Monday, January 30, 2012

Making Mountains From Egg Cartons

Easy Craft for Preschoolers: Making Mountains from Egg Cartons
We LOVE going to Colorado on vacation.  We go every year and the kids have been several times so the other day we were looking at family pictures ( a favorite activity of the kids) and they saw the mountains and it occurred to me that I could use an old egg carton and they could "make mountains".

First, I cut up the egg carton and then I glued a green piece of paper to some cardboard (for the grass).  You wouldn't really need to do this, you could just use the egg carton, but I had the cardboard and green paper so I figured why not?

Materials needed for preschoolers to make a craft about mountains
Preschooler can use egg carton to make a craft about mountains

Then I gave them some paint and they happily painted their "mountains".  Although I personally HATE to craft, I have found that this sort of thing really directs energy in a positive way and the kids are so proud of their creations so we try to do something like this every day.  I use the small paint containers to minimize mess and they usually don't even get paint on themselves since they're now so used to doing this kind of thing.  Plus, I like to keep it cheap and easy and that's why I like to re-use things like egg cartons and things I find around the house.

Little kids like egg cartons for crafts

When they were finished, they glued some "snow balls" to the grass.  Again, this part isn't really necessary, but they thought it was fun and were very proud of their mountains!

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Giving Up Coke? Mission aborted

Well....I didn't exactly quit drinking Coke.  I did try...and I tried Coke Zero but couldn't take it.  Much to my surprise, according to my poll, I'm not the only adult in America drinking Coke.  In fact, the responses overwhelmingly showed that of people who drink Pop, most people drink Coke.  However, it actually showed that most people don't drink Pop at all.  Kudos to you!!

I, however, cannot give up Coke but I gave it a valiant effort.  I did end up trying and liking Trop50 

Thanks so much to Tropicana for giving away two $50 Spa vouchers to my readers in conjunction with SpaWeek.  I will notify the winners via email and they will have 48 hours to respond. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Overcoming my iPhone Addiction with a Fun Indoor Game

Keeping the Kids Busy Indoors and Overcoming my iPhone Addiction at the Same Time!
Recently I made a shameful discovery….I had become an addict…an iPhone addict.  I was loaded up with apps like Facebook, emails, etc so my phone was constantly dinging and buzzing.  While I was at home with my two toddlers, I found that I couldn’t help myself.  I always jumped for the unlock button every time an email came through.  I was often scrolling for Facebook updates from people I didn’t care about and hadn’t seen in 10 years.  Why did I suddenly care more about emails and updates from strangers than playing with my own kids?  I decided I needed a serious intervention.
At first it was hard.  Every time I heard a ding or buzz from the kitchen drawer, my hands itched to check it.  However, I slowly learned to live without my phone and I found that I was truly paying attention to what they were saying and doing.   Best of all, I went back to truly playing with the kids because I knew up front I wouldn’t allow myself to be interrupted by email dings.  

I thought back to games I played as a kid and I started getting creative.  Now one of the kids’ favorite games is something that I played when I was growing up, with slight modification.  I bought a couple small buckets and a bunch of fluffy multi-colored balls from the local craft store.  The game is sort of like an Easter Egg Hunt.  They have to go sit down and close their eyes in the living room while I “hide the blueberries”.  I put them everywhere: on the fireplace, on couches, in corners of the room.  I hide dozens of them and when I’m done I tell them they can open their eyes because it’s time to pick all the blueberries.  They scurry around the room with buckets in hand, looking for all the “blueberries”.  They shriek with excitement every time they find one to put in the bucket.  When they’re done, they beg me to hide them again.

It’s a great game because they learn patience while I hide everything, then they get exercise as they scurry all around the room.  It boosts their self-esteem when I praise them for being so smart to find everything.

Finding ways to boost self-esteem is very important to me and I certainly wasn’t getting it done while I was addicted to my phone, so I would call my intervention a huge success.  Now I constantly look for new games to play with them and I find that they even come up with their own games from time to time.  That can be the most rewarding of all, to watch my kids get creative on their own and I’m proud to say that I don’t passively watch their creativity while tapping my phone.  I actively watch and encourage their creativity and it’s far more interesting.

I will admit that we don't spend every SECOND of every day looking for fun things to do.  Mommy needs some free time occasionally too!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Confessions of a Sleep Deprived Mommy

Confessions of a Sleep-Deprived Mommy
When I was growing up my Mom used to do stupid absent-minded things all the time and my brothers and I picked on her mercilessly.  She was forever losing her keys, forgetting to set the timer when english muffins were broiling and one time she even left my little brother (three years old at the time) at a basketball game.  Luckily a neighbor found him and brought him home.  I always thought I would be better, but I think it's finally time to face the facts that I have become a sleep deprived Mommy:

1.  This morning I couldn't figure out why my eggs weren't cooking.  Then I noticed the burner was off.  I estimate that I'd been standing there a good five minutes, spacing off and just stirring and stirring those eggs until I thought to check on the status of the burner.  See that pic?  No flame at all.

2.  One of my friends called me in hysterics after she got my thank-you note for a baby gift, and I had reversed the stamp and the address label.  The Post Office must have taken pity on me and delivered it anyway.

3.  We have a really neat "drive-up" system at our grocery store where you walk out empty-handed, then drive your car up to the circle and they load the groceries for you.  Unfortunately I keep forgetting to drive to get the groceries so I keep getting home without groceries and have to turn around.  Then when I get back the store, I have to unload the kids and wander around the store trying to find my groceries because by now they have them squirreled away somewhere since no one claimed them.  I wish I could say I learned me lesson the first time, but this has happened twice.  Okay, three time in less than one year.

4.  One time I left my purse in the shopping cart and drove away.  I did have my groceries that time, but it took me several hours to realize my purse was missing and then I couldn't remember for the life of me where it was!  I finally pieced together that it was at the grocery store.  Luckily some nice citizen had turned it in for me.

5.  I couldn't find my driver's license one day and I traced back my steps and realized that I must have left it at the doctor's office.  I was leaving on a plane that next day so I was frantic to find it.  The doctor's office claimed they didn't have it and I accused them (in a nice way of course) of losing it and I went there and helped them search all around their files in their office.  On the way home I remembered that I left it at the bank.  Ooops.  Time to find a new doctor anyway.

6.  I put the milk away in the pantry one time.  It didn't smell very good the next day.

7.  The biggest confession of all?  I'm not actually sleep-deprived anymore so I can't even blame it on that.  I guess I must have lost too many brain cells during my years of sleep-deprivation and apparently those brain cells are gone forever.

I'm sure I've done so many more absurd things, but now I can't remember them.  Or I lost my list.  Who knows?  I swear they must give you stupid pills when you're at the hospital having your first baby!  The good news is that I remember laughing until tears streamed down my cheeks at my silly things my Mom did.  She was never offended.  She always laughed with us.  In fact, she still does, so I guess it's a good tradition to carry on.  

If you can relate to this, you will be able to relate to my newly released book!  It was co-written by former Kindergarten teacher Susan Case.  You can download the first chapter for free on Amazon!  We give hundreds of ideas on how to keep kids buys in a productive way to stimulate their natural curiosity and prepare them for Kindergarten by giving them interesting yet challenging games to play every day.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

How Full is Your Fridge at the End of the Week?

 My Mom came over yesterday and was really laughing at the sight of my fridge at the end of the week:

As you can see, I'm a minimalist.  We have a family of four, with two little kids and I have a LOT of empty fridge space.  I'm wondering if this is seriously strange?  I do try to only buy what I think we'll eat during the week.  I don't even coupon and I only spent $75 at the store last week and I cooked almost every night.  Yet at the same time I probably need to improve because when Hubby comes home early, looking for things to eat and it's outside of meal time, I have to reply with:

1.  I could make you some eggs?
2.  We have yogurt.
3.  We have apples
4.  We have baby carrots
4.  Sorry, we're out of bananas and well I guess almost everything, but I could make you some chicken nuggets? 

I do always keep deli meat and bread, but that's about it.  Am I giant weirdo??

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Different Way to Practice Cutting

Work on Fine Motor Skills With Montessori-Inspired Cutting Paper Techniques
I visited a Montessori preschool last year and although it was too far to drive so we didn't end up going there, they had some really neat activities that I now do at home occasionally.  One activity they did with the kids was a new way to cut.  The teacher traced something onto a piece of paper and then the child used a push pin to make hundreds of tiny holes on the line.  I watched a kid spend quite awhile working on his line and now my daughter does the same thing.  We place the tracing on the carpet and then my daughter uses a large push pin.  It's fun to watch because it takes a lot of concentration and fine motor skill and I can just see her getting stronger and smarter!!

Once there are enough holes (and when my daughter gets bored), I can take over and use the Push Pin to "cut out" the tracing.  I just slide the Push Pin all around and the heart easily comes out and now my daughter is so proud that she "cut out" the hear using her Push Pin!

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Bad Days REALLY Make Me Appreciate the Good Days

A Working Mommy's Perspective: Why the Bad Days Make Me Appreciate the Good Ones
Last Thursday was one of the WORST days of my life.  I'm not a drama queen, it really was terrible.  I had to travel four hours away for a presentation to a customer site, as part of my new territory for my job.  I'm not thrilled to be traveling to begin with, and I walk out of my hotel at 6:00am, only to find blowing winds and snow all over the ground.  Wonderful.

I get in my car and even though the roads are slick, I'm not too worried because my meeting doesn't start until 7:30 and it would normally only take 20 minutes to get there.  I'm not worried until I hit the highway.  Traffic isn't even moving, there are cars in every ditch, police lights are flashing everywhere.  It's pretty much mass chaos.  I creep along the highway and at 6:45 I'm started to get panicky.  I've still only gone about a mile in 45 minutes and my meeting is still scheduled to start at 7:30.

Well fast forward to 8:15 and I'm still in my car on the highway.  I know I should probably get off and take a sidestreet, but I don't know this city well enough to navigate the side streets.  I'm now 45 minutes late the meeting.  Cars are sliding around all over the place and I honestly feel like I'm lucky to be alive when I finally pull up at my customer site at 8:45, over an hour late and almost three hours after I left my hotel at 6:00.  I only drove 15 miles. 

I spend the next 6 hours talking to customers about our products and I haven't even had a chance to eat or drink anything when I run to my car at 3:00.  My goal is to make it home in time to put the kids to bed.  Unfortunately it's been snowing all day still and the roads are still bad so my four hour drive turns into 5 and a half and I miss putting the kids to bed.

You would think this would make me gloomy, but the next morning the kids wake up and they make up for everything that happened the day before.  They are SO excited to see me and I've never seen them so sweet.  They both keep coming up to hug me and Munchkin Girl keeps telling me how much she missed me (Keep in mind it was only one day).  Even Little Buddy keeps pausing while playing with his trucks. He lays his head on my lap, gives me a huge grin, and then goes back to his trucks.  It really makes me realize how lucky I am to be able the be the one who normally gets to get them out of the bed in their pajamas and feed them breakfast.  I love sitting at the table with them and then reading them books while they sit in my lap before we get dressed for the day.  Sure, sometimes they scream and fight and demand pink forks when I don't have pink forks, and I don't love ALL my days as a working Mom, but the bad days sure make me appreciate the good days.

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Easy Octopus Craft From Paper Towel Holder

Easy Octopus Craft from Paper Towel Holders
Little Buddy still doesn't talk a lot.  One word he does know is, "FOOTBALL!!!"  He yells this approximately 205 times per night, and then immediately tries to tackle someone.  That someone is usually Munchkin Girl, and sometimes she plays, but the other night, she wasn't in the mood for his antics and was getting very agitated.  In other words, she kept screaming in a high-pitched voice, "Mommmmmy!!!!  He won't stop wrestling me!!!  Make him Stooooooopppp!!"

Although Hubby is an orthopedic surgery resident, I didn't want to put his talents to use at home, so we opted for a very quick and easy craft: A Painted Octopus from Paper Towel Holders.  I got out our paints and first they painted the tubes:

Once they were done painting, I cut long slits and made them into an Octopus.  This was especially popular since Munchkin Girls still lives for anything that involves Ariel:

Again, I love crafts that are cheap, easy a fun and this one definitely qualifies!!  What some people don't realize, is that directing energy to something positive and fun can change the whole mood for the night.  Instead of constant fighting and whining, you might get smiles.  Kids are very proud of creations.

If you enjoyed this post, you will love my book!  It was released in July, 2012 and was co-written by me and Susan Case.  In this unique book, which was written by both a Mom and a former Kindergarten Teacher, you will find ways to keep your little kids busy, out of trouble, and motivated to learn.  If you have ever tried to cook dinner while your kid clings to your leg and cries, this is the book for you!  Kids behave better when they are given challenging projects to work on, which will in turn give you more free time to do the things you really need to do, like washing dishes, paying bills, and relaxing so that you can be a better Mom!

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Friday, January 13, 2012

How to Paint With Kids and Not Make a Mess

How to Paint With Little Kids Without Making a Mess
This week, Munchkin Girl wakes up every morning and asks, "Mommy, can we dome some painting?"  Then she smiles and blinks her lashes.  I swear she doesn't learn these tricks from me.  But really, painting is so fun!!  However, I have heard many Moms, even Stay At Home Moms, who are scared of painting inside and don't let kids do any painting, for fear of making a mess.  Now, I totally understand why Moms are fearful, but it's so worth it!  It's such a great way to re-direct energy and help kids concentrate on something.  Plus, when they're done, they have something to be proud of!  Kids as young as twenty months can even have fun with painting and be reasonably clean about it.  So, if you're scared of painting, start with this:

You can buy this nice little tub of paint at Target or Walmart.  It comes with paint inside, which will only last one time, but after you use it, you can throw it in the dishwasher and then use it over and over.  The beauty of this is that it CONTAINS the paint.  They can't put their hands in it.  Just go buy several big tubs of Washable Tempura Paint from Hobby Lobby or Michaels and then you can refill these tubs every time you are ready to paint.  Plus, you can try these methods to contain the mess:

1.  Buy paintsmocks.  These can be found at Toys R Us or sometimes even Target or Walmart
2.  Buy several plastic tablecloths.  You can throw spread them on the table them away when you're done
3.  Tell the kids not to get messy.  Give them a wet paper towel and tell them to clean themselves if they get messy.  They might just listen to you!
4.  Lastly, for your first painting job, you might consider giving them an object to paint, like an egg carton or maybe even a wooden object from Hobby Lobby.  They really aren't very expensive and it also helps contain the fun if they are limited to painting an object

Washable Tempura usually comes out of clothes and trust me, your kids will have fun, which makes your life easier!

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Are We Robbing Our Kids of a Childhood?

New Research: Are We Robbing Our Kids of a Childhood?
Did you know that 75% of all American children are enrolled in daycare centers?   A new study was published this week in the American Journal of Pediatrics that finds that these daycare children are largely sedentary and are only spending 2-3% of their day doing vigorous physical activity.  This is way down from the recommended levels and it means that the vast majority of American children are starting out their lives way behind in gross motor skills.  The researchers found three reasons for the largely sedentary lifestyle in day cares:

1.  Injury concerns (Daycare providers are afraid of being sued and also say that parents urge them not to let the children play vigorously, for fear of injury)
2.  Financial (They don't have the money to buy safe equipment and also state that the equipment that is "safe" isn't interesting or fun for kids so they don't see any reason to waste the money.  That's ironic, isn't it?)
3.  Emphasis on academics (Society has placed such importance on reading and test scores that parents are feeling the pressure and are worried their kids won't know the letters and numbers at an early age.  The daycare centers that were studied stated that parents were more concerned about what their children "learned" that day, rather than how much they played and that parents put a lot of pressure on the daycare centers to emphasize academics to "prepare" children for school.)

My kids don't go to daycare, but my observation is that most daycares are wonderful.  The teachers really do care about the children and there are regulations in place that keep things very safe and clean.  However, according this study, the problem is that after kids get home from daycare, it's often time to have dinner and a bath and go to bed, so the daytime is the only time they would have to play outside and play vigorously and since they aren't getting it there, they might not be getting it at all.

Think back for a minute to when you were a kid.  Do you remember sitting around learning numbers and letters?  Of course not.  You remember riding bikes to the pool, catching fireflies, or maybe climbing a tree with your best friend.  Obviously children need to read, but people have been learning to read for hundreds and thousands of years, so why do we think we need to drill this into our children's head at age 3?  Why do we think we need computer programs to teach our children to read?

I have heard that many Kindergarten teachers are now using computer programs to teach children how to read.  Can you imagine?  Many experts maintain that children learn by doing, by interacting, and by touching, and not by computers.  I'm sure computers are fine in moderation, but I find it extremely alarming that any school would use a computer program as the primary teaching plan for the academic year.  It's almost like schools don't care about fun, social skills, or problem-solving.  They only care about test scores. 

To me, this illustrates so clearly how the emphasis on academics is stealing childhood from our children.  As parents, I think we need to protest.  The pressure for children to perform well in school is so intense that people feel the need to start preparing at age 2 or 3.  I know that I feel the pressure sometimes.  I don't want my kids to get behind, but I think we need to draw a line somewhere.  Homework is getting so out of control in many grade schools that kids don't even have time to play outside after school.  This is tragic.  Getting a good score when they are ten years old doesn't guarantee success in life.  People grow up to be successful and happy in life when they are confident, self-reliant, and aren't lazy and are willing to work for success.  When we deprive our children the opportunity to play outside and play with other children, we rob them of chances to learn these valuable skills.  Let's give our children something to remember about their childhood, other than sitting in front of a computer while they learn numbers and letters.  Let's make some memories with our kids and quit worrying so much about test scores.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not a perfect Mom by any means, but I LOVE watching my kids play vigorously and get exercise.  After all, see what kids can do if we just give them some time to be kids?  

They wrestle

They catch leaves

They Gather Rocks

They Play With Laundry Baskets

They Swing

They Play In The Dirt

After all, isn't this what having kids is all about?  What do you think??  Am I wrong??

Also, I would really love it if you would buy my book!!  If you have ever tried to cook dinner while your kids clung to your legs, this is the book for you!  You aren't the only Mom out there who wondered why the kids make you crazy!  We packed the book full of step-by-step instructions on what craft supplies to buy, how to do non-messy crafts, and also some ideas on activities that will truly interest your kids so they are busy while you cook dinner! I really do think it can help Moms.  We've gotten some great feedback so far and the reviews on Amazon have been really solid if you want some other opinions before you buy.  Plus, my co-author, Susan Case, is a former Kindergarten teacher and is wonderful resource and you will learn so much from her.  And if you do, PLEASE come back and tell me what you think!  I can't thank you all enough for your support.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cheap, Easy Craft: Painting with straws

Cheap, Easy Craft: Painting With Straws
I like craft projects to be:

1.  Simple
2.  Cheap
3.  Fun

It doesn't get much simpler, cheaper, or more fun that painting with straws.  First, start out with a little bit of paint, mixed with water in squeeze bottles.  You can buy these for just a couple dollars from Walmart or Hobby Lobby and I use mine a lot so they're a good investment.  If you don't have these, you could probably still make it work by pouring water and paint into sippy cups with lids or even just regular cups.  It's important to mix with a little water so that it's runny enough.

Use paint, home-made puff paint and water in these bottles for lots of fun

Then, squeeze a little of the paint onto the paper.

Preschoolers and toddlers will enjoy the sensory fun of this project

Next, show your child how to blow air through the straw to make the paint fly around the page.  Be sure to tell them not to suck back in or they'll get a mouth full of green paint!  (Not that we know this from personal experience or anything.  This did NOT happen to Munchkin Girl I swear.  Well okay, it did).  It's best to keep the straw ABOVE the paper for maximum air movement, until they get the hang of it.  You might want to set out a plastic tablecloth to avoid spattering.  Luckily, our table is finished so everything wipes right up.

Painting with straws can be a fun and easy craft project for little kids

Once they get the hang of it, watch the magic happen.  Look at that huge bubble!!

preschooler enjoying painting with a straw

Voila!  The finished product!

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sometimes Kids Need a Little TV

Sometimes Kids Need a Little TV
I know this isn't a very popular point of view, and I might get crucified for this, but I feel strongly that sometimes kids just need a little TV.  Let me build you a timeline to illustrate my point:

New Year's Eve
7:00 Normal bedtime
9:30 Bedtime on New Year's Eve (Now I realize I should have probably put them in bed earlier, but I have come a long way in my parenting and I feel that sometimes rules can and should be broken for the benefit of tradition and fun.  It was New Year's Eve after all!)

New Year's Day
7:30 Normal wake time
7:30 Wake time on New Year's Day (If you do the math, you will see that they got 2.5 hours less sleep than normal.  Shame on me.  Bad Mommy.)
9:00 Breakfast is over and we have already had about five meltdowns over things like which color of fork is used with cereal.
10:00 We have done 2 craft projects in an an effort to redirect their naughty behavior.  This method did not work and the meltdowns continue, combined with both children making a valiant effort to irritate the other)
10:30 We bundled up and went outside, again an effort to reduce crying and meltdowns
11:03 After lots more crying, even on the beloved slide, I decided that I gave it a valiant effort and I brought everyone inside to watch an episode of Olivia (on Nick Jr.).  I gave them some apples while they watched and I got to clean up Christmas mess in peace.
11:33  Show is over, kids are in a wonderful mood and we spend the next hour and a half happily playing until naptime.

I'm not saying that TV is always the answer.  It shouldn't be on all morning.  It shouldn't be an alternative to "rest time".  But sometimes TV is the only thing that works and I'm not ashamed to admit it!

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

$50 Spa Giveaway at 100s of locations nationwide

Who wants $50 for a Day at the Spa, which can be used at hundreds of locations nationwide?  Well, I'm giving away two of them!!  Okay, wait, let me back up...

My husband is convinced that I'm the only adult in America that is still drinking regular Coke.  Not Diet, not Coke Zero, regular Coke.  I love it.  I have one every single day.  It's like a special treat in the afternoon, to get me ready for a hectic afternoon/dinner/bedtime routine.  However, I have suddenly realized that I reached my unacceptable upper weight limit, so it's time for me to clamp down a bit and lose the weight I gained over the Holidays.  My husband assured me that Coke Zero tastes EXACTLY like regular Coke.  I trusted him and bought an entire case of it.  Unfortunately, he was wrong.  Very wrong.

So, when I was contacted to try the new Trop50 by Tropicana, I decided it was time.  Also, they're giving away two $50 Spa Giveaways to my readers!  Enter the Rafflecopter below to win $50 to a spa near you.  Visit SpaWeek for info...

Anyhoo, What is Trop50?   Well, it's a drink offered by Tropicana, which has 50% less sugar and calories and no artificial sweeteners.  

I'm going to give it a shot and see if I can replace my Coke addiction.  I plan to give it three weeks, so I'll check back in at the end of January and let you know the results.  In the meantime, enter the Giveaway to win a $50 Spa retreat!  I will notify the winners via email only and this giveaway is open to US Residents only, 18 and older.  Good luck!!

I received the product mentioned above free of charge for editorial consideration, and I’m also eligible for additional incentives. However, all opinions expressed are 100% my own.  

PS...what kind of Pop do you drink?  Take the poll to the left...I'll post results later.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Easy Craft for Hungry Caterpillar Book

Simple Craft for the Very Hungry Caterpillar
I have a friend who is a crafting genius.  Really she's like the Michelangelo of kiddie crafts.  Anyhoo, she recently shared with me something that has really changed our lives:  Kids get so much more out of crafts if they are based on a favorite book.  This may seem obvious to the savvy blogging world, but I maintain that most Moms aren't like my friend.  For example, when my daughter was little and just learning how to hold crayons, I had no clue what she was capable of so we didn't try anything new.  She would ask me to draw something and all I could muster up was a heart, a star, or if I was really lucky, a Mickey Mouse head.  Since then, I have dedicated myself to learning about ways to keep kids entertained, increase fine motor skills and foster creativity.  So, the in the spirit of my goals, for my next magic trick, we will create a caterpillar out of an egg carton, based on the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar!


For this project you will need an egg carton, googly eyes, a pipe cleaner, and some paint.  I'm a little more craft-challenged than my friend, so I love projects like this that are easy to do and easy to clean.  I bought some paint in this handy plastic container one time and now I just wash it out every time we paint so that I can re-use it.  For this project, my three and half year old painted each "hump" a different color and tried to match the pattern of color I used for the container, first red, then green then blue, etc.

painting, preschooler, crafts based on books
For my little guy, I just gave him some paint and told him to keep the paint on the caterpillar and not on his face (this advice was based on a previous incident where he considered himself the canvas).  

toddler, paint, hungry caterpillar, crafts based on books,

And voila!  Two VERY hungry Caterpillars! 

easy craft, cheap craft,

This really opened up a new world to us.  Look where I found my kids the next day.  To me, this is proof that doing crafts based on favorite books really enhances a child's love of books. 

siblings reading together, kids enjoying reading, kids reading to themselves

Monday, January 2, 2012

Don't Throw Away Holiday Cards

We tend to fight over who gets to check the mail during the magical month of December.  Well honestly I guess no one is competing except for me, but if Hubby dares to pick up the key to check the mail, I tend to tackle him and run out there myself.  I love getting Holiday Cards, sue me!  Anyway, when I was growing up, we always threw them away after New Year's and then later in life when I was an adult, one Christmas it occurred to me how fun it would be have been able to look back at all the cards my parents got when I was a kid. 

For about three years now, I have saved the Holiday Cards instead of throwing them away.  I put them with our photo albums and mementos and I'm so glad to have these cards.  It's so fun to look at kids as they grow up, as babies are born, and especially to read the Holiday letters.  It's like having old photo albums of all your friends and family!  So this year, do yourself a favor and get a manilla envelope and label it and load up all those Holiday Cards.  I bet you'll thank yourself later in life!

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Okay, I Admit I Lost My Ring I'm Only Human!!

It wasn't my wedding ring....but it was a fairly expensive ring that Hubby gave me for our last wedding anniversary.  I've been secretly looking for it for six months now and the other day I RIPPED our house apart looking for it.  I searched in every drawer, I took out all my jewelry, I searched under couches.  You get the picture.

I finally had to face the fact that it was gone.  My beautiful diamond ring that I love to wear for special occasions.  I couldn't face telling Hubby but I knew it would eventually come out and I was toying with pretending I was mugged, but that seemed a little extreme so I decided to keep brainstorming a good story.   

So imagine my surprise when I was drying my hair yesterday and Munchkin Girl was sitting on the bathtub, keeping me company, and I look over and see this:

Funny story about daughter accidentally taking my expensive ring

See that fancy diamond ring she's wearing while she cuddles her doll?  Yep, that's the missing ring!  I rushed over there and thanked her and asked her where she found it.  She replied, "I keep it in my purple purse Mom."

Kids love to collect stuff in purses

Silly me for not looking in her purple purse!  She has about ten purses that she stores things in, and this is the smallest and I haven't seen her use it in months, but of COURSE she stores it in the purple purse!  She later told me that she was looking through my drawer one day and took out the ring.  I also found a few barrettes, a toothbrush tip holder, and an earring.

She was a little sad to lose her fancy ring, so I let her use one of my cheap dollar store rings instead and she was happy.

What a rascal!!  #atleastshe'shonest and #sheneverceasestoamazeme!