Toddler Rainbow Rice Sensory Box

 Hi everyone!
As the summer days get warmer and Anna Ruth gets busier and older,
it's fun and challenging as a mom to find new activities for her!
She loves watching Curious George on the Ipad, reading books, playing with her dolls,
and most of the typical things babies this age enjoy.
However, I really enjoy researching new stimulating ways to get Anna Ruth's brain and curiosity sparked! 
Sometimes my ideas work, other times-not!
This idea worked great!
 The DIY directions for this Rainbow Rice Sensory Box are very simple.
I purchased one large bag of white rice from Wal-Mart (Great Value Brand) for $2.98.
I then came home and divided it up into Ziploc bags.
Next, I added several squirts of hand sanitizer (because that's what I had on hand, but rubbing alcohol would work well too!),
several drops of food coloring,
and mixed the hand sanitizer and food coloring into the rice!
(make sure your rice doesn't bust out of the Ziploc bag)
 Next I carefully dumped the rice out onto a cookie sheet, and left it outside overnight to dry.
The next morning we woke up to brightly colored rainbow rice, smell-free! :)
I then put the rainbow rice in a clear plastic tub I already hand, and added some plastic bugs I found in the party section at Target (for $3.00). 
At first Anna Ruth sat outside of the tub and reached in,
but after a moment or two of getting used to the texture of the rice
I put her in the tub to sit.
She LOVED this sensory tub!
She played in it for 20 minutes,
and then climbed out. :)
 *You may notice I laid a large quilt down underneath the tub during her playtime.
Considering Anna Ruth quickly figured out it was great fun to grab handfuls of the rice and throw it,
this made clean-up super easy!
There was hardly any rice left on the floor to sweep up.
 Some other fun Anna's been enjoying is her Cozy Coupe car!
Brett pushes her so fast in it and she loves it!
Her hair gets a mohawk from the static :).
 Playing with Dada!

 I took on quite the project yesterday,
and painted my armoire/turned china cabinet.
A lovely aqua/turquoise color.
Pics soon :)

Colors of my World

 Party in the pool! :)
We got to spend our monthly Sister's Meeting at Jana's house this time. 
The kiddos enjoyed the pool, shade from the umbrella on the deck. and the water table!
I was proud of Anna Ruth for hanging in there with all the "big kids".
 We were also celebrating this sweet girl's 2 year birthday!
 I love Caleb's alphabet art. :)
 This girl loves a party. 
 Jana baked delicious cupcakes-what a treat!
Anna Ruth isn't big on sweets....
her tastebuds must have come from her Dada.
She ate a bite or two and then tossed the cupcake down on the floor. 
Silly girl.
 Me and my two babies.....
I'm 18 weeks pregnant now,
feeling Baby 2 a lot (when I'm still enough that is),
and anxious to find out in two weeks what we're having!
 Something I keep realizing and saying lately is how FUN this stage of life is with Anna Ruth.
It seriously just keeps getting more and more fun!
She is our constant surprise. :) 
As an expectant mom a little over a year ago I anticipated the birth, and holding and cuddling a tiny baby (as all new moms do!) Although that stage was special too,
I had no idea how much Anna Ruth would make me laugh,
and how much color and joy she would bring to my world at age one.
(and how much patience I would need to pray for too...
Anna Ruth has quite a bit of "get up and go"...
she's passionate in the obeying..and in the NOT obeying, lol)
 We tried out some chalk this week...... :)
 and watched twin deer babies eat and run with their mama.
 I made a new activity for Anna I'll be sharing later this week......
 Around here, we're looking forward to my best friend's wedding,
the Fourth of July,
and a bit of time off for Brett.

What about you?

I'm still here.

I'm still here!
Last week I was working on a one year book, written to Anna Ruth from me.
It has made me tear up every. single. time. I've read the finished product.
So, that's where my free time was spent....and trying to get over some sinus infection type stuff.
Which, praise Jesus, is gone! I laid hands on my sinuses and prayed in Jesus' name it would be healed,
took tylenol, drank lots of water, and used the sense the good Lord gave me and RESTED when I got a chance.
And-I now feel great!
Oh, and I'll share the book project later. :)

 One day last week I sent Brett an e-mail saying "Your girls would like to invite you to a picnic in the park!"
We drove to a nearby park, and I picked up Subway, fruit, and chips along the way.
 We usually stick to our routine during the week so it was fun to do something spontaneous and Brett seemed to really enjoy the thought I put into it. :)
 We ate, talked, laughed, blew bubbles, and took Anna Ruth to play on the playground for the first time!
 THIS is what living is all about.
 We also took Anna Ruth to the pet store this weekend as we were out and about to look around.
She was NOT a fan. 
After I took this picture she was clinging to Brett's shoulder, hiding.
Even from the cute kittens!
Silly girl. She is fearless around a herd of cows..
 This is our guest bathroom. It had random things placed in it, and didn't look put together at all.
So, I decided to do something about that, using only what I already had on hand.
 Here's the after! A few DIY ideas and it looks much better.
For the scripture picture above I painted a frame black, covered the background in wrapping paper (which I think Janice left at the house..if so-thank you and I hope you don't mind) :), and then printed out a free scripture art that I found on Pinterest. The flower I already had :).  I love how it turned out! I think I'm going to add some ribbon around the scripture print to give it a bit more of a frame.
 I also baked some blueberry muffins that are delicious!!!
You can find the recipe here: Blueberry Muffins (Gluten Free) at Thrice the Spice. 
Anna Ruth and Brett loved these too, and they're a healthy muffin!
 I am now 17 weeks pregnant (almost 18), and we will find out in a couple of weeks whether we're having a boy or girl! ! ! ! 
I have no "feeling" either way.
I haven't had a craving for much of anything lately, and most food just sounds blah.
But Friday night I went to bed craving a country breakfast-You know, eggs, hashbrowns, biscuit and gravy, sausage, pancake.
THAT kind of breakfast. :)
So Brett took Anna Ruth and I out Saturday morning!
The nice lady made our pancake into a bear. I'm sure she meant the gesture for Anna Ruth but it delighted me! :)
 Anna and I spend a lot of time on the front porch these days, mainly because it's shady.
We discovered this neat caterpillar! 
"discovered" meaning Anna Ruth was trying to shake it off the plant.
She almost succeeded. :)

Her newest "things" are touching her nose when we ask where her nose is,
and I guess her first official "word" (besides saying Dada over and over) is a low grunt/moo.
not even kidding!
When you ask her what a cow says she does this low sounding noise just about every time.
We're country and we like it that way. :)

the big ONE

Happy 1st birthday to Anna Ruth!!!!!
 We celebrated with a party this weekend,
and her actual birthday is today, on Father's Day!
 I made the cupcakes,
and they turned out delicious!
White cake mix, cream cheese frosting recipe found here, on Glorious Treats,
icing piped on with my Pampered Chef device,
and rainbow sprinkles. Happy :)
 We held the party in our yard..
and had a nacho/taco bar set up for dinner.
 I love this tiny little thing...
whose reach and climb knows no limits!
 I decorated our chalkboard with a banner that says "Celebrating the girl that puts the color in our world"..
and then made a collage of Anna Ruth pics.
 Sittin' with Dada.
I couldn't ask for a better dad for Anna Ruth..and the rest of our children to be!
Brett is hands-on,
always ready (and happy!) to help,
full of wisdom and wit,
silly and serious.
 I made her cupcake tower, and you can find out how to make your own
on Thrice the Spice tomorrow!
 Tasting sweet cake!
 This sums up my girl-
pretty as can be,
fiercely independent,
and a daredevil,
and brown dirty, country lovin' feet!
 Another moment captured from this weekend...
flowers picked from Dada :)
 Before dessert the skies opened up and decided to pour.
We grabbed a few things and ran inside!
This is the picture of a happy home to me,
full of light, laughter, and people!
 Anna Ruth got so many neat, big girl presents!
 A girl after my own heart..
and one of my favorite people out of anybody I know :)
My sweet niece
 A HUGE thanks to Momma and Daddy, "Granna and Poppa", for getting Anna Ruth this Cozy Coupe car.
She stayed in it 'till 9:00 last night..and headed straight for it this morning.
We may or may not have had to park it in the pantry to get Anna Ruth to even look at her present from us............   :)
 Oh my word,
she loves this car. :)
 Pure joy :) ,
and I've learned since being a Mama,
a moment like this erases the tough memories.
Sleepless nights,
grumpy teething baby??
What's that?!
 You couldn't see my craft room until today.
It looked like an episode of Hoarders.
So Rebekah, this is for you. :)
I told you there was a craft room under there!

We'll end on a sweet note...
Twizzlers from the party!
I have many "reflections" on Anna Ruth's first year..
but for tonight I want to let the merry glow of her party last. :)

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