Monday, October 28, 2013
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
- Whenever a recipe calls for a spice or some weird ingredient I've never heard of, I just leave out that ingredient. I figure this is just proof of my creative bravado in the kitchen. My husband, on the other hand, figures that this is why my recipes never turn out (although every time he says this he looks like a scared kitten, suddenly cornered by an aggressive and overly-handsy toddler, so I'm not sure his opinion counts)
- I have had ants in my pantry for weeks. Every time I find them in the sugar, the pancake mix, or whatever, I remove the offending item, then I half-heartedly clean the shelf that item was on, and for some reason I convince myself that this will take care of the problem. What is wrong with me? The truly mind-boggling thing about this is that my friends and family would tell you I'm a germaphobe. Clearly I'm not a very devoted one.
- I have massacred the same recipe wild rice casserole twice and for some absurd reason I tried it again last night, convinced I could do better. I have no idea what I did wrong this time, but let's just say it took 2.5 hours for the water to absorb into the rice instead of the 30 minutes the recipe called for. I finally threw that particular recipe into the trash. Clearly a recipe with 6 ingredients is too challenging for me.
- Similar to how I don't use irons, I don't use candy thermometers, food thermometers or anything of the sort. I can't really figure out how they work so I just have faith that following the recipe will be enough. I know what you're thinking. I'm either deluded or I need to stop using recipes that call for candy thermometers and meat thermometers.
- Whenever I make something that's awful, my poor husband does his best to grin and eat it. I don't even bother. Sometimes I would truly rather starve than eat my own creation so I guess that could be part of my problem.
Never fear though. I do make a mean green smoothie (which surprisingly the kids love) and I make a decent chocolate chip cookie so my family won't starve. And I called someone to come out and take care of the ants. Plus, I found a great place by my house that will make casseroles for me to bake at home. Hallelujah.
Monday, August 19, 2013
- Suddenly they are purposely trying to annoy the CRAP out of each other.
- I can't get my five year old daughter to go to bed at night. She keeps coming back down, over and over with these supposed problems, just to stall her bedtime. The other day she claimed she needed a band-aid and when I asked her where she wanted me to put it, she couldn't find the "ouchie" anymore. Yeah, it must've been a pretty bad ouchie then.
- Lots of whining, lots of "Mommmmmmyyyyyy! I can't find my shooooooes!!!"
Honestly, I've been beginning to wonder why all my hard work wasn't paying off. I really do my best to make them do things for themselves so they learn to be self-sufficient, I try to build up their self-esteem so they don't feel the need to try to get attention all the time, and I follow all the bedtime rules. So why suddenly is everything wrong???
Then last night we finally had a break-through, and I'm telling you this so you can have hope too. We had the attic fan on since it was a nice evening and all the doors and windows were open. However, this meant that the doors weren't staying cracked open the way the kids like it at bedtime because the air in the house was pulling them shut. I remember realizing this and thinking, "Uh-oh, she'll be visiting us about 10 times tonight and I'm sure that'll be one of her issues. We'll have to figure out how to keep that door open."
But then I forgot about it and she never came down. On my way up to bed later, I saw this when I glanced toward her room:
"In everything you do in your family, keep in mind the miracle of the Chinese bamboo tree. After the seed for this amazing tree is planted, you see nothing, absolutely nothing, for four years except for a tiny shoot coming out of a bulb. During those four years, all the growth is underground in a massive, fibrous root structure that spreads deep and wide in the earth. But then in the fifth year the Chinese bamboo tree grows up to eighty feet! Many things in family life are like the Chinese bamboo tree. You work and you invest time and effort, and you do everything you can possibly do to nurture growth, and sometimes you don't see anything for weeks, months, or even years. But if you're patient and keep working and nurturing, that "fifth year" will come, and you will be astonished at the growth and change you see taking place.” ~Stephen Covey
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Friday, July 12, 2013
- When you want to say (or post) something mean, just saying "No offense but..." in front of doesn't take away the sting. Trust me, I've tried it. They still get offended.
- You never look as tired as you feel. Unless you're a Mom and you've been up all night and then you probably look both tired AND old. No offense.
- Little boys get pee on their hand almost every time they pee standing up. Be wary of letting a little boy's hands come anywhere near your face cause that's really just the beginning.
- Popsicles are magical.
- People aren't living as fun a life as it looks like on Facebook. It's all an illusion so don't feel bad.
- Having a cell phone permanently attached to our hand probably make us better friends, but definitely worse parents. (This became clear to me last weekend when my daughter fell off the table mid-text. Does it make it better that I was texting another Mom to set up a playdate for her and that's why I didn't notice that she was up on the table???)
- Yawing and misery really are both very contagious.
- Hiccuping is not.
- In the wise words of my friend Ferris Bueller, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around every once in awhile, you could miss it." It really is true.
Happy weekend everyone!
Friday, July 5, 2013
Monday, June 17, 2013
Some days I love Facebook. Other days I hate it and remove the App from my computer until I can't take it anymore and I admit defeat download it again. In fairness, I mostly hate it because it makes me feel inadequate, like I'm not spending enough time at the zoo, at rock concerts, and at museums with my preschoolers. Oh, and everyone is at a party without me that I wasn't invited to. But I also hate it when people post about:
- Anything related to stomach flu/vomiting. Especially don't post about diarrhea running down your kids' legs. It's bad enough when it happens to my family without having to read about it on FB almost every day as it happens to other people. It's making me into an agoraphobic who never wants to leave my house. Plus it makes me want to avoid you for at least one month, for fear on contracting your gross diarrhea.
- Weight loss pics. I have honestly seen a thirty year old man pose in the mirror while taking a picture of his vastly improved but very hairy and disgusting stomach. Are you my husband? Then I probably don't want to see your stomach.
- Naked baby pics. There are so many issues with these...first, your kids will probably hate you later. Second, privacy/weirdos goes without saying. Lastly, it's never as cute as you think it is.
- Food pictures. Are you a professional chef? Great, then bring on the pics and thanks for the free advice. Or, do you have a food blog with a super nice camera with free recipes? Great! Post on! But if not, please don't post a pic of your home-made but gross looking wild rice casserole. I made one for dinner too and it was equally gross-looking.
- A list of your daily accomplishments. I really doubt anyone cares about all 15 of your boring daily tasks, especially dishes, vacuuming, etc. I take that back. Maybe your Mom would care so you should call her and she can tell you how proud she is.
- Vague, mean comments, directed to one person but no one know which one person. An example: "If only I knew who my REAL friends were 15 years ago I would have saved myself a lot of time and heartache". Now all 215 of your FB friends will be wondering if you're referring to them and what they could have possibly done to offend you. This might be okay if you're fifteen years old and not very mature. But even then, it's an iffy tactic.
- Pretty much anything that requires a sad face afterward :-(. It's not really the place for a pity party. Again, call your Mom. Especially if it makes people worried about you in a, "Do you think I should call her? She sounds depressed," kind of way.
- Bragging about your kid's ability to say the alphabet at age 2, walk at age 6 months, or anything "genius" related. I mean, my kid is riding his bike without training wheels at age 3 but do you see me bragging about that on Facebook? (You're likely thinking,"No, but you're bragging about it on your blog!" Point taken. My bad, but seriously. He's three.)
- Gross pics of your foot blisters (again, it's actually happened on my real FB page.) Spare us please those images can remain burned into an adult brain for days.
Monday, June 3, 2013
- Pouring sand, water, salt, sugar, rice, or beans using bowls, funnels, spoons, cups, tubes, rolls, colander
- Sorting small objects with interesting textures like cotton balls, pastas, sponges, and rocks placing them into egg cartons
- Pushing objects through a slot like pennies or buttons into a Piggy Bank or container with a slit in lid; pushing pegs into a board
- Picking up marbles and putting them in a jar; for variety, have child stand up and drop marbles into jar or drop balls or other small objects into container or sack
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Monday, May 13, 2013
- There is scientific evidence that says that Moms who are more nurturing and have more patience have smarter kids in the long run. I am very much of a goal-oriented person, so it helps me feel that I am doing something scientifically positive when I take a deep breath and force myself to follow through with a reasonable punishment instead of yelling.
- There is more scientific evidence that yelling can be almost as bad as hitting, in terms of emotional scarring down the road.
- Yelling is mean. I haven't had someone scream at me in years. I would NEVER scream at my husband so why would I scream at my kids, who are a lot more vulnerable? Bottom line is that I always feel guilty after I yell and I feel crummy for hours if not days. Why not try to avoid that if I can?
- Yelling is far more effective if done rarely. Yes, I truly think sometimes kids need to know that what they have done will not be tolerated. I remember the rare times my parents yelled at me it was very effective. But just like anything else, if overused, yelling loses all benefits.
- When I think about the kind of parent I want to be, and the kind of relationship I want to have with my kids, it never involves my yelling and them being scared and resentful of me. I want them to be respectful and not bratty of course, and that means effective discipline, but I want them to also think I am reasonable and they can talk to me about things in the future, when life gets more complicated. After all, I think there is a lot of truth to the saying, "Little Kids, Little Problems. Big Kids, Big Problems." Maybe, just maybe, if I have a good partnership with my kids by the time they're teen-agers, I can prevent bigger problems. With teen drug use on the rise, it's worth the effort.
I hope this has inspired you the way it inspired me. If not, don't feel guilty and don't yell at me. Every person and every child is different.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
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! You can hear us talk about this theory in this interview about the book:
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Sunday, April 7, 2013
I hope you'll check out this book...I would really appreciate your support and don't forget if you've read it, we can really use all the good book reviews we can get on Amazon and B&N!
Thursday, March 21, 2013
For more ideas on improving fine motor skills with your preschoolers and toddlers, please check out my book, The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers 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! We give you a Mom's point of view and a teacher's point of view, so that you can do activities that not only keep the kids busy, but also keep them motivated to learn and develop their natural curiosity. 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!
Monday, March 11, 2013
My kids have always been picky eaters but lately things started to get really out of control. Here are some of our bad habits:
- They snacked often throughout the day, and I let them, as long as it was healthy like cheese, fruit, or yogurt.
- Since I'm not a great cook, I knew they wouldn't want to eat what I made. Instead, I often just made them chicken nuggets or frozen lasagna. Plus, they often had to eat before Daddy got home since he got home late, so I would just wait and eat with Daddy too
- They often wouldn't even try what I made if it looked bad
- I didn't exactly make them eat enough vegetables. Fruits? Yep! Vegetables? Not so much
However, I was at the book store, and I noticed that my favorite author came out with a new book. On a whim, I decided to spend the money and I'm so glad I did. The French have a whole different perspective on food.
I won't get into too much detail, but it's totally worth reading and the book basically talks about how French kids don't snack. Period. They get breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner. Nothing in between. She says that it's much more peaceful, knowing that all day long isn't an opportunity to eat. Amen, sister! I hate having to stop what I'm doing to pour out a bowl of healthy cereal at 9:45, one hour after breakfast. The French have a totally radical view on food that is completely different than ours. They let them help cook, even from a very young age. I mean, they really let them. There is a story in the book about a four year old ladling out the muffin mix into the pan. The beauty of this is that kids are more invested in what is prepared so they are more likely to try new things and actually like them.
I kept thinking: She hasn't met my kids though. I'm sure they won't want to help me cook, and plus I kind of hate the idea of their hands in my food and them making a mess. But, I decided I would embrace this concept and see what happened, because first of all they hardly eat any real meals, and second of all, I detest cooking, so I thought if I could make the whole thing more fun, my life might improve.
The results were so extraordinary that I am going to have to break this into several different posts. But here is the result of my first day:
First, we made spaghetti. I allowed my daughter (age 4.5) to get up on a stool and help me stir the raw hamburger meat. At first, she was reluctant to help, but I kept telling her what a good Mommy she would make one day if she could learn how to cook and she quickly got on board:
Then she helped me pour the sauce into the pan with the meat and she stirred it all up for me. As the French do, I advised her to smell the different smells and really appreciate the process. I explained everything to her along the way and she was fascinated. Then she helped me clean up and even thought that was really fun.
After we got the dinner all ready, we decided to make blueberry muffins for dessert. I decided to really go the distance. I allowed her to actually spoon the batter into the cups, just like it says in the book. I was amazed. It took her a long time and she did make a little bit of a mess, but she was meticulous and she did every single one:
So, when it was time to eat, I held my breath. Sure enough, she ate a ton of spaghetti, which she usually refuses to even try. My little guy ate all of his spaghetti too and then they got to have muffins for dessert! And best of all, I had a great time. The afternoon was fun and cooking dinner was enjoyable for once! So, day one of my experiment was a huge success. Now it's time to move on to the 2nd part of the experiment...snack time...stay tuned!
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
- Hide the Blueberries....sounds strange but the kids sure enjoy it....
- Ring around the rosy: I find this to be a rather morbid game, because did you know that the kids during the plague used to sing it, and it actually about all the people dying? They would put a pocket full of posies around them to help with the smell...and the ashes were related to the fact that they burned people to try to decontaminate and stop the plague. But of course, the kids don't know that!! :-) They are happy to do this over and over again and they giggle hysterically every time we "fall down".
- The Monster Mash: I don't know why, but my kids adore this song. We turn it on and they dance around and beg me to dance with them. Sometimes I put it on repeat and they do four or five songs in a row!
- Jumping on a Mattress: Nothing gets energy out like jumping on a mattress, or as we call it, a trampoline. We put an old one in the basement and it gets used a lot.
- Hotter, Colder: Hide something while the kids have their eyes closed and then they try to find it. Tell them when they're getting "hotter" and when they are getting "colder". I loved this game when I was a kid and I bet if you add up all the time I spent playing this in life I could have gotten an undergrad degree in it.
- Hide and Seek: It's interesting because one year ago, this is how my daughter hid when she played this game. She was three then and she shrieked and giggled the whole time, making it quite easy to find her. We played it again last night and I swear it took me several minutes to find her. It turned out she was hiding under my office, behind a chair and didn't make a sound. She's really growing up!
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Thursday, January 31, 2013
I have been doing some solemn research on this topic and I have found that when this happens, there are only four ways to reverse the atmosphere:
- Let them watch a TV show. Sometimes just getting their minds off the cycle will change the mood for the entire day. Experts say kids shouldn't watch too much TV, but let's be honest. It works. And sometimes you just need it.
- Get in the car. It doesn't matter if I just drive in circles. Getting everyone out of the house gives me a break and again, it takes their minds off the cycle of bad behavior.
- Play tag and/or hide and go seek. They often just need to burn energy. Just chase them around the house and let them scream.
- Put on music. Have a dance party. Do a piggy back ride and sway to the music. (I have found the song Monster Mash to be particularly effective)
- Put on an exercise tape! I was amazed at how my kids (ages four and 2) loved to follow along and raise their arms when instructed. The bonus is that I got to exercise and they burned energy at the same time!
Tell me what you do when your kids are driving you crazy! And again, thanks so much for visiting and commenting! I truly appreciate hearing from you!
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