How I Used my Journal to Cut Down on my Screen Time

dress

Falling asleep in front of the glowing computer screen tops my list of bad habits. It usually peaks with my anxiety. Whenever I am stressed, I find that distractions (like bingeing shows I’ve seen before) help calm my mind. In fact, I use them to fall asleep.

But, that sleep is not a deep restful sleep. It’s a light, foggy sleep. I often wake up with the light of the screen flashing (even if I turn the volume low).

Then, I have to turn off the screen and fall back into restlessness.

Although I know falling asleep in front of the screen is a terrible habit, I fall into the pattern whenever I get stressed. Long days at work — turn on the screen at bedtime. Family drama flairs — curl up with the computer. Coronavirus disrupts my schedule — maximize those Netflix hours.

It’s not the greatest solution for health and happiness.

With COVID-19 disrupting my waking and sleeping hours, I decided to nip the problem in the bud. I made a plan to break that habit before it got out-of-control again. This time, I used my journal to help remind me of my plan.

1.Choose a waking and sleeping time

I had been inconsistent in my waking time. Then, my bedtime became longer. Soon, I was struggling to stay on a reasonable schedule.

So, I scheduled a wake-up time for myself every day — no exceptions. Even if my son woke me up in the middle of the night, I decided to arise at the same time and just nap if needed.

It was harsh but, it did make me more tired for bedtime. I wrote a reminder for this in my weekly spread on each day’s agenda.

2. Make a List of Substitutes

I know I struggle to fall asleep unless I calm my mind. So, I made a list of substitute activities to take the place of watching old TV shows. I picked up new books to read and downloaded audiobooks to my phone.

I put goals for completion into my journal. This reminded me to take a little time at the end of the day to focus on these other story formats.

3. Track the Results

As I made these changes, I kept notes about how quickly I was falling asleep. Soon, my sleep became more restful and consistent. Within a few weeks, I was back to a normal sleep schedule again.

The little habit-changing project took me about a month. It sounds silly but, I struggle to fall asleep without zoning out to the roll of endless episodes.

Are You Trying to cut down on Screen time?

If you’re trying to cut down on your screen time, especially at night, I’d like to hear about what you’re doing. Leave me a note in the comments or tell me about your plan on my Instagram @verderamade.

Easy Toddler Craft: Popsicle Stick Puppets

toddler stick puppet craft

When I prepare crafts for my toddler, I look for projects that have an extended life beyond the crafting session. I prefer something that incorporates an activity — something beyond pinning it to our bulletin board.

This craft turned into some puppet shows throughout the week — complete with growl-y shark voices.

toddler stick puppet craft

Popsicle Stick Puppets for Toddlers

Time Filled: 45 minutes (including playtime)

Materials: Coloring Books, Markers, Hot Glue, and popsicle sticks.

We started by coloring pages from his coloring book. After these accumulated for a couple of days, I cut out the characters that my toddler selected. We worked together to put dabs of glue on popsicle sticks and press the characters onto them. Then, he had some stick puppets to put on a show.

toddler stick puppet craft

What I Love About This

I love that this project used coloring pages we already had. Later, I started saving some of our favorite coloring pages (like a Peppa Pig Coloring Book) to re-use for this project.

It gets you more use out of the paper, because you can cut out the characters and turn them into puppets.

Stay in Touch

If you enjoyed this idea, please follow me on Instagram @verderamade. I post about the fun and creative projects that fill my spare time.

Easy Toddler Craft: Customized Coffee Canister

I’m not a huge fan of crafts that just create paper junk. I don’t mind hanging these up on the bulletin board. But, after a while, they do go in the trash.

(Because I’m a heartless declutterer).

So, I often look for crafts that either create a later activity (like a puppet), can be used to decorate, or teach a skill. This customized coffee canister provides a storage option for my son’s toys and sits easily on the shelf in his closet.

Customized Coffee Canister for Toddlers

Time Filled: 30 minutes

Materials: Coffee Canister, white paint, markers or highlighters, paint brush

I started this project the night before, secretly painting the can white. I wanted to ensure a smooth surface to create a good canvas for my son’s artwork. It took about 3 coats of paint to completely cover the surface.

The next day, the canister was dry and ready to decorate. We sat at my son’s desk with some bright highlighters. It took him a little while to figure out how to hold the can and draw on a curve.

Of course, he wanted me to join in (requesting that I draw triangles and “Mickey”).

I love that this project was very mess-free. Because I painted the canister ahead of time, this worked well as an indoor rainy-day craft. Also, it is a useful project, as we can use the container to store toys. We have accumulated several of these painted canisters to separate his different types of building blocks.

Variations

We’re probably going to do a version of this with stickers. He enjoys making little patterns – especially with shape stickers.

Stay in Touch

If you enjoyed this easy toddler activity, please follow me on Instagram @verderamade. I post about the creative ways I fill my time (including with my little son.)

Easy Toddler Craft: Nature Flat Lays

I feel that it’s important to teach our children to look for beauty in everything. I created this little craft activity to enjoy the wonders of nature.

My son loves it when we take pictures with my smartphone’s camera. I have a durable case that makes me comfortable letting him hold it with supervision. So, I decided to share my love of creating flat lay photography with him.

Nature Flat Lays for Little Toddler Hands

Time Filled: 30-45 minutes

Materials: Bucket or Bag, Sticks, stones and other items from nature

To start, we collected items from the yard and nature trails that he found interesting. Then, we arranged them on a white background. It took a little while to explain to him. We did many versions, not pictured here. Mostly, he enjoyed placing multiple items in rows.

We made a game of flipping them different ways and talking about “matches.”

We snapped a photo together. The fun in this is more in the collecting of the items. It kept his attention and I could see us doing this again in the future.

Variations

I’m considering printing these as magnets or framed wall prints to give him a chance to enjoy his art over the long term. We may try to do something for each letter of the alphabet (Acorn, Berries, Cattails, etc.) I think it could be fun to make a series of alphabet magnets with these images and the matching letter.

Stay in Touch

If you enjoyed this craft idea, make sure you follow me on my instagram account, @verderamade. I post creative ideas, bullet journal projects and other happy ways I fill my time.

5 Crafts You Can Do with Toddlers (Children Ages 1- 3 Activities)

toddler stick puppet craft

I love doing creative activities in my spare time. Although most of my artistic moments are reserved for nap time, I have found a few crafts that my son can do alongside me.

Toddler Crafts

Ideally, a toddler craft idea will be low (ish) mess and entertain them for a little while. Often, craft ideas and activities for kids skew toward the abilities of school-age children. These ideas are approved by my son, between the ages of 1 and 2 years old.

paint.jpg

1.”Paint” Construction Paper

Time Filled: 20 – 30 minutes

Materials: Paint brush or sponges, construction paper, water in a shallow dish

Whenever I want to paint, I set up my son beside me with his own paint station. I give him a big paintbrush and a piece of construction paper. Then, I fill a small dish with water. The water changes the color of the construction paper and he feels like he is painting with me. He really enjoys splattering the water on the pages to make a design.

The best part?

This one is really low mess. It just gets wet because he splashes the water around.

Also, it’s fairly cheap. You can dry and reuse the construction paper if you really want to avoid waste.

He’ll spend about 30 minutes doing this craft while I paint my own projects.

2. Nature-Inspired Flat Lays

Time Filled: 30-45 minutes

Materials: Bucket or Bag, Sticks, stones and other items from nature

My son loves it when we take pictures with my smartphone’s camera. I have a durable case that makes me comfortable letting him hold it with supervision. So, I decided to share my love of creating flat lay photography with him.

First, we collected items from the yard and nature trails that he found interesting. Then, we arranged them on a white background

We snapped a photo together. The fun in this is (obviously) more in the collecting of the items. I feel that it’s important to teach our children to look for beauty in everything. Also, I’m considering printing these as magnets or framed wall prints to give him a chance to enjoy his art over the long term. We may try to do something for each letter of the alphabet (Acorn, Berries, Cattails, etc.)

pumpkin7

3. Glitter Pumpkin

Time Filled: 1 hour (includes drying time).

Materials: Plastic Craft Pumpkin, Glitter, Clear Modge Podge, Paper Plates, and a Paint Brush.

To start this project, I picked a sunny day where we could work outside. I laid down a towel and put a rock on the 2 paper plates to weigh them down. I actually stripped my toddler down to his diaper and explained what we were trying to accomplish.

I poured some modge podge onto one plate. Next, we worked together to dip the paint brush in the modge podge. I showed him how to apply it to the surface of the plastic craft pumpkin. After a little while, he understood and covered the surface with glitter, including the stem.

(CLICK HERE for step-by-step instructions)

Next, we placed the pumpkin on top of the second plate. We sprinkled the glitter on top until the modge podge was covered. Sometimes, I held the pumpkin and turned it so he could sprinkle more.

In the end, it took about 30 minutes to set. Surprisingly, the finished pumpkin held up well. My toddler liked to keep it in his room and take it down to look at it. We’re going to bring it out again for next year.

You can find similar objects for any season at the craft store like a bunny for spring, a garden gnome for summer, or a nutcracker for Christmas.

We actually started the fun at the craft store when I let my toddler select the glitter and pumpkin for the project. He really enjoyed pointing and choosing his favorite colors.

4. Customized Coffee Cannister

Time Filled: 30 minutes

Materials: Coffee Canister, white paint, markers or highlighters, paint brush

I started this project the night before, painting the can white in secret. I wanted to ensure a smooth surface to create a good canvas for my son’s artwork. It took about 3 coats of paint to completely cover the surface.

The next day, the canister was dry and ready to decorate. We sat at my son’s desk with some bright highlighters. It took him a little while to figure out how to hold the can and draw on a curve.

Of course, he wanted me to join in (requesting that I draw triangles and “Mickey”).

I love that this project was very mess-free. Because I painted the canister ahead of time, this worked well as an indoor rainy-day craft. Also, it is a useful project, as we can use the container to store toys. We have accumulated several of these to separate his different types of building blocks.

puppet1

5. Stick Puppets

Time Filled: 45 minutes (including playtime)

Materials: Coloring Books, Markers, Hot Glue, and popsicle sticks.

We started by coloring pages from his coloring book. After these accumulated for a couple of days, I cut out the characters that my toddler selected. We worked together to put dabs of glue on popsicle sticks and press the characters onto them. Then, he had some stick puppets to put on a show.

You could use another type of glue — if your toddler is OK with waiting. I did hot glue because it dries quickly. Also, your toddler could cut out the characters depending on their age and dexterity.

The Best Crafts for Toddlers

Pin Now & Make Later

The best crafts for toddlers are ones where they can complete the project before they get bored. Also, I prefer projects with a few supplies that can be cleaned up easily.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow me on Pinterest. I pin projects that are easy to do… both for the young and young at heart.

A Pattern Passion Project

This thing started when I decided that I wouldn’t set any goals for 2019.

Not for my business.

Not for my art.

Not for my education.

Not for my personal development.

I decided that I just wanted to select a project that I found inspiring. I wanted to do something positive that could keep me focused on beauty throughout the year.

Continue reading