Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Our "Go-to" Project when Things Get Crazy

I'm the first to admit that sometimes doing "projects" with little kids is a waste of time and a pain in the @$!@.  On top of that, the kids often don't want to do the same project more than once so it's a hassle to keep coming up with new stuff.  However, I do have a "go-to" project that the kids never get tired of: painting.

I know what you're probably thinking..."Really?  Painting is such a mess!  I'm trying to make my life easier, not harder!"  But trust me, if done correctly, painting is a great way to calm everyone down and spend a very enjoyable 30 minutes.  The other day the kids woke up from naps and were just out of control.  They were wild, purposely irritating each other, and even climbing on the dog and not understanding that those gasping noises coming from the poor dog's throat were not normal.  That's when I pull out the paint.  I know it will calm everyone down and re-direct energy.  
To make it easy on yourself, first, just make sure you always keep your egg cartons and when you're ready to paint, just cut them in halves.  That way, when you're done you can just throw this right in the trash and don't need to spend any time rinsing out a paint container.  Each kid should get 6 slots for paint:

Next, make sure you have enough paint brushes so that each kid gets 6 of them.  Then they can keep them on a paper towel and you won't have to mess with a yucky paint cup for rinsing out each color so they don't run together.  Then you can just throw out the paper towel when you're done!

Then, once you get everyone set up, get out some blank papers.  You can draw something basic in pen for them like a heart, a star, a football, a caterpillar, a butterfly, a sun, etc., and they can paint them in.  Or you can just let them do their own:

Then, once you've got them all set up, sit down and put on some good music and do your own painting.  I was shocked the other day when I realized how happy and content I was during this project.  We sat peacefully for 30 minutes and I hummed some tunes and we all painted together.  And this is coming from someone who can't paint.  Or sing.  (Really, I'm terrible.)  But it's very soothing and the kids literally NEVER grow tired of painting!  And since I have the system worked out, it's relatively painless I promise!

For more ideas on easy projects with your little ones, please check out my book, The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble, and Motivated to Learn.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

9 Undeniable (and humorous) Life-Truths

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Popsicles are magical.
  5. People aren't living as fun a life as it looks like on Facebook.  It's all an illusion so don't feel bad.
  6. 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???)
  7. Yawing and misery really are both very contagious.
  8. Hiccuping is not.  
  9. 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!

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Friday, July 5, 2013

5 Great Books for Teaching Kids to Be Responsible and Nice

The other day I was reading a new book to the kids and since it was about 7:15 in the morning, I was reading mindlessly, (sort of like a Zombie had stolen my brain) until I came across this sentence, "Bear rolled his eyes at Franklin."  

Really?  Bear rolled his eyes??  There is nothing that gets under my screen like an eye roll.  It makes me want to slap the eyes right out of the offender's head.  Honestly, I'm trying to avoid having my kids turning into sassy teen-agers...why would I want to teach them to do start eye rolling while they're still in preschool?  Sometimes I really have to wonder who writes these books for kids.  I want to shake them them and scream, "What are you thinking?!?"

Since then, I've been on the hunt for books that actually teach good things and help me with the values I am trying to teach them anyway.  Here are my favorites:

1.  The Please and Thank you Book.  This one has several different stories and each of them teach a great lesson, such as cleaning up after yourself when you go to a friends house, not being mopey, trying new foods, etc.  The kids really like it and I try to read it to them every week or so and talk to them about what the page is really saying.

2.  This next book is another gem because it teaches how important it is for kids to help clean up around the house.  It shows them what a mess everything would become if no one helped Mom clean up.  Help around the house with cleaning?  Yes please!  :-)

3.  Minnie's Slumber Party - This is an oldie but a goodie.  It teaches the lesson of how important it is to include everyone, even new people.


4.  Eager Beavers - My kids hate it when Daddy leaves for work, and they especially hate it when I leave for work, but I'm always trying to help them understand that it's good to be a hard worker.  This books helps me teach that lesson.

5.  The Little Engine that Could - Again, an older book, but a great message.  I did find that my kids didn't know about some of the terms they used in this book since it's such an old one, so we had to really talk through the message.

What are your favorite books for teaching good morals?

For some great ideas on things to do with kids, please check out my book, The Happy Mommy Handook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble, and Motivated to Learn!