Author Archives: healthyumbrella

About healthyumbrella

My nickname is Han and I am a person of many talents. I am a certified yoga instructor and currently spend my days as a stay at home mom to a wonderful toddler.

Reducing waste

This year, I vow to reduce my plastic consumption. I’ve always been mindful of plastic waste since I was a little girl because of school and The Earth Day Special movie. I was really impacted by it when I visited the Arches National park in Utah and witnessed a ton of plastic bottles dumped at the bottom of Delicate Arch.

Its disheartening to view pollution anywhere, but I never expect to see it in nature. Hopefully, we are all aware that there is a ton of plastic in the ocean, with no end in sight. We, as individuals, need to take a stand and advocate for more sustainable products and packaging.

These are a few of my strategies so far(they are not extensive or exhaustive, but I’m working on it!):

  • Make my own deodorant, I use this site. I try to buy baking soda with no ammonia. You can find it at Sprouts.
  • I go to lush for the shampoo and conditioner:
  • I also try to visit Farmer Markets and bring my own bag.
  • Make your own soap
  • Use coconut oil as lotion, or other items that come in glass or can be transferred to reusable jars.
  • Started buying yogurt from a jar. Nounos creamery is delicious!

I have not gone to Whole Foods to attempt to use my own mason jars to pick up the bulk bin items to reduce plastic waste. I will create a new blog once I do! I’m sure they will be game. I will also try that at Sprouts!

There is one issue with the plastic consumption problem: Instacart. If you have not heard of Instacart, it is a personal shopping company that delivers grocery items to your home. We just tried the service this year and I have not figured out how to choose paper, instead of plastic, for the bags. So, I have a ton of plastic bags that I use as trash can liners.

We have not started composting, which I think will be the next move after I have tackled all of the other plastic issues.

I hope this post was helpful and will also modivate you to reduce, reuse and recycle!

Please feel free to comment on your tips and tricks.

Valentines Day Craft

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holiday’s. Not because of all of the delicious and incredibly tasty chocolate (although that helps)- it’s because of all the LOVE!

The holiday is commercialized and over the top anywhere you go, but if you remember the reason why it all began (follow link to my previous post here) and embrace the giving aspect of the Holiday, you will end up celebrating the entire month of February!

Not only does the month celebrate Love, it’s also the month to celebrate Black History Month! Another reason to be excited about this amazing MONTH! People who are born this month are so lucky!

The best way to show you care, on this spectacular month, is by making a heart felt craft. My representation of this is a Heart-felt-craft:

When I visited lakeshore, I purchased a bag of chalkpaper valentines, and thought, “I can make these a hundred times better!”

Being an avid Michaels shopper, I knew they had tons of little wooden shapes and looked for the hearts! Sorry shoppers, I took them all! They’re not very expensive, and there were not really that many. I wish they had 100! (Micheals, if youre reading this: stock up!). I also purchased red felt sheets and chalkboard spray paint. I love crafting!

These hearts are so easy to make! Just be sure to cover your surface very well, because I didnt, and now there is splattered paint all over my patio table!

I cut out felt for the hearts and added a little chalk to the gift. Presto change-o, Valentine gifts are done and ready for the big day.

If you own a cricut, use that, my hearts are pretty deformed, but those little felt erasers are so cute!

Write messages of love daily to your loved one to make this month extra special!

If you decide to make one or a hundred, I hope you have as much fun as I did making these adorable tiny hearts and that the recipient enjoys writing on them. Let me know if you tried this or if you’ve made any Valentine gifts yourself.

If you dont get a chance to go to Michaels, Joannes, or Hobby Lobby here is an affiliate link for wooden hearts:

2-Inch Wood Heart 100pcs Blank Unfinished Wooden Slices Discs Cutout Pieces Wedding Guestbook Signin Party Guest Greetings DIY Crafts Projects

Combining Art Media with Literature

Recently on facebook, a viral post popped up that caught my attention. It showed children painting on a vertical easel made from a inverted table and plastic wrap. I tried it instantly! And not only did I love it, but, we found new creative artistic avenues while reading A House for Hermit crab and The Foolish Tortoise.

I turned our IKEA latt table over and wrapped the plastic wrap all around the legs, it was a little challenging, but not too much. I just hooked the first end to a leg and then continued to circle around the table. Here is our reproduction:

When painting we did not imitate Eric Carle’s figures, instead we focused on revisiting horizontal and vertical.

The first sheet in a House for Hermit Crab has shades of green and blue and a scribble going across the page. We repeated this same pattern, but on the plastic wrap. We used sponges to paint it on the wrap, and the ends of our paint brushes to make swirls horizontally across. Here is the first attempt:

Then we practiced Vertical by imitating the first sheet in The Foolish Tortoise. That page had light green and green with vertical squiggles. Here is that one:

I asked my toddler if she could pronounce vertical and horizontal while we painting.

We also discussed the words: consent, permission and respect with A House for Hermit Crab. Every time the crab asked a sea creature a question I would reinforce each term and explain it to my child. she was pretty annyoed and said, “I know, you said it last time.” We’ve read the book more than once.

Let me know in the comments if you practiced this or if you found different extensions for the books.

The books can be purchased by clicking on the images: (Affiliate links)

Storing 3 Part Cards

After buying a laminator, I went crazy looking for printables to laminate. The hard part was finding a way to organize and categorize each printed item. 

Originally, I used two folders to keep all of my Spanish and English cards. That wasn’t as efficient as it seemed at the time.

This is one of the folders:

It’s a disaster.

I visited the 99 cents store and found a small bin. I cut colored cardstock into filing seperators and sectioned off my laminated cards. 

This makes it easier for me to view and access the laminated cards. 

For the 3 part cards that have matching toobs, I put them in zip lock bags and stuffed them in a bin. 

The instrument printables are from Imagine Our Life.

Let me know if you try this and if it works for you leave a note in the comments. 

St. Valentine History for Toddlers

Valentines day is in a few days!

I always look forward to teaching my toddler about love, kindness and generosity. In February it’s especially easy to do because, Valentine’s Day epitomizes altruism.  Although people complain that the holiday has become too comercialized, the history behind it makes it one of my favorite Holidays.
Teaching history to people is not easy. The first time I took history in college I ended up with drool on my desk. Even though that happened, I never gave up on history because I knew it was interesting, and i had a great high school teacher. The history lessons you get in high school are sensored and compact (BORING). I was only interested in history because of Mr. Davis and his flamboyant stories of historical figures. Although, I had respect for history lessons I  would never go out of my way to find books, or even watch the history channel. Luckily for me, I took a western civilization course in college. That teacher rocked it!  I wish I knew how he did it, but history is now so interesting. I dont want my toddler to have to wait until she’s 20-something to love history. The following is an example of how to introduce a little St. Valentine history to toddlers:

If you’ve never heard of St. Valentine’s history click here. St. Valentine was valiant, brave, and lived at the end of the third century A.D.  Because toddlers do not fully understand the concept of time, using an hour glass while melting  ice can help explain events a little better.I used a heart shaped silicone mold to make my ice. While this does not explain the concept of A.D. Versus B.C, it will give some idea of time passing by. This is how I did it:

Here is the picture of the ice and hour glass. This particular hourglass takes 3 minutes to spill it’s sand.

 I used a silicone heart mold for the ice. You could add red water color paint if you’d like.

Here is the partial melted ice:

I used a sheet to create a time line, and used a glitter red crayon to draw the time line:

It took 50 minutes for the ice to melt. My toddler was getting a little restless. At 24 minutes I brought out an orca, because she wanted to put the dolphin in the ice. I let her know orcas prefer the colder weather, while the dolphins do not. She didnt care. We left them both in the small container. I also brought out a penguin book:

Affiliate link: Little Penguin (Look at Me Books)

It took 50 minutes for the ice to melt! We talked about past, present, and future with the time line. This will not make your toddler instantly remember minutes, and time, but it helps explain the concept. My toddler wanted to do this again the following day.

To teach about St. Valentine I created a felt puppet:

I chose this representation of St. Valentine because we have this book (affiliate link):

Affiliate link:Saint Valentine

I sewed the finger puppet, and cut the arms and beard:

I used my favorite glue:

Affiliate Link: Beacon Fabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive, 4-Ounce

I did sew the arms on because, while the glue is very strong, I wanted a sturdier hold for those arms, just in case they were going to move once I handed the puppet over to my toddler. I used a pen to draw the face on St. Valentine.

The puppet can be used when reading the book, or just when explaining the story. Here is the story I used:
“Once upon a time, in the past, there was a priest who went against an oppressive King. The subjects of the King who followed a certain faith were banned from marriage. They could not be friends forever. Priest Valentine would secretly marry these friends so that they could be together forever and continue to follow their beliefs.”
You could use animals, blocks, or Q and U for the “friends”.

I also made this song (happy birthday song):

Happy Valentine’s Day to you.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you.

Because, he married couples in secret,

Happy Valentine’s Day to you.

I hope these activities help you and your children celebrate Valentine’s day and helps your toddler become a fan of history.

Felt sheet

When my toddler was 2, I found out about felt story books and fell in love. I wish I knew about these when I was pregnant, I would have made a ton! Now I only have time to make one sheet every three months!

I’m attempting to make a calendar felt book, which I will post later this month. Today, I finished this wonderful bath and shower felt sheet.

I got the idea after I found checkered felt at Micheals. I didn’t use a pattern and instead cut everything by hand. I don’t mind that it’s uneven, or that I didn’t finish sewing the right side of the curtain. I can go on and on with the mistakes, but I’ll just enjoy the completed work now. 

I’m not a seamstress, I just know how to sew a very good uneven line. I also do not own a sewing machine (I don’t even know how to use one!). If you’re the same, and it hinders you from making anything for your toddler, I really encourage you to start with a felt sheet. I’ll post my current felt book soon, but this post is all about this single sheet. Here go the details:

First, I cut a checkered sheet in half and sewed them to a white felt sheet. I felt the checkered sheet looked like tile and used it appropriately.

For the bath I folded as white felt sheet in half and cut it to represent one. Here:

I sewed the sides and then I sewed the bath tub to the sheet. I made sure to leave the top flap free:

Originally, I was going to permanently sew the blue felt onto the bath, but when my toddler played with it she placed the “water” down the drain. Instead, I sewed just the edge of the felt piece so it could move and go down the “drain”:

The shower was made with a single straight-cut piece of gray felt that I folded at the top to turn into a shower. The running water was a small piece of light blue felt that I shredded with scissors to appear like running water. One of the pieces has already been cut off. There were three running “streams”. 

I was making capes for my toddler and had left over satin(?) material and decided to use it for the curtain. I had no idea what I was going to use for the curtain rod. I was thinking maybe a metal piece. This morning I decided to use a straw. Because, I’m a bad seamstress I sewed the curtain too tight and now it only moves half way! Here is the straw detail:

My toddler tried to pour actual water in the bath, but because it was water-color blue, I let her know it would stain the felt. You can see a few drops of the water on this felt sheet. I don’t feel bad about being strict with that, I feel she needs to respect her toys.

I wish I had more time to complete tons of sheets of felt that are effectively engaging for my toddler. Right now, I have to settle for one felt sheet every few months. 
If you have any tips on how to fix the curtain issue, I would appreciate it. Leave the tips in the comments if you’ve got them! 

Bullet Journal (R)

My husband get’s these wonderful notebooks (WITH GRAPH PAPER SHEETS!) from work. Of course, I steal them from him, since he never uses them! I also found the best use for them, so he can’t steal it back.

Because I’m an avid Pinterest peruser, I came across a Bullet Journal(R) pin. Ryder Carroll invented this ingenious journal method. You can watch the video here.

I started my journal in December, and it has helped me so much! I know it’s not for everyone, especially since we live in an electronic heaven. It’s easier to use your phone, computer, or a blog as your journal then to have to lug a notebook around with all of your goals, dreams, and secrets in it!

I keep mine at home. I use it every other day, or when I’m good, daily. It keeps me motivated, and organized. I have tons of things I like to do, want to accomplish all at once, and I also have a toddler. The journal helps me stay focused. It also helps me be real with myself. I want to do 10,000 things, and because I can’t do them it stresses me out! I also find myself doing everything and not completing a single one. With the journal, I’m aware of the crafts I want to complete, and move it to the next month if I haven’t started it. I also just drop it, while I complete something else. It’s so RELAXING!

HERE IT IS:

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Since it’s February, I’m showing the current journal. I forgot January had 31 days, so I started the month on Tuesday. I couldn’t rip the page’s out because of this following grid:

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This grid idea from here. This site also helped me develop all the things I love about my journal. I made the mistake of using a sharpie ultra fine point and the ink leaked through the pages, ugh.

I also found cheap mini calendar stickies at target (I LOVE Target). This is my Goal sheet and first journal of the month:

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January’s journaling helped me identify strengths I feel are beneficial in my parenting, and today I followed through by adding a post it with my plan throughout the month. I also created a page where I can brainstorm how i define, and how I will execute each strength. Here are the pages:

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This journal helps get my creativity out and helps me stay away from my phone. Originally I wanted to transfer it to an electronic format, but using a pen and paper really helps ground me and also helps improve my chicken scratch handwriting.

I haven’t added the yearly goals, but, I do have a books to read sheet:

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That book list is my favorite! Don’t use that sharpie, unless you have thick pages! I prefer this one:

(affiliate link)

That picture also shows my first January grid. It’s pretty pathetic. I had to switch it to vertical instead of horizontal because my dates did not fit.

This journaling method is adaptive and beneficial. I hope you find it useful and can let me know if you tried it!