Monday, December 15, 2008


Check this out!!

Taken from the Lifehacker site:
"KidZui is a child-safe internet front end that calls upon an enormous whitelist of websites, pictures, videos, and games that have all been reviewed by a group of volunteers composed of parents and educators."

Read more about it and how to enjoy it here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Children's Music Review: Dr. Jean Sings Silly Songs

I randomly picked this out at the library. After reading about Dr. Jean on her website it is clear that she is well qualified in the area of teaching children but I couldn't help but notice she had no achievements in the area of singing. Sadly, it is evident on her CD "Dr. Jean Sings Silly Songs".

There are several catchy and adorable songs on the disc like Katalina Matalina, The Moon at Night, and Pepperoni Pizza. My 2 year-old asked to have these songs repeated, and they are quite fun to sing. If you find these songs sung by someone else it would be worth checking them out.

Pros: A couple catchy songs, kids like it
Cons: May be annoying for adults to listen to

Monday, December 8, 2008

Indoor fun!

I was going to title this "Winter Activities" until I remembered that a number of those reading this live in Vegas or other warm-weather areas where winter is the time to go outside! I, however, live in the midwest, or the "heartland", but it might as well be the arctic as far as getting my kids outside to run around is concerned. So, I've tried to get creative with ways I can have fun with two active boys while staying indoors. I'll post my favorite from this week and look forward to your comments with more great ideas.

Bathtub Fingerpaints

1/3 cup clear liquid soap


1 Tbsp cornstarch


food coloring


40 minutes of harmonious playtime in the bathtubBecause this is made mostly of soap it washes off kids, the tub, and the ice cube trays perfectly. A great indoor pastime...and your kids get clean!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Too Much TV?

"The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television or videos for children under the age of two (and no more than two hours per day of educational and nonviolent programs for older children)".

I can't tell you how many times I have read this statement (or something very similar). But what I can tell you is that I feel a degree of guilt every time I do! You see, I introduced my first son to Baby Einstein when he was very young (2 months maybe?). I was working from home at the time and found that these convenient little dvds allowed me small windows of time to send necessary emails and other things that couldn't wait until naptime. Then I wasn't working anymore. But by this time, I had my son doing the "hot dog dance" with Mickey Mouse and patting his legs to give Rocket power. My son doesn't even reach the AAP's recommended age of two until next month, but I continue to turn on the TV more days than not. Sometimes we watch Disney in the morning, but mostly he asks to watch a "moo-nie" (Disney or Pixar or his current favorite: How the Grinch Stole Christmas).

Now my purpose in posting this is not rat on myself. Nor is it to justify my actions. Nor is it to tell you you're wrong. Or that you're right! I'm merely curious as to how much TV/movies other "real moms" let their kids watch (okay, I am kinda sorta secretly hoping I'm not the only TV-allowing mom. Wait, it's not a secret anymore). Also, I'm interested in any comments you might have on the subject. Perhaps your take on the statement by the AAP? Or alternatives you've found to buy you some time around the house? Or how to say no? Or why you don't say no? Any thoughts you have, please share! And take my poll. Responses are anonymous.

NOTE: If you get an error after submitting your responses, try refreshing the page. You should then be able to see the results.

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's Not Thanksgiving Without . . . (Revised)

Cranberry Relish. Along with my grandmother's fabulous stuffing and her perfect pie crusts, this fruit salad completes Thanksgiving; the holiday is not the same without it. You can eat it as a side, as a dessert, or in place of gravy on your turkey breast (my favorite). This is also a perfect "make-ahead recipe" that can wait in the refrigerator until you need it.

Note: My grandmother is notorious for writing down recipes using terms like "a pinch of this" and "add to taste" insted of more exact measurements like 1/4 teaspoon, so taste along the way if you try this recipe.

1 large* package jello (I use cherry or strawberry, something that will not overpower the taste of the fruit; if I can find it, cranberry-flavored jello is the best.)

2 cups boiling water

Mix in a large bowl.

1 lb. fresh cranberries

2-3 oranges

2-3 apples

1-2 cups chopped nuts (We've always used walnuts.)

Chop the fruit (I don't peel the oranges) and nuts using a food processor. Add fruit to the jello in the large bowl. Mix well while adding 3 cups sugar. (Yes, that is a lot of sugar, but remember that cranberries and oranges are tart fruits and you need to make the salad palatable. If you are concerned, start with half the amount and add sugar a half-cup at a time until it tastes good to you.) Chill in the refrigerator.

*Now, this recipe fed my grandmother's family which included up to five adult children and their families. You could try using a small package of jello instead; just use 1 cup boiling water instead, and add less fruit to the mix.

**I apologize for the formatting of this post - I have been having trouble with it lately and I don't know how to correct it. It seems that Blogger can have a mind of its own sometimes.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Real Mom Authors

If you scroll down to the end of the sidebar on this page you will notice that the author list is expanding! Yup, that's right, you get to hear from other moms now! I'm so excited for this, not just because I won't feel so obligated to post frequently but because these moms are awesome and I can't wait to hear their ideas or at least hear that they have the same dilemmas that I do! We're in this together right?! So, stay tuned for great things to come! And thanks again to my friends for taking pity on me and agreeing to contribute!

P.S. NEVER type in "moms" for a google image search. Seriously, the results were appauling! Type in something more specific, not so much to get what you're looking for, but to not get what you're not looking for. So we are going pictureless for this post.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Alternatives to Babysitters

As I mentioned in the last post, getting out for dates becomes expensive with kids but in a lot of ways it's even more important. I hate to put the Beehives out of business, but here's some alternatives to paying for a babysitter:

1. Group Date Exchange- Form a group of couples to go out with. Each couple takes a turn being the babysitters while the other couples go out together. You can do this sporadically or on a regular schedule (once a week/month).
2. Temple Playgroup- It's hard to get to the temple when you have kids, especially together. I know the youth are encouraged to babysit for free for couples going to the temple, but I don't feel comfortable asking someone to come babysit without pay. In our ward we have temple playgroup. Twice a month we meet at someone's house and half of the moms will go to the temple and half will watch the kids. That way the kids get to play together, the babysitters get to socialize and moms go to the temple. We do it on a weekday morning for the ladies but you could do it in the evening if you wanted to make it a couple outing.
3. Couple Exchanges- Whether it's for the temple or just a date. Find a couple that will swap babysitting with you.
4. Babysitting Co-op- In my last ward (our church group) we did this and it's the most detailed system but the most fair. Participating moms get tickets to exchange for babysitting (everyone starts with 20). Each ticket is worth one hour of babysitting for one child. Each month everyone in the group picks at least two, three-hour slots when they will do babysitting in their home (morning, afternoon, or evening). Then everyone gets a calendar of the days and times people signed up for. If you need someone during their time call them and bring your kids over. Then pay them with your tickets (depending on how long and how many kids you brought). The more times you babysit the more tickets you earn. This system was a life-saver when my husband moved out to Georgia before us and I was alone with three small children for three months. I had collected a lot of tickets the months prior to the birth of my third child and when he was 6 weeks and my husband was gone and I needed to pack I cashed in on my babysitting. Anyone interested that would like more details on this system, e-mail me and I'll send you more info.

Date Night

When you have kids, getting out for a date not only gets harder to find time for but gets more expensive too. I'm far too cheap to get a babysitter so we try to find things we can do at home after the kids go to bed. Here's just a few:

1. Movie night at home- Pop in a movie and pop some popcorn after your kids go to bed or if you have two tvs you could put the kids in another room with their own movie). Not a new idea but there's a few ways to do this. You can always watch a movie from your own collection but you can also swap movies with friends. I also like getting movies from the library. They're free (but ony a week so watch those late fees) and depending on your library there's usually a pretty good selection of shows. I've even been able to find new releases. You could also pull up tv episodes online to watch together or subscribe to Netflix.

2. Adult Dinner Night- So when you have kids your menus often become limited to their tastes. So plan a night where you cook a grown-up meal together to enjoy (after the kids go to bed)! It's nice to have your husband help with the cooking and not have little kids pulling at your legs while you prepare. You can use this as a time to try out new recipes too.

3. Game Night- Pull out your games and invite some friends if possible.

4. Projects- Make a homemade Christmas gift for your kid(s) or someone else. Or have another project or hobby to do together.
Alright, I'm out of ideas. As you can see, I'm not very good at this so what ideas do you have?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Seasons, Soups, and Service

I love Fall, especially now that we have trees to change color! But one thing that makes Autumn so grand is the reintroduction of soups to my menu! Mmmm! The one pictured above is my mom's potatoe soup that is creamy and yum! Okay, so my mom didn't invent the recipe but it was one of my favorite meals growing up. I say meal because she always made this scrumptious cornbread to go with it. This is not the southern crumbly, stiff, real corn cornbread. This one's moist and sweet (especially if you drizzle on honey)! My kids devour this stuff! I was trying to decide today if this meal is as good as my mind has made it or if it's good for sentimental reasons. This meal makes me think of my mom and family and cool Vegas evenings of winter and service. Yes service, this is the meal my mom made when she was taking a meal to someone, which was often because my mom's great that way. I remember holding the warm pot on my lap and breathing in the scent of soupy goodness while my mom drove to someone's house to bring them a much-needed meal. It felt good, it smelt good. I remember one night my mom was making a huge pot of soup and told me she just wanted to take some dinner to some friends she thought needed it. Nothing says you care like a pot of mom's yummy soup! So here's the recipe. It makes a bunch, I half it and still have leftovers (which is fine by me). But maybe you can make the whole thing and give half to someone who could use it, I think it tastes better that way!
Cream of Potato Soup
boil until pot. done:
12 chicken boullion cubes
3 quarts water
1 heaping tbsp. parsley flake
1 heaping tbsp minced onions (or I just use a little onion powder)
1-2 large carrots (add a little later, cooks faster than potatoes)
6-10 potatoes
2 cans condensed milk or 1 qt half & half
Mix and melt in pan
2 cubes butter
1 1/2 c flour
Skim some soup into roux and beat with whisk then add to soup. Simmer 5 minutes (not too long, milk separates).
Jacquee's Cornbread
2 c Bisquick
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c cornmeal
1/2 t bake soda
Stir in:
1 c milk
2 eggs
1 1/2 cubes melted butter
Pour into 9x13 pan and bake 20-25 min. at 350.
Serve warm with honey.
Got a favorite soup recipe? Everyone should! Share yours as a comment or e-mail me!
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Monday, November 3, 2008

Learning about bones

A friend of ours broke his wrist and my daughter became very worried she might brake a bone. So we talked about our bones and did this fun activity I did while student teaching:


  • Find a picture of a skeleton (I have a couple good ones, e-mail me and I'll send it as an attachment)
  • Lay a piece of paper on top of the skeleton sketch and trace the body to fit around it
  • Give your child the traced body to color to look like them (light colors).
  • Staple the coloring on top of the skeleton, align bones into body again, and staple.
  • If you have a light box use it as an "x-ray viewer" or just hold the papers up to the light. What's inside?
  • Sing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" and "Hinges"
  • Talk about how strong your bones are and food that will help make your bones strong.
  • Use a piece of cardboard and straws to make a "skeleton hand." Show them a glove and talk about how floppy it is on it's own (like our skin). Then insert the "bones" and talk about how our bones give us shape and support.

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My family is starting a new tradition this year I thought I'd share for anyone that wants to try it or share their own tradition! Starting November first we've been doing "Days of Thanksgiving." Every evening we all say one thing we are grateful for and write it on a paper chain (or you could use a leaf garland). This chain will be displayed for our Thanksgiving dinner (the table if it fits). I'm also writing a post each day for my blessing. I'm thinking this might be a good lead in for some Thanksgiving or December service, "because I have been given much I too must give." Simple idea but I'm all excited! What are some Thanksgiving traditions your family does or ways to inspire an attitute of gratitude?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Online Halloween Fun

Now your little one can "carve" their pumpkin without losing a finger (or you spending any money or cleaning up)! You can pick your eyes, nose, and mouth or carve free-hand.

Or enjoy some Halloween cat bowling

Friday, October 10, 2008

Homemade Cleaners

Helping Big Sister/Brother Transition

With your first pregnancy you wonder how you're going to be able to handle a crying, pooping needy baby. With your second pregnancy, you wonder how your first child is going to handle being "replaced" by a crying, pooping, needy baby. My daughter ruled the roost back in the day. Not just being spoiled by her loving parents but she had both sets of grandparents and several aunts and uncles in town to dote over her with no other grandkids to compete. Spoiled doesn't even begin to describe Queen Emma! Needless to say I was more than a little concerned how Emma would handle us adding another child to her perfect little kingdom.

The big day came and Emma was taken to Grandma's while we went off to change Emma's life forever. Emma came to the hospital with the family but was sleeping when she arrived so I laid her on my bed. When she finally awoke she was a little disoriented and I tried to slowly ease her into her environment, talking to her, offering her some food. All of a sudden we heard a baby cry. Emma sat up and warily asked, "baby?" My husband and I smiled reassuringly and told her there was someone we wanted her to meet. I went over and picked the little bundle out of his bassinet and started to carry him to Emma. Emma cried out, "Momma, noooo!" and ran out of the room crying. She felt betrayed as she realized what Mom was talking about all those months as she snuggled Momma's belly and talked about having a baby. Her Nana caught her in the hallway and calmed her back down. It wasn't exactly the magical moment we were hoping for. But you know what, it worked out. She allowed him to come home with us and didn't have to go in for counseling. She turned out to be a pretty loving big sister and didn't get overly jealous. Sorry I can't calm your fears of baby #2 by telling you Emma was instantly in love but just know that people adjust. Yeah, it could be a little ugly for awhile but you adjust, your kids adjust and soon you can't imagine life without two kids. I will say however that when #3 came along #2 was 18 months and he handled it quite well.

So here's a few things you might consider doing to help your child through what might be a hard time for them (most of which I'm sure you've heard but I'll repeat for anyone that hasn't):
1. Talk about the perks of being a big kid. Think of all the great things they get to do now that they couldn't do before-like the foods they can eat, the games they can play, etc. Talk about the unique qualities and important milestones your child has reached. They'll have lots of great experience to share and teach.
2. Get excited about being the big sister/brother. This is one I feel you have to be careful about though. If you talk about how fun it will be to play with their new sibling you may set them up for disappoint when they get the baby and all he does is sleep and eat. Be realistic when you talk about what they're going to do with a new baby. Also, be careful selling the whole "Momma's big helper" bit. Not that encouraging them to be a helper is bad but don't put the label of "Baby's servant" on if they're already feeling cut out. Remember the goal is to put the focus on your child and their contributions.
3. Encourage more independence. Early in my pregnancy with my third I started teaching my son (who was still a baby himself) to do more things on his own. I didn't want him to feel that he was being forced to grow up because of this baby (or mom's belly). I moved him out of his crib early, let him walk everywhere (before I got too uncomfortable to carry him), and taught him how to climb the stairs to our condo with just a hand to hold. I felt I did it early and slowly enough that he never viewed it as neglect or connected it to the baby.
4. Baby gifts- When the baby comes they need to "give" a gift to their older sibling. A "thank you for letting me join your family" gift if you will. This can be an awesome toy that will distract them from feeling neglected for awhile, but preferrably not a noisy one that will cause the baby to cry. For my daughter I got a child-sized rocking chair for her to rock her baby while I rocked mine. I like the idea of making this gift one that will help them be a good sister/brother. Maybe a sock puppet to entertain, or a Baby Einstein movie they can watch together.
5. Baby time is toddler time first. When discussing an activity for the baby mention what's in it for your toddler first. "Let's read a story while baby eats (nurses)." "Weston gets a snack while Andrew gets a diaper change." "You get to color while I put the baby in bed." Keep some books on the couch so you can have your child sit next to you and read while you nurse.
6. Allow ownership and interaction. When Weston was new I was very wary of my daughter getting too close. I was worried about her poking out his eyes or stroking too forcefully. I felt it my duty as his mother to protect him from rambunctious toddlers. When Andrew was born I realized what that may have done to the relationship. I allowed Weston to gently explore the baby and to stroke and love in his own appropriate ways. Remind them to be gentle but do it in ways that are positive and non-judmental. So, instead of "Make sure you're nice to the baby," say something like, "Oh, are you going to soft the baby? You're such a nice brother!" or "Andrew loves his big brother. Look how nice you're being." Point out how much the baby loves and appreciates their big brother and pretend that every smile and contented sigh is just for them. They need to know that this is their baby too and that families are about loving each other and that goes both ways. That's the beauty of babies: they don't love you because you do everything right, they love you because you're theirs.
Anyone else have a good story or advice to share? Or even "if I were going to do it over again..." Posted by Picasa

Cute Painted Pumpkins

I'm not ready to give my two-year-old a knife to carve a pumpkin and I'm too cheap to buy the big pumpkins so I bought my kids the mini pumpkins and told them we'd paint them. I thought this would be the perfect way to dress up our little pumpkins! Isn't he cute!?
Here's a different idea for the modern, artsy types!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Just for laughs

Need to smile today? This is just cute! Check out the giggling quadruplets

Choo-choo Trains

My little guy is in love with trains and has learned about Thomas. I have other costume ideas for his Halloween get-up but I think I just might make him one of these for fun around the house or maybe his next birthday party.
Time to make: Approx eight hours, spread out over three nights
Stuff you have: Cardboard boxes, empty paper towel tubes, oatmeal container, paint brushes, clip suspenders (or ribbon), paper plates, masking tape
Stuff you need: Blue, red, and yellow paint, oak tag
How to make it: Cut the flaps off the bottom of the box. Cut halfway through the flap on the top of box, and use the remaining part of the flap to create the back of the train, using the photo as a guide. Toilet paper tubes can be used to make the whistles, and an oatmeal container stuffed with newspaper can make the blue dome. Use paper plates and/or oak tag (a hard card stock that's easier to cut than cardboard) for wheels and face. Paint, and attach ribbon or suspenders (clip them to the front and back) so that the costume will sit on your child's shoulders. Place weights behind face to keep the costume from riding up (Donna used a bag of change). Dress your child in overalls underneath, and add a engineer cap if you own one -- perfect for your little Thomas fanatic.

* Back-to-back red duct tape makes sturdy straps.
* Use painted boxes trimmed with colored electrical and duct tape for the main part of the train.
* Recycle oatmeal canisters for the smokestack and headlight.
* Create wheels out of round lids from coffee containers and black electrical tape.

Pippi Longstocking Costume

Remember this funny girl? This brings me back to my childhood and would be an easy costume to throw together.

Time to make: One hour for the costume, 30 minutes for the hair
Stuff you have: Mismatched knee socks, an old dress in a solid color, a stuffed monkey, a wool scarf, a wire hanger, needle and thread, and clog-like shoes
Stuff you need: Fabric scraps
How to make it: Cut squares out of the fabric scraps, and sew onto to the old dress so it resembles patchwork.
Open up a wire hanger and bend it so there's a semicircle "headband" in the middle and sticks out straight on either side. Put it on your daughter's head and secure with bobby pins. Then braid hair around the wires so it sticks straight out.
Accessorize with mismatched knee socks, stuffed monkey, wool scarf, and clogs.
Lightbulb moment: "We wanted straight-out pigtails that would look authentic without being uncomfortable. Once we got them in place, the best part about the costume was watching Chloe navigate the busy Brooklyn streets, turning sideways to let people pass, because her hair was so wide."

To see other easy, home-made costumes visit: This Parents page

Tootsie Pop Spiders

Supplies: 20 small googly eyes, 10 small neon-colored pom-poms, craft glue, 20 black pipe cleaners, neon-colored pony beads, 10 bright-colored Tootsie Pops.
How-To: Glue two eyes onto each pom-pom. Cut pipe cleaners in half, and group together by fours. Wrap each group of four pipe cleaners around a Tootsie Pop just below the candy to create eight legs. Press a pony bead into the end of each pipe cleaner to make feet. Glue a pom-pom spider face onto the pipe cleaners at the base of the pop.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


So we all know that Google is awesome! Great e-mail, blogs, web browser, etc. Did you know they also have a great photo editing program? It's called Picasa, it's free and it's pretty cool! I don't take great pictures but I can make them look pretty good using their editing. You can crop, striaghten, sharpen, change to sepia or black and white, highlight, lighten, etc. You can also create a web album to share with your friends, e-mail pics., or upload them directly to your blog! It's user-friendly and fun to play around with. Check it out.

Create sepia photos and decide the shade
Brighten pics.
Crop and make black and white
Tint pics. to create a different color
Sharpen images
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Personalized Frame Gift

I feel guilty I've been a lousy blogger, so here's a craft for ya! This is a frame we made my mom for Mother's Day. There's supposed to be a heart in the middle so it says "We [heart] Nana" but the heart fell off during it's trip and wasn't glued back on in time for the pic. We have pictures, handprints and name stickers for each of the grandkids (the "Happy Mother's Day" slot was filled with my nephew's pic that had to be mailed seperately). This would make a fun Christmas or Birthday present for a mom or a grandma! If you only have a couple kids you could do full-sized pics. in some slots and foot/handprints in others.

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New Baby Set-up

When my son was born I came up with a newborn bed system that worked great so I thought I'd share. I had a playpen that I set up by my bed when he first came home from the hospital. I put the newborn netting and mattress insert on and used the space underneath for extra diaper bags and clothes he was too small for. On one half of the bed I stored extra blankets, diapers, wipes, Desitin, "nose-plungers", gas drops, spit rags, breast pads, extra pjs (whatever you need during the night or for diaper changes, etc.). I put the changing table insert over the supplies (my playpen had one but you can use your bed if the playpen's right by it). I put my Boppy (nursing pillow) on top of the changing table. I'd usually open up some diapers and lined them up along the edge of the playpen too for extra quick changes. The other half of the playpen mattress was left empty for the baby to sleep on (width of bed instead of length). Then when the baby woke at night I could grab my boppy for quick feedings and/or if he needed diaper changes I could quickly change him right there by his bed with little interruption so he didn't fully awake and I could get him to sleep faster. Then neither of us was awake long and we both slept better!

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Girly Styles

I love cute little girly hairstyles but I'm lacking ideas and time most days so a lot of days we're just lucky to get a comb through it, which lucky enough my daughter's hair's so thin and straight that it doesn't matter. But days we try something cute, it's just fun to see my girl all prettied up! So here's one thing I made up one morning. I'll call it the "Double Twist." Pull a small amount of hair back and tie it. Loosen the tie a little and poke a hole through the middle of the ponytail (above the tie). Take the ponytail and pull it throught the hole (from the top of the hole to the bottom). Tighten the tie. Pull back a little more hair to tie and do the same with that ponytail.

Share your styles!!! E-mail me ( your pictures and directions and I'll post them on the blog to share with everyone. Step-by-step pictures would be a good thing if possible.
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Friday, September 5, 2008

Car Pockets

I got tired of all the stuff on the floor in the car and was feeling a need for a more organized and clean car. So I made these pockets to go on the back of the seats. I made four and each one has different size pockets. They are great for cartrips too. I stash toys and books and movies in them. They are easy to make (I am no seamstress). You just need to make loops at the top for the headrest (measure everything first) and a "loop" across the bottom to add a drawstring. Then tie the drawstring around the seat and pin up the top corners.
This one holds an umbrella, diapers, and wipes (now I can stop carrying diapers in my purse everywhere).
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Better When it's Free

If you are a Bank of America cardholder you can get into museums free the first weekend of every month. Go here to find participating museums. If your state's not there at least keep it in mind for traveling (plan your vacation the first week of the month). If you visit the websites for attractions you can often find free and discounted days. That's how I got into the puppet museum and kids' museums free.
Know of any other freebies or hot deals? Share!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Music Spotlight

This is a wonderful musical a student introduced to me! It's a Broadway musical based on the popular children's books. It's clever and adorable and goes right along with the stories! Both adults and kids will enjoy the jazzy vaudeville-style music and funny lyrics. Makes a great gift too!

What music does your family enjoy listening to? Have a favorite kid or family CD to recommend?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mommy Exercise

Kids add plenty of changes and challenges to the lifestyle you knew before motherhood, and your health is no exception. Not only do they change your body with pregnancy and leave you with extra pounds but life with a child makes exercise difficult. I remember when my third child was born my mom was pushing me to go walking. I laughed in my head as I thought, "Walk? I don't have time to walk! I'm too busy running around to stop and walk!" I've tried to pass off my many trips up and down the basement stairs, chasing kids, and lifting baby and toddler as my exercise. And to some extent yes, but then some muscles are getting tired and others go unused. And I feel like I need a real workout so I can have the energy I need to be a better mom. So, any ideas out there? Whether it's losing baby fat or just shooting for a healthier lifestyle what do you do (or attempt to do) to keep fit?
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Frosting Fun

Here's a fun way to teach kids primary and secondary colors from a lesson I taught while student teaching years ago:
  1. Divide white frosting into three bowls
  2. Add food coloring to each bowl to make yellow, blue, and red frosting
  3. Give each child a spoonful of each color (in a triangle on paper plate to leave room for mixing between colors)
  4. Talk about Primary colors ("starter" colors)
  5. Take equal parts of two colors (i.e. red and blue) and mix with a plastic knife on the clean space between the two colors. Have your child guess what color they'll make.
  6. After all secondary colors are made (and any other combinations-yellow and 2x blue) spread frosting on graham crackers for treat.

Got a fun craft, activity, or lesson? Share the fun! Leave a comment or send me an e-mail (with pics. if possible).

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Lunch Makeover

Tired of the peanut butter sandwich and mac n' cheese lunch rotation? My problem with lunch is I don't really want to do much cooking or spend much money but I still want to keep it healthy. Here's a few simple lunches/snacks I do:
  • cracker sandwiches (and ants on a log & fruit)
  • leftovers (even when you have a little dinner left, it's often enough for kids)
  • quesadillas
  • peanut butter and raisin sandwich (and/or bananas)
  • applesauce and graham crackers
  • yogurt and granola (or other cereal)
  • pb graham crackers
  • goldfish/pretzel/raisin (or craisin) mix
  • mac n cheese with hot dogs (yes, cook the hot dogs in the mnc-kids love it)
  • grilled cheese and tomato soup
  • Waffles with applesauce and fruit topping (When I make waffles I make a large batch and freeze the leftovers to toast later)
  • Parents magazine had some good ones too: homemade lunches, sandwiches, power snacks

What do you do for lunch and snacks? Even your rut may be someone else's fresh idea.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Great Websites

My sister-in-law recommended this great website to us:
It has videos of famous actors reading fun books. My daughter loves it and keeps requesting the "stripe story" featured above. She just watched it a minute ago so I could go put the baby down for a nap. Go check it out.
Got a site to recommend (for the kids or the moms)?

Making Clean-Up Less of a Chore

Even very young children can help out with clean-up. The truth is it's easier for you to just do it yourself, but it helps them feel independent and proud to have helped and learning to contribute is important. These pictures represent one way I've found to make clean-up time a lot easier. I have crates and plastic drawers with pictures on them so every set of toys has a place and it's easy to put away. You can also cover cardboard boxes with fabric or construction paper. Even my two-year-old knows where everything goes and can clean up quickly. I also like it because when other kids come over to play they can put toys away too. I also put up a peg board to hang dresses and purses. Clean-ups at our house are so much faster now. Another thing I do to keep messes to a minimum is to have them clean up the toys before moving on to a new activity. If they want to go in the yard, have a snack, watch a movie, get a game, I tell them to clean up the basement first (the playroom where we keep the toys). So they clean up several times a day, but it helps keep the mess from becoming too overwhelming (usually) and teaches them responsibility.

What are your clean-up tricks? Got a great organizing tip, game, or rule that helps your kids pitch in? Share your ideas in the comment section! Or if it's better explained with a picture, send it to my e-mail and I'll include it on the post.
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