Saturday, October 3, 2015

Fall Into Savings Coupon

Looking for some handmade goodness to set out on your learning table this Fall? Enjoy our Fall Into Savings coupon!

#FallSavings #Handmade #learningtoys #MamaMayI #ecotoys #MamaMayIShop #madebyhand #woodentoys #montessori #montessori101 #save #coupon #promo #couponcode #promocode

Friday, October 2, 2015

Kids Art and Oil Pastels

Fall treasure study

Maize, pumpkins, and gourds

We have really been enjoying the process of oil pastels these last few weeks. I forgot how much I like them! They were my favorite in grade school, high school, university, and beyond. Glad to have them resurface during our art space move <3 

Lillian (4) in particular is LOVING them. She can't seem to get enough. Maybe it's the rich color? Maybe the bold texture? Maybe the "fuzziness" of the end result? Maybe the process itself lends itself to smudgy, chunky, beautiful imperfection. 

The leaves were inspired by Jean from The Artful Parent.

Last year we had made a collection of Apples inspired by our apple tasting at our local garden!

 #kidsart #Fall #MamaMayI #mamamayimake 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Digger Dough - dirty play dough sensory fun

#MamaMayIMake Digger Dough! Inspired by my little ones love (obsession) with DIGGERS! Remember that cocoa play dough we made earlier this week? You can add coffee grounds for an extra gritty texture and a few diggers to scoop, push, and excavate. A little digger's slice of mud pie!

You can add coarse salt instead of coffee after it's made and a few drops of lavender essential oil as a great activity to pair with Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site !!

We use these diggers ALL the time!

#MamaMayI #MamaMayIShop


Want more sensory fun, healthy eating tips for kids, and inspirational ideas for little explorers? Check out our Facebook page or blog! 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

When I don't want to isn't an excuse

I did not want to do this. I did NOT want to do this. At 7:15 at night. I did not want to start a project, help her pull out her sewing machine and get to work. I DID NOT.

But then...

I remembered that she used her nice words to ask me...

And I remembered that, if I didn't help her, no one would.

That she is sometimes at my say okay. To say yes. To do the little things to make it happen.

And so, I said "okay, I will help you." 

If I want a child that is nourished and thriving... If I want her to do things other than sit in front of a screen... I need to be doing them, too. And when she asks for help ( until she gets her complete competence in whatever said task may be ) it is my duty to follow through and help her along HER WAY.

It is so much easier to sit on my couch. I was working, veging, relaxing ... (And sometimes those things are absolutely okay and sometimes they are also absolutely necessary)

But when I get back to my roots - of being a YES family ... Not saying no just because it's convenient or "I don't wanna".... There is so much joy in that connection. In that showing up. In that mindset of, I'm here for you. Even if it's to help thread your needle or to draw a pattern with you - talk through which spaces need to be left open.

I never want my children to stop asking for my help if they need it. So I need to be available to them when they ask.

Seriously, this took maybe 20-30 minutes of our time from set up to clean up --- and those minutes are so incredibly precious to her oodles of self esteem, confidence, and just pure excitement.


Mama May I Make Fall Smelly Dough

Looking for some Fall Sensory Fun?  

Play dough is so easy to make and keeps Lincoln bussssssy !! Thank goodness! Pair with some Popsicle sticks or cookie cutters every once in awhile to change up the task. 

Looking for #Fall #Sensory fun? Turn your favorite Fall Favorite Smells into #Sensory #Smelly #playdough !! #MamaMayiMake #MamaMayi #MamaMayiShop

1 cup flour

1/2 c salt

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 Tbl oil (we used almond oil)

2 tsp liquid glycerine

3/4 c boiling water (add food coloring to water if you want to color it)

Add kitchen spices or extracts or essential oil to your desired aroma (we used about 1 tsp)

Combine and smoosh until desired consistency. If it's too wet, add a little bit more flour - if it gets cracked or crunchy add a little bit more oil or glycerine.

Monday, August 24, 2015

For ME - Mindful Self Care

I have always been one of those "over achievers". The ones who is never content with herself...well, ever. I'm always researching, learning, exploring, shifting, taking it all into focus in my mind's eye - trying to be the best me I can be. And frankly,

It's exhausting.

I've always gotten straight A's and done extracurriculars - stay focused and think about the end-of-the-year-project in September and have it done the week it's assigned.

My favorite section of a book store - Self Help.

My favorite websites - personality quizzes, tests, predictors, research, health, wellness, self-improvement.

Is this something we are taught or is it Engrained? Written somewhere on my DNA before I came Earthside? Is it because I'm a middle child-always looking for that middle ground-the perfect way to appease EVERYONE? Or is it because I never had the self esteem or self confidence I deserved (even when everyone else in my life cheered me on)? What makes some people QUESTION their existence while others simply OWN it?

Someone once asked me what I was doing to decompress / find joy / do for myself. With great enthusiasm and excitement I told her I started running. And she looked at me. And I scrunched my eyes and tilted my head to the side "what?" I was expecting a much more enthusiastic response to my new hobby. Getting the endorphins going. Upping my winter-blues-with exercise. Shaping my body. And she looked at me and said ... "What are you doing for you...that doesn't involve improving you?" In other words...what are you doing for fun? For ME? 

That day I was so put off, even offended by our dialogue. How could she not show more positivity and enthusiasm for my new-found desire to run? And the more it stirred, the more I realized she struck a chord. And usually when we get defensive it's a deeper reflection of ourselves...there is something there. 

The more I sat with it the more I began to see her point. And it was a good one. And she was so right. I don't do much of anything FOR ME. Or just FOR FUN. For the pure joy of doing it. Of loving it. Of living in it. 

Of course I want to be the BEST Me I can be. But even that seems to set me up for failure. 

By acknowledging that there is likely a "better" version of myself, does that mean that this current version isn't enough? Good enough? Lean enough? Intelligent enough? Enough?

Subconsciously, my personality set me up to believe I wasn't ever enough. That I constantly had to change. And while I appreciate the importance of stretching and growing ... I'm also learning that me - right here - right now - is enough

I am enough.

That is so incredibly simple and powerful.

So simple yet sometimes, so difficult to say. Usually it's followed by "you are too" or "except when.." Or "but..."




I am enough.

There. I said it. I am Enough.

Yes. Me. This girl, right here. 

I am enough. 

I am deserving. And worthy. And filled with love. And hope. And joy. And life.

Somewhere along my Mama-journey I lost sight of that. Of MY worth. Of my being Enough.

Every time I turn around there is an unmet need. A beckoning. A calling out. A void only I can fill.

And it's beautiful and purposeful and amazing and yet, often so messy and difficult and chaotic. It's messy beautiful.

I have lived my life for my family. For my children. I have grown three amazing little souls inside my womb and birthed them into this world. I have breastfed for almost eight years straight. I have been away overnight from them for only 2 nights. Ever. And it was when I only had one little one Earthside. I am a work at home. Stay at home. Homeschooling Mom. 

Yes, somewhere along the way I lost sight of myself. Through foggy, sleepless dough....and bath times...word problems ...times tables..I lost sight of me.

The oh so very important ME. 

Every thing I was doing was to improve. To better. To be a better parent. Be a better mom. Be a better spouse. A better friend. A better housekeeper. A better planner. A better business owner. A better teacher. A better student. A better driver. A better communicator. A better citizen. A better lover. A better neighbor. A better daughter. A better sister. 

Some days I forget to acknowledge all the better and the best that is already deep within. That glows right now.

I am enough.

And while I hope that the years ahead will lead me on a journey of even greater and deeper self discovery .... I will continue to remind myself of the journey I've already embarked. And I will show up for me. Because if I can't count on myself, who can I count on? 

This year I have been actively (very actively) trying to see and acknowledge my own needs. To rediscover myself. Jessica. Not wife. Not Mom. Not business owner. But, me. My hopes, my dreams. What brings me joy. Because, somewhere along the journey I kind of got lost in the shuffle. 

It has been humbling. And envigorating. And exciting to date myself. To rediscover me. Over a cup of tea. Mug of hot chocolate. A random doodle or stargaze. In a minute quote find or thought drift. 

I am reminding myself that it's okay to tell my two year old he needs to wait to nurse until after I've finished my (still-warm) meal. And it's okay to tell my four year old to get her own milk (even if she spills it) or wait a few minutes for my help because I just sat down. 

The other day I was at the pool. The children were all swimming, having a wonderful time in the water without me. Content. I enjoyed watching them and sitting poolside, relaxing....when I realized  I wanted to get in the pool to swim too. But it wasn't for them, this time, like it usually is. And it wasn't to "burn off that extra s'more" or even because I "should". It was because I wanted to. I genuininely wanted to get into the water and move my body and feel my limbs float and sink and swim. A sensation I was unfamiliar with in the chaos if my every day life but a sensation that I am trying to feel and interpret with greater ease. 

That was such an aha moment for me. The internal dialogue was different this time. It wasn't about me not being enough if I didn't do it. It wasn't about getting the better beach body. Or being a good Mom. It was about me, finding the joy and excitement in swimming and allowing myself to do it.

I am enough.

I am worth it.

Apparently swimming brings me joy.

What brings you Joy?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Train Books

My youngest is a train enthusiast. He's an anything-that-travels-by-wheels guru. He's a figure-it-out-investigator. Let's-see-how-this-works thinker. In a way that is more mechanical than my other two. They were interested. But he is fascinated. 

We have had a few birthdays for him this month because we have been traveling all over and every family stop we make we have been singing Happy Birthday along the way. One of his birthday cakes had a plastic train on it - not because it was Thomas - but because it was a build-a-block-train he could use when the cake was gone.

We usually have birthdays themes after children's book (I LOVE children's picture books. Some day I will write and illustrate a children's book. Someday.) but, for now, I just collect them. Like a librarian. Freight Train was this birthday's theme because he likes trains so much. I purchased a hard copy of the book for our family members to sign for him (Thanks cousin Cassandra for the book-momento-inspiration!!) he will always have this book with our love written inside to remember his second birthday. It was difficult to choose just one train book that we liked so muc, because he likes all books about trains...but this has been a favorite since he was an infant. I love the simplicity and cadence and illustrations. 

Here is a roundup of our other Train Book Favorites. 

This is a simple, beautifully illustrated, classic. I remember reading it and wishing I had written it because it was just simply fun. Upbeat. The words are easy to flow and remember. He has loved this one since we started reading books.

A new addition for me, but the Karen Katz books are fun. I really wanted to get some "other kinds of trains" into circulation and, living in the city I thought this would be a good fit. I also like the diversity of the people illustrated in the book and the colors definitely caught my attention. It's rhyming, musical text is fun to read aloud and the repetitious sound words are easy for little ones to remember and read along.

This is one I bought for his 2nd birthday hoping to learn more about trains with longer sentence structure and more information. Some longer books he won't sit through but a book about one of his favorite subjects that's longer? Yep. It's so important to find what turns your child on....their attention span and focus may surprise you when you stir one of their passions!

This is another simple, classic favorite that Lincoln chooses almost every reading time. I like the sturdy board book style while it still has vocabulary substance and I love the simple but bold graphics.

I bought this one for his birthday because it is a factual train book but has a rhyming structure which is good for early readers. It helps them anticipate the next words and chime in with the vocabulary to finish sentences. It has been a hit.

This one wasn't on my initial photo collage but it absolutely should have been because, seriously, it has been his FAVORITE since about 8 months old! We first borrowed it from the library and he couldn't put it down. We borrowed it 3 times in a row and then I bought a copy. And then, when I was visiting family in FL I bought a second copy to keep there. We love the sounds, the illustrations and books with onomatopoeia!