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.

Monday, September 30, 2013

7 things to do with pumpkins

Photo credit: koeffeeklatchgals.hubpags.com

It’s that time of year where pumpkins are out everywhere you look. It’s fun to carve pumpkins or decorate your yard with them. What can you do with a pumpkin besides carve it or make pumpkin pie?

My search on the web turned up lots of alternatives to simply making a pie or baking pumpkin seeds, although these are fun activities too. Below are seven non-traditional uses for a pumpkin.

1.      Pumpkin Bowling – take the stem off and use the pumpkin as a bowling ball. Use a child’s bowling pin set or use two liter pop bottles as pins.

2.      Make Pumpkin Muffins - click here for recipe

3.      Pumpkin Centerpiece – cut the top o off the pumpkin and hollow out the inside. Arrange fresh flowers in a jar of water and place inside the pumpkin.
Photo credit: www.decoist.com

4.      Plant pumpkin seeds – cut the top from a small pumpkin and scoop out everything; add soil, seeds and water. Watch your plant grow.

5.      Make a bird feeder
Photo credit: thenetzfamily.com

6.      Pumpkin Art – dip the bottom of a pie pumpkin in art paint and make prints on paper.  Roll a pumpkin in watercolor paint, then roll the pumpkin on a long piece of paper.

7.      Pumpkin Mummy – decorate a pumpkin using gauze, add googly eyes and a mouth made from black construction paper. If you’re feeling really creative, make a family of mummy pumpkins in different sizes.
Photo credit: www.shelterness.com

Do you have a favorite activity or treat that includes the use of a pumpkin?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fun Friday – 25 Fun things to do this fall

Fall colors

Time seems to slip away so quickly, leaving one with the feeling of “I wish I had taken time to…” Fall is in the air why not take the time to do some fun things with the family? Here is a list of things I gathered from other bloggers.

1.      Get lost in a corn maze.

2.      Go for a hike

3.      Go on a hayride

4.      Jump in a pile of leaves

5.      Bake an apple pie or pumpkin pie (top with a scoop of ice cream)

6.      Eat a caramel apple

7.      Make a batch of chili

8.      Eat a slice of warm pumpkin bread

9.      Get spooked in a haunted house

10.  Watch your favorite scary movie on Halloween

11.  Make a gingerbread house (make it scary)

12.  Make playdo (or slime) and play with it

13.  Make a pinecone birdfeeder and hang it in your yard

14.  Have a pajama day at home as a family

15.  Decorate the outside of your house with orange lights and bales of hay

16.  Rake leaves for an elderly person

17.  Carve a pumpkin

18.  Volunteer as a screamer at a haunted house

19.  Create a thankful tree

20.  Gaze at the stars

21.  Create a top 10 list of things you love about each of your kids, frame it and put it in each of you kids rooms

22.  Create a list with your family of five things you want to do this fall

23.  Go on a nature scavenger hunt

24.  Write a thank you note to someone who has helped you

25.  Sit or look outside and write a poem, song, or story

Cherish each day and do something you enjoy doing, but most of all cherish time with your family. What would you add to this list?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Back to church rap

Have you pondered how to invite someone to church? Take a look at this video that puts a humorous spin on going back to church.

Monday, September 23, 2013

8 Ways to celebrate National Comic Book Day

A collection of Archie comics

Pow, Bam, Poof! Whether you enjoy comics such as Batman, Spiderman or Archie, get ready to celebrate National Comic Book Day. September 25th is the day designated as National Comic Book Day.

Did you know that comic books originated in the United States in the late 1800’s? They have been considered a valuable historical text that “touches on how young people and adults identify with cultural and political issues” (Wikipedia).

Some elements of comic books can be traced back to ancient Greek mythology. For instance, the comic book hero Flash, draws characteristics from the Greek god Hermes with his winged helmet and boots. Over the years many adults and children enjoy the pages of comic books.

As young comic book readers, my kids also liked to dress like their favorite superhero. We had our share of Spiderman and Superman pajamas as well as other clothing items brandished with their favorite characters. For me, Archie comics were a favorite, but there was no need to dress like the characters.

Do your kids enjoy reading comics? National Comic Book Day is a great way to get kids involved in reading. Below are 8 great ways to celebrate this fun day.

1.      Buy a new comic book.

2.      Read a comic series you haven’t read before.

3.      Read a graphic novel.

4.      Let your child dress as his favorite comic book character and have a story time.

5.      Read the comics section of a newspaper.

6.      Have your child create her own comic book and illustrate it.

7.      Create a trivia game based on your child’s favorite comic book character.

8.      Hold a Comic Book Day Celebration – If your child’s favorite comic book is Superman, have a Superman theme. Serve treats such as green Jell-O and call it kryptonite. If Archie comics is a favorite, turn your kitchen into a Chok’lit Shoppe. Serve shakes, burgers and fries just like at Pop Tate’s restaurant.

How will you celebrate National Comic Book Day?

Friday, September 20, 2013

5 ideas for creating birthday traditions

Birthday grab bag and snacks
Do you know a child you doesn’t love to celebrate his birthday? From toddlers to teens, my boys have always loved birthday celebrations. One tradition at our house is that the birthday person always wakes up to something special.
This year, I awoke early to begin my son’s birthday surprise. Sneaking into the kitchen, I blew up fourteen balloons, one for each year of his age. I signed the birthday card and included fourteen coins (another tradition). Off to my son’s bedroom I went to scatter balloons and strategically place his card.

When my older son awoke, I waited for him to tell his brother happy birthday. It didn’t happen. When he noticed the balloons on the floor he said, “Ma, why are there balloons on the floor?”
“…to surprise your brother,” I replied.

“You know his birthday is not until tomorrow, right?”
“Oh, today is not the 18th?”

I decided to leave things the way they were, especially since my lips were dry from blowing up balloons. It wasn’t a total foul up since balloons were only part of our traditional birthday celebration. As my boy have gotten older, our traditions have changed. We’ve moved from having birthday parties to letting each boy choose a place to eat for dinner.
If you are looking to change or add to your family birthday celebrations, below are five ideas.

1.      Birthday in a bag – make a grab bag full of your child’s favorite items. This year my son’s

2.      Birthday count down – do something special each day for a week leading up to your child’s birthday. Maybe your child likes music, sports or has a hobby. You could leave an item related to these things in your child’s room (a new CD, tickets to a sporting event or a toy related to her hobby).

3.      Have a special dinner – let your child choose what’s for dinner on his birthday, or better yet, let him choose dinner out at his favorite location. I have one son who loves breakfast, so it’s always IHop for him. My other son has a favorite Coney Island burger, so it’s either that or Red Robin. This year it was Red Robin. Yum!

4.      Balloons with a message – blow up a bunch (however you want to define “bunch”) of balloons and write a special message on each one. It can be as simple as “you’re terrific” or “I love you.”

5.      Have a Treasure Hunt – hide the birthday present, then write step by step clues that lead to the hidden gift.

A happy birthday ending

Do you have a birthday tradition that your child looks forward to? What would you add to the list of traditions?



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Words of inspiration by Albert Einstein

"...Keep on sowing your seed, for you never know which will grow-perhaps it all will." 

Video courtesy of YouTube - onlinemotivator
Enjoy your day.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Love in a lunch box – 7 ways to add excitement to your child’s lunch

Photo credit: www.sockitmama.com

Has our child ever complained about his lunch being boring? Jazz up his lunch by slipping in a love note. Not just a hand written note that says, “I love you” but something more fun.
Show your love in a lunch box by adding a different note to your child’s lunch box each day. I didn’t come up with this idea on my own, I had a little help from an article in Reader’s Digest. Below are 7 suggested notes to get you started:

1.      Pack a joke – it doesn’t have to be funny. In fact, make it corny and it may make your child smile even more. An example – why did the chicken cross the playground? Answer: to get to the other side.

2.      Pack a clue – if you’re planning a special outing, leave clues each day to your mystery location. If it’s a trip to the zoo, pack a few pictures of zoo animals. If you’re going to a movie, slip in a package of microwave popcorn as a clue. For my boys, a trip to the sporting goods store would make their day.

3.      Pack a creative love note – I <3 u (the middle symbol is a heart).

4.      Create a coupon for a special treat – make the coupon for something you know your child will love. For my kids, it would be a day without chores.

5.      Pack a compliment – “I’m proud of you” or “you’re the best.”

6.      Pack trivia question – older kids may enjoy being challenged with a trivia question. Make the question related to his favorite book series, video game or music.

7.      Send a lunch time text – make it short and sweet then you’re talking her language; this is sure to surprise your child. NOTE: be sure NOT to text your child while he/she is in class.
For more ideas view the Reader’s Digest site by clicking here.

Even if you happen to not pack your child’s favorite lunch, he can experience a moment of excitement with your lunch box notes. However, you don’t have to stop with notes in lunches. Here are two ideas to make your child’s lunch LOOK more exciting.

1.      Cut sandwiches into shapes – using a cookie cutter, cut shapes of a star, heart or oval. Each day a different shape could be used.

2.      Turkey Wrap – use a soft tortilla shell and roll in meat of your choice (turkey, ham). You could even make it a veggie wrap, toss in green peppers, tomatoes, lettuce. Taylor it to your child’s tastes.

3.      Pita Pocket – use a pita pocket and fill it with diced chicken and your favorite toppings.
There you have, love in a lunch box. Make a meal and sprinkle it with your style of love.

What would you add to your child’s lunch to make it special?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Feel Good Friday – The lesson of the coffee bean

Photo credit:  nutritionhealthnet.com

Have you ever been in a situation in your life where you were struggling with something and felt like things were not getting better? As I was reflecting on some of the obstacles I’ve overcome and those yet to be conquered, I thought about a story. It is a story that I have heard many times and in many variations.
The story of the carrot, the egg, and the coffee bean presents a lesson on facing adversity. Read below and see what you think.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling.
It seemed that as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.

She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about 20 minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” the young woman replied. The mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter then asked, “What does it mean mother?”
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity –boiling water- but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” the mother asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you, a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?” Think of this. Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, or a financial hardship, does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart. Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean changes the water, the very circumstance that brings the pain.

Author Unknown

You can choose to be like the coffee bean, when things seem at their worst, change the situation around you. Have you ever been in a situation where you had be like that coffee bean?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

For the love of books – Kerrytown Book Fest

Do you have a love for books? Me too. There were lots of books, authors, illustrators and activities at this year’s Kerrytown Book Fest in Ann Arbor, MI.

Deborah Diesen (Picture Day Perfection) and Shanda Trent (Farmers' Market Day).

Deborah Diesen reading from her new book - Picture Day Perfection.

Ruth McNally Barshaw author of the Ellie McDoodle series - showing kids and adults how to illustrate.

Mom and son making an accordion book.
Mother Goose storytelling - 3 Blind Mice

What do you do for your love of books?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Rice Krispies Treats Day

Photo credit: goosiegirlcards.blogspot.com

Snap, crackle, pop. Have you ever listened to Rice Krispies in a bowl of milk? They really do give off the sound snap, crackle, pop. My boys aren’t a big fan of Rice Krispies cereal in a bowl, but give they go crazy over the sticky treat.
So now for the point of this post. National Rice Krispie Day is coming up, September 18th! How will you prepare for the big day? You can start now by trying a few different rice krispie treat recipes leading up to the national day of celebration. Make your treats as simple or as fancy as you want.

Before I lead you to a few treat recipies, how about a little history on how Rice Krispies Treat Day came about? According to an article on eHow, Rice Krispies treats were originally called “Puff Wheat Squares.” They were included in a dessert book written in 1938 by Lucy Maltby.
A Kellogg employee and Campfire Girls troop leader, Mildred Day is creditied for bringing the treats to life. Her scouts sold hundreds of Rice Krispies Treats in a small town in Michigan in 1939. Ms. Day needed a fundraiser for Campfire Girls that would generate a lot of money for their activity programs and camps. She was successful due not only to the popularity of the Kellogg brand in her area (Battle Creek, MI), but because of Kellogg’s commitment to community.

I can attest to the commitment of Kellogg’s in the Battle Creek community. As a resident there for several years, I was a part of many of the Kellogg sponsored activities. Of course my time there was long after 1939, but that just goes to show how long they have been around.
In 1941 the Kellogg’s company added Ms. Day’s recipe to the back of Rice Krispies cereal box and trademarked the name and recipe for this dessert. You can check out the many recipes by clicking here.

The video that follows displays a blogger and the making of her favorite Rice Krispies treats.
Do you have a favorite Rice Krispies Treat recipe? Share your recipe in time for National Rice Krispies Treat Day.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Fun Friday – How is football related to parenting?

Do you know what season it is? There’s winter, spring, summer, fall…then there’s football season. That’s right football is a season all its own. If you have a child who is playing or has played football, you have an idea of how this season works.

You’re on the line of scrimmage in a squat position, butt in the air and fingertips planted on the turf. You’re eye to eye with the opponent. The quarterback snaps the ball. Game on.

In relationship to parenting, you’re on the kick return team. The ball (open houses, completing forms) has been kicked to you. You don’t have a playbook, but the game must go on. You huddle up with teachers to find out what is needed for a successful school year for your child.

You spend time taking kids back and forth to the field, or you find some willing parent to join your team. A carpool forms. Your team sits on the metal bleachers to discuss the plays you will run (who will pick up and drop off on which days).

Away games, home games, you’re there for them all. Until one day you look at the schedule and realize…it’s the last game of the season. The National Anthem is sung one more time. There’s a different song playing in your head (na na na na, heeeaay…goodbye).

You enjoy the season of football, but just like other seasons (and parenting), it’s ok to experience change. Long after the sports banquet and the final goodbyes, you’re still on the gridiron of parenting. You have been a diehard football fan and survived.

If you’re not sure whether you’re a diehard football parent, here are some ways to help you make the determination:

1.      You own a set of pom poms and you’re not a cheerleader.

2.      You own a stadium chair.

3.      The trunk of your car contains shoulder pads you can’t wear, girdles that aren’t yours and a mouth guard you would never put in your mouth.

4.      You request to leave work early on game days.

What do you experience during football season?

Monday, September 2, 2013

The History of Labor Day

Photo credit: www.happylaborday2013.com

Video credit: Youtube

How will you spend your day? Have a great Labor Day!