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.

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!

Spanish with a Toddler

Spanish was my fist spoken language. Now, all I speak is English. My vocabulary in the English language is broader, and more diverse then the spanish one. I’m bilingual and can have a full conversation in spanish, but it’s not as easy as when I’m communicating in English. It’s difficult to speak fluently when you’re so used to the English language.

My toddler can only speak English. The minimal spanish she does know is “agua”(water). You can hear her American-English accent when she attemps to pronounce the complex syllables that are in the spanish language. While English is said to be the most difficult second language to aquire on this website, I would have preferred that my daughter followed along my footsteps. I wanted her to learn spanish first and then English. This was the only time I wanted her to emulate me. Fail!

It’s all my fault, we only have about 3% spanish books in the house as opposed to English or French books. The spanish that I do speak around her, happens when I remember I need to speak to her in spanish. My husband and I attempted to make sunday our spanish speaking day, but that was a catastrophe. I’m even thinking of dropping her off at my mom’s house for a few weeks (she only speaks spanish).

There are spanish immersion schools that could help, but there are so few around my neighborhood, and they’re expensive. I’ve also attempted to meet up with a few spanish speaking friends and create a spanish class where all of our toddlers practiced certain activities. Colors was our subject for about 3 weeks,  but because we are so busy, it was hard to meet frequently and we’ve kind of lost our momentum.

In our small group we used play based methods to teach the colors. We had the kids throw colored bean bags at a matching colored felt sheet. We also used multi-colored straws and blocks. The lesson plan was fun and entertaining for the kids. The problem that we did experience was when the kids lost their interest and we had to jump around and engage them again. We also used a puppet to catch their attention.

One class a week is great, but we still had to reinforce it throughout the week, and that is where I lose it. I am working on an alphabet box. It’s amazing! Of course, it’s only in english. :C I’m going to try to make it bilingual. Here is the box:

I cut out an amazon box to make my small 12 cabinet container reversible.
Here are a few options available:

 

(Affiliate link.)

I wish I would have found these when I was looking! I fill the boxes up with safari toob items, and with these. I get them from Daiso! They’re tiny little cute erasers that cost $1.50. Not only do you get more than 3! They’re so adorable!

This alphabet box is primarily english. I have not organized it so that it’s a bilingual box, but, I feel that I need to. I’ve printed out spanish flash cards from this free website. I also bought these books:

(Affiliate link.)

She loves these books! I try to read them daily, but I dont make it a habit. I’m going to keep trying the alphabet box and I’ll hopefully have a successful post on this subject next month!

What activities and lessons do you try to teach your child/friend a second language?

Working Out At Disneyland

Working out. People hate it, others tolerate it, while some people think it’s fun. Pairing exercises with an exhausting Disneyland outing could mean I’m one of the few who is obsessed with it. In reality, I’m not. If I was, I would be 50 pounds lighter.  Disneyland just calls for a workout in certain spots.

During a Disneyland trip, I usually walk around 10,000-15,000 steps. That’s a feat in itself, but the real magic is done  in the secret low traffic areas. When you find the perfect places for yoga, you don’t have to wake up extra early for a full hour practice, or try to cram it in before bed.  Weight training, and lunges don’t have to wait for tomorrow. You can continue your usual routine at the happiest place on earth.

In Fantasy land, there is a walkway that is between Small World and the Story Book Land canal boats. It’s hidden by a fence and some bushes. That walk way is hardly ever used, I can fit in a whole Yoga sequence with only two or three people walking past. It’s heaven! Not only is it deserted, it’s beautiful! The stones make you feel as if though you’re practicing yoga in a medieval castle, with a Maharajah who bestowed the hidden practice to you, and only you. As ludicrous as that may sound, it’s the perfect spot for a little exercise.

California Adventure has the Red Wood Creek Trail, which is amazing. They have rock climbing , nets, and slides, which are great for a core and arm strengthening bout. You can also lunge from one corner to the next. Before you get to the Red Wood Creek, right behind the restrooms, there is a small little secret spot that is surrounded by benches. I use those benches for push ups, and tricep dips. You can do another yoga/pilates sequence there if you’re looking for privacy.  The big hill near the pier is perfect for lunging as well.

Now, you don’t really get a crazy sweaty workout, unless you want to sit next to someone on a ride and disgust them with the salty liquid that comes out of your pores. You can just get resistance training in long enough to keep those muscles growing.

If you really want to work out, Disney offers marathon’s very frequently throughout the year. I’ve never joined one, but, I’m sure they’re great!

These are the secret workout spots I’ve found at Disney. Do you know of any others?

 

Chai

After all of the sleepless nights with my first, and only child, I fell in love with coffee. Coffee in the morning, afternoon, but never at night. My system can only take so much caffeine before I turn into an insomnia induced zombie.

Before becoming addicted to morning caffeine, I cherished tea. Black tea, oolong, english, etc. and this fascination lead me to visit as many tea houses as I could. While the tea houses were decadent and delicious, they could never compare to the chai recipe that was recited to me by an Asian-Indian shop cook.

I would make this tea when I felt like I needed a pick me up. Drinking it without sugar, made it a perfect companion to the cloying sweets I would purchase from a local Indian grocery store. Since I am not a fan of soda, this tea was all I needed to wake me up and give me that extra energy I needed to complete a task. Chai was my coffee before I had a child. I would purchase tea masala, but it would not compare to the mixture I made myself.

But, because of coffee, I forgot all about my perfect homemade chai.

In life, new discoveries take you away from past behaviors, actions, or interests. It’s not an accident, it’s human nature. We adapt and learn so that we can grow. Although, this is just coffee and tea I’m talking about, it reminded me that just because you learn something new, does not mean you can discard the old. It’s part of what makes you who you are. I truly believe that chai made me view different cultures and their delicacies in a different and more respectful light.

While listening to the audio book, Shantaram (from Audible) I was reminded of my love and obsession with chai tea and indian culture. I made it after listening to the 11th chapter. The tea I made was disgusting. I didn’t follow the recipe thinking I was a top chef. It was watered down and flavorless. The green cardamom that I had in the cupboard was brown and turning beige (I still used it!) and it was awful.

So, I went on a cardamom hunt the next day.  In my city there are a few Indian grocery stores, and my favorite one was out of cardamom! I raced to my least favorite store, and listened to a customer complain of the high prices, but still grabbed a bag. I wanted my original chai tea, no matter what!

After two more attempts, I finally succeeded:

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Black tea
  • Cardamom
  • Ginger
  • Cloves
  • Milk (coconut, almond, etc)

Directions:

Boil two cup of water first, then add 1-3tsp of black tea depending on your preference. Either crush a few cardamom pods (1-2. If you use more it will taste like soap, gross!) with a few cloves by hand with a spoon, or use this Mortar. Add a thumb of ginger, stir and let boil for a minute, or two. Add milk to your taste in color, either light brown or dark brown, and then heat, but dont let it boil over. Then pour it over a mug with a small strainer.  If you like sugar in your chai, add as much or as little as you need.

I’ve always enjoyed this simple chai and I know that different regions in India make it differently, but this is my favorite! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, and still do!

 

Bath Time

Of all my favorite mom responsibilities, bath time is at the top of the list.

My toddler doesn’t care at all for bath time, until she gets in the bath and then, it’s free time for me for as long as she’s in there.

Of course, I don’t leave her alone! I just either wash my face, give myself a facial, read, or play on my phone or tablet. I’m right in front of her while I do this, since my bathroom is not the largest in the world.  I just have to watch out for random splashing on my tablet, but, it’s not so bad.

I bond with her while I wash her and her hair, and then, it’s mommy time!

Sometimes I put the yoga mat right beside the bath and get some quick sun salutations in, or do a wall head stand (I’m telling you, it’s a small bathroom.)  The 15 minute yoga exercise is short, but I feel calmn and happy at the end. That mean mommy that’s hiding deep inside doesn’t have a chance to creep out. When I’ve had a chance to release a few tight muscles and strengthen my arms enough to pick up the clean little toddler that lets me know, “i’m done!” That grouch is completely gone!

Now if only I could figure out how to get quiet and long bath times for me, going to the restroom would be a pleasure, instead of just a necessity!