Montessori Marbled Bowls {DIY Art Project with Your Toddler}

I’ve been inspired with the marble “ring bowls” people have been making with Sculpey clay. I love the marble look of these bowls but I don’t have a purpose for them myself.

Since I have been looking to buy some classic Montessori/Waldorf toys, I thought if there was a way I could do an art project with my toddler, make a Montessori toy, and have something beautiful.

That’s how I came up these Montessori marble bowls with matching string beads.

Score!

I was so impressed with my son who followed the directions from this post. He’s almost three years old and the directions are simple enough to follow. There’s also no mess in coloring the clay or painting (I did the gilded edges myself).

There are several elements of learning your child experiences on top of the fun and satisfaction of making your own toys!
What your toddler learns:
Color sorting
Rolling dough
Making ‘snakes’
Mixing colors – color theory
Baking – adult supervision of course
Stringing beads
Creating something from start to finish

How to make Montessori inspired marbled colored bowls with matching balls

Here’s a video in hyperlapse speed – it’s my first ever video, so be kind!

What you need:
Scupley clay in different colors (affiliate links!)
Large block of sculpey clay in white, 8oz
Knife
Bowls to shape with – they should be oven safe
Gold pen or gold paint to paint the trim
Bamboo skewers to make the holes in the balls

1. With a knife, cut out a large block of white clay.
2. Cut out small blocks of 3-4 color clays. If you look at the video, I cut out a pretty small piece, 1/4in thick. You don’t need much color to give the bowl that beautiful marbled look.

I let the kiddo choose the colors and encouraged him to pick 2-3 similar colors and one contrasting color. We are currently in a phase where everything is “orange” or “green” even though he knows the colors are different. Hahaha!

3. Roll out each block of clay into a snake. Yes, that is the technical term.

4. Combine the snakes with the white clay into a super snake.

5. Roll and twist the super snake. Then twist the snake into a ball and roll it out again. I figured out to get that beautiful marbling effect is to roll out and squish into a ball a few times. If you look at the photo, we only lightly twisted the purple bowl – it has more of a mid-century modern look. You know, if you feel like work with 20th century art styles with your little one.

6. With a rolling pin, roll out the bowl to an 1/8th” thick.

7. Use bowl to trim dough.

8. Fit clay dough into bowl.

9. Bake according to the Sculpey instructions. It will be around 15-20 minutes.

10. Let cool down. You can paint the bowl to seal and gloss or leave it as it.

11. Paint the edges with gold, silver, or nothing at all! Up to you. You can see I haven’t done this yet, but I will!

The bowls are delicate, we already cracked one (but hey, there’s glue), but they are a hit in the house. Our son loves stringing them and cooking with them.

Have a photo of your project? Share it on instagram and tag with #bindisandbottles

3 Tips to Survive an International Trip with a Toddler and Newborn

That’s right folks, how do you survive traveling with a toddler and newborn across the world? You don’t.

Just kidding! You can travel with babies and toddlers but you need a few tips. And a lot of drinks. Hahaha.

#1 Think positively – This may sound like a bunch of juju, but you are going to make it to the destination. There maybe a lot of crying, screaming, and wondering why you choose to torture yourself, but you and the kids will reach the final destination and hotel in one piece. Take a deep breath and know you are embarking on an experience together – that is priceless.

#2 Entertain & Food
– Depending on the age of your kids, you can provide them with some entertainment. On long distance flights this may mean a lot of toys and creative ideas, short haul flights have it easy. Pack toys and books that your kids like and are light weight. Younger toddlers do well with magnets, stickers, washi tape, and lightweight books. Older toddlers can do sticker books, Duplos, dolls, cars and other imaginative play.

Pack snacks! Lots of good snacks. Don’t bring out the candy and junk food because the last thing you need is a hyperactive toddler. Pack Cheerios (puffs), small sandwich bites, non-juicy fresh fruit like bananas, blueberries, cut apples, rice crackers, cheese sticks, pouches, water bottle and milk.

#3 Give yourself a break – There will be meltdowns. You will cry, the children will cry, everyone will cry. It’s okay. Hang tight. Breathe (see tip #1!). Eat an extra chocolate for yourself. Have a drink. Don’t enforce all the rules you have at home, though please don’t be the parent who puts headphones on and ignores the kids. When you reach your destination, take a hot shower. You deserve it – love yourself.

I hate the cliche that “you can do it!” because traveling across the continent, the Pacific, the Atlantic on a plane with young ones is terrifying. All I can say is, you are not alone.

When You’re So Tired

when you’re so tired, you don’t remember how you got here or where you came from.
when you’re so tired, your wrists are sprained and elbows popped from the bouncing and nursing.
when you’re so tired, you don’t know where your glasses are, but you’re wearing them.
when you’re so tired, you want to close your eyes, but you know you’ll be awaken a few minutes later.
when you’re so tired, you giggle with your little one over anything.
when you’re so tired, you wish someone would wrap you up in a warm, cotton blanket.
when you’re so tired, you play trains one more time.
when you’re so tired, you don’t know what sleep is like anymore.

when you’re so tired, your little one gives you a hug, saying “it’s okay”

Some Days

some days i’m amazed at how much you say
some days i’m amazed at…
…how you can make up your own games
…how you can keep busy with nothing in sight
…how you can end a little baby’s cry with “me is here”
…how you share your favorite stuffie
…how you are so headstrong, no one can stop you
…how you hug when others are down
…how you can understand things when told just once
…how you know how to push all the buttons
…how you laugh when nothing and everything is funny
…how you love

some days i’m amazing that you are mine and i am yours

Dreamforce 2015 & Nursing Moms Don’t Mix

Well mommies, it happened. I learned what it’s like be a nursing mom and attend a conference with my baby.

A tech conference (Dreamforce).

In Moscone Center.

In San Francisco.

For two hours.

Since I had been to Moscone Center and seen children present at other conferences, I figured it would not be a problem bringing bean in the stroller. Plus I did not find anywhere on the Dreamforce website that children were not allowed (although I admit to not perusing the fine print).

With a free expo+ pass in hand, it seemed like a great idea to go with my dad and the little bean on the last day. Conference ending in a couple hours meant less people and a less troublesome baby.

And this sign welcoming you:

After picking up expo passes in Moscone North, the three of us headed to the elevators.

Dum dumm….

(sounds like the making of a horror movie… promise, it is)

We are told that babies are not allowed to use the elevator, BUT we can carry baby down the escalator along with the stroller and go to the expo.

Errr…okay? Seems silly that a perfectly functional elevator stands unused but that I have to carry my baby in my hands and that my dad has to carry the stroller on the escalator.

I then went to the Salesforce information lady with and she seemed confused that a baby wouldn’t be allowed in the elevator. She went off to find a security personal.

A few minutes later the security personal, the elevator guard, and the Salesforce info person returned.

“Kids are not allowed on the expo floor. It’s a liability issue.”

Ok? Kids have been to Moscone before, so I ask, “why isn’t this written anywhere when signing up for the ticket (at least in legible font, not the fine print)?”

“That’s the rules, kids aren’t allowed.”

The security guard walks off and so does Salesforce info person. The elevator guard hangs back and says that there’s a nursing room I could go to in Moscone West and hang out there while my dad visits the floor. We can then switch off.

I was disappointed but pleased that she offered a solution and we ended up talking for 10 minutes. She was very nice.

My dad headed off to the expo floor and I headed to Moscone West where the *Nursing Room on Level 1, Sponsor Room A* is located.

When inside Moscone West, I go to the Information booth to ask where exactly is the room.

The guy is dumbfounded and says that no such room exists. After insisting it does, he looks it up and tells me, the nursing room is in Moscone North.

I said, “no, Moscone North just sent me here. It’s in this building.”

He says they have no idea what they’re talking about and points to the booklet. I reply, “but right here it is written, *Moscone West*.”

“Ohhhh, well, then go through the expo hall and it should be in the back.”

Already feeling tired and annoyed, I go into the expo hall. After a few seconds, a security guard chases me down and says, “NO KIDS.”

I explain that I’m just going to the nursing room. He says no such room exists and I may not enter the expo floor. He says go to the check-in desks and ask them.

At this point, I am ready to give up and head back to the car or feed the bean in some public place.

I give it my last chance and head to the check-in desks. Nearly in tears I tell the lady that I just want to go to the nursing station but security won’t let me inside the expo hall to WALK through it and go to the room.

She gets it. She says that we’ll figure it out. After speaking to security, who reiterate NO KIDS, the security guard calls Head of Security to sort this out.

Within minutes he comes and says it wouldn’t be a problem. He escorts me to the “nursing room” in the back of the expo hall.

Would other moms be allowed to the nursing station? I dunno. Can I walk through the expo floor to *leave* it and not be accosted by security? I hope so…

After seeing all the plush couches on the outside of expo hall, I figured the nursing room would have a nice plush couch and water.

Yea…no…

The nursing room is this:

Two chairs, a table, and a trash can.

Very inviting!

Outside the room…

Well, it was a private room. I nursed the bean, we hung out, and did a little crying.

I tweeted about the incident and Salesforce had this response:

Appreciate the canned response. I know how you really feel about moms now.

**So Dreamforce team, I have only one thing to say: next time you implement a half baked idea to win over tech moms, make an effort to read your own rules.**

We have a long long long way to go to achieve any sort of equality in the workplace, or errr… a conference.

PS – Bean at least didn’t cry or whine at all; he took in all the sights. Yay for that!

PPS – No, I never saw any of the expo halls at Dreamforce. #fail

What I Learned About Exclusively Pumping

Hi mommies!
I did it. I made it to three months exclusively pumping for my bean. To say the journey has be difficult is an understatement.

My milk started late and not a lot came, my bean had tongue tie, and we had lots of trouble latching. In tears, we began formula supplementing when he was three days old. It was NOT how I envisioned this to be.


For all the sleepless nights, poopsies, and screaming, I wasn’t prepared for the difficulty that breastfeeding possesses. There is so much to say as a new mom. The struggle is real.

I know I’ve only been pumping for 13 weeks, but I have learned a lot.

**Formula is OKAY.** Truly, it is. You know, I was *that* asshole four months ago that was against formula if you can make milk. I totally support moms who give formula when they are incapable of making milk or that their babies need it. What I didn’t know is that most moms have trouble making milk. Some take hours to get a supply, others days, and others weeks.

When we brought home our bean from the hospital after three days, he was screaming so much (he’s a vocal sort!), I went out to CVS with my dad and bought newborn supplements and a pint of ice cream. I was a real mess.

A couple days later, we went to a pediatrician who gave us a box of supplements. He said, ‘mom, if you continue to cry, you will never make milk. You need to destress and let baby eat. It will happen.” Two other pediatricians said the same thing.

And so, we supplemented with formula. First it was 80% of his meals, then 50%, then 20%, and now, we give supplement during a growth spurt or when I want some for the freezer. And you know what? He looks awesome.

None of my pediatricians have given a rat’s ass about feeding formula.



**Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone.** I now pump 99% of the time. For me, I couldn’t do it without the help of my husband and my dad who can help take care of baby and the house.

But here’s my secret, I haven’t found breastfeeding to be amazing. I don’t feel a “connection”, my hips still hurt, my tendonitis is returning, and I’m exhausted. I feel that at least when I pump, I can type, I can read, I can still play with the bean.

**Pumping sucks. Literally.** Your boobs will hurt, you’ll be on a schedule (my alarm went off every three hours for the first six weeks), and you will feel like a cow.

It is an uphill battle, until it isn’t. I have found a groove now and know when I want to pump. I know that when my dad leaves, I won’t be pumping as often, and if I pump less, that is OKAY. Because, I can supplement. And I am totally not a loser mom.

**Your baby takes a bottles from anyone.** There ARE benefits to pumping and formula. Your baby will take a bottle. And your baby can take the bottle from anyone in your family.

You know what’s awesome? Letting your husband feed your baby while everyone enjoys an adult beverage. And then he burps and changes bean’s diaper and then they play. And bean? He doesn’t care who feeds him, as long as someone feeds him.

**You CAN go out for more than one hour.** Sometimes my husband works home, and on those days, I go out, by myself, for 3-5 hours. Run errands, get a massage, meet friends and grab a drink, it’s amazing. Because you need you time.

Pumping lets someone else feed the baby. Even if you do BF, a couple pump sessions here and there will allow you to get out for much needed R&R.



**You do whatever makes it work.** Seriously. What I say, what others say, it doesn’t matter.

You know what matters? Your sanity. Do what it takes so that you have a good transition for pumping/formula/breastfeeding whatever.

Hugs and kisses moms!
/P

The Chicken & The Egg

“My wife asked me to send our family a tasteful picture of her water birth. Apparently, this wasn’t as funny as I thought it would be.”


Actually, I thought it was pretty funny. I don’t know if I’d want to see a real photo of a water birth sent on a postcard…