Tag Archives: beads

4 ways to use up the rice left in your pantry when you go grain-free

I’ve recently discovered how much better I feel when I don’t eat grain.  But what to do with all that rice that was left in the pantry?   Glad you asked!  Here are the four uses I’ve found so far…

1.  For the 6mo+ crowd…  Shakers.  Dye rice different colors and put it in clean, dry water/juice/pop bottles.   You might want to superglue the lids on.

 

2.  For the 2+ crowd… I Spy tube.  Dye rice different colors and put it in clean, dry water/juice/pop bottle with beads and other small trinkets.  Again, you might want to superglue the lid on.  If you’re really ambitious, you can lay out all the trinkets and take a picture of them first so your bambina will have a reference card to check off all the bits as she finds them.

 

3.  For the preschooler+ crowd…  Sensory tub.  Dump it in a tub with other fun items such as small cups or measuring spoons.

 

4.  For the kindergarten+ crowd… Practice with letter formation or spelling practice.  Pour some rice out onto a sheet pan and let the bambina use a finger to practice making letters. (Though, I’ve heard this works better with salt or flour – of which you might also have some leftovers in your pantry if you’re going grain-free.)

 

(Since I used up all my rice in the shakers and I Spy tube, I had to smurf some images from other blogs.  Please give them some love for me!)

 

And now, how to dye rice (the easy way)…

Pour some rice into a big bowl.  Squirt some liquid food coloring on it.  Stir it around with a spatula until it’s all coated.  Pour the rice into a flat layer on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Stick it in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour.  Let it cool.  Done!

I can’t vouch for the colorfastness of this rice if you’re going to be using it for hands-on activities with older bambini, but it works just fine if you’re locking it up in a plastic bottle.

 

Chompable Mamma-Jewelry

We recently reached a momentous milestone in the bambina’s short life:  6 months old!  That’s half a year!  How did that happen?

She’s been showing more and more signs of teething lately – drooling through multiple shirts a day, chomping hard on her fingers and my own, putting everything within reach into her gummy little mouth, and responding positively to iced pacifiers and clove oil on her gums.  She’s also been more and more grabby (which is only a problem when I don’t want her grabbing anything that’s actually in reach, like my hair, or breakable and probably germy products on a store shelf), so I decided it was time to find something for her to play with and chomp on while I’m holding her.

I found some beautiful necklaces on Etsy that I absolutely love, like this…

And this…

And this…

But in the spirit of homemade, I headed out to my local craft store and found some supplies to make my own. Boy, was that a mistake.  It turns out I am a terrible jewelry designer, especially when it comes to practical necklaces that are baby-mouth safe.   My first two attempts were not even worthy of photographing – they ended up being disassembled to harvest the beads and then the cord got trashed.

Take two.  I ordered two wooden teething rings from Life Circles Necklaces on Etsy, one of which became a necklace when I strung a silk cord through it (the other went  in the bambina’s toy basket).

Too bad she enjoys sucking on the cord more than anything else.  It’s also slightly uncomfortable to have hanging around my neck when she’s not actively playing with it, so I went back to my original plan of knotting some beads onto cord.  Here are the two necklaces I ended up with.

The first one uses cotton cord knotted in a friendship bracelet style with small red and orange glass beads spaced evenly along the cord.

The second one is made of narrow ribbon and blue glass beads, also assembled via the friendship bracelet style of knotting.

(Thank goodness for all of those years of making bracelets at summer camp!)

“But, Jacelyn,” I hear you exclaiming, “you’re letting her chew on glass beads?!”  Yep, I sure am.  But a) she still has no teeth, so technically she’s just gumming them, and b) I double-check them every time I grab a necklace to make sure they’re all still fully intact, and c) I supervise her when she’s playing with them.  And to be perfectly honest, she pretty much spends all her time sucking on the cord or ribbon; any bead-mouthing is just collateral damage.  When she gets to the point that I’m actually worried about her having those beads in her mouth, I’ll make another necklace that’s just knots, possibly embellished with wooden beads.

So, the bottom line…  In the end, it would have been more cost- and time-efficient to order a finished product.  But I enjoyed challenging myself to create something that I would enjoy wearing and that the bambina would enjoy playing with.  And she does enjoy playing with them.  Mostly I wear them when I’m carrying her in a sling or other carrier – they keep her entertained and busy when we’re just standing around, and they distract her from needing to grab at everything else.  Mission accomplished.

Easter booties!