anything like me, you probably try to keep things as simplified as possible. I am always looking for ways to have fun with my kids, but not spend a fortune.

I was breaking down the box from a recent purchase of GoodNites underwear when I got the idea to use the Tinkerbell picture as a puppet.

The steps are easy:

  • Cut out the character (there are several to choose from in both the girls and boys packaging)
  • Smooth out any rough edges with the scissors ✂️
  • Flip the cutout over and tape or glue sticks, straws, etc (something to use as the handle – we used two straws taped together)
  • That’s it! Put on a puppet show, dress your character up with paper hats, Pom Poms, anything you can think of. Let the imagination take flight and watch your little ones have fun!

Feel free to share this post with friends, on Pinterest, Facebook, etc.

*Just as a side note, we love the GoodNites brand in our house. We have been using them for two years now and haven’t had a single leak, rash, or problem the entire time. They slip on and off easy and aren’t incredibly bulky either. Check them out here:

For the ones featured in my blog click here (there is a $3 coupon available on Amazon Prime

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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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