The PB [&] J- Entry #4
If we can’t snack on it or send it, odds are we’re not making it. There are very few Pinterest ideas, or Michael’s coupons, that could tempt me to create a DIY craft project that I have to store or stare at in my home.
Parents need activities to fill time and to fill little one’s imaginations. If you're a parent who limits daily screen time then you desperately need a deep bag of tricks to make time at home not feel like you’re regretfully watching water boil. And the worst- a rainy day at home.
So this past rainy Sunday when I was up before dawn blogging and sipping on my Gundalow Watermelon Waves, my multi-tasking mom brain was typing while brainstorming craft ideas. I took myself back to when I was kid and tried to recall silly snacks my mom made for me around Valentine’s day. And it hit me- bright red, strawberry Jello jigglers in the shape of hearts. I recall loving those but I was missing the critical ingredient- packaged Jello.
This situation for my mom in the 80’s would have forced her to either scrap the idea or pack us up for a trip to the store. But in 2017, BFF Google helps moms be quicker on their feet. Homemade jigglers requires 3 ingredients- juice, gelatin and water. Still sipping my Gundalow I chuckled to myself, and then talked to myself out loud, “well, I’ve got juice!” Making jigglers is a bonus because it’s a project in stages, which means it fills multiple minutes throughout the day! WINNING!
Before lunch time we made the standard homemade jello recipe. We combined 1 bottle of Gundalow juice with 2 packets of gelatin in a glass bowl, then added 3 cups boiling water and stirred until gelatin dissolved. Thinking ahead (SCORE!), we poured the liquids into 2 glass pans. One for me to create my cut outs and one for L to create hers. This would avoid frustration both of us. We’d each have our own jello and our own cut out shapes to design, or destroy, the jigglers. With this strategy I stacked the deck that I could get at least 3-5 hearts out of all this effort.
After storing it in the fridge, we of course then had to engage in a long conversation (i.e. toddler tantrum) about why you cannot eat the recipe till after dinner. This was a solid teachable moment about importance of practicing patience when you’re 3 years old.
Thankfully I created enough distractions that we didn’t pull out the recipe again until after dinner. I set out the two pans and let L chose her shapes. As expected, she chose the biggest one and began to push the cut out into her pan repeatedly making a series of “lines” all over her pan and no salvageable jigglers. But she discovered the squishiness was way more fun than any anything resembling a shape. I on the other hand, created multiple heart gigglers and was feeling pretty proud. Other than learning that fresh-pressed juice gigglers would benefit from a 3rd gelatin packet, or some Greek yogurt, to help set them up better... I’d call this project a success.
We had met my goal of finding an afternoon activity and along the way this mom also snuck in a few life lessons on science, the 5 senses, and how not to settle on screen time.