Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Fun

Today's fun was a bit of a surprise to me. We did it earlier in the week and the kids have played with them every day since! We're working on an expansion project for the future :)

For Easter Miss M and JB each got a new Zhu-Zhu pet to go with their previous rodent. So now we have four of these strange little toys in our house (Jilly, Nugget, Rocky and Hook--you already know how important names are in my house). I refuse to buy the whole habit trail system...we have no place to put it, it looks pretty cheap, and of course you have to buy each piece they mostly were just playing with them on the kitchen floor and carting them around in little buckets and purses.

After a visit a week or so ago to my friend Kelly's house Miss M mentioned she wanted a house for her rodents. Kelly is one of the most creative parents I know, she will create or find a way to get whatever cool thing her kids a good way, not a spoiled rotten way! So there in her daughters room was a cardboard box that they had transformed into a home for the rodents. Of course it was complete with beds, hammocks and curtains...her kids are older...details are more important to them :)

So we collected two shoe boxes and on Monday we got to creating. I thought, "they will be entertained for a few minutes, maybe even the morning, then I'll throw them away and move on." But they LOVE them...I made them really simple, cut out doors the rodents can pass through and made some windows. Now that I see we've played with them soo much we're going to upgrade their accomodations a little and perhaps expand their community. All with boxes and scraps laying around the house! This idea is so simple it's ridiculous, but we forget that simple things can make BIG impressions! If you're more fortunate than I, and you don't have these little rodents in your home, make a house for polly pocket, or a vets office for the pet shop gang or really go crazy and make a dream house for those barbies!! I'm sure robots, monster trucks and matchbox cars could be accomodated too.

I remember when I was young my parents went to Florida and left me home with my sister and her family. We made a Barbie apartment out of cardboard box and made furniture with tissue boxes, dixie cups, egg cartons and fabric. I played with that apartment for years! Have some fun with your kids, let them be creative and recycle the 'stuff' laying around the house!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I had to make an important decision last night, go to cubbies or don't go to cubbies. Now, I certainly don't go to cubbies for my benefit (although the Bible Study for parents is great) and if I never mentioned cubbies on any given Wednesday Miss M wouldn't remember herself. But once the word cubbies is spoken into our day, the countdown is on. So yesterday morning as we ate breakfast and went through all we would be doing for the day, of course I mentioned cubbies. You would think by now I would have learned, don't mention anything to small children until 15 seconds before you arrive, begin, etc. Nope, haven't learned.

Here is where the debate arose...Miss M has been "cranky" for a few days, maybe even a week or so. Since JB had a few sick days I was writing some of it off as, maybe she doesn't quite feel well. But the sassy mouth was really getting out of control so I had to consider the big picture. Am I just getting lazy with discipline (always a possibility), is she sick (she sure seems fine when we play outside), is this a 'fun' sassy stage (beginning to think girls live in a perpetual sassy stage) or is there something else contributing. As I evaluated the last few weeks I realized we had gotten really lax on bedtime. It started ever so innocently and then just snowballed into nights that she wasn't going down until 8:30/9 pm. That is very late for a child who spent the first four years of her life going to bed promptly at 7 pm every night!!

I could list a thousand excuses but you already know them all, you've probably said them yourself about some area of your parenting that you aren't happy with (or am I the only 'bad mommy'??? that thought does cross my mind occasionally). The bottom line is I think she is over tired and I have to address it. At the same time we began getting lax on bedtime she decided she was about done with naps--double whammy!

That all being said, we stayed home last night from cubbies. Miss M put up a small stink about missing cubbies but it was quickly forgotten when I said we could go outside and use the new "bubble gun". Situaltion averted! JB was in bed by 7:15 and Miss M by 7:30. Both went down without a peep and slept through until morning. The obnoxiously early time my children wake up is a whole different blog topic...we won't go there today! I noticed a nice difference as soon as they woke up today, clearly they got out of bed well rested! Hope we can keep this up, I do like having my evenings back :) I even had a chance to eat some ice cream, with sprinkles of course!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lifty, Lily and Junior

Miss M has an imagination on her! In addition to her fabulous imagination she has a deep need to know the name of everyone and everything. As a result, everything she finds as treasure and every toy that she believes is deserved gets a name.

Here are the top eight "friends" we have living with us currently...
1. Giraffee, Bunny-Bunny and Froggy-clearly these were named early on as they are her special stuffed animals from infancy and she sleeps with them every night. They are, respectively, a giraffe, bunny and frog...all beany baby style. We have really challenged her to think of imagniative will see how that panned out as the list progresses.
2. Cowdy and Lola-these are her two baby dolls, she named them on her own and consistently calls them these names. JB now knows who is who and calls them by name!
3. Emily-a leapfrog toy that is a stuffed frog. When you push the buttons on it's bib it says colors and shapes. She calls Emily her video game...if we never have to spend hundreds of dollars and wasted brain cells on video games because this satisfies her, I will be thrilled :)
4. Neminee-a little white bear that just joined the family last week after an Easter Egg hunt.
5. Betty the Fruit Snack-this is a personal fav of is actually what she calls any given magnetic letter. They are all fruit snacks, they take turns being Betty the Fruit Snack.
6. Sea Pup-this is JB! She has many names for him, but he actually responds to this one, it's very cute!
7. Morgan-this is her imaginary/no longer with us baby sister. She likes to tell people, "I used to have a baby sister named Morgan". Kind of freaks people out and compels me to go into a long explanation of the fact that there is no missing/deceased/existent baby sister :)
8. Lifty, Lily and Junior-rocks she found outside at various places. She generally keeps them in her cup holder in the car, hadn't heard much about them lately. Today she discovered them, reminded me of the names that she hadn't forgotten and promptly announced "they're moving into the house with us today Mommy". Welcome home Lifty, Lily and Junior!

Not to be outdone, JB received a new Zhu-Zhu pet for Easter. Now these strange little toys come with names that Miss M has been quite satisfied with. However, JB took one look at his new pet, that happens to have a pirate picture on its back, and said "Hook". So here we go....what will he think of next????

Monday, April 25, 2011

Just another day at the pediatrician...

They are going to start charging me rent at the pediatrician's office. They may also start consulting me on colors for the walls, books to have available on the tables and what flavor lollipops to have. We are there more often than I like, and if you know my Miss M then you won't be surprised to hear that she has addressed the above three topics with nurses, doctors and fellow patients :)

We stopped in today, to say Happy Easter...well we also checked JB...maybe strep...we haven't had that before! Anyway, I pulled into the parking lot and could not find a spot, this has never happened to me at this office. I circled the building twice, thank goodness I'm always 10 minutes early!! We finally found a spot clear on the other side of the building. It was a beautiful day for a long stroll (and we found rocks, acorns and puddles along the way). I walk in the waiting room and it is standing room only! Again, a first. I counted 38 people in the waiting room...38!

Apparently the computers went down and apparently when the computers go down doctors can't see patients and apparently when doctors can't see patients nurses can't do preliminary checks and apparently when nurses can't do preliminary checks patients and their parents grow irritable!! We arrived at the tail end of the chaos, thankfully. Miss M and JB were thoroughly entertained by the fish (as usual) the chipmunk movie playing (I think it's the only movie they own) and the shear volume of people they could smile at, wave to, wish a Happy Easter, and in JB's case, pass books out to. One lady was so annoyed that JB kept bringing her books she put on her dark sunglasses and stopped acknowledging him completely. I was totally amused by the pile of about 10 books he piled at her feet :) I'm terrible, I know!

Oh well, no harm no foul! JB finally got checked and by the time we came out the nurses were chasing us out the door so they could eat their lunch. I really do enjoy observing people and thier reactions to their surroundings. I just wish I could study people on the boardwalk, at the beach or an airplane! The peds office is getting old. Next time though, I will be a bit more prepared in case of technological difiiculties...I'll just offer everyone some sprinkles :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

first ever Friday Fun

I taught first grade for 9 1/2 years and I loved almost every minute of it. Don't get me wrong, teaching is hard work and sometimes very stressful. But the reward is far greater than the cost! A few years into my adventure in first grade I began doing what I ever so creatively dubbed "Friday Fun". It changed from year to year, even week to week sometimes. But the bottom line was, the students worked hard all week toward a specific goal and their reward was some Friday Fun. This came in the form of free recess, a video, a popcorn party, baking cookies, etc.

As I am getting into this whole blogging stratisphere I began to think I'd like to go back to Friday Fun. So my goal is to mention some activities, websites, places to visit, or whatever other fun thing I can dive into every Friday. And the best part is, unlike in my classroom, you don't have to do anything but log on. No pressure to remember your library books, or your sneakers for gym class, or your homework...just come visit me here and see what I have in store for you :)

The irony of today's post is that I've been thinking about it all week, waiting excitedly for Friday to arrive so I could post my idea. Of course neither Miss M or JB would take a nap today so I here I sit at 8:30 pm writing my post that I usually do around 1:30 in the afternoon, darn those two!

So here is my idea for this week, and it's not my own, it's just fun and yummy and it goes with Easter. Have you heard of resurrection cookies? This is a great activity to do with your kids tomorrow night before Easter. You can have some fun baking together, you can read scripture surrounding the story of Christ's death and then in the morning you can celebrate his resurrection with a yummy treat! I know, I know, who gives thier kids cookies for breakfast? Well, I figure if you're giving them a basket full of junk, what's one little cookie? Pack up the extras with a little note of explanation and send them to Sunday School to give out to the others in your child's class.

Check out for directions.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Playground fun

Our family loves playgrounds! We live in a condo with no yard or even really grassy space that is our own. We make due with what we have, play with a lot of sidewalk chalk, blow bubbles and take the soccer ball down to the "common area". We even make boundaries in a far corner of the parking lot sometimes so the kids can "safely" ride thier "bikes". But more often than not, if it's nice out, we go to a playground.

We have a few favs in the area, and they all have their own special names. The kids and Daddy would say that the blue flag playground is their fav. It's over in Northampton on Hatboro Road. They have a really cool slide with rollers that Miss M and JB just go up and down, up and down. They also like the pirate playground which is over in Newtown by Goodnoe Elem. There is a cool pirate ship as part of the equipment plus there are lots of fields to just run free in. Miss M is a wanderer, she just loves to roam around in a field of grass finding treasures and talking to whomever will listen! JB is more of a climber, he wants to be where the action is. My fav is what we call, the little playground. It's by the old Chancellor Street school and it is small. I like it because it is completely fenced in (I can't lose anyone) the equipment is small and spread out nicely (I can't lose anyone) and it's very well taken care of. A bathroom and a shade tree would make it the perfect place to play in my book :)

There are many others we go to, some are strictly when Daddy is with us playgrounds, some are when we don't mind getting dirty playgrounds, and some are great with a friend.

It is during all of these playground trips that I get to do one of my favorite things...people watch. And people watching moms with young children is hysterical and infuriating all at the same time. My friend Dana and I often go to the playground in the mall during the winter months. We often ask each other, "at what point will we be the mom that is sitting on the bench, texting not paying any attention to our children?" I've come to the conclusion that I may never be that mom. I worry to much that my kid is pushing another, eating the woodchips, getting knocked over by a swing, or following a complete stranger off the playground. Call me a worry wart...I'll take the title!

I laughed at some Newtown moms the other day. Now technically I am a Newtown mom but I don't really fit the stereotype, at least not the one I have conjured up in my own head. These moms were dressed to the hilt, as were their little darlings. They were talking about vacation homes, pre-school teachers that have the nerve to tell their children to wear coats when it's cold, and best of all...complaining about the church bells! Yes, the playground is across from a tiny, old historical church in Newtown. At noon the bells rang out...Amazing mom said "can you believe those bells are playing music like that, can't we complain to someone?" I'm sure they would prefer something by some little teeny bopper that tells our girls to talk sassy and dress sassier.

Oh well...we enjoyed our morning at the playground anyway...I think those moms need some sprinkles in their Starbucks lattes :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Battle is On

Day three of blogging and I'm totally enjoying it! I'm on a roll :)

We have been having a battle at our house lately...well since about the day Miss M turned 3. The battle is dinner. Breakfast and lunch go relatively smoothly, partly because we do about the same thing every day. I change it up a little here and there, but those first two meals are very routine. So, first thing I learned through this is how much Miss M needs routine in her life. As soon as I change the scenario...chaos...

Back to the battle...I dread dinner. I turn into a monster and Prince Charming turns into I don't know what, but whatever it is drives me crazy! He is very patient with her in this situation and really tries to talk her through it, that's where I lose my mind. Just eat because it's dinner, I cooked it and it's in front of you (I hear Dr. Phil in my ear saying, "howz that workin' for ya?")

So yesterday I'm at my ladies Bible Study (which I haven't attended more than half a dozen times since January thanks to all the germs my children seem to enjoy ingesting) and they start talking about how when they're kids were young they made them eat dinner. Now, most of these women in this convo have either adult children or young teens. But I suppose nothing is new under the sun and they fought the same battle.

Below are the "take home points" I heard during that convo...
1. If they say eeeww or yuck they get a double portion.
2. If they say I don't like it they get one extra spoonful.
3. They have to learn to eat with out complaining at home so they are polite when they are at someone elses house.

These things sound great, number three is simply common sense. But I stood there and listened and finally said, in reference to number 1 & 2, "how did you get them to eat it?" They just looked at me like I had asked them "how do you get your four year old to stand on one foot on the very top of your roof?" Clearly it hadn't dawned on them that there are four year olds out there that will happily watch you pile on an entire plate of string beans, they're still not going to eat them. I had to take this information home and ponder.

So that's what I did. I pondered. I thought about the three points mentioned above, I thought about my friend Kate and some of the "tricks" she has tried with her kids and I thought about Miss M and what makes her tick. I then laid out my battle plan.

First, I wrote down four rules on a chart: (the teacher in me came flooding out)
1. Sit in your seat
2. Keep food on your plate
3. Eat all that you've been given
4. Be polite (please and thank you, use your fork, ask to be excused)

Then, I wrote down consequences:
1. you will sit at the table until you finish what you've been given
2. no dessert/snacks if you don't eat
3. if you say "I don't like that" you will get another spoonful to eat (I do like the thought behind this, I get a lot of whining about what she doesn't like)

Finally, I wrote "Look who obeyed" at the bottom of the chart. In that spot, if she obeys the rules she can place a sticker on the chart. When she gets five stickers she can go to the dollar store and pick out one thing (she loves this prize).

We went over it all last night and we implemented the rules. Prince Charming wasn't real thrilled, but he went along with it. Miss M did great, now we had a meal that should be easy for her to eat. That doesn't always matter, but it helped last night for her to be successful the first time. She placed a sticker on the chart, so did JB (his don't really count).

We'll see how tonight goes. But dinner last night was not a battle. Hopefully we will be victorious...only to find out what the next war will be over...dare I guess it will be getting dressed by yourself?!?!?!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Walking the Walk

I love to take a walk! I prefer to walk outside but I will walk the mall when weather does not permit otherwise. I also prefer to walk with a friend. I love to chat, laugh, catch-up and share with someone while getting a little exercise. Lately I haven't been doing much walking...I could blame the weather but really, I've just been in a funk. And while not walking for exercise is a slight problem, I also haven't been walking with my Saviour either. That's a much bigger problem. Now, let's just clear up what I mean by that...I haven't been binge drinking, evading my taxes, or stealing paperclips from the office! I just haven't been spending time with the Lord, we haven't taken a walk and chatted, laughed, caught-up or shared in quite a while. For me this is a serious problem, becuase just like when I don't get exercise I feel fat and ugly; when I don't spend time with the Lord I feel down and out.

I realized my problem a few weeks ago but the one-day retreat at church really kind of stirred something up in me. A feeling of "your emotional and spiritual well-being is not where it should be, so do something about it" enveloped me that day. It might have been the talk I heard about spiritual wellness or the challenge I was given to raise my children in the way of the Lord or maybe it was that testimony...hearing about a friend that was so low she didn't see a way out! It was probably a combo of all three that really got me thinking and that thinking led to action!

I made a date with one of my favorite women and let her know where my heart was. We followed that up with a second date and I really felt myself looking to find a way to put God back in my routine (thanks other Janet). Then a good friend told me about a really cool website and the how began to surface (thanks Tiff). Then finally, the icing on the cake, my dearest friend in the world came up for a surprise had nothing to do with me or where I just encouraged my heart to see her and her fabulous family (thanks Deb). I put that all together and I am back...walking with the Lord so we can chat, laugh, catch-up and share. I know that lazy attitude will creep back in, but for today I am happy with where I am. I'm praying that God will keep me thirsty for HIM and that I will respond obediently.

My favorite thing about God right now is the freedom I have in HIM. I think I was feeling alot of pressure/stress about how I needed to be living my life, spending my money, raising my children, etc. But I don't need to be in bondage to any of those things...Christ died so that I can live...I can give all those cares to HIM and he will carry them for me.

Anyway, enough preachy-preachy...this is more cathartic for me than for you :) Check out that website if you're looking for some accountability, ideas or just a place to see other women in the same battle as you!

Now if only I could get myself exercising again...that may take a real act of God :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

I really stink at this!

Well, here I am three months since my last might think I was busy home/pre-schooling the kiddo. Don't give me that much credit, I just would rather read other blogs than write my own apparently :) I'm considering giving it another stab...

I just had the best morning with my kids! We got up early, because that's what my kids do (sad face) and we played and watched a little TV. I threw in a couple loads of laundry and relocated my dining room table (it was lost underneath the weekend). As I wrapped all of that up Miss M says "Mommy what are we doing next?" There were great expectations in her eyes so quickly I scrambled. I looked around the room, thought about what had to be done and I saw them...sitting by the stairs...the rain boots. So, without thinking I said, "we're going to the park in our boots to see what treasures we can find." Boots was the only word Miss M and JB needed to they ran to get ready!

I tried calling a few friends, that didn't pan out, so off the three of us went. It was glorious! We parked down by the dam at Tyler and threw rocks in the high, fast moving water. This sliced just a few years off my life as I was sure one of them was going in the drink! Then we walked to the sandbox at the rickety old barn playground. I use the term sandbox loosely, it was really just a mud pit! But since we had our boots we went! That lasted only a second when JB spotted the playground. So off we went across the grassy knoll to play and climb and swing and slide. We made a few friends (I love that my kids make friends everywhere we play!!)did a lot of chasing and sat down for a snack. Then we played some more, in fact we made a delicious pizza out of woodchips and pistachio shells. Finally we headed back, stopped off at the mud pit, took a short cut and threw a few more rocks. All in all it was the perfect morning. We laughed, observed, listened, exercised, snacked and held hands (that was my favorite part).

One last thing...I know you aren't supposed to take anything out of the park that you didn't bring in, but we did come home with four rocks. Tonight after dinner we're going to read the story of Jesus' entering the city on Palm Sunday. We're going to decorate our rocks to emphasize to us that if we don't praise the Lord, He will make the rocks cry out! They will remind us of our great day together in the park and how much we have to Praise the Lord for!