Activities · Boredom · Boredom Buster · Experience · Family · Food Dye Activity · Kids · Kids activities · Moms · Rainy day · Rice · Rice sensory play · Sensory · Sensory Activity · Uncategorized · Youth

Sensory Rice Bin

I am generally looking for things to keep my kiddos from asking to watch TV or complain of boredom. I love sensory activities (partially because I also enjoy playing with them too). Sensory rice bins are inexpensive to make, simple and easy to make too!

Here is what you need:

  • Rice (I bought a 10 pound bag at Walmart for less than $5)
  • White Vinegar
  • Food dye (I used gel dyes because I love the bright colors)
  • Plastic ziplock bags
  • Measuring cup (1 Cup) and spoon (1Tbs)
  • Fillers for hiding, creative play, etc. I found some fun fillers in the party aisle at Walmart and also raided our craft closet for popsicle sticks, Pom poms, etc.
  • Container for play

What to do:

  • Scoop out your rice by the cup full and place it into a ziplock bag. I did four cups of rice for each color, you can adjust for as much or little as you need.
  • Add 1Tbs of white vinegar per cup of rice
  • Put as little or as much food dye as you like depending on the color you want
  • Close up the bag and shake until the rice and dye have combined fully. If the rice is very wet, just add a little more rice to the bag. Let dry fully.
  • Repeat the process for each color you are making
  • Once dry, pour into a container for play

*We will be doing this activity outside on our deck, but please use caution as rice can be harmful to some animals, like birds. We will be enjoying our sensory time on top of a beach towel for easy clean up.

On a side note, be sure to close your ziplock bag tightly when shaking. Otherwise, you will end like me: the crazy lady in the neighborhood vacuuming her deck. Outside. 😂

Enjoy this fun activity and please share your thoughts, pictures, and filler ideas with us!

Until next time,

One Cool Nerd Mommy

Follow us on Facebook<<<<<<<<<
n Instagram at One Cool Nerd Mommy

Advertisements
Asparagus · Bake · Be Good to You · Dinner · Enjoying life · Experience · Food · Life · Making it all work · Moms · Onion · Ragu · Recipes · Stuffed shells · Taking time · To do · Uncategorized

Simple Stuffed Shells Bake

There are some days that I am just not into thinking about making dinner. I make decisions all day long and what to eat can feel overwhelming at times. Silly, I know, but true.

Anyway, A few nights back I took a chance and threw some things in a pan, baked it, and the results were AWESOME! So here it is.

From my dysfunctional kitchen to yours….

Stuffed Shell Bake

What you need:

  • Package of frozen stuffed shells
  • Family size jar of Alfredo sauce. I used Ragu because I had a coupon for it and got it for $1.50!
  • Fresh vegetables, I used asparagus, carrots and celery. If I had an onion, that would have gone in there too. I wouldn’t recommend frozen vegetables if you want them to be a little crisp when you eat
  • Seasoning of your choice. I went with some dried parsley and a cracked pepper blend with garlic powder and celery powder
  • Mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

What to do:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  • Spread your frozen stuffed shells out in a shallow baking pan. I used a 9×13
  • Wash and dice your vegetables, then lay them out evenly in the pan with the stuffed shells
  • Sprinkle with your seasonings
  • Pour the sauce over everything in the pan and stir it up good so it is all coated evenly
  • Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees
  • Uncover and if you want sprinkle some mozzarella cheese on top. Bake for another 5 minutes
  • Serve and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese

*Adjust accordingly if you are making a double size of the recipe. I would suggest a second jar of sauce if using two bags of frozen stuffed shells.

Please come back and share if you decided to try this out. It was a hit in our house and the leftovers were even better.

Until next time,

One Cool Nerd Mommy

Follow me on Facebook

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

http://amzn.to/2gJSUyD

Black Olives · Cucumber · Enjoying life · Family · Feta · Feta cheese · Food · Greek salad · Olive oil · Onion · Peppers · Recipes · Tomatoes · Uncategorized

Greek Salad – A Summer Favorite!

I love fresh vegetables and summer where we are has so many delicious choices right at hand. This Greek Salad is chocked full of good tasting, good for you, goodness. Eat it as a side or as your meal, either way it is delicious and filling.

I'm not one for all of the filler fluff in recipes, so we are going to get right to it.

What you Need:

Cucumber (I used one large cuke) 🥒

Peppers (I used two) 🌶

Onion – yellow, sweet, red, your choice (I used one medium size yellow onion)

1 can of chickpeas drained and rinsed

1 container of feta cheese

1 can of black olives drained (I used the pre-sliced ones)

One pack of cherry tomatoes sliced 🍅

Olive oil – I used Palermo olive oil

Garlic powder

Salt and Pepper

Dried Oregano 🌿

What to Do:

Wash and peel the cucumber, dice it and place in a large bowl

Wash and dice your peppers

Peel and dice the onion

Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas

Add the feta cheese

Add the drained black olives

Add the sliced cherry tomatoes

Add Palermo olive oil (or other brand) to coat everything, mix in garlic powder, salt/pepper, and dried oregano to taste. A spritz of lemon would also taste great and compliment the flavors well.

Mix, chill and serve

Enjoy and as always, feedback is much appreciated along with complimentary ideas.

Until next time,
One Cool Nerd Mommy

Follow me on Facebook

Follow me on Instagram at onecoolnerdmommy

Balance · Boredom · Enjoying life · Experience · Family · Fighting · Friendship · Hokey Pokey · Life · Making it all work · Making time · Moms · Money · Relationships · Take a deep breathe · Taking time · To do · Uncategorized · Youth

The Hokey Pokey Conundrum

You put your left hand in, you put your left hand out, you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around…

We all know the song, but is that really what it’s all about? 

Life is beautiful and beautifully difficult. It’s graceful and clumsy, unique and monotonous. Life is generous and a thief, memorable and forgettable. Life is a story.  Handcrafted, raw, and exclusive. Some parts we write, others are written for us, but when the hard cover exterior closes at the end will you be satisfied with the outcome?

As I am getting older I’m trying to find the meaning of it all. If the hokey pokey is what it’s all about, shouldn’t we follow the lead, put our head in and shake it all about? Literally, I picture myself pinching a nerve in my neck while I shake it all around (spoken from experience with the one time I tried to head bang as a teenager).  Figuratively , I’m trying to think logically about what I want in life. We spend so much of our life making money to pay for the things we need (or think we need) and not enough time doing the things our soul craves. The meaning of life has become so misguided and strangled by monetary holds. Smiles, laughter, willingness, creativity, family, friends, support, and experiences are what we need. Endless hours of work, housework, errands, obligations, and commitments are what we all too often get. I don’t know about you, but my to do list is a self rotating one of laundry, emptying the dishwasher, work, organizing, food shopping, and all of the other weekly chores. On the low end, for the last 15 years at 5 hours a week of just house chores (and let’s be honest 5 hours is laughable when we all know how much time goes into it all) I have spent close to 4,000 hours – over 160 total days – on things that give me no real long term reward. Now I’m not saying that we should all stop cleaning, cooking, etc., but doesn’t that put time into perspective a little?

Time. As children we spend a good portion of our life wishing it away and even as adults we continue the tradition, especially Monday to Thursday. The problem is, if we live weekend to weekend, are we short changing ourselves of all the extra good stuff?  I am desperately trying to hold onto time. Grasping onto the moments while they somehow slip through my unmanicured fingers. 

Reminder: I need to add that to my to do list 😉

Let’s get serious (now would be a good point to cue the sappy music). 
Today is the only today you will get, so instead of wishing it away for tomorrow, why not fill your lungs fully with air and grab onto the next 24 hours rather than lock them away without the key? Furthermore, if all the worlds a stage, then why are we not Meredith and Cristina dancing it out when things get boring, mundane, or rough?  If dancing it out has a purpose in life, then perhaps the hokey pokey has it right. 

If there is anything that I have learned from that old familiar childhood song, it is to put yourself as a priority in your life. Live your life fully, not partially.  Set goals and achieve them, hold yourself accountable and believe them. Be in the moment, don’t live it behind a screen or covered by the dollar bill. We get one chance, one opportunity so put your whole self in, shake it all around, dance it out on your stage, and experience what it’s all about. 

Until next time,

One Cool Nerd Mommy

Copyright One Cool Nerd Mommy 2017

Follow me on Facebook
Follow me on Instagram
Follow me on Twitter