Miffy Fun – Rain Stick

Have you ever felt like you’ve done a day full of activities within the span of three hours? The weekends start early at my house and our most productive hours are first thing in the morning. We’ve gone on daring adventures, finished our errands, taken morning naps, etc. by 10 AM. When you have two kids who are lively little fellas, having an arsenal of fun activities to fill the rest of the day are essential.

Miffy and her friends have a wide variety of activities (i.e. arts and crafts, songs and dances, recipes, and more) for you and your kiddos to enjoy. My oldest has been talking about the weather at school, in particular rain. With Miffy’s April Shower activities, we spent part of our Sunday making a fun Miffy inspired rain stick.

Here’s how to make a rain stick at home:

What you’ll need:

  • Paper towel roll
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Rubber Bands
  • Dried rice
  • Items for decorating – i.e. construction paper, stickers, wasabi tape, crayons, markers, etc.

Let’s make it rain:

  1. Decorate the paper towel tube, like you’ve never decorated before! We made our rain stick look like Miffy, because she’s our favorite little bunny.
  2. Once decorated, seal one end of the paper towel roll by wrapping the end and securing it with plastic wrap and rubber bands.
  3. To make the rain sound, you will need to fold a segment of aluminum foil into a spring-shape and place it inside the paper towel roll.
  4. Carefully pour ¼ cup of dried rice or beans into the paper towel roll.
  5. Seal the opposite end of the paper towel roll with the plastic wrap and rubber band.
  6. Listen to the sounds of rain.

My kid is obsessed and wants to take his rain stick to bed, but that request is still up for negotiation. If you are looking for a fun activity that includes learning about the weather, music, and arts and crafts, this is the one for you! Make sure you check out Miffy and all her friends over at www.miffyfun.com.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MiffyandFriendsUS/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/miffy_official_usa/?hl=en

Twitter – https://twitter.com/MiffyOfficialUS

Website – https://miffyfun.com/2018/04/06/april-showers/

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Kids, Work, and Graduate School – Oh My!

You may be wondering where I’ve been, or you may not care, but either way let me tell you where I have been the last few months. I decided after having my first son that I would start graduate school. Pursuing higher education has always been in the back of my mind since the day I grabbed my undergraduate diploma from my department head.

I was burned out by the end of my undergraduate career. I went from being the care-free teen in high school to a tightly wound, slightly OCD college student. To say I needed a break was an understatement. So naturally, I ended my break from school after having a child and being a fulltime employee. It makes perfect sense right (she said sarcastically)?

Now with two kids, an awesome husband, and a career, I’m trying to make it all work. When it comes to pursuing higher education as a mom, here are few things I’ve learned:

  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Honestly, it’s not worth it. Have I fully taken my own advice? No, but I’m working on it.
  2. Have a calendar…or two. I can’t document my day enough! Without a calendar we would all be lost in my household.
  3. Make a list. There is nothing quite as satisfying as marking off assignments from your list. When you’re staying up late at night, writing lengthy papers, completely exhausted from the day, there is nothing like aggressively crossing the assignment off your list. Oh, the sweet gratification!
  4. Join a flexible graduate or undergraduate school program. When you decide to take on graduate school as a parent, make sure you find a program that is going to work with your lifestyle. You should never sacrifice your family life to meet the needs of a program.
  5. Keep the lines of communication open. I learned quickly to keep my husband and support system aware of where I was mentally and emotionally regarding school. When it came to finals, I put out my mommy call – it sounds something like, HELP! – and brought in the troops for support. Communicating my needs has been key throughout this process.
  6. Take a break. There is nothing quite like stopping everything and grabbing a hug from the little ones. I will always pause (except during a live class) to play dress-up and assume the role of Captain Mommy Hook with my kiddos. I mean, I am the greatest swashbuckling pirate around.
  7. You’ve got this! If you’re far behind on homework and finals or just entirely overwhelmed, remember you are a Rockstar!

As I get closer to completing my degree, I feel more empowered. I feel empowered not only as a professional, but as a mom. I want my kids to know they can do anything (within limits – you know what I’m saying) and be successful in their dreams at any age.

Now, I am going to sit back, relax, and enjoy the added free time (as parents do we really have free time?) I have during summer break. If you need me, I will be fighting off evil pirates with my lightsaber, alongside my crew that consists of a three-year-old and a one-year-old. Argh!

Brush-Baby: The Teething Game Changer

Alright parents, let’s talk about teething. We can all agree there is nothing worse than watching your poor, sweet, little baby writhing in pain from the continuous eruption of teeth from their tender little gums. My oldest (now three) would spout out three to five teeth at once, and his little brother (11 months) is following suit.

Continuously drooling, sticking everything in his mouth, and whining (you know the teething whine), my baby was pretty much screaming at me to get him the “goods” to fix his frustration. What are the “goods” you ask?  Brush-Baby!

When I tell you Brush-Baby is the gum soothing and mom sanity saving teething grace I always needed in my life, I am not telling a lie. This UK based company is dedicated to the healthy development of gums from teething to the loss of baby teeth as well as the formation of adult teeth. Their products are designed for babies, toddlers, and young children. Healthy tooth development and oral hygiene is important to instill at a young age, and Brush-Baby is there to offer all the support you need.

There are three products I know, trust, and we absolutely LOVE for our teething youngster: My FirstBrush and Teether Set, Chewable Toothbrush and Teether, and Applemint Teething Toothpaste.

My FirstBrush and Teether Set (£6.75 or $8.38 approx): This must-have starter set is perfect the little ones, ages 0-18 months. The First Teether is my son’s FAVORITE. The soft silicon bristles help massage and ease the discomfort of teething within seconds (no joke). The teether is dishwasher safe, which I know all my fellow parents out there can appreciate, and it has an easy grip with flower guard perfect at keeping that teething game safe. Brush-Baby recommends cooling the teether in the fridge or placing teething gel on the silicone brush, and folks, it’s a game-changer. Additionally, the FirstBrush is the perfect size for brushing those tiny baby teeth. With a small head, gentle bristles, and long handle for easier brushing, this toothbrush steps up the oral hygiene game.

Chewable Toothbrush and Teether (£4.99 or $6.20 approx): Similar to the First Teether, the Chewable Toothbrush and Teether offers much needed comfort for the teething aches and pains. This award winning, yes I said award winning, silicone brush can clean teeth and gums, while soothing gums simultaneously. This toothbrush/teether is designed to reach those pesky back molars that cause a lot of aches and pains. Perfect for babies and toddlers ages 10-36 months, you can feel safe giving your child this silicone teether (highest grade medical silicone).  You need to put this in your teething arsenal ASAP!

Applemint Teething Toothpaste (£2.35 or $2.92 approx): Now I am one of those parents that will often taste everything before I give it to my kids, so naturally I gave the Applemint Teething Toothpaste a try, and it was DELICIOUS! No wonder my baby is pawing at me for more. Brush-Baby has created a special toothpaste formula that has dental protection with the natural anti-inflammatory impacts of chamomile to help soothe gums. I know there is always a concern about fluoride with small children, but this teething toothpaste has low fluoride safer if swallowed and still healthy for the tooth’s enamel. The Applemint Teething Toothpaste is also gluten free, dairy free, paraben-free, cruelty free, suitable for vegans, and SLS free non foaming. This toothpaste is great for kids 0-2 years of age.

I have seen a complete transformation in my son’s teething process since we’ve introduced Brush-Baby into our teething tool belt. I wish I had these products when my older son was going through all of his discomfort. I will be ordering more of these products as my kids continue to grow. Again, with products are for babies, toddlers, and children, Brush-Baby will grow with our family. Will you introduce them into your family as well?

Thank you Brush-Baby!!

Follow Brush-Baby:

Twitter – @brushbabyuk
Instagram – @brushbabyuk
Facebook – Brush-Baby

Easy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (with Pancake mix?!)

I’ve spoken about it before, but we have a house of picky eaters (really just my toddler), and we are often left with an excess of various food. For example, one day my son LOVES bananas and the next day he hates them. It hurts me deeply to throw away perfectly good food, so I’ve become an inventive chef in my kitchen.

So, what can you make with limited time and overripe bananas (because your son decided the day you brought home the bananas he was no longer going to eat them)? Chocolate chip banana bread!

With four simple ingredients and less than an hour (because as parents we don’t have a lot of time), you can make a delicious treat guaranteed to fill your stomachs and make your home smell like a local bakery.

What you’ll need:

– 4 ripe bananas
– 2 eggs
– 2 cups of pancake mix (YES! Pancake mix)
– 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350

Step 1: Gather your four ripe bananas and mash them up.

* Here’s a trick I like to use when I’m baking at night and want to stay quiet – place all four peeled bananas in a gallon bag, zip up the bag tightly (remove all excess air), and start to smash. Once the bananas are fully mashed up, you can cut the tip of the bag and pipe out the contents like you are icing a cake.

Step 2: Crack and beat your two eggs.

Step 3: Combine the pancake mix (will work with gluten-free pancake mix as well) and chocolate chips, mixing it all together.

Step 4: Mix the eggs into your dry mixture.

Step 5: Fold in the mashed banana.

Step 6: Once all four ingredients are mixed together, evenly dispense the contents into a greased loaf pan.

Step 7: Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for 35 minutes on 350 degrees.

Step 8: Cool and enjoy!

I’ve made many types of banana bread over the year, but this is by far my favorite combination EVER! Give it a try and let me know your thoughts. Trust me, it’s delicious!

When Dad Is In Charge

When you’re a mom, it’s assumed you are the one to always power through and take care of everyone at any given moment, but what happens when you get sick? I know, I know, what a horrible thing to say, but it happened! I have been struck by the flu. THE FLU! A three-letter word we as parents, especially moms, never want to hear. It’s like “he who shall not be named.” Don’t say it! Get it out of my house NOW!

The origins of my illness are unknown. Could it have been something my kids brought home from daycare? Was it someone I shook hands with from work? The list of culprits is extensive, but none of that matters, I have been out of commission and the three men in my life – husband, toddler, and baby – have been left to fight for their own.

Now, I will give it to my husband, he does a great job, but a screaming toddler and teething baby can take a toll on anyone. As I laid in bed with a headache like no other headache I’ve experienced before (the fluorescent lighting was trying to take me down), I just let go of my mom control issues and just assumed the following would take place:

(When dad takes the daily photo)

  1. Lotion? What lotion? My husband hates the feeling of lotion, so I assumed my kids will not be moisturized and fall victim of the winter chap.
  2. My toddler would be exposed to some Netflix series, well over his head. Today they watched Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, which I can’t complain too much. At least it wasn’t something ridden with gore and death. I’ll just have a nearly three-year-old question his existence on this planet. Swell!
  3. My children will bully their father. When you have two kids yelling at the top of their lungs, you give in. If my toddler will want puffs, pretzels, cheez-its, goldfish, fruit chews, pediasure, yogurt, and an orange and he’ll get it, because one screaming child is better than two.
  4. When they bump their heads, or face it with my child, fall off the couch, they get a rub on the head and a “you’re OK Bud” instead of some serious mom cuddles.
  5. Finally, my toddler may or may not wash his hands following the use of the potty. Who needs basic hygiene? Not my son!

I could highlight the things I would have done differently, but when it all comes down to it, my husband rocked it. He confirmed everything we speculated, he’s an AWESOME dad! While I was quarantined, my kids:

  1. Got quality one-on-one time with their dad.
  2. They were able to play lightsabers or ninja with their dad without mom chiming in on safety issues.
  3. My toddler was able to follow his dad around and help with his baby brother (who absolutely adores him).
  4. They learned about the infinite expanse of the universe with Neil deGresse Tyson
  5. Finally, they were showed how much they are loved by their dad – more than anything.

To say we are lucky to have my husband is a complete understatement. Hun, if I haven’t said it enough, I love you, the boys love you, and we appreciate everything you do for us!

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Bye-Bye Bad Dream

For a number of months my toddler was suffering from night terrors. He would wake up every night screaming and crying to the point where he was completely inconsolable. It would take nearly an hour to calm him down and get him back to sleep.

As a parent we want to do everything we can to make our kids feel better. It was breaking my heart to see him fill up with so much fear. During his time of bad dreams I tried everything to ease his soul, and I finally found the best solution for my little guy.

Here are the three steps we use to take down the monsters under the bed.

  1. Tabitha Fink Ninja at Night by Rick Felty – This is quite possibly the best tool in my nightmare destroying tool belt. Tabitha Fink is “a cat with one eye” and she “likes to try things no other cats try.” Tabitha helps her friend Bartholomew Blink the mouse confidentially confront his fears at nighttime by becoming ninjas at night. Along with becoming a night ninja, Bartholomew Blink gains the skills needed to confront his fears of monsters with curly noses, blue bears, trolls in the laundry room, etc. while learning his monsters could be misunderstood and just need a friend to care about them.

You can get your copy of this WONDERFUL book by going to https://www.amazon.com/Tabitha-Fink-Ninja-at-Night/dp/0989912841

  1. Essential Oils – Bye-Bye Bad Dream essential oil roller ball – My coworker is a consultant for Doterra (there are so many brands and everyone has an opinion on which one is better than the next, but this is the brand she uses) and she made a Bye-Bye Bad Dream mix for my little one. Every night before we tuck him into bed, he asks us to “put it on my back please!” What am I to do when I run out of this? I will say, as soon as we started incorporating essential oils into our nightly routine he has been sleeping more peacefully.

Bye-Bye Bad Dream roller ball oils:

– Lavender
– Marjoram
– Juniper Berry
– Cedarwood

*I would consult an essential oil specialist regarding the dilution of the oils. It is very different for child and you need to make sure you are using the right amount. *

  1. Best Buddy – My son is a creature of habit. He likes things a certain way and will, let’s be honest, freak out if something is out of sorts (according to him). My toddler has 5 friends he takes everywhere with him no matter what. He doesn’t have to carry them around, but they need to be within a 20 foot radius. God be with you if he’s friends are out of reach.

Best Friend Entourage:
– Anton – a 40 cent Alligator from Goodwill
– Buddy – a $3 Triceratops from the Target dollar section
– Lion – a Lion given to him by his doctor
– Sven – a McDonald’s keychain of Sven from Frozen that he received as a prize
– Chameleon – a 1997 Beanie Baby an elderly woman gave him in a restaurant (don’t worry we cleaned it)

Can we all agree kids are weird?

So, yes – armed with his 5 friends, he is ready to take on the nighttime “bad guys.” Does your kid(s) have a stuff animal they have to carry around everywhere? Also, how do you successfully detach your kids from their stuffed buddies? This may be a post for the future.

So when the “evil monkeys throwing fruit at your head” or the “bad guys stealing books from your bookshelf” (actual dreams my toddler has had) come out of the dark, arm your little one with artillery equipped with the tools to take the baddies down!

What do you do to help your little ones sleep peacefully without nightmares at night?

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Get your hands on “Tabitha Fink Ninja at Night” by going here >> https://www.amazon.com/Tabitha-Fink-Ninja-at-Night/dp/0989912841 <<

DK Book Wish List + Giveaway

Reading together and sharing stories is a necessity in my household. My nearly three-year-old will not go bed unless we read three stories. I know what you’re thinking, “three stories?!” Yes! I truly cherish my one-on-one time with my toddler. With an 8-month-old it can be difficult to give him all of the attention he wants, but our nighttime routine is OUR time, so I’m OK with three bedtime stories.

The majority of our bedtime reads come from our good friends over at DK Publishing. From touch-and-feel books to encyclopedias all the way to flashcards and experiments, DK publishing has all of the books you need to keep a well-stocked bookshelf for you and your kids.

We want to share with you four of our favorite and most anticipated DK publications (even though our list could go on and on).

Pop-Up Peekaboo! Farm

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Finding a book my toddler and my baby both love has proven to be a serious task in the past, but with the Pop-Up Peekaboo! Farm book, we can all sit down and enjoy a book together. Under each individual flap is a pop-up surprise guaranteed to create lots of laughs and giggles. My oldest son loves to point out all of the animals to his baby brother (insert a collective “aww” sound). The baby loves his bog brother and gives him is full attention during Pop-Up Peekaboo Farm time!

Dinosaur A to Z

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Now, I’ve talked about this book in the past, and well, it’s still a favorite for all us. Folks, we read the entire, YES, the entire Dinosaur A to Z book every.single.night. My toddler probably knows more about dinosaurs than the most well-known and well-educated archeologist in the world (no joke). He thoroughly enjoys seeing the beautiful artistic adaptations, and every turn of the page is like seeing the book again for the first time. If your child loves dinosaurs, I strongly recommend you get your claws on this book (see what I did there?).

My First Animals – Touch and Feel Picture Cards

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My toddler is at the phase in life where he likes to learn new things, because he loves the praise that comes along with learning something new. The My First Animals – Touch and Feel Picture Cards is the perfect addition to our daily routine. Within this compact display are 16 colorful early learning cards your toddler will LOVE! Who doesn’t get excited when they see kittens and puppies?

How to be a Scientist – GIVEAWAY

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I grew up in a household with a dad who has his doctorate in analytical chemistry and I had no desire to learn science. The idea of going to my biology or chemistry class gave me an upset stomach. When we got our hands on Steve Mould’s How to Be Scientist book, I got excited about science. Oh how I wish they had this book when I was going through science classes. No matter how old your kids are, teaching them the importance of the sciences is essential. Who was Marie Curie? How do you make a compass? What is energy? These are all things you can learn in this gorgeous and educational book.

We love this book so much we wanted to give away a signed copy of Steve Mould’s How to be a Scientist.

Here’s how to enter:

Option 1

Follow us on Instagram @makingmillmama
Tag a friend in the comments section
For an extra entry, share the post in the your Instagram story

Option 2

Follow us on Twitter @makingmillmama
Like and Retweet
 

If you do both option 1 and option 2, you will have double the entries. This giveaway is not affiliated with DK Publishing, Instagram, or Twitter. The giveaway will run from Thursday, December 21, 2017 to Sunday, December 31, 2017 8:00 PM EST. The winner will be direct messaged if they are the winner and the book will ship following the New Year holiday. This giveaway is open to both US and International. Good luck!

What are your favorite DK Publishing books? Will you get your hands on these awesome books? Let me know in the comments below.

Follow DK Publishing:

Facebook – @dkbooks.us

Instagram – @dkbooks

Twitter – @dkpublishing

Website – www.dk.com/us/

Christmas Crafts for Siblings

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for new and cute crafts to do with the kids around Christmas time. Each year we gift our family members with new piece of personalized artwork. As the “director” of these artistic projects, I always try to do something different from the year before.

It was easier to create a festive craft when it was just one kiddo, but now with two, we have to come up with ways to incorporate both boys into the priceless masterpiece. My parents, in particular, love hand print and footprint crafts. So, I have come up with three Christmas art projects for siblings which include hand prints and footprints.

All paintings include toxic-free paints; safe for kids and animals.

Oh Christmas Tree!

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This cute craft highlights one of our favorite holiday symbols, the Christmas tree! Even though my 8 month old is only 4 pounds less than my two and half year old, my toddler has slightly bigger feet. For this painting, I pressed my toddler’s foot as the Christmas tree and used a press of the baby’s hand as the star on top of the tree. I added polka-dots and “OH” around the tree for additional pops of color.

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Perfectly Packaged 

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I used the wrapped presents under the Christmas tree as the inspiration for this colorfully pressed painting. As I was thinking about what hand prints looked like, I thought of a bow; the perfect touch to a perfectly packaged present! Since my kids are still little, this painting required a little more of a mommy touch with the designing of the present and the wording.

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Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

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Who doesn’t love good ole’ Rudy? Another hand print focused craft, the placement is critical. Have you ever tried to straighten your 8 month old’s hand as it is covered in paint in order to place it perfectly on the canvas? No?! It’s a challenge!! This is by far my favorite Christmas craft. Rudolph looks so cute (can I keep these out all year long?) and festive. You will want to make this painting with your kid(s).

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*Spoiler alert* for my family – you will be getting these crafts for Christmas. I challenge you to contain your excitement.

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What do you think of these sibling Christmas crafts? Do you think you will try these with your kids or kid? Let me know in the comments below or if you have any other craft ideas. I am always looking.

Merry Christmas and happy Holidays!

Teaching Toddlers to Give Back and Share

“Please share with your brother!” When you have a toddler and a baby, the struggle of teaching a nearly three-year-old the importance of sharing is a difficult journey. As we enter the season of giving, and the more I think about how I want my children to be kids that give back, I’ve brainstormed a bevy of ways to combine the art of giving back with that of sharing.

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Here are three ways to show your kids how to give back through sharing:

  1. Cleaning Up and Giving Back – My children have been blessed with so much. As we approach the season of gifting and giving, we have found it important to have our toddler go through toys we have grouped together and determine which toys he would like to pass along to his baby brother and what toys he would like to donate to a local charity. By giving our son an active role in the cleaning out process we are able to share with him about the difference he is making in the lives of other children his age as well as teaching him that by sharing with his baby brother, he is letting his brother create wonderful memories with those beloved toys as well!
  2. Operation Christmas Child – There is nothing quite like seeing the joy on a child’s face as they open up a present. The Samaritan’s Purse has provided an opportunity for you and your child to bring joy to another child’s life. Have your child pick out which toys he/she wants to include in their box for a boy or girl their age and fill the box to send off to those overseas. This giving opportunity lets them have an active role in making a difference and opens up conversation on the importance of sharing.

Learn more about Operation Christmas Child here >> https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/ <<

  1. A Giving Bank – Inevitably, family members like to give my toddler some cash and for a toddler a five dollar bill doesn’t mean much. As he grows he will learn the importance of saving, but by starting early, we can establish two piggy banks. One bank for personal savings and one for charity. He will be able to donate the money to a charity of his choice or use the money to fill a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child or a stocking for the Salvation Army; whatever they want to do!

These are just a few ways to get your little ones in the holiday spirit of giving back as well as offer inspiration to tackle the life lesson of sharing.

How do you teach your kids about helping others and giving back? Let me know in the comments below.

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Toddler Time – The Slime Book

I never fully understood the obsession with slime. For months Instagram stories, tweets, and even Youtube gurus were plastering their feeds with SLIME. While this was all happening, I was sitting on my couch saying, “what’s the big deal?” Well folks, I now I understand the fascination.

I am always looking for fun activities to do with my toddler on the weekend. It’s easy to cave and let him watch his iPad all day long, but I refuse to let him fall victim to the digital world (I had to add a dramatic flair). As any nearly three-year-old boy, he loves to get into anything and everything gooey, goopy, and gloopy. When we received The Slime Book by DK Publishing, I knew we had found the exciting activity my kid would love!

Now my toddler is obsessed with dinosaurs, so I wanted to do something slime related involving our prehistoric friends. I found a recipe called “See-Through Slime” which required ingredients I already had readily available in my home and used the tactile aspect of the “Dinosaurs in Amber” recipe and added plastic dinosaurs to the mix. Once our slime was mixed and filled with dinos, we played a fun game of archeologist. I’m not one to brag, but we discovered some pretty unique species that day (jealous?).

Even though fluffy, stretchy, and snow slime is fun to make, let’s keep in mind that toddlers, especially my toddler, like to put everything in their mouths. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told my son to “stop, remove it from your mouth, put it down, and step away.” The Slime Book brings the joy of making slime to an all new delicious level with their handful of edible recipes. You don’t have to worry about your kid consuming glue, glitter, saline solution or shaving cream when you mix these items together.

If you are looking for a fun activity to do with your kids, check out DK Publishing’s The Slime Book and their 30+ awesome slime recipes. “Each recipe is Borax-free and uses safe, readily available ingredients,” so you will feel safe making squishy experiments with your little ones.

Have you entered the world of slime? What are your favorite slime recipes to do with your kids? Let me know in the comments below.

Check out DK Publishing:

Website – DK Publishing
Twitter – @dkpublishing
Facebook – DK Books
Instagram – @dkbooks