Paint and potatoes

Here’s what Jamie and I did on Tuesday evening… 

One of these papers bears my artwork. Guess which one?

What happened was we had a bunch of potatoes that were turning green. I remembered reading somewhere that this wasn’t a good sign when it comes to consuming them, so I thought why not do something else with them instead of just throwing them out. 

I watched a YouTube video (I’ll embed the video below) on how to make stamps out of potatoes, and found that it was really simple to do. So I went ahead and did it. 🙂 

All you need is potatoes, a kitchen knife and some cookie cutters.
Here’s the full collection I made that day.

Here is Jamie really excited just after we’d finish setting up and before the activity had actually begun… 

It was the first time Jamie was using stamps, so he didn’t really get the concept of pressing it onto a paper and lifting it up and repeating the same actions in a different spot on the paper. 

After showing him how it should be done a few times, I finally gave up and let him have fun with the paint in whatever manner he preferred. 

Letting Jamie create artwork with paint as he pleases.

Here’s the thing about art & craft activities with toddlers: Sometimes you can’t really foresee how they might want to do the activity. Most times, they want to do things their own way, and this means they may sometimes do it differently or wrongly (from our adult point of view). 

But I guess part of the fun is letting them explore and try things out in whatever ways they want to in order to satisfy their curiosity. Indirectly, I guess they’re learning something there. 

The challenge for me is being gracious enough to let things be and suppressing the desire to intervene or influence how he experiences it. Also, that disdain for messiness which may actually be necessary for them to grow and learn. 

A side note: Jamie has this really cute way of pronouncing “potato”. It comes out sounding like “pee-tay-toh”. I think it’s absolutely adorable. Heh. 😍

And I shall leave you now with the YouTube video below. 

Drop me a comment if you have done something similar too? I’d be curious how it went, especially if you did it with a toddler like I did. 😊

Long live DIY

I would really love to stay and write a decent post about the artsy activity that Jamie and I did today, BUT it’s just slightly past 12 midnight. And the bad mummy that I am, Jamie is not asleep yet.

So this will have to do for now. I stumbled across it while doing a quick round in YouTube as I soaked my fungus infested toe in a salt bath.

Which sound is your favourite? Mine will forever always be that of a pair of fabric scissors slicing through a large piece of cloth.

And what in the world is ASMR? (Was reading it in the comments). Need to find out.

A pinch of green

There’s something strangely therapeutic about gardening. Even if I am only scooping tiny bits of soil with a Chinese spoon into small makeshift pots that are just upcycled hair mask jars and IKEA food containers.

I think it’s something about that stark contrast between the green shades of the plants and the dark tones of the soil in which they are rooted into. Also it’s rather calming arranging them neatly in containers and moistening the soil. And that bit of hope that comes with nurturing life and hoping it will grow.

I recently thought I should try rebuilding a balcony garden again (not that we ever had much of one, but there used to be at least 2-3 plants that would survive out there before Jamie came along). So my current strategy is to salvage as many kitchen scraps as possible which can be regrown into vegetable or herb plants.

So far, I’ve tried with lettuce, spring onions and shallots. Only the last two have shown positive signs of growth, which led to me actually potting them last week. The lettuce, sad to say, did not go much farther than sprouting a tiny shoot (the first time) and having its roots turn black (the second attempt).

This small spot of gardening came at a time where I did need some form of comfort. Having recently had a rather nasty family argument where it was me against another three folk, it was nice to have an activity that offered a dose of peace, even if it was just a tiny serving.

I opted to start fresh with just plain old black soil: Some time not too long ago, Deric and I bought a bag of it while it was on offer at Tesco. It has been sitting in the study for what feels like ages now, so it’s great to finally break open the bag and use its contents.

Jamie is more than eager to help, wanting to assist in scooping the soil and patting it in place with a fork (which is just the right size to rake and arrange the soil for these small plants). He also is forever interested in watering the plants. This is potentially a great learning avenue for him. And it’s a healthy thing too, because it will help develop in him a love for nature.

But… I feel rather anxious each time I do let him help (times when I absolutely loathe these perfectionistic tendencies of mine) and keep trying to intervene and prevent disasters. Sigh. Oh why can’t I just let him do as he likes and ignore notice the mess and clean up afterwards?

Anyway, I’m really NOT good at all with all these nurturing of green living things. So let’s see how long these things survive. Hopefully long enough so we can at least have one round of harvesting.

A trip on the craft side 

It’s late (again) and I shall need to scoot real soon to catch some much needed snooze. But I thought I’d just drop by to share this fantastic Pinterest song parody that I pretty much identify with because I have always been a crafter at heart. 

I think I haven’t said it enough on this blog actually, but these things have their roots all the way back to my childhood. I remember crocheting and knitting in primary school while sitting it out during P.E. period (hehe a long story as to why, and which I shall address in a separate post). 

I still think of DIY and craft projects as a brilliant way to unwind and to serve as my creativity outlet. I may not be that capable in the things I produce, but somehow just working on something is hugely satisfying for me. I shall attempt to blog more about this undying passion of mine (which seems to be surviving even better than my love for writing, ironically). 

Okay, gotta dash. See ya! Meanwhile, enjoy the video! 

Corny matters

Easy to make and safe to use around a toddler. Yay! 🙂

I have been putting off mending the books that Jamie has ruined for a very long time. My concern was that he might end up eating whatever form of glue I used for my repair work. 
I actually took time to scour the Internet for some homemade alternative that would be safe for toddlers. And to my relief, there were actually tons of options out there. 

I finally settled for cornstarch glue as it seemed the least problematic (no warnings about mould as what I had seen mentioned for glue made from regular flour) and was fairly easy to make. Plus I had everything I needed already stocked in my kitchen. 

So, after much procrastination, I have at last repaired those poor, neglected books and they are back on the shelf for Jamie to wreck havoc on once more. Hehe. 

What freshly made cornstarch glue looks like.

There is now also a jar of leftover cornstarch glue ready and waiting for a reason to be used. I wonder how long it will keep actually… I fret about mould appearing, but so far, so good lah. 

The books I’ve mended are holding up pretty well thus far. And I haven’t got a thing to worry about if Jamie is decidedly peckish one of these evenings and chews on some of those spots I glued back on. 

In case you had similar concerns about using regular commercial glue products on toys or books that your toddler uses, you can check out the cornstarch glue recipe I used here.

Cornstarch glue resurrected from the fridge turned out to be a little hard and lumpy. Boohoo.

Just a little note: Since the first time I made that batch of cornstarch glue, I have pulled out the leftovers to use at a different time and it turned out to be pretty hard and lumpy. I tried adding hot water to it to get it to be more liquidish, but it didn’t work out very well. In the end, I resorted to popping in the quantity I needed straight into the microwave for a quick heating session. That worked out better. 

I have jotted down the date that I made the cornstarch glue on the jar and I will update this post when I notice it going bad in any way so you’ll know how long it can keep if stored in the fridge like I did. 

For a future batch, I would like to try a slightly different glue recipe/tutorial which incorporates some form of preserving agent like salt or vinegar like this. Or I may even go out on a limb and start experimenting with other types of homemade glue too. 

Well, whatever the case may be, rest assured that I’ll be right back here to report on how that works out when the time comes 🙂 

Lurking evil 

Last updated on: 18 March 2016 
The second toe on my right foot has been looking suspicious lately. The nail looks a little out of the ordinary in the sense that one of its edges curls in a little more than I expect it should. And the skin around the nail is peeling like crazy.

After some research on the Web, I roughly concluded that this might be a case of fungus growing underneath my nail. Of course, this is a self diagnosis so I could be wrong, but I figured if I can keep the condition of my toe from getting worse and somehow help it to heal, perhaps I can avoid going to see a doctor.

It’s hard to go to the doctor’s nowadays thanks to my tagalong buddy, Jamie. Wherever I go, he has to go too since he still needs ’em boobs for his daily fill and also, he’s quite attached to me since I’m his primary caregiver.

So I started looking up what sort of home remedies I might be able to conjure to contain this potential fungal outbreak.

In the process, I stumbled upon this link.

Out of the many home remedies suggested, I decided to go for the one using apple cidar vinegar since I think I can tolerate that one. What’s required is to make a solution consisting of equal parts of water and apple cidar vinegar and to soak the affected toe for 30 minutes in it and then to dry it thoroughly.

Only trouble is I doubt I can spare 30 minutes to just sit and soak my toe since Jamie keeps me busy throughout the day. So instead of soaking my toe for that duration, I opted to squeeze a cotton ball soaked in the solution every few minutes (or once what’s already on my toe dries). I tried to keep this up for approximately 30 minutes.

I only managed to keep the routine up for 2 days, then resorted to cutting the affected toenail as short as I possibly could, since I realised the fungal looking part didn’t extend to the entire nail, so hopefully it will grow out and I can cut it away and be rid of the problem.

Besides that, I realised that doing this apple cidar thing might make the skin on my toe even more dry than it currently is. So I thought I could slather some baby oil on it once I complete the cidar soaking exercise.

I also read online that this fungal thingy can spread fairly easily to other parts of the body, so I made sure to wipe down my nail clipper with an alcohol swab once I had cut that toenail. Deric has plenty of alcohol swabs available since he uses it when he has to prick his finger to check his sugar level.

Once I’ve applied alcohol to the nail clipper, I leave it out in the open to air dry and don’t use it on other nails till later. So far so good. No new fungal-like areas have appeared anywhere.

I’ve recently resumed the apple cidar vinegar routine because after trimming the toenail again there seemed to be some irritation afterwards. I just need to be sure there isn’t any lurking fungal that decides to spread further. Last thing I need is to have to strip away my entire toenail.

So here’s to hoping it turns out okay and that this home remedy thing works. I’ll report back once the issue is cleared to say whether or not it’s a useful remedy for future reference (and for you readers to benefit from too, if you ever have a similar problem to mine).

Update #1: 

So I gave up and went to see a GP at a nearby clinic about the toe. The apple cider vinegar remedy I tried might have worked, perhaps, had I been more vigilant in applying it to my toe everyday. But I didn’t. So perhaps no surprise that it didn’t solve the problem.

It actually looked like the toe was improving for awhile, but I stopped doing the apple cider vinegar soak routine after 2 days. Only to resume it after more than a week when I noticed things hadn’t changed much. But by then, I also kicked my toe against a table leg and it bled and came up with some pus. So it was both a fungal AND a bacterial infection by the time I saw the doc yesterday.

I was prescribed anti fungal cream to apply to the toe as well as oral antibiotic medication. Let’s hope this clears after the course of antibiotics ends.

Update #2: 

Yup, so I finished the course of antibiotics and continue used the anti-fungal for a few extra days afterwards. Toe is about back to normal now, though I would only be 100% sure after I’ve trimmed off the remaining suspicious parts of my toenail.