Join me in my daily walk through the joys and struggles of parenthood. Share a word of encouragement or be encouraged. Cry a little, laugh a lot, but know it is all in divine order.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wacky Wednesday – Have you ever had a wacky day?

Photo credit: www.blakandwhyte.wordpress.com

If you’ve never had a wacky day, it’s coming. Everyone experiences it at some point.  Maybe it’s leaving the house wearing mix matched socks, walking into a wall, or walking around with something green stuck between your teeth.

 Here are some wacky photos I came across.
Photo credit:  www.ididafunny.com
Photo credit:  www.ididafunny.com
Read a wacky book
Photo credit:  www.diapers.com
Sometimes wacky is hereditary
What is something wacky that you have experienced?
Enjoy your Wednesday!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Life’s little lessons – Teaching teens financial responsibility

Teens grocery shopping on their own.

Do you remember doing story problems in math class? Here’s a story problem that is an analogy of my boys grocery shopping trip.
Don and his brother had $30 to spend on groceries. There were only six items on their list, but they wanted to buy additional snacks. Will the boys have enough money for their snacks?

Well, this is sort of a story problem. I actually sent the boys into the grocery store with a list and a few guidelines:

·         No candy purchases

·         Buy 2-3 boxes of cereal, but don’t spend more than $12 on these items

·         Buy 1 5lb bag of sugar (had to specify the size)

·         One container of strawberries – “not organic or you may not have enough money for all items”
When the boys returned to the car they had several bags and a sense of accomplishment. All the bags were placed in the trunk, except the bread, which was put inside the car so it wouldn’t get smashed. I was impressed.

When I asked about the shopping experience this is what my younger son said.

“I got the strawberries, but a lot of them looked bad. I picked the freshest ones.”
“You could have left the strawberries off the list if they didn’t look good, but at least you looked at them,” I said.
Once we were home and putting the items away I noticed the boys had actually done a pretty good job in their selections. They bought two boxes of cereal instead of three and added a frozen pizza and a bag of pretzels. The total bill was $32.47, so one or both of them added money of their own.

My younger son asked if they could shop on their own more often. My answer…”of course you can.”
I asked each son what he learned about financial responsibility on their shopping trip and here is what they said:

“I learned how to budget money to get everything that you need,” my 13 year old said. “And why do you have to blog about everything?”
When I asked my 16 year old the same question his response was, “I already knew everything.”

My lesson learned was that kids can sometimes do more than we give them credit for.

What are you suggestions for teachings kids or teens financial responsibility?

Friday, February 22, 2013

February is National Heart Month - 5 family activities to make your heart happy

Photo credit: www.zazzle.com

Although we’re at the end of the month, it’s not too late to start making your heart happy.
Heart disease can affect infants, children, adolescents and young adults as well as adults. By designating February as Heart Month, the American Heart Association hopes to raise awareness about heart disease. What better way to celebrate Heart Month than to include the entire family?
In an article titled, Celebrate Heart Month by staying heart healthy with your family, tips were given that encourage healthy living. Below are a few of those tips:

1.      Become active – limit the amount of screen time (watching TV, playing video games, computer time). Play a game together.

2.      Avoid rewarding children with food – promote good eating habit by involving everyone in the planning of meals. Turn learning into a game. While grocery shopping have kids search for “crackers with the lowest amount of fat or soups low in sodium.”

3.      “Talk to you doctor about your cholesterol level, blood pressure and weight.” It is also a good idea to talk to your child’s doctor about monitoring his body mass index, blood pressure and cholesterol.
The full article can be found at www.palmbeachgardens.floridaweekly.com/news/2013-02-07/Healthy_Living/Celebrate_Heart_Month_by_staying_heart_healthy_wit.html.

Take your first steps toward a healthy heart by becoming active. Below are 5 activities to get you started on your journey:

1.      Take a walk along a trail – bundle up and venture out to a local park or garden.

Matthei Botanical Gardens (University Of Michigan) has plenty to see; Walk the trails, visit the Conservatory, or view the Traditional African American Gardens (exhibition of photographs featuring African American folk Gardens). www.lsa.umich.edu/mbg/happening/calendar.asp

2.      Laser Tag – check your area for a local Zap Zone.

3.      Sky Zone – Do the kids like jumping around? Take a visit to Sky Zone in Canton, MI. There is plenty of jumping to be done at this indoor trampoline park. For details visit www.skyzone.com/canton.

4.      Bowling –Head to your local bowling alley, lace up those colorful shoes and aim for a strike. To add to the fun ask about Cosmic Bowling.

5.      Be a kid again – play hide and seek, kickball or catch a ball.

Make your heart happy, do something active today. There’s no time like the present.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday – What do you do to keep warm on cold days?

A snowy day in Michigan

A warm beverage and a good book
Photo credit: www.twelve52.co.uk/2012/10/25/comforting-reading/

Homemade Veggie Soup
Photo credit: becky-momof4boys.blogspot.com

ahhhhhh - warmth
Photo credit: www.warmhousegfs.com

How do you stay warm on cold days?


Monday, February 18, 2013

Triathlon Mom – running the race of parenthood

Have you ever competed in a triathlon or just felt like you competed in one? If you are a parent of active kids then you may have felt this way at one point in time. I have never competed in a triathlon, but because of the things I was doing the other day, my son called me a triathlon mom.

My son and I were watching a movie for our scheduled “family night” when he said I was doing a triathlon. As the movie played, my son had one request for me, “mom can you turn off the light so we can see the movie better?”
“…In a little while.” I was surrounded by a book, my writing project, and I had just answered a phone call.

“You are doing too much. You have your own triathlon going on.”
My son was right, I did have a lot going on and some days I feel like I have competed in three major events. I race to get kids off to school, cycle at the fitness center, then swim through a day of errands and chores. But you know what? I wouldn’t change our active schedule because the kids grow up so fast.

I enjoy the ride through parenthood and try to make sure there is enough down time that we don’t feel overwhelmed. Even athletes must rest. I am learning that finding balance between things that MUST be done and those that can wait, is important.
Has there been a time that you felt like a triathlon mom or dad?


Friday, February 15, 2013

Create a family tradition for President’s Day

Create a littl family fun this President's Day.
Photo credit: discovergold.wordpress.com

What are your plans for President’s Day? Why not create a new family tradition by incorporating a little fun with learning? Start with providing your child with background information about President’s Day.
You could start by asking your child, “Did you know that initially President’s Day was observed on two different days? February 12th was Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and February 22nd was George Washington’s birthday.” In 1971 President Richard Nixon declared that the third Monday would be the observance of President’s Day. This would be the day to honor all past Presidents (www.momitforward.com/family-traditions-how-to-teach-kids-about-presidents-day).
Below are 5 ideas to get you started on your way to creating a memorable family tradition for President’s Day.
1.      Watch a movie together
Lincoln – rated PG 13 – this movie stars Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field
First Kid – rated PG - this Disney movie stars comedian Sinbad
2.      Take an interactive tour of the White House – www.whitehouse.gov/about/inside/-the-white-house/interactive-tour.
3.      Visit Presidential places – If you can’t physically visit any places this year, you can stroll through them online.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial – www.nps.gov/nr/travel/presidents/mount_rushmore.htm/
4.      Apply to be President for a day – at this site kids complete a pretend job application, print a campaign poster, and step into a virtual voting booth (www.pbskids.org/democracy/be-president/).
5.      Create a family story time -  Select a few book that relate to the theme “President”
Grace for President - by Kelly DiPucchio (picture book)
Bad Kitty for President - by Nick Bruel (suitable for beginning readers)
First Kids: The True Story of All the Presidents’ Children – by Noah McCullough (suitable for 8 years and up)
George Washington’s Socks – by Elvira Woodruff (suitable for grades 3-5)
Whether you decide take a family outing or spend time at home this President’s Day, make it a memorable experience. Ask the kids for their input and forge ahead. What suggestions do you have for creating a family tradition based around President’s Day?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday – 5 tips to make Valentine’s Day memorable

Tweet heart valentines
Photo credit: crazy-frankenstein.com

What makes your Valentine’s Day memorable? Is it receiving an unexpected surprise, surprising someone else with a gift, or maybe spending time with a loved one? Sharing your love or kindness doesn’t have to be about a heart shaped box of candy. Let’s think outside the box (pun intended) this year.
The week of Valentine’s Day is also Random Acts of Kindness Week. Get creative and incorporate kind deeds with your Valentine traditions. Below are five ways to spread a little joy this Valentine’s Day.

·         Tweet Your Sweet – if you’re a Twitter kind of person, send a message for the world to see; Facebook and other social media count too.

·         Send Love Letters – write a letter to your sweet heart, but also do something charitable. Send a letter to people or organizations who a doing a good job in your community. Tell them why you appreciate their work.

·         Perform a Random Act of Kindness – *“buy someone a cup of coffee, shovel a neighbor’s driveway, tape the exact change for a soda to a vending machine.”

·         Surprise a Friend – offer free babysitting for one night or invite a friend to lunch then surprise her by paying the bill.

·         Treat yourself to something special.

*For a complete list of charitable ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day visit www.casefoundation.org/spotlight/valentines.
What are your tips for a feel good memorable Valentine’s Day?

Monday, February 11, 2013

The upside down day – What do you do when nothing goes as planned?

Photo courtesy: justinscyther.blogspot.com

Have you ever had a day where everything seemed to be turned upside down? You leave early for work only to get stuck in a traffic jam. Upon arriving at work, you rush from your car (on a cold winter’s day), leaving your gloves behind. You soon discover that you have to take a group of kids outside for recess.
During story time with a group kids you cross your legs and discover that you forgot to change your socks. Displayed for all to see is a pair of lime green footies…and you’re not wearing anything close to green. That was my day in second grade last week. How can you recover from an out of control day?

Eat chocolate, and then re-group!
Take deep breaths in through the nose, out through the mouth, exhaling slowly.

If you like to write, you could channel all of your negative energy into a new writing project. When I saw the picture below, it reminded me of how writing about something can make you feel better.
Photo courtesy: writerswrite.com
What other ways can help one to feel better after a long day? My Google search led me to an article titled Having a Bad Day? The author of the article listed the following as things that worked for her in turning around a difficult day.

·         Take a mini meditation break – a five to ten minute meditation break can help you relax and start fresh with a different perspective.
·         Talk to a Good Friend – the article stressed talking to a “good” friend; someone who will listen to you feelings and empathize and not bring you down.
·         Work it Out – get fit and blow off a little steam at the same time. Even if you only have time for a short workout, every little bit helps.
Read the full article at about.com by clicking on the article title above.
On that cold winter’s day after leaving second grade, I sat in my car and jotted down a few notes about my day. I felt a little better. I texted a friend, found a Hershey’s Kiss in the glove compartment of my car, and relaxed a little more. The rest of the day was going to be ok.
What techniques do you use to recover from a day that seems to be upside down crazy?


Friday, February 8, 2013

Fun Facts Friday - What was said about successful people before their success?

Photo credit: geeksdreamgirl.com

I’m trying something different today; let’s call today Fun Facts Friday. While Reading the Metro Parent Magazine I came across an article titled Good Parents Let Their Kids Fail. Across the top of the page were photos of six people we know to have been successful in their lifetime. They included: Fred Astaire, Walter (Walt) Disney, Thomas Edison, Stephen King, Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey.
The take away factor of the article was that we need to let kids experience failure. In experiencing failure kids learn to “realize their limits, adjust and learn from their mistakes (Metro Parent February 2013).” So what are the facts about the six people above thought to be least likely to succeed? Here they are:
Fred Astaire:   Mr. Fancy Footwork was evaluated unfavorably after his first screen test – “can’t act. Can’t sing. Can dance a little.”
Walt Disney:   This creator of Mickey Mouse and the Disney Empire was fired from a Missouri newspaper for not being creative enough.
Side note: Did you know that originally Mickey Mouse’s name was going to be Mortimer? Walt Disney’s wife suggested he change it to something less pretentious.
Thomas Edison:          This famous inventor was labeled by his teachers as “too stupid to learn.”
Stephen King:            This best selling horror author was rejected by 30 publishers.
Steven Spielberg:      This Academy Award-winning director was rejected from the University of Southern California three times due to poor grades in school.
Oprah Winfrey:          This media mogul was discouraged by her first boss, who told her she was too emotional and not right for television.
Test your knowledge with trivia questions related to the people above.
  1. What female actress did Fred Astaire dance with in many of his movies?
a.      Betty Boop
b.      Ginger Rogers
c.       Betty White
d.      Elizabeth Taylor

  1. Where was the first Disney theme park built?
a.      Florida
b.      China
c.       California
d.      Africa

  1. Which item below is NOT one of Thomas Edison’s creations?
a.      Phonograph
b.      Light bulb
c.       Telegraph devices
d.      Computer keyboard

  1. What was Stephen King’s first book that was turned into a movie?
a.      Carrie
b.      The Shawshank Redemption
c.       The Green Mile
d.      Christine

  1. Which movie below is NOT one written or produced by Steven King?
a.      ET
b.      Shrek
c.       Jaws
d.      Jurassic Park

  1. Where was the Oprah show taped?
a.      Las Angeles
b.      Detroit
c.       Chicago
d.      San Francisco

Answer Key
  1. b
  2. c– California 1955
  3. d
  4. a
  5. b
  6. c
Did you discover any new information? What fun facts have you come across that you would add to this list? Have you let your child fail at something in order to teach a lesson?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday – Odd sightings

Have you seen anything lately that mad you stop and say…hmmmm, that’s different? Below is what I captured recently. What odd sightings have you seen?

Gloves for texting

Spotted in a handicapped parking space

A fashion show of dresses made of toilet paper...brave ladies.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Day of Courage – How do you talk to kids about courage?

Photo credit: facebook.com

Today, Feb 4th has been dedicated as National Day of Courage in honor of Rosa Park’s 100th birthday. Ms. Parks had the courage to remain in her seat on the front of a bus which was against the law during the segregation era in the South.
As I read about Day of Courage, I thought about how we teach kids about having courage. When you think about teaching kids about courage, what comes to mind? My first thought was about the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz. He wanted to see the great Wizard to obtain courage. Little did he know that he already possessed the courage he sought.

When my kids were younger it was The Lion King movie that stirred a discussion about courage. Beginning a discussion based on something familiar made things easier for my kids to understand. Has your child faced a situation that required courage?

When my son was in fourth grade, we moved to a new neighborhood and he had to ride the bus for the first time. I still remember part of the conversation we had the day before school started.

“What if I get beat up on the bus?” he said.

“I don’t think you will have that problem, but you can sit near the bus driver.”

“My stomach hurts; I don’t think I can go to school tomorrow.”
“You’re just nervous, let’s see how you feel tomorrow.”

After a pep talk my son made it through that first bus ride at his new school. Sometime kids just need a little encouragement to discover their courage within.
Since today is National Day of Courage, why not start a discussion with your child about courage and see where it takes you?
For more information on National Day of Courage visit the website for The Henry Ford. If you haven’t watched The Wizard of Oz in a long time check out the video below to see how the lion receives his courage.
Wishing you a courage filled day. Do something differently than normal.


Friday, February 1, 2013

How to quit a job

Photo credit: lifehacker.com

Have you ever worked a job that you knew you would not turn into a career? Perhaps you want to quit a current job to pursue a dream. What do you do?
Before a person enters the workforce he can attend workshops or conduct research on how to prepare for an interview. However, I never really thought about how to quit a job…until I saw a recent YouTube video from The Steve Harvey Show. Before I get to the video, I have a story to share about how I had difficulty quitting a job.

During my first year in college I worked at a grill in one of the dorms. I soon discovered it wasn’t the job for me. At the end of a shift I stopped in the office to talk to one of the managers. She was pre occupied, but I wanted to be done with the grueling task of quitting. I was not a very vocal person so this was torture for me.

I whispered in my wee voice, “I quit.”

The manager said, “ok.”
I thought maybe she didn’t hear me correctly, so I repeated my statement a little louder, “I quit, this is my last day.”

“Ok, I heard you.”
So much for my being an effective communicator at that time. Of course that was not the best way to leave a job situation, but at least I didn’t quit in the middle of a shift. It’s a good thing we learn and grow from situations. I can now tell my kids how not to leave a job.

So how do you quit a job?

·         Give advanced notice

·         Don’t leave on bad terms

·         Have a plan before you quit (have another job lined up or a means of surviving until you find another job)

 Ready for the video – How to quit a job? Here it is
What are your suggestions for quitting a job?